2:00PM Water Cooler 1/3/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“US and China must step off ‘path to disaster’, warns Jeffrey Sachs after storm of criticism over Huawei defence” [South China Morning Post]. “The Columbia University professor faced a firestorm of criticism on social media after he accused the US of hypocrisy for its targeting of Huawei senior executive Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested by the Canadian authorities last month at the behest of the US…. He wrote that, by contrast, no major executives from American financial institutions had been arrested even though their companies had been fined for violating their country’s own sanctions on Iran or other nations…. Sachs warned that conflicts like the continuing trade war and the targeting of Chinese IT firms ‘recall an early era of great power confrontation that eventually led to utter disaster.'”

“Apple Isn’t the Only Casualty of China’s Slowdown” [Bloomberg]. Apple “joins a growing list of companies struggling as a trade war with the U.S. and an equity selloff weigh on the world’s second-largest economy.” • FedEx, Starbucks, Tiffany’s, Daimler, Zegna. Mr. Counter-suggestible, speculating: All but FedEx luxury goods makers, including Apple at the $1000 for a family-blogging phone price point. At least from this article, you have to wonder who’s really being hit, there and here.

“Tim Cook’s letter to Apple investors is corporate America’s latest warning about US-China trade war” [CNBC]. “‘It’s clear that the economy began to slow there in the second half and I believe the trade tensions between the United States and China put additional pressure on their economy,’ Cook said Wednesday.” • Mr. Counter-suggestible, speculating once more: I don’t see why Apple sales are a proxy for the health of China’s economy, any more than the stock market is a proxy for our economy. A broad-based decline in manufacturing is another thing, and will hit Xi where he lives. China statistics being notoriously unreliable, so unlike our own, this makes me wonder if anybody has sought any physical, material proxies, like air pollution in the Pearl River Delta for example, or traffic patterns. Also, Cook betting the store on China both for their supply chain and for sales, and then having both bets go sour at the same time, seems like some sort of punctuation mark to forty years of deindustrialization and neoliberal triumphalism.

“Faltering Global Factories Add to 2019 Central Bank Challenges” [Industry Week]. “The global manufacturing index from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and IHS Markit fell in December to the lowest level since September 2016 as measures of orders and hiring weakened, data showed on January 2. That followed other IHS Markit reports showing factory conditions slumped across Asia’s most export-oriented economies, with China’s signaling contraction for the first time since mid-2017 as Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea also point to declines. Factory growth in the euro area fell to the lowest in almost three years.”


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


“To beat Trump, Democrats must counter his lies with realistic solutions” [Terry McAulliffe, WaPo]. “[S]ome senators have started to discuss a ‘federal jobs guarantee’ — a promise that, in certain formulations, means that anyone who wants could have a government job paying $15 an hour with great benefits. Sound too good to be true? It is. Proponents of a jobs guarantee are smart people with good motives, but they surely recognize that it is not a realistic policy. Similarly, a promise of universal free college has an appealing ring, but it’s not a progressive prioritization of the educational needs of struggling families.” • “Realistic solutions.” Now there’s a hill to die on!

Good for Warren:


I also read that she didn’t buy into “Rachel’s” relentless warmongering, leaving her non-plussed.

“Sexism Claims From Bernie Sanders’s 2016 Run: Paid Less, Treated Worse” [New York Times]. “In recent weeks, a Facebook group for campaign alumni has become a sounding board for complaints about harassment, lewd comments and gender discrimination. Some alumni have requested a meeting with the senator and his campaign leadership team to address the “overall toxic atmosphere of the 2016 campaign,” according to a screenshot of a post viewed by The Times. Politico first reported on the request.” • Presumably, the original focus of the memo from the Politico article — most campaigns are subject to this (Clinton; Harris) — will be preserved. It’s unfortunate that after the Clinton 2016 campaign, it’s almost impossible to take material like this at face value, as a good faith effort. (Sanders also needs somebody who knows what a knife-fight is, and how to win one, and he needs them immediately. Sanders: “… To any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately….” That is a non-apology apology in classic form (“If anyone was offended…”). It should never have left Sanders’ office. It looks bad, because it is bad.)

“Bernie Sanders Isn’t Just Another White Male Candidate. His Nomination Would Be Historic.” [Forward]. “In a country where ‘Jewish’ is often taken to be a strictly religious label, Sanders is an ethnic Jew, a cultural Jew, and a left-wing Jew, all of which seem to be covered by the blanket term ‘white.’ But no American presidential nominee has ever been white the way Sanders is white. And while that distinction may not matter to some Jews, it will absolutely matter to the white supremacist and anti-semitic elements who have been emboldened over the past several years. For Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, let alone the presidency, wouldn’t just be a historic achievement. It would be a powerful rebuke to the forces that brought Donald Trump to power.” • Considerate of Sanders not to play the anti-Semitic card. Things are already ugly enough.




Green New Deal:

“Pelosi supports holding hearings on ‘Medicare for all'” [The Hill]. “[T]he Rules Committee and the Budget Committee will hold the hearings. That would leave out the main committees with jurisdiction over the issue: Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means. The chairmen of those committees have not given their backing to Medicare for all, while the chairmen of Rules and Budget have. Pelosi’s support for hearings is a plus for the movement, but it’s unclear whether she would support further steps such as holding a vote on Medicare for all legislation. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) plans to introduce a new version of the Medicare-for-all legislation early in the new Congress.” • We’ll have to see what Jayapal does. S1804, in my view, is quite watered down enough. We’ll also see who the witnesses in the hearings are. If Woolhandler and Himmelstein aren’t on the list, the fix is in.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“New St. Louis County prosecutor fires some staff” [St Louis Post-Dispatch]. “St. Louis County’s new prosecuting attorney [Wesley Bell] is shaking up his staff and instituting new policies just two days into the job, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday, and a veteran assistant prosecutor who presented evidence to the grand jury after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson is reportedly among those let go…. He wasted no time implementing some of his reformist agenda. Bell’s office said Wednesday that they will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases, among other changes.” • Wesley Bell, and in Philly, Larry Krasner. In a sane political environment, they’d be “rising stars.”

Stats Watch

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, December 2018: “December’s drop in regional reports correctly signaled significant slowing in ISM’s manufacturing index” [Econoday]. “Slowing growth is evident through most of the report but is centered unfortunately in new orders… With factory data to grow scarce given the closure of the Commerce Department and Bureau of Economic Analysis, the ISM will gain further in importance, and today’s results are clearly negative and point to marked year-end slowdown for what nevertheless was a leading sector of the 2018 economy.” And: “ISM Manufacturing index Decreased Sharply to 54.1 in December” [Calculated Risk]. “The ISM manufacturing index indicated expansion in December… This was well below expectations of 58.0%, and suggests manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in December than in November.” And but: “Based on these surveys and the district Federal Reserve Surveys, one would expect the Fed’s Industrial Production index growth rate to be lower than last month. Overall, surveys do not have a high correlation to the movement of industrial production (manufacturing) since the Great Recession. Both surveys trended lower this month – and were in agreement with the regional Federal Reserve surveys” [Econintersect]. And: “US Factory Gauge Tumbles by Most Since 2008” [Industry Week]. “Gloomier data may give Fed policy makers, who have already said they intend to slow the pace of interest-rate hikes, more reason to pause. Ahead of the ISM report on Thursday, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said the central bank should put rates on hold as it waits to see how uncertainties about global growth, weakness in interest-sensitive industries and tighter financial conditions play out.”

ADP Employment Report, December 2018: “ADP estimates that private payroll growth in Friday’s employment report will rise” much higher-than-expected Econoday]. And but: “This month the rate of ADPs private employment year-over-year growth is on the high side of the tight range seen over this year – and remains on an improving employment growth trend line. Last month’s employment numbers were revised downward. ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth” [Econintersect]. And but: “This was well above the consensus forecast for 175,000 private sector jobs added in the ADP report” [Calculated Risk].

Jobless Claims, week of December 29, 2018: “After dipping back toward historic lows, jobless claims are revisiting November highs” [Econoday]. “Despite the increases, the unemployment rate for insured workers remains unchanged at a very low 1.2 percent and offers a reminder that demand for labor remains very strong. Two states had to be estimated in the week including California for a second straight week.” And but: “This was above the consensus forecast. Probably most of the increase in claims is related to the government shutdown” [Calculated Risk].

Challenger Job-Cut Report, December 2018: “The rise in announcements, however, never led to much tangible increase in jobless claims which held, and continue to hold, near historic lows” [Econoday].

Construction Spending, November 2019: “Forecasters see only a modest bounce higher in November for construction spending which has been very soft” [Econoday].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of December 28, 2018: “A decline in mortgage rates failed to entice home buyers and refinancing homeowners” [Econoday]. “Partly responsible for the large decline in applications during the reported period may be the government shutdown, amid concerns over delays in FHA applications processing.”

Banks: “‘They destroyed me.’ Wells Fargo’s mistake forced her to sell her home” [Los Angeles Times]. “Michaela Christian lost a long battle with Wells Fargo in 2013 to save her Las Vegas home, a defeat she says changed the course of her life. When the bank refused to modify her mortgage, Christian moved in with a friend and scrambled to rebuild her life. Five years later, Wells Fargo admits it made a mistake. Christian, 46, qualified for the kind of mortgage help that may have saved her home after all. It is a mistake the giant bank admits it made nearly 900 times over several years, pushing hundreds of distressed homeowners into foreclosure…. Wells Fargo’s admission is part of a cascade of lapses that increased scrutiny of the San Francisco bank with some Democrats in Congress calling for the ouster of its chief executive, Tim Sloan. Over the last two years, the bank paid more than $1 billion in fines after admitting it opened millions of bogus accounts customers didn’t want and then found itself in more trouble after improperly repossessing thousands of cars.” • The lapses aren’t bugs. They’re features. Everybody collects a commission or a bonus. Nobody goes to jail. There’s no reputational damage because Wells Fargo has no reputation for anything but looting and fraud. So what’s not to like?

Retail: “More Amazon Effects: Online Competition and Pricing Behaviors” [NBER]. From the abstract: “I show that online competition has raised both the frequency of price changes and the degree of uniform pricing across locations in the U.S. over the past 10 years. These changes make retail prices more sensitive to aggregate ‘nationwide’ shocks, increasing the pass-through of both gas prices and nominal exchange rate fluctuations.”

Shipping: “Truckers reveal in a new survey who they hate shipping for the most” [Business Insider]. “When Zipline Logistics asked employees from 150 trucking companies around the country this fall what companies they refuse to work with, one type of retailer kept getting mentioned above the others: grocery stores… Truckers told Zipline in the survey that grocery retailers like Kroger, Walmart, C&S Wholesale Grocers, and Safeway takes hours (sometimes even days) to unload their trucks and might not pay drivers for how long they spend at their warehouses.”

Tech: “On Average, You’d Have to Pay Someone $1,000 to Stop Using Facebook for a Year” [New York Magazine]. “What the researchers found was that, on average, participants would need more than $1,000 to deactivate Facebook for a full year. College students valued Facebook even more than the average participant, requiring over $2,000 to forgo the service. Participants enlisted via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk were nearly as expensive, requiring over $1,900 to leave the service for a year.” • 40 percent of adults can’t cover a $400 emergency expense. That makes me wonder if what the study is really measuring is not Facebook’s value, but how much “free money” the study participants need. Readers?

Tech: “Inside the booming business of background music” [Guardian]. “Behind the rise of streaming lurks the spectre of automation. One part of Spotify’s appeal is its playlists, where it offers music for particular activities, as well as individualised recommendations. The latter relies on comparing your choices with those of millions of other users, combined with analyses of the raw properties of songs, such as key, mode and tempo. For many people I spoke to while reporting this piece, the algorithms used to provide these recommendations seemed to be a source of anxiety. At the bigger companies, in particular, staff were keen to stress the importance of the real-life curator. Richard Hampson at Imagesound emphasised the intuitive side to his job. ‘It’s always been about feel and human touch,’ he argued. ‘Human taste is really important, and the algorithm thing is removing that.'”

Tech: “‘Apple’s darkest day in the iPhone era’: Here’s what Wall Street is saying about Apple’s bombshell profit warning” [Business Insider]. • A round-up of analyst opinion.

The Bezzle: “Nobody in China wants Apple’s eye-wateringly priced iPhones, sighs CEO Tim Cook” [The Register]. “”While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements,” Cook conceded.” • Instead of buying new phones. Apple’s battery scam really was a big deal, then. Apple has quite a history: Apple II, Mac, Macbook, iPod, iPad, iPhone… Up until this point, they’ve always had “one more thing” in the pipeline, albeit unknown to consumers. One might speculate that software for robot cars was their next breakthrough product, which would have been another bad bet. One is also reminded of C. Northcote Parkinson’s dictum on architecture: “A perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse.” So Apple’s new HQ building would be a parallel case to the Vatican. Or Versailles.

The Fed: “Key Fed Yield Gauge Points to Rate Cuts for First Time Since 2008” [Bloomberg]. “Some of the most accurate gauges of economic health are pricing in lower Fed rates for the first time in more than a decade. The little-known near-term forward spread, which reflects the difference between the forward rate implied by Treasury bills six quarters from now and the current three-month yield, fell into negative territory on Wednesday for the first time since March 2008… Federal Reserve economists said looking at forward rates relative to those on current Treasury bills has served traders well in the past…. When the near-term forward spread turns negative, it indicates bets on easier policy ‘over the next several quarters, presumably because they expect monetary policymakers to respond to the threat or onset of a recession,’ they wrote.”

Health Care

Identitarian #MedicareForAll:


Our Famously Free Press

“The Spiegel Scandal and the Seduction of Storytelling” [Jeff Jarvis, Medium]. “I hear journalists say their primary role is as storytellers. No. I hear them say their task is to fill a product — a newspaper or magazine or show. No. Our job is to inform the public conversation. And now that we can hear people talking and join in with them, I’ve updated my definition of journalism to this: to convene communities into civil, informed, and productive conversation. This means our first job is not to write but to listen to that conversation so we can find what it needs to function. Then we report. Then we write — or convene or teach or use other forms now available to us. First listener, not storyteller… These lessons are not easily taught, for the addiction to storytelling as art — vs. journalism as service — is fierce.” • Hmm.

“Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms” [Nieman Lab]. “Overwhelmed news organizations started giving away public dialogue to Facebook and Twitter a half dozen years ago, hoping the social media giants would be better equipped to civilize online discussions. That didn’t happen.” • Oddly, the story doesn’t the headline. It says that newsrooms should do this, but does not say that they are.

“A New Year’s resolution for reporters: Be less technodeterminist” [Poynter Institute]. “It’s really hard to prove that misinformation swings elections, causes violence or changes behaviors online. ‘The question of impact is the disinformation research community’s white whale,’ Paris Martineau wrote for Wired last month. ‘You can measure reach, you can measure engagement, but there’s no simple data point to tell you how one coordinated influence campaign affected an event or someone’s outlook on a particular issue.'” • Which is why your campaign has to hire a number of expensive consultants!

Neoliberal Epidemics

“The $35 billion race to cure a silent killer that affects 30 million Americans” [CNBC]. “NASH, a serious form of fatty liver disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, is] an outgrowth of the obesity epidemic in the Western world and around the globe, it causes scarring and inflammation that can lead to liver cirrhosis, cardiac and lung complications, liver cancer and death. Yet few people know about it…. Across the United States, millions of people of all ages suffer from this silent killer that slowly morphs from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that now affects 89 million in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Analysis. The National Institutes of Health estimates as many as 30 million people, or 12 percent of U.S. adults, now have NASH.” • So, our horrible food is a platform, not only profitable in itself, but enabling profitable spinoffs. A fine example of a self-licking ice cream cone.

Class Warfare

“Dear Lobsters: There Is A Better Way” [Current Affairs]. “On Reddit, you can find a forum for “ex-lobsters,” former fans of Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson who have become disillusioned by him. Many of them still admire Peterson in certain ways, but have realized that he is not quite what they thought he was. The discussions are worth browsing, because they show how people can become entranced by the peddlers of bad ideas, and how they can change their minds and develop more sensible and healthy worldviews. I find them encouraging, because their testimonials reaffirm my conviction that if leftists can articulate a clear and compelling vision, one that gives people fulfillment and hope, we can create a more humane world.”

News of the Wired

Missed this in all the Xmas excitement:


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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 (TH):

TH writes: “This is a cell phone shot because five minutes after my arrival at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Ranch Palos Verdes, my Nikon batter died. So the colors are a bit weak. They’ve just re-engineered this rose garden, to sort of a labyrinth arrangement. I particularly like the lavender plant in the foreground.” What’s the best camera? The one you have with you!

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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. Jason Boxman

    Liberal Democrats are really pathetic. “Be realistic” really would be a hill of death if that advice was followed during World War II, when we fully mobilized every citizen in America, every factory, every natural resource, for the war effort. The Democrat party seemed to understand — at least implicitly — at that time that the true constraints were available resources, not currency. Deaths of despair seemingly don’t warrant that kind of mobilization. Nor does climate disruption.

    Establishment Liberals are useless.

    1. a different chris

      Plus the fact that the Dems like to punch themselves in the face. “Proponents of a jobs guarantee are smart people with good motives, but they surely recognize that it is not a realistic policy. ”

      How about make the Rethugs explain why “it is not a realistic policy”? Then interrupt the R’s presentation of their so-called calculations (note; they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed) and ask how, then, the same calculations seem to point to the F-35 being beyond unrealistic to just plain stupid.

      When you throw a punch your intentions should be to start a fight. Put them on the back foot right away. They came to tell you that you can’t afford A, but now you’ve made them explain the point of spending said money on B, an issue which they weren’t prepared for. Have subject “C” ready in order up the RPM at which their head is spinning.

      Man, haven’t any of these people been in a real marriage? :)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Punch “themselves” in the face? No. This is yet more Clintonite Obamacrats punching the SanderSocial Democrats in the face. It shows again why the malignant Clintonoma and the Yersiniobama pestis will have to be exterminated from public life before we can improve politics.

        1. polecat

          Yeah, talk about yer social diseases …. Democratwitis is Highly Communicable, especially ‘mongst the top tiers … with ‘divergant’ traits spreading at r/0 of 15 (the last many years of non-effective commitment and tangible change in the mopes regard !) to the various non-immune lower ranks too .. The most common symptom : the feelings of wanting to lose one’s principles, while sucking the life-giving acid-for-blood of various ‘donors’ …. while sneering at people showing calluses …
          Also has a tendency to make the afflicted go full retard whenever the term ‘trump’ is uttered. Incurable .. Hospice with sound reasoning wherever possible. Never make physical contact — those with terminal Democratwitis may bare teeth .. and use them !! When all else fails Quickly Walk Away !

      2. Carey

        Other than *wildly disagreeing* with your first sentence, I think this is a really good
        comment. It’s not themselves they’re punching in the face; that claim is buying into the *very false* “hapless Dems!” bit. Look at it from a Class Class class lens, and it all makes perfect sense. No, they’re pursuing their (very tiny, self-serving, toxic-to
        the-citizenry) class interest. Maybe that shouldn’t be so?

    2. Marley"s dad

      “Liberal Democrats”, I have to confess that I do not understand the term anymore. The description, “Establishment Liberals”, sounds to me like an oxymoron because “establishment” to me suggests Republican.

      More descriptive (to me) are the terms “new Democrats” “blue dogs”, both of which IMHO can be more accurately called DINO’s (Democrats’ in name only). I vaguely recall Clinton calling himself a “new Democrat” and Obama saying he is a “blue dog”. But I have really never heard a clear description of either. I bring up these terms because during the squabble that preceded Pelousy’s apparent selection as Speaker, I read a piece that indicated a most of the first-time Democratic reps were one or the other.

      I would welcome anyone explaining these terms to me.

      My sense of what the democrats are going accomplish is nothing more than maintain the status quo as far as the minimum wage, Medicare and Social Security are concerned. Pelousy’s “pay go” will be weaponized to prevent increasing any of the preceding as well as raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations and also block reducing taxes on the serfs. After all Pelousy is wealthy herself, so she doesn’t want to screw up the tax cut she just got from Trump.

      1. L

        In lieu of “Establishment Liberals” or the other terms I generally use the phrase “Professional Democrats.” To my mind this better explains the elected officials, pollsters, and connected purveyors of conventional wisdom like Chait that make the maintenance of the structure and the “electability” their primary concern over actual policy goals. For this group calling people who seek an actual policy “well intentioned” counts as sage advice and is also quite telling. It is not that they are against it per-se (they probably are as likely to support as oppose) but they clearly place the policy achievements secondary to their grip on power and donation dollars. They are also the ones who are most likely see Beto ORourke as a serious proven candidate and Bernie Sanders as a scary oddball. One you see cares about the party, the other seems happy making actual policy changes.

        In that respect they are not unlike the “Never Trump” Republicans like Paul Ryan who seem to object most object to his style when it costs them votes and don’t seem particularly concerned with the actual policies.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I think of them as Corporate Democrats, insofar as their “constituency” is the corporations that fund their campaigns, and the Party itself is not defined by issues or policy but rather by membership rules as in a private club with strict rules for advancement.

          1. polecat

            They are as the ghouls ala “They Live” … “always lookin to be on the .. er .. ‘winnin team’, cuz folks want a little taste” .. well ok, a Lot ! .. “of the good life, doesn’t everybody ?? .. You could have some of that too, if you really want it .. you just have to play along.”

            The problem for them, is that more and more of the mopes are wearin shades for the first time, seeing how hoodwinked they were all these years, with the phonyness and velvet glove deceit of the liver-spotted goons.

      2. Darius

        Liberals lost all credibility when they fell hard for Obama and would brook no criticism of him and his Wall Street advocacy. Liberals are now the managerial class or professional class. The emerging terminology, which you will see here, for supporters of New Deal-type material benefits and beyond is left.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I would prefer something like New Deal Reactionaries or SanderSocial Democrats or something. Because nowadays, “left” means Social Justice Warriors to most everyone who hears it.

          And I will not lift a finger to try rehabilitating the linguistic reputation of the word “left”. When the “left” welcomed its current infestation of Social Justice Warriors and screaming Identy Snowflakes and so forth, it chained itself to them at the neck.

          So I will just call myself New Deal Reactionary or SanderSocial Democrat or some such thing.

          1. Carey

            For now, Sanders-Social Demos seems like a decent term to use.
            Whatever one is chosen will, I think, be co-opted and drained of
            meaning, as “left”, “progressive”, and others have been.
            Maybe firm policy requirements, only, should be the test.

            Quite impressive what a tiny cabal can do, for now, to the great detriment of most of the citizenry..

            for now

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Different terms could be tried to see how they do.

              “Old Deal” sounds interesting. But I fear it may run the risk of seeming to invoke the pre-New Deal order . . . the Gilded Age, the Roaring Twenties. Perhaps the term “Old NewDeal” or ” the Good Old New Deal” could avoid that danger.

              But yes, different things should be tried. I will keep calling myself New Deal Reactionary or SanderSocial Democrat or similar things depending on context. I won’t call myself “left” because I don’t feel like an SJW nor do I care to be mistaken for one of them.

              I wonder if the word “populeftist” . . . “populeft” . . etc. might be useful.

              1. Procopius

                Any term which includes “populo” is going to be misunderstood since the Liberals/Centrists/New Democrats/BlueDogs/Clintonistas have used “populist” as a synonym for “fascist” and “Trumpist” for two years now. When I was a kid, a “populist” was somebody who wanted to break up monopolies and make government more responsive to the citizens.

        2. Copeland

          Over at Ecosophia (JMGreers blog) “left” is routinely used by Greer and most commenters to describe HRC loving/Trump resisting/open border loving/SJW types.

          It drives me a little crazy as I’m not any of those things, but consider myself super-left.

          It has been proposed over there to use the term “liberoid” for the –not like me– brand of leftie.

      3. Richard

        80 years ago, “liberal” was a more honorable term. It meant you were a New Deal Keynesian, and repubs called you a socialist and meant it with real venom in their voice. That didn’t make liberals into socialists, but it gave them a little more street cred.
        The repubs still throw the word out there occasionally, but now when they try to “make it dirty”, they mostly associate it with the establishment, with the 10%. At least that’s what works best for them these days.
        Poeple who describe themselves as “liberal” in my part of the country (western wash.) often define the idea in a largely identitarian way. They tend to get a little embarrassed when you mention class, as if were somehow not okay to talk about.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The repubs still throw the word out there occasionally, but now when they try to “make it dirty”, they mostly associate it with the establishment, with the 10%.

          They are correct. Read Thomas Frank.

      4. Grebo

        “New Democrat” refers to the Neoliberal takeover of the Democratic Party by the DLC in the 1980s.

        “Blue Dog” refers to a caucus of right-wing Democrats in the House. Possibly even more right-wing than the New Dems, or maybe just differently right-wing.

        Neither have much to do with being “liberal“.

        1. gepay

          Blue Dog Democrats are those that live in semi rural areas where advocacy of gun control is electoral death.it also means they can’t be too radical. They are basically the moderate Republicans of yesteryear – not country club republicans or tea party republicans or evangelical Republicans. they are not the Democrats of the upper 20%.like the Clintonistas or Obama

      5. Procopius

        The terms New Democrats, Third Way, and Blue Dog were used by the small group of “leaders” who created the Democratic Leadership Council in 1983 to destroy the “old-fashioned” New Deal and attract bigger donors to give them more money. This is the story according to Al From, the founder of the Democratic Leadership Council in his book, The NEW Deomcrats and the Return to Power. He’s quite unashamed of it.

    3. mikkel

      Well they’re just carrying on the great American legacy.

      Who can forget when Thomas Paine stood up at the Virginia Convention and said, “Give me a means tested tea subsidy based on projected forward annual income, with income changes resulting in either a tax credit or increase as appropriate, OR give me death.”

      While Lincoln dedicated Gettysburg with the proclamation, “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain and that government of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation, shall not perish from the earth.”

      And was it not MLK who roused the nation by restating the core Jeffersonian Truth of America, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all lobbyists are created equal.'”

      While last but not least, Reagan changed the course of history by rising in the shadows of the Brandenburg Gate and demanding, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! We only agreed on a secure fence.”

      1. mikkel

        Apologies, I forgot a more recent example. I don’t want to imply that great leaders come only from the distant past.

        Obama’s convention speech reminded us that, “There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there’s the United Neoliberals of America.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Actually, the line in Obama’s speech is feel good garbage. A black America does exist. Wealth inequality was awful even in 2004. It doesn’t need to be changed.

          We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. Really?

          Most of its just feel good pablum with a call to prayer…I mean “hope.” Its already a neoliberal speech.

    4. Hameloose Cannon

      “[D]uring World War II, when we fully mobilized every citizen in America, every factory, every natural resource, for the war effort.” Swell. General Motors, mobilizing in 1931, took full control of the German automobile manufacturer, Opel, and proceeded to assemble for the Reich military vehicles including 95,000 3-ton utility trucks, Me323 transport aircraft, the half-track SdKfz 3v…it was a hell of a way to get out of the Depression. It was possible because after the Great War, business-stopping war was foreseeable by corporations, and their political benefactors, so arrangements could be made to safeguard ownership interests when hostilities break out. And as an American, I find that difficult, that the Establishment in Washington, Berlin, and Moscow could not build, break, and mega-kill its way out to avoid their own citizens toppling their respective governments. –But is there not hope in that making things too expensive to use, to bust, too effective in political decapitation, too one-sided, we are avoiding deaths in the millions? Deaths which are really by-products of industrial production? Jobs? –Because that was the New Deal slash 5-Year Plan: rearmament, and let Europe burn itself to the ground in another Thirty Years War. Destroy the political heretics. Leftist? Rightist? Aw, heck, one’s ideological revolution abroad is another’s home-front political incumbency strategy. Lenin took a German train home and Trump got on the interwebs.

      1. rob

        General motors also stored chemicals they had patents to that were required for aviation fuel in neutral parts of of europe before the outbreak of hostilities with the us, because they knew the US would get involved and then they wouldn’t be able sell those chemicals to the nazi’s legally, anymore. God forbid the luftwaffe not have the needed aviation fuel for the bombing of london and everywhere else. Ford was as bad as general motors. Of course henry and edsel ford were real nazi sypathizers. Henry ford even sent hitler birthday greeting s. Henry’s deaborn independant newspaper ran a continuing storyline called “the international jew”. And ford built factories for hitler in vichy france, and in north africa for rommel. During the war the RAF bombed a german heavy truck factory in vichy france, too bad it was fords plant and after the war ford sued the british and allies for the loss of their property…. and won.
        ITT supplied most of the nazi communications systems and 50,ooo high explosive primers a month, during the war.. Ibm; came up with the numerical system to catagorize the political prisoners,homosexuals and jews and others by coming up with a number system to show what each prisoner in their concentration camp system was there for. They also made the forms and machinery to keep track of those numbers that were also stamped on the arms of the concentration camp prisoners. Prescott bush was the director of the union banking corporation who among other things supplied the capital(from the thyssen family) for a large percentage of steel for shipping and tanks…. until the alien property custodian put papa bush out of business because he was working for the enemy, in the end of 1942.Of course the people of connecticut didn’t know this when they elected him senator later. And standard oil of new jersey(later to be exxon) changed its port of lading to venezuela, so that it could sell more oil to the axis powers than to the allies, during WWII, sending the fuel thru spain.(these were families of people like james baker,george pratt shulz.william f buckley jr., and the rockefeller family,) The rockefellers also were involved with chase bank which also collaborated with the nazi’s. The bankers like the duponts,mellons,morgans,rockefellers, all were backers of nazi wartime investment. they didn’t want to loose the spoils , depending on who won, they wanted to make sure whoever won, they would too. and they did. The bank of international settlements was created so as to be a legal payment system for a war everyone knew was coming in 1933?. The bankers were the original fascists who were supporters of the attempted coup of 1934, when they tried to get smedley butler to lead a revolt against roosevelt, with muscle supplied by the american legion and the liberty league. They claimed they had 3 million men to foment a coup like the one tried in france, earlier.. Other industrialists shorted the allies crucial components like ball bearings, while they could sell to germany. After the allies started to take control, many seemed to have forgot they were in it for both sides.

        It is amazing how people think that WWII had everyone on board. Only the population that were dealing with rationing at home and buying liberty bonds and sending their families into harms way…. but not “everyone”. What that war would have looked like had “everyone” been on the same side, will never be known. Because it didn’t happen..

    5. John k

      They’re much worse than useless. They’re obstructionist, or reps without overt racism.
      They are well paid to obstruct progressives from power…
      give them credit, they’re obstructing very popular change.

    1. Roger Smith

      Does Robinson dream about Peterson at night? This comes off as desperate and for no reason. Just let it be. The ridiculous net of ambiguity cast over anything Peterson is one of the more amazing things I have seen constructed (he doesn’t help as he can be confusing–but not that confusing). What is it about his existence that makes it impossible for people to just go in, see what is up, take what is useful, then leave? Peterson doesn’t explicitly disavow structural reasons for problems, but chooses an approach that starts with the individual, rather than having them stare hopelessly around wondering how they can change things they have no control over. Why can’t Robinson accept this? Doesn’t have to agree, doesn’t have to disagree. Robinson constantly looks like a fool in his rants about Peterson. His original ‘gotcha’ article was cherry picked and poorly constructed rambling, and this is more of the same. “Look, I found a few people on the internet who are a good example of the position I hold on this particular topic!” In the end, instead of getting a message to think critically about the world around us, we get something that reads like a membership drive about why we should adopt a specific label.

      1. Carey

        Thanks for this comment. I still haven’t found anything like a satisfactory analysis
        of Peterson from a left POV. Cheap shots and lazy hand-waving are what I’ve
        found, Robinson’s first piece being a good example. Someone who truly wants
        to understand the attraction of JP’s message could show that a substantial amount
        of it is bunkum- “Cultural Marxists!”, and JPs studied ignoring of class relations, for starters- but he is speaking to something very real that’s substantially unaddressed by the left.

        1. todde

          I don’t get much out of Peterson. He seems to only offer Platitudes.

          he is neither the problem nor the solution. If you can get something out of what he says, and it helps you, then by all means listen to the man.

          1. shinola

            If the pieces attributed to Peterson are accurate & truly representative of his writing/speaking style, I don’t understand how anyone can take him seriously – reminds me of some “debaters” from high school days.

            I haven’t read any of his stuff though. If I read or hear of someone called a “self-help guru” I automatically think “charlatan”.

        2. Gareth

          I’m curious: what is it that he is speaking to that is unaddressed in the left specifically?

          1. gepay

            some of the absurdity of political correctness gone too far. He says equality of opportunity is good while equality of outcome is idiocy. He especially dislikes Judith Butler and those feminists that blame the evils of our time on patriarchal tyranny. He points out the contradiction of saying gender is entirely socially constructed while downplaying the biological aspects -ie if you believe that then you agree with those religious types that think you can cure homosexuality. He points out that hierarchies based on competence have their place but. they have tendency to degenerate into tyrannical structures. he is against the identity politics of the left and right.

        3. Plenue

          He’s not speaking anything but gibberish. If you seriously haven’t encountered substantial refutations of Peterson, I don’t think you’ve been looking very hard. The guy is a punching bag for actual historians and philosophers.


          https://np.reddit.com/r/Anarcho_Capitalism/comments/2o98bv/cultural_marxism_wikipedia_page_gone_for_good/cml057e/ (the subreddit obviously isn’t leftist, but someone decided to shred the entire concept of ‘Cultural Marxism’, which is one of Peterson’s pillars, there)







        4. Roger Smith

          I find Peterson to be a decent guy who legitimately wants to help people (I do think it gets to his ego sometimes). Do I agree with everything he says, no. He has his own issues, a lot of which I feel stem from his forced merging with a game of political hardball at Dichotomy Field, where he really doesn’t need to be (thanks to reactionaries like Robinson here). That seems to have forced him to have to play that angle when he isn’t necessarily politically versed but he’s sort of forced to make these quick analyses on hot topics anyways.

          1. Plenue

            Peterson isn’t being forced to do anything. He is (well, was, until about two days ago) making about 80 (eighty!) thousand dollars a month on Patreon to give his ‘profound’ opinions on things.

          2. Oregoncharles

            I’ve heard Peterson quite a bit because my far-left wife saw value there. As with many people, I think he is useful within his field, worse than useless outside it.

            His field is psychology. His real appeal is in addressing the role of men in a world where gender roles are changing dramatically and very unevenly. He isn’t always right, but he makes a lot of sense and seems to be helpful for a lot of young men and the women who care about them. That is the neglected subject he picked up.

            OTOH, politics is not his field, he seems to be pretty ignorant about it, and his contribution is ugly. It’s quite a contrast.

            He was also very prominent in a free-speech issue in Canada; I’m a free-speech radical, and I think he was right. Like others here, I also think there’s a generous portion of BS in a lot of identitarian, umm, speech. Peterson, for all his other faults, focused on it like a laser.

            And a warning: I saw his interview with a British journalist who was trying to make him look as bad as possible. He mopped the floor with her – intellectually. While remaining calm and polite. He’s smart, albeit frequently wrong, and therefore a dangerous opponent.

            Fortunately, he seems to have largely dropped out of sight lately – or is that just on NC?

        5. John

          Go to YouTube and find Jordan Peterson/ContraPoints. A hilarious critique of Peterson from a left and trans woman’s pov. ContraPoints other you tube videos are good too. Recommended in NC comments several months ago.

        6. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I still haven’t found anything like a satisfactory analysis of Peterson from a left POV.

          What would such an analysis look like? Robinson is generally pretty good, in my view. Why does he go off the rails on this topic?

      2. jrs

        The problem is the most fundamental thing people need to have control over, the ability to make a living, they don’t. So like Frankl’s concentration camp survivors they can control their reactions but not necessarily their actual material and existential circumstances.

        But I guess clean your room even if you are still living with your parents at 35. But lordy how demoralizing to the point of deaths from despair is that?

      3. Geof

        I agree. There is a pattern of attacking individuals and groups, rather than addressing ideas or material causes. Similarly, attacking the person of Trump avoids having to grapple with the reasons for his success. It’s the same on the right, where showing up Al Gore or David Suzuki as a hypocrite seems to be all that’s needed to disprove the science.

        Though Peterson says plenty that could be criticized, I rarely see a proper takedown of his ideas – it’s almost always character assassination. Curious that I don’t see any response at all to the much more level-headed Jonathan Haidt.

        Robinson takes great pains to defend the “left.” The values of the left he describes sound pretty good to me. But I’ve encountered radical “leftists” in person who don’t care about “white men making $20 an hour,” believe in capital punishment (but are all-in on anti-racism!), or oppose single-payer health care (“people should have to work!” – and this from a fellow Canadian!). Robinson would probably dismiss these as neoliberals. I think they are. But most of the left seems to have been co-opted to the extent that the distinction is almost meaningless – leaving “left” as a marker for tribal identification. Witness the piling on to Lindsay Shepherd last year for not being an properly obedient and de-skilled little worker.

        Identity politics, so far as I can tell, is the legitimating ideology of neoliberalism and the professional class in the wake of the financial crisis. It shares its biggest theoretical failing with Petreson: it is idealist, not materialist. “Words matter” in the magical sense that, like the word of God, they create reality. Like protestants, proponents believe that attestations of faith, not works, save.

        But even discussing this is nearly impossible due to reprehensible tactics. Suppression of speech, ad hominem attacks, guilt by association. Simply being photographed with Peterson and failing to denounce him is enough to attract a mob. Apparently the interpretation of one’s audience creates an obligation to respond with the right signals. “You can’t be neutral on a moving train,” said one redditor. I’ve heard that one before: “You’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists.”

        I have spoken to materialist leftists who don’t entireyl buy into identity politics, but go along with a lot of it anyway. My sense is that solidarity, acceptance of censorious tactics and the professional risks of heterodoxy paper over a lot of contradictions.

      4. tokyodamage

        I have no idea who Jordan Peterson is, aside from a Left Twitter punchline.

        But, does anyone else here at NC find Current Affairs kind of insufferable, even if we agree with their politics in general?
        Maybe it’s just me.
        I’m not big into ‘leftist purity testing’, and enjoy a variety of different people’s voices, but man.

        Anyway, all the more reason to be grateful that NC exists.

        1. Cafefilos

          I agree. I disliked both Current Affairs articles about Peterson.

          “He is also, in my opinion, a shallow and toxic thinker.”

          Anyone who can say that about Peterson has either never listened to his YouTube videos or is intentionally mis-characterizing his analyses and presentations. Peterson’s academic publications are frequently cited, while the modal number of citations his field, psychology, is 0.

          When he criticizes what he calls the “radical left,” it is generally in reference to identity politics, especially the type found in college campuses.

          While he’s no socialist, he has criticized Hillary for failing to focus on working class issues and focusing instead on ID politics. Sorry, I don’t have any links, I’m not sure which of his many videos has that criticism.

          1. Plenue

            “Anyone who can say that about Peterson has either never listened to his YouTube videos or is intentionally mis-characterizing his analyses and presentations.”

            Okay, no. Just no. This is always the first defense of Peterson’s defenders, including Peterson himself. “I didn’t say that.” His entire shtick is to verbally dance around issues, never *quite* saying something definitive so he always leaves himself an out, but clearly heavily suggesting and implying in a certain direction.

            If you actually follow him with any kind of regularity, his little inner authoritarian does openly creep to the surface from time to time, like here: https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/810165492522455040?lang=en

            “Peterson’s academic publications are frequently cited”

            Academically, as a psychologist, he seems to be fairly respectable. He’s entirely run-of-the-mill though; he isn’t remotely some impressive figure in his field. Looking through his contributions (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jordan_Peterson2) is mildly amusing, like here where he says he doesn’t think emotional intelligence exists: https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_Emotional_Intelligence_and_what_parameters_can_measure_it

            The problem is he seldom actually talks about psychology. He’s big on Jung’s archetypes. This isn’t psychology. It’s mysticism. When he isn’t talking about that, he’s putting history and philosophy, both subjects he is painfully ignorant of, through a shredder. None of this is a problem per se, except that he a. seldom, if ever, clarifies that he’s just giving opinions and isn’t an expert, and b. he implicitly relies on his procession of a PhD in one field to cloak himself in an aura of credibility for subjects he has no qualifications in.

          2. Grebo

            When someone writes a paper saying you are full of shit, that’s a citation.

            I watched a few of his videos to see what the fuss was about. He is a shallow and toxic “thinker”. He is a master of the deniable insinuation. His “cultural Marxism” schtick is far broader than identity politics. When he’s challenged he backtracks and equivocates, when he’s right his insights are as nourishing as chewing gum.

        2. Carey

          I think I know what you’re talking about WRT ‘Current Affairs’. and have
          chalked if up, so far, to its proprietor being quite young.

          He/they seem to find their views self-evidently correct, with only
          better exposure needed to win the battle. We’ll see.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > its proprietor being quite young

            I’m so old I remember when Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein were young. I like the direction Robinson is going more than the direction they went, however.

      5. macnamichomhairle

        Peterson does offer something that is getting rare in neo-liberal-dominated public discourse–apparent plain-speaking common sense, and calling a shovel a shovel. That is refreshing, in a way, and appeals to me who are gagging on the bunkum they are now offered by liberals. Trump’s success is partly due to this same approach.

        Looking at his videos, though (my wife got enthusiastic for a little while), my impression was off an old-fashioned prairie charlatan/salesman talking through his hat; a performer who is milking the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington shtick for his own purposes, which ,may, of course, include belief in the ideas he is advancing. The ideas themselves make good one-liners, but there’s not much there, if you try to grasp them.

    2. jrs

      maybe or maybe if they tried to discover the left they would discover that much of it DOES consist of identity politics, in-fighting, paranoia, etc.. Then there are some who are less into that but they are heavily into new age spirituality. There is a reason it’s been satired, even by the sympathetic. I’ve seen good (but not young in this case) left wingers wanting to see how they could pool their efforts come to a leftist event, get preached AT about everything they already know and leave demoralized.

      1. JBird4049

        I don’t know that much of the left is of the “left” that is all about identity politics although when I followed these tweets I thought my name might be Alice.

        Single payer healthcare only if the queues in hospitals are organized like progressive stack.

        — its simis bitch (@slimis27) December 30, 2018

        Satire? Sarcasm? Goofy insanity? I don’t know especially as I am one of those old times lefty and not a modern liberal.

        I just have to ask wtf is so hard understanding that a good education and medical care plus decent food, clothing, housing preferably paid by a decent paying job doing needing work would go a long way? When one is treated like garbage or a dangerous disease, and then walled off from “decent” society please do not be shocked when they get angry. Deplorables or poor Black are much the same to me. One can argue the details but the theme is the same. Crapped on, ostracized, and then blamed for their misery. This parsing out the ancestral blame for evil deeds and therefore the “inheritance” of blood guilt is wrong; this endlessly seeking, demanding, and accusing others of hurtful rudeness is insane and does no good for those who seek to grow a common community unless it is by splitting off an “evil” other group and for the crime of disagreements.

        Well, there are those who hate and often wish to destroy some for the evil of being born different or of thinking bad thoughts. I just sometimes have difficulty seeing a real difference between the extremists identitarians of both sides.

    3. Harold

      Speaking of lobsters, I just saw the 1998 series, Horatio Hornblower, where the British soldiers are referred to as “lobsters” — in contradistinction to the French “frogs”. It made me wonder if Peterson’s lobster fixation has its origin in Anglo-Canadian imperial history.

      1. Octopii

        They were called lobsters because of their red uniforms (and are more commonly referred to as redcoats).

  2. David Carl Grimes

    Pelosi wouldn’t impeach GWB over War Crimes and misleading Congress over WMD but she’ll impeach Trump over a weak and unprovable Russian election meddling? Plus Paygo will kill any enthusiasm that’s left for the Democrats

    1. RUKidding

      Of course Pelosi wouldn’t attempt to impeach GWB for War Crimes because the MIC wouldn’t permit that, plus it was likely that (at that time) any potential incoming Dem POTUS would commit similar War Crimes. So Pelosi/the MIC/the Dempublicans can’t have that.

      With Trump it’s a different story. He managed to push through a giant sucking tax break for the super wealthy and the corporations, plus his Admin has demolished a ton of Regulations, thus fouling our air, water and land for generations to come.

      But now Trump’s usefulness may be at an end. Even the elites perhaps wince sometimes at his moronic fecklessness and idiotic behavior. The Wall is a dumb hill to die on, as it’s clear that it’s an expensive boondoggle that won’t do anyone any good. Nor will it do anything useful in terms of immigration policy.

      But even more importantly (for the Elites and the MIC), Trump is anti-War (the only thing, so far, that I like about him). Pulling out the troops from Syria and threatening to end the endless senseless (but no doubt lucrative) War in Afghanistan is a final straw. Trump has stepped over a line.

      Ergo Pelosi can go after him hammer & tongs and the MIC and many Elites will be mightily happy to see it happen. Doesn’t really matter what “crimes” they charge Trump with… When Mike Pence becomes POTUS all of the MIC and the Elites will breath a sigh of relief. Pence will do their bidding.

      Thanks, Pelosi.

      Of course, it’s doubtful that the Senate will impeach Trump, so it’s most likely all a dog ‘n pony show anyway.

      1. Roger Smith

        I want to get a tshirt printed that has Trump’s tweet about pulling out of Syria on the front, juxtaposed with Clinton’s tweet about how pulling out was supporting Russia on the back. Bizarro World, and these people wonder why she lost.

      2. Anonymal

        With Trump it’s a different story. He managed to push through a giant sucking tax break for the super wealthy and the corporations, plus his Admin has demolished a ton of Regulations, thus fouling our air, water and land for generations to come.

        Not to mention, Trump’s tax cuts actually helped the middle class. The DNC would never even attempt such a thing and the Republicans only do on the surface.

        1. RUKidding

          Trump’s tax cuts in NO way helped this middle class person. Nor has it helped any of my middle class friends, many of whom are small business owners (these are truly SMALL business owners & not rich people).

          I have never ever ever been “helped” by any Republican tax cuts. Never. Every single time, my taxes have gone up, including this time.

          So I know not whereof you speak.

          OTOH, I have seen my taxes decrease under Democratic tax cuts. I am speaking from personal experience.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Gotta chime in here RU…
            Trump’s tax cut will help this sole-proprietor. Don’t own a home, don’t have health insurance but will (theoretically…haven’t seen it in writing yet!) save about $4K.
            Hell, the obamacare mandate cost me almost that…
            First Federal program EVER to help me.

            1. todde

              if you own a business it will be hard not to get an advantage with the tax cuts.

              20% off the top and a lower rate makes it hard to get a tax increase.

            2. RUKidding

              If these cuts have helped you, then I am truly happy for you. Really.

              I have several friends who own their own businesses. A couple are sole proprietors and a couple have a small number of employees (5 or less). I can only go on what they tell me, as, clearly, I don’t have access to their tax records. The people I know are very unhappy bc they tell me their taxes went up.

              I am an employee, not a bus owner. I make decent money but am far from wealthy. I consider myself solidly middle class (a dying breed) just hanging on by my finger tips. My taxes have increased once everything is figured out.

              I do have a friend who doesn’t make as much as me. She feels her taxes went down this year. I believe, though, that this may change in 2 years (?? there was something about that).

              I have another retired friend, who is concerned – but not exactly sure – that his taxes will increase this year. I don’t know his financial specifics, but he’s not mega rich.

              For those who got a tax cut (who are not the super mega wealthy): then I’m happy for you. Unfortunately, it’s simply not the case for some of the rest of us.

              1. Fiery Hunt

                My guess? Your friends lose the write off for state and local taxes. If they’re here in CA that could be a big bite, i.e taxes they used to not pay but will now.
                I know at least 4 people who are looking at $15K to 20K in new “taxes” by having that deduction for the state income and property tax capped at $10,000.

                I’m not a fan of the tax cut but will benefit from it.
                Best to you and yours, RU.

                1. jrs

                  and then the state of CA floats crazy plans like taxing text messages to make up for the impact on the state level. But for some that’s not a yellow jacket moment (how is this not 1000 times sillier than taxing fuel, taxing everyone in California’s text messages to make up for a federal tax cut for the rich).

                  Oh well I’m not rich enough to get much benefit from Trump’s tax cut, not rich enough to write off state and local taxes anyway, barely rich enough to live period, but I can text!

              2. Octopii

                Here in high real estate tax Nothern Virginia we’re all getting screwed. Prolly will get screwed on the state and local tax deduction limit as well. Slimeball really knows how to harm those who didn’t vote for him.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          Trump’s tax cuts actually helped the middle class

          Any evidence for this? And which middles class are we talking about, the professional 200k a year “middle class”, or the middle class that actually exists in the middle? The median household income in the US is 57k.. heck even in rich states like Massachusetts the median in in the mid 60k range. So when anyone says middle class you have to start there.

          Source: https://www.census.gov//library/visualizations/2017/comm/income-map.html

            1. Kurtismayfield

              I don’t even know where to begin with that tax calculator.

              #1. There is a giant hole in incomes available .. above 47k and below 150k aren’t options. Which is the largest segment of the US population.. I wonder why?

              #2. It calls 47k a year “high”.. and 30k a year “middle”..

              #3. There is no way to account for changes in deductions.

              1. todde

                there is also no differing of the types of income that i can see.

                hence the ‘for what it is worth’.

                I ran tax calculations with the actual software i use to file tax returns in fridays post, if interested.

                You are welcome to give me a scenario that I can run numbers on.

    2. Big Tap

      Maybe that’s Pelosi’s plan. The purpose of Paygo is to kneecap the Left. Since the modern Democratic party loves the military when they increase their budget what will be sacrificed? Progressive programs of course. Establishment Dems today hate two things Russia and the Left but not the Republicans that they have much in common with.

      Also Paygo if successful will demoralize the Left and may somewhat tamp down their vote so the centralists who run the party like Pelosi will continue to dominate. This strategy will backfire on them in 2020 though. They will still expect the Left to back the Democratic candidate but will be in for a nasty surprise.

      1. Carey

        “This strategy will backfire on them in 2020 though. They will still expect the Left to back the Democratic candidate but will be in for a nasty surprise.”

        I’m not sure that they expect the left to back a Dem candidate, or that they’d mind
        the outcome of the left not backing Team Corporate Blue 2020.

        Seems at some point there’d be a crisis of legitimacy, but then that’s what the militarized cops are for.

      2. Tomonthebeach

        RUK & BigTap nailed it. Pelosi’s Olde Democrat party, the one in bed with the MIC and WS, is nervous about progressives. Good grief! Sanders would have won the primary if Wasserman Shultz and her cabal had not dirty-trixed him out of the running.

        > Now we have the NYT doing a hit job on Bernie over some very late-blooming #Metooism.

        > Pelosi hopes to use PayGO to kneecap the new Progessives in the House.

        This one-two punch from the Olde Democrats shows DNC divisiveness is aimed at keep cash flowing in from the MIC and WS. Pelosi is not evil, she is just past her time vision-wise.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Sanders would have won the primary if Wasserman Shultz and her cabal had not dirty-trixed him out of the running.

          We can’t know that. It’s reasonable to believe that Sanders would have done better, especially if Superdelegate counts reflected the popular vote/caucus results. Ironically, I think there’s a stronger case that Sanders would have won the general against Trump, than that Sanders would have won the primary.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Well the Democrats have the next two years to let PayGo be proven in the House. If it proves to cripple any sort of progressive policy that would actually help the average American, do you think that there might be a price to pay in November of 2020?

    3. John

      Nancy Pelosi is more of a pragmatist than a cheerleader. It was fine for people to call for impeachment. Nancy Pelosi had to look at the reality of getting this through the senate and the blowback if it failed.

      What she said now is that we should look at the results of the Mueller investigation before deciding to impeach.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Nancy Pelosi is in my view a class-loyal, self-serving worker for the oligarchy.

        I guess that is not necessarily inconsistent with being either a pragmatist or a cheerleader, terms which admit of a wide swath of interpretations and associations of course. She does know the employment of power in service to the interests of her real, narrow, privileged “constituency.” And has lots of Uniparty help to keep riding on top in serving those interests. https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/02/daily-show-proves-democrats-are-just-corrupt-republicans/358047/

        And like the rest of the Owners and their servants, she will never suffer any consequences for the harms she has done and will continue to do to the mopes who labored to build the wealth of the country she is complicit and active in hollowing out and looting.

  3. L

    Perhaps the reason that Apple’s fall is spooking people about China is that it represents a slowdown in what Wall Street wanted out of China’s economy, a source for cheap products and luxury customers. That said anecdotally there is support for the slowdown being real. China according to other sources has increased the number of idle factories and has faced a slowdown in other production. They have also been buying less raw materials from places like Australia. By the same token the other day Xi Jinping gave a speech in which he emphasized struggle again and again and again. That ain’t serious proof but in the world of Kremlinology that kind of language worries people.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      To pile onto Apple woes, I await news of the eventual manufacture and delivery of a Linux phone like Librem 5 or similar. That could help those of us seeking to escape from the Apple and Android hegemony. Full disclosure, using an old iPad to type this, not looking forward to eventual further obsolescence. I liked the old Jobs/Ive product styles, not the current books Cooking.

    2. John

      It looks like Apple business increased everywhere but China. Actually, on a recent holiday the iPhone was the best selling phone in China so it is not that the iPhone is unaffordable. Huawei and others are raising their prices. There are several problems now in China. The saber rattling by both governments is making people react emotionally. People are boycotting Apple to punish Trump. Also, China is different in that most people use WeChat for all sorts of things, not Google, Apple or Amazon apps. It makes it easier for them to switch. On top of that the economy in China is slowing which will cause grief for all American exporters.

  4. Summer

    Re:Tech: “On Average, You’d Have to Pay Someone $1,000 to Stop Using Facebook for a Year” [New York Magazine].

    The question should be how much is the content you create on Facebook worth and the info about you worth amd how much should YOU be paid to be on it.

    Get some balls people.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And to think that on March 5 of last year, I logged out of Facebook and never went back. No one paid me anything. I finally had enough of all the drama.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I finally had enough of all the drama.

        Drama without catharsis. Facebook seems perpetually stuck in Act III (of V). All part of the dopamine look, I suppose.

    2. Bob

      The answer to your questions is “not nearly as much as you think”

      As of Q3, Facebook had 2.27 billion users (counting all fake accounts and accounts belonging to pets). Using the last 4 quarters of reported data, each account is responsible for:

      Revenue: $22.86
      Net income: $8.59
      Market Capitalization: $166.78 (using today’s closing price)

      It gets really bad when you cost this out per hour spent on the platform; but that’s what scaleability is all about.

      This assumes all accounts are worth the same amount, which they aren’t. I read an article/filing a while back that stated an account in the USA or Western Europe generates $50 of revenue per year, while an account in rural India only generates $3. The problem for growth is that the $50 market is saturated.

      Someone here on NC (probably Yves) pointed out a behavioral financial bias called the Endowment effect in which people tend to irrationally overvalue their own possessions (physical or digital) simply because it is theirs.

      1. Summer

        The answer to your questions is “not nearly as much as you think.”

        I didn’t have a figure in mind.

        But those should be fairly easy numbers for Facebook to cover. People should get some balls.

        1. steelhead

          I joined in 2005 to find an ex-lover in ORD. Once I found out where the individual was, I terminated my account.

    3. John

      They were asking how much people wanted to be paid to quit FB! I am wondering how much I would have to be paid to start using it. Quite a lot. I can’t imagine getting started with FB.

  5. jo6pac

    said they will not oppose the overall House rules package based on the pay-go provision because they’re satisfied with promises from Democratic leaders that they would waive pay-go if it interfered with significant bills, including #MedicareforAll.”

    There’s is no hope for the newbies if they believes this. Way back nancy p. said we’ll vote this health care and read & fix later. I wonder how that went? They’ve been there one day and hace sold us out already?

    Nap time. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    1. Darthbobber

      Of course, if it’s TRUE that they’d waive it if it interferes with anything significant (that they wanted), that would mean that the ballyhooed paygo itself was just empty posturing, would it not?

      A policy announced with drums and trumpets, but only to be applied to insignificant things. Classic.

    2. Daryl

      Also, if you introduce a rule and then waive it whenever, it’s not really a rule now is it? Why have it at all?

      Oh yeah, it’s another tool to get rid of things they don’t like. Medicare for All? Well sorry folks, we’d love to, but you know this PAYGO and all..

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “[@RepJayapal & @repmarkpocan] said they will not oppose the overall House rules package based on the pay-go provision because they’re satisfied with promises from Democratic leaders that they would waive pay-go if it interfered with significant bills, including #MedicareforAll.”


    I hope that is not a lesson that we have to learn.

    1. Geo

      Anyone who hasn’t learned what promises mean in DC doesn’t want to learn. The promises only go one way: Mitch McConnell “promised” immigration reform to Schumer last year. Nothing. Promises about improving the ACA. Nothing. Wars would pay for themselves….

      Why not pass progressive legislation then “promise” to sort out the costs later? The promises never go in the direction of helping regular people, only donors.

      1. Richard

        “Why not pass progressive legislation then ‘promise’ to sort out the costs later?”
        I like that you’ve turned their bs mode of operating on its head.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Anyone who hasn’t learned what promises mean in DC doesn’t want to learn.

        Jayapal is not opposing now. He also said ‘they will not oppose.’

        Does it mean ‘they don’t want to learn?’

        And who are included in the ‘they’ he mentioned?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A devastating defeat suffered by the Ds last November would or could have opened a narrow path to progressive victory – that’s one possiblity.

      The same path becomes harder when they are the incumbents in the House. I think that prolongs the struggle.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “Sharpening the contradictions,”

          I think the Democrats can be immobilized from the inside. They can only be assaulted from outside. As you know, their control over ballot access makes that hard. That’s why I thought that DSA paper on parallel structures the other day was interesting.

          1. Mike Mc

            Link please for the DSA paper on parallel structures. Card-carrying DSA member and I can’t find it on their main website (dsausa.org).


    2. Carey

      That why they get the big, very big, bucks: to stop anything that might allow the citizenry to recognize and use their great power.

  7. Summer

    As preparation for the upcoming election extravaganzas begin, remember the last bamboozle!!!

    On that note, the review Michelle Obama’s book deserves:


    “…She tells us her loving and hard working father worked for the city’s water department, and that he was a Democratic precinct captain but she never connects the two. Every Chicagoan knows that water department employees and tens of thousands of other city and county workers, for decades before the seventies and decades afterward are obliged to walk the precincts election day and deliver assigned quotas of votes for what Chicagoans call the Machine. That’s what precinct captains and their helpers are. The captains who fail to deliver their quota lose those city jobs and are replaced with others who can deliver the vote. For forty-five out of fifty-five years Chicago was ruled by one or another mayor named Richard Daley, and deploying an army of patronage workers like Michelle’s father was how they and their stooges stayed in office. Little Michelle Robinson wouldn’t have known that, but by the time one becomes an adult in Chicago these facts are well known….”

    Michelle Obama remembers that her feelings were hurt when Congressman Bobby Rush called her husband an “educated fool” in 1999 or early 2000. But she omits entirely the political context of Barack “Obama’s 2000 run for Congress against Rush, the only electoral contest he managed to lose. By then, the Daley Machine had ruled Chicago for decades despite a fairly robust, longstanding and widespread political opposition. But that opposition didn’t have a mayoral candidate for 1999. Bobby Rush stepped forward to be the opposition’s mayoral candidate that year, even though he knew he couldn’t win. Obama’s primary election run against Congressman Rush the following year was widely perceived in Chicago as payback, a gesture of Daley’s displeasure against Bobby Rush. In return for his losing run though, Barack Obama was well rewarded indeed. His state senate district was redrawn to shed most of its ghetto precincts and replace them with some of the wealthiest areas in the city, really some of the wealthiest in the nation, making it easier to raise far more money when he chose to run for higher office.”

    1. Geo

      I saw the author was David Brock and I clicked away. No one should waste any time or brain power on a single word from that scoundrel. He is easily the most toxic person involved in Democratic politics and that’s a crowded field.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        How can one treat a disease if one is unwilling to study the symptoms or the causative organism?

        1. albrt

          I don’t want to treat that disease, I just want to stay well clear to avoid getting infected.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Well, it’s good to know what Brock is up to….firstly, he’s still fighting the last war from 2016, defending HRC against corruption charges. That’s nice.

      Next, he defends Beto against Bernie with the talking points we’ve seen from the rest of the pro-centrist, establishment media voices like Jonathan Chait, etc.

      Brock’s writing this helps clarify who’s running/coordinating the ‘defend Beto’ rallying cry in the media. Do recall how extensive campaign operatives contacts are with journalists/columnists. It was extensively detailed in Wikileaks’ email releasing.

      Also, we’re seeing classic Russia-gate tactics. Organize a conspiracy to accuse your opponent of organizing a conspiracy (oh, sorry, collusion).

      The playbook is very familiar to those of us who watch closely enough….or maybe just read NakedCap! :)

      Brock has helped clarify what we’re seeing in real time. Beto’s become their pick….or at least their vehicle to tank Bernie (the real goal).

      1. flora

        They’re still scared of Bernie’s appeal to voters; he puts forward solid program proposals. Makes the rest of the Dem field look bad. It’s the program proposals he puts forward that are attractive because they answer real needs, unlike Joe “means test SS” Biden and Beto “no M4A” O”Rourke. My 2 cents.

      2. Carey

        So the “Sorry Bernie, we didn’t mean it; can we be friends” act is over?
        Speaking of the public letter Brock wrote, not so long ago.

  8. Geo

    “Sexism Claims From Bernie Sanders’s 2016 Run

    Any claims like this should be addressed but it’s twlling that these articles are coming out amidst all the critical articles on the actual policies of Beto, Biden, Harris, and other establishment darlings. Especially since claims of sexism aren’t unique to any one campaign but more to the culture of campaigns. It was the Inton campaign after all who moved the sexual harassment victim of her favored “religious advisor” to another location while keeping the harasser on staff – and later having david Brock hire him where he continued his harassment of young women.

    1. Roger Smith

      When will NYT get on to a report of what exactly is going on in all of the “Biden awkwardly making physical contact with women and children” photos?

      1. nycTerrierist

        related re: Lambert’s comment on the Sanders piece in The Forward.
        Yet another instance how Sanders is a class act, modelling good behavior —
        and of the Times’ hypocrisy, always so quick to play the anti-semitism card
        when it suits them….

    2. Rosario

      You are probably right that this was fronted on purpose, and it is obvious to me that their are a lot of powerful people out for his head, but Bernie is going to have to deal with the whole Sidney Poitier/Jackie Robinson thing for the next two years (i.e. he’ll always need to be the best, do the best, and speak with modesty and composure). It is unfair, but that’s the reality of it.

      Given how quick the media will be to sabotage his bid for the presidency, this was a serious SNAFU on his part, and he won’t be able to afford many more like it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Given how quick the media will be to sabotage his bid for the presidency, this was a serious SNAFU on his part, and he won’t be able to afford many more like it.

        That’s how I feel. And picking and nurturing staff is an important skill in a President, particularly since a Sanders presidency could not rely on Harvard, Yale, and Princeton networks for — with individual exceptions — anything other than, er, resistance and sabotage. Let’s bring in some people from state schools. Like UMKC!

        Adding, so far as I can tell, if you assume good faith on Sanders’ part, he has nothing to apologize for; the matter never reached his desk, offenders were disciplined at lower levels (unlike the other campaigns I mention), similar matters were handled correctly (like paying interns), and apparently the 2018 Senate campaign was much better organized than the Presidential campaign (“gold standard”). The Sanders campaign also reacted well to the letter and agreed to meet. I believe that at least some of the letter writers — perhaps not those who went to work for Beto? — were operating in good faith, even though only the most naive would not see the use that would be made of the letter, as soon as it leaked. (And since they were experienced campaign staffers, it’s hard to think they were naive.) It’s good to fix the problem (if the measures Sanders has already taken have not). And it’s good to get what is, after all, a piece of oppo out of the way early. But Sanders seems to have this crazy notion that his detractors will operate fairly. They will not; the identitarians running interference on this are against everything Sanders stands for, ideologically and as aspirational party/media types. And he also seems to be operating like a one-man band. That’s not going to work either. (Also, his supporters smeared as “Bernie Bros” by Clinton campaign assets to be stood up for, something that’s lost in this mess.)

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Especially since claims of sexism aren’t unique to any one campaign but more to the culture of campaigns.

      From the Politico piece that broke the story:

      Several people who signed the letter said that their effort is not just about Sanders’ 2016 or 2020 presidential campaigns, but rather about what they called a pervasive culture of toxic masculinity in the campaign world. They stressed that they hoped their letter would not be reduced to reinforcing the “Bernie Bro” caricature, but rather would be part of a larger reckoning among people who run campaigns.

      “Several” of the letter writers operating in good faith, then. Oddly, their concerns were lost in the ensuing uproar.

  9. Richard

    Liz Warren: cognitive dissonnce slaps someone else awake. Good for her, indeed. I am 100% more likely to cast a vote in her direction.
    Hold her feet to the fire though.

    1. Summer

      “Hold their feet to the fire…”

      But don’t burn your hand off while waiting for them to feel the heat.

      1. polecat

        Lizzy needs to enlist the services of a Gom Jabbar, and bring it, along with that little black cube thingy, when debating other candidates — ” Hey, Beto .. your up next .. and you better not lie to the audience “.. ” Corey, it’s your turn .. Quit Crying ! .. your hand’s not even in the box yet ” .. ” Stop pointing, Kamala, and just get on with it … Oh, by the way .. how do you like your hand toasted, just crispy, or in ashes ?? ”

        Any reverend mothers way-out there willing to lend one for the cause ?

  10. Rajesh K

    Apple. Well in China you have a ton of options with better value: Xiaomi, Opo, etc. Opo is all over South and East Asia including India, Indonesia, etc.

  11. a different chris

    I am glad that they managed to somehow toss a sexism charge at the Saunder’s “bros”.

    I’m not glad about the stupid charge, I am glad as it provides further and pretty much final evidence for my picture of how these people think. And why they simply have to go.

    1. voteforno6

      There might have been some untoward behavior during his campaign – who knows? If there was anything going on, I doubt it was anything more egregious than those of other candidates (including those brotastic Obama campaigns). Most problems there can probably be attributed to the culture of political campaigns. The impression I got from his interview is that he’s taking it seriously enough to implement changes during his 2018 Senate run, and for any future campaigns. My guess is that it’ll be a non-issue by the time the Presidential campaign kicks into gear (assuming he runs). There’ll be some screeching from the usual suspects, but that’ll be about it.

  12. ACF

    I watched the Rachel interview of Warren and saw:

    1) Warren is for leaving Syria, Afghanistan, etc. unapologetically and yes Rachel was nonplussed that Warren neither was war monger-y nor particularly pick-on-Trump-y.

    In response to the second or third q aimed at getting Warren to attack Trump for his withdrawals, focusing on ‘process’ since Warren endorsed the basic policy (though said it should be part of plan/vision for the region), Warren eventually said: Do you mean, do I think we should do foreign policy by tweet? Well, no. I don’t. But then she pivoted.

    2) Warren didn’t treat Trump as a sui genesis abomination, but rather a more extreme embodiment of R policy that had been gradually building for decades. She focused on the attempt to end Obamacare, then the tax cuts, and the brazen corruption within the administration. Rachel seemed kind of bothered that Warren didn’t get into full Trump is the anti-Christ mode, and that she thought Trump more extreme/more brazen but essentially conventional Republican on policy. Warren pointed out that the first paragraph of the Romney op-ed praised the policies/achievements.

    3) Warren really hammered/built the frame of a rigged economy, of corrupt government, of the need for a grassroots small d takeover of government. She wasn’t particularly partisan in this framing, even pushed back once when Rachel talked about Democrats

    4) Warren was less terrific on campaign finance than she’s getting credit for–she didn’t take a vow to swear off pac money or large donors; she said billionaires shouldn’t self-finance (Bloomberg, Steyer) and that people shouldn’t take money from billionaire pacs.

    5) the one thing I’ll give Rachel credit for. She played clips of Warren going back 20 years when Warren was doing the bankruptcy work and already speaking for ordinary people v. the banks and speaking on student loans, up through more recent clips and she properly discussed Warren’s resume. Warren has much more of an established track record of walking her talk than most people give her credit for.

    6) Warren is blindingly smart, has good presence, eye contact, etc. But something about her voice and speech pattern just really lacks energy even while it looks like she does in fact have energy. I hope that changes.

    All in all Warren exceeded my expectations and Maddow was disappointing

    1. RUKidding

      Thanks for that summation. I don’t have a tv.

      I see Rachael Maddow sort of like how I see NPR. Both have some very very limited value and sometimes provide reasonably decent information or good stories.

      Both, though, are part of the MIC (or certainly cheerleaders for War, Inc). Both are War Mongers. And in the case of NPR (I can’t say about Maddow, as I rarely watch her), it is growing increasingly conservative and slanted in their reporting, imo.

      I rarely listen to NPR nooz anymore. Just awful. Worse than worthless.

      It’s really hard to hear some of my friends extolling the alleged “virtues” of NPR. Yuck.

      1. Lee

        I get most of my news from the NPR comedy news quiz program Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. Reveal , This American Life, and Science Friday I like as well.

          1. RUKidding

            Yes I mostly like those programs, too, but I listen with some skepticism even to them. However, generally much better than the “news.”

      2. Lunker Walleye

        NPR — husband listens to it when he exercises. This morning the interviewer was nearly all “upspeak” for almost the whole interview. The station used to be good but has declined ever since “The Contract With America” — it gets worse and worse. Can barely listen to it anymore.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Agree on all points, it was a nice reminder of why I came to like her in the first place. I thnk having her in the race is a good thing, she’ll improve the quality of the debates/discussions during the race.

      Her advice on personal finance was usefully different and quite good. It was better, actually, than what was going around at the time. Most of what I recall reading in the 90s was infantile stuff like “save $2 a day by not buying coffee and invest that money in the stock market. In 30 years, it’ll help you retire rich!!!”

      She said, basically, don’t sweat the small stuff like buying a coffee or lunch or other discretionary items from time to time. You can stop those if you get into trouble. Focus on being careful regarding the big, fixed payment purchasing commitments like buying a house and car. Get those right and you’ll be in decent shape in your personal finances.

    3. Chris


      I have been lukewarm on Sen. Warren. But that appearance made me revise my opinion or her. I would be happy to vote for someone who was committed to following through on those issues the way she talked about them.

  13. Lee

    One is also reminded of C. Northcote Parkinson’s dictum on architecture: “A perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse.” So Apple’s new HQ building would be a parallel case to the Vatican. Or Versailles.

    Not to mention the Parthenon. Definitely should be on such a list. Speaking of Ancient Greece, during the day’s digressive peregrinations through tangentially related topics (I started with ancient Germanic tribes, which got somehow got me over to the history of world slavery, which got me to, I don’t recall how, Aristotle) I learned of the great philosopher’s utter disdain for manual work and those who performed it. That he believed it was only fit for slaves. What an asshole.

    1. knowbuddhau

      There’s more to that than meets the eye. Aristotle ain’t the only one.

      Ever notice how many, who say they’re down with the working class, nevertheless find housework beneath them? If all work has dignity, why is it so common to look down on cleaning and those who do it?

      In my work as a janitor, that’s all some people have ever seen me do. It’s understandably hard for them to imagine me doing anything else. That I crushed the SAT and GRE, and was an honor student in grad school and again a decade later at community college, never comes up. People look down on cleaning, and me for doing it.

      “It’s a Cinderella story,” says the Caddy in Caddyshack, too many times to count. Not for me, it ain’t.

      The name’s Cinder*fella, tyvm. And my standard is *immaculate.

    2. Judith

      You might be interested in “Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States” by James C.Scott,which I am currently reading. At a high level a re-examination of the conventional wisdom regarding the origins of agriculture and the development of the state. He includes a fascinating and troubling discussion about slavery as far back as the early, fragile, short-lived states (around 3,000 BCE). “The domestication of human animals.” And yes he does quote that Aristotle remark.

      1. Lee

        If we are looking for ancient precursors to democracy the Harappans might be a better example than the Greeks.

        One problem is that history is written not only by the winners but it also requires literacy, which is a recent development and had yet to develop among many of the groups who were principal actors during antiquity. For example, the nature and identification of the Germanic tribes has relied heavily on Roman and Greek sources. The Wikipedia article I read on the topic notes that modern researchers now have doubts about whether or not these tribal groups were even Germanic. There are some oddities, such as these supposedly Germanic peoples were, when not conquering Rome, often fighting each other while at the same time making rather strange long-lasting alliances such as the Germanic Vandals with the Iranian Alans. They physical sciences are providing a look into our preliterate, prehistoric past that the ancient worthies cannot.

  14. Carey

    After reading the NYT piece on Sanders’s 2016 campaign, I’d say divide and rule is off
    to a rousing and very early start.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Dow is down over 600 points on Nancy’s moment in the sun.

      From time to time, we say, if stocks don’t like you, maybe you’re not so bad.

      But I’m not sure if that’s the case here.

  15. ewmayer

    “The $35 billion race to cure a silent killer that affects 30 million Americans” [CNBC] — The name of the dire-condition-requiring-lifetime-use-of-expensive-drug-with-endless-side-effects-rather-than-lifestyle-change reminds me of one of of my favorite words, “steatopygian”. (Also its less-size-obsessed aesthetic cousin, “callipygian”.)

    “Big bottom, big bottom,
    Talk about mudflaps, my girl’s got ’em…”

    1. Carey

      Not just “lifestyle change” required, unfortunately: low-dose glyphosate, and “inert” ingredients of Monsanto’s Roundup are *strongly* implicated in the explosion
      of liver and also kidney disease, worldwide. See Sri Lanka for a grim example.

      “more study is needed”

      1. JTMcPhee

        And reversion, or recourse maybe, to the supremacy of the Precautionary Principle. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle

        I would state the principle a little more baldly: No one has the right to innovate or disrupt or profit by externalizing unless they can prove that there is no risk of harm to the wider environment, including human health since unless “it affects us directly, we don’t really think about it.” The burden of proof is on the proponent of the innovation or extension or disruption or change to explore all the failure modes and show that no harm will result. And of course in the real world of money and power, that ain’t going to happen, short of the Jackpot, but I can dream, can’t I?

        [I’d note that even this “principle” is subject to capture and watering down. There’s a web site that supposedly is all about application of the principle, but is mostly about those delicate exceptions and special cases where The Market, and the Inalienable Rights of Unaccountable Business Corporations and Government Agencies and Weird Individuals to Innovate and all, should trump the Principle. http://www.precautionaryprinciple.eu/ All part of the wing of business fraud that is incorporated into “risk assessment” and “cost-benefit analysis,” a couple of the many ways that the sausage makers take really good ideas, grind them up, add a lot of toxins and fillers and carcinogenic food coloring, and squirt the mix out with the kind of fanfare and effusive praise associated with the first poop that a child accomplishing initial steps in toilet training usually experiences…}

        I urge everyone to include recall and thumping on universal application of the Precautionary Principle in their fundamental thinking patterns and insertions into the content of all policy discourse, public and private.

        “Infinita talis acquisitiva delenda est!” (Apologies to Latin scholars. That’s what Google Translate gives in Latin for the English “unregulated,” “an endless acquisitive,,,”)

  16. Chris

    Interesting rant from Tucker Carlson, here , I’m amazed this was ever published on Fox’s website. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this level of dissatisfaction with the status quo ever voiced in the likes of the NYT or on MSNBC.

    1. Unna

      Tucker’s disliking both establishment parties equally and is actually saying it. And anybody who says bad things about Mitt can’t be all bad. I wonder how long he’ll last?

    2. Oregoncharles

      A line of Carlson’s I picked up on: “For our ruling class, more investment banking is always the answer. They teach us it’s more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids.”

      So how are their kids doing? We’ve seen some awful reports on them. We know that extreme inequality is bad for the rich, too, even if they think they like it; and I’ve seen reports that their kids often suffer from almost the same sort of neglect as the children of poverty.

      I can’t agree with everything Carlson says; I rarely agree with everything anybody says. And his reference to “socialism” is an obvious deus ex machina, a late save. Very late. But on the whole, he makes an alarming amount of sense.

  17. VietnamVet

    Apple made today seem like a Lehman Brothers moment. Not a bankruptcy, but this foresees the financial consequences of the restart of the Cold War with China and Russia on world trade. Donald Trump also opened the Pandora Box – Withdrawal of American troops from Syria. Elizabeth Warren picked up the ball. The forever wars will end. Peace, Yellow Jackets and Brexit assure that the linchpin of neoliberalism, the rich stealing from everyone else, has been pulled. The wheels are spinning off.

  18. Darthbobber

    The McAuliffe wapo article on what he calls realism. I’ll skip the ones for which he can’t be bothered to give any reason whatsoever for their lack of realism (like a jobs guarantee), and focus on his anti-free college screed, where he actually troubles to make an argument of sorts.

    Firstly, the “free” is a bit of a strawman. Its free to the student, but nobody pretends it’s literally free. It’s treating a public good as worthy of public funding.

    He seems to drag in a preference for means-testing, and repeats the failed Clinton attack on the idea from 2016 as using taxes to send rich peoples’ kids to college free.

    Following the model of the already publicly funded elementary and secondary education, does he attack that because rich families can send their kids to a public high school the same as anybody else? Does he realize that that doesn’t mean the public picks up the tab when the same rich family sends the kid to an elite private prep school instead?

    Does he realize he’s actually faking a variant of pseudopopulism here in order to attack the cartoon of actual populism he despises?

    The whole piece falls within a depressing genre of “crackpot realist” (thanks, C Wright Mills) writing which ends by demonstrating that the author either knows little about the subjects they opine about, or hopes that their audience doesn’t.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Maybe if children of the rich went to state schools they’d have some incentive not to destroy them. I believe that’s the idea behind Canadian Medicare (but I don’t have a cite).

  19. Summer

    Re: Apple

    Dear Mr. Market

    Don’t put all your apples in one basket.

    Ancient Wisdom

    1. Oregoncharles

      Silver and gold are still going up – FWIW.

      Which usually means Mr. Market is quite uncomfortable.

  20. djrichard

    “The Fed: “Key Fed Yield Gauge Points to Rate Cuts for First Time Since 2008”

    I’m sure Jim Haygood would have weighed in on that.

    I noticed the 13 week treasury (i.e. the 3 month) is also not following trend as of late. It seems to have peaked. Which also suggests there’s some blinking in the head lights.

    Separately, the 10Y yield has dropped significantly to 2.55%. Just above the range of where the Fed is targeting their funds rate. If the 10Y yield doesn’t go back up, there’s no more room for the Fed Reserve to raise rates. And if it keeps going down? It will force an inversion. Usually inversions happen the other way around – the Fed Reserve raises their rate above the 10Y yield. Last time it came close to happening the other way, the Fed Reserve actually lowered their rate to avoid the issue. I think this was back in 96 or so. But the Fed Reserve wasn’t on a campaign back then to raise their rate, the way they are now. So interesting days to say the least.

    My guess would be that the Fed Reserve will be laissez faire about it. They can trust the population not to get up in arms over another recession (we’ll muster the serendipity prayer in response). And hey, it will happen on Trump’s watch. Fed Reserve stakeholders would like that. So no downside to letting the yield curve invert and letting the economy crash.

    And then they can step in afterwards to be the heros. Lower their rate (at least they got it up to 2.25 to 2.5% so they’re starting from zero – they have room to drop). And do what they did last time, engage in QE. But given how low rates will be this next time around, I suspect they’re going to have to be even more creative. And will they ever be able to raise their rate again? It’s going to be a brave new world.

  21. Big Tap

    Regarding Tucker Carlson’s speech well said and thought provoking. Except for the end bit about his fear of socialism coming this was excellent.

    1. Carey

      I saw it the same way. So accurate that I start wondering if it’s not some sort of “limited-hangout” scheme by our betters™; after all, this is the land of Operation Mockingbird..
      How it would benefit the few, to feed we-the-many this factual analysis, maybe someone
      else can say. Another “resistance is futile!” moment, among many others?

      Anyway, if Carlson is sincere and not under duress, I applaud him, except for the last minute or so (which almost felt pro forma, truth be told).

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      And except for his dismissal of heavy citizen pressure to re-legalize marijuana and his mis-attribution of marijuana re-legalization efforts to tax-hungry politicians.

      In Michigan, for example, marijuana was state-level re-legalized by a referrendum forced into being against the wishes of the political class.

      And Tucker Carlson’s functional lying about that is typical of the functional lies he tells about many things to ambush his guests with and make them waste their time chasing all the bright shiny squirrels he releases from his cage in order to mislable them as being the guests’ own runaway pets and therefore demanding of the guests’ attention.

  22. Unna

    St. Louis County’s new prosecuting attorney firing staff. Well good! That’s what he needs to do. That’s the whole point of having an elected prosecutor, who presumably got elected on his character, abilities, and policies. So he has policies the old deputy prosecutors don’t like. OK, so let them resign. He’s the elected prosecutor enacting policies the voters approved of in an election. Instead, these paragons of civic virtue sought refuge in a labour union with cops. Which shows they have no understanding about what public function they, as prosecutors, are supposed to fulfill, and so should have never become prosecutors in the first place. Prosecutors are often in a de facto adversarial relationship with the cops since the prosecutor is the one who decides who gets charged with what, and not the cop. The prosecutor is the one who says “no” to the cop. The prosecutor represents the “people”, not the cops. Being in a labour union with cops is, in my opinion, a moral conflict of interest. They should serve at the pleasure of the elected prosecutor. I only hope this new guy can find enough qualified people to replace the ones he tosses out.

    Also, the Furguson shooting prosecution should be reopened, in my most humble opinion. From what I read the whole thing was open to a lot of questions. I wouldn’t prejudge this case. But a re look at it by the new people would be a good thing, even, and perhaps especially, if the result exonerating the cop stays the same. Note, I have no opinion on this particular shooting since I have no access to all the evidence in that case, as very few people do, including the members of the Grand Jury since they only got to see what was presented by the prosecutor.

  23. Carey

    Just making the late-evening observation that we now have both parties [heh] working
    against the will of the citizenry, as well as Our Corporatist Media, the supra-national corporations, the MIC, and the seemingly independent thought-policers, too. Tough sledding!

    Interesting times.

  24. NoOneInParticular

    “The Spiegel Scandal and the Seduction of Storytelling” – Here is another instance of the logical conclusion of a singular focus on corporate profit. It’s a splashy example suitable for its subject matter which is tabloid journalism. Anyone in the journalism business over the last 20 to 30 years has had “storytelling” drummed into their heads as the essential factor in their trade. Any journalist who recalls even a sliver of the history of the trade sees storytelling as a code-word for yellow journalism – aka tabloid journalism, sensationalism – and its essential disregard for facts, context, and consequences. This is what the bosses want because they believe it attracts eyeballs and that is the metric that allows the bosses to survive in corporate media. A trivial real-word example: an employee self-evaluation form from more than a decade ago at a major corporate media outlet asked journalists to describe what they did in the past year to enhance shareholder value. Daily coverage meetings are now polluted with discussions about what stories rate and how to milk them day after day rather than what stories are significant to the community. Once, the discussion might have been about which significant stories to cover and how to do so in an interesting way. Now, the discussion is simply, what stories are interesting? Bosses scoff at a naive suggestion that a story is worth covering simply because it’s important. This is an obvious abdication of responsibility but what are the honest worker bee journalists to do but go along so they can feed themselves and their families? Relotius will probably be written off as an outlier, a freakish, extreme example of a dishonest reporter, and life will go on. But the forces that push journalists to waste time “telling stories” will continue crushing the trade and depriving people of the essential tool they need to make decisions in a democracy: useful information.

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