2:00PM Water Cooler 3/18/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

TPP/TTiP/TISA

“[TPP] at risk as the US political pendulum swings towards trade isolationism” [Business Day]. “[T]he sometimes pro-trade Democratic candidate front-runner, Hillary Clinton, is rushing to burnish her protectionist credentials.” Nonsense. Clinton is lying. As I showed Wednesday, her surrogates are still swanning about, making pro-TPP noises. If she were serious about not passing TPP, she’d slap them down. She hasn’t.

“Has The Election Finally Killed TPP And Corporate “Free Trade”?” [Dave Johnson, CAF]. Not at all, and not merely by Betteridge’s Law: See above.

” The European Commission will be obliged to consult with US authorities before adopting new legislative proposals following passage of a controversial series of trade negotiations being carried out mostly in secret” [Belfast Telegraph]. “A leaked document obtained by campaign group the Independent and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) from the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations reveals the unelected Commission will have authority to decide in which areas there should be cooperation with the US – leaving EU member states and the European Parliament further sidelined.”

“Even if trade talks for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are accelerating, reaching a deal by the end of the year is unlikely, Joseph Quinlan, Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University said in an interview with EurActiv” [Euractiv]. “”I think TTIP is a deal for between now and 2020,” he stressed, saying the US presidential elections has hit the pause button for TTIP.” Good. Now let’s hit Eject.

2016

Policy

Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil? Discuss.

* * *

“Postal Banking Didn’t Work in 1910 — and It Won’t Now” [American Banker].

“Clinton’s Bold Vision, Hidden in Plain Sight?” [Jacob S. Hacker* And Paul Pierson, New York Times]. And here it is! (I’m so excited.) “Moreover, unlike Mr. Sanders, she sees [government’s] role as primarily focused on correcting the shortcomings of weakly regulated markets rather than redistributing income and wealth.” In other words, she’s a neoliberal (see here). * I remember Hacker very well; he was the author of a book on the “public option,” which career “progressives” used to run a bait and switch operation against single payer.

The Scorps

One more look at “Were Changes to Sanders Article ‘Stealth Editing’?” [Margaret Sullivan, New York Times]. Hoisted from the comments section:

1_times

That is, the Times is no longer a newspaper of record.

2_times

If there is a record, it will be found in contemporaneous fair-use quotation, as for example in this blog.

3_times

Further, there’s no point in sharing material from the Times on social media.

4_times

Finally, the Sanders campaign actually redistributed a link to the Times story, and then the Times Editors changed it to trash him. I won’t use the word “ratfucking,” but feel free to think it. To my mind, the Orwellian rewriting of the story under the same URL is even bigger than “Stealth editing.” If you don’t feel this issue is closed, you can contact the Margaret Sullivan, the Times Public editor, here. If, like many others in the comments section, you’re cancelling your subscription, do feel free to let her know.

Money

“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been bashing Johnson Controls Inc. in speeches and television ads for moving its corporate headquarters to Ireland as part of a planned merger with Tyco International. Meanwhile, her husband Bill Clinton said the firm is ‘one of my favorite companies’ and praised the work it had done in the clean energy sector during an event in North Carolina this week” [Biz Journals]. Maybe if they write Hillary Clinton a check they’ll be one of her favorite companies too?

The Voters

“The Democratic Party is acting like the political parties we have traditionally known in American politics: It is backing familiar politicians with deep institutional ties and, amidst divided government, nominating compromise figures with the potential for bipartisan appeal” [Ezra Klein, Vox]. Well, no, they don’t have the “potential for bipartisan appeal” if or when the Republicans are crazypants fascists, and the weasel word “potential” doesn’t help the thesis. In fact, the Democratic Party is repeating the same strategic blunder — if blunder it was — that Obama committed in 2008. Eight years later.

“Since the 18th century revolutions have been fueled by the abuse and corruption rampant in monarchies and family dynasties. When democracy took place, the people were heard and be represented. The Bush and Clinton families have since circumvented what democracy, in theory, is supposed to accomplish: Although they were elected, their rise to power was ensured by the influence of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Each presidency built the foundation for another Bush and another Clinton to reach the White House” [New York Observer]. Oh, and “Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush also shared many of the same wealthy donors—more than 60 of whom contributed to both campaigns.” So, the hug.

“As an angry base rejects establishment candidates in favor of you-know-who, a significant part of the party’s elite blames not itself, but the moral and character failings of the voters” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. Exactly as the Democratic establishment does with Sanders voters (assuming it wants their votes, which it doesn’t). But never mind that.

Trump Panic

“5,000 people aim to ‘crush’ Donald Trump with march on Trump Tower in NYC” [Daily Dot]. I’m picturing a debacle where the Black Bloc crashes the party, the media blames the Democrats for the ensuing melee, and the moderate Republicans rush straight back to Trump’s arms (after Clinton throws the Sanders supporters under the bus, so she loses both ways).

“A pair of super PACs loyal to Mrs. Clinton have already accumulated a vast trove of research on Mr. Trump’s business dealings. Using financial experts, Correct the Record and American Bridge have dug into his business career and pored over his personal-disclosure forms looking for material to exploit in a general election.” [Wall Street Journal, “Hillary Clinton’s Allies Launch Plan to Undercut Donald Trump Now”]. “The groups haven’t released any of this research as the GOP primaries have unfolded. They didn’t want to assist Mr. Trump’s GOP rivals, whom they believed would give Mrs. Clinton a tougher challenge in November, according to a person familiar with their work. Now, they will look for an opportune time to try to put Mr. Trump on the defensive.” Read the whole article. What nobody realized, I think, was that the sheepdogging wil be institutional, not personal.

The Trail

“Debriefing Mike Murphy” is a must-read if you want to understand our political class [The Weekly Standard (of all places)]. Murphy ran Bush’s SuperPac, “right to rise.” This paragraph caught my eye:

[Murphy] says a lot of the anger is springing from people’s fears and hard realities — the middle class not getting a raise in a decade. Generally pessimistic older white voters see the demographic shifts and don’t like it. The media are incessantly “sticking red-hot thermometers in lukewarm water and saying, ‘Wow, that water’s pretty hot!’ ” He then adds, in what you don’t expect the capo of a $118 million super-PAC who spends his days begging hedge-fund managers for dough to say: “There is the Wall Street stuff — rich guys who win either way. When things go south, they get bailed out. When things go right, they get billions. There’s legit anger at that. And there should be. Income inequality stuff is real.”

The weird thing, Murphy says, is even the rich guys he speaks to know it. One of them, a Right to Rise donor, gave Murphy a hop from New York back to L.A. on his brand new Gulfstream. Murphy calls it a “G-a-lot,” as in, “it was bigger than a G-V.” Upon deplaning, “the hedge-fund zillionaire pulls me aside, and says, ‘I paid $55 million for this, and the government gave me most of it in tax breaks. I don’t know if people ask for things from Jeb. But here’s what I want: Tell him to get rid of that shit.’ Because even the guys in that world feel crappy about it. It was an interesting moment.”

“I stand between you and the pitchforks.” This was Obama’s finest hour.

Stats Watch

Consumer Sentiment, March 2016: “Consumer sentiment remains solid but has definitely fallen back, to 90.0 for the March flash for the least optimistic readings since October” [Econoday]. “Weakness is centered in expectations, down 1.9 points to 80.0 which is the lowest reading since September for this component. Declines in expectations point to weakening confidence in the jobs and income outlook.”

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, March 2016: “Business inflation expectations remain flat, unchanged in March” [Econoday]. “Unlike this report, inflation expectations on the consumer side, posted this morning with the consumer sentiment index, are showing some life.”

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, March 2016 (yesterday): “A nice positive print that hopefully signals a turn around, but I need to see at least one more before taking it seriously, as volatility is common with this series” [Mosler Economics].

Shipping: “Rail Returns To Its Slide Into The Abyss” [Econintersect]. Oopsie.

Honey for the Bears: “This article [Wall Street Journal, “Global Currencies Soar, Defying Central Bankers”] reminded me of these couple of lines from a Yeats poem (on Saint Patrick’s Day) which I posted regularly at the height of the crisis in 2008 and 2009″ [Across the Curve].

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

A “ceremony of innocence” wouldn’t be my first metaphor of choice for the financial markets, but I get the point.

Honey for the Bears:


Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “Treasuries headed for the biggest weekly advance since January after the Federal Reserve lowered its forecast for interest-rate increases this year, citing the potential impact from weaker global growth on the U.S. economy” [Bloomberg].

The Fed: “Former Chicago Fed Employee Guilty of Theft of Secret Documents” [New York Times]. And there’s never one roach in the kitchen.

“Dow’s Freakish Bounce Makes Investors Whole, Can’t Erase Doubts” [Bloomberg]. “Makes investors whole.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 79, Extreme Greed (previous close: 78, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 18 at 12:43pm. Not quite a scorcher, but improving…

Water

“Vietnam’s Mekong Delta hit by worst drought in years” [Asian Correspondent].

” Worst Mediterranean drought in 900 years has human fingerprints all over it” [Guardian].

“Flint Whistleblower: Health Impact of DC Water 20-30 Times Worse than Flint” [Inside Sources]. Yikes! First, I thought of the poor. Then, of the political class.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“At this point, abandoning the F-35 is politically impossible. Producing the jet reportedly involves 1,300 suppliers supporting 133,000 jobs in 45 states. The Marine Corps declared its first squadron of F-35s war-ready in July 2015. The Air Force expects to make its own declaration of combat-readiness by December this year, with the Navy following two years later” [The Daily Beast]. Again, our military lacks operational competence (at anything other than creating self-licking ice cream cones).

“‘Insider Threat’ program, based largely on Manning’s WikiLeaks disclosures, targets government employees for ‘continuous evaulation’ using a variety of subjective labels” [Ed Pilkington, Guardian]. If you’re “disgruntled,” you could be an “insider threat.” So be sure to maintain an actively gruntled state at all times!

Class Warfare

“Story of cities #4: Beijing and the earliest planning document in history” [Guardian]. Awesome article. “Beijing was conceived as a diagram of an organised, harmonious society, designed to bind the citizens together in bricks and mortar under the supreme rule of the emperor. It was to be an expression of absolute power like no other city in the world.”

“Last month, Y-Combinator, Silicon Valley’s blue-chip startup fund, announced a request for proposal to study a universal basic income. Sam Altman, the President of Y-Combinator, wrote in a separate essay that in the future, we will have a ‘smaller and smaller number of people creating more and more of the wealth. And we need a new solution for the people not creating most of the wealth — many of the minimum wage jobs are going to get innovated away anyway'” [Medium]. “The people without jobs will be an ‘idle class’ — and the obvious conclusion, to Altman, ‘is that the government will just have to give these people money.” (Emphasis ours.)” This is what you should think of whenever you hear the words “innovation,” “disruption,” “startup”… Any of that.

“The three highest valued U.S. companies with immigrant founders include car-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc., data-software company Palantir Technologies Inc. and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Inc.” [Wall Street Journal, “Study: Immigrants Founded 51% of U.S. Billion-Dollar Startups”] And see above.

“Google Puts Boston Dynamics Up for Sale in Robotics Retreat” [Bloomberg]. Boston Dynamics put out the famous videos of humanoid and dog-like robots. Reaction from Alphabet’s PR Department: “‘There’s excitement from the tech press, but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs,’ wrote Courtney Hohne, a director of communications at Google and the spokeswoman for Google X…. ‘We’re not going to comment on this video because there’s really not a lot we can add, and we don’t want to answer most of the Qs it triggers,’ she wrote.” No. I wouldn’t think so.

Gentrification: “The moving truck showed up a few nights before Christmas. We were coming home from dinner when Anita saw me. Across the fence, she wept while recalling her wedding in the backyard, her mom’s glorious rose bushes, and how her dad used to drink coffee in his shed—his sanctuary—all year long. And then she mentioned, for the first time, that my land—a lot that used to belong to Anna and her husband—had once been a bountiful urban farm. The farm had been a food source for families that had fallen on hard times, which were many during Kirkwood’s post–Jim Crow nadir” [Atlanta Magazine].

“Britain Obtains European Arrest Warrants for 5 Bankers in Euribor Case” [New York Times]. It can’t happen here.

News of the Wired

“Memorable events in decade of Twitter” [Agence France Presse]. Good list, but nothing about hash tags or #BlackLivesMatter? Sad!

“MIT scientists find evidence that Alzheimer’s ‘lost memories’ may one day be recoverable” [WaPo]. Only mice. Nevertheless…

* * *

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 (tractorparts):

MOSS2

Moss and tractor parts: certainly a unique combination. (I love moss; I wish I knew how to transplant it.)

* * *

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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

151 comments

  1. TomD

    “[TPP] at risk as the US political pendulum swings towards trade isolationism”

    Nasty language there. Protectionism is not isolationism. No candidate has suggested we stop trading.

    1. sd

      It’s time to take away the “free” from “trade” and remind the children that everything has a price.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘Freakish bounce’ is a term that fijos [financial journos] use when they had the bit between their teeth preaching doom, and then fickle Ms. Market confounded their expectations.

    Usually the market will do whatever confuses the largest number of participants (including all of the MSM). With the S&P 500 only 4 percent below its record high set almost ten months ago, one potential plot twist is obvious.

    Namely, rally to a marginal new record high, provoking a fresh burst of Bubble III enthusiasm. Then flame out, leaving new bullish converts high and dry.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They are talking about a ‘Shanghai Accord’ among central bankers.

      “We need to establish sanctuaries when profits evaporate completely.”

    2. barrisj

      “Rally” fueled by corporate stock buybacks, financed by low-interest loans – check current corporate debt loads, hedgies piling back in to recoup Jan. losses, short-covering, and over all of it automated trading biased toward the buyside (at the moment). And, this state of affairs can turn on a dime with anything suddenly appearing that can be interpreted as “bad for the market”. “Peanuts, popcorn, getcha red-hots here!”

    3. Christopher Fay

      Market crashes are a great time to cash in as in 2008. Obama was called in to lead the bail out programs; the Bush/Cheney administration had already collapsed. I am worried about a replay and Hillary is definitely pro-bail out.

    4. Bill Michtom

      “fickle Ms. Market”

      How does one determine the sex of an invisible hand?

      How does a hand have a sex?

  3. Max

    I’m sorry for sharing this. I know a guy (young, successful, smart computer engineer) who earnestly wants our future to look like young Crowley’s below. I’m 99% sure this isn’t satire.

    A Typical Day in a Blockchain Enabled World Circa 2030

    Let’s follow Crowley as his day unfolds. It all starts when Crowley wakes up in the morning. Crowley wears his sleep-optimizing bracelet at night, which uploads his pre-waking vital signs anonymously to the Internet. Using this information, machine-learning systems across the world use bitcoins to bid on the time Crowley’s alarm clock should go off, given his physical condition and sleep/wake cycle. The winning bid is the one that lets Crowley sleep the longest.

    Because Crowley likes to take long, hot showers in the morning, he used to run out of hot water. But recently, a resident in his apartment building installed an industrial-grade hot water heater and is now selling hot water to other tenants to help with the cost. A chip in Crowley’s hot water faucet automatically dispenses bitcoins directly to a chip in the hot water heater. As Crowley turns the shower knob clockwise, more bitcoins are dispensed and more hot water streams from the shower head.

    (lots of other terrifying examples)

    You might have thought that a world built entirely on decentralized Bitcoin transactions would be a horrific dystopia. But after reading the awesome description of a day in the life of a typical bitcoiner in the year 2030, where everything operates via Bitcoin, we’re sure your worries have been conclusively put to rest.

    1. Yves Smith

      Many readers will recognize this as a libertarian extension of the ideas in a Philip K. Dick short story….I can’t recall the name, but a key incident is where the protagonist has to feed his refrigerator a quarter to get milk, but he has no money.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          From Ubik:

          He fumbled for the doorhandle of the refrigerator, to get out a carton of milk.

          “Ten cents, please,” the refrigerator said. “Five cents for opening my door; five cents for the cream.”

          “It isn’t cream,” he said. “It’s plain milk.” He continued to pluck – futilely – at the refrigerator door. “Just this one time,” he said to it. “I swear to god I’ll pay you back. Tonight.”

          Welcome to the Internet of Things!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He will just mumble some excuse about ‘and I learned first hand the cost of that.’

        1. TomD

          Yeah that terrible cost of the biggest popular vote advantage since GHWB beat Dukakis and a sweeping tide of representatives and senators aligned with his party.

            1. Arizona Slim

              I don’t think it did.

              Somewhere on the White House website is a photo of Obama looking down his nose at Bill Clinton. ISTR that it was taken on the day that Clinton took over a news conference because Obama was too busy. After all, the poor man had to go to a White House Christmas party.

              The look of contempt on Obama’s face was striking, to say the least.

      1. ekstase

        If you live in a state that hasn’t had a chance to voice its opinions in a primary yet, this whole process can start to seem very condescending and even snobbish, (and it’s only March!) Perhaps these are not the qualities a Dem candidate wants to appear to possess.

    1. Fred

      The problem for HRC is that Sanders’ campaign is demonstrating to people who would normally feel at home in the democratic party (and vote accordingly) that for at least the last 24 years the national democratic party has not advanced their interests and in fact has harmed their interests, notwithstanding the sweet nothings that have been whispered in their ears at election time. They have no reason to expect HRC to be any different. Since this past Tuesday the Clintonistas have been raging at Sanders to drop out and get behind HRC. There have even been threats to either primary and/or back-bench him if he doesn’t get with the program. IMO he is going to finish writing the story.

      1. Arizona Slim

        For the past 24 years? Hmmm, that would be since 1992. That was the year when I changed my registration from Democratic to Independent.

        Right now, I’m a Dem. Had to re-register to vote in AZ’s March 22 primary.

        On March 23, I have a date with this website:

        http://servicearizona.com/

        I’ll be re-registering as an Indie. And I know many people who will be doing the same. If you think the national Democratic Party is lame, you should see Arizona’s.

      2. Llewelyn Moss

        Wouldn’t it be Grand if Bernie, in a Moment Of Clarity, sees the Epic Opportunity in front of him, and he walks away with his 50% of Dem voters for a third party bid. Leaving Hellery and the rest of the Neoliberal Dem Party to twist in the wind.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          As Clive urges, it’s a twenty-year project. That’s why I think a standalone, permament, self-funded, and explicitly pro-working class organization is the best possible outcome.* A thirty party effort will founder on ballot access alone, and then dissipate.

          * And put the headquarters in a flyover state. There can be branch offices in DC and Silicon Valley.

          1. RP

            American Populist Party

            The only ones who’ll fight for you and me
            Are all the good folks down at the APP
            Housing, Food, Good Jobs, Cheap Meds
            Down With The Oligarchy
            And Off With Their Heads!

          2. Left in Wisconsin

            Well, there is already Working Families Party, which is apparently hoping to stake out precisely this terrain. But I presume you mean in addition to, or in opposition to, WFP.

    2. DJG

      Do you mean President Concern Troll Obama, with the infallible political instincts? Try taking a look at the article about his candidate for the SEC, listed in this morning’s links. One or two judgment problems lately, I’d wager.

      1. polecat

        “Listen……I just want folks to know——————————————–and that they should eat their peas—————————-and further more—————————-“

  4. ex-PFC Chuck

    “At this point, abandoning the F-35 is politically impossible. Producing the jet reportedly involves 1,300 suppliers supporting 133,000 jobs in 45 states.”

    Definitely a feature, not a bug. A superb accomplishment in Political Engineering.

    1. JeffC

      That’s an average of barely over 100 jobs per firm. There are some really big firms pulling up the average, so are we to believe most of these firms have only what, a dozen or so employees? Or should we be suspicious of the original numbers?

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Usually something is what it appears to be, for example an implement with a long wooden handle and a scoop-shaped metal attachment on the other end designed for moving soil is rightly called a “spade”.
      So here goes:
      America = War
      You may recoil from that statement, and you may employ various psychological mechanisms designed to lessen your cognitive dissonance with it, but those will not have any effect on its veracity.
      A 12-step program to recover begins with “acknowledge you have a problem”. Most people would not get past that step since they believe America = War is a feature, not a bug. To them I would say: “remember then, it’s not our freedoms they hate us for”.
      So then it’s wonderfully circular: the whole world will hate us, and will then seek to attack us, which will make the America = War value proposition even stronger.
      If that is not the kind of future you want for our world then you might do what it takes to get past Step 1. Recognize, Internalize, and evangelize. Yes that sounds very preachy but that’s what we must become if we want this to change.

  5. phred

    When the moss puts up little flowery stems, take a chunk of the moss, put in a blender with water and pour over whatever surface you would like to become moss covered. Voila, moss transplant.

    1. Romancing the Loan

      I have also had some success in blenderizing (just a little on the slowest speed) some moss with water, plain yogurt, and a spoonful of sugar (supposedly it gives it a nice meal to get established?) and then applying the resulting gunk onto the desired surface. Moss on soil should go to soil, moss on rock to rock.

  6. divadab

    “Postal Banking Didn’t Work in 1910 — and It Won’t Now” – American Banker Mag

    Probably the best argument to proceed with the plan – the bankers don’t like it. Postal banking works just fine in Australia – every little podunk watering spot has a post office, and ordinary people can use it wherever they are. The only reason it wouldn’t work here is the difficulty of getting the required legislation passed in the face of the banking cartel and the UPS/Fedex cartel, both of which operate through their bought-and-paid for legislators to block and destroy the competition.

    Monopoly capitalism is in restraint of trade. The sooner the cartels are cut down to size the better.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can the Fed force Postal banks, like others, to go negative interest rates?

      Will postal banks also report on customers withdrawing too much cash?

      The problems seem deeper.

    2. TomD

      The whole argument is based on the fact that postal banking *did* work for 40 years, but then congress didn’t change it’s rates to allow it to compete with commercial banks. Warren and Sanders also want to go further allowing the post banks to lend so they’d be generating their own revenue.

      He also says that since demand for the USPS is dropping and they want to close post offices that it wouldn’t do what they want, ignoring that turning them into banks would increase demand for post offices/banks.

      1. Uahsenaa

        It also ignores the fact that the financial pressures on the USPS, which are used to justify post office closures, are entirely artificial ones imposed upon it by Congress.

    3. PQS

      Don’t forget how much the RW hates the Postal Workers Union(s). This is the main reason, plus the general hatred of all things “public” (even, apparently, things in their much admired Constitution), that RWingers in Congress have always gone on tears after the USPS.

      I had to laugh at the interest rates quoted in the article. 3% in 1910. How much you paying now, bankster? Oh, right.

      1. Andrew Anderson

        One thing neither the RW nor anyone else can legitimately object to is individual citizen, business, State and local government accounts at the central bank.

        Why? Because of the inherent right of citizens to use their own Nation’s fiat, same as the banks do, via inherently risk-free, convenient accounts at the central bank. Right now, we have about 6000 real “citizens” in the US since that’s the number of depository institutions with accounts at the Fed.

        I almost wish for the abolition of physical cash to make this point unmistakable clear since, in that case, the citizens of a Nation could not use their Nation’s fiat AT ALL, not one single penny of it.

          1. Bill Michtom

            This article advising its readers about a hearing “this week” is from 2013, without a dateline.

            Not a good start.

    4. Andrew Anderson

      One thing American bankers cannot possibly object to without revealing themselves to be utter hypocrites is the allowance of individual citizen, business, State and local government, etc. accounts at the Federal Reserve itself.

      This is the jugular* and the camel’s nose under the tent** as well..

      So then, why the resistance by Progressives to what is, after all, simply*** equal protection under the law?

      *Since all payments by the monetary sovereign would naturally be directed, by default, to those individual citizen, etc. accounts at the Fed and not to the accounts of commercial banks, etc as they now must be in the form of forced loans of fiat to the banks.

      **Since the call for the abolition of deposit insurance would naturally follow as well as the abolition of other privileges for what would be peers at the central bank.

      ***Simply devastating to bank privileges, that is. :)

    5. alex morfesis

      The postal savings system was defunded…i dont think it was technically rescinded…the bankers argued there was no need for the system…the postal savings system was the only cross state banking enterprise and testimony of the bankers was that since they were now allowing anyone to open an account…there was no need to keep govt competition to private banking houses…and that it was unfair that they could not have cross country branch banking but the postal service allowed the average citizen the convenience of cross country use of their own money without having to involve the private banking system…this was obviously before debit or credit cards…the law still exists…it is just not funded…the postal savings system is still legally the law…it was not rescinded…congress authorized the postal inspector to have a final board meeting of the postal savings board but it seems that meeting never happened and the postmaster general never came back to get final authorization and give a final report….
      The board consisted of the us atty genl and treasury secty along with postmaster…i checked all three…legal dept of postal service has no record…and personal records of treasury secty and us atty at that time show no such meeting occured…so it never legally was killed…simply defunded…

    6. Yves Smith

      Sorry, there are not postal banks in Australia. I lived there. The post office in not acting as a bank. It is providing a front end to banks. You don’t have an account at Australia Post. You access your banking account at, say, ANZ.

  7. tony

    Someone argued that F-35 serves the same role as paper legionaires did in late Roman Empire. The non-existent legionaires would be paid wages which would then be pocketed by senators and their cronies. It seems to be a function of a military empire that does not perceive real threats to its centre, and as such the elites have no reason not to plunder the military. Sure, it leads to easily preventable losses, but they happen far away and don’t affect the rich at the centre of the Empire.

  8. alex morfesis

    El donaldo throws a party for 5000 people…being the pt barn that he is he might hand out 10000 bottles of trump water…have 20000 hotdogs and burgers distributed…set up his own grandstand and take questions five to ten minutes at a time from the crowd for a few hours…once you get past the first 90 minutes…the group in the crowd who feel comfortable standing in front of a big crowd and asking el donaldo questions will thin out and by the third hour the crowd will start to leave…and he will wrap it up with…no more questions ?? Ok…get home safe and no matter how you feel about me or the process make sure you vote for somebody…
    It would be the fastest way to stop the noise…and when the hillbill tries to steal the nomination…trump will have absorbed some of the bernerz she will ignore…not that he can move that fast…

  9. dcblogger

    Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil? Discuss.
    Trump will be infinitely worse than Clinton. He will siphon all public funds in his businesses and his crony’s pockets, far more than Clinton. He will divert attention from this by closing Mosques (we should take his threat very seriously) and mass deportations. He will turn the US into a failed state w/in 6 months.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Marc Faber takes a shot at Lambert’s question:

      Marc Faber, author of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, has thrown down the gauntlet on who he thinks should be the next president of the United States.

      “It’s all relative,” he said. “Given the alternatives, I would vote for Mr. Trump because he may only destroy the U.S. economy, but Hillary Clinton will destroy the whole world.”

      “Look at her nation-building in the Middle East, how successful that has been,” he added with a laugh.

      http://finance.yahoo.com/news/faber-id-vote-trump-because-165933151.html

      ‘With a laugh’ … there goes his visa.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Why not combining the best of Clinton and Trump?

        We can call the new hybrid, Clump.

        1. frosty zoom

          uh, that’s not gonna fly. it’s gotta be “the dollary” or nothing. top billing, you see..

            1. frosty zoom

              i tried to top beef’s wonderful “clump” portmanteau, but really, it fits ms. clinton alone. i feel like foghorn leghorn.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                “Dollary Clinton.” Has the right rhythm and everything. And so much more euphonious than dollarish.

                “The first Presidential candidate whose first name is an adjective!”

    2. Carolinian

      Sounds dubious in that the press, or at least the establishment press, hates Trump and the establishment Republicans, who don’t like him either, will be in charge of investigative committees.

      Clinton on the other hand will be starting lots of wars and the press loves war–great for circulation, ratings. Therefore they will look the other way as she mysteriously becomes a billionaire while in office.

      1. ekstase

        “Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil? Discuss.”

        There comes a time in politics when perhaps it is best to just close your eyes and pretend that the future will never come. I think this is called denial, and why not employ it immediately?

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Seriously, Bernie with 25 years of political experience ‘won’t be able to get anything done.’

        But Trump, from a different culture of grifters is going to have the DC grifters falling all over themselves to make his every wish come true?

        What is his secret power to keep from becoming the Republicans’ Carter?

    3. Jeff W

      Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil? Discuss.

      The greater evil is not any single president, Republican or Democratic, but a situation in which the Democratic party that can count reliably on the votes of those who, every four years, feel compelled to choose between “the lesser of two evils.” That deliberate conflation of short-term versus long-term consequences has gotten us 30 years of increasing inequality under both Republican and Democratic administrations and a political environment in which someone like Hillary Clinton (or President Obama) can be viewed as some sort of progressive.

      (Can’t we defer questions like this one till after we know definitively that Trump and Clinton are, in fact, their party’s respective nominees?)

      1. Code Name D

        Very well said.

        To ask the question, “which is the greater evil” is to ignore the institution in which they operate. Am I really to believe Clinton’s TPP is any less fascist than Trump’s Brown shirts?

        It has been said that the just sword is drawn reluctantly, and sheathed readily. But it must still be wielded. As Lambert queried the other day, if the GOP sees fit to take the nomination from the man whom the majority has voted for – wouldn’t they be justified in rioting?

        What bothers me, are the assumptions I am expected to make here. I am to ASSUME that Trump is the next Hitler. And while I really admit his use of violence defiantly foreshadows the threat of Hitler’s brown shirts. I must also admit that Conservatives like Trump are always huffing and puffing. I also remember that I have personally made the same accusation of W Bush, Gorge Bush, and even of Ronald Ragan. And yet none of them probed to be the Hitlers we feared them to be.

        I am also to ASSUME Clinton’s benevolence, despite the fact that she can’t even be trusted. While it may be true that she has violated no law with her privet e-mail server. It may even be true that as she claims it contained no classified secrets. The mere fact that she didn’t insist on her e-mails being open to at least her superiors and contemporaries on a government server is a blatant betray of trust. Her duplicitous and self serving nature is poorly concealed, remaining hidden only to those who chose not to see it.

        The mere fact that I am expected to think Clinton is the lesser evil of the, is damning testimony that she is not.

        1. Jeff W

          “Very well said.”

          Thank you (although I wish I had struck that incorrect “that” in first sentence, i.e., “in which the Democratic party that can count reliably”).

          My problem is not assuming Trump’s malevolence or Clinton’s benevolence (assuming that neither is not much worse than their predecessors—and Trump only makes explicit what has been standard conservative rhetoric for decades). My problem is we’ve seen how the strategy of voting the “lesser of two evils” works in the long-term—and in the long term it doesn’t work very well.

          If, 70 or 80 years ago, one had said to any Democratic voter that much of the Four Freedoms of FDR or the widely-accepted Democratic platform of Harry Truman (which, among other things, called for, in effect, a doubling of the minimum wage) could be presented only by a self-described “socialist” in 2016—and would be derided as “unrealistic” by the putative Democratic front-runner and her surrogates—what would that voter have said?

          If, 60 years ago, one had said to any Democratic voter in California—where higher education at every public university in the state was free (and free higher education was a source of pride)—that the proposal for free public higher education nationally in 2016 would be considered by Democrats as so much “pie in the sky,” what would that voter have said?

          If, 45 years ago, one had said to any Democratic voter that the crowning achievement of a Democratic president in the second decade of the 21st century would be a health insurance scheme well to the right of the two proposed by Richard Nixon, what would that voter have said?

          There is never any end point to “lesser of two evils” argument and no overall long-term strategy—the focus is this election, these candidates. But we’ve seen how that voting strategy works in the long-term. And how it works in the long-term is a greater evil than not getting the “greater evil” in any single election.

        1. Linus Huber

          The question leaves out what “evil” is supposed to mean. My way of looking at it is that I consider falsehood and lack of transparency one of the most serious evils as it does not allow for the population to form a well-informed opinion. On that score I think that Trump will be a lesser evil as a rather outspoken person while Clinton will definitely expand her mischief. To simply ask for the effectiveness without mentioning the direction of it, has rather little meaning.

  10. JohnnyGL

    “Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil? Discuss”

    Who knows?!?! Like the ACA and the TPP, you gotta (pass the legislation/elect one of them) to find out what they’ll actually do!!!

  11. Kokuanani

    Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil? Discuss.

    Just think: if TPTB have to get someone as bad as Trump to make Hillary look like a Lesser Evil this time, what are they going to have to come up with in 2020 to scare people into voting for her?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hillary has never made the general so alarmed.

      Even the military chief is taking exception to Trump’s rhetoric.

      More Kabuki?

      The officers not swearing a personal oath to the new leader?

  12. B1whois

    Why does it say “Clinton email hairball”, but then there’s nothing there, no link no story no comment, nothing.

  13. Pat

    Here’s the thing about the Clinton Trump evil question – we actually have a pretty good idea how a Clinton presidency will play out. Trump is a crap shoot.

    Starting with Clinton, let’s first put aside the Democratic fantasies about her. No she will not be more reluctant to use military force and no, she will not be more protective of women’s reproductive rights than she has been in the past (which can be summed up in she’ll talk a good game, but will throw women under the bus so fast your head will spin). Any judges she nominates will be vetted regarding their corporate friendliness – not their views on choice, civil liberties, or workers rights. She will continue the worst of the Obama administration re financial regulation, education, civil liberties along with being more of war monger and giving Israel and Saudi Arabia everything they want. This coupled with the bad globalization agreements and the continued push to reform ‘entitlements’ will have those of us who recognize the disaster that neoliberalism is cheering for the obstructionist House who will be hunting her down and seeking to impeach her from day one.

    Trump – we really have no idea what he stands for (besides his being always right) and his misogyny. We can probably figure that he really does not like brown people and black people. He has been pretty consistent on the failure of the so-called trade deals, so those would probably be dead. And he would obviously massively support the war on terror, but probably not regime change. Everything else he has been pretty much all over the place about. We also do not know how much the GOP owned House will actually support his agenda. There could easily be a certain amount of obtructionist behavior on the part of the regulars (tea party and fundie folk iincluded). The Senate, if Republican, I expect would be a rubber stamp. If mildly Democratic, there might also be some obstruction, but even that is questionable.

    The real question is do you go for the clear evil you know, or gamble that the other guy is going to be better than you thought.

    1. tgs

      You outline Obama’s ‘legacy’ very well. And let’s remember his desire for a ‘grand bargain’. What amazes me is that Clinton’s supporters argue that at least she will preserve that ‘legacy’. Obama is, by any objective standard, a war criminal who should be sitting in a cell in the Hague. But at least he is somewhat risk averse (no doubt for narcissistic reasons). Clinton, on the other hand, is, I believe, a fanatic. She really lights up when talking about all the ‘threats’ we face – from Iran, Russia etc., She knows she can satisfy her base by stocking her administration with the most racially, ethnically and sexually diverse group of war mongering neo-liberals she can rustle up.

    2. Ping

      Isn’t the Clinton Foundation a money laundering for access operation?

      Where do hundreds of millions go supposedy for public good that is substantial and verifyable???

      Supposedly Bill Clinton got active in Haiti with the Foundation after the earthquake but it is reported efforts were incompetent, short sighted and insufficient. Evidently Haiti is a mess in limbo.

      Sounds more like another opportunity to capitalize on chaos.

      I have not seen anything reported about what they do other than accept large funds from governments associated with grotesque human rights abuses and those with State Department business.

      1. Pavel

        On a related topic, I was listening to a Scott Horton podcast today about Hillary and the Honduran coup against the democratically-elected leader. I had been vaguely aware of the story but the gory details are just that — gory. Mirabile dictu, the Clinton Gang’s old pal Lanny Davis is mixed up in the scandal, making money on the side.

        Astounding how Hillary et al are allowed to rail against “facist, racist” Trump while they merrily subvert democracy and kill hundreds of thousands of brown or yellow or black people around the world.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I wonder how Hispanic voters would feel about that. Here’s a chance for Sanders to do some imperial ankle-biting, nobble Clinton, and pick up some votes.

          1. Bill Michtom

            None of that has worked with African American voters who LOVE them some Hillary despite a vicious, decades-long dose of Clinton’s reality.

    3. John

      Let’s assume Clinton = Obama regarding race… Feeling their pain but doing nothing useful.
      Beyond this, I do not believe trump would be worse on any issue, specifically starting wars or refusing to prosecute bankers.
      There is a reason blankfein said he could accept either bush or hell, and why the formerly rep neocons are jumping to hell.
      Plus trump wants a balanced Mideast policy… What’s wrong with this picture?

  14. lightningclap

    Re: “Stealth editing”, I’ve long been concerned about this with electronic media in general. A e-book can be altered after purchase (and has been by Amazon), as well as any web content linked to. Wikipedia is considered a reliable source. And looking it up is the same as knowing something.

    1. hunkerdown

      And yet, the copyright provisions of the TPP et al. create a memory hole such that “Save as…” might be an endangered species.

  15. jsn

    Re: ““Last month, Y-Combinator”
    If the real value of the “app/gig/techcrap economy” is “surveillance capitalism“, simply giving the human creator/owners of the data mined and monetized by Silly-con Vally a 50% share of “profits” stolen might just solve the whole distribution problem.

  16. bwilli123

    “How Mr. Blumenthal got his hands on this information is the key question, and there’s no firm answer yet. The fact that he was able to take four separate highly classified NSA reports—none of which he was supposed to have any access to—and pass the details of them to Hillary Clinton via email only hours after NSA released them in Top Secret / Special Intelligence channels indicates something highly unusual, as well as illegal, was going on.”

    http://observer.com/2016/03/hillary-has-an-nsa-problem/

    1. Jim Haygood

      How Sid Blumenthal has avoided getting indicted for espionage is an even bigger mystery.

      One would be like to fantasize that he HAS been indicted. Now negotiations would be underway for Blumenthal to turn state’s evidence and rat out the Hildabeest, in return for something less than a life sentence in a Supermax.

      I’d like to meet his defense attorney.

    2. hreik

      That observer piece is really amazing. They should be jailed. Blumenthal and $hillary. He will take a fall for her, but my guess is the DOJ will so nothing. Then after / if she is elected the FBI will leak this shit and she’ll be taken out. She’d better pick a heavyweight for VP

      1. Jim Haygood

        Joe’s available. He already knows where the men’s room, the copier and the coffee machine are.

      1. Mark P.

        Pro writing, too. It’s striking how much it reads like a scene from a Ross Thomas novel from fifty-thirty years ago. Could be because:

        [1] That’s how little the job’s core — Thomas was a political campaign-runner before being a crime novelist — has changed.

        [2] Or because that’s how the cake was baked. In other words, the game has changed and this guy Murphy and his pals are the last generation of this particular breed of political hustler. Like Roger Stone says in the piece, while Murphy is a decade-and-a-half younger (than Stone), “he’s more of a dinosaur than I am. I’ve moved on to new media, he’s still stuck on network television.”

        1. Mark P.

          ‘Trump mastered it years ago, Stone says, figuring out how to circumvent all the old channels. He gets more bang out of a tweet than the rest of the candidates get out of a paid ad or press conference. “The rules we’ve always lived by are out the window. This moment couldn’t have happened three years ago. But whether Trump is a one-off, it’s here now.” Watch, Stone says, how Trump jiu-jitsues every attack, be it super-PAC ads or journalistic scrutiny. People’s “bullshit quota is completely exhausted, they’re just not buying anything the old media is telling them.”

          ‘And for other candidates to squawk about Trump’s free media?

          Tough, Stone says. “They cover Trump because Trump is interesting. They didn’t cover Jeb not because he didn’t have standing, but because he was boring. Jeb was a brand name. He could’ve gotten covered if he had anything to say, which, of course, he didn’t. And he was wise to drop, because had he not, Trump was going to start talking about why those 9/11 hijackers were training in Florida, and Jeb did nothing about it. .  .  . The only thing worse in politics than being wrong is being boring, as Dick Nixon would say. And Murphy allowed Jeb to be exceedingly boring.”‘

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            And then there’s this:

            And all the crap you see in foreign countries where the parliament members are suing each other and everything turns into a big legitimacy fight. .  .  . We lose everything. The brand will be destroyed.

            “Then the problem becomes how are we the world’s reserve currency anymore? We get away with a lot of shit because people think we have a stable system. But if your banker comes in one day wearing a diaper, speaking gibberish, you’re going to pull your money out of that checking account. So that has a huge potential impact on our ability to protect our economic strength. We borrow a lot of f — ing money. Because people think the number one safest instrument in the world is the U.S. Treasury bond. And if we start making reality-show clowns in charge? Run on the American bank. You think the pissed-off steelworker in Akron has trouble now? Wait until we have a financial collapse and they take 25 percent off the dollar. He’ll be serving hot dogs in an American restaurant in China.”

            1. Mark P.

              Sure. The damage to Brand America if Trump is president has got to be on the minds of all those big-money guys (and they are mostly guys, including Apple’s Tim Cook) who flew their private jets to have their little confab a week back.

              1. Linus Huber

                Humans do stop to cooperate at one point in time when the system is rigged even if it results in them being worth off.

  17. EmilianoZ

    Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil? Discuss.

    It looks like Hillary is the one our masters really want. That smells like another “Nixon goes to China”. They want a liberal privatize social security and sign the TPP. Maybe Hillary did say something interesting in her Goldman Sachs speeches. Maybe she asked them to prepare a plan for the privatization of social security. After all who has more expertise in investment matters? The future is bright.

    1. NoOne

      Plus she knows how the levers of power work in DC. She can gut the safety net before The Trumpster has even finished naming his transition team. It took Obama 18-24 months before he learned how to screw the base, Hillary with hit the ground moving on January 20th. I have to vote GOP in November. My poor dad will spin in his grave but it ain’t his Democratic Party any more.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      That’s a great tune. Always liked Joni. They should update the video to include Obama.

  18. Jim

    What a tragedy to see this idiot political decision by “cosmopolitan antifascist” to go after the Donald using the following rationale:

    “We stand against fascist and xenophobic white supremacy that has been offered to us under the guise of democracy…exemplified by Donald Trump.”

    The constituents of both of these social/political formations should be incrementally trying to come together (uniting populist strands of the right and left–youth and working class– in a battle to defeat neo-liberalism) but instead we have the same stupid, dreary and predictable rhetorical narrative of shouts of fascists/racists by left social formations against increasingly decimated members of the working and middle class who support the big D, possibly fighting each other in the streets with the neo-liberals of all political persuasions cheering them on.

    Nothing like being dupes for the status-quo.

  19. rich

    U.K. Pensions Secretary Quits Over Welfare Cuts for Disabled

    Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith attacks Cameron and Osborne
    Accuses pair of putting politics ahead of social justice

    Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader, resigned as U.K. work and pensions secretary in protest at planned cuts to welfare payments for the disabled, issuing a direct attack on the man behind them, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

    In one of the most dramatic resignations since the fall of Margaret Thatcher, Duncan Smith sent Prime Minister David Cameron a two-page letter on Friday that attacked a series of decisions to cut welfare, culminating in Osborne’s Budget statement two days earlier. In that, the chancellor reduced money allocated to help disabled people while cutting taxes for the well paid.

    While the disability-benefits cuts “are defensible in narrow terms, given the continuing deficit, they are not defensible in the way they were placed within a budget that benefits higher-earning taxpayers,” Duncan Smith wrote. “I am unable to watch passively whilst certain policies are enacted in order to meet the fiscal self-imposed restraints that I believe are more and more perceived as distinctly political.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-18/u-k-pensions-secretary-quits-over-welfare-cuts-for-disabled

    How low can they go??

      1. ambrit

        Social Studies Test Question 13:
        “Which of the words below is the ‘moderation tripwire’ word?”
        A) British
        B) Union
        C) Fascists
        D) Wikipedia
        E) All of the above

              1. For The Win

                Catholic Fascist … who’d have thought it… well, except for the Americans, Argentinians, Germans, Italians, Spanish,..

                On second thought, were there any Western nations that didn’t have Catholic Fascist, that might be a easier list to type.

  20. allan

    Jim McNerney, who retired as Boeing CEO halfway through last year, collected a total of $38.8 million from pay and stock sales in 2015. [Seattle Times]

    The SEC filing notes that the current value of McNerney’s combined future retirement pension benefits is $45.5 million. His pension includes an annuity of $3.2 million per year for 15 years plus an additional $1 million per year for life, the filing shows.

    This kind of generational warfare is exactly why we need to cut Social Security.

  21. Ed Walker

    I see American Banker is talking its book on Postal Banking. Last time i read of their articles on the subject, I was amazed at the silliness of the argument. Won’t bother again.

  22. amousie

    Will Clinton or Trump be the more effective evil?

    Is more effective evil the right question?

    The Doctor: You let one go, but that’s nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim’s spared. Because she smiled, because he’s got freckles, because they begged. And that’s how you live with yourself. That’s how you slaughter millions. Because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind’s in the right direction, you happen to be kind.

    aren’t the real questions, which one is more likely to give into a whim and save something the rest of us consider important? Or make a big enough spectacle to make the shafting more palatable or at least entertaining? (yes, black humor)

    1. knowbuddhau

      Dinner with a Slitheen – Doctor Who – Boom Town – Series 1 -BBC

      https youtu.be/VLZOFZggG4w

      CLEAVER: I can’t tell you, Mrs Blaine. This is such a weight off my mind. I’ve barely slept. I couldn’t believe my own readings. The scale of it. Destruction like the British Isles US has never seen before. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think that someone wanted this project to go wrong. As though they intended to wipe this city off the map out the working class. Thank goodness we’ve got you, our esteemed leader.
      (He turns and screams. Margaret Dollary has got out of her body suit.)

      http www chakoteya.net/DoctorWho/27-11.htm

    2. knowbuddhau

      Dinner with a Slitheen – Doctor Who – Boom Town – Series 1 -BBC

      https youtu.be/VLZOFZggG4w

      CLEAVER: I can’t tell you, Mrs Blaine. This is such a weight off my mind. I’ve barely slept. I couldn’t believe my own readings. The scale of it. Destruction like the British Isles US has never seen before. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think that someone wanted this project to go wrong. As though they intended to wipe this city off the map out the working class. Thank goodness we’ve got you, our esteemed leader.
      (He turns and screams. Margaret Dollary has got out of her body suit.)

      http www chakoteya.net/DoctorWho/27-11.htm

  23. Dave

    Gentrification is bad, therefore white flight is good? Or is it vice versa?

    How can you be against both?

    Or perhaps it is hypocritical to put subjective labels on economic trends in housing?

  24. c murphy

    ““I stand between you and the pitchforks.” This was Obama’s finest hour.”

    I’m afraid you have this exactly backward. This was Obama’s lowest hour and we are still paying the price for it.

      1. John

        Neither chamberlain or Benedict Arnold might be said to be who Obama copied. More like bill Clinton… Granted, Obama is an A student, diligently and continuously throwing progressives that voted for him (twice!) under the bus, plus of course the blacks.
        Hillary must be shocked at progressive resistance, she is just following the two dem examples, both of whom remain, quite unaccountably, so popular with dems that a real progressive has little chance.
        Which testifies to the fact that the dem party is not progressive, indeed nearly identical to reps along the line of the first bush,,, though Hillary does remind one more of the second. Perhaps a natural progression.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          More precisely, the Dem party is an increasingly uneasy coalition of multiple factions. If contradictions sharpen, there will be two: One progressive, one neoliberal.

  25. JoeK

    Excuse the nitpicking pedantry, but the “dis” in disgruntled is an intensifier, the root being to grunt. So refusing to grunt, or be a grunt, is what will alienate your boss and put you on the undesirable list.

    Personally, I’ve never cared much for the sound of grunting, I much prefer moaning and mewling. Maybe it’s just the liquid consonants.

    On a similar boorish note, the Mekong story has a photo with the caption calling Nakhon Racthasima the province neighboring the VN Mekong delta. Was the the whole country of Cambodia incorporated into one of the two recently? Methinks the error is on the part of AP, not AC, perhaps the photo derives from an earlier article about drought in Issan.

    1. Steve H.

      Nitpicking pedantry: 2 words, 6 syllables.

      German: korinthenkaker: 1 word, 5 syllables.

      English: ostrobogulous piffle: 2 words, 7 syllables.

      American, as a linguistic entity: crossroads of the world, or meanly splitting the difference?

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