2:00PM Water Cooler 3/2/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“EU-Vietnam ISDS not conform European Parliament resolution” [FFII]. I know this is not TTP/TTIP/TiSA, but the ISDS clause has multiple amazing features. Here’s the one I like:

The adjudicators would be paid per day worked. This creates perverse incentives to accept frivolous cases, let cases drag on, and to let the only party that can initiate cases (foreign investors) win to stimulate more cases.



Super Tuesday

“Time for Bernie Sanders to Get in Line” [Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast]. I’m sure that Tomasky doesn’t report directly to Chelsea Clinton, board member of IAC, the Daily Beast’s parent company.

Trump pivots to the general in his Super Tuesday victory speech [New York Magazine]. Here’s the full video.

“People in the middle-income groups are making less money than they were 12 years ago. And in her speech, [Hillary Clinton] said ‘they’re making less money.’ Well, she’s been there with Obama for a long period of time. Why hasn’t she done anything about it?”

Obama to the banksters: “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” Indeed!

“Trump looks a lot easier to beat on paper then he is in reality. Moreover, we saw a pivot tonight from Trump to the general election with what is likely to become a standard line of attack against Clinton this fall: she was part of what caused the problems, which means she can’t be part of what fixes them. If eight years of Obama hasn’t “fixed” the economy and the lives of middle-class Americans, how will someone who has been in politics for the last 25 years offer a better solution? Clinton had better have a strong, substantive and believable answer to that question going forward. If she doesn’t, Trump will exploit it to his benefit” [National Journal].

“Chris Christie’s wordless screaming” [WaPo]. As Christie stood behind Trump, during Trump’s victory speech; that won’t happen again! This is a very funny column. At the same time, it’s a political class dogpile. (“Progressive” mockery of its political enemies hasn’t worked in over a decade. But they can’t quit it.)


“The Trouble with Trump for Bankers” [The American Banker]. “While Trump has steered clear of anti-Wall Street rhetoric so far, in a race against Clinton, he’s likely to drift in that direction. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., has shown how vulnerable Clinton is on Wall Street issues, and in a general election Trump is almost certain to use that to his advantage.” Almost makes me want to vote for the guy.

“Trump’s rise illustrates how democratic processes can lose their way” [Larrry Summers]. “The problem is not with Trump’s policies, though they are wacky in the few areas where they are not indecipherable. It is that he is running as modern day man on a horseback—demagogically offering the power of his personality as a magic solution to all problems—and making clear that he is prepared to run roughshod over anything or anyone who stands in his way.” Wait, is this the same Larry that turned the Harvard endowment into a trash fire? Apparently so! Anyhow, I dunno. People who actually watched Trump’s speech say he had a lot to say about trade — the Clinton Dynasty, having brought us NAFTA, would like to bring us TPP — and that he pivoted to the general. So the “man on horseback” trope may be yesterday’s news.

“Donald Trump embodies how great republics meet their end” [Martin Wolf, Financial Times]. FT thinks this column is so important that it’s unlocked! “The US is the greatest republic since Rome, the bastion of democracy, the guarantor of the liberal global order. It would be a global disaster if Mr Trump were to become president. Even if he fails, he has rendered the unthinkable sayable.” Wolf seems to think Trump is a Caesar. He might be a Crassus.

And then there’s this:

Can’t. FACTA. And for some, Medicare isn’t portable abroad.

“David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, told his readers last summer that Donald Trump was running for president to promote his own brand and that the “whole con might end well before the first snows in Sioux City and Manchester'” [Politico]. And many other similar bad calls. I’m singling out the editor of the once-great New Yorker because I well remember when Henryk Herzberg decided to shift from reporting to advocacy — in its reporting.

“The day the Republican Party ruptured” [Politico]. “No one is going to call for us to get behind [Trump],” Rubio said. “They know that the nomination of Donald Trump means the end of the modern conservative movement and the modern Republican Party in a very devastating way.” Rubio is just so weak. “[I]n a very devastating way.”

The Trail

“[H]istorical patterns and political data all show that the real presidential election is confined to just seven states: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire” [US News]. “[B]ased on recent Clinton vs. Trump head-to-head polls in these seven states and the likelihood that the white vote may increase in 2016, Trump is within striking distance of winning a general election against Clinton. For those who believe a Trump presidency is not really possible in today’s America, you may want to re-think that proposition.” And then there’s this: ” And, remember, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, not only ran the Koch political network’s national voter registration efforts, he also directed AFP’s New Hampshire office.”

“Hoping to avoid a repeat of the messy fight for the Republican nomination in 2012, the party drew up a calendar and delegate-selection rules intended to allow a front-runner to wrap things up quickly” [New York Times]. And along came Trump!

“Why Donald Trump’s Tax Returns May Prove He’s Not That Rich” [Fortune]. Only $180 million a year.

This sounds tough but fair: “[T]hat’s been the story of Bernie Sanders’ campaign even here in South Carolina. It’s been a tour of colleges, a tour of black colleges, a tour of state colleges, but never any penetration into the black community, not even being able to go a block away from those colleges to actually go out into the community [Readers?]….The other thing that people are not paying attention to in this huge victory that Hillary Clinton had over Bernie Sanders is the fact that so many people didn’t vote from 2008 to 2016. I would say that a lot of those people that didn’t vote didn’t vote because of their reticence to the Clintons and what happened between them and Obama and understanding that history. … But while Bernie Sanders—I hate to say it—while he’s talked about a movement campaign, he hasn’t run a movement campaign. He’s just run a campaign. And if he’s talking about something long-lasting to build out in the communities, well, he hurt himself here in South Carolina. He left South Carolina like the first defeat of the North in Bull Run. And to not be with his people in defeat, that went out and did the best they could, lets you know what he thinks about black voters, in some people’s minds. I think it’s going to hurt him tremendously in the South, moving forward” [Kevin Alexander Gray, Democracy Now! (SV)].

What I notice on Black Twitter is that many, many Sanders supporters just don’t have the language. The Clinton’s support for the Crime Bill was converted into an argument that the Clintons were responsible for systemic racism, or in crude form, were racists themselves (“superpredators”). This appeal to tu quoque ignored two facts that were pointed out over and over again, and not by Clinton bots: (1) the Crime Bill really was a response to a real problem: The crack epidemic was real; I couldn’t begin to count the horrifying stories involving family members; (2) Many in the black community supported the bill because they wanted relief. So the Sanders supporters came off — indeed were — ignorant of the history and the nuances. What was true was (a) while the voters were expressing a need for relief, it’s up to the policy makers to think through the long-term consequences; Sanders got this right, and the Clintons got this wrong (cf. Iraq). And (b), Hillary Clinton most definitely used racist tropes to sell the bill (“super-predators”). But those points, though acceptable, weren’t made. And the points black voters really could never accept, were repeated over and over again. That’s not a good look. Isn’t anybody managing the Sanders online presence? Sanders really better pull something out of his hat for Flint. I mean, there’s a reason the Clinton campaign picked that venue, right?

“Here’s What You Can Learn From 40 Million Black Lives Matter Tweets” [New York Magazine]. “The researchers identified six major groups that engage in BLM discussion on Twitter, most of which are supportive of the movement’s goals in abolishing police violence against minorities: Black Lives Matter, amorphous hacktivist group Anonymous, black celebrities, black Twitter, mainstream news organizations, and conservatives. (See if you can guess which groups are not supportive.)” And now, there’s the campaign!

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, February 2016: “Friday’s employment report may be on the strong side based on ADP’s private payroll count for February which is a stronger-than-expected 214,000” [Econoday]. “ADP isn’t always an accurate barometer of the government’s data but it has been the last two reports, pointing to a surge in December followed by a retreat in January.” Two reports?

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, February 2016: “U.S. workers’ reports of hiring in their workplaces were steady in February” [Econoday]. “The U.S. Job Creation Index score of plus 29 in February reflects 41 percent of workers saying their employers were hiring and expanding the size of their workforce, and 12 percent saying their employers were letting people go and reducing the size of their workforce. The remaining 42 percent of workers said the size of their workforce was not changing.” But: “Employment is a rear view indicator, and looking at this ADP data – the overall trend for the year-over-year rate of growth has been flat since mid-2010” [Econintersect].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of February 26: “Housing permits and residential construction spending have been flat in contrast to purchase applications for home mortgages” [Econoday].

ISM manufacturing index: “And even though the headline index remained in contractionary territory for the fifth consecutive month, direction matters, and this report suggests that the US manufacturing sectors is on the mend” [TD Securities, Across the Curve].

Honey for the Bears: “Next U.S. Recession May Not Be a Biggie But Could Be a Long One” [Bloomberg]. “If a slump does begin this year, it ‘will probably look more like the 2001 or the 1990-91 recession,’ said Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. ‘It won’t have the same kind of financial dislocations and stress that was associated with’ the last one. … ‘Other than an inventory overhang, the U.S. doesn’t have any big imbalances,’ said Peter Hooper, a 26-year veteran of the Fed who is now chief economist for Deutsche Bank Securities in New York.” FWIW, this Maine Bear agrees on the imbalances, but JP Morgan? Deutsche?? These are the guys that got things so wrong the last time! What we don’t know is how the FIRE sector is wired up to the ongoing crises in Europe and China (and if you make a list of crises right now, it’s a long list.) And, as we learn from NC (and The Big Short) the FIRE sector is run by criminals who got away with it. And by Akerlof’s concept of phishing equilibrium, the same criminals will be doing what they do today. Maybe they’ve got the sense not to get too greedy this time? Dubious.

“China aims to lay off 5m to 6m state workers over the next two to three years as part of efforts to curb industrial overcapacity and pollution. Coal and steel industries are likely to lead the cutbacks, with other sectors where overcapacity is hurting including cement, glassmaking and shipbuilding also facing significant change” [Splash247]. “On shipbuilding, which has seen massive contraction in the last three years, the job losses could be in the hundreds of thousands, Splash understands.”

“Why China and Nicaragua’s Canal Project Is Floundering” [Fortune].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64, Neutral (previous close: 54, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 1 at 5:30pm. Needle swings firmly into greed territory, now.


“‘Humble little fungus’ is oldest known land fossil” [BBC]. “Scientists think that early fungi contributed to soil formation and the rotting process, thereby paving the way for flowering plants and trees, then animals.”

“These fossils – which come from the Xiaoshiba biota in south China – are so well preserved that you can see individual nerve roots ten times thinner than a human hair” [The Conversation]. “The most interesting conclusion we can draw is that the origin of the arthropod nervous system required the dramatic reduction in the number of nerves, and that this event took place after the early Cambrian period.”

“Some of Europe’s earliest inhabitants mysteriously vanished toward the end of the last ice age and were largely replaced by others, a new genetic analysis finds” [Science Daily]. “At the peak of the ice age, around 19,000 to 22,000 years ago, people hunkered down in climactic ‘refugia,’ or ice-free regions of Europe, such as modern-day Spain, the Balkans and southern Italy, Posth said. While holdouts survived in a few places farther north, their populations shrank dramatically.” Then the temperature spiked, and the holdouts were “replaced.”

“If you live in the eastern U.S., it’s almost time to put that snow shovel away and get out the gardening tools” [Bloomberg]. In Maine, we plant on Memorial Day. That’s a long time away.


“Olympus, the nation’s largest distributor of endoscopes and related equipment, will pay $646 million to resolve separate criminal and civil investigations into claims of kickbacks and foreign bribery, company and federal officials announced Tuesday” [New York Times]. And no executives go to jail, because impunity.

Class Warfare

“However, in a higher-education environment in which the subsidies once enjoyed by university presses have shrunk or entirely vanished, editors are left with little choice but to consider sales potential before accepting a manuscript for publication” [The Conversation]. “[I]n many academic fields the publication of scholarly books still remains the standard by which emerging scholars are credentialed. Is it acceptable that a PhD student in one of those fields might feel forced to choose a dissertation topic based on how a publisher views its sales potential as a book rather than on its contribution to the field?” Must-read for anybody in or near a university.

“An internal meeting was called and Perrero gathered with co-workers, expecting good news of some sort. Instead, they were notified that had 90 days remaining at Disney and would be laid off on Jan. 30, 2015. But before that happened, they would be training their foreign replacements” [ComputerWorld]. Yay, globalization!

Police State Watch

“By law, police need a judge-issued warrant to search your home in all but the rare case when someone might be in immediate danger—but a review of the NYPD’s actual practices shows something quite different, with police making unlawful entries in far-from-emergency situations” [Gothamist]. “When the man said … officers could not search his home, one said, ‘You’re fucking lying…I can do anything I want.'”

News of the Wired

“Autonomous Google Car Hits Public Bus During Test Drive” [New York Times]. When the libertarians get rid of public transportation, this won’t be a problem.

“Apple silent on mysterious noises from Sunnyvale complex” [San Jose Mercury News]. “That mysterious hum that neighbors said originated in the complex could come from charging a high-intensity electrical capacitor.”

“People Blindly Follow Their Robot Leaders” [Science of Us].

“St. Paul’s Before and After the Owen Labrie Rape Trial” [Vanity Fair].

“Cambodia’s Kampot pepper wins EU protection, joins food elite” [Asian Correspondent].

* * *

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 (pq):

Crocuses up 3 weeks ago

“Crocuses up 3 weeks ago.” Ouch.

* * *

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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


  1. Jim Haygood

    ” … the Crime Bill really was a response to a real problem: The crack epidemic was real; I couldn’t begin to count the horrifying stories …”

    So penalties for crack cocaine (drug of choice in the ghetto) were based on 1/100th the quantities of the powdered cocaine favored by rock stars and Wall Street.

    After “reform” 30 years later, penalties for crack are based on 1/16th the quantity of powdered cocaine.

    “Many in the black community supported the bill because they wanted relief.”

    Maybe they were confused by the metric system too. Or invested in private prisons …

    1. Jim Haygood

      Activists confront the Choom Ganger in his own front yard:

      The D.C. Cannabis Campaign calls for reform advocates to gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House on Saturday April 2nd. Speakers will demand that Obama reschedule marijuana without Congress, as he has the power to do, and pardon Americans jailed for marijuana crimes.

      And then people will be invited to commit acts of civil disobedience.

      To underscore the call for rescheduling marijuana, the protest’s April 2 date was selected as a tongue-in-cheek rescheduling of the traditional April 20th pot holiday. Toke-up time, however, remains 4:20 p.m.


      1. RabidGandhi

        Speakers will demand that Obama reschedule marijuana without Congress

        I too have rescheduled this week’s Marijuana Without Congress. It will be at 3:00pm on Thursday if anyone wants to bring the empanadas.

      2. Kush

        It takes a special kind of asshole to leave cannabis on schedule 1 considering the promise it shows for children suffering from seizures. In my mind it’s criminal.

      1. RUKidding

        No kidding.

        I was on an alternate on a jury once for some dude busted selling crack to homeless people. During voire dire, I said I wouldn’t vote to find the dealer guilty because of the difference in penalties for being busted for much stronger and bigger amounts of coke – used mainly by rich white people – v higher penalties for people of color using lower strength, smaller amounts of crack.

        I guess the Defense attorney got his way and got me on as an alternate, although I never had to move into the “real” jury.

        The trial was such a huge sucking waste of taxpayer time, money and energy.

        Others who benefit from hugely penalizing crack: the entire Justice system, including DAs, defense attorneys, cops, judges, etc. A tax payer rip off.

        That trial was entirely a waste. Dude busted for a teensy tinsy amount of crack that some white person with similar coke wouldn’t even have gotten a tap on the wrist.

      2. RP

        Indeed, and why was it so important we eliminate the Taliban in order to re-start the #1 export of the Afghans?

        Terr’rists, probably

        1. andyb

          The Taliban had to be eliminated so that opium production was not impeded. The majority of global black ops are funded from this Afghan product, dating back to Vietnam when Air America flew in loads “over the hump” to Ton Son Knut which were repackaged in coffins for shipment to the US. As for Afghan, there used to be a lot of pics of US GIs guarding the fields; most have now been removed.

    2. yankeefrank

      ” … the Crime Bill really was a response to a real problem…”

      Not a really good response, but really a response nonetheless.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And crucially, a response to demands from the black community*. Whatever else, the people asking for the bill felt themselves heard. That’s the problem with a lot of the Sanders stuff. Yes, single payer is good for everybody, especially the poor, who are disproportionately black. But they’re not asking for it (for some definition of “they”) so the whole thing comes off as a disconnect.

        * Hate the phrase, but haven’t a better one. Ditto they. I need to work out my vocabulary for collective entities taking political action with agency. Faction isn’t right; party isn’t right…

        1. different clue

          Such language and terms for different similarity-sharing grouploads of people already exist. The Left just has to learn to get comfortable with the terms and with the actual realities those terms designate.

          The word for ethnic group is “ethnic group”.
          The word for religious group is “religious group”.
          The word for racial group is “racial group”.
          And so forth.

          When the Left can get comfortable acknowledging the reality that the Left is just one more Identity Group . . . in this case a political-tribal group defined by its loyalty to Leftism and its members’ belief in their cultural and intellectual vanguard superiority by virtue of their shared belief in their Leftist theories and solutions, then the Left will be able to get comfortable with the reality that tribal ingroup-loyalty and organization is the bedrock reality of human existence and that all politics is local and tribal. Then they can work on coalitions of shared self-interest between the Leftist Identity Tribe and members of other Identity Tribes.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      You’re doing it too. Trust me; the people on whom these penalties were imposed, or their friends and family, knew very well how irrational the penalties were — although the effects only became clear subsequent to the passage of the bill. That doesn’t matter. Crack was enough of a problem that powerful forces in the black community supported a law enforcement solution, and the Clintons came up with one.

      And this was all before the prison-industrial complex; that was an opportunity others took advantage of later.

      The idea behind the crime bill was that punishment would change behavior; that’s not entirely an implausible theory, and its widely held (“Three strikes and you’re out”).

      1. wbgonne

        My understanding is that it was a bit more complicated. Yes, crack cocaine was a scourge in the early 90s and many black leaders accepted the need for a law enforcement component to the solution. However, I believe that this was supposed to be complemented with social solutions like increased job-training and educational improvement. In fact, these opportunties were intended even for those who were incarcerated under the criminal justice component of the response. What Clinton did, however, was jettison all the “liberal” aspects of the solution and ramp up the Draconian penalties to satisfy white America’s lust for racist vengeance. That is the genesis of Hillary’s declaration that young black “super-predators” needed to be “brought to heel.”

  2. DakotabornKansan

    “Trump’s rise illustrates how democratic processes can lose their way” [Larrry Summers]

    The same despicable Larry Summers, who schooled Elizabeth Warren on how “democratic processes” work in the oligarchy of arrogant fools.

    “After dinner, Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. Larry’s tone was in the friendly-advice category. He teed it up this way: I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don’t criticize other insiders.” – Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance

    “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, They kill us for their sport.” – Shakespeare, King Lear

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        A more salient question might be,”What position might Summers hold in the Trump administration?” The answer will not be to his liking I suspect.

        Hillary Clinton might win the general against Cruz; she will not win against Trump. Keep in mind, despite her ‘overwhelming’ percentage victories in southern primaries, Democratic turnout in these states was not stellar. Those primary voters could all vote for her in the general, but we will still watch the electoral votes from their states go 100% Trump.

    1. jhallc

      “It is that he is running as modern day man on a horseback—demagogically offering the power of his personality as a magic solution to all problems—and making clear that he is prepared to run roughshod over anything or anyone who stands in his way.”

      Why do I have an image of “TRump” recklessly riding up K Street, saber drawn.
      It’s clear Summer’s is against anyone who doesn’t get with the program

    2. RUKidding

      When I re-read sh*t like that, it *almost* makes me want to vote for Trump just because. Almost… don’t worry. I won’t cave.

      But how anyone can listen to Summers… ugh.

      Of course, Clinton will have a nice position for him in her admin, or at least use him as one of trusted advisors. Probably Kissinger will tell her that’s a good idea.

  3. Rob Urie

    The crack epidemic was real, but that made it primarily a public health issue. It was made a law enforcement issue through use of drug laws as tools of racist repression. The Clinton’s fully exploited the law enforcement frame as a wedge issue, to ‘stand’ with conservative whites against an ‘other’ they helped create.

    1. Yves Smith

      Lambert has spent a lot of time on black Twitter, and it’s more complicated than that. A lot of blacks very much wanted the crackdown on crack houses, and still back the Clintons for their perceived role in that.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Many people in Iraq did not want Saddam Hussein to remain in power, but they obviously did not want that used as an excuse for smashing the whole country. The Iraqis understand this difference and thus are not George Bush fans. The HRC voters in the AA community, however, do not understand this difference between what they wanted and what they got.

        But the reasons why the Clintons were able to rape the AA community for their own triangulating political gain (misleadership, misinformation…) are something Sanders cannot ameliorate with a few “let’s rebuild communities and change sentencing” speeches over the course of a few months. What Sanders can do for now is exactly the tu quoque argument Lambert derides, especially because it works with younger AAs. Sanders most likely will not win the presidency, but divorcing the AA community from its abusive spouses, the DNC and the Black Misleadership Class, would be an even greater victory.

        When you are an abused spouse the first step is not to find someone else, but rather to see your abusive spouse for who she/he actually is.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The tu quoque argument didn’t work anywhere I saw it used; of course, I can’t read everything.

          If Sanders campaigned only on black campuses, and had free college in his platform, and had surrogates like Killer Mike, I think that provides a sufficient account of how he got the majority of the younger black vote in SC (an amazing achievement, drowned out by all the other losses). Given that the younger black vote is the future.

          I don’t know what the Sanders campaign is thinking, but my guess is that tying Clinton to the prison industrial complex was meant to appeal to the next age cohort up, but misfired for reasons stated. Everything isn’t economics, but a complex, er, intersection of economics and other things — that’s where history and nuance come in — and so to some extent Clinton’s “single issue candidate” characterization is accurate, demagogic and distracting as it undoubtedly is.

          1. RabidGandhi

            What you mean (I think) by the arguments “didn’t work” and “misfired” is that they did not translate into electoral wins, which is a fair point, and more importantly that the turnout numbers did not show a mass Sanders groundswell (due props to DWS).

            In this regard, I think we need to take a step back and remember how the Sanders campaign started: I don’t think anyone thought that it would go much farther than Jill Stein or even Nader ’00 in the best of cases. But Sanders has said from the get-go that it wasn’t about him winning the presidency it was about a political revolution from the grassroots.

            With the surprising response to the Sanders campaign and the tantalising possibility that Bernie might actually win, I think we have lost sight of much of the original goals, and we are now flagellating the campaign for not attaining objectives that they never saw as possible in the first place. There was no way Sanders was going to win SC; the numbers just don’t add up yet. But as you pointed out, the campaign is effectively helping raise awareness amongst the youths (I was going to use the same line about them being the future, but Whitney Houston made me erase it).

            We’re taught to think of elections as being the start and end of democracy, which they most certainly are not .In my view, the mere politicisation of the young AA community away from the DNC/MLC is a yuuuuge victory. Anything else that comes at the ballotbox is just icing on the cake.

    2. Darthbobber

      Its not that simple. Then and now, the black community (at least here in Philly) is torn in two directions. Few people support the egregiously nasty behaviour of many cops, but this doesn’t mean that there’s not a very strong law and order constituency in the black community. The virtual abandonment of poorer neighborhoods by law enforcement is a common thing, too.

      I moved about 5 years ago from a mixed but gentrifying neighborhood on the edge of the Penn gentrification area to Germantown, which ranges from “middle class” to stable working class to destitute, depending on where you are in it, and is 80%+ black. The difference in police PRESENCE is huge. You always saw cops all over the place in University City. Here they are spread very thin indeed. And that’s the way throughout the city. Police manpower is devoted very heavily to the upscale areas and spread thin over the rest of the city.

      Partly as a result of this, they are very aggressive in the areas where they have little manpower and less so where they have a lot.

      Our just-departed black mayor was the equal of any white racist in responding to incidents with stern lectures about child-rearing, he need for the youth to tow the line and be respectful, etc. etc. And always got enthusiastic responses from the church crowd.

      1. Jessica

        Thank you Darthbobber for this information and thank you too Lambert for your hard work researching this.

  4. ChrisFromGeorgia

    In attacking Trump, Ryan, McConnell and their ilk have accomplished something truly noteworthy.

    They have made their own voter base hate them even more than they hate Obama or Hillary.

    I would not be surprised to see Obama’s approval ratings rise quite substantially. Not that that is necessarily a good thing.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      And with all the coverage he gets, Trump pivoting to attack Hilary will help Bernie. Bernie refuses to state the obvious about her but luckily Trump has no such (losing) instincts.

      1. grayslady

        Yes. That’s the one thing about the Republican primaries–they are all bunched together early to allow a preferred candidate to emerge with plenty of time to attack the Dem rival(s). From what I can gather, Trump is already attacking Hillary (apparently, being a guest at his most recent wedding no longer matters).

        1. sleepy

          He gave the Clinton Foundation $100,000. She came to his wedding. He will say she can be bought, and he will say he bought her.

  5. curlydan

    Kevin Gray should immediately be hired by the Sanders campaign. Bernie literally has to walk black neighborhoods every single day until March 15th if he’s going to make any substantive inroads on the Clinton machine.

    Gray told Amy Goodman to stop talking about incarceration rates and start talking about what black voters really want…nearly same things as white voters, i.e. jobs, better income, etc.

    Sanders’ most effective differentiation point with Clinton is Wall Street. It’s time for Bernie to start showing up at the foreclosed houses, the empty lots, the black people thrown out of their houses by banks. The black neighborhoods targeted by banks. Clinton is giving $225K speeches to the people who threw 1000s of black people out of their houses. That’s how you make it real.

    Cleveland, Miami, Tampa, Columbus, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Orlando, Charlotte, Chicago (!!). Hit the streets, man! And make some commercials showing the destruction in these neighborhoods with faces and stories to match.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Hey, the Sanders campaign should hire you, too!

      This is a fantastic idea, also will provide great images:

      “Sanders’ most effective differentiation point with Clinton is Wall Street. It’s time for Bernie to start showing up at the foreclosed houses, the empty lots, the black people thrown out of their houses by banks. The black neighborhoods targeted by banks. Clinton is giving $225K speeches to the people who threw 1000s of black people out of their houses. That’s how you make it real. “

        1. grayslady

          The ad he’s running in Michigan right now is a knockout. Shows boarded up homes, lost jobs, all the so-called “trade” deals that Bernie has voted against. Comes right out and says: Vote for Bernie, Vote for Jobs.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Bernie is looking more and more like controlled opposition, whether that’s on purpose or just an artifact of his years in “consensual” politics I’m not sure.

    3. ScottW

      And if Bernie walks the Black streets will any news outlet cover him? With the dearth of major media coverage, short time frame in getting his message and name out, the campaign was required to hold large events before those most likely to support him–young people.

      Had he walked the Black treats of S.C., I can hear the pundits attacking him for just now showing up and trying to gain publicity. NYT’s Black columnist Blow called him a “Bernie-come-lately.” People who advocated Bernie’s policies to Blacks were called “Berniesplainers” by Blow. John Lewis claimed Bernie’s civil rights march in Chicago was less relevant and that he had never met Bernie. Sen. Clyburn claimed tuition free public colleges would hurt historically Black private colleges.I don’t think there was much Bernie could do to gain Black support–especially from the over 40 Black women, an age group that is supporting Hillary in huge numbers.

      Older Blacks, like older Whites, seem unconcerned with having healthcare for all, free public higher education, a $15 minimum wage, family leave, improved infrastructure, opposition to free trade, etc. I believe it boils down to self-interests. As for disregarding the interests of their children? I doubt most have even thought that far ahead.

      If Bernie had stayed in S.C. to endure the huge loss with his supporters, the pundits would be saying he lost Mass. because he did not spend more time in the state, or that he should be spending time in the states he might win.

      In the end, expecting to garner Black support by walking the streets is pure speculation and in light of the Black Establishment’s support for Hillary, unlikely.

      1. wbgonne

        Excellent comment.

        As for this:

        Older Blacks, like older Whites, seem unconcerned with having healthcare for all, free public higher education, a $15 minimum wage, family leave, improved infrastructure, opposition to free trade, etc. I believe it boils down to self-interests. As for disregarding the interests of their children? I doubt most have even thought that far ahead.

        Yes, and global warming, too. Either we address that seriously and immediately or the future is going to be miserable for the next generation and a whole lot worse than that for the generation subsequent. Hillary Clinton is owned by fossil fuel companies, both directly and derivatively through Wall Street. Hillary Clinton is not the answer to that or any of the other grave problems you mention. So why are all these people supporting her anyway? What about the children and the grandchildren? Who is protecting them? Where is the compassion? Where is the decency? We are the stewards, nothing more, and we should act with according humility.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        “will any news outlet cover him”? Well, that’s why we have professionals running campaigns; to get stuff done. And I bet (some) Black media outlets would, and they’re the ones who matter. Some on Black Twitter will, and that matters. In addition, Sanders should have streamers; or, rather, there should be independent streamers that the Sanders campaign reposts.

        And the Black Misleadership Class will say what they say. I don’t see a reason to think that the ordinary black voter is less cynical about their own political class than we are about ours; there’s probably plenty of dirty laundry they don’t wash in public.

        My $0.02 is that there’s a perceived lack of empathy from the Sanders campaign, and Sanders personally, and the trick would be to solve that problem without appearing to be pandering, which I will leave to professionals. However, I recall reading there are two kinds of empathy: One, (A) that sees suffering and thinks about fixing the system that creates the suffering to alleviate it; the other, (B) that sees suffering and feels it, and discovers a common humanity. As an INTJ’s INTJ, and a WASP’s WASP, I “naturally” gravitate towards form (A).

        The difficulty here is that form (A) is entirely compatible with Jefferson doing his account books and discovering that ROI (“natural increase”) was better if slaves were treated better; but form (B) means that the lash is not brought down.

    4. JerseyJeffersonian

      Combine this excellent strategy, Curlydan, with the conceptual framework delineated by RabidGandhi @ 4.18, and you’ve got a lever to begin to work the party-loyal black citizens free of the invidious influence of the Black Misleadership Class (h/t Black Agenda Report). The BMC eats from an entirely different, and much better stocked, rice bowl than the people over whom they hold disproportionate sway in their lives as well as in their self images and aspirations, and the BMC’s rice bowls are filled with delicacies largely as a reward for their signal service shepherding the votes. The BMC, with their shepherds’ staffs liberally employed enforcing discipline in order to keep “their” communities in line need to get a good comeuppance through exposure of their racket.

    5. Carla

      “[T]hat’s been the story of Bernie Sanders’ campaign even here in South Carolina. It’s been a tour of colleges, a tour of black colleges, a tour of state colleges, but never any penetration into the black community, not even being able to go a block away from those colleges to actually go out into the community [Readers?]”

      Lambert, here’s some feedback from Cleveland, a city which straddles the Cuyahoga River. Historically, the city and suburbs west of the river have been very white (many of German and Polish backgrounds), but this is starting to change in the city proper ; east of the river communities have long been a mix of Jewish, African American, Italian, Serbian, Croatian ethnicities, plus affluent WASPs. Three major universities and almost all the major cultural institutions are on the east side.

      Bernie opened a campaign office in Lakewood, an inner ring suburb on the west side (Kucinich’s old district) some time ago. I’m not sure when. Lakewood and environs comprise quite a liberal area, now more racially diverse than in the past, with lots of young professionals. Last week, he opened his second Cleveland area office at 7901 Central Ave. in a very poor and distressed east side African American neighborhood.

      Last week, in his second visit to the area, Bernie spoke to a large crowd at Baldwin Wallace University in the west side suburb of Berea. This Sat., Mar. 5, he will hold a rally at 2:00 p.m. at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church at 8712 Quincy Ave., in the heart of the African American community. I plan to be there and will report back. (Sanders first addressed Clevelanders at Cleveland State University–east side–in Nov. 2015)

      BTW, one of Bernie’s strongest and most eloquent African American supporters is Nina Turner, who hails from Cleveland.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s really good news.

        One thing I’ve come to discover through the primaries is that the United States is a very large and variegated country (trying to avoid “diverse”). It’s entirely possibly for a campaign to screw up in South Carolina and do well in Ohio. So much depends on the local campaign.

        (South Carolina is also famous for ratfucking; the Sanders campaign might count it as a minor victory that they escaped without any of that happening.)

    6. JaaaaayCeeeee

      Walking the neighborhoods doesn’t work. When Bernie purposefully waited until the candidates using the Freddie Grey murder had moved on, some Clinton superpac funded an ad about how Bernie purposefully didn’t walk the right blocks, surrounded himself with people to buffer himself from residents, etc. There is nothing Bernie can do to fight fire with fire – the Denver Post just headlined their paper “Bernie Sanders may not have won Colorado after all”. Sowing doubt works (the Post was talking super delegates, but sowing doubt with a headline per usual, since headlines work on future voters).

    7. Darthbobber

      The idea that a candidate for President can PERSONALLY sell a political movement door-to-door by literally “walking the neighborhoods” is absurd on the face of it. A state legislative district is about the largest unit in which you can get all that much penetration that way.

      If this campaign had started organizing nearly a year earlier, and had initially been focused on finding a cadre of allies to do this, that would have been a different matter. Which is to say that if things were different, they wouldn’t be the same.

      The neighborhood appearances of the national candidates are and can be at this stage nothing but media dog and pony shows with the neighborhoods as a backdrop.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Just what I was thinking. And you’re right on the “dog and pony” show aspect. And of course the one thing an insurgent campaign does not have is the luxury of time.

        That said, that’s what we’ve got surrogates for, no?

  6. grayslady

    I listened to Kevin Gray’s comments on Democracy Now the other day, and I agree with some of his points. However, he’s ignoring some critical issues, IMO:

    1) While it’s fine for Gray to talk about Sanders and a political movement, to get that movement started you still have to run a campaign; and Sanders isn’t running just an insurgent campaign, he’s running a guerilla campaign. With virtually no media coverage, Sanders has had to rely on alternative and social media while, as one black commenter said on The Real News today, older southern black voters aren’t tech savvy–they receive most of their news from mainstream television;

    2) The southern black churches are another way to reach older voters, and they failed to take up the Sanders movement cause. It’s not that Sanders didn’t reach out and meet with the pastors, because he did. Perhaps, like so much of the “black misleadership class,” they were already in the tank for Hillary;

    3) The real elephant in the room is that Sanders is running against the Beltway establishment–and that includes Obama. He’s really had to tiptoe around that issue throughout his campaign, because Obots of any color find it nearly impossible to criticize Obama’s policies. Obama has been the one to run interference for the banksters and the 0.01% throughout his time in office, and those are the plutocrats that Bernie’s campaign/movement is calling out.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      About point #2, King and Abernathy represented the black church in the civil rights movement. Ministers had positions of authority in communities. If you follow the goals of the Civil Rights movement to their logical end, blacks who were dependent on churches for representation would be covered by the government. They might not even go to church.

      Point 3 is important. Liberal critics of Obama were compared to every vile figure in American history during game the first term. When Obama turned on Social Security after reelection, the Obama supporters liked to pretend this didn’t happen. Voting for Sanders underscores they had the wool pulled over their eyes and attacked the people who warned them. Obama might not have been so awful if these same people demanded more of him. If the acted, Obama might have been the President they pretended he was.

    2. MojaveWolf

      Yes. Fully agree.

      And as you say, Bernie went to black churches. They ignored him & it was very clear the pastors were in the Clinton corner, and had probably already been slandering Sanders on their behalf. You might say Bernie could have done something a little different, but it’s ridiculous to say what he did do shouldn’t have been more than enough (esp compared to HRC) or that he wasn’t paying attention or that most of the critiques of him aren’t absolute garbage from corrupt HRC supporters (see the completely made up smears/deliberate lies told by prominent black politicians) . His first prominent supporter was Nina Turner, his next was Cornell West, & Killer Mike & Symone Sanders are two of his next most prominent surrogates and leading figures in his campaign. I think they got a decent idea of “how to talk to black people”, not that I particularly support the notion that this should be different than talking to anyone else. The white people supporting Clinton are idiots or fools or willing supporters of the status quo, so are the non-white people. For whatever reason, Southern blacks have decided to completely tune Bernie & his surrogates out. I think he could run in a collapsing orphanage & save 10 kids while Hillary was at a fundraiser for ToxicDumpsInc discussing the need for less regulation on nuclear waste and she could say it was a publicity stunt and he saved the palest kids 1st and get some paid off scumbags to say they saw Hillary do it and Bernie wasn’t there and the voter split would be the same. Their motives might be better, but for purposes of this primary, Southern Blacks favoring Hillary should be viewed as about as likely to switch to Bernie as Southern Baptist whites currently favoring Ted Cruz. (or, if you want to use the “voting against their own interests tag”, the better comparison might be poor southern whites voting for Trump because they think he is their best bet to improve their economic well-being, but I actually view them as less illogical & more persuadable; both he & Bernie are trashing the establishment; they are going to have the most trouble with people who are most fearful of the establishment being torn down or restructured)

      His message is good. If people don’t believe it or don’t think he can win this is a problem, but their views are not because of his messaging. It’s because of a steady drumbeat of lies told by people they are accustomed to listening to. The Clinton foundation & the clintons in their own corrupt dealings in office have accumulated a lot of money and used it to fund a lot of projects, and they are calling in their chits, and, well, Bernie is accurately calling the system corrupt for a reason. Most current pols, black or white, will sell out their constituents and lie to them for more perks in a heartbeat. If people choose to attach themselves to those lies & those liars, so be it. Let them. Sanders needs to focus on people he can actually win over for now.

  7. EmilianoZ

    Kevin Gray: But while Bernie Sanders—I hate to say it—while he’s talked about a movement campaign, he hasn’t run a movement campaign. He’s just run a campaign.

    That’s exactly what Chris Hedges said about Sanders. Hedges called it “Bernie Sanders’ Phantom Movement”.

    Such Democratic electoral campaigns, at best, raise political consciousness. But they do not become movements or engender revolutions. They exist as long as election campaigns endure and then they vanish. Sanders’ campaign will be no different.

    His mobilized base, as was true with the Obama campaign, will be fossilized into donor and volunteer lists. The curtain will come down with a thunderclap until the next election carnival.


    1. Llewelyn Moss

      While I don’t disagree with Chris Hedges view of the sorry state of the US government, he has NO Answers. If you take him to heart, you might as well sell all your stuff and go live as a Bushman in Alaska, off grid.

      Bernie ain’t perfect but he is appears to be the only honest, uncorrupted politician running. And has some good ideas and maybe he’ll make wall street throttle back on the fraud. At a minimum he will shake up the status quo that is destroying the country.

      Or you can protest vote with the Greens, but that is only a protest. I don’t see them mounting a serious campaign. IMO It will come to nothing beyond your piece of mind.

      1. Carla

        “Or you can protest vote with the Greens, but that is only a protest. I don’t see them mounting a serious campaign. IMO It will come to nothing beyond your piece of mind.”

        You mean the Republicrat campaigns are SERIOUS? Golly, I missed that.

        “Piece of mind” — clever phrase, that. Obama cured me of ever, ever voting for a Democrat for President. Much too dangerous to my piece of mind, not to mention my peace of mind.

        So while I cheer Bernie from the sidelines (and I’ve always liked him), I vote Green NOT because the Republicrats permit the Greens — or any other “third” party — to “mount a serious campaign.”

        I vote Green because I want the Green party to retain ballot access in Ohio, and for third parties to be there when we need them, presuming the country survives the 2016 (s)election, in which case, WE WILL NEED THEM. Voting Green is the most optimistic thing I can do.

      2. jrs

        Yea so? I mean that may all be true about Bernie but it also doesn’t contradict Hedges critique that a movement should be built, whether or not Bernie is the guy to do it. Hoping for a Bernie Sander’s victory is not much of an answer either (not that it’s wrong, I mean he’s definitely the best duopoly candidate, but a plan without a plan B, is really lousy planning IMO).

        1. Foppe

          I don’t know anything about Jill Stein/the Greens beyond the 1-line summary Hedges gave, but does that party have anything by way of the organizational infrastructure needed to actually generate a broader-based movement, as per Hedges’s critique of Sanders (or the intent to do so)?

          If the Greens are anything like EU green parties, we’re talking about a party that basically only exists in parliament, with a relatively highly educated, affluent base which interacts with lower-SES folks just about never, and which is de facto neoliberal (they might protest that suggestion, but they haven’t the intellectual background to realize how/why they should and can object to neoliberal policy-making; nor does the party spend any meaningful time trying to educate/empower their base).

    2. different clue

      By now Hedges treats American affairs as a stage upon which to strut his moral superiority stuff. He is purer than anyone, he is better than anyone, etc.

  8. Clive

    Re: Olympus

    The UK’s “Serious Fraud Office” too didn’t find themselves able to prosecute Olympus http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/10/serious-office-drops-charges-camera-maker-olympus-japan-accounting-scandal despite the fact that the company committed serious fraud.

    While typing that, the spell checking thingy on my device kept offering the word “despair” as a replacement word candidate for my typing errors. It clearly knows something about the whole subject and my reaction to it.

    1. Chris in Paris

      The Olympus case is one of the most flagrant and obvious violations of fraud and anti corruption laws of the past 10 years. Plenty of excellent first hand evidence as well.

      Thanks for bringing it up.

  9. jgordon

    Similar to what I was thinking, accept I was slightly more inclined to support Trump anyway since I never really trusted Sanders:

    Hillary Clinton Can’t Count on Sanders Supporters

    “We Bernie fans just won’t vote for her,” said Steph Faulkner, who hails from Mr. Sanders’ home state of Vermont and is an avid Sanders supporter. “We are sick of the media telling us we have too. We don’t like her. We don’t trust her. We believe she is a Wall Street puppet. There is nothing they can say that will make us vote for such a woman. I mean, heck, people would vote for Trump over her, and he is a monster. What does that tell you? It tells me she is seen as the bigger evil. Trump is less evil than Hillary.”

    1. lyman alpha blob

      If you had grown up with Sanders in VT you would probably trust him a lot more. People mentioned above that he should be out walking in black communities – well he’s gone out and met people in communities all over VT for years and that is why he is so well liked and trusted there. And coming from VT I can tell you there aren’t too many Vermonters that trust New Yorkers so he must be doing something right ;)

      The man’s been in national office for over a quarter century and how many people had heard of him before this campaign? And yet he has been saying the same thing for the entire 25+ years. The two parties have the system rigged against any 3rd party candidates so they will get practically no press. Bernie had to run as a Dem to get any attention at all. So how does he reach more people in the relatively short time he has in the spotlight? He can’t single handedly walk every community himself in a year. My guess is his campaign made the decision that they’d reach more people by holding rallies so more people could hear him in the short time he has in any given state. At some point people have to educate themselves at least a little bit.

      The fact that many don’t is the reason we have Trump.

      1. jgordon

        Republicans have supercharged turns out in these primaries. Democrats have depressed turn outs. What could Bernie have done? He could have followed Trumps example and amped up on the incendiary rhetoric to get attention. HRC is a walking target with a walk-in closet full of skeletons. If Bernie were serious he could have burned her and Democrats to the ground and taken the nomination. He’s not serious.

        1. cwaltz

          They’ve got depressed turn out because people have come to realization that the DNC talks a lot of talk but when it really comes to being a party of the people it doesn’t walk the walk.

          Why would I waste my vote on that?

          Normally, I wouldn’t. Sanders is only one of a handful of Democrats I would pull the lever for.

          If you think Sanders could have pulled off Trump like incendiary behavior and be authentic then you really don’t know how Bernie is. He’s the proverbial nice guy and a statesman in a time period when statesmen all but have disappeared.

          Some people care about HOW they win or WHY they win. If you have to roll in the dirt and become what you abhor then did you really “win?” It’s kind of like the DNC saying people should vote for Hillary because she can win. WHAT are you winning though? Cuts to social security, more war, more secrecy and corrupt behind closed door decisions? For me, that ISN’T a win I want in my column. WHEN I win I want it be a candidate that I believe in with a vision I can get behind. I want someone WHO I can be proud to say I supported, not someone I settled for to keep that other guy out of office. This is supposed to be America, a place where you can dream big, not the place where dreams are supposed to go to die.

          1. Praedor

            That same DNC, which IS the Democrap party, is busy siding with payday lenders, fighting tooth and claw for usury. THAT IS what lady behind Hillary and the core of the party. Screw the Democraps.

          2. jgordon

            OK, I understand your point. That’s not Bernie’s style. And that’s too bad because I sort of like Bernie. I too think he’s decent and a nice guy. It’s just too bad that this is not the time for gentlemanly nice-guy statesmen to do well. Rather, this is an era of anger and vengeance. People want to see blood and guts, and if Bernie isn’t going to give it them then he needs to quietly exit the scene for someone who is more suited to our times–which is a sad thing because I genuinely think that Bernie’s policy ideas were pretty good. He just didn’t have what it took to get any of them implemented. Sad that.

            1. MojaveWolf

              I get your preference for blood & guts. Either no one has noticed or no one knows what I’m talking about, but I’ve frequently said that if someone starts a Quellist Party I’d be very happy to sign up.

              (Quellism is a philosophy based on the teachings of a long-deceased fictional revolutionary in Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs books–think far future cyberpunk noir–who was killed during her revolution, but spawned a nice following. Here’s my favorite quote:
              “The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide from under it with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way, you stand a better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life and that it’s nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.”

              I’d love it if Bernie said that. If I was running I would read that during my stump speeches. But I’m happy enough seeing him be FDR, and my personal desire to see blood & vengeance upon those destroying the earth notwithstanding, Bernie’s way is better. A lot better. For all concerned.

              Also, Trump is untrustworthy, a bully and a scumbag. I say this to his supporters I talk to, and they have yet to argue with me. They are just happy he’s calling out the other scumbags on their scumbaggery. And they are certainly right that he offers a better chance of real change than any of the other GOP guys. They may be right that he offers a better change than Hillary. But Bernie is infinitely, infinitely better. All the people who think Trump is a tough guy? He’s rich kid who’s been able to bully people with his money and his position his whole life. Bernie is closer to a real tough guy than Trump. Totally unlike Trump in that he was a genuinely outstanding athlete, for all the fools who like to ramble on about alpha males (I’m not gonna get started on the stupidity of that concept and the way people use it–they usally don’t have a clue how it works in different groups of animals claim to be basing the concept on and the people using it are usually either bullies who want to put down others who don’t conform or total losers by their own stupid standards who want to ally themselves with the bullies they stupidly wish they were). And more importantly, Bernie is genuinely tough mentally. It took guts for him to do what he did in the 60’s, but as impressive as that was for moral fiber, what is really amazing is that he was actually somehow successful as a dreaded Socialist (even if not really by standards of those who are serious about their socialism) during decades in which socialists were viewed as enemies of the state by all right thinking Americans, and while he was being successful at this, somehow, he still managed to be a really nice guy and decent human being. THAT requires mental toughness. Most people, surrounded by enemies and working every day for years with the worst of the worst, are going to have at least some of this nastiness rub off on them and into them and it’s going to have a negative effect on their personality. Staying good in that environment means a hell of a lot. And THAT is real toughness. Combined with real effectiveness, relatively speaking, for a congressperson. There were a lot of people who were a lot more well connected who made a lot less of a difference. Give the man credit.

              Also, don’t be so quick to write him off. Super Tuesday was very close to a best case result for him. The disappointment in Massachusetts was offset by the shocking win and even more shocking margin of victory in Oklahoma. I’ve been counting on a Bernie win, and the margins in Minnesota & Colorado were way more than I thought. I believe he got more votes there than Obama in 2008, same as New Hampshire. The media keeps trying to tell you it’s over, but that’s because it’s a long, long way from over, and if MSM-driven “momentum” doesn’t make Bernie supporters give up, watch for him to SWEEP the west (maybe excepting Arizona). I keep telling people, wait and see. Just keep him in striking distance heading into the last state and biggest state on the last day, and we WILL put him over in Cali. I promise you. He wins big here if it’s at all close.I still very much expect to win this, for all that the media distortion of reality/abandonment of real reporting for propaganda is worse than I expected, and for all that the lies told by Hillary supporters are more extreme than I expected or thought she would be able to get away with, and for all that I’m still ticked at Elizabeth Warren, and at law enforcement for not doing their job and moving Bill away from polling places, where he may have single-handedly prevented enough Bernie people from voting to swing the state. I think he shoulda been arrested and thrown in jail, but, well, the fix is in. But we’re gonna break the fix. =)

          3. Doug

            This discussion brought this quote to mind: “Do you remember that in classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke’ but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, ‘Let us march’?”–Adlai Stevenson, introducing John F. Kennedy in 1960

          4. JCC

            This conversation reminds me strongly of George Carlin’s famous diatribe on Why I Don’t Vote. His statement, “Where are all the bright honest intelligent people ready to step in?” would have been answered if he had lived long enough to see it.

            Sanders is that person… and Carlin’s extreme cynicism is accurate, we get who we, as a whole vote for, and unfortunately it does not appear to be Sanders.

            Carlin may have been right, “…maybe it’s not the politicians that suck, maybe it’s something else that sucks around here… the public.” Cynical, yes, but I think he would have voted for Sanders, who is bright, honest, and intelligent and over time has proven himself to be so.

            He’s the only gentleman in the entire mess and much of the public will not vote for him for just that reason. What a shame.

            And the real shame is that, at the moment, it appears that Carlin’s cynicism may be warranted.

          5. Lambert Strether Post author

            Trump on Iraq in South Carolina:

            George W. Bush made a mistake We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.

            They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none.

            Trump can speak that unspoken truth to that audience; lots of people agree, and he gave them permission to speak up (which is one thing Trump is about).

            Can Sanders speak equivalent truths to Democratic audiences about Obama and the financial crisis? It’s not at all clear to me that he can (and win votes, which is his job).

        2. different clue

          Sanders has the personality he has. He was never a Burn This Mother Down politician. He never will be. Deal with it. Or don’t even bother, whichever you prefer.

          By the way, the Ames Pando article about Trump, Stone and Sharpton makes me wonder if Sharpton is the only Black Leader who has worked with Stone against various Democrats.

      1. jgordon

        True it’s ugly–but the difference is that at least Trump is more or less financially independent. HRC is an empty shell for whatever corporate/neocon/neoliberal interest has the money to “donate” to her campaign or “charity”.

      2. cwaltz

        They actually said that google searches for “How to move to Canada” spiked 350% by midnight on Super Tuesday.

        That’s actually kind of funny.

        1. jgordon

          I saw that too, and I thought it was very magnanimous of them to leave their homeland to make things easier for those they’re leaving behind. The sooner they leave the better.

          1. JCC

            jgordon, I hear a lot of people say things along the lines of your comment and the first thought that comes to mind is whether the person making the comment ever served in one of the branches of the US military.

            The reason that thought comes to mind is due to my experiences traveling to various places in Europe, Asia, and Central America, where almost all the US expats that I ended up talking with in those places were US Military Vets (the ones close to my own age, anyway)… and they seem to say the exact same thing, the sooner they left, the better… for them.

            Quite a few said to me that it was difficult watching the Constitution that they swore to uphold flushed down the crapper by mostly corrupt DC Politicians (not to mention that many said it was the only way they could afford Health Insurance :)

        2. different clue

          Maybe Canada will build a Wall. Or at least a long border-to-border electrified razor-wire fence with poisoned points and minefields to keep out the Illegal Americans.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, not only ran the Koch political network’s national voter registration efforts, he also directed AFP’s New Hampshire office.”

        Did you notice that?

        Using again the vampire squid metaphor, which tentacle do you want? The Koch tentacle? Or the Goldman tentacle?

    2. meme

      I couldn’t find the link to the pledge page in the Washington Times link. The link to the pledge is on this page, it shows 51,500 signatures so far:

      To prevail in the Democratic primaries, Senator Sanders needs to have at least one million, dedicated supporters take the Bernie or Bust pledge to either write in Bernie Sanders or vote Green in the general election.”


      1. Vatch

        If Sanders is not nominated, writing in “Bernie Sanders” in the general election would be a nice protest, but I prefer the alternative in which one votes for the Green candidate instead. Even if a majority of the voters write in Sanders, because of our atavistic Electoral College, the votes wouldn’t matter. We don’t vote for a Presidential candidate, we vote for Electors, who vote for the President in December. It’s a little like the old Holy Roman Empire, in which various kings, dukes, and archbishops were electors.

        Voting for the Green candidate’s electors has the additional benefit of helping the Greens to stay on the ballot in future elections. In some states, if a party’s candidates achieve a certain percentage of the votes, it’s easier for them to be on the ballot in the next election.

        I’m still expecting Sanders to be nominated, though. There are a lot of primaries left, and Bernie still has plenty of money to spend in those primaries.

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Don’t worry! Mittens will be giving a talking to the American people, mostly Republicans I imagine, on Thursday.

    I guess Elder Mittens will tell everyone not to elect that fascist Trump from his role at Pater Familias of the already openly fascist party even before Trump.

    Perhaps, they will have Barbara give a lecture too.

    1. Carolinian

      Once again there’s that web rumor that Romney might even jump in the race. Crazy talk no doubt.

      1. hunkerdown

        You know all those moderates cheering for Biden to get tagged, do the heel-face turn, and enter the ring? This is the other side of that principle.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        What we are seeing is the end of the Southern Strategy which also includes western “cowboy” types. 43 delayed the reckoning because he had an appeal. The Southern Strategy was the GOP would embrace racist strategies and Christian welfare in exchange for votes for capital gains cuts. Everyone who made the deal with Nixon is dead, but they still voted for Romney in the spirit of good faith with the traditional GOP. They wanted a new arrangement, and now they want new leaders.

        Trump especially if he harps on a new foreign policy and stopping free trade is having a discussion about a new arrangement which the GOP elite has refused to have. Instead they demand dedicated loyalty for Jeb, a man who talks about his mother and not much else, and now Ricky Rubio, a man of such little note I can’t believe I haven’t even thought to call him Ricky until just now.

        1. cwaltz

          You mean we’re seeing the end of the Southern strategy for the GOP. Last I saw Secretary Clinton seemed to think HER firewall was the south.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          Nice one, Ivy. I got it. For those who missed the reference, search on “Romney 47% comment”.

    2. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      Isn’t it interesting that we have an upcoming election where so many Rs are swearing that they will vote for Clinton rather than Trump, and so many Ds swearing that they will vote for Trump over Clinton? I can’t remember a time when candidates were quite this polarizing within their own camps.

      I’m for Bernie all the way; the other options, for me, are NO and NUH-UH.

  11. DakotabornKansan

    Wolf seems to think Trump is a Caesar [Financial Times]

    Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination or the presidency, not to mention Hillary Clinton (a Cleopatra skilled manipulator, dramatizing her power), both Republican and Democratic elites need to ask themselves the hard question: why and how do great republics meet their end?

    Roman elites made up less than two percent of the Roman Empire’s estimated 70 million inhabitants at its peak. There were two Romes, not unlike America today, separated by wealth and income inequality.

    Visit Rome today and what do you see? The ruins of the wealthy two percent Roman elites; built by poor laborers and farmers, the ninety eight percent who left few traces of their existence.

    What will future civilizations think of us?

    1. different clue

      Since most of us reading here are among the 98% who will leave little trace, future civilizations will give us no thought at all. They will think about the American ruins left behind by the 2%.

    2. cnchal

      What will future civilizations think of us?

      Those lucky bastards got to drive 426 Hemis.

  12. Benedict@Large

    That DemocracyNow! scolding was a bunch of crap. Look at the numbers. Bernie wasn’t just thrown out by a campaign error. He was blown away by a level of ignorance in the Southern black community that no single candidate is going to be able to overcome, at least not while running the rest of his or her campaign. The question that needs to be asked is why, after all these years, are so many people so ignorant of even their recent political history. Who has been lying to them? Because someone has, and big time.

    Now certainly it’s the nature of the South to do this, but let’s look too at how quickly black political icons were to jump on Hillary’s sword, humiliating themselves in the process. That doesn’t come from belief. That comes hands too far in the cookie jar. these people owed the Clintons. Even the black community has a name for them: the black misleadership class. What’s happening is that promising black voices are being vetted by the white power structure to see how well they sing white versions of black politics, and those who sing well are rewarded with a more permanent political status, a voice, if you will, access to mainstream media, and a paycheck. The one’s who don’t sing are cast aside. They lucky ones still get to teach.

    Eventually an election comes along and you get this; the Clinton’s version of black political history being quickly endorsed by their misleadership class, and the rest is history. Bill’s the first black President, and oh well, let’s vote for Hillary.

    1. RP

      If you’re black, live in the South, and you think you’re anything to Clinton other than a vote, there’s probably not anything anyone can tell you. Certainly not in the next 2 weeks.

      Good thing Democrats are so competitive in all those southern states Hillary won, otherwise it might be kind of stupid to nominate her over the guy who actually wins purple and blue states.

      I’m sure the DNC didn’t run the first 40% of their primary through the south to ensure no real progressive could ever win.

      1. cwaltz

        I do think Bernie would have been more competitive if he had more time and had he had resources earlier.

      1. allan

        Speaking of which: Best-Selling Blood Pressure App Gave ‘Highly Inaccurate’ Results

        The researchers outlined their findings on digital health startup AuraLife’s Instant Blood Pressure (IBP) app in a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The authors tested out the app on 85 participants and found that it had a tendency to inform users that their blood pressure was in the normal range when it was actually quite high.

        Fly, little angel, fly.

  13. TomD

    (“Progressive” mockery of its political enemies hasn’t worked in over a decade. But they can’t quit it.)

    Ever heard the saying you have to laugh because otherwise you’d start to cry?

    1. Daryl

      Why would anyone take out McClendon? He was part of the elite. Also, unlike Hastings, this was a day after his indictment on charges.

      1. jrs

        If the elite are going to start killing themselves they certainly save us some use of guillotines. Sweet.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Down here in the Real Deep South we’d say: Everyone knows McClendon committed suicide, but no one knows who done it.

  14. craazyman

    the big news I saw today is the savage critique Burger King got for their new hot dog. It was some New York reviewer, who took a very haughty and derisive tone toward both the taste of the hot dog and the amount of time it took Burger King to introduce it (approximately 100 years, if I recall).

    The funny thing to me was, even though the critic savaged every aspect of the hot dog, I thought the pictures they ran with the critique were very appealing! I got hungry looking at the pictures, even despite the review. I got so hungry I want to go try one myself! Even though the critic cast doubt on what sort of meat it was inside.

    How weird is that? I may even vote for Donald Trump if Bernie doesn’t make it to the Superbowl. Maybe both of them get so pissed off they decide to join forces like Oscar and Felix. I’m not sure who’d be who though. Both seem more Oscar to me than Felix.

    Anyway, if anybody ate a Burger king hotdog was it that bad? It looks good to me, in the pictures anyway.

    Maybe Mr. Trump and Senator Sanders can create a hot dog and sell it nationwide. I don’t know what they’d call it though. Maybe something like . . . . I’m sorry but I can’t think of anything good. “White House” franks maybe. That’s not hilarious at all, but its all I can think of now.

    1. fakie wallie

      An awe-inspiring example of the power of free markets; the existence of free-lance food stylists.

    2. Clive

      You’re doing better than I am. Trying to figure out U.S. politics right now reminds me of the last time I watched an episode of Kamen Rider. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamen_Rider

      I only saw a jumble of colour and movement. It was quite mesmerising but it all made my head hurt. The subtleties of the plot were completely incomprehensible to me. I thought it was just because it was from a different culture but even a native speaker when I asked for help in trying to get an understanding said “I’m really not at all sure what that scene meant”.

    3. The Insider

      They could call it the Felix Frankfurter. Sell it (along with the Warren Burger) at the cafeteria in the Supreme Court building.

    4. Carolinian

      Didn’t Burger King buy Oscar Meyer from Kraft? Therefore the new dogs must be Oscar Meyer dogs. Personally I like Nathan’s hot dogs–the real ones, not the supermarket version.

    5. ewmayer

      Re. Trump & Sanders hotdogging it: Insert quip about the congressional franking privilege here.

  15. PeonInChief

    African American leaders are no worse, and no better, than other community leaders. Many supported draconian crime bills in the 1980s because they felt they had no choice. Communities were being destroyed by guns and crack, and effective drug treatment wasn’t on the horizon. (It still isn’t.) What’s most important is that draconian penalties didn’t solve the problem, and created other problems that are worse. The African American middle class supported welfare reform because welfare recipients were perceived as the equivalent of trailer trash in the white community. Sometimes it’s a class issue.

    And I haven’t been able to find anything on the breakdown of support for Clinton and Sanders in the black community by income. It would be interesting to see whether the distribution tracks the white community.

    1. Rhondda

      ” Communities were being destroyed by guns and crack, and effective drug treatment wasn’t on the horizon. (It still isn’t.)”

      I find that idea that the ‘solution’ to ‘drugs’ is ‘treatment’ to be utter crap. It’s the limpBS version of the War on Drugs. I think it stinks of — I dunno — I was going to say bourgoise liberalism but that says nothing. There are no political words anymore! It stinks of so totally not getting it. Politically. Socially.

      People anesthetize themselves when their world sucks. Hopium. And many people see the crack “epidemic” as more than just “something that happened.” Gary Webb.

      1. Rhondda

        Also, people “do drugs” to achieve insight, to enjoy themselves, to enhance their experience of the world and their loved ones.

        Also…(insert human reality here.)

        “Drugs” are not all one thing that require “treatment.”

        1. Rhondda

          My apologies, PeonInChief, I think I am yawping at you when I should be yawping at Lambert. It’s his comments at the outset of the links that set me off, not yours here.

        2. cwaltz

          Well speaking as a “loved one” that had family members that suffered from addiction issues, some of us may not feel it ENHANCES a darn thing. Personally, I still struggle with self esteem issues thanks to knowing that given a choice that my father choose a bottle of booze over his family.

        3. different clue

          That depends on the drugs. Cannabis does all those good things you attribute to “drugs”. The powerful psychedelics can do those good things for some people. I don’t see how opiates or meth or cocaine can do any of those good things. Maybe I shouldn’t knock opiates or meth because I haven’t tried them, but I tried cocaine once. It was interesting but it had nothing to teach me so I saw no reason to try it again.

    2. RabidGandhi

      The arguments you’ve made (which I agree with) are:

      1. Community “leaders” are more interested in draconian measures– that incidentally, will get them in good with the reactionary forces in higher positions of power– than they are in the destruction of the communities they “lead”. [RG: great then let’s ditch the leaders ]

      2. The middle class (AA in this case) perceives the lower classes as worthy of punishment [RG: then change the incorrect perception and change the unequal class relationship]

  16. sleepy

    “If you live in the eastern U.S., it’s almost time to put that snow shovel away and get out the gardening tools” [Bloomberg]. In Maine, we plant on Memorial Day. That’s a long time away.

    Beautiful crocuses. I live in northern Iowa up near the Minnesota border. I have never seen a robin before St. Patrick’s day nor a cardinal before April. Yesterday I saw both.

    Last Saturday I was in a Minnesota town 90 miles west of Minneapolis. It was 65 degrees and I turned on the car’s AC.

  17. Jerry Denim

    Kampot Pepper- As good as the hype, but don’t eat the dried stuff, eat it green and raw if you ever get the chance. The brined stuff in a jar that can be purchased at some asian supermarkets stateside does not do a good job of preserving the the zesty, floral and herbaceous spice of the fresh kind. It’s a true revelation if you’re only used to eating the dried peppercorns available in North America & Europe.

  18. Jerry Denim

    Chinese canal in Nicaragua;

    Awesome news, hopefully the reports of the canal’s imminent demise are true. It’s massively unpopular in Nicaragua. If it’s ever built it will been done mostly with Chinese labor and will bring very little into the Nica economy while costing the country big money in tourism and of course environmental degradation. The plan calls for cutting a salt water canal with locks right into the biggest supply of fresh water in Central America, Lake Nicaragua, irrevocably polluting it for drinking/irrigation purposes and killing massive amounts of wildlife. It’s incredibly unpopular in Nicaragua for good reason. It’s ashamed to see ‘president-for-life’ Ortega willing to sell out his people for Chinese lucre. I think this project was more about sticking a finger into the eye of the US Naval dominance in the Americas than it was economics. A new canal in the same area duplicating capacity doesn’t make sense any other way.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Clinton’s owners have a clear position on Social Security:

      Fink has also promoted the privatization of Social Security, while mocking the idea of retiring at 65, which is easy for a business executive who sits at a desk all day to say, rather than working on an assembly line or as a waiter. Fink owes his initial backing at BlackRock to Pete Peterson, the former commerce secretary who has been at the forefront of the campaign to cut or privatize Social Security. He sat on the steering committee of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, a stalking horse for Peterson’s ideas.

      And Blackrock hired Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff. How cozy.

  19. flora

    TPP and ISDS clause:

    “The adjudicators would be paid per day worked. This creates perverse incentives to accept frivolous cases, let cases drag on, and to let the only party that can initiate cases (foreign investors) win to stimulate more cases.”

    So, Jarndyce v Jarndyce ?

  20. jimmt

    If Hilary is elected and has not been indicted for emails by the Obama administration, what is the first act of the new Congress? Impeachment! And what is the best insurance against that? A Vice President that is anathema to the 1%: Sanders! Stops all progressive defections, too. Fires up the youngsters. It’s a winner. Clinton/Sanders 2016. You owe me a beer if I’m right.

    1. cwaltz


      I think it’s hysterically cute that the party faithful think Hillary is going to “get things done.” Every day is going to be a new investigation.

    2. sleepy

      I believe impeachment is reserved for offenses committed while in office.

      She may well begin im;peachable offenses the day she’s inaugurated, but I don’t believe the email scandal will be relevant.

      1. tycho

        That is not correct. Impeachment is political by construction, and there is no check or limitation on the power.

      2. Doug

        Did some quick research and found this quote from then US Representative Gerald Ford in 1970, defining impeachable offenses as “whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” The article with the quote goes on to identify “behavior grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office” as one of three categories Congress has used in issuing articles of impeachment. It would seem past misconduct revealed while in office could fit in here. A discovery that the president had a stash of unpaid parking tickets? Not an issue. Credible accusation that the president had committed murder? That would seem to fit the category quoted above. The State Dept email scandal? That’s where the Ford quote probably applies. If the House thinks it’s impeachable, then it is.

      3. optimader

        It’s my long ago recollection that a POTUS basically has the benefit of having any criminal prosecution for events occurring before election to office being set aside until after the POTUS term.

        Anyone have some legal flesh on that?
        Practically speaking I think a resignation would be an inevitability in HRC case because it is a case of government malfeasance.

    3. different clue

      If it comes to that, Sanders could make accepting the Impeachment Insurance role contingent on his getting to pick some key Cabinet Secretaries. He could make other demands as well. I don’t know if he would, but he could. He could also study how Cheney made the Vice Presidency an independent power center and try doing the same . . . within the limits of the law, of course.

  21. Daryl

    > “Cambodia’s Kampot pepper wins EU protection, joins food elite”

    I wonder how this works, given that it’s already popular enough that it’s apparently hard to buy legitimate Kampot pepper in Kampot.

  22. ekstase

    The article on scholarly publication’s decline was rather dismal until it got to the punchline: open source publishing.
    Finally a way to make serious writing accessible to a world audience. It does seem like the art of writing is undergoing a metamorphosis. The kind of interaction with writers whose books were written long ago, (most of what was in a library), or with periodicals that gave you long spates of time in between issues to think over and maybe even discuss their ideas, have been replaced by something new.
    It’s exciting. I wonder if something similar might help to rescue literary fiction?

  23. TedWa

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned but the delegate count, without including super-delegates, is Clinton 486, Sanders 386. That’s the equivalent of just 1 medium size state.

    In it to win it !

  24. Jay M

    does Trump have significance for the interest rate? He will then fulfill Carville’s sort of prediction or whatever you would call it
    (I’d like to come back as the bond rate or something like that. during Clinton 1)

  25. dale

    Fortune on Nicaragua canal. The lake which this canal would cross is called Cocibolca. It contains within its vast area an active volcano, Concepcion. The region is subject to near constant seismic activity, low grade tremors and the like, but occasionally a real earth mover higher up the Richter scale shakes the ground and cracks adobe walls. Additionally, Cocibolca is the largest body of fresh water between the Great Lakes and Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. An interoceanic canal would leave the water unsuitable for human consumption, for watering livestock, and too saline for crop irrigation.

    1. JCC

      I wish they had polled the Black Middle class, too, or if they did, I wish they would have addressed it specifically. Overall, though, it’s a very interesting article.

  26. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Re: “[H]istorical patterns and political data all show that the real presidential election is confined to just seven states: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire”

    Note Bernie took Colorado, functionally split Nevada and Iowa, and crushed New Hampshire. The drumming he got down south on Super Tuesday is sort of irrelevant from a general election standpoint, no?

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