2:00PM Water Cooler 1/16/2019

Dear patient readers,

So so sorry, but as we announced in a post that is already up, we are cancelling our NYC meetup that had been set for this Friday, the 18th. Some readers said they will still go to the venue, Slainte, at 304 Bowery, informally. Normally I would come out, but I haven’t left the house for days except to go to the drugstore to try to get some OTC relief from the flu.


* * *

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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



But does she keep hot sauce in her purse?

Gillibrand (1):

Good things are good. Gillibrand (2):

Motherhood, especially, is good.


AOC on the Finance Commitee:

“To start.” Accompanied by Rashida Tlaib (MI), Katie Porter (CA) and Tulsi Gabbard (HI). If this personnel change is the result of cutting a deal with Pelosi, I think the deal was a good one (and Pelosi may get more than she bargained for).

New Cold War

Walking back RussiaRussiaRussia?!

On “I don’t think I’ve said that,” Brennan either isn’t thinking or he’s lying:

“Indict Me, Robert: How Mueller Won the Hearts of America” [Vanity Fair]. • Put down your coffee before reading.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“One Year of Organizing: Notes from Suburban Philadelphia” [Medium]. “At first, I attempted to start a local Indivisible group in my town, but that was quickly thwarted by internal squabblings and uncooperative volunteers, who had no systematic critique of Donald Trump, outside of his dealings with Russia. I was adrift from any organizing, but I increasingly saw the rose ? populate Twitter and other social media: my interest was piqued. I tried to find the local DSA chapter but only discovered that there was a Philadelphia DSA, which covered the counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware. For those not in the SEPA-know, that is a huge area. The closest DSA affiliated group was Arcadia YDSA, whom I contacted on Twitter. One of the chairs of Arcadia informed me that there was going to be a meeting for a ‘BuxMont DSA’ in the next week. I soon found myself in a raggedy diner, halfway between the county seats of Bucks and Montgomery counties. Around me sat a mix of students, gen-xers, and local Green Party members. I was nervous and felt like I might have been mistaken in coming to the ‘meeting’ — it was more of a dinner. We went around the table, introducing ourselves and saying what Socialist movement or faction was most interesting to you.” • Sounds kinda like an AA meeting, which might not be a bad thing….

Everybody’s doin’ it, doin’ it, doin’ it….

“Poll: A majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent” [The Hill]. • Should have asked for more. And make sure it’s the effective rate.

Stats Watch

Housing Market Index, January 2019: “Mortgage rates have been coming down and are likely giving a boost to the nation’s home builders” [Econoday]. “Housing was the weakest sector of the 2018 economy though this report hints at an early through modest 2019 rebound. The housing market index is now a key reading for the new home sector given the government shutdown and delay of definitive new home sales data.” And: “The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 58 in January, up from 56 in December. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor” [Calculated Risk].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of January 1, 2019: “Mortgage activity soared” [Econoday]. “Slowing global growth, Brexit and a Fed that says it will be patient with future hikes continued to keep rates more than 40 basis points below their peak in November.” And: “The one week seasonally adjusted purchase index is at the highest level since 2010 (that spike in 2010 was related to homebuyer tax credit). It is just one week, and the seasonal adjustment in January is very strong (since activity is always soft in January)” [Calculated Risk].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, January 2019: “Inflation data have been very soft with sweeping declines seen for this week’s reports” [Econoday]. “This is the lowest reading since May last year and underscores what may be a disinflationary theme emerging in the economy. These results do not speak to the need for Federal Reserve rate hikes.”

Import and Export Prices, December 2018: “import prices were unchanged. Export prices also fell” [Econoday]. “The price rebound underway for oil points to headline firming in this report for January but the fundamental inflation story, like the themes of last week’s consumer price report and yesterday’s producer price report, remains very subdued and is not raising the need for Federal Reserve rate hikes.” And: “Month-over-month price index for fuel imports decreased (and non-fuel imports was unchanged) – and the price index for agricultural exports increased” [Econintersect].

Business Inventories, November 2018: “Delayed due to the government shutdown” [Econoday].

Retail Sales, December 2018: “Delayed due to the government shutdown” [Econoday].

Commodities: “Exclusive: Chile nuclear watchdog weighs probe into fraud over lithium exports – documents” [Reuters]. “Chile’s nuclear watchdog CCHEN is considering an investigation into potential fraud after an audit found that the agency for decades failed to properly record exports of ultralight battery metal lithium, documents obtained by Reuters show…. CCHEN in September denied a request to triple production from Albemarle, the world’s top producer of lithium, citing, in part, uncertainty over how much lithium the company had already mined.” • I wonder if we’ve factored resource wars into our arithmetic on how much electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gases.

The Bezzle: “Blue Apron skirts standard-accounting rules to claim profitability” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “[Blue Apron’s] rosy outlook for the first quarter and year is dependent on an adjusted, non-standard method of accounting that ignores chronic losses and declining revenue. By standard accounting, called GAAP, for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the results have been dismal, pushing the stock down 60% in the last 12 months…. Rosanna Landis Weaver, program manager, CEO Pay at nonprofit As You Sow, criticized the move. ‘They call them “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles” for a reason,’ she said. ‘There are some limited rationales for straying from them, but for a company with a balance sheet like Blue Apron’s to stray so far raises legitimate concerns.'” • But the stock got a bump!

The Bezzle: “WeWork’s CEO Makes Millions as Landlord to WeWork” [Wall Street Journal]. “Adam Neumann has bought properties and leased them to his co-working startup, sparking conflict of interest concerns.” • Downtown Josh Brown: “Great racket. SoftBank is a SuperMuppet.” Uber would agree!

Tech: “Hackers broke into an SEC database and made millions from inside information, says DOJ” [CNBC]. “Federal prosecutors unveiled charges in an international stock-trading scheme that involved hacking into the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR corporate filing system. The scheme allegedly netted $4.1 million for fraudsters from the U.S., Russia and Ukraine. Using 157 corporate earnings announcements, the group was able to execute trades on material nonpublic information. Most of those filings were “test filings,” which corporations upload to the SEC’s website.” • Everything is like CalPERS. Well, not exactly. At least the SEC didn’t let its database loose in the wild...

Honey for the Bears: “The White House now thinks the shutdown will be twice as bad for the economy than they originally thought” [Business Insider]. “After a tweak to the internal White House model, the administration now expects that the shutdown will deduct 0.13 percentage points from quarterly GDP for every week the closure persists, a White House official told INSIDER. Most Wall Street economists believe the shutdown will shave off 0.05 percentage points from quarterly GDP growth per week, though some have bumped up their estimates recently. This means that the White House number is more than twice as pessimistic as the consensus. Originally the model only included the lost productivity from 380,000 federal workers placed on furlough. But now the model also incorporates the downsides caused by the loss of revenue to federal contractors….”

Health Care

“2 retail giants are feuding over prescription drugs and it signals a ‘seismic shift’ for the future of healthcare” [Business Insider]. “CVS has said that directing Aetna customers into its stores to receive healthcare is a major element of the strategy for the combined company, because that can keep them healthier at a lower cost. To make space, CVS is removing some products from the front of the stores where it’s piloting that new approach, the company revealed last week.” • “Keep them healthier” [nods vigorously].

The Biosphere

“Does talking to people about climate change make any difference?” [Grist]. “[C]losing that gap between admitting there’s a problem and being interested enough to act is an endeavor worthy of your precious time. It’s cited again and again as the most fallow demographic for climate action — what John Cook at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication calls the ‘informed but idle.’ ‘Activating and empowering this group is one of the most productive things we can do to achieve social momentum on climate change,’ he told the website Yale Climate Connections.” • Hmm. Anyone with experience on this?


Speaking of communication:

Kelton breaks through the calcified shell of the fossil-like Dean. Impressive.

Police State Watch

“Chicago Seized And Sold Nearly 50,000 Cars Over Tickets Since 2011, Sticking Owners With Debt” [WBEZ]. • “It started with citations for the city road tax collected through ‘city stickers.’ After failing to keep up with ticket payments, the city seized [Sandra Botello’s] car and sold it to a private towing company, only to have none of the sale price applied to her debt. According to a WBEZ analysis of thousands of towing records and invoices, the city regularly pulls residents into a nexus of ticket-related debt and car seizures that is stunning in its scope.” • Law enforcement for profit, just as in Ferguson. And a similar grift–

“PPA makes millions ticketing drivers for blocking street sweepers that rarely show” [The Philadelphia Tribune]. “Outside of Dr. Louis Brown’s dermatology clinic in Northeast Philadelphia, a string of ‘no parking’ signs warn drivers to stay off the block on Tuesday mornings. The parking lanes on this stretch of Rising Sun Avenue are supposed to be kept clear so city street sweepers can clean trash out of the curb line between 7 and 9 a.m. Brown, a block captain who’s had his business on the street for 25 years, says the $31 tickets his unlucky clients receive from the Philadelphia Parking Authority each Tuesday are very real. But the street sweepers themselves? Not so much. ‘It’s not to say it isn’t done,’ he said. ‘But I haven’t seen them come by in years.'” • Predation, just as above. (But how come a block captain doesn’t have the clout to stop this? What am I missing, here?)

“Prison will close to visitors while all 2,000 women treated for scabies” [Detroit Free Press]. “As the problem persisted and spread, an outside dermatologist was brought to the prison a few days after Christmas and began to test women for scabies with positive results…Those findings were recently confirmed by a second dermatologist, after which an epidemiologist recommended the extraordinary measures the prison plans to take this week and next week.” • We are ruled by the Harkonnens…

Guillotine Watch

Good taste:

“Luxury Concierges Offer ‘Bespoke Experiences’ in Fight For the Ultra-Rich” [Bloomberg]. “Instead of meeting simple requests like last-minute helicopter rides to the Hamptons, “lifestyle managers” must be ready to stun with private tours of the Sistine Chapel or balloon rides over Buddhist temples in Myanmar. And for their increasingly younger customers, all must be instantly available via smartphone…. ‘It’s fun to say, ‘Oh yeah, we had dinner on an iceberg and a cocktail party in the Great Pyramids,” said William Reedy, Quintessentially’s head of U.S. concierge servicing and a former lifestyle manager himself. ‘It’s not cool just because it was really expensive, but because it was something no one had thought you could do.'” • “Just because…”

Class Warfare

More on the Gillette episode:

“APA GUIDELINES for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men” (APA) [American Psychological Association]. Interesting reading:

Despite these problems, many boys and men do not receive the help they need (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Hammer, Vogel, & Heimerdinger-Edwards, 2013; Knopf, Park, & Maulye, 2008). Research suggests that socialization practices that teach boys from an early age to be self-reliant, strong, and to minimize and manage their problems on their own (Pollack, 1995) yield adult men who are less willing to seek mental health treatment (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Wong, Ho, Wang, & Miller, 2017). Further complicating their ability to receive help, many men report experiencing gender bias in therapy (Mahalik et al., 2012), which may impact diagnosis and treatment (Cochran & Rabinowitz, 2000). For instance, several studies have identified that men, despite being 4 times more likely than women to die of suicide worldwide (DeLeo et al., 2013), are less likely to be diagnosed with internalizing disorders such as depression, in part because internalizing disorders do not conform to traditional gender role stereotypes about men’s emotionality (for a review, see Addis, 2008). Instead, because of socialized tendencies to externalize emotional distress, boys and men may be more likely to be diagnosed with externalizing disorders (e.g., conduct disorder and substance use disorders) (Cochran & Rabinowitz, 2000). Indeed, therapists’ gender role stereotypes about boys’ externalizing behaviors may explain why boys are disproportionately diagnosed with ADHD compared to girls (Bruchmüller, Margaf, & Schneider, 2012). Other investigations have identified systemic gender bias toward adult men in psychotherapy (Mahalik et al., 2012) and in other helping services such as domestic abuse shelters (Douglas & Hines, 2011).

Well… Even if this is psychiatrists talking their book (a jobs guarantee for more members of the helping professions) it’s hard to see how (for example) it would be a bad thing if fewer boys were drugged for being boys (ADHD). And a layperson imitating a popular psychiatrists might ponder the spectacle of a gender socialized to refuse help becoming very angry at being told, as they see it, to seek professional help (particularly if, wages and working conditions being as they are, they would be unable to take advantage of it in any case). I also searched the Guidelines for the label “toxic masculinity” — not in DSM-5, for good or ill, and with “no universally agreed-upon definition of the concept” — and it does not appear. So it would seem that the media controversy around “toxic masculintity” is taking place in parallel to the report, rather than as a reaction to it. Without minimizing the badness of whatever behaviors are being grouped together under the label — readers know how much I hate party culture at fraternities, surely a classic example of same — it would seem to me that any socialization practice is going to result in “damage” of some sort, in that the scope of human potential is reduced. Presumbly we do not want men to be (inverting the binaries) needy, weak, and unable to solve problems on their own? If not, what do “we” want? Solidarity, perhaps, but of course that’s verboten under neo-liberalism.

And speaking of solidarity:

That was fast.

“The desperate pursuit of woke capital” [The Spectator (Darth Bobber)]. “Increasingly, corporate America is deciding to seek a safe space by becoming ‘woke.’ Woke capital refers to advertising and branding that takes a stand on social issues. Businesses focus on showing how much they care and highlight themselves helping the world in some way. Whether it’s gender rights, anti-racism, environmentalism or vague hymns to global unity, advertisers rarely miss a chance to hit audiences with lines that would be rejected by Hallmark for being too corny.” • It’s always worth which tropes or topics, having been invented by one faction of the political class, can migrate seamlessly being used by other factions. “Fake news” is one obvious case; RussiaRussiaRussia is becoming another; and wokeness is a third. Indeed, there is only one trope I can think of that does not so migrate: The headine of this section. I can’t imagine why some sneaker company hasn’t adopted it.

* * *

“Judge Nixes Challenge Over Unpaid Shutdown Work” [Courthouse News]. “Denying federal employees a pass on working unpaid during the government shutdown, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that bending to their demands would be ‘profoundly irresponsible’ and throw the nation into ‘disarray.’ ‘At best it would create chaos and confusion,’ U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said from the bench this afternoon. ‘At worst, it could be catastrophic.’ Leon acknowledged the difficult position in which the shutdown has placed federal workers, who started missing paychecks last week, but said he could not grant the relief they were after. He said blocking the government from forcing employees to come in without pay could cause major disruptions to crucial government operations. ‘It’s hard not to empathize with the plaintiffs’ positions,’ said Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. ‘They’re not the ones at fault here.'” • Empathy won’t pay my bills…

“Billionaires vs. LA Schools” [Portside]. “Unlike many labor actions, the Los Angeles teachers’ strike is not really about wages or benefits. At its core, this is a struggle to defend public schools against the privatizing drive of a small-but-powerful group of billionaires…. Like the electoral insurgencies of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, LA teachers have posed the central question of our time: Who should determine governmental policy — the working class or the rich?” • The squillionaires with bright ideas: The Waltons, Doris Fischer, Reed Hastings, Eli Broad, and Austin Beutner. Stephanie Kelton: “Read on an empty stomach.”

“‘Tacos for Teachers’ GoFundMe feeds striking Los Angeles teachers” [CNN]. “The strike prompted the International Socialist Organization and Democratic Socialists of America to set up the fundraising page to help feed an estimated 32,000 striking teachers and staff members. Campaign organizer Clare Lemlich says the campaign started with the intention of bringing awareness of education issues to the city and to include more locals in the effort.” • Sure is weird the Democrat Party can’t mobilize to do something like this.

Precarity training:

“The Women’s March, under pressure from controversy, could implode. Here’s why that might be OK” [Yahoo News]. A good piece with a lot of research, well worth a read. “But, [Longtime feminist civil rights activist Jo Freeman] adds, ‘All movements are inherently unstable. There’s no such thing as a permanent social movement. They rise, they peak, they fall. Instability, divisiveness, that’s normal.’ When it comes to the instability of the Women’s March, however, ‘two years is extremely short, when I look back and compare with the movements that I’ve been a part of. Still, will the thing break up and die? Probably not — the sentiments are too strong. But it could change.'” • It’s almost like “movements” aren’t about political power. And that is fine, normal, forty years of this, move along, people, move along, there’s no story here.

News of the Wired

“The Cult of the Adult” [Six Perfections (DG)]. “The cult of obedience leads to abuse, genocide, environmental devastation, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, #metoo, and all the systemic horrors. Why don’t we re-train our kids and adults to question things, to demand accountability and righteousness?” • Good question.

“The curious case of the Raspberry Pi in the network closet” [Christian Hascheck]. • Fascinating that most of the detective work is not technical, but relies on real-world traces left by the attacker.

“Editorial Mutiny at Elsevier Journal” [Inside Higher Ed]. “The entire editorial board of the Elsevier-owned Journal of Informetrics resigned Thursday in protest over high open-access fees, restricted access to citation data and commercial control of scholarly work. Today, the same team is launching a new fully open-access journal called Quantitative Science Studies. The journal will be for and by the academic community and will be owned by the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI). It will be published jointly with MIT Press. The editorial board of the Journal of Informetrics said in a statement that they were unanimous in their decision to quit. They contend that scholarly journals should be owned by the scholarly community rather than by commercial publishers, should be open access under fair principles, and publishers should make citation data freely available.” • Good!

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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 (BLCKDGRD):

BLCKDGRD comments: “Winter woods still prettiest though the record rain this year deads the colors.” One of the ald-school bloggers still standing; always worth a look.

* * *
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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.


  1. Tertium Squid

    somewhat puzzled by the ‘young mom’ thing, she had her kids at ~37 and 42 respectively. now she’s 52

    Whether she deserves the title or not I couldn’t say, but I had my children between 35 and 39 and definitely feel like a young parent. Spending time around young people (and the other young parents at church and school of said people) brings a second childhood upon even a withered vine such as myself.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Truth. But in the case of a political candidate, this kind of language comes across merely as branding, a crass and (as Bruenig suggests) clumsy attempt to ingratiate herself with voters 30 years younger than herself and with opposing interests.

    2. DonCoyote

      Freudian slip: I was skimming by that Gillibrand bit and saw:

      Kirsten’s Getting Ready to Run
      We are corporate. Courageous. Determined. Now is our time. Join us.

      And wondered about her bold/brazen “truth in advertising”. Then I realized that while I saw corporate, the actual word used was compassionate. Ah well…

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Ugh, just got home and turned on the teevee and BBC news on PBS was on. The host was running through all the Dem candidates throwing their hat in the ring with someone from the National Journal. They ran through the sorry lot, the guest singling out KG as “interesting” for being so progressive when she used to be a centrist.

        The candidates are really leaning to the left, both opine. Crickets on Bernie Sanders. He is apparently unmentionable.

        1. Daryl

          > The candidates are really leaning to the left, both opine. Crickets on Bernie Sanders. He is apparently unmentionable.

          They are and should be afraid.

          1. The Rev Kev

            [uhn-pur-suh n]
            1. a public figure, especially in a totalitarian country, who, for political or ideological reasons, is not recognized or mentioned in government publications or records or in the news media.
            2. a person accorded no recognition or consideration by another or by a specific group.

            Origin of unperson
            un-1 + person; introduced in George Orwell’s novel “1984” (1949)

    3. RUKidding

      Well they do say that 50 is the new 30.

      Having had kids somewhat later in life may make her feel like a young mom.

      Seems a bit nit-picky to get hung up on something like this.

      I’d prefer to focus on her policies, myself.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’d prefer to focus on her policies, myself.

        Bad news, she was a member of the Blue Dog caucus in the House.

        Though, I find the “young mother” aspect intriguing for two reasons. The first being these kinds of statements are often gone over with a fine tooth, and two, the “New Democrats” happened in the 1980’s. If I was a centrist with a brain (hey, Julius Caesar thought he saw a unicorn, so these unicorns could exist), what would I do to avoid talking about the past? Try to frame every terrible idea as new, so there is no need to discuss evidence. My belief is the “most qualified candidate ever” narrative was carefully crafted because technically its true. The Presidency does have specific qualifications. All of which Hillary meets. She might be tied for first, but she is also the most qualified. Saint McCain was the major party nominee with a potential issue.

        Besides AOC and Sanders will get knocked for on the fly verbal statements, so there is no reason not to hold everyone else to account for their press shop efforts.

        1. polecat

          What’s with the mane of snow … does she have ice-bluedog eyes ? .. is she on the lookout to avoid Dragonglass and Valerian Steel .. ?? Do the toxic men of the Night’s watch tweet back in response ?

            1. Richard

              Eeyaahhh! I remember that from back when I used to watch scary movies. Very stylistic.
              The trailer is a little scary, though :/

      2. jrs

        for some reason women’s reproductive choices are always a subject for scrutiny for everyone and their brother, no matter what they are. yea really, policies.

  2. Big River Bandido

    Women’s March: If a “movement” implodes only 2 years after it started, it was never a real movement to begin with…just astroturf.

    Punished Chinese employees: at first I was expecting these to be CEOs. But it appears this is just the Bezosification of Chinese culture.

    Lastly, I am seeing online, downloadable video footage for a musical project. I am specifically looking for video clips of corrupt, establishment Democrats spouting their absolutely stoopid Third Way BS and making utter fools of themselves. Can any of the NC commentariat suggest or provide links? I’ll gladly give you an acknowledgement. I’ve considered using the Chuck and Nancy show, but I have not yet had the stomach to actually watch that performance.

    1. CA2

      The Womens’ March? It was started by Fujian Pink Yarn Industries.
      In Northern California, a mostly white area, the march has been off and then on and then off again,
      “because not enough women of color were participating in its planning.”

      For your video project, I suggest Kamala’s facial contortions at the Kavanaugh hearings, or, our new Governor, Gavin Newsom’s public performances.

    2. CAl2

      The Womens’ March? It was started by Fujian Pink Yarn Industries.
      In Northern California, a mostly white area, the march has been off and then on and then off again,
      “because not enough women of color were participating in its planning.”

      For your video project, I suggest Kamala’s facial contortions at the Kavanaugh hearings, or, our new Governor, Gavin Newsom’s public performances. He bears and uncanny resemblance to the Joker in the old Batman comics.

    3. Anarcissie

      Some political actions — including ‘movements’ — don’t have to last very long to accomplish something. Occupy Wall Street, for example, lasted overtly for only a few weeks, but it changed what some fancifully call the ‘National Conversation’ about inequality and the power of wealth. It probably also stymied Mr. O’s Grand Bargain and other plots against Social Security, Medicare, and associated programs. It put terms like ‘the 1%’ into common use. It introduced some radicals, liberals, libertarians, and conservatives to one another to discover common views. Later, its legend became the basis or inspiration for a number of other political actions and groups.

  3. BrianC

    Regarding forcing employees to work without pay…

    I think if they want to play the unfunded gov’t card. They need to go all the way. No money – No Anything.

    No FAA air controllers (no flights), no FDA, no customs (lock the border no one in or out). No Judiciary, no Social Security, No Medicare.

    Right now they get to have their cake and eat it too. Oh look! We get “essential” gov’t services for free, and we’re doing fine without the “unnecessary” parts! CF the recent op-ed from an appointee making the point everything is going peachy without those pesky 800,000 civil servants around. (Sorry don’t have the link to hand.)

    Plus – this brings home to everyone how critical the infrastructure and services they depend on everyday really are.


    Yes – It’s irresponsible… Take me apart in the comments. (I’m cranky about this, as I’m an NPS brat. My Dad spent his entire career as a Gov’t Civil Servant in the Dept of Interior National Park Service… Back when they had real rangers… RIP Dad…)

    1. a different chris

      What I like – the definition of “like” being wide-eyed amazement at the chutzpah – is that what does any of this have to do with, you know, the legalities of the situation:

      “At best it would create chaos and confusion,’ ”

      I would think I have the right to not show up if they don’t pay me. And law is about rights, isn’t it? The “chaos and confusion” should be addressed by forcing them to pay me, aka honor the terms of my legal contract, not forcing me to show up and let them make promises.

      In any case, avoiding “chaos and confusion” is not a legal leg to stand on. There was a lot of “chaos and confusion” in actually letting African Americans have at least some rights, and we did it anyway.

      1. jrs

        Personally, I wish they would strike. Let the IRS strike, walk out of the job, it’s not like they are getting paid, while people clamor for their refunds. In that case their labor power holds all the power, withhold it, until they decide, oh what a radical demand: TO PAY YOU FOR YOUR WORK!

        1. KPC

          Do you actually believe US Treasury IRS received all of those e-filed tax returns with refunds?
          Likely, not. And, yes, they appear to continue to send them out. But about US$2 billion of estimated fraud in those e-filed USA midclass tax returns is the number I saw for, I think, 2017 fiscal year.
          You people do not get half of this very issue. US Treasury had to do a full bore “reboot” of the Treasury (internal currency, reserve currency, IRS, etc. somewhere around May 2019 and you think that system physically operates, on FORTRAN.
          I believe Yves Smith is one of the very serious experts on this issue? She just has not written on it for awhile. Her post some years ago on “legacy systems” was flat out brilliant.
          MMT is printing money or monetary inflation. USA is way north of US$400 trillion – among other matters, one has to consolidate more or less 27 “subagencies” and now a couple of insolvencies to get to the real number… .

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Their job descriptions probably specify that they are “essential” staff and as such required to work unpaid during a shutdown. That would probably be the legal basis for this.

        If they refuse they could be fired.

        1. witters

          So its “You’re job is essential for us, so you have do do it for us and we don’t have to pay you. And if you “quit” we “fire” you and get another state slave”? That is quite some “legal basis” for the self-proclaimed land of “individual rights” and “freedom.”

      3. pretzelattack

        i think they should start by making judges and politicians work for free along with other federal workers. and they couldn’t refuse because that would cause chaos and confusion. familyblogging class war.

    2. Pat

      No, I’m with you. Everybody except the elected officials should be kicked out of Congress. No aides, no nothing. No staff at the White House. The airports shut down, because there is no FAA or TSA. The parks shut down. Essential services being limited to things like hospital staff at the VA. Unless their work is keeping someone alive, they don’t work.

      I’m pretty damn sure that within two days, our vaunted elected officials would finally have a deal. Either one Trump will sign off on OR one that will pass with enough votes he doesn’t get to veto it. But unfortunately the only people who really suffer in a shut down are the employees and the public – not the people who should be punished.

      And yeah, I’m offended that Harris was off doing a book tour with a staff aplenty while the government was shut down.

      1. GF

        IIRC last year both houses of congress have passed a budget bill that is already veto proof. Just need to send it to Trump to veto.

      2. KPC

        Is this NOT what your president is, in fact, doing?
        He is not my president. Your president is NOT required by law to release to the public their US income or other tax filings. But common sense would suggest your president has enough US dollar or some such to pay for his, and his family’s, medical and other care.
        Just sayin’… .

        1. Pat

          In the last two decades, the only president I have had to claim is Obama during his first term. (I might have defended Clinton but couldn’t bring myself to vote for him in 86, I didn’t pull the lever for anyone). And btw I heartily apologize for the Obama lapse in judgement. Obama started my run of voting third party.

          I recognize that holding the supposed adults in the room responsible for the shutdown is NOT common wisdom, but have you seen anything but stunts from Congress regarding this impasse? I haven’t. Where are the hours of negotiations intended to lead to a veto proof agreement? Why aren’t they all treating this as the crisis they say it is? Obviously it is all about political gain, screw the American people. Trump may be the Toddler having a tantrum, the demon baby, but unlike Congress he is at least making a demand for something his supporters want and we’re promised. Although with the Democratic bar being we hate Trump maybe I am being to hard on Pelosi, maybe the House is doing the same thing and being just as destructive by doing nothing but yelling No at Trump. Somehow I don’t think that was what voters intended though.

          1. marym

            Trump has changed the terms of the “negotiation” for wall funding at the last minute, including turning down $25B in 2/2018 and reneging on DACA. The new House has passed the same funding to keep government open that passed unanimously in the Senate unanimously and failed the House in December, but McC refuses to vote on it now.

            As much as the Dems lack the general will to do something for the people, I don’t see how this specific crisis their fault or what they’re supposed to “negotiate” that won’t lead to the same impasse again and again.

            1. Pat

              Please do not get me wrong. I don’t just blame the Democrats in this. I blame McConnell and the Republicans in Congress as well.
              But here’s a thought, perhaps Schumer could use all those technical rules that would f**k the Senate up unless McConnell sits down and works on an agreement. He does have the tools, but neither the will or the balls.

              Not for nothing, I don’t see any side in this little triangle that really wants to end this. Not Trump, not the Democratic leadership, not McConnell, not one. What I do see are publicity stunts like the Pelosi’s State of the Union bit.

              How about a publicity stunt like passing a bill making it illegal for government employees who are not in hospital or security services to work without pay. Maybe it wouldn’t get past McConnell or Trump but frankly I would prefer that as a message about not believing that people should have to work without pay. Ooops that might have real consequences which Congress cannot ignore, like pissing off everyone if they don’t pass it.

    3. RUKidding

      I agree.

      Quite honestly it’s Congress critters whose pay should be withheld and not repaid. Let them not get their pay and benefits, including the POTUS, while the govt is shut down. Make them pay their health care policy premiums out of their own money, including the POTUS.

      I’m fed up with the “elites” in Congress and the White House getting paid, having their staff there at their beck and call, while citizens and the country as a whole suffers.

      And yes, every blessed thing should be shut down completely – no Medicare, no Soc Security, no VA, no Post Office, etc, etc until this is resolved one way or another.

      This way is just chickensh*t. And an opportunity for b.s. hype, spin, propaganda and finger pointing.

      1. Summer

        “And yes, every blessed thing should be shut down completely – no Medicare, no Soc Security, no VA, no Post Office, etc, etc until this is resolved one way or another.”

        That could still be done.

      2. polecat

        They earn enough through their insider-trading ventures, so they should be able to coast along as they Acela-rate through the corridors of power …

      3. KPC

        Really? Congress critters? You want to help solve this problem, dude, clean up your language especially in a public space like this one.
        If you people want chaos, just keep on truckin’ down this path including “global climate change” which is a consequence, not a cause. All things are truly connected.
        What you people up north need is sometimes known as “reset” which, tragically, I have helped with at a non-trivial level including nation state and cultural.
        Do you have any constructive suggestions for change which, by the way, which would me and you have to change our behavior?
        Some of my doctoral work in economics is done under the guidance of the Isenberg School – U Mass Amherst, not London and not Harvard, sort of. There was a typo in Dra. Reinhardt’s data base, Ms. Smith and the grad students… ? I believe Ms. Smith did her MBA at Harvard. You referenced books entitles 1400 and two dates authored by Charles Mann of U Mass. This related to the “rainforest” and forestry management centered in Brazill which is NOT your country nor your responsibility. Wrong books and wrong author. The books are entitled 1421 and 1434. The work and author is Gavin Menzies who is retired, HRM Submarine Corps. The man is brilliant and has some breathtakingly extraordinary and courage work. I do truly encourage you and others to read them. As a bit of encouragement, I also found them to be flat out fun.

        1. KPC

          Just to follow on a bit, I am from Dakota Sur and the Chief of the Ogallala Sioux were my first teachers of the law…unlike the modern Pocahontas, I would not waste my time with such a test. Blue eyes and not brown so I cannot imagine… .
          The issue is one of culture and teachers… . The issue is one of violence.
          You people still have not figured this out? The “Indian Reservations” plus a bit are to this moment “sovereign nation states” including recognition by the UN and den Hague? Do you see this yet?
          The Federated Iroquois is fully operative and Ms. Smith missed this issue in some of her fabulous work on those gawd awful so called house debt mortgage things and MERS? Mashpee Tribe, Registry of Deeds, Barnstable, Commonwealth of Massachusetts back in, oh, 1991 give or take? Wow.
          Sioux Falls, South Dakota and CitiGroup among other matters? DARPL? Manhattan and first conveyance from whom to those people sort of from Amsterdam… ?
          I would think your current president, dare I suggest, might be sort of familiar with this area as, no disclosure necessary, he is kind of big time in casinos? Just asking.

      1. KPC

        I have never actually looked but common sense suggests this is not vaguely “insurance”. Insurance, properly defined and used as I would expect on this web site is “actuarially based”. Same as defined benefit pension plans, private, public or government.
        There have been serious “errors” in the actuarial tables, explicitly including life expectancy. This is one of your culture’s problems which does relate to treasury, banks and more
        You people might want to invest a little time in this area as well. E.g., there is some curious and mounting confirmatory data being released where there may be something akin to a “latent but sort of active” elevated level of cancer in Americans aged approximately 20 to 30!?!? The American AVERAGE life expectancy is in noticeable decline? Opioids/opiates are pain killers and the level of use is because… ? And more… . Sometimes facts change in which case ya can throw out those old data bases as the direction or some such just moved big time and all data is history and if we are not out in front of this gig when this happens….? Just sayin’.
        The consequences? Breathtaking. Never hit this gig in the collapse of the FORMER USSR. I would think a few at Harvard might have some experience in this area, with great respect Ms. Smith?
        Some of my family works in your health systems including Harvard but we ain’t from USA. Breathtaking.

    4. Steve

      Social Security has yet to return the money I poured into the system for 50 years, exclusive of interest, etc. so don’t point to inflation-ravaged refunds as “benefits or entitlements”.

      1. KPC

        So, Steve, whine away. See my comment above and actuarial issues. You just got left in the dust, sir. Inflation and MMT. You use the very word “entitlement”? You might want to get a little more, dare I say, mature in this very area?
        Dare I re-raise the issue of “generational accounting”?
        Dare I suggest that you might find yourself a tad short on staff… .
        Define retirement? Miss Lillian Call? I will never ever forget that fabulous great teacher of me. Define… . Madam, it is simple. It is called “of counsel”. I got 100% on that examination. Lillian retire…it is just a slightly different deal, dude
        As my former president said: “Educacion, educacion, educacion!” That woman was big time den Hague appellate criminal lawyer. So, was her consort, not first lady. First girl prsidents???.. My achin’ back. Ever hear of this word called “respect”?

    5. c_heale

      What I find interesting, its that a lot of government work is now done by contractors. Now this shift to contractors has been to save money and screw the working people, but I think it could backfire. Since most contractors get no benefits, they only get money, I can see a lot of them not working, until their pay is guaranteed.

  4. flora

    re: “Indict Me, Robert: How Mueller Won the Hearts of America” [Vanity Fair].

    50 Shades of Mueller? /s

  5. Judith

    Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report on Kamala Harris:


    “Kamala Harris is no friend of black people and she should be treated as such. She should not be allowed to shake hands, kiss babies or walk into black churches without being taken to task. We have seen this movie and we know how it ends. A black candidate with all the right credentials makes the case for race pride but the people end up with nothing to show for their adoration.”

    1. Cal2

      From Today’s morning Links in case you missed it:

      “But outward appearances aren’t everything. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand have been making a very different pitch of late – on Wall Street. According to CNBC, all three potential candidates have been reaching out to financial executives lately, including Blackstone’s [America’s biggest landlord-renting houses back to people who lost them in 2007-9], Jonathan Gray, Robert Wolf from 32 Advisors and the Centerbridge Partners founder Mark Gallogly.

      Wall Street, after all, played an important role getting the senators where they are today. During his 2014 Senate run, in which just 7% of his contributions came from small donors, Booker raised $2.2m from the securities and investment industry. Harris and Gillibrand weren’t far behind in 2018, and even the progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown has solicited donations from Gallogly and other powerful executives.”

  6. JBird4049

    (But how come a block captain doesn’t have the clout to stop this? What am I missing, here?)

    “Money talks, s*** walks.

    How much does he make, how much does he donate to the party and who are his lobbyists/fixers? As you say, we are being ruled by the Harkonnens.

    1. Darthbobber

      My wife’s block captain here on our Germantown block. In terms of clout, it’s like being a temporary honorary colonel in the volunteer militia. But you can get brooms, leaf bags, etc, organize block cleanups and on rare occasions help block a spectacularly bad development, provided your councilperson isn’t waving it through.

  7. ChrisAtRU

    #NewColdWar – Brennan Memory Loss

    I really don’t think the political and pundit classes understand the concept of the (public) internet as de facto archive. What Brennan can’t recall, seasoned netizens call receipts.

    The new kids on the block get it though …
    AOC deleted all her pre-2019 tweets

    #PleaseToBeGrabbingScreenShotsOfYourFaves … ;-)

    1. jsn

      If you scroll down that thread, apparently they’re not deleted, she changed her “handle”.
      Old tweets are still there under the old handle.

    2. WJ

      Everybody knows that archives, and historical memory in general, were invented by the Russians to undermine Western Values. Stop being such a Putin-bot!

  8. Off The Street

    APA papers and Gillette razors, do they have those in France?
    Former, translation challenges, as in what gets lost.
    Latter, marketing challenges, as in what gets unsold.

    Here is an older article about how the French psych establishment treats ADHD. Their methods seem common-sensical, to thereby suspect in today’s world. Pay attention to your Omega-3s.

    1. Joey

      Lots of confusion inherently. There are two APAs. The American Psychological Association is the one with the statement on ‘toxic masculinity.’ The American Psychiatric Association is the one that publishes DSM diagnostic guidelines.
      If you can take an undergraduate class in it, then its a PhD profession. Psychiatry is therefore a physician specialist.
      Don’t confound unnecessarily.

  9. JohnnyGL


    20-25 seconds in, Kamala Harris’ opening video she references Phife Dawg of Tribe Called Quest in a way that suggests she may not know he’s dead.

    He died at 45 years old of diabetes-related complications. Could have been a plug for M4A, if she were into that sort of thing….

    Tribe’s an old favorite of mine, by the way. Not a lot of hip-hop you can just throw on and leave and enjoy. A lot of it is just too base-heavy. Tribe’s style was always nice and smooth, though.

    1. RMO

      I miss them… added bonus, they were responsible for my discovery of The Chambers Brothers too through their sampling of “Funky” for “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” Actually that was a nice side effect of the days when samples were used. Despite jazz being the first music I loved as a teenager I didn’t find out about Jimmy Smith until the Beastie Boys did “Root Down”

    2. KPC

      Miss Eartha Kitt and Mick and Bianca Jagger as well as their respective children continue to work on all of these very matters and more to this very moment. Of course, Miss Kitt passed away not too long ago.
      Bianca Jagger is from Nicaraguan, among other matters. You can add Lady Gaga and Freddie Mercury.
      We hold all of these saintly people in the highest of regard.
      You might pay a little attention to those who live as well.

  10. Carolinian

    socialization practices that teach boys from an early age to be self-reliant, strong, and to minimize and manage their problems on their own

    So presumably John Wayne movies are out (not that John–ne Marion–Wayne wasn’t always playing a part). Dwayne Johnson is more the mode now–muscled but sensitive. It’s also possible that the APA is full of hooey and that psychology should concern itself with mental disorders rather than cultural fads.

    1. Watt4Bob

      I like to remember the scene in one of John Wayne’s earlier movies where a young cowpoke tells him in confidence that he has fallen in love with, and is considering marrying one of the young women on the wagon train, but she is carrying another mans child.

      John Wayne’s character tells the young man, “You know those little babies are easy to love.”

      Made an impression on me.

      1. Carolinian

        They say that in real life he was a nice guy who was browbeaten by his mentor John Ford because he didn’t fight in WW2 (he was exempt because married with several children). His tough guy image could have been all pose.

        1. Roy G

          I’m sure Wayne was a ‘nice guy’ to ‘his kind of people’, but he was a hardcore bigot and far-right winger:

          PLAYBOY: What kind of films do you consider perverted?
          WAYNE: Oh, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy—that kind of thing. Wouldn’t you say that
          the wonderful love of those two men in Midnight Cowboy, a story about two fags,

          PLAYBOY: You blame all this on liberals?
          WAYNE: Well, the liberals seem to be quite willing to have Communists teach their kids
          in school. The Communists realized that they couldn’t start a workers’ revolution in the
          United States, since the workers were too affluent and too progressive. So the Commies
          decided on the next-best thing, and that’s to start on the schools, start on the kids. And
          they’ve managed to do it. They’re already in colleges; now they’re getting into high
          schools. I wouldn’t mind if they taught my children the basic philosophy of communism,
          in theory and how it works in actuality. But I don’t want somebody like Angela Davis
          inculcating an enemy doctrine in my kids’ minds.

          PLAYBOY: Angela Davis claims that those who would revoke her teaching credentials
          on ideological grounds are actually discriminating against her because she’s black. Do
          you think there’s any truth in that?
          WAYNE: With a lot of blacks, there’s quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent,
          and possibly rightfully so. But we can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn
          everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the
          blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and
          positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.
          PLAYBOY: Are you equipped to judge which blacks are irresponsible and which of their
          leaders inexperienced?
          WAYNE: It’s not my judgment. The academic community has developed certain tests
          that determine whether the blacks are sufficiently equipped scholastically. But some
          blacks have tried to force the issue and enter college when they haven’t passed the tests
          and don’t have the requisite background.

          PLAYBOY: For years American Indians have played an important—if subordinate—role in your Westerns. Do you feel any empathy with them?
          WAYNE: I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s
          what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of
          survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were
          selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.

          PLAYBOY: Why do you think leftist ideologues such as Marcuse have become heroes
          on so many of the nation’s campuses?
          WAYNE: Marcuse has become a hero only for an articulate clique. The men that give me
          faith in my country are fellas like Spiro Agnew, not the Marcuses. They’ve attempted in
          every way to humiliate Agnew. They’ve tried the old Rooseveltian thing of trying to
          laugh him out of political value of his party. Every comedian’s taken a crack at him. But I
          bet if you took a poll today, he’d probably be one of the most popular men in the United
          States. Nobody likes Spiro Agnew but the people. Yet he and other responsible
          government leaders are booed and pelted when they speak on college campuses.


          1. Carolinian

            You’ve made your case. I’m not sure it contradicts what I was trying to say which was that stereotypes are undesirable whether from John Wayne or regarding men and self reliance and whether that’s a bad thing The APA report, even if it doesn’t mention “toxic masculinity,” is a bit out there.

    2. gepay

      the only thing i see wrong is minimize and manage problems on their own with mostly the ‘minimize’. I don’t think being strong and self reliant as being bad traits. it is true more emphasis should be put on communicating with others and learning about our male emotional side.

  11. JBird4049

    This edible gold chocolate bar tastes like royalty ?

    If I recall right, the last two big crashes of 2000 and 2008 started soon after I started reading stories of large gold flavored wagyu beef hamburgers, which included truffles and some weird cheese that all seemed to blend flavor wise poorly.

  12. Craig H.

    I did a google search for Brexit items and from my internet address went through 8 pages of results and no Naked Capitalism.


    Google might not like you guys but that stuff this morning was so far above the rest that I saw they were ridiculous.

    1. pjay

      I strongly second this sentiment. I have tried to keep informed on these developments as a citizen in the US bubble. No comparison with any other source here. Thanks! (and “thanks” Google — s/)

  13. flora

    re: Walmart vs CVS

    My insurer sent this:

    “Walmart remains in CVS Caremark Medicare Part D networks

    ” I am writing to inform you that, despite our good-faith efforts and diligent negotiations, Walmart has opted to leave the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management commercial and managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks. Any network change must place patient care as the highest priority and, as such, CVS Caremark has

    “requested that Walmart continue to fill prescriptions as an in-network participating pharmacy through April 30, 2019. This transition does not affect Walmart’s participation in the CVS Caremark Medicare Part D pharmacy network. In addition, Walmart’s Sam’s Club division remains in the CVS Caremark pharmacy networks.”

  14. Summer

    Re: Blue Apron

    “The rosy outlook for the first quarter and year is dependent on an adjusted, non-standard method of accounting that ignores chronic losses and declining revenue.”

    Why are the poor stigmatized? Can’t we just ignore the chronic losses and declining revenue and treat them like millionaires? Like we ignore the chronic losses and declining revenue in so many of these cases and still treat people and companies like superstars?

    1. oaf

      That is literally “Cool”. What appears to be a time-lapse video strikes me as being artificially sped up to exaggerate it’s motion. Would be great fun to camp on it, for ice fishing; or just for!!!
      Except for its’ exploitation; would be a good antidote as a .gif…can anybody do that?

    1. Unna

      From report:

      “Some farmers use glyphosate on non-GMO crops such as wheat, barley, oats, and lentils to dry down the crop ahead of harvest in order to accelerate the harvest. This practice, known as desiccation, may be a significant source of dietary exposure to glyphosate.”

      So a label of “GMO Free” is not good enough anymore with these foods plus anything made from them like oat breakfast serials. These foods must all be organic. Plus corn and soy products are mostly GMO so must be organic. This makes food more expensive for people who know and can afford it, and dangerous to people who don’t know or can’t afford it.

      What a situation.

      1. DolleyMadison

        Food supply issues are being ignored. It is scary. After 2 years of IBD symptoms, discovered allergic to potatoes, legumes and wheat. After 40 years of no issues. How is one suddenly allergic after a lifetime of no issues? I guess they plan on killing us all slowly after collecting rent on our illnesses on the way out.

  15. John

    It looks like the US Dept of Labor has outsourced the development of it’s neoliberal retraining programs for employees to China. As said above, I am sure Bezos Harkonnen is taking note.

  16. Pat

    Had a discussion with an old lefty the other day. Imagine my surprise when they went off about how Mueller was doing everything right and that he could take down not just Trump but Pence and despite it being a long shot they could imagine Pelosi being the first female President of the United States because of all the dots Mueller was connecting. That Trump was facing a lifetime of prosecutions.

    I could only wonder what kool-aid they were drinking. Apparently they didn’t quite understand both the power of pardon, the limitations of Presidential prosecution and the math of the Senate. But hope springs eternal.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I fairly certain tv ruined minds.

      I believe Al Franken (I may be wrong on this person, and I wish it was Franken) would point out in his books (probably “Lying Liars”) that conservatives besides being light on data would use end notes citations in their books with the idea being no one is actually going to flip back. Often times, the end notes would contradict the assertion or not be relevant. Whoever it was did demonstrate this phenomenon in GOP aligned screeds, and this author used footnotes.

      Television is similar. Max Boot is labeled an expert on foreign affairs, and the conversation moves onto “breaking news” about an opinion. There is no opportunity to go back and check. Its even more insidious than end notes.

      The dots are being connected nightly on Maddow type infotainment, but there is no opportunity to go back and check.

      1. sd

        I have one for the craycray pile….

        Democrats are opposed to pulling out of Syria because what Trump is trying to do with the pullout is give the oil pipeline to Putin.

        Told to me a few days ago.

    2. Will S.

      An awful lot of the RussiaRussiaRussia! types don’t seem to understand how the impeachment process actually works, kind of like how they don’t really understand history, the emoluments clause, geopolitics… or just about anything that can’t be digested in a 30-second soundbite, really.

      1. John

        So you are saying that if impeachment or indictment are difficult we should just give up and hand the country over to Putin?

        1. Duck1

          If you can’t impeach, how ya gonna hand it over? Impotence gets you nowhere, my friend. And God Bless you.

        2. pretzelattack

          i think the comment suggests that putin has nothing to do with any of our problems, except as a propaganda target. putin isn’t trying to take over america.

    3. Alfred

      I’ve had almost identical conversations with three different lefties from three different states within the last couple of months Clearly this exaggerated expectation what Mueller can accomplish is widespread. It reminds me of nothing so much as religious faith.

      1. Louis Fyne

        given the decay of religious, family and civil institutions over the last 50+ years, something has to fill up the vacuum/time.

        For some partisan politics has become a secular religion. For others it’s __________. And most sadly for others it’s chemical substances :(

  17. Synoia

    “Poll: A majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent” [The Hill]. • Should have asked for more. And make sure it’s the effective rate.

    Does that include all forms of income, including, but not limited to estate taxes?

  18. Wukchumni

    Import and Export Prices, December 2018: “import prices were unchanged. Export prices also fell”

    Had breakfast with friends, one of whom has 1400+ mature walnut trees, and I hit her up for what she got for her crop, and she gave me a grimace and a scowl as she said 65 Cents a pound, and it used to be over $2 a pound only a few years ago.

    Imagine the value of something you make your sole living by, decreasing by 2/3rds in value?

  19. djrichard

    “The Cult of the Adult” [Six Perfections (DG)]. “The cult of obedience leads to abuse, genocide, environmental devastation, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, #metoo, and all the systemic horrors. Why don’t we re-train our kids and adults to question things, to demand accountability and righteousness?”

    Redemption is a gift. But how does this redemption gift business work? It seems you need to go about finding your redeemer, somebody who will gift you the redemption you seek. And who better to step into that lurch than those who are more than willing to wear that mantle?

    I figure it’s a two-fold process: we gift them the authority to be our redeemer. In addition we in turn gift them our obedience.

    St. Paul codified it. In so many words, “All earthly authority is God’s authority”.

    And those in power and authority are only too happy to oblige. “Here, let me show you how you can redeem yourself”. “By the way, you don’t mind if we collect the surplus on your labor, do you?”. “Just be happy I don’t do to you what happened to those employees in China who had to crawl on their knees”.

    1. Summer

      The down the rabbit-hole absurdity here has people actually thinking corporations can teach people how to be responsible.
      Gillette is giving moral lessons.
      Nike is giving moral lessons.
      And we think these subjects deserve serious debate instead of the players laughed out of existence.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And a bunch of billionaires in California want to control what is taught to the children there as part of their education. And make a little money on the way. Do people really want a billionaire having control of their children during most of their waking hours?

        1. Summer

          I’ve encountered some of the charter schoolers that have entered the workforce.

          But I get the feeling most of it is about perceived safety. The depth of knowledge I’m encountering hasn’t been too impressive.

          While some may be “off-the-charts” with their academic requirements than others, they spend more time screening and interviewing parents than children.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      There is a wonderful, short book by the Swiss psychoanalyst Alice Miller titled The Gifted Child.

      It is prefaced by a series of quotes, starting several centuries ago and drawn from books on child rearing, that emphasize the rebelliousness and even wickedness of children and the need for their spirits to be broken to ensure they are obedient and reflexively willing to submit to authority.

      The final quote is something to the effect of, What a good thing it is that most people do not think for themselves.

      Too lazy right now to get up and check which of them it is, but that last quote comes from Eichmann/Himmler/Goering/_______________

      The book is about the way children “read” their environment in the interest of survival and wind up meeting the needs of the adults around them if those adults are too damaged to meet theirs.

  20. MikeW_CA

    ““Judge Nixes Challenge Over Unpaid Shutdown Work” In case you were wondering, as I was,
    Judge Richard Leon is a member of the Federalist Society, and is listed on their web site as a Contributor.

  21. makesi

    Responding to the biosphere item. I’ve been a labor organizer for many years, and spent plenty of years doing various kinds of physical labor, from warehouses to kitchens. A job, like the climate, is often obviously messed up, but most people get by despite the difficulties for all sorts of reasons. Its not until someone deliberately talks to you about what is messed up and then asks you directly to do something about it that anything changes. All effective organizing, whether in a workplace, a neighborhood, or on a planet, is the mass effect of many–tens, hundreds, thousands–of these deliberate conversations. Of people chosing to ask questions, often difficult questions, to their colleagues, neighbors, friends. It’s hard. It’s work–and it works.

    1. southern appalachian

      My experience is quite different. I decided I’m just not good at talking to people. That is a variable, at least.

      I will work on it, it’s important.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        This is my experience as well; I get angry in real life, and hence unpersuasive. Perhaps if I talked to people more I’d get better at it, but then again, “do what only you can do.”

  22. Eclair

    “Personally, I’m looking forward to digging into the student loan crisis, examining for-profit prisons/ICE detention, and exploring the development of public & postal banking. To start.”

    What’s with this specificity, AOC? We want you to be: Compassionate. Courageous. Determined. And, working hard for other people’s kids. Don’t get into the details. /s

    1. Pavel

      Not a fan of all of AOC’s positions, but postal banking is a fantastic idea (I believe Lambert may have discussed it before?). It makes so much sense and would give a big finger to the Too Big To Jail banks — which is precisely why the bought-and-paid-for Congress will never approve it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “To start.” Accompanied by Rashida Tlaib (MI), Katie Porter (CA) and Tulsi Gabbard (HI). If this personnel change is the result of cutting a deal with Pelosi, I think the deal was a good one (and Pelosi may get more than she bargained for).


        Surrounded by 11 dimensional chess players, you have to make sure that this is not a trap, should the stock market experience more unpleasantness in the next 2 years, that they are scapegoated.

        1. Fred1

          Katie Porter is the strongest of the bunch and could be described as a subject matter expert on at least some of the issues that come before the committee. She blogged for a number of years, as did Elizabeth Warren, at Credit Slips, which is on NC’s blog roll. If one’s interested, Credit Slips maintains an archive of all of its posts segregated by author.

    2. Martin Finnucane

      Or more briefly: Good things are good. (Lambert used the phrase, which I think is lifted from Thomas Frank’s excellent book.)

      Stated different, Big Dawg-style: Keep it infantile, stupid! The formula for winning some elections and, more importantly, for not winning any elections in the wrong way.

  23. allan

    U.S. IRS to waive 2018 penalties for under-withheld taxpayers [Reuters]

    Many taxpayers who had too little federal income tax withheld from their 2018 pay, or who underpaid estimated tax payments for the year, will not have to pay a penalty, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Wednesday. …

    “who had too little federal income tax withheld” is apparently Reuters style book for
    “who were put at risk of penalties and interest by an attempt to goose the economy in the run up to the midterms”.

  24. Summer

    Re: China\Precarity training

    Also known as hazing…not so foreign a concept to people in the USA.

  25. marym


    “‘Tacos for Teachers’ GoFundMe feeds striking Los Angeles teachers”

    Excellent decision by DSA to do this.

    Here’s a link for help for federal workers.

    Over 800,000 government workers have been impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. World Central Kitchen has opened a kitchen to serve federal employees in need and their families. Starting on Wednesday January 16th, we’ll be serving 2,000+ hot meals as well as packaged meals and to-go items.

    There are food banks seeing federal workers too, if you have any in your local area, or that you consider reliable charitable organizations.

    1. Eclair

      I applaud the feelings that propel groups and individuals to start providing food to federal employees who are being forced into working without pay. Let that sink in: Forced . Into. Working. Without. Pay.

      They must show up to work because the law is against them. And, they are nice people who believe that their work matters and that our society would be worse off if they just refused to work until they were paid. Which it would. This is exploitation. Exploitation that immigrants experience from private employers on a regular basis; getting stiffed at the end of the week, when your boss airily informs you that he’s not going to pay you. Too bad. So complain.

      But, this is our Government. And these workers, not the Secretary of State, or the Senator from Idaho, or the Head of the FDA, these are the workers who can least afford it. Yet they are forced into bearing the heavy burden of no paycheck, no money coming in to pay the bills that are piling up. They are the ones who are suffering the sleepless nights, the gut-wrenching stress, the humiliation of having to explain to the bank, the finance company, the local utility, their kids’ daycare, that their employer has failed to honor their contract … an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.

      This whole charade of ‘shutting down the government,’ of holding hostage the paychecks of the worker bees who keep the machinery of state oiled and spinning, is an abomination. It is a symptom of the disfunction, the corruption, the infantilism of our soi-disant leaders. And, we are enduring it. For what.

      In some galaxy far far away, all workers would, in solidarity, call in sick until federal workers are paid. Retired grannies would gather on public sidewalks, in public parks, at bus and in train stations, bags of knitting at the ready.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Thank you. There is way too little rage over this in the mainstream media. It’s wrong. It should be illegal.

      2. marym

        In some galaxy far far away, all workers would, in solidarity, call in sick until federal workers are paid. Retired grannies would gather on public sidewalks, in public parks, at bus and in train stations, bags of knitting at the ready.

        This was something that was happening during Occupy. People who weren’t in a position to stay at an Occupy site contributed food, books, and all kinds of supplies, etc. to their local Occupy or to some of the prominent big-city sites. This growing community solidarity was probably among the reasons that Occupy was such a threat to the status quo.

        To have some kind of major strike, ” all workers calling in sick”, we all (those who aren’t part of the workforce or other group taking direct action or, in the case of the shut-down, group being acted upon) need to find ways to support those on the front lines.

    2. Jo Wuest

      I’m curious as to why only one DSA caucus’s perspective is being shared on here lately. The caucus that was misrepresented in the above Medium piece has its own site now with plenty of articles and opinion pieces to draw from.


  26. Grant

    To be a fly on the wall listening to Dean talk to Kelton…

    Will his lobbyist friends appreciate MMT’s insights? Probably when it benefits them, but they will forget them when the spending goes towards other stuff. Then it’s deficits, public debt, national bankruptcy! Given that he is a healthcare lobbyist now, I am skeptical that he will do anything other than anticipate coming arguments against those paying him and for single payer, but who knows.

  27. hemeantwell

    Re the APA, for starters this

    socialized tendencies to externalize emotional distress, boys and men may be more likely to be diagnosed with externalizing disorders (e.g., conduct disorder and substance use disorders)

    is very questionable. The avoidance manifested in substance abuse can often take on a very passive form and achieves its solutions in fantasies that don’t have much of an impact on the world. Conduct disorder — and boy o boy does that lump different things together — involves externalizing in a gross sense, I suppose, but there’s a big difference between “leave me the f alone” driven behavior and more aggressive, humiliating attacks.

    I’ve found it useful to pull, perhaps very loosely, on Kleinian psychoanalysis and its pretty heavy emphasis on defenses against the depressive position, especially the search for omnipotent solutions. Stereotypically male behavior often reflects very obvious kinds of fetishism — guns and sports (playful war games) are prime examples — that bank heavily on investing some thing or action with tremendous significance. Acting out these fantasies often occurs in milieus that are in different ways sequestered off from the run of everyday life, a barrier against more interpersonally complicated affairs is essential. Think “man cave.” Engaging in this stuff doesn’t necessarily mean you are incapable of love and of being aware of the potential for harming someone you love (the depressive position). But if the omnipotent stance becomes the go to option it can be very corrosive, especially to the extent that its aggressive correlates set up an assumption that interpersonal relationships will, in the end, just come down to force because people are supposedly incapable of caring about each other. Then you’ve got a paranoid projective mechanism in play interpersonally, the best you can do is temporarily suspend the inevitable hostilities.

    So re worrying about men being dependent, it’s more a matter of having them being capable of imagining themselves independent even though they need someone. It’s really the fear of “having your balls cut off” (some of the responses to the Gillette ad really got there fast) if you really experience needing someone that’s the problem. Anna Freud framed it in stark developmental terms as a fear of “resourceless dependency” of the sort a baby might experience.

    It is absolutely essential to think about this stuff in a way that takes into account child development and the persistence of those experiences. With its sequestration to the point of defenestration of psychoanalysis the APA has made it hard to make sense of these issues.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      PTSD spells GOLD for APA members.

      APA’s statement sounds more like a commercial for psychotherapy services than guidance for therapists. Asserting that our culture is making men too tough to seek professional help to cope with stress strikes me as silly. I suppose it never occurred to my colleagues at APA that the reason for stress vulnerability might be because of inadequate cultural annealing of men in the first place. How is it that PTSD was far less common during the Vietnam era than the current Eternal War era? Are males today just too tough?

      There is some anecdotal evidence that our culture is instilling too little male toughness today; not too much. 2018 was full of essays and articles highlighting that the US seems to be raising a generation of wimps – not machos. Even DOD is whining about the high percentage of flabby wimps that they are rejecting of late.

      1. Joey

        Lots of ptsd in nam. Just got misdiagnosed as survivor guilt in prescient avoidance of service connection for VA benefits.

        There’s nothing manly about enjoying war. Chivalry, perhaps in sparing women. But war is hell, so don’t think masculinity will save anyone.

        P.S. has anyone pointed out you sound like a neocon?

        1. tegnost

          I think ptsd is under reported, and people are allowed to sound however they want if they are willing to back it up, which t.o.b. does.

      2. CarlH

        I go to an aftercare group for veteran’s with PTSD every Tuesday. It is filled to the brim with Vietnam veterans. I am one of only a handful of younger veterans who attend. I wish people with no knowledge of what they speak wouldn’t chime in with nonsense like this so often. As an aside, masculinity and toughness have absolutely nothing to do with PTSD.

  28. Hana M

    Just a note that I really hate the new Twitter link formatting that forces me to click through to get the (possible) info. I love Lambert’s Water Cooler but caving to Twitter’s desire for more clicks is annoying and depressing,

  29. rowlf

    Having belonged to and been active in several unions in the past, I wonder if unpaid Federal workers can wear yellow safety vests to show that they are working safely?

  30. Hameloose Cannon

    There is a dearth of women able to pass NC’s presidential candidate litmus test. And don’t say Ocasio-Cortez, the ingenue isn’t old enough. I guess this just isn’t the right time. But one would be hard-pressed to find a woman in politics as non-threatening and lusterless as Bernie. And maybe that’s the appeal. Passive resentment, everyone is a victim of psychiatrists, the donor-class, neocons, wall street – learned masochism. A ruthless gentry is not new to human civilization. Those dark forces count on self-assortment into one of two camps that expend all their momentum being hostile toward their counter-parts. Soon both parties will settle for a restoration of order that further tempers the regime’s permanence.

    For all the truth-to-power kibitzing, Bernie Sanders is the least subversive politician in America. All the nodes clustered around him have no chance of connecting with the nodes of other camps. No chance of potentiality, electrical sparks to flex the body politic in unpredictable ways. What is scary to the powerful is unpredictability. If the opposition gains power for a bit than so what? In power, the opposition will act just like everybody else does in power. Predictable.

    My advice to Sanders? Modern-day Moses. Go on the tube and tell America to “write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house.” For one bat-sh-t moment, put the fear of G-d into the Pharaohs.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Committee to appoint Elizabeth Holtzman temporary goddess of America… And first queen of these united States… Would knock on a hundred doors a day if she were to run…

    2. jrs

      What woman do you like? Elizabeth Warren has her good points. Tulsi Gabbard has a lot of real positives but is such a dark horse. I’d like either of them to a degree (but we need to admit, real change isn’t likely to come via Prez election).

    3. Charlie

      That’s an easier thing to do than it seems. All he or she would have to do would be to label the elites as domestic terrorists.

      Which is exactly why it won’t be done.

  31. GERMO

    “Luxury Concierges Offer ‘Bespoke Experiences’ in Fight For the Ultra-Rich”

    For a split second I had the pleasant thought that someone figured out how to make them fight each other

  32. Hameloose Cannon

    PS, I wish you Good Health, Yves, and I hope you feel better. Drink plenty of fluids, those OTC decongestants are dehydrating, which can be counterproductive if not offset by fluid uptake. As you know, pseudoephedrine works like a dream because the body metabolizes it into methamphetamine. Which will not only give you what I call, “the jim-jims” [anxiety, like there isn’t enough of that going around], but it can disrupt the sleep cycle.

  33. anon y'mouse

    going around n a circle is exactly why i would never go to such a meeting, even i wanted to or needed to.

    i did it endlessly in classes for school just a few years ago, and i find it only conducive to judging people based upoon their proficiency at self-presentation, and all of the identity baggage that goes with that, and thus the self-selection and weeding process follows from there.

    let’s put it this way—if you are forming a political group that has democratic aims, you shouldn’t start by having a formula that starts by identifying people by their race/class/genderpresentation/etc. they get to pull apart into groups from there, and will do so based upon herd mentality and whoever they find “interesting”. ideas should be pre-eminent.

    another point: i took a weekend seminar on conflict resolution, and the entire point of the class was how all movements are hijacked by those who hold the greatest status (with regard to the rest of the population–the wealthiest, the whitest) in the group, and therefore the aims and goals (and thus conquests and victories) become what THOSE individuals believe should occur, and not what would be beneficial for ALL. thus the Stonewall Riots, though begun by the trans members, was taken over by wealthy white males and that’s how “gay liberation” played out (an actual example used in the class, one of a few but the one easiest to locate in my memory).

    just my words of warning.

  34. anon in so cal

    Re: Tucker Carlson:

    Until now, Tucker Carlson has been one of the few voices of reason in the MSM regarding Russia, Putin, Russia-gate. He’s interviewed Russia-expert, Professor Stephen Cohen, several times, and applauded as Cohen dismissed the lunatic charges against Putin and Russia, and warned about the dangers of Democrats’ and NeoCons’ rhetoric. Tucker has also been sane and informed about Syria, and seemingly against NeoCons’ disastrous regime change attempts.

    So, now, Tucker is spewing garbage accusations that a Green NewDeal is a Putin plot? Or, that a Green NewDeal would benefit Russia and Putin? (no time to thoroughly read the link or view the show).

    Is that tweet a joke? Is it some variant of the indefensible claim that taking drastic steps to limit carbon emissions gives other nations economic competitive advantage?

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yves is right about Carlson himself, but there is a caveat buried in there:

      Russia is both an oil state and climate-limited. Even with seal level rise, they will have far more arable land when the earth warms, while profiting from the sale of fossil fuels – like our friends to the North. So they’re conflicted on the subject.

      However, this makes Carlson’s comment all the sillier. Russia benefits from continued fossil-fuel consumption, not the Green New Deal.

  35. dave

    Re: Raspberry Pi Piece

    Not exactly sure what the Raspberry Pi gadget was put there to do.

    Any insight as to why someone would have done this? What would a former employee want that this gadget could provide?

  36. Roger Smith

    Brennan either isn’t thinking or he’s lying

    HAHA! Joke of the (former) day Lambert. Good one.

    Also, tsk tsk… Carlson. I don’t know enough about the AOC NGD to jump on board, but I am generally supportive of pollution clean-up, regulation, etc… Now I think this tweet is selectively cropping part of Carlson’s talk to make it seem like he is legitimately saying Russia is part of some conspiracy with AOC, progressives, w/e but I am 90% confident that Carlson is being sarcastic here. He is adopting the mantra of “RussiaRussiaRussia” but then using the opposite sides plans as the example that it is happening. Still, the real issue is that he resorts to ZH, online sort of “Socialism-bad” groupthink.

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