By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“Trade War ‘Losers’ Have Been Bond-Market Winners” [Bloomberg]. “Unlike economists and stock investors, bond traders don’t look at growth numbers, but rather exposure to credit risk. And China’s Ministry of Finance needs the bond market on its side this year – if only to finance $1 trillion worth of infrastructure projects. While we might see a few “technical” defaults every once in a while – most of which are repaid in a matter of days – Beijing hasn’t allowed any government-affiliated bonds to go under. Corporate bond yields with sovereign support? What a good deal!… The truth is, local governments in China are dirt poor. On average, one-third of their fiscal income comes from central-government handouts, according to Moody’s Investors Service. What we have in Asia right now is a bear rally. Traders are investing on faith, not facts.” • So China, in essence, minted the coin? Readers? \
“German firms find US less reliable than China as trading partner after getting caught between Trump and a hard place to do business” [South China Morning Post]. “German companies think China is a far more reliable trading partner than the US or Great Britain, according to a survey by Commerzbank.
China was ranked third in an assessment based on political and economic conditions affecting trade, with a score of 30, led by Germany itself way out ahead on 65, and France on 39. The US, in fourth place, was a long way behind on 17 points, followed by Italy (11), Russia (10), Great Britain (8), Brazil (5) and Turkey (3).”
“Rich farmers, not mom-and-pop farms, will collect most of Trump’s tariff bailout” [Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times]. “The vast majority of the dollars flowing to the agriculture industry via the bailouts is likely to go to farms with annual revenues of several million dollars. Most of them are major beneficiaries of federal crop support programs that steer billions in subsidies and low-priced crop insurance — including insurance that already covers some of their losses in the trade war.”
“Everyone’s winning the US-China trade war except the US and China” [Quartz]. “The tariffs imposed on goods traded between the United States and China are re-shaping the global economy, but not the way the chief antagonist in that battle, US president Donald Trump, has predicted. While trade with China has fallen slightly, the statistics also show that imports to the United States from other developing economies are fast increasing. In other words, the White House’s nationalist trade policy is changing where the United States sources its imports, not growing production at home…. As the Council on Foreign Relations’ Brad Setser pointed out, one of the biggest winners is Vietnam, which has seen its trade with the United States increase dramatically.”
“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
“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). Biden 35% (
34.8%) and Sanders (16.5% 16.4%) stabilize. Warren down 0.8%, others Brownian motion. So Sanders staunches the bleedings. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point.
Booker (D)(1): “Cory Booker Shoots Down Joe Biden’s Claims On Crime Bill And Mass Incarceration” [HuffPo]. “New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, sharply criticized one of the signature legislative achievements of former Vice President Joe Biden, the contest’s front-runner, calling a decades-old crime law that Biden helped write and pass “awful” and “shameful” for its role in increasing mass incarceration.” • Good for Booker.
Buttigieg (D)(1): “Leaked Report Contradicts Buttigieg Claims About Controversial Police Incident” [TYT]. “Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s controversial claim that a secret report exonerated his chief of police in an incident with racial undertones appears to be contradicted by the report itself, according to a leaked excerpt obtained by The Young Turks….[Lt. David Newton], now chief investigator for the county prosecutor, told TYT that, “In my opinion Buttigieg killed the report because it made [then-Chief Ron Teachman] look bad.” • This is starting to read like the mini-series version of LA Confidential…
Buttigieg (D)(2): “Weeks After Standing With Uber Drivers, Buttigieg Fundraises With Company’s Executive” [Daily Beast]. “South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is set to attend a fundraiser with a top Uber executive just weeks after expressing solidarity for drivers protesting the ridesharing company… Buttigieg’s presence at the fundraiser illustrates the fraught position he occupies as one of the most tech-friendly candidates in a primary campaign where candidates are trying to demonstrate their pro-worker bona fides. He has deep ties to Silicon Valley heavyweights and even went to college with tech titans such as Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who has long supported Buttigieg’s political career. Yet Buttigieg is also a ubiquitous presence alongside striking workers at picket line.” • “Yet.”
Festival of Sanders:
Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders: I Know Where I Came From. Does President Trump?” [Bernie Sanders, New York Times]. “Conservatives dishonestly try to link the policies I favor with those of authoritarian regimes. But I am calling for a true democracy, one that abides by the principle of one person, one vote, and that doesn’t allow billionaires to buy elections. F.D.R. did it. We can do it again.” • Trump knows. He’s Fred Trump’s son, and grew up in the outer boroughs. That’s not unproblematic, of course.
Sanders (D)(2): “Americans should be very concerned about Bernie Sanders’ record of opposing mass murder” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. ‘[Jonathan] Chait is also correct to be disturbed by Sanders’ cranky response to New York Times reporter Sydney Ember. It’s simply outrageous for an interviewee to refuse to accept a questioner’s framing of the issue. It’s not as if she is a political reporter rather than a specialist in Latin America, or evinced a grotesque misunderstanding of Nicaraguan history. After all, as Chait points out, “she had just written a long New York Times story” about the issue, and therefore must have known what she was talking about. When has the New York Times ever supported imperialist war, or rated insults to American pride over the lives and liberty of poor foreigners?” • Last week’s controversy, but still fun. And the “issue” will come up again.
Sanders (D)(3): I’m not very knowledgeable about California state politics, but this looks like an impressive staff
Bernie announced top California hires earlier today, including @JaneKim, a former city supervisor and mayoral candidate who supported him in 2016. pic.twitter.com/xoiTRw4M6K
— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) May 31, 2019
Sanders (D)(4): Spreadsheet of Sanders rally attendance:
Bernie Sanders 2020 rallies, fb events and attendance counts with sources https://t.co/7Bat47EVfQ pic.twitter.com/De9vXw1sYO
— Davis Tom (@Datoism) March 11, 2019
Sanders (D)(5): Excitement:
Latino caucus at #CADem19 breaks into chaos as @BernieSanders walks into the room. “If we’re all trying to get selfies, we’ll never get through this,” someone says, asking the crowd to sit down.
— Alexei Koseff (@akoseff) June 1, 2019
Trump (R)(1): “Barely Even Registers: President Trump Just Revealed That His Tongue Is Long Enough To Comb His Hair, But It Got Lost In All The Other Crazy Trump News From Today” [ResistanceHole]. “Had President Obama or Bill Clinton reeled roughly 18 inches of tongue out of their mouths and let it flop about on their shirtfronts like dead eels before thousands of cheering supporters, there would’ve been weeks of sensational front-page write-ups and heated talk show debates about the slobbery appendage’s significance in the macrocosm of American politics. Yet in 2019, such a story doesn’t warrant a two-line blurb on the AP newswire.”
“Democrats have 23 candidates but just one issue: Electability” [Bill Schneider, The Hill (RH)]. “Vice presidents usually go on to win their party’s nomination for president for a simple reason: loyalty. Loyalty is a vice president’s job description. Nominations for president are dominated by party loyalists and — news flash! — party loyalists value party loyalty. General election voters do not value party loyalty…. If you believe that the 2020 election will be a “battle of the bases,” the lack of excitement over Biden among liberal Democrats could be a problem. Except that there really are swing voters…. Today’s swing voters are mostly affluent, well educated suburban whites who are horrified by Trump. They delivered the House of Representatives to the Democrats last year. And turned affluent suburbs like Orange County, California, and Fairfax County, Virginia, into Democratic strongholds. In American politics today, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to vote Republican. But the better educated you are, the more likely you are to vote Democratic. When I explain that to students, they usually ask, ‘What happens to voters who are wealthy and well educated?’ They are what sociologists call ‘cross-pressured.’ If they vote their economic interests, they vote Republican. If they vote their cultural values, they vote Democratic.” • Schneider is a resident [***cough***] scholar [***cough***] at Third Way, “a Washington think tank.” Notice how expanding the base is simply erased as a possibility.
“There is hard data that shows that a centrist Democrat would be a losing candidate” [Salon (RH]. “nominating centrist Democrats who don’t speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — e.g. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism’s ills, rather than capitalists — will win back those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a ‘bifurcated’ voting situation, e.g. many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing inbetween. Piketty’s paper is an inconvenient truth for the Democratic Party. The party’s leaders see themselves as the left wing of capital — supporting social policies that liberal rich people can get behind, never daring to enact economic reforms that might step on rich donors’ toes. Hence, the establishment seems intent on anointing the centrist Democrats of capital, who push liberal social policies and neoliberal economic policies.” • Here is the original Piketty paper, “Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right: Rising Inequality & the Changing Structure of Political Conflict (Evidence from France, Britain and the US, 1948-2017” (PDF), linked to at NC on Aprill 4, 2018.
.@AOC: "Any job that pays $2.13/hour is not a job. It's indentured servitude. All labor has dignity and the way that we give labor dignity is by paying people the respect and the value that they are worth at minimum… We have to raise the national minimum wage."
Via The Hill pic.twitter.com/OjNFUP9aj7
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 1, 2019
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X outvoted older generations in 2018 midterms” [Pew Research Center]. “Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers all set records for turnout in a midterm election in 2018. Turnout rates increased the most for the Millennial generation, roughly doubling between 2014 and 2018 – from 22% to 42%. Among Generation Z, 30% of those eligible to vote (those ages 18 to 21 in this analysis) turned out in the first midterm election of their adult lives. And for the first time in a midterm election, more than half of Gen Xers reported turning out to vote. While turnout tends to increase with age, every age group also voted at higher rates than in 2014, and the increase was more pronounced among younger adults.”
“Hillary Clinton and Daughter Chelsea to Form Production Company” [Bloomberg]. “The family hopes to use film and television to influence culture and society now that Hillary Clinton is out of politics. They plan to focus on stories by and about women. The production company is one of many potential business opportunities that Hillary Clinton, 71, is considering.” • No doubt Chelsea will find this useful for her Senate run.
NY: “NY’s Party Enrollment Deadline Saga Somehow Just Got More Confusing” [Gothamist]. “The state party supported shifting the party switch deadline to 60 days before the primary and allowing voters unaffiliated with a party—the many independents who make up voting rolls—to register as Democrats 25 days before the April 28th, 2020 primary…. But the long-anticipated date change to New York law may run into one major snag: the State Board of Elections does not believe it can be enforced. ‘The consensus at the State Board is that there still must be legislation to implement the deadline for enrollment in a political party,’ Cheryl Couser, the deputy director of public information at the State BOE, said in a statement. • That did seem too easy…
DSA resolutions for upcoming national convention. Thread:
as we get closer to the resolution sign-on deadline for the DSA convention, here is a thread compendium of resolutions without regard to author or subject.
you can also find a wiki of all resolutions and amendments on the discussion forum, along with threads on each resolution.
— jen (@cruciverberella) May 30, 2019
Purchasing Managers Manufacturing Index, May 2019: “This index broke to 10-year lows in the May flash and is at risk of falling below 50 and into contraction. For now, the index is signaling only marginal growth for a US manufacturing sector that is being held down by weak exports and risk, giving building trade tensions with China and Mexico, of falling into outright contraction” [Econoday]. “Today’s report falls in line with other global PMIs that are balancing precariously at breakeven… The factory sector is increasingly not looking like it is contributing to overall growth.” But: “The ISM Manufacturing survey declined but continued in expansion. The key internals were mixed. The Markit PMI manufacturing Index remained barely in positive territory and declined” [Econintersect]. “Based on these surveys and the district Federal Reserve Surveys, one would expect the Fed’s Industrial Production index growth rate to be around the same level of growth as last month. Overall, surveys do not have a high correlation to the movement of industrial production (manufacturing) since the Great Recession. The ISM and Markit manufacturing surveys were similar this month.”
Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, May 2019: “The factory sector is a listing vessel [(!)] based on the ISM for May which came in on the low side of estimates” [Econoday]. “Today’s report fits into an unwanted trend. The manufacturing component of the industrial production has fallen steeply this year while factory orders, which are expected to contract in tomorrow’s report for April, have been uneven at best. Yet not all the private and regional reports are moving lower but some are including the ISM which is by far the most closely watched source for advanced signals on manufacturing.”
Construction Spending, April 2018: “Unusual volatility is routine for construction spending data where today’s data include an unchanged reading for April but a full percentage point upward revision to March” [Econoday]. “Unusual volatility is routine for construction spending data where today’s data include an unchanged reading for April but a full percentage point upward revision to March…. Unusual volatility is routine for construction spending data where today’s data include an unchanged reading for April but a full percentage point upward revision to March.” And: “Inflation-Adjusted April 2019 Construction Spending Year-over-Year Growth Deep In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The rolling averages declined. Also note that inflation is grabbing hold, and the inflation-adjusted numbers are deep in contraction. The employment gains currently are not correlating with construction spending.”
Manufacturing: “Boeing Ordered to Replace 737 Wing Parts Prone to Cracking” [Bloomberg]. • Sounds routine. Spirit AeroSystems Holdings gets 85% of its revenues from Boeing.
Supply Chain: “Is Logistics Sucking Your Resources?” [Industry Week]. “But the cost differential between the traditional and current logistics operations is not the greater of the cost associated with sourcing from distant suppliers. I’m not disputing whether today’s logistics departments find the lowest-cost transport. Nor am I questioning whether they—for the most part—get parts to their destination on time. Rather, the primary cost differential lies in the remedial back-up steps required to ensure distant sources can support factory and business needs, including things like being able to capitalize on incremental sales where demand exceeds what was forecast. So, I am in fact questioning whether relying on an extensive logistics function is a lean approach to supply chain management. Or is it just a way of realizing incremental savings on freight?” • I think that’s an ouch. Also interesting to see more nimble thinkers adjusting to the idea that today’s suly chain operations are not sacrosanct (and, implicitly, involve political risk).
Mr. Market: “Big Tech Shares Slide as Antitrust Concerns Mount” [New York Times]. “A sharp decline in shares of Google, Amazon and Facebook punctuated an otherwise quiet day on Wall Street…. The Justice Department is exploring an investigation of Google’s advertising and search business. In Amazon’s case, the F.T.C. is looking into whether the company’s e-commerce platform edges out new competition, though the scrutiny doesn’t mean official federal investigations have been opened…. Facebook whose data-privacy practices and potential role as a conduit of election meddling have already drawn the ire of lawmakers in Washington, may also be investigated by the F.T.C.”
Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “The Bond Market Is Not the Economy, Just Traders’ Bets on It” [Bloomberg]. “Treasury yields shouldn’t be viewed as a perfect assessment of the U.S. economic picture. The argument that a low 10-year yield is ominous for risk assets, for example, is not quite the correct causal relationship. In fact, low interest rates are typically a boon to stocks and weaker corporate debt. It comes down to the reason yields are falling. If it’s because the economy is worse than expected, then stock investors are right to worry. If bond traders are merely trying to get ahead of a slowdown, the decision is less clear.” • Beauty is more than skin deep. Except in a beauty contest, of course.
Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “Capital Reallocation and Capital Investment” (PDF) [David Rodziewicz, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City]. From the discussion: “Recent growth in the volume of corporate debt used to finance acquisitions has raised questions about how this credit issuance is associated with real economic activity. This article demonstrates a simple fact about acquisition activity and investment—capital expenditures tend to rise in parts of the U.S. economy where funding for acquisitions tends to flow. Put differently, large volumes of capital reallocation do not fully crowd out new investment by firms; instead, increases in M&A activity tend to complement growth in investment. Market watchers often pay close attention to movements of workers between firms or between cities as indicators of the overall health and activity in labor markets. Our results suggest flows of capital between firms can similarly be useful in assessing the overall conditions that drive U.S investment. While acquisitions of other firms do not constitute new investment activity, they do allow acquiring firms to strategically position themselves and build their productive capacity, subsequently influencing overall growth in the U.S. economy.”
Rapture Index: Closes down one Oil Supply/Price. “The oil prices are down on recession fears” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.
“Ground Will Shake and Snakes Will Flee as the Mississippi Drains” [Bloomberg]. • Well, at least we’ll have our cellphones to record it all. Apparently, the spillway is opening this Thursday.
“Mississippi River flood is longest-lasting in over 90 years, since ‘Great Flood’ of 1927” [USA Today]. “All of this year’s flooding is due to both early spring snowmelt and seemingly endless rain: Since the start of 2019, much of the lower Ohio and lower Mississippi River Valleys have picked up more than 2 feet of rain. A few spots have even received over 40 inches of rain, the Weather Channel said…. As the planet warms due to human-caused climate change, heavy downpours are increasing in the Midwest, according to the National Climate Assessment. From the early 1990s to the mid-2010s, very heavy precipitation events in the Midwest increased by 37%, the assessment said.”
“Canada’s forests actually emit more carbon than they absorb — despite what you’ve heard on Facebook” [CBC]. From February, still germane: “[T]rees don’t just absorb carbon when they grow, they emit it when they die and decompose, or burn. When you add up both the absorption and emission, Canada’s forests haven’t been a net carbon sink since 2001. Due largely to forest fires and insect infestations, the trees have actually added to our country’s greenhouse gas emissions for each of the past 15 years on record.” So Canada plans to jigger the numbers: Don’t count our wildfires or the devastation from our pine beetles, but do count our forestry and farming practices.” • The article isn’t saying forests are useless; it’s saying they’re not a panacea.
“The Bank of Canada declared climate change a financial risk. Now what?” [Globe and Mail]. “This month, the Bank of Canada released its 2019 Financial System Review. For the first time, it listed climate change as one of six major vulnerabilities facing Canada’s economy. It’s significant given that for years, the bank has been virtually silent on the issue. In fact, until March of this year, not a single member of the bank’s leadership team had publicly mentioned the words climate change for two years. Now, the Bank has identified the physical and transition risks of climate change as vulnerabilities facing Canada’s financial system, mentioned in the same breath as household debt and housing market imbalances…. The carbon-intensive nature of Canada’s economy means we can’t ignore the risk climate change poses to our financial system. The Bank of Canada has acknowledged this risk and begun to make commitments for action. It’s well positioned to now make clear the economic consequences to Canada of inadequate action in addressing climate change.”
“Healthcare CEOs again lead the way in pay” [Modern Healthcare]. “The highest pay packages go to CEOs at healthcare companies. For the third time in four years, chief executives in the healthcare field led the S&P 500 in terms of total compensation…. [M]edian compensation of $16.1 million, up from $14.7 million a year earlier.” • That’s nice.
“Floating sweatshops: Is the fish you eat caught by ‘slaves’?” [Agence France Presse]. “The global fishing industry is riddled with forced labour, anti-trafficking experts say, warning that consumers are unaware of the “true cost” of the seafood they buy in stores and restaurants. Exploited workers face non-payment, overwork, violence, injury, and even death. Indonesia and Southeast Asia are major sources of such labour and unscrupulous brokers target the poor and uneducated with promises of good wages at sea…. ‘We couldn’t fight back — I’m from a village and didn’t know any better,’ added Rahmatullah, who had never worked on a fishing boat before.” • Other things being equal, we would expect slavery to increase as fisheries decline, yes?
News of the Wired
“Man Restoring a Classic Synthesizer Goes On a 9-Hour Acid Trip After Accidentally Touching LSD-Covered Knob” [Gizmodo]. • Now that’s turning the knobs up to 11! And speaking of self-checkout–
“Why Self-Checkout Is and Has Always Been the Worst” [Gizmodo]. “For every automated appliance or system that actually makes performing a task easier—dishwashers, ATMs, robotic factory arms, say—there seems to be another one—self-checkout kiosks, automated phone menus, mass email marketing—that actively makes our lives worse. I’ve taken to calling this second category, simply, shitty automation.” • The word is “crapification.” The place where I buy (sorry) my morning coffee was abolished physical “Buy-5-Get-One-Free” cards. Now you have to enter your [family blogging] phone number into a touch screen by the register. Fortunately, the cashier showed me how to game the system by typing in a fake number. But still. Slower, more error prone, more intrusive: The only possible reason they’re doing it is to sell my data. No thanks. I hope the cashier survives.
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 (TCD):
TCD writes: “Mom planted this crabapple tree in my backyard some 35 years ago. Taken during a spring snow.” On a day like today, snow doesn’t feel that far away. As readers know, I’m a sucker for this sort of “tapestry” photo, and painterly masses of color, too. But look at the branches; this is nicely composed, too.
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click this donate button:
Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.
If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!
Bill Schneider has no problem still getting published, huh? When I was a freshman in college, Asst. Professor Schneider had his office in the Center for International Affairs building trashed as students were trying for the second time to rid the campus of that nefarious organization. After not getting tenure, Bill went on to the American Enterprise Institute from where he also moonlighted as a regular opiner and political expert for CNN for decades.
I had Bill for a couple of classes. On one occasion, a roommate and I were writing a joint paper that required us to develop a survey of political views aimed at revealing the respondent’s ideology. We included the standard question asking whether one was a liberal, conservative or “moderate.” When we took the survey to Schneider for feedback, among other changes he suggested was switching “moderate” to “middle of the road” because “moderate,” he said, had a positive connotation. After making all the suggested revisions, we took the survey back to the prof a week later. Everything was fine except that he thought we should change “middle of the road” to “moderate” because “middle of the road,” he said, had a positive connotation. After my colleague and I left his office, we looked at each other and shook our heads about Schneider’s political expertise.
Schneider has no idea what he is talking about. Florida is out of play for 2020.
Rick Scott’s general counsel is running Browder county elections, a GOP operative is running Palm Beach elections, and an appointee of a corrupt (Rep) mayor is running Miami-Dade elections. Biden will not win Wisconsin or Michigan because of his extensive corporate ties. Arizona is out of play because Biden is a regional candidate, and he may even lose Nevada.
It is impossible for Biden to break above 260 electoral votes. The entire point of goading Biden to run was to destroy that delusion quickly and create time and space for other candidates to move up.
The swing voters Schneider is talking about are in places not relevant to gaining political power, they are only relevant in that party apparatchiks can line their pockets with donor money.
I have any Dem, including Biden, losing FL, winning WI and probably MI. PA will be the main swinger, currently a weak Dem lean. Biden could squeak out 280.
If Mexico caves to Trump tho, and walls off their south and signs USMCA, that’s a game changer. As is the very real possibility that team Tariff makes one too many threats and tanks the stock market.
Re Self checkout–the newer model Wendy’s have stand alone credit card kiosks like McDonalds but they also have self checkout screens on the counter where you order. Apparently you are expected to wade through a series of touchscreen menus while the cashier is literally standing right there. Someone should invent a more efficient way for buyer and seller to communicate and call it, oh say, language.
Widespread self check may be inevitable at some point but retailers and restaurants could therefore find themselves competing on not just price and quality but also software engineering. Customers who grow tired of making their head hurt just to buy a hamburger could start to give up and skip lunch.
Personally, I love retail self checkout. But that is because I worked as a retail cashier all through high school and part of college, so locating and aligning barcodes with the scanner is a sixth sense to this very day, decades later. I’m usually faster than the employees at the conventional registers, except with loose produce since I have not memorized the codes.
Then again, when the self checkout line is long, it is painful. Most people have no concept of how the thing works and just wave items around until they hear a beep.
Self checks are faster if you know how they work and don’t have to stand in line to use them. But honestly I don’t care to become an expert in Wendy’s automation since I hardly ever go in there. I believe the real Wendy’s motive is to intimidate and confuse the customer into ordering more than they really want.
My 22 y/o cousin likes Self Checkout cuz interacting with the cashier gives her anxiety.
Theres a self licking ice cream cone somewhere in the there.
When I asked about the new self checkout stations at the local Safeway I was told that customers who don’t want to interact with a cashier were the main driver for the installation of the devices.
I remember being a very anxious 22 y/o, so I’m sympathetic to your cousin at the same time as being appalled at the forced compliance of consumers at their chosen addictions.
My solution is to avoid all fast food, as it still makes me anxious 33 y’s later
Enjoy the germs of everyone who touched that screen before you. If they cut the labor at the checkout line, you think anybody is cleaning the self-checkout machines?
I don’t care how long the lines at the staffed registers are, I’m not signing up to be a cashier unless someone’s paying me to do it. I did retail back before scanners, and I was still probably faster then, then scanners are now.
How much discount for the customer to flip his/her own burger?
Knock 50 cents off, and I might consider self-cooking.
I thought you told us meat was a no-go if we’re going to save the world, etc.?
In Theravada, monks can’t discriminate.
They eat what they are given in the alms bowl.
I’ll have a Dhamma-burger combo plate, and a vanilla shake, super-meditated.
“Sorry sir! We only sell Dharma-bummer burger combos here.
May we interest you in one of our ‘The Earth Shakes’ today? No? Vanilla is so, plain. I’ll let you meditate on our new Mindfulness Menu for a minute.”
Make me one with everything!
“Will you settle for a slice of the “Girl With The Most” Cake? You really want it, you really do.
(Sorry. That should be filed under ‘Hole Foods.’)
“Where is my change?”
“Change comes from within.”
the real grocery store we drive 40 miles to get to is installing those cursed things.
the 3 times i’ve been there since the remodel began, i’ve talked to baggers and cashiers about it…so 6 people: 4 of them understood what i was talking about when i said i’d never use the damned ornery contraptions because i liked the idea of them having jobs. customers in line were also supportive of these remarks at the same rough ratio.
the manager i managed to ambush and corner, once, blamed higher ups.
they’re a regional company, born in this part of texas, and have always been good to their people(I ask,lol), so i’m disappointed at this turn, even if it’s “inevitable”.
i won’t use them. i’d rather wait in line and rabble rouse.
Bless you, Amfortas.
Fighting the good fight.
“One need not succeed in order to begin.
One need not succeed in order to perservere. “
in a world of walmarts and whole foods and safeway and other giants, they’re a lesser evil.
at the one we go to, i’ve known many of the people that work there for 15+ years.
still a corporate behemoth, but it’s our corporate behemoth.
as it were.
Oh crap — you don’t wanna know what was found on McDonald’s self-service screens
The corporations are shameless in finding ways not to employ people in my community.
None of them pays me to be accurate when I scan. In fact, my heart really isn’t in it and I’m feeling abused, so I don’t try very hard and there a plenty of times when I think I may have underpaid them.
There are billions of people like me. When we all do it, they might start employing people again.
Oh so sorry, i forgot those eggs were there!
The only thing those are good for is if there is a long line at the register (artificially created by understaffing the registers), then those proficient enough to use the kiosks can jump people ahead of them in line. Nice.
Also when using the kiosk at McDonalds I noticed that it was impossible to find their deals there, so I got in the long line and watched the affluent types come in and punch furiously to get ahead of me.
This is what progress looks like in 2019.
I’ve heard from some people that they love the self check-out, because it means one item costs money but everything else they can carry is free
I understand that this website is supported partially by ad revenue and the ones off to the right don’t bother me. But the ones that are in line with the list of articles, and look exactly like actual content except the tiny print that says “sponsered” really should go. For a sight that posts plenty of articles calling out sneaky business practices I think you would be better at weeding out your own. I can only figure that maybe you are unaware of it happening. I don’t know how to share images in a comment here, but if you want some screenshots I can email them.
Agreed. I am also seeing those ads.
It’s while on black and says “SPONSORED CONTENT” using Firefox. I would bet you never click on any ads either. Try one. It doesn’t hurt.
Don’t have enough computer knowledge, but is it possible to automate a cursor to randomly seek out and click on and around “sponsored content?”
(while you sleep of course).
I see ads for like buy your own marijuana dispensary and some random finance topics that are total BS and contrary to what this site normally stands for.
If I ever see an ad for something I need or even just want, I’ll click on it. I even click on some of those “sponsored content” stories at Salon, but I’m beginning to learn that it’s not worth the hassle. Usually.
I consume my media on a Mac and an iPad pro. I love the iPad for NC for being able to resize and enlarge the text for my aging eyes. Over the last two weeks or so I have been seeing the stealth ads on my iPad. I am pretty sure some of them did not have the “Sponsored Content” warning. Clicked on one by mistake – my bad.
The interesting thing is that I never get them when using my Mac (Firefox 67.0). I refuse to update iOS on the iPad from 10.something since they have not added any feature useful for me in years, and am using Safari there. Both are connected via the same internet tube. Yet only one has the stealth ads.
I believe we are looking into this. Thanks! (But remember Yves is moving this month, and she has a long to-do list!
I got the TD Ameritrade ad a few days ago, but its only been once. Looks like companies are trying to get a piece of dat NC pie!
I got an ad imploring me to invest in the Shenandoah Corporation & the Blue Ridge Corporation.
Moving is hard. I hope it goes better than can be expected for her.
Opera does a pretty good job (100% so far AFAIK) of flagging them with a big black background “Sponsored Content” block.
Right click the ads, specify open in new tab, proceed with your reading and delete the new tab. Rinse and repeat.
I haven’t seen another, seems to have been a glitch. But they had perfectly good “x” buttons on them, at least.
Today’s is one of the best plantidotes EVER! Thank you!
Agree–lovely juxtaposition of seasons
Thank you! That tree looks gorgeous for about 3 days out of the whole year- and spends half the summer raining crabapples on the porch which then rot and squish between your toes. The good with the bad, I suppose.
My mother and I once made crabapple jelly from an ornamental tree. I (about 10) picked the crabapples, she did the cooking, with a bit of help. She didn’t expect me to be quite so dedicated about it. Turned out more like syrup, but tasty.
“Only a rose bush knows
How good mud feels between the toes”.
Martin Prince…I mean Pete Buttigieg has a new plan for changing the Supreme Court by constitutionally establishing two political parties and giving them the power to select their own justices and then those own justices can pick a few “apolitical” judges. If they can’t, they won’t even be able to hear cases…
I’m beginning to believe Mayor Pete is passing into what a stupid person believes a smart person sounds like territory.
Mayor Pete was always extra red-shirt guy from the original Star Trek away team. That fresh faced sacrificial lamb that shows what the environment is like for the main characters. Mayor Pete has found himself redundant after Biden’s entry into the race as the obvious corporate tool so he will start flailing around.
So he IS the comic relief after all …
I tells ya, it was the clinton lava monster what done it !
2020…”Notice how expanding the base is simply erased as a possibility.”
Roughly 110 million Americans of voting age (registered & unregistered) did not vote in 2016. You would think that it might be possible for the Dems to organize and get 5-10 million of those to vote—that is if they actually want them to vote.
All they have to do is not rig the primaries. I accept that the msm “coverage” and analysis will be pro-neolib propaganda. I do not like it, but that Orwellian situation is not going to changing for the better anytime soon. But if they blatantly steal the nomination again, the DNC can go to hell -just where they want to condemn all of the rest of us to- and my vote, along with any others I can convince not to back the elite’s anointed, will go elsewhere (again) if it can be cast without a sick stomach and soul in doing so, if it is cast at all.
(Maybe what this country could use as a tool of civil disobedience and public political theatre and activism is a get out the non-vote campaign.)
The corporate media/ betway punditry have mostly given Biden a de-facto coronation. Now all they have to do is make sure the results of all those pesky primaries and caucuses confirm their choice. Maybe a totally fractured Dem party is a needed result in the long term.
That’s what was supposed to have happened with Hillary in ’16. We all know how well that worked out.
I also loved how the article about Hillary and Chelsea “Going Hollywood” mentioned that Hillary was now “out of politics.”
That’s Bloomberg for you; “Twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.”
45 million Americans have student loans. 22% already in default. Those 9 million are sure as hell not going to vote for Joe Biden, the corpuppet behind the bill that shackles them with those debts, no matter what, until they die.
Useful link to send to everyone you know with student debt:
They will vote for Bernie who not only supports debt relief, but also Medicare For All, that would liberate them from another financial death star, the Medical Parasitical Profit Feeding Apparatus.
everyone I know who is paying attention and under 30 with student debt views this as an intergenerational war by the boomers on the rest of us, with Biden leading the charge.
the link you provided plus his “no empathy…give me a break” will sink him. Millenials and Gen X outnumbered the boomers in 2018 midterms. We will swamp them in 2020 and more and more every year moving forward. One hopes to watch this country become more progressive every single cycle.
Not being dismissive; it’s past time younger hands and minds took over.
New York State’s Dems clearly do NOT want them to vote.
Dem machines seem to want to strike a balance with voter suppression: not so few young or poor people that Republicans win, but not so many that Dem primaries get rowdy.
In other words, they want nothing to change. Like a bunch of Conservatives.
I was talking to a young miss barely 20, who had just come back to the estados unidos after a little over a year in NZ-which she fell in love with. I inquired what she did whilst there, and apple picking & waitressing was what she did to earn enough to keep on keeping on…
I asked what she made being a waitress there, she told me $18 an hour.
Now, bear in mind that tips aren’t a given there.
If any young people in the U.S. were to ask me about the future, about which it is hard to make predictions but which seems somewhat at risk from climate change and potential disruptions of global food production, trade, and other niceties of technological civilization, somewhere along a continuum from inconvenient to catastrophic, I would tell them to emigrate to NZ – or Canada as a second choice – since I’m about to turn 72, I don’t think it’s worth the trouble myself. Through a combination of circumstances (namely whom I’m married to), most of the younger country-changers I know are coming from South America to here.
And NZ waitresses are dreadfully underpaid compared to the going rates over the ditch in aus – something like 50% higher for the same work. $18 is barely a living wage in NZ, ok for almost-20s, not so good for pushing-30s.
Apple industry is meanwhile panicking because they cant lure enough random travellers to work at minimum wage over the harvest season anymore. Fortunately good american companies are stepping in to provide the automation that removes labour from the equation, if they can just get the trees to grow to suit the robots better first…
dishonestly try to link the policies I favor with those of authoritarian regimes. But I am calling for a true democracy As did those ‘authoritarian regimes’, matey.
you forgot “conservatives dishonestly try to link the policies…”
Yes, the government should guarantee a decent paying job for all Americans and universal health care through a single-payer system. Yes, we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour, make it easier for workers to join unions, provide free tuition to public colleges and substantially lower student debt. Yes, we should wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, reform a racist criminal justice system and enact comprehensive immigration reform with a path toward citizenship.
these are the policies conservatives dishonestly try to smear as authoritarian or totalitarian or some such hogwash.
You know, its amazing to behold: my Dad retired from an employee-owned company and has done all his banking a a local credit union since 1980. And yet he turns purple at the word “socialism” because those commies are gonna take away all your rights and everything that made murrica great…..
“Well, at least we’ll have our cellphones to record it all.”
I am creasing with laughter. Could be applied to all stupid things that are happening nowadays.
Thanks for the funniest comment today!
” the White House’s nationalist trade policy is changing where the United States sources its imports, not growing production at home”
Not to defend Trump, but this is a misunderstanding of time scales. It takes time – years – to ramp up domestic production where there is none. In fact, this is Trump’s biggest problem: any benefit may accrue after the next election. One would expect the initial effect to be as described: substituted imports. But presumably they’re more expensive, or they would have been the source before (this may not be true of Vietnam). So there will still be pressure to onshore substitute production.
OTOH, this also shows what a crude weapon tariffs are, absent an industrial policy, which would conflict even more with Republican doctrine.
> It takes time – years – to ramp up domestic production where there is none. In fact, this is Trump’s biggest problem: any benefit may accrue after the next election.
Hysteresis. Remember Tim Cook’s comment about tooling:
“But you must do it, Catullus, you must do it. You must do it whether it can be done or not” (paraphrase).
This is one reason I keep pushing horticultural/non-technical anti-carbon tranches like soil and reforestation; easier to train people, less (constant) capital required.
Regenerate Nebraska FB page:
Understand that ANY organic/alternative approach to agriculture in a major ag state like ours is swimming upstream.
However, the Spring 2019 floods were such a smack in the head with a 2×4 that minds previously closed are beginning to open.
The “experts” miss the ‘second tier’ cadres of actual machinists and fabricators working in the corners and shadows of America. A lot of these “unsung heroes” freelance, since nothing better is on offer yet, for foreign companies who bought up American firms and gutted them, but keep them alive as satrapies of the Homeland Empires of the East. Mercantilism in reverse.
Remember that Russia beat America into space utilizing the skills of just such a ‘second tier’ of skilled workers captured at Peenemunde and elsewhere, while America relied on the “top brains” who defected due to the better ‘offer’ held out to tempt them.
The real bottleneck to retooling America that I can see is the lag time in building the heavy industry infrastructure needed to accomplish the truly large projects we are going to have to do to avoid the worst effects of the climate shift.
Climate may be global, but weather is regional and local. That’s the optimal point of effort.
I remember in the late 70s/early 80s when many workers from the industrial Midwest, Michigan specifically, were fleeing to Houston for employment. You could also tell when that boom ended as I no longer saw mattresses that had blown off cars on the sides of the Houston freeways.
To the point, I recall reading a good, data-rich article in the Houston Chronicle back then that characterized those times as one of the largest migrations of highly skilled industrial workers in modern history, primarily tool and die makers but also many other skills.
Of course, those people are long gone, with their skills as well.
But is it all that skill really gone or just not available at the salaries/wages he wants to pay?
The latter, but they are dying off…
There are a lot of younger workers who are filling in the gaps as the oldsters die off. Not glamourous, but usually better than flipping flipping burgers.
Getting farmers, most of them pretty old, to change the way they do things does not sound easy to me. Still, it’s probably the most return for the effort. And this might inspire more young people to go into farming – there are already plenty in apprenticeships, basically waiting for their chance.
Financing is a major hurdle, and a good place for Uncle Sam to intervene, if only…
“German firms find US less reliable than China as trading partner after getting caught between Trump and a hard place to do business” [South China Morning Post]. “German companies think China is a far more reliable trading partner than the US or Great Britain, according to a survey by Commerzbank.
Is that where Qingdao (or Tsingtao) beer is from?
Then, across the Bohai Sea is Port Arthur, in Liaoning Peninsula, China, a possession of Imperial Russia at one time.
From Luschunkou District, Wikpedia:
Like the shame of 1895, this was probably another shame.
Not sure if the Russians left a similar drinkable legacy (any Port Arthur Vodka?).
“Democrats have 23 candidates but just one issue: Electability”
Short version: Trump gets re-elected,
unless the Democrats actually want to win the white house and nominate
Bernie Sanders plus a great vice presidential candidate, like Tulsi Gabbard, who would attract disaffected Democrats and Trump voters, or an acceptable one like Warren who would not alienate as many as other V.P. choices.
Bernie plus anyone else? People stay home and Trump gets re-elected.
Nominate Bernie Sanders at all costs? Why? Because Bernie throws himself a tepid pity party in the Times, referencing a better incendiary piece of political literature, FDR’s ’44 State of Union – FDR, two lines after the quoted bit: “People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” That’s a plain view plea to the unconvinced wealthy that their windfall, but more compellingly, the Republic, the whole she-bang, is at stake. Franklin must have been rolling hard that week, the RAF had just flattened the Reich Chancellery like it was Tetris. – smack in the middle of an op-ed that reads like a maudlin spreadsheet. [Didn’t know that was possible. Will wonders never cease.] Not only did Bernie’s op-ed bum me out, like I’m in an acid rock band in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, but it alerted me to the fact that Bernie does not know how to ask for help, nor does he have people close to him possessing both vision and authority. The less dignified figures with which America’s financial circumstances are posted, the more our noses our rubbed in it, for lack of a better phrase, [we know!] does not make more Americans ready swoon into Sander’s arms. Better to point out the rough shoals ahead, and since Cap’n has gone all Ahab on us, you better be tapping me, Skipper Bernie [or whomever], for the helm. Or else.
tepid pity party?
This is certainly pitiful though…
“Today our rate of childhood poverty is among the highest of any developed country in the world, millions of workers are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, millions more owe outrageous levels of student debt, and half a million people are homeless on any given night. Over 80 million Americans have inadequate health insurance or spent part or all of last year without any insurance, and one out of five cannot afford the prescription drugs they need.”
I think I may understand your stream of thought better if you would specify which shoals you see as being the most pressingly dangerous?
Cocktail napkin version: “America, we are losing our edge. From behind our economic peers will overtake us without drastic public improvement. We need to invest in our citizens’ education so that every American can contribute to tomorrow’s success. Our workforce needs to be re-mobilized throughout every sector of our economy. Without an investment today, the neglect will spend America’s future prosperity away.” And on-and-on-and-on.
Better writers than I get paid to teach this stuff, but as a self-satisfied dilettante, I think Bernie’s narrative, the fabula, is oppressing voters’ ability to enmesh themselves within the emplotment. Those without grievance and folks who know that it can get *soooo much worse* need to be able to overcome their own loss aversion, financial or otherwise, in order to contribute to a greater success. Bernie needs to be able to enlist the delusional smug wealth for the cause by allowing them to pretend that this is about them. The immiserated already know it is not about them: they’re a statistic in an op-ed in today’s Times.
so you want him to be more loquacious so that he appeals to the finer elements in society, because there’s not enough downtrodden mopes to elect him or something like that?
I came away from that Times interview thinking that Sanders was still not perfect but that the NYT had really reached a new low in anti-Sanders smear-work.
Yes, there was something pathetic about that interview — the questions. But the idea that this was a Sanders “pity party” instantly became the Sanders-hating mainstream consensus. If you already think everything the man does is wrong you’re not going to believe anything else.
Your stuff reminds one of H. Giroux, to even less effect.
Can a more enlightened reader tell me if the above comment contains anything more than a scrolling example of comment policy violations? TIA.
As to Cal2’s comment above that, I am in agreement. “Electability” is a shibboleth, a will-o-the-wisp.
Recall that in 2016, Clinton was supposedly the candidate possessing that magical quality in abundance.
“Electability” as a campaign metric has seriously passed its sell-by date.
Tulsi Gabbard once touted working for anti-gay group that backed conversion therapy
Tulsi has problems. She signed a 2013 amicus brief supporting Edith Windsor’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. I ain’t convinced she’s “sorry.”
This would make her the perfect “Centrist Democrat.”
Yeah, when she was 20 she worked for a Hindu anti-gay organization run by her severely right-wing dad. She has since apologized, says her views have changed, and her voting record in office reflects that. She has a perfect score from Human Rights Campaign. Obviously, you can believe whatever you want.
If you’re just here to say Tulsi is icky because she opposed gay rights many years ago, you should include most of Congress, Hillary, and Obama in your hate list too. Obama didn’t support gay marriage until 2012. Hillary opposed until 2013. That makes Gabbard at least no worse than they, since she came out in support in 2011.
LGBTQ Statement by Tulsi Gabbard:
Look at the polling numbers on homosexual rights over the last 25 years. Plenty of people can directly relate to her change in opinions. What homosexual has not experienced for herself the change in acceptance and support by many family members and/or other people over time? Her words ring true, and her more recent actions speak volumes.
People forget how far public opinion has moved in the last 15-20 years on gay marriage. Bush arguably won his second term against Kerry by making opposition to it a centerpiece of his campaign (and one reason many Democrats didn’t support it was that public opinion was against it to a degree that would have made it incompatible with winning elections).
There was even a considerable amount of anger from Democrats against the LGBTQ community after the Bush win. Didn’t they know the country wasn’t ready for gay marriage? Couldn’t they have managed to stay quietly in their box a while longer, so that the Democrats could win the election, after which they would have been rewarded for their forbearance in the fullness of time?
This is one of the examples I think of when I hear appeals to unity and incrementalism and the importance of beating Trump above all. Fast forward 15 years to today, compare the achievements of LGBTQ activists with those of establishment Democrats, and tell me which advocacy style works better in the long run.
I have often thought that activists for any cause could benefit a great deal from studying and practicing the tactics of Act Up. How many plagues are now killing us, be it opioids or suicides, and is not the situation dire living under a government which for the most part works to shroud the causes of these social diseases (or maybe that should read exasperate them) and criminalize/austersize those suffering? But the community of suffers and their allies is not concentrated like during the Aids epidemic. They/we do not see ourselves as a community of outsiders from an unjust social and governing system. And I suppose it is harder to achieve a binding power for such a vast and diverse pool of people. For all the plethora of human shortcomings and faults, the Aids activists had a lot of love to fuel their efforts.
Took me a full minute to realize that “austersize” was meant for “ostracize.” I still haven’t figured out what “exasperate” means in that context.
I prefer Tulsi with all her problems to any Catfood Democrat you might support.
Team Dem™ working their asses off to make sure Trump gets re-elected.
Anybody but Sanders.
Why Self-Checkout Is and Has Always Been the Worst”
– one of my least favorite :automations” is self-serve gas. Nothing like standing in 30 below wind chill answering stupid questions put to you by a gas pump.
While they PLAY VIDEOS at you! I guess the gas stations are older or whatever in Florida, so I never encountered this until I drove up the east coast for 9 weeks back in 2016. I can think of little else that so quickly leaves me in a fit of rage that having garbage blasted in my face while trying to get gas. Banging on the display and hitting buttons randomly sometimes silenced the noise, at least.
I’ve since retired from automobile ownership, hopefully for life.
Alnico Magnet, swipe it across the screen, makes pretty fractals, it’s no longer advertising, it’s artwork!
Keep it away from your credit cards and phone though.
Still working on laser pointers and self checkout scanners.
This x 1000! Usually, the mute button is the 2nd one from the top on the left, and most if not all gas stations in my area have helpfully labeled it. I hope the person who came up with this idea gets locked in a windowless room with nothing but their own inventions howling blather at them for all eternity.
That said, seems like a lot of these displays have been disabled around here, and not with a sledgehammer.
Another reason to buy an EV.
Hmmmm…what they make of local government in the UK, I’m not sure they even raise one half of their money locally.
I found that phrasing suspect myself. How is it that local governments must be self sufficient and in what universe does the Bloomberg writer think this is credible?
I think governors (or the top provincial executives) are appointed by Beijing, where as in the US, they are elected by the people at the state level.
And as such, more money, percentage wise, from the central government is expected, I believe, given its provinces in China.
It’s similar in Japan, with their prefectures, I believe, and that would make a better comparison.
I found this description of China interesting and relevant to that:
“China’s domestic strategy is to shift capital from the coast to the impoverished interior to raise the standard of living of its 600 million rural residents…But the western interior of China is still a developing nation, and so by averaging the per capita GDP and income of its two halves, China can claim to be a developing world in terms of trade deal breaks while claiming superpower status for its developed half.”
“China can’t have it both ways: if China can afford an army, navy, space program and power projection of a superpower, as well as a global currency, it can’t claim any implicit “right” to trade deals with no enforcement or consequences, nor can it expect to get a free pass to brazenly flout every deal it signs.”
Contrast the health care CEO pay to the story in the NYTimes this weekend about the hospital that was killing kids getting heart surgery. They didn’t perform enough surgeries per year to safely offer the procedure, but getting those healthcare dollars is more important than human lives, naturally.
I think every single story highlighting immorality and criminality ought to start out with the names of the key decision makers and their total compensation packages, so readers can decide if such pay packages are in any way justified, and at what cost.
The best and truest healthcare story in history was the Goldman Sachs analyst who, after reviewing a drug company’s latest offering, said it was too good – “curing patients is not a good business plan” were his words…the U.S. healthcare system in a nutshell.
Life has just become even more crappified for lower income people, at least in Silicon Valley.
I go to Walmart about three times a year, to buy some pretty specific things that are a pain to buy elsewhere except for a lot more and in forms I don’t like as much. It has always been gross shopping at the Mountain View location since it is so crowded and disorganized, and for a while they were not staffing the checkout lines and were directing people into a miserable self-check out corral scrum. But that improved a bit.
But there’s something new.
The baby formula has always been in locked glass cases. It’s really costly per small unit, and is used to cut drugs apparently, so that’s not entirely unreasonable. More recently, a lot of their costly skin products went into locked glass cases. Also understandable, I guess, and anyway I don’t buy baby formula or costly skin care stuff.
But now – a huge percentage of the self-care products are locked up. All of the cough and cold medicine; if you want to buy a box of generic Benadryl you have to find an employee to unlock a giant glass case. All of the shaving supplies are locked up – if you want a can of shaving cream, start hunting for an employee with a key. All of the deodorant is locked up!!!! In order to purchase a $2 stick of Suave Powder Dry, go find a Keykeeper.
I was there on Memorial Day and there were lines of ten+ people at each of many cases, all hoping to have a Walmart employee unlock the case so they could get an item. It was totally insane. I left my cart where it was and left the store.
I told a friend about this. He is poor. He told me that yes, he knew; he now carefully chooses when to go to Walmart based on how long the lines at the glass cases will be. He is long term unemployed so he can time it.
I guess this is because thefts of something worth less than $950 in CA are now a misdemeanor, and the cops won’t be called.
This doesn’t matter to me directly; I am comfortably middle class and I can buy online or pay extra to purchase at Walgreens or Safeway. But it is a demeaning misery for people who don’t have these options, and there are a lot of such people around here.
It’s a tired trope, but your story, which I am seeing play out on a much smaller scale here, (as in ‘personal hygiene’ products being hidden away,) made me think of all the sarcastic stories about the old Soviet department stores with the long lines for staples. Different ideology, same result.
there’s LOTS of things i remember hearing from superpatriot coaches about why we should hate the Ruskis that are now quite common here in the land of the free(tm).
most of it implemented by freedom loving repubs(with ample help from the opposition party,of course)
oh, and looky!:https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/nieves-v-bartlett-john-roberts-protects-police/590881/
Oh my! “Opposition party!” I did laugh at that one.
I do remember the “Superpatriot” phys ed coaches. Funnily, the most stable coach I had was a retired Drill Sergeant who had done his time in Korea. (He put the ‘tough’ in “Tough but Fair.”) We got along quite well.
Mine was a PE coach from Thailand. He brought 15+ State Wrestling Championships in a row. He once told us his dad took him out for a walk after the Civil War (Thai) to show him dead bodies. He was nine.
I’m not sure what he was calling the Civil War. There was what the government called a communist insurrection, separately in both the Northeast and the South. The general who finally got the authorities to approach it as a political problem had to leave it to his successor to implement his plan, but it worked. General Prem was later the best Prime Minister the country has had since the 1932 “Revolution.” The “insurrection” started officially in 1958, just after the CIA persuaded the military dictator, Field Marshal Sarit, to accept anti-Communist aid, both military and civilian. Before that Thailand had anti-Chinese tensions, but no Communists. Bad times. See if you can find “red barrels.” Very bad times.
i went by one of the walmart gas stations, when you give them cash, they give you a card with the amount
of the cash you paid stored, and then you have to go out and use the card to get gas (they can’t set the pump inside the store). if i wanted to use a family blogging card i would use a fb card in the first place.
I’ve noticed these class differences a lot in grocery stores
Central Markets up here in seattle (i think a kroger store, nor sure)
have plenty of cashiers
shorter lines, higher prices
safeway and albertsons have few cashiers
long lines, long waits, less organic produce
I think all “supermarkets” are headed in the same crappy direction
but there are indeed more class distinctions between chains than there were 15 years ago.
I remember working on a renovation of a supermarket into a rebranded Delchamps Market. The woman overseeing, ramrodding the job was from Cerebrus Capital, (I had the temerity to ask her,) which had bought the Delchamps chain and only kept the stores that served the upper income areas open. The final result was somewhat like an early version of Whole Foods. The prices were definitely higher than competing supermarkets in ‘cheaper’ areas. A much larger selection as well. The few Whole Foods stores we have shopped in were similarly situated and stocked similarly priced items. A definite drive to establish a two tier market environment was carried out. If you add in the super bargain stores, like Save A Lot etc. you end up with a three tier system.
For giggles, I’ll add in Dumpster Diver’s for the global experience. The ‘Divers’ usually do their shopping late at night so as to encounter the best bargains without ‘regulatory capture.’
Bill Binney interviewed by Jordan Chariton. Says Mueller didn’t want to talk to his VIPS group. He’s still saying it was a leak, not a hack. He points out Sy Hersh got recorded saying it’s true, too. I recall hearing the recording on Caitlin Johnstone’s site.
Binney’s got a number of technical explanations that still deserve consideration, but which are well above my pay grade.
Apparently, he’s submitted testimony in the Roger Stone trial.
Excellent interview. Thank you, JohnnyGL, for sharing the link.
Sy Hersh says that on an episode of the Intercepted podcast too.
J. dore has had binney on a few times to explain why he says leak. After a couple times through, I finally got it. It has to do with how the information was transmitted, and the time signatures. The whole thing basically happened too fast for a hack; the time signatures assigned to data as it is transmitted were consistent with uploading data from a thumb drive. In other words, it suggested someone with access leaking the data, not a hack.
And That someone was ?? …. and I emphasize the ‘was’ .. as in a quite possible premeditated deepstate form of REDRUM !
Coincidentally, I just skimmed through Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age (just the parts about China) and found this:
I don’t know if this is true or only suggestive, however.
I could see the USA devolving into something similar to China a century ago, with a bunch of warlords in lieu of politicians. Everything is in place for the structure of politics as we knew it, to fall apart.
I say it’s already moving into an Imperial Mandarinate phase. Compare today’s “Credentialism” with the “Imperial Examination” of Imperial China.
Ian Welsh frequently writes about Confucian views of collapse. This post always stuck with me:
The Philosophy of Decline and Collapse
Another perspective. This time, from the Madman of Chu, Lu Jieyu, from Wikipedia, Transcendental Whistling (itself an interesting article), as it appears in Zhuangzi:
This is supposed to be anti-Confucian, with the madman mocking Confucius, who tried in vain, to offer his knowledge in that chaotic age known as the Spring and Autumn period. Confucius was not rolling up anyting to be kept in his breast, whereas the Madman was saying the best one could hope for was to avoid punishment.
A little something to add to the antidotes collection – a moment of self-awareness by a cat overlord:
Re. Americans should be very concerned about Bernie Sanders’ record of opposing mass murder” [Ryan Cooper, The Week] —
The “grotesque misunderstanding” hyperlinked text links to a blog, whose current top article is a long screed about Trump’s ICE concentration camps along the southern border. (Note I do not use ‘screed’ with intent to downplay the badness of what’s going on there.) The specific article that was apparently intended is here.
I guess we ought to send a bouquet to the private equity firm that bought the carcass…
from the way back machine…a pdf from society of american florists magazine titled
Is FTD’s ProFlower Acquisition
one of the supporters of the merger owns this company…and look at those reviews…Ouch.
I went searching for a pirate equity angle, which info I didn’t find readily available
That’s a pass time of mine as well. Whenever I hear of an established company filing for bankruptcy I do some searching for the PE angle.
…and here it is – “Downers Grove-based floral products and services giant FTD Inc. is being acquired by a private equity group in a deal valued at $420 million.”
Now this is from 2003 but once a company is infected with the taint of PE there is no recovering. Seems like they had a good run, though.
From the mouths of babes (and idiots), straight from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City:
“Recent growth in the volume of corporate debt used to finance acquisitions has raised questions about how this credit issuance is associated with real economic activity”.
Isn’t that the issue with MMT? Debt issuance that is completely unmoored from any underlying economic activity?
So what happens when credit issuance is completely separated from the inconvenient truths of underwriting and the debtor’s ability to repay?
I know, I know, just roll the debt over. But think this through to its logical conclusion: Mountains of debt-thingys everywhere and always, where the principal is owed but everybody knows it cannot and will not ever be repaid. If this is the case then let’s call it something other than “debt”, since it’s not. And let’s also call the stuff emitted something other than “money”…since it’s not. Actual money can be used to extinguish a debt, not just transform it into someone else’s debt in a giant game of musical chairs. Yes we can run society like that for a while…maybe even a long while. But I’d suggest: not forever. This “not-money” will just become a figment of what actual money is supposed to do: store labor so it can be transported across space and time. Labor = work = economic activity. So what you end up doing with MMT money it seems is unplug it from labor. Good luck with that. People will hold onto their good money (Bitcoin, gold, proto-money like real estate and art) and spend away their fake money as fast as they can. You’ve removed the “store of value” component of the fake money (especially with rates rusted on to the “”zero” level, which will be required for servicing reasons). It is no longer useful to accumulate as savings. Pretty soon people will be asking to be paid in real money, so the bad money will not succeed in driving out the good money.
Vietnam is a good example. They have the local government-issued money, the Vietnamese dong. Everybody knows it’s rubbish and only keeps small amounts to spend down at the market. Then there’s the USD, revered and sought. Then there’s gold: considered the ultimate money, accumulated voraciously, and still used to settle the major purchases like a house.
What am I missing? How would MMT money not just become rubbish-money?
To wit: trusting the sovereign to issue debt (money) responsibly. They can’t, and won’t.
“Here’s one conclusion — the Illinois Legislature either has no real grasp of the financial situation in this state or simply doesn’t care. It is our suspicion that too many legislators simply don’t understand the financial reality the state and city face.”
> To wit: trusting the sovereign to issue debt (money) responsibly. They can’t, and won’t.
The same is true of banks, the proven crooks who are actually issuing all that private credit you’re so worried about, but you don’t seem to have your hair on fire about them. And unlike banks, government is accountable to the people via democracy. Whether those democratic controls are effective is another question, but that’s true regardless of MMT.
Anyway, the point of MMT is that once the piles of unpayable debt suddenly implode, the government can keep the wheels of the economy turning by continuing to spend and ensuring people are usefully employed. The private sector repairs its balance sheet in the meantime. When the private sector recovers, government spending automatically meliorates thanks to the JG. That’s another reason the JG and other automatic stabilizers like UE are so important.
The Job Guarantee anchors the value of money to labour.
Also, we have had ‘MMT money’ for nearly 50 years, people still seem to want it.
And Illinois is not a currency sovereign.
Money in circulation IS sovereign debt — all of it. It can only “extinguish” debts between currency users, but that is mere exchange within the non-government sector. Money collected in Federal taxation, fees and fines is destroyed because the US Federal government does not need money from anyone else to provision itself — it does so by spending de novo currency into the economy.
The US Federal government is unlike any other entity with respect to $USD. Until this difference is understood, confusion will remain as to the unique character of sovereign deficits and debt.
Oh, and it hasn’t become “rubbish money” because US citizens need it to pay their Federal taxes, fees and fines. Those who don’t end up on the pointy end of the incarceration industry and ultimately lots and lots of guns courtesy of the US military.
I liked the way Brad DeLong explained von Mises’ mistake and why he loved gold so much. “We do not use money to buy things because money is valuable. Money is valuable because we can use it to buy things.” von Mises misunderstood and believed that gold had an intrinsic value. Most money systems actually used were based on silver, and in the early Roman Republic the money was based on iron.
The Au-Ag ratio was a faithful 16-1 since biblical times, and then came the Comstock Lode altering the value and here 150 years later, the ratio is 90-1.
It was what William Jennings Bryan was babbling about in 1896, there being so much silver all of the sudden, why not have a silver-backed economy?
This must be the worst nigthmare of the loyalists. Massive deplorable voting? Jesus, not!
Let’s see how biden does in flyover primaries, where 2020 will be won or lost.
I live in a small Iowa county. In 2016 it went for Trump, the first time a repub won here since 1980. Bernie won the caucuses here. If Biden is the nominee it will go for Trump even though most here are lifelong dems. They know as well as any electorate in the country what neoliberalism has done to their community. Contrary to the MSM narrative, these “deplorables” are not looking for a centrist dem who continues the same BS that screwed them over for the last many years.
Also contrary to that narrative, we’re not a bunch of dumb rednecks. We have a relatively low median income, but one of the highest literacy rates, one of the highest high school graduation rates, and one of the highest college board score averages in the nation.
Your last paragraph is right on. I will always be grateful to have grown up in Iowa! Whilst there are patches of religious right or bigotry [unfortunately I grew up in that kind of area], Iowa is more interesting than people give it credit. We are a practical people who value a good education [ very few people didn’t graduate – they could all be functional in society]. I even had band, choir, and art classes in my rural school from an early age.
My Iowa brothers and sisters are not dumb rednecks. They are damn smart. And know when they are getting screwed. And will tell you too.
Ask Erowid LSD skin patch
Possible. Very unlikely. Need more evidence than just this fellow’s testimony which is not even sworn to the court.
The psychedelic effects were discovered by Austrian chemist Albert Hoffman after he absorbed a little through his fingertips. Impressed by the visuals, he decided a few days later to ingest 250 mg intentionally, then rode a bike home.
250 mg!!!!! And here we’re talking clinically pure ‘product!’
Is this the same Hoffman as in “Hoffman-LaRoche?”
I’d hoped to stay neutral, but Hoffman was Swiss.
And rode his bike upside down under the bridge, with his head under water, and complained of getting a runny nose.
It’s hard to convey the magnitude of Buttigieg’s mismanagement of the South Bend police department. And that’s probably the most important task of a mayor in a town with a history of race problems. This new report should be explosive, yet only Lambert seems to have picked up on it so far. Anyone who understands local government should see the significance of this.
To summarize: First Buttigieg fires the popular black police chief, without discussing it with the city council or the black community. His stated reason is that he is doing so because there is was FBI investigation going on. But the FBI investigation is going on only because a couple of reportedly racist white policemen who reportedly wanted to get the black police chief fired had filed a complaint with the feds that they had been illegally wire-tapped, allegedly making racist remarks.
But the feds never charged the black police chief and they dropped the investigation. The city council and black community were furious. It was so bad that Jesse Jackson’s group actually tried to intervene. Buttigieg said that the feds told him to fire the black police chief. This claim is highly questionable and could well be a prevarication. It turns out that his major donor was a friend and supporter of one of the allegedly white officers who had complained to the FBI. This fact creates an appearance of serious impropriety.
Then Buttigieg hires a head-hunter to find a new police chief — the head-hunter just happened to have worked at the White House and State Department. This is unusual resume for a small-town head-hunter, but a very good networking move by Buttigieg.
Under the new, white police chief, there were allegations that the police chief refused to back up a black officer during a serious altercation involving 50 people and guns. Now we find out that Buttigieg (again?) prevaricated when he said the new white police chief had been exonerated by a report — a report that he wouldn’t share with the city council. It appears he was covering for his new police chief.
During much of this fiasco, he was in Afghanistan. I think it’s important to point out that he wasn’t called up to go to Afghanistan. He volunteered to go at that particular time, which conveniently allowed him to skip out on the fiasco he had created and allowed him to come back a “war hero”.
There are so many red flags for such a short career. This individual needs serious vetting, which he is not getting.
I, like many around here, like a Sanders Gabbard ticket, but she’s not moving the needle. Maybe needs somebody else… is warren too old to run with sanders? She’d be better at treasury than touring world funerals.
Granted the young are fired up with old progressives… it’s the old liberals that look for an excuse to put down sanders. Funny thing, not hearing that charge from msm these days, not since biden jumped in.
Biden the invisible candidate getting great press. Doubt he’ll ever have an open press conference unless questions are pre approved. Wonder if he gets more people coming to meet greet him in flyover than Hillary did… course, she didn’t like them, either. So why give them opportunities to no show?
Ro Khanna. One, he knows how computers work and can help Sanders find his remote. Two, we need FDR, and Sanders’ age and term limits stops this without a strong VP who isn’t there to make the ilk of Hickenlooper feel good. Khanna and Sanders have been working together. This isn’t a case of balance but Sanders needing a partner to take the project forward. I don’t think that’s Warren with her age.
Khanna is on the stump with Sanders. Outside of a congresswoman who i don’t know that isnt ex-CIA or really outside the box such as Sara Nelson (this just came came to me), I’m not sure there is a better choice for Sanders or Warren than Khanna.
Enough of the Gerontocracy and their minions.
Not old enough.
Give her a few years to stir things up in the House, first.
AOC won’t be qualified until 2024.
AOC is too young at 29. The minimum age to hold the office is 35.
I am not too worried about her age but she is still just a first term Representative. Maybe the election after this? She is likely to be on her third term by then.
Tammy Baldwin–liberal in a purple swing state. Appealing to the female demographic, can speak the language of the heartland and can frame progressive policies in terms they can relate to. Anti-Iraq war; Strong supporter of small farmers in rural communities in swing states.
An uncontroversial running mate with swing state mojo such as Baldwin could be of potentially great benefit to a Sanders ticket.
Re. Gabbard, the Slimy State Stenographers … colloquially known as the ‘Press’ have secured a big,hefty C(orporate) Clamp or any info of import, thus keeping that needle from moving forward. THAT’s criminal in my book. And I’ll say it again, there are millions of us who know, and will remember come election day !
Nina Turner and Cornel West!
Excellent views on how Mueller turns the rule of law and the presumption of innocence in its head:
Because next time it might be the other team that’s in the dock.
An investigation is not a trial. For the President, the consequences of the special prosecutor investigation are by themself little different than those of a law enforcement investigation alone would be for a private citizen, except for the confoundment created by having an unindictable principle as its subject – and having that same principle potentially subject to trial in Congress under the non-statutory standard of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump is presumed innocent – hence why he’s suffered no material consequences from the investigation. If he stands trial for the offenses some allege he committed, the Senate will need to satisfactorily demonstrate his guilt with regards to whatever articles the House might chose to bring before he suffers any material consequences – and unless that’s not true, it’s cynical hyperbole to claim this “turns the rule of law and the presumption of innocence in its head”.
“If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime we would have said that” – Mueller
Sorry, a prosecutor is *not* supposed to make any sort of statement like that. He did his job. He investigated whether there was probable cause that a crime may have been committed. Then he looked at the evidence and found it was not likely that The State could prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. End Of Story. No, not mealy ambiguous language appended to that purely for political purposes.
Is he presumed innocent? Yes (supposedly)
Is he guilty? No. He is, ergo, *innocent*
That’s how it works. Not the other way around.
So China, in essence, minted the coin? Readers? \
Yes, they China has a balance of payment surplus, thus China is sovereign in its currency. Hence MMT applies. The can mint the coin, until they hit resource constraints.
I do believe contributors to this site somewhat familiar with MMT. In is time to apply what we have learnt.
Agreed. Time to enact Our NC Vision. A 100,000 year old plan if u will.
Think of it as Dune Xs 2.
Facebook censored a Tim Shorrock (North Korea expert) post in which Shorrock justifiably made a slight dig at the New York Times for only very lamely correcting its deceptive reporting (“THREAD on America’s still-hidden role in the suppression of South Korea’s democratic uprisings that our “newspaper of record” still ignores.”):
“FASCISM THREAD: People of the world who love freedom of speech: @Facebook has just informed me they have taken down this post of mine because it “violates our community standards.” The post they censored is critical of @nytimes for its coverage of Korea.”