2:00PM Water Cooler 2/18/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

TTP/TTIP/TiSA

“In an attempt to get around the enormous opposition generated by ISDS, the European Commission chose a different label when, in autumn 2015, it released a revised proposal for all the EU’s ongoing and future investment negotiations, including TTIP. Instead of the ‘old’ ISDS system, the Commission promised a ‘new’ and allegedly independent system, supposed to protect governments’ right to regulate: the Investment Court System or ICS” [Corporate Europe]. “In a nutshell, the proposed ‘new’ ICS is ISDS back from the dead. It’s the zombie ISDS” (full report).

“The Sierra Club has reported on how the TPP would disrupt wildlife and marine life, including sharks. A leading driver of the worldwide depletion of shark populations is the international trade in shark fins, which are used in soups and alternative medicines in some Asian nations, including TPP countries. By eliminating tariffs, or import taxes, on shark fins in TPP countries, the trade pact would actually encourage further shark finning and spur the increased killing of sharks” [Sierra Club].

2016

Policy

“Michael Hudson: The Federal Reserve supports the status quo. It would not want to create a crisis before the election. Today it is part of the Democratic Party’s re-election campaign, and its job is to serve Hillary Clinton’s campaign contributors on Wall Street. It is trying to spur recovery by resuming its Bubble Economy subsidy for Wall Street, not by supporting the industrial economy” [Counterpunch].

About that “Open Letter from Past CEA Chairs to Senator Sanders and Professor Gerald Friedman” that Operative K was so excited about… [FT Alphaville]. Plenty of analysis, but here’s the bottom line:

One final note: we have no insight into the macroeconomic effects of Sanders’s entire programme, which has lots of moving parts and would not just affect things like the quantity of infrastructure investment and the distribution of income, but also the incentives to work and take risks. Our point is a simple one: a prolonged period of rapid growth in the US is plausible, with the right policy mix. The burden of proof should be on those who say otherwise.

In other words, that “open letter” Operative K’s running buddies dumped on the unsuspecting public is a steaming load. I’m shocked.

“Trump: I’ll be ‘neutral’ on Israel and Palestine” [The Hill]. I’ve got sympathy for the headline writer; what Trump had to say was both more prolix and more interesting. A small sample: “Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I have friends of mine that are tremendous businesspeople, that are really great negotiators, [and] they say it’s not doable. … That’s probably the toughest deal in the world right now to make. It’s possible it’s not makeable because don’t forget, it has to last.”

“If you were a pro-Clinton progressive, would you want to defend her continuous vows to ‘strengthen’ U.S. support for the Netanyahu government and ensure that every year ‘we must tie the bonds tighter'”? [The Intercept].

The Voters

“Clinton, Sanders and the Underrated Power of the Black Voter” [New York Times]. Anybody who’s underrated the power of the black vote hasn’t been paying attention.

“‘Late-breaking sexism’: why younger women aren’t excited about electing a woman president” [Vox]. The URL, from the original title, summarizes the article well: “clinton-albright-steinem.” Shorter: They aren’t excited because they’re stupid. The author qualifications tell the story: “Dr. Kate Cronin-Furman is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University; Dr. Mira Rapp-Hooper is a senior fellow in Asia-Pacific Security at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC.” Acela riders, doing very well for themselves in national security.

“The question is if Bernie Sanders’s message will resonate with low-income whites outside of New England and Iowa,” Wasserman said. “If it does, that’s where Sanders could start giving Hillary Clinton fits in the delegate chase” [Vox].

Money

“Since winning the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Feb. 9, Sanders has boosted his spending on television by about 70 percent” [Bloomberg].

“Clinton campaign says it has experienced its own small donor boom” [WaPo]. “During the last three months of 2015, Clinton raised just 18 percent of her campaign money from Web solicitations. In February, more than 50 percent was donated online for the first time, a trend campaign officials planned for and expect to continue during the primary season.” Oh, “planned for”? Sez who? In fundraising terms, Clinton wants the equivalent of “secondary virginity” on corruption. Lemme know how that works out.

Sanders volunteer coders: “‘The Hillary team is about a top-down approach that believes you hire and pay the best résumés,’ said one Democratic source. ‘That works as a business model, but when the ultimate standard of success is measured by people voting, that model is a clear second place to an organic people-powered approach'” [Politico]. Interesting, and of course a fertile source for Clinton oppo.

The Trail

“Trump Holds Big National Lead” [Politico Wire]. CBS: Trump 35; Cruz 18; Rubio 12; Kasich 11; Carson 6; Bush 4. USA Today/Suffolk: Trump 35; Cruz 20; Rubio 17. Reuters/Ipsos: Trump 40; Cruz x17; Rubio 11; Carson 10; Bush 8. So many this morning’s poll was an outlier?

Quinnipiac: “American voters back Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont over Republican candidates by margins of 4 to 10 percentage points in head to head presidential matchups, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today. The closest Republican contender is Ohio Gov. John Kasich who trails Sanders 45 – 41 percent” [Quinnipiac]. Of course, the argument will be “Wait ’til the Republicans start roughing him up,” but I think the Clinton campaign is doing a fine job of that already.

* * *

“In his email, Richard Trumka told members of the AFL-CIO executive council that the body won’t be holding a vote on whether to endorse Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders at its annual winter meeting in San Diego” [HuffPo].

“Will Hillary Clinton Make History?” (Interview) [Vogue]. Hagiography, the sort of article where the presence of a minder appears three-quarters of the way through. With an odd photo; to me, it doesn’t look like Clinton at all. But I can’t figure out what’s triggering the sensation.

Jane Sanders interview: “Bernie does not watch TV” [Bloomberg]. I’m sold! The reporter: “As with their draping, untight fabrics, the vibe is all ease.”

“I’m Voting for Hillary Because of My Daughter” [The Cut]. Squee. But not, apparently, Sarah Palin?

Shepard Fairey, the “Obey Giant” artist who designed Obama’s iconic “Hope” poster, comes out for Sanders [The Hill].

“Obama to meet with Black Lives Matter activists” [The Hill]. That’s the headline, but it’s really a Black History Month meeting with many civil rights leaders, past and present.

The party decides? “For much of this campaign, however, Republican Party elites weren’t deciding. Most Republican governors and members of Congress haven’t endorsed anyone, and the pace of endorsements has been slower than in past campaigns. But that’s starting to change: More GOP elites are taking the plunge” [FiveThirtyEight].

“Mainstream G.O.P. Field of Three Faces Brutal Delegate Math” [New York Times]. “On Super Tuesday, March 1, 25 percent of the delegates to the Republican national convention will be awarded. If the mainstream field hasn’t been narrowed by that point, it will become very hard to avoid serious damage to the candidate who ultimately emerges as the party’s anointed favorite. The top mainstream candidate could easily fall more than 100 delegates short of what he might have earned in a winnowed field.”

Bush holds a “town hall” at a country club and his mike doesn’t work. And then this happens: “One guy urged [Bush] to talk more about his compassion. Another told him to take Trump’s attacks on the chin and stay substantive. A third man urged him to work harder to spread the word nationally. Never before had Bush faced supporters so annoyed and worried about his fate. They quickly turned a campaign rally on a country club gazebo here into an open campaign strategy session — with dozens of reporters watching” [WaPo]. Elite Republican panic. Not a pretty sight.

“Donald Trump and the Central Park Five: the racially charged rise of a demagogue” [Guardian]. Here’s the lead: “Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when Donald Trump demanded his execution for a crime he did not commit….”

“For Democrats, the two states on deck might be thought of as representing old-school diversity (South Carolina) and new-school diversity (Nevada)—or African Americans in South Carolina and Hispanics in Nevada” [Wall Street Journal, “Democratic Candidates Face Different Kinds of Diversity in Nevada and South Carolina”].

Nevada (this Saturday)

“Here’s why political pros are scratching their heads over Nevada ” [Los Angeles Times]. Very good on why Nevada is hard to poll — and organize. Whaddaya know, it’s not just identity politics, but a transient population, odd working hours, growing use of cellphones. And, as we already know, the foreclosure crisis both increasing economic pain (good for Sanders) but causing address changes (bad for Sanders).

“Somehow, while everyone was focused on the showdown between her and Bernie Sanders scheduled to take place in South Carolina next week, the gap between the two Democratic rivals had quietly narrowed from 23 points in December to a gut-rendering one point in a CNN/ORC poll released on Wednesday, just three days before the caucus” [Vanity Fair]. “No matter how Nevada shakes out on Saturday, anything less than a Clinton blowout could be disastrous for her campaign, especially in a state that was once so obviously one-sided that no one had bothered to poll there since December 2015. Even if Clinton ekes out a narrow win, much like she did in Iowa, the fact that Sanders was even close will prove that his minority outreach is working, giving him added momentum going into the South Carolina Democratic primary one week later. Or, as one friend of the Clintons put it in more colorful, relatable terms to The Hill: ‘The shit will hit the fan.'” Of course, Hillaryland could be talking like this to boost turnout. But if you read this commenr from alert reader George Hier* about a Clinton rally, you’ll see the Clinton ground game isn’t all it could be, starting the listing the wrong location on the campaign website. So perhaps they hear footsteps.

“‘It is clear to me when mom is out working, dad is out working and the kids are out working, wages in America are too damn low,’ Sanders told 1,700 supporters packed into a Las Vegas high school gymnasium on Sunday. ‘It is not a radical socialist idea to say that when someone is working 40 hours a week that person should not be living in poverty'” [Real Clear Politics].

“Although many young Latinos are flocking to the Sanders campaign, many of their parents are backing Hillary Clinton” [WaPo].

“[A] Sanders loss could even be more impactful because it would set up Hillary Clinton to start running the table over the next two weeks in South Carolina and the southern March 1 states. And if that’s the case, come March 2, she might have a delegate lead that’s impossible to catch up to given the proportional nature of all of the Democratic races. So Sanders needs a win to keep the pressure on Clinton, and Clinton needs a win to finally start pulling away” [NBC].

“Watch exclusive interviews with Clinton and Sanders on “Ralston Live” on Tuesday” (videos) [Ralston Reports].

NOTE * Thank you, readers! Keep those on-the-ground reports coming!

South Carolina (Saturday, February 27)

Monmouth: “S.C. poll: Clinton seen as better for African-Americans, those struggling financially” [Politico]. Clinton 59, Sanders 30, up from 21 in November. Slow going.

“S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday she endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for president because he is best suited to restore GOP principles of limited government and cutting debt to Washington” [The State].

“How South Carolina Became Trump Country” [Mother Jones].

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, January 2016: “The index of leading economic indicators fell 0.2 percent in January following a revised 0.3 percent decline in December. Four of this index’s 10 components track the factory sector which offers some explanation for the weakness. But the stock market is also tracked and has also been a negative factor” [Econoday]. “A positive has been the rate spread which remains favorable due to the Fed’s still low policy rate though the decrease underway in long rates will limit this component’s strength for February.”

Jobless Claims, week of February 13, 2016: “The outlook for the economy just got a big boost from a solid decrease in initial claims which fell 7,000 to 262,000 for the February 13 week — which is also the sample week for the February employment report” [Econoday]. 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]. However: “My read based on the advance state-by-state data is that the snowstorm-related jump in the number of new filers two weeks ago was still unwinding, as some of the affected states (Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New Jersey, and New York) posted sizable declines for a second straight week. Based on that presumption, it would make sense to focus on the average over the past three weeks, which is 272K, i.e. very close to where I expect the underlying trend to emerge once the seasonal noise dissipates. Next week’s release will cover the period including Presidents Day, so we are probably another 2 weeks from getting a clean read, but the turn-of-the-year window during which claims are noisy should be winding down” [Amherst Pierpont, Across the Curve].

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, February 2016: “The Philly Fed report, much like Tuesday’s Empire State report, is pointing to continuing trouble for the nation’s factory sector” [Econoday]. “Employment is in the contraction column for a second straight month at minus 5.0 with the workweek also posting a second month of contraction at minus 12.9. Manufacturers in the region continue to draw down inventories, to indicate sagging expectations…. This report is a disappointment and belies yesterday’s manufacturing strength in the industrial production report.” And: “Key elements went deeper into contraction. Both manufacturing surveys released so far for this month are in contraction” [Econintersect]. But this index is “noisy and sentiment-based.” And: “I believe that we are closer to the end than to the beginning of the inventory correction, but it is clearly still ongoing. This is dragging down new orders and shipments (among other things). Nonetheless, yesterday’s IP release provides some hope and, as noted above, I do think that we are most of the way through the correction, so conditions in the factory sector, while they will probably not be good at any point this year, should improve somewhat as the year progresses” [Amherst Pierpont, Across the Curve].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of Feburary 14, 2016: “Global risks and stock market volatility have policy makers scrambling but have yet to scramble the consumer who, supported by strength in the labor market, remains upbeat” [Econoday]. “The consumer comfort index, like other readings on confidence, is very steady.”

Shipping: “Week 6 of 2016 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) only marginally declined according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data” [Econintersect]. We have a commnenter whose spouse is a railroad engineer; I’d love some anecdotes! (These figures back out coal and train.)

The Fed: “The Fed is in risk management mode, which means they will leave rates on hold until they see clear evidence that markets are stabilizing, growth remains on track, and they are even leaning towards needing to see the white in the eyes of the inflation beast” [Tim Duy’s Fed Watch]. “The recent unpleasantness in financial markets has likely prompted the FOMC to take the downside risks more seriously than they did in December. The fact of the matter is that they have very little left in their toolkit should the economy take a turn for the worse.”

The Fed: “Neel Kashkari, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’s new president, said the U.S. economy looks softer than expected in recent weeks and policy makers are “laser focused” on reaching their goals of price stability and maximum employment” [Bloomberg]. Dude’s getting press time right away.

Carbon: “Oil is now so cheap even pirates aren’t stealing it any more” [Quartz].

Honey for the Bears: “Are Asset Managers Vulnerable to Fire Sales?” [Liberty Street]. “[O]ur macroprudential stress test reveals that mutual funds can, in fact, be subject to a ‘run’.” News you can use, eh?

“Uber losing $1 billion a year to compete in China” [Reuters]. Sounds like Travis has gotten himself involved in a land war in Asia.’

“As a whole, earnings in the Standard & Poor’s 500 are on pace for the biggest quarterly decline since 2009. But strip out the energy-sensitive industries and most companies are reporting profit gains” [Bloomberg].

“Increasingly Convinced of the Secular Stagnation Hypothesis” [Larry Summers]. “Bond markets are now saying that neither inflation rates approaching 2 percent targets or real interest rates substantially above zero are on the horizon anytime in the foreseeable future. … If I am right in these judgements, monetary policy should now be focused on avoiding an economic slowdown and preparations should be starting with respect to the rapid application of fiscal policy.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46, Neutral (previous close: 43) [CNN]. One week ago: 19 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 17 at 10:37am. Mr. Market hesitates, hand over the cookie jar…

Corruption

“SEC says analyst secretly told hedge funds ‘sell’ while officially saying ‘buy’ [Francine McKenna, Marketwatch]. “After learning during a roadshow by the company’s executives on March 28, 2012 that the retailer’s results would be less rosy than expected, Grom told several hedge funds to sell their shares in Big Lots, the SEC said. Four of them subsequently sold their entire positions in Big Lots stock. The next day, March 29, 2012, Grom’s research report on Big Lots maintained a “buy” rating on the shares.” More at Business Insider.

“The nature of [resort owner John] Poindexter’s relationship with Scalia remained unclear Tuesday, one of several lingering questions about his visit. It was not known whether Scalia had paid for his own ticket to fly to the ranch or if someone else picked up the tab, just as it was not immediately clear if Scalia had visited before” [WaPo]. Poindexter picked up the tab for Scalia’s visit, which occurred after the Court declined a hear a case involving one of his subsidiaries, an outcome favorable to him. Scalia was apparently a very frequent traveler.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Bayard Rustin: Who Is This Man?” (recorded broadcast, 50 minutes) [WNYC].

Health Care

“A Southern California hospital’s computers have been restored after it paid a $17,000 ransom in bitcoins to hackers who infiltrated and disabled its network. The gambit isn’t new, but it appears to be on the rise” [Modern Health Care].

Gaia

“The United States alone could be responsible for between 30-60% of the global growth in human-caused atmospheric methane emissions since 2002 because of a 30% spike in methane emissions across the country, the study says” [Guardian]. “the authors said there is too little data to identify specific sources. However, the increase occurred at the same time as America’s shale oil and gas boom, which has been associated with large amounts of methane leaking from oil and gas wells and pipelines nationwide” (original study).

“What Sparked the Cambrian Explosion?” [Scientific American]. “Some scientists now think that a small, perhaps temporary, increase in oxygen suddenly crossed an ecological threshold, enabling the emergence of predators. The rise of carnivory would have set off an evolutionary arms race that led to the burst of complex body types and behaviours that fill the oceans today.”

Class Warfare

“San Francisco tech worker: ‘I don’t want to see homeless riff-raff” [Guardian]. Justin Keller, an entrepreneur, developer and the founder of startup commando.io (which seems to be down at the moment):

the reality is, we live in a free market society. The wealthy working people have earned their right to live in the city. They went out, got an education, work hard, and earned it. I shouldn’t have to worry about being accosted. I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day

Sadly, not the Onion.

“XPrize And IBM Offer $5 Million For The Best Human-Artificial Intelligence Collaboration” [Fast Coexist]. The nice thing about AI is that it promises slavery without actual slaves. Of course, that takes all the fun out of it, but who said AI was suppposed to be fun?

News of the Wired

“Why Your Brain Actually Works Better in Winter” [New York Magazine]. An attack on the idea of Season Affective Depression. I dunno…

“Reality With Apple and The FBI” [Karl Denninger, Market-Ticker (SF)]. “[T]he government has no power to compel you to make that which you do not have. … There is simply no authority for the FBI or any other organ of the government to compel the company to make anything. They can compel the firm to hand over something the company possesses under due process of law but in this case the operating system version they wish to obtain does not exist. … A judicially-issued demand to Apple, or anyone else, that reads ‘Write software to do X for us’ is facially invalid. Such an ‘order’ is nothing less than a demand that Apple submit to slavery, which is prohibited under the US Constitution.'” Leaving aside the idea that corporations, to be enslaved, must be persons, I find myself, in concert with others, in agreement with Denninger, amazingly enough.

* * *

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 (Furzy Mouse):

nepal_hollyhocks

Hollyhocks in Nepal.

* * *

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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

111 comments

  1. Eric Patton

    Operative K:

    …incentives to work…

    He’s speaking in code here. What he’s saying is, “If living standards go up, it will be easier for people to tell their employers to go fuck themselves. Under Sanders’s proposals, living standards would go up. Therefore, people will have less incentive to work.”

    Keep in mind, the word “work” here is a particularly deep piece of code. Because the author is not talking about about work. He’s talking about willingness to be (or at the minimum, not fighting against being) a slave.

    Deconstructing all of this, he’s really saying that keeping the rabble in line necessitates keeping them poor and scared. If they stop being as poor, and start being less scared, they won’t be as compliant — our whips will become less effective for keeping them out in the fields, and eventually we’ll lose total control of society.

    That’s the great fear of the ruling class — loss of control.

    1. hunkerdown

      Ooh, yes, very important bit of unpacking there: the purpose of work, from an authoritarian society’s standpoint, is the dependency relationship and the imposition of opportunity cost.

  2. jrs

    “But from our vantage point as women in our 30s, it’s not so surprising that very young women don’t feel the same excitement about a competitive, hyperqualified female candidate for the presidency that their mothers, aunts, and older sisters do. For them, the world may seem like a much more equal place than it actually is.”

    Or they have SEEN THE GRAPHS of income inequality, and the world doesn’t seem like an equal place at all!!! And maybe they have actually read about countries with less inequality (based on actual measures of income inequality like Gini coefficients) like Scandinavian countries. And they know that life would be better for almost everyone if the U.S. moved in that direction and Bernie Sanders is the only one who will say it.

    Who the heck wants to raise kids in this F-ed up society called the U.S. anyway? How can you raise decent kids in such a dysfunctional society with so much poverty, chaos, dog eat dog competition, and hate? What kind of upper middle class bubble do you need to live in to protect your kids from the brutality that is this social system?

    1. Vatch

      And they know that life would be better for almost everyone if the U.S. moved in that direction and Bernie Sanders is the only one who will say it.

      But there are people on the internet who say that Bernie is a war monger, and that he is incapable of challenging his own party on domestic policy! It’s on the internet, so it must be true, right?

      1. jrs

        I’m not in love with his foreign policy stances, but people coming around to social democracy maybe larger than Bernie as well.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘competitive, hyperqualified’

      The word ‘tendentious’ was coined to describe this sort of heavy-handed rhetoric from hyphenated-surname authors who confess to occupying ‘an incredibly privileged position.’

      Sort of like 0.1-percenter Hillary … hyperqualified but hypoethicized.

      1. jrs

        What good does all this competitive hyperqualified stuff do for those who are not by nature competitive or maybe hyperqualified (because just plain old qualified is apparently not good enough under neo-liberal hell)?

        And no I didn’t say women by nature (although they may on *average* be less competitive), I said people of both sexes that don’t fit this insane norm of being super competitive and not just good enough qualified but hyperqualified.

        Enough already, a humane society for all, or bust.

          1. cwaltz

            I don’t consider “hypercompetitive” much of a compliment anyway. I prefer someone who knows how to be a team player and aspires to lead a team then someone who wants to win the most and is willing to do so at the expense of others or someone “hypercompetitive.”

            I think whoever wrote this most have thought they were speaking to conservatives. They seem to be more likely to believe in the whole entire “winners” and “losers” paradigm. Most of the liberals I know seem to be more equitable and think that it should be “everyone wins.(or as the conservatives like to whine- everyone gets a trophy.)”

    3. GlobalMisanthrope

      Our son turns 18 in May and he and his friends are very excited that they will “decide who the next president is.” :)

      They’re all Sanders supporters, including the girls. Clinton is apparently “same ol'”. And as for the idea that girls should support her because she’s a woman, he had this to say:

      Yeah, right. SO not true. Like if I was voting for Bernie because he’s a white man that would be a great thing that makes sense. Bernie’s cool. He wants everything to be fair. I don’t know what Hillary wants really, but she kinda reminds me of a school principal.

      Then my wife told him what Gloria Steinem said and he said, “Oh my GOD, shut UP!”

      1. Optimader

        Voting race/gender is sooo 20th century.

        I would be appalled to think someone would ever suspect that I would vote for an old white guy because he is an old white guy.

        This election cycle I really don’t get why HRC has any cache with those identified as black voters in America.

        I mean, isnt it like the data is in already on the long term economic damage Bill did to the lower middle class-middle class’s economic viability??? What are HRC legitimate creds. that suggests she has earned a racial constituencies vote?

        What comes to my mind is a variation on Yves’s “the turkey voting for Thanksgiving.”

        1. Carolinian

          Apparently a lot of the Clinton advantage among black voters is name recognition. Which is to say blacks may be acting on the normally wise choice and paying little attention to the election. Sanders is a well known figure in the Northeast but he definitely somewhat obscure down here below the Mason-Dix.

          Counterpunch today had an oldie that is somewhat interesting: Bill Clinton and his closet racism.

          If the late Ted Kennedy was quoting Bill Clinton correctly, the former president most certainly was making a racist remark when he said to Kennedy of the black man then battling Mrs Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination: “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”

          more

          http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/18/bill-clinton-the-jolly-racist/

          1. ambrit

            We live in Mississippi, and the Sanders camp is heavily invested in the Internet. Not very many yard signs and bumper stickers floating around, but now daily e-mails from Sanders for Prez. They are combining small scale fund raising with exhortatory messaging. I would focus my attention on the percentages of each demographic groups exposure to daily Internet usage.
            Another ‘divide’ I have been seeing is the one of Pseudo Meritocrats versus De Facto Egalitarians. Those of us who are not ‘top of the heap’ are questioning everything. Those who appear to be “successful” are fighting a rear guard action against the hordes of ‘Levellers’ threatening the ‘Chosen Ones” sense of entitlement. (After all, ‘they’ deserve something for all the ‘sacrifices’ ‘they’ made to be seen as successful.)
            I could laugh at all this if it wasn’t visibly affecting my quality of life.

            1. gonzomarx

              When we were touring the South last summer I had a look for Bernie meet ups and in all the Southern States we visited (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana) there was a least a couple and that was in the summer.
              I didn’t manage to get to any as wrong time or place but it was going on.

              1. ambrit

                You all toured the American South in Summer!!! Brave people you.
                We had some meets in Hattiesburg, which is a college town. I would be interested to know if there is a correlation between college towns and Bernie activism. (This almost reminds me of Robert Kennedys’ aborted run in ’68. Be careful Bernie!)
                The other point about Southron politics is the Church Vote. If Sanders can link his populist reform message to faith based reform movements, he will have the South sewn up.

                1. gonzomarx

                  Well mad dogs and all that!
                  We enjoyed ourselves and would love to do it again but maybe next time in the spring.

                  I think your hunch would be right about college towns for Bernie.

        2. Bubba_Gump

          I asked a prominent black public figure this very same question in private and she agreed that the Clintons hadn’t done blacks any favors. Her biggest concern was that Bill put a lot of them in jail. Wasn’t too concerned about the welfare thing but was very concerned about the justice system. Her thought on supporting Clinton was just that she’s more likely to win the general. If any of the repubs get in they would be a lot worse for blacks.

    4. RUKidding

      I heard part of a blip on NPR this am. I *think* it was 2 D-voter women getting ready to caucus in NV. One women, self-described as “older,” talked about voting for HRC bc glass ceiling must be broken (pretty much verbatim). Younger woman said: yes, it would nice to see a female POTUS, but that will happen. I’m more concerned about the economy, poverty, the income gap, etc, and HRC really ain’t addressing that; Sanders is (not verbatim; paraphrase).

      I have my own concerns re Sanders, esp his foreign policy, but really? I have to give the man credit for what he’s doing (and how he’s doing it). Sanders is talking about real issues facing the proles. Will he be perfect or a superman? Hell, no. Will he get everything done should he win the GE? Hell, no. Will he be given the bum’s rush like Obama (or worse) by the R-Team? Hell, yes!!

      Do I think HRC would be “better”? Hell, no!

      I’m all for seeing a woman in the white house, but I’m old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher really well. HRC is just another version of Thatcher. Just talk to our cousins across the pond – esp workers in northern England – to learn all about the reign of Thatcher.

      No thanks.

      1. PQS

        Margaret Thatcher, indeed. As good old Russell Brand said when she died, “If you behave like there’s no such thing as society, in the end there isn’t.”

    5. Plenue

      Women not voting for Clinton is the irreversible breakdown of Democratic identity politics. They can’t offer any reason for women to support her other than that she is also a woman. And they have a steady stream of agents who come out and berate and insult women voters who JUST WON’T DO AS THEY’RE TOLD.

      Keep it up, calling people idiots will really bring them around to your cause, I’m sure.

    6. jgordon

      Competitive and hyper qualified eh? Sounds like the kind of person who, if I were stranded at sea on a life raft with him/her, I would sneak up behind and feed to the sharks while they were busy being full of themselves. What a thoroughly unpleasant description.

      Anyway this article about the rich lady who’s going to vote for her Hillary because she’s also a rich lady, but wouldn’t vote for Palin because Palin “doesn’t share her values.” I was thinking when I read that that her principle value must be admiration for corruption since I don’t even think that the last great grandmaster presidential corruption, Warren Harding, has anything on HRC. I mean seriously do any of these women actually not know that HRC is probably the most corrupt person to ever run for president. And if there are women really that ignorant, how do they even manage to find the bathroom? What, do they have a rope tied to the door?

      1. vidimi

        it’s hard to say she’s the most corrupt. certainly, since campaign finance restrictions came down, the candidates have been getting more corrupt. barack obama, looking at both his campaign contributions and appointments, was 100% corrupt. i can’t think of a single appointment he made that wasn’t a payback for campaign largesse. the bushes and clinton 1? probably pretty close to 100% corrupt as well.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Another Fedster beats an inglorious retreat from the “Formerly Four Rate Hikes”:

    On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said declining inflation expectations and declines in financial markets argue against further boosts in the central bank’s short-term interest rate target of 0.25% to 0.50%.

    “Two important pillars of the 2015 case for U.S. monetary policy normalization have changed,” Bullard said. “These data-dependent changes likely give the FOMC more leeway in its normalization program.”

    “Inflation expectations have fallen further,” and with the losses seen in markets, “the risk of asset price bubbles over the medium term appears to have diminished,” he said.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-bullard-speaks-against-further-interest-rate-hikes-2016-02-17

    Or as Dr Seuss acidly commented,

    Will the Fed succeed?
    Yes it will indeed!
    (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They can now safely guide the S&P Titanic through November.

      “Let’s worry about 2017 when it comes.”

      Damn the bazookas? Full speed ahead.

  4. DakotabornKansan

    The homeless are “riff raff” whose “pain, struggle and despair” shouldn’t have to be endured by “wealthy” people commuting to work. [Guardian]

    Suffer the tech entrepreneurs; for such is their kingdom.

    Indeed! Jesus himself said, “I’ve got mine, Jack.”

    There is a dreadful shallowness that promotes such thinking by the likes of tech entrepreneur, Justin Keller.

    1. Jess

      In a perverse and totally inverted way, Keller is right; he shouldn’t have to see the suffering…because there shouldn’t be any struggling and desperate homeless who have to camp out on the street.

      1. polecat

        I’d take the funky ,disheveled SF of not so long ago over the sterile technocropolis it’s progressing towards.

      2. Doug

        Tech-Bro actually has a good point, even though not expressed in the best politically-correct manner.

        Just as Hoover was blamed for the depression of the 30’s, and people lived in “Hoovervilles”, perhaps it’s time to construct some “Obamavilles”.

        1. marym

          2012

          About 300 spirited demonstrators lined up at a makeshift soup kitchen and shanty town set up in Federal Plaza on Thursday, to protest the possibility of cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as Congress looks to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

          WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports a dozen demonstrators climbed into cardboard boxes, which they labeled “Durbinville,” as they sought to embarrass U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) into refusing to bargain away strands of the safety provided by federal entitlement programs net to balance the federal budget.

          They provided the soup kitchen for several days ahead of the protest.

          1. ambrit

            What troubles me is the fact that America is now almost totally non farm. I seem to remember reading that a lot of the ‘dispossessed’ of the Great Depression resorted to ‘going back to the land’ to survive. Todays’ populace do not have the social capital of the knowledge and experience of raising their own food to fall back on. Now almost all is dependency upon the State. I would expect food riots to be a large part of the ‘break down’ scenario coming up.
            You are right on to highlight the return of “private” soup kitchens. Our local food bank is now running out of supplies in the middle of the week, on a regular basis.
            The poor and hungry know intimately the concept of ‘just in time’ logistics.

            1. marym

              Other areas of sustainability also present problems. We no longer have even essential clothing and household goods that are made to last and can be repaired; or widespread people with the skills to do the repairing. I tell people who are clearing out an attic or helping an elder to downsize to hold on to the sewing basket – can’t even buy thread or pins that aren’t made-in-China-to-fall-apart.

    2. MikeNY

      Tech money and douchebaggery is ruining SF, and fast. I live here. My only consolation is that they can’t ruin the geography…

      1. Massinissa

        Forgive me but I thought that was already ruined? Wasn’t it always very arid and without much water?

        1. nowhere

          Norcal isn’t generally described as arid. You are correct that there isn’t a source of water on the peninsula – it is piped from the Sierra’s.

      2. Vatch

        ruining SF

        For a few seconds I was scared — Science Fiction is being ruined!? Then I was relieved to realize that you are referring to a city. Whew!

            1. ambrit

              Yeah, and Nimoy acted in the film version of Genets’ “The Balcony.”
              Those sci fi (Frank Herbert said he pronounced it as ‘cee fee,’) gals and guys were avant-garde cats, Dig?
              Speaking of Shatner; what ever happened to Adrian Zmed and Heather Locklear?

    3. Massinissa

      Everyone remember that time Siddharta Gautama saw suffering and said, “It must be their fault theyre suffering! I shouldn’t have to see them on my way to my palace!”? Yeah, I don’t remember that part either. And I would like to think that people don’t have to be the Buddha to not think that way…

    4. flora

      Justin Keller is upset to see strangers suffering. Strangers shouldn’t be allowed to discomfit him. If only he could have the human emotion part of his thinking erased then he wouldn’t care.

      “How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
      The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
      Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!”
      -Alexander Pope

      /s

    5. RUKidding

      Yeah, these poor poor benighted libertarians shouldn’t have to see the dreadful, horrid, lazy lucky duckies that they – the Tech gurus – “have to support” with “their taxes.”

      Oh the humanity!

    6. Katniss Everdeen

      I will admit to taking a considerable amount of satisfaction in knowing that this whiny, jaded little putz is “dissatisfied” with his environment.

      That Karma. She is a bitch.

    7. Freda Miller

      Reminds me of the adage “A cat can look at a king.” His feelings about the riff raff are probably mutual.

      1. polecat

        I have the occasion to see homeless persons wandering the streets & alleys of my little town 19,000. , which seem to be increasing as the economy steadily worsens. I’ve considered myself a chump for paying off the mortgage on our house in 08′, and thus lessening any monetary cushion we might otherwise have, while others spend money on cars, trips, and other bling. When I see these homeless folk, i can’t help but think that could be me if things got much rougher and I was still beholden to the bank!

        I don’t think it’s a substance abuse issue for many of these folks. They simply do not have the support structure to weather bad times, and I wouldn’t be amiss at stating that many of us are inching ever closer in that direction!

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Well put! If the bank don’t get you, RE taxes and insurance will (or die trying). Oh yea, and now (in MA at least) town water is starting to cost a fortune. No idea why they are jacking up prices so steeply in some towns but not others.

          1. ambrit

            As for water and sewer rates, check up on:
            A) The need for previously delayed infrastructure repairs and replacement;
            B) Privatization of local water systems, or the billing systems;
            C) Consent decrees with the EPA, (relates to A)).
            Here in Hattiesburg, the City is locked into a consent decree mandating a new sewage treatment system. This is presently projected to cost around 150,000,000 USD, for a population base of about 50 to 70 thousand people. Trial balloons concerning rate increases have already been floated. (Water, sewer, and garbage run about 50 USD a month now.)
            Up there in MA I would guess you all could run some of the old water powered textile mills as “Working Museums.” Your poor and homeless could work in them, provide an educational experience for the ‘paying customers’ plus have a table or bench to sleep under at night and two squares a day. (The ‘two squares’ can be grown on the County Farm! Win, win, win!)

  5. JTMcPhee

    Re the analyst who did a little dirt to the people he was supposed to be analyzing Big Lots for: It appears from the Bloomberg story on this that some Politifact-type pontification has leaked over into the Bloomberg realm. The Bloomberg author says that the analyst was actually Doing Th Right Thing if you look at it in just a slightly different way:

    For this, the SEC looked deep into Grom’s soul, fined him $100,000 and suspended him from the industry for a year.

    One question you could ask here is, was Grom being a good analyst by doing this, or a bad analyst? I mean, he was clearly doing bad stuff according to SEC rules. But if you are a Deutsche Bank research client — or if you are, like, the dollar-weighted average of all Deutsche Bank research clients — the answer is not so clear. It seems to me that Grom’s job had at least three components. One component was writing research reports about Big Lots, with a big “BUY” or “HOLD” or “SELL” at the top. Let us concede that, by telling clients to Buy when he thought they should Sell, Grom did this part of his job poorly.

    Another component was giving better clients better service. Hedge Funds A through D expected personalized service, not just the research reports that were available to everyone:

    Grom knew that these four hedge funds were particularly valuable clients to the firm. Hedge Fund A, Hedge Fund B, and Hedge Fund D were all designated as top priority “Global Research Service Level 1” accounts that received the highest level of service from the firm’s research and sales personnel.

    Obviously one way to give better clients better service is to take them golfing and buy them fancy dinners. But the main way to do it is to call them up sometimes and say things that aren’t in the research reports. Telling them to sell, when the written research says Buy, is kind of a lazy way to do that. The more normal approach is to give them, you know, “color” or whatever around the written research. But the difference is one of degree: The written research has to be an accurate reflection of the analyst’s mind, but it doesn’t have to be a complete reflection. It’s legitimate for the research analyst to be more helpful to some clients than to others — and since all clients get the written research, that means it’s legitimate for the analyst to give the favored clients information that is better than what’s in the reports.

    The last component of Grom’s job was to get clients access to corporate management:

    DBSI’s performance evaluation system for equity research analysts, including Grom, assigned significant weight to an analyst’s access to and relationships with the senior management of the companies they covered and the feedback that the firm received from its clients. Nearly ten percent of an analyst’s internal performance rating was based on the frequency and level of contact that the analyst was able to arrange for firm clients with management from the companies they covered. An analyst earned additional credit for arranging contact with chief executive officers and chief financial officers.

    To be clear, when Grom told anyone who would listen that he held off on downgrading Big Lots to maintain his Big Lots relationship, that wasn’t about maintaining an investment banking relationship, like it would have been in 2000. It was about maintaining a relationship in which Grom could introduce investing clients to Big Lots, and those clients could hear what Big Lots had to say. Grom wasn’t protecting a relationship that was profitable for Deutsche Bank by lying to his investing customers. He was protecting a relationship that was profitable for his investing customers — some of them, anyway — by lying to his investing customers. Customers who made decisions based on research reports got let us say not a completely sincere research report. Customers who made decisions based on management meetings got to keep having management meetings. The Deutsche Bank customers who went to that March 28 non-deal roadshow heard the same stuff that Grom heard, the stuff that turned him bearish on Big Lots. Hedge Fund A heard from Grom at 3:18 p.m. that day; Hedge Funds B through D got calls later. The customers who were actually in the meetings presumably got the bad news long before those guys.

    Obviously the SEC’s job is to some extent to push for a level playing field, to make sure that little retail clients aren’t getting dishonest research reports in order to make sure that big institutional clients keep getting management meetings. But there is at least a hint in this case that, for big institutional clients, the management meetings were much more valuable than the headline recommendations on the written research. Given the choice of Buy/Sell/Hold recommendations that Grom believed in his heart of hearts and no management meetings, or garbage spammy universal Buy recommendations and lots of management access, it would be totally reasonable for Deutsche Bank’s investing customers to choose access over honesty. http://www.bloomberg.com/search?query=big+lots+analyst

    And these people whine about the inroads that “secular moral relativism” has made into the Otherwise Ethical Universe…

  6. diptherio

    I shouldn’t have to worry about being accosted. I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day

    I agree. No one should have to see that because it shouldn’t exist. Which is why we need and Job Guarantee and a Basic Income and to start being smart and giving homeless people empty houses (of which there are more than there are homeless people). Somehow though, I don’t think that’s where he’s going with it.

    1. Massinissa

      You know, when I see someone dying from a car accident on my way to work, I think, SHAME on that person! I shouldn’t have to see their pain and despair as they lay dying on my way to work!

      1. nowhere

        Indeed. They should have the personal fortitude to reattach their limbs, finish their degrees, and become douche-bag tech bros, too. It’s what markets demand!

    2. RUKidding

      I should just get to live in La-La land where I only see rich successful WHITE people. Keep those d*mn riff raff away from me! I might get poorz cooties. shudder.

      1. ambrit

        Be equal opportunity cuz. I frame it in terms of ‘class.’ (I won’t deny the other, but, how a subject is framed often determines the rest of the discourse.)

  7. sleepy

    From the Vox article:

    “The question is if Bernie Sanders’s message will resonate with low-income whites outside of New England and Iowa,” Wasserman said. “If it does, that’s where Sanders could start giving Hillary Clinton fits in the delegate chase”

    What is she talking about? Iowa and New Hampshire have widely different cultures, economies, and politics. If Sanders can appeal to low income whites in both, which he has, it seems her contention is already disproven.

    1. GlobalMisanthrope

      I think what she meant to say was

      Nunc at velit quis Bernie Sanders’s eleifend curabitur eros aenean ligula-dolor gravida auctor auctor et suscipit in erat. Sed malesuada enim, ut congue Sanders massa elit convallis Hillary Clinton scelerisque libero neque ut neque.

      1. ambrit

        Ixnay on the Atinlay. No street cred needed. Ivory Tower cred now, that’s a different matter. Sarc can be so much fun! Toodles! (Blows a kissy kissy.)

  8. DJG

    “Democratic Candidates Face Different Kinds of Diversity in Nevada and South Carolina”
    That’s the problem with diversity. It is so diverse. Which is why it isn’t much of an ethic. And it isn’t even much of a tactic. But it sounds good.

  9. Jim Haygood

    From our Doom ‘n Gloom department:

    Andrew Adams of Raymond James noted that the Farrell Sentiment Index, based on the American Association of Individual Investors’ weekly survey [ %Bulls / (%Bears + %Neutrals/2) ], is at its lowest since August 1993.

    Investors are more bearish now than they were in the wake of the collapse of the tech bubble and during the 2008 financial crisis.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/analysts-say-its-time-to-ditch-the-stock-market-as-a-leading-indicator-2016-02-18

    With Dr Hussman muttering (during occasional lucid intervals) about “Five Days of Apocalypse” and small investors scared senseless, stocks look effed-up enough to buy.

    The Fischer Break is over!

  10. diptherio

    “Why Your Brain Actually Works Better in Winter” [New York Magazine]. An attack on the idea of Season Affective Depression. I dunno…

    Maybe your brain working better causes depression…something about you have to be mentally ill to be well adjusted to a sick society…

    1. Peter Pan

      I didn’t read the article but I’d guess my brain works better in the winter because I consume massive quantities of drip brew coffee flavored with cocoa powder, vanilla, ground cinnamon & milk. Depression, what depression? Now if someone would kindly pry me off the ceiling I’d appreciate it.

      1. polecat

        add a little ground clove and some cayenne pepper to the mix and you’d be set, but at that point they might have the pry you off the roof instead!

  11. bwilli123

    Edge of the abyss wow

    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/edge-of-the-abyss-20120819-24h4r

    “At 13 months, Janni can recognise any letter in the alphabet, even upside down or sideways. By 18 months, she’s speaking in grammatically correct sentences and learning basic addition. Plus, she’s sleeping now, but that’s because we discovered that taking her out every day, all day long, gets her tired enough to sleep through the night. It’s not enough for us to wear out her body. We have to wear out her mind.”

  12. Patricia

    Re Vogue interview, “…an odd photo; to me, it doesn’t look like Clinton at all. But I can’t figure out what’s triggering the sensation.”

    They streamlined her jaw and slimmed her cheek up to cheekbone. She’s always had round cheeks which jowl with w/age and her past plastic surgery has been more ameliorating than reversing.

  13. Paul Tioxon

    Shepard Fairey’s support of Bernie can be seen at the Bernie store. Limited edition T-Shirts in the classic Obey style are available. But the big, and I MEAN BIG, tell, is now you can order 4x size t-shirts. That says a lot to me. Big sized guys, especially African-Americans are being catered to in way you almost never see outside of African American owned clothing companies. That it is available at all from a politicians online store says a lot. Even Shepard’s own clothing lines do not usually run this big in size, 2X at best. Hillary’s online store now goes up to 3X, still, not big enough for some and still behind the Bernie online store which has many 4X sized t-shirts. This size war let’s you know just how in touch these campaigns are with the real America, which unfortunately is wearing very large sized clothing due to obesity. You’d think with Michele Obama making childhood obesity in particular a First Lady Crusade would make the political side of the dems aware of the need for large size clothes. Is Bernie trying to build street cred with minorities with the Obey clothing T shirts in 4X?

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Hillary’s online store now goes up to 3X’

      … or just opt for her ‘one size fits all’ blue muumuu, and hit the beach in style.

    2. EmilianoZ

      Fairey is the guy who made the iconic Obama “Hope” poster. That he’s now supporting the Bern, that might not be a very good omen.

  14. nowhere

    Speaking of back doors… here are some thoughts about why government mandated back doors are a bad idea.

    Matthew Green:

    So why does this matter?

    For the past several months I’ve been running around with various groups of technologists, doing everything I can to convince important people that the sky is falling. Or rather, that the sky will fall if they act on some of the very bad, terrible ideas that are currently bouncing around Washington — namely, that our encryption systems should come equipped with “backdoors” intended to allow law enforcement and national security agencies to access our communications.

    One of the most serious concerns we raise during these meetings is the possibility that encryption backdoors could be subverted. Specifically, that a backdoor intended for law enforcement could somehow become a backdoor for people who we don’t trust to read our messages. Normally when we talk about this, we’re concerned about failures in storage of things like escrow keys. What this Juniper vulnerability illustrates is that the danger is much broader and more serious than that.

    The problem with cryptographic backdoors isn’t that they’re the only way that an attacker can break into our cryptographic systems. It’s merely that they’re one of the best. They take care of the hard work, the laying of plumbing and electrical wiring, so attackers can simply walk in and change the drapes.

    1. vidimi

      this sounds like the recipe for a self-licking ice cream cone.
      step 1 – law enforcement demands backdoor to encryption
      step 2 – said backdoor is exploited by evil-doers
      step 3 – this looks like a job for….law enforcement!

  15. Peter Pan

    The supporters of Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton could both use a bumper stick that reads “(heart image) Bern”. Supporters of Sanders would interpret it as “Love Bern” & Clinton supporters would interpret it as “Heart Burn”.

    1. hunkerdown

      If I had a license for Jubilat Medium, I’d be posting a Cafepress link right now.

      And “Wages are too damn low” sounds like a shout-out to Jimmy McMillan.

  16. Kim Kaufman

    ““Will Hillary Clinton Make History?” (Interview) [Vogue]. Hagiography, the sort of article where the presence of a minder appears three-quarters of the way through. With an odd photo; to me, it doesn’t look like Clinton at all. But I can’t figure out what’s triggering the sensation.”

    She’s styled and photoshopped to death. As drags queens say, “they had to get up early to beat that face.” In other words: put enough pancake on to cover.I suspect the mouth especially was photoshopped, but many other things also, were extensively worked over in the lab.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s as tough to run as a 60 something women as it is as a 70 something man.

      The former has to endure pancake makeup.

      The latter has to deal with unfair age comparison with the late Supreme Justice Scalia.

      “79 is a long life.” The average for US men is 76.

  17. ProNewerDeal

    It is primary time in my state. I received an email from the County Elections org noting my requested mail ballot is on its way in the mail.

    I am enthusiastic to vote for Sanders at a time when it might impact his chances of winning the nomination, but am fairly ignorant about the countless other offices that will be on the ballot.

    When voting, I typically get the uncomfortable feeling that I am ignorant on the state & municipal races, including State legislators, but especially for relatively obscure position like nonpartisan judge, County Water Commissioner, etc. I feel there is a lack of information available from which to make informed votes on these offices.

    Do you have any tips for researching for voting on state & municipal offices?

    1. RUKidding

      If you vote by mail and have access to the Internet (it looks like you do), then use the Internet to look up information about the candidates and any ballot initiatives. Even using Google to search out names may take you to newspaper articles about that candidate, which may give you info on who they are and how they are likely to do their job in office. Same goes for Judges, who are difficult to locate info on. You can check with your State Bar association website to see if they have any info on Judges who are running for election. But your local newspapers may have articles referring to cases they adjudicated and so forth.

      Ballot initiatives are usually discussed in different forums, including newspapers and blogs. I don’t know if the League of Women voters has a website for your area, but they strive to be impartial and may have info on candidates and initiatives.

      If you are that way inclined, sometimes your local Sierra Club chapter may have info online about local candidates, including judges sometimes, and initiatives.

      Keep searching. Check your public library’s website to see if they are holding any informational talks, etc.

      It will take some time. I usually spend quite a few hours on my ballot in CA, and where possible, I try to attend lectures, which I see advertised locally.

      Good luck.

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “I’m Voting for Hillary Because of My Daughter”

    “I know exactly that feeling, Hillary. I’ve felt the same way, and though I can’t even be sure you are feeling what I think you are, I’m not sure it matters. In that moment, where you blinked very hard as if to stop tears of rage when someone asked a stupid question of you, I saw for the first time the thing we have in common: We are both women. And that was enough, because I have never seen that look in Bernie Sanders eyes, because Bernie Sanders is not a woman.

    Sometimes the fact that I’m a woman isn’t the most important thing about me. But sometimes, it is.”

    Absolutely compelling. Critical thinking is so ten minutes ago.

    The “author” also likens Gloria Steinem to Beyonce. Such insight.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Thanks much, PK. I do love my Katniss references.

        “But didn’t Katniss find herself being manipulated by both sides, eventually becoming disillusioned with the system and going off to be a farmer who suffers from PTSD?

        Maybe. But not before she assassinated President COIN, the new WOMAN boss whom she recognized as every bit as evil as the old MALE boss. And COIN never saw it coming……

        May the odds be ever in Bernie’s favor.

        1. Ulysses

          I think Peter Cohen has a compelling argument, for us old Occupiers, on why supporting Bernie at this stage may help us to shake up the status quo:

          “We need a sustained struggle on many fronts, taking many forms, and the struggle within the Democratic Party right now over the unexpected surge of Sanders and his message is every bit as valid an act of resistance as camping in a Park. This is not a reclaiming of the Democratic Party, but an unmasking of it. The “duplicitous game being played by the political elites” is being publicly exposed right now and people are getting it. The moment Sanders tells us to fall in line behind Hillary is moment we must shift en masse to Stein or some other Plan B. So my plea to Chris Hedges, and to all our allies on the Revolutionary Left, is not to sit out this opportunity to give hell to the DNC, raise awareness and mobilize against corporate control on an unprecedented scale…”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When the time comes, it comes.

      People tell me South Korea has a female president.

      And in Taiwan, they just elected their first woman president.

      For some progressive reason, San Marion has had a lot of female heads of state…some sort of Anti-Vatican, I suppose. Yet, ever there, they could claim they had a female pope centuries ago.

      Many do not know, but in 1953, Mongolia had a female head of state, Sukhbaataryin Yanjmaa.

      Still, it comes when it comes, here in America.

    2. jrs

      No I read that article, they actually make a pretty compelling argument. About how some of the attacks on Hillary are sexist as well as ageist. The comments on pancake makeup on this thread make that point. And how they hope an older female role model would change that social dynamic.

      Though it doesn’t really seemed to have worked for blacks with Obama. Is it enough to have raw power to be admired or do you have to be seen as a morally worthy possessor of that power? If you are legitimately seen as doing harm with that power does that help the cause of women?

      And is an older female role model in a society of ever increasing misery enough? Doesn’t the economic misery eventually overwhelm all social progress (hence Donald Trump). The problem may be less that they think voting for a woman is good, but that they don’t fully grasp the horrors of neoliberalism.

      And Clinton’s POLICIES would mean REAL pain to most people (want a grand bargain? Then Hillary is your gal). I think she’s wrong about Bernie and Hillary sharing the same values, unless Bernie ends up being as big a mistake as Obama, that is. Only then would I conclude they shared the same [lack of] “values”.

      1. flora

        I don’t doubt her focus on her child. I just wonder if she would write the same thing if she was writing for the Minneapolis Star or the Denver Post. Seems like all the NY publications are pushing Hillary. That’s fair enough considering how important the Wall St. financial industry is to New York. News papers traditionally boost the local businesses and the politicians that will help those businesses. The line between advocating and reporting is getting crossed too often. MSM.

    1. Daryl

      Same thing happened to Crystal City, TX. I think someone (perhaps Mark Ames) did a good piece a few years ago on the increasing amount of water quality issues here, brought to you by privatization. After Flint, the media appears to have started paying attention to it.

  19. ewmayer

    Re. The Intercept’s “If you were a pro-Clinton progressive” — a non sequitur.

    Re. “Will Hillary Clinton Make History?” (Interview) [Vogue] … With an odd photo; to me, it doesn’t look like Clinton at all.” — Betcha it’s Bernie’s ex-college-classmate Bruce Rappaport caught photobombing again! That guy really gets around.

    Re. “Elite Republican panic. Not a pretty sight.” — I dunno, I rather enjoy such vignettes.

    Re. UberBull in a China shop, “Sounds like Travis has gotten himself involved in a land war in Asia.” — nice! :)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible Hillary makes history…as the first female vice president.

      The offer has not been rejected out right…non-jokingly.

  20. MichaelC

    Hillary’s picked up another 80 something delegates since the last report.

    She’s now up to 449 v 19 for Bernie

    http://www.npr.org/2016/02/18/467230964/survey-clinton-maintains-massive-superdelegate-lead

    It sure looks like this party’s leaders are completely out of touch with their base if the disparity between the national polls and the superdelegate base is to be believed.

    It’s pretty clear the D establishment is telling Bernie to GTF out of the race. At the same time it’s telling its Bernie base to look elsewhere (which is nowhere) for representation.

    I wish Bernie could just say, Look voters this party doesn’t hate me. They hate you.

    1. Cry Shop

      The DNC is not just scared of Sanders because he will make it harder to get the goodies from the oligarchy; he has made it clear that he is going to leave the grass root structure in place because he’s going to do a Corbyn. ie: he’s not only going to go after Republican Reps and Senators if he wins the nomination, Sanders is going to go after any Democratic party member who doesn’t toe the new clean up the rot line.

      The founding fathers purposefully set up the Constitution to thwart someone like Sanders, it would take him a minimum of 6 year to do what Corbyn could do in one election, and that’s not looking at the rot in State and Local government, which is far worse and probably more damaging than what is going on at the Federal Level. However, all that scheming by the founding fathers to keep the peons in their place was over-kill, all they really needed was modern party politics.

      The threat from Sanders, weak as it is in reality, has the DNC and the oligarchy that whips them pissing in their pants; hence the super-delegates, nearly all elected officials, will almost to a man/woman be voting for Clinton.

    2. Dr. Robert

      Maybe he’ll refuse to back Clinton, declare the Democratic Party a dead-end for real reform, and throw his weight behind Jill Stein or someone.

      1. sd

        If Clinton does get the nomination, I am going to guess Sanders will continue to drag the Overton window to the left, much to the dismay of Clinton.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Sanders doesn’t have a cult of personality. His voters will do what they please. Hillary’s attacks on Sanders’ supporters, the basis of her campaign, will prevent any amount of Sanders’ campaigning for Hillary from having an effect.

        1. ambrit

          This means that his “message” can be ignored by the DNC insiders. The DNC looks like they would rather be in charge of a losing party then share power in a winning one.

  21. Cry Shop

    “[T]he government has no power to compel you to make that which you do not have.”** Support Apple in this struggle, but not sure how much water this particular argument will carry.

    The government does this** frequently, one example, it can require not only right-of-way to private property, but the building of access. The government requires access tools to be built into software (Americans with Disabilities Act – (separately enacted under Bush Sr, with update by Bush Jr. — Team Clinton somehow overlooked updating it).)

    1. Cry Shop

      Japan Times: Apple-FBI legal battle isn’t about encryption

      The most striking aspect of Apple’s message to customers on Tuesday wasn’t the rejection of U.S. authorities’ demand that the company help them break the encryption of an iPhone owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, who was involved in the murders of 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last year. It was Apple’s admission that it has the technological capacity to help, despite previous statements to the contrary. In other words, Apple is acknowledging that it isn’t encryption that protects the personal data of its customers, but the company’s stubborn insistence on keeping its software proprietary and its refusal to accept open-source software.

      ++++++++++++++++

      If Farook had used a device with the Google-designed Android operating system, the FBI might not even be asking for court orders. Although user content is encrypted on Android devices, too, Android is open-source software. Theoretically, the government can produce its own version of the system that would make it possible to hack the encryption. By choosing a product from a company that is paranoid about patent protection, Apple customers have made their data somewhat safer — but still not completely safe.

      If Apple argues that compliance with the court order is “unreasonably burdensome,” it soon may be asked — and ordered — to produce the iOS source code so that the government may attempt to modify it independently.

      1. hunkerdown

        Someone at the Japan Times seems to be trying to sell the TPP and its more restrictive copyright regime (and its anti-FOSS provisions) to its readers, but your comment also requires some response and correction:

        1. Production releases of Android are rarely built from an unmodified Android Open Source Project. Beyond driver changes, each device model is strongly differentiated by its software package and its UI, and stock packages are often replaced with vendor versions. Very few of these modified versions, with the occasional exception of the kernel and drivers, are open-sourced. The Google service apps are certainly not open-source.
        2. A secure cryptosystem is defined as one with no better means of exploitation than trying the entire keyspace. By definition, backdoors are insecure. If Apple can produce an OS that will decrypt the device, then it was never secure in the first place.
        3. Open source systems are, ceteris paribus, more secure, in that users or their specialists can examine and probe the software more easily and verify to their satisfaction that no errors, backdoors or extra keys exist.
        4. Android happens to be easier to hack because of Android’s always-running app model and Google’s interests, more than any inherent advantage to “security by obscurity” (a common pejorative among software developers). Android already protects apps and content with crypto filesystems. App data is more difficult to lock down because apps are largely allowed to do their own thing when the screen is off and they would likely fail if they couldn’t get to it. Bad design, perhaps. Yet some vendors, in the spirit of customization, have created “enterprise” frameworks for use by paranoid apps, that are locked and unlocked by the user. How secure is it? We don’t know…

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