2:00PM Water Cooler 9/17/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Readers, this is a travel day for me, so talk amongst yourselves!

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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 (PP):

Readers, I’m running a bit short on plants. Probably a little soon for fall foliage, or wrapping up the garden, but I’m sure you can find something! How about a project you completed over the summer?

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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.

75 comments

  1. allan

    1 down, 22 to go:
    [WXXI]

    Indicted congressman Chris Collins will remain on the ballot in the November election in the 27th District.

    Collins was indicted on insider trading charges in August. He then suspended his re-election campaign and Republican leaders from across the 27th have been meeting with candidates interested in taking his spot on the ballot. …

    Collins is taking the advice of his criminal attorneys, who are concened about legal challenges if his name were to be removed in the 27th.

    Just last week, Collins said publicly that he was working with Republican officials to substitute himself from the ballot.

    DCCC, please stay away and let nature take its course.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      Since when is an indictment an impediment to re-election?

      I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.
      George M. Cohan

      Reply
    1. Edward E

      When you’ve used up all sick days can you call in dead?

      I saw a pretty durable looking off road mini-bike at Sam’s Club for $449 thinking about getting one. Might help me with my depression, since can’t hit the trails and ginseng hunt etc like in the past before my leg got all messed up. Great for getting back in the boonies, and out running a bear. Hey speaking of bears… in Russia had this bear a long time

      Reply
      1. Duck1

        Lambo: the commentariat will sending you a stiffly worded letter and a note will be placed in your permanent file. /s

        Duck

        Reply
    1. rd

      Goldenrod leaves have been documented to the larvae of 115 lepidoptera species (butterfly moth caterpillars) so they support butterfly and moth reproduction, as well as ing them with pollen and nectar. The companion asters almost as many lepidoptera larvae, so the goldenrod-aster stands in roadside ditches and fields are critical for sustaining our pollinators.

      Goldenrods also end up with large galls on their stems formed by the goldenrod gall fly that become an important source of protein for over-wintering birds, so they are a plant that should have the stalks cut down late in the spring instead of the fall:

      Reply
  2. Pat

    Sort of a local story, but the Swedish coffee shop chain Fika has filed for bankruptcy. Not sure where they had US locations outside of Manhattan, but rapid expansion appears to have done them in. One of their larger stores on Tenth Avenue had already been seized by the real estate company before they did this. One of the problems is that that store was one which had baking facilities. Oops. I’m sortof sorry. They have really great chocolate truffles and I do like their cardamom buns (which said store on Tenth Avenue would sell for half price after four pm).

    Reply
  3. Arizona Slim

    Lambert, this may be of interest for your future coverage of election campaigns. Here’s a numbers geek’s guide to Arizona:

    Reply
  4. shinola

    “…he told London’s Financial Times that it was his “moral requirement” to make as much money as possible for his company.” (lifted from an editorial in last Sat’s Kansas City Star print ed.)

    Who is this paragon of Corporate Religion & why is he preaching?

    It’s one Nirmal Mulye, CEO of Nostrum Laboratories that recently increased the price of the generic antibiotic it makes by 400%(!)

    continuing…

    “…Mulye told the Star’s editorial board that he has been “misinterpreted in every possible way” in this media kerfuffle. “Maybe I understand how the president feels, because this is fake news” he said with a laugh.”

    “…that’s the reality of the pricing structure in the modern profit-based U.S. health care system.”

    Pitchfork futures anyone?

    Reply
  5. State Drugs

    Drugs:
    1) source of joy
    2) source of insights
    3) source of tragedy

    #3 is the reason I do not want my kids, my friends or fellow citizens to use cocaine or meth etc. However drug use and abuse is a fact of humanity and should be handled like that.

    I think the full drug supply chain (from production to consumption) should be owned and run by a socialist government, because:
    a) the tragedy part costs a lot of money that needs to be financed
    b) only government will be interested in getting the customers high while reducing harm
    c) guarantee quality of products since no profit motive
    d) guided tripping
    e) reduce crime related to addiction
    f) addiction treatment
    g) dignify abusers and entertaining users

    Reply
    1. dcrane

      One could examine the ways in which state lotteries are run to see if these principles really hold up (e.g., no motivation for profit, putting the people first).

      Reply
  6. lyman alpha blob

    Kind of tired of the all identity politics all the time slant on the news these days so I had to get this off my chest.

    Last night I watched the local 11 o’clock news for the first time in a long time. The lead story was about racial discrimination at a local Starbucks. I suspected that some uncouth employee dropped a racial slur or maybe it was similar to the one that made national news were an overzealous manager kicked out some black people for using the bathroom. But no, that wasn’t it at all. This was a complaint from a millennial aged Muslim woman who asked the server to check the alcohol content in the vanilla flavoring before adding it to her latte and supposedly the server rolled her eyes. Now how in the [family blog] is rolling one’s eyes now considered racial discrimination?!?!?!? And how does it get to be the lead story on the news so to this woman could subject the rest of us to her nonsense? I highly doubt that this was really the most important story in the state’s biggest city yesterday.

    I realize I’m might be coming off as an out of touch, grumpy old man here but I’ve really had about enough of this. Yes, we have systemic racism in this country. Yes there is still a lot of discrimination. In no way has the US become ‘post racial’ and there are a lot of old wounds that still haven’t healed. But I’m sorry, there is a big difference between burning a cross on someone’s lawn or running them down with your car in the streets at a neo-nazi rally, and rolling your eyes over a latte request.

    Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Of course, it’s rude behavior, but the U. S. government is doing just a bit more harm these days to Muslims a long way from American shores.

      Does all this shaming of individuals’ racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic and ethnocentric acts make the shamers feel morally fulfilled even though they look the other way when their government is using their tax money and their fellow Americans to inflict bodily harm and death on people of every description around the globe?

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Short answer: yes. To a segment of the population that is convinced they are the arbiters of what is acceptable, any divergence from their opinion is subject o total condemnation. I was just taken to task for responding to an announcement about a pro-abortion demonstration by suggesting it’s acceptable to be morally opposed to abortion while still being adamantly pro-choice. I was informed I was attacking the health and safety and right thereto of brown women with that position.

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith

        The Muslim woman was out of line. No way would the server have or be able to get the alcohol content of the vanilla. At best, there would be list of the contents, in order of their significance.

        If she wants to know the alcohol content, pay for a sample and go to a lab or don’t order the damned stuff. Or go hound Starbucks headquarters. This is the behavior of someone spoiled.

        Reply
    2. cyclist

      Someone should not inform that woman that flora in the gut can produce small quantities of alcohol, not counting the abnormal condition of endogenous fermentation.

      Reply
    3. marieann

      I don’t even think it is that rude.
      It was a kind of stupid request anyway. Vanilla I buy does not always list an alcohol content and if it’s vanilla flavouring then it has no alcohol content.
      I would say if one is that worried about the items one is consuming then exclude it from your request…and if that generated an eyeroll then that would be rude.
      I started making my own because many pure vanilla products did not list alcohol and pure vanilla is made from 2 items vanilla beans and vodka.

      As for it being a lead story……all the news outlets are after is hype, and I can tell you in our household there are plenty of eyerolls when they broadcast these non stories.
      These days I am certainly grumpy and proud of it….though I am an old lady

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        If a person was a recovering alcoholic, then having even a tiny measure of alcohol could be a serious problem. I read a story about the late actor Spencer Tracy. He was sitting next to Larry Niven when they were served with bowls of fancy soup in a restaurant in Switzerland.
        Tracy picked up the bowl of soup, sniffed it, and said that it had a trace of alcohol in it and that it was probably schnapps. When asked by Niven if that was serious, Tracy replied that if he had a taste of that soup, then that would be enough to send him on a three day bender.
        In passing, I forget the name of that soup but the schnapps could be heavy handed in it. One time an English gentleman got up, raised his bowl of soup in the air, and said: “Ladies and gentlemen – to the Queen!”

        Reply
        1. marieann

          I’ll have a bowl of that soup please:)

          I do know that small amounts of alcohol can be problematic for some people.
          My point was that vanilla labels are not to be trusted and so people must act accordingly to look out for themselves.
          Asking for a drink not to have vanilla in it would be a normal course of action.

          Though if you come to my house and I offer you home made cookies you can be assured that the vanilla in them has come into with vodka.

          Reply
          1. HotFlash

            Alcohol is , and many Muslims will not use vanilla if it is an alcohol extract. I prefer the alcohol extract of vanilla myself, I think the flavour is better, but I keep for when I am making food for people who do not want alcohol, eg, observant Muslims, recovering alcoholics, etc. I regularly shop and cook for one vegetarian, a recovering alcoholic who can’t tolerate gluten but is otherwise omnivorous, unless dieting, then no/low carb, and a bunch of vegans.

            I can’t see that the customer’s request is any more rude than enquiring if the tortilla garnish on the Southwest Salad is from flour or corn tortillas (ie, is it gluten-free), or if the Caesar Salad has anchovies or if the pea soup has ham in it. And the barrista’s eye-roll seems kind of rude to a customer under any circumstances, although it doesn’t rise to the level of droning and may not even racist. Many people don’t know that observant Muslims do not use alcohol.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              I beg to differ. She asked for the alcohol content, which is a percentage. That is an absurd demand, particularly of a person preparing drinks in a fast order setting. And rolling your eyes is the mildest way to express disapproval. He didn’t say anything and he apparently didn’t grimace, which means he pushed back without embarrassing her in front of others.

              Alcohol free vanilla extract is not vanilla extract. It contains a flavoring, vanillin, rather than actual vanilla.

              It is just about certain that Starbucks, given its upmarket image, uses real vanilla, and not what would otherwise have to be called “artificial vanilla or vanilla flavoring.

              And I don’t agree with you on Caesar salad either. Caesar salad has anchovies, period. If you don’t like anchovies, don’t order a Caesar salad. The only permissible formulation would be “are the anchovies on the romaine or are they in the dressing?” If the former, someone could asked to have them removed. But saying “Does that Caesar salad have anchovies?” is up there with saying, “Is that chocolate bar made with cocoa?”

              Reply
              1. HotFlash

                Well, the label on my bottle of Simply Organic Non-Alcoholic Vanilla (the brand that I ) says “Contains 100% pure vanilla flavor derived exclusively from the natural bean.” and the corp lit claims “contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume”. Perhaps this is the vanilla that the young Muslim lady was hoping might be in her whatever-cino?

                Artificial vanilla, is, as you say, or ethylvanillin, and appears to be .

                Reply
          1. HotFlash

            It’s possible. Didn’t enquire as to his religion, but I recently met a recovering alcoholic by the name of Muhammed.

            Reply
    4. johnnygl

      It’s worth asking why local news would cover such a non-story. My guesses…

      1) clickbait to get republicans riled up, sharing dumb stories on social media. People love dumb stories.

      2) Makes it easier to avoid talking about real things that matter. Like war in syria.

      Reply
    5. Mildred Montana

      The world is full of attention-seeking, confrontation-loving types. They may identify themselves as brown or white, man or woman, Muslim or Christian but to the rest of us their true identity is PIA: Pain-in-the-Ass.

      Another example of the PIA in action:

      “Waiter, I ordered this steak medium-rare, but slightly well-done. It is not satisfactory. Take it back.”

      / waiter rolls eyes

      Reply
    6. vlade

      Especially when the latter latte request is stupid. Being a minority is not a free pass from stupid – all humans qualify.

      Reply
  7. Tomonthebeach

    In effect, Trump really did drain the swamp.

    After reading Atlantic’s HRC essay, it is rather clear that Hillary does not grasp that most people outside her political machine wants to go back to her brand of democracy. Since Trump, Democrats have wised up, maybe even grown up a little.

    Trump’s swamp drain has helped expose how corrupt both parties are, and how much our politics are coated in stinking slime. To paraphrase Pogo, We have me the deplorables, and they are us.

    Reply
    1. Harold

      A word seems to be missing since there is a lack of verb agreement:” most people … wants (?)”. Does this mean “no one wants”?

      Reply
      1. Tomonthebeach

        Clarification 1 – deleted too much :-)

        people outside her political machine DO NOT WANT to go back

        Clarification 2 – her brand of democracy

        Chgo Daily, neolib machine politics – do a favor; get a cookie (or a fat check for a 30 minute speech.)

        Reply
        1. Harold

          Much much better now. :) (yer darn tooting!) Not sure the enemy is really “us” now, though. Maybe it really is “them.”

          Reply
  8. Big River Bandido

    Didn’t Yves or Lambert recently provide a link to a piece that criticized modern Americans as too eager to completely discount everything someone says? To read an essay until we come to statement we absolutely disagree with, and then write the whole thing off? Does this ring any bells with anyone? (Sorry…I have a terrible handicap of being able to remember all kinds of details — except wherever it was that I read them. The only way I can overcome that is to re-read the pieces several times with time to digest in between, which makes me a slow study, and it’s not very practical in such an ephemeral media as the internet.)

    The reason I ask: it was all I could do to muster the will to even give the Atlantic piece the most cursory skimming. Several paragraphs at the beginning and the end were enough to convince me it wasn’t worth reading. My impression was: who ghost-wrote this garbage? And quite frankly, I think I have good reasons for never wanting to hear a damn thing that comes out of any of the Clintons’ mouths or from their ghostwriters’ pens. Does this make me guilty of the sin in paragraph A?

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      There are two opposing kinds of mistakes we can make in this regard. One is to write authors off prematurely without giving them an honest hearing. The other is to fail to write off authors who have demonstrated multiple times that anything they write is likely to be a waste of time.
      What you have done is to avoid the second error.

      Reply
  9. clarky90

    China’s confidence DESTROYED by VACCINE Scandal!

    !

    “This latest vaccine scandal follows on from a series of fake and substandard food and drugs issues in China. As a result, many parents have lost faith in the vaccine system. This has led to an overall lack of confidence in Chinese society in general.”

    This is an informative YouTube channel. Two expats, married to local women, who have been living in China for many years.

    Reply
  10. Musicismath

    Interesting article on inequality and access to University education in New Zealand. There’s such a huge resistance to recognising it as a symptom of an increasingly entrenched class system.

    This is the new New Zealand, once touted as a great egalitarian state, but now a place where the circumstances of birth and family are so strong they are almost impossible to overcome. Data shows New Zealand is now more unequal than the countries its 19th century founders fled, the eighth worst in the OECD according to the Gini inequality measure. Despite the settlers’ desire to throw off the rigid structures of their former lives, in less than 200 years their “classless” society has stratified into rich, middle and poor, with property ownership a driving force.

    Kirsty Johnson, , New Zealand Herald (15 September 2018).

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Taking in wealth or fairly well-to-do middle class Chinese, Americans, Australians, and other foreigners will just make their poor even poorer, with property ownership an even stronger driving force.

      Reply
    2. JerryDenim

      Things may be trending the wrong way in Kiwi land, but they’re still light years ahead of the United States. Same for Oz. I find the statement “circumstances of birth and family are so strong they are almost impossible to overcome” a little hard to believe. “Eighth worst in the OECD” – A very small group of developed nations that includes Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Finland, Belgium etc. doesn’t really seem that dire considering the peer set. We can’t even get Republicans and two-thirds of the Democratic Party to admit our health care system sucks. The US system works for hardly anyone and is more expensive than Norway’s single payer system, but over in New Zealand the Kiwis, unsatisfied with free, universal, single payer health care are demanding that dental be included as well. Here in the ‘land of the free’ any small ask from our the government exposes our citizens to cold-war pejoratives and McCarthyist hysteria, possibly death threats, but even our upper-caste five-percenters must beg hat-in-hand with “Go-fund-Me’s” anytime they receive a major medical diagnosis. University tuition frequently cost $25k a semester here in the US where as the Kiwis pay a few hundred in fees and and can easily graduate with a bachelors degree for less than $10K US. Maybe I’m just a battered spouse who envies my friend whose spouse only beats them ‘once in while’ or ‘when they deserve it’, but to my eyes New Zealand still looks pretty good.

      When I visited NZ a couple of years ago I was impressed by the level of social cohesion and egalitarian character of the country, but of course you could hear the grumblings of locals if you asked. They had a center-right, neoliberal government and people were angry about the real estate boom driven by foreign hot money. The recent immigrants driving the boom, weren’t that popular either. Wealthy, pied-a-terre, disconnected types. Peter Theils and new money from Asia. I guess inequality is an epidemic stalking every developed country these days.

      Reply
  11. ambrit

    I talk to myselves all of the time now.
    Oh look! Over there! A flying saucer!
    (The Librarian is giving me the funny look.)

    Reply
  12. DonCoyote

    49 (or is it 50?) days until the election, long time, etc (since Lambert isn’t aound to do it). Anyway, a little on the ground political reporting.

    TX-23, which is a huge (aka *yuuuuuuge*) district, stretches from San Antonio to El Paso. It is on Lambert’s list of key/contested house races (I think it is R+1), and features two former military spies running against each other, Republican Will Hurd (R) vs Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones. Hurd claims he can’t support Trump but always votes with him. Ortiz-Jones claims she is in favor of single payer, but all her specific healthcare actions are “strengthening the existing”.

    Anyway, I’ve been hearing two different flavors of anti Ortiz-Jones radio commercials fairly heavily all last week on my commute, such that last Friday I heard them back to back.

    Flavor 1: Ortiz-Jones supports BRAC (Base Realignment & Closure), which would both “hurt jobs” and “threaten our national security”. A nice little two-fer (one variant of this one even claims that some unnamed Democrat can’t believe Ortiz-Jones supports BRAC). Paid for by Will Hurd for Congress

    Flavor 2: Ortiz-Jones lives in Washington, D.C., blocks away from all her big money donors (funneled to her by Nancy Pelosi who wants support for her far left “agenda”), and across the river from the airport where she flies back to Texas to try to get your vote. Paid for by the RSCC (Republican counterpart to the DCCC). Much more generic and trope-y (Pelosi has a center-right agenda), and could be used (with minor edits) against a lot of Team-D incumbents (although Ortiz-Jones apparently did have a D.C. residence until recently).

    No word from Team-D (or the Russians) yet. Hurd had $2 million and Ortiz-Jones $1.2 million on hand at the end of June (according to OpenSecrets), so I’m sure there is money for more. Of course, maybe only deplorables listen to the radio anymore, and Team-D is focused on TV.

    Reply
      1. JBird

        Not really. Unfortunately.

        It’s been both the rightwing, especially its reactionaries’,and the liberal establishment, especially its corporate faction, goal to make nonexistent actual leftist ideologies, forget individual ideas; say repeatedly, using massive amounts of money, that the now center right Democrats are leftist and that anything to their left is communist, or worse Stalinism/Maoism.

        Further, restrict liberalism itself into the framework of the Washington Consensus and do a similar process with American conservative. If you call yourself a conservative, then you must pay fealty to the Republican Party and its ideas, and in no way can you be Democrat.

        Fifty years ago someone like Ocasio-Cortez or Sanders would have been mainstream Democrats. I could even see Sanders as a left wing member of the Republican Party especially before Nixon’s Southern Strategy. The Southern Dixiecrats were a major part of the Democratic Party and full blown white supremists who ran the South.

        Nowadays those two are freaking communists.

        Reply
      2. False Solace

        It doesn’t matter what the words mean. They’re snarl words. They signal something you’re not supposed to like. “Far left” means Bad. “Socialist” means Bad. “Big Government” means bad. They string the words together and it all means Bad.

        It doesn’t matter if it’s nonsense or it doesn’t fit the person they’re describing. You aren’t meant to think about it or look under the hood. It’s duckspeak.

        I think the Anne Applebaum article in The Atlantic is correct. It’s a communication and leadership style that mostly relies on loyalty to the leader and the in-group and throws logic and reasoned discourse out the window. It’s been very successful in Europe and it’s coming here soon. Trump is just the first breath of the storm. It’s a real shame the media has shredded their credibility with Russiagate — they’re a symptom too.

        Reply
        1. False Solace

          On second thought, I think the communication style is not especially novel — it’s sheer bull-[family bloggery] and there’s nothing new about that. What’s new is its success, and yeah I blame the media.

          Reply
          1. JBird

            The thing is, is that without words that have true meanings, we can not have meaningful conversations; discarding words because others have used them falsely merely completes the work for them. The various political and social factions especially of the wealthy or the elites have disappeared whole categories of thought, ideologies, ideas, possibilities by creating that falsity of meanings.

            Reply
            1. Carey

              Great comment. Gotta go back and read Orwell’s ‘Politics and the English Language’. It’s been awhile.

              Thought-stoppers and “centrist” discourse-policing abound.

              Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      Aye. The tv versions are even sillier, with grainy blotchy echtochrome and ominous music when talking about the dem… and sunny, daisy path music and vid for the odious Hurd….smiling and shaking hands with old white folks..
      But this plays in Texas…at least for the cohort that still watches local news and general hospital( target audience is indicated by the kinds of drug commercials that sandwich these scare-ads)

      Reply
  13. Patricia

    I just read chigal recommend “Sorry to Bother You” in yesterday’s comments, and want to chime in a full recommend. It’s ridiculous in the best way.

    I think the Chapo House boys said something about it being a socialist sci-fi-comedy. Add a touch of Aesop’s Fables, and there it is.

    Reply
  14. Steely Glint

    I lived in N.Z from 1989 to 1999 and have permanent residency. We set foot on N.Z. soil when the Nats. took over from Labor, and immediately heard familiar U.S. phrases like “user pays”, although the user (tax payer) had already paid, so it is no surprise that neoliberalism has taken hold there as well as in the rest of the world. Our son was 10 when we moved there, and my only gripe with the educational system was that at the age of 14-15 a child was supposed to decide the course of further education; i.e. take bursary exam courses, or technical school courses. During the educational transition of the move, our son missed out on fractions, which of course affected algebra courses, etc. Long story short, he figured he’d never pass bursary exams, and went surfing instead. Upon moving back to the U.S. he had to take a GED exam, proved weak on math, corrected it, and went on to graduate with honors in Civil Engineering. As far as university expenses, my spouse reminded me that while we were living there, the education minister (who had an all expenses paid education) advocated for a raise in university education tuition. Also note; “Income data shows the current disparities – where the top decile receive about 7.5 times as much as the bottom – have persisted in New Zealand for 25 years.” We could only wish. BTY billionaires building bunkers in an earthquake areas such as N.Z. proves that they are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    Reply
    1. Tvc15

      Given New ZeaIand’s part of the ring of fire, I always found it odd why so many billionaires are building doomsday bunkers there. Maybe they can also be eradicated as part of New Zealand’s predator free program that is poisoning the forests.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      The housing bubble certainly tweaked things around in NZ, as rather suddenly by virtue of owning a home, you were rich, but not every Kiwi played along, with many on the outside looking in, hardly egalitarian.

      As they say, money changes everything.

      Reply
  15. NotTimothyGeithner

    I’m starting to think Susan Sarandon and Putin really did steal the election from HRC. The worst part is the person running Clinton’s account thinks this is a good thing on her book tour.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      It appears the Democrat establishment has managed to instill the myth Hillary “always supported universal health care” as absolute fact into the minds of everyone who doesn’t actually remember that what was proposed was Obamacare in different clothes. On the other hand, when it comes to social media, especially Twitter, the likelihood that statements of that kind are posted by paid shills, a la Clear the Record, increases exponentially.

      Reply
    2. ChrisAtRU

      I’m damn near stunned into silence that she (or someone who manages her Twitter account) actually hit send on that. How horrid. Tactless and feckless.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Hillaryites make me ill…the defending commenters are doing some bizarro version of Gish gallop…around and around….and then come the “he a Russian” en passant…and it’s just not worth chewing through the restraints, some days.
        Again…Centrist Tea Party, to further confuse and mystify everything.
        I wonder if there’s any way to tell if it’s actually working(aside from further declines in turnout)

        Reply
        1. ChrisAtRU

          #Exactly … “sickening” is a good word to describe that tweet – the irony completely lost to her and those who support her. Theirs is world where the of the wealthy constitutes a worthy substitute for the public good. It is infuriating and heart-wrenching all at once. #TheAssistance is broken beyond repair.

          Reply
    3. allan

      Wow. The thread reads a tweet novel written by George Orwell.

      Tired: trying to argue with people who’ve been brain-washed by Rush and Fox.

      Wired: trying to argue with people who’ve been brain-washed by WaPo and MSNBC.

      Reply
    1. Ruby Furigana

      From the link:

      This is more like the time I got out of kernel development for a while
      because I needed to write a little tool called “git”.

      Last time we got git, I wonder what we’ll get this time . . .

      Reply
  16. drumlin woodchuckles

    Speaking of future-nostagia visions, what if a strictly-passenger-dedicated narrow or semi-narrow gauge railway system were to be built in the median of every Federal Interstate Superhighway running everywhere those Superhighways go? What if such an Interstate HighRail System had spurs running too and from every lucratively high-population city and major airport for people to get on and off at?

    Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Remember when nurses, caregivers, teachers and students crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither.”

    Fuad Alakbarov

    Reply

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