By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
Spoke to someone close with Clinton in contact with her today. They say she wasn’t trying to be emphatic and close the door on running when she spoke to a local reporter yesterday, and that she was surprised by how definitively it played. 1/2
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 6, 2019
What a piece of work.
Sanders: “Bernie Sanders’s Staffers Want Him to Be Less Grumpy” [Edward Isaac-Dovere, The Atlantic]. “Even his loyal staff members at times feel slighted, and have learned not to expect much in the way of small talk or interest in anything but the work they’re doing.” • Oh, the humanity!
Sanders: “Sanders signs DNC pledge to govern as Democrat if elected” [Politico]. • What a weird headline. What on earth can “govern as a Democrat” possibly mean? Pass a health care bill that’s based on a Republican plan, with a pilot project run by Mitt Rommey? Anyhow, FWIW, here’s the loyalty oath Sanders signed:
Note that the candidate swears to be “faithful” to the “interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party,” but not to its principles. That’s because there aren’t any. Readers may enjoy picking through the bafflegab, because I think you could drive a whole fleet of trucks through the loopholes. Here, for example, is Benjamin Studebaker’s view: “A Second Term for Trump is Better Than Beto.” Nobody, after all, said that success had to be immediate; perhaps a short term failure improves the ultimate welfare and prospects for success for the party. In a way, this McCarthy-ite armraising is a kludge, another symptom of a fraying system: Exactly as we can no longer, apparently, trust voters to pick a President, and so must give veto power to the intelligence community, so we can no longer trust primary voters to pick a candidate, and the “National Chairperson” must step in if they somehow get the wrong answer. Pesky voters!
* * *
“SC’s Clyburn pans reparations, ‘opportunity zones’ as unable to address racial inequality” [Post and Courier]. “‘I think pure reparations would be impossible to implement,’ said Clyburn, D-Columbia. ‘But we can deal with the issue (of racial inequality) if we just admit, first of all, that it exists and then come up with some straightforward ways to deal with it.'” • Well… Leaving aside the merits of reparations, it seems reasonable that the Black Misleadership Class would prefer not to have, well, others handing out $400,000 cash payments based on lineage (a complex eligibility formula, note well). Can’t have two sources for the goodies!
“Dem campaign chief: Medicare for All price tag ‘a little scary'” [The Hill]. “The House Democrats’ new campaign chief on Tuesday poured cold water on the progressive Medicare for All plan, dismissing it as just ‘one idea’ out there and warning that its estimated $33 trillion price tag was ‘a little scary.’ ‘The ‘Green New Deal’ is an idea. ‘Medicare for all’ is an idea. But there are many others that are out there,’ Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.), the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said in an interview with The Hill.” • If Buston wants to see something really scary, she should read Isaiah Breen’s tweet storm under Heatlh Care, today.
Our Famously Free Press
They just can’t help themselves:
Sanders does love to tout his crowd sizes … kind of like someone else. pic.twitter.com/V9Rgcpr3re
— Annie Linskey (@AnnieLinskey) March 4, 2019
“Payments to corporation owned by Ocasio-Cortez aide come under scrutiny” [WaPo]. “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)’s chief of staff helped establish two political action committees that paid a corporation he ran more than $1 million in 2016 and 2017, federal campaign finance records show. Brand New Congress LLC, the corporation owned by Saikat Chakrabarti, was also paid $18,880 for strategic consulting by Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign in 2017, records show. The following year, he worked as a volunteer to manage her campaign, according to his LinkedIn profile.” • Read for the detail, but I’m seeing stuff like “hypocrisy” and “raises questions.” I’m not sure there’s anything going on here besides upstarts horning into the existing fund-raising arrangements.
Realignment and Legitimacy
A DSA observation nobody asked for: in my anecdotal experience, the smaller, sometimes "rural" chapters are extremely radicalized and less willing to compromise on policy or ideology and I think this would surprise your average large city dwelling Leftist
— Caroline (Sports Pastor's Wife) 🌽 (@TallCoreopsis) February 17, 2019
— Emily Cameron 🌹 (@emilyfresno) March 5, 2019
All power to the locals, say I. But I think National has the bit between its teeth, and resources will be committed, insanely, to campaigning for Sanders.
I’m so impressed by @NewOrleansDSA Direct Service Committee! They keep developing new ways to make mutual aid more meaningful and accessible; building connections within our communities while sharpening our analysis and increasing political education. Y’all are rock stars! https://t.co/QbDIhoJ9JQ
— suzanne-juliette (@wingedisis) February 13, 2019
Do this! Do this! Do this! Go on out there and serve the working class! (Who was it who said: “Elections come and go?”)
We’re organizing Rochester’s second annual Abortion Access Bowl-A-Thon! Last year we raised $5,400, and this year we want twice as many teams so we can fill up the whole damn bowling alley. You can join a team or donate here: https://t.co/DexCTxQkVY
— Rochester DSA 🌹 (@rocDSA) March 5, 2019
F*ck it, Dude. Let’s go bowling.
International Trade, December 2018: “Today’s headline $59.8 billion deficit is the deepest of the expansion, since October 2008. It is also $1.4 billion beneath Econoday’s consensus range and $2.2 billion deeper than the consensus” [Econoday].
ADP Employment Report, February 2019: “ADP estimates that private payroll growth in Friday’s employment report for February will rise” [Econoday].
MBA Mortgage Applications, week of March 1, 2019: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell” [Econoday].
Retail: “Survey: retailers lose more revenue from inaccurate inventory than theft” [DC Velocity]. “Retailers have an inventory headache and it’s not from shoplifting. Inaccurate inventories are to blame for more lost revenue than theft, according to the results of a recent survey from supply chain data service provider Bossa Nova Robotics. Nearly all the survey respondents (99 percent) said they have some kind of constant inventory problem, with 87 percent pegging it as a top source of lost revenue; far more than the 13 percent who fingered theft as the top revenue source.” • Talking their book, but still.
Shipping: “Ocean carriers strive to keep capacity in check” [Supply Chain Dive]. “A recent report from The Wall Street Journal portrayed capacity as ‘increasingly out of step with demand’ and said, ‘the world’s container-shipping lines are stuck with their megaships.’ Panelists [at TPM 2019 in Long Beach, California] refuted that premise, noting the ratio of vessels on the order books to ships deployed is at its lowest level in years. ‘Look at the numbers,’ said Philip Damas, director and operational head of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors. ‘This is not happening.'”
Shipping: “View From the Box: CAI International’s CEO on the Outlook for Global Shipping” [Wall Street Journal]. “WSJ: How are things on the maritime container side? MR. GARCIA: There was some front-loading of shipments [last year] because of the concerns about trade. We were expecting that there would be a more significant drop-off after the holiday season, but we’ve actually seen it be fairly strong. Normally we would expect a 1% to 2% of decline in the fleet…But we’ve had less than half a percent decline and a fair number of inquiries. I think customers are cautiously optimistic about 2019.”
Shipping: “The arms race among U.S. container ports is drawing more investment. The Jacksonville Port Authority’s new $238 million agreement with Seattle-based port operator SSA Marine is the latest in a series of big-money projects aimed at transforming the East Coast import landscape for bigger ships” [Wall Street Journal] “The Florida port is also advancing a $480 million plan to upgrade its facilities, including deepening its channel. The bigger container ships are a growing part of the trade scene on the Atlantic since an expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016 enabled larger vessels to come from Asia.”
Shipping: “National freight volumes almost even year-over-year, capacity remains loose” [FreightWaves]. “The national Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI) turned one year old on March 1, and it is telling us something quite unexpected – national trucking volumes are almost exactly the same as early March of 2018. For those of us watching the freight market regularly, this may come as a surprise.
Manufacturing: “GE Tumbles Most in Three Months as Power-Unit Woes Sap 2019 Cash” [Industry Week]. “Cash flow from GE’s industrial operations will be negative this year as GE grapples with further challenges in its power business and other operational pressures, Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp said Tuesday at an industry conference. That’s a sharp drop from 2018, when the maker of gas turbines and jet engines brought in $4.5 billion by the closely watched measure…. Investors have kept a close eye on adjusted industrial free cash flow, GE’s measure of the leftover cash generated by its manufacturing units after accounting for operating and other expenses. The metric is considered an indicator of earnings potential.”
Manufacturing: “The automotive sector is looking more than ever like it needs a tune-up. Investors and analysts are growing more concerned that the global auto industry is sputtering, …. and is joining retail and energy as sectors with worries over potential financial distress” [Wall Street Journal]. “AlixPartners LLC found in a recent survey that a third of restructuring experts named autos as one of the three most likely sectors to face distress in 2019. After holding steady last year, U.S. auto sales are widely expected to fall in 2019, and light vehicle sales world-wide fell 8% in January, with a sharp decline in China.”
Interview on Medicare for All with Pramila Jaypal (TP):
TP: “Impressive.” Readers?
From Isaiah Breen*, about that insurance you all love so much. Thread:
so here's the story of how i woke up today with no insurance because @_HealthPartners/@HPCentralMN doesn't care about their clients.
i overpayed my premium of $300 in december. some of that was credited to my january premium bill. confused by the credit, i underpaid my jan bill.
— isaiah breen (friends call me isi) (@isaiah_kb) February 14, 2019
* At one time, Keith Ellison’s press secretary.
Pod Save America host and former Obama Admin flack Dan Pfeiffer was a VP of GoFundMe until 2017, and continues to have significant financial interest in the company, which gets a third of its revenue from medical funding campaigns. https://t.co/lqXH2rWwuG
— Chico DSA 🍞🌹🍺 (@dsachico) February 17, 2019
GoFundMe (2): “GoFundMe CEO: ‘Gigantic Gaps’ In Health System Showing Up In Crowdfunding” [Kaiser Health News]. From January, still germane. GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon: “The system is terrible. It needs to be rethought and retooled. Politicians are failing us. Health care companies are failing us. Those are realities. I don’t want to mince words here. We are facing a huge potential tragedy. We provide relief for a lot of people. But there are people who are not getting relief from us or from the institutions that are supposed to be there. We shouldn’t be the solution to a complex set of systemic problems. They should be solved by the government working properly, and by health care companies working with their constituents. We firmly believe that access to comprehensive health care is a right and things have to be fixed at the local, state and federal levels of government to make this a reality.” • Somebody in Jayapal’s office should ask Solomon to support HR1384.
“Three levels of controversy over MMT” [Interfluidity]. “If you think MMT is good politics but bad economics, it may be worth asking whether there isn’t some tweak or reform that would render the economics acceptable and retain the good politics. And advancing that project of reform might, all things considered, be a more virtuous project than ostentatiously dissing MMT under the banner of your own economic views.” • A review of the current dust-ups, including Henwood and the responses to him.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
Families are not always easy. Thread:
hello, i'm the 'of color' family that my white family uses to show they're not racist.
— RustBelt Rebel (@RustBeltRebel) February 28, 2019
“My Year of Living Like My Rich Friend” [New York Magazine]. “[S]hopping with T was different. When she walked into a store, the employees greeted her by name and began to pull items from the racks for her to try on. Riding her coattails, I was treated with the same consideration, which is how I wound up owning a beautiful cashmere 3.1 Philip Lim sweater that I had no use for and rarely wore, and which was eventually eaten by moths in my closet. Buying beautiful clothes at full retail price was not a part of my childhood and it is not a part of my life now. It felt more illicit and more pleasurable than buying drugs. It was like buying drugs and doing the drugs, simultaneously.”” • Indeed:
“Erie Locomotive Plant Workers Strike against Two-Tier” [Labor Notes]. “UE proposed keeping the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement in place while negotiating a new contract, but Wabtec rejected that proposal. Instead it said it would impose a two-tier pay system that would pay new hires and recalled employees up to 38 percent less in wages, institute mandatory overtime, reorganize job classifications, and hire temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the plant’s jobs. Workers voted on Saturday to authorize the strike.” • Good. Two-tier is awful, wherever found (including Social Security).
News of the Wired
“Poetry slams are helping to revitalise the Basque language” [The Economist]. “Before an audience of 500 people on the outskirts of Pamplona, Maialen Lujanbio, the reigning champion of bertsolaritza, the Basque oral tradition of improvised song, steps up to the microphone. She stands in silence, thinking. Ms Lujanbio is composing a bertso, the rules of which are simple but exacting. Given a theme or a prompt, bertsolaris invent a poem of between eight and 12 lines, which must fit a prescribed rhyming form. Next they choose a melody from thousands of traditional tunes, or coin a new one on the spot. Bertsolaris usually think for around 30 seconds. The silence can feel chasmic. And then they sing.
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 (crittermom):
Crittermom writes: “Rock candy?” Normally, I oppose shallow focus on principle — not the way I see things! — but this is gorgeous!
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