2:00PM Water Cooler 1/15/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“Donald Trump keeps repeating the ludicrous claim that somehow the revised NAFTA will fund his wall even though it remains unclear if the deal will be enacted and, if it is, the text does not include border wall funding directly nor would it generate new government revenue indirectly given that it cuts the very few remaining tariffs, not raises them. A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals a new 20 percent tariff would have to be imposed on all imports from Mexico to put the money to construct the wall into the U.S. Treasury and that money would come from importers, not the Mexican government. All imports into the United States from Mexico have been duty free for more than a decade, meaning that NAFTA trade does not generate money from Mexican importers for U.S. government coffers and nothing in the NAFTA 2.0 changes that” [Lori Wallach, Eyes on Trade].

“Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will lead a Chinese delegation heading to Washington later this month, a senior administration official confirmed Monday. Liu’s presence signals that officials made enough progress in last week’s talks for cabinet-level meetings to resume” [Politico]. “The Trump administration will only create a process for companies to request exclusions from a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods if ongoing trade talks with China fail and the duty is raised to 25 percent on March 2, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a Jan. 11 letter to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). USTR already has an exclusion process for the 25 percent tariff Trump imposed on an initial $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Kaine and 10 other senators have pressed USTR to create a similar process for the $200 billion.”

“First U.S. crude cargoes head to China since trade breakthrough: sources” [Reuters]. “Three cargoes of U.S. crude are heading to China from the U.S. Gulf Coast, trade sources said on Monday, the first departures since late September and a 90-day pause in the two countries’ trade war that began last month…. “It looks like China has resumed purchasing U.S. crude,” one U.S.-based shipbroking source said. The person, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the destination data could yet change.”

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

2020

The 2020 Republican platform:

Lucky Clemson. Lots of dunking on Twitter, since the image is ideal for meme-making, as it was obviously intended to be. My favorite: “But only one of these hamburgers contains the antidote, Mr. Bond,” casting Trump as the Bond Villain. “Almost sweet in a pathetic sort of way” is probably the nicest comment around; mine would be that Trump knows how to hit his marks as well as Reagan did. (Yes, the photo is beautifully composed, but Trump had to stand where and how he did.)

But let’s look at the messaging: (1) Privatization. Wendy’s, not the White House chef. Why not our national parks next, eh? (2) Populism. Again, not the White House chef with le menu, either, but again Wendy’s, rather like Andrew Jackson’s crass and bigly block of cheese that the mob — the deplorables? — rampled all over the carpets. (3) Proprietorship. Trump’s expansive gesture at the abundance of it all (“I alone….”) is that of a hotelier inviting guests to dine*. (4) Pedigree. See the portrait of Lincoln — American’s greatest and most iconic Republican — behind Trump, which he surely knew was there? What was Honest Abe thinking? I’ll tell you. He was thinking “It’s waaaay better than fast food. It’s Wendy’s.” Because who wouldn’t? This is America. (Or as Elizabeth Bruenig writes: “Once you view 27 quarter pounders on a solid silver White House serving platter, you realize America has always just been 27 quarter pounders on a solid silver White House serving platter, and we were just too sinful to see it.”) Oh, and the context for all this, the shutdown, is straight “Wrecking Crew” behavior, familiar to Republicans as an old whip — “drown government in a bathtub” — as Thomas Frank shows.** But what’s really been wrecked if you can feed the multitude like this?

NOTE * And not that, were his hands raised, of a Christ-like figure. ** The “Wrecking Crew” theory gives an account of why Trump didn’t do whatever he needed to do with The Wall when Republicans controlled the House, where spending bills originate. But is the goal is the shutdown, for which The Wall is a pretext, that incongruity disappears.

He’s running:

“Who Will Be the American Justin Trudeau?” [Jacobin]. • Obama.

New Cold War

“GOP lawmaker: Russian meddling stirred racial divisions at fatal Charlottesville rally” [USA Today]. • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA! RussiaRussiaRussia is bipartisan!

2016 Post Mortem

“Selective Feminism and the Myth of the Bernie Bro: The Backlash to Sanders and the Women’s Convention” [Katie Halper, Paste]. “The media dedicated much time and energy to covering online abuse, towards women in particular, during the Democratic Primary. The vitriol was, and remains, disturbing. Posting a photo of a female campaign surrogate on Facebook, a man wrote, “Every time i see this… creature on CNN, I want to reach through the tv screen and choke her… (I don’t believe in hurting women… but i’m not sure if this is one).” Another surrogate, a black woman, has been called everything from a “bitch” to a slave to a “hood rat.” One man tweeted, “I hope you and your family die,” and another person told her to “just end her misery. A pill cocktail will do the trick…” There has even been actual physical violence against women: Two women were hit because of their allegiance to a candidate, one of them, a young woman of color, was struck by an older white man with his hand and cane.
Readers may be familiar with the term “Bernie Bro,” but they might be surprised to learn that every attack cited above was made by Clinton supporters against Sanders supporters.” • Or they might not be surprised.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“HOPE VS. CHANGE: WHY SOME DEMOCRATS ARE TURNING ON OBAMA’S LEGACY” [Vanity Fair]. “If today’s Democrats can’t beat Trump, then maybe Hillary Clinton wasn’t as bad a candidate as her critics claimed. And if Clinton wasn’t the problem, then what was the problem? Such questions are behind a recent spike of debates on the left over Barack Obama’s record. More and more voices seem to be saying, either obliquely or bluntly, that Obama was a bad president.” • The final link is a tweet from Stoller (good) but where’s Thomas Frank, who did the heavy lifting on this very issue, and was ostracized by the Beltway for his pains?

Stats Watch

Empire State Manufacturing Survey, January 2019: “Slowing into the New Year is the theme from the Empire State index” [Econoday]. “The nation’s manufacturing sector is suddenly having a bumpy time and the reasons aren’t clear. Watch Thursday for the Philly Fed report and the next indication on January’s factory conditions.” And: “January 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Index Declined and At Lowest Level In Over One Year” [Econintersect]. It’s noisy, but: “With both the main index and key indices declining, this was a much worse report than last month… New orders subindex of the Empire State Manufacturing declined but remains barely in expansion, whilst the unfilled orders sub-index declining and slipping deeper in contraction.” And: “This was well below the consensus forecast, and the weakest reading since May 2017” [Calculated Risk]. And: “Business sentiment has slumped due to the trade fight with China and the partial government shutdown. Many business surveys have weakened lately. On its face, the report suggests another decline in the national ISM manufacturing survey, which tumbled to a two-year low in December” [MarketWatch].

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), December 2018: “The fall in the price of oil is only one reason behind a 0.2 percent headline decline in producer prices as core readings are also soft” [Econoday]. “This report, like last week’s consumer price data, is not pointing to building pressures in demand or for prices and does not point to any urgency for Federal Reserve rate hikes.” And: “The Producer Price Index was unchanged year-over-year. Energy prices decline was offset by food price increase – and service prices modestly declined. Here is what the BLS said in part” [Econintersect].

Tech: “U.S. Now Says All Online Gambling Illegal, Not Just Sports Bets” [Bloomberg]. “The U.S. Justice Department now says federal law bars all internet gambling, reversing its position from 2011 that only sports betting is prohibited under a law passed 50 years earlier [the 1961 Wire Act]. The reversal was prompted by the department’s criminal division, which prosecutes illegal gambling…. A coalition backed by billionaire casino executive Sheldon Adelson lobbied the Justice Department in 2017 to reconsider its 2011 decision that cleared the way for states to allow online gambling.”

Tech: “Apple Replaced 11 Million iPhone Batteries in 2018, Up From 1 to 2 Million” [MacRumors]. “Apple replaced a total of 11 million iPhone batteries under the $29 battery replacement program that was introduced at the end of 2017 and ran through 2018 before ending on December 31, 2018.” • Apple sold 46.9 million iPhones in Q4 2018 alone, so while 11 million isn’t pocket change, it’s not enough to knock Apple off course, either.

Tech: “Bird to Boing Boing: We’re sorry about sending you a legal-demand letter”” [Ars Technica]. “‘Bird celebrates freedom in many ways—freedom from traffic [and] congestion as well as freedom of speech,’ the company said. ‘In the quest for curbing illegal activities related to our vehicles, our legal team overstretched and sent a takedown request related to the issue to a member of the media. This was our mistake and we apologize to Cory Doctorow.'” • So the issue was they sent the takedown notice to the press…

Tech: “Blue Apron shares soar after it says it expects to be profitable on adjusted EBITDA basis” [MarketWatch]. “Meal-kit provider Blue Apron Holdings Inc. APRN, +36.54% said Tuesday it is confident it can achieve profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis in the first quarter and full year 2019. EBITDA — or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization–is often used as a measure of cash flow… It said it was offering a non-GAAP number because it is unable to reconcile guidance to GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles at this time…. [Oh?} The presentation will include an update on its renewed focus on engaging consumers with its direct-to-consumer platform as well as an update on the response to its partnership with WW, the renamed Weight Watchers.” • The WW alliance is actually clever!

The Bezzle: “German antitrust watchdog to act against Facebook: report” [Reuters]. “Germany’s antitrust watchdog plans to order Facebook to stop gathering some user data, a newspaper reported on Sunday. The Federal Cartel Office, which has been investigating Facebook since 2015, has already found that the social media giant abused its market dominance to gather data on people without their knowledge or consent. The Bild am Sonntag newspaper said the watchdog will present the U.S. company with its ruling on what action it needs to take in the next few weeks.”

The Bezzle: “Uber wants to go public this year, but SoftBank has yet to seat its two board members” [CNBC]. “When Uber sold a 15 percent stake to SoftBank last January, the ride-hailing company agreed to give the Japanese conglomerate two board positions out of an eventual total of 17. SoftBank said its seats would go to Marcelo Claure, the company’s operating chief and executive chairman of Sprint, and Rajeev Misra, the head of SoftBank’s Vision Fund. More than a year later, SoftBank is waiting for the U.S. government to give Claure and Misra the go-ahead. SoftBank has its Uber shares, but the broader deal is under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a unit of the Treasury Department that reviews certain transactions involving overseas investors. The SoftBank seats aren’t the only ones on Uber’s board that remain unfilled. As part of the company’s effort to strengthen corporate governance following a series of scandals in 2017, Uber agreed to expand its board to 17 people from 11. The board currently has 12 members and still has vacancies for three independent directors, in addition to SoftBank’s representatives. •  Going into an IPO with a crippled board. Everything is like CalPERS!

The Bezzle: “VW Hasn’t Committed Yet to Joining With Ford on Driverless Cars” [Bloomberg]. “‘There’s still a lot of hype; about autonomous vehicles and ‘a lot of money flowing in, but I think it’s still a long way to go until we really get the first paybacks,’ Herbert Diess, VW’s chairman and CEO, told reporters Monday in a roundtable at the North American International Auto Show. ‘There’s one alternative, which could be joining forces with Ford. It’s not yet decided. But it’s still a long way to go, many millions to be poured in and probably some setbacks to expect.’ ‘America will play a major role,’ he said. But VW is ‘committed to owning the software stack’ that controls the self-driving car.” • A lot of hype? Really? And owning the stack? Not renting it? Let me know how that works out.

The Bezzle:

An accident. If you believe Godzilla v. Mothra was an accident.

Our Famously Free Press

“Company known for deep cost-cutting offers to buy Gannett” [Associated Press]. ” A hedge fund-backed bid to buy Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today and several other major dailies, is renewing fears of consolidation and job losses — as well as a decline in the quantity and quality of news coverage — in the already battered newspaper industry. MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media, offered $1.36 billion on Monday for Gannett, saying in a letter that it can run the company more profitably via tight cost controls and consolidation of operations such as printing and administration.” • Ha ha. “Consolidation of operations” means gutting newsrooms; that’s what hedgies do. This would be bad, because USA Today is one of the very few — perhaps the only? — major venue that didn’t completely lose its mind in 2016. They don’t deserve to be punished by hedgies.

The Biosphere

A ways to go:

“What’s in a Green New Deal?” [Politico]. “That means one of Democrats’ biggest tasks in 2019 will be to dig into the specifics of fighting climate change and transforming the economy. Progressives and environmental groups are already working to line up a suite a [sic] bills that could serve as a policy road map. ‘It’s not going to be necessarily one bill or one piece of legislation or one level of government that makes this possible,’ said Varshini Prakash, co-founder of Sunrise Movement.” • That’s probably true, although AOC’s version of the GND gave the Federal government the leading role, correctly IMNSHO. However, I don’t see mobilization — a goal, a plan, metrics or at least waypoints — taking place through the process Prakash outlines, or through a movement.

“Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017” [Eric Rignot, Jérémie Mouginot, Bernd Scheuchl, Michiel van den Broeke, Melchior J. van Wessem, and Mathieu Morlighem, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]. “The total mass loss from Antarctica increased from 40 ± 9 Gt/y in the 11-y time period 1979–1990 to 50 ± 14 Gt/y in 1989–2000, 166 ± 18 Gt/y in 1999–2009, and 252 ± 26 Gt/y in 2009–2017, that is, by a factor 6… This change in mass loss reflects an acceleration of 94 Gt/y per decade in 1979–2017, increasing from 48 Gt/y per decade in 1979–2001 to 134 Gt/y per decade in 2001–2017, or 280%… The mass loss from West Antarctica is three to four times larger than that from East Antarctica and the Peninsula, respectively. We find that the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been out of balance with snowfall accumulation the entire period of study, including in East Antarctica.” • Ulp. Here is a summary, in English, from Associated Press: “Antarctica is melting more than six times faster than it did in the 1980s, a new study shows. Scientists used aerial photographs, satellite measurements and computer models to track how fast the southern-most continent has been melting since 1979 in 176 individual basins. They found the ice loss to be accelerating dramatically — a key indicator of human-caused climate change.”

“Costco Is Selling a 27-Lb. Bucket of Mac and Cheese with a 20-Year Shelf Life” [People], “The shelf life is so long that Costco listed the product under “all emergency foods” on the store’s website.:” • So somebody’s planning for the jackpot…..

“OMV chief rejects U.S. sanctions threat on Nord Stream 2 firms: report” [Reuters]. “The U.S. embassy in Germany said on Sunday that Ambassador Richard Grenell had told German companies involved in the project that they could face sanctions if they continued with the plan that is already far advanced. ‘The letter is a totally unacceptable threat to German companies,’ OMV Chief Executive Rainer Seele, a German national who has run the Austrian firm since 2015, told the business daily. ‘Europe must not allow itself to be patronized by the U.S. in matters of energy politics,’ he said.” • I’m filing this here because Triump’s sabre-rattling, though ugly, would make a greenhouse gas source more expensive which is good. If we can’t leave it in the ground, we can it least make it expensive to move around.

“Ancient civilizations can show us how to protect the Amazon” [Quartz]. “A steadily accumulating body of research now shows that millions of people once lived in the Amazon, and they didn’t just make a home in the forest, but actually transformed it to suit their daily needs. Archeologists have found evidence of carefully tended gardens and fertile soils near sites of ancient settlements. Walk around the jungle today, and you can still see the fingerprints of these civilizations all around.” • I was sold on this thesis about “Amazonia” when I read Charles C. Mann’s wonderful 1491, published in 2005. (For an interview with Mann, see NC here,)

“Okay, But How Many Trees Count As Nature” [The Cut]. “[A] recent study found that spending just five minutes ‘in nature’ can cause a significant improvement in mood… Students in the nature [test] group were directed to sit ‘on a bench in an urban park located on the border of the campus,’ a spot chosen for “its moderate biodiversity.'” • But what, you ask, is “nature”? Spoiler alert: The author found a picture of the actual bench. More: “No offense to the University of Regina, or this very okay looking bench, but if this is how being in nature is defined — some grass, some trees — then I have no excuse, and you probably don’t either. There is a literal garbage can RIGHT there. Still, I wonder about nature’s exact parameters: does looking at my succulents count for anything? What if I carry them outside, cradling them in my arms? It is worth a try.”

“Magic mushrooms see growth bonanza across UK after mild winter: ‘It’s been a particularly good one'” [Independent]. Just in time for Brexit, but stay safe out there!

Water

“The Stealthy Corporate Scheme to Privatize Pittsburgh’s Water System” [In These Times]. “The most recent news on this front came with the surprise announcement in October that private water powerhouse Aqua America [HQ ‎Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania] was buying Peoples Gas, which is the local gas company. Why would a water company swoop in to buy a gas company? Food and Water Watch, the advocacy organization I work for, has battled water privatization around the world for over a decade, and that experience leads us to suspect this isn’t about taking over a gas company. It’s a roundabout plan to privatize Pittsburgh’s water system by buying up the gas utility that has also been targeting the water system. For months, Peoples Gas had been selling the city on what it was calling a strategic public-private partnership. The company would replace aging lines and build a massive new treatment facility to boot — somehow without raising rates. As you might expect, the details were scarce. City officials, including Mayor Bill Peduto, have been carefully and conspicuously pledging to keep PWSA in public hands, while appearing very open to the company’s pitch. But even if a private company does not buy the system outright, giving a profit-seeking corporation power to make key decisions or determine user rates is not a ‘partnership.’ It’s a form of privatization….” • Agreed, though precise details on this “roundabout plan” would have been welcome.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Unknown history:

(And efforts like this paid off down the line, too.) And in 1846, I bet there were plenty of people saying that abolition will “never, ever” come to pass. 1863 – 1846 = 17 years, and in Douglass’s lifetime, too.

Class Warfare

“Every Woman Is a Working Woman” (interview) [(The great) Silvia Federici, Boston Review]. “Our analysis of violence against women hinged on seeing housework as a form of capitalist production, and analyzing the role of the wage in constructing the whole family’s organization. We argued that violence is always latent in the family because, through the wage, the state delegates to the husband the power to supervise and control the work of the wife, and the power to penalize her in case she does not perform. I would describe it as a sort of indirect rule: the state mediates the control over women through the man and his wage. It is not for nothing that in the 1970s, women on welfare called the state “The Man”! This explains why domestic violence has been tolerated for so long and rarely treated by the state as a crime. We began to even see rape as a form of domestic discipline. It is a way of regulating women’s time and space….” • Why a Jobs Guarantee (for all women) and a Post Office Bank (account for any woman) would do a lot more for women than, well, putting a female torturer at the head of the CIA. And #MedicareForAll would help a lot too.

News of the Wired

“The three-page paper that shook philosophy—a hacker’s perspective” [jsomers.net]. “Gettier, in his tiny paper, upended the consensus. He asked ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’ and offered three cases—soon to be known as ‘the Gettier cases’—that suggested you could have a JTB about something and yet still we would want to say you didn’t know it.” • The paper has examples, and gives examples from software engineering, but I was thinking of politics…..

“Avoiding a transit of the United States” [WikiTravel]. “Since the documentation requirements just to transit the US can be both onerous and expensive (see Preparing to Enter the United States), it may be preferable to select itineraries that avoid the United States altogether. However, finding these flights is not always easy: the United States—fronting the Pacific Rim, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea—is an extremely vast country with several major cities that serve as hubs for many airlines; most on-line travel services lack an option to avoid a country; in many cases the smaller companies and chartered flights are harder to find.” • News you can use!

For the snow-bound:

(This is apparently the Iditarod, not Antarctica.)

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JU):

JU writes: “South Fork Meadow, Hockett Plateau… Mineral King.” Landscapes are harder than one might thing. They don’t move around, much, but still…

* * *
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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

161 comments

  1. Gary

    “Costco Is Selling a 27-Lb. Bucket of Mac and Cheese with a 20-Year Shelf Life”
    The 20 years only works while it is sealed. Once you open it, you’d better plan on freezing what you don’t eat.
    I looked at purchasing a years worth of food once just in case of an emergency. These kits are only practical if you have a group of people to feed. Once you open a gallon can of scrambled eggs, they have to be consumed. Single meal portions like MRE’s can be bought but the cost per calorie is considerably more.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      MRE’s have a nominal shelf life of around 5 years.

      I think a substantial portion of the sales of large amounts of the freeze dried foods go to companies and institutions that are required to have a certain amount of emergency supplies on had in case of emergency. The campus of the school I took aircraft maintenance at (at the Vancouver airport) had to have food and water for a week for the student body and faculty ready in case of earthquake for instance.

      “Who Will Be the American Justin Trudeau?” [Jacobin]. • Obama. – That’s called hitting the bullseye within an electron’s width of dead center.

      I’m not a fan of the reckless promotion of self-driving cars as a technology (not that current Teslas are self-driving: they’ve come to their senses enough to take the “future full-autonomous” option off their build feature though they’re still idiots for calling their assist technology “Autopilot”) but that video looks staged to me.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      We usually eat Mountain House brand freeze-dried food in the backcountry-my favorite being spaghetti in meat sauce, but they’re all good. The use-by date on granola with blueberries & milk was 2047 on the last package I consumed, thats more or less forever.

      After a week of them in the wilderness, i’m usually sick of them and long for real tucker.

      I couldn’t imagine eating them for any long period of time.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        We got used to MREs after Katrina. We stayed in our house near the mouth of the Pearl River, Mississippi during the hurricane. Once we came down from our attic at the end of Monday, we scrounged whatever we could. Three or four days later, the clean up crews finally cleared Hwy 604 from the Interstate 12 to our half horse town. The National Guard moved in and bought in some supplies by old Nam era twin rotor helicopters, flying out of the Gulfport airport. Water and MREs were the basic supplies for weeks. You got to know every selection they put out. Much of it was pretty good, but yes, the sameness got wearing. I remember the tiny bottles of Tabasco sauce that came with a Cajun styled dish.
        The main memory from that time was the sense of camaraderie the shared deprivations built. That and the time the Presidential Helicopter hovered above the landing field next door to our house and refused to land. The motliest crowd of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ rejects you could ever imagine were milling about at the edge of the landing spot. I was one, wearing my Hawaiian shirt, ragged shorts, and flip flops. Due to the complete devastation, what you had in the attic or on your back was what you wore for weeks. We were there to help with the unloading of what we thought was a supply run from Gulfport. I can imagine the Presidential aide telling Shrub: “Uh. I don’t think the natives are friendly sir.”

        Reply
  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    The President is the Hamburglar? They have red hair, are obviously crooks, and love McDonalds. Have you ever seen Trump and the Hamburglar in the same room?

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Here is definitive proof that Trump is not the Hamburglar. As we can see from a previous FOX appearance, replete with about thirty hamburgers, the Hamburglar clearly has bigger hands….or maybe that was just Jared Kushner outsourced as a body double? Ye shall know them by the size of their hands.

      https://fox2now.com/2015/03/09/the-hamburglar-surprises-april-simpson-after-viral-video/

      Anyway, is it me or does Lincoln’s Hogwartian portrait look like he is in the process of a doing a facepalm?

      Reply
  3. Jerry B

    Lambert, can you elaborate on your comment below?

    =====However, I don’t see mobilization — a goal, a plan, metrics or at least waypoints — taking place through that process, or through a movement.===

    By “that process” do you mean AOC’s giving the Federal Government the lead role? And if not through a “movement” then how do you see mobilization taking place?

    Reply
  4. FreeMarketApologist

    …offering a non-GAAP number because it is unable to reconcile guidance to GAAP…

    “…because it is unable to reconcile the company’s actual financial position to one that the SEC, venture capitalists, and potential IPO investors find palatable….”

    And they’re still not profitable – they only expect to be.

    There, fixed it for you.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Given how many people text and drive these days, I may have to rethink my strong opposition to self-driving cars. Either that or people could just PUT DOWN THEIR PHKING PHONES AND DRIVE! Sorry for yelling but I’ve seen actual carnage caused by people who text and drive, not to mention lesser prangs, dangerously erratic driving, and potentially fatal near misses. It’s so bad on our local roads that distracted drivers are distracting me from my own driving.

      Reply
      1. pricklyone

        Not just texting, either. In my travels, pretty much anytime I see someone do something blatantly stupid in traffic, when I get close enough for a good look at the driver, they are TALKING (or commonly YELLING) into the damn phone.
        There are no calls that cannot wait until you park, the device tells you whose call you missed, for dogs sake. And saves texts, too!
        Even emergency room doctors, ambulance personnel, fire fighters, and the like used to use PAGERS! You had to go find a phone, and call in for your messages. There is no justification for using it while driving.

        .

        Reply
  5. Glen

    “HOPE VS. CHANGE: WHY SOME DEMOCRATS ARE TURNING ON OBAMA’S LEGACY”

    I saw this coming in 2009. We need to continue to heap ignominy and vile on this POS so that the idiots leading the Democratic party never run another POS like this again.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      One can only, uh, hope so.

      Unfortunately, Trump does a lot – inadvertently – to make Obama look not just good, but great, to far too many people. Well to be completely fair, Obama did “present” better and appear to be a more diplomatic person… if you discount all the people around the world that he’s responsible for killing.

      Of course, a lot of the killing continues under Trump, albeit Trump kinda sorta tried to get the USA out of Syria, which is something, I guess.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I have seen an occasional comment in passing that Trump is actually ordering more drone killings than Obama did, but his minions seem to have more success at keeping the data secret. That’s surprising, considering how much stuff leaks. I suspect the five guys who own the corporations which own the media got together at a little dinner and decided to stop publishing the data.

        Reply
    2. pretzelattack

      they will run hillary or another centrist clone i fear. it’s hard to get an idiot to believe something when their paycheck depends on not believing it. i don’t actually think they’re stupid, just corrupt as hell.

      Reply
  6. ACF

    Re:
    “If today’s Democrats can’t beat Trump, then maybe Hillary Clinton wasn’t as bad a candidate as her critics claimed. And if Clinton wasn’t the problem, then what was the problem? Such questions are behind a recent spike of debates on the left over Barack Obama’s record. ”

    Well, I agree that President Obama was not good (there have been worse); he was a continuation of the Clintonism/neo-Liberalism that has so devastated many. And I agree that Clinton running as Obama’s 3rd term (without the benefit of the doubt that he was given–he was (wrongly) perceived as thwarted change-agent) a huge disadvantage, as was her gender and her embodiment of the Establishment (even if she wasn’t seen as Obama’s 3rd term). But objectively, she was also a terrible candidate–took for granted places she shouldn’t have (midwest, even 538 thought that was wrong), had no sense of how to connect to people, radiated entitlement.

    Beyond that, it’s a bit premature to conclude that today’s Ds can’t beat Trump. I mean, for all Hillary’s glaring faults, the vote margins that flipped the electoral college to Trump were very small in several states.

    Reply
    1. DonCoyote

      In reality, the categories that matter as much as left and right are those of establishmentcorporatist and radicalpopulist. Obama’s record of siding reliably with the former at a time when the zeitgeist had come to favor the latter is the source of much of the tension over his legacy.

      Fixed it for ya. And the rest of the article can be rewritten to be much clearer with the categories better defined (And T. A. Frank, you’re, as Lambert noted, no Thomas Frank).

      Remember folks–corporations are not only people, they’re better people than you and me.

      Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      “Beyond that, it’s a bit premature to conclude that today’s Ds can’t beat Trump. I mean, for all Hillary’s glaring faults, the vote margins that flipped the electoral college to Trump were very small in several states.”

      Well, that was true in 2016, but that was a Trump that many believe was didn’t have the ‘temperment’ for the office. If/when he makes it through a 4-yr term, that argument goes away. Trump has the following factors going for him:

      1) Decent economy driven by MMT. Trump gets it, more or less. Because he does, he hits the fiscal gas pedal. If we approach recession, he’ll hit it again, without hesitation.

      2) No new wars, possible troop withdrawals to boast of. Dems couldn’t deliver that, did the opposite.

      3) CIA/FBI top brass clearly hate(d) the guy and pulled some crazy stunts against him. That’s a plus, not a minus for Trump. He’ll wrap this into a larger argument about fighting the establishment

      4) Trade agreement changes and tariffs mean he can argue he’s trying to right the ship on the trade front (the substance of this is in dispute, of course, but he’s seen to be at least tinkering).

      5) The power of incumbency. A lot of people will say, “things are better, let’s not mess with it.”

      Please don’t see this as an endorsement of him, I have not and will not vote for him. Dems will need to understand this record to beat him. It’s tougher to beat than you think and George W Bush got re-elected, which seemed unfathomable.

      Reply
      1. Glen

        I agree. The biggest impediment to Trump winning a second term is the constraints imposed by the Republican elites, and Trump already knows ignoring those constraints are how he succeeds.

        If Trump pushed to get out of all foriegn wars, and enact M4A he will win in a landslide.

        Reply
        1. ACF

          The points in Trump’s favor are fair. I don’t think beating him is a slam dunk, and I agree that the things that are flagged:

          –ending wars/not starting new ones
          –taking on trade
          –power of incumbency

          are all real and huge. I think that if he did Medicare for all, he’d win a landslide.

          BUT
          If the Ds had a candidate who was credible (as in track record) on ending war, taking on trade, medicare for all, I think people would vote D because if you can get the Trump good without the Trump crazy, that’s better.

          An establishment D (neo con war, deficit hawk, “free trade”, tinker at the edges of Obamacare) likely loses

          Still 2020 is a long way away. Mostly I just disagreed with the article’s treating a D losing to Trump in 2020 as an excuse for Hillary’s loss in 2016.

          FWIW I don’t think we’re in an economic boom fueled by MMT. I believe in MMT but the current deficits are driven by tax cuts for the rich/corporations not spending, and those tax cuts produce hoarding, not spending. I think the decent economy has more to do with raised minimum wages than anything else. But I also think the decent economy is very lumpy, not evenly decent around the country.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            If the Ds had a candidate who was credible (as in track record) on ending war, taking on trade, medicare for all, I think people would vote D because if you can get the Trump good without the Trump crazy, that’s better.

            Emphasis added. What are the chances a candidate like that could get past the DNC? AIPAC? WaPo and the NYT?

            Reply
        2. jrs

          and the reality that the economy on the ground actually sucks really badly no matter how they cook the numbers (or Uber wouldn’t still have drivers). It’s been worse, but nonetheless. Meanwhile everything one needs gets more expensive. This system isn’t working for most of us. And neither is Trump.

          Reply
          1. Carey

            T.A Frank weighs in:

            “The categories of establishment and radical are tricky to define, except to say that the former wishes to preserve much of the status quo, while the latter seeks more fundamental change. If one side is full of people with opinions on how to set the dials, the other is full of people who say we need a new instrumental panel. This creates interesting alliances of left and right, ones that are less a union of extremes—a product of what political scientists call “horseshoe theory”—and more a union of dissent. A radical is not an extremist, necessarily. It’s someone who believes the fundamentals are flawed.”

            And after that obscurantist bit he *really* dives down the rabbit
            hole.

            Shorter TA Frank: “It’s so very very complicated, and my job is to make it seem even more so, so I keep getting paid!”

            Class class class

            Reply
      2. Lee

        Please don’t see this as an endorsement of him, I have not and will not vote for him. Dems will need to understand this record to beat him.

        Don’t be so hasty, we have yet to see just crooked in their process and wrongheaded in their choice the Dems may prove to be in the next primary. While I might just vote Green again, I might get too pissed off to be so well behaved as regards my electoral choices.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          this reflects my thinking. If the d’s put forth an establishment candidate a large number of the 100 million who did not vote in 2016 will turn out and vote against them (not for trump, we don’t get what we want we get a choice of two evils) as at least some of those voters did not vote out of resignation to fate, ptsd’d by hope and change as it were. Yes I’d say if bernie is allowed to head the ticket he will and would have won…but the rice bowls will not allow that. So unless there is a sea change, it’ll be two term trump.

          Reply
      3. clarky90

        Trump is funny. FI, a grinning POTUS standing behind the great spread of fast food, laid out on silver, White House platers; Reminiscent of Big Game hunters/fishers displaying their “kill”. Or a fighter plane with it’s bombs, ammo and rockets (ordnance) decoratively arrayed around. Joyful celebrations ensue; equally from the “Left” and the “Right” meme warriors.

        Imo, many people would be bereft without the joy (or) outrage that Trump brings daily. How many of us live truly meaningful, stand alone lives? The last three years, for me, have been an eye-opening, heart thumping, mind spinning “culture war”.

        We are all players, in this huuuge, seething, big time, “hearts and minds”, World-Wide, contest.

        Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          He’s funny when he’s not playing the Donny Downpunch role he honed during his campaign, and perfected in his rallies. When he’s ranting about criminals and terrorists swarming over our borders he’s a lot less funny.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Or a fighter plane with it’s bombs, ammo and rockets (ordnance) decoratively arrayed around.

          Excellent image analysis! Hamburgers as ordnance.*

          That image is incredibly rich…

          NOTE * A reduced form of ordinance:

          From Middle English (ca. 1300), from Old French ordenance (Modern French ordonnance) “decree, command”, from Middle Latin ordinantia, from ordinans, the present participle of Latin ordinare “put in order” (whence ordain).

          That’s another subliminal message conveyed by the image. The White House is orderly, and not chaotic. Although the order is, perhaps, not the one you are accustomed to….

          Reply
              1. ambrit

                Hmmm…
                I must have expressed myself poorly.
                The image made me think of Trump as the maestro, or master chef offering up a smorgasboard of sameness.
                By inference, Trump is offering up literal cookie cutter political ‘products’ to the public. Since he is at present the top politico in America, (the doyen,) I saw the picture as him proudly displaying the American political sphere in all it’s orderly compartmentalization.
                I tend to overthink images.

                Reply
                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  I see. Doyen didn’t do it for me: “the senior member, as in age, rank, or experience, of a group, class, profession, etc,” which is what you would expect of a President. It’s too abstract for the image, I think.

                  But maestro as you describe it — that’s the ticket!

                  I wouldn’t worry about overthinking images. This one (to me) is incredibly resonant, as several comments, including this revised one, show. More thinking, please!

                  Reply
      4. Oregoncharles

        “George W Bush got re-elected, which seemed unfathomable.” –
        John Kerry threw the election, as Gore did before him. We all watched him do it. He actually lost the debates – to Georgie Boy. (The US now has a track record of electing buffoons.) That was his job.

        And Hillary let herself be nominated when it was again the Republicans’ turn. she should have known better.

        Reply
      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        I agree that Trump will be a more formidable candidate in 2020 than the Resistance and his detractors believe. (So much of what drives Democrat loyalists crazy about Trump — the lying, especially — is “in the price” for many voters.)

        However, I don’t think that “drowning government in a bathtub,” which (see the link) the shutdown is doing, is a winning issue for Trump; too many people depend on it. Liberal Democrats and their assets in the press are, naturally, focusing on the harms to their professional constituencies: Scientists, government workers (watching CNN shedding crocodile tears for government workers is disgusting; when did they care before?). And IRS is not doing enforcement but sending out refund checks. Sure, that’s bad from a policy perspective*, but…. However, farm bureaus, medical personal, health and safety inspectors, medical treatment (and, in today’s post, disaster relief) all have the potential to affect millions of people in the near term (and, more to the point, keep resonating through 2020).

        However, I think the shutdown — although not the ideology behind it — has a hard date beyond which it cannot continue: The Superbowl (February 3). If there’s an omnishambles at Hartsfield–Jackson in Atlanta due to a combination of problems with air traffic control, TSA, or even (heaven forfend) aircraft inspection problems leading to mechanical failure, Trump is going to look extremely bad on national television (which I think is something he understands).

        * * *

        In terms of the Jackpot, we might look at the message of the shutdown as the conservative message to the electorate: “You’re on your own.” This is also the liberal message, except not to their base.

        NOTE * Like making our currency valueless.

        Reply
        1. vlade

          In my thinking, a good candidate to stand against Trump would pretty much ignore Trump, and focus on concrete policies that would help majority (which rules out most if not all of Dem field).

          If nothing else, it would drive Trump bonkers that someone can just ignore him, likely getting him to do unforced errors (like the shutdown).

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > focus on concrete policies that would help majority (which rules out most if not all of Dem field).

            Yes (and yes).

            (Of course, I would say that; universal concrete material benefits, especially for the working class, embodies my priors. But I think I have good reason to….)

            Reply
    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I mean, for all Mittens’ glaring faults, the vote margins that flipped the electoral college to Obama were very small in several states.

      One issue which is being overlooked is the GOP is a Southern rump party which has no business existing as a national entity. Just because its close doesn’t mean there aren’t a host of reasons for the problem. Bad policy will lead to bad politics. They go hand and hand in the long run.

      Will a Democrat praising John McCain and vowing to do more in the Middle East but SMRTER play well?

      Reply
      1. Phillip Allen

        the GOP is a Southern rump party which has no business existing as a national entity

        This would be news to my northwestern Connecticut county that has consistently voted 60-70% Republican for decades.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          More like 10-miles-inland West. That’s all it is: Team Blue get the very coastal fringe, only. How much of a difference that makes, though, I don’t know; it’s
          hard to keep track of the true allegiances. Safe to say that some Action for the Common Good could be embraced by a wide group of the citizenry here,
          in a manner akin to the phase change that’s been spoken of before.

          atomization must and will cease

          Reply
      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Timmy, I was in northern Idaho this afternoon. I believe I need say no more, as the rebuttals above mine suffice.

        Reply
      3. Massinissa

        “the GOP is a Southern rump party which has no business existing as a national entity”

        Sorry but this is bull. If either party is a rump party, it would be the Dems, as they basically don’t exist in the heartland. They only have real power in urban areas on both coasts. Look at the American political map and its a sea of red with blue on the sides.

        Reply
    4. Carey

      But what would it mean if today’s Ds do “beat Trump”? To what end?

      Action for the Common Good

      voting™ is not gonna do it, ’cause who controls the vote?

      Reply
    5. Carey

      “If today’s Democrats can’t beat Trump, then maybe Hillary Clinton wasn’t as bad a candidate as her critics claimed.”

      Roll that sentence around a few times, then, if you can, say what it might mean.

      Reply
          1. ambrit

            Sorry about the keyboard.
            But then, you’re theoretically a growing young thing. So, get your sleep while you can or you’ll end up like this decrepit old wreck. Those sleeping housemates will have to deal with it. Tell them you saw those furry pink squeaky things in the kitchen again. The more outlandish the story, the better the chances of it being, if not believed, at least given a pass, for now.
            Oh, do not wash the keyboard off in the dishwasher. I think that it voids the warranty.

            Reply
    6. Big River Bandido

      the vote margins that flipped the electoral college to Trump were very small in several states

      This is true, but the bigger story in those states is the overall decline in the total vote. Example: Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 with 1,405,284 votes. But in the same state in 2012, Mitt Romney received 1,407,966 votes — roughly 3,000 more votes. Thus, Trump received fewer votes while winning Wisconsin than Romney received losing it. Clinton would have won if Democrat turnout hadn’t cratered. Same thing in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Ohio and Iowa are tougher nuts to crack, but not by much. Clinton also turned in the worst performance in Minnesota since 1972, damn near losing the state, as well as being the first Democrat since Al Gore not to win an outright majority of the votes. When you’ve lost Minnesota… .

      Ultimately, the sole reason Clinton lost is that her personality and her policy agenda repelled the base.

      Reply
  7. NotTimothyGeithner

    “HOPE VS. CHANGE: WHY SOME DEMOCRATS ARE TURNING ON OBAMA’S LEGACY”

    So close, but it does miss the “other candidates” trying to thread the needle are lesser Bill Clintons from a party of Bill Clintons. Its not that Obama wasn’t in the right time and place to lead change(he was), but the people who are the right people are brand new (AOC) or from outside the party because its a party of lesser Bill Clintons and the courtiers.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Didn’t Hubby Bill tell Hillary to run against Obama’s legacy and Hill, with her sharp as a tack political instincts, rejected that advice? If Hillary had run on “change” (however insincere) rather than “vote for me I’m a woman” she might well have won. Her foreign policy would still have been horrendous but dubious whether most voters know much about that or would care if they did.

      Reply
    2. Carey

      With due respect to your considerable expertise, I do not agree that the TA Frank piece
      you mention was “so close”. It was obscure bullshit, meant to buy a little more time
      for the Few, while they continue the immiseration (and worse) of the many.

      “we need more categories, and better definitions!” Mmm, no.

      Reply
  8. nippersdad

    Not knowing much about HIrono, it looks like Gabbard throwing her under the bus at the Buescher hearing for the sake of a talking point wasn’t such a good idea; https://www.businessinsider.com/mazie-hirono-signals-she-wont-endorse-tulsi-gabbard-2020-presidential-bid-2019-1?fbclid=IwAR26C_PgQ0OytH2FGAg42AFc7pm-0c_WzPB0SPfYOTHRvlSf9CqVnrEPD64

    Progressive Punch rates Hirono more highly than Gabbard, so it is unlikely that this is a RF’ing by Hirono. Maybe a cigar is just a cigar this time.

    Reply
    1. ChrisPacific

      I don’t know that much about Hirono either when it comes to social issues or her progressive credentials. However her beef with Gabbard over foreign policy is clear: she is straight party line neocon Democrat (Assad is evil, Russia Russia Russia etc.) and is a voice for all the usual Democrat objections. Gabbard’s meeting with Assad is something she often quotes and could well be the reason behind withholding her endorsement.

      That said I don’t think Hirono’s take is going to matter to anyone outside Hawaii, and Gabbard is hugely popular there.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        Wow! How did PP miss that? Seems like standard issue neocons should be one of the things that they are there to expose; and she got a nearly 97% score! Thanks for the insight!

        Reply
        1. Morgan Everett

          Perhaps they think that progressivism and neoconnery are not mutually exclusive? Looking at their description of how they get their numbers, it seems like it’s whenever a majority of those they describe as “progressive” vote against the majority of the Republicans, that counts as a progressive vote. However, it seems like that would cause a lot of views outside the Washington consensus to not count as progressive, due to insufficient votes.

          Reply
          1. nippersdad

            I hate to sound like I am beating a drum, but FP at this point is my primary concern. I just really don’t want to vote for murderous people anymore, not that I ever did, which hopefully explains the reservations I have expressed on these pages about Gabbard. My arteries are now harder than the backbones of the vast majority of people I have voted for in my lifetime, and that just has to stop. I am seeing all of these pictures of shot up children, etc., and taking it very personally…this just isn’t who I thought we were.

            I am really glad to have found such a well informed site/commentariat to put me right. Thanks to you all!

            Reply
        2. ChrisPacific

          I am admittedly basing that on quotes from her in a couple of articles from last year, so I could be wrong. But I don’t think I am. She is on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, so that’s another clue.

          Reply
    2. DonCoyote

      According to Open Secrets, in 2018 Gabbard got 38% of her money from small contributions, 2% from PACs. Hirono got 11% from small contributions, 34% from PACs.

      The link you included is interesting, and I agree is a strange position/argument from Gabbard. But I know who I think is the more progressive of the two and it isn’t Hirono, despite the Progressive Punch ratings.

      Reply
    3. Monty

      I saw a bunch of twitter bots attacking Tulsi and mentioning Progressive Punch. I had never heard of PP before, but the tell (this is was not on my wavelength) was that Pelosi gets an A from them and Gabbard gets an F.

      Reply
    4. Massinissa

      Anything that rates Pelosi as an A should probably be used in reverse. If I was to use the Progressive Punch rating at all, I would say it’s probably better to have a lower one.

      Reply
    1. notabanker

      The real battle will be with the Democratic leadership. At some point she will have to turn on them, or risk destroying her credibility via compromise. It’s all fun and games right now with the out of touch Repubs who seem to relish exposing themselves. But in the end Pelosi and Co are not going to support her platform.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would like to add that, even though many players claim they don’t watch the scoreboard, they do.

        But when you are the last at-bat to tie or win, or defending to preserve a narrow lead at the end of a game, you should not look at it.

        Finishing strong is also important. Seabiscuit might get off to a slow start, but it could exert itself at the finish line.

        Things seem to be looking rosy for AOC personally today, but that may not be a blessing.

        Reply
  9. WobblyTelomeres

    So, May’s deal is rejected (432 to 202). What options are there on Clive’s timeline? Another referendum? No confidence?

    Reply
    1. GlassHammer

      I am still stunned like a deer in headlights. I know this wasn’t an unlikely event but boy is it hard to process where we go from here.

      I wonder if we could get a new thread going to avoid splitting comments between the 2:00 thread and the Links thread.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        The DUP have already come out and said that they are going to support the government (May) so that’s just a formality.

        Good political move by May herself to have forced their hand.

        And still the same old question as three months ago: if Westminster doesn’t want May’s Deal, what does it want? Ponies and unicorns are living on borrowed time.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          At least the no-confidence vote has the effect for Labour of uniting the Tories and DUP into owning… a big nothing. I doubt she’d lose it (unless some of the Brexiteers conclude now is the right time to push her out, which is unlikely I think).

          She’ll go back to Europe for a renegotiation and be told no (RTE is reporting that the EU and Ireland are happy at the size of the defeat – a narrow one might have put the pressure on them to re-think the backstop). By the time that part of the circus is over there won’t even be time to rescind A.50. So it’ll be her deal or no deal.

          Most likely the EU will give a few extra months, more to prepare the borders than anything else.

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            I think it’s clear from the vote result that May’s deal (and therefore any deal) with the EU is dead. So it’s down to No Deal or no Brexit. I don’t see a snowball’s chance in hell of no Brexit happening with the current government, and not much of a chance with any theoretical government even if there was a GE.

            DUP and the Ultras would be happy with No Deal, and can achieve it simply by running out the clock and blocking any kind of actions to address it. I expect a fair number in government won’t be so happy, especially as the nightmare details start to take shape as the date approaches, but what other choice do they have?

            Reply
            1. shtove

              No Brexit! May will have to revoke the Art.50 notice. Despite what PK says, that’s a simple matter of putting the Crown seal on a letter and sticking it in the post, without recourse to parliament. (Balls – I’m going to have to put money on this, aren’t I?)

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                That is not correct. Making stuff up is a violation of our written site Policies.

                Parliament is sovereign and Parliament passed a Withdrawal Act with Brexit hard coded as 29 March.

                It will take primary legislation to repeat the WA or amend it for May to ask for an extension.

                Reply
    2. David

      Some important signalling going on from Europe, whose leaders have begun to wake up to the damage that a crash-out might cause. The problem is that there are no foreseeable concessions they can make that will enable May to get the WA voted through.
      It’s looking now as if my personal prediction over the last year (prolong the Art 50 process) is there for the taking, but May will have to be persuaded or forced to take it. But it won’t solve the longer-term problem.
      The definitive answer to the question “what happens now” is:
      No-one has a **** clue.

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        Those leaders have always been aware of the damage a British crashout could cause. They just see the damage of letting the UK have it’s cake and eat it too as worse than that. I really saw nothing in their statements today that should lead anybody to expect tangible concessions from them.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          Correct. I key bit I saw a while back (and due to the bloody state of Google I can’t find anything a second time!) EU manufacturers already think the deal May got verges on being too generous. They do not want the UK to be in a better position than the Continent.

          And the biggest manufacturers, the auto and auto parts makers, have surplus capacity in the EU. How fungible production is I don’t know, but they have had time to think about what to do.

          The Japanese seem the most upset, FWIW.

          Reply
      2. Joey

        If I’m Brussels, I could grant an extension, but to what expectations? Haven’t MPs been told enough for too long already?

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          No, Brussels cannot “grant an extension.”

          The UK has to ask.

          And the EU has ALSO said the UK has to give a reason, meaning some reasons won’t fly. The German foreign minister said that the EU will not grant an extension if the UK asks for more negotiating time. Since it takes a unanimous vote of all EU 28 member, that one is off the table.

          Moreover, the EU already said (and I am pretty sure this was formally) that they weren’t going to grant an extension unless Parliament had a “settled view”. That may just be code for, “We noticed that Withdrawal Act hard coded date, you need to pass primary legislation revoking or amending that before we can take your request.”

          However, it is pretty likely that the EU will grant an extension if the UK asks up through July (as discussed earlier, that’s the max time) to have more time for preparation.

          Reply
    3. ape

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/eu-warns-british-mps-reject-brexit-deal-190115234405436.html

      BK Asset Management’s Boris Schlossberg said investors simply did not believe there was a realistic chance of a so-called “hard” Brexit, in which Britain leaves the EU without any deal.

      “Markets project beliefs and the underlying belief is that nobody’s going to be committing economic suicide,” he said.

      If we ever needed evidence that markets, in general, aren’t information maximizing engines but aggregates of beliefs from a particular class (that sometimes are even right!), this is proof. The oligarchs of finance simply can’t believe that the barons are in revolt! They won’t give up their power, even if it costs them their fortunes — they’re old school.

      Reply
  10. Another Scott

    Regarding the Post Office Bank. What hours/days would it be open? Many regular financial institutions are not open the hours when working class people can access them. (By contrast, many payday lenders are open). For a Post Office Bank to be truly successful, it will need to be open beyond traditional Post Office hours.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      The food-like substances in the red & white wrappers on the upper/lower left side of the table are from Wendy’s.

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        According to Business Insider Trump provided burgers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s & Burger King.
        https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-clemson-fast-food-wendys-mcdonalds-burger-king-photos-pictures-2019-1
        The photos of Trump are worth it, as he has a pained look on his face in each. I wonder why? (So many possibilities…)
        In the video, he turns it into politics talking about the wall, of course.
        I find it shameful he used the team for his politics in this way. I think it was disrespectful. He just had to make it about HIM, taking the spotlight away from the team.

        What does it matter, anyway, as to which brand of fast food?

        What his (cheap) gesture & all his bragging confirms to me is how far, far removed he truly is from those he’s supposed to represent.

        Sure, the players liked the food.
        But I’m bettin’ they would’ve enjoyed something finer even more, yet Trump appeared to me that he felt he was being most generous by providing them with ‘what they like best’– in his opinion.

        I’m sure there are some fine sandwich shops & steak houses in the area, too, that were open for business & probably hurting due to the shutdown. (But too expensive to feed the mopes properly?)

        But worse, I’ve seen some tweets where he now brags of buying 1,000 burgers instead of the 300 he originally stated, which truly concerns me for this reason:

        He can’t seem to keep any facts straight, nor remember what he himself said (or tweeted) even hours before. He comes off as an idiot for such things, but could it be he actually has a medical problem that’s causing his already outlandish, arrogant, narcissistic behavior to worsen?

        How long was Reagan POTUS while experiencing Alzheimer’s, for instance?

        Trump is truly scaring me. I’ve come to believe he actually does need his head examined. Literally. (Wasn’t his physical reported to be somewhat of a sham at the time, with Trump supposedly telling his Dr what to write?)

        Opinions?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          There have been other occasions where sitting Presidents were unable to function for awhile and staff and family members took up the task of running the country. The ‘famous’ case is, of course, Reagan and his Alzheimer’s. Supposedly, Nancy Reagan made many decisions ‘for’ her husband with the help of the Court Astrologer. Then there was the case of Woodrow Wilson’s wife running the country for the last two years of his administration after he suffered a severe stroke.
          There is precedent for Presidential wives to be involved in running the Administration. Elanor Roosevelt had her own ‘stealth’ political career complimenting husband Franklin Roosevelt’s. Rosalynn Carter is said to have sat in on Cabinet meetings. As mentioned earlier, actress Nancy Davis performed the role of ‘Shadow President’ as understudy to the main actor hired for the role, Ronald Reagan.
          So, anyone finding fault with Ivanka Trump filling some substantive role in her husband’s Administration is just being hypocritical.
          A faint possibility is that if Trump is laid low somehow during his term, Ivanka could enact a ‘revival’ of the Eva Peron phenomenon.
          The possible sequence of events. Trump is ‘incapacitated.’ Pence takes over and screws things up, or is in power when ‘things’ go all to H—. Ivanka runs against Pence, or his surrogate in the next general election. If Trump shows the good timing of leaving the scene while ‘things’ are still moderately good, and have his successor inherit the collapse, then the stage is set for a Neo-Peronist political movement.

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            The personality of Rasputin, and the Tsarina’s fondness for him, were “accidents” of history. That this mattered politically to anything like the extent it did was not at all accidental, but a reflection on the system.

            Reply
  11. tricia

    re Green New Deal

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/corporations-see-a-different-kind-of-green-in-ocasio-cortez-green-new-deal/253076/

    A couple red flags among others:

    “The emphasis on including experts and insiders from “business” and “industry” appears several times in the plan.” We know how that often ends up…

    “plan…is stocked with neoliberal buzzwords that are catnip to modern-day American robber-barons. ”

    I cannot help but be skeptical. I’d like to be more optimistic, but I’ve been paying too close attention these last 10 years…

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for that link. There is an old saying that when something seems too good to be true … it probably is. The way the Green New Deal was described in today’s post it seemed to solve all our CO2 emissions and energy problems while growing the economy and putting people to work — win-win-win all around. I found it difficult not to be skeptical of such claims but beyond a feeling I wasn’t sure just what in particular bothered me.

      Later I recalled all the difficulties FDR had getting his New Deal programs running: “The political agenda that Franklin D. Roosevelt brought to his first administration ran into great hostility from the Supreme Court, which overturned a number of New Deal programs in the first few years.” [https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h4108.html] The way the New Green Deal was described in the post, my impression grew that the reference to the New Deal was to pull in positives from FDR but the actual idea was closer to the idea of a commitment like the country’s commitment to World War II. In World War II the US economy was run as a command economy.

      Then I wondered who would be executing the Green New Deal wonders and what wonders exactly they might wrought. In the World War II command economy we built up a MIC and fed money to it, to our automobile industry and its affiliates, and to little concerns like IBM. Many of those same concerns had been more than a little helpful in setting up Volkswagen production and organizing train transport logistics before the war. After the war those concerns were doing very nicely for themselves, and no embarrassing questions came up about what they did before the war. So who will help us Green our Green New Deal and how will the monies flow? Your link suggests an answer that echoes the past as nicely as the cute slogan. It’s too early to hazard a guess, even so I can’t help but wonder whether Big Oil might have an interest in helping set up the Green New Deal.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        From the Nation Magazine:
        “A Green New Deal is more than a smart carbon tax or some environmental regulation. It is one part of a progressive vision that strives to actually create the much-talked-about but still-painfully-absent 21st- century economy—with millions of living-wage jobs and justice for all. It also just happens to have the added benefits of mitigating climate change, guaranteeing clean air and water, and building community resilience.” [“Why the Best New Deal Is a Green New Deal”, https://www.thenation.com/article/why-the-best-new-deal-is-a-green-new-deal/%5D The only things missing are Truth and the American Way and then the Green New Deal could leap tall buildings at a single bound.

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            I’m not too sure here, but doesn’t cynicism incorporate an element of absurdist humour while realism partakes of mirthless nihilism? So, for your formulation to work out, cynicism can be seen as adding an element of wry humour to an otherwise hopeless and ultimately suicidal world view.

            Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          Yes, supporters of all possible proposals tend to flog them as achieving desirable goals. It would be a strange propaganda that went the other direction.

          But a jaded attitude about all that contributes no more to our ability to analyze the proposals themselves than does a naive one.

          Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The emphasis on including experts and insiders from “business” and “industry” appears several times in the plan

      I don’t see a way around that. Another way of saying that is if we had a differently composed ruling class, different people would be included. On current conditions, everyone “at the table” with the Federal government taking the leading role — absolute anathema to neoliberals of both parties, by the way — is most probably the best we can do; see my post on AOC’s proposal here. The Estates General, after all, started out in a similarly inclusive manner. Eh?

      Reply
      1. tricia

        I missed this analysis. There is so much out there to read, I cannot keep up.
        Right, the ruling class controls. Our culture of happy consumption, the focus on individualism (and individual responsibility) rather than society/community, atomization, capitalism/free market as the only reasonable economic system…all thanks to their control of the dominant narrative, the prevailing ideas, the culture.
        Marx and Engles wrote about this ages ago, but it bears repeating again and again.
        We ingest this messaging from birth.
        Hence, my skepticism that at this stage we can achieve much of anything re climate destruction without first overthrowing that ruling class. They’re just too powerful now. I’m glad there’s some breakthrough happening, but I’ll be amazed if it isn’t diminished to the point of ineffectiveness, while simultaneously being used for propaganda purposes (and to quell more threatening resistance).
        So appreciate your staying on top of this.

        Reply
    3. Darthbobber Post author

      In the course of this article we are told that this “plan” is the “very plan” that the Green Party came up with in ’06. Shortly thereafter, we are told that there is indeed no plan at all. A bit later, we are informed that, in spite of the fact that the plan, qua plan, doesn’t exist, it is, in its nonexistence, so clearly differentiated from the earlier Green proposal that it has “only the name” in common.

      They are at pains to present this as having massive establishment support, which leaves those who can count wondering how it comes to have, even in aspirational form, the backing of only 31 Democratic members of the House.

      They pick up on all verbiage that can be seen as bending in a corporate-friendly direction, but aside by in silence the passages that cut in the other direction, though the items in question sit cheek by jowl with each other. For example, a sentence that includes universal healthcare, income guarantees, and labor flexibility (and other things), gets treated as if somehow labor flexibility is the only phrase visible.

      A laundry list of sources of input, including business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, academics, usw, usw, (essentially the usual list of everybody and his or her cousin, plus the dog), leads to the author only noticing the word business, which they helpfully bold for us, so we can see that it must be the only important word.

      One might expect an article whose headline purports to let us know how much big corporations love this (nonexistent/stolen/undetailed/detailed enough to pass summary judgement on) idea, but we never seem to get to the part where actually existing corporations weigh in in favor of it, or lobby in support of it.

      Obviously there are dangers as this begins it’s trek into the sausage factory, but this piece hardly enlightens anyone. It’s more about showing that all non-Leninists are ultimately conservatives.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > all non-Leninists are ultimately conservatives

        Whatever else Lenin was, he was a pragmatic and effective political operative with a long tradition of, er, resistance to Tsarism behind him. Whatever Mint Press may be, it’s not that.

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          Lenin was Lenin, and his epigones are something else.
          As many differences there as between Jesus and the medieval church.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Really, similar to the differences between the Rabbi Yeshua, known to the Greeks as Jesus and Saint Paul and his clique.

            Reply
      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I began to wonder what the ‘plan’ was before this piece tricia linked. The description in the post, in the Nation article, and in this little diatribe all play on or off what appears much less than a plan than a vague panacea for all. Tricia’s link made much of the Green New Deal vs the Green (party) New Deal — but I viewed that as revealing of the slant of the link and little else of content.

        I watch many (too many) movies. The ‘plan’ sounds too much like the Mayor’s speech in the kids movie City of Ember: “These are trying and troubled times. Our problems are grave. We need answers, but beyond answers, more important than answers, we need solutions. And in order to find those solutions, I propose we launch a thorough investigation. I hereby declare the creation of a Task Force to Investigate the Blackouts. [the crowd claps.] Do I have volunteers? [Several hands rise into the air.] Today, we, the people, stand united against the darkness!”

        I want to believe in AOC along with the crowd. It’s easy to forget how much FDR’s reputation is polish applied thickly to make his pragmatism appear glossy and as well-intended as suggested by the content of his fireside speeches. I’ll take a pragmatist, but I’ll also remember the ‘pragmatism’ of Obama, probably for the rest of my life. There are too many differences between the 1930s and now to get excited by the phrase “New Deal” or a simple call to mobilize behind a popular new junior member of Congress. The planets of political power do not portend the promises.

        The plan itself, as best I could piece it together (admittedly from too few sources), left me wondering about a lot of the details. How will the plan deal with the existing Grid? Will the solar/wind/????? power support the long distance distribution of power or re-structuring of the Grid as micro-Grids spanning the continent? What sort of solar power will generate electricity and where will the solar panels come from? — ‘We’ let most of our own nascent solar industry die in its crib. How will this Green solution deal with transportation systems? What about our MIC and its unconstrained uses of fossil fuel? [I don’t share concern that the Green party idea of shifting MIC spending to Green New Deal spending was dropped in AOC’s Green New Deal. That idea would have worked like a poison pill.] How will the Green New Deal handle the placement of wind generators in shifting patterns of the winds as the Climate Chaos continues? How will Green Housing pop-up when ‘We’ have failed so miserably in providing ‘warm’ dry places for so many of our poor to sleep? There are too many questions to answer. So lets start making plan. That sounds reasonable and pragmatic … and then I remember how often plans and studies resulted in thousand page legislation stuffed with goodies — not for ‘Us’ — and ‘reforms’ that brought us to our present pickle. I am also extremely leary of any omnibus that might be twisted into support for geoengineering, which I fear more than the too soon coming Climate Chaos. I don’t oppose a Green New Deal but I’m not ready to get too excited by what looks like a pig-in-a-poke.

        Reply
  12. ewmayer

    o “All imports into the United States from Mexico have been duty free for more than a decade, meaning that NAFTA trade does not generate money from Mexican importers for U.S. government coffers and nothing in the NAFTA 2.0 changes that [Lori Wallach, Eyes on Trade]” —

    According to Wikipedia: “Between local and international sales, such as to Europe and the United States, drug cartels in Mexico see a $25–30bn yearly profit, a great deal of which circulates through international banks such as HSBC.” So maybe we should tax that to pay for the wall? Sure, getting los narcotraficantes to pay a tariff directly may not be feasible, but we know which banks they use to launder their money, and since USgov clearly is not interested to threaten said megabanks with actual revocation-of-license, why not just fine them in a way that actually hurts? That should easily provide the $billions needed for Trump’s wall, inane as the project is.

    Reply
  13. cocomaan

    Her influential pamphlet, Wages Against Housework (1975), opens with a provocative rebuttal: “They say it is love. We say it is unwaged work.” In this document and others, Federici argues that demand for a wage is a critical political nexus for organizing women around a shared condition of alienated labor. The demand for the wage is impossible for capitalism to meet, and that is the point; success would entail a wholescale reconfiguration of the distribution of social wealth.

    Nice thought experiment, but I would need some answers that aren’t explained in there.

    Running all social reproduction through the state and giving women (or a man) a wage for doing social reproduction means that you will also necessarily not be giving a woman (or a man) a wage if they aren’t doing that work of social reproduction.

    Are we going to take wages away from people who raise their kids badly? How are we going to manage that? Inspections? Outcomes based metrics? Snitching? Do we pay women who aren’t at all interested in raising kids and instead like to collect pay? What about women who want to give up their kid for adoption, as my great grandmother did when she had nine to raise and no husband to help with parenting? Does she get put on welfare, then?

    And are we really saying that a woman staying home to raise kids is never actually doing it because of love, she’s doing it because her husband made her do it? Come on.

    Also, if I bought into this, this idea of family structure as constituted around the idea of a wage seems to forget everything pre-Industrial. I don’t understand how you can forgot how humans organized themselves for thousands of years.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Tax Rebate for one biological/adoptive parent until child is 18. A big one, to reflect the social value of raising a child. Say $70000 a year. Parents can switch off or split, otherwise just an expansion of the deduction for dependents. Should sort things out unless we absolutely insist on means testing; I’m thinking in terms of paying every caregiver what a dedicated professional would make before the paperwork. Maybe it should be $100000. It’s hard to gauge how stupidly our economy determines value when one is swimming in it.

      Reply
    2. Utah

      The premise of the article is not paying women for unpaid work. The premise of the article is that women deserve and require autonomy. Paying them for unpaid work is how they get that autonomy. For example, I have no children, therefore I wouldn’t get paid. But my sister has 4 children and can’t afford to put them in daycare because daycare would eat her entire salary since she has been out of the workforce for 10+ years and jobs don’t take into consideration the amount of effort that domestic work entails. She would get paid for her unpaid labor to make up for the fact that she hasn’t been able to work in a traditional setting.
      One of the things this article doesn’t mention is that women who don’t work outside the home don’t qualify for social security. This keeps them even more bound to the “traditional” structure because divorcing late in life can prevent a woman from being able to take care of herself autonomously.
      That doesn’t mean we get to tell people how to raise their children. It just means that we as a society care enough about women and children to keep them from being impoverished. But, this is America, so maybe we don’t care. I got mine and all.
      To your last point- we don’t live in pre-industrial times, so therefore we should stop acting like we do and deal with the times we do live in. In pre-industrial times we lived in 3 or 4 generation households. How many generations are in your house? In pre-industrial times we didn’t have clean, potable water. Where do you get your water? Times have changed, we need to remember that.

      Reply
        1. Utah

          I looked this up to verify, because I can’t retire for 35 more years (unless they take that away from me, too) so I don’t know the ins and outs of social security. You may collect up to 50% of their benefits while they collect 100%. You can’t get remarried even though they can. That’s not autonomy.

          Reply
          1. crittermom

            You must also have been legally married for a minimum of ten years to collect from a spouse’s SS, providing they made more than you (which is often the case when a woman is collecting from a husband since women have usually made less than men).

            Your former spouse does not have to be retired, but they must be of retirement age. I’m relaying this from personal experience.

            There used to be a home page that gave a good overall, but I can’t find it now on their site.

            https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-02011

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              We are experiencing that financial fact now. When I applied for Social Security, Phyllis was told to apply for an adjustment to her Social Security. She ended up getting some more money as a result. Since most of her reported wages were in the 1960’s and 1970’s, her original Social Security payment was mediocre. I you think that women are shortchanged now, you should have been around back then. (Cold comfort, I know.)

              Reply
      1. Anonymously pessimistic

        You trust would-be parents to be incorruptible by wage offer. I have less faith in humanity than to incentivize without quality control. Some single parents would be better offered child-free wages. Let’s not make it worse than Medicaid regulations already have.

        Reply
        1. crittermom

          I believe so, but only if your former spouse made more than you & you didn’t remarry (it’ll stop if you do).

          Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The demand for the wage is impossible for capitalism to meet,

      The ultimate non-reform reform!

      On another note, Federici’s clarity of thought and exposition is really refreshing, agree or disagree, especially by comparison to the literature of identitarianism. I don’t think you’d catch Federici cheering the fact that a witch-burner torturer smashed the glass ceiling at the CIA!

      Reply
  14. Pat

    The headline where I heard about Kasich’s new CNN gig noted how it was announced right after McCaskill announced she would be working at MSNBC.

    Whether he is running or not, all I know is the choice of commentators confirms my decision to avoid both networks like they had TB.

    Am I the only one who thinks this makes it look like the plum board and lobbying jobs, the ones with few hours for very high pay, no longer exist for Democrats?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      The trick is to know how to tell the Republicans from the Democrats. It is not easy if you cover up their Party affiliations and go strictly by policy positions.

      Reply
  15. Hameloose Cannon

    Trump: “Welcome to the dystopia. Have a cold onion ring from this pile of fast food that almost makes the chronic traumatic encephalopathy worth it. As Head of State, this is literally the least I could do to buy a distraction today. Your Republic is locked up in my dungeon, and I have a busy day of scapegoating ahead of me, so have a safe bus ride back to Crackerburg University, or whatever.”

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Trump certainly didn’t stay around to chat with the servants, uh, students, did he? Got his photo op; made some statement or another; and then it was splitsville.

      Those little people aren’t worth his gnat-like attention span.

      Eat your gruel and get TF out.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Could it be that with the Government shutdown, the White House chefs have also been furloughed? With no chefs, take-away would have been the only option then. Well, apart from a BYO that is.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Yes, govt chefs and catering staff are furloughed. And imagine the really horrible optics if Trump had provided a lavish sit down dinner for the team. (Even if he’d hired it done with his own money that would be lost in the image of Trump “exempting himself” from his own shutdown.) You can bet the chefs and catering staff and their families at other govt locations, and all the news media, would have had a field day. As it is, Trump did about the only thing he could and made it into a picnic, of sorts, imo. And for Clemson team, surely the point is getting an invitation to the White House for dinner because they won the game, not the dinner itself, imo.

          Reply
          1. wilroncanada

            So they ate haf-assed food. It will give all those who graduate with their haf-assed degrees some inkling of the kind of work they’ll be doing in another year of two. Only a very few, even from championship teams, make the pro’s.

            Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I rarely laugh out loud at a comment, but this was great.

      As always with Trump, though, under the brutal humor, there’s a message (and often not the message liberal Democrats think there is, either).

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      One idea I heard was to make the necessary civilian employees ‘strategic assets’ and feed them at local military bases, fuel their cars on base, and extend to them basic military family benefits. Then perhaps the bureaucrats will discover just how ‘well’ we are “honouring” the troops.

      Reply
  16. chuck roast

    OK…I’ll bite.
    Kill Yourself.
    Maybe you should have a new heading called Kill Yourself.
    Gettier’s three page paper that shook the world could be filed here. Is justified true belief knowledge? I’m thinking yes, I’m pretty sure it is. Now if you asked my friends, “Is Roast a philosopher?” They would fall on their collective faces laughing. But after reading The Hacker’s Perspective, and attempting to read Gettier’s three page paper, I’m thinking, why don’t I just kill myself.
    Now, if this guy Gettier had put his tounge firmly in his cheek there may well have not have been all of this subsequent self abuse.
    Or maybe you could develop another new file called Self Abuse.
    (Note: my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek)

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > My tongue is planted firmly in my cheek

      That’s good, because we don’t want to encourage suicide (and in fact I’ve stopped using “Please kill me now.” A pardonable exagerration, but still).

      I thought the paper was interesting. Coming to the right conclusion on the basis of evidence that isn’t what you thought it was — although you had every reason to think the evidence was what you thought it was — is an interesting concept to build into one’s thinking, and I would bet it was implications for politics (and markets).

      Reply
  17. Charlie

    Who will be America’s Justin Trudeau?

    Apologies, but the question should be, “Who will be America’s Tommy Douglas?”

    Reply
  18. kareninca

    I went through the TSA check at Bradley in CT a few years ago. Two elderly ladies were pushing a really ancient lady in wheelchair – she was clearly demented. But she was calm and looked peaceable; she had that sort of chewing-her-cud cheer of a snoozy demented person in a good state. Then the TSA employee told the two ladies that demented lady had to get out of her wheelchair to go through, so that they could check her seat cushions for weaponry. The two elderly ladies said nothing but the look of absolutely disbelief and horror on their faces said it all. So, she was booted from her wheelchair, so that it could be patted down, and then was in obvious pain and discomfort and confusion.

    Reply
  19. Alfred

    That White House spread was enough to make one feel ashamed to be a Tiger — and I don’t mean one of the Princetonian variety. (Who was Mr. Trump channeling this time, anyway? Andrew Jackson? The Hamburglar? Surely not Thomas Jefferson!)

    Reply
  20. Craig H.

    > U.S. Now Says All Online Gambling Illegal, Not Just Sports Bets

    Brian Tuohy, The Fix Is In guy, claims the NBA and NFL really really do not want legal online gambling. Because following the betting money is how all the big cheaters in Europe in football and tennis and whatnot have been detected.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      seems like more refs would have been busted, with all the advanced analytics on players how come there don’t seem to be on refs? at least, i haven’t seen any.

      Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    I was sold on this thesis about “Amazonia” when I read Charles C. Mann’s wonderful 1491, published in 2005.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Yes, and also his equally good 1493…

    Both thought provoking in scope of what really happened to all those people, and early germ warfare the assailants didn’t even know they possessed against those lacking in immunity was deadlier than any weapon known, an invisible killer.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Thanks for this link. My provisional take is that there’s much more to this “social progressivism” that you speak of than meets the eye, and we’ll be getting plenty,
      plenty more of the stuff.

      Reply
    2. Carey

      From the linked article:

      “For one small example look at the attempt to mass boycott advertisers sponsoring Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. At best these sponsors are seen as oblivious dunces, at worst they are evil, racist sinners. Woke capital is an ongoing passion play of secular liberal piety. Technology is the Savior, and education to ensure right-think and right-speak is the Scripture. Woke capital is a farce in which some of the greediest, most exploitative companies on the face of the planet, indirectly tied to the most powerful governments on the planet such as that of the United States, hire highly-skilled propagandists to make their consumers feel self-righteous and those who don’t share every progressive piety on the list feel irrelevant. It’s the high-tech evolution of entitled NIMBYism, glossed over with feel-good slogans, a savvy attention for the emotional identity topics of the week and selective stand-taking when it suits the interests of the corporate narrative, the bottom line, or (even better) both.”

      And they’re truly just getting started! It’s going to be this stuff, all the time, I think.

      Reply
  22. Carey

    >Or as Elizabeth Bruenig writes: “Once you view 27 quarter pounders on a solid silver White House serving platter, you realize America has always just been 27 quarter pounders on a solid silver White House serving platter, and we were just too sinful to see it.”

    Yea, verily

    Reply
  23. Jessica

    “They found the ice loss to be accelerating dramatically — a key indicator of human-caused climate change.”
    This is sloppy. Acceleration of ice loss tells you nothing whatsoever about the cause. That data does exist, but it is elsewhere.

    Reply
  24. Carey

    The Jacobin piece was weird, weird. Almost like we’re supposed to go round-and-round, asking the same questions and coming to the same dull answers. Have we not been through this before?

    Action for the Common Good

    Reply

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