2:00PM Water Cooler 5/13/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Roll Call on turning down Fast Track [New York Times]. Call your Congress critter to thank them if they voted the right way, and to encourage them to vote the right way if they did not.

Obama on TPP vs. NAFTA: “This is our chance to do better, to get it right” [The Hill]. If Obama really believes that, then he should publish the full text, and let the American people judge for themselves.

Reid floats offer to drop currency manipulation “poison pill” [Politico]. ” Democrats’ willingness to return to the bargaining table suggests the trade measure may not be dead.” Zombies don’t die.

Currency manipulation isn’t only a Democratic poison pill; Republicans like Rob Portman (R-OH) think it’s an issue too. Explainer [Vox].

Portman is not only a former US Trade Representative, he’s from auto industry heavy Ohio [Wall Street Journal]. A battleground state in 2016 that the Democrats gave a helping hand with the auto bailouts.

“[I]nterest group opposition is what’s driving liberal anti-TPP sentiment on the Hill,” not Warren [Yglesias, Vox]. Film at 11. And?

“The Senate fight, however, is just a warm-up for the House battle, which promises to be even more difficult for backers of the trade bill. In the House, tea party Republicans are deeply skeptical of the trade deals, with many grassroots activists considering TPP to be a step toward a one-world government” [HuffPo]. Well, the surrender of national sovereignty under ISDS would make me think that too, if I were a TPer.

White House spokeshole Josh Earnest says Sherrod Brown will apologize for his claim that Obama’s treatment of Warren is sexist [Wall Street Journal]. I’ll just drop this photo of White House head speechwriter Jon Favreau right here.

“‘Who do they think they are?’ said one Democratic senator, angry at at the role Warren (D-Mass.) and other liberals have played in seeking to scuttle the White House’s approach’ [Politico]. Er, the future of your intellectually and morally bankrupt party? (Not that Warren and Girondins “liberals” don’t have their own problems.)’



Headline: “Opinion: Call him a ‘socialist,’ but many Americans agree with Bernie Sanders” [Market Watch (!)].

The S.S. Clinton

Garrison Keillor at Minnesota Hillary Clinton organizing event (pic) [Devin Driscoll].

New Clinton SuperPAC, “Correct the Record,” created to coordinate with Clinton campaign (huh?) and counter oppo [USA Today]. Among them Benghazi™, the topical cream for all Republican aches and pains… 

Handy clock shows last time Clinton answered a question from the press [WaPo]. 31,584 minutes. Aw, 21 days isn’t that much, but one does have to question why the Clinton campaign feels the need to wrap their candidate in tissue paper.

Report from “Commitee on Inclusive Prosperity” seems to be the best guide to Hillary’s economic policies [Vox]. Podesta, Summers, yadda yadda yadda.

Republican Establishment

Bush claims to have misheard the question when he supported the Iraq war, claiming he had assumed “given what people knew then” [New York Times]. His current position: “Mistakes were made, as they always are in life.” No, he didn’t. He couldn’t have! The classic non-apology apology: “Mistakes were made.” Oh my.

Bush to pass on this summer’s Iowa straw poll [McClatchy].

Republican Principled Insurgents

Second squillionaire, Larry Ellison, backs Rubio [Politico]

Republican Clown Car

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said “of course” he would not authorize the Iraq War knowing what he knows now [Bloomberg]. There were plenty of voices on the left pointing out that the WMD evidence was not merely “false,” as Cruz avers, but fabricated (among much else, see the Downing Street Memo: “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”). To this day, neither legacy party acknowledges this).

Trump after Amtrak crash says he’s the only candidate who can fix infrastructure [Talking Points Memo].

Democratic nomenklatura prefers Patrick Murphy, a former Republican with no name recognition but lots of lovely Wall Street money to Alan Grayson [WaPo]. 

“It isn’t that the Democratic Party is struggling,” says Jonathan Cowan, the president of the centrist policy center Third Way. “It’s that at the subpresidential level, it’s in a free fall” [New York Times]. Thanks to Third Way and its Republican-lite candidates, along with Obama’s corrosive effect on  state and local parties!

Stanford and Dartmouth run an academic study in Montana which turns out to be a push poll in practice, a criminal offense [Talking Points Memo]. Using the State seal without authorization, too. Oopsie.

Stats Watch

MBA Mortage applications, week of May 8, 2015: Rates rise, applications fall back [Bloomberg].

Retail sales, May 2015: Unchanged vs. expectation for gain [Bloomberg]. 

Inflation expectations, May 2015: “Hint” of wage pressure [Bloomberg].

Business inventories, May 2015: “Not quite as bloated” [Bloomberg].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Post-shooting resignations continue in crony-ridden Tulsa police department [AP].

No charges after Madison, Wisconsin cops whack unarmed black teenager [New York Times]. It’s like this keeps happening.


Posting this again: Game theoretical look at corruption: ” In righteous societies, police were not a separate, elite order. They were everybody. When virtually all of society stood ready to defend the common good, corruption didn’t pay” [Aeon]. Thinking of witness via cellphone cameras, I find this hopeful. Can readers actually conversant in game theory assess?

“Mr. Obama has sketched his ambitions for 2017 and beyond with increasing specificity during the last few weeks” [Wall Street Journal]. Isn’t it a little bit early for Obama to start phoning it in?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

D.C. Federal Court: Laptops not searchable like handbags [Legal Times]. A Fourth Amendment victory?!

Utah doesn’t require warrants for police to access prescription drug databases [Ars Technica].

“Woman fired after disabling work app that tracked her movements 24/7 ” [The Verge].

Class Warfare

Behavioral scientist: Scarcity starves the mind as well as the body [Harvard Magazine]. “Poverty Taxes the Mind.”

Top 25 hedgies earn more than all kindergarten teachers combined [WaPo]. Priorities!

News of the Wired

  • USDA: Managed honey bee colonies suffered annual losses of 42% [Los Angeles Times]. What we can do is plant flower mixes that bees like wherever we can.
  • Nine programming languages created by women [Java World]. Among them, COBOL.
  • “8 possible explanations for those bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres” [CNET]. Headlights?
  • Vatican recognizes Palestinian state (!) [St Louis Today].
  • “Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial” [Bill McKibben, New York Times]. Prompted by Obama opening the Arctic to drilling. Good, if a little late.

* * *

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, the third of Garden Week (Dan):


Dan writes from Alabaster, AL, a southern suburb of Birmingham:

We’ve been here 15 years and have been steadily making improvements and doing all the gardening and most everything else ourselves. (besides installing the pool, retaining wall around it and hottub). All kinds of produce on the way, blackberries, blueberries,tomatoes. beans, peppers, muscadine grapes (growing on the gazebo above the pool. We make wine with it). The metal tubs behind the gazebo are new this year, replacing a container garden that was in the driveway.

Well, the plants in pots remind me of Bangkok. And I bet the plants are happy against that warm wall!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the soil, seeds, flats, and planting season!


(Readers will notice that I have, at long last, improved the hat!)

Talk amongst yourselves!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. hunkerdown

    A bit shame Sophie Wilson didn’t get a shout as co-inventor of the ARM architecture that pretty much all of us are carrying around in our pockets right now, but I can see how that might be politically incorrect among Java types.

      1. hunkerdown

        No, that assertion is indeed incorrect, but a case could be made that assembler language has a foot in either camp. ARM assembler in particular had some unique and beautiful aspects that haven’t been seen in other volume architectures before or since.

        I suppose that die shot she’s posing with is a subtle enough nod for the savvy, sufficient to keep the Java ME partisans from lobbing mortars at the Androidplex in jealous rage.

        1. optimader

          My uncle gave me a copy of the IBM 360 assembler code manual when I was a kid, thankfully disabusing me of any interest in becoming a programmer.

          1. hunkerdown

            You have a mean uncle. That’s the equivalent of making a kid smoke a whole pack of cigs at once to condition them against the habit.

          2. weevish

            Not to engage in yet another computer-related religious war or anything, but…

            The 360 ISA, despite the inevitable warts, was a thing of unbearable beauty compared to certain architectures that ended up taking over the world. Assembly language programming on the 360 – good times! Think I still have a copy of the POM around somewhere.

  2. Adam1

    I find it very interesting that the only Democrat wh didn’t vote on fast track was Booker! Got to protect that voting record for 2020.

  3. EGrise

    Re: “Woman fired after disabling work app that tracked her movements 24/7”, from the article:
    “However, ClickSoftware doesn’t seem to envision the app as a 24-hour tracker[…]”
    They never do, do they?

    1. Benedict@Large

      If they had had this app in the way back days, they never would have needed slave patrols.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Hardly mentioned until today were over 2 dozen rail tanker cars containing who knows what, only a few feet from one the derailed Amtrak trains. This area is a huge junction area of railroad activity feeding the remnants of industrial activity, including a massive Dow Chemical plant barely a mile away, fed by rail from tankers parked in this area. Hurtling overhead of mulit track railroad holding areas are commercial freight lines. Right next to the freight lines, the speeding Amtrak trains, including Acela trains. They may slow down, but as this accident shows, without failsafe switching and speed controls which were not yet installed at this railroad junction, the potential for a derailment triggering a chemical or explosive disaster on top of the commuter accident will produce death toll count and injuries in the hundreds or thousands, due to the nearby high density rowhome neighborhood. The Philadelphia rowhouse is the compact attached single family dwelling that can pack as many 100 families on block, with 50 rowhomes on each side of a street. Home ownership has typically been very high due to this style of construction but also leads to a lot of people in a small area, all developed pre-WWII and pre auto. I don’t know what could be worse, a cloud of vinyl chloride gas leaking or crude oil exploding and I hope I never find out.


        Above link show daylight overhead picture of train derailment and freight line holding rails with tanker cars. They have been moved back since last nights live video feed from right after the accident. Only the new Gov Tom Wolf seemed alarmed out loud that these tanker cars were so close. The railroad companies were quoted to have said the tanker cars were empty, sitting in a holding area for delivery to local plants. The following link follows up on a tanker care derailment just across the river in NJ of vinyl chloride which cause a huge toxic cloud in Paulsboro NJ a few years back.


        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Thanks, what a horror show. Is this uniquely dense for the Northeast Corridor, do you know?

          And speaking of row houses, isn’t this the anniversary of the day the Philadelphia police bombed the MOVE house from a helicopter and burned down the neighborhood?

          1. Paul Tioxon

            Yeah, another almost beyond belief episode with the police force. The bombing was carried out by PA state police helicopter equipment. The cops forced the fire department to let the houses burn, along with blocks on either side. The details are frightening but you can get the idea from this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVbOlY7svfE.

          2. John Zelnicker

            Yes, it is the anniversary. And that was the second attack on MOVE. A few years previously there was a firefight with police at their former home on North 34th street in the Powellton section of Philly. While they were a bit of a nuisance to the neighborhood with loud music and political speeches blaring from speakers and megaphones, they didn’t hurt anyone. The city PTB just couldn’t stand such an anti-establishment group existing in their midst taunting them. There was evidence that the cop killed at the beginning of the firefight was shot by one of his own to provide the necessary excuse to escalate to an all-out attack. The house was heavily fortified and the cops eventually decided to stand down. MOVE members who weren’t arrested scattered and came back together at the house that was later bombed.

  4. DJG

    “Garrison Keillor at Minnesota Hillary Clinton organizing event.” Way to go after the youth vote. And not a good omen: I can guarantee that terminal boredom will ensue.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Burn! (To be fair, Prairie Home Companion was super, back in the late 70s, when I first heard it. Uniquely astringent Midwestern humor, sounding sentimental, indeed neighborly, but with an underlying mean streak. For example.) Also, Keillor genuinely loved radio, as it was before Big Media like Clear Channel took over the airwaves.

        However, I will freely concede the show has long passed its sell-by date.

        1. frosty zoom

          to be honest, i used to love the program when i was a kid. never liked fleetwood mac, though.

    1. Alan Smithee

      Keillor’s support means tapping into senior citizen votes here in Minnesnowta. He’ll help with bundling oldster money for Hillary and such. And, yeah, he’s a dull as a beige room.

  5. DJG

    ““It isn’t that the Democratic Party is struggling,” says Jonathan Cowan, the president of the centrist policy center Third Way. “It’s that at the subpresidential level, it’s in a free fall” [New York Times]. Thanks to Third Way and its Republican-lite candidates, along with Obama’s corrosive effect on state and local parties!”

    Cowen of Third Way meet Cassidy of the New Yorker, who had Milibrand on the verge of a great victory except for those, oh, 58 seats in Scotland that Labor may just have lost forever. Is it possible that “centrism” is where the truly politically insane congregate?

  6. fresno dan

    Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said “of course” he would not authorize the Iraq War knowing what he knows now [Bloomberg]. There were plenty of voices on the left pointing out that the WMD evidence was not merely “false,” as Cruz avers, but fabricated (among much else, see the Downing Street Memo: “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”). To this day, neither legacy party acknowledges this).

    I would be very interested in knowing what the NC commentariat thinks about this.

    I thought Cruz was full Jim Jones koolaid drinking loon who would have said something to the effect of going into Iraq made the world safe for democracy, or Saddam was a big supporter of terrorism, or something so illogical that I can’t even speculate as to what he would say. If Cruz is a weathervane of the far right, that seems important to me.
    So will there be a real republican schism between the “mistakes were made” faction and we gotta keep getting involved, cause….and go USA, real patriots love napalm in the morning – – – and the “of course government makes mistakes (and the libertarian faction that government lies for its own aggrandizement) – thats why you have to be PRUDENT and only go to war if you HAVE to” wing???
    Will Iraq being a BIG mistake be a significant issue in the republican primary? Will it be an issue in the general presidential election???

    Of course, I’m sure Cruz is trying to stick it to Jebbie, but it seems to me that Cruz de-emphasized the usual excuses and tried to highlight that it was a poor decision. The interesting thing to me is that Cruz gets a good whack at Hillary as well using this tact.

    What is amazing, will BOTH parties try to sweep going into Iraq under the rug by BOTH nominating people associated with that decision and that it was a simple mistake that anyone could make???

      1. cwaltz

        Uh I wouldn’t go that far since most of them were cheering the idea of Israel attacking Iran.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Expect to see Iraq become an issue as long as Hillary runs. Right now, she is the only candidate who actually voted for it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          He supported the idea, but as governor, he never voted for the Iraq War.

          This is a key issue. The Democrats are lining up behind a deranged war monger, and the GOP has Cruz and the Pauls. It’s mind boggling. At least the older Paul was opposed to the idea of the Iraq War altogether.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Americans seem resigned to getting yet another truly awful president, this millennium has been nothing but bad to worse. When did we all just give up on the idea that we might get a good leader that had even the slightest afterthought for the actual people in this country? I mean really? We just want corporations to get more and more power? Corporate profits at all-time world history highs, CEOs earning billions, 50% of public school students below the poverty line, Third World infrastructure, trade deals that give multi-nationals sovereignty over nation-states, American Permanent War sowing hatred around the globe…and we all just sit there and say “please, sir, may I have some more”?

            1. James Levy

              I don’t think “we” have much to say at all in these matters. The duopoly controls the ballot, and the money men control the parties. What’s different is that the money men used to anoint capable mediocrities like Cleveland, Taft, Coolidge, Truman, Kennedy, and Poppy Bush (or when they were in a good mood both Roosevelts and Eisenhower). Today we get piss-poor front men with no will or agenda of there own (other than to do the bidding of those who back them).

                1. hunkerdown

                  “Free to choose Taco Bell or KFC, but not to choose neither” as some Baffler writer — Tom Frank? — put it a decade or so ago.

            2. hunkerdown

              Is the state lottery not part of your retirement plan? If you’re asking whether people have dismissed faith-based Exceptionalism as a lifestyle and compliance with a “silly game with serious rules” rigged against them as a plan, the answer is yes.

              I wish there were a better way to distinguish between apathy and pointed disinterest. The former line is far too easy to sell.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                OK then count me as “pointedly disinterested”. But when my generation felt that way we got shot at Kent State, took over Columbia University, got into the streets, threw stones and bombs…and stopped a war, threw a crook president out of office, and changed the entire society.
                This generation’s idea is to create a new app, try to make a billion…and then studiously pretend that the pics of five year olds with their arms blown off by our drone bombs are from some parallel universe where accountability and complicity don’t exist. Or worse, go all “billionaire-y” and try and assuage guilt by handing a pittance out to Africa charities or something.

                1. subgenius

                  …except, of course, it is primarily your generation that later sold out the millennials. They haven’t even had a shot at a decent education. And they are mired in debt as a result of policies they had no hand in creating, and no choice but ro accept if they were to follow the advice to get edicated janded down by their elders….

                  1. John Zelnicker

                    Actually, it wasn’t our generation that sold out the millennials. We weren’t in power in the 70’s and 80’s when the neoliberal project was initiated and funded by the extreme right wing, e.g., John Birch Society, started (?) and funded by the Koch brothers papa.

                    Also, reference the Powell memorandum, 1971.

            3. jonboinAR

              When we accepted, or at least came to realize, that it takes “one billion dollars!”, give or take, to get elected President.

          2. frosty zoom

            i fully understand jeb didn’t directly vote for the war.

            but no one cares. no one knows what the tpp is. no one knows where libya is. it’s just a choice between who makes a cooler poster, coke or pepsi.

  7. Matt

    Fast track vote is on again for Thursday, possibly combined with AIPAC and currency riders.
    This is no surprise since Wyden’s statement is all for both Fast track and the TPP trade bill with complete silence on the sovereign state issues with star chamber arbitration panels award damages against Equador and the Dominican republic coming to US locations real soon. Also silence on intellectual property law impacts usurping US law. And the smoke of being pro US jobs is only believed by the ones doing the smoking if at all.
    I understand the fast track will apply to all treaties within its time frame with some pundits talking about it going past the next election cycle. The 2016 excuse for your property and wage garnishments, the “treaty” made us do it.

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Fast Track, TPP, TTIP and TISA, if passed can be repealed any time. So, even if opponents are unsuccessful n the short run, no one should ever give up until they are repealed.

      1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

        In the last 3 decades, the richest get what they want, by hook, by crook, by the narrowest of margins sometimes.

        And they never give anything back. They own this country.

        1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

          Their ownership isn’t legitimate. Ours is! We will take it back, one way or another!

      2. Yves Smith

        No, those treaties have the provision that all signatories have to agree for them to be undone. They are designed to be roach motels.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Couldn’t “a proposal to punish countries that keep their currency artificially low to boost exports” actually be used as another hammer in the austerity TINA toolkit? Create market instability, prevent the weak from spending enough to recover (“it’s inflationary!”), force them to take loans with onerous conditions, fire sale privatizations and so on.

        1. JTMcPhee

          This is what your spleen, thymus and lymph structures “feel,” in chemical and energy language, when the sarcoma subdivides and splits into highly mobile sets of tightly organized, malignant, metastatic wanderers, roaming throughout your vulnerable, tender, ordinary flesh, seeking out comfortable places to settle in, grab hold, and start pumping out the little molecular mandates that cause your carcass to angiogenesize ever larger arteries, with ever weaker walls, to dump ever more of your vital essences into the effing neoliberoplastic laps of consolidating terminal tumors. Yell “help” all you want: unless you can afford the only effective treatment (huge piles of wealth), you are dead meat. Faster or slower, same result…

    1. Ulysses

      These are the ten Senate Dems who were in a White House meeting, earlier today, and enlisted to assist the GOP with giving President Obama fast-track approval tomorrow: Tom Carper (Del), and Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.).

      I appeal to anyone who lives in any of these Senators’ states to contact them and urge them not to give fast-track authority tomorrow!! Carper and Wyden are probably lost causes, but the rest of them may be susceptible to constituent pressure.

      1. cwaltz

        Warner is a lost cause too. He was determined to sell out early. Tap danced about port business when we called with our opinion.

        Kaine was originally a no, so he might be subject to his wishy washy desire to save his backside.

        1. hunkerdown

          Kaine was the DNC chair preceding Wishy-Wasserman-Schultz. I don’t think Party fundraising brass are worried about their backsides much at all. I think what you’re seeing here is a whip posse.

          1. cwaltz

            It’s entirely possible. Does anyone know if any of these 10 are up for election in 2016?

            1. cwaltz

              Does the green party have a bench in Colorado, Oregon or Washington? Bennet is up for re election THIS year. Patty Murray and Wyden are as well.

              I’d start with these three sell outs.

              1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

                I think they are the only ones up for re-election. A number of the others are up in 2018, but not Warner who was just narrowly re-elected.

                Warner is just a neoliberal 300 millionaire. Don’t know if he can be moved. Some of the others like Kaine can probably be pressured. Heitkamp is always weak. Nelson is always weak. Some of the others my be swung by talking about the problem areas they may not have heard of.

      2. Matt

        What I can understand are the Democrats that are bought tools of the 0.1 percent, or the Democrats who need Obama’s DNC money to get reelected, What I do not understand is Democrats who are in absolutely safe districts, who the DNC can not “primary” into retirement, who have come out in favor of the trade bill.

        1. cwaltz

          The Democrats fix the primaries anyway. What needs to happen is there needs to be some reaching out to third parties in these areas. The Green Party has access in 36 of 50 states according to what I was reading. They need it in 50 of 50 yesterday. When that happens the left can run a candidate from the left outside the DNC infrastructure.

          Anyway it looks like these places have a Green Party. I may have to reach out and see if they’ll be running anybody against the esteemed sell outs.

          1. hunkerdown

            Is it possible Obama might have given them something better than reelection that you can’t give them, and therefore you really are powerless against them through proper channels?

            1. cwaltz

              I’m not completely powerless as long as I have a voice and a vote. I WILL work for the opposition when Kaine comes up for re election if he votes for this. My husband and I will remind everyone we encounter that Kaine thought multinationals were more important than American workers.

  8. frosty zoom

    Ukraine has one of the most energy-intensive economies in the world, and new reforms to foster sustainable economic development and enhance energy security include large increases in utility tariffs that are very likely to encourage cuts in consumption in the residential sector. [emphasis ouch!]


    neoliberal rule #3: squish the brown (well, in this case, really pale) people.

    1. Matt

      All over Chicago, Eastern Europe and Greece, there is privatization of public utilities with subsequent tariffs employed to bankrupt and drive houseless the masses.

  9. optimader

    Lambert, dapper new tophat, but the technical mortal sin is that a $100.00 denomination tip defaults to $25.00 at the paypal interface.

  10. MikeNY

    Sundry reactions:

    1. Good for the Vatican and Pope Francis.
    2. I think Rubio is seriously a contendah.
    3. I perfervidly hope The Donald enters the Republican field. The entertainment value would be priceless.
    4. Did Picasso ever paint a lamp post?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m not certain about Rubio. He’ll eat at Jeb, but I just don’t see Republicans across the country voting for him.

  11. barutanseijin

    “Isn’t it a little bit early for Obama to start phoning it in?”

    He’s phoned everything in since 20 January 2009. Hit the ground with a thud and just stayed there.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      He hired Rahm the day after the election. Obama wants to be a celebrity and curate his monument. I can’t wait to read his memoirs.

      1. Ian

        Something like “stupid black people. Believed that voting for me would give them a voice. It’s amazing how many still do. HAHAAHAHHA.”

    1. jrs

      One does all those things hoping to influence them and get them to understand the mass unpopularity of these trade deals. The alternative involves guillotines or at least marching in the streets.

      1. cwaltz

        Why am I not surprised to see ex DNC chair Senator Kaine on that list despite the fact that his office had him as a NO.

      2. Doug

        I emailed my democratic senator last night expressing my appreciation for his no vote yesterday and encouraging him to keep up the fight. Today he is one of the ten. It all seems to have been grand theater to “appease disgruntled progressives and unionists”.

        In an email last month, he played up his support for the four bill trade package, emphasizing currency manipulation. My message last night expressed concern that corporations and not people are the beneficiaries of these trade deals and that ISDS provisions circumvent democratic sovereignty. Quick, hollow reply: “My staff and I look forward to reading more about your ideas. We’ll keep your thoughts in mind…” blah, blah, blah.

    2. frosty zoom

      look at the picture: both mr. reid’s and mr. mcconnel’s hearts are so small they can’t even find them anymore.

      look at below in whoville!

  12. Jessica

    >“However, ClickSoftware doesn’t seem to envision the app as a 24-hour tracker[…]”
    >They never do, do they?
    Ignoring the ethical implications of the work they do is required of technical knowledge workers. It is the form that the subservience of the knowledge worker strata to the oligarchs and other elites takes for this segment of the knowledge workers. This subservience takes a different form for health and care givers (prohibition on seeing/working on deep social roots of many “individual” problems) and image manipulators (TINA is thy only god).

  13. TedWa

    Late to this thread but here is a number you can call to get connected to your state Senators. 202-224-3121. Gawd, don’t they get it? If they don’t and this abomination passes, I’m going to consider it’s over as they no longer feel the need to listen to the people.

  14. frosty zoom

    uh, where did they go? i posted a few items in the last 15 minutes and now they gone!

    and now they back!

    1. JEHR

      frosty, I found that happening to me too. So now, after I publish my comment, I hit F5 to refresh and my comment usually appears right away on screen.

  15. Anon

    If anyone is interested, Pando released the latest War Nerd article about six hours ago, as seen here:

    War Nerd: Escape from East Timor Part 2

    The first one was a pretty amusing read and if life was different, there’s a certain appeal to traveling the world and getting into crazy misadventures like this, I think.

      1. Brindle

        “We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…
        So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

  16. Jeff N

    I emailed my usually-disappointing senator today, thanking him for voting against fast track,
    then I immediately got a form-letter email back, talking about careful analysis, blah-blah-blah…
    Then I knew that this first vote was just BS to throw a bone to the base, and now they can re-vote.

  17. Otter

    Regarding “Game theoretical look at corruption”

    Game Theory is irrelevant to the article. It was probably mentioned or the same reason economists sometimes mention numbers and show line drawings.

    The Prisoners’ Dilemma is a caricature of a model of social interaction, which discards almost everything which is social about the interaction (most obviously communication), and then arbitrarily assigns numbers to selected outcomes such that the usual lesson is automagically claimed reasonable. If diffferent numbers are assigned, eg high numbers for cooperation, instead of betrayal, then Game Theory “proves” something different. You, like the author, can choose to escape the caricature, and introduce additional factors, eg negotiation or kindred bonds, which nobody ever tries to legitimise by inserting them into the theoretical game.

    The author also appears to be unaware that police are not chosen by real communities. Rather, they imposed by “higher authorities”, these days hiding behind the “state” curtain.

    I am pretty certain that an evolutionary biologist should refrain from saying anything like “A strategy is said to be ‘evolutionarily stable’ if, once it is widely adopted, no rival can spread by natural selection.” Instead of “no” meaning “never ever”, she should use words like “advantage” or “to favour”. Such words would remind her all strategies select in natural environments, which change. Indeed, rival strategies also change.

    The Prisoners’ Dilemma is quite similar to The Tragedy of The Commons. The first “proves” betrayal is necessary by neglecting to mention that a different choice of arbitrary numbers would “prove” something else. The second “proves” the commons will be destroyed by neglecting to mention that a decision mechanism (eg Big Man or Consensus) plus modest wisdom will protect it forever, or until some catastrophe like climate change or invasion.

    The Tragedy of The Commons also assumes without saying so that there is some reasonable reason, like conquest or rapacious neoliberalism, for anyone to want to take more.

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