2:00PM Water Cooler 2/11/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

TTP/TTIP/TiSA

Germany: “First Report From Inside Germany’s New TAFTA/TTIP Reading Room Reveals Text’s Dirty Secret” [Tech Dirt]. Bundestag member Katja Kipping secured entry and reported back. She writes:

[T]he documents are simply crawling with typos. The word ‘and’ is regularly written ‘andd’ and ‘the’ often appears as ‘teh’. Either the negotiators are really shoddy workers or this is one of those famous security measures we’ve heard about.

And Techdirt comments:

She is doubtless right that these errors are fairly unsubtle attempts to create unique copies so that any leaks can be traced back to their source, since visitors to the reading room are directed to a particular computer when reading the text.

And here are the obstacles:

Even though this reading room for German politicians has finally been opened — two and a half years after the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations began — numerous obstacles are placed in their way to make that opportunity as inconvenient as possible. First, the texts are only available in English — imagine if US politicians were only allowed to read the French version of the negotiating texts. Moreover, the German visitors to the room are completely on their own: they cannot take even security-cleared specialists with them in order to decode the highly-abstruse wording of the documents. Finally, as Kipping notes above, she had just two hours to get through 300 pages — roughly 24 seconds per page.

It’s almost as if the very text of the law itself has been privatized…

Japan: “Even if a renegotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement is demanded in a near future, we will never take a seat at the table,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged on Jan. 27 at a plenary session of the Diet” [Japan Agri-News]. So Abe is Obama’s firewall against Congress?

2016

Policy

Phil Angelides, former state Treasurer of California and head of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: “I ask a simple question: how could the banks have engaged in such massive misconduct and wrongdoing without a single individual being involved? In a sense, it’s the immaculate corruption,” he told the FT. “It defies common sense, and the people of America know this.”[Financial Times, “Charge senior bank bosses, says former commissioner”]. Angelides is a big wheel in the California Democrats. So in tonight’s debate, somebody should ask Clinton if she agrees with him. Sanders, too.

“Upon ascending to the DLC’s chairmanship, in 1990, Clinton told the group that ‘any political resurgence for the Democrats depends on the intellectual resurgence of our party.’ At that same conference, in New Orleans, DLC leaders signed onto a policy statement which laid out goals ‘to expand trade, not restrict it’ and ‘preventing crime and punishing criminals.’ In its entirety, though, the New Orleans Declaration could best be read as a rejection of the forces that had elevated Jesse Jackson’s ‘Rainbow Coalition’ candidacy for president two years earlier” [WaPo]. Maybe if Hillary went for a tank ride? Like Dukakis, who said the election was about competence? (None of this Jackson-style “They work every day” crapola for the Democratic establishment of that day, no siree. Or this day.

“Economic ideologies change when there is an economic disaster that is seen to discredit the prevailing ideology” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “I submit to you that the 2008 economic crisis and the stagnation that has followed have discredited the neoliberal economic ideology of Reagan and Clinton not just among democrats, but for supporters of both parties, and that new policies and candidates are possible now that would have been totally unthinkable to people as recently as 10 years ago.”

Corruption

“[M]any of the wealthiest Clinton donors are funneling money to the Kathleen Matthews Congressional campaign. This, in turn, makes [her husband] Chris Matthews’ constant kow-towing to the Clinton campaign [on MSNBC’s Hardball] suspect at the very least” [Counterpunch]. Ka-ching.

Clinton, New Hampshire concession speech: “‘You’re not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me,’ Clinton said, promising to ‘crack down on corporations that game the system.'” However: “Only days later, Clinton’s campaign is launching a fundraising blitz that includes events with representatives of industries that have significant business interests before the federal government. An International Business Times review of fundraising invitations found that the Clinton campaign’s nationwide tour includes events with corporate officials from the food, investment and energy sectors — all of which have vested financial interests in the policies that the next presidential administration will decide” [International Business Times]. Ka-ching. With Sanders, you don’t have to worry about that.

“Sanders’ skill at raising campaign money from hordes of small donors is challenging the fundraising machine backing Clinton, who has spent decades in public life and has cultivated close relationships with the party’s top donors and fundraisers” [USA Today]. Let’s translate USA Today’s “close relationships with the party’s top donors and fundraisers.” It means: “self-serving use of public power for private ends.” In other words, corruption as Teachout and the Framer’s define it. Ka-ching.

Money

On the Sanders fundraising team: “Another pioneer in liberal online organizing, who requested anonymity because he didn’t want to be seen as supporting Sanders, said of the senator’s team: ‘Some of these folks invented Internet campaigning methods back before Obama ran. Others rose with Obama or are doing their first campaign. They know narrative, strategy, tactics, innovations, expansion of the medium into more than an ATM, but into a full blown channel for participation. They are badasses'” [Politico]. It’s the Dean Bat, except yuuuuge! Solid reporting from Politico (!).

“Sanders’s claim that he ‘does not have a super PAC'” [WaPo]. “It doesn’t matter if Wall Street donors gave hefty checks, if the money came from nurses’ union dues.” Yes, it does so matter. Only the political class could confuse a banker and a nurse.

The Voters

“This morning I went on Democracy Now to discuss my critique of “class-first” policy as a way of ameliorating the effects of racism. In the midst of that discussion I made the point that one can maintain a critique of a candidate—in this case Bernie Sanders—and still feel that that candidate is deserving of your vote. Amy Goodman, being an excellent journalist, did exactly what she should have done—she asked if I were going to vote for Senator Sanders” [Ta-Nahesi Coates, The Atlantic]. “I, with some trepidation, answered in the affirmative.” For what this is worth, I don’t think “class-first” is correct either, but because I don’t accept “first” as a premise. (“First” may be true institutionally in siloed Democrat identity politics, but it is not true analytically or systemically.” You have a vampire squid: Which comes tentacle comes first? And the answer is that it varies: The squid is highly opportunistic. (I’m not sure what Sanders’ views on this are; this vague metaphor is me trying to fight through the language.)

Democratic Debate (tonight)

Milwaukee, 9PM ET. PBS NewsHour co-anchors and managing editors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will moderate [PBS]. “We’re your friends. We’re not like the others, man, really.” —Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Here’s the link to the PBS live stream; here’s a PBS station-finder. The event will also be simulcast by CNN.

“This is one of the original Democratic debates, not one of the four debates added last week. Yes, it’s hard to believe that the DNC scheduled a debate for a weeknight” [New York Magazine]. Thanks, Debbie! “It’s possible Hillary’s new strategy will entail killing Bernie with kindness, but with the Vermont senator stealing her momentum, it seems more likely that she’ll step up her attacks on Thursday night.”

“Brace yourself: Democrats don’t meet up again until March. But after the long wait, there will be two debates in four days (March 6 in Flint, Mich., and March 9 in Miami)” [USA Today].

The Trail

Clinton: “I know I have had a blessed life, but I also know what it’s like to stumble and fall. And so many people across America know that feeling” [WaPo]. No. Wrong. Just wrong. People don’t feel they’ve “stumbled and fallen” (note lack of agency). They feel they’ve been tripped, or had their legs kicked out from under them, or screwed over. That’s not the same thing.

“More than one in three (34 percent) of all New Hampshire Democratic primary voters said that honesty was the most important trait in their decision on which candidate to support. Of that bloc, Sanders won 92 percent of their votes as compared to just 6 percent for Clinton” [Chris Cilizza, WaPo]. “Ninety-two to six. That is absolutely unbelievable.” And that’s not a problem you solve by reintroducing yourself.

“Boiled peanuts, beer and hoops: How Bernie Sanders spent his day in New York” [WaPo]. Good press!

“Congressional Black Caucus stands behind Clinton” [CNN]. Except for South Carolina Rep James Clyburn, who will “will spend the weekend mulling his endorsement.” Or maybe not! Hat tip marym:


“Stop Bernie-Splaining to Black Voters” [Charles Blow, New York Times]. “History and experience have burned into the black American psyche a sort of functional pragmatism that will be hard to erase. It is a coping mechanism, a survival mechanism, and its existence doesn’t depend on others’ understanding or approval.” Fair enough. And it is nice to see James Baldwin in the Times, quoted by Blow: “Our people have functioned in this country for nearly a century as political weapons, the trump card up the enemies’ sleeve; anything promised Negroes at election time is also a threat leveled at the opposition; in the struggle for mastery the Negro is the pawn.” So may we expect future commentary from Blow on the Clinton campaign’s seeming view of Black voters as an agency-free firewall?

“It’s reasonable to speculate that the electorates in some of the contests to come — which will have more nonwhite and less liberal Dem voters — might have higher percentages of voters who want to continue Obama’s policies or who are not looking for more ambitious change than Obama delivered” [WaPo]. This is what Blow is saying, quoting Baldwin.

“From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted—and Hillary Clinton supported—decimated black America” [Michelle Alexander, The Nation] (author of The New Jim Crow). ” What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work? No. Quite the opposite.”

“I used to hate Hillary. Now I’m voting for her” [Michelle Goldberg, Slate]. “As long as I’ve been following politics, it has been a left-wing fantasy that legions of disconnected non-voters will suddenly flood the polls if they’re offered a sufficiently progressive candidate. I’ve never seen anything save wishful thinking to back it up.” Well, wishful thinking and $6.4 million raised from small donors in 18 hours. Notice also how Goldberg carefully airbrushes away the history of OFA, which was, for all its faults, a movement, and one that believed it was backing “a sufficiently progressive candidate.”

“Inside Hillary Clinton’s Massive Foreign-Policy Brain Trust” [Foreign Policy]. Several hundred of ’em, beavering away!

“The playbook for Mr. Trump’s double-digit first-place finish here, according to [campaign manager Corey R. Lewandowski], has been the theory of the campaign from day one and will continue going forward: ‘Let Trump be Trump.’ Those words have been scrawled on his office white board since Mr. Trump announced his run June 16.” [Wall Street Journal, “Meet the Man Who Helps Trump Be Trump”]. “In his previous job as New Hampshire director of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, [Lewandowski] met Mr. Trump backstage at its 2014 conference in Concord.” Oh.

“Who wants Michael Bloomberg to run for president? People like Michael Bloomberg.” [WaPo]. Ouch! “Residents of New York City and its suburbs were more likely to throw out Bloomberg’s name — as were much wealthier residents of the city.”

“The State Department will release 550 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server this weekend after pressure from a federal judge who earlier this week appeared visibly annoyed at its delayed efforts” [The Hill]. Who’s in charge of the release schedule? Wasserman Schultz?

“So a group of Quakers has been trying to fill the substance vacuum — by training hundreds of activists to stalk the candidates in early primary states and ask them tough questions on issues ranging from immigrant detention to nuclear weapons to the role of money in politics” [The Intercept].

New Hampshire

“‘We got caught in a tsunami,’ said Lou D’Allesandro, a New Hampshire state senator and a longtime Clinton ally. ‘The Clinton campaign never really grasped in totality the anger and the sentiment of the voters” [WaPo]. If you’re that out of touch…

Nevada

“Polling in Nevada is scant and unreliable, with the last poll in December showing Clinton leading by 23 percentage points. Political observers in Nevada expect Sanders to narrow the gap, even though Clinton has locked up many of the establishment endorsements, including from the state’s Latino politicians” [WaPo].

South Carolina

“South Carolina has a reputation for dirty campaign tricks. Help us track them” [Post and Courier]. You’ve been warned…

“[South Carolina] is a state famous for telephone pollsters implying John McCain had an illegitimate child and the bogus Mitt Romney Christmas card with controversial quotes from the Book of Mormon” [Politico].

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of February 6, 2016: “Concerns over gains in jobless claims look to be misplaced given sharp declines across readings of the latest report. Initial claims fell a very steep 16,000 in the February 6 week to a much lower-than-expected level of 269,000” [Econoday]. “One of the few cracks that had been appearing in the labor market was a general rise in unemployment claims, cracks that may be disappearing. But further improvement is still needed, setting up what will be a key report next week that for initial claims will cover the sample week of the monthly employment report.” And: “Claim levels are at 40 year lows (with the normal range around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion” [Econintersect]. Surely this is greatly at odds with the panic on Wall Street and London?

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of February 27, 2016: “All the troubles that are rattling the financial markets haven’t yet upset the consumer much, at least based on confidence readings which, boosted by strength in the labor market, remain steady and firm” [Econoday].

Shipping: Rail Contraction Continues But Short Term Improvement Continues” [Econintersect].

Honey for the Bears: “Citi’s global chief economist, Willem Buiter, published a note to investors saying he believed it was ‘likely’ that the world was about to sink into a global recession, and it may already be in that recession. Buiter said that if China’s growth is actually less than that stated in its official numbers, then the current level of weak growth would not be enough to avoid a global recession” [Business Insider]. I don’t know how to reconcile this with Jobless Claims, though.

“Airbnb ‘purged’ more than 1,000 listings from its site in order to rig a survey of its New York City hosts, according to a new report released on Wednesday” [Guardian]. Like Uber, Airbnb’s business model is breaking the law. Hence the sky-high valuation from libertarian Silicon Valley,

“Twitter should think of itself and portray itself to investors as more of a public utility than as a business that never stops growing, and that could ever hope to approach the market value of Facebook” [New York Times]. We gave Facebook. We don’t need two. No matter what stupid money thinks.

“Twitter launches the algorithmic timeline change it said it wasn’t planning” [Pando].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18, Extreme Fear (previous close: 16) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 11 at 1:14pm

Our Famously Free Press

“The owner of the Independent and Independent on Sunday is considering closing the national print titles and moving to a web-only operation” [Guardian].

“When student reporters at Mount St. Mary’s University, a small Catholic institution in Maryland, published an article in January that quoted the university’s president likening struggling freshmen to bunnies that should be drowned, they knew it might get a big reaction” [New York Times]. “It finally came this week, it appears — in the form of a pink slip for the faculty adviser of the campus newspaper. The university informed the adviser, Ed Egan, that he had been disloyal and was now fired.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Texas Police Fatally Shoot Naked, Unarmed Teen: Report” [The Root]. Kinda hard to plant a drop-gun in those circumstances. #JustSaying.

Guillotine Watch

“See the elaborate cake made for Gov. Rick Snyder’s wife by Ann Arbor bakery” [Michigan Live]. “The designs included a bag from Chanel, a box from Tiffany & Co., a diamond necklace and a box from Nordstrom, which Leavitt rendered in cake and fondant. The cake took 30 hours to design, bake and decorate.”

cake

Cake…. Cake… There’s a quotation about cake, but I just can’t bring it to mind…

Class Warfare

“I consider all these power suits religious extremists. They worship money” [The Union]. Nice framing.

“A study by Standard & Poor’s has found thatthe low interest rates and quantitative easing used to rescue the economy after the 2008 crash have handed extra wealth to the richest households by propping up stock markets and supporting booming house prices” [Guardian].

“Uber says it’s at the forefront of innovation, but the truth is that Uber is no better than the old-fashioned gangmaster down the docks – a return to the bad old days of providing insecure work that pays too little and which takes away the very opportunity from working-class children that I was lucky enough to have: the chance to be your own person, to be your own boss, without having to rely on a handout” [Guardian]. Which is why Uber’s valuation is so high.

“Facebook ‘colonialism’ row stokes distrust in Zuckerberg” [BBC]. “Mark Zuckerberg has moved quickly to put a digital bargepole between himself and one of Facebook’s influential and well-regarded board members.”

When Marc Andreessen dismissed India’s decision to block Facebook’s “free” mobile internet scheme as “anti-colonialism”, he stoked the fears of those who believe Zuckerberg’s stated philanthropic ambitions are actually a front for his desire to dominate the internet in the developing world.

News of the Wired

“How to change someone’s mind, according to science” [WaPo]. “The researchers find that the factor most linked with successfully persuading someone is using different words than the original posts do – a sign that commentators are bringing in new points of view. They find that longer replies tend to be more convincing, as do arguments that use calmer language.” And other tips!

“Researching this article, I could find little academic research published in top-quality, peer-reviewed scientific journals into the accuracy or effectiveness of the MBTI” [Financial Times, “Is Myers-Briggs up to the job?”]. “With his knowledge of Myers-Briggs and Hogan, I imagine it has only taken [Kwiatkowski] minutes to pin me down as an extrovert. But, he insists, individuals are enormously complex, with personalities beyond precise measurement.”

“Paul McCartney Creates Emoji Tunes For Skype” (with video) [Sky News].

“Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out U.S. A*sholes” [The Onion]. Hilarious Spanish-language TV “report.” Oh, and lots of bros; you’ll see what the word means.

“My High-School Boyfriend, the Con Artist” [New York Magazine].

“Einstein’s gravitational waves found at last” [Nature]. “When played as an audible sound, the waves make an unmistakeable ‘chirp’ — a rapidly rising tone — followed by a ‘ringdown’, the radiation pattern from the merged black hole.”

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Chet):

a8913-shelf-fungi-3jan16

Chet writes:

It’s been rather a slow photography season for me this winter – no snow in central PA; however, the attached photo of the shelf fungi came out rather well, I think.

Readers, remember that fungi are honorary plants. I could still use more photos of wintry scenes (with plants). Surely you guys aren’t planting stuff already?

* * *

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter has come, I need to buy fuel, make a happy plumber happier, and keep my server up, too. Water Cooler could not exist without your support.

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About Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume “Lambert Strether” comes from Henry James’s The Ambassadors: “Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.” You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether. http://www.correntewire.com

102 comments

  1. rich

    Feds deceived us about billionaire sex offender’s ‘sweetheart deal,’ teen victims sayPaula McMahon, Sun Sentinel
    12:41 am, February 11, 2016

    As federal prosecutors painstakingly consulted a billionaire sex offender’s defense team about every detail of the “sweetheart deal” he received, they also took extraordinary measures to hide what they were doing from Jeffrey Epstein’s underage victims, their lawyers alleged in court records filed Wednesday.

    Two women, identified only as Jane Doe 1 and 2, filed a rare civil lawsuit against the U.S. government in 2008 after Epstein received what their lawyers called “one of the most extraordinarily lenient plea arrangements in American history.”

    The women, designated victims by the government, say they were sexually abused by the wealthy financier Epstein when they were teenagers. Much of the abuse is alleged to have happened at Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach.

    The civil lawsuit, which accuses federal prosecutors of violating the women’s rights as crime victims, has been slowly winding its way through the system for close to eight years. The court filing Wednesday is intended to try to persuade U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra, in West Palm Beach, that the women’s case is so clear cut that he should rule in their favor without requiring a trial.

    Epstein, now 63 and a registered sex offender for life, pleaded guilty to state charges in Palm Beach County in July 2008. He admitted he hired local underage girls to provide sex and erotic massages at his home.

    Epstein served about 13 months of his 18-month sentence, followed by a year of house arrest. Experts said it was an unusually lenient punishment and his “highly unusual treatment” included serving his sentence in a local jail, not prison. He also was allowed to leave the jail six days a week on a work-release program to work at his office in West Palm Beach.

    The women alleged in their federal suit against the U.S. that federal prosecutors violated their rights as victims by not consulting with them before signing a legal agreement not to prosecute Epstein and some of his associates.

    The case generated numerous lawsuits and breathless international media coverage, after some of the young women alleged they were abused by Epstein, Britain’s Prince Andrew and well-known lawyer, Alan Dershowitz. Buckingham Palace denied the allegations and Dershowitz is suing his accuser’s lawyers alleging he was defamed after they sued him for defamation. Epstein also socialized with former President Bill Clinton, making the case a topic of discussion in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-jeffrey-epstein-victims-20160210-story.html

    Maybe chris matthews can follow up on this story?

    1. hunkerdown

      The right to rape children is a positional good in Western society. Putting it in the bloodless language of economics reveals the scope of the error.

      A lot of people think that the fondness for children reportedly held by a certain classical authoritarian philosopher was a coincidence or a time-and-place cultural matter. I suggest, all snuggled up in tin foil, that it’s a recipe.

        1. hunkerdown

          I know, right? The British Empire, Rome, Greece and maybe on back… it seems you can’t really show you’re a Very Powerful Person without performing horrifying transgressions against the most vulnerable, most sympathy-inducing members of society. I have no words for it. Just pliers and blow torches.

          It’d be a bombshell of a theory, if I could find the lifetime to research and build a case for it.

          1. john

            The history of Canadian and Australian treatment of the natives (The Spanish, for that matter too.) is unspeakable.

            Come to think of it, Quentin Tarantino’s kinda brutal too.

      1. abynormal

        “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” Gatsby

      1. savedbyirony

        The Ken Starr, President of Baylor University which is being sued for not investigating the rape allegations against a number of “star” athletes? well…. he’s consistent

      2. steelhead23

        Is there an English word for “disgusting irony”? Here we have the moralizing author of the Starr report (Lewinsky scandal) working to minimize the punishment of a child sex trafficker. If there isn’t such a word, we need to invent one. Ick simply scratches the surface.

    2. Cry Shop

      Bill Clinton didn’t just socialize with Epstein, he is recorded in Epstein’s Yatch’s manifest has having gone, several times, to the private island bordello that served up under aged girls. Those lawyers and prosecutors were not just protecting Epstein, but a whole swath of their fellow schoolmates, members of the the 0.01%. Business as normal.

  2. Optimader

    Germany: “First Report From Inside Germany’s New TAFTA/TTIP Reading Room Reveals Text’s Dirty Secret” [Tech

    Typed like one of my comment posts!

    If one is going to leak a document wouldnt it make sense to take the document, say a •.pdf file, run it through a character recognition program that will spit out a •.doc file, then spellcheck it to sanitize it?

    1. hunkerdown

      Absolutely, but you’ll still need to proofread the thing when you’re done, lest the spellcheck make its own judgment errors that reveal even a few of the identifying perturbations in the original.

  3. Optimader

    “See the elaborate cake made for Gov. Rick Snyder’s wife by Ann Arbor bakery” [Michigan Live]. “The designs included…

    I want to see the vid of the Treasury agents raiding the joint and taking the cake out to the street for the portable steamroller

      1. optimader

        Michael Kors ughhh…the guy, the products, the industry….
        OK, I will admit we did earn huge free room & board chits in Rome for next summer buying some shitty M Kors handbag for a friends daughter as a graduation gift. Just a lucky guess.. that particular one is hot in the club scene there at the moment.. ahh to be young and in Rome..
        the trailer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2358891/
        The Great Beauty
        HAHAHA.. they HATE this movie, (I think it’s great.. utter frivolity).

    1. abynormal

      “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” Great Gatsby

  4. cm

    A story that will warm the cockles (and even sub-cockles) of your heart about why someone (female, naturally) is voting for Hillary for the oh-so-compelling reason that Hillary, is in fact, a woman.

    I’m guessing she also supported Elizabeth Dole & Sarah Palin.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many African Americans voted for Obama in 08 because he identified himself as one of them.

      Had he turned out the way we have wanted, would we, today, say anything about voting for someone because he or she is one of the them? Or do we say, thank you?

      The same (low information, if you will) voters who made Gore the popular vote winner.

      That’s the battle for the soul of the party – do we confront ourselves who we have been?

      1. roadrider

        Had he turned out the way we have wanted, would we, today, say anything about voting for someone because he or she is one of the them?

        I would be critical of that kind of voting irrespective of the result. Besides, one barely had to scratch the surface to see that Obama wasn’t going to “turn out the way we wanted”. If women voting for Clinton because she’s “one of them” wouldn’t be willing to vote for Fiorina or Palin on that same basis then they’re hypocrites. Besides, outside of having the same genitals, Clinton is not “one of them” and is most likely laughing in private at the gullibility of the rubes who think she is.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        “… he identified himself as one of them”

        I do think, on long reflection, that it’s a lot more nuanced than that. And voting is about values and interests. People are entitled to consider both.

  5. diptherio

    I also know what it’s like to stumble and fall. And so many people across America know that feeling” [WaPo]. No. Wrong. Just wrong. People don’t feel they’ve “stumbled and fallen” (note lack of agency). They feel they’ve been tripped, or had their legs kicked out from under them, or screwed over.

    I’ll just add that they feel that way because that is, in fact, what has happened to them. I think that part’s important. This isn’t about feelings, imho, it’s about facts on the ground. Provable facts…just sayin’.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Yes, Lambert you are too nice. “stumbled and fallen” (note lack of agency) absolutely reeks with accusatory agency: If you all hadn’t “stumbled,” you all wouldn’t be in this predicament. You all aren’t bad people (i.e. didn’t stumble on purpose… probably) but you all either didn’t try hard enough not to stumble or simply weren’t good enough not to. It’s a rough world these days. Have some parental leave and I’ll go scold Wall Street again.

      1. Massinissa

        I wonder if this kind of attitude would continue past her presidency were she to win it.

        “You don’t know whether Hillary Clinton was a good president? Of course she was a good president! She was the first woman president!”

        Im anticipating that in a few decades people will continue trying to glorify Obama primarily because he was black.

    2. Hobbs

      Stumbled and fell?? I’d say most Americans were pushed . . . by the invisible hand of the market, of course.

  6. Jay

    “I consider all these power suits religious extremists. They worship money”

    CORRECTION: They worship Moloch.

  7. Titus Pullo

    Clinton Foundation subpoenaed by State Dept.

    Investigators with the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state, according to people familiar with the subpoena and written correspondence about it.

    The subpoena also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.

    More grist for the corruption mill.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons”

      Now there’s a Master-Level Flexian!

  8. Jim Haygood

    March crude (CLH6) lost $1.24, or 4.5%, to settle at $26.21 a barrel, lowest since early May 2003.

    If Gerald Ford were still in the White House, he’d be wearing his “Whip Deflation Now” button and burning up the phone lines to ol’ Arthur Burns, one of the most useless Fed chairs since … oh never mind.

    The rate hikes will continue till prices firm up.

  9. diptherio

    “As long as I’ve been following politics, it has been a left-wing fantasy that legions of disconnected non-voters will suddenly flood the polls if they’re offered a sufficiently progressive candidate. I’ve never seen anything save wishful thinking to back it up.”

    What she doesn’t understand is that a lot of what she considers “progressive” policies are, in fact, populist and therefore appeal to a much wider swathe of the public than just the “left-wing.” I also think she underestimates the anger of many on the ostensible “right” towards the Wall Street banksters, and their willingness to vote for anybody who seems serious about attacking them.

    1. Steven D.

      The Hillary message about pragmatism amounts to “It takes a crook to work with the crooks.” If opposing that is progressive, then Bernie’s a progressive. And so are most Americans.

  10. wbgonne

    I mentioned earlier that the Democratic weather vanes are beginning to turn in Sanders’ favor. Well, here comes a big one. The Great and Wonderful Kos is as deep in Hillary’s pocket as anyone. But this is what he just posted:

    A tale of Clinton woe, in her campaign emails

    So for now, I’ll just marvel at the dramatic differences between Bernie Sanders’ insanely competent guys and gals driving his online fundraising, and the insanely incompetent crowd of advisors, finance people, and Clinton hanger-ons that have fucked up her standing with such a huge part of the base electorate.

    These are the words of someone looking for an excuse to jump ship. One other note: Kos is Hispanic and it appears to me that Hispanics are breaking heavy for Sanders. Nevada could be telling.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Meanwhile, the hits keep on coming from Hillary’s Servergate emails:

      A federal judge has ordered the State Department to make four additional releases of Hillary Clinton’s emails between Saturday and the end of February.

      U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras issued an order Thursday requiring State to release batches of the still-undisclosed portion of Clinton’s emails on Feb. 13, 19 and 26 with “all remaining documents” released by “the close of business” on Feb. 29.

      In his new order, Contreras continued to display the frustration he expressed at Tuesday’s hearing’ about the State Department’s failure to release all the emails by the deadline he originally set at the end of last month.

      Contreras has ordered State to provide a detailed explanation by Friday of why it failed to comply with the court’s deadline last month.

      http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/02/judge-orders-four-more-clinton-email-releases-219134#ixzz3ztQYDct4

      ‘Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the politically damaging “drip, drip, drip” of revelations about her use of a private email server is out of her control and she is unsure when the controversy might end.’ — Reuters article, Sep 27, 2015

  11. Laruse

    Too bad the cake batter wasn’t made using water from Flint.
    Or maybe I am just excessively grumpy today.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unfortunately, not just water from Flint, but from a lot of places elsewhere.

      I hope it’s not the impression that Flint is exceptional, that we only care about Flint.

      Now, I am grumpy too, just thinking about those other places.

    2. hunkerdown

      Not nearly grumpy enough. Just this once, Grover Norquist was right, and may the bathtub be filled from the “colored” fountain.

  12. Uahsenaa

    Goldberg is being rather disingenuous concerning her vacillation. She’s a hippie puncher just like the others:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nua8fZ1LcJU

    If she can’t see the ACTUAL DATA from ACTUAL ELECTORAL RESULTS that indicates Sanders being able to turn out a demographic that talking heads regularly scratch their heads over (i.e. the under 30 set), then her opinions are useless. As Lambert puts it, power was always lying in the street. All it took was for someone to come along and pick it up.

  13. ekstase

    The news about gravitational waves is pretty amazing. It reminded me of this documentary on fractals.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fWQQXJKZTMM
    At the end there is a segment just showing fractals set to Pink Floyd. In every age, when there are leaps in science and mathematics there are related leaps in the arts and humanities. But just the idea that we now have to take alterations of the space-time continuum as part of our ongoing scientific research, and on top of that, this stuff makes music? It’s kind of mind-blowing if you focus on it at all.

  14. flora

    Thanks the Benjamin Studebaker link. A very good read.

    And thanks for earlier links to Adolph Reed Jr.

    These 2 writers are new to me. Another reason I read NC.

    1. Amateur Socialist

      Yeah that Studebaker piece was amazing. He managed to explain something that has puzzled me for months – the (apparent) perception among elites that the problem is the sales pitch not the product.

      1. Steve H.

        “What this means is that if this is the year when the voting public decides that it’s done with neoliberalism, the party that nominates a neoliberal candidate will likely lose. If democrats don’t nominate and support the left egalitarian political movement, if they instead continue to nominate neoliberals who continue to allow incomes to stagnate, they are ensuring that sooner or later (and probably sooner) disaffected poor and working Americans will choose right nationalism as the next dominant economic ideology for potentially decades to come.”

        Counters the argument that Supreme Court appointees are for Life and mustn’t be left to Them.

        By the way, are the U.S. actions in Syria part of a Humanitarian or Imperialist Military Intervention? Which is al-Qaeda? I get so confused.

        1. steelhead23

          By the way, are the U.S. actions in Syria part of a Humanitarian or Imperialist Military Intervention? Which is al-Qaeda? I get so confused.

          Don’t feel bad, so is the U.S. Administration. That mess is part holy war, part endogenous rebellion against tyranny, and part international power struggle. But for the displaced people of Syria, it is hell.

          1. JCC

            You forgot oil, and not just “part” oil, but a big part oil (at least oil transport into the Mediterranean – same thing)

  15. Jetfixr in Flyover

    As there is no such thing as “growth” in the economy anymore, business is quietly morphing towards the new paradigm.

    Increasing profits by:

    – Using algorithms to calculate exactly how much you can eff over your existing customers before they take a hike, (charge more, devalue the product, usually a combination of the two).

    – Quietly screwing the working stiffs out of pay/benefits/retirement.

    – Dump all of the old people who know where the bodies are buried, replace them with $12/hr new hires (or 1099s)

    -Buy out/eliminate your competition, become a sole source supplier if at all possible. If necessary, sell the product at cost, if it ties your customer to your aftermarket product support.

    (I read once where an arms supplier could GIVE guns to the US Army, if they also got the contract to supply the gun’s ammo over the lifetime of the gun)

    Exhibit “A”: My last cellphone contract. Longer than my first mortgage. Developed by corporate lawyers to compel you to pay the cell bill, no matter how crappy the cellphone service is.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We say to economists: “It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the people in it, stupid.” Bill and Hillary were so popular when they first came up with the original slogan – it’s the economy – and how we worshiped them.

      Forget GDP growth.

      Are workers happy? Are people healthy?

      One needs a strong stomach to not nauseate when one hears ‘let’s stimulate the economy.’

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          He is a creature of our own creation.

          We, the people, put him in there, in that position of trust and character.

          1. abynormal

            “Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.” Great Gatsby

      1. Mark P.

        ‘We say to economists: “It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the people in it, stupid.”’

        We say: It’s the elite looting, stupid

  16. allan

    Strong new Sanders advertisement, TOGETHER, which can be interpreted as taking on Clinton’s identity politics
    just as much as it does GOP xenophobia.

  17. GlobalMisanthrope

    I wasn’t in New Orleans in 1990, but I was in Atlanta in 1988 and the anger and resentment among the institutional party apparatchiks at the nerve of the Rainbow Coalition people’s trying to have a say in the process and outcomes was unbelievable. The fact that Jesse Jackson didn’t completely out the Democratic party as corrupt and racist after that is what ultimately discredited him in my eyes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know. I wish Jackson had doubled down. Perhaps Sanders will.

      All this “You’re a [rac|ist]ist!” crap. I’d vote for Jackson in a heartbeat, then or now. And I’d vote for Warren, too.

  18. JTMcPhee

    “It doesn’t matter if Wall Street donors gave hefty checks, if the money came from nurses’ union dues.” Yes, it does so matter. Only the political class could confuse a banker and a nurse.

    If I’ve learned nothing else here at NC, it’s that power rules and money, whatever else it is, is fungible. So donning my Politifokked hat, and applying the algorithm I have deduced that the PFers use, I would have to rule that the claim is Mostly True…

  19. Clive

    Re: Japan’s Abe and the TPP

    The other possibility is that Abe knows that without the huge concessions he got baked in, it would be stinkily unsalable domestically.

  20. Steve H.

    – I don’t know how to reconcile this with Jobless Claims, though.

    Well, let’s check that Civilian Employment-Population Ratio.

    research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/EMRATIO

    WooHoo, 1985! Gonna love that Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate, right?

    research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CIVPART

    Eww. My recollection is you only get so many cracks at putting in a new claim, or maximum number of months, or something. They keep changing the rules and I get confused.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      In other words, the permanently shrunken labor force — thanks, Obama! — factors in here, too. Eesh.

      I recall — if any readers can help me out where, that would be great — reading that people with felonies aren’t counted in the labor force participation rate. If you do, the black male unemployment rate is something horrendous, like 42%, because of the War of Drugs.

      1. Steve H.

        This article talks about felonies, but seems to indicate that it is about ex-cons not being hired, but still included in the LFPR, However, they would not be counted as being unemployed if they gave up and stopped looking, which is why I prefer the LFPR.

        businessinsider.com/criminal-records-impact-on-labor-force-participation-rate-2015-1

        Incidentally, I notice that yesterday Ian Welsh also contrasted the CEPR to UE. I wrote they keep changing the rules. Changing the definition of UE serves a similar purpose (see ‘chained CPI’ for another example of that tactic).

      2. Steve H.

        This article talks about felonies, but seems to indicate that it is about ex-cons not being hired, but still included in the LFPR, However, they would not be counted as being unemployed if they gave up and stopped looking, which is why I prefer the LFPR.

        businessinsider.com/criminal-records-impact-on-labor-force-participation-rate-2015-1

        Incidentally, I notice that yesterday Ian Welsh also contrasted the CEPR to UE. I wrote they keep changing the rules. Changing the definition of UE serves a similar purpose (see ‘chained CPI’ for another example of that tactic).

  21. fosforos

    I must say that insofar as the business models of Uber and Airbnb involve “breaking the law” they should be applauded, not condemned. Consider who makes the laws and how they get to be the ones to make them (you know exactly who and how, Lambert). There are laws, prohibition laws about drugs and abortions being far from the only ones, that nobody should feel compelled to obey. In the case at issue those laws are the artifacts of owners of taxi fleets and hotels, laws which they bought and paid for in order to pocket monopoly rents from cartelization of those markets. They are laws that would be enforced, enforced much more quickly, thoroughly, and punitively, against any cooperative that tried to offer a REAL “sharing economy” in those markets

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “breaking the law so Silicon Valley squillionaires can extract more rents” is perhaps what I should have written.

      But it’s the valuation that’s at the issue. Surely valuing glibertarian vanity/political projects as highly as they are valued is a bezzle, and a big one?

    2. tegnost

      The important point is that it’s not a sharing economy it’s an exploitation economy with an extremely top down structure. These two companies in particular have major impacts on transportation and housing, two activities that municipalities are keen to keep a handle on. Your Uber driver may be under the influence, and if they crash, you’re screwed. One of the main stated goals of incorporation is to diffuse risk. Uber and Abnb take it one step further and take no risk. They’re the ultimate middle man. Now who bears the risk that Uber and Air BnB are shedding?

  22. allan

    Climate confusion among U.S. teachers [Science]

    Although more than 95% of active climate scientists attribute recent global warming to human causes (1, 2) and most of the general public accepts that climate change is occurring, only about half of U.S. adults believe that human activity is the predominant cause (3), which is the lowest among 20 nations polled in 2014 (4). We examine how this societal debate affects science classrooms and find that, whereas most U.S. science teachers include climate science in their courses, their insufficient grasp of the science may hinder effective teaching. Mirroring some actors in the societal debate over climate change, many teachers repeat scientifically unsupported claims in class. Greater attention to teachers’ knowledge, but also values, is critical.

    The Kochs are smart businessmen. If climate denialism didn’t work, they wouldn’t be paying for it.

    1. Jake Mudrosti

      Greater attention to teachers’ knowledge, but also values, is critical.

      In early 2012, I spent months vainly seeking simple answers to simple questions from Google/YouTube spokespeople after their tragicomic push to pump demonstrably false YouTube “educational” content directly into classrooms.

      As but one example, Google/YouTube gave an undisclosed fraction of 100 million dollars to a demonstrably unqualified content creator whose inaugural “science” lesson “taught” that the sun plays absolutely no role in affecting the heights of ocean tides. See for yourselves, if this strikes you as too impossible to believe, at the so-called video quiz question #5 here:
      http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2012/03/are-you-brainiac-take-youtube-edu-pop.html

      Let me stress: Google/YouTube spokespeople stonewalled for months, then simply stopped replying to emails. I reached out to several different journalists and journalism groups, in vain.

      I’ll check back in these N.C. comments later to see if anyone has any ideas for making dents in the citadel walls that protect this super-duper highly-profitable lunacy. I’ve got an email archive of Google/YouTube replies that never addressed my key questions — email replies of such lunacy they’d cause your jaw to drop off from your head. That’s the state of things. Those are the classroom lessons. Any help, anyone? And please don’t say “contact more physicists,” because I also have an email archive from members of an AAPT discussion list — they state on the record that inaccurate “fun” lessons are superior to factually correct or pedagogically useful lessons. You heard me. Yes.

      Seriously. Any helpful tips as to how one should proceed, anyone?

      1. Ulysses

        There is nothing more frustrating than speaking truth to power, and discovering that power doesn’t care about the truth. The most effective educators I have known have all figured out ways to fool their “superiors” into believing that they are obedient cogs in the machine. Then, whenever possible, they quietly teach in the most subversive fashion that they can!

  23. Peter Pan

    “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Massive Foreign-Policy Brain Trust” [Foreign Policy]. Several hundred of ’em, beavering away!

    So, to summarize, a list of neo-conservative warmongering chicken hawks, liberal right-to-protect military interventionists and supporters of Zionist apartheid. That foreign policy brain trust can go straight to hell.

  24. Jim

    “You have a vampire squid. Which tentacle came first? And the answer is that it varies. The squid is highly opportunistic.”

    As things continue to incrementally deteriorate (financially, economically, politically and culturally)
    the various historical strategies of control and assimilation by the Squid must be carefully dissected and discussed.

    Why did black militancy dissolve by the mid-1970s?

    What deficiencies within the civil rights movement of the 1950s/1960s were sufficiently compatible with the social agenda of the vampire squid to prompt the squid to acquiesce and encourage that movement?

    Did the vampire squid, outside of Dixie, support the abolition of segregation?

    One of the early slogans of Black Power in the 1960s was a call for indigenous control of economic and political institutions in the black community.

    How did this general call for community control of schools, hospitals, police, retail businesses etc. supposedly by black constituents become the administration of these same institutions by alleged representatives in the name of the black community?

    Was the black elite control that emerged equivalent to genuine democratization?

    Did this black leadership elite simply became a lobbying body that negotiated with the vampire squid of its day?

    By the mid-1970s did vampire squid sponsored democratization simply provide access for a black professional/mangerial class to gain a small degree of administrative control in its own communities?

    Could affirmative action be viewed as a vampire squid sponsered talent search?

    Does the history of black radicalism in the age of integration also offer a perspective on the American left as a whole?

    Will BlackLivesMatter and the Sanders campaign become another illusory opposition to the Vampire Squid?

    If not, why?

  25. JerseyJeffersonian

    I am not sure if the special treatment that GM received when they discovered that water from the Flint River was corroding car parts which were washed with that water has yet been discussed on this board. Suffice it to say, that Gov. Snyder made sure that they were reconnected to Huron water, on the sly of course, while Flint’s citizens were still SOL. This link contains two links to full stories on this point; just click on the orange subheadings to be taken to these links.

    Any pretense of no knowledge on the Governor’s part of the harm being done in Flint lies in ruins.

    I am aghast at what a ghoul this bastard truly is.

    1. JCC

      typo – missing the colon ( : ) between http and // just go to the links and insert the colon manually and then they will work.

  26. Jim Haygood

    Let them eat subpoenas:

    Investigators with the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state, according to people familiar with the subpoena and written correspondence about it.

    The subpoena also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.

    The full scope and status of the inquiry, conducted by the State Department’s inspector general, were not clear from the material correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-foundation-received-subpoena-from-state-department-investigators/2016/02/11/ca5125b2-cce4-11e5-88ff-e2d1b4289c2f_story.html

    Vacuum the files!

  27. cnchal

    It’s almost as if the very text of the law itself has been privatized…

    The whole tthing sttinnks to hiiiigh heaven.

    Proofreaders weren’t allowed near it. They might spill the beans.

    1. HotFlash

      Proofreading at the level of correct spelling of “andd” and “teh” is done by machines. The TPP’s writers have machines and there should, then, be no errors of this basic sort. Therefore, it is wise to conjecture(conclude) that the specific inaccuracies in a document would allow the thief (that is not the right word, perhaps Robin Hood? whistleblower? patriot?) to be identified if the text should later appear publicly. Remember, the viewers are steered to a specific computer.

      1. cnchal

        Odious Law? Yes

        Effing ridiculous that the texts are salted in an attempt to identify and somehow prosecute a sitting politician for what exactly. For lavishing 26 seconds on a page, and only rote memory to rely on, nothing remembered will have much to do with the words printed on the screen.

        That this is an important detail to the insiders that are ramming these traitor deals through is revealing. Paranoid and afraid of the light.

  28. mookie

    Hillary’s Handlers: We Need Some Muscle Here Chris Lehmann, The Baffler

    What’s noteworthy here, in any event, isn’t the meddlesome influence of Reines, as distasteful as it is to see news coverage dictated from the vantage of a career Hillary apparatchik. It is, rather, that in automatically deferring to the authority of said apparatchik, the leading lights of our national politics media display the utter, near-contemptuous indifference that they share, as a class, to ideas and debate.

    Just consider the Clinton speech at the center of all this gnat-straining intrigue….

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