The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – January 29, 2023

by Tony Wikrent


Altercation: Goodbye and Thanks

Eric Alterman, January 27, 2023 [The American Prospect]

The key question I want to leave people with is this: Given the lack of guardrails, how far are these people willing to go? Trump is as popular as he was before January 6th and has been invited back on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. His only credible alternative for the Republican nomination at this point, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is in many significant respects even worse than Trump. Kevin McCarthy is elevating lunatic insurrectionists who fear Jewish space lasers and children’s books about loving gay parents to positions with real power and rejecting people merely because they are competent and committed to the Constitution. Tucker Carlson, a paranoid, racist co-conspirator of the morally disgusting Alex Jones, has the highest ratings in cable news. Thanks in part to a great lineup at the New York Jewish Film Festival this month, I’ve just recently seen a whole bunch of films about the fate of fascism in GermanyAustriaFranceUkraine, and Poland—I’m considering Stalinism to be a form of fascism here—and another about Eichmann’s trial and death in Israel, and elsewhere in theaters about town, about fascism in Argentina, in Italy (which I wrote about here), and another one about Austria. They speak to this question, which has long been on my mind: How far are these people willing to go and what is to stop them?



What Russian elites are saying:

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 1-28-2023]


Why is Egypt’s Navy commanding a NATO-led coalition in the Red Sea? 

[The Cradle, via Naked Capitalism 1-24-2023]


U.S. Weapons Industry Unprepared for a China Conflict, Report Says 

[WSJ, via Naked Capitalism 1-24-2023]


The pandemic

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-23-2023]


“The #DavosStandard safe air should be for all of us”

[Boing Boing, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-23-2023]

“Folks who have long been advocating for similar safety measures for public spaces, schools, workplaces, and more are taking to Twitter to praise the measures in effect at the WEF, and to spread the news that we should all have access to safe places to work, gather, learn, and more…. We should all be asking the same question — shouldn’t we all be as protected from COVID-19 as the attendees at the World Economic Forum are?”


“War on Empathy”

[Peste Magazine, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-23-2023]

“A recent series of media stories depicting individuals advocating for stronger COVID policies as unsympathetic characters on the fringes of society ignited a firestorm among [non-eugenicist] public health experts and grassroots advocates alike. To a public looking to change the channel on the long-running tragedy of the pandemic, these commentaries and the ensuing backlash may seem unremarkable. Yet these pieces not only ignore the ongoing toll of the pandemic, they also have material consequences. Taken together, these accounts can be read as warning shots in a broader war on empathy. Though the pandemic continues to claim losses on par with the September 11 attacks each week, it has prompted far less in the way of societal reckoning. Instead of calling for a national memorial to pay tribute to those lost or a commission to examine systemic failures in pandemic response, a growing chorus of prominent journalists and pundits have taken aim at another target—the proponents of a more vigorous public health response. A December story in the New York Times called such individuals ‘the last holdouts,’ depicting those attempting to avoid coronavirus infection as eccentric agoraphobes, paranoid contrarians, and social misfits. A recent essay in the New Yorker described the People’s CDC—a grassroots organization seeking to provide clear and actionable information about the pandemic—as a ‘ragtag coalition’ given to making ‘eye-popping statements’ about public health. A piece in The New Republic went even further, suggesting that Long COVID sufferers may be afflicted with a psychosomatic complaint, not a true medical diagnosis. Framing legitimate political critiques and demands for action as grudges held by an intractable out-group, these stories report the pandemic more as a trend piece than as hard news. Yet the desire for better COVID protections is not concentrated among the well-heeled, as these accounts have misleadingly suggested. Reflecting the pandemic’s sharply uneven impacts, Black and Hispanic Americans as well as individuals with a disability have consistently voiced greater concern about COVID and supported a stronger policy response. By suggesting that well-to-do ‘liberals’ are the vanguard of COVID mitigations, these stories shift attention away from the groups that have been most impacted and that remain at greatest risk.”


Know Thine Enemy

Ian Welsh, January 27, 2023

An enemy is someone who is doing you you harm, or intends to do you harm. If they have the ability to do you harm, they will act on it.

Note what this definition does not include. It says nothing about hate or anger or emotional state. It does not matter why someone is or wants or intends to harm you, all that matters is that they do….

If a political leader passes a law or regulation which takes away your health care or your house or your food or your life, it doesn’t matter that they weren’t thinking about you, specifically, when they made that decision. They deliberately harmed you, and they were OK with it. They certainly knew, if they thought about it all, that it would harm some people, and that wasn’t a problem for them.

When healthcare execs raise the prices of medicines like insulin or care, they know that means some people who need that medicine or care will do without, and they know some people will die….

If you are thinking about politics this is the most fundamental concept you need to understand and emotionally internalize. People with power are your greatest enemies or your greatest allies, and your job is to make them your allies. If they are your enemies, and almost all of them in the current world are, then you must treat them as an enemy, and never think of them as a friend or ally….

At the World Economic Forum at Davos, everyone gets a Covid test and all rooms have HEPA filters and UV light to destroy viruses. That’s how they treat themselves. Our societies could afford to do that for everyone, but our leaders, and the media they control pretend that Covid is “over”, while protecting themselves.


Why they hate the nation-state — Matthew Ehret: Clash of Two Americas, Between Republicanism & Imperial Grand Strategy

[Geopolitics & Empire, via YouTube, 2022]

the modern sovereign nation state is something that people like their upper level managers henry kissinger uh
zbigniew brzezinski and bernard lewis and and you know george soros there
obviously they speak so openly of their their venom for the idea of the sovereign nation state how incompatible
it is with open society with you know the rules-based order it’s not it’s not based on selfish nation states
um they hate it why do they hate it it’s because the nation state existed as a relatively modern phenomenon as a part
of a freedom struggle in the continuity of human emancipation against this evil it’s not it didn’t exist before the
renaissance there was there was feudalism we we had city states but we didn’t have anything that had a
like enough of a central power that could wield as a weapon anything that could take on this
globally extended monstrosity of empire it didn’t exist so it’s the effect of
something higher than people realize and when you have a nation state you can use your national sovereign powers to
not pay a debt that private financiers are demanding you pay you can do that if the debt if paying the debt’s gonna hurt your people or undermine your national
sovereignty or stability you don’t have to do that you can you can have a debt jubilee you could you could break up the banks you
could issue your own currency based on maybe like you said goldbach dinars you know you you could you could give
that currency value by making it work by ensuring that bonds are are tied that
you issue that people maybe even your own citizens can invest in that are that are backed by the future growth of your
of your state they could be tied to projects and those projects would be like like gaddafi’s
great man-made water project it might be a long you know low interest 10 15-year project
but you know that that’s a different quality of activity of the investment than let’s say speculating on a
commodities you know market or you know a digital currency that may or may not have any value
uh that’s just totally tied to artificial whims of the marketplace but you’re you’re actually doing things that
that water project if it was not destroyed by nato which it was it would have created
increased the overall productivity standard of life created a new job market increased workforce increased
skill sets and had all sorts of non non-linear effects of new industry….


This is plutocracy not capitalism

Billionaire Funded Judges Who Could Decide His Speech-Crushing Beto Case

Matthew Cunningham-Cook, January 27, 2023 [The Lever]

Following the money behind a Texas lawsuit against Beto O’Rourke that could pave the way for punishing political candidates who criticize wealthy donors.


This Company Is Suing the U.S. Over the Keystone Pipeline Cancellation. Taxpayers Are Footing the Bill.

Kate Aronoff, January 26, 2023 [The New Republic]

…according to documents released as part of a $15 billion case being brought by Calgary-based gas giant TC Energy against the U.S. government, after Joe Biden “canceled” the Keystone XL pipeline by revoking a key permit.

The case is set to be heard in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, pronounced “ick-sid”. The company brought its suit under a multilateral deal that no longer exists, the North American Free Trade Agreement, Nafta—which is why the United States thinks the suit should be thrown out. Nafta’s Trump-era successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, eliminated most (but not all) options for pursuing these investor-state dispute settlements.


“The Intergenerational Transmission of Employers and the Earnings of Young Workers” (PDF)

[Center for Equitable Growth, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-23-2023]

From the Conclusion: “This paper combines survey and administrative data in order to investigate how the earnings of young workers are affected by the intergenerational transmission of employers. I start with a descriptive analysis, and find that 7% of individuals work for the employer of a parent at their first stable job and 29% do so at some point between the ages of 18 and 30. This tendency is best explained by parents playing a direct role in the hiring or job search process to help children who have limited options in the labor market. I then use an instrumental variables strategy, which exploits exogenous variation in the availability of jobs at the parent’s employer, and find that working for the employer of a parent increases earnings by 31%. These large earnings benefits are explained by parents providing access to higher-paying employers: Young workers who find their first stable job at the employer of a parent start their careers on a higher rung of the job ladder. Individuals with higher-earning parents are more likely to work for the employer of a parent, and benefit more conditional on doing so, and thus the intergenerational transmission of employers increases the intergenerational persistence in earnings.”


What do indebted employees do? Financialisation and the decline of industrial action

[Industrial Relations Journal, via Naked Capitalism 1-22-2023]

From the abstract: “Since indebted employees tend to become self-disciplined at the workplace on the fear of losing their job and defaulting, this paper argues that the post-1970 rise of household financialisation is associated with the decline of strike activity.”


Just How Common Is Corporate Fraud? 

[New York Times, via The Big Picture 1-22-2023]

A new study estimates that on average 10 percent of public companies commit securities fraud each year.


“Why Corporate America Still Runs on Ancient Software That Breaks” (podcast)

[Odd Lots, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-26-2023]


Restoring balance to the economy

Justice Dept. sues Google over digital advertising dominance 

[AP, via Naked Capitalism 1-25-2023]


“To reclaim Ohioans’ historical power, First Energy’s corporate charter should be revoked”

[Ohio Capital Journal, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-26-2023]

“The illegalities connected to FirstEnergy Corporation in its bribery scheme to pass House Bill 6 (HB 6) continue to surface, most recently its improper use of ratepayer money to fund dark money efforts totaling $70.9 million. Several individuals have already pleaded guilty for their role in the largest bribery scandal in Ohio history…. independent of further federal action and court cases against responsible individuals, Ohio Attorney General David Yost can and should commence charter revocation (called “quo warranto”) proceedings against FirstEnergy, a legal creation licensed in the state of Ohio as provided by Ohio Revised Code § 2733.02 to § 2733.39.

Several Ohio groups are calling for this action, a process that would dissolve the company. Quo warranto is a legal proceeding challenging the continued right of an individual or corporation to possess governmental privilege, be it an office in the case of an individual or charter in the case of a corporation. Corporations should serve the public good. They receive their charter from the government, which grants them certain privileges and powers. Corporations found to break the law and do so with intent should not simply be fined, as FirstEnergy Corporation has been, but have their charters revoked or terminated. Every day we see that monetary fines do not change criminal corporate behavior. Revocation of corporate charter was once common in Ohio in response to corporations acting beyond their authority as defined in their corporate charters. Quo warranto proceedings were once used routinely as a democratic tool by Ohio legislatures and courts to affirm the sovereign power of We the People over corporations, which are, after all, creations of government. The most well-known quo warranto case in Ohio history involved the efforts to revoke the charter of the Standard Oil Company, the most powerful U.S. corporation of the time, for forming a trust…

Charter revocation is seen by some as a ‘radical’ act when in reality it only follows a strong historical precedent already set in our state. The truly ‘radical’ act is a rogue corporation blatantly trampling on our democratic process.”


“Boeing to appear in federal court for crime related to 737-Max plane crashes”

[WJLA, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-26-2023]

“Airline giant, Boeing, will appear in federal criminal court in Texas on Thursday…. [V]ictims’ families are planning to testify in Texas this week at the arraignment. And in doing so, they hope to encourage the judge to rescind the immunity agreement between Boeing and the Department of Justice because, under the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act, families were supposed to be consulted in that agreement and were not…. If the judge throws out the immunity provision, the attorney for victims’ families, Paul Cassell told 7News that it would be possible for additional charges to be filed against Boeing’s leadership at the time of the crashes. This would make the company criminally responsible for the deaths of 346 people. Cassell said it’s time for Boeing to be treated like any other criminal defendant under United States law.”


Ending The Social Security Tax Break For The Rich

David Sirota, January 24, 2023 [The Lever]

When Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) this weekend endorsed bolstering Social Security by ending a payroll tax exemption for the rich, he was backing a proposal pioneered by progressive lawmakers more than two decades ago.

The question now is whether President Joe Biden — who has pushed Social Security cuts in the past and whose new chief of staff touted such cuts — will seize the opportunity to shore up the system’s revenue, or instead try to strike a deal with Republicans to slash the program.

During a Sunday CNN interview, Manchin was asked about Republicans’ potential push to cut Social Security. He responded that the “easiest and quickest thing we can do is raise the cap” that stops charging Social Security taxes on income over $160,000 per year.


(Anti)Republican Party debt charade

Are We Seeing the Last Gasp of the GOP’s Two Santa Claus Scam? 

[Hartmann Report, via The Big Picture 1-26-2023]

…Back in November, a few weeks after House Republicans won the election and seized control of that body, I wrote to you warning that the House Republicans would try the same scam that Ronald Reagan first rolled out in the 1980s….

Back in 1976 the Republican Party was a smoking ruin. Nixon had resigned after being busted for lying about his “secret plan to end the Vietnam War,” his involvement in the Watergate burglary, and his taking bribes from Jimmy Hoffa and the Milk Lobby. He only avoided prosecution because Gerald Ford pardoned him. His first Vice President, Spiro Agnew, had also resigned to avoid prosecution for taking bribes….

The Republican Party had little to offer the American people beyond anti-communism, their mainstay since the 1950s.

Americans knew it was Democrats who’d brought them Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, subsidized college, the right to unionize, antipoverty programs, and sent men to the moon. And they knew Republicans had opposed the “big government spending” associated with every single one of them.

But one man — a Republican strategist and editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal named Jude Wanniski — thought he saw a way out. It was, he argued, a strategy that could eventually bring about a permanent Republican governing majority.

In a WSJ op-ed that year, Wanniski pointed out that Americans thought of Democrats as the “Party of Santa” and Republicans as, essentially, Scrooge. Republicans, he noted, hadn’t even proposed a tax cut in 22 years!

The solution, Wanniski argued, was for Republicans to start pushing tax cuts whenever the GOP held the White House. This would establish their Santa bona fides, particularly if Democrats objected. It would flip the script so Democrats would fill the role of Scrooge.

To make it even easier for Republicans to cut taxes, Wanniski invented and publicized a new economic theory called Supply-Side Economics. When taxes went down, he said, government revenue would magically go up!

….Citing Supply-Side Economics, in eight short years Reagan ran up greater deficits than every president from George Washington to Jerry Ford combined, taking our national debt from around $800 billion all the way up to around $2.6 trillion when he left office.

By 1992, when Bill Clinton won the presidency, Reagan and Bush’s debt had climbed to over $4.2 trillion, giving Republicans a chance to double down on Two Santas. Bill Clinton would be their test case.

House Republicans loudly demanded that Clinton “do something!” about the national debt, waving the debt ceiling like a cudgel. Over the next eight years they repeatedly wielded the debt ceiling, shutting down the government twice. The battles lifted Newt Gingrich to the speakership.


The Freedom Caucus Has a Harebrained Plan to Jack Up Taxes on the Poor

Ryan Cooper, January 26, 2023 [The American Prospect]

Under the ‘Fair Tax,’ the poorest fifth of Americans would pay roughly 70 percent of their income in taxes.

During the negotiations for the recent election of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker of the House, one of the demands of the extremist Freedom Caucus was for a vote on the so-called Fair Tax proposal. This would abolish the IRS along with all existing federal taxes, and replace them with a 30 percent national sales tax….

Nevertheless, it’s still worth digging into the “Fair Tax” plan as an example of the bug-eyed lunacy that passes for policymaking in right-wing circles. People’s Policy Project founder Matt Bruenig has the full details in a video analysis, but in brief, such a sales tax would be an administrative disaster, lead to gigantic tax evasion, and most importantly be monstrously unfair….

This is conservative policy for you: equal parts stupid and viciously cruel to the worst-off people in American society. The fact that the Freedom Caucus worked so hard to get a vote on a bill that won’t pass and is already a political albatross around the GOP’s neck demonstrates the depth of their fanaticism—and the dangers of allowing Republicans to control the government.


Why Republicans Want To Defund The IRS  

Frank Cappello, January 25, 2023 [The Lever]

On this week’s Lever Time: David Sirota unpacks the Republican-led effort to hobble federal tax enforcers,


The Debt Ceiling Limit is Destructive, Duplicative, and Dumb 

Stephanie Kelton [The Lens, via Naked Capitalism 1-22-2023]


“Veterans of the Obama-era debt ceiling standoff on the current one: We may be doomed”

[Politico, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-26-2023]

“[An economic adviser in the Obama White House, David] Kamin isn’t the only one struck by a foreboding sense of déjà vu. From the White House to Wall Street, a growing number of veterans of the 2011 debt ceiling crisis are again watching a story of bluster and brinkmanship play out — and are terrified this will be the time it ends with the country in financial ruin…. The parallels to the Obama-era stalemate are clear, as House Republican leaders vow to place restraints on a Democratic administration, while also trying to manage their troublesome conservative wing. But unlike in 2011, Republicans are preparing to stare down the White House with no clear consensus on what they want in exchange for keeping the U.S. financial system afloat. The prevailing principle, instead, appears to be extracting a degree of political pain for President Joe Biden. And perhaps most worryingly — Democrats, economists and even some Republicans say — there’s little confidence that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has the influence to successfully steer his conference away from the brink.” • Hmm. The whole article is weird, since although there’s a lot worry emanating from Obama veterans, the situation is also being gamed out, but the games are not described. If you believe that Obama’s hand held the dagger on the Biden document flap, you might well believe that Obama’s pulling the strings of these “veterans.” Perhaps to weaken Biden? To bring about, at long last, the “Grand Bargain”?


Climate and environmental crises

The Coming Dust Bowl 

[Compact Mag, via Naked Capitalism 1-28-2023]

…None of this should be a surprise to anyone familiar with the book Cadillac Desert, by the late American environmentalist Mark Reisner. The subtitle—The American West and Its Disappearing Water—suggests the book might have been written yesterday, but it was published in 1986. Nearly four decades ago, Cadillac Desert accurately predicted where states like Arizona and Nevada would find themselves in our time.

“The regional water equation is simple: There isn’t enough of it.”

The regional water equation, as Reisner shows, is simple: There isn’t enough of it, everyone wants it, and the groundwater reservoirs deep beneath the soil are a finite resource that will eventually run out. People knew this in the 1980s, they knew it at the turn of the millennium, and they know it today….

the math is simple. Due to natural population growth and inflows, the states drawing water from the Colorado need more water than before, even as the Colorado itself is incapable of keeping up with present demands. This situation can’t last forever; in fact, it probably can’t even last 15 more years.

The end result of this will likely be a rerun of the Oklahoma dust bowl: a staggered but ultimately massive wave of internal migration spilling out of the states affected by the crisis. And it now looks like the crisis will begin to bite at a time when the United States is polarized at home and overtaxed abroad.

This isn’t a small thing. Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union, attributed more blame to the Chernobyl disaster, and the massive costs it imposed on the Soviet state, than to his policies of Glasnost and Perestroika. Contrary to popular perception, the death toll of Chernobyl was fairly small. It was the cost of cleanup, as well as the massive expense inherent in relocating some 350,000 citizens away from the affected areas, that broke the back of the Soviet state.

The American crisis will unfold more gradually than the Chernobyl meltdown, of course: Water won’t run out for everyone all at once. The economic and social crisis will begin as a trickle—or, as the Rio Verde situation suggests, it already has. But the effects of this internal migration and displacement, of the economic distress of fixed capital (and people’s livelihoods) being destroyed, might lead to even greater political division and instability.


Expert: $225 million needed to replace more than 35,000 lead water pipes in RI 

[WPRI, via Naked Capitalism 1-24-2023]


Early results of lead testing show alarming levels in some Delaware school drinking water 

[Delaware News Journal, via Naked Capitalism 1-24-2023]


Des Moines Water Works recommends replacing thousands of lead pipes 

[KCCI, via Naked Capitalism 1-24-2023]


Flint residents urged to filter water as bottled water donations end amid ongoing water crisis 

[ABC News, via Naked Capitalism 1-24-2023]


Oklahoma City sues oil company for stealing water intended for emergency drought relief 

[KOSU, via Naked Capitalism 1-25-2023]


Creating new economic potential – science and technology

NRC Certifies First U.S. Small Modular Reactor Design 

[US Department of Energy, via Naked Capitalism 1-22-2023]

The company’s power module becomes the first SMR design certified by the NRC and just the seventh reactor design cleared for use in the United States…

The design is an advanced light-water SMR with each power module capable of generating 50 megawatts of emissions-free electricity.

NuScale’s VOYGR™ SMR power plant can house up to 12 factory-built power modules that are about a third of the size of a large-scale reactor. Each power module leverages natural processes, such as convection and gravity, to passively cool the reactor without additional water, power, or even operator action.

The NRC accepted NuScale’s SMR design certification application back in March 2018 and issued its final technical review in August 2020.


Novel adaptation for existing blast furnaces could reduce steelmaking emissions by 90% (press release)

[University of Birmingham, via Naked Capitalism 1-25-2023]


Information age dystopia

Move Over, Jayson Blair: Meet Hamilton 68, the New King of Media Fraud

Matt Taibbi, January 27, 2023 [The Racket]

Hamilton 68 was and is a computerized “dashboard” designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure “Russian disinformation.” It was the brainchild of former FBI agent (and current MSNBC “disinformation expert”) Clint Watts, and backed by the German Marshall Fund and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan think-tank. The latter’s advisory panel includes former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former Hillary for America chair John Podesta, and onetime Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol….

Examining further, Twitter execs were shocked. The accounts Hamilton 68 claimed were linked to “Russian influence activities online” were not only overwhelmingly English-language (86%), but mostly “legitimate people,” largely in the U.S., Canada, and Britain. Grasping right away that Twitter might be implicated in a moral outrage, they wrote that these account-holders “need to know they’ve been unilaterally labeled Russian stooges without evidence or recourse.”



[The Intercept, via Naked Capitalism 1-24-2023]


“Protest isn’t terrorism”

Bill McKibben [The Crucial Years, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-25-2023]

“[A]cross America, laws are being rewritten, often at the behest of corporate lobbyists, to make dissent and protest much more difficult. Here’s a webinar from, among others, the veteran activist Marla Marcum detailing the spread of these anti-protest laws across the coungtry; she reports that only five states haven’t had such laws introduce…. As Marcum put it, ‘most people who hear about protesters charged with domestic terrorism will process that information as ‘there are people committing terrorist acts’ and they will think ‘terrorism is bad,’ and they won’t question whether the label tells any kind of truth. Because terrorism IS bad. Full stop. But we need to know what the words mean in each context where a prosecutor or politician deploys them.’ And in the case of these new laws, it just means: we don’t like you.”


Websites Selling Abortion Pills Are Sharing Sensitive Data With Google

[ProPublica, via The Big Picture 1-22-2023]

Some sites selling abortion pills use technology that shares information with third parties like Google. Law enforcement can potentially use this data to prosecute people who end their pregnancies with medication.


“The Company That Controls Dating”

[The Cut, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-23-2023]

“Match Group, the company that helped start online dating in the ’90s… now owns most of the dating-app market. Match became a giant under the leadership of a billionaire entertainment mogul [Barry Diller], whose directive was to aggressively eat the competition: It bought OkCupid and Plenty of Fish in the 2010s, incubated Tinder, and purchased Hinge, the ‘anti-Tinder,’ in 2018. Today, Match is a dating-app conglomerate with millions of users and over 45 brands around the world. These brands use the same business model based on subscriptions and in-app features — like Hinge’s ‘roses’ and Tinder’s ‘super likes’ — that promise users a leg up in the dating game. ;When you send a rose, you have a far higher chance of getting a response and getting into a conversation than you don’t,’ says Amarnath Thombre, CEO of Match Group Americas. ‘We are constantly looking at ways to give users a way to enhance their chance at succeeding on the app,’ he adds. ‘That’s something that users are always willing to pay for.’ But while these ‘superpowers’ make Match Group a lot of money — in 2021, for example, Tinder earned $1.7 billion — users are wondering if they get them any closer to connecting with real-life people. ‘It seems like these apps are improving on taking our money and making us spend more time on their apps than they are matching us with people‘ said one dater. ‘Nothing has come from it at all,’ said another dater of spending hundreds of dollars on dating apps. ‘It’s like: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I need to get off this app.’”


Democrats’ political malpractice

“Biden’s Next Chief of Staff Is a Disaster in the Making”

Jeet Heer [The Nation, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-24-2023]

“On Sunday, multiple news outlets announced that Zients was about to be tapped to be the new White House chief of staff, replacing Ron Klain, who has announced that he is stepping down…. In a note to me, Hauser summed up the case against Zients: ‘Biden at his best has picked battles with corporate America, from the tax plan funding the IRA to appointing regulators like Rohit Chopra, Gary Gensler, and Lina Khan to take on predatory behavior. With limited legislative possibilities over the next 24 months, Biden can only attain populist bona fides against populist wannabes Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump by unleashing the executive branch against corporate miscreants. Unfortunately, many of the most promising targets for Executive Branch scrutiny are industries Zients has gotten rich from, including private equity, health care, and Big Tech. Will Zients turn on people like himself, or will he acknowledge implicitly that his riches came at society’s expense and unleash the Executive Branch to enforce existing limits on corporate greed stringently?’ If appointed, Jeffrey Zients will be the White House chief of staff as Biden gears up for reelection in 2024. The strongest case against Zients is a simple political one. How will Biden be able to present himself as the champion of working Americans when his chief of staff is a plutocrat whose companies have a reputation for preying on Americans in moments of medical emergency? Zients would offer an irresistible target for Republicans. His elevation to the post of chief of staff is an unforced error.”


Joe Biden’s Rooseveltian Ambitions Are Officially Dead

[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-27-2023]

“Among the big news out of DC this week is that Biden is replacing outgoing chief of staff Ron Klain with Jeff Zients, millionaire and former COVID-19 czar. This has, for good reason, sparked outrage among progressives, who view Zients’s panoply of conflicts of interest, private equity past, and mishandling of the pandemic as disqualifying. Despite Klain’s questionable record, he won progressives over through what seemed like genuine efforts at outreach, making them feel — unusually, for a modern White House occupied by either party — that their ideas were being factored into policymaking. Zients would’ve struggled to fill his shoes no matter what. But his sketchy past has made that a particularly tall order, and possibly signals that Biden is ready to ditch the already tenuous progressive populist approach of his first two years…. Zients made his real break at the Advisory Group, and then its spin-off, the Corporate Executive Board, a management consulting firm that compiled confidential details from executives into reports about best and worst business practices, which it then sold back to the corporate world. What did that advice entail? Don’t bother trying to reestablish the social contract between worker and boss after a round of layoffs because it’s gone forever. As groups like the Revolving Door Project pointed out, this wasn’t even the worst of it. One of the companies Zients’s investment firm Cranemere bought had a history of allegations of surprise billing and other shady practices, a pattern common to several other companies owned by the firm. Other health care firms Zients was involved with over the years had to pay out tens of millions of dollars to settle accusations of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing, with the whistleblower who brought the offense to light claiming she’d been told by management to let it go in case the government never noticed.”


The Myth of Jeffrey Zients: There is no reason to trust a longtime corporate stooge to serve as President Biden’s chief of staff.

Max Moran, January 27, 2023 [The American Prospect]

Zients’s job changed several times throughout the Obama presidency, but his functional role was always to be “an ambassador to the business community,” in the words of The Wall Street Journal. He bemoaned in a 2012 Politico op-ed that “[r]arely have we seen departments or agencies downsized, much less eliminated,” and hoped to reorganize the Commerce Department into a “one-stop shop” Department of Business, to help prove Obama was not “a big-government liberal,” according to Reuters. Biden, by contrast, has relished comparisons to Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the archetypal big-government liberals.

In 2012, Zients also issued veto threats to any legislation that didn’t cut spending, as part of the disastrous “fiscal cliff” strategy, a failed plan to compel deficit reduction that sabotaged the Great Recession recovery, and undermined the Democrats’ brand as the defenders of Social Security and Medicare. The fiscal cliff haunts our current debt ceiling standoff.


How Chuck Schumer Deep-Sixed the Tech Antitrust Bills

David Dayen, January 26, 2023 [The American Prospect]


Reactionary Centrism: Corruption Is A Way Of Life In Congress– It Is Bipartisan… And Progressives Do Not Fit In

Howie Klein, January 27, 2023 []

…the main Democratic villains voting most frequently with the Republicans have shown their hands— 5 reactionary Blue Dogs, of course: Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Jared Golden (ME), Sanford Bishop (GA), Jim Costa (CA) and Henry Cuellar (TX). Which brings us to Akela Lacy’s report from Wednesday’s Intercept, about the corrupt conservative corporate PAC targeting progressives with GOP money. They call it the Moderate PAC, but there’s nothing moderate about it. It’s purely conservative, purely conservative, purely corporate and, more than anything else, purely corrupt; it’s an example of what DC is all about.

A top Republican Party money-bags, Jeff Yess, the richest person in Pennsylvania, gave them a million dollars last year. Lacy reported that “In addition to funding Republicans, Yass has funded state-level Democrats who align with his conservative objectives: He put money into the campaigns of Democratic officials in Pennsylvania who played a key role in the charge last year to try to impeach progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.” The PAC hired Biden’s former campaign manager, Greg Schultz, as their consultant. I found expenditures reported for Waterfront Strategies and the super-shady S-3 Partners. A defense contractor is the treasurer. Their immediate goal is to destroy progressive candidates in 2024, although they won’t have Sam Bankman-Fried and his corrupt mother, Babsy Fried, working with them in the coming cycle.

Ty Strong, the Moderate PAC president and founder, worked for a decade as a financial and business management analyst at Booz Allen Hamilton before joining a smaller financial firm in Pennsylvania in 2020 that closed abruptly the following year. He joined the Moderate PAC in October 2021. The committee’s treasurer, Marysue Strong, is chief financial officer at ProSync Technology Group, a defense contractor that provides IT services to the federal government. (Ty Strong did not respond to questions about his political experience or whether he and Marysue are related, though public records suggest that they are.).…
Aside from being generically anti-left, reactionary centrists are often agitated by the rising sympathy for Palestinian human rights among young Democrats. Sam Bankman-Fried can be understood as one of the chief financiers of reactionary centrism. In early January, the progressive strategist Max Berger posted a deeply researched investigation into the year-end Federal Election Commission filings on his Substack, Party Time. Berger’s inquiry helps clarify the reactionary centrist network. Poring over the filings, Berger “found more evidence SBF was collaborating with AIPAC and Trump-supporting billionaires to stop the growth of the squad and the electoral left.” Further, “SBF wasn’t primarily funding groups that help Democrats defeat Republicans. According to FEC data, over 75% of the money SBF contributed to Democrats in 2022 went to groups that spent nearly all their money on competitive primaries in the Democratic Party.”
Berger contends that the Democratic Party operative Mark Mellman was the likely ringleader of a coordinated effort in Democratic primaries to drown left candidates in a flood of dark money. Funding for this reactionary centrist project came, as Berger documents, not just from SBF but also from right-wing billionaires like “Bernard Marcus (owner of Home Depot), Robert Kraft (owner of the Patriots), and Paul Singer (owner of Elliot Investment Management).” On an institutional level, reactionary centrism expresses itself through organizations like the United Democracy Project, Democratic Majority for Israel, Protect Our Future, Web3 Forward, and Mainstream Democrats. These groups spent a total of more than $70 million to shove the Democratic Party to the right.

Republican Billionaire Funds “Moderate” PAC to “Scare Off” Justice Democrats & Other Progressives

[The Young Turks, January 27, 2023, via]


A Media Ceiling is about to Fall In On Democrats

Thom Hartmann, January 26, 2023 [DailyKos]

In 1971 Lewis Powell] recommended that wealthy businessmen and big corporations create a conservative messaging infrastructure to combat what he saw as creeping “socialism,” an antiwar and anti-business bias in both American pop culture and media.

The morbidly rich answered Powell’s call, producing conservative think tanks, publications, and buying up media outlets. Today around 1500 radio stations and at least 300 television stations in America are owned by right-leaning corporations that program exclusively Republican content….

Red states are red in large part because their media infrastructure is exclusively Republican-friendly. There’s not a single progressive radio or TV station of consequence in any red state in America.

If the only message you hear all day long is that Democrats want gay people to seduce your kids, encourage minorities to move into your neighborhood to assault your wife and take your job, intend to raise your taxes, and are pushing teachers to indoctrinate your children about the wonders of cross-dressing, you begin to believe it….

Natalie Allison is reporting for Politico that a new Spanish-language radio network is both going nationwide and expanding into television, expecting to be the Spanish version of Fox News in time for the 2024 election.

“The network has hired more than 80 Latino journalists and producers,” Allison wrote, “are expanding their radio presence to television, and by the end of the year will have studios in Miami, Las Vegas and D.C. with reporters covering the White House, Congress and embedding in 2024 presidential campaigns. This month, Americano is launching a $20 million marketing campaign to draw in new viewers.”


Republicans Have Some Ambitious Gerrymandering Goals For 2023. Will Dems Play Hardball For A Change?

Howie Klein, January 25, 2023 []

Republicans don’t want to wait for 2030 to gerrymander themselves some more House seats. GOP scumbags in the North Carolina and Ohio legislatures are planning to do just that— enough skullduggery to net as many as 6 Republican seats in just those two states before a single vote is cast in 2024. And this despite 71% of Ohio voters passing a constitutional amendment to prevent this kind of thing. If the Democratic Party had any balls— it doesn’t— it could stop this right in its tracks now.

How? The California legislature consists of veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers. The Senate has 32 Democrats and 8 Republicans and the Assembly has 62 Dems and 18 Republicans. Toni Atkins and Anthony Rendon could go visit Kevin McCarthy and tell him if Ohio and North Carolina redraw 6 Democrats out of their seats this year, California will redraw 6 Republicans— including McCarthy— out of their seats.


The dark side

‘He Gets Us’ Organizers Set to Spend $1 Billion to Promote Jesus. Will Anyone Care?

[The Roys Report, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-27-2023]

“The first time she saw an ad for ‘He Gets Us,’ a national campaign devoted to redeeming the brand of Christianity’s savior, Jennifer Quattlebaum had one thought on her mind. Show me the money. A self-described ‘love more’ Christian and ordinary mom who works in marketing, Quattlebaum loved the message of the ad, which promoted the idea that Jesus understands contemporary issues from a grassroots perspective. But she wondered who was paying for the ads and what their agenda was. ‘I mean, Jesus gets us,’ she said. ‘But what group is behind them?’ For the past 10 months, the ‘He Gets Us’ ads have shown up on billboards, YouTube channels and television screens — most recently during NFL playoff games — across the country, all spreading the message that Jesus understands the human condition. … The campaign is a project of the Servant Foundation, an Overland Park, Kansas, nonprofit that does business as The Signatry, but the donors backing the campaign have until recently remained anonymous — in early 2022, organizers only told media that funding came from ‘like-minded families who desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago.’ But in November, David Green, the billionaire co-founder of Hobby Lobby, told talk show host Glenn Beck that his family was helping fund the ads.”


“The Rise of Spirit Warriors on the Christian Right”

[The New Republic, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-27-2023]

“This idea that the American political realm is a place of “spiritual warfare”—in a literal, not metaphorical, sense—is one of the defining elements of the new forms of highly politicized religion that are surging across the country. Some—but by no means all—of the figures claiming special vision into the demonic struggles of our times are associated with neo-charismatic movements such as the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, which grew up around the late C. Peter Wagner, an author and missionary who spent a decade and a half in Bolivia before becoming a professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission in Pasadena, California. Wagner is frequently characterized as the NAR’s ‘intellectual godfather’ and played a pivotal role in popularizing its vision of modern-day apostles and prophets, ‘spiritual warfare’ with demons and ‘territorial spirits,’ and the ideology of Seven Mountains Dominionism, which says conservative Christians are to take control of the seven key features, often referred to as ‘mountains’ or ‘molders,’ of culture, including government, business, media, education, entertainment, family, and religion. The NAR is perhaps the most extreme representative of the Pentecostal movement’s offshoots. But some of the same patterns of thought and expression popular among Christian apostolic and prophetic movements are gaining traction among those who identify with other religious movements and denominations. Broadly speaking, this style of religion is not necessarily about a fixed set of doctrines or denominations. It is more of an attitude, a set of frameworks, and a shared language. By way of slapping a hopelessly simplistic phrase on a complicated reality, I will call it ‘Spirit Warrior Christianity.’ Ron DeSantis knows what I am talking about. In a speech at Hillsdale College, the nondenominational Christian institution that is a major player in the religious right’s war on public education, the Florida GOP governor paraphrased a passage from Ephesians that serves as a guidepost and virtue signal for this new style of religion: ‘Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm against the left’s schemes,’ he said, substituting ‘the left’ for the biblical phrasing ‘the devil.’”


FACT: Conservatism is Literally Killing Americans

Captain Frogbert, January 26, 2023 [DailyKos]

A story in this month’s Scientific American points out that Americans are dying younger and at a greater rate than citizens of other industrially advanced countries. The reason for this is not complex, it’s easy to say exactly why….

“Now, nearly three years into the pandemic, with highly effective vaccines widely available, life expectancy in many middle- and high-income countries has started to bounce back. But in the U.S., it is still dropping. A study last year found that life expectancy in most Western European countries recovered in 2021—most likely the result of high vaccination rates that reduced mortality, particularly among the elderly. But the U.S. has continued to see declines, in part because of lower vaccination rates as well as a devastating opioid epidemic.”


Swamplandia — The money behind Ron DeSantis’s populist façade

Andrew Cockburn [Harpers, via Naked Capitalism 1-28-2023]


Independent Voters Are Wishy-Washy… But Elections Depend On Them. Which Way Are They Headed Now?

Howie Klein, January 28, 2023 []

Last night, Matthew Continetti, at the Free Beacon, explained why he’s bullish on Trump’s chances to win the nomination and noted that “rivals in both the Democratic and Republican parties are repeating the mistakes they made in the run-up to the 2016 election. The Democrats assume that there is no way for Trump to become president, while Republicans believe he will fade from the scene. Their failure to learn from history has made it possible not only for Trump to win the GOP nomination for the third straight time, but to pull another inside straight in the Electoral College and return to the White House. For decades, Trump has said that the political class is corrupt, insular, and incompetent, and that Republican leaders lack guts. Washington is doing its best to prove him right… At this writing, DeSantis presents the biggest obstacle for Trump. He sits atop the field in state-level polls of New Hampshire and South Carolina. He’s a proven winner and fundraiser who knows when to pick high-profile cultural battles that endear him to conservatives and the MAGA crew. His crusade against wokeness is a way to unify the party behind a tough and competent executive who hasn’t alienated suburban independents in his home state.”

Florida doesn’t have a functioning Democratic Party any longer— at least not outside of a handful of blue ghettos— so DeSantis has faced no cohesive, let alone effective, opposition. We’ll see how well his “crusade against wokeness”— think of what the opposite of “woke” is— goes over outside of the Republican base. And meanwhile, wrote Continetti, “other Republicans have begun to attack DeSantis. That’s to be expected. No one is entitled to a party’s nomination, politics ain’t beanbag, and running for president ought to be, and is, an arduous task. Potential GOP candidates are probing for weaknesses in DeSantis’s stance on abortion, his hardball tactics with big business, his national appeal, and his personal demeanor. Notice, though, whom these Republicans are not criticizing. His initials are DJT. As happened seven years ago, Republicans are avoiding Trump either because they believe he will pack up and go home or because they are afraid of incurring his wrath and the animosity of his most devoted supporters. They are falling back into formation as a circular firing squad that hurts everybody but the former president.”


American Politicians Tied To AIPAC Cite Israel As A Model Democracy– Not Even Close

Howie Klein, January 28, 2023 []

David Horovitz noted in the Times of Israel that….

“To quote from Tuesday’s reluctant summation by our ordinarily understated president, Isaac Herzog, the judicial revolution Netanyahu is intent on blitzing through parliament threatens “to consume us all.” ….

“ “The democratic foundations of Israel, including the justice system, and human rights and freedoms, are sacred, and we must protect them and the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence,” urged our president, who was elected in 2021 by an unprecedented consensus of 87 of the 120 Knesset members, precisely the kind of consensus that should guide any responsible effort to genuinely “reform” the core components of our democracy.

“ “I fear that we are on the brink of an internal struggle that could consume us all,” warned Herzog on Tuesday. “The absence of dialogue is tearing us apart from within, and I’m telling you loud and clear: This powder keg is about to explode. This is an emergency.”



Open Thread


What Hungary’s Purge of Senior Military Officers Can Teach Us All


  1. multitude of poors

    I’m curious why you never seem to include any articles highlighting exploding US homelessness Tony, I do realize they are way, way too few and far between among the sites you frequently link to, but I’ve noticed in the past that when there is one, you don’t link to it while linking to other same dated, or later posts at the same frequently sited website?

    gotta really run …..

  2. VietnamVet

    The scapegoating and full throttle propaganda, pointed out here each Week-end, indicates that the Global Jet Set (the reigning upper caste) instinctively realizes that their world dominion is in dire straits. As in the past, since the rise of Empires, power (money) is used to squash opponents to their rule. This time, they got way too far over their skis trying to take down Vladimir Putin and provoked the invasion of Ukraine.

    WWIII has started and has allied Russia, China and Iran. Almost a year old the conflict keeps escalating because if the Eurasian Axis together with the BRICS nations establish a gold based commodity currency, the fiat US Dollar will crash in value to only being backed by the wealth, resources and labor of North America minus Mexico not the whole world.

    The Globalist’s basic belief is the free movement of capital, labor, goods and services. This intentionally negates nations and society. Labor has been globalized and the lost wages in the West are going to the wealthy. Taxes and government services reduced.

    Ethic differences evolved genetically and culturally in human tribes and then societies. The Clash of Civilizations is real. There is an innate fear of others unless the clan is so wealthy they can hire guards and build walls to protect themselves or the rich have working legal governments. But without good public education, public health, and fair governance; there is no protection for anybody.

    There are wealthy nationalists. This is the reason why the oligarch, Donald Trump, is running for President for a third time. The Murdoch family owns Fox News. Interestingly, Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard have this forum to tell inconvenient facts about the coronavirus pandemic and World War III debacles.

    Some oligarchs are scavengers who use or force disastrous economic shocks to buy up below value assets. All of the wealthy know that they are superior to others because of their power over those who need money for food, health, education and shelter.

    The US/UK Atlantic Alliance (The Western Empire) is sure to splinter apart unless these governments start serving and protecting their citizens.

  3. Anthony K Wikrent

    multitude of poors:
    Most articles on homelessness that I encounter are chronicles of the human tragedy involved. I doubt there is a single reader of Ian’s blog who does not understand, and feel, that homelessness is tragic. It is the occasional article which reports on how some city or locality has implemented new policies which had a noteworthy effect on homelessness that I am keen to repost. Back when I started this Wrap, I knew there were a handful of county board members and the aides to a couple state legislators who would actually read it. So I wanted to relay information on policies which actually work to reduce homelessness — such as in Utah, Edmonton, and Houston (of all places). Then there is the occasional story, such as the town in Florida (I think it was) that cut down all the trees around the town square to deprive the homeless of shade and chase them away.

    Of course, I don’t see every article there is on homelessness. Which raises an interesting question — is the paucity of articles on homelessness I include in the wrap a function of my bias toward policy articles, or my ignorance of good sources, or that there are so few local and state governments seriously trying to address homelessness?

    I would like very much to find a source that has solid data on homelessness. My understanding at this time is that a small number of NGOs assemble a staff of volunteers to go out and count the homeless people they find, usually in one set 24 hour period. I am not aware of any local government that actually goes out and tries to get an accurate count. So all the numbers on homelessness are estimates, and not very accurate, reportedly.

  4. Willy

    Agree with mop. I tried looking up historic stats, but they don’t make any sense for western cities which I don’t remember being nearly so full of obvious homelessness as recently as ten years ago. I’m aware that the homeless do move to warmer and friendlier cities, but I’m not aware of solutions implemented by those cities. Personally, I’d put em to work making insulin and covid vaccines at state run facilities while giving them shelter nearby. But WTH do I know?

  5. anon y'mouse

    here’s one, not directly related to any of the above.

    perhaps if we engage in “passive” strategies, the costs of construction could come down enough to build more homes, and then no one would have to be homeless.

    ahh, who am i kidding.

    btw, the Dems are no more likely to do this than this list of the (weekly) eternal “repubs are eeeevil, ok”.

  6. multitude of poors


    I appreciate the response, Tony. Quite unfortunately I have absolutely no time before this post drops below the horizon to address your response fully other than to refer to a comment I made ( , skip to paragraph four of it) a while back here which part of refers to what should not be being done (e.g. California Proposition 19 in 2020 a constitutional amendment funded by the vile California and National Realtors Associations to the tune of $10.5 million dollars).

    A subject I’m dumbfounded is not being addressed at all are those types of policies and the lack of policies (e.g. The rampant Age discrimination ushered in by Silicon Valley and Obama and Biden) which are serving to exponentially increase homelessness.

    I hope you’ll give me a rain check on following up on this subject, I don’t know when I’ll be able to address it the way I’d like to, I keep getting nailed by terrifying blows perpetrated by California government entities.


    Increasingly in my neck of the woods the newly homeless are many times senior renters who worked all of their lives and now can’t. Way too many have died of hypothermia (yes in, Sunny™ California).

    gotta run, really

  7. Ché Pasa

    Homelessness. How many of us are one crisis away from the streets? I have a friend in California who has seen the number of homeless wanderers exponentially increase in the last few years, and he being him can’t help blaming the homeless for their plight. They’re drunks or drug addicts or mental patients. They refuse to work. They are stupid, smelly and mostly ugly. Their sad fate is their own fault. They’re unreliable. We shouldn’t do anything for them; we should force them to do for themselves or if they can’t/won’t, we should put them in jail.

    This attitude is wildly common among those who believe they are so smart, so rich, so well connected, homelessness could never happen to them. Maybe they are right, but many are so very wrong. The explosion of homelessness is not due to rampant drug addiction or drunkenness, If it were, our overlords would be among the first to suffer.

    But they don’t and they won’t.

    The thousands of NGOs set up to “serve the homeless” don’t do any such thing most of the time. They primarily serve the interests of their founders and the surplus offspring of the overlord class who believe they must “do good” for a period of their lives or be forever condemned to uselessness and despair.

    California has had a huge budget to deal with homelessness productively, but it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t due to ideologies which prevent it. In the eyes of those who believe in these ideologies, homelessness is almost always entirely due to the defects of the homeless wanderers, and society — you ‘n’ me — owe them nothing. The few who don’t fit the pattern invented by the ideology of deserving suffering should be given a hand up, but the rest, fuck ’em.

    So lovely beach towns and coastal cities and interior communities are innundated with those who can’t/won’t be served. To me, they are the damning evidence of a society that’s lost its moorings. But for the Grace of God, there go you or I, but not, it would seem, the high and the mighty.

    I’ve done what I could, when I could, but as an individual, there’s not much I can do about a society in perpetual crisis, is there?

  8. Willy

    Having lived in LA during January, I forgot to remind myself that there were cold homeless out there. But then that was 1984 and none were to be seen, at least not in the San Gabriel valley. Maybe we could trade our tired, poor, huddled masses with Latin America, in exchange for young families willing to work hard, for cheap?

    The Sinclair Group station in my area did a spot about homelessness called “Seattle is Dying”. It painted the homeless as drug addled losers gone amok and local authorities as bleeding hearts encouraging such behaviors, and business owners as helplessly exasperated honest and decent folk.

    I helped a client move his small printing business away from a park with many homeless living in tents, RVs and cars, so he could get a better price selling it. I kept my mouth firmly shut about that situation, knowing that his own son, daughter-in-law and niece had been living in their car. Apparently, his attempts to get son into his business, to have some hope of a future, had failed. His other son is in prison, another whereabouts unknown, and daughter living with her 4 mixed race children, in a rental he pays for, after having left inner St. Louis because of domestic violence. Strange thing, that client is a nice, decent, honorable guy who’s former employees liked him. Not a hint of parental dysfunction. He did once say about his ex, that he’d married poorly. Yet I know plenty of functional adults whose parents were dysfunctional.

    On second thought, they’re all boomers.

    It should be obvious right about now that I’m suspecting severe economic dysfunction, along with the rest of the commenters here, as the primary cause of all this. It should be obvious that in better managed times, the economic ground will usually be fertile enough to make up for any of the dysfunction which the Sinclair Group seems so determined to blame for all this.

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