2:00PM Water Cooler 6/11/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


TPP has entered the frantic, sausage-making phase. The situation very dynamic, and there will be leaks after Water Cooler closes at 2:00PM. So while I’ve tried to summarize the state of play, things will certainly change, and hourly. Here again is The Hill’s whip list; please be sure to scroll down for updates. Give your Congress Critter a call!

UPDATE Alert reader Kim Kaufman supplies a more recent whip list.

UPDATE On the sausage-making, I should just turn the mic over to Gaius Publius (past m deadline, alas) [Down With Tyranny]. Search the page on “Why Is the Vote So Close? The Medicare Poison Pill” for the legislation and “Where We Stand” for current status.

UPDATE Here’s the text of Senator Jeff Sessions’ letter to Obama on the “Living Agreement” clause in TPP [Jeff Sessions]. Sessions went to the secret room and did some reading. This is the result:

I asked that you make public the section of the TPP that creates a new transnational governance structure known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission. The details of this new governance commission are extremely broad and have the hallmarks of a nascent European Union, with many similarities.

Reviewing the secret text, plus the secret guidance document that accompanies it, reveals that this new transnational commission—chartered with a “Living Agreement” clause—would have the authority to amend the agreement after its adoption, to add new members, and to issue regulations impacting labor, immigration, environmental, and commercial policy. Under this new commission, the Sultan of Brunei would have an equal vote to that of the United States.

The implications of this new Pacific Union are extraordinary and ought to be discussed in full, in public, before Congress even contemplates fast-tracking its creation and pre-surrendering its power to apply the constitutional two-thirds treaty vote. In effect, to adopt fast-track is to agree to remove the constitutional protections against the creation of global governance structures before those structures are even made public.

I would therefore ask that you provide to me the legal and constitutional basis for keeping this information from the public and explain why I cannot share the details of what I have read with the American people.

When you call your Representative, and they’re a Republican, mention this letter. Yes, I’m amazed I’m quoting Jeff Sessions, but the White House hasn’t said anything about this, nor have the usual Democratic stooges (and the jokes about “black helicopters” write themselves, so that would not be hard to do). That to me means not only is what Sessions is saying true, the truth is so toxic they’re afraid even to try to distort it. And given what we know about the Obama administration, that’s amazing too.

Sausage-making as of June 9 [Cato].

Ultimately, the packaging of TPA and TAA in the Trade Act has created some hurdles for House consideration of the bill. Since most House Republicans support TPA but not TAA, and since most House Democrats support TAA but not TPA, leadership is considering a parliamentary procedure known as “dividing the question,” which would allow members to vote on each title (TPA and TAA) separately. The hope and expectation is that both titles would get enough votes for passage (TPA from most Republicans and some Democrats; TAA from most Democrats and some Republicans) without members being on the record supporting legislation they oppose. This would also avoid the need to have a conference committee reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill, which would subject the Trade Act oto another controversial vote.

More problematic, logistically, is that the Senate TPA bill includes a provision that would deny fast-track consideration of trade agreements between the United States and countries identified as “Tier 3” countries under the Trafficking Victims Protections Act.10 The provision would seem to imperil the TPP, as Malaysia—a TPP party—is currently classified as a Tier 3 country. Although Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who offered the amendment creating this provision, later sought to modify the language by providing for exemptions in cases where the Secretary of State confirms that the Tier 3 country “has taken concrete actions to implement the principal recommendations in the most recent annual report on trafficking in persons,” the changes never made it into the final bill. To save TPP from fast-track disqualification, then, the trafficking language must be amended somehow.

This problem raises the profile of the Customs Reauthorization bill, which would reauthorize various operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and create new rules for enforcing U.S. trade laws.

So will the Customs Reauthorization bill not only solve Obama’s pro-slavery problem, but become a Christmas tree bill?

Sausage-making as of June 11 [The Hill]. “High drama as trade vote nears”

The unpredictability of the Republican conference is adding to the drama. During Boehner’s reign as Speaker, Republicans have lost some votes on the floor and had to pull legislation at the last minute on several occasions.

With less than 25 Democrats expected to back fast-track, Boehner might need close to 200 members of his conference to support the legislation.Pelosi said she hoped lawmakers would vote on both bills on their own merits but acknowledged the opportunity exists to take down the entire package by voting against TAA.

She also said Democrats still have “one concern” left regarding the bill.

The TAA program does not cover public-sector union members, whom Pelosi said had been covered in legislation proposed, but not approved, by the House in 2009.

More broadly, Pelosi complained that Democrats have been unable to push amendments to alter the trade bills, even as Republicans have included a host of provisions to address concerns of conservative lawmakers.

Granting GOP concessions to please members while blocking Democratic amendments was “making it harder for Democrats to support the bill,” she said.

Boehner dismissed the latest TAA argument as a “red herring,” giving no indication he was interested in addressing it.

Pelosi’s role [Politico]:

Pelosi’s involvement here is key, because Republicans cannot pass TAA without significant Democratic support. Pelosi is likely to vote for TAA, according to sources. She met Wednesday with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients on Wednesday afternoon to discuss some of these issues.

Although she will announce her views on the floor Friday.

Wikileaks publishes TOO health care section [Firedoglake].

“The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law… In 2003, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that said no immigration provision should be in trade agreements – and in fact, former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) voted for this resolution. The existence of these 10 pages is in clear violation of that earlier unanimous decision, and also in violation of the statements made by the U.S. Trade Representative [Breitbart] (I hate to quote Brietbart, but needs must…) Well, that should stomp on some Republican hot buttons, so they’re moving to block that. 

“Paul Ryan adds amendment to trade bill to block climate deals” (at Sensenbrenner’s request) [National Journal]. Another sweetener for Republicans.

“So now, a so-called “fix” would repeal the Medicare cuts in a separate bill. That still forces Democrats to vote for a bill that has Medicare cuts in it, even as they vote separately to erase them” [Our Future]. And some Democrats object because there’s no guarantee the separate bill would pass.



“Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, is offering an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require that lawmakers offset spending in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund by raising new revenues” [The Hill]. Except Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending, so it’s a gesture.

“First Daily Kos Democratic Primary Straw Poll” [Daily Kos].

“Martin O’Malley 2%
Bernie Sanders 68%
Hillary Clinton 25%
Other 1%
No Freakin’ Clue 2%

Sensing a little division between management and the troops over there at Great Orange Satan.

The S.S. Clinton

“[A]mong the Clinton Foundation’s 200,000 donors was the Fédération Internationale de Football Association—FIFA—whose leadership was largely carted away by police in Switzerland” [Non-Profit Quarterly]. Lot of issues with slave labor on that soccer stadium Qatar is building. So it looks like Obama has problems with slavery on TPP, and the Clintons have potential problems with slavery at their ginormous influence peddling scheme Foundation. Three points determine a plane, so one more example and the party looks bad, not just Presidents, candidates, and former Presidents.

“[S]ome blacks are disillusioned that Obama’s election hasn’t noticeably improved their lives. They are also skeptical of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 candidacy” [WaPo]. Regenia Motley, 23, a grocery store clerk: “We made history, but I don’t see change.” Well, Fukuyama did prophesy “the end of history,” but perhaps history is not evenly distributed.

“Instead, some on Wall Street think powerful populist pitches from O’Malley and Sanders coupled with the heavy influence of noncandidate Elizabeth Warren could force Clinton to come out harder on issues including breaking up the nation’s largest banks” [Politico]. Or indulge in kayfabe. Not sure how Clinton gets skin in the game. How about getting Soros to sue some backs for accounting control fraud, when they’ve got the voting rights work underway?

The Hill: “Support for same-sex marriage, debt-free college, campaign finance reform and more access to early voting may be appealing to her base, but they aren’t the most urgent issues. She should find the guts to confront them soon if she really wants to be president” [The Hill]. Yep.

“[O]n the issues that most divide the Democratic base from its centrist wing, she refuses to box herself into a position. She’d rather wait to see how things play out” [Vox]. With a list of those issues, among them TPP.

Republican Establishment

“It’s June, for crying out loud, months after Bush started running and should have had things sorted out” [WaPo]. Yep. Dynasties need to do the basic blocking and tackling to stay dynastic.

Republican Principled Insurgents

“If Rubio wants a boat, he can buy a boat.” But if Rubio is running on his bio, which he is, the boat is part of that bio [WaPo].

“Ohio, New Mexico Lead as Presidential Bellwethers” [Political Wire].

“Non-Hispanic whites with American Indian ancestry make up a full half of the current population of mixed-race Americans but are among the least likely to say that they are multiracial, according to a study released Thursday. This population is also the more likely to be Republican-leaning” [AP].

Stats Watch

Portuguese 10-year bonds: “GSPT10YR:IND Yield 2.895; down 2.69%; change: 0.8% [Bloomberg]. Mr. Market is so bored of Greek contagion.

Jobless Claims, week of June 6, 2015: “Jobless claims continue to run at extremely lows with initial claims up only marginally” [Bloomberg].

Retail Sales, May 2015: “[R]etail sales [up] 1.2 percent with gains sweeping nearly all components”  [Bloomberg]. “A leading component in the month was motor vehicle sales.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of June 7, 2015: “[M]ostly flat so far this spring but remain at high levels” [Bloomberg].

Business Inventories, May 2015: “Inventories are rising in line with sales, pointing to well-balanced strength” for Q2 [Bloomberg].  Stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.36. ” Inventories, expressed as a ratio to sales, remain well within the historical levels. A unusual rise in this ratio would suggest the economy was contracting” [Econintersect].

“Rail Week Ending 06 June 2015: Less Contraction Than Last Week” [Econintersect].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“During the unrest in Ferguson, MO following the police shooting of Michael Brown, one local organization emerged as a heroic force: The Ferguson Municipal Public Library. Director Scott Bonner kept the library open even as other businesses around him shut down. After schools closed indefinitely, the Ferguson library became a place for teachers and students to continue with educational programs” [Boing Boing].

“Solicitor: Michael Slager indictment in Walter Scott shooting just the beginning” [Post and Courier]. Solicitor (DA) Scarlett Wilson: “Just because you have video … doesn’t mean it’s the be-all, end-all.” Very true, in the abstract… 

“Given the complexity of identifying short-term crime trends and of determining reliable causal antecedents – even with decades of hindsight and troves of big data, which is certainly not the case here – the idea that we could observe a “Ferguson effect” on crime today is preposterous” [Guardian].

Texas pastors call for firing of pool party cop; resident says he ‘deserves a medal’ [Daily News]. I did not know there was a medal for body-slamming teenage girls. Good to know.

“McKinney chief: Eric Casebolt was ‘out of control'” [WFAA].

“[E]ven as the on-the-ground understanding of race and ethnicity becomes more fluid, contingent and overlapping, our public conversation lags” [New York Times]. OTOH, the “on the ground” understanding in McKinney seems clear enough.

“Keywords in Black Protest: A(n Anti-)Vocabulary” [Truthout]. I love glossaries!

Police State

“St. Louis County SWAT Team Killed Family Dog Over Code Violation, Suit Says” [Riverfront Times]. For a code violation?

“Cops Shooting at Cars: A Really Bad Idea” [The Marshall Project].

“Anonymous Baltimore Cops to CNN: Public Asked for ‘Softer’ Police Force, They Got It” [Mediaite]. In other words, the price of a low murder rate is cops whacking black people with impunity. #BlackLivesMatter has a simple demand: “Stop killing us!” Which vision of social order do you prefer? And surely there are alternative methods for skilled police work?

“There is incredulity as if police were not recent additions to the education system and had been permanent fixtures of the school landscape since the era of Horace Mann [Critical Mass Progress].

“Bad cops bounce from city to city” [Baltimore Sun].


“Ex-hospital executive in kickback scheme looks to spread the blame.” All over the California health care system, it seems [Center for Investigative Reporting]. Important, because although I tend to think of the insurance companies as the main beneficiaries of ObamaCare, consolidating hospital systems with lavishly overpaid executives are right there, too.

Squillionaire Wretched Excess Watch

Jamie Dimon think Elizabeth Warren “fully understands the global banking system” [Bloomberg]. Jamie’s right. If Warren fully understood banking, she would have looted billions of dollars in a bubble inflated through accounting control fraud, crashed the economy, orchestrated the largest upward transfer of wealth in world history in the bailouts, paid herself a big bonus out of the bailout money, and become a billionaire in an industry where net profits equal government subsidies. That’s what understanding banking means. Then again — and I’m handing out rare kudos to a Democrat, here — Warren probably isn’t a sociopath.

Class Warfare

“[P]overty among seniors increases as they age” [Wall Street Journal]. Well, naturally. Equally naturally, the situation is even worse for blacks, Hispanics, and women.

“Andre Spicer, a Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cass Business School, said an invite to Bilderberg is a point of pride” [Bloomberg]. Not shame? That seems odd. Spicer: “It’s been fundamental for enacting policy shifts across the world and rolling out of liberal projects…(including) free market intervention.” The Bilderberg agenda (at least the public one) [Telegraph].

News of the Wired

  • “It’s Official: Everyone Has the Same Plan for Tech’s Future” [Wired]. The Perfect Operating System (or “POS”).
  • “Wrote code that can be reproduced in full on cover of issue” [Github]. Say, what’s with that weird indentation [ducks]? (“Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest issue is devoted to code” [Poynter Insitute]).
  • “Google CEO Larry Page just announced the launch of Sidewalk Labs, an ‘urban innovation [scam] company’ that hopes to improve city life through the use of technology” [Ars Technica]. Yet more capital misallocation by a company with more money than sense whose search engine doesn’t even work that well for search. This “moon shot” idea is stupid. Larry, read Jane Jacobs and get back to me.
  • “A security researcher has published attack code he said makes it easy to steal the iCloud passwords of people using the latest version of Apple iOS for iPhones and iPads” [Ars Technica]. Sure! Just store all your data in the cloud. What could go wrong?
  • Emirates CEO Tim Cook on MH370: “I think it is only a question of time before the search is abandoned. Do we have solutions? Do we have explanations? Cause? Reasons? No. It has sent us down a goose chase. It will be an Amelia Earhart repetition” [Sidney Morning Herald]. Odd, given Cook’s previous views. Another hairball-in-the-making.
  • What would a solidarity economy approach to mental health look like? [Grassroots Economic Organizing]. Probably not like the POS.

* * *

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 Six (Steve):


Hosta forces!

Readers, the weekend’s discussion for “Open Thread on Water” was terrific. So many interesting projects! Please, send me pictures of your projects, at least if plants are involved, and when aren’t they? If only of maple twirlers in gutters!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And pay the plumber….


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

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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. Anon

    Re: GitHub

    The indentation(s) is for readability. I had to read the comment you posted a couple of times – I thought that somehow, someone had put ducks in the code, but that’s reading text for you.

    As for Bernie’s strong support on Kos, maybe that will translate to something concrete, but 500+ days is a long time in politics, as you would say Lambert. Speaking of the election, any chance of you doing a 2016 countdown like the 2012 one?

    1. hunkerdown

      The indentation(s) is for readability

      You didn’t get it. Python is a significant-whitespace language which uses indentation to delineate nested blocks of code. I think Lambert’s needling me since I’m no huge fan of curly brace languages — often too verbose.

      1. Anon

        Oh okay, I see now. I have some familiarity with C++, but the Python explanation makes far more sense. Thanks!

        1. Subgenius

          Great art is as much about the negative space as the obvious…

          Otoh..i have.been using a lot of js and handlebars recently…{{}} is now in my dreams :/

          1. hunkerdown

            Coffeescript and Knockout here lately. Crying a little inside every time I have to do something to the document.createElement()-based code from a few years back…

              1. hunkerdown

                Knockout.js is very pleasant, but I wouldn’t expect React-like performance out of it. Check out the projections plugin and the ES5 plugin, and there’s also a Knockback project that (iiuc) lets you use Backbone collections as view models with little muss or fuss.

                CS has warts, to be sure, but terse syntax is definitely not one of them as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Called him, and he’s still “officially” undecided, so I pushed the Sessions letter and the sovereignty issue above. At least the person on the other end of the line wasn’t bored!

      1. Propertius

        If you whippersnappers would only write in assembler, as God intended, we wouldn’t have petty language lawyer disputes like this.

        1. hunkerdown

          Catholic-endian or Protestant-endian?

          System 360? ARM? 6502? x86 (in which case we can dispense with any fiction of benevolence or justice)?

          1. Propertius

            Comment-FU (and not my fault – I really did reply to the “indentation” thread two or three times). I think this actually proves my point. All these web shenanigans are just a passing fad.

            1. hunkerdown

              If we weren’t still using an HTML back-compatible with the awful mistakes of its first generation, I might believe the passing fad part. WordPress is its own brand of special. Put a proxy in front of it and the whole thing turns into one big race condition.

              Never hacked on a CDC system, though Hennessy and Paterson seemed to have good things to say about the 6600 in the castle book, and the PPU architecture looks kinda cute. I could see the spirit of the 160A clearly in the PIC12 architecture. Of my list, I’d probably vote for 32-bit ARM, for the bang-per-transistor and because conditional execution on almost every instruction is just too cool to pass up.

          2. Propertius

            I’d settle for CDC 6600 PPU code, myself. Although I’d prefer Cray-4 CAL, since I am the World’s Most Experienced Cray-4 Assembly Language Programmer (and have therefore thoroughly outed myself).

  2. willf

    [O]n the issues that most divide the Democratic base from its centrist wing, she refuses to box herself into a position. She’d rather wait to see how things play out” [Vox].

    The Democratic base should follow her lead, and not take a position on supporting Hillary until after the election. Instead we should wait, and see how things play out.

  3. Jess

    “Sensing a little division between management and the troops over there at Great Orange Satan.”

    Great line. Thanks for the laugh.

    1. splashoil

      Actually the Kos poll is quite remarkable considering how many of the ranks were purged by the Obama enthusiasts over the last seven years. With so many RW Trolls eliminated, it’s unusual that Hillary could not drum up a better parade.

      1. hunkerdown

        Those aren’t Obama enthusiasts. Those are Party faithful provoking the dramas the Party is prepared to play out.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    Nancy Pelosi Just Got a Talking-To from Her Caucus

    Just In: Rep. Sam Farr (CA-20) has just declared himself pro-Fast Track. His phone number is here: 202-225-2861.You might make him aware of your thoughts.

    Via Gaius Publius

    I’m an Ohio voter, currently in W.V. for a few hours. Anyways, there are plenty of toll-free ways to give Sam Farr a piece of your mind.

    Tweets by @RepSamFarr.
    100 W. Alisal Street Salinas, CA 93901.
    Phone: (831) 424-2229.
    Toll Free: 800-340-FARR
    Fax: (831) 424-7099.

    1. Kim Kaufman

      I just called Farr’s office. Please pile on, folks. I asked if he has a lobbyist job lined up already.

    1. laughingsong

      You wrote: “TPP has entered the frantic, sausage-making phase”

      Yeah, that’s an insult to sausage. It would be sausage-making, if sausage were actually some type of caustic enema.

      Proof that the congress is purchased and the warranty registered. Otherwise this would not even have been written.

  5. Adam Eran

    After looking at Google’s video of its architects ‘splaining their proposed building(s)… I’m a little more optimistic than saying their project is a complete waste of money (although they could probably get everything they need at smartcode.org), rather than employing a fancy architect or two.

    On the plus side, their architects (plural) are collaborating–a big change from “starchitects” who produce toxic innovation. I dare anyone reading this to attempt living in Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water” (a moldy mess…but what do you expect over a waterfall?), or perhaps inhabiting his Phillips 66 building in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (pentagonal elevator never worked right). So…I’m not so thrilled about “innovation” that turns out to be “innovative” but uninhabitable, as a lot of modern architecture is.

    On the other hand, the self-driving car is a game changer since, before them, APM’s (automatic people movers) typically require 30 dwellings per acre (three-story apartments) before they were viable…so it’ll be interesting to see how they accommodate that.

    The architects also talk about “sharing” with non-Google people. What does that mean? Sensibly integrating residences with offices / commercial / even light industry? That’s the traditional pattern, and one promoted by the Smart Code, and Jane Jacobs before it.

    It’s suburban sprawl that uses resources (twice as many vehicle miles traveled as urban landscapes), so their focus on conservation is admirable. Pedestrian-friendly, mixed use is the gold standard, but it’s hardly innovation. Then again, Jacobs famously said “The psuedoscience of planning seems almost neurotic in its determination to imitate empiric failure and ignore empiric success.”

    So…they say some good things. The question is whether they can set aside their commitment to “innovation” as expression of some architect’s ego, and pull it off.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I had a friend as a teenager whose parents had bought a FLW home. Yes it had its issues and idiosyncrasies, but there were workarounds and solutions and it was in the end a very cool house to live in.

    2. craazyboy

      Perception is funny. If Microsoft was working on a self driving car, we would be inundated with “blue screen of death” jokes. But if Google does it – no problem.

  6. Kim Kaufman

    Here’s the whip list from Progressive Dems of America I received this morning. Haven’t compared it to Hill’s list. I called them all. Made my elevator pitch and then said thank you very much and hung up before they had time to ask for my name/addresss. A few did try to argue with me how it wasn’t really that bad, which didn’t work out well for them, but most just listened. Plus I added Karen Bass and Maxine Waters because they haven’t come out publicly and reminded them that Barack Obama is not going to run for office again but presumably they will.

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) – (202)-225-4965
    Rep. Ami Bera (Calif.) – 202-225-5716
    Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.) – (202) 225-3341
    Rep. Jared Polis (Colo.) – (202) 225-2161
    Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.) – (202) 225-4061
    Rep. John Delaney (Md.) – (202) 225-2721
    Rep. Brad Ashford (Neb.) – (202) 225-4155
    Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) – (202) 225-3461
    Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) – (202) 225-4811
    Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) – (202) 225-0855
    Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) – (202) 225-5711
    Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.) – (202) 225-4311
    Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas) – (202) 225-1640
    Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) – (202) 225-8885
    Rep. Don Beyer (Va.) – (202) 225-4376
    Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.) – (202) 225-1492
    Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.) – (202) 225-2605
    Rep. Derek Kilmer (Wash.) – (202) 225-5916
    Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) – (202) 225-5506

    1. frosty zoom

      uh, lambert.. i can see a “click to edit” and “request deletion” below “kim kaufman”‘s post.

        1. frosty zoom

          i had cancelled a reply to someone else. when the page returned, i scrolled down and saw the aforementioned buttons.

          i tried the “edit” button to see what i could see (heehee), but alas tamper, i could not.

          after my 3:25 post went through, my WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY had closed for i could no longer view the aforeforementioned buttons.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Yes, I just called the Oregon critters. I’m not a constituent (DeFazio, opposed), but gave them something to think about: how much ammunition do they want to give the Green Party spoiler campaign? In particular, do they want to drive the unions into our arms – which is happening?

      Person on the other end promised to forward the message, each time. At least they hadn’t heard that before. And it’s all true.

  7. frosty zoom


    kinda cool actually. this way my oligarchs will be on an even playing field with the yankee oligarchs!

    ¡viva la revolución!

  8. Carolinian

    Great coverage today Lambert. Re Sessions: if he was serious about his objection shouldn’t he have brought it up some time ago?

    And one final question: is Pelosi the worst Democratic House leader ever or what? Just reading the machinations reported in Down With Tyranny was giving me a headache. Pelosi seems to play this stab in the back role time after time.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Heck, we all knew how horrible Rahmbo was/is.

      Nancy is pretty slick. Even I had no idea until lately.

      1. craazyboy

        Well, Hank Paulsen just had to kneel in front of Nancy and propose that Congress give him $800B to bailout the banks – and she said Yes!

        1. craazyboy

          OTOHanded Party, I’m afraid to go and find whatever McCain’s comments are. Probably some contorted thing about TPP will empower America to fight Russian Aggression and Terrorism, in the ME and everywhere, more gooder.

    2. frosty zoom

      you know, i actually went to jeffsessions.com and read the whole letter. i even thought about sending him an email, thanking him for shining a wee bit more light upon this TPP (all hail!) agreedment.

      but then i thought csis would put me on a list or something.

      as to mr. sessions’ timing, well, better latethannever.

      “that there obamnatrade pact’s gonna take even more jobs’n’create some kinda guvmint above the guvmint of these here united states.”

      sweeter words, for the more the merrier in protest of this TPP (all hail!) agreedment.

    3. nippersdad

      I gave her up for lost when she started taking things “off the table”. Every time she has done this since it has felt like a punch in the gut, but it was never one that I wasn’t expecting. By their actions they will be known.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think so, necessarily. For one thing, it’s hard to get one’s head around the ginormous scale of the toxicity. We don’t necessarily know the Rubicon is the Rubicon. And I can see it would take a bit of time to get into the locked room, and digest and get reading on what’s there. Finally, it’s clear there’s been a news blackout on it.

  9. nippersdad

    Dividing the question? I have never heard of this procedure before. Are we in just making-shit-up-territory now or is this a common occurrence? I had read about the intricacies of these bills this morning and was hoping that it would have to go to conference, but if they can do stuff like this…….

  10. Lambert Strether Post author

    DeLauro (Democrat whip against) raises the sovereignty issue. The Hill:

    At the same time, trade agreements now allow foreign governments and corporations to challenge U.S. laws as “barriers to trade.” Last month, a World Trade Organization tribunal rejected U.S. country of origin food labeling rules. Many of us struggled long and hard to put those rules in place, but with a stroke of its pen an anonymous bureaucracy was able to destroy them. Legislation to repeal the rules is already making its way through Congress.

    Literally no domestic regulation is safe — including our food safety laws. Inspectors at American ports are already struggling now to cope with a deluge of potentially toxic seafood from TPP countries like Vietnam and Malaysia. The TPP could take away the tools they need to do their jobs just as it increases imports from these countries still further.

    1. craazyboy

      I’ve been thinking for a few years now that it was just a matter of time until Atlantic salmon and tuna really do migrate from the Pacific.* I stopped buying Norwegian fish oil too.

      I know this will make me stupid, but at least I did it my way.

      *However, 3 years ago I thought the Triads and Mafia would be doing it.

  11. Z

    A correction is called for.

    Jamie Dimon think Elizabeth Warren “fully understands the global banking system”

    Jamie Dimon DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT Elizabeth Warren “fully understands the global banking system”


  12. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    Called my rep in downtown Columbus, Joyce Beatty. I had assumed she was a solid no vote.

    Columbus, OH district person was disturbingly vague. I was not.

    “Vote against Fast Track, or I’ll never vote for you again.”

  13. Oregoncharles

    OK, doing my bit, for what it’s worth: just called the 3 Oregon Democratic Reps who SUPPORT the abomination, and told their phone answerer that the Oregon Green Party is, right now, planning aggressive spoiler campaigns against them, and the unions are considering joining us (all literally true), so how much ammunition do they want to give us? This gave them pause, and they promised (for what it’s worth) to give the Representative my message.

    I doubt this will affect politicians who’ve already announced their position, but it was fun – and might affect the behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Apparently, it’s very close. And come next year, we plan on having some great campaign ammunition – and maybe even union support.

  14. Elizabeth

    I called Pelosi’s office (for the umpteenth time!) and Congressman Farr’s office. I informed the receptionist in Farr’s office of my strong opposition to fast track and TPP based on the sovereignty issues and the secrecy of the negotiations. I asked her what kind of calls she’s been getting on these issues – she said, “oh my, I’m getting battered here.” I take that to mean lots of NO calls. She then suggested I visit Farr’s website for an explanation of why he is voting YES. It’s hard to keep being polite when these traitors are committing treason and selling this country down the river. I’m going to have to calm down.

  15. Jess

    While wholeheartedly in favor of cutting off TPP et al in the bud by not passing TPA, I have two questions which require somewhat of a crystal ball:

    What are the chances that the full text will actually be available for 60 days prior to the vote? Or will they hoodwink that, too?

    What might the chances be that if the full text is revealed (to the public), or if it is kept hidden and the continued secrecy becomes a sufficient issue, the bill itself might be defeated? I realize that such a scenario perches just about everything we hold dear on a precipice, but after all, it would be closed to election time, no? (Maybe Obama’s plan is to get credit from his masters for TPA and let the next prez be responsible/guilty for actual passage?)

    1. Lambert Strether

      I can’t imagine that a putatively “full text” will not be available. Though how we know it’s the full text is hard for me to see.

      What will not be available will be thing like side deals, and ancillary documentation like the “guidance document” that Sessions mention. In other words, all the impenetrable jargon will be available, but no means of penetrating it.

    2. craazyboy

      Which reminds me. How can you fund “displaced worker assistance” with Medicare funds. Can’t that one be killed off merely using Webster’s Dictionary?

  16. Jess

    On an unrelated note, just saw a headline that said a judge has ruled that there is sufficient probable cause to charge the cop who shot Tamir Rice with murder.

  17. Marianne Jones

    Comparing MERS in Saudi Arabia and South Korea

    Here’s an old article about tertiary MERS infections in Saudi Arabia. As of April 2014, there were only **2** known tertiary infections: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-mers-new-middle-east-coronavirus-2014-4

    Compare this to South Korea where 60-70% of the ~120 identified cases have been tertiary infections:

    The other interesting wrinkle is that most SA cases had renal and respiratory involvement, while SK has reported only 4% of cases with renal involvement.

    The SK MERS genome was mapped and assessed at 99% of the SA strain, so why such differences in transmission and presentation? Environmental? Genetic differences between Koreans and Saudi Arabians? Or perhaps that 1% difference in the MERS virus was a 1% difference in a viral sweet spot?

    1. Cujo359

      I’m in Smith’s district, and generally speaking I haven’t been a fan. He’s too often been a “pro-business Democrat” to suit my tastes. His statement on TPA/TPP is a good one, though. It talks about the effect TPP could have on labor, environment, and corporate power, the sort of red meat Democratic issues you’d expect someone from a blue district to be concerned about.

      1. nippersdad

        Very nice! That doesn’t look like something he could back away from easily. I wonder if Wyden is listening in from next door. I can’t wait to send some money to his primary opponent.

  18. Anonymous

    “Or indulge in kayfabe.” Just getting something off of my chest: Kayfabe is one of many terms that are often included here and offend me, not for their definitions, whatever they may be, but because they diminish the punch of the commentary by forcing me to try to figure out what you are saying.

    My two cents.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      We do need a metaphor for the political spectacle. There are two in general currency on the left: Kabuki (invented by Digby). This captures the theatrical aspect, and the black clad fixers capture corruption. IMNSHO, kayfabe (from professional wrestling) is superior. Definition:

      In professional wrestling, kayfabe (pronounced /ˈkeɪfeɪb/) is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as “real” or “true,” specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature. Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this “reality” within the realm of the general public.[1] Kayfabe was long held as a closely guarded secret within the professional wrestling industry; however, with the advent of the Internet, it has evolved into an open secret in the industry that is generally only adhered to during shows.

      Kayfabe is often seen as the suspension of disbelief that is used to create the non-wrestling aspects of promotions, such as feuds, angles, and gimmicks, in a manner similar to other forms of fictional entertainment. In relative terms, a wrestler breaking kayfabe during a show would be likened to an actor breaking character on camera. Also, since wrestling is performed in front of a live audience, whose interaction with the show is crucial to the show’s success (see pop), one might compare kayfabe to the fourth wall, since there is hardly any conventional fourth wall to begin with.

      So this captures not only the theatre, but insider and fan complicity (“breaking kayfabe” has gone meta, as for example “He has to say that”). And the whole thing is corrupt to the bone because the matches are fixed.

      More importantly, there is no fourth wall, and the audience is part of the spectacle, which makes it a superior metaphor for me, because it capture more of the shape of the world. (In theory, any participant, even in the front office, is part of the spectacle, rather like the courtarena in Frank Herbert’s Dosadi Experiment.)

      The difference between kayfabe and political theatre is that in political theatre real blood is shed.

      So, I’m sorry if the terms offend you, but they do serve a purpose; they aren’t simple jargon used to exclude. So I hope this helps.

      NOTE “Kayfabe” came to my attention here, but I can’t give a shoutout, because — very embarassingly — I forget. So please, kayfabe inventor, consider yourself credited!

      1. Oregoncharles

        What makes you think wyden will have a primary opponent?

        He’ll have a Pacific Green Party opponent, though. You can send them some money, or give it to the party. You’d be amazed how many Democrats give us money.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I like “kayfabe,” because it captures the essential fraud and collusion, but it isn’t generaly known – as “Anonymous” just pointed out.

        You need a NC glossary.

    2. hunkerdown

      But once you have looked it up and figured it out, doesn’t the cultural phenomenon of the manufactured off-ring drama in pro-wrestling also describe the narratives and interests (apparent vs. actual) of the present players on the political stage, particularly in their curiously convenient evolution over time, with more explanatory and predictive power than more common terms term such as “performance art”?

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’ve read this several times and I don’t understand it. If you’re saying performance art is a more suitable metaphor, please explain why.

        1. hunkerdown

          I’m saying that kayfabe’s heritage in partisan spectacle makes it a more accurate and precise descriptor than other, more accessible terms.

    3. frosty zoom

      but, uh, isn’t it nice to learn new vocabulary? lambert’s always tryin’ to trick me with funny words and things.

      a word is but a collection of sounds to express an idea; the more words you know, the more ideas you can express.

      and just as ideas come and go, so do words.

      1. craazyboy

        Yeah, I like Kayfabe, except wouldn’t try pronouncing it in public. But the pro wrestling image that comes to mind is hilarious. However, watching pro wrestling once in a while is fun, in a low brow way, of course.

          1. ambrit

            Mira! Ese pelicula tiene un actor con el nombre, “El Nazi.” No pudamos hacer mas! El Santo, gracias a dios que tenemos ese hombre misterioso, puede hacer “Un Gran Golpe” contra el Gobierno Mundial! Dios, con sus “Santos” nos salva!

            1. frosty zoom


              contra nazis, tppistas, oblahmistas, neoliberalistas y fasttrackistas, el santo, fuerza incomparable de la mascara plateada, será nuestra salvación.

              El Santo/El Chavo 2016 Fuerza y Paz Pa’ La Tierra

              1. ambrit

                Claro que si!
                El Santo/El Chavo ’16
                La politica de las Contra Politicos! El Millenio se arriva!
                Y, como algunos les dicen que eses luchadoras politician no tengan las derechas politicas en los EEUU, fuimos a demander por eses derechos, tribunalnos de Apelascion de NAFTA!
                Mucho gusto Senor!

  19. megamike

    McKinney chief: Eric Casebolt was ‘out of control’
    When are we going to start looking at cops and their steroid use??

      1. frosty zoom

        you know, i sent a letter to the guy at tulane who did the first study about lead exposure and violent crime.

        i asked him if there was any possible link between environmental lead and police behaviour.

        he never answered. maybe you could write him. you seem more official’n’stuff.

          1. frosty zoom

            reply, take five…..

            The purpose of this article is not to suggest curtailing shooting or reloading activities in any way. Rather, it is to make Officers, Firearms Instructors, and Administrators aware of the possibility of lead poisoning and how to protect yourself from toxic lead contamination.


            The Baltimore County Police Department plans to renovate its indoor shooting range in Lutherville after being cited for exposing employees to high concentrations of lead.

            those are two different article i think you’ll find interesting. search for ’em ’cause i can’t get the liinks through.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              See at “Lead poisoning on the firing range [City of Baltimore]. If there is a lead-poisoning phenotype, it would be interesting to see if any of the Baltimore police present with it.”

              It’s the day after your comment, so it looks I went and grabbed that link. Thank you.

              And see also “The right to lead poisoning shall not be infringed [McClatchy]. Washington shooting range poisoned dozens” (2014).

              1. frosty zoom

                thanks. the second link’s not right, however.

                you know, it would be simple to test blood lead levels against complaints launched against officers for aggressive behaviour.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Fixed. The Mac clipboard used to work all the time.

                  It wouldn’t be that easy, because you’d have to do bloodtests. That’s the nice thing about steroids; there are physical tells.

                  The ironic (powerfully terrible) thing, is that lead poisoning for our militarized cops is a mirror image of the terrible things lead poisoning did in poor and disproportionately black neighborhoods….

                  1. frosty zoom


                    now, it seems like only the police are left exposed to so much lead.

                    i posted another link, but it went to moderation.

                    here, search for this:

                    The following first person account by Lt./Rangemaster Tony Gregory, Cumberland, Indiana Police Department, signifies and brings home the reality of toxic lead poisoning.

                    “Late in 1988 a fellow student from a Lethal Force Institute class called to tell me that he had just been diagnosed with acute lead poisoning. His primary symptoms had been extreme, almost uncontrollable irritability, deep fatigue, and memory problems. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t pay much heed to his warning. I did almost all of my instructing on outdoor ranges, and only used the indoor range for practice, usually by myself. So I figured there wouldn’t be that much lead in the air. More importantly, I didn’t know much about lead poisoning, and I didn’t take it seriously. It sounded to me like the kind of made-up malady that it’s fashionable to whine about. I was wrong.

                    “Over the next several months, my own level of irritability rose exponentially. This was accompanied by crushing fatigue, constant headaches, intense moodiness, severe sleep problems, and acute memory lapses. The memory problems were the most disturbing, because I had always had a “steel trap” memory. At one point, shortly before I was diagnosed, I spent two days constructing a complex computer data base, and then found a printout in my files of an identical data base, which I had evidently constructed four weeks earlier. I had absolutely no recollection of doing so.

                  2. frosty zoom

                    attempt two to moderation.

                    well, i found an interesting link, originally from “law and order” magazine.

                    search for: “LEAD POISONING CONCERNS FOR POLICE OFFICERS”

                    the sidebar testimonial is very interesting.

              2. frosty zoom

                The following first person account by Lt./Rangemaster Tony Gregory, Cumberland, Indiana Police Department, signifies and brings home the reality of toxic lead poisoning.

                “Late in 1988 a fellow student from a Lethal Force Institute class called to tell me that he had just been diagnosed with acute lead poisoning. His primary symptoms had been extreme, almost uncontrollable irritability, deep fatigue, and memory problems. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t pay much heed to his warning. I did almost all of my instructing on outdoor ranges, and only used the indoor range for practice, usually by myself. So I figured there wouldn’t be that much lead in the air. More importantly, I didn’t know much about lead poisoning, and I didn’t take it seriously. It sounded to me like the kind of made-up malady that it’s fashionable to whine about. I was wrong.

                “Over the next several months, my own level of irritability rose exponentially. This was accompanied by crushing fatigue, constant headaches, intense moodiness, severe sleep problems, and acute memory lapses. The memory problems were the most disturbing, because I had always had a “steel trap” memory. At one point, shortly before I was diagnosed, I spent two days constructing a complex computer data base, and then found a printout in my files of an identical data base, which I had evidently constructed four weeks earlier. I had absolutely no recollection of doing so.

                emphasis mine.


                (originally from “law and order” magazine.

    1. frosty zoom

      i’d like to know when we are going to look at police and lead exposure.

      heavy metal thunder..

  20. anon

    The story about corruption in California hospitals is one that’s specific to our workers’ compensation system. Drobot owned and operated Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, which was a machine for industrial-strength insurance fraud at its height. The business model involved paying doctors to perform unnecessary surgeries at the hospital, which turned around and charged 5-10,000 times what was reasonable under Medicare (tied to the state official medical fee schedule). The billing and insurance fraud weren’t what did them in (they and their peers ended up stealing probably hundreds of millions of dollars from all Californians in the form of increased rates).

    What did them in was that, in addition to the routine fraud, they also swapped out the pricey (but FDA approved) spinal implant hardware for untraceable, unapproved stuff they got from… we still don’t know. 3d printers? Harvested from corpses? Who knows. So in the end, the Drobot/PHLB ended up crippling a bunch of people with unnecessary surgeries, killing a few, and stealing from every single Californian by profiteering off a poorly-designed and incompetently-run system. Oh, and they also were possibly involved in bribing some legislators.

  21. Cujo359

    A former police officer and current law professor writes about contrasting philosophies about the role of policing in America, and how they played out in the McKinney pool incident: A Former Cop On What Went Wrong In McKinney. From my perspective as a citizen, I don’t think the “Warrior” is the kind of person I want being a police officer. When the police feel like they are at war with the people they’re supposed to be protecting, they aren’t going to be as concerned about protecting them.

  22. John

    I thought POS meant point of sale, rather than perfect operating system…uh, sorry, wait a minute, I guess they are the same thing.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Sure! Just store all your data in the cloud. What could go wrong?”

    I’ve always wondered why anyone would think something called “the Cloud” might be secure.

    It makes a good remote backup if noone is motivated to steal the info. But if they are?

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    TTIP vote in the European parliament was suspended on June 9th after it became clear that a “Yes” vote was in jeopardy ahead of the US House vote on whether to grant “fast track” approval for the TPP agreement. Many members of the European Parliament are outraged at this procedural move.


    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Got to this late and subsequently read today’s NC Links, where I see that this matter was extensively covered in both the Links and readers’ comments. Sorry about the repetition.

  25. vidimi

    good job on the tpp, lambert.

    if this obamination [sic] is defeated this site will have played a non-trivial role in that.

    also, tim cook, tim clark, same difference. why do these ceo types all have similar names?

    1. vidimi

      picking something that clark said in this latest article,

      “I’m not going to say anything about what I think happened,” Mr Clark said. “It remains an unresolved mystery. Somebody knows more about this than they are prepared to say. That is all I’m going to say.”

      doesn’t look like he’s changed his tune that much

Comments are closed.