2:00PM Water Cooler 5/28/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

 Not a trade deal: “TPP is a corporate/investor rights agreement, not a trade agreement” [Dave Johnson, Bill Moyers].

Every time you use the word trade in association with the TPP, you are helping the other side.

Trade is a propaganda word. It short-circuits thinking. People hear trade and the brain stops working. People think, “Of course, trade is good.” And that ends the discussion.

Not a trade deal: “‘Julian Assange On TPP: Only 5 Of 29 Sections Are About ‘Traditional Trade,’ Covers ‘Essentially Every Aspect Of A Modern Economy'” [Real Clear Politics]. Here’s the right picking up material the left developed. Historically, the right has been far more feral and effective than the left, so it will be interesting to see what they do with it.

Not a trade deal: “The growth of ‘Factory Asia’ — the internationally disaggregated supply chain for electronics, toys and other manufactured products — during the 1990s and 2000s was a thing of wonder. But it is hard to point at any particular trade agreement that played a big role in facilitating it” [Financial Times, “Export-led growth and the false promise of TPP”].

“The only large economy country in the TPP that the United States doesn’t already have a free trade agreement with is Japan.  So, if you’re going to measure the “size” of the TPP, it would be best understood as a U.S.–Japan free trade agreement.  That’s a pretty big deal, actually, but it’s not two-fifths of the world” [Cato].

Worthwhile initiative for Canadians? [National Post].

TPP has been called NAFTA 2.0 for Canada and the U.S. Indeed, Canada was hoping to resolve some key lingering issues from NAFTA, including fixes to protectionist “Buy American” policies and terms of entry for professionals going back and forth across the border.

A gun aimed right at the heads of the “creative” and “political class,” one of the remaining pockets of Obama’s support (or, to put this another way, one of the few constituencies he can still throw under the bus). Granted, there aren’t that many Canadians, but what next?

“‘We want to send a clear message that Iowans want him to vote no on fast track and on TPP,’ said Jess Mazour, farm and environment organizer for Iowa CCI” [Des Moines Register]. CCI (Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement) is huge in Iowa and very aggressive. I hope somebody in the Sanders campaign is paying attention.



“In a new Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday, Sanders was at 15% of Democratic voters nationwide, up from the 5% he managed in a CNN national poll last month” [CNN].

Sanders in kickoff speech: “As someone who has never run a negative political ad in his life, my campaign will be driven by issues and serious debate; not political gossip, not reckless personal attacks or character assassination. This is what I believe the American people want and deserve” [HuffPo].

Sanders on Clinton and TPP in New Hampshire: “Hillary Clinton can be for the trade agreement — the president is. She can be against the trade agreement — I am, Elizabeth Warren is, many of us are. I just don’t know how you don’t have an opinion on this enormously important issue, which is her view” [New York Times]. 

“But, perhaps counterintuitively, it’s Sanders — six years older than Clinton, a self-defined socialist with no big money apparatus and positions that appeal to the far left of the party — that Democratic strategists and Clinton insiders expect to pose a bigger threat to the former secretary of state than the mainstream O’Malley” [Politico]. It’s not counter-intuitive at all; “You can’t beat something with nothing” is an old adage in politics. And having just seen “Democratic strategist” used without shudder quotes, I cannot forbear from quoting [hums]:

I’m very good at narrative and counterfactual history,
I know the talking points for when I’ve snatched defeat from victory;
So if you want a partisan, sock puppet, or apologist
I am the very model of a Democratic strategist!

“Sanders is outperforming the combined support of several GOP presidential wannabes. … [E]very utterance of GOP candidates who are polling below 2 percent merits its own headline” [Salon]. Well, yeah. What’s this guy’s point?

“David Weil, 24, a recent graduate of nearby Champlain College, is not a committed Sanders voter, but conceded ‘his consistency is really admirable and really cool'” [Mic].

Clinton vs. Sanders voting record [New York Times]. They voted the same way 93% of the time, naming post offices and so forth. However:

The 31 times that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders disagreed happened to be on some the biggest issues of the day, including measures on continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an immigration reform bill and bank bailouts during the depths of the Great Recession. Mr. Sanders, who formally kicked off his campaign Tuesday evening in Burlington, Vt., was opposed to all these actions.

The S.S. Clinton

“Clinton Foundation paid Blumenthal $10K per month while he advised on Libya [Politico]. Was the advice any good? [BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!! I crack myself up sometimes…]

Stiglitz and Roosevelt Institute report: “The problem is that the economy is fundamentally broken, shot through with opportunities for the rich to get richer not by building wealth but through exploitation and taking” [Vox]. Filing this under Clinton because that’s what these guys would like Clinton to accept and act on. I say, fat chance, because if she were going to do this, she would already have done it.

Republican national polls: Bush, Rubio, Walker, Huckabee, and Carson cluster at the top with ~10%, none beating Clinton. Paul, Cruz, and Trump trail at 7%, 6%, and 5% respectively [Agence France Presse]. So The Donald could still catch fire!

Republican Establishment

Pataki throws his h… s-n-o-o-r-r-r-r-e… [Wall Street Journal, “Centrist George Pataki Tests Republican Waters With White House Bid”]. Here’s Pataki reading about Christie in the WSJ.

Republican Principled Insurgents

Rand Paul: “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS” [Christian Science Monitor]. That’s hardly fair. Obama helped!

Walkers Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation “mired in corruption and scandal” [Talking Points Memo]. As NC readers have long known.

Stats Watch

Atlanta Fed forecast for real GDP growth: “Still not showing much of a rebound from Q1, with their Q2 GDP forecast now at only .8% annualized” [Mosler Economics]. Garçon! More champagne!

“Weekly railcar counts continues deep into contraction,” although intermodal improves [Econinterect]. Down even when removing coal and grain.

Consumer Comfort Index, week of May 24, 2015: “[C]ontinues to sink”  [Bloomberg]. “Readings on consumer confidence have been coming down from recovery highs earlier in the year, highs that never equated to anything close to significant gains for consumer spending.”

Redbook, week of May 23, 2015: “Redbook’s same-store sales tally remains weak”  [Bloomberg]. Weather alibi: “The report said rain and flooding held down seasonal sales in some regions.” Reality: “In a sign that consumers remain cautious, it notes continued strength for discount stores.” Why not buy a crapified product in a crapified store?

Sentier Research: “Median Household Income Up 0.6% in April 2015” [Econintersect]. “Solid improvement.”

Jobless Claims, week of May 23, 2015: Claims up, but still low [Bloomberg]. Report “still points decidedly at gains for the May employment report.”

Pending Home Sales Index, April 2015: “Pending home sales are sending off the most consistently positive signals of any housing indicator” [Bloomberg]. “Credit issues surrounding closings don’t seem to be a major headwind right now.” 

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of May 22, 2015: “[R]ates are moving higher and squeezing out what had been gains in purchase applications” [Bloomberg].

“Households expect home price growth to continue at a similar pace as they did a year ago” [Econintersect]. Remarkable stability in attitudes toward home ownership.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Chicago cops put antlers on black guy, pose for picture standing over him with hunting rifles [Reuters]. Stay classy, guys! And why do I think the CPD won’t be easy to change?

“#SomeBlackLivesDontMatter” [Politico]. Oh, Rich Lowry. Anyhow, a brighter line between neo-liberals and non-sociopaths would be hard to draw. Maybe Lowry should consult to the CPD?

“The Detroit Water and Sewage Department began shutting off water to about 1,000 delinquent accounts on Tuesday” [Think Progress]. Dear Lord. The summer in Detroit is long and hot. Do these guys want to let the cops play with their new toys?

“A ‘Pattern or Practice’ of Violence in America” [Bloomberg]. Via @deray,  important.


“Moby on California Drought: ‘The Way We’re Living Is Stupid'” [Rolling Stone].

Administration finalizes water protecton rule [Politico]. Here’s a copy. The usual suspects — agriculture, oil and home-building — are frothing and stamping, and “farm and energy state” Democrats have already joined with Republicans to block it. Strange bedfellows alliances everywhere, it seems. Double down, double down.

“How federal dollars are financing the water crisis in the West” [Pro Publica]. Interesting read on “Killing the Colorado”:

Growing cotton in the desert, long term, may be doomed.

Ya think? But it seems to me that the entire venture of setting up huge cities in the desert may have issues of its own. And to my taste, the theme of the Pro Publica article is a bit too close to “market distortions caused by evil government” for my taste, as if somehow Big Gummint forced people to live in the habitat they in fact systematically optimized for their own lifestyle and profit. Maybe water should be managed as a common pool resource, and not private property at all?

“Most of [Colorado’s] water is private property, under lock and key” [Colorado Independent].  “Water diversions allow millions of people to live in the semi-desert rain-shadow east of the Rockies, and enable vast emerald alfalfa fields to thrive in the otherwise dry sagebrush steppe of the Western Slope.” I like the term “Water diversions.” Perhaps we should have an “Orwellianism of the Day” contest.

“My ample vegetable garden was certainly green. Other yards the neighborhood were going brown. Did my neighbors think I was a water hog?” [Mother Jones]. The dominant color of your garden should be straw, because you took direct action and sheet-mulched it. So what does this guy use his megaphone at Mother Jones to focus on? A startup. They’ve got an app! Dude…. Oh, and this is just gratuitous, but I promise you my bile had risen before I even got to it: “[T]he East-Coast ideal of glistening Kentucky bluegrass and fluffy hydrangeas.” Not in Maine, pal.

“In 2013 there were 1,840 complaints to the Sacramento water patrol That number jumped to 19,158 in 2014” [News 10].

“Like birth control hormones and the antibacterial ingredient triclosan, methadone leaks into waterways and poses a health risk when it filters into our drinking water” [PBS]. Chloramine (not chlorine) reacts with methadone to create NMDA, which is bad.

“Pioneering a Portfolio Approach to Water Management with Walmart [Environmental Defense Fund]. I love that the first step is “Gain Leadership Buy-in.” Not even “management.” “Leadership.”

News of the Wired

  • New York City would like cab drives to keep their eyes on the road instead of their smartphones [nyc.gov]. It’s tyranny! Tyranny!
  • Mystery of how the holes get into Swiss cheese solved [France 24]. Next up: The mystery of why the Swiss can’t arrest Sepp Blatter.

* * *

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 fourth of Gardens, Week Four (John Newman):


John writes: “Brooklyn.” This is gorgeous, and I’m aiming for similar areas round my garden proper. Imagine how happy these field of flowers will make pollinators and beneficial insects!!

NOTE: My contact form has a poor user experience: It defaults to my email when you don’t fill in yours. I have to fix this, but in the meantime, please remember to fill in your email if you want me to contact you!

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


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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. OIFVet

    So what does this guy use his megaphone at Mother Jones to focus on? A startup. They’ve got an app! Dude….

    Father, forgive them; for they know not anything else other than “There’s an app for that!”

    1. jrs

      I don’t know the comments are even dumber:

      “Lawns are the STUPIDEST WASTE OF WATER, just stop it already and put some rocks and Cacti out there”

      rocks will generate heat and make one use more A/C and much of California can get hot in the summer. Mulch actually could work, rocks not so much so.

      1. subgenius

        Rocks don’t generate heat…they store it…so IF you work WITH nature, you can build thermal batteries to heat the house in the winter, and/or tie the house to the thermal mass of earth to prevent it heating in the summer. It’s been done for THOUSANDS of years. And, needless to say, totally contravenes the laughable building regulations of modern civilization…

      2. hunkerdown

        Gawker employees considering unionization under the Writers’ Guild of America East (Gawker…) One Anna Merian gives her perhaps all too lucid reasoning behind her Yes vote (all emphasis mine):

        Working for this company is incredible, and we’re in a very good place right now. But we also exist in a bubble. When it bursts, I’d like us to have fair labor practices in place to protect everyone and provide for them in the event of “downsizing.”

        And another lucid Yes voter:

        The fact of the matter is that Gawker Media is not our friend. Nick Denton might be our friend, the managers might be our friends, but Gawker Media—though a positive influence in our lives—is not.

        1. hunkerdown

          Editors: Please inform your web dev that whatever the Reply link does to set the parent comment needs to be undone when clicking Cancel or reloading the page…

    2. Goyo Marquez

      What’s the carbon effect of killing off all these plants and trees growing in the desert? Or was all that carbon concern just propaganda?

      1. OIFVet

        So, your point is that California should keep watering them lawns that don’t belong in that climate? With what, pray tell? Brawndo? You climate skeptics are real pieces of work.

        1. jrs

          There’s lawns and there’s trees. Trees don’t need as much water as grass, but they often do need some watering in the hot dry summer. Possibly less with natives like oaks. With people letting their lawns go brown they also forgot that their trees were not getting any water and some died. Trees also shade houses and thus keep cooling expenses down (and thus reduce carbon use ultimately). They also clean the air. They also likely lower the temperature of the overall cities and not just the houses they shade.

          I had heard that surrounding your house with rocks makes it hotter (no they don’t literally generate heat). Is that true? It sure would seem to be to me, in the same way pavement raises surrounding temperature, black pavement being the worst of course.

          I think that many are jumping into the drought awareness thing without careful thought about the overall effects on all human activities and the use of ALL resources, without a permaculture mindset.

          1. OIFVet

            Hence the usefulness of adapting to nature rather than try to beat it into submission by throwing tons of water and fossil fuels at it. Live in arid areas? Use drought resistant tree species, preferably natives. There are none? Don’t plant trees. Need your home to stay cool? Design it using tried-and-true traditional methods: smaller windows and fewer of them, lighter colors, thick earthen walls, etc. If it works well enough for Saharan dwellers, it should work well enough for Americans, their exceptional need to be different notwithstanding. Then rocks won’t be much of an issue either :) BTW, those old stone castles and fortresses in Europe keep pretty cool too. Thick walls will do that.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author


              I’ve been to an old teak house in Thailand, up on (short) stilts against flooding, oriented correctly to the sun, with windows and doors open to the prevailing breezes, surrounded by hanging plants and lots of cisterns. No air conditioning, and if Californians think they know what summer heat is, they should visit Thailand. Of course, showing something sad about human nature, the next generation is build a house with solid walls and aircon like a meat locker.

              We need to learn from the Australians in all of this; permaculture was invented there for a reason, and I think they know how to architect aircon-free houses as well.

              1. jrs

                They may know how, but it may not be applied everywhere. This from the article I linked (it’s a treepeople article so maybe it’s biased toward trees):

                I learned this vividly on a recent tour of Australia, a country that has seen record-breaking heat in recent years due to climate change. There, in neighborhoods that were lacking in trees, people were exceptionally vulnerable to the heat. During extreme heat events, people in these unshaded “heat islands” died. (According to the Centers for Disease Control, excessive heat is a leading cause of preventable, weather-related deaths, particularly among the elderly.)

                The Australians found that dense tree canopy can save lives and even in their own drought have prioritized the planting and care of trees.

                1. OIFVet

                  As you said, not every solution can be applied everywhere. So what about the regions where trees can’t grow without large amounts of scarce water? I love trees and tree shade as much as the next guy, but they are not an universal solution. The Australians will discover that they solved one problem by exacerbating another. And why? Because they found it cheaper to plant trees and irrigate them with scarce water rather than to begin the expensive process of rethinking and redesigning ther cities and buildings. California: same thing. Modern humans won’t consider the right options until all other options are exhausted. Perhaps not even then…

              2. craazyboy

                California has no concept of uncomfortable weather, whatsoever. I actually went 2 years with a broken heat pump because once it broke I realized I didn’t need it for anything, summer cooling or winter heat. I finally replaced it for the hell of it.

                But heat pumps are much more efficient than conventional air units. Then they can handle winter temps down to around freezing too. But you want insulation! You also want to keep the sun from beaming into your windows in the summer. Take your pick between shade trees or window film. Or both.

                AZ is tougher, but the same applies. Forget the evap coolers. They don’t work (about 3 degrees is all you get, I’ve been told.)

                We use gravel for yards. We have our choice of white or red gravel. I’ve touched them, they don’t get hot. Warm certainly.

                Native AZ trees like Palo Verde or Mesquite don’t do much for shade. They have thin needle like leaves – the adaptation to not lose water by evaporation – so they let a lot of sun thru. They have a root system that goes down over a hundred feet looking for the water table. Because of this, some people say they aren’t really saving us water. But there is aesthetics and they help anchor dirt to the ground – otherwise it would get plenty dusty in the wind.

                1. jrs

                  Uncomfortable weather depends on the dwelling. A lot of rentals are not built to exist without air conditioning at all. The inside temperature can greatly exceed the outside temperature.

                  Noone is going to tear down the houses with 3/4 million dollar mortgages to build radically different housing. At best you could try for that with new housing. 50% of the population that can’t afford 3/4 million dollars houses will rent and have minimal ability to modify their dwellings AT ALL beyond window film.

                  But maybe people not considering the impact on temperature will allow trees to die from lack of water. Less trees to filter air so more pollution, more air conditioning needed due to lack of trees, more urban heat effects due to less trees and everyone running A/C, more running A/C.

                  1. craazyboy

                    A huge argument for better building codes for houses and especially apartments. The easiest and cheapest time to put in adequate insulation – which all experts agree is the biggest bang for the buck – is when you build the building. After that, a white roof and then you have captured all the low hanging fruit.

                2. different clue

                  Plus Palo Verde and Mesquite both produce edible pods, so one could get food from the Palo Verdes and Mesquites which grow without extra and additional irrigation-water inputs.

                  1. craazyboy

                    I’ve heard that’s what keeps all our ground squirrels alive.

                    Personally, I think Mesquite sticks go in the grill and BBQ ribs & chicken on top is preferable. If we don’t mess that up too.

                    1. different clue

                      With the proper regime of periodic maintainance pruning, one can have mesquite sticks for the grill AND mesquite beans for the pot. And maybe mesquite honey from the bees at the flowers, but I wouldn’t know about that seeing as I don’t live in mesquite country.

                3. JCC

                  I live in the north end of the Mojave desert and I love mesquite. They may not provide much shade, but when walking under them it’s a noticeable 10 degrees cooler, and that counts for something when it’s 110 outside. Palo Verde, not so much.

                  Desert Willow is another good choice, not a lot of shade there either, but birds, especially hummingbirds which are surprisingly common around here, and bees love ’em. They flower almost all summer long with minimal watering, too.

                  And there’s no air-conditioning in my house, so mesquite provide some valuable shade for the house, too.

                  The other advantage of mesquite (besides edible seed pods and famously good cooking fuel) is that they are very desert hardy, minimal watering requirements and a tap root as deep as 300 feet. You’re not gonna supply much usable water to them from the hose, so you rarely bother.

                  My next attempt at growing something here will be (edible) prickly pear along the fence lines. Anything that grows here, actually, with minimal watering. The birds need something, the ground squirrels and rabbits need something, and after being spoiled rotten in the, relatively, lush water plentiful areas of Upstate NY where I spent most of my adult years, I need something. Definitely not white rocks since I personally feel they look as contrived and as bad as grass lawns. Dirt is OK with me, not to mention all the other critters that choose to live with me on the property.

                  1. craazyboy

                    I never saw a live hummingbird till I moved to AZ. They are all over the place. Amazing little things. Roadrunners are cool too, but you have to be farther out in the wild to spot those.

                    Got some prickly pear jam at the local cactus farm. Good stuff. But they caution trying to eat the fruit you pick yourself – they have tiny prickers that are hard to clean away.

                    There’s always the red gravel.

            2. LifelongLib

              It was probably less a result of an exceptional need to be different than an architectural philosophy of a time when water and electricity were cheap compared to designing and building for particular climates. That time is passing away so we may see a return to regional architecures.

              1. OIFVet

                I get that, yet America has continued along the same path and with faster pace long after it became clear that it’s unsustainable.

                1. different clue

                  “America” at large began getting on a sustainable path during the Carter Administration. It went off that path starting with the Reagan Administration. Since then, the anti-sustainists have undermined and blocked the pro-sustainists at every turn and opportunity.

                  Scattered Americans are pursuing sustainability here and there, individually and as certain localities and as members of movements.

            3. Carolinian

              Bear in mind that California has many climates including one area with the biggest trees in the world.

              As for Xeriscaping, most people in AZ, which is where I hang out, practice it. Common trees are eucalyptus and paloverde, both more like overgrown bushes but definitely trees if irrigated.

              Many years ago I’m told Swamp Coolers (evaporative coolers using water) were common but now everyone has power sucking air conditioners. Giant fed projects like Lake Powell probably help with this but electric rates are high in the summer.

              Most of the stories I’ve seen say residential water use is just a fraction of the problem in California. Some cities have to conserve because agriculture has sucked away all their water.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Yes, residential water is a small part of the problem. But people can still do their bit where they are. “Just because the big boys are doing it doesn’t make it right.”

                1. different clue

                  The best reason I can think of for concerned individuals to do their tiny little individual bit is so that they can project genuine and well earned personal credibility on the issue if it ever comes up for discussion.

                  If you say “we must conserve water” someone will say back: ” Oh yeah? What’s in your water bill?” If you say “we must conserve energy” someone will say back: ” Oh yeah? What’s in your power bill? What’s in your gas bill?” If you have genuine personal results which you can provably show, you will get a respectful hearing even if not shifting any minds.

              2. Skippy

                In Arizona Swamp coolers were infective in Aug [monsoon season], when the humidity went up, as such the stampede from Midwest and East which was not acclimatized demanded AC.

                After a decade or so upon return from being abroad, it was hilarious to see all the pasty white folks hiding out in malls or shops in the afternoon.

                Skippy… just as funny as a kid visiting relatives in the Midwest to be asked where I was from, Az, only to be asked if I was Indian. Mostly English with some French and German…. chortle….

  2. hunkerdown

    We want to send a clear message that Iowans want him to vote no on fast track and on TPP,’ said Jess Mazour, farm and environment organizer for Iowa CCI

    Well, this is close to the right message, except for want? Wrong word, wrong posture. I would prefer any of expect, require, trust — the sorts of words the big lawyer boys use in the smoke-filled back rooms.

    1. AlanSmithee

      Iowa CCI is the real deal.

      Tar Sands Resistance March – St. Paul – June 10th

      Join Iowa CCI, landowners, and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition as they meet up with pipeline fighters across the Midwest at the Tar Sands Resistance March, the biggest mobilization against Big Oil in the region to date.


      I hope somebody in the Sanders campaign is paying attention.

      I sure hope they’re not. Once these fauxgressive celebs start showing up, your movement is as good as dead.

    2. Uahsenaa

      David Young, the congressman whom the CCI were addressing, is about as inside baseball as they get. He was Grassley’s chief of staff for a number of years, and our dear senator has carried a lot of water for the TPP, so I wouldn’t be surprised if one of his vassals were to do the same. Western Iowa tends to be far more loyal to “whatever” Repulicanism, as opposed to Eastern Iowa which is much more liberal and as a result tends to wax and wane on R’s and D’s, though the Iowa City area, where I am, is more staunchly in the D column. Our reps also tend to be someone less willing to ride the neoliberal train to nowhere. The point of all this is, CCI is not really targeting the right congressman, if they want to swing someone. Blum, from Dubuque, would make for a much better target, since his seat can and traditionally has swung between parties and ideologies within parties.

      As for Sanders, I’m going to his thing on Saturday, since I’ll already be going there to swim (it’s in the downtown rec center). I’d be willing to ask a question, if anyone has something they desperately want to know.

  3. fresno dan


    Experience in the private sector helps public sector employees who were previously employed in the private sector who were previously employed in the public sector….
    Like a snake eating its tail, they’ll never starve…

    Now, the thing that people get confused about is who is Andrew J. “Buddy” Donohue working for, as opposed to who is he employed by – and that is simple – he is always working for the banks…

  4. nippersdad

    Lambert! The bile rises? Really?

    Bluegrass and some hydrangeas are natives and attract beneficials as well. A residential meadow that looks marvellous from the road will also attract ticks, rats, rattlers, copperheads, coyotes and become a potential fire hazard that can endanger the next door neighbors’ home, three year old and pets.

    While it would be irresponsible to grow acres of bluegrass and hydrangeas in a desert, there is nothing wrong with growing them where they are native. Prairies are not native to the east coast and will soon be subsumed in first growth forest (or, worse, invasives) where one seeks to install one without regular maintenance.

    Context is important in a landscape, and if one does not recognize the downsides of some landscape strategies and methods one is likely to fix one problem only to replace it with another.

  5. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Bernie: another old man speaking truth to power, like Ron Paul last time around. (For those who can’t recall, here’s a refresher on his platform: 1. End Permanent Undeclared Wars, Bring the Troops Home Immediately; 2. End the Free Pass for Wall St Crime; 3. End the Revolving Door; and 4. Stop Warrantless Domestic Spying Immediately).
    So let’s just have a countdown to when Bernie gets completely demonized and ridiculed. Or (like Ron), if he wins, how fast they will steal it from him.
    “You have a Republic, if you can keep it”. No, we couldn’t.

      1. jrs

        I don’t see what that has to do with the point being made. Anyone who wants the end of empire won’t get the Presidency regardless. But anyway I think it’s impossible for anyone who would do any good (even if they won’t end the empire) to win the presidency because there’s just too much money involved.

        So as best we can say is people like Sander’s raise good issues, but how much good raising issues really does at this point is debatable. I mean maybe what we really need is more issues being raised, but maybe most everyone already knows what the issues are, and just feels powerless over the whole thing.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s been said that money doesn’t decide the winner, but it does set the agenda. Sanders asserting a place in that conversation (a term I use deliberately) is certainly healthy and beneficial, but he’s playing in the blue sandbox entirely at the pleasure of the blue brass and the MSM, both of whom effectively curate, arbitrate, and even broker consensus reality.

          I don’t see that the Party brass would give any substantial support to a candidate who threatens their entire way of doing business. The activities of other Democratic party committees at the Federal level, all the way down to nippersdad’s local precinct, suggest that the Party itself works against outcomes that harm its business prospects.

          1. Titus Pullo

            Turning and turning in the widening gyre
            The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
            Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
            Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
            The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
            The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
            The best lack all conviction, while the worst
            Are full of passionate intensity.

            The spirals of history are the only reality. One may try to “curate, arbitrate, and even broker consensus reality” but the center can never hold. Many, many times in history, empires have come and they have gone. No matter how exceptional my fellow American Lilliputians may think the country and themselves to be, we are simply not. They winds of history are beginning to howl across the land.

            I think (as well as believe, pray, and hope) in 2016, the center will fall.

          2. cwaltz

            FDR’s backers probably thought they would set the agenda too. It didn’t quite work out the way they planned. I have no idea if Bernie is another FDR however, it is important to note that FDR once in office managed to create programs that benefitted more than the plutocrats.

      2. hunkerdown

        If faith-based prayer for white knights were a viable strategy, wouldn’t it have worked by now?

    1. hunkerdown

      Nope, still self-identifies as a Republic, regardless of whether the Senators have gone mad or the Emperor is a thug, therefore we are bound to treat it as such and not make insulting comments about whether it “passes” or not.

      That said, I think they’ll pull their punches and keep him in until the National Convention, which will most likely be fixed for Hillary. Voting fraud was effective enough to get the God-and-Jerusalem plank into the 2012 Democratic Party Inc.’s vision statement. It’s even more effective when the voters can be fixed, i.e. superdelegates.

      Of course, it takes a crackpot to think they can get one or more hundreds of millions of people to believe the same thing without jackboots, and a crackpot realist to vote Democratic-Republican at all these days.

      1. Jess

        Superdelegates are the swing factor determining the outcome. If Bernie runs away with the primaries but the superdelegates mostly go for Hellary, enabling her to steal the nomination, the resulting fracture in the party will perhaps be enough to kill the party. (I can always dream.)

        1. nippersdad

          This is one of the reasons that (I think) it is important to make the point early to the local Democratic Party infrastructures that Bernie is bringing in a lot of Independents, disgusted Republicans and even people who were not prior voters; those who are not necessarily transferable to a Hillary vote in the general election.

          There was a lot of pushback in our meetings on that from local Party reps, but the Politico article read to me like ours was not the only conversation being had on the topic. Hopefully the superdelegates are reachable from the grassroots this time in a way that they have not been previously.

          1. hunkerdown

            Democratic superdelegates are Party officials and brass nominally free to vote as they like, though the Party can and does discriminate against those who oppose its corporate interests, through campaign financing, endorsements, committee assignments, and such, under the kayfabe of normal business operations (and don’t ever forget the Party is a business).

            1. nippersdad

              The Party is a business, and if it wants to stay in business it will need to change with market conditions lest it find itself a buggy whip manufactory in a world full of dodge pickups. Were Sanders to find himself a favorite in the Primaries, they would be foolhardy to discriminate against him, thereby proving everything that is presently just suspected of them. Bread alone does not a circus provide.

              1. JerseyJeffersonian


                First you must comprehend the power of The Iron Law of Institutions, & then you will see how support from the wrong sorts of people – i.e., real Democrats – for Sanders will stiffen the necks of the party apparatchiks against him. They don’t take no orders from non-insiders, ’cause they’re not Smart & Savvy people. If they listen & respond to such riff raff, they lose POWER. No, no, no…

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  I think, however, that the counter-example to the Iron Law of Institutions is, in fact, the Democratic Party, which has gone from control by cigar-smoking bosses to the McGovernites to the Third Way types to…. And even more fundamentally, LBJ lost the South for a generation by doing the right thing on Civil Rights (and Nixon won the South with the Southern strategy).

                  I think the Iron Law works but like all “laws” is limited in scope, and if you zoom out to a long enough time frame, you see major inflection points and changes in direction and composition.

                  We can’t know we’re in such a time until we come through it and out the other side, of course, but it sure feels like it to me.

                  1. nippersdad


                    I have been watching this since 2000, predicted an incipient Party split in ’08. I too now feel like we have reached a tipping point. Too much has happened for business as usual to continue, hence the TPP AND a candidacy from such as Sanders. We will see who gets there first, though I am not really holding out much hope for my side.

                    Something is going to happen, and we are not the only ones seeing it; waiting for it.

                    1. Lambert Strether Post author

                      I get rumors from people who are one degree of separation closer to squillionaires than I am that the 1% is feeling nervous and “under seige” (and I should have stashed away that link where I saw that phrase, but I damn dumb didn’t). And I guess all the apartments in Hampstead and Manhattan and Toronto and Hong with danger rooms and no lights on tell the same story.

                      That’s how it goes….

                    2. different clue

                      Sanders has been against Obamatrade and Fast Track long enough that I believe he means it.

                      I would like to imagine Webb as being personally against Obamatrade and Fast Track but he hasn’t said anything about it. His window of opportunity for entering the nomination race in loud angry opposition to Obamatrade and Fast Track is fast disappearing. I hope he gets in soon, at least soon enough before the Congressional decision is made for Fast Track so he can be seen visibly trying to kill it before it is home free.
                      That way he could strip away anti-Obamatrade primary voters from Clinton who would never vote for the socialist intellectual Sanders but would be proud to vote for the decorated combat veteran and Secretary of the Navy Webb. His entry would not take any votes away from Sanders but would take “other” votes away from Clinton, thereby attriting the Clintobamacrat Establishment from two sides.

                      Now, if Webb did get in, I would still vote for Sanders in our primary anyway if Sanders was still in it by then, because Sanders has been louder prouder firster against Obamatrade, and that deserves respect. But if Sanders was out by then and Webb was still in, I would vote for Webb. Since I am not on the left anyway, none of y’all can hurt my feelings by calling me “no progressive.” for deciding to vote for Webb under those circumstances.

                      “You voted for Webb? You are No Progressive!”
                      ” Yes. And your point is . . . ?”

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The super delegates didn’t do anything in 2008 for Hillary when she won more votes than Obama. Any super delegate who swings the election process is done in politics. Formerly anonymous people will become targets of voter wrath.

          1. hunkerdown

            Could it have been because Obama was the outcome the Party execs wanted? His uncharacteristically quick rise through the ranks in the W era suggests as much.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              After the fact reasoning doesnt fly. The party elite are Clinton hacks. Hillary and friends are actually not very talented and blew an election, but they pretty much begged Obama not to run with the promise of making him justice on the Supreme Court.

              Hillary even had a little snit where she tried to organize the super delegates instead of conceding, and the only reason wasn’t crushed was they wanted her. Hell, they abandoned Kerry to prepare for Hillary. Obama had Daschle in his corner who was irrelevant after losing and wearing mom glasses.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                “they pretty much begged Obama not to run with the promise of making him justice on the Supreme Court.”

                Refresh my memory on this one, please.

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                Adding, that’s not true. The Democratic “party elite” has factions, like anything else. In 2008, the Clinton faction lost control of the party apparatus, and Obama’s faction took control, partly because the Obama campaign punctured the myth of Hillary’s invincibility with it’s clever caucus tactics and victories, and everybody who wasn’t already part of HillaryLand went over to Obama. The Clintons were not well-loved, and not well-loved by a broad ideological spectrum of Democrats.

              3. different clue

                There is a blog called The Confluence by Riverdaughter who was a delegate to the 2008 Convention. She tells a much different story. The 2008-Convention-relevant posts may well be findable through their own title in her blog’s “word cloud”. Otherwise, they could perhaps be found under the “word cloud” word “Clinton”. I found her reports and analyses to have been well worth reading and I only wish I had heard about The Confluence back when it would have made a difference.

                I hung out on Digby’s “Hubbalaboo” back then, and Digby made very sure to never ever mention a blog called The Confluence. Riverdaughter sometimes commented there but unfortunately never left a link to her own blog there.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  She wasn’t a delegate, but she did attend. And she’s still blogging, here. She used to be a research scientist, and got the ol’ heave-ho when the pharmaceutical industry downsized.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              The Democrats were divided into factions. Obama’s faction, through a combination of clever electoral tactics, strategic hate management, an appealing candidate, and Wall Street money, won control of the party and the nomination. This was signalled in the 2008 meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, when state votes that Clinton had actually won were re-allocated to Obama. All over but the shouting at that point, and the Clintons decided not to go for a floor fight (or challenge Obama on Texas caucus fraud) and cut whatever deal they cut, which presumably involved Bill as explainer-in-chief, Hillary at State, and Hillary in 2016. And here we are.

        3. Demeter

          The Democratic Party is already “mostly dead” as defined by the Princess Bride…what needs to be killed is the 3rd Way, DLC, or whatever the current alias is for the Fascists who would be Empire.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Voting fraud was effective enough to get the God-and-Jerusalem plank into the 2012 Democratic Party Inc.’s vision statement.”

        Refresh my memory on that one, please.

        1. Ned Ludd

          DNC Chair Villaraigosa overrules majority on religious platform changes

          There was a special vote to amend the party platform, inserting a statement saying Democrats recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel and reaffirming Democrats’ belief in God as central to our American story.

          There was no debate… but there was dissent from the floor.

          The man at the podium, DNC Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, called for a motion, a second, and then a vote, saying it needed two-thirds to pass.

          All in favor? There were ayes. All opposed? The “nays” were even louder.

          “In the opinion of the—” And then Villaraigosa stopped. Using his school teacher voice, he said, “Let me do that again.”

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Typically “voting fraud” applies to an election, like a primary or the general, and not to committee shenanigains. The process you describe is ugly, I agree. However, “voting fraud” IMNSHO would be best left to cases like Bush in Florida 2000 or Obama in the 2008 Texas caucuses. This is more like the procedural chicanery that IIRC put Obama over the top in 2008, at the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

            1. Ned Ludd

              Just to clarify, hunkerdown was the one who stated:

              “Voting fraud was effective enough to get the God-and-Jerusalem plank into the 2012 Democratic Party Inc.’s vision statement.“

              I recalled enough about the incident to post more information, in response to your comment.

              It does seem, though, that if a vote is fraudulently tallied, it is a type of voting fraud.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                I thought I was replying to Hunkerdown. I don’t think it’s worth worrying about voice votes — very much a “Shocked, shocked” thing procedurally.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        What does it say about the status quo that even given all that, I’d still rather have a Ron Paul administration than an Obama administration?

        Something can be awful and still be a marked and real improvement.

      2. hunkerdown

        As I quoted yesterday:

        People make entire careers at keeping old injustices alive. Taking up historical causes is safe because the past is beyond our ability to change. You don’t want to be the March of Dimes when they discover a cure for polio. -Patrick Durusau

        Put the nerf bat away. Those who would sooner see both parties’ seated officials and brass rounded up as terrorists and left to rot in Gitmo might not put much stock in bourgeois liberal values (aka the tyranny of the merchant class) or identity politics (aka the tyranny of the merchant class).

              1. cwaltz

                I don’t know but I don’t think bourgeois liberals means what he/she thinks it does-there is nothing wrong with living in a city or being upper middle class and having liberal values. It’s almost like the Fox caricature and their sneering that only the really poor and incapable of caring for themselves can possible be liberal. Try again.

    2. ChrisFromGeorgia

      What a tragedy that we as a society refuse to recognize what is clearly common sense and continue to vote against our own interests.

      The points you outline are just so common sense, it’s hard to believe that even with billions of dollars of marketing power to promote empty suits and corporatist stooges, folks are blinded into voting for the same crooks over and over.

      1. Carolinian

        There’s a famous story where a supporter told Adlai Stevenson “Adlai all the thinking people are for you.” To which Adlai replied “yes, but I need a majority.” Liberals think elections are all about being right but conservatives know they are all about power. You have to ask yourself whether a country that elected (or selected) George W. Bush is really going to elect Bernie Sanders. Sanders has said that he’s not going to “go negative” on anyone which right away tells you that he’s not serious about winning. You can’t win if you don’t fight. People may not like power but they respect it because power gets things done. FDR–saying to the “banksters”:”I welcome their hatred”…that is power.

        And btw Adlai’s quip was stupid. Sooner or later the left is going to have to come to terms with the vulgar masses. We are supposed to believe in “the consent of the governed” and they make up a sizable chunk of it. I have nothing against Sanders, but some of the commentary in the leftysphere is beginning to give me acid flashbacks of 2008 when Obama workers were putting up Che posters in their campaign headquarters. It’s going to take a lot more than just enthusiasm.

        1. jrs

          I think many of us would happily take our chances with the vulgar masses at this point, sure have national referendums and direct democracy. We’ve seen they produce a certain amount of stupid policy at the state level, but they still seem to beat the oligarchy we’ve got going on now. And their stupid policy is occasionally amenable to a course correction, is that ever the case with the horrible policy of the oligarchs?

          What the country as a whole wants, I don’t know, as it seems to have little influence on policy. But it might be a lot further left than we have been left to believe. The country as a whole has been polled as wanting socialized medicine for instance.

          It is true one might have to reach out to push policy (to push state referendums even) or to convince others of one’s point of view. Whether it’s worth it for Bernie Sanders, I don’t know. I don’t particularly dislike the guy, I just believe the systematic factors make it impossible to win the presidency without serving the plutes, so I think it’s kind of a waste of hope.

          1. Carolinian

            I’m not pretending to have any answers to this conundrum but I do think Warren is the populist champion that we wanted because she’s a woman, from a much larger state and has shown a bit of that rock star political quality that could have overcome the GOP’s natural advantages. It’s even possible that Hillary–who said in 2008 that she was done with running for President–is only in to keep Warren out. Given HiIlary’s age, her considerable baggage of past scandals, and even rumors Yves has mentioned about her health she seems a rather improbable candidate.

            Perhaps the S.S. Clinton will indeed sink. It may be Bernie’s only shot.

            1. edmondo

              Perhaps the S.S. Clinton will indeed sink….

              I’m pretty sure that the SS Titanic … .I mean…. SS Clinton won’t sink until Late October 2016. What better gift could the Clintons bestow on this country than a Republican president (and Congress). God help us all!

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’m not so sure. There’s an army of consultants and “Democratic strategists” that will be more than happy to help Sanders “go negative.” They’re also losers (2010;2014) and it’s not clear to me why Sanders would put his trust in them. And as in so much else, the real scandal is what’s legal and out and plain sight, and that’s what Sanders has started to hammer on.

          And not to go all Talleyrand, but I think the Sanders campaign would be well served by a layered architecture like the Republicans use: High-minded types like AEI and Brookings (ouch, but yeah, right?) at the top, down through various layers until you get to the bottom feeders on cable and the talk shows, the kind who make Rush Limbaugh look like David Brooks (I mean, more than physically.)

          tl;dr: Sanders doesn’t need to go negative if he has people for that.

          And there are plenty of people more than willing to go negative on the Clintons. The Sanders campaign doesn’t have to lift a finger (and it’s not even clear oppo is a good use for resources, as opposed to a newer version of the Dean campaign, with Meetups and so forth. “Ready for Bernie…”

          1. Carolinian

            All good points. But isn’t his no negative campaigning pledge something he has proclaimed as a matter of principle (the result of being on the receiving end in the past) and not just of tactics? In other words, would he be willing to go the surrogate route? Also a Hillary story I linked here yesterday said Hillary and Bernie are personally chummy.

            Hope you are right because she needs to be gone at with both barrels. But my impression is that Sanders is offering himself up as an alternative to Clinton but considers the Republicans to be the real evil to be defeated at all costs. Lesser evilism all the way.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Well, as I said or tried to say, the beauty of the layered architecture is that whoever’s taking the low road isn’t a surrogate. So it’s not a matter of being “willing” at all.

              For the rest of it, I’m not a telepath, so I don’t know what to make of “chummy,” “offers himself up,” “considers,” or, for that matter, your impressions. If Sanders puts a sane platform into the discourse, that’s a win, so far as I’m concerned. This is the “sheepdog” argument in a different guise, with less analysis and less precise language.

              1. Carolinian

                Yes I now get what you are saying about off the radar surrogates. But is that what he wants–for Hillary to be torn down? A couple of quotes from the article I mentioned.

                It’s not for nothing that, as the New York Times reported two Saturdays ago, “Mrs. Clinton cheerily welcomed Mr. Sanders into the race.” Of course she did. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Sanders’ “good friend Hillary Clinton” (that’s how Sanders described Mrs. Clinton in Iowa City last February 19th) is pleased to hear that Bernie is throwing his hat in the ring. The Clintons are very smart and calculating political actors. They know that the only real threat to de-rail Hillary (as Obama did in 2007 and 2008) on the road to the Democratic presidential nomination this time was Warren


                Anyone who doubts that Sanders will hand over his voters, delegates, and money to Hillary once he’s through in the primaries hasn’t been paying attention. “No matter what I do,” Sanders said last January, “I will not be a spoiler. I will not play that role in helping to elect some right-wing Republican as president of the United States.”


                The chumminess may or may not be true but the latter quote is the key. He is not going to risk being the Nader, the spoiler, and be an outcast for the rest of his life. Promoting your sincerely held ideas is one thing, being ejected from the club is quite another. This is probably why he didn’t run as an independent which would have kept him in the race all the way to election day.

                Or at least that’s my take.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  This Information Clearing House stuff is pretty low-grade stuff, I have to say. Politicians say that sort of thing all the time; it’s like grooming behavior among primates.

                  And while I grant Warren hasn’t made a Sherman statement (i.e., has not said she would not accept a draft) I think it makes no sense that a candidate who is in the race — at least one who isn’t in the clown car — is less of a threat than one who isn’t. Especially a candidate that had a very successful first day of fundraising and is now at 15% in the polls in New Hampshire.

                  If Clinton has a glass jaw*, the issue becomes: Can Sanders throw a punch? I bet he can.

                  NOTE * Not completely fair, since the Clinton campaign of 2008 regrouped after the caucus debacle to win all the large states and the popular vote, if all votes are counted. But that was 2008, and that was a long time ago.

                  1. Carolinian

                    No, Warren is out. She made that clear. The author–and I’m not necessarily endorsing the quality of his his article but quotes are quotes–is just saying that Warren coming in was the thing the Clinton camp feared, not that they still fear it. Indeed Sanders entry makes any remote chance of Warren changing her mind that much more unlikely.

                    Honestly, I live down South and don’t know very much about Sanders although I did see him back when he was on Bill Moyers’ show and wasn’t too impressed. Perhaps all this optimism is justified. But I do think the naysayers are making a good case.

                    BTW the site I linked is just a link farm that copies articles to their url (a controversial practice). Most are from the same sites that get linked here all the time. The above article was originally on “ZNet.”

                2. cwaltz

                  How does one hand over their voters? The reality is that you don’t have to do a darn thing Bernie says if he loses the primary.

                  My strategy will be to help third parties get on the ballot in my state and make sure I have them as an option come the general election. In the meantime I support much of Bernie’s platform…..single payer, free college and intend on encouraging his ideas being part of the national dialogue.

    3. AlanSmithee

      Hope for Change you can believe in! Anybody But Bush! Free Silver! Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!

    4. cwaltz

      Ron Paul is a hypocrite. I believe in personal liberty…….except if your gay or female or heck except if you want to believe anything other than what I believe which is that rich white guys should be allowed to do what they want. That’s the shorter version of Ron Paul.

        1. Optimader

          Yes, old saying: you cant have everything at once. His notions on empire would have been a sea change for this country.
          Much of the rest would have been negotiable or fall away into irrelevance with the extraordinary reallocation of wealth/resources that we would be confronted with the shuttering of empire.

  6. JohnMinMN

    Patience please; new commenter. I clicked the “subscribe to post comments” link but couldn’t figure out how that lead me to post a comment, so I clicked the “leave a reply” link. I wondering if it’s permissible to copy and paste a reply I received from my congressman re: TPA & TPP. Would love some hints on how to shoot his arguments down. Here it is:

    Dear John:

    Thank you for sharing your concerns about trade-promotion authority, also known as TPA, which is an agreement between Congress and the president for negotiating and considering trade agreements.

    When TPA is designed appropriately, it actually ensures that Congress plays a greater role in the administration’s negotiations and leverages Congress’ ability to assert its priorities and provide greater influence, without ceding its authority to vote down a trade agreement. This makes TPA essential to advancing current trade negotiations, because it ensures our negotiating partners put their best and final offer on the table.

    But Congress cannot simply take the administration’s word that it will negotiate the most effective and fair agreements. The administration needs to be held accountable and that’s what TPA will do.

    For example, Congress is requiring the administration to pursue nearly 150 specific negotiating objectives, including protections of intellectual property and eliminating kick-backs for government-owned firms. And, the administration must regularly consult with Congress and meet high transparency standards.

    Also, TPA will hold the administration accountable to Congress and the American people. Any member of Congress can read the negotiating text, get a briefing on the status of the negotiations, and be a part of the negotiating rounds. Finally, the administration is required to post the full text of the agreement at least 60 days before completing the deal, so the American people can read it themselves.

    TPA allows the U.S. and its allies the ability to write the rules for global trade – not countries like China – in order to ensure a level playing field. With 96 percent of the world’s customers and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power outside of the United States, increased trade and exports is essential to build a healthy economy.

    You can be sure I will keep your views in mind as trade legislation is brought up for consideration.

    Thanks again for sharing your views, as I appreciate hearing from you. Please let me know whenever I can be of assistance.


    Erik Paulsen

    Member of Congress

    Thank you in advance NC community.


      1. Optimader

        Thks for my new insomnia video SG. Ill watch / listen to this the next couple nights

  7. Oregoncharles

    ” it’s Sanders — six years older than Clinton, a self-defined socialist with no big money apparatus and positions that appeal to the far left of the party — that Democratic strategists and Clinton insiders expect to pose a bigger threat to the former secretary of state than the mainstream O’Malley””

    Well, yes. Over and over, issue polls show that solid majorities of Americans – regardless of what they call themselves – support a whole laundry list of “progressive” positions. Positions the Democratic Party does NOT support, or didn’t until very, very recently. Single-payer health care is an obvious example. Not meddling in the world’s affairs is another. In other words, there’s a vast, aching void on the political left, because we have two right-wing parties. The Green Party is trying to fill that void all by itself.

    A lot of people who know they’re “liberal” or left still identify with the Democratic Party (beats me why), so of course anyone who offers to represent them will shoot to prominence. He actually represents the MAJORITY, (the “silent majority”), so yes, he’s their real threat. Which means the entire apparatus of the party is now mobilized to block him. And after the McGovern campaign, they perfected that apparatus.

    Of course, their real protection is sheer habit and complacency on the part of voters. That’s the only reason the 2-Party is still in control.

    It’s very clear that there’s a firewall within the Democratic Party between the membership and the national organization and office holders. The disconnect is pretty extreme, despite the technically democratic structure. I think it consists largely of money, but I’m not an insider and don’t know. It would be extremely useful to investigate and expose how it works. Is it really just bribery?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s a long term recruitment problem. After Watergate, there was more than just anti-Republican atmosphere. It was anti-incumbent. The Democrats were in an odd state because many of their senior types came into elected office in 44, 46, 48, and so forth as part of a post War shake up. It’s natural. These were 30 year political careers. The party leadership began to recruit candidates who could self fund and didn’t come from the traditional support structure. Anti-union Democrats became a thing. Carter was elected in 76, and he proceeded to cut taxes on the wealthy, go crazy on defense spending, announce the Carter doctrine, and so forth. This led to more dissatisfaction and an exodus from the party.

      As the party destroyed it’s machine, it relied even more on self funding candidates. One problem is many of these self funders aren’t corrupt (Congress is a very cheap whore) but they joined Team Blue for an elected title not out of shared values. Many of our electeds have no desire to do anything except talk to reporters and go to the White House once a year. At the same time, women and minorities were coming up and not everyone from non white male groups is inherently progressive, but the gop is not a home for them either. On the surface, they reinforce liberal sensibilities and appease white guilt, but if they were white males, they would be republicans. These two groups dominate team blue. There is a smaller third group of celebrity candidates who have the right last name such as Gore Jr. or Bayh jr. who were largely non-entities except for their father. Hillary checks all 3 boxes in many ways.

      Coupled with the reality that most local parties are akin to team sports fans, many of the local apparatus just wants to win in the easiest way possible. They don’t want to canvass black communities. They want what makes their club fun and trendy places to be. Hillary is seen as an easy candidate because she is already famous (they tend to ignore Obama beat her despite many of the Clinton camp’s critiques of Obama being true), will bring in the women vote (a cynical view; the people shallow enough to be swayed by Hillary’s plumbing already vote Democratic for obvious reasons or aren’t registered and won’t even care until November 2016), and has all those connections where she will raise money for everyone (Bill ushered the most Republican Congress since the 20’s and destroyed the local Democrats apparatus).

      To top off the problem, party leaders don’t want anyone who will rock the boat. Politico had an article a few weeks back about Democrats whispering that Pelosi has been a disaster but they have no one willing to take on all the responsibility so she stays.

      Personally, I think Team Blue is too dominated by these local nuts to be salvaged. Team Blue elites dumped all over the activists and potential youth energy that fixing Team Blue is impossible until the Kennedy (I am not a fan) generation can’t attend meetings. They don’t want to ruin their club.

      Still, I just don’t think the Democratic Party has been liberal or lefty except occasionally on social issues since Truman and LBJ sans Vietnam escalation. Out of college, I worked for a Democratic delegate who was recruited as a self funder and for being inoffensive. Except for education (his daughter was a teacher), I don’t think he had a clue about any issue except an asinine “no right turn on red” sign he (as in me; your welcome; anytime I’m in the area, I just have to check to make sure signs I had removed are still gone) had VDOT take down. He wasn’t actively wrong and when presented with issues and arguments would make good decisions. Being delegate was about being delegate not accomplishing anything. He wasn’t alone.

      The simple problem is Obots demand fun candidates and corporate entities require little more than signatures. Liberals or simply any decent human being want politicians to be active forces, and they aren’t recruited as active forces.

      1. Carolinian

        As Gore Vidal said, two wings of the Property Party. And he said that a long time ago.

        When the bread lines come back perhaps we’ll have another New Deal. That may be the only way.

      2. Brindle

        “At the same time, women and minorities were coming up and not everyone from non white male groups is inherently progressive, but the gop is not a home for them either. On the surface, they reinforce liberal sensibilities and appease white guilt, but if they were white males, they would be republicans”

        How true. Obama is essentially a Republican who knew the Dem party was his best vehicle for success.

      3. Oregoncharles

        “To top off the problem, party leaders don’t want anyone who will rock the boat”

        This, I suspect. Useful history lesson.

  8. Anon

    Re: Bernie

    I find it noble that he’s going to take the high road, but unfortunately, we are past the era where facts and a reasonably informed citizenry makes a difference. He may very well have to get his hands dirty if he really wants to cinch this.

  9. AlanSmithee

    Oops. I’ll just leave this here…

    What: Tar Sands Resistance March

    When: Saturday, June 6th, 2015 at 12 PM

    Where: March Starts at Lambert Landing – Shepard Road and N. Sibley Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

    March ends at the State Capitol Lawn – 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55155


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      AC just makes it hotter for those not in it (like other people, animals and plants).

  10. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    “Do these guys want to let the cops play with their new toys?”

    Yes. Because how else do you demonstrate the futility of resistance except by slapping down the occasional bunch of rebels?

  11. different clue

    The subthread way up above about water shortage, deserts, how to cope, what grows where, etc. was so valuable that one hopes our co-host/blogger Lambert Strether will be able at some point to do a Permaculture post on some corner or version of that subject . . . and invite the readers to offer everything they think they know about desert water-handling, what grows, tree-management, etc. Such a post and thread could be found easily in the Permaculture Topic section whereas this thread will be hard to find in a year or two by people remembering the desert subthread and hoping to find it again.

      1. subgenius

        Also worth investigating indigenous cultures in arid regions – interesting ways of forming and covering beds to prevent water escaping into the wider environment – all my references are on a currently dead drive…but it’s all searchable on the webz. And the permaculture use of swales is another biggie. Just start with everything by Holmgren and Mollison and work out !

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s a great idea! Of course, Maine has water… So I don’t have to worry so much.

      However, I water my flower bed and my vegetable seedlings until the second week in June or so, and then stop. No watering for the of the summer because of the sheet mulch, which even captures dew.

      1. different clue

        If time and energy permit, at some point you could do a Permaculture Topic-area post devoted to cold zones of short growing season and unpredictable frosts also, and solicit reader advice for that set of conditions too. And at some point in the future, if someone wanted to find it again, they could find it semi-easily by going to the Permaculture list of topic posts and going through every post and thread.

    2. nippersdad

      Another interesting way of looking at the topic would be to research the agricultural methods used in Petra, Peru (Nazca), desert Southwest Pueblos, Iraq/Syria and in Spain. They used methods of harvesting water (even fog!) that would be quite useful today out west.

      I particularly love the interrelation of architecture/hardscape with landscape. They had some truly intensive agriculture WITHIN their urban areas that we could really profit from.

  12. JohnB

    I had heard of Humanism on/off in the past, and how it relates to Atheism and such (and how it seems to have some popularity among scientists and such), but I’ve never been able to figure out very well what it is all about, as it can be a little tricky to read up on.

    There was a fantastic (albeit very long) article on Counterpunch about the history of Humanism today, and how its roots were founded in ‘economic injustice’, and how economic reform was central to the whole movement – and how that the movement today, has been watered down where it comes to economic issues, and is very ‘pro-state-corporatist’ in the authors view (and he even makes a link to the ‘New Atheist’ movement as being similar – although I don’t know a lot about that term/movement):

    Highly recommend, as it seems like a movement with a very interesting history.

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