Recent Items

Links 2/5/16

Monocle-Wearing Oil Baron’s Cigarette Holder Splinters In Clenched Teeth After Hearing Bernie Sanders’ Environmental Platform Onion (David L)

Number of Female Genital Mutilation victims found to be 70 million higher than thought Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Morocco Unveils A Massive Solar Power Plant In The Sahara NPR

China?

Dollar tumbles as Fed rescues China in the nick of time Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

IMF’s Christine Lagarde: China can avoid ‘hard landing’ but spillovers seen Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “It’s always sunny if you’re the head of the IMF.”

Grexit?

Violence Erupts in Greece Against Pension Reform US News. Headline overstates the situation.

Greece fell into a sociopolitical coma because of Troika failed evolution

Refugee Crisis

Merkel’s approval rating tumbles as AfD climbs Politico

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks’ malware checklist BoingBoing

Maryland Attorney General: If You Don’t Want To Be Tracked, Turn Off Your Phone Motherboard (resilc)

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange is arbitrarily detained, UN panel finds BBC

2016

Hillary, the Banksters Committed “Fraud” not “Shenanigans” Bill Black, Huffington Post. Hillary doubles down on her “tough on Wall Street” lie. I wish he’d called out what she said in her Dec. 2007 speech, in which she bent over backwards to say nice things and waived the wet noodle of that she “consider” proposing legislation if they didn’t do more to help deserving borrower. It was all “Gee, Wall Street is SO IMPORTANT to the economy, and it would be nice if you were nicer” and nothing stronger than that.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Brawl Over His “Insinuation” That She’s Corrupt Intercept (resilc). This is not hard to understand unless you pretend not to understand it: Wall Street would not be giving to the Clintons so consistently over time if they did not think they were getting value for their money.

Hillary Clinton (D-Wall Street) American Conservative (resilc)

Hillary Clinton Wants You to Believe She’s Tough on Wall Street. She’s Not. New Republic (resilc)

Clinton’s Wall Street Hypocrisy Bloomberg. Wow, an editorial, and a tart one at that.

Clinton and Sanders clash one-on-one BBC

Is the CEO of Goldman Sachs Really Afraid of Bernie Sanders? Charles Pierce, Esquire

After Iowa … Can Bernie Win a “Strip & Flip” Selection? Reader Supported News

Marco Rubio Remains the Foremost Neoconservative Warmonger in the Field Charles Pierce, Esquire

Jeb Bush begs town hall attendees to ‘please clap’ Yahoo (furzy)

Carly Fiorina misses debate stage The Hill (furzy)

Why Primary Polling Isn’t Predictive Atlantic (furzy)

For the First Time, Red States Outnumber Blue Wonk Wire

U.S. House Debate on Financial Oversight Bill C-Span. Kevin C: “The bill would limit the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point program, which investigates certain banking practices. The House later voted 250-169 to approve the measure.”

White America’s ‘Broken Heart’ New York Times

First research links California quakes to oil operations Associated Press

Fed

Global Indicators Point to Fed Reversal Bloomberg

Rate Expectations: Not So Fast, Fed Wall Street Journal

Look Out Below

Why it would be wise to prepare for the next recession Marin Wolf, Financial Times

The End of the New Normal? Mohamed El-Erian, Project Syndicate (David L)

More Bad News in the Shipping Data Bloomberg

Oil

Obama proposes $10 per barrel oil tax Financial Times

Take 2 Minutes To Learn Why Obama’s $10 Fee On Oil Is So Important Huffington Post

Oil nations face years of pain, says IMF chief Christine Lagarde Telegraph

ICE chief calls IEX speed bump plan ‘un-American’ Financial Times

Chicago on Brink of Bond Market Shutoff: Tax-Exempt Yield Hits Stunning 8.50% Michael Shedlock

The benefits of scrapping cash Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Scott: “Her commenters are having none of it.”

An Idiot’s Guide to Prosecuting Corporate Fraud Dave Dayen, Intercept

Guillotine Watch

Martin Shkreli Pleads the Fifth C-Span (Kevin C). It’s actually worth watching. He smirks repeatedly. That sort of behavior is going to get the book thrown at him in his criminal securities fraud trial.

Leon Black is mystery Picasso buyer Financial Times

Class Warfare

Uber Drivers and Others in the Gig Economy Take a Stand New York Times (Dan K)

Living Out of a Van is the New American Dream Vice (resilc)

Antidote du jour. @im461 via Richard Smith: “This penguin was rescued in New Zealand His feet were injured. Rescuers fitted him blue soft shoes👍 Now he’s better.”

little penguin links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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171 comments

  1. vidimi

    re: martin shkreli

    he seems like such a caricature of a pantomime villain it’s almost unbelievable. his lawyer actually said that people will realise that he is no villain but a hero. could he be acting this way to help bernie push single payer through? or is he really that big of a ****?

    1. Ian

      He seems to me to be scared shitless, if you read the body language. Lots of emotions that are out of control.

        1. inhibi

          Martin Shkreli is nothing more than the industry scapegoat. Big Pharma has been doing this for years, albeit not so blatantly and openly.

          But make no mistake: Martin is the little guy going down for the giants

      1. Ian

        yeah, I’d agree with much of that, he displayed everything very openly. I think there is real underlying fear though that he is trying to overcome with bluster, I think he is on edge.

          1. sumiDreamer

            Douchy was how Borowitz characterized the performance, which I think was completely apt. Perfect in fact.

            The guy is a YOB .. who just happens to have made money.

            I post on this topic all the time. It interests me that women get much more emotional and enraged about what he’s done and how he plays it. Maybe our side which is more atuned to people who create tension goes into overdrive every time he opens his mouth, grimaces, smirks or pull at the hair on the left side of his head.

            1. vidimi

              his performance would have been even better had he popped his colour, put on some white-rimmed shades, and ended each sentence with “brah”

                1. nowhere

                  Given the ridiculous pastel shirts some of the “brahs” wear, I think it was an understandable slip.

            2. PQS

              Can’t speak for everyone in the tribe, but I know he reminds me of every smug little SOB who got where he is by being related to someone or being born with a big wallet, but acts as though it was pure talent and grit. Add in the terrible attitude and you get a lot of dudes I’ve worked with over the years. Add another couple of decades and you get a lot of middle management at big companies.

    2. linda amick

      Martin Shkreli epitomizes US societal values. Predation good. Greed good. Money worship good. Profit as end goal good. Self interest good. Self promotion good. Material accumulation good. Winning good.

      He is a hero by any standard that is publicized today.

      1. vidimi

        i agree that he is mostly a cultural product. it is our culture that imbibes in us a sense of competition for nebulously understood success. as a result, we live for other peoples’ approval and make decisions that make us look “succesful” while at the same time making us deeply unhappy. martin shkreli is a real-life patrick bateman. so is lloyd blankfein, or jamie dimon. you can tell by how they present themselves to the world. they care deeply about how “succesful” they appear to the public but are really empty shells.

    3. Liz

      Agreed re: caricature. It’s like he walked out of a comic book, or just left a scene from an 80s remake of “It’s a Wonderful Life” set in a prep school. I like to think that if souls exist, his is some kind of performance artist, here to literally embody the worst of our excess.

    4. Marc Andelman

      The question is, who gives vile people so much money to manage? In the good old days, someone would have thrown this guy off a boat in cement overshoes. A curated collection of charter boats to rent in Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, Key West, and elsewhere may be found at http://onboat.co/miami-yacht-charter

    5. Jagger

      Many, many years ago, my first wife sparked an off again, on again, lifelong interest in the origin and psychology of disturbed individuals. Clearly, Shkreli is a higly disturbed individual. I would not be surprised if you investigated his parents and childhood, and you could probably go back multiple generations, you would find very dysfuntional family structures. The psyche of children can easily be warped by dysfunctional caregivers. Undoubtably genetics and specific traumatic events can also produce disturbed individuals but something as simple as dysfunctional parents can definitely produce a highly disturbed individual. Of course as an adult, being around a toxic personality is simply unacceptable. But at the same time, there can be at least some understanding, almost even sympathy, if you understand that the disturbed adult we see today had little to no choice in the early development of their personality. Certainly helped me with accepting my first wife from a safe distance.

      Here in America, we have the saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”. How can a saying be so Wrong? Words can be deeply wounding especially to children. Wounds of the psyche may not be visible but are often worse than physical wounds as psychic damage is to the core of the sense of being. So you can build someone up or tear them apart with just your words. Big responsibility. Get it consistently wrong and you can end up with a Shkreli or so many of today’s CEOs and politicians or my first wife. Also it is not unusual to find people that are both highly disturbed and highly successful. But I suspect it is very rare to find highly disturbed people that are also happy.

      I am no psychologist but I wouldn’t be surprised if Shkreli has little choice but to be what he is. Somehow his soul was badly warped. Sad thing.

  2. petal

    It’s funny, the name Leon Black (in the third from the bottom link today) rang a bell but I couldn’t place it. Then I read this article and realised where I had seen it before. His family built an ugly, not aging very well building a few years ago in Hanover for the College called the Black Family Arts Center.

    1. polecat

      Maybe they should rename it the Black Arts Slytherin Family Center…….the building might hold up better!

  3. ambrit

    Is it only me department:
    “The Onion” will not open to the links here or in general now. Are the new owners trying to ‘paywall’ it? This is the third time in as many days that this has occurred. Greshams’ Law is alive and well!

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Cheers Ambrit! The link worked for me, not that that means it’s in the “only you” department. I even tried it with “private browsing” using Mozilla (which I think means no cookies stored with probable exceptions) and it worked fine.

      BTW, the other day I mentioned that Google had bought Weather.com. After your reply, I looked and looked for the site where I (thought I) read that and was unable to find it. But by the time I double checked, the thread was dead so I didn’t correct the assertion (to an empty room). Been bothering me since. That doesn’t mean Google didn’t buy it, but rather that I have nothing what-so-ever (other than ineptitude) to make such a claim.

      1. Steve H.

        Re Weather, I find these useful:

        forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?zoneid=INZ062

        forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=39.16660&lon=-86.5215&unit=0&lg=english&FcstType=graphical

        I use the second link daily, it’s as good as I’ve found. Forgive me for putting up the local cases, on the Hourly Prediction I can’t remember how I found it, nor how to reset the search.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Thanks, great links.

          To customize for locality, you just need to find latitude and longitude for your area and plug them into the second link (then bookmark for future). For the first link, you need to find your zoneid. I just grepped it using duckduckgo.com (same as I did for the latitude and longtitude) It’s MAZ026 for Massachusetts. Plug that in to the end of the first link and bookmark for future use.

          I find the government website excellent, but have had issues trying to navigate. Thanks!!!

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            P.S. The customize for local paragraph was for the benefit of others in case they want to use those great links. I should have clarified. You obviously don’t need it.

            Thanks again!!

      2. ambrit

        Back at you Brooklyn Bridge! I’m going to have to ask my code writing son in law about this. Being a semi regular here, I might have a filtering algo installed through the back door by the ‘Spooks?’ (Puts on designer tinfoil hat.)
        Don’t worry about the Weather.com business. They are ultimately now belonging to Comcast I believe, which is bad news from any angle. (I have had to scrape s–t off of my shoes many times. That it bothers you is a testament to your integrity.)
        My debate partner and I, in high school, when the contest was obviously going South in a big way, were known to trot out supporting ‘evidence’ from that venerable font of wisdom, “Fictitious Sources.” Scott went on to become a Lawyer. I am a Plumber. Fictitious sources will work in law, but the laws of physics are not so forgiving.
        Live Large!

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Nothing wrong with a little ebb and flow (regarding debates), hope your son in law can figure out the computer glitch (I suspect it’s some small thing – which doesn’t obviate the many honorable uses for tin foil, such as for hats ((without which they CAN get in your head now)) or cell phone pouches).

          I think the spooks got in my head once cause about 300 people came flocking out of a truck holding their heads and looking shell shocked after I passed by…(er, I guess no one has a monopoly on fiction – but I do like the image :-)).

      3. Ed

        I didn’t know that Google bought weather.com, but if so it explains something I’ve noticed for the past few months, that you could just google “weather (city)” and get the predicted temperatures and precipitation for that city, five days out.

        Its done nothing about the accuracy (I understand that all weather data comes from the National Weather Service and the media sites are just intermediaries), but its useful in that the main weather.com site has gotten overloaded with junk in the past few years. Just googling for the data avoids that.

        1. KurtisMayfield

          I would suggest going right to the source. The NOAA website does a great job of wording their forecasts to keep all the hype out of it, and has been very accurate for me.

          NOAA

          Just search for the zip code you would like.

        2. flora

          I use National Weather Service site. This link is set to Minneapolis. You can change location to your area in the top search bar. Enter your zip or city name and click GO.
          http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=44.98&lon=-93.2638
          One neat feature is on the right-hand side. Scroll down and click on ‘Hourly Weather Forecast.’
          See predicted hourly wind speed/direction, wind chill, rain/snow/thunder precip, etc.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Enter your zip or city name and click GO.

            Much better than my technique above (looking up longitude and so on)! Reminds me of a heavy tongue in cheek cartoon strip in the Boston Globe that occasionally has a, “Obviousman” theme or something similar where a character dressed in an “Obviously” suit – similar to superman – is put into a Duhhhh situation…

            That said, for those who prefer making things unnecessarily complicated, my way is clearly superior!

      1. ambrit

        Is it just me, part the second…
        I might be using rotten ‘services’ but, every time I try to Google around the FT paywall, every secondary link to the article returns me to the paywall site. I have been offered secondary links on ‘scoopnet’ and ‘tag the bird,’ and a site in Chinese. This applied to Yahoo and Google. Indeed, the lists that came up when the article title was entered were almost identical for both sites.
        I caveat that I’m an honourary Sothron, but, “geeze Louise, something IS rotten in Denmark.”
        (Not a complaint, just an observation from the trenches.)

  4. Bill Smith

    In “Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks’ malware checklist” who blacked out parts of the source documents?

  5. Daize

    Re: After Iowa…Strip & Flip
    It is my current belief that there is a strong possibility of major shenanigans in the Democratic primaries (way more than what was evident in Iowa). Will the American people see it? Will they stand for it?

    1. Uahsenaa

      On caucus night, the behavior I experienced at my precinct led me to believe that it was just incompetence at being overwhelmed with new voters. Now I’m starting to think this “accident” was engineered in order to pass the smell test. Except, it didn’t, and now even the Des Moines Register has called for an official investigation into how the Iowa state Dem party handled things.

      In other words, we seem to have manipulation by way of willful neglect, resulting in incompetence on the part of last minute volunteers who were neither properly trained nor have much experience with a process that is quite arcane. There being no real paper trail makes things especially worrisome, because even if you win a legal injunction, there’s nothing there to actually audit. So, you’re left with the options of accepting things as they are or compelling a redo, which no court is ever going to do and, I think, wouldn’t have the power to at any rate.

      1. flora

        Yes, it’s very interesting that the total turn out was supposedly much smaller than in 2008, and 2008 didn’t have these problems, at least not at this level. And 2008 saw a large number of new voters. Iowa has been running caucuses for over 40 years. Doubt the institutional competence just disappeared on its own.

          1. TedWa

            Very cool – thanks for that. Sanders does better then HRC against all the republicans. That’s news and people should be paying attention!

  6. Dino Reno

    Martin Shkreli Pleads the Fifth

    The “imbeciles” that Marty describes in his followup tweet brought this on themselves and us with Medicare Part D. It was a Master Class in ham acting between Marty’s mugging and Congressman acting “shocked, shocked” that there was no limit on drug pricing. Naturally, not one single news source pointed this out. Fun times.

    1. James Levy

      Yes, it was nauseating watching the Republicans answer the few queries they had to face about why they were surrendering their market position as the world’s biggest buyer when they passed Part D. In effect, they argued that “it’s just not fair” for Uncle Sam to negotiate prices with those poor, helpless pharmaceutical companies. So much for markets!

  7. James Levy

    Merkel is getting slaughtered carrying Washington’s water for them. We blow up the ME from Afghanistan to Libya and the Europeans pay in refugees and vast unimagined and unwanted expenditures. The woman looks spent in the picture provided in the article. And unwell.

    I think we all imagine (or like to imagine) that people with fancy titles like Chancellor have all this power and autonomy that we, average people, don’t. But I am coming to the conclusion that most of them are completely trapped, mentally even more than institutionally, in rabbit warrens of ideology and preconceived notions that limit their ability to act in any but a narrow set of ways. Merkel can’t even imagine not doing Washington’s bidding or joining up with the French, Russians, and Chinese to negotiate the end of the ME internecine nightmare no matter how Uncle Sam screams. She’ll lose her job and hand the nation over to the ultra-right before she even thinks about going to the source of this predicament and doing something constructive about it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Wasn’t Merkel Time’s Person of the Year? ;-)

      Once you make the cover of Time, you’re yesterday’s news.

  8. vidimi

    as if more reasons were needed to avoid apple, here they are taking depredation to a new level:
    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/feb/05/error-53-apple-iphone-software-update-handset-worthless-third-party-repair

    Thousands of iPhone 6 users claim they have been left holding almost worthless phones because Apple’s latest operating system permanently disables the handset if it detects that a repair has been carried out by a non-Apple technician.

    stay classy, apple!

      1. vidimi

        i’m sure there’s something in the fine print in the EULA that affirms apple’s right to do whatever it pleases with it’s property (not yours) and that you agree to let only certified apple technicians repair it.

        only an antitrust ruling can help, it appears.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Time for a parody of that classic 1984 Apple TV ad … with Tim Crook as the droning face of Big Brother, lecturing his fanboy troops.

  9. Pavel

    I managed to watch about 60 mins of the NH debate between Bernie and Hillary before turning it off — the latter was more painful and irritating to watch than ever. How can anyone take her seriously after she so transparently deflects the questions? The one about releasing the Goldman et al speech transcripts… “I’ll look into it…” and then she launches into a 5 minute filibuster. She really looks and sounds defensive, as she should.

    If she goes on to win the nomination when she is so blatantly corrupt and dishonest and disingenuous — I’d just give up on the US electorate. Thankfully I don’t live there, but I feel sorry for my fellow humans…

    1. Daize

      I am with you there. I cannot bare to watch the debates anymore because Hillary makes me wretch. As for Sanders; I know his platform by heart (and agree 100%, or close to), so I don’t have to hear it again. Any cool soundbites he might spout I’ll hear of on the net.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Read the Strip and Flip article before you give up on the electorate (though I confess, why this same electorate would accept electronic voting systems that can’t be verified without a hue and cry tends to support your exasperation). Why did Gore give up so easily in Florida, why did Kerry not contest Ohio, why did Bernie give up on the raw vote count in Iowa or the Microsoft vote counts? Doesn’t bode well, though it’s not necessarily the electorate at fault.

        1. Antifa

          Four is a conspiracy, five a connivance, six is an intrigue, seven a racket, eight is a going concern, nine a think tank, ten’s a social club, eleven is “dis ting uv ars,” and twelve is a grand jury…

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        This is another problem created by the parties. After 2000, the Dems should have organized a huge voter-registration and education drive to whip up the voters to demand fixes to the problems that created that debacle.

        Since the 90s, I’ve watched the Texas Democratic party use the Republican control of the state to consolidate power among its paid operatives while ignoring all of the issues. I mean, look at what’s happening to Planned Parenthood here. Exactly zero effort has been made to recruit, register or organize voters or to get them to the polls.

        The Texas Dem party is a total fraud and apparently the national party decided that the Texas playbook was the way to go. Protect your jobs at all cost. Nothing more, nothing else.

        So will the voters “stand for” another debacle? Yes. And we’re pretty much guaranteed an opportunity will arise for us to do just that.

    3. mk

      Since I’ve already decided to vote for Bernie, I thought it pointless to try to stop myself from using the mute button every time HRC started talking. She thinks she’s entitled to be promoted to the presidency.

    4. Torsten

      It was painful watching Bernie call Obama a progressive while trying to maintain that Hillary was not also a progressive.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        ^ditto! I also grimace when Sanders talks about he “greatly admires”, “has a lot of respect for”, “they have done great things in office”, etc; 0bama & H Clinton.

        I’d be curious does he actually believe those comments, or is he feeling it politically necessary to not insult these D Dear Leaders, who happen to be neoliberal as well as pathological liars.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          I think the blurb he wrote for the book about how Obama is a fraud is what he truly thinks. But clearly his polling says Dems don’t want to hear bad about O so he is trying to thread the needle – precisely what he has not tried to do on other issues.

          IMO, if he isn’t willing to call Obama out, then his whole “the political system is bought and paid for” narrative falls apart. As is routinely pointed out here, it isn’t like O’s ties to Wall Street are any less than HRC’s.

      2. Michael

        Bernie’s got a tightrope to walk, as a persuader — Obama is massively popular among people of color for obvious reasons, even as Obama’s policies are neoliberal and brutally racist.
        So he has to deflect a few questions and hope that his target market ignores them, which they almost certainly will.

      3. jgordon

        Bernie talks a good game, but he’ll cave when the time comes. Being willing to endorse Hillary is a foreshadowing the string of reluctant betrayals that will ensue with a Bernie presidency.

        Note: NC has a strict policy against endorsing candidates, so I don’t know where all this Bernie love is coming from. As is, I’m planning on supporting Trump and then fleeing the US after he’s elected. The US deserves Trump.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          These are extraordinary times and people yearn for one person to come who will show them the way.

          Even then, it is still healthy to doubt. (We doubt, so we are).

          I have many unanswered questions. Which candidate will bring change to the Fed? Which will reform the military industry? Which will declare health care a national emergency and Wall Street a national disaster area?

        2. EmilianoZ

          He looks like a boxer who has been asked to take a dive and who complies, maybe unhappily, but who complies nonetheless. It looks like Chris Hedges was right after all. Another pied piper. You gotta wonder what’s the carrot and what’s the stick.

          It’ll make great HBO political drama though. Chevy Chase to play the Bern? Surely Glenn Close has to play Hillary.

          Or maybe he thinks he cant be too harsh with Hill and the Dems because if he wins he’ll need the dem party apparatus for the general election. But if he wins I’m pretty sure he’ll only have a halfhearted support from the party apparatus. The top dem echelon would probably prefer a Reps victory to the Bern in the White House.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            There are so many things going on at once (so much blame to go around) that it’s hard not to be exasperated, and harder to know who to be exasperated against, but this is not yet finished and much will come out of it either way.

            I no longer think Bernie is sheep herding; he really does have integrity and it often works against him. Hillary is beyond shame, hell, possibly beyond Shakespeare, and regrettably this does give her power.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Yeah, he’s definitely sheep dogging. He’s now tied nationally and exposing Hillary as a corporate fraud. I bet Sanders has an “I’m with her” bumper sticker on his campaign bus.

        3. Faye Carr

          Yep, my exact take on Bernie. Bless his heart. Heck, the primary campaign narrative is so familiar.

          I’m dreading the Lesser Evil, Supreme Court picks, We Can Hold Their Feet to the fire etc. Squawking we sure to hear.

          I’m not with you on leaving the US. It can’t be done from my asset (bwahaha) position .

      4. Jerry Denim

        Oh man, me too. That was awful and I have to say I lost a bit of respect for Sanders after his answer. EmilianoZ said “He looks like a boxer who has been asked to take a dive…” His look and reaction reminded me of my boxer (dog) when I ask him to do something he really doesn’t want to do but he eventually complies, but slowly with a sour and demure look. I thought Sanders should have put his boss pants on and told the obviously hostile Chuck Todd that he came to debate Hillary Clinton not Obama who isn’t running for the nomination in 2016. Short of that gutsy, in-charge answer I realize Bernie didn’t want to hurt the delicate feelings of Obots, but did he have to praise the Obama economy and the recovery? Kinda undermines his candidacy a bit no? What I would have really liked would have been if Sanders deferred from attacking Obama directly but then went on to lay out a few of Obama’s not-so-progressive actions in the White House and say it’s not for me to judge, but this is the President’s record and the American people can decide if these actions are progressive enough for them.

        Another disappointing Sanders moment was when he let Clinton sucker punch him with the exact same dirty attack she used in the last debate, but without any effective retort. When Clinton lobbed the dishonest- “You voted to deregulate derivatives in 2000” for the second time, Sanders should have been ready to fire back a response that involved; 1.) “your husband” (2.) “Gary Gensler” (3.) “Goldman Sachs”, (4.) “Your Husband’s Admin and Gary Gensler’s role in it” and then (5.) “Gary Gensler – Clinton Campaign 2008 and 2016”. Not having something ready to explain his vote and putting Clinton neck deep in Goldman Alums and the deregulation of Wall Street was weak and inexcusable. Sanders was obviously unprepared for this debate if Clinton was still able to recycle the same dirty tricks from the last debate. Trying to paint Bernie into a corner where he was pressed to attack Obama from the left was another tactic from the last debate. Sanders wasn’t prepared for this debate and it showed. He never should have agreed to get into the ring with such a dirty, experienced street fighter like Clinton on such short notice.

        Despite being weak and flummoxed if he was pried from his familiar message of inequality and corruption, I thought Sanders probably won the debate with Democratic primary voters. He looked frazzled and out of his element discussing foreign policy but Clinton looked hawkish and pedantic even if she did seem competent. She seemed to relish the war talk a bit too much for my taste and I have a feeling a lot people felt the same. Clinton came across as extremely dishonest and snaky with both her TPP answer, her paid speech transcript “I’ll look into it” answer and her bizarre “yeah I get millions of dollars from powerful people to deliver 30 minute speeches but it doesn’t mean anything” defense of speaking fees and donations. Voters are gullible but everyone above the age of 12 understands the concept of gifting with strings attached. Nobody’s buying that crap. Sanders was unprepared for the debate but he may have done well enough to help his case and Hillary may have been Hillary enough to hurt hers.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Bernie’s not after the faithful, he’s after the fence sitters, and I think showing respect for the person they may have supported 60 seconds prior is the right move. As far as praising O, lots of people, especially African Americans, like the man despite each of his policies that directly hurt their own interests, so showing gentlemanly respect is also probably the right move. Bernie uses the word “revolution”, which is scary, so he needs people to see he can work with people he disagrees with. And I agree, could Hilary have been more shrill, triangulating, and entitled? She says “she gets stuff done” and B needs to press her harder on “what exactly DID you get done, aside from some good changes to children’s rights?” “What precisely are the actual accomplishments while you were SOS? Libya? Syria policy? Ukraine? Maybe getting Sweden to buckle to Monsanto’s pressure?

          1. Jerry Denim

            “Gentlemanly respect” totally. Praising the same crappy economy that Sanders spends all day railing against undermines his own message. Despite Sander’s inexplicably kind words the tepid “Obama” recovery has only been a recovery for the top ten percent of Americans while everyone else has continued to lose ground, a fact that Sanders is fully aware of and complains about loudly on a regular basis.

            Knowing that Clinton attempted to hide behind Obama’s fake progressive credentials and tried to force Sanders into attacking a popular sitting President from the left in the last debate, Sanders would have done well to prepare a short list of Obama’s praise worthy accomplishments that didn’t require Sanders to contradict his own stump speech.

            Not a good moment for Sanders, and yeah it totally killed me too that Sanders limited his Clinton foreign policy critique to her Iraq vote in 2003. Everyone heard him the first three times about Iraq, but what about her leading role as Secretary of State creating the scary “arc of instability” Clinton is so fond of mentioning. There was a ton of missed opportunities in the debate for Sanders to flip the script and score points on foreign policy, but I really don’t expect him to be much more than a one issue candidate. Foreign policy isn’t Sander’s forte and I am fine with that. Putting his foot in his mouth on the Obama economy and both being able to defend his vote regarding the Commodity Modernization act is inexcusable.

  10. Pespi

    No cash means that to undertake criminal enterprise, you need to be sophisticated enough to mask digital dollar flows. This is practically guaranteed to force smaller crooks to join syndicates, or at least partially depend on them. That’s a poor outcome, in my opinion.

    1. ambrit

      If one follows the Third World model, where the governing elites are the biggest ‘syndicate,’ this is a logical outcome, and a good one from the ‘syndicate/government’ point of view.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Those Third World monetary sovereign syndicate/governments also print money.

        To go after them, you have to go after their money source.

        Fiat money created belongs to the people.

    2. Jim Haygood

      This is the money quote from the FT:

      ‘If people hold physical cash — which, unlike a bank account, is not directly affected by negative rates — central bankers have less control.’

      And that’s a problem? This is just the brain-dead MS-frickin-M, dutifully carrying water for their plutocratic owners.

      Not that we don’t have options. They can’t outlaw the value of junk silver coins, nor of ammo which is in perpetually short supply, owing to the permanent war overseas and the luxuriant growth of the domestic police state.

      Going cashless is the final building block of neofeudalism.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not everyone in all nations will hold cash.

        Russia will accept the Chinese Yuan to settle trades.

        Iran and India have agreed to settle some deals in rupees.

        Now, thieving politicians don’t trust other thieving politicians. Why would they take another countries’ fiat money? Honor and trust the issuer will not devalue it indiscriminately?

        The people (as in the government of the people, for the people and by the people) have not choice but to use, but we foreign bankers can question its value. That’s our privilege. Too bad, you the people.

        Let’s see what is in your central bank’s vault. Farm land? Strategic oil reserve? Nuclear warheads? Gold? Can vegetables? Rare books on indoctrination? Yuan dynasty blue and white?

      2. cnchal

        Going cashless is the final building block of neofeudalism.

        The other day, I saw a young male dimwit pay with some card for something that cost $1.50

        For myself, I am a cash resistor, and pay cash everywhere I can. One place where I can’t pay with cash is the local government’s property taxes. The jackboot gets heavier and grows harder hobnails all the time.

      3. Benedict@Large

        If people can’t hold physical cash, bankers will be free to treat every monetary exchange as a loan, eventually charging fees and interest for a simple lunch at McDonald’s. They government then may still be the issuer of cash, but it won’t matter. You won’t be able to touch the stuff without paying homage to Lloyd Blankfein.

      4. cwaltz

        They’ve not outlawed physical cash but they’ve made it incredibly hard to get it released from the middle men we know as bankers. Almost everything these days is direct deposited(including government funds.)

  11. nippersdad

    The debates last night were just about the most painful thing I have ever seen. I really felt for Sanders, trying manfully not to come out and call Clinton a thoroughly corrupt harridan who can’t take a punch so she routinely hides behind victimization and her sex. What became really clear to me, though, was how thin Sanders’ knowledge of foreign affairs really is. He continually finds himself pinned and/or playing defense in a neoconservative end zone. His best argument would be over judgment, but as long as he accepts their premises, he will never be able to make that case.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sanders has a problem on foreign policy which isn’t about knowledge. It’s Obama and the Obots. Hillary except for Iran and Cuba is the third term which were basically forced by Europe. The Pope was calling Obama out on Cuba.

      Kerry might have helped give Obama a sense of urgency, but Obama is a lunatic. Push get a coup in Ukraine, numerous acts of war in Syria and Libya, his deranged murder spree world wide, his trade policies (Bernie trashed these by the way), Obama’s Saber rattling, and whatever else springs to mind. Obama is awful. Many of his voters and even Sanders supporters are not at this point. I forgot Afghanista, another aspect of Obama’s derangement.

      Sanders still has to win.

    2. Torsten

      I think he knows more about foreign policy than Hillary. Unfortunately, American voters are bloodthirsty imperialists, so on foreign affairs the best he can do is position himself slightly to the left Atillary.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        American voters have come a long way since 1940.

        There were a lot of isolationists still, at the time.

        I believe there are, today, more than a few who are for ending imperial adventures.

        Should Sanders speak up forcefully what he believes?

        1. vidimi

          nothing to gain if he does, but a lot to lose.

          the anti-imperialist voters will already vote for him on presumption of a softer international stance, whereas the hawks would rip him to shreds.

          1. 3.14e-9

            nothing to gain if he does, but a lot to lose.

            Exactly. And there’s also this: He gets a lot of criticism and even ridicule for answering a foreign policy question with a sentence and a half and then going right back to his script about Wall Street and the one percent. People infer from this that he doesn’t know squat about foreign policy and that he’s a one-trick pony. I’m guessing that it is intentional. If so, it is a brilliant strategy.

            There is simply no way Sanders can win a foreign policy debate with Clinton. No matter how hard he hits her, she gets an opening to start lecturing him about how little he knows (which she does in the most annoyingly condescending tone) and then launch into an account of how she flew to twenty countries in one afternoon to single-handedly resolve a conflict that could have exploded into WWIII; then raced back to the situation room with Obama to watch the capture of Osama bin Laden. It doesn’t even matter what she says, or whether the audience knows a Sunni from a Shiite, they get the message: “I know more about foreign policy than everyone in this room combined, I have the respect of world leaders, I get things done.” When she talks about foreign policy, she comes across as extremely competent, smart, decisive, tough – in short, very presidential.

            Sanders has to keep the debate on his turf, which also happens to be where she is most vulnerable. His constant reference to Goldman-Sachs puts her on the defensive, and the more she flails about, the more shrill and untrustworthy she appears. Not only that, but polls show that voters are concerned about the economy right now and don’t care a whole lot about foreign policy.

            I also agree with others here who think he’s better on foreign policy than he lets on.

      1. rich

        Artful smear???…RELEASE THE TRANSCRIPTS.

        Citizen Hillary Mined PEU Speaking Fees: Davos Nearing

        The Clinton’s millions in speaking fees have been reported by WaPo and The Intercept. Three private equity firms hired Hillary Clinton to speak since she stepped down as Secretary of State. Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management, David Rubenstein’s Carlyle Group and Henry Kravis’ KKR each paid Mrs. Clinton hundred of thousands of dollars.

        http://peureport.blogspot.com/2016/01/citizen-hillary-mined-peu-speaking-fees.html

        MORE…Hillary Clinton is Wall Street
        http://peureport.blogspot.com/search?q=clinton

  12. Eclair

    The Bloomberg editorial declares that most of the people working in the financial sector are good, honest folk. It’s just the few bad apples that are messing it up for everyone else.

    Woah! Did they steal this straight from the police department playbook? It’s just a few bad apples that are killing the unarmed poor and black folk. Most of us are just trying to earn our paycheck.

    It’s not the System that’s rotten … just a few people within the System. Get rid of them and all will be well!

    1. James Levy

      Whenever I see such arguments, I want to respond by asking why, if most are good and only a few are bad, the good do not avail themselves of their overwhelming numbers and expunge the bad? And why, if the majority are good, do they instantly and completely form a wall around the bad every time the bad do something bad?

      If the good are really good, why do they seem to be so powerless to do anything about the bad?

      My answer, of course, is that the good are not really good at all. They may not be actively bad, but they tacitly condone the actions of the bad in order to maintain group cohesion and draw benefits from the actions of the bad. Crooked financiers expand the bottom line (and therefore the bonuses). Killer cops terrify the locals into quiescence. Everyone gets to slap everyone else on the back and talk about the good they are doing and how unfairly misrepresented they are by those stupid outsiders who don’t understand “what a hard job we all have.” They function in a society of moral cowards and self-serving jerks.

      1. Steve H.

        Then the liars and swearers are fools,
        for there are liars and swearers enow to beat
        the honest men and hang up them.

      2. Milton

        It seems that a good indicator of whether there is systemic rot is to note the fact that it takes courage, above what is expected of mere mortals, to call out fraud or criminality in one’s workplace for fear of getting sacked or suffering more heinous reprisals.

      3. Ed

        I’ve been pondering this myself, and came up with a different answer.

        First, most large organizations have a tooth-to-tail ratio. They have principles, equivalent to fighter pilots or the infantry, that do whatever it is the organization is doing to the rest of the world. And then they have alot of support principle.

        With a corrupt organization, all the principles are bad without exception. Its why they were selected. The “bad apples” are just the ones who got caught. The support types might well not be bad, since their functions are pretty much the same in every organization no matter what it does, though they will be selected to be bad if their job requires too much knowledge of what the principles are up to.

    2. vidimi

      a personal anecdote: my partner is currently doing an mba, and one of the mandatory courses is an ethics course and another is an accounting course in which they go through examples of fraud. in the former, the people going into IB are the ones struggling the most with the concepts and, in the latter, it is again the IB guys who can’t understand why they can’t just make up numbers and claim that they only represent opinions.

      1. Eclair

        Yes, vidimi. The one concept that I seem to have retained from my MBA program, decades ago, was reiterated by an accounting professor, who declared that accounting statements reflected whatever it was that management wanted to achieve. I have never trusted any accounting statement since.

    3. perpetualWAR

      I had to endure sitting through a state Senate hearing where a bank lobbyist called his members “good people sitting around a table.”

      I added to his statement to him in the hallway, “You meant to say ‘good people sitting around a table plotting the destruction of the global financial marketplace’, correct? “

  13. flora

    re: NYTimes ‘white america’s broken heart.’
    What a bunch of bs. 1. in 2008 Obama won the Iowa caucus by a wide margin. skip the racist denigration of Iowa please. 2. people are angry about an economy that is leaving over 90% behind, and has been doing that for an entire generation thanks to wall st, and looks like it will continue to do that for the next generation, and the next, unless something fundamental changes. Blow’s articles just runs interference for Wall St. and corrupt pols with some misdirection. Did Blow miss what Obama promised in 2008? Did he miss Occupy?
    He needs to get out more.

    1. Michael

      Blow’s point is that #Occupy is what happens when white folks feel what POCs always have.

      It’s always bittersweet when the people who have been hosing you suddenly start realizing that they’ve created a situation where they can also take it in the shorts. The next question always is, are they gonna double down or are they gonna make something better?

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Occupy is what happens to those who have already taken it in the shorts. In my experience, those that continue to hold onto the rope by their fingertips (to mix metaphors) double down on their belief in the meritocracy, work even harder, and keep their heads down like ostriches. As long as those running the show can keep the rate of failure slow enough to retain the illusion that the meritocracy holds, divide and conquer will continue to work.

        We will know that the end of the current regime is near when the accountants, engineers, cops and military grunts begin calling the system into question (not by the ones but by the thousands). Not there yet.

        1. nobody

          What is the social composition of the movement? Is there a core group that can be socially situated?

          It’s quite varied. Occupy Oakland, for example, is perhaps 50% black and Latino, whereas occupations in other parts of the country may be mostly white. Some occupations are primarily very poor people, homeless people, etc., others include a lot of white-collar workers. Young “précaires” [people whose work situation and future prospects are precarious] are certainly among the most numerous participants.

          http://www.bopsecrets.org/recent/ows-interview.htm

      2. optimader

        #Occupy is what happens when white folks feel what POCs always have
        –and–
        people who have been hosing you suddenly start realizing that they’ve created a situation where they can also take it in the shorts

        Yes, I too was struck w/ what an oppressive crowd the Occupy people were. … Well at least those Honkies.

    2. sid_finster

      I grew up in Iowa, rural, backward, traditional heartland America.

      The people there are, by and large, a lot LESS racist than many a big city sophisticate.

      I was shocked when I first heard progressives saying things behind closed doors that I never heard anyone say before, not the most benighted trailer park inmates from.back home.

      But they were good progressives in public and loyal members of Team D, so its all OK.

  14. JohnnyGL

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/02/04/president-obama-oil-tax-gasoline/79835274/

    Anyone see Obama pitch this? I hadn’t heard of it, but I presume it’s just a PR talking point. I can hear Lambert in my head saying “Dems always ‘fighting’ and ‘trying’ never winning”.

    Also, very amusing to see USA Today go STRAIGHT to work acting as a mouthpiece for the oil industry as if their margins are impervious to any kind of regulation. It’s either flatly false (if you believe there’s competition in the industry) or it’s true and it’s a straightforward case of cartel pricing which calls for Roosevelt-style trust busting.

    Bernie, can we get a call to break up the oil companies, too???

    1. inhibi

      Best part of this is that the ‘oil companies’ are supposedly paying for it….

      Yeah right. It will be pushed onto consumers in the blink of an eye, with a nice margin, and the blame will be on global glut or some other source of classic misdirection.

    2. curlydan

      It’s a decent idea, but the cynic in me says that for the Prez it’s partly a legacy thing. Years from now when Miami Beach is 6 inches under, he can say he proposed it (albeit when oil prices are comfortably at $30) and get a warm fuzzy from the audience he’s addressing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the system is corrupt, then all those in it, for it, are corrupt.

      Maybe we can ask, is Hillary more corrupt than average?

      It’s not Hillary is corrupt and some other guy, who is for the corrupt system, is not.

  15. Matthew Saroff

    Am I the only one who would like to see someone use CGI to have the Penguin singing “Blue Suede Shoes”?

  16. III

    Don’t trust the BBC with this news. Here it is from the authoritative source:

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?LangID=E&NewsID=17012

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=17013&LangID=E

    “The Opinions of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are legally-binding to the extent that they are based on binding international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The WGAD has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate. The binding nature of its opinions derives from the collaboration by States in the procedure, the adversarial nature of is findings and also by the authority given to the WGAD by the UN Human Rights Council. The Opinions of the WGAD are also considered as authoritative by prominent international and regional judicial institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights.”

    Under their working methods the working group designates Britain’s dereliction as Category III, the most serious: “When the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned, is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character.” Arbitrary is a very strong word. It means the state is not just failing to comply with law – the state is coming out and saying, Fuck law, we’ll do what we want.’

    http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet26en.pdf

  17. Jim Haygood

    Jobs, comrades: the BLS says the U.S. added 151,000 of them last month. Mostly in retail (think “min wage”), but even in manufacturing too, say the bean counters.

    This chart from another site shows a stark contradiction between the ISM survey of purchasing managers — who say that employment at their companies is shrinking — and the BLS, which claims that manufacturing jobs are booming:

    http://tinyurl.com/haqqlzv

    Who ya gonna call? As one wit observed, the ‘L’ in BLS is silent. ;-)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When in doubt, assume the worst and ask questions later.

      That means, for our overlords, the specter of wage inflation (the only inflation that matters) is before us.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Oh sh*t — sell everything!

        WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – President Barack Obama will make a statement about the economy and the January jobs report at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, the White House announced Friday.

        The announcement comes after nonfarm-payrolls report released Friday showed a decline in the unemployment rate to 4.9%, the lowest since February 2008.

        Like the rooster who thinks his crowing made the sun rise …

    1. optimader

      I would like a pair of shoes like that, very smart.
      Maybe a pair for Ted Cruz?

      As far as penguins go (literally), IIRC the Galapagos Penguins are the northern most species. That would make them a Tropical bird.

      On another note for the Designer Water Harvesters, so I’ve read in the past, ~3% of Antarctic ice is Penguin Urine. Considering the Penguin habitat is coastal, that makes for some areas of pretty rank ice.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Trouble in the Bolivarian Workers Paradise, comrades:

    CARACAS—Millions of pounds of provisions, stuffed into three-dozen 747 cargo planes, arrived here from countries around the world in recent months to service Venezuela’s crippled economy.

    But instead of food and medicine, the planes carried another resource that often runs scarce here: bills of Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar. The shipments were part of the import of at least five billion bank notes that President Nicolás Maduro’s administration authorized over the latter half of 2015.

    This week, the bolivar broke the psychologically important level of 1,000 per dollar for the first time on the country’s thriving black market. The country has several official exchange rates, including 6.3 bolivars to the dollar.

    Dinner at a nice restaurant can cost a brick-size stack of bills. A cheese-stuffed corn cake—called an arepa—sells for nearly 1,000 bolivars, requiring 10 bills of the highest-denomination 100-bolivar bill, each worth less than 10 U.S. cents. Some ATMs limit withdrawals to around 6,000 bolivars a day—less than $6 on the unofficial market.

    http://tinyurl.com/hjysrvq

    We are now obliged to amend the common observation that ‘Venezuela can never run out of bolivars.’ As the article makes clear, Venezuela lacks the domestic capacity to print 10 billion bolivar notes.

    Absent the Berlin-style airlift of cargo planes filled with worthless scrip, Venezuela would in fact run out of bolivars.

    Any idiot can cripple an economy. But it takes truly extraordinary skill to wreck an economy this profoundly.

    1. optimader

      They need to put people to work at the V. Treasury with Sharpies drawing neat lines through zeros and adding exponential notation onto Bolivars. Much easier on the eyes and it will save a lot of paper.

      Actually Testors sells a nice Gold Metal Flake Marker. Using those for the E notation –would add a touch of Class.

      1. craazyboy

        They could outsource production to another country…but then they wouldn’t really be a sovereign currency issuer anymore.

      1. Optimader

        There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns and… Whatever…
        The basic phenomena is all societies organize into classes of equal and more equal, i dont really care what organizing economic system is alleged.
        Until humans evolve into an entirly altruistic species i think its safe to say, don’t hold your breath.

  19. Brooklin Bridge

    Surprising that Hillary didn’t accuse Bernie of rigging the Iowa caucus in her favor just to garner sympathy for himself.

    “Senator Sanders should know better than to use coin flips – my goodness, coin flips – or rig counts using Microsoft software just to prove what a gentleman he is and he clearly did it to artfully insinuate that I’m a woman and I just want to say that’s downright insulting to every woman in this wonderful country of ours…I, I mean…”

  20. jfleni

    RE: “Maryland Attorney General: If You Don’t Want To Be Tracked, Turn Off Your Phone”

    It may not matter with a sneaky extra (rechargeable) battery or capacitor!

  21. Isolato

    I wish Bernie would mention the most corrupt pardon in US Presidential history…Marc Rich. Pardoned by Bill Clinton on his last day in office in exchange for $4 million. Ask Hillary what she thinks of that. Hey! Ask Eric Holder. Sadly, over time we normalise the horror. President’s have “always” sold the power to pardon. We have “always” had the national security state. The Bush tax cuts are the norm, eliminating them is is a “tax increase”. Sigh…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Reminds me of that quote, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

      Or say nothing.

      Perhaps it’s a tactical move – tolerate a small evil act to combat a bigger evil deed.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Yep, everybody does it, and it’s always been this way:

      Washington (CNN) — Colin Powell and top staffers for Condoleezza Rice received classified information through personal email accounts, according to a new report from State Department investigators.

      Thursday’s revelation about the two secretaries of state under former President George W. Bush gave [Hillary’s] supporters an opportunity to claim the Democratic presidential candidate was being singled out over the practice.

      The emails were discovered during a State Department review of the email practices of the past five secretaries of state. It found that Powell received two emails that were classified and that the “immediate staff” working for Rice received 10 emails that were classified.

      http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/04/politics/hillary-clinton-email-classified-colin-powell-condoleezza-rice/index.html

      This process was called ‘defining deviancy downward’ during the halcyon days of the Clinton administration.

      Nice that the captured State Dept is still acting as Hillary’s PR operation.

      1. Isolato

        My shuffle play coughed up Tracy Chapman’s great “Talkin’ bout a revolution” last night. Still talkin’…

        I also wish Bernie would use THAT as a theme instead of the creepy reaganesque “America”

        Bernie…are you listenin’?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here comes the martyrdom card.

        She is the victim of a vast right wing conspiracy.

        “Hey, your PR spin people are good.”

  22. jfleni

    RE: Is the CEO of Goldman Sachs Really Afraid of Bernie Sanders?

    Blinkfink should really be petrified of Senator Warren rather than Bernie! Every time he tangles with her he LOSES badly!

    1. JTMcPhee

      Sen. Warren is like Khe Sahn and all those Forward Bases in Syriaquistan – a lot of fight, but the NVA and the Talibanks surround them, dominate the population, can cut them off, and reduce them at their leisure. There’s zero resupply, zero air or artillery support, all of it is owned by the the M&M Enterprises Syndicate. Maybe a brave person, maybe a kayfabist? Does it matter?

  23. PQS

    From the Bloomberg article: “and she ably represented the industry during her eight years as a senator from New York.”

    See, that’s the problem. And it seems only Bernie points this out!

    What I wish someone would ask is how in the world are either of them going to get anything done with the Congress we have now, which is so gerrymandered and bought off. What’s the plan for that?

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      It’s an excellent question but just getting out the truth (or more of it) from the bully pulpit would be a dramatic change in and of itself and there is a lot a President can do without approval from Congress. Such actions would belie the meme that it can’t be done. Also, Bernie could cause a lot of healthy and long overdue embarrassment (a powerful force) – would he? being another matter.

    2. B

      The Democratic establishment (DNC/DCCC/DSCC) actively recruits and funds conservatives (some active Republicans) for Congressional seats, using money to block or weaken progressive challengers. They often elect NOT to run a Democratic candidate rather than oppose a corporatist Republican with a non-corporatist Democrat.

      Sanders isn’t just energizing voters to come to the polls and get more Democrats elected. Sanders-affiliated candidates are going up against Democratic establishment candidates (one is challenging Wasserman-Schultz). Progressive organizations are using the excitement around Sanders to drive donations and volunteer energy to progressive candidates — which could help those progressives get elected, where without Sanders it would have been much harder or impossible. If he gets elected, leadership of the DNC/DCCC/DSCC would go to progressives, and the recruitment and funding of Democratic candidates would change dramatically.

      This “it doesn’t matter who is elected with a Republican Congress” line is silly. 1) President Sanders does a lot by NOT agreeing with the Republicans to sign TPP, keep NAFTA, do a Grand Bargain, launch a big stupid war, etc. 2) Neoliberalism has led to lower and lower Democratic turnout. Sanders could mean a MUCH bigger turnout; could flip the House and Senate this term — not guaranteed, but it’s possible, and it isn’t with Clinton. 3) Meanwhile, IF he wins, there’s at least some wave effect, so more and better Democrats now, and more and better Democrats probably in two years. Lots of what he wants, Republican voters want. Republicans who block those things in the house may get punished by their own voters.

      Yes, it’s a corrupt and broken system. Maybe he won’t get universal health care passed. Maybe the Congress stays Republican. But what’s the argument — from an actual Democratic POV — for Hillary’s Presidency? The only bills she’d sign are exactly what Democratic voters don’t want signed, and we continue to circle the drain. Talking about tumbrels can be entertaining when you’re angry and frustrated, but 300 million plus people aren’t going to just quietly lay down in the street and starve — not when a significant chuck of them used to have lives, and were raised to believe they lived in a land of opportunity, and when millions and millions of guns are floating around. A population that idolizes force and believes it sprang from a revolution is not going to suffer passively forever, and that confrontation — with the largest military in the history of the world available to be brought home and turned on its citizens — would be catastrophic. I’m to Bernie’s left, but I don’t see the argument in favor of sitting home, voting for Clinton in the hopes of blocking the marginally worse Republican (she would probably lose, for one thing), or voting third party in this particular election. Talk about David strategies — Sanders turning things around may be a long shot, but the likely alternative in the extremely near future is so dire why NOT take a chance?

  24. Oregoncharles

    From: “After Iowa … Can Bernie Win a “Strip & Flip” Selection?” (which is really about vote counting): “The corporate media refuses to report on this agenda. Democrats often ignore it for fear they’ll discourage voters from coming out to cast ballots (that are then trashed).”

    In fact, Democrats have done virtually nothing to prevent massive cheating in elections – odd, considering their avowed allegiance to democracy. In fact, both Gore and Kerry pointedly refused to actively oppose the cheating that blocked them from the Presidency – Kerry refused to do anything at all. It was left to the Greens and Libertarians to challenge the Ohio vote fraud.

    This bizarre silence reeks of collusion. In fact, it’s very much as if they intend to do a little electoral cheating themselves. Remember the notorious big-city “machines” that dominated the early 20th C.? All Democrats. And the last was Chicago.

  25. perpetualWAR

    Living Out of a Van is the New American Dream

    This reminds me of the Chris Farley skit on SNL. “Livin’ in a van down by the river.” Now packaged as something to strive for.

    What has become of the U.S.? If the only way we can achieve a “happy life” is to live in a van down by the river? OMFG.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      It will be worse when they privatize the rivers: “Keep out, pay per view, this water, when it’s not on fire, is for bottling and selling to you, the public.”

  26. cassandra

    Scrapping cash? In favor of what? My local Trader Joe’s lines have slowed to a crawl since the introduction of chip-reading technology. It now takes typically 80 sec for a transaction, which can be initiated ONLY after all items have been rung up. So I’ve gone back to using cash; that transaction takes 20 sec if you have to rummage through your purse, a quarter that, if you’re prepared. Technological crappification is providing a self-evident argument for its own demise.

  27. Darthbobber

    The Atlantic article on primary polling is a little silly, since it manages to avoid the fairly obvious point that a caucus is a totally different animal, and that candidates who actually bother to organize an effort to identify their supporters and get them there will invariably outperform their numbers relative to someone who attaches no importance at all to any of that and relies entirely on a media hype campaign.

    George McGovern actually won the Kansas democratic caucuses in 1972, and had that been a primary the results would have been very different.

  28. Cry Shop

    Gas for Oil: If Obama only taxes oil and not natural gas, it plays to my suspicions that he is helping Sec of Interior Slash and BurnSally Jewell keep faith with their mutual fracking clients, who will reward them both upon retirement, Barry’s Chicago friends at Exelon, and helping Warren’s gas pipe line empire. Warren moves a lot of sands oil by train, but he stands to do even better by his gas pipeline business.

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