2:00PM Water Cooler 6/23/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Cloture vote: “The Senate voted 60-37 Tuesday to begin full-blown debate on Obama’s request for ‘fast track’ negotiating authority. That was the exact number needed to avoid a filibuster.” The pro forma vote comes later this week, followed by a House vote on Friday [KPCC]. Here are the names of the traitors (hat tip alert reader marym):

  1. Bennet (D-CO)
  2. Cantwell (D-WA)
  3. Carper (D-DE)
  4. Coons (D-DE)
  5. Feinstein (D-CA)
  6. Heitkamp (D-ND)
  7. Kaine (D-VA)
  8. McCaskill (D-MO)
  9. Murray (D-WA)
  10. Nelson (D-FL)
  11. Shaheen (D-NH)
  12. Warner (D-VA)
  13. Wyden (D-OR)
  14. UPDATE Cardin (D-MO)

Do feel free to call them, and let them know they’ll be hounded to the ends of the earth for this vote [hums].

The Constitutional issue [Alan Morison, The Atlantic]

As it presses for the passage of TPP, the administration needs to explain how the Constitution allows the United States to agree to submit the validity of its federal, state, and local laws to three private arbitrators, with no possibility of review by any U.S. court. Otherwise, it risks securing a trade agreement that won’t survive judicial scrutiny, or, even worse, which will undermine the structural protections that an independent federal judiciary was created to ensure.

So, another Supreme Court litmus test, to begin with. Since the Democrats keep yammering “ZOMG! The Supreme Court!” people should start asking them if they will only support Supreme Court nominees who support national sovereignty for the judicial branch.



New York Board of Elections: Sanders can appear on New York ballot; Wilson-Pakula does not apply [Capital New York]. I was remiss in not checking out Ballot Access News on this point, since they’re the go-to source on these issues.

Overflow crowd of 5500 hear Sanders in Denver [Colorado Statesman]. Again, the overflow shows good advance work. And somebody please tell me the Greens had a table outside.

The S.S. Clinton

“Clinton has the potential to back her talk of being a fighting progressive by clearly expressing bold positions during the debates and throughout the campaign, but her maneuvering on trade does not augur well for this, which makes her prospects in the debates uncertain” [The Hill].

Republican Establishment

Emails published, show Jebbie “Provided Special Access to Lobbyists” [International Business Times].

Liberals and conservatives find common ground on Grayson Florida run (do it) [Palm Beach Post].

Stats Watch

New Home Sales, May 2015: “The lift off for housing is appearing more and more like it’s straight up. New home sales rose 2.2 percent. The surge in sales is making for a strong seller’s market… Lack of supply will prove to be a positive for sales prices, which however, are down in the latest report, 2.9 percent lower” [Bloomberg]. “[A] sector that can offset stubborn weakness in the manufacturing economy.” A contrasting view: “The headlines say new home sales improved from last month. The rolling averages smooth out much of the uneven data produced in this series – and this month there was a decline in the rolling averages. And there was also a small decline in new home sales prices” [Econintersect]. A seller’s market going “straight up” while prices decline? What kind of “liftoff” is that?

FHFA House Price Index, April 2015: “Some indications on home prices are on the strong side but not the FHFA house price index” [Bloomberg].

Redbook, week of June 20, 2015: “Growth rates in Redbook’s sample remain unusually soft for this series” [Bloomberg]. Father’s day is the alibi problem, and warmer weather should pick things up [whistles].

Durable Goods Orders, May 2015: “Big downward revisions to April data almost sink the latest durable goods report” [Bloomberg]. However, this series is volatile, being heavily affected by aircraft orders.

PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, June 2015: “This is the weakest reading since October 2013” [Bloomberg]. “The PMI manufacturing index has been running hot compared to other data on the sector but the sample did report a fall off in orders during May that was tied to directly to weak exports.”

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, June 2015: “[M]ixed, which is actually positive compared to prior months” [Bloomberg].

“If you can’t get out and you are afraid there are not enough new buyers to keep your ponzi/bubble going what do you do? I think the answer is you and your friends do the buying yourself” [Golem XIV]. And pay yourself a big bonus.

America the Petrostate

“The Shale Industry Could Be Swallowed By Its Own Debt” [Bloomberg]. Earthquakes, polluted water, train bombs…. All for this?

“US mid-continent seismicity linked to high-rate injection wells” [Science Daily].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Birth of a Nation, the Battleship Potemkin of the Lost Cause [Politico].

“What This Cruel War Was Over” [Ta-Nahesi Coates, The Atlantic]. “The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.” Yes, the Civil War was about slavery.


“Lifeboat ethics” (referencing The Cold Equations) as a “well-rehearsed habits of apocalypse”  [Los Angeles Review of Books]. Nice read (reviews of Neal Stepheson and Kim Stanley Robinson’s newest doorstoppers) but “lifeboat ethics” just sounds like the “hard choices” so beloved in official Washington under the simple rules of neoliberalism.

“The Economics of Mad Max and Star Trek,” also from [Los Angeles Review of Books].

“Climate change makes it harder to “regulate violence,” according to Levy. Research by University of California Berkley Professor Solomon Hsiang and colleagues has shown links between temperature increases and aggressive behavior of all kinds and found a correlation between civil conflicts in the tropics and spikes in temperature during El Niño years” [Wilson Center]. So I guess the cooler states in New England and Cascadia will start seeing in-migration…. 

The Papal Enyclical on Climate: “But the heart of the encyclical is less an account of environmental or social destruction than a remarkable attack on the way our world runs: on the “rapidification” of modern life, on the way that economic growth and technology trump all other concerns, on a culture that can waste billions of people” [Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books]. Too Pope Francis said “rapidification” instead of “crapification.”

“Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says Foreign Office-funded study” [Independent].

Dear Old Blighty

Thanks to alert reader Steve!

“Slowly, like the proverbial frog in a saucepan, Britain is sliding towards a dictatorial rule by the state, very much along the lines of that predicted by Aldous Huxley 50 years ago” [The Ecologist]. A parade of real horribles, with lots of linky goodness.

“Conservative voters are paying £3 to become Labour supporters in bid to sway leadership race in favour of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn” [Daily Telegraph]. “The uncompromising left-winger is seen as the death knell for Labour’s hopes for any future electoral success by many Tory voters.” Meanwhile, labour throws Labour under the bus [New Statesman]. The rank and file, at least, under the Labour Party’s new opt-in system for leadership votes.

“Why are we so certain that Jeremy Corbyn can’t win?” [New Statesman]. “Are there 100,000 people on the left in Britain, who are not currently members of the Labour party, who could be persuaded to sign up to vote for Corbyn in the leadership election?” Last weeks anti-austerity march pulled 250,000, so….

Tory “Psychoactive Substances Bill” proposes to ban all “psychoactive substances” apart from a few defined exceptions [Telegraph]. Tea gets a special exemption. These clowns should read Pollan’s Botany of Desire if they want to understand what psychoactive substances are, and how they work. Of course, just because the Tories are stupid doesn’t prevent them from being vicious and effective, sadly.

Class Warfare

The point of democracy: “To keep powerful elites from becoming complete jackasses” [Mother Jones]. Democracy in America is in deep trouble, then….

A Tech Boom Aimed at the Few, Instead of the World [New York Times]. The real point of the “shafting economy” is to create a class of personal servants that Silicon Valley tech bros don’t actually have to interact with personally.

“Grocery delivery company Instacart—one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing upstarts in the emerging on-demand economy—is giving its army of personal shoppers the chance to become actual employees of the company” [Wired]. I hope working conditions are better than Amazon’s. Sounds like the Uber case has had an effect? 

“Silicon Valley is a lie” [GQ].

“Tomorrow’s Advance Man: Marc Andreessen’s plan to win the future” [The New Yorker]. Absolutely as ugly as it sounds.

“”We got geeks”: Inside Google’s ugly war against the homeless in LA” [Pando Daily].

News of the Wired

Taylor Swift muscles Apple (!) [WaPo]. One for content creators?

“JavaScript shares its ubiquity” [O’Reilly Radar].

“New website can identify birds using photos” [Phys.org].

Physicists find that “‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one” [Phys.org]. I thought we already knew this. Am I being stupid about phsyics?

“The top 10 mathematical achievements of the last 5ish years, maybe” [Simple City]. I read this, and it seems to be in English… Maybe some mathematically inclined readers can help?

“Mathiness in economics: Is economic theory becoming a sloppy mixture of words and symbols?” [Breugel]. “Becoming”?

* * *

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:


There I was, waiting for the chives to snap into focus — if you try to take pictures of flowers, you soon realize how exquisitely they have adapted to catch the slightest breeze — when suddenly a pollinator buzzed heavily into the frame! I don’t see honeybees this year, or yet many wasps, but bumblebees seem to have claimed that niche.

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


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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. Benedict@Large

    Given that each state establishes its separate judiciary through its own state constitution, and each state’s constitution is sovereign (via at least the 10th Amendment), does the federal government even have the right to cede the sovereignty of these state (and municipal) courts? Perhaps it is time for liberals to become the new Tenthers?

    Or maybe we should consider the states’ loss sovereignties as takings by the federal government, and therefore subject to eminent domain protections. It’s pretty obvious that this sovereignty has a real value; otherwise there would be no harm for which the corporations could sue.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Of course, there’s always secession, which would be one way to regain sovereignty, and probably justified considering the passage to TPP pretty much says US democracy is gone.

    2. Oregoncharles

      One of many reasons ISDS is unconstitutional.

      The big question: who would have standing to sue? The states themselves might, but then there’s a Catch-22: all are controlled by either Dems or Reps.

      Perhaps we should remedy that.

    3. Danny

      The federal government has limited powers and may only exercise the powers granted it by the Constitution… or that it can buy. It can’t give away powers it doesn’t actually have. So, Yes, states may challenge any attempt by the private tribunals to exert jurisdiction, force action, or otherwise subvert its sovereignty if the feds can’t do so either. The wto country of origin meat labeling case would have been very interesting had it instead fined a state over state laws. But alas, it was about a popular federal law.

  2. grayslady

    The link for the bird photo id isn’t a good one. However, here’s a link to the Cornell beta site, Merlin, that helps to identify the bird. According to notes on the website, it should work for 70 million U.S. and Canadian birds, but will not work on tablets or mobiles.

    1. weakling

      Tested it with a few birdie photos of my own. Mixed bag, less cryptic species (i.e. things without close look-a-likes) did better, but it did correctly ID probably 9 of 12 photos, all fairly distinctive species. Really though, if an amateur can get a good enough photo to get a correct ID from this algorithm, that same amateur could probably ID it themselves. I’d be more interested in some kind of audio identification. Given Cornell lab’s facility with audio, I’m surprised they don’t yet have a beta of that going, or maybe I’m just out of the loop.

      1. grayslady

        I tried it on a photo of a baby mourning dove that I took last week. The app suggested that the bird was either a red-tailed hawk or a northern harrier. Back to the drawing board for Cornell!

        I agree that sounds are often very useful when the visuals let you down.

  3. John Smith

    “If you can’t get out and you are afraid there are not enough new buyers to keep your ponzi/bubble going what do you do? I think the answer is you and your friends do the buying yourself” [Golem XIV].

    How? With what new money since the prices must be ever upward?

    ans: Via loans from the government subsidized private credit cartel, the banking system? With the inflated assets as collateral? Friend-licking icecream cones?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Careful, pilgrim, this is an MMT site. Ben J tried to rip me a new one when I asked him to describe the emperor’s sartorial splendor in the “free money for all now and always” world. Mostly I got ad hominems and arm waving as my answers

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Bollocks. Incidentally, I’m quite sure Ben succeeded; he knows his stuff. MMT has nothing to do with “free money for all now and always,” as you must surely know.

        I know I’m taking flame bait here, so I’ll immediately douse the fire by asking Open The Pod Bay to provide the link to the comment thread where his new one was ripped, as oddly, or not, he failed to do. Readers may then go there and make up their own minds, and not clutter this thread further. Thank you!

  4. timbers

    There are millions of ways to destroy TPP even after it passes if one is willing to be as Lambert says “feral.” For example a President could simply classify ALL nations in TPP as engaging in slavery as Malyasia is now and ignore and sabatoge the agreement. Or whatever. Republicans do shit like this all the time to destroy XYZ. We need feral people on our side. That Liz Warren nor Alan Grayson have not been feral enough to read TPP into the record says a lot about our team playing to lose not win.

    1. Keith in Modesto

      Or how about Sen. Sanders reading TPP into the record? He does want to become the President, doesn’t he? He would get an avalanche of support if he did that.

    2. P Walker

      You can read it, but you can’t enter the room with any form of recording equipment. No phones. No pens or paper.

      We should all write our elected representatives and ask they put forward motions to unclassify the document(s).

      Makes me wonder how the TPP is being handled up in Ottawa. Since there are more nations involved, that means more opportunities perhaps.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The Constitutional protections for members of congress make the “security” a charade – excuse me, kayfabe; as I’ve explained here and elsewhere too many times.

        Congress is colluding with a fake – or the Constitution really is a dead letter, something we would desperately need to know.

    3. djrichard

      I think Donald Trump has done a wonderful job in taking what is the strongest “benefit” of TPP (free trade) and identifying that it’s a deception (it’s not free trade, but instead currency manipulation), a deception designed to promote outsourcing of jobs. It’s bait and switch pure and simple.

      What’s nice about this is that we on the left can actually come out in favor of free trade. Because if it was free trade, we wouldn’t have trade imbalances. Similarly, there wouldn’t be the commensurate outsourcing of jobs. Time to reclaim free trade for our own and attack the “free trade” proponents as working for an unbalanced playing field to the benefit of some corporations (those that are outsourcing), to the disadvantage of other corporations (those that are trying to compete against foreign markets) and to the disadvantage of labor in general.

  5. diptherio

    I posted a link to this late yesterday, to underwhelming response, but I think it’s really important, so ICYMI:

    Grassroots Visionaries and Revolutionaries: Solidarity Economy Organizing in the Ferguson Uprising

    In the West Side neighborhood of St. Louis, Tosha Baker removes the bars from the windows of an old storefront space on the corner of Martin Luther King Dr. and Arlington Ave. As she looks around the empty room, she sees a new beginning for her and her community. For the past 56 years, this neighborhood has been home to Tosha’s family. By the end of the summer, she will finally realize her lifelong dream of opening up “The People’s Store,” which will serve as a space for community members to purchase affordable second-hand clothing and sell home-made goods on consignment such as African hair care products, tailored jeans, and hand-knitted scarves.

    About eight miles north of Tosha’s store in the small North County municipality of Dellwood, David Royal opens up his community center—aptly named the Center of Hope and Peace (COHAP)—for the day. Over the past month alone, COHAP has been a hub for canvassing around Ferguson City Council elections, a space for dozens of action planning meetings, a site for classes on topics such as African history, drumline and step team practice, job searching, and community Copwatching, and a consistent place for people to gather and socialize.

    David is a resident of the Canfield Green Apartments, also known as “Ground Zero” because it is the site where Mike Brown lay in the street for four and a half hours after being publicly executed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. To the handful of residents and community members who mourned Mike Brown, known affectionately in the neighborhood as “Mike Mike,” on the night of August 9th, it will always be remembered as the place where a peaceful candlelight vigil was viciously met with excessive police, tear gas, dogs, and rubber bullets.

    Ever since then, residents like David Royal have been vigilantly defending and organizing their community by watching over Mike Brown’s memorial site and hosting Know Your Rights and Copwatch trainings. After hosting a first round of trainings in late September, residents were each given body cameras and a network of “Canfield Watchmen” was created to videotape police anytime that they entered the apartment complex. Now, nearly a year later, the Watchmen are equipping people in the greater St. Louis area to document police violence in a way that can prevent future police killings and empower residents to patrol their own communities.

    Tosha and David are just two of the countless people whose lives have been shaped forever by the Ferguson uprising. We have been out in the streets of Ferguson daily fighting for Justice for Mike Brown and justice in our own communities. Our power and strength comes from the fact that we refuse to remain silent, and that we are dedicated to changing a system which devalues Black people by not only killing them in the street, but also incarcerating them at unprecedented levels and denying them access to decent jobs with living wages, resourced schools in their communities, affordable and accessible housing, and quality healthcare. We know that the whole damn system is guilty as hell, but we also know that there are real alternatives for us to create the city that we want to live in….


    More and more people are waking up to the fact that the traditional economic system will never serve their interests or provide for their needs…and they’re actually doing something about it. This is the real revolution, and it deserves every ounce of support that we can muster.

    1. Steve H.

      “… on May 7th the Republican controlled Missouri State Legislature passed into law SB 5, which completely overhauls the predatory and corrupt municipal court system. While portrayed as a predominantly financial instrument—it caps revenue from courts in St. Louis County at 12.5% of the budgets—the practices and provisions embedded in the bill are even more significant:

      1) It eliminates jail time for traffic warrants. Where there are more serious offenses that might warrant arrest, there are caps of 24-48 hours for how long people can be held in municipal jails.

      2) It caps fees for any given ticket at $300. Often municipalities add additional fees and charges, like failure to appear and costs can run into the thousands

      3) It emphasizes community service as an option.

      4) It calls upon the Supreme Court to issue conflict of interest guidelines, hopefully paving the way for judges to have to be judges, and not judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys, like most municipal court judges are.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That actually seems sane. Is there a catch? (Anecdotal evidence of a huge fine for, IIRC, a lawn that hadn’t been mowed, so maybe law enforcement for profit can shift to a different venue?)

        1. diptherio

          My reading of “any given ticket” would include lawn maintenance ordinances. This started out as a proposal to allow muni fines to be paid via time-banking. That would have been great, but this seems like a pretty successful second-best. It’s only one step, to be sure, but at least it’s in the right direction and addressing the right issues.

    2. Weirhaus

      Thank you for re-posting this; I had missed it the first time around and had never heard of GEO. It’s always encouraging to find fresh shoots of hope springing up out there.

  6. David

    Thank you for all the work you’re doing regarding the TPP. Senator McCaskill’s office was kind enough to hang up on me (she’s going to vote yes again this week) when I urged them to tell her to vote no. I asked the person answering the phone to read Morrison’s article in The Atlantic and that is when my connection went dead…..

    1. curlydan

      I called McCaskill, too. Gave’em my two cents. They didn’t hang up on me fortunately. Missouri is almost as screwed up as Kansas.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Too late now; time for (political) REVENGE.

        Get ’em out of office, any way you can.

  7. Clive

    I joined the (British) Labour Party a month or so ago with the express intention to vote for a left-wing leadership candiate, should one emerge.

    Well, emerge they did — to the all-too predictable howls of derision from the right-wing press (the reaction from the Murdoch titles and the ever-dependable Daily Mail have been something to behold; I’m just waiting for the “reds under the bed” angle to be trotted out. Assuming that is they can tear themselves away from weightier issues like Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift). Dear Old Blighty indeed.

    Corbyn will get my vote of course. Maybe despite (or even because of) the conservative howls, he might even win. I can but hope. More likely one of the dreadful Blairite neoliberal contingent will get the leadership, but hey-ho, at least I can say I tried.

    If it’s any consolation to you Yanks, our politicians make even yours look good. They wouldn’t even be admitted to the Clown Car. They’d need something like a little trailer attached to the back of it. Or Scooby Do’s RV.

    1. windsock

      I joined Labour as a registered supporter with a vote to choose the leader once I knew Corbyn was on the ballot. I will vote for him with sincerity. Anything to stop Kendall. She’s as sociopathic as Blair.

      1. Clive

        Ugh, yes, Kendall. I try not to let my self think on that subject. She gives me the eebie-Jeebies. Like Nancy Pelosi, there’s something of the night about her.

    2. David

      Why not support SNP? I know they haven’t expanded into England and Wales (they should). They are certainly anti-austerity and Labour is…well, Labour. Sorry, New Labour.

    3. Oregoncharles

      And if you lose, there is always the Greens.

      I suspect they will be doing quite well in the next few years.

    4. steviefinn


      If the comments on the ‘ New Statesman ‘ FB page are anything to go by there does appear to be a lot of disillusionment with the Blairites. Those who support them keep shouting if Corbyn becomes leader the Tories will be in power forever & ever. It seems that to get power for them is the most important thing & the fact that besides slowing down Tory policies, there is no point to it – doesn’t seem to bother them. They also share the illusion with many other people, that we are living in some kind of stable period in which nothing will change much & carry on exactly the same.

      Pointing out that circumstances could very well change in what is after all a recognised ‘ Boom, Bust ‘ system which could in it’s present desperate state, lead to an increase in the radicalisation of the population is met with a deafening silence. I sometimes think that most people can only imagine the future in terms of the linear – out of fear perhaps or as with the Tories in their attempts to help Corbyn to become Labour leader – pure arrogance. Either way I hope the chaos inherent within this universe, as it occasionally does – gives them all a nasty shock or at least a wake up call.

  8. Vatch

    “Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says Foreign Office-funded study” [Independent].

    Yes, society will definitely collapse within a few decades unless people actually do something effective about overpopulation — it might take a little longer than 25 years, but it will happen. The planet’s finite, and that includes the surface area available for growing food. All it will take is an inconvenient drought or blight, and billions will starve. Is it really too much to insist that people have fewer children, if we can prevent such a catastrophe? Pope Francis, are you reading this?

    1. hunkerdown

      I suspect Church governance is similar in practice to Japanese corporate governance, and unlike Anglo governance, in that they treat their executives as figureheads or puppets, not as kings or gods. In other words, the head has as much power as those who hold him up will allow. Realistically, how does Francis get there from here?

      I would be interested in the Pope giving the bell, book and candle treatment to the entire US Conference of Catholic Bishops, for worshipping Mammon. Considering that the USCCB is instrumental in getting Pharisaism distributed across Africa using state funds, putting the lot of them in exile would help out on the ground.

  9. Anon

    Re: Taylor Swift

    I guess it’s good for her, but she established recently that she doesn’t feel that people should stream her music, lest they get the wrong idea about the cost of her music (i.e. streaming).

    1. jrs

      ““I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.””

      Yea, yea, tell that to the Apple contractors jumping to their DEATHS to escape *THEIR* working conditions.

      I don’t think anyone should pay for anything sold through a major entertainment company period. These companies are the reason we have the TPA.

  10. justsayknow

    re society will collapse
    Perfect timing. Heard it announced today on the abc morning fluff show that a new over the counter pill to help women easily become pregnant was shipping now.

  11. Carolinian

    Re TPP this may be of interest: Zuesse of Washingtonsblog talks about the Constitutionality of Fast Track itself (skip down about halfway for the legal discussion).


    It says the fast track legislation was Nixon’s idea back in 1974 and that the Constitutionality hinges on whether TPP is a treaty or a “trade agreement.” Since more recent uses of Fast Track such as the WTO and NAFTA and now TPP deal with intergovernmental relations as well as trade the courts may well decide that they are in fact “treaties” and therefore subject to a two thirds vote as stated in the Constitution. Corroboration comes from this Public Citizen release from a few years back.


    Of course the question arises why this hasn’t been tried before, but the TPP sounds far more radical than previous agreements. So could this be another avenue of legal challenge?

    1. Vatch

      So could this be another avenue of legal challenge?

      I hope so. But what will the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Gang of Five think about this?

    2. Ed

      This has puzzled me too. The “trade agreement” dodge is probably unconstitutional, but you could argue that something like the WTO and NAFTA was ordinary federal legislation, being passed the usual way, and the agreement part was just some other country agreeing to pass some parallel piece of legislation.

      This is fine, but if we view these things as ordinary federal laws, they can neither override the Constitution, nor can the impinge on local and state laws, except in the (admittedly too large area under modern constitutional theory) area where federal laws can override local and state laws. Plus they can be repealed as part of the normal legislative process.

      So for something as radical as the TPP is supposed to be, I don’t see how an honest judiciary wouldn’t strike down much of it, on the grounds that either it should be passed as a treaty (2/3 of the Senate), or if viewed as federal legislation, Congress is assuming powers at least vs the states it simply doesn’t have. Also, while its normal practice for Congress to delegate its functions to the executive branch -most laws are matters of “the Secretary of X will have the authority to do Y”, the courts have said there are limits to this practice and the TPP almost certainly exceeds them.

      Also, if this is as radical as people think it is, and some state simply refuses to obey some TPP tribunal, and is willing to forgo the federal revenue sharing/ bribe money (as some states were with Obamacare, which is actually encouraging), how will they be forced to obey?

  12. abynormal

    70 million Americans teetering on edge of financial ruin MarketMurdochWatch

    In the past few years, the job market has vastly improved and home prices have rebounded — yet Americans are becoming even more irresponsible when it comes to saving for emergencies.

    According to a survey of 1,000 adults released by Bankrate.com on Tuesday, nearly one in three (29%) American adults (that’s roughly 70 million) have no emergency savings at all — the highest percentage since Bankrate began doing this survey five years ago. What’s more, only 22% of Americans have at least six months of emergency savings (that’s what advisers recommend) — the lowest level since Bankrate began doing the survey.
    These findings mirror others — all of which paint an abysmal picture of Americans’ ability to withstand an emergency.

    couple wks ago we were just stingy…time to change my name: abysmal

          1. abynormal

            bowed head, humbled.

            The high-water mark, so to speak, of Socialist literature is W.H. Auden, a sort of gutless Kipling.
            George Orwell

    1. Disturbed Voter

      This has been only covered for five years. The US has been in an un-depression for more than 7 years now, if you don’t count the slump after 9/11. So I don’t think any trending will be valid at this point.

      Many families don’t have emergency savings, because it was already blown on one or more emergencies over the last 14 years. What would be interesting are the numbers for 2000 … time-machine anyone?

      Americans have been going from family farmers to wage slaves for 150 years now. Wage slaves shouldn’t have a pot to piss in. More recently we have been converting wage slaves into debt slaves.

      Those folks who have 6 months of emergency funds or more … are the 1% plus the declining Middle Class. Depending on if you can count their IRAs etc as part of their emergency funds.

      None of this was an accident … please enjoy building the next pharaonic pyramid aka Presidential Library.

  13. Kim Kaufman

    From Ryan Grimm (HuffPo). I don’t have a link. I signed up for emails, I guess, and I just receive them periodically.

    Senate Gives Obama Huge Win On Trade

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday handed President Barack Obama the biggest legislative victory of his second term, with a dramatic vote clearing the way for major trade agreements with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union.

    The 60-37 vote all but ensures the passage of legislation that will allow Obama to “fast-track” the trade pacts he negotiates through Congress, preventing filibusters or amendments. Liberals have long assailed Obama’s trade agenda, but Republicans successfully wooed a bloc of Democrats led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to secure enough votes to overcome a filibuster.
    With the 60-vote threshold cleared, the path is now open for the Senate to take a final vote on the legislation on Wednesday.

    The fate of the bill, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, hinged on whether backers of the fast-track legislation could win over Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Chris Coons (Del.). All three remained mum as to their intentions before the vote, with Coons lambasting the Senate on his way to the chamber for taking up a free trade vote while at the same time letting financing for exports, through the Export-Import Bank, lapse. It wasn’t enough to sway his vote, though, as all three voted to move forward.

    The vote came down to the wire, thanks to an eleventh-hour reversal by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who announced his opposition in a bombastic op-ed for Breitbart News that sent Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) scrambling for additional Democratic support.

    Still, the razor-thin margin of the final vote count masks the fact that McConnell had slightly broader support at his disposal. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) stood by the table in the well of the Senate for most of the vote, waiting for the measure to get across the threshold of 60. As soon as it did, with a vote by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Cardin voted no, suggesting he had been willing to vote yes if needed.
    As Heller rushed onto the chamber floor, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), standing right outside the door, smiled at him, and shouted: “Here’s Mr. 60!”

    Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), both opponents of the trade legislation, missed the vote, as did supporter Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

    The revival of Obama’s trade agenda follows a wild month of congressional maneuvering in which House Democrats nearly derailed the entire project by defeating a Trade Adjustment Assistance measure that would provide financial aid and job training to workers who lose their jobs due to foreign competition.

    Although Democrats overwhelmingly support TAA, they revolted against it in the House for tactical reasons. Because the TPA bill depended on TAA’s passage, the Democratic defection on TAA dealt an embarrassing, although ultimately temporary, blow to the prospects for Obama’s trade pacts.

    Now, the fate of the TAA bill remains undecided. Many Senate Democrats insisted their vote on Wednesday was conditional on the passage of separate TAA legislation. The Senate will likely pass that legislation on Wednesday, but the bill faces steeper challenges in the House, where Republicans overwhelmingly oppose it. Obama has said he wants both TAA and the fast-track bill to be enacted. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he will deliver the votes necessary for its passage.

    Murray, on her way to the Senate floor, told reporters she’d been given assurances by McConnell and Boehner that Congress would take up assistance to workers displaced by the deal.

    Votes on the trade deals themselves will come later in Obama’s tenure, and the fast-track authority will extend into the next presidency. First in line, however, is the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other Pacific Rim nations. Democrats, labor unions, environmental groups and open Internet advocates have sharply criticized leaked drafts of the pact, saying it will exacerbate income inequality and undermine key regulations. Obama, Republican leaders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have all said the deal will boost economic growth.

    Bad News by Ryan Grim
    1750 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20006 USA
    Sent to kim.kaufman@att.net — Unsubscribe

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    1. hunkerdown

      Menendez “missed the vote”… instead of protecting Malaysian slaves? Strong presumption he’s in on the fix.

    2. edmondo

      I assume that Mr. Cardin will be touting his “no” vote in his next re-election campaign.

      1. Kokuanani

        Yeah, I saw that bit of chicanery by Cardin, and thanked the HuffPo authors in a comment for pointing it out.

        [Cardin stood on the sidelines ready to vote “yea” if his vote was needed, but it wasn’t, so he was “allowed” to vote no. I’d like to think the burning letters/e-mails and phone calls from his constituents made him scared enough to seek out this sleight of hand.]

      2. Brindle

        Yea, Cardin got to be a last second “designated hero”.

        The national Dem party is essentially worthless. There are some good, mostly honest Dems out there (Sherrod Brown), but the TPP game-show was the latest exclamation point that the Dem party, as now constituted, is diseased and corrupt.

  14. hunkerdown

    So that’s what Brendan Eich has been working on lately. It’s interesting to consider that, in the context of the ostensibly antifa coup deposing him (more likely organized by Adobe), which was followed in short order by Mozilla capitulating on encrypted media extensions, jettisoning the open web as a core value, and becoming YA social startup.

    That said, I don’t necessarily love the idea of shipping object code around the net willy-nilly. I’m glad Eich still appears to believe in view-source and has defined some reversible textual representation, and I’m glad I still have some ability to veto code from the Internet before it hits the metal. Anything that makes Adobe cry itself to sleep with no dinner is fine by me.

  15. New Deal democrat

    You might want to include the Retail Economist – Goldman Sachs (formerly ICSC-GS) retail sales report to your Tuesday mix.
    Redbook compares the first 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks of a month with the entire last month, and same entire month 1 year before. The GS index is a more straightforward w/w comparison.
    Here it is for this week:
    “The Retail Economist – Goldman Sachs (TRE – GS) Weekly Chain Store Sales Index r ose by a hefty 1.6 % (seasonally adjusted) compared with its previous week for the period ending on Saturday, June 20 . However, o n a year – over – year basis, sales rose by a sluggish 1. 5 % .”

    P.S. On housing, sales follow interest rates, and prices follow sales. Sales now are benefitting from lower interest rates in the last 6 – 12 months, while the slowdown in sales last year has filtered through to prices now.

  16. fledermaus

    “Tomorrow’s Advance Man: Marc Andreessen’s plan to win the future”

    Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face

    – Mike Tyson

  17. ewmayer

    Re. the “housing liftoff” BS – this is just the standard rose-colored-filtering ploy used by the NAR and their shills in the MSFM: Dismiss any negative print as an “aberrant outlier” (trotting out one of the usual go-to excuses for such, e.g. bad weather somewhere, holiday-shortened month, labor strike somewhere), but seize on any positive data point as a “robust indicator of recovery/economic-health/Fed-policy/blah-blah-blah”. In other words, a single datum is “only an anecdote” if it’s the negative kind.

    1. edmondo

      He;s up for reelection in 2018. make sure you vote for him because he’s “better” than the Red Team. LOL

  18. anonymous123

    I wrote a nasty email to DiFi, telling her what a traitor she was for voting for the TPP. Not like it’ll do anything at this point. Ugh.

  19. Blurtman

    When Goldman Sachs admitted to committing fraud during Hank Paulson’s reign, I asked Patty Murray by e-mail to simply say if she had voted yea or nay to confirm Hank Paulson as Treasury Secretary. It was a voice vote, and so I could not find the record on line. I never even received a perfunctory canned e-mail response from her office. At least Cantwell’s office sent me a rather vague response that did not answer the very simple question. When they are up for re-election, I will either vote for a third party candidate or not vote at all. They are not my representatives. What they are I cannot say.

  20. Oregoncharles

    Nader was drawing crowds of 10,000 and more, starting in smallish Portlan (I was there), in 2000.
    Wound up with about 2%.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I meant to suggest that turnouts for a celebrity don’t necessarily translate into votes.In many cases, EVERYONE who supports them came to the event.

  21. paulmeli

    I wrote a snail mail letter to Senator Bill Nelson telling him how disgusted I was with his traitorous vote and that I will work hard for (and vote for) any real Democrat that runs against him in the next election. That and that he was dead to me.

    I’ve never written a Congresscritter before in my life, but this means war to me, and now the enemy is clearly defined.

  22. Oregoncharles

    ” So I guess the cooler states in New England and Cascadia will start seeing in-migration…. ”
    Be very careful what you wish for, Lambert. We’re in the same boat on that one.

  23. peter

    So should we take seriously that number seven on the top 10 mathematical achievements of the last 5ish years is that the smallest number of clues which uniquely determine a Sudoku puzzle is 17? The road to get there must have been arduous, but I guess math as a science isn’t as groundbreaking anymore as it once was.

    1. low_integer

      I prefer to consider math to be a language of logic that is particularly useful for describing scientific phenomenon, rather than a science in itself. While obscure, theoretical exercises such as quantifying the process of solving a sudoku puzzle often create systems of logic that are then applied to more significant challenges. All this to say that ‘pure’ mathematics is often a precursor to tangible scientific results.

      Of course, whether science and math are used for the collective good of life on Earth is another story…

      1. JTMcPhee

        … Maybe because then the findings of math-enabled science are then turned over to engineers and marketing and finance people? In whose broader ethos one tends not to find even femtotraces of what “we” ordinary people would consider to be “ethics?”

        Antibiotics = good, to treat awful human diseases. Antibiotics > Less good when prescribed to make Maman feel better about Bebe with mild fever, cough, earache. Antibiotics > Less good still, when pumped into feed for chickens, beef cattle, pork. The curves of sales and profit plotted against less-goodness? An inverse function, eh what? Many engineers will build whatever can be built, irrespective of “goodness.” See the unfunny functioning of the Military Industrial Colossus. Those other folks? Gee, what drives their bus?

  24. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    Hi Lambert, that’s a carpenter bee.

    This is a bumblebee.

    Bumblebees have more hair, carpenter bees have that big bald spot.

    Also, female bumblebees have those pollen baskets on their rear-most pair of legs, as do female honeybees. Carpenter bees do not.

  25. Lambert Strether Post author

    I would like to do my little bit to hang the stinking albatross of TPP round the necks of the 13 Democrat traitors listed above. If you, reader, live in one of those districts, would you be willing to send me local links about anything especially nasty and/or corrupt that they (or their network) do? For example, DiFi’s husband is selling our Post Offices off to his buddies for less than market rates, the loathesome corrupt weasel; like that. And I would bet that local coverage, especially coverage that local activists can force into the papers, is better than anyting that appears in the national press, or anything I can Google. Thank you!

    1. Hierophant

      I’ll see what I can do, and I would love to see what others can come up with. Especially since both my Senators are on that list! The corporatism runs strong in Washington State…

Comments are closed.