2:00PM Water Cooler 8/6/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

I’m off to the optometrist’s this afternoon! –lambert

Trade

https://www.scmp.com/business/global-economy/article/2157320/factories-shift-out-china-avoid-trade-war-boosting-volume

“China said it’s [hitting $60 billion worth of U.S. exports with new tariffs] ‘because the U.S. side has repeatedly escalated the situation despite the interest of both enterprises and consumers’ and it must ‘[a]defend the country’s dignity and the interests of the people, [b] defend free trade and the multilateral system, and defend the [c] common interests of all countries in the world'” []. “What to expect: Under the plan, China would impose tariffs – between 5 percent and 25 percent – on nearly all of the $130 billion in goods imported from the United States. China’s Ministry of Finance said Friday the new tariffs would target more than 5,200 types of U.S. goods, including energy exports like biodiesel and liquefied natural gas and more U.S. agricultural goods like lamb and honey.” • That “country’s dignity” at [a] language is dangerous; if we posit that the statement is the outcome of factional splits in the Chinese government, then “dignity” is, as it were, the highest common denominator, not the lowest; like the “blackmail” rhetoric, it’s a bell that’s hard to unring. It would have been perfectly possible to issue a tough statement using only points [b] “free trade” and [c] “common interests.” Of course, I’m not a China watcher, nothing near it, so reader corrections/expansions are welcome. I could, after all, just be projecting an interpretation into boilerplate.

Politics

2018

“How Trump’s Trade Policies Could Impact Governors’ Races” []. “So far, there are only scattered signs that Democratic candidates are using trade as a wedge issue, or that Republican candidates are aggressively distancing themselves from Trump to side with their constituents’ economic interests…. Trade offers a rare opportunity for Democrats to make a play for two categories of voters that have swung heavily toward Republicans in recent elections: rural Americans and blue-collar workers.” • Do they have college degrees?

Turnout is everything, or was in the last Democrat wave in 2006:

The last time there was a Democratic midterm wave was 2006. Luckily, we have voter files with vote history records from 2006. What do they say?

— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini)

A wave which was, sadly, squandered (at least as far as voters were concerned)…

Senate: “Senate Observations: Placing 2018 in the Context of Upper Chamber Elections Since 1913” []. “In 2018, the Democratic caucus is defending 26 of the 36 seats (72%) that will contested this cycle, the most for any party in the post-World War II period. That figure includes the Alabama special election in 2017 as a seat for the GOP to defend, which it remarkably failed to do. Democrats are defending more seats than any non-presidential party in previous midterm elections. Of those seats, just over half (14) are in states that leaned toward the Democrats in the 2016 presidential election while 12 are in states that leaned toward the GOP in 2016, including 10 in states that Trump carried…. While Republicans are favored to retain control of the chamber, and possibly gain seats in the process, Democrats do have a chance of winning a slim majority this November. To win 51 or 52 seats, Democrats would have to hold most or all of those 10 seats in Trump-won states while also adding one or two other seats in states the president carried — Arizona and Tennessee — while also winning the lone Clinton-won state the GOP is defending this cycle — Nevada.” • Stranger things have happened. As in 2016!

TX Senate: “O’Rourke Puts Race into Lean Republican Column” []. “Of the eight general election polls aggregated on RealClearPolitics, six showed Cruz at between 47 percent and 51 percent. In those same six polls, O’Rourke was between 39 percent and 43 percent. While O’Rourke has room to grow, Cruz is consistently closer to and in some cases at or above 50 percent. In a state as Republican as Texas, those last few points that O’Rourke needs to hit 50 percent are going to be very hard (and very expensive) to get. There are some observers who believe that there simply aren’t enough Democratic and Democratic-leaning independents voters to push O’Rourke across the line. Suffice it to say that O’Rourke has made incredible progress in a pretty red state, at least when it comes to running for statewide office. The race moves to Lean Republican. Whether it ever gets to Toss Up remains to be seen.”

New Cold War

“Ex-FBI agent: Trump got elected, thanks to Russia” []. • One thing to remember about RussiaRussiaRussia — R3? — is that it’s very profitable to be a talking head.

“DOJ Announces Public Release of the Cyber-Digital Task Force’s First Report; Impact on and Role of the Private Sector Likely to be a Focus in the Coming Months” []. “[Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] lauded ‘self-policing’ efforts to remove ‘fake accounts’ and encouraged companies to ‘consider the voluntary removal of accounts and content’ that are linked by the FBI to foreign agents’ activities, which he said ‘violate terms of service and deceive customers.'” • What could go wrong?

Conservatives Have Lost Their Minds, Too

Cosplay:

the proudest boi

— George Ciccariello-Maher (@ciccmaher)

“It’s Looking Extremely Likely That QAnon Is A Leftist Prank On Trump Supporters” []. • Big if true; the thesis is that QAnon is an enormous jape perpetrated by the Italian “Wu Ming Foundation” (mentioned, as one might expect [lambert preens] at NC in 2013 (commenter Syzygy) and 2015 (commenter DJG)).å

“Living in the Age of the Big Lie” [Stephen Gold, ]. Gold is President and Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI):

All this has created the potential for an American cultural crisis of distrust, authoritatively captured in two recently published analyses.

In “Truth Decay,” [cute! –lambert] the RAND Corporation lays the blame for the deteriorating role of facts and data in public life on four primary causes:

1. The rise of social media
2. An overtaxed educational system that cannot keep up with changes in the “information ecosystem”
3. Political and social polarization
4. And—perhaps due to all of these factors—the increasing tendency of individuals to create their own subjective social reality, otherwise known as “cognitive bias.”

“The Death of Truth” by Pulitzer-Prize winning book critic Michiko Kakutani explores the waning of integrity in American society, particularly since the 2016 elections. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts,” is more timely than ever, Kakutani says: “polarization has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts.” And no wonder: Two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news through social media—a platform that has been overwhelmed by trolls and bots, and which uses algorithms to decide what each of us gets to see.

Executives ignore the cultural shift away from honesty at their peril.

Social media has its own problems, gawd knows — break them up and outlaw the algos, and they’d be a lot more like the public utilities they should really be — but it’s amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama’s “hope and change” campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession. The official narrative and its maintainers didn’t lose credibility because of trolls and bots, who might be regarded as opportunistic infections overwhelming an already weakened immnune system.

Grassroots and/or AstroTurf?

Every single person can make a difference – and everyone should try. Step 1: Join an indivisible group in your community. Find your local group here:

— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam)


Stats Watch

No stats of interest today.

Employment: “July Diffusion Indexes” []. “The BLS diffusion index for total private employment was at 64.0 in July, down from 67.4 in June. For manufacturing, the diffusion index was at 65.1, down from 67.8 in June. Note: Any reading above 60 is very good. Think of this as a measure of how widespread job gains are across industries. The further from 50 (above or below), the more widespread the job losses or gains reported by the BLS.” The lead: “The U.S. experiment with dockless bike and scooter sharing is at a crossroads, with operators and cities struggling to find a balance between governments’ need to regulate the services without stifling the companies’ ability to make money.” • Scratch out “dockless bike and scooter sharing” and write in “kidney sales” and you’ve got “permissionless innovation” in a nutshell. Just because some squillionaires decided to toss their loose cash at some firm, does that imply that the firm should even exist? Why?

Commodities: “U.S. coal shipments reach lowest levels in years” []. “The 661 million short tons (MMst) of coal consumed in the electric power sector in 2017 was the lowest amount of coal consumed in 35 years. Last year also was the fourth consecutive year U.S. coal consumption and coal shipments by all transport modes declined…. The real delivered cost of coal has fallen nearly $8 per ton (16%) since 2008, with most of the reduction attributable to declining commodity costs. Over that same period, overall coal transportation costs have fallen by 4%, as declines in truck (down 9%) and river barge (down 39%) costs more than offset a 3% increase in rail shipping costs.”

Commodities: “Your Chicken’s Salmonella Problem Is Worse Than You Think” []. “As of June 30, 2018, according to the [US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS)] latest report, 35 percent of the nation’s 154 large chicken-slaughter facilities—which churn out the vast majority of the drumsticks, thighs, and breasts shrink-wrapped on supermarket meat counters—failed to meet the inspection service’s standard for chicken parts testing that took place over the previous 64 weeks….. If knowing that US supermarket chicken quite often carries salmonella isn’t chilling enough, consider this: In a recent analysis of Food and Drug Administration data, the Environmental Working Group found that ‘over the last five years of available data, on average, 1 in 5 strains of salmonella found on grocery store chicken were resistant to amoxicillin, a type of penicillin.’ In short, it’s getting harder for doctors to treat infections from this common pathogen.” • Sounds like the Tories are going to have to do some fancy footwork to after they’re cut off from the EU…

Commodities: “A heat wave sweeping across Europe and Asia is setting fire to global wheat prices. The hot temperatures are slashing forecasts for this year’s harvest…. and could provide some relief to North American farmers just as Chinese tariffs are sapping demand for soybeans and other crops. The price of Paris-traded milling wheat has jumped 33% this year, leading to more expensive animal in some regions and the likelihood of higher bread prices. The first decline in global wheat stockpiles since 2013 would come after years of over-supply and leave the U.S. positioned to increase its export share of the global market” []. “So far, most agricultural analysts say this wheat-stunting summer is an aberration. But the prospect of global warming has led some observers to predict an eventual shakeup for farming in parts of the world.” • Not sure how you hedge the Jackpot, though no doubt the smart money is thinking hard about it….

Shipping: “Logistics Payrolls Surging Ahead of Fall Shipping Season” []. “Overall wages rose 2.7% in July year-over-year, but the transportation and warehousing sector has seen wages grow only a 1.9%.” • And these clowns are still whinging that they can’t find workers! (The headline is payrolls in the aggregate, not the same thing as your paycheck!)

Supply Chain: “One of most fiercely independent automotive manufacturers is proving no match for the rapid advance of technology in car-making supply chains. Honda Motor Co. is shopping among suppliers for the rapidly advancing systems that are part of new generations of automobiles, pointing to… a radical culture change at the company” []. “The shift is a sign of how new technologies from engines to autonomous driving systems are altering global manufacturing supply chains, pushing car companies toward suppliers tightly focused on developing sophisticated components. That is raising hackles among some at Honda who complain that the company’s engineers are patching together others’ technology rather than building it themselves. But car makers are under stress from the huge investments needed to develop new technologies, leaving them to lean on megasuppliers to keep down costs and keep up with the market.” • Like aircraft….

The Bezzle: “Dockless bike, scooter firms clash with U.S. cities over regulations” []. “Dockless bike systems began to pop up in the United States a year ago, growing exponentially in part thanks to the millions of dollars that investors such as Uber and Google have put into companies such as Lime, Jump Bikes and Bird….

The Bezzle: “The Messy Business of Selling Meal Kits” []. “Meal kits may make cooking easier, but getting a box of pre-portioned ingredients and instructions to a customer’s door is one of the most complicated logistics riddles in the food business. Companies have poured millions of dollars into solving such questions as how to stack fish and fennel in boxes. They’re also investing in systems to reroute shipments during snowstorms and algorithms to predict what customers want to eat during the summer months…. Some meal kits are starting to stabilize financially. HelloFresh hopes to break even companywide by year’s end, and Blue Apron is looking to do the same next year. Chicago-based Home Chef said it had two profitable quarters last year, and expects to have a full-year of profitability by the end of 2018.”

The Bezzle: “Maybe They Could Invent Houses” []. • After having invented the bodega, the bus…

Tech: “Boston-area startups are on pace to overtake NYC venture totals” []. “After years of trailing New York City in total annual venture investment, Massachusetts is taking the lead in 2018. Venture investment in the Boston metro area hit $5.2 billion so far this year, on track to be the highest annual total in years… [W}e’d be remiss not to give biotech the lion’s share of the credit. So far this year, biotech and healthcare have led the New England dealmaking surge, accounting for the majority of invested capital. Once again, local investors are not surprised.” • Elevator pitch: “Genetic apps.”

Tech: “Facebook removes Infowars pages, following Apple and Spotify” []. “Facebook suspended Alex Jones in July for violating its policies and said at the time that his pages were close to becoming “unpublished.” The company said Monday that its latest actions weren’t in response to fake-news concerns but that it continues to work with fact-checkers to examine the veracity of content posted to its platform.” • What could go wrong?

The Fed: “Trump v. Fed” []. “Last month, interrupting decades of presidential self-restraint, President Trump openly criticized the Federal Reserve. Given the President’s penchant for dismissing valuable institutions, it is hard to be surprised. Perhaps more surprising is the high quality of his appointments to the Board of Governors. Against that background, the limited financial market reaction to the President’s comments suggests that investors are reasonably focused on the selection of qualified academics and individuals with valuable policy and business experience, rather than a few early-morning words of reproof. Nevertheless, the President’s comments are seriously disturbing and—were they to become routine—risk undermining the significant benefits that Federal Reserve independence brings.”

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on earthquakes. “Fourteen people have died after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia .” []. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181.

Our Famously Free Press

Sarah Jeong (1):

Hah! randomly plays race card on me while I’m testifying on fair use and lyric websites. My testimony is a public record. Check it. Nothing about being a hip hop expert. I only mention hip hop in passing. She’s just a Harvard trained troll.

— davidclowery (@davidclowery)

From the person who sent me this: “This from Dave Lowery (of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven), who’s become one of the great critics of how Big Tech is destroying music and the arts. Jeong tried smearing him as a racist for testifying on Google power.”

Sarah Jeong (2): “Shenzhen Tech Girl Naomi Wu: My experience with Sarah Jeong, Jason Koebler, and Vice Magazine” [Naomi Wu, ]. • A complicated ad passionate post, but I do like the part where Jeong tweets that Chinese culture “is not that far off from Korean culture.” Because, ya know, all Asian cultures are alike. That’s what they’re teaching at Harvard these days?

The 420

“How a Pair of Kentucky Pols Are About to Legalize Hemp” []. • Stealing an issue from liberal Democrats…

Our Famously Free Press

“The Press Doesn’t Cause Wars—Presidents Do” [] • One of a ginormous steaming load of revisionist and defensive articles prompted by Trump’s tweet that the press can “causes War.” Anyone who was present for the build up to the Iraq War knows that Trump’s claim is true; in fact, the “media critique” that began then was prompted by the Iraq WMDs scam, in which the press — *** cough *** Judy Miller ***cough*** — was not merely compliant or complicitous, but active and vociferous, especially in shunning and shaming skeptics. Of course, everybody who was wrong about Iraq was wrong in the right way, so they all still have jobs (David Frum, Bush speechwriter and Hero of the Resistance, at the Atlantic, among hundreds of others). So revisionist history is very easy for them to write.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Smith College president offers ‘deepest apology’ after police called on black student eating lunch” []. “Smith College plans to bring in a third-party investigator to ‘conduct a thorough review’ after an employee this week called campus police on a black student who was eating her lunch in a common area at the Northampton school, officials say.” • On the bright side, the black student didn’t get whacked….

Class Warfare

“The New Class-Blindness” []. “It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do…. Some judges—even some Supreme Court Justices—have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit reached this conclusion a few years ago in the Whole Woman’s Health case, in which it asserted that judges could consider only obstacles created by “the law itself” when determining whether a law unduly burdens the right to abortion—a category that excluded obstacles such as lack of transportation, childcare, days off from work, and money for overnight stays. When Whole Woman’s Health reached the Supreme Court, some of the Justices (in dissent) expressed support for this approach.”

“Vermont’s Striking Nurses Want A Raise for Nonunion Workers Too” []. “Yet when 1,800 nurses and technical staff struck for better wages July 12-13 at the state’s second-largest employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the people of Burlington came out in force to back them up. ‘We had policemen and firefighters and UPS drivers pulling over and shaking our hands’ on the picket line, said neurology nurse Maggie Belensz. ‘We had pizza places dropping off dozens of pizzas, giving out free ice cream.’ And when a thousand people marched from the hospital through Burlington’s downtown, ‘we had standing ovations from people eating their dinners,’ she said. ‘It was a moving experience.’ One reason for such wide support: these hospital workers aren’t just demanding a raise themselves. They’re also calling for a $15 minimum wage for their nonunion co-workers, such as those who answer the phones, mop the floors, cook the food, and help patients to the bathroom.”

“What Are Capitalists Thinking?” [Michael Tomaskey, ]. “I write today with some friendly advice for the capitalist class about said socialists. You want fewer socialists? Easy. Stop creating them…. I understand completely why it’s happening. Given what’s been going on in this country, it couldn’t not have happened. And if you’re a capitalist, you’d better try to understand it, too — and do something to address the very legitimate grievances that propelled it.” • Finally, reality begins to penetrate the thickened craniums of the better sort of liberal…

“In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream” [Frank Rich, ]. (The “American Dream” being one of the official narratives.) “It’s not hard to pinpoint the dawn of this deep gloom: It arrived in September 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers kicked off the Great Recession that proved to be a more lasting existential threat to America than the terrorist attack of seven Septembers earlier. The shadow it would cast is so dark that a decade later, even our current run of ostensible prosperity and peace does not mitigate the one conviction that still unites all Americans: Everything in the country is broken. Not just Washington, which failed to prevent the financial catastrophe and has done little to protect us from the next, but also race relations, health care, education, institutional religion, law enforcement, the physical infrastructure, the news media, the bedrock virtues of civility and community. Nearly everything has turned to crap, it seems….” • Ditto…

“How to keep young people from fleeing small towns for big cities” []. “Communities also must change the way they train young people. One important thing Carr and Kefalas uncovered in their book about brain drain is that many communities have brought this problem on themselves. ‘Fueling the out-migration is a regional filtering system pushing some young people to stay and others to go,’ they write. ‘Teachers, parents, and other influential adults cherry-pick the young people destined to leave and ignore the ones most likely to stay or return. Civic leaders may lament the rural youth exodus and the accompanying brain drain, but they fail to see how their own actions have helped create the problem.” • Education is the key….

“On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to an Associated Press analysis of monthly government jobs data by county. Despite an otherwise robust national economy, the analysis shows that a striking number of Trump counties are losing jobs. The AP found that 35.4 percent of Trump counties have shed jobs in the past year, compared with just 19.2 percent of Clinton counties” []. • It’s bad out here in the colonies…

News of The Wired

“‘Spectacular’ ancient public library discovered in Germany” [ (SO)]. “The remains of the oldest public library in Germany…. have been discovered in the middle of Cologne. It is not clear how many scrolls the library would have held, but it would have been ‘quite huge – maybe 20,000’, said Schmitz. The building would have been slightly smaller than the famed library at Ephesus, which was built in 117 AD.” • I wonder what happened to the scrolls? The article doesn’t say…

“Freeing the Web from the Browser” []. “[A]ll link-based navigation on the Web today is constrained to the connections made by document authors. Think about that for a second. Billions across the globe rely on the Web to enhance their intellectual capabilities on a daily basis, building understanding through its rich mesh of connections. Yet when they open their Web browsers, these people are presented not with navigation opportunities carefully selected to aid them in finding the information they are looking for, but rather by the connections that the authors happened to make in crafting their documents. While you might find these works eventually by following link after link, such a search is arduous and comes with no guarantees. Your success depends heavily on what popular authors happen to link to. The degree to which this constrains the Web is hard to overstate. Can we really expect authors to identify all salient connections from a piece of work to the wider Web….” • Opportunities, opportunities…. Created by Tim Berners-Lee’s original use case at CERN?

“How Does Mastodon Work?” []. “That’s right, NO ADVERTS! No sponsored posts, no “we think you might like this” and no tracking! Mastodon is designed to bring people together, not make money. It’s that simple.” • Very useful. Not sure about those three timelines, though (“Home, Local and Federated’). Can’t I mix them? Mastodon users?

* * *

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 (SV):

SV writes: “Making up for lost time on our Hydrangea. (Not shown are moths, wasps, honeybees, and others unknown.)” Same. I’m also very happy that the clutter of my garden ecology has attracted birds; I think, though, I won’t venture an identification just yet, so as not to get in trouble with any birders in the commentariat!

* * *

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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.

124 comments

  1. DJG

    Lambert: Hope the peepers are okay.

    Meanwhile, whenever I see a photo like the one that you posted, of such Caucasian magnificence, I have to probe deeply within: Just why do I keep resisting believing in white supremacy?

    Reply
  2. Code Name D

    Voting notes for Kansas

    Early voting places have already closed (at noon.) If you haven’t already voted, then you go to your normal voting place tomorrow, between 6 and 7 (Wow, only one hour? It’s like they don’t want you to vote or something.)

    Reply
    1. flora

      Kansas voting hours:

      Polls open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
      Voting hours: State law requires that polling places open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. on election day; however, the county may open the polls earlier and close them later. All voters who are in line at 7:00 p.m. are allowed to vote.

      If a sign says 6 -7 I’m guessing they’re opening an hour early; 6 a.m – 7 p.m. Just a guess.

      Reply
      1. Code Name D

        Thanks for the correction. While I got my information directly from the county register. I may have made an assumption over the AM/PM thing. That actually makes a bit more sense.

        Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Trade offers a rare opportunity for Democrats to make a play for two categories of voters that have swung heavily toward Republicans in recent elections: rural Americans and blue-collar workers.”

      But those are the 2 groups of people the Democratic party hates the most. God help you if you’re both.

      Reply
  3. perpetualWAR

    “QAnon”!!! This explains it. I have this acquaintance who keeps talking about how “Trump will give the foreclosed houses back” and “Trump is going to prosecute the bankers.” I could not figure out how a purportedly intelligent person could think that Trump would do all of this. I thought to myself, “Huh. Trump hired one of the crooked bankers as Treasury, but you think whatever you have to think to get through the day.”

    It’s terrible when people are led astray.

    Reply
    1. CalypsoFacto

      are the conspiracy diehards (like the ones with branded merchandise etc) the same people who believe Trump was a genuine catalyst for positive change in the hinterlands? like is the conspiracy a desperate attempt to hold on to the hopes and beliefs they had when they voted for him, despite the evidence so far that he’s only interested in enriching his class and family? if he’s a secret hero committing all these awesome feats of justice in private, always one step away from some great sweeping public act with positive effects for the conspiracy believer, then they can overlook that their job/healthcare prospects in their communities are dying or still dead?

      just rhetorical questions, I read the buzz piece and all of it just reminds me of the paranoia and political disillusion (and coup attempts and internecine political struggles, public and private) of the ‘years of lead’ period in Italy, just updated and localized.

      Reply
        1. CalypsoFacto

          the illusion of choice isn’t a choice… mostly just wonder if the conspiracy fills the need to keep believing in hope that he’ll deliver for them. without hope things are very bleak in a lot of these places and for these people. and there still aren’t viable alternate choices (yet, I say, clinging to my own hopes…)

          Reply
  4. Carolinian

    Michiko Kakutani won a Pulitzer? How did that happen? She has a long history of slagging lefty authors.

    And someone should provide the outraged pundits with high school history books.

    “You furnish the pictures. I’ll furnish the war.”

    Hearst’s quote was so juicy that Orson Welles included a version of it in Citizen Kane. Substitute “aluminum tubes” for pictures and you have our modern media.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      “You furnish the pictures. I’ll furnish the war.”

      Ha! The first thing that popped in my mind when I saw the headline “Press doesn’t start wars – presidents do.”

      And that raises the more important question:
      Who stops them?

      Reply
      1. clarky90

        Is press the enemy of the people? Jim Acosta confronts Sarah Sanders

        “American journalist Jim Acosta confronts Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at news briefing in the White House.”

        A vignette of USAian political life. It is only three minutes long, and imo, speaks volumes.

        Reply
        1. Richard

          “USAian” – we really do need to find a way to refer to ourselves collectively in this country, that doesn’t marginalize 100s of millions of other people.
          Not our most pressing problem, I grant you…
          But if we put our minds to it we could probably knock it out toot sweet

          Reply
            1. Richard

              I like this idea because it is simple, and you could actually get people to make the switch, gradually, because it’s so close to the original.
              Actually, I’d love if we just all got into some fad that united us, like pet rocks or frisbee golf, and could just make that our collective noun:
              “As a proud frisbee golf citizen…”
              “Speaking as a pet rockian…”

              Reply
          1. Yasha

            “Usonian” was proposed during the the 19th century and promoted by Frank Lloyd Wright. This is familiar to Esperantists, as the Esperanto name for the U.S.A. is “Usono” and its inhabitants are “Usonanoj.”

            Reply
            1. Richard

              So I have been Usonanoj all this time. It sounds like an alternative universe, where things have been running fine since 1980.

              Reply
            1. ArcadiaMommy

              Similar to Spanish – estadounidense.

              The dense part cracks me up.

              I would propose Los Gringos but many of us are only part gringo or not gringo at all.

              Reply
    2. ChrisPacific

      There was a long piece by Michiko Kakutani in The Listener, New Zealand’s largest current affairs magazine (which may have been lifted from the book). Some of it was good, but she displayed more than a few symptoms herself of the problems that she was outlining. She talked about the ‘Russian fire hose of misinformation,’ for example.

      Reply
  5. flora

    re: Living in the Age of the Big Lie.

    “The Death of Truth” by Pulitzer-Prize winning book critic Michiko Kakutani explores the waning of integrity in American society, particularly since the 2016 elections. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts,” is more timely than ever, Kakutani says: “polarization has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts.” And no wonder: Two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news through social media—a platform that has been overwhelmed by trolls and bots, and which uses algorithms to decide what each of us gets to see.

    Executives ignore the cultural shift away from honesty at their peril.

    I would put the start date for the cultural shift away from honest at 2008; every one knew what caused the financial disaster, knew who the culprits were (and are), saw them get away with grand theft and govt protection, and knew they were being lied to by the sort of bs excuses like WF’s “it was a computer glitch” that done it. Once it was clear the govt was going to protect the robbers, the new paradigm of dishonesty in high places trickled down. Ohhh, so that’s how trickle down works.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Computer glitch? Well, who programmed the computer and who paid ’em? Follow the money, and you’ll find that it leads back to Wells Fargo.

      Reply
      1. sierra7

        “We (“They”) Were Doing God’s Work” LLoyd Blankfein then head of Goldman Sachs in his testimony to Congress on “….what went wrong”.

        Reply
    2. nippersdad

      I think I would put it much earlier than that. Anyone who watched Newt Gingrich during his Contract on America days, who watched Max Cleland be attacked by Saxby Chambliss,
      who watched as Clinton deregulated the media in favor of Rupert Murdoch even as they slagged him, knew something was afoot.

      Integrity has been in short supply ever since.

      Reply
      1. foghorn longhorn

        How about going back a bit further,
        Carter, put a sweater on.
        Reagan, put it on the credit card.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Or various levels of the Johnson Administration lying about how we would win the Vietnam War any time now. ” Squint real hard and you can see Victory by the Light at the End of the Tunnel.”

          Ambush at Credibility Gap.

          Reply
    3. Mildred Montana

      “The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”
      —–Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice 1916 – 1939

      Reply
  6. cm

    Shenzhen Tech Girl Naomi Wu

    spelling out that China is still a repressive government in ways that Americans often cannot relate.

    Reply
  7. Carey

    Tomasky at NYT:

    “I have mixed feelings about this socialism boomlet. It has yet to prove itself politically viable in general elections outside a handful of areas, and by 2021 we could wake up and see that it’s been a disaster for Democrats.”

    What is a Democrat? Are they inherently good? Is failing the Democrats OK, if doing so
    improves the lives of the 90%?

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Mr. Tomasky seems to have missed that Democrats throwing out the concerns of the working class to court wealthy donors for its Clintonian politics boomlet has been distinctly, well not all that long term politically viable. It has been a disaster for the Democrats. There were signs prior to 2000, but it took starting an unpopular and largely unsuccessful war and attempting to undermine Social Security for the Democrats to make a come back. That their success was pretty much over by 2010, with the exception of the Presidency is very clear in the massive loss of Governorships, State Houses and yes Congress leading up to the 2016 debacle when they foolishly nominated the Grand Dame of that ‘can’t give me lots of money – suck on it’ political position to be their Presidential nominee.

      But why let facts get in the way of a good narrative meant to convince the rubes to continue voting for polticians who have no interest in their concerns because of the right pronouns and Russia!

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If it becomes a disaster for the Clintobamacrats, that would be a good first step towards disinfecting and decontaminating the Party.

      Reply
    3. Skip Intro

      Good concern trolling is getting hard to find, thank goodness NYT professionals are willing to step up.

      Reply
  8. nothing but the truth

    Truth Decay

    The biggest cause is spin, that has become an art form, a business and career path.

    Telling the truth in public is an invitation to cut short your career. The only time when officials tell the truth is when they are comfortably retired.

    Especially with economists and journalists (the conscience keepers), it is not so important what they are saying, but why they are saying it (basically lack of trust in the narrator).

    Reply
    1. jsn

      I can’t remember who it was, someone like Art Buchwald or Molly Ivins way back, who said “a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth.”

      Reply
      1. Big Tap

        “I can’t remember who it was, someone like Art Buchwald or Molly Ivins way back, who said “a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth.”

        Michael Kingsley?

        Reply
    2. Craig H.

      I personally blame Bill Clinton. The turning point was the report that he told Lewinsky “deny deny deny there’s nothing they can do.”

      Which is true but that was the point in the timeline when a critical mass of people began to live like that. Or when it became obvious to me. Perhaps it was exactly like that for a long time before and it is not BC’s fault.

      Reply
  9. Synapsid

    It’s cheering that coal shipment and use in the US has declined. The good news for our coal industry is that coal exports January to June 2018 have risen, in particular to Africa, Asia (largely to India which is voracious) and South America.

    The current Administration can thank the previous one for increasing our capacity to export coal, I believe.

    Reply
  10. Tom Stone

    Sarah Jeong is a piece of work, is her desk next to Judy Miller’s?
    Good grief, the cultural differences between different parts of SE Asian Countries can be profound let alone the cultural differences between countries.
    I’m reminded of a boss who told me that monopolies increase competition, with a straight face.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      My impression is that Ms. Jeong’s job is and will be to start plenty of cultural “fires”, so
      that while the citizenry is distracted with them, the looting and pillaging of the many by the few can continue.

      Reply
      1. bwilli123

        From an earlier tweet by @davidclowery

        “The real issue with @sarahjeong is that she is Google groomed if not Google creation. @EFF and @BKCHarvard alum. Both Google funded and Google partisans. Expect New York Times Editorial to go all in for Google now.”

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Seems that for some possible reason, hiring Sarah Jeong may not have been the brightest of ideas, especially when she boasts how much she likes ‘being cruel to old white men’. It’s not the white men bit that disturbs me but the bit about enjoying being cruel to other people that does. Seems like other tweets have surfaced of her kicking the New York Times as well as their op-ed writers which is kinda embarrassing since she kinda works there now. Guaranteed that there will be more stuff coming out. More on this story at-

      Reply
      1. Whoa Molly!

        When the Jeong affair started I thought, “I bet the PTB will contort themselves like a pole dancing python to excuse a racist because she’s ‘in the club’” (Harvard Law no less.)

        So far I am winning my bet.

        I feel wonderful about cancelling my subscription.

        Reply
    1. diptherio

      But to answer the question you actually asked…the Federated timeline includes your local timeline, which itself includes your home timeline. So if you want to see it all, just use the federated timeline. If you only want to see people you follow, use the home timeline, etc.

      Reply
    2. vidimi

      Mastodon sounds like something very interesting but with a major pitfall: the echo chambers would be even more amplified than in where instances are usually topic-specific.

      Reply
  11. Lee

    Re Sarah Jeong

    What’s an Asian woman doing criticizing a white guy for commenting on a predominantly, but not exclusively, black art form? I mean, why is she even speaking English and how about that name Sarah for an egregious example of cultural appropriation? And, as I have previously queried on this site: how is it even permissible for Yo-Yo Ma to play Bach on the cello? And in case you ask: yes, identity politics has finally driven me insane. Or is it they who are mad?

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Lee
      August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      Actually, after I read the below, I’m kinda warming to her…..

      She (Sarah Jeong) wrote: “After a bad day, some people come home and kick the furniture. I get on the Internet and make fun of The New York Times.” “I don’t feel safe in a country that is led by someone who takes Thomas Friedman seriously.” “Hannah Rosin shatters ceiling by proving women writers can be as hackish as Tom Friedman, too.” “[David] Brooks is an absolute nitwit tho.” “Notajoke: I’m being forced to read Nicholas Kristof. This is the worst.” “if I had a bajillion dollars, I’d buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman….”

      Reply
      1. curlydan

        combining the articles, it sounds like she’s got a lot of opinions. Good for an aspiring pundit but also opening herself up for a greater possibility of errors.

        Reply
      2. WobblyTelomeres

        I’d buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman….”

        Ah, but you”ll have to scheme to have a cabbie deliver the news. Otherwise, he wouldn’t believe it.

        Reply
      3. Charles Leseau

        Now that she’s been hired by them, there’s no way she turns into anything but an obsequious little sorry machine to anyone at the NYT she insulted. She’s already got her excuse. “Tom, no, I think you’re brilliant! I was imitating one of them.

        Reply
  12. sleepy

    it’s amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama’s “hope and change” campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession.

    Good list to which I would add the Katrina debacle.

    Reply
  13. fresno dan

    The New Class-Blindness” [Law and Political Economy]. “It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do…. Some judges—even some Supreme Court Justices—have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment.
    ================
    In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. Anatole France

    Reply
  14. flora

    Note to Frank Rich: Read Simon Johnson’s 2009 Atlantic Magazine essay ‘The Quiet Coup’.

    He saw what would happen if the US govt didn’t clean up the TBTF banks, Wall St., and other financial perps. This still needs to happen.

    Reply
  15. zagonostra

    Russia,Russia,Russia.

    Not much concern over the disconnect between voter preference and policy outcome which was documented in the 2014 Gilens/Benjamin study or Jimmy Carter statement that the U.S. is a defacto oligarchy, or the massive voter fraud that is part and parcel of our voting system (see ), or the disclosure of HRC/DNC collusion documented in wiki leaks and Donna Brasil’s “tell all book”, not much concern their at all.

    Do you find it curious this obsession of the MSM with Russia meddling in our elections?

    Reply
    1. Hameloose Cannon

      “Do you find it curious this obsession […] w/ Russia meddling […]?” The Russian meddling isn’t the curious part; Russia tries it in every election west of the river Pina. The abnormal part is a sitting US President, on Twitter, accused his son of a felony aka violating 52 U.S. Code § 30121 (a)(2), soliciting contributions [things of value] from a foreign national. Talk about “Blue on Blue” fire. Nothing “friendly” about that. Especially given the prima facie evidence of violating 18 U.S. Code § 3, accessory after the fact, by dictating Don the Younger’s response to the story.

      Reply
  16. diptherio

    I read the book Q a couple of years ago. It’s real good. Especially if you’re into the gory details of European religious history. There’s a lot of things they didn’t mention in my confirmation classes…

    Reply
  17. Synoia

    Social media has its own problems, gawd knows … The official narrative and its maintainers didn’t lose credibility because of trolls and bots, who might be regarded as opportunistic infections overwhelming an already weakened immnune system

    Well said. The official narrative, the swamp, is very good at blaming effects and ignoring causes.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      The reason for the heavy focus on “trolls and bots” is quite obvious to anyone who does more than exchange recipes and pix of the kids on social media. They are building a case such that anyone with the temerity to argue against the official narrative will be silenced for being a foreign agent.

      And they will succeed because all of those I have opted to begin referring to as “the Comfortable” are ready and willing to support silencing anyone they’ve decided doesn’t deserve to speak. Alan Jones is an indescribable beast, but he is still a citizen protected by the First Amendment. If people don’t like what he says, they can get off their Comfortable thumbs and provide a counter-narrative. Except that’s too much work, so they’ll nod with approval as the censors shut down more and more sources.

      For those interested, the Comfortable are those who are usually part of the upper 25%. They make enough money to own a home without worrying whether they can afford it, send the kids to ballet and camp and such, travel at least once a year to somewhere far away from home, and who were not seriously affected, if at all, by the crash and the recession. So, Obama is their hero, the Republicans are lizard people, and Bernie Sanders destroyed Hillary’s chance to be queen. Oh, and the media and intelligence community are trustworthy patriotic organizations. I suspect others can add more characteristics to the list.

      Reply
  18. Hiding

    Qanon seems like a honeypot site(s) for retribution futures. Read anything, go into a database for future reference. Unz and others have likely multiple uses and followers, NOC/NotForAttribution and other.

    Reply
  19. a different chris

    Agree with the disagreement over the list. However, this underlies so many, maybe all problems and nobody is seemingly going to clean it up:

    >An overtaxed educational system

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      “Deliberately gutted because neoliberals think government shouldn’t run education” is more like it.

      Reply
  20. JTMcPhee

    On decline in coal shipments: look what is happening elsewhere! “Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity!”, “Power too cheap to meter,” just like nuclear was promised to be! And that is an old 2016 article. I saw another piece, I believe in Business Insider or Bloomberg, complaining that the big energy companies are facing “profit stress” because of grid-ties from solar and wind requiring them to pay people for energy in excess of the load. And having, gasp! to shut down coal fired plants, each closure being a pretty expensive anti-profit center! I would tend to think of it being a re-internalization of costs that the power companies have dumped on us (health effects from heavy metal and carcinogen emissions, smog, CO2/climate interruption. Too bad the paybacks won’t come from clawbacks of CEO paydays or any of the lobbying money spent to bribe legislatures, deceive the public/consumers, spent on getting legislative approval for nuclear power plants that WILL NEVER BE BUILT like Duke Energy has done (and besides, they get to cllect a billion or more from customers to “pay for” those plants that will never be built. Kind of like an ISDS “judgment” in favor of a megacorporation because ‘regulation and market conditions’ impaired said corporations’ “expectations of profit…”

    Of course, windmills built to a price are not infallible, either:

    I have to add, adding it all up and looking around, “Effing stupid humans,” to get to this point…

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And beyond this point, more ***ing stupid humans…thanks to, well, population growth.

      That would be a problem in any system – capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Not stupid, just humans. Much of what we do may not involve thinking. Having babies may fall into that category.

        This excellent link from this morning doesn’t seem to have drawn comments and is worth a repeat in view of proliferating humans, AGW discussion etc.

        The gist is a call for a kind of “natural geo-engineering” as proposed by E.O. Wilson in a book called Half-Earth. This would entail the reforestation of half the available land to both serve as carbon sink and habitat to forestall species collapse. The thesis is that our zeal to destroy and occupy natural lands is our most unthinking and damaging human habit and reversing the trend may be a less painful way to at least partially dealing with AGW. Of course real estate promoters would not agree and agricultural changes would also be very difficult politically. But the long and meaty article is worth a look.

        Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Well, that green-energy surfeit may have something to do with the combination of a record-smashing heat wave in a country where A/C systems have not been needed at scale, historically speaking. But good on them if they are in fact doing it sustainably.

      Reply
      1. you're soaking in it

        Well, not exactly; while they are far above and beyond what, say, you find in the States in terms of pushing renewables, coal remains stubbornly the majority of the baseload.

        What solar and wind have done well is replace the shut down nukes, and, more importantly, powered the big increase in demand as Germany has become a major vendor of electricity for Eastern Europe. But eliminating the coal (especially brown coal, which is incredibly dirty) is still not in the cards, even in the coming decade.

        Reply
  21. David

    …. and could provide some relief to North American farmers just as Chinese tariffs are sapping demand for soybeans and other crops.

    From the

    Soybeans (in Metric Tons) for the week of 7/26/2018,

    Country – 2018 Exports / 2017 Exports

    China – 186 / 73,314

    Korea – 59,999 / 0
    Japan – 72,120 / 7,758
    Taiwan – 86,441 / 3,853

    Grand Total for the week – 856,438 / 637,737

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Of course, a good bit of that “trade” includes genetically modified soybeans. Monsanto is happy to sell their “intellectual property,” immune from consequence of course, pure profit all the way down.

      And of course there are NO POSSIBLE RISKS OR CONCERNS about the propagation of gene-fiddled stuff like soybeans and canola, “Genetically Modified Canola ‘Escapes’ Farm Fields,
      August 6, 2010
      , , just for example, I mean it’s not like the World Health Organization has not kind of flagged some things that “policymakers” might want to keep in mind when confronted by the Cropporate Corrupters wanting to peddle their ‘risk free innovations:’

      “Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods
      May 2014

      These questions and answers have been prepared by WHO in response to questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of genetically modified food.”

      “Do not worry, meine liebchen — we do this for your own good…”

      Reply
  22. JohnnyGL

    Posting this because sometimes it’s more about WHO is saying it, rather than what is being said. It’s not often I look at a Rick Newman column and say, ‘wow, he’s really making a strong case’.

    Tectonic plates of politics are shifting.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Sorry , I just had to flag this from the Yahoo!article. After pointing out that M4A could let businesses out of paying anything for employee health care, the writer said “That could make American firms more competitive globally and leave a lot more money for employee raises and other benefits.

      Ahahahahahaaaa… well, he did choose “could” as his conditional verb… and I guess in some universe, CEOs are “employees,” and stock buybacks are “other benefits…”

      “No matter how cynical you get, it’s never enough.”

      Reply
  23. Randy

    Salmonella in chickens.

    The chickens are raised covered in their own filth and along with the filth comes salmonella. They attempt to contain the infection with antibiotics.

    And if the conditions in the “chicken factory” aren’t filthy enough the slaughterhouse ensures that the end product comes with salmonella by running the line speed so fast that punctured intestines insure that the end product comes out covered in salmonella-containing fecal matter. Which they try to contain with a chlorine bath.

    If you like eating chicken shite eat store chicken. If you don’t, and if you can, raise your own. Raising chickens for meat is a lot of work but they taste better and you won’t be eating chicken shite.

    Reply
      1. Randy

        I don’t know, lately the meat seems to be safer to eat than the vegetables ;) unless you can exist on home grown vegetables

        Reply
  24. Polar Donkey

    Jeez, Frank Rich needs to get out of New York City more. Everything has been completely broke around Memphis since 2006. It just mostly broke before that.

    Reply
    1. Polar Donkey

      Was it Trump’s election, the rise of Bernie/AOC, Obama’s $32 million worth of post-presidency houses, 60,000 people dying from opiods, or the broken subways in NYC that caused Frank Rich’s awakening?

      Reply
    2. Glen

      “Obama didn’t cause that broken spirit any more than Trump did.”

      Obama made it perfectly clear that the Democratic party was going to do nothing to correct 2008. Instead he put the very same people that wrecked the world economy back in charge. I will no longer vote for the “have no alternative” Democrat. I will vote for those that are going to enact the polices that will fix this mess. If that means we get twenty Trumps a row – so be it.

      Bernie would have won.

      Reply
    3. WheresOurTeddy

      2008! That’s when we all started going downhill! 5 years into Iraq and 7 into Afghanistan!

      I wouldn’t use a Frank Rich column to line a birdcage

      Reply
  25. anon

    Re: On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, and this excerpt from that Associated Press link:

    The jobs data shows an economy that is as fractured as the political landscape ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. As more money pools in corporate hubs such as Houston, San Francisco or Seattle, prosperity spills over less and less to smaller towns and cities in America’s interior. That would seem to undercut what Trump sees as a central accomplishment of his administration – job creation for middle class and blue-collar workers in towns far removed from glitzy urban centers.

    Looking at those cities noted, especially Seattle and San Francisco – both of which now have an inhuman level of inequality and homelessness — a further dive into the details is necessary.

    Specifically, are those job gains™ out of state imported employees from: Ivy League Schools (predominately under 26, mostly white males from elite families); along with H-1B, and imported employees (predominately under 26, mostly males from mostly upper middle class Asian families, paid far, far less than those Ivy Leaguers) [1]; while the displaced unemployed — yet, highly qualified for employment — residents in those cities are continually being forced out (if they can afford the move and have somewhere they are able to move to), or made homeless.

    [1] Admittedly, I’m not sure whether they are included in those job gains, but if the job gains are based on ADP reports, it might well be likely that they are; of course a search on two search sites brought up no answer to my query.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      Despite an otherwise robust national economy, the analysis shows that a striking number of Trump counties are losing jobs. The AP found that 35.4 percent of Trump counties have shed jobs in the past year, compared with just 19.2 percent of Clinton counties”

      Which proves how inept the Democrats really are. If they were actually part of the real world the Democrats would be targeting Trump districts with the message that Trump has done nothing for you even after you voted for him. Watch Richard Ojeda sing this song to pitch perfection in WV03. If the Democrats weren’t so inept they could have flipped about 100 seats in November.

      Reply
    2. djrichard

      Hey the Federal Reserve can only do so much work. They’re keeping the punch bowl out there longer as it is. Can they help it that the hinterlands don’t have business models for monetizing cheap debt?

      Reply
  26. Daryl

    > Mastodon users?

    I find Mastodon’s user interface to be fairly unintuitive myself. Presumably it would be possible to make your own “mixed” view as it’s open source and based on open protocols, but not sure if Mastodon supports it out of the box.

    Reply
  27. lyman alpha blob

    How does Mastodon work?

    Byanymore.

    Instructional video:

    And their drummer is a monster!

    Or did you mean the Mastodon platform?

    Sorry Lambert, couldn’t help myself… Just saw this band recently and they are tremendous.

    Reply
  28. ChrisPacific

    Re: Indivisible

    AOC is one of their candidates, as are Cynthia Nixon, Ayana Pressley etc. There is a prevalence of Democrat buzzwords, but I think they are aiming to be agnostic regarding left factions:

    We’re excited to make gains in 2018, but Indivisible 435 isn’t just about notching wins. Our organization is not a wing of the Democratic party. While we care deeply about electing officials to oppose the Trump agenda, we care just as much building a strong progressive community nationwide and pushing the conversation back to the interests of the people.

    This would be well off message for establishment Democrats.

    I’d be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, but still watch what they do.

    Reply
    1. grayslady

      Our organization is not a wing of the Democratic party.

      Really? When I checked the map link for local affiliates, all but one of the affiliates were listed as “Democratic Party.” Also, you had to use Facebook to obtain additional information.

      I don’t see how “building a strong progressive community” has anything to do with opposing Trump’s agenda. The one is not dependent on the other. Furthermore, I haven’t yet figured out what Trump’s agenda is, and I’m pretty sure Trump hasn’t either–apart from Trump only seeming to want applause.

      Reply
    2. Charlie

      “Watch what they do.”

      For that, a good look at the map can be clarifying. Especially that big gaping hole of non-activity in the rust belt states. The very states the Democratic Party completely ignored in 2016.

      Coincidence? I think not.

      Reply
  29. Pat

    I would posit that most of the job gains in the last decade maybe even two were probably in areas that voted for Clinton. That the Texas boom and the oil boom in the Dakota’s were exceptions not the rule. I would also posit that the few Trump areas that did see job growth in that decade saw that growth in minimum wage low to no benefit jobs. (That last one wasn’t much of a stretch since that has been the majority of jobs created during both the Bush 2 and Obama administration.)

    Reply
  30. Summer

    Maybe They Could Invent Houses” [Eschaton]. • After having invented the bodega, the bus…

    More like an “Appartment”?

    Reply
  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    Sarah Jeong . . . hmmm . . .

    Things like this have led me to comment in the past and every comment on this particular subject has failed to print. I figure I am tripping some kind of auto-filter.

    So I will try again with indirect spelling.

    We need a new word for this sort of thing. It would emerge from the new acronym we need.
    The letters would be . . . arrr peee ohhh ceee
    that stands for . . . rayciss purrsuns ovv cuhluhr.

    Reply
    1. Hamford

      Hmm actually howabout… RPOC – Racist Persons of (purported) Culture. E.g., Harvard alums that badger deplorables.

      No need to grow their manufactured racist divide by screaming “reverse racism”. let’s call “The Guard” out for creating wedges that strengthen their 0.1% masters.

      Reply
    2. Hamford

      Hmm actually howabout – Racist Persons of (purported) Culture. E.g., Harvard alums that badger deplorables.

      No need to grow their manufactured racist divide by screaming “reverse racism”. let’s call “The Guard” out for creating wedges that strengthen their 0.1% masters.

      Reply
    3. Hamford

      Hmm actually how-about RPOC – Rayciss Persons of (purported) Culture. E.g., Harvard alums that badger deplorables.

      No need to grow their manufactured rayciss divide by screaming “reverse raycism”. let’s call “The Guard” out for creating wedges that strengthen their 0.1% masters.

      Reply
  32. Tomonthebeach

    “Facebook removes Infowars pages, following Apple and Spotify” They are coming for us.

    Yesterday, I posted a sarcastic note on Buzz chiding Apple: “That is what you have to admit is Trillion dollar leadership. iWISH.” I thought was at least amusing.

    To my surprise I was trolled by some conspiracy nut who, while calling me stupid and incapable of thinking (apparently the self image of conspiracy nuts) missed my point entirely. I then scanned other nearby comments – Woa! Jones has a troll army. The Big 5 are hiding the truth from the American public! OMG.

    Reply
  33. The Rev Kev

    “Dockless bike, scooter firms clash with U.S. cities over regulations”

    I have a solution to these tech-companies which strew towns and cities with their bikes without coordinating or even asking to enter such a town and let the town try to adapt to their needs. It is called an impound lot. You have city workers pick them up and cart them there. If that company wants their bikes back again, they will have to pay to spring them from the lot. Rinse and repeat until that tech company gets the message. If that tech company doubles down, announce a $5 bounty for any bike driven to the impound lot till the company is ready to negotiate.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Hereabouts, a 50-year-old woman is in critical condition with a head injury after driving her scooter into the curb. She was, of course, sans helmet. I wish her well when it’s time to renew her health insurance.

      On another note, a friend was talking over the weekend about having broken his hand while skiing and receiving the entire range of diagnosis and treatment such that all healed beautifully. Cost to him? Zip. He was skiing in Canada.

      Reply
  34. beth

    “How a Pair of Kentucky Pols Are About to Legalize Hemp”
    Please help me here. Hemp can be sold in all 50 states. The 2014 Farm bill allowed each state to decide whether hemp oil could be sold for medicinal purposes w/i that year. My first package sent to me was from a reputable company and was mailed through Amazon from Kentucky. I was experiencing severe pain and now have a better alternative.

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  35. The Rev Kev

    “How to keep young people from fleeing small towns for big cities”

    Not so hard. See that there are jobs for them. You cannot do much in modern society without money and a job provides this. A job provides dignity, discipline and the money it provides lets a young person to satisfy not only their needs but many of their wants as well. It is hard for a young guy to take a girl out but having no money to do so and a job’s money will help a couple set up a household and marry and have children. The drop in marriage rates as well as the birthrate speaks volumes of the lack of decent paying jobs for young people, even those that have achieved credentials. Supply good paying jobs and most kids will stay put. Not so hard to work out.

    Reply
    1. sleepy

      Yes, I live in rural Iowa a state that has one of the highest literacy and high school graduation rates in the US. But it also has one of the lowest percentages of adults with a college degree. Why? the college grads all go to Minneapolis, Chicago, etc., to get jobs leaving behind an elderly public that lives on social security and whatever else. At least it’s cheap to live here.

      Reply
  36. ewmayer

    o Re. “Trump v. Fed” [Money and Banking], bolds mine: “Last month, interrupting decades of presidential self-restraint, President Trump openly criticized the Federal Reserve. Given the President’s penchant for dismissing valuable institutions, it is hard to be surprised … investors are reasonably focused on the selection of qualified academics and individuals with valuable policy and business experience … the President’s comments are seriously disturbing and—were they to become routine—risk undermining the significant benefits that Federal Reserve independence brings.”

    As Lambert would say, for some definition of ‘valuable’, ‘benefits’ and ‘independence’.

    Reply
  37. Basil Pesto

    I note that Mr Tomasky is editor of an online publication that recently published this (fairly lame, it has to be said) socratic dialogue that took aim at none other than Ms Smith and Mr Strether of NC by name!

    Reply

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