2:00PM Water Cooler 5/8/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The protesters on the security perimeter [at Nike] won’t have access to the TPP text, or to the millions of dollars that companies are spending to lobby for Fast Tracking the global deal, but at least they’ll have an intact sense of irony [given Nike’s offshoring], which is more than I can say for our nation’s president” [Guardian]. If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!

“Nike on TPP: Just Do It and We’ll Create 10,000 U.S. Jobs” [Fiscal Times]. Who would believe this?

“US Trade Representative Michael Froman said yesterday [in Kuala Lumpur that] there is no deadline to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks” [Today Online].


“[I]f we step back and take a look at just the last few years, it’s non-electoral organizing like Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, immigrants’ rights, and low-wage worker organizing that is actually making social change and forcing the Democrats to the left” [Arun Gupta, TeleSur]; IMNSHO a more nuanced and system view than BAR‘s. “So go ahead and vote for Sanders and Clinton, but that’s all.” In other words, walk and chew gum at the same time. Honestly, I don’t think it’s that hard to work out.


New Hampshire: “[SANDERS:] We have a grotesque level of income inequality, in which the billionaire class is getting it all. Enough is enough. They can’t get it all” [WBUR]. That’s the stuff to give the troops!

TPP: “[SANDERS:] Given Nike’s legacy of offshoring American jobs and exploiting low-wage workers, I would strongly encourage you to cancel this meeting” [HuffPo].

“[SANDERS:] I welcome a federal appeals court ruling that the National Security Agency does not have the legal authority to collect and store data on all U.S. telephone calls” [Time].

Sanders supporter bought www.berniesanders.com and gave it to Sanders for free [The Hill].

The S.S. Clinton

“Political giving” consulant Andy Spahn: “The system for funding our elections is completely broken, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The best chance we have to right the ship is to elect Hillary Clinton our next president. If that requires us to raise large sums from the one percent, then so be it” [Bloomberg]. Is there such a thing as a “political taking” consultant?

The Mittster to hold “E2 Summit,” Republican candidate and donor retreat [WaPo]. Confirmed speakers: Walker, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, and Graham.” Culling the herd?

Republican Establishment

Jebbie’s administration gave a $600,000 tax subsidy package to Bsafe Online to prevent Internet users from seeing information about homosexual relationships or transgender identities (or pr0n) [Business Insider]. Of course, some might regard this is a plus….

Republican Principled Insurgents

“Scott Walker calls $300 million UW cut ‘manageable'” [Pioneer Press].

Walker wants $100 million from the city of Milwaukee on arena deal [Milwaukee Business Journal]. Can’t do business without luxury skyboxes!

Republican Clown Car

“Behind former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s warm smile, inclusive rhetoric, and gee-whiz populism lies an ethics record that would make a Clinton blush” [Ron Fournier, National Journal]. Huckabee’s peddling diabetes and cancer cures (not that these nostrums are more lethal than those peddled by other hucksters; just more obvious).

Carson pushes charter schools in Baltimore visit [National Journal].

Slogans ranked [WaPo]. I’d rank the slogans differently, giving greater weight to complete sentences.

U.K. Election

“Nearly every pollster’s final poll placed the two parties within 1 percentage point of each other.” Forecast: Tories, 278; Labour 267. Actual: 330, 267. Oopsie [FiveThirtyEight] (live blog).

“In England, Labour aping the Right just leads to its base abstaining, as they have done in growing numbers since 2001. But in Scotland, working-class voters had a tried and tested reformist alternative” [Jacobin]. Excellent roundup.

“[I]f it weren’t for what is occurring in Scotland, where the Scottish National Party (S.N.P.) looks like it will sweep the board, Miliband would be on the verge of a great victory” [New Yorker].

“You can’t have one nation backing austerity [England] and another [Scotland] panning it without something breaking” [Vice].

Miliband, Clegg, Farage resign [Wall Street Journal, “Conservative Election Victory Sets Off Wave of Opposition Resignations”]. And so they should.

“[T]he more Labour comes to be occupied by influential but unrepresentative middle-class professionals, the more contemptuous it becomes of the Other Britain, the lesser Britain, the stupid Britain that won’t obediently vote Labour” [Spiked]. How do they manage it without the Acela?!

The bookies beat the pollsters [Bloomberg]. The British Polling Council to look into the debacle [Independent]. The Beeb: “Something is wrong. A lot of us would like to know what it is” [BBC]. Indeed!

“Polls, in the U.K. and in other places around the world, appear to be getting worse as it becomes more challenging to contact a representative sample of voters” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight]. That sounds like a structural change of some sort, but what? Readers?

Milliband campaign paid Axelrove $450,000 [Reuters]. Ka-ching!

Assault on the NHS begins: “Do we want better health care, or do we want to keep the NHS?” [The Telegraph]. That was fast.

Cameron promised an EU referendum, too [Reuters]. Brexit? Scexit?

UPDATE Amazing election night scene in Glasgow [Politico (RS)]. Must-read.

Stats Watch

Employment situation, April 2015: “Mixed,” with downward revision to “to what was already an extremely weak March” [Bloomberg]. Downtick in unemployment, participation rate edges higher, manufacturing down, construction up. “No initial signs of a significant bounce from the unusually slow first quarter.”

Wholesale trade, March 2015: “The inventory-to-sales ratio is at 1.30, up from 1.24 as recently as December” [Bloomberg]. Inventories in metal and machinery look heavy relative to demand.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Lots of narratives and handy charts [Mapping Police Violence].

The criminal justice system isn’t broken [Hampton Institute]. It’s fixed. I like “Hierarchy of Homicide Seriousness.”

Justice Department launches investigation of Baltimore Police Department [AP].

In his previous job, BPD chief Batts failed to get the Oakland PD into compliance with a Federal order [East Bay Express]. “He talked a good game.”

Police State

“Dad Calls Cops on Son to Teach Him a Lesson, Cops Shoot Son Dead” [Gawker]. From the Department of Never Call The Cops For Help.

S.C. Police Investigating White Deputy Shooting Black Homeowner After 911 Call [Talking Points Memo]. From the Department of Never Call The Cops For Help. And if we as a society learn that lesson… What then?


Iowa: Egypt-based Orascom laid off 1,500 union workers on a $1.8 billion fertilizer plant construction projecty that received nearly $500 million in tax incentives [We Party]. And they’re trying bring in out-of-state workers.  I mean, it’s not like fertilizer plants tend to explode, or anything. Oh, wait….

Despite Federal rules, Cuomo gave Bank of America and Jippy Mo contracts to manage the sale of $3 billion-worth of state bonds, after collecting more than $132,000 in “campaign contributions” from PACs under their corporate control, over the past two-and-a-half years [International Business Times]. Ka-ching!


“Water Risk Issues Approach Boiling Point” [AgWeb]. But collective action by Big Ag players will surely turn down the heat!

Californians suggest technical solutions for drought, including towing icebergs. “Hundreds of people suggested importing snow from the East Coast” [Los Angeles Times].

Health Care

Rove says Republicans should stop trying to repeal ObamaCare if King v. Burwell goes against them [Rove.com]. So now the Heritage Foundation’s assault on single payer is firmly ensconced in the health care system. And it took both parties to do it!

“In just a single year, the researchers reported, twenty-five to forty-two per cent of Medicare patients received at least one of the twenty-six useless tests and treatments” [Atul Gawande, The New Yorker]. On the one hand, I’m reluctant to reinforce any narrative tending to deny people care; let’s pay for the extra tests with an F-35 or three. On the other, there aren’t many large systems (health, justice, finance, education) that I’d recommend people enter, either.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Pentagon was working up a theory that the war was lost not because of U.S. misjudgments and mistakes, but because of ‘disloyal journalists’ and a ‘misled public'” [Non-Profit Quarterly]. They backed off on it (for now). Like the Bourbons: They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.

Class Warfare

“Over the past decade, state after state has been dismantling America’s workers’ comp system with disastrous consequences for many of the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer serious injuries at work each year” [ProPublica]. For whatever reason, the #AllLivesMatter crowd never brings this up…

“Freelancers” and “the precariat” are working class, period [Jacobin].

News of the Wired

  • Inventor of Mother’s Day wants to abolish it [Atlantic].
  • A font based on Albert Einstein’s handwriting [WaPo].

* * *

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 (Andrea):


Spring tulips in front of the Nathan Hale statue in New London, Connecticut. Wouldn’t it be nice if some day there were similar statues in honor of Edward Snowden!

I’d like yet more pictures of people’s gardens; I have some, but not really quite enough. They don’t have to be pretty! (And they don’t have to show your whole garden.)

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the soil, seeds, Fedco Tree sale, 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. Vikas Saini

    “On the one hand, I’m reluctant to reinforce any narrative tending to deny people care; let’s pay for the extra tests with an F-35 or three”;
    Except that 30-40 % of the stuff being done is useless, causes harms, and accelerates the wealth extraction function of contemporary health care.

    1. hunkerdown

      Compared to the F-35, which is 100% useless, causes harms by design, and accelerates the wealth extraction function of the whole empire…

      We can decide what constitutes “care” later. In fact, I don’t think the discussion can even be sanely had until there is money to allocate for it, and that isn’t coming until “we can afford to go without” (by which is always meant “they”) is no longer the null hypothesis.

      1. fresno dan

        My friend Bruce told me what happened when his eighty-two-year-old father developed fainting episodes. His doctors did a carotid ultrasound and a cardiac catheterization. The tests showed severe atherosclerotic blockages in three coronary arteries and both carotid arteries. The news didn’t come as a shock. He had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day since the age of seventeen, and in his retirement years was paying the price, with chronic lung disease, an aortic-aneurysm repair at sixty-five, a pacemaker at seventy-four, and kidney failure at seventy-nine, requiring dialysis three days a week. The doctors recommended doing a three-vessel cardiac-bypass operation as soon as possible, followed, a week or two later, by surgery to open up one of his carotid arteries. The father deferred the decision-making to the son, who researched hospitals and found a team with a great reputation and lots of experience. The team told him that the combined procedures posed clear risks to his father—for instance, his chance of a stroke would be around fifteen per cent—but that the procedures had become very routine, and the doctors were confident that they were far more likely to be successful than not.

        It didn’t occur to Bruce until later to question what the doctors meant by “successful.” The blockages weren’t causing his father’s fainting episodes or any other impairments to his life. The operation would not make him feel better. Instead, “success” to the doctors meant reducing his future risk of a stroke. How long would it take for the future benefit to outweigh the immediate risk of surgery? The doctors didn’t say, but carotid surgery in a patient like Bruce’s father reduces stroke risk by about one percentage point per year. Therefore, it would take fifteen years before the benefit of the operation would exceed the fifteen-per-cent risk of the operation. And he had a life expectancy far shorter than that—very likely just two or three years. The potential benefits of the procedures were dwarfed by their risks.

        Bruce’s father had a stroke during the cardiac surgery. “For me, I’m kicking myself,” Bruce now says. “Because I remember who he was before he went into the operating room, and I’m thinking, Why did I green-light an eighty-something-year-old, very diseased man to have a major operation like this? I’m looking in his eyes and they’re like stones. There’s no life in his eyes. There’s no recognition. He’s like the living dead.”
        It is a human frailty to, when faced with a health problem, believe that medicine can fix it. Not too many doctor shows on TV have Dr. Kildare telling the offspring their parent would be alive today if they only hadn’t agreed to the surgery….(and of course, the fact that the surgeon gets paid to cut is my hyperactive cynisense….doctors are like cops – nothing but virtue….)

        1. Felix

          As a surgeon I can tell you it worse than Gawande portrays. He did not mention the huge worker’s comp and disability benefits that make patients demand more imaging and surgery and who then are dissatisfied if they don’t get what they want because it will negatively impact their payouts. And many of these patients are forced to do this as the job market dwindles. And many times their lawyers push surgery because they get a percentage of the payout. A soft tissue back is worth maybe 20000. A post surgery back failure with screws could be worth half a million. Who do they refer to? The only solution is to put all doctors on salary and eliminate all patient satisfaction metrics. Let the doctors treat those they think they can help and allow them to play golf the rest of the time which will save a huge amount of money by eliminating unnecessary care.

          1. bob

            Orthopedic surgeons, and their suppliers, are very, very fat.


            This guy got his job back, after being “reprimanded” for spanking patients. I’d call it assault, but such words cannot be uttered in the presence of such greatness.

            He’s also one of the owners of the practice, so it didn’t hurt him, or them anything at all. Just took about 5 million off the top line of that hospital, and moved it to another.


            1. LucyLulu


              I hope the Feds goes after him for battery. His plea can include giving up his medical license. Why the other OR staff, with the exception of one (per report), tolerated his behavior is beyond me. Staff had several alternatives other than going to administration if they refused to take action, including boycotting his OR, going to law enforcement or social services, reporting to hospital legal counsel (surely appreciate gravity), taking story to media, or heck, reporting to malpractice insurer (how’d you like to be his carrier?). A professional’s first obligation is always the well-being of the patient. This is offensive on so many levels. All those who stood by and remained silent were complicit.

          2. LucyLulu

            A surgeon who advocates salaries for physicians? You are not typical indeed! When I talk with physicians about transitioning to a European style health delivery model, interest ends with confirmation of their European counterparts’ lower relative compensation (though still considered quite well-off). Admittedly some, especially younger ones, have legitimate high student debt loads not shared by their EU brethren.

            Traditionally the medical profession, and the AMA, has been a fierce opponent of “socialized medicine”, beginning with the opposition to SS Disability legislation in the 50’s as the first step down the path (along with resistance to playing “gatekeeper” role). I commend you for not forgetting why you chose to go into medicine, not to drive fancy cars and live in a huge house, but to help sick people.

      2. Vikas Saini

        Yes, I read it. Seems you are blaming the size of the system, which is also a problem, because complexity and human scale, etc., but the issue of overuse arises from deep inside the paradigm of modern medicine, how it defines disease, how it defines success, how the science is done, etc.

  2. timbers

    “In England, Labour aping the Right just leads to its base abstaining, as they have done in growing numbers…..”

    In America, Obama aping the Right just leads to Dem’s base abstaining, as they have done in growing numbers.

    1. frosty zoom

      mr. obama is the right.

      to paraphrase another muslim socialist, milton friedman, “to chile and beyond!”

  3. diptherio

    For those who were interested in the resident-owned mobile home communities I mentioned in comments a few days ago, here’s a good recent article from the Cooperative Development Institute:

    10,000 homes made secure and affordable through resident ownership movement

    “When we started, we didn’t know there was a systemic problem for homeowners who don’t control the land under their homes. We simply worked to find a way to keep 14 families from losing their homes,” said Community Loan Fund President Juliana Eades, who at the time was its sole employee. “Seeing resident ownership grow in New Hampshire to now 113 communities and spread to 13 other states through ROC USA’s work is tremendously rewarding.”

    ROC USA includes two wholly-owned subsidiaries: ROC USA Network and ROC USA Capital. ROC USA Network is made up of eight certified technical assistance providers — nonprofit organizations that provide on-the-ground organizational development in each ROC USA community. These trainers work with resident groups from the first meeting following notice of a community sale through the purchase process and for at least the life of the group’s mortgage. They train Board officers, help navigate renovation and rehabilitation projects, and work to make the community self-sufficient and strong.

    And here’s a great independent documentary on RiMaflow, a factory on the outskirts of Milan where workers have taken over the abandoned facility and have turned it into a worker-owned and controlled “open factory.” Cool, cool stuff. Revolutionary, in fact:

    Occupy, Resist, Produce — RiMaflow

    In February, 2013 a group of former Maflow workers occupied the facility along with other temporary workers at another nearby factory also closed earlier as a result of a fraudulent bankruptcy. The 20 workers who began to devote himself full time to the project and have completely reinvented themselves together with the factory. They started to recycle computers and household appliances, opened a bar-restaurant, organized a flea market and cultural activities with the citizens, and have built partnerships with organic farmers in the area and with whom they have created a solidarity buying group. Their project is to transform the factory into a plant for industrial recycling. As explained by Mariarosa Missaglia, a former worker Maflow, their goal is “rebuild the factory and show that this is possible even without a master.” Another worker, Antonio Galliazzo, during the discussion on the issues raised, said that this is not an easy task: “… because self-administration is not from above, but built every day by improving our organization by addressing some of our weaknesses and things that do not work. ”

    At the same time, the workers want to stay in touch with other struggles. “We believe that our experience, the attempt to create our income and self-organize, cannot be just a happy island,” says Gigi Malabarba worker and member of Maflow. “We can win just by being part of a larger struggle and just promoting another ten percent to have an experience like this, to feed the idea that another economy is possible. If the economy of the owners is in crisis, we must develop an idea of different economy. ” Occupy, Resist, Produce – RiMaflow follows the workers in the course of their work and in their daily discussions and political debates and strategic planning.

    And Happy V-E day, everyone!

  4. DJG

    The Cassidy article at the New Yorker reminds me that when the New Yorker goes stupid, it is almost infuriatingly stupid. Yes, Milibrand is on the verge of a great victory, except for those 60 seats that he couldn’t get. Milibrand almost won, except that he lost. I’m surprised that Cassidy didn’t mention that the Mississippi is the border between Scotland and England (in line with the New Yorker’s famous grasp of geography).

    I’m sure that Malcolm Gladwell will explain it all next week.

  5. vidimi

    mothers day…the ubiquity of unintended consequences, or how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  6. dSquib

    Why does accurate pre-election polling matter? Other than as a nerdy endeavour – who needs it? What great good is being served? Does it increase turnout? Not likely.

    1. Ed

      I will sometimes use pre-election polls to vote “tactically” (I think the effectiveness of this is greatly overrated, but I do it on occasion. Its also nice to know how much attention to give to an election. And they can be interesting if the polls are really off, which seems to usually be due to voters’ lying to the pollsters about their preferences.

      I do think its a good idea to ban them for a month before the election.

      1. Propertius

        I just make it a point to lie to every pollster who contacts me. Apparently I’m not alone.

  7. Clive

    [Polls]… around the world, appear to be getting worse as it becomes more challenging to contact a representative sample of voters.That sounds like a structural change of some sort, but what? Readers?

    Polls (including the companies which tally them) are the handmaidens of the MSM and both are leeches on the societies which they claim to be responsive to. People may not know exactly what is going on but I think they instinctively know that, when someone calls or nobbles them in the street and asks for their voting intentions, their opinions on this- or that- issue, his they would react if X- political party adopted Y- policy etc. they are in either an overt or covert way being played and taken advantage of by entities who don’t give a stuff about their interests. They’re just being used as fodder, for free.

    I for one have changed from refusing to respond to pollsters to an approach of gleefully fibbing and constructing some ridiculously outlandish fake persona about what my opinions are, which party I support and so on. I really don’t think I am the only one.

      1. Marko

        I suspect the reliability of voting systems worldwide has an inverse relationship with the hacking skills of the NSA.

        So , we should be polling the NSA , not voters.

        A new , elections-related revelation by Snowden right about now would be soooo sweet.

    1. sd

      Personally, I don’t see why I should provide marketing data to a for profit company who will then use that data to manipulate me to change my opinion.

      I tend to shy away from rebates, gift cards, discounts, and other devices for this very reason.

    2. guest

      it becomes more challenging to contact a representative sample of voters

      The phenomenon has been observed for at least a decade in the USA and European countries. The following explanations have been proposed:

      1) Many people are no longer reachable by telephone, because they have ditched landlines either for mobile phones, or VoIP on PC.

      2) The number of telemarketing calls and political robocalls have exasperated people enough that they now refuse to take part in polls.

      3) People answer less truthfully, because they do not want to reveal political preferences that go again established choices or that could seem unacceptable to the pollster — which is typical when it comes to voting for “populist” parties that are not yet considered proper.

      4) Because of the difficulties, opinion polls are increasingly performed via Internet — where achieving a representative sample is even more difficult. To overcome the bias of only strongly opiniated people filling in poll forms, some agencies have resorted to paying or organizing sweepstakes to encourage a broader range of people to participate — which obviously complicates the computation of representativeness even further.

    3. Veri

      Exit polling is the platinum standard of detecting vote fraud. The smaller the number of people who vote, the easier it is to pull off; one needs to change less votes.

      People claim that because of paper ballots and open public hand counting… vote count fraud would be nearly an impossibility. Wrong. The people who claim that have no imagination.

      It is also possible that The MSM is deliberately misleading the public for some reason that is counter-intuitive to people who don’t tend to think too much about vote count fraud. What the reason(s) would be is most likely, again, to be counter-intuitive to normal, everyday people.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          There was the South Park episode where Cartman stole the ballots proving Romney won. Never mind the 100 or so people in every county who have to in on the fraud.

      1. Code Name D

        Not true actually. Cell phones can be mapped geographically with a great deal of reliability. Remember that a cell phone registers with and communicates with a stationary cell tower. While cell phones do move – the towers with which they communicate with – do not.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, you are missing the point. All the marketing mapping is based on very fine triangulation of where people live. Tons of work on that. That is why you still get all sorts of brochures mailed to you at home. They are confident enough re direct mail targeting to be willing to spend on that channel.

          You can’t do that demographic mapping with cell phones.

          1. Code Name D

            You actually missed my point.

            I am familiar with how both land line and cell phone networks work on the technical level. Four time minute, your phone registers with the tower with the strongest signal strength in its area – telling the network where it is in space so that an incoming call can be routed to it. From that tower alone, a phone can be triangulated to a surprisingly narrow position in space. The higher the population density and traffic load – the more precisely the location can be pin pointed. Nearby cell towers also listen in on this conversation to “echo” the phones registration to the network, data that is needed for the hand-off as the phone moves from one tower to another. Cell networks do not work by magic. The geographic location of each phone must be known at any given moment in time for the system to work.

            But surveys have access to the same data used by the land lines, the registration account, which is the data the networks uses to connect a given phone number to a specific land or cell tower, some times both. And that account is always connected to an address not associated through billing. The registration data is the public part of the phone record.

            My point is that there is no technical reason why cell phones are not used for surveys.

            I suspect the methodologies used to collect and analyze the data may be the real culprit here.

            1. Yves Smith

              No, you ARE missing my point.

              Marketing companies and pollsters like Gallup cannot readily obtain the address associated with a cell phone number. Landline numbers are listed, for free. cell phones are not. This is widely discussed in marketing literature and on polling.

              1. Code Name D

                And it if is as you say it is, an issue that is well known and disused, why are the predictions then still getting it wrong and by such large margins? The expected response would be that the predictions using phone data would be given greater margins for error or abandoned all together.

                If an error constantly favors a given narrative, is it really an error?

  8. JTFaraday

    re: TPP “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!”

    Well, in this case, who isn’t on the menu?

    1. Carla

      Let’s make sure that in this case, the menu fights back! Try getting your local city or town council to pass a Resolution against Fast Track and the TPP and make sure they send it to your Congress Critter and Senators. San Francisco, LA, Seattle, New York, Pittsburgh and a number of other cities across the country have already done this; others are in process.

  9. Oregoncharles

    “Walk and chew gum at the same time” – send money to BOTH Sanders, so he can represent in the primaries, and the Greens, because you’re going to need us later.

  10. Oregoncharles

    ” That sounds like a structural change of some sort, but what? Readers?”
    Cell phones, and caller ID. We, for instance, don’t answer our phone any more. We’re about to drop the land line – a number we’ve had for 30 years.

    1. edmondo

      I habitually lie when pollsters ask me for whom I intend to vote. Poor Mitt Romney thought he had a chance after I got polled.

    2. LifelongLib

      There’s been an occasional situation where the land line was the only communication that worked. I’m keeping mine but I leave the phone unplugged unless I need to call somebody, since it’s mainly con artists who try to call me (“Hello, this is Computer Security. Your [turned off] computer is causing problems on the internet…”).

  11. Carla

    Re: the broken funding “system” for our elections: Buckley v. Valeo broke it in 1976 with the finding that spending money on an election was a First Amendment protected right: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo

    The idea that on January 20, 2010, we enjoyed a perfect state of democracy that was demolished the next with the announcement of the Citizens United decision is really pretty funny.

    BTW, the “We the People” amendment (stating, in essence, that corporations are not people and money is not speech) has been introduced by Rep. Rick Nolan (MN) in the 114th Congress as House Joint Resolution 48, with Mark Pocan (WI), Matthew Cartwright (PA), Jared Huffman (CA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), and Keith Ellison (MN) as co-sponsors.

    1. Carla

      I meant, of course, “a perfect state of democracy that was demolished the next DAY”

  12. DJG

    “In other words, walk and chew gum at the same time. Honestly, I don’t think it’s that hard to work out.”

    Yes, you aren’t cooperating in your own demise when you attend fundraisers for viable alternate candidates (likely to lose), show up at demonstrations (to be photographed and as a witness), and attend aldermanic meetings to monitor how badly your money is being spent. Suddenly, there’s a snowball effect or butterfly effect or the effect that got Vaclav Havel into “The Castle” as president or the effect that has produced raises in the minimum wage in some cities. I note that Pres. Grand Bargain has backed off Social Security temporarily, too. Solidarity matters.

    1. DPS

      Democrats aren’t backing off the Grand Bargain. Nor are Republicans. Only months ago, Senator Rob Portman declared at a conference heavily attended by Democrats (he’s a budget hawk that often works with them) that approximately 85% of cuts that were prescribed by the President’s Fiscal Commission have been achieved.

      The biggies left are ‘entitlements.’

      The proposals contained in the Fiscal Commission’s recommendations are being accomplished piecemeal!

      Actually, cuts are occurring pretty much as planned. For instance, the Military Commission that recently put forth a truckload of recommended cuts, was mentioned in the Commission’s proposal. As was the freezing federal civilian service employee pay which occurred a while back. As was cuts imposed last year to federal employees retirement plans (raising the amount of their own contribution). As was stopping the mailing of Social Security annual benefits statements. The list goes on, and on.

      Think “Doc Fix” legislation–which contained an amendment that increased premiums for some, and/or cut Medicare benefits, such as charging a co-pay (for the first time) for home health aide visits, and took a whack at Medigap policy benefits.

      (Most of these changes are ‘out’ a few years, of course.)

      The Grand Bargain has not been forgotten–it’s just flying under the radar.

  13. I voted!/Kick Me

    If Sanders were not a sheepdog as described, they would take him out like they did Bradley in the 2000 pageant. “Forcing the Democrats to the left,” …? What is he, in Mirror-World? In every substantive act Democrats are veering away from protection toward repression. The Chomsky argument, “vote but don’t expect much,” breaks down when voting serves the same function as standing for the pledge of allegiance. It lends legitimacy to a regime that has pissed it all away. It swallows the spurious partisan and academic propaganda insisting that civil society all comes down to voting in the end. In a functioning democracy, that may be true. When we get one, we shall see.

    1. Yves Smith

      By not voting you are choosing to hand this country over to the right. Republicans and upper income people have higher turnout levels than Dems and lower income people. I’m not a fan of the Democrats, but you are playing right into the conservative’s strategy with your posture. Apathy makes it even easier for the opposition to win.

      1. The Cleaner

        But by voting in Democrats, you’re voting in the more effective evil. I’d rather have 3rd party candidates, but in the absence of one, I’d rather vote for an openly right wing candidate. Then the tribal nature of our electorate takes over and holds the nutjob to fire. As evidence, I present the celerity with which Bush had to back down from privatizing SS, whereas our putative Democrat is happy to make “grand” compromises — i.e. gut SS and Medicare.

      2. subgenius

        You cannot fix the system by being part of it.

        Witness EVERY single political system in the west.

        Sorry that it seems impossible for you to accept that by playing you are just perpetuating more of the same.

        Disagree? Then show me ANY evidence to support an opposing position.

        1. cwaltz

          You can’t govern without a system and essentially when enough disagree with a system changes are integrated and implemented and become part of the NEW system. So I disagree with your point because I think that those that agitate for change are part of or will become part of the system at some point(using your philosophy you’d have to ALWAYS opt out since no system that is comprised of humans will ever be perfect and by participating you’d become part of the problem.)

          For example, using your philosophy the country’s founders should not have governed because once they rejected a monarchy they became part of the new better but also flawed system- a democratic republic.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong proponent of third parties and think outside the box. I think Democratic activists shoot themselves in the foot by bad mouthing third parties instead of using them to leverage the debate leftward. (Example-single payer should have been part of the debate instead of starting from the pragmatic center public option that became the default left position that would inevitably drift rightward in the name of compromise.). Likewise I think left wing third party advocates would be doing themselves a disservice to bad mouth someone who is voicing their POLICY POSITIONS even if he is doing so as a Democrat.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          “You cannot fix the system by being part of it.” With all due respect, that’s a very stupid argument, because you aren’t specifying the limits of “the system.” The world system? What system?

          Danton to cynical friend: “Nah, that National Assembly thing is for the birds. It’s part of the system!”

          Lincoln to cynical friend: “Nah, I’m not running. The Republican Party is part of the system!”

          Rosa Parks to cynical friend: “You won’t catch me getting on that bus! That bus is part of a system!”

          And so forth.

          1. subgenius

            Alright then…if it wasnt obvious enough for you…the current system. Every player and party in every country is compromised. None are acting in the interests of the people they are supposed to represent. The current system has fucked the poor and disenfranchised for oooh EVER, and now they are moving up to the moddle classes. All while cementing their wealth and power and that of their elite backers. As i said – show me an example where this is not the case.

            Just to be clear… You think voting any of these self-aggrandizing pricks in will move us in a direction that has a chance of solving overpopulation resource depletion global climate change pollution poverty yadda yadda yadda?

            Sorry…but you have to face the reality sometime.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I think you’re conceiving of legitimacy* as a binary condition when in fact it’s a continuum. Or in joke form:

      “The Estates General? Forget it! It’s full of aristocrats!”

      Never be too proud to be present, as C.P. Snow says somewhere.

      * A regime loses legitimacy when the peasants burn the land records, as in 1789, or it dries up and blows away, as in the former USSR. It doesn’t lose legitimacy when a few individuals claim it doesn’t have any.

      1. AnnieB

        I respectfully disagree. Not voting is the only way left to make visible the concept of “withholding the consent of the governed.” If the Democrats lose their constituency, if it goes to the Greens. for example, one would hope that they might get a wake up call. But even if the Dems continue to function as corporate/military lapdogs, at least it’s possible to gain progressive momentum if critical mass says “Enough!” Just because it seems unlikely now that the Greens could gain national power doesn’t mean it could not happen. Look at what just happened in the Scottish election. The National party looked defeated just last year!

        1. Marko

          Agreed. People seem to think like corporations – it’s all about making the next quarters’ numbers , or who holds power for the next couple of years. There’s a long term that needs to be considered.

          We shouldn’t be surprised if the voters in the UK wake up over the next few years , as Conservatives’ austerity bites more deeply . Arguments for social justice may appeal to a larger audience , resulting in a Labour with a philosophy and leader more like FDR and less like Blair , or Milliband.

          By 2020 , this election may be seen by average Brits as the best thing that could have happened , while we – still suffering mightily – debate the wisdom of granting Hillary a second term as the “lesser evil”.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Actually, spoiling your ballot is the only way to do that. (Not voting just plays into the conventional narrative of “voter apathy.”)

          But I’m confused about what you’re “disagreeing” with, since it has nothing to do with my position. My position, very consistently, is that Sanders provides an opportunity to bring up topics that would otherwise not be talked about. That’s it. The whole issue of “strategic voting” is a whole other thread:

          1) Walking: “Sanders uses the word ‘socialism.’ That means…..”

          2) Chewing gum: Voting, not voting, giving money to whoever….

          I thought this wasn’t a hard disctinction, but it seems to be.

          1. AnnieB

            Sorry, Lambert. I messed up the tread. My response was to Yves. (And I do appreciate NC is not a political blog. A good thing.)

  14. timbers

    So Labour got killed and Obama’s Axelrod had a hand in it. It’s amazing Dems are immune to any realization of the electoral death plague Obama has been to Democrats (read somewhere more Republicans have won elective office if you include state legislatures under Obama than any other President in history) and now to some extend Labour. It’s all the ichy Republican’s fault.

    1. LucyLulu

      Yet at the national level, the Democrats won the popular vote, even if losing Congressional seats.

      In my state of NC, almost all precincts have been drawn to guarantee a Republican winner. The governor and both houses are deeply conservative yet this week pundits called NC a purple swing state, up for contention in the 2016 presidential election. Gerrymandering is a fine and splendored thing.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Gerrymandering wasn’t invented in 2010. Amazingly, Team Blue won in 2006 and 2008 before their hard right turn. With a little help and non fascist nominees, Team Blue would pick up 8 seats in California alone.

        The collapse in youth voting hurt Team Blue. Gerrymandering is the new Nader for Team Blue elites as they reach for excuses.

        1. timbers

          Exactly. Republicans use gerrymandering to their favor, Dems don’t. Who’s fault is that?

          Dems like Obama and Steve Israel prefer to have Republican majorities so they can blame their lameness on them instead of themselves. Hence, Team Blue blows opportunities to gerrymander or even pass universal voting laws (which they should have done 1st thing no questions asked in 2008. Republican don’t hesitate in the opposite direction).

  15. badbackjack

    I gotta say, throwing in with Bernie smacks wayyyyyyyy too much of playing ball with Clinton and the rest of the D’s. So what if he gets her to start talking about issues that are important to ordinary people. Didn’t Obama just show us that they are willing to promise anything to seal the deal. And we know Bernie will lose. All of that energy could be put toward something that can slowly be built in to something real with the Greens or something. But throwing energy at the Manchurian Hippie and feeling good for a year before that mean old Hillary wins (and Bernie has already pre-vowed to support her) and you either vote for Hillary or a 3rd party that’s emaciated and WILL NOT RECEIVE GOVT. MATCHING FUNDS for the next election – cuz you’ve been busy screaming “BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE!, or you don’t vote in disgust. Didn’t the whole Kucinich roller coaster ride teach us anything. Hey, at least he got a hot new wife out of the whole thing.

    1. cwaltz

      You do realize that you can sign a petition to put a green on the ballot AND chant Bernie! Bernie! Bernie when he says that the TPP is a disaster right? You can donate to a third party and holler Way to go, Bernie when he starts talking about the trillions of dollars in student loan debt our system has generated. You only need to worry about choosing option a(Democrat) and option b(third party) when the election actually rolls around and you go to cast a ballot. Additionally, just because Bernie says he’ll support Hillary does not mean you, as someone who once supported his candidacy is required to cast the ballot as he wishes. When you step into the ballot box you get to choose the candidate, not Bernie. No offense, but you sound somewhat confused and seem to be under the impression that you have to choose one candidate months before the election and before they even debate and stay with that candidate until the day after election day. As a voter the most empowering thing you can do is make a candidate work for your support and earn your vote throughout the process. Endorse policy positions straight out the gate, not politicians.

  16. badbackjack

    I just had a disturbing thought about you guys (yves – lambert – two of my fave internet folk).
    I notice you guys aren’t covering even the rumblings of any third party action. Have you guys decided to be the de facto bouncers for any of that kind of talk around here or am I being paranoid..

    1. cwaltz

      You’re being paranoid. This isn’t Dkos. Lambert and Yves have always welcomed conversations on third parties as far as I’ve seen. I know last cycle I was a Jill Stein advocate and I even remember us debating Libertarian hack Ron Paul (and I call him a hack because his view on freedom is you should be allowed to be unfettered as long as you look like him and think like him- women and gays need not apply because ol’ Ron is hunky dory with using government to restrict your right to marry and or have reproductive choices unavailable to you. He’s also cool with business being allowed to discriminate for whatever. That’s what government is for restricting personal liberty, not business regulation. I can respect Gary Johnson because he was at least consistent with approaching everything as “hands off.”) Anyway as we get closer to election season I’m sure we’ll see third party support and have rousing discussion on which strategy would be most successful in achieving policy positions that benefit most of us(as opposed to the 1%.)

      1. Oregoncharles

        That’s an interesting challenge. I’ll be working on it.

        A caveat: since one of the greatest challenges is getting established media to cover 3rd-party activity, you may be involved in a contradiction. Party sites may well be the only ones to cover us. I do note that you’ve posted material from Green Party Watch, and thank you – it’s a site I didn’t know about, but should have.

  17. I Voted!/Kick Me

    Ah, apathy, No. 9. Though I’m flattered you think this country is mine to hand over. I lack the assets to buy a candidate and I lack the child-trafficking knowhow to blackmail one (though if get a chance I’ll certainly relay your message to Jeffrey Epstein’s deformed egg-shaped penis – now that’s clout.)

    Of course legitimacy is a continuum, mappable to real numbers. The legitimacy of a regime that fails to comply with peremptory norms rounds to zero. Your examples mistake legitimacy for repressive capacity. It’s not legitimate just because it can persist – that’s the basis of Kim Jong-il’s self-regard. And last I looked, in 2012, those few individuals saying fuck this shit amounted to 45% of the voting-age population.

    No, no more choosing the Deluxe shit sandwich, ‘Now with 3% less shit!’ That forced choice breaches the binding legal prerequisite for democracy: free expression of the will of the electors. I’ll stick to civil pastimes that aren’t engineered for futility.

    1. Yves Smith

      If you are not trying to be part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And your sort of defeatism frankly is toxic. Far more oppressed groups than no-rich Americans have managed to wrest power from victimizers. You are basically telling me you aren’t willing to do the work it takes to have a better commons.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “Of course legitimacy is a continuum, mappable to real numbers. The legitimacy of a regime that fails to comply with peremptory norms rounds to zero.”

      That’s a neat trick, putting two mutually contradictory sentences right next to each other. Do you think that accounts for your sense of futility?

  18. words

    Agree, as to a no lesser evil vote, with: I voted!/Kick Me; subgenius; hunkerdown; AnnieB; Marko; and on part of (sorry, Naked Capitalism is not, has not been, my favorite in terms of online commentary) badbackjack’s post.

    Further, if I understood correctly; re:

    * A regime loses legitimacy when the peasants burn the land records, as in 1789, or it dries up and blows away, as in the former USSR. It doesn’t lose legitimacy when a few individuals claim it doesn’t have any.

    there are far more than a few – there are millions in the us – even historically, claiming lack of legitimacy of the District of Columbia (well known for the stunning poverty surrounding it) Democratic (and Republican) Party[ies].

    Lastly, I dare someone to chide me (where I can’t be online shut off/moderated, and, even worse, online edited to appear to agree), face to face for refusing to vote lesser evil.

    (I will be shutting off my computer for the evening, after posting this comment (at 6:43 PDT). Not at all interested in a debate about it, I’m old enough, and now poverty ridden enough (as are all I love the most, despite a life of no crime) – despite a lifetime effort to prevent that in a manner where I wouldn’t be filled with shame for stepping on others – to understand the horridly rigged Democrat/Republican game.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      On the millions, that may be; I certainly hope that it is. My view is that the more spaces open for those millions, the better, and if Sanders opens one, so much the better. That doesn’t mean anybody has to vote for Sanders, or give him money, or anything like that. If you can, use the opportunity. I certainly intend to.

      Adding, I personally can think of a ton of reasons why the current regime isn’t legitimate; I’ve expressed plenty of them here. Do our views add up to a “legitimacy crisis.” No, or (more hopefully) not yet.

    2. Yves Smith

      No one is making you read this site. It’s a sign of immaturity, frankly, to come here and throw a tantrum in the comments section, which is private property, not a public square. We have no obligation to post ANYDNE’S comments, particularly after you do the equivalent of throw your drink in the host’s face in their living room.

      We aren’t into having people try to pressure us into editorial conversion experiences. Do you also complain about seeing an action movie when you taste runs to rom coms? That’s what you are doing. You have only yourself to blame.

      Your comment is a reader assisted suicide note and we are only too happy to oblige if you keep it up.

    1. cwaltz

      The chart IS off though. Al Queda should be an it’s complicated. They are our “moderate” allies in Syria. Additionally the ISIS and Saudi should also be an it’s complicated since Saudi, Qatar and Kuwait were major funding sources for these groups because of their Sunni backing (in order to weaken Shia governments in places like Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It just occurred to me that “controlled flight into terrain” is a splendid example of elite decision making, and that the story is getting so much traction because it’s just dawned on the elites that although all of them are on the plane (the 1%) not all of them are actually flying it (that would be the 0.01%). So that weird thing Yves noticed that may or may not be happening in the bond market is echoing around in the ruling class zeitgeist and leaking out into story choices by publishers and editors.

  19. Code Name D

    First evidence of cost over-runs in the healthcare system.

    This was one of the predictions critics made when Obama care was passed. Kind of a no-brainier when you know the secret ingredient for controlling costs is markets, you know, for reasons. The specific predictions fell along the lines that the clerical side of the system would take on more than it could chew and force up base operating costs. But predictions also argued that subsidy costs would also accelerate over time, even as full-rate paying consumers fall into the subsidy market. And the law has built in subsidy caps that could melt the system down rather quickly.

    Well, I have been given roomers that the state run exchanges are running into financial problems. I finally found my first real evidence of this.
    It’s just one article and its still thin on the details, so the keep your skeptical-hat on light is still lit. But it matches closely with original predictions.

    I have heard this called “clerical creep & slip”. Clerical creep is when system designers expand data-sets to include everything, including data that doesn’t need to be collected, that is never used by later processes, or worse yet data sets that don’t actually mean any thing. As more and more data-sets get drawn into the system this adds to the volume of raw data that must be handled, which in turn demands more band-width, processing power, and both passive, archival memory systems, and especially human operators who are needed to fix the system when novel scenarios are encountered. Clerical slip happens when managers over estimate what computers can do and under fund these systems are fail to provide enough human capital needed to make the system work.

    And that is what this article seem to be suggesting, clerical creep & slip. The article also suggests that enrolment figures are falling short of original estimates. (Shocker, right?) So we have the unexpected cost over runs and shorted revenues, a bad combination.

    According to this article, some states are considering dropping their state run exchanges and handing it over to the federal exchanges. If SCOTUS rules in favor of Obama, this could encourage these states to bail out of the program. (The article did not say which states.) Interesting, so even if Obama wins – he still losses as the state run exchanges are dismantled. In the mean time, states will have to raise access fees (which could chase providers away from the exchanges) or go to there state legislatures with hat in hand to ask for more revenue and to help out with the shortfall.

    The article also hints a new problem – data trafficking. This is when privet corporations are given access to publicly collected data sets, especially those collected by state-mandated functions such as tax fillings. We already know the federal exchanges are data-trafficking, the states may also be data-trafficking. The article notes that many states have contracted out their exchanges to privet firms with little to no supervision.

  20. timotheus

    Re Nathan Hale: There is a NH museum at the New London pier housed in the school where he taught. He welcomed girls, which was radical at the time. I think they said he had to teach them at different hours.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think some exaggeration might be occurring. The New England farming situation led to the development of tools powerful enough to break up the rocky soil*, and the result was free time and an all male farming society which was bizarre by world standards where women did more than half the labor hours. The result was all the children learned to read, and the women in the northeast took over much of the early schooling. The female teacher society in the U.S. is unusual, and it comes from here. There are estimates that the female literacy rate in the New England colonies put the literacy rate of the Western Europe male aristocracy to shame.

      Depending on the level and facilities available, it’s possible teaching females at a different time was a reality of work schedules.

      Sure to our eyes, it was an oppressive society, but it probably wasn’t as repressive as a 60’s feminist trying to come up with a doctoral dissertation made it out to be.

      *This is also part of the reason slavery didn’t take in the north. Chattel slaves don’t innovate or problem solve for obvious reasons, and the new England ground will kill anyone working it by using the traditional methods.

  21. Procopius

    Isn’t that “Dad Calls Cops on Son to Teach Him a Lesson, Cops Shoot Son Dead” link awfully old? I’ve been seeing it down at the bottom of, what is it, Salon?, pages for a couple of years now. Along with the one about the 14-year-old using a video camera to catch her old man abusing her.

  22. words

    Really, Yves/Susan (as you responded to my last comment above),???:

    No one is making you read this site. It’s a sign of immaturity, frankly, to come here and throw a tantrum in the comments section, which is private property, not a public square. We have no obligation to post ANYDNE’S comments, particularly after you do the equivalent of throw your drink in the host’s face in their living room.

    We aren’t into having people try to pressure us into editorial conversion experiences [Huh??? – words]. Do you also complain about seeing an action movie when you taste runs to rom coms? That’s what you are doing. You have only yourself to blame.

    Your comment is a reader assisted suicide note and we are only too happy to oblige if you keep it up.

    suicide, tantrum – huh? – is it because I calmly noted that yours was not my favorite commentary site (talk about fealty), is that really a tantrum, dear?

    and, further, ….whoah, …..you surely flatter yourself – and way, way too much – let alone revealing that you’re one of those still floating and not at all getting what the stunning increase in suicides in the us signifies (that, in itself, is not a crime, though it does start to seem a crime, when you so glibly toss out that suicide word, as you most certainly did, when you are perfectly aware that your blog is being eyed and QUOTED by those who have a voice in the media (Moyers, for one instance); S H _ _ _ on _ _ _, for that.

    You and Lambert can’t have it all ways; where you solicit donations to reveal the powers that be; then claim to be Non Political – Excuse Me???? – or, A Private Website (which purports to want to change things for the better; though, apparently, only what the two Site Masters decide is for the better) whenever anyone disagrees with you.

    (and, yeah, I’m shutting down my computer again. sincerely, ANYDNE.)

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