2:00PM Water Cooler 12/27/2017

By Lambert Strether of .

Readers, there’s very little news flow, and frankly, I slacked off! And who doesn’t want slack? –lambert

Politics

2018

“In the Heart of Trump Country, His Base’s Faith Is Unshaken” []. A reporter’s equivalent of I suppose. “The Whitts, like many people here, cobble together a living with a couple jobs each — sometimes working 12 or 15 hours a day — because there aren’t many options better than minimum wage. There’s the school system, and a prison, and that’s pretty much it.” When a political class orchestrates a situation like this, what do they expect?

New Cold War

“New York’s Attorney General in Battle With Trump” []. “Nonetheless, Mr. Schneiderman is seen by some as a possible backstop should the president exercise his pardon power to help those who might become ensnared in the investigation of possible Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election being led by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. Federal pardons do not apply to violations of state law.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How to crush Trump” [Ryan Cooper, ]. “The only reliable way to stop Trump and the Republican Party that has stood firmly behind him for his entire presidency is through strategic political defeat. In 2018, the GOP must be crushed at the ballot box, their congressional majorities taken, and Congress’ investigative powers put back to good use — and not just on Russia, but also on the unprecedented money corruption that suffuses the Trump White House.” And on policy:

Meanwhile, Democrats must strengthen their own political base by strengthening democratic freedoms. They should make D.C. and Puerto Rico states, establish an inalienable right to vote, make Election Day a holiday, and strengthen and update labor law to spark a new wave of union organizing. Then they must overhaul the economy to cut the middle and working class in on the fruits of the last 40 years of economic growth, actually provide health care for all, and perhaps strengthen the welfare state for parents and children. Only by establishing a new political economy that functions for the great majority of the citizenry — as FDR and the New Deal Democrats did in the 1930s — can Republicans be firmly exiled from political power. For a political party as diseased as the GOP, a generation in the political wilderness is just what the doctor ordered.

There are some problems with that. First, the Democrat “base” right now is credentialed professionals (the 10%). Neither they nor the Democrat Establishment have any interest in “strengthening democratic freedoms” at all, or else they would already have started doing it, in the eight years they held power. They also have no interest in establishing a “new political economy,” since the political economy as it is right now works fine for them, and they believe in it. Hence, the pivot to an appeal to educated suburban Republicans, especially women, since those voters have very little interest in expanding the franchise or reforming the political economy either. I don’t see how the death grip of the Establishment can to be loosened, except through continued losses, whether in primaries or the general.

Stats Watch

Consumer Confidence, December 2017: “[T]he consumer confidence index cooled slightly in the December report” []. “[V]ery importantly the cooling doesn’t include the assessment of the current jobs market where only 15.2 percent say jobs are hard to get vs 16.8 and 17.1 percent in the prior two months.” And: “Consumer confidence fell in December, a month after hitting a 17-year high, but the level of optimism among Americans this year was the highest since 2000” [].

Pending Home Sales Index, November 2017: “The pending home sales index has been flat and has not been in line with the strength of final sales of existing homes” []. “Housing data in general have been accelerating strongly going into year end but the pending home sales index, though it did rise a sharp 3.5 percent in last month’s report for October, has been mostly an exception.” And: “This was above expectations of a 0.8% decrease for this index. Note: Contract signings usually lead sales by about 45 to 60 days, so this would usually be for closed sales in December and January” []. And: “The rolling averages continue in negative territory. The data is very noisy and must be averaged to make sense of the situation. There is no signs of a surge in home sales, although the trends are now upward. I personally do not believe the new tax laws will affect home sales next year as most people do not consider income tax savings when buying a home” []. I bet they do if their home is their second or third one!

Mr. Market: “Stock-market volatility could return in a big way in January: Goldman Sachs” []. “The U.S. stock market hasn’t just been unusually quiet in 2017, it has been historically quiet, with basically no volatility or pullbacks, and major indexes shrugging off all manner of headwinds as they rose to a record number of records. However, the calm of this market may soon be coming to an end. That view comes courtesy of Goldman Sachs, which noted that January is by far the most common month of the year for companies to preannounce their quarterly results or provide insight into what their full year could look like.”

The Bezzle: “Airlines lose a lot more baggage than they have to admit” []. “[A]irlines must disclose the number of mishandled baggage reports that travelers file at airline baggage offices — the paperwork where you describe your suitcase and give the airline an address for delivery once it turns up. That turns out to be a key distinction. American Airlines rolled out messaging that notifies customers when a bag didn’t make a flight and asks for delivery instructions. United and Delta say they are about to do the same…. But no paperwork means no report, airline executives say.” I haven’t seen the usual stories about crowded airports, with photos of people waiting, and so on. Did I miss them, or were there no such stories? On your holiday flight (if any), did the number of travellers seem much as normal, or was it light?

The Bezzle: “The government tried to encourage IPOs, but it helped create The Age of the Unicorn” []. “When legislation dubbed the JOBS Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012, it was heralded as a faster on-ramp to an initial public offering.” (Not by everybody!) “With less stringent reporting requirements, the bill’s intent was to reduce much of the regulatory burden and some of the cost of going public…. Instead, the act has added to the cascade of factors helping tech companies stay private longer…. The avoidance of IPOs has been blatant among the ‘unicorn’ tech startups, companies like Uber Technologies, Airbnb Inc., Palantir Technologies and Pinterest, all of which have stayed private as long as possible. For these companies, money has been easily accessible, thanks in part to the elimination of the 500-shareholder rule in the JOBS Act, combined with an explosion in private funding sources.” Goodness, I can’t imagine why Uber hasn’t gone public. Can you?

The Bezzle: “Another lawsuit filed against Apple for slowing down old iPhones” []. “ last week, five lead plaintiffs in Brooklyn, New Jersey and Florida claim in the new suit that AAPL fraudulently hid from consumers the fact that certain iPhones… ‘[Apple] was intentionally slowing down performance of older devices to compensate for battery degradation in order to push people to upgrade their iPhones faster,’ the complaint states.” Not a good look.

Year in Review: “Currently it looks like 2017 unfolded mostly as expected. GDP was at expectations, employment gains were slightly better, but down from 2016 (as expected), housing starts and new home sales were also at expectations…. The key surprises were wage growth disappointed and housing inventory declined further” []. McBride’s predictions, and how they panned out.

Five Horseman: “Apple, facing class action lawsuits over its alleged crippling of older iPhones, has fallen to last place within the Fab Five” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Dec 27

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 63 Greed (previous close: 64, Greed) []. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Dec 27 at 12:39pm.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Erica Garner:

As of now there are no updates on Erica's condition. She is still in a medically induced coma. Doctors will continue to monitor her over the next few days. We appreciate your individual and collective prayers. You can hold off on monetary donations at the moment.

— officialERICA GARNER (@es_snipes)

Not the worst news, of course. No word on what the heck the NYPD was doing in her room. “What Is a Medically Induced Coma and Why Is It Used?” []. “Speaking generally, the main effects that these drugs have outside the brain is they reduce blood pressure. So people trying to do this are giving a lot of other medicines to keep blood pressure up and keep the heart pumping in a nice way. You’re protecting the brain on one hand and, on the other hand, all areas of the brain are not getting the blood they need necessarily.” Can knowledgeable readers comment on induced comas? What and why?

Class Warfare

“World’s richest 500 see their wealth increase by $1tn this year” []. “The globe’s 500 richest people, as measured by the Bloomberg billionaires index, have seen the value of the wealth increase by 23% so far this year, taking their combined fortunes to $5.3tn…. At the other end of the spectrum, the world’s 3.5 billion poorest adults each have assets of less than $10,000 (£7,600). Collectively these people, who account for 70% of the world’s working age population, account for just 2.7% of global wealth.”

“A recent research study by Alison Weingarden at the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors found that wages for relatively low-skilled workers in nonmetropolitan areas of the country have been growing more rapidly than those in metropolitan areas. In a talk yesterday in Montgomery, Alabama, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic provided some evidence that differences in labor supply resulting from disability and illness may be behind this shrinking urban wage premium” [a]. “A recent macroblog post by my colleague Ellyn Terry and the Atlanta Fed’s updated Labor Force Dynamics web page have shown that the decline in prime-age [Labor Force Participation (LFP)] is partly a story of nonparticipation resulting from a rise in health and disability problems that limit the ability to work.” Lowered supply; increased price. It’s an ill opioid epidemic that blows nobody good?

“But so long as daycare is a requirement (and I am not wealthy enough to have either nannies or the ability to make one salary easily work) then it’s really going to drive car ownership. If you want to improve car reliance, then this seems like a very pertinent problem and a key place to start putting in some creative thinking” []. Because, unless you live in Manhattan, it’s quicker to get the kids to daycare in your car.

News of the Wired

“This was the year I realized my brain belongs to my phone” []. “The best way to eat less junk food is not to limit yourself with raw willpower, but to eat none at all. Eating just one M&M is a lot harder than eating zero. This year, I learned that this is exactly the relationship my brain has with my phone.” Get a dumb phone and reclaim your brain! And as a special bonus, you won’t be carrying around a sophisticated surveillance device that sends data on your every move to ginormous corporations and the government!

* * *

Readers, feel free to 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, pleas s e 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 (Nippersmom):

Nippersmom writes: “Taken after our recent snowfall in west Georgia.”

A sunny day!

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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

141 comments

    1. UserFriendly

      Update: Cat scan shows Erica suffered major brain damage from a lack of oxygen while in cardiac arrest. Please continue to pray hard for Erica and pray for her family and kids just as much.

      This world blows.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        There are too few of the good ones. We can’t afford to lose a single one.

        Also, in “Don’t mourn, organize” mode:

        The police assault on Eric Garner, where they choked him to death (“I can’t breathe”) began when they attempted to arrest Garner for selling “loosies” (single cigarettes; and imagine the context where there’s a market for them), the sort of “System D,” precariat work that has been created by the neoliberal order.

        So Erica’s heart attack and its sequelae are part of a neoliberal epidemic of stress disorders brought on by turning the street into the only workplace available.

        1. Michael Connolly

          On local Boston NPR station yesterday – According to Matt Taibbi,who interviewed over 20 locals, Eric Garner was actually NOT selling cigarettes that day. Hence his surprise when the cops showed up (ordered by the Asst DA, I think Taibbi said), to arrest him.

    1. Steve H.

      “Local government exists for one reason and one reason only: to decide how gets used. Everything, and I mean everything, that local government does deconstructs to a decision about which landowners will win, and which will lose.

      Who gets rich, and who doesn’t.”

      Ding.

      1. Steve H.

        btw, I used that link ’cause of degradation of the link to original quote by Greg Travis, and to Corrente. Did I miss something?

  1. Lee

    Slack, rest, goofing off: some of my favorite things. If you have nothing that needs doing and want something to do I suggest reading Essays in Idleness or perhaps fly fishing with no hook.

    1. knowbuddhau

      First came across this on an Alan Watts dvd. He does some of the voice overs.

      Time, what a concept, eh?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Nothing wrong with doing down time, especially this time of year, whether you call it goofing off, slacking, etc. Reminds me of the story of the bloke that was due to be shot at dawn – and then slept in for his own appointment! Went on to live another forty years he did.

  2. crotschcowski

    simplistic answer re: medically induced coma. The drugs used slow the metabolic rate of the brain, decreasing its oxygen demand at the same time decreasing cerebral blood flow which can decrease intracranial pressure (ICP). As the skull is a rigid container, too high ICP means something has to give, and pressure on the brainstem and other areas can lead to herniation and death. Maintaining cerebral perfusion is tricky when there is cerebral edema or other causes of increased ICP because increasing blood flow increases ICP. Thus the idea is to decrease the metabolic demands of the brain thus allowing it to survive on decreased blood flow allowing decrease in ICP.

    1. scott 2

      I was in one (induced coma) for 3 days after being hit by a car on my bicycle. Subdural hematoma. It seemed to have worked, but this is something you only do after a pretty serious head injury. As it was, 6 months of my life I don’t remember.

  3. Altandmain

    Looks like Comcast continues its shady business practices:

    I fully expect this to get worse in the coming years, especially with net neutrality gone.

  4. Livius Drusus

    Re: In the Heart of Trump Country, His Base’s Faith Is Unshaken, it is easy to say that these people are dupes but it is not like the Democrats don’t have their own loyalists who get little from their politicians other than cultural validation. Think about all of the poor and working-class African-American voters with an emotional attachment to Obama despite the fact that he did nothing to help them and would have thrown them under the bus if he had been able to pass the TPP.

    People will support charlatans if those are the only realistic choices they have. Or they will simply stop voting as almost half of the voting population does already.

    1. neo-realist

      And the bus would have crushed those poor and working class African American voters at the end of their working lives if President Hope and Change passed cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

      Those Trump voters will continue to hold on to their hubris until they get countervailing policies from a democratic opponent rather than the usual republican lite.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > President Hope and Change passed cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

        Never forget that Obama had a handshake deal with Boehner on a Grand Bargain; it fell apart only because Boehner couldn’t sell it to the Freedom Caucus.

        Both Party establishments are working their own long cons to get this done.

  5. Kevin

    “best way to eat less junk food…”

    I’ve found something that works well for me here at work. I buy a big bag of rolled oats and put it in a large Tupperware – along with dried cherries, almonds, chia, walnuts…etc ( and whatever floats yer boat).

    Eating 5 tablespoons a day keeps me full till lunch. I’ve read the key to keeping full with oatmeal is adding nuts (protein). Helps to me keep from snacking.

    1. Robert McGregor

      Interesting! Would steel-cut oats, and whole cherries (if you can get them), and the almonds, chia walnut etc. work?

      1. Tim

        If I’m not mistaken, rolled oats are also steamed and partly cooked in the process, so are easier to munch on without further boiling, or “raw.” Steel-cut are not, so they would be pretty hard and chewy. Although you can eat some grains, including oats, raw. We used to grab a handful in the field, right off the stalk and rub the hulls off and chew the kernels.

        1. LIN KOSY

          If you eat it as cereal, you can put milk on the night before, or even use yogurt. It soaks up the liquid from the dairy and makes the steel cut oats edible.
          Lin

  6. Dunne

    Regarding medically induced comas – she is probably intubated (has a tube down her throat, which is attached to a machine making her breath). That is by far the most common reason for sedation, and often happens after a bad heart attack. The sedation/coma is to make the patient comfortable and so they can tolerate the tube. Hope that makes sense.

    1. cojo

      Correct, if she had a large heart attack, she probably went into cardiogenic shock where her blood pressures dropped due to a weakened heart output. This also causes pulmonary edema, or fluid buildup in the lungs requiring a ventilator and breathing tube. Breathing tube, is uncomfortable as is the respiratory distress from pulmonary edema hence the sedation (typically propofol, or some combination of opiates and benzodiazepines) to induce the “coma”. The hope is once the heart recovers enough a patient can breath again on their own and hopefully be extubated and weaned off the sedation.

    2. Judith

      My brother-in-law had a heart attack and was put in a medically induced coma for about a month while waiting for a heart to be available for a heart transplant. Which eventually happened.

      This was about fifteen years ago and he is still doing reasonably well, all things considered; of course, he takes lots of daily meds.

  7. Louis Fyne

    —They also have no interest in establishing a “new political economy,” since the political economy as it is right now works fine for them, and they believe in it.—

    Conveniently forgotten by “progressive media” is that Dem. senators, spouses and heirs are ginormous personal beneficiaries of the 2017 tax reforms.

    The Dems. new motto for 2018: it’s a feature, not a bug.

    1. John k

      Wonder if the dems have noticed they get more goodies when reps are in power?
      If so, some pretty good reasons to not promise any material benefits… might get elected… course, they would just copy how big o kept his promises…
      And trump sells papers to resisters! NYt and wapo best circulation in years! So media pretty happy, too…
      What’s not to like?

  8. sleepy

    Cornel West’s latest:

    It’s neoliberalism, which is this obsession with smartness and richness and bombs dropped on other parts of the world and sometimes bombs dropped here. It tends to put the stress much more on access to middle-class status and making that access more diverse––rather than attacking poverty, ensuring jobs with a living wage, quality education, single-payer healthcare. So the shift from attacking poverty––let’s say Martin King in 1968––to this obsession with diversity that you’re getting in the Supreme Court in relation to affirmative action, was a dilution and a domesticating of the issue.

    1. shinola

      Thanks for the link sleepy.

      West has a lot of good things to say but I find his overly verbose speaking style off-putting – often to the point of obscuring his message. Reading him (with an editor) is much easier than listening to him.

      1. Lee

        Being the son of a Baptist minister might have something to do with his speaking style. I find it has a kind of rolling, rhythmic quality, which I find engaging.

  9. clinical wasteman

    still apparently closed on the Capra Christmas crowdfunding article* — almost certainly just some time lapse caused by my creaking machinery — so please excuse comment in wrong place, but I loved this concise piece of nailing. (So concise, in fact that it might have won a ‘Partie de clou’ — competitive hammering of nails into wood – in Montreal back when I lived there.) A rare reminder of the time when this sort of exercise – taking an approved cultural artefact & exposing it to social reality – used to be fun & even somewhat polemically useful. Since when of course it has become dismal academic boilerplate, sometimes even crowdfunded. But by making a delimited point with broad implications, instead of a nebulous one that turns out to be trivial, the writer shows how it can sometimes still be done.

    (*there’s a bad joke somewhere in there about those Oxfam “give your loved ones a-goat[=Capra]-for-hapless-Africans as a Christmas gift” campaigns, but luckily for everyone I can’t quite think how it works)

    1. Carolinian

      Capra was widely derided in his day. Capra Corn they called it. He made his reputation with his early stuff such as the immortal It Happened One Night.

    2. Bob of Newton

      I always viewed the family run savings & loan in ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ as a quasi-socialist organization. It was not set up for a one time action where participants don’t know each other as in a crowdfunding activity. It was meant to be an on-going system so the comparison to crowdfunding is a stretch at best.

    3. VietnamVet

      This year “It Happened One Night” was labeled “communist”. No doubt because mid-America has turned into Pottersville and McCarthyism is back. The only counter is crowdsource political funding to return government to the people.

      Though hardly in the Holiday Spirit, I recommend “Wind River”. The best movie I saw in 2017. As an estranged Westerner, I liked its depiction of the flyover mountain country. It is close to the actual desperation that is rising due to drugs and no jobs. They are returning to their tribal roots to survive. I am afraid that exploitation, violence and isolation will be America’s future rather than the comic book heroism of last year’s highest-grossing films. Only a return to the New Deal can bring hope back again to those who have lost it.

      1. Octopii

        Wind River was surprisingly memorable, for everything you say – but don’t forget belligerent fracking roughnecks at odds with the people whose land they’re exploiting.

      2. JerryDenim

        The graphic rape/murder scene in Wind River kinda spoiled it for my wife and I. Sorry if that’s a plot spoiler, but anyone who wants to avoid that kind of content may want to give Wind River a pass. I thought Hell or High Water, also written by Taylor Sheridan, was a slightly better movie with more memorable lines and trenchant social commentary than Wind River. Lots of similar themes between the two, but Hell or High Water mainly focuses on white despair and bank chicanery while chiefly being a heist movie. Wind River mainly focuses on Native American despair while being a straight forward ‘who-done-it’ mystery/detective movie.

        1. pretzelattack

          i didn’t really like the character of the male lead so much, the white guy who comes in and solves the native americans’ problems. too much of a lone ranger cliche.

  10. Jack White

    Medically induced coma: It was used for head injury when I saw it, and pentobarbital was the drug used. I never saw the procedure used in cardiac cases. The side effect was respiratory depression, not early hypotension. Propofol was used to allow mechanical ventilation to take place. Perhaps things have changed.

  11. Oregoncharles

    ““How to crush Trump” [Ryan Cooper”
    ?Which political party does he think he’s talking about? Because it certainly isn’t the Democrats. He’s talking about something new.

    1. Lee

      He’s talking about something new.

      And something old too: New Deal, Great Society for example. What the Dems used to be but alas no more. Now they just color themselves blue.

      1. Paul Cardan

        Arguably, a problem with the New Deal (and, by extension, a problem with proposals for a Newer Deal) is that it didn’t (and they wouldn’t) go far enough. The argument is a very old one, dating back at least to Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy, chapter 55, where he writes that “. . . he who would want to establish a Republic where there are many Gentlemen, cannot do so unless he first extinguishes them all . . .” He says this having previously explained that “those are called Gentlemen who live idly on the provisions of their abundant possessions, without having any care either to cultivate or to do any other work in order to live.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          That’s an excellent quote from Machiavelli. I also remember seeing a Machiavelli quote to the effect that when you make your changes, do it “all at once.” What FDR did (the 100 days, now totally diluted as a concept) and what Obama did not do.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Mach’s advice was to the Prince, the elite of his day. And the current Elite sure seem to be doing it all pretty much at once, with aid and comfort from liberals and too many suckers among the Bernaysed oppressed.

        2. Mark P.

          “those are called Gentlemen who live idly on the provisions of their abundant possessions, without having any care either to cultivate or to do any other work in order to live.”

          One is also reminded of the very specific words with which Grant and Sherman answered Northern society ladies who asked them ‘How much longer will this dreadful war last, general?’

          The thought gives me no pleasure.

    2. Code Name D

      To keep the Trump/Collusion scandal going, they need more indictments and more investigations. But as time goes on, this is going to be harder and harder to do. In the meantime, documents are coming out exposing just how closely intertwined the Clinton campaign, the FBI, and the Obama administration was in first whitewashing the Clinton scandals as well as setting up the collusion scandal in the first place. They are even discovering money trails connecting Clinton donors to bank accounts controlled by FBI agents that were part of both the Clinton whitewash and Russia investigations. The “smears” Cooper dismissed.

      So, the scandal is being prepped for its next phase – when the collusion scandal falls apart and investigations start tearing into FBI’s handling of these matters. Cooper is trying to prep his readers to be ready for this, to ignore “smears” against the FBI while continuing to believe the Republicans are circling the wagons around Trump.

      He is also signaling that Trump/Russia narrative will be the main focus behind the dems’ attempt to retake the house in 2018. (Or at least that is what Cooper is advising the Democrats to do.) “The Republicans are protecting a Russian conspirator! Give us the house so that we can expand these investigations and finally impeach Trump.”

      And it will seal the defeat of the Democrats in 2018.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If that’s what the Democrats do, they deserve to lose. Not to say they will; those generic polls are pretty dire for the Republicans (and I’ve seen state breakdowns of the generics, too). Of course, it was PPP, so I’m assuming that the market for accurate polling is as “healthy” (markets aren’t organisms, so….) as the market for tendentious polling, which might not be such a good idea.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Every Democratic officeseeker who runs on Trump-Russia deserves to be defeated. Every Bernie-type voter who agrees with that sentiment will hopefully find some little leftie Third Party Wannabe to vote for. The net total of such votes can be counted and weighed and analysed for its meaning.

        The Obie-Clintocrats hope to use public aghastitude over the march of Trumpism to sell Obie-Clintyism as “better than Trumpism” and “offering relief”. It will take some real discipline and a willingness to endure further pain on the part of millions of Bernie-type voters for those voters to avoid the temptation of giving in to that sort of “save us from the evil Trump” instinct.

        I voted for Trump in hopes of beginning the process of exterminating the Obie-Clintocrat Party from existence. If the Obie-Clintocrats re-emerge yet again from the smoldering rubble, then all the pain will have been for nothing.

        1. pretzelattack

          i’m not sure what you mean by “bernie type voters”. most didn’t care for clinton at all, and viewed both her and trump as hazards to avoid. trump was hardly a good choice, and he has turned out worse than some had hoped, but at least we aren’t at war with russia. since leftists aren’t represented by a party, some little lefty third party wannabe looks like a much better choice than trump in 2020, and better than whatever clinton clone is nominated. trump hasn’t been nearly as destabilizing as I’d hoped, and the enemy of my enemy isn’t my friend. the shock of losing again may prompt the democratic party to change, but i’m not sure the donors care which party wins since they own both–how much instability will a vote for trump in 2020 yield, really?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            “Bernie-type voters” would be the primary-season voters who voted or wanted to vote or tried to vote for Sanders. And they are the DemParty members that the Clintonites have been so nasty to at the Convention and after . . . and the DemParty members that were forced out of positions of DemParty responsibility by the Perez Obamacrats.

            You raise some points worth thinking about.

            And my older slower memory remembers that I also voted for Trump in order to spare America the very real risk of nuclear war with Russia which a President Clinton would have happily risked in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere. So . . . I voted for Trump to keep an A-bomb from spoiling my whole day, as well as to begin the counter-Clintobamacrat disinfection and decontamination process.

  12. Oregoncharles

    ““A recent research study by Alison Weingarden at the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors found that wages for relatively low-skilled workers in nonmetropolitan areas of the country have been growing more rapidly than those in metropolitan areas.”

    Probably this is an often-overlooked statistical quirk: the lower you start, the faster you can grow, proportionally. A $5 gain is 100% of $5. about .01% of $50,000. Plus, as you go higher, you tend to get diminishing returns – although those aren’t real evident right now.

  13. John D.

    “I don’t see how the death grip of the Establishment can to be loosened, except through continued losses, whether in primaries or the general.”

    I don’t see the Establishment loosening their talons on the Democratic Party even with continued losses. By this point, it’s clearly obvious this is what Dem politicos are being paid for, isn’t it? To keep losing if need be as long as it keeps Party control away from undesirables? Their egos may not appreciate having their asses endlessly handed to them at the ballot box, but they’re being richly compensated for doing just that. The bastards are all very comfy in their gated communities, hiding behind their bodyguards and bags of money, being treated as serious players by the corporate media, prostituting themselves to Big Money. It sure beats working for a living.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Continual losses eventually take a serious toll — either on the corrupt consultant-class “Democrats'” power within the party (in the case of a primary loss to a *real* Democrat), or on the entire establishment’s power (in the case of general-election losses to Republicans).

      The Democrats’ corporate masters aren’t going to be interested in funding certain losers. They’ll only pony up *just enough* to buy them if they think there’s a slight chance of them winning. The more losses they sustain, the less chance each individually has of retaining any kind of power worth buying through campaign contributions.

      1. pretzelattack

        otoh, keeping the farce of pseudoelections going does benefit the elites, so funding the democrats could be like funding the washington generals.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Something always bothered me about that phrase; I think it’s that the Hamptons, reached by a long, narrow neck of an island, ARE a defensible position. No natural barriers, aside from the water, but those are much less important these days. Would be a nasty siege, though.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, if you listen to the Blyth presentation, he describes how they can easily be attacked from the beaches. And to your point, they can be cut off from the land side too. They have no food production whatsoever save fishing. I doubt many places have generators, so you can cut their power easily too.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Generators require a fuel source. Also interdictable. I don’t see a lot of solar collectors in the Hamptons, via Google Earth, either, but a stone or a .22 can knock out a solar panel pretty quick. It’s all about vulnerability.

            But a lot of those rich sh!ts would be long gone, to truly defensible places, where the mopes would not have a prayer of getting at them for retribution let alone restitution. Lots of “islands” of both the geographic kind and the kind that rings the elites with actual manned and armed walls of many sorts, and moats of the same…

            1. The Rev Kev

              Peter Thiel, it should be noted as an example, has already purchased citizenship of New Zealand for himself years ago. It may not save him. The United States and New Zealand have an extradition treaty in force. You can run but you can’t hide.

              1. Jim Haygood

                Kim Dotcom, who has resisted extradition from NZ since 2012, is the ultimate test case. Recent court developments have not gone well for him:

                America’s copyright lords are licking their chops.

                1. Meher Baba Fan

                  Jim, I read he very very recently received a multi million dollar award for the excessive force of the swat team raid those years ago. he could have received more but settled out of court to spare the burden on his children. i dont find him a very sympathetic character though – does anyone? he is just dressed in Robin Hood clothes without doing any social good?

        2. Mark P.

          One of the hottest-selling items in Chinese drone manufacturer DJI’s catalogue is a VTOL drone that then switches to winged flight to travel 35-40 mile ranges. Those things are going to be all over Africa, for instance, in ten years’ time because that continent is too big and roads are too expensive to build nowadays. DJI manufactures and sells on a mass-market basis, and the things are relatively cheap — about $1,0000 last time I looked.

          I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already. But the first time someone straps a grenade or some explosive to a drone people are going to wake up. There are no defensible positions anywhere anymore, except underground or in the Arctic and Antarctic

          1. JTMcPhee

            Re weaponized “hobby drones:” Humans being what they are, one should note that everyone is doing it, starting with the weaponheads that constitute “DARPA:”

            DARPA Wants Ideas On Weaponizing Off-the-Shelf Tech
            from the challenge-accepted dept.
            An anonymous reader writes:
            The good news is that some of today’s most advanced technologies are cheap and easy to find, both online and on the shelves of major chain stores. That’s also the bad news, according to DARPA. The defense agency is nervous that criminals and terrorists will turn off-the-shelf products into tools and devices to harm citizens or disrupt American military operations. On Friday, DARPA announced a new project called ‘Improv’ that invites technologists to propose designs for military applications or weaponry built exclusively from commercial software, open source code, and readily available materials. The program’s goal is to demonstrate how easy it is to transform everyday technology into a system or device that threatens national security.
            See also this story about transforming into weapons items commonly found in the purportedly secure area of U.S. airports.
            . Those curious about the links in the article will have to go read the original — don’t want to propagate them myself.

            Then there’s this idea generating piece from one of my favorites, Popular Mechanics:

            Kaboom! Russian Drone With Thermite Grenade Blows Up a Billion Dollars of Ukrainian Ammo
            A single grenade-carrying drone set off one of the largest explosions in recent memory.

            And at big scale, there’s this from Wired!: “Why the US Government is terrified of hobbyist drones,” which starts off with this:

            IF YOU WANT to understand why the government freaked out when a $400 remote-controlled quadcopter landed on the White House grounds last week, you need to look four miles away, to a small briefing room in Arlington, Virginia. There, just 10 days earlier, officials from the US military, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FAA gathered for a DHS “summit” on a danger that had been consuming them privately for years: the potential use of hobbyist drones as weapons of terror or assassination.

            The conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener. The officials played videos of low-cost drones firing semi-automatic weapons, revealed that Syrian rebels are importing consumer-grade drones to launch attacks, and flashed photos from an exercise that pitted $5,000 worth of drones against a convoy of armored vehicles. (The drones won.) But the most striking visual aid was on an exhibit table outside the auditorium, where a buffet of low-cost drones had been converted into simulated flying bombs. One quadcopter, strapped to 3 pounds of inert explosive, was a DJI Phantom 2, a newer version of the very drone that would land at the White House the next week.

            A civilian drone shop owner who reported on the conference got a call from DHS “suggesting” that he remove his posts and pictures from accessible internet places.

            All part of the Great Vulnerability that “tech” is shrinking humanity into so some of us can drown the rest of us in the bathtub of manipulation, consumption and inequality. For a nice profit.

          2. Synoia

            Before you invest in drone delivery in Africa, do some estimates on the respective cost and time to deliver from 1 lb to 20 tons of goods.

            At some point there is a crossover. In addition roads carry people, and I don’t forsee people going by drone.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Imposing continual losses on the Obie-Clintocrat office seekers combined with voting for Berniecrats in every primary might slowly attrit and ablate the Obie-Clintocrats. Just because the Obie-Clintocrat Party exists to keep the Berniecrats away from power and offices doesn’t mean we have to play along with the Obie-Clintocrats.

      If we understand the Obie-Clintocrats to be cancer cells deserving of thorough carcinocide, we can take actions, including voting, based on the Prime Directive to Exterminate the Obie-Clintocrats in Every Single Case.

  14. Oregoncharles

    W/reference to Yves’ post on nutrition science: Of COURSE there’s reliable nutrition science: the discovery that chocolate is good for you. :)

    1. Yves Smith

      Those studies were funded by candy bar makers and hence the results are suspect:

      And here is the textbook on how to create food industry fake science. The example happens, by the way, to be chocolate:

      I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I was joking, about our motives for believing some studies and not others. Was it ever promoted for weight loss? That’s just silly.

        1. Yves Smith

          Sorry! And do read that link.

          We’ve had a recent raft of “coffee is good for you” news stories which are just about as certain to result from corporate funding.

          1. Meher Baba Fan

            coffee definitely has medicinal properties. it stimulates bile production in the liver helping overcome certain types of toxicity. this is most effective when administered via enema. which is how it was used as pain relief in WW1 medical tents when painkillers had run out. externally applied as a poultice it relieves swelling and pus from wounds. In answer to the question is something helpful or harmful? Coffee being the most notorious example of confusion – modern medicine overlooks the fact we are all individual with unique constitutions, histories, ancestors, etc.

            1. Valin

              So coffee has medicinal properties, just so long as you are careful not to consume it orally. Which is quite irrelevant to Yves’ references of health benefits of drinking coffee.

              And that last sweeping statement about modern medicine overlooks the fact that modern medicine tries to find efficacious interventions in spite of the fact that “we are all individual with unique constitutions, histories, ancestors, etc.” – in which, it is pretty successful, wouldn’t you think?

              1. Meher Baba Fan

                Valin, first I’ll add source of a definitive text Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
                why be so contrarian? not had your coffee today?
                Coffee as a medicine is more readily apparent via non oral means. Coffee is also medicinal when consumed ( not least, as i mentioned because it stimulates bile) for some people and not so for others. Because its about the person, not the substance. Which modern medicine rarely if ever accounts for. ie it generalises
                incidentally a lot of evidence seems to indicate health problems from coffee stem from the chemicals in conventional crops. it is the second heaviest sprayed crop in the world I understand. Not that coffee is for everyone. But I personally find organic coffee doesnt seem to give me the yucky side effects

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Personalized health care, including pills or anything one injects into one’s body, specifically formulated for you – that would say, I believe, ‘we care,’ from the healthcare industry.

                  Instead, it’s ‘one apartment design for the whole union (the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics)’ approach. That way, you could go from Vladivostok all way to Minsk, and they all looked the way.

                  Also the ‘one suit (Mao’s suit) for one billion comrade’ approach.

                2. Wyoming

                  Had not heard that coffee is the 2nd most sprayed crop but I do know from when I used to own and operate an organic farm that wine grapes are the #1 most sprayed agricultural crop in the US (sometimes multiple times a day in certain conditions).

                  I used to get a huge kick out of telling all the folks buying organic vegetables that if they really wanted to avoid chemicals they had to stop drinking wine. The anguished looks on their faces was priceless.

      2. Synoia

        I have developed a slightly simpler test for good food:

        If Nestle make a variant of the food group, it is harmful. That includes bottled water. (Nestle does not “make” water, they do make “bottled water. “

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “Eat food. Less of it. Mostly plants.” — Michael Pollan

      Chocolate is a plant, so it ought to be OK. After all, it and we co-evolved together, right? (Pollan, Botany of Desire, great holiday read for those who want to do more slacking off :-)

      However, “Eat food’ means don’t eat processed food (operationally, don’t eat anything that comes with an ingredients list). And unfortunately, most chocolate sold on shelves today is not food.

        1. bassmule

          So is poison ivy. One supposes the quote could be “eat edible plants” but that belabors the obvious. Well, I hope it does, anyway.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Plants are better at complex decision making than we ever realized (From today’s links).

          Are they better at it than, say, robots?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Unsweetened cocoa powder/ baker’s chocolate, etc. are unsweetened. One can use them with as little sugar as one pleases.

        The yuppie-upscale chocolate bars are more cocoa than “alphabet-ingredients”, and the 85% cocoa and the 90% cocoa bars are very low in the chronic toxin sugar.

  15. Larry

    I think the smartphone brain grab is over hyped. I do a lot of reading on my smartphone. And it’s quite handy to have a map and research tool at my fingertips. I understand the desire to not be surveiled, but at this stage I think there is too much data flow to gleen anything of useless from me. If the powers that be want to nab me, they certainly will be able to do so easily.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Reading NC on my smartphone? It’s one of the greatest joys of my life. One of the best waker-uppers ever invented.

    2. blennylips

      Another way to look at it: [falkvinge.net].
      There is no need to “gleen” that data flow. Store it all and when you become a target that’s when they x-key-score up your record. And then they invoke Richelieu:


      If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

      If Rick Falkvinge is new to you, I suggest this talk, where he keynoted the Black Hat EU 2013 conference:

      1. a different chris

        Sigh. If they want you then “you are so different — we have almost no records of your activities, do you realize? Do you understand why we are suspicious?” works as well as anything else.

        Hiding just doesn’t work.

    3. Camembert

      I straight up love the map feature on my smartphone, and it’s nice to have a yellow pages with reviews at my fingertips.

      The rest is basically take-or-leave compared to a dumbphone with texting.

  16. Arizona Slim

    Answering your question about holiday flights: I recently took two, and the journey involved three airports. Only one of the three airports (Chicago Midway) was crowded.

    And the flights? Well, I seem to recall seeing empty seats on them.

    1. Yves Smith

      Laguardia was shockingly not packed on Dec 23 (although I was flying at a non-peak hour). The taxi driver in Birmingham told me holiday travels was lower this year than in recent years (and he’s been driving for 38 years!)

      I wonder if the baggage charges have had a bit of an impact. One of the reasons holiday travel was so intense was the lines for people checking bags that often contained presents. Even if you weren’t in those lines you would feel the stress of the people in them.

      1. bassmule

        Here is why I decided against a West Coast holiday trip to see family: Because air travel has become such an ordeal, between the mindless martinets of Homeland Security and the new willingness of airlines to cram even more seats in economy class, not to mention their new willingness to manhandle passengers. Of course, my white guy complaints pale next to others:

  17. AngryUndergrad

    RE: The Quartz article on smartphone addiction —

    I was expecting something a bit more ludditic. While there are many less-than-great things about smartphones (hello NSA!) they do make for great tools. Just like any form of media, it takes some mental work to not get pavlov’d into the endless back loop.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You’d think there’s be an app for that, an app to break the back loop.

      Adding, the app would also have to give something that would enhance brain chemistry too. Otherwise it couldn’t compete at scale.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Mind you, there is a tool that you can get from Amazon that will help you with smartphone addiction. It promises to be a permanent cure too-

  18. XXYY

    There are some problems with that.

    Ryan Cooper is not wrong in what he says. The way to create political change in this country is not through political machinations or trying for some extra-process ouster or impeachment. Not only are they unlikely, but they will carry an aura of illegitimacy that will (perhaps rightly) prevent them from being accepted as a basis for subsequent action. Furthermore, such approaches do nothing to strengthen the political power of the population or enhance the skill sets needed to operate in a democratically run country.

    Lambert is of course correct that the Democratic Party as it exists at the moment is not going to be much help with Cooper’s program. But that doesn’t mean his suggested strategy (achieve legitimate popular victories and then use the resultant power to consolidate future victories) makes no sense. The Democratic Party failed to heed this advice when it held absolute power from 2008 to 2010, and we see the results now. Rather, they pursued a Clintonist accomodation with the GOP that alienated the population, teeing themselves up for defeat only 2 years later.

    Cooper is no help with the tactics of winning the next election, but his strategy seems sound.

    1. Trickle Down McGush-Up

      Perhaps the only way for voters to make change in a firmly entrenched two party/same party system is to vote for independents en mass every ten years or so. You have to punish the established politicians just for being in a party by voting independent. Of course it has to be the correct independent who gets the votes.

      Working out who deserves a mandate is of the greatest difficulty – hence the swamp those of us who live under democracy/anocracy are all in. I am currently trying to work out the one question that you could ask politicians so as to know whether they are fit to be elected. Any Ideas out there?

      By the way; I live under the Westminster system in which generally the government ministers are elected as members of parliament so that they are at least is some way accountable to an electorate. The US system in which an almost unaccountable president appoints ministers (secretaries) – effectively Joe Blow off the street – just makes my head spin!

      Pip Pip

      1. a different chris

        > the one question that you could ask politicians so as to know whether they are fit to be elected

        “What are you gonna do for me?” ;)

        1. JTMcPhee

          “What are you gonna do for me?” That’s the same question “campaign contributors/bribers” ask, is it not? With the implied or stated subordinate clause “And how soon can you get it done?”

    2. Montanamaven

      I cannot take seriously an author who rails against the Republicans and gives us a strategy to defeat them without mentioning the infamy of the Democrats who would never in a million years implement that strategy.. Writers like this guy are part of the problem. He’s like a minor Robert Reich or a dozen other “progressive” authors who have been analyzing the problem since as long as I can remember and are just a lot of hot air. Yeh, yeh, yeh, If only we embraced all these socialist ideas then we can kick some butt. Oh Please! The two parties are in cahoots, plain and simple. I recommend again reading Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Inc: Managed Democracy and the Spectre of Inverted Totalitarianism.” It is all kayfabe. Fake fighting. The Democratic Party didn’t fail “to heed this advice” . They want no part of living wages or decent pensions or free college or debt jubilee. The Democratic mayors wiped out the Occupy Movement. I should not even spend time on this idea of a strategy for “winning”. Winning what? Another chance to put grifters like the Clintons or Obamas back into power. HA!

      1. WJ

        I don’t know the work of Cooper and can’t tell if he is just hopelessly naive or adopting a more sophisticated rhetorical strategy wherein you pretend that your addressee already has the virtues you hope your speech inspires him to try to acquire. The “advice to princes” genre of the 15th-16th humanists operated in this way.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Cooper is no help with the tactics of winning the next election, but his strategy seems sound.

      So far as I can tell, it’s the only strategy on offer that has a prayer of succeeding.

      “You must do it, Catullus, you must do it. You must do it whether it can be done or not.”

    4. Procopius

      I object to “held absolute power from 2008 to 2010.” Only if the Republicans did not filibuster did the Democratic majority suffice. They never had the 60 Senators necessary to impose cloture. At their height, briefly (after Al Franken was finally certified and before Ted Kennedy died) they had 58 Senators 2 Independents who might vote with them. One of those was Weepin’ Joe Lieberman. If you think he could be relied on, we have nothing further to discuss.

      1. Yves Smith

        Yes, they did until Scott Brown was voted in. That election took place almost a year after Obama had been inaugurated, on January 19, 2010. Remember Roosevelt’s 100 days? The country was prostrated and scared. Obama could implemented a broad-ranging set of policy changes. Instead, he implemented a stimulus known even at the time as being too weak and tinkered at the margins.

        And Brown’s victory was the direct result of Obama’s failure to address the foreclosure crisis. Political scientist Tom Ferguson did a district-by-district analysis of that election. The vote for Brown was explained entirely by the level of foreclosures. That dominated every other variable.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Only if the Republicans did not filibuster did the Democratic majority suffice.

        Oh, please. The filibuster can be changed by majority vote at the start of a session. Reid in fact did this in 2013 to get some judges through. Obviously this could have been done in 2009 when it mattered, but Democrats chose not to. IOW, they chose not to wield power when they had it (or, to put this another way, wielded their power in such a way as not to relieve the suffering of the nation). If you don’t see this as the colossal strategic error it is — assuming arguendo good faith by Democrats — “we have nothing further to discuss.” The exit to Kos is that way.

      3. Pat

        Lieberman was relied upon to provide a convenient excuse to kill the public option in the Senate after Pelosi goofed and let it get passed in the House.

        You forget that Lieberman was allowed to keep his committee chairmanships, something that gave him great power in areas important to him. This was something Reid controlled as majority leader. They had the means to pressure him. Not doing so was all part of the faux excuse.

  19. John Beech

    Ever watched children playing Monopoly? I mean really watched, all the way to the end. One kid ends up with all the properties. The game becomes pointless . . . in fact, continued paying is hopeless. Finally, someone picks up one side of the board and tilts all the pieces to the floor. An analog to the 3-finger salute performed when a computer locks up. The point being to reset the game and start over.

    Today, 500 people basically own the world. Is a reset coming and what will this look like? I remember how in 2009, President Obama protected the banksters and many people stocked up on bullets. Fortunately, nothing came of that but in 1789 France, it meant the guillotine for the haves as the have nots rose up in force.

    Tick, tock.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was playing Wall*Street Monopoly, and in that version, all of the real estate gets bought up by a couple of players on a schweet no money down deal before the game starts, and they spend all evening collecting bankrolls from the other players, slowly rendering them into pissant peasants, the renter class. The Unabankers game the system, allowing them to pass Go and collect $200 with every roll. There is no jail either.

      Tick talk:

      Some of mother nature’s clients in the forest for the trees didn’t get the word from on high about climate change being the new normal and are doing odd things as far as our schedule for where they should be, is concerned. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks better not mention anything in an ill-advised tweet that things are coming a cropper, and risk scorn from on high, especially after the diktat that said climate change no longer exists in the Federal level, capiche?

      A friend sent me an e-mail:

      “Yesterday, I tried to go to Marble Falls. I was going to go up to The Giant Forest, but things kept happening, and I got a late start. So to save the drive time, I thought Marble Falls would be a good destination. The road section was fine, and the first switchbacks section was good, but as soon as I got past the switchbacks, the ticks were along the trail. So after the first mile of running into thirty or whatever ticks, I decided to turn around. I didn’t get any on me, but I was hiking looking down, and not enjoying the views. When I turned around, I saw plenty more that were on that side of the grass blades.

      I knew that trail can have ticks. And I was thinking with the warm winter, they haven’t died off yet. And yep, I was right. Usually, winter kills them off. Not this year.”
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~

      BTW, a very handy way to remove a tick from your skin, all you need is a Q-tip.

    2. perpetualWAR

      I have forgotten that aspect of Monopoly where kids get to anger and frustration because the “game” is no fun anymore. But, yes that happened almost every time.

      What’s going to happen? We shall see after this 2nd housing bubble bursts. I don’t think people will understand it happening a second time.

      The comments I’ve heard to try to deflect the obvious bubbles: “well, but, they are not lending to subprime borrowers.” Does it matter if “they” again crash the economy and the prime borrower loses their job? It’s 2007 all over again. I overheard someone being proud of their 26-year-old buying a $300,000 home. When just last year, those same homes were $250,000.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        This time is different IMO, during prior bubbles they had not really messed with the denominator, no actual central banker willing to show his/her face in public would have dreamt of the kinds of money printing we’ve seen since 2009. People focus on the numerator though, so we hear about “houses per dollar” “stocks per dollar” “groceries per dollar” and “health care per dollar” etc. But by almost every measure the money is in free fall against everything else, so the crisis is already here, there is no “bubble” that will pop. Everyone is getting impoverished, but there’s no yardstick to measure it against, all of the bank currencies are impoverishing at a similar rate, gold is wildly manipulated (relentless and record BIS selling into the market as they themselves get impoverished and sell off the furniture). Some geeks put forth some numbers (Bitcoin) and it’s the closest thing we have to something that is “telling us the truth” about the value of money.

        1. Procopius

          Gold has no intrinsic value. For several centuries after Charlemagne reformed the currency it was not even used for coins in European countries (Henri Pirenne, Economic History of Medieval Europe, p. 107). Its price, in terms of other goods, has always varied wildly.

          1. Wukchumni

            Nobody issued gold coins in what is now Europe around the era of Charlemagne and hundreds of years later, aside from the Byzantine Empire.

            They didn’t call it the Dark Ages for nothing.

    3. Temporarily Sane

      Haha…I would do that during family Monopoly sessions during the Christmas holidays when I got sick of sitting there playing a boring game that went on forever while one person cleaned up the board and gloated. Of course when I was in the winner’s seat I had no urge to dump the contents of the board all over the floor and someone else had to take the initiative. There is a lesson in there somewhere… ;-)

  20. St Jacques

    My apologies to Cfdtrade for exceeding the language rules in a post relating to the Catalan crisis. You work very hard to keep this excellent blog going with its brilliant posts and commentary from bloggers. That I was genuinely incensed was no excuse whatsoever for my language and my inexcusably and shameless tantrum..You have let me post again since my indiscretion but if I’m made persona non grata I fully understand. Please accept my apologies.

    Yours sincerely. St Jacques

      1. St Jacques

        Sorry to disappoint but no. I’m an Aussie with living family links to Europe hence the nom de plume which relates to places. Cheers.

  21. Moocao

    Regarding Medical Coma and Erica Garner case:

    There are reports indicating that Erica Garner had a heart attack caused by an asthma attack. A severe asthma attack, status asthmaticus, would require mechanical ventilation (with a tube in the throat that would go into the trachea), and therefore also need sedation (for protection). This would also be necessary for any cardiac interventions. Therefore, it is not surprising to see Erica under sedation/medical coma. Purpose for this is medical coma to sedate the patient sufficiently to not cause excessive injury – it is very uncomfortable to have a tube in the throat/trachea. In addition, in status asthmaticus cases, to achieve adequate oxygenation requires changing vent settings, which is VERY uncomfortable depending on how it is set-up by the Intensivist/Pulmonologist/Respiratory Therapist.

    What I find concerning is that Erica is only 27 years old with status asthmaticus, and now a second myocardial infarction, and she should have already been extubated, or should soon be extubated, unless further complications arise. Status Asthmaticus usually improves within 3-5 days with massive steroids and nebulizer medications. A myocardial infarction, if minor, would usually just need a PCI and patients get on their feet within a couple of days. Erica, however, is still ventilated and in a medical coma, perhaps there is quite a bit of myocardial damage with this heart attack.

    Knowing nothing of Erica’s condition, I would say to pray for her physical well being and improvement, but it may be time for her torch to pass onto others, as she may not have the physicality to bring the fight of Black Lives Matter to the forefront just by herself anymore.

    1. mle nevin

      it may be time for her torch to pass onto others

      I certainly hope not, but / and there’s this:

      We could all join-sign-endorse. Check out the Economic Justice plank — concrete material benefits.

  22. ewmayer

    o Re. “Scientists Discovered What Causes Dementia | Big Think (David L)” (today’s Links) — Interesting, so basically they seem to be claiming that dementia = ‘brain gout’. I wonder if any existing gout medications can pass the blood/brain barrier?

    o “Readers, there’s very little news flow, and frankly, I slacked off! And who doesn’t want slack?” — Ahem, growing up I was ‘taut’ that excessive slacking-off was bad. Not that said lesson sank in, or anything.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I wondered what causes excessive urea in the blood – or brain. The same things as cause gout?

      it’s a protein byproduct, so a high-protein diet would do it.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, not protein. Purines. Men more likely to get it than women. High alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, diabetes, and low thyroid are also risk factors.

        Here is a list of high-purine foods to be wary of:

        anchovies
        asparagus
        beef kidneys
        brains
        dried beans and peas
        game meats
        gravy
        herring
        liver
        mackerel
        mushrooms
        sardines
        scallops
        sweetbreads

  23. JBird

    “In the Heart of Trump Country, His Base’s Faith Is Unshaken” [AP]. A reporter’s equivalent of “What Are the Drums Saying, Booker?” I suppose. “The Whitts, like many people here, cobble together a living with a couple jobs each — sometimes working 12 or 15 hours a day — because there aren’t many options better than minimum wage. There’s the school system, and a prison, and that’s pretty much it.” When a political class orchestrates a situation like this, what do they expect?

    This is so @@@@ing obvious.

    If I, a not that well educated (yet!) broke college student here in Ultra Blue California, can see this why can’t our beloved meritocratic ruling class not? Yes, I do have some (very) small wisdom that being a middle aged autodidact can give, but the history, statistics, interviews, research is all available for anyone doing even a superficial level of study. Of course one has to be looking for truth not self validation, which answers my rant, l suppose.

    Still frustrating to see so much effort put at remaining so ignorant and in treating much of the country as Darkest America instead of treating their fellow Americans as people instead of barbarians.

    1. cnchal

      . . . because there aren’t many options better than minimum wage. . .

      Globalization. A disaster wherever one cares to look.

  24. Teodrose Fikre

    As always, thank you to the crew at Cfdtrade for posting the articles I write at the Ghion Journal. Below is the latest write up, something that is in line with everyone’s thoughts here I’m sure, about creating a media company that speaks to the increasingly silenced humanity.

    Article link:

  25. a different chris

    Well we just can’t help being American, can we? That is, the entire world stops at the border:

    >If you want to improve car reliance, then this seems like a very pertinent problem and a key place to start putting in some creative thinking.

    You don’t need creative thinking, you just need to copy countries that have this (family blog) already figured out.

  26. Jim Haygood

    When you need to sell a few shares to cover your living expenses:

    In September, Facebook announced that CEO Mark Zuckerberg will sell between 35 million and 75 million shares over the next 18 months. At the current share price, that’s between $6.1 billion and $13.1 billion worth of stock, one of the biggest insider sales ever.

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently sold a million shares in the retailer for $1.1 billion. That adds to the million shares he sold in May this year.

    What are they gonna do with the loot … try to corner cryptocurrencies, like the Hunt brothers tried to corner silver in 1980?

    All your blockchain are belong to us.

  27. George Phillies

    “until we can more loyal to ideas than to ideologies” on tomorrow’s water cooler. This clause, which you quoted, does not appear to make sense in English.

    I agree that a major ‘Impeach Trump’ effort based on the billionaire’s launch would be politically disruptive, to both parties and the country.

    What will Bezos do with the loot? A private space program, I think.

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