2:00PM Water Cooler 7/9/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Trade

“For G-7, Trump’s racism and misogyny are ok, but his trade policies are intolerable” []. “Most G-7 leaders have worked to build warm relationships with Trump, despite his xenophobia, racism, misogyny, climate denialism, warmongering and corrupt business self-dealing. But apparently, taking on the trade status quo was a bridge too far. That is a bitter irony, given that the trade and financial policies that the G-7 has relentlessly promoted created the political context that helped to make Trump president. Decades of U.S. presidents from both parties and their G-7 counterparts have pushed international economic policies that have created expansive new rights and powers for multinational corporations and hurt working people.”

“Lawmakers, industry groups and corporations spent months and millions of dollars trying to sway President Donald Trump away from imposing tariffs on China and igniting a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. But for Trump and those closest to him, it was always going to end this way” []. “‘I always believed he was deadly serious about China from the very beginning,” said Stephen Moore, a conservative economist and outside White House adviser, recalling his time with Trump during the campaign. “I’m not at all surprised that we’ve come to this point. I am a little surprised that China hasn’t been more conciliatory. But I think Trump can’t back down, he just can’t. He has to stand toe to toe with China.'” • Moving on from the bargaining stage?

“Soybeans are on the front lines in the burgeoning global trade war. U. S. soybean exports surged in the second quarter and the value of the exports nearly doubled from April to May, the WSJ’s Paul Kiernan reports, in a sign of how global trade is shifting in the face of tit-for-tat sanctions between the U.S. and China. Many experts believe the export rally reflects efforts by buyers to get their crops ahead of China’s retaliatory tariffs on soybeans. Recent data suggests China was already bulking up buying from Brazil this spring, and U.S. farmers say they are starting to feel the pain from a downturn in prices” [].• One angle on this story: . I’m betting that, for these voters, “it’s in the price.” We’ll see.

Politics

2020

“Is she back? Talk emerges that Hillary Clinton is plotting her 2020 comeback and prepping to take on Donald Trump a second time” []. “Clinton’s larger-than-life name in Democratic Party carries a hefty weight as Democrats have been locked in an ideological fight since the 2016 election with no clear leader emerging to lead the party through the next few years. Liberals were furious the party establishment worked against Bernie Sanders to ensure Clinton the presidential nomination. And leftist candidates, such as self-proclaimed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning upset victory in the New York primary over Rep. Joe Crowley, have emerged this year as a result.” • Note the usual confusion between liberals and the left, presented here in unusually pure form: Liberals were perfectly happy with what the party establishment, itself liberal, did in 2016. The left opposed it, supported Sanders, and worked for ACO.

2018

“An Electoral Fight Between Two Very Different Americas” [Charles Cook, ]. “Of the 18 competitive and potentially competitive Senate races, those categorized in The Cook Political Report as Toss Up, Leaning, or Likely Democratic or Republican (so not Solid Democrat or Republican), just three are being fought in states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Most of the Senate battleground states are those with disproportionately rural and small-town populations, many in states that Donald Trump carried by massive margins. Conversely, the battle for the House runs primarily through suburban districts of a distinctly middle- and upper-middle-class variety. Roughly half of all competitive Republican House seats are in districts won by Clinton; even many of the Southern contests are in districts with plenty of transplants or a distinctly non-Dixiecrat flavor.”

“Not Just Joe Crowley: Many State Lawmakers Lost Primaries This Week” []. “New York’s congressional race wasn’t the only one with an upset on Tuesday. An anti-incumbent wave hit two states’ legislative elections.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Trump Isn’t Remaking The Supreme Court. Leonard Leo Is.” []. The Federalist Society. Naturally, Democrats will have voted for Trump’s nominee because credentials, so they will have no moral standing to virtue signal, on abortion or anything else. That won’t stop them from trying, of course.

“What Can We Learn from the Radical Campuses of 1968?” []. • ?

“Nancy Pelosi: ‘They Come After Me Because I’m Effective” []. “Pelosi is one of the most powerful women in global politics. She gets credit for securing passage of much of the legislation in the Obama legacy, including the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform and especially the Affordable Care Act. “Nancy Pelosi has been one of the most transformational figures in the modern Democratic Party,” says Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez.” • All “achievements” of dubious merit.” More:

What’s the Democratic message?

[PELOSI:] We’ve had for a year, working with the Senate, our agenda: Better Deal. Better jobs. Better pay. Better future. It took eight months or so to put it together, to come to agreement. The members shaped this. It wasn’t something where I said, “This is what I think it should be. Now sell it.” It was: “What do you think it should be?” It’s very important that it spring from the members.

And when people say, “Well, it doesn’t inspire me”… It inspires me. Because it’s about the economy. No matter the other stuff we disagree on, the financial stability of America’s working families is the unifying force in our caucus. That’s why these people are Democrats, not Republicans.

Readers, am I too jaundiced? Is this message from Democrats what’s coming through to you? (Not to tip my hand, but oddly, the interview does not include the word “Russia.”)

“The Liberal Backlash Is Coming” [Paul Waldman, ]. “But right now we’re seeing something extraordinary: a liberal backlash, potentially equal in potency to what we’re used to seeing from the right. The left is already mad because of their own sense of loss, and it’s about to get much worse.” • Indeed. Given that liberal Democrats have managed to foment a warmongering Red Scare when out of power, one shudders to think (see Our Famously Free Press) what they’ll do when they take power again. It won’t be pretty.

“The Socialist Network” []. “A socialist, in other words, is hungry for a little class warfare.” • And to what end? Sounds like “” to me, as stated.

“The Church Left is Proving My Point” []. “A couple days ago, I wrote about the tendency for left wing organizations to behave like church communities rather than strategic political organizations. I told a story about an upcoming election at the East Bay DSA branch in California, criticising one of slates for taking unstrategic positions and using church tactics–shunning, shaming, perhaps expulsion–to target those who publicly do not embrace their platform in every detail. Anxious to prove everything I said correct, this slate and its supporters have immediately begun coming after me in precisely the ways I anticipated. They have begun personally targeting me, attempting to depict me as some kind of heretic or sinner.”

Stats Watch

There are no official stats of interest today.

Crapification Watch: Thrown over the transom by two alert readers. Thread:

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union:

– waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it's of poor workmanship and quality

– promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out

— Anton Troynikov (@atroyn)

Commodities: “America Has a Cheese Problem That’s Only Going to Get Worse” []. “Currently, the U.S. has 1.39 billion pounds of cheese in storage, according to the Department of Agriculture and that equates to roughly 4 pounds of cheese for every American. Why so much? There are two main factors. Cheese is piling up due to a dwindling demand for milk, yet farmers are on target to produce a whopping 218.7 billion pounds of milk by December. On top of that, cheese, butter and milk powder store better than fluid milk, resulting in a sur of cheddar and Swiss. Extra cheese means lower prices, which spells trouble for farmers. The current price is at $15.36 per 100 pounds, which is a dollar below the average for 2017.” • This being American cheese, I think we should say “cheddar-like product.”

Commodities: “Is the rally in cobalt a flash in the pan? Some of the battery-sceptic funds certainly think so” []. “Call them battery sceptics. Bets on surging demand for electric vehicles have made cobalt and lithium hot commodities, but some investors say the outlook is leaving them cold… Producers may add 815,000 metric tonnes of lithium to the market by 2025, surpassing a 460,000-tonne increase in demand during that span, according to BofA analysts including Michael Widmer. The expansion in output could cause prices of lithium carbonate to plunge to US$10,000 a tonne, just over half the current average price in Asia so far this year, the bank said… In the case of cobalt, supply will exceed demand by 652 tonnes this year, and that will widen to 20,842 tonnes next year, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. The sur is expected to send prices tumbling to an average of US$62,502 a tonne in 2019, down 23 per cent from the forecast for this year.”

Real Estate: “Brick-And-Mortar Retail Isn’t Dead: Just Look At Who’s Moving Into Toys ‘R’ Us’s Empty Stores” []. “It’s not just those emptied Toys “R” Us locations that are getting new leasing interest. Kimco detailed in April that it’s seen over 3,000 net new store openings this year from “trending and growing” retailers — from Sprouts Farmers Market, Planet Fitness and GoHealth urgent care to traditional retailers Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Sephora…. Yes, the U.S. is still over-stored: A 2017 Cowen study found that the per capita shopping center square footage that American consumers get is at least four times more than that of their U.K. and French counterparts…. However, those dynamics and downbeat headlines don’t translate to any dismal retail apocalypse scenarios. Changing consumer behavior has simply given the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and shopping-center developers a big wake-up call and forced them to reinvent and answer the new fancies of consumers.” • This guy’s never encountered the retail wasteland at the Bangor Mall (though to be fair, there’s a Sephora inside JC Penney’s). Although who knows, perhaps in five or ten years I’ll be more optimistic…

Retail: “Amazon Prime Day Set to Damage Major Retailers” []. “Amazon Prime Day is one week away. For 36 hours, during Prime Day, which spreads over July 16 and 17, e-commerce company Amazon.com Inc. will offer countless deals to many of its Prime members, who number over 100 million worldwide. The event will grab hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, much of which could have gone to traditional retailers. The size of the blitz is extraordinary. The products available to Prime members range from clothing to consumer electronics, household items, food and outdoor furniture.” • Amazon’s central planning role is reinforced by the fact that it doesn’t have to show a profit, unlke “traditional retailers.” • But it’s all good, because Jeff Bezos is going to use his loot to and get himself off-planet. Jackpot!

Retail: “PX, I love you” []. “One of the largest retailers in the country is a 123-year-old operation with a highly exclusive customer list—to shop at this store, you must have served in the U.S. armed forces…. Despite that stipulation, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES)—also known as the ‘Exchange’ or the PX (an Army abbreviation for ‘post exchange’)—has grown to become the 56th largest retailer in the country, operating some 2,700 stores on Army and Air Force bases in all 50 states and more than 30 countries worldwide… When the Exchange opened the electronic doors of its website to an expanded audience last Veterans Day—Nov. 11, 2017—the orders came pouring in as expected. In fact, the number of orders placed on ShopMyExchange.com over Veterans Day weekend was nearly triple the number from the previous year, as newly eligible military shoppers logged in to take advantage of the tax-free deals [Just like Amazon! Oh, wait…] and the ‘family connection.'” • Socialism!

Shipping: “Truckers warn the hiring isn’t keeping up with rising shipping demand and that this spring’s freight capacity constraints will worsen as seasonal demand picks up. That will make this fall’s recruiting push even more urgent” [].

Shipping: “Shortage of Truck Drivers Hits New York Businesses, Pushes Up Wages” []. “Since trucks account for about 70% of all goods shipped in the United States, the shortage is creating what some are calling a ‘drivers’ market,’ where companies are offering higher wages and shorter trips to make the jobs more attractive to workers, experts said.” • Oh the humanity!

Shipping: “The shipping industry’s biggest growth market right now may be on the beaches of South Asia. Weak freight rates are pushing shipowners to scrap a record number of the biggest oil tankers this year” []. “Ocean carriers are struggling with overcapacity that’s tamped down shipping prices and made continued operations for many very large crude carriers a tough sell, particularly for those that have to go through a costly recertification process after 15 years on the water. A rebound in commodity prices has made the hulls of the big tankers even more valuable.” • Let’s hope, this time round, we burn as few Pakistani workers to death as possible…

The Bezzle: “Nissan Says It Found ‘Misconduct’ in Exhaust, Fuel Economy Tests” []. “Nissan Motor Co., the Japanese carmaker that was embroiled in a vehicle-inspection scandal last year, said an internal check found employees had falsified exhaust emission and fuel-economy data at five local factories. The way the tests were conducted deviated from prescribed norms, the automaker said in a statement on Monday, adding it also found employees filed inspection reports based on altered measurements. This data manipulation happened to the sampling test, part of the final car inspection process, the automaker said.” • This keeps happening….

The Bezzle: “A Strange New Twist In The Satoshi Nakamoto Saga” []. “On June 29, someone claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto posted a 21-page excerpt from what he claims to be a literary work. In the excerpt, he promises to reveal his full identity soon…. What the man needs to do is to move the 980,000 or so genesis bitcoins that are associated with him and everybody will forever hold their peace. That stash has remained unmoved for nearly a decade in the deepest cold storage in the space. The true Satoshi Nakamoto ought to have access to the cryptographic keys to that giant vault.” • Maybe he wrote them down and then lost the slip of paper?

The Bezzle: “Stiglitz, Roubini and Rogoff lead joint attack on bitcoin” []. “Joseph Stiglitz, Nouriel Roubini and Kenneth Rogoff have renewed their assault on the cryptocurrency believing it will be subject to further sharp and damaging falls as authorities crack down on criminals using bitcoin to launder money and avoid taxes. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, told Financial News: ‘You cannot have a means of payment that is based on secrecy when you’re trying to create a transparent banking system. If you open up a hole like bitcoin then all the nefarious activity will go through that hole, and no government can allow that.'” • Prosecution futures, as Yves has said from the very beginning.

Transportation: “Cybercrime regulations over ‘smart’ connected vehicles and its impact on civil liability” []. “Ensuring the integrity of the vehicle is vital, which would allow only the organizations with the license to be privy to the vehicle’s information to control it [good luck with that]. The vehicle also needs to be available to the driver at all times, and should not lose out on key functionalities while it is on the highway…. In case of accidents, one of the angles to distribute liability would naturally fall on the vehicle owner, and the onus is on the local jurisdiction to decide on the extent of liability to be taken up by the owner. And in such situations, taking up insurance over autonomous vehicles specifically for hacking and cybercrime could be a way forward. OEM companies and software providers would have to understand their liabilities in the future as legislations would be set in place to suit the times. But as it stands now, the IT security act does not cover this situation, essentially letting them off the hook from any cybercrime issue that crops up from connected vehicles.” • Ain’t “” grand?

“Why you might want to wrap your car key fob in foil” []. More convenience. But for whom? And not just my car key fob, surely?

Five Horsemen: “Four of the Fab Five are up in late morning trade, while Facebook — which reached a new high on Friday — is flat” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 9 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “After Friday’s vigorous market pop, the mania-panic index rose to 45 (worry) as the VIX volatility index subsided and new highs strengthened their margin over new lows” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index July 6 2018

Our Famously Free Press

Shudders to Think (1):

1. I really need to stop ruining my Sunday with Twitter, but before I go enjoy actual life, a few words on "objective" political journalism — & here I refer specifically to the odd amalgamation of habits & strictures that dominate mainstream US political reporting.

— David Roberts (@drvox)

Shudders to Think (2):

There is no reason to believe that Glenn’s fanatical hatred of the Democratic Party comes from anything other than the same well of sincere bad judgment that makes him think McCarthyism was about being on the receiving end of some nasty tweets.

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias)

Gaia

“We Have No Idea How Bad the Us Tick Problem Is” []. “Around the world, diseases spread by ticks are on the rise. Reported cases of Lyme, the most common US tick-borne illness, have quadrupled since the 1990s. Other life-threatening infections like anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are increasing in incidence even more quickly than Lyme. Meat allergies caused by tick bites have skyrocketed from a few dozen a decade ago to more than 5,000 in the US alone, according to experts. And new tick-borne pathogens are emerging at a troubling clip; since 2004, seven new viruses and bugs transmitted through tick bite have shown up in humans in the US.”

Book Nook

“A Video Excerpt from The Well-Placed Weed: The Bountiful Life of Ryan Gainey” []. ” [Gainey] had a way of ‘making things look spontaneous. . .that were planned.’ Most gardeners work to eliminate weeds, but Gainey would allow them to pop up in certain areas. To visitors, these would appear as happy accidents, but they were deliberate, as Gainey explained in his 1993 book The Well-Placed Weed from which our documentary takes its title. Gainey’s gardens feature a fascinating give-and-take between the structured and the free-flowing.” • One more book for summer reading? Not sure….

“The Best Books on Con Artists, According to True-Crime Experts” []. “Fascinated by the language of the underground, Maurer introduced phrases like “shills” and “the payoff” to the mainstream, giving us the vocabulary to discuss con artists.”

Class Warfare

“A Small Window into the Soul’s Corruption” []. From May, still germane: “[N]othing these executives offer for public consumption can be credited, not when they’re in the midst of battles over control, market domination, and massive amounts of wealth.” Arthur is talking about Facebook executives, but the case seems more general…

“Illinois governor profits off ICE detention center contracts” []. “In his most recent statement of economic interests, the multi-millionaire Republican governor disclosed earnings from a private equity fund that owns Correct Care Solutions, a for-profit health care provider that has millions of dollars in government contracts with jails and prisons across the country, including immigrant detention centers. The governor said he relinquished investment decisions to a third party… Still, Rauner’s disclosures indicate that he’s earning income from the group, which reports annual revenue of $1 billion [that’s real money!] The financial connection between a sitting governor and for-profit ICE detention contractors is one that immigration rights groups insist is a clear conflict of interest. They also point to Correct Care Solutions’ track record involving dozens of lawsuits alleging wide-ranging negligence.” • It would be nice if, instead of yammering about (a tendentiously select group of) babies, we could follow the money. Of course, ….

“Private tax collection agencies lose money while going after the poor” []. Final paragraph: “In the case of the IRS, that poor service seems to be by design.” Hard to believe that the neoliberal playbook is being applied to the IRS just as much as the Post Office or the Veterans Administration, but then one remembers that the were one of the more delectable features of the ancien regime

“With Greed and Cynicism, Big Tech is Fueling Inequalities in America” [Monday Note, ]. “Recently, a CEO of a roaring unicorn in Silicon Valley drew my attention to the following: ‘If you compare Amazon’s stock price over the recent years against the cost of housing and the rise of homelessness in Seattle, the progression is identical…’ He is mostly right…. .The exemptions granted to Amazon (or Apple which is also looking for another campus, or Tesla, or Foxconn), is part of a zero-sum game in which the contribution will come at the expense of something else…. Tesla’s tax effect on the Nevada economy offers a perfect example: the fiscal profligacy granted by elected officials to attract the company’s huge battery factory translated into tax hikes for local residents and cuts in bus routes, among other things. To add insult to injury, Tesla decided to sell $131million in tax credits (about 10 percent of its expected tax benefit) to Nevada casinos” • : “Yup. And as near as I can tell, the problem is getting worse. With no end in sight.”

“Hollywood” []. “In Hollywood they get the people who are the best at being skinny while pretending to do things, and they never stop pretending to do things. They pretend to make movies and they pretend to be artists and they pretend to be basically decent people who haven’t lost touch with their humanity at all while doing unspeakable things behind locked doors guarded by armed security guards. They watch the world age around ageless plastic faces through medicated eye holes and remember less and less often what life was like before this catastrophe started.”

“BrightFarms Raises $55 Million in New Funding Round” []. “Indoor farming startup BrightFarms Inc. said Thursday it has raised $55 million in a new funding round to open more hydroponic greenhouses across the U.S. as it seeks to capitalize on rising demand for locally grown food.” • I always thought of “local food” as being grown in actual soil*, but what do I know? More: “The crops are grown in glass-roofed, 140,000 square-foot farms near metropolitan areas.” • Enabling, for the paranoid, blue city secession…. NOTE * I’m smelling a business model for pre-packaged . The Juicero types just didn’t think big enough about what to put inside their plastic bags…

News of The Wired

“Michael Pollan: Why I started taking LSD and what it helped me to do” []. “Are psychedelic drugs, like youth, wasted on the young? Could middle age be the ideal time to try some consciousness expanding – to ‘shake the snow globe’ as one neuroscientist puts it… ‘I can’t emphasise how important it is to have a guide,” [Pollan] says, ‘to prepare you, escort you through the journey and be there if you get into trouble – and people do. Also a good guide will help you integrate the experience into your life.'”

“What I learned from a Taipei alley” []. “While filming in a cram school district of Taipei, I posted this photo of an alley to Instagram, wondering in my caption why American alleys did not contain such a density of food stalls and stands and restaurants…. In the American consciousness and pop culture, the alley is a place of danger and grime. It’s where Bruce Wayne’s parents were shot and Batman birthed, a place of drug deals, prostitution, gang fights, and dumpsters. This squalid reputation may trace back to the functional roots of the alley in America.”

“The Death of the Public Square” [Franklin Foer, ]. “What is God? It is only a subject that has inspired some of the finest writing in the history of Western civilization—and yet the first two pages of Google results for the question are comprised almost entirely of Sweet’N Low evangelical proselytizing to the unconverted. (The first link the Google algorithm served me was from the Texas ministry, Life, Hope & Truth.) The Google search for God gets nowhere near Augustine, Maimonides, Spinoza, Luther, Russell, or Dawkins. Billy Graham is the closest that Google can manage to an important theologian or philosopher. For all its power and influence, it seems that Google can’t really be bothered to care about the quality of knowledge it dispenses. It is our primary portal to the world, but has no opinion about what it offers, even when that knowledge it offers is aggressively, offensively vapid.”

… vita brevis, especially on the Twitter:

I love this cartoonist. Back later. Helen.😊

— helen warlow (@HWarlow)

The New Yorker got this, too, totally wrong, didn’t they?

Internet is getting older. This classic New Yorker cartoon by turned *25* today.

— Mikko Hypponen (@mikko)

I wonder if Alexa records dog barks, and whether Amazon uses the data. I bet the answers are yes, and yes.

* * *

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, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH writes: “This rose lives in a residential garden in Northridge, California. (The unfortunate mildew attack against the foliage doesn’t seem to have affected its ability to produce beautiful blooms).”

* * *

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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.

115 comments

      1. Arizona Slim

        If we ever needed a real-life lesson in sportsmanship (or lack thereof), Hillary is providing it.

        Call this the teachable moment that never ends.

        1. Randy

          Hey give the old bag a break. She is just following that old maxim, “If you don’t succeed try, try again”. She will still be running and fighting 10 years after she is 6 feet under.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            in Hollywood, they give out life-time achievement awards for being persistent.

            The equivalent prize here would be a life-time neoliberal achievement president.

            “Her neoliberal work has withstood the test of time, and is neoliberal today as it was decades ago.”

          2. ewmayer

            “She will still be running and fighting 10 years after she is 6 feet under.”

            I suppose “stronger down under” as an HRCesque virtue-signaling throwaway slogan would be a no-go since it would make most folks think of Australia. (The folks in Oz are of course more than welcome to her!)

              1. freedomny

                What do we do – laugh or cry?

                WTF is wrong with her if this is even a passing thought or daydream….

    1. dcblogger

      Any story alleging that HRC is thinking about running again is pure click bait. She has said that she will never run again. In 2016 her biggest asset was her inevitability. Now that that is gone she has nothing. Many of those who endorsed her are running themselves. Many who funded her are funding others. It is over.

    2. Ginavon

      HRC IS Only SAYING SHE IS GOING TO RUN BECAUSE SHE IS ABOUT TO BE CHARGED WITH CRIMES AND THEN SHE CAN SAy “TRUMP IS OUT TO GET ME” VERY CLEVER EVIL WOMAN but it will not work the American people are on to the game now we are awake

  1. DWD

    So, Daily Mail, the truth is that Hillary will lose Michigan again. Without Michigan, no presidency.

    Wow.

    And pardon me for touting this piece by Nathan Robinson of CURRENT AFFAIRS but I think it proved to be the most prescient of the last presidential election cycle.

    I was flabbergasted when I read it (post election to my shame)

    1. Isotope_C14

      Mark Blyth said she would run. He’s right far too often for my tastes. Though if they nominate her, that would essentially end the Democratic party. Silver lining?

      I knew she had no chance in the upper Midwest the day they cheated Bernie. I told my sisters husband that Trump was elected that day.

      Now she’s been spotted on a plane meant for the poor’s. I’m sure that is a triangulation to show how she’s just one of the people, though Bernie flew economy… I’m sure all the poor people in Michigan will really find First Class flights down to earth.

      Meteor/Abrupt climate change 2020!

      1. RUKidding

        HRC lost, in large part, due to the Bernie fiasco, including how HORRIBLY they treated Sanders’ supporters after they cheated Sanders. What a pack of ignorant assholes.

        HRC lost also due to her horrendous campain, which, in HRC’s and Mook’s “infinite wisdom” they decided to target rich WHITE Republican women, rather than wasting their time campaigning where the deplorables lived: PA, MI, MN. And guess what? HRC lost in all of those places, and the vast majority of WHITE Republican women came out in DROVES to vote for Trump.

        Please, if there is a divinity somewhere, please, please stop this horrible woman from running again.

        IF she does, we are well and truly EFFED, and we can COUNT ON Trump winning in 2020. Hands down, no question. Trump will clean up. No doubt he’s laughing in glee right this very second. Much as I loath, detest and despise that cretin, I can’t blame him for his glee.

        BARF!!

        1. RMO

          Making Sanders the VP nominee would have won the Democrats the election. I bet even promising him a cabinet position (would he have taken it?) would have done it. Hell, simply not gleefully treating the Sanders supporters like raw sewage after blatantly rigging the primary probably would have done it! That they couldn’t even bring themselves to do that shows just what the right of the Democratic party is really like.

          1. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

            Making Sanders the VP nominee would have won the Democrats the election. I bet even promising him a cabinet position (would he have taken it?) would have done it.

            I’m not so sure. A VP position would have been a really convenient way of marginalizing an active, if insurgent Senator. I certainly wouldn’t trust HRC or the rest of the dollar dems to not just toss him in a dark corner and trot him out only when needed, i.e. a tie-breaker in the Senate. Accepting the VP position would have done very little to increase her credibility among the left, and would have mostly tarnished his. He made the smart call in not joining her, even if he did endorse her at the end (probably the least worst thing he could have done).

            1. HotFlash

              Bernie has shown that he can use his bully pulpit from wherever he is. IMHO, that is why Hillary wouldn’t give him the VP spot; not only could she not stand governing whille sharing with him, on any terms, but she would definitley not ever want to think that she won b/c of *him*.

          1. UserFriendly

            Yes. She won MN but only because that mormon guy who did really well in Utah (Evan McMullin) was on our ballot. She got a lower percent of the vote here than she did in WI (which didn’t have that guy on the ballot).

          2. Big River Bandido

            Narrowest win by a Democrat in Minnesota in 50 years. Another few weeks and she’d have lost there, too.

            1. UserFriendly

              in the state: Blaine pop ~63k. 14th largest in MN. How’s that for urban / rural?

              And more than 50 years.
              McGovern lost MN by 5.5 points in 72 while he lost the country by 23.2 points. Eisenhour won MN in 56, but again by less than he won the rest of the country. You have to go back to 1952 when Eisenhour won the US by 10.9 points but won MN by 11.2 points. Every other year MN was won by a Democrat and more heavily than the country as a whole. That is a 60 year streak of voting more democratic than the country that 2016 ended.

              1. UserFriendly

                Scratch that, he won St. Cloud. population ~67k 10th in MN (I checked the data myself). Super interesting , if that’s your thing. (clearly, it’s mine)

                Oklahoma City was the biggest in the country he won. Mesa, AZ and Virginia Beach are the other 2 in the top 40 he got,

        2. anonymous

          HRC also largely lost because of her horrific record. Even if people were only apprised of a few of her mis-deeds, that was enough to know she was not the lesser of two evils.
          Hillary left a trail of death and destruction around the world with her disastrous regime change wars in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Domestically, she betrayed middle and working class voters repeatedly by doing the opposite of her campaign promises. Just one tiny example:

          “Report: Clinton changed stance on trade deal after donations to foundation”

      2. Ginavon

        Hahahaah end the Democratic Party? I need some f what ever you are smoking because MAXINE W ALREADY ENDED IT!

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Thanks. His psychological analysis is spot on IMVHO.

        FWIW, I also strongly agree with his assessment of age vs health: Sanders appears healthy.
        The problem seems to be that the DNC, the DCCC, and the Lobbyist Grifters would have their gravy train upended by Sanders: the pushback comes from DC, not from flyover country.

        1. John k

          But that’s where the dem supers are… and they’re already moaning at having to vote with their state on first ballot.

    2. Skip Intro

      Many of us were on the record with similar predictions while the DNC was still fixing primaries. And Michael Moore…
      In fact it is clear that the DNC did a lot more to get Trump elected than the RNC did.

  2. Dita

    I well remember this era in NYC and Trump’s battles with Ed Koch. And Spy Magazine’s frequent mocking of the short fingered vulgarian. Mercifully the Twitter had not yet been invented…

  3. John B

    Lambert says, “One angle on this story: Chinese Tariffs Hit Trump Counties Harder. I’m betting that, for these voters, ‘it’s in the price.’ We’ll see.”

    That will probably be a decisive question in the next presidential election, both the primaries and the general. Since Clinton signed the WTO agreements in 1994, US trade policy has been consistent, neo-liberal, and bi-partisan: seek to get cheap imports above all else; try to ease foreign barriers to US exports if possible, but focus primarily on pharma, intellectual property, finance, and non-trade diplomatic objectives. There were some exceptions, but minor compared to the total volume of trade.

    The result was heavy pressure from imports on US manufacturing workers, many of whom became receptive to Trump’s anti-globalization message when it emerged. Now, whatever what may say about Trump’s tactics, he is giving vent to some real grievances in certain important constituencies. Although China, Canada, and the EU are designing their retaliation against Trump’s tariffs to attack his voters, I’d agree with Lambert (and Trump) that Trump supporters will consider some sacrifice the price of freedom. At the same time, independent voters may be turned off .

    How will Democratic candidates respond? Will they try to return to Clinton policies? Or come up with something else? Some kind of job guarantee could be one good response, but I’m sure we’ll see a lot of different ideas.

    1. Tim

      Trump voters are a cult of personal responsibility. From the comments on Yahoo, I think most of them will be willing to eat it as they take one for the team for the long run.

  4. allan

    [Gotham Gazette]

    … EMILY’s List has entered somewhat new territory this year given the exponential groundswell of women interested in running for office and those who have made the leap, in many cases with support from EMILY’s List, which can come in forms that don’t include a formal endorsement. The organization has faced several difficult choices about where and when to get involved in Democratic primaries with two or more women running, and in some cases where female candidates are taking on establishment-backed male candidates (as The New York Times recently explored). The organization is closely aligned with the Democratic establishment and is careful in assessing viability of campaigns. …

    The Force Veal Pen is strong in this one.

  5. Tim

    “But it’s all good, because Jeff Bezos is going to use his loot to build a rocket ship and get himself off-planet. Jackpot!”

    Amazon = Buy-N-Large

    Nostradamus had nothing on the script writers at Pixar.

    1. Carolinian

      He’s a big fan of Star Trek and even shaves his head like Captain Picard.

      Bezos off to Mars? Make it so!

  6. Code Name D

    Will they try to return to Clinton policies? Or come up with something else?

    Yes and no. Dems will stick with Clinton policies. Indeed, they seem incapable of coming up with anything else. Let’s not forget that they believe neo-liberalism is both inevitable and proven. Why change? But they will try to rebrand it as something new. Hence the “Better deal.”

    Lambert says, “One angle on this story: Chinese Tariffs Hit Trump Counties Harder. I’m betting that, for these voters, ‘it’s in the price.’ We’ll see.”

    That will probably be a decisive question in the next presidential election, both the primaries and the general. Since Clinton signed the WTO agreements in 1994, US trade policy has been consistent, neo-liberal, and bi-partisan: seek to get cheap imports above all else; try to ease foreign barriers to US exports if possible, but focus primarily on pharma, intellectual property, finance, and non-trade diplomatic objectives. There were some exceptions, but minor compared to the total volume of trade.

    The dems are certainly banking on the trade-war fall out producing momentum for them. But I suspect the fall-out will not pan out like they think it will. Rather than causing Trump’s base to turn against him, it could end up hardening their resolve. There is a lot of rage directed at China here, feeling the pain may be worth it so long as China feels more pain.

    And the dems will over play their hand, arguing that we need more trade with China, not less. (Copyright protections seems to be something they are latching onto.). The reason why the Mid-West is so mad is because the major export to China still appears to be jobs. Trade has become synonyms with shuttering factories and Wal Mart quality jobs.

    1. RUKidding

      Agree as well.

      Can’t upset the corporate doners after all. Just keep hoping that they can say: Vote for Us cuz we’re not Trump (not that we’ll do one damn thing to help you, you miserable lousy deplorable peons).

    2. Summer

      I don’t see how any of these trade preferences one way or the other that are currently being debated get anyone any closer to jobs guarantee legislation.

    3. HotFlash

      That’s how my MI relatives see it, according to them. But they (to a woman, and most of the men as well) voted Bernie in the primary and have told me they would have voted Bernie in the presidential. They are pretty typical in their small town that has been hollowed even before NAFTA, the ambitious eith family money go to college, the ambitious without go into the armed forces, the rest get jobs at MacDonald’s or DollarTree if they can. Right now, my sister’s (extended) family which includes 5 wage-earners, can barely keep a three-bedroom house running, and that house is paid for (inherited from my Dad). What a country!

      1. Ginavon

        Wait till you hit retirement and you are on a limited income that keeps going down year after year due to hidden inflation. The inflation index used to determine yearly raises In social security income does not even include food! I watched the democratic caucus before the actual public democratic convention …you know the one that determines what the platform would be for the election. On woman stood up and asked that they call for social security raises for elders because she is a social worker who Knows that elderly people are actually eating CAT FOOD. THE democratic caucus VOTED IT DOWN!

    4. John Wright

      The intellectual property protection argument may work against the Dems as they become viewed as defending the intellectual property rights of foreign citizens.

      per

      In 2015 a total of 325979 patents were granted

      But 169997 ( 52.14%) were granted to foreign nations, so less than half of the patents granted in 2015 went to the USA.

      If foreign counties ramp up their production of new copyrightable media material, we might see the USA elite effectively fighting for intellectual property monopoly protection of global competitors.

      That will not be a good message for future Democrat voters.

    5. ObjectiveFunction

      “The reason why the Mid-West is so mad is because the major export to China still appears to be jobs. Trade has become synonyms with shuttering factories and Wal Mart quality jobs.”

      This. Every last g-d word.

  7. Kim Kaufman

    “The Church Left is Proving My Point”

    Sounds like this group got infiltrated by some people who want to make sure it accomplishes nothing. I’ve seen this movie. It doesn’t end well.

    1. UserFriendly

      That’s after he published the first piece to the person they were bullying.

    2. Darthbobber

      Well, it is the Bay Area. Last remaining redoubt of a number of left tendencies past not encountered in the wild elsewhere. How many groups pursuing Various entryist ploys there are, I wouldn’t dare guess.

  8. zagonostra

    Refer: The Church Left is Proving My Point” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “A couple days ago, I wrote a piece about the tendency for left wing organizations to behave like church communities rather than strategic political organizations.”

    I think that the use of “left wing organization” is a shibboleth the church communities I know react to as void of what matters and designed to front-load reaction/response.

    Should the U.S. have Medicare-for-all? That is the question that I have faith in and those unbelievers who are heretics should be burned at the polling booth. Give me another “Great Awaking” over some public policy wonk looking to see what words are better “Single-Payer,”, “Universal Coverage,” ACA, etc.., so they won’t have to stop sucking on their corporate whore’s teat…

    What often happens is those who stray too far from the finely crafted parameters of what is punitively “politically possible” are seen as somehow “fanatical” or even “religious” as in Studebaker’s framing.

    1. UserFriendly

      He does have a point though. I’ll re-highlight because it is exactly what the left should be doing.

      SaraDee says:
      July 4, 2018 at 7:58 pm
      I’ve spent enough time in social justice spaces to recognize the Ctrl-Left depiction – though I would say I didn’t see it until the Alt-Right began rising. It was over a decade ago we started warning about the incels and the new groups that have become Proud Boys etc., and no one, especially on the centre left would believe us (“oh, it’s just a fringe”). Once they started using social justice language against us, that’s when people started to get hysterical and go batty – because we become detached from praxis – actually doing the hard on the ground outreach and relationship building and correction of course that is the core of social justice, we were very vulnerable to rhetorical attack.

      In my personal experience, which is by no means exhaustive, about 1 in 6 of the feminist and anti-racist groups I’ve encountered implodes due to call outs, infighting of the oppression Olympics variety, and straight up inability to hold space for difference. One feminist group, for example, destroyed itself over taking one’s husband’s name. Some said they had no problem didn’t care, or wrote thoughtfully as to why it was liberating for them (e.g for some black women, being able to take a husband’s name, after centuries of having to take a slave owners, and in the face of high incarceration and absenteeism of black men, was very liberating. As a white woman, this was a beautiful eye opening example of the different lenses people bring to even the smallest things), others argued it was maybe not the best option, but couldn’t think of better, others felt it was abject persecution of everyone else for any woman to do it – even in another country. You can guess what happened with that one last little handful of women driving every other position out. One anti racist space implodes with doxxing and actual destruction of single work at home mother’s businesses, of all races, over the failure to universally instantaneously adopt an updated name for a style of baby carrier wrap, for Pete’s sake.

      But what the 1 in 6 still around does differently is the key to actually bringing progressive, inclusive values back to public discourse:

      1) call in, not call out – aka come get your cousins. This means when it’s your people – your white lady friends, your bros in the locker room, your racist Grandma, you say something, with the intention of keeping the relationship. That means slow, careful, empathic communication, not the ” I’m not a fascist like them” distancing tactic. Which leads naturally to

      2) no one is disposable. You can’t throw out a whole person because they disagree on one axis during a finite period of time. People change, they have to be given the chance, that used to be an axiom of Justice. They also might not change, and you can still just tolerate their existence until they actually do harm. Most people hold racist ideas, yet almost none will actively form a lynch mob, and we have ways to get around implicit biases (e.g blind auditions, nameless resumes, even just pointing them out so people are aware when they are at risk of profiling). This also requires/aloows people to be personally responsible for messing up. You will have to make it up to your community, but once you do, you are still sorted in your community – you have *a reason* to want to reform instead of hightail it to the nearest skinhead group because you are irredeemable, might as well go for broke.

      These ideas came from the black women, who knew a thing or two about hard community organizing. They were aghast at the way they saw white people in the groups treating each other. They would agree with JMG here, I think, in that we forgot how to do community. It became clear that while America has the race problem it always has, the problem at boil is all the other ways the American identity has fractured. Whichever part of your neighbors politics bother you most, you can just leave and set up with some people who have a more agreeable configuration, and the froth about how much you hate those other guys.

      We’re entering a time when they kind of disposability has passed – you either won’t be able to leave, or the disagreeable people are coming to you because their place up and dried up and blew away. Everyone needs to be able to tolerate feeling uncomfortable long enough to be able to talk about gritty reality – perhaps can we find a better working adaptation, or dozen, to what will be an insoluble, wicked problem in between ‘torture children until they definitely do become sociopaths’ and ‘let in everyone, food and housing for all!’ as if those these are the only two self evident possibilities adults can think of.

      1. ChrisPacific

        That’s an excellent comment. Thanks for reposting. I like the two points.

        I think a lot of this is learned behavior – divide and conquer is a strategy that’s been used by both parties to keep the US electorate fragmented for a long time – but it does seem to have turned into a particularly malignant strain in certain communities.

      2. zagonostra

        You quote: ” no one is disposable. You can’t throw out a whole person because they disagree on one axis during a finite period of time.”

        Correct there is a “finite period of time” and sometimes in the real world there is no luxury of accommodating a broad array of options, you have to make a rapid fire decision. We are battling the forces of evil (no hyperbole), you need to know if your allies are with you when you storm the doors of democracy that have been closed shut.

        Lay down the foundations of a few basic precepts and avoid labels like “black women,” “white people, etc. used to keep people divided. Focus on 1 or 3 at the most fundamental issues and attack, attack, attack. Medicare-for-all, bloated military, corporate seizure of the political machinery are three I would offer.

        So it’s not about “feeling uncomfortable” it’s about combining with people that are in lock-step with you. I know this is also the method fascist use…but the difference is the “ends” the telos, there is no way around it (tricky I know, I’m thinking Rheinhold Niebuhr’s book, “Moral man in Immoral Society”)

        1. UserFriendly

          The point she was making is how you interact with 1. other people who may have slightly different ideals than you and 2. the public at large. If someone comes to your group and wants to expand Obamacare, replying ‘you corporate sell out’ (I’m not a fascist like them) isn’t particularly helpful. Come get your cousin i.e. Have someone explain why Obamacare is a neoliberal death trap and that single payer is better in every way with the intention of keeping the relationship, not making them feel stupid or uninformed. Give them time to evolve and don’t draw absolutist lines. If they aren’t totally on board with it yet maybe don’t bring them canvassing but invite them to the next meeting and see where they are at.

          Focus on 1 or 3 at the most fundamental issues and attack, attack, attack.

          Does this involve sowards? A javelin? Or is it just canvassing? In which case what tactics are you using to convince people on the doorstep that allows for your ideological purity? Do you slam the door shut on every conservative or clintonite? How is that working out?

      3. MC

        dissenr often mirrors what it’s critiquing in form even if it has radically different content. So I’m rarely surprised when I see such harsh authoritarian personalities in ‘democratically run’ organizations—unless you’re really keeping your peepers open and willing to learn instead of shout (which is not something we teach well in the US), it’s just hard.
        There are a lot of criticisms of democratic centralism, but it gets shit done. I’ve learned the difference between people who are my friends, people I organize with, and people who are both. I work well with a lot of people who I would not consider friends, I have a lot of friends I do not organize with because of a variety of different theoretical and tactical disagreements. We can come together under big banners a lot, but you have to maintain a level of emotional distance sometimes just to be able to do this work day in day out.

        1. HotFlash

          Thank you, User Friendly, and Ms Dee. Most useful. And my dear MC, thank your for your thoughtful comment, which hits most usefully close to home for me this week.

  9. Carolinian

    Caitlin Johnstone on Hollywood–she really has it in for those “stretch faced actors.” One could point out that H’wood is perfectly happy to feature large girl Melissa McCarthy in lots of features because her movies do well and what the moguls really love is money. In fact the industry isn’t even close to being the trendsetter it was back in the 1940s when practically every American went to the movies. They charge 12 dollars for tickets because the theater going audience has shrunk drastically. Indeed much of the best work coming out of Los Angeles these days is on television and often features plastic surgery free actors of real talent–many not Americans.

    To be sure the industry has a somewhat hypocritical bleeding heart liberal reputation but perhaps that’s better than the old days when studio heads like Louis B. Mayer were hard core rightwingers. The truth is that when it comes to their product the studios are somewhat chary about politics as seen in the most recent Oscars when they dialed back the Trump bashing. H’wood is more of a mirror than a thought leader and never wants to go too far and offend it’s audience. That’s because, once again, what they really love is money…

    1. cnchal

      Generally, I don’t go to movies and really have no sensible thing to say about them other than they are a waste of time and money, but I used to wonder why the female actors for the last few decades almost always had that stretch face. It was like they were clones of each other. I wonder no more.

    2. Sunmer

      If there weren’t so many talk shows now, their freedom from the studio contract system would be bearable.

    3. Big River Bandido

      @Sunmer:

      If there weren’t so many talk shows now, their freedom from the studio contract system would be bearable.

      Don’t count chickens. Celebrity commercials could make a comeback.

    4. HotFlash

      Haven’t watched movies much for a few decades, I think the last theatre movie I (partly) saw was King Kong (the remake) but I left early since I had not brought ear protectors. Besides, I was bored, so my friend and I played pinball while The menfolk sat through the whole boring thing. And they were surprised when I could quote dialogue — it was really *that* loud. Anyway, even when I watch movies on video (library) I don’t really like ’em. All the leading men look alike to me, so I can’t follow the plot very well. Well written, Ms Johnstone, but doesn’t hit me where I live, out here in the cultural boonies. Many persons’ mileage may vary, and carry on.

      1. Octopii

        That movie was loud as ****. Seriously uncomfortably loud, so loud I remember it to this day. And I’m a sound and video pro who’s spent time in many a loud room.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Panache:

    A man tried to light his cigarette with the flames coming from his burning sedan after rear-ending an SUV westbound on Interstate 80, according to the California Highway Patrol traffic incident information page.

    I don’t always wreck my ride in a searing ball of flame.

    But when I do, I savor a fine Cuban cigar whilst awaiting the first responders.

  11. Duke of Prunes

    About the Greed and Silicon Valley article – there was a very similar story line in the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley”. The SV mogul took over an abandoned factory in NC, but to fund all the tax breaks (to compete with China), the city had to layoff most of its services (fire, police, etc.) Since this is fiction, karma won: the factory caught fire, there was no fire department and the locals looted it because there were no police.

    1. RUKidding

      I love the TV show Silicon Valley. Haven’t seen the recent Seasons. Need to borrow from the Library. Pretty spot on series, actually.

  12. ChiGal in Carolina

    Not that NC readers are easily herded, but wouldn’t it be great if we all pledged not to buy a goddam thing from Amazon on Prime Day?

    Easy enough for me since I haven’t bought anything from them for years, and I have gone from doing most of my shopping at Hell Foods to stopping in for a few items maybe once a month.

    If only EVERYBODY would boycott this non-event, it might have some impact instead of being just virtue signalling *sigh*

    Perhaps in the not-so-distant future it will be a national holiday, an unpaid one of course.

    1. RUKidding

      I never have bought anything on Prime day and it’s highy unlikely that I will this month either. No thanks.

      1. RMO

        I’m in! Of course I only use Amazon as the last resort so years have gone by without me buying anything from them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A prime day could be related to a prime-numbered day.

        So, the July 9, 2018 would be 7092018, which is not a prime number.

        In other countries, it is written as 20180709, which again is not a prime number.

    2. HotFlash

      Never shopped Amazon or Whole Foods. Once in my life shopped at WalMart, that was a long road trip when we needed underwear stat. Boycotts used to be a standard lefty tactic, we can’t do that anymore?

  13. ChiGal in Carolina

    oh my God, can’t somebody do something about Matt Iglesias?!

    I can’t even– think of something to add that isn’t ad hominem or a danger to self or others.

    1. RMO

      Have some sympathy for the guy. It must be hard to be constantly reminded by Greewald’s example what a real journalist does and that there are people who have a set of principles and ethics and apply them consistently. When he gets shown what a spineless, toadying, opportunist he is it’s only natural to want to smash that mirror.

      I note that attempting to destroy someone’s reputation and career using baseless or outright false statements on major media outlets is reduced to “being mean on Twitter” for the sake of his argument that this is nothing like Mcarthyism. Of course back when Obama was running and the right was trying to connect him to “radical” influences in articles he said that was Mcarthyism…

      1. Swamp Yankee

        +1000. Yglesias is deeply mediocre, both ethically and in terms of natural ability (he is after all, a trust fund kid), and the part of him that knows this cannot help but be deeply self-loathing, contemptuous of his own character. Thus the wall of snark erected sometime in the early-mid 2000s. It’s a psychological defense mechanism.

        1. RMO

          I think all of us have had to erect psychological defense mechanisms over the last several years. Most of us however don’t have such screwy mechanisms or the exposure that allows those mechanisms to do real harm to the world. Just a few years back I was sort of ambivalent about whether Clinton or Obama would get the nomination, thought that the “centrist liberal” part of the political and media establishment was reasonably sane and that a Dem house, senate and White House might actually try to do the right thing! As has been said here many times, the last couple of years were very clarifying. In the way that Spinal Tap visiting Elvis’s grave put perspective on things – “Too much. Too much bloody perspective.”

  14. UserFriendly

    This thread on the background to Trump’s opposition to breasting in favor of formula manufacturers (in links today) is not to be missed. It details the bipartisan indifference towards the lives of poor people in favor of Pharma profits.

      1. UserFriendly

        Totally /s

        p.s. I just replied to zagonostra’s comment above and for the first time ever at NC I got a captcha,… But then the comment still didn’t show. Is it in comment purgatory, or just straight to hell?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          For some reason, CloudFlare does not like Twitter embeds.

          But don’t worry: You’re doing your bit to build a data set for Google’s robot car algos — and for free! So it’s all good.

      2. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

        re. Trumpo-Strangelovian vital bodily fluids;

        Another titting point? And yes I know, – a real shocker!

        Pip-Pip

    1. Redlife2017

      What’s almost as interesting is that baby formula in the US is horrifically expensive compared to Europe. The EU certainly doesn’t like to encourage people to use formula (breast, breast, breast!), but they don’t want to bankrupt people. I know this because I went on holiday in the US whilst using formula as a top up at night and oh my gods. To get something that didn’t have GMOs or cows that have used steroids, etc. was a nightmare. In the EU / UK the standard is of course no GMO (or other nasties). £10 or US$14 for a container of your average formula. In the US for the equivalent amount of formula from Target generic with no nasties – US$30 including tax. With nasties it was still over US$20 including tax.

      It’s crazy expensive in the US. I believe that is due to the fact that it’s the pharmaceutical companies that produce formula. Which is not the case in the UK (and I believe the EU as well). We just, uh, regulate it.

  15. Summer

    “Is she back? Talk emerges that Hillary Clinton is plotting her 2020 comeback and prepping to take on Donald Trump a second time” [Daily Mail].

    Drinking Game: Election 2020: Lesser Evil Drinking

    Everytime one of the critics of the Dem Party tell you to vote for Clinton,y’know the ones who are posting and talking like they “get it,” you have to take a drink.
    When Sanders tells you to do it again, pick your favorite and down the entire bottle.

    1. ChrisPacific

      “The most interesting number in the poll, however, is 35. That’s the percentage of Democratic primary voters who say they wouldn’t consider supporting Hillary–twice as high as any other major candidate.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Where there is a will, there is a way.

        Here, one possible way would be to be as the VP alongside a not-very-healthy or an older president.

  16. False Solace

    > Its name, like the lord of the universe, begins with the letter G. — Foer, “The Death of the Public Square”

    I pushed a button and elected him to office and
    He pushed a button and he dropped the bomb
    You pushed a button and can watch it on the television
    Those mother&^%$s didn’t last too long
    I’m sick of hearing about the haves and the have-nots
    Have some personal accountability
    The biggest problem with the way that we’ve been doing things is
    The more we let you have
    The less that I’ll be keeping for me

    Well I used to stand for something
    Now I’m on my hands and knees
    Trading in my God for this one
    And he signs his name with a capital G

    Don’t give a &^%$ about the temperature in Guatemala
    Don’t really see what all the fuss is about
    Ain’t gonna worry ’bout no future generations and
    I’m sure somebody gonna figure it out
    Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person
    You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like
    You’re only angry cause you wish you were in my position
    Now nod your head because you know that I’m right

  17. BoyDownTheLane

    Two thoughts after scrolling/strolling past today’s Water Cooler:

    1) Why do folks think that the rest of the country is going to vote the same way they voted in New York? Didn’t anyone see the maps from the last Presidential election?

    2) It says that folks ought to have a guide when they take LSD. Would someone please post a link to what they think is a certified, approvable or bona fide school for being a psychedelic guide? I’ve heard there are one or two institutes for transpersonal psychology near Frisco, but given the state of things in that region….

    1. Big River Bandido

      Why do folks think that the rest of the country is going to vote the same way they voted in New York? Didn’t anyone see the maps from the last Presidential election?

      Why did LBJ drop out after the New Hampshire primary in 1968? It was just one primary, in a small, non-representative state, and Johnson did win, after all.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a bona fide school for being a psychedelic guide

      Of course, you understand that I’m not speaking from personal experience here, but I think that credentials are not needed. Set and setting are crucial to the LSD experience, and the only essential thing about a guide is that that the guide be trusted and present (and not the nervous type).

  18. a different chris

    >equates to roughly 4 pounds of cheese for every American. Why so much?

    Ummm… that’s not much. If we all ate – for free! – an extra 1/5 of an ounce a day we would wipe the excess out not too long after Thanksgiving.

    It’s not a freaking rounding error in the total consumption levels, methinks. But hey Agenders gotta agenda.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Hey, I’ll take a two pounds of each anytime.

      And no, Lambert, it’s real cheese not “cheese food.” :-)

  19. Carey

    Re: Hillary 2020- I think the Clintons are just trolling us again, including the made-for-TV
    commercial flight into LaGuardia. “Yep, jes’ folks, we are…” but if She wants to run again, I say go for it! Mistake Number Three, as Boy George sang…

  20. ewmayer

    “America Has a Cheese Problem That’s Only Going to Get Worse” [Time]. “Currently, the U.S. has 1.39 billion pounds of cheese in storage, according to the Department of Agriculture and that equates to roughly 4 pounds of cheese for every American … The current price is at $15.36 per 100 pounds, which is a dollar below the average for 2017.” • This being American cheese, I think we should say “cheddar-like product.”

    Actually you unfairly diss some of the genuinely fine cheddars and other cheeses made in the US. And a wholesale price of a mere 15 cents per pound? Heck, I’d happily pay 6x that much to buy “my four pounds” directly from one of the makers, as I’m sure would millions of low-income Americans and the food banks attempting to help them. So as with money, perhaps what he have is not a total-amounts-sur-or-deficit problem but a distribution problem. How about cutting out some of the various middlemen who turn that $15-per-100-pound wholesale price into a nearly-100x-greater retail price? Perhaps the government could play a role in such a distribution effort, even if by merely not standing in its way? Fellow readers, am I grossly oversimplifying the logistical issues here?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Make them lactose reduced or lactose free, and you will many new customers around the world.

      From pcrm.org:

      Overall, about 75 percent of the world’s population, including 25 percent of those in the U.S., lose their lactase enzymes after weaning.7 The recognition of this fact has resulted in an important change in terminology: Those who could not digest milk were once called “lactose intolerant” or “lactase deficient.” They are now regarded as normal, while those adults who retain the enzymes allowing them to digest milk are called “lactase persistent.”

      Sell to ‘normal people.

      1. Grebo

        Good, well-aged cheese is naturally low in lactose. So all they have to do with all that ‘cheddar’ is leave it in the ambient warehouse for six months.

        I live in a cheese desert so I have to leave my Kraft Extra Sharp on the kitchen counter for a few weeks to gather flavour.

        I think this is New Zealand’s Anchor Mature Cheddar’s secret. Instead of putting it in the supermarket they put it on an unrefrigerated ship and sail it to Europe the long way round.

    2. ChrisPacific

      There are some fantastic cheeses made in the US – Grafton Village cheddar, Maytag Blue. I doubt that either are counted among the 1.39 billion pounds though.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Your description of ‘This being American cheese, I think we should say “cheddar-like product.”’ reminds me of another description that goes ‘it was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike cheese.’
          The wife always gets cheese slices wrapped in plastic and it is a matter of open debate which has the more flavour – the cheese slice or the plastic that it was wrapped in. Oh for a good hunk of Gruyère cheese and a bread loaf.

    3. Mildred Montana

      “This being American cheese, I think we should say “cheddar-like product.””

      Thank you for saying this, Monsieur Strether! I rant whenever the occasion arises about the general blandness of American food and drink but of course nobody listens. What is WRONG with Americans?! Do they not like FLAVOR in ANYTHING?!

      American feta? Might as well call it cottage cheese. Budweiser the best-selling beer? Go to Beer-rate.com for a takedown of Bud. American chili? Might as well have baked beans with ground beef. And yet this tasteless stuff sells—and sells well.

      De gustibus non est disputandem, I guess.

  21. Utah

    Lambert- saw this and thought of the argument you were making last week about the DSA and immigrant rights stuffs.
    Boston considers allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections: report

  22. Big River Bandido

    Not having read The Prospect in quite awhile, I decided to give it another shot. Waldman knows his audience (“liberals”), doesn’t appropriate disingenuous political language (“progressive”), and doesn’t appear to conflate “liberals” with “the left”. So at least it’s got that going for it.

    Beyond that, though, the essay is a flummoxing dud. I sense an attempt by Waldman to write a piece that sounds all the usual notes of alarm — but alas for tone-deafness. I’m wondering if this is just Waldman’s notes to an article? It reads rather like Gertrude Stein…rambling, disjointed images connected together, flowing with difficulty from one liberal trigger word to another, in what seems like a gargantuan run-on sentence until at the end you realize there were periods there all along.

  23. Elizabeth Burton

    self-proclaimed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    They can’t even manage to say the word as if it had any meaning, can they. So, a card-carrying DSA member is a “self-proclaimed” socialist because, as we all know, socialists are incapable of organizing unless they have a dictator telling them what to do.

    Reminds me of Rachel Maddow the day after the primary talking about AOC and never even approaching the word “socialist.” And the reporter on the street she then talked to was shut down the minute he said it.

  24. Aaron

    Indoor farming with hydroponics is something you do to buck the law (once upon a time before thermal imaging drones). It isn’t something you do to grow nutritious food as a long term strategy. So yes, local food is grown in actual soil with all its complexities which has defied easy simplification to some kind of industrialized model environment. type of startup is just a money grab for investors. The founders, if earnest, are misguided by reductionist culture and the myth of disruption and know squat about real horticulture. At best it could snag some subsidies to keep it on life support. It won’t last for long, especially when prices inevitably exclude the people who need local food the most and the rest get wind of how poorly the produce meets nutritional needs.

  25. Aaron

    Oops, wasn’t finished. I meant to specify that Brightfarms is just another investor gamble after rethinking my “money grab” phrasing. If successful in the short term it also frustrates real local agriculture and horticulture that isn’t tied to some garbage corporation but is instead owned and operated by people within the community whose profits aren’t being shared with investors outside of the community unless they were dumb enough to get loans from a national bank.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “Most gardeners work to eliminate weeds, but Gainey would allow them to pop up in certain areas.”

    Queen Anne’s Lace (wild carrot) and salsify are particularly pretty. So are Forget-me-nots. I finally figured out the real, unromantic reason for the name: the seeds are burs, which are difficult to remove. I also let self-heal bloom, in the right place, and Big Trefoil, a legume with brilliant yellow flowers. And red clover, when it pops up. There are things I planted that volunteer, too, but those are called self-sowers.

    Weeding is a creative act. There are some very nice edible weeds, too.

  27. Odysseus

    [PELOSI:] We’ve had for a year, working with the Senate, our agenda: Better Deal. Better jobs. Better pay. Better future.

    The question is what kind of policies back up that slogan. Would Pelosi go so far as to look back at party history and support this policy?

    Direct expenditures by the federal government which can be budgeted are better than tax preferences as the means for achieving public objectives. The lost income of those tax preferences which are deemed desirable should be stated in the annual budget.

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