2:00PM Water Cooler 6/30/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Japan: With Abe’s government losing popular support over its attempt to ram through controversial security bills, and distracted by inter-party squabbling over comments made by Abe allies last week against media outlets that do not toe the government line, any [TPP] agreement still faces numerous political hurdles” [Japan Times].

Australia: “Australia to contribute $930 million to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, [Treasurer] Joe Hockey says” [ABC].

Bold-faced names: Democrat trade traitors. Readers, more like this, please (contact form below). List of traitors; is one of them “your” “representative”?


Ohio candidate for Senator takes to Twitter after Democratic regulars shut him out of a meeting [Cincinatti.com].


“My guy, Bernie Sanders (video)” [Justin Lane, Ring of Fire Radio]. Cute!

The S.S. Clinton

UMKC decides not to fork over $275,000 fee for Chelsea Clinton speech [WaPo]. They’re from Missouri….

Clinton launches a Pinterest page [Elle].

Republican Clown Car

“One [Christie] adviser is Robert E. Grady, a former Carlyle Group LP partner, who in March joined San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors Inc., a private-equity firm, after resigning as chairman of the New Jersey State Investment Council” [Bloomberg]. Cozy!

Christie opposes “automatic voter registration upon applying for a driver’s license” [Star-Ledger].

“The New Jersey governor faults President Obama’s focus on “redistribution of wealth” for weakening the U.S. economy, and vows to reverse course” [Bloomberg]. Of course, income inequality accelerated under Obama after Bush, so in a way, Christie is right.

“7 things that prove D.C. politics is a lot like high school” [WaPo].

The Hill

Are any readers familiar with a chart that shows the life-cycle of reactionary form of resistance? I have to think that “nullification” is a pretty last ditch effort [Talking Points Memo].

Stats Watch

Consumer Confidence, June 2015: “June consumer confidence confirms last week’s consumer sentiment report, that spirits — and especially expectations — are rising to their strongest levels of the recovery. The consumer confidence index jumped nearly 7 points to a 101.4 level that easily surpasses the Econoday high estimate for 99.0” [Bloomberg]. Expectations surge, and present situation is strong.

State Street Investor Confidence Index, June 2015: “Led by unusually strong North American appetite for risk, the investor confidence index for June is up” [Bloomberg]. “The report attributes North American confidence to a dovish Fed which at mid-month lowered its 2015 economic forecasts and seemed in no hurry to raise rates.” If I were wealthy enough to get free money, you can bet I’d be confident too!

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, April 2015: “Growth in home prices slowed sharply in April” [Bloomberg]. For the first time since all the way back in September, minus signs suddenly appear on the city breakdown list with 8 of 20 cities showing contraction in April.” But this is a three-month rolling average and so because winter. “Home price growth is still over twice as high as wage growth” [Confounded Interest].

Redbook, week of June 27, 2015: “Redbook’s call is a sharp 1.5 percent contraction for June in what is a negative signal for the government’s core ex-auto ex-gas reading” [Bloomberg].  “This measure of retail sales remains surprising depressed, even to me” [Warren Mosler]. This is chain store sales, and I wonder if Amazon is eating their lunch. I’d also like to see a dollar store breakout.

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, June 2015: “The market expected the index between 48.5 to 55.0 (consensus 50.6) versus the actual at 49.4. A number below 50 indicates contraction” [Econintersect].

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, June 2015:  “Chicago’s PMI sample remains surprisingly depressed” [Bloomberg]. Look, by now readers know I have all the priors of a Maine bear. But “surprisingly”?

Thumbtack, June 2015: “For the second month in a row, small businesses expressed increasing pessimism about future economic conditions, which has been the largest contributors to the decline in overall sentiment” [Econintersect].

“The *** cough *** expansion *** cough *** already has gone on longer than the postwar average of just under five years and next month will match the duration of the 2001 to 2007 upturn.” [Bloomberg].


“Italy sells €6.8bn in debt despite continuing Greek crisis” [Irish Times]. That doesn’t look like fear of contagion to me.

Marine Le Pen on the referendum:  “Beautiful democracy lesson” addressed “to the Eurocentric class” [HuffPo]. Of course, Golden Dawn voted for Syriza’s referendum too. Strange bedfellows wherever you look these days, I suppose….

Survey data: “Greeks do not unconditionally reject austerity measures. [Unsurprising, then, that Syriza accepted some.] Rather, a majority of the Greek public appears willing to vote in favor of a package that would include both spending cuts and painful tax increases, as long some areas — pensions, education and marginal income tax rates — are largely untouched” [New York Times].

“[F]or over half of its existence since becoming an independent state in 1830 it has been in default, with the British most memorably sending the Royal Navy to seize marine assets in 1850 to pay off the country’s debts” [The Economist, “Third time lucky?”]. Of course, the Germans would find it harder to send tanks overland, and no doubt most Greek maritime assets are sailing under flags of convenience. From the 300,000 foot perspective, then, we might look on the financial warfare being carried on at present as a civilizational advance, but that may not provide much comfort to Greek voters.

“‘If Greece leaves the eurozone, there is unlikely to be a big bang moment when the country adopts the drachma (the currency it used prior to adopting the euro in 2001),’ said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a unit of the ratings firm.” [USA Today]. ‘It will happen over time, as the Greek government issues IOUs that effectively become the new currency,’ he said.” Not sure the organizational capacity exists for a Big Bang, in any case.

[Wall Street Journal, “Greece’s Five Possible Future Currency Arrangements”]. 1) Greece stays in the eurozone; 2) Greece keeps the euro, but sits outside the eurozone; 3) A currency board; 4) A dual system; 5) The new drachma.

Interesting post, since it relates the Greek crisis back to the Cyprus crisis  [Stratfor, via Econintersect]. Quoting a great slab of it:

For the Germans, Greece represented a dam. What was behind the dam was unknown, and the Germans couldn’t tolerate the risk of it breaking. … Germany’s first choice to avoid the default was to create the illusion of Greek compliance. Its second option was to demonstrate the painful consequences of Greece’s refusal to keep playing the first game.

This was the point of the Cyprus affair. Cyprus had reached the point that it simply could not live up to the terms of its debt repayment agreements. The pro-EU government agreed under pressure to seize money in bank accounts… The Germans may have claimed the Cypriot banking system contained primarily Russian money, but – although it undoubtedly contained plenty of Russian funds – most of the money in the system actually represented wealth saved and used by Cypriots in the course of their lives and business [Yves was tenacious on this point; and correct]. The result of raiding those accounts was chaos. Cypriot companies couldn’t pay wages or rent, and the economy basically froze until the regulations were eventually eased – though they have never been fully repealed.

The Germans were walking a fine line in advocating this solution. Rather than play the pretend game they had played in Greece, they chose to show a European audience the consequences of genuine default. But those consequences rested on a dubious political foundation. Obviously the Cypriot public was devastated and appalled by their political leaders’ decision to comply with Germany’s demands. But even more significant, the message received by the rest of Europe was that the consequences of resistance would be catastrophic only if a country’s political leadership capitulated to EU demands. Seizing a large portion of Cypriot private assets to pay public debts set an example, but not the example the Germans wanted. It showed that compliance with debt repayments could be disastrous in the short run, but only if the indebted country’s politicians let it happen. And with that came another, unambiguous lesson: The punishment for non-compliance, however painful, was also survivable – and far preferable to the alternatives.

“The Restoration of Dignity” [Jacobin]. Versus: “[T]here is a punchy but elegant Greek phrase that summarises the moment when delusion and deception are exposed: telos pia ta psemmata, the end of lies” [Guardian]. Hope that translation is correct…

“Greek Bailout Fund” [Indiegogo]. Dunno if this scales. And wouldn’t humanitarian funding direct the money to the people who really need it?

“Or, in an age of failing states, collapsing stability in western Asia, and massive migration inflows, might Greece flounder and revert to the borderless Hellenism that characterised Greeks for most of their history?” [Al Jazeera].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Did the slaves here appreciate the care they got from their mistress?” [Vox]. Life on the plantation. As a tour guide.

Federal Judge: We need a Marshall Plan for the war on drugs [The Atlantic]. Which — hold on to your hats here, folks — we lost decisively, unless funnelling a generation of black men into the prison-industrial complex be considered a victory. Ka-ching.

Heritage rally to be held on South Carolina state capitol grounds [Talking Points Memo].

Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens and his Cornerstone Speech [Virally Suppressed].

“Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”


All of the furor over the Confederate flag flying outside the South Carolina Statehouse would lead one to believe that it had been there since time immemorial, but actually, the first time the flag was flown at the Statehouse was in 1961 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Civil War.

Justice: “Police trying to control the Ferguson protests and riots responded with an uncoordinated effort that sometimes violated free-speech rights, antagonized crowds with military-style tactics and shielded officers from accountability” [St Louis Post-Dispatch]. So in the official mind, the Ferguson model is a failure, and by implication the Occupy model is a success.


“The shift to renewables is happening shockingly fast, but not fast enough to prevent perilous levels of global warming” [Bloomberg].

America the Petrostate

“Californians most exposed to the risks of oil train derailments or fires overwhelmingly live in poorer, minority neighborhoods” [Raw Story]. Landfills in Maine would be hella regulated if Cape Elizabeth were the sacrifice zone.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“According to the DOD’s recently released Law of War Manual, harm to human shields, no matter how extensive, cannot render an attack unlawfully disproportionate” [JustSecurity]. What could go wrong?

Canadian test pilot: F-35 “is dead meat in an air battle” [War is Boring, Medium]. But ka-ching. So it’s all good.

“Kuwait says in ‘state of war’ with militants, warns of other cells” [Reuters]. Conflict investment strategists take note!

Agnotology Watch

“Where 15 or 20 years ago the big trade publishers were, oddly, swamping the market with sort-of-scholarly micro-histories of salt or longitude, they now seem, with exceptions of course, to be tiptoeing away from specific, knotty, deeply researched and nuanced books about things. The sorts of book on which they tend now to rely are investigations of ‘big ideas'” [Guardian]. “These are talking-point books.” Hat tip, Malcolm Gladwell, for the business model.

Class Warfare

“The new luxury buildings have laundry rooms for the people who live there, but at the rate things are going I’ll be doing my laundry in the bathtub the way I used to do it in the 80s when I lived surrounded by ruins down in the Alphabets. I didn’t like doing my laundry that way then, and I don’t think I’ll like doing it that way again” [Vanishing New York].

“Therein lies the problem: Those are some big dreams, and they have very little in common with my employer’s dreams. I can do my best to find the overlap, but it’s the side signing the paychecks that gets the final say” [Vox].

News of the Wired

Post apocalypse skillz [Crafts Institute].

Online is IRL [Terrible Minds].

“FBI Builds Silencers For The Mentally Ill” [Another Word for It]. You’ve got to read this; it’s like “The Aristocrats” translated into the surveillance state’s bureaucracy.

“In recent years, Apple’s strategy towards the web can most charitably be described as ‘benevolent neglect'” [Read the Tea Leaves. “Safari is the new IE”]. No, malevolent. Siloed apps with gate-keeping fees that destroy or obfuscate URLs — promoting “sharing” as the alternative — will destroy the web if left unchecked. It’s not a coincidence that in Safari other functions are gradually impinging on the URL’s real estate, in a sort of digital gentrification.

* * *

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:


This photo of a pollinator isn’t nearly as spectacular as the one JohnB’s wife took yesterday. The progression of spring into summer always seems like a miracle to me; I don’t know why we don’t worship what’s right in front of us, that we can see! And I don’t care that Rosa Rugosa aren’t heirloom and are invasive! They bloom prolifically, smell nice, and the town can’t kill them with road salt!

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


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Clive

          Don’t talk to me about peaches. I’m desperately trying to keep my (trial baisis) lone peach tree from shrivelling up in the heat. And carrying cans of water (charged at £1/cubic metre here) under the blazing sun. All I can say is no wonder California has a drought. I’m really crap at this permaculture malarkey.

            1. Clive

              Doh! Mulch! Yes, of course, why didn’t I think of that? I am new at this but really everyone knows to mulch. Well, everyone except me. Thanks jrs. Will get some at the weekend.

              (goes away, still kicking himself for abject cluelessness… I am to horticulture what SYRIZA is to running a country)

          1. ambrit

            I was about to post this:
            One Pound Sterling a cubic metre for water? Where do you live, the Infernal Regions?

            Then I checked my last months water bill from the City of Hattiesburg. I figured the cost out at 67 New Pence per cubic metre, or, as Mum would say, “Thirteen and six.” So, for my ill conceived attempt at snark I receive a well deserved bullet in the foot.
            As for the peach tree, the other posters are right about the mulch. I use it extensively on the mini vegetable garden. It works a treat.

            1. hunkerdown

              Last time I saw a Detroit suburb’s water bill (before the bankruptcy), residential water was 10.1¢ per ft³ (~35.3 ft³ per m³). Maybe after they stop medicating the mass by dumping mining waste in the water, it’ll be cheaper…

              1. ambrit

                $3.53 a cubic metre? With prices like that, and you all being on the shore of a big lake, I’m not at all surprised at the stories of Mischief Night there that I’ve read.
                Let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing.
                When I say ‘water bill,’ I mean just water. The Sewer bill is based on the water usage, but I’ve separated it out. Here, the garbage pickup fee is incorporated into the Water Bill, but listed separately from water and sewer in the break down lines.
                By mining waste, I assume you mean fluoride?
                As the old observation goes; “There’s plenty to go around, if you can get your hands on it.”

                1. hunkerdown

                  Ferndale, an inner-ring, hip suburb where I lived briefly, apparently has the highest usage fees in its area ($0.055/ft³), with an equal additional charge for sewerage on top of that. Though the city did recently lose a class action lawsuit (Wolf v. Ferndale) over rolling other fees into the usage rate.

                  The Detroit Water & Sewerage Dept. serves Detroit customers at a far more reasonable 2.17¢/ft³ (~$0.766/m³) plus fixed costs.

                  Indeed, I was talking about fluoride… which apparently doesn’t work all that well as a mass supplement after all.

                  And so true about getting one’s hands on it. Prior commitments, indeed!

            2. Clive

              Yes, it’s true. In fact, my information was out of date and only high volume users get rates as low as £1/cubic metrehttps://www.southernwater.co.uk/business-our-charges I’m currently paying £1.23-ish a cubic metre (which okay is actually 1000 litres and works out therefore at a fraction of a pence per litre but a cubic metre of water doesn’t go far if used by the 2 gallon (10+ litres I think) can. I can easily get through 10 cans just in a quick bit of yard work targeting obviously heat stressed plants.

              All of which actually isn’t a bad thing I don’t think. It really makes you appreciate and understand what a precious resource potable water is and most people here monitor and ration their consumption like a hawk. CA please take note !

              1. ambrit

                It may not get as bad as the Fremen in “Dune,” but then again…
                I sense a business opportunity here. Design and build an ‘inexpensive’ water flow meter that can be placed at the inlet to your dwelling with a wi-fi connection to your home PC. Then add an app; Home Water Consumption Controller. (I can see some Local Authorities putting this in with a remote control shut off valve. Once you reach your monthly allotment, off go the taps.)
                Huxley was right; It’s a Brave New World out there.

  1. blowncue

    Re: Nullification

    Charts, no, but I would look at South Carolina tariff nullification 1832, Alabama Voting Rights 1964 (Selma, King).

  2. NOTaREALmerican

    Re: Greeks do not unconditionally reject austerity measures

    Normal* people don’t view austerity as entirely bad. Most normal* people look at austerity as a form of fasting: a reduction forced upon the group that can’t be avoided (easily) by “select members”. Normal* people realize that democracy is non-functional and exists primarily to enrich those who purchased the politicians. And, over time, government becomes simply a conduit of loot from the host population to the parasites. So, when the normal* people are pretty much bled dry by the parasites (which might be themselves) the only way for the normal* people to reduce the number of parasites is with (gasp) Austerity. This is true because voting doesn’t work. Voting only allows people to increase the number of parasites. No-one votes to cut-off their own scam.

    That why normal* people don’t mind austerity, it’s the only known way to eliminate the parasites.

    * I’m assuming, here, that normal people are those who:
    1) don’t know what a neo-liberal or a “progressive” is.
    2) don’t have political or economic OCD.
    3) have enough duplicity to know they might be a parasite too, but aren’t going to stop leaching off their scam until everybody else does (and probably not even then).

  3. rich

    The Fading American Republic

    Former Colorado Senator and two-time presidential contender Gary Hart sees an increasing gap between purpose and performance in America. In his new book, The Republic of Conscience, Hart argues that the military, the CIA, and Congress have led the country away from its founding principles.

    1. Ron

      Not sure what the founding principles have to do with modern life but its always seems that the political class no matter what part of the political spectrum they come from refer to the founding fathers and there ideas to prove there point about modern life. Not saying there wrong but it would be nice to see more original thinking.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think checks and balances — “If men [humans] were angels, no government would be necessary” — has a lot to do with modern life. The neoliberals have systematically dismantled them, and now the system is accelerating out of control.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Because the lesson in Ecclesiastes is still the same even with computers. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

        The Boston Tea Party was against the relative version of the TPA/TPP after all. The Founding Fathers in any country represent a shared cultural norm, so referencing the Grateful Dead or secret family recipes is a useless comparison for mass consumption.

        MLK referenced the Bible and very common bible stories constantly because of the shared cultural aspect. If he referenced Wiccans or the Edda, most people would have no point of comparison.

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        You’ve got to watch the top 10% not the top 1%. The top 1% seems to fluctuate with “the market” but the top 10% is just slow and steady upward.

        Not sure there’s anything that can be done about this. The system is run by the management/educated/intellectual class that supports the top 1%. The 10% identify with their own class more than with “the American group” as a unified whole. And – if you include grass-fed organic holistic non-gmo happy beef – the top 10% identifies more with people who can afford that than McDonald’s “near-food”.

        Just life, at least the bottom 90% Greeks, when they get around to it, will have a reason to get pissed at the top 10%. Our bottom 90%’ers are just way to happy to worry about what the top 10% are doing to them.

        Disclaimer: I live in a bucolic limousine-liberal collage town, bursting at the seems with loot from student loan debt, with hand-wringing (non-neo) liberals constantly worried about how it is that the Coke Brothers are doing SO MUCH to ruin this country. (they are outraged. no, no, wait OUT RAGED!!!, especially when in the really nice restaurants they can afford with the student-loan loot).

        We could sure use some student-loan “austerity” right now, but – i know, i know, that would kill grow-t and the bottom 90% would suffer HORRIBLY. We’d be even more OUTRAGEDDDD!!!!

      2. New Deal democrat

        Maybe I misread or misunderstood you, but this is from your 2012 article:
        “Yup, under Bush, the 1% captured a disproportionate share of the income gains from the Bush boom of 2002-2007. They got 65 cents of every dollar created in that boom, up 20 cents from when Clinton was President. Under Obama, the 1% got 93 cents of every dollar created in that boom. That’s not only more than under Bush, up 28 cents. In the transition from Bush to Obama, inequality got worse, faster, than under the transition from Clinton to Bush. Obama accelerated the growth of inequality.”

        Saez’s new data through 2014 has the 1% getting 58% of every dollar since 2009. So, if I understand your point correctly, that is less growth in inequality than under Bush. Obama still stinks, but by this measure he stinks less than Bush.

    1. jo6pac

      Sounds like a loose cannon for the demodogs. He was talking real issues and we can’t have any of that.

  4. Ron

    “Federal Judge: We need a Marshall Plan for the war on drugs” my 93 year old father in law who has been addicted to oxy and other pain killers for years recently went into Hospice Care. They immediately put him on morphine in spite of various objections from family members who talked about drug dependence etc. He recently told his nurse that he is now pain free first time in 20 years. I had it after my open heart surgery and never thought about using it again as it is only mildly addictive with long term use. My father in law would have been far better off using morphine to control his pain over the years vs modern pain killers.

    1. ambrit

      He would have been infinitely better of with Heroin. That more concentrated essence of the morphia drugs is regularly used in England and Europe for long term and terminal patients. I saw my father-in-law succumb to Morphine in the last months of his life. Morphine makes you a vegetable; Heroin does not do so. Please don’t buy into the ‘morphine is not addictive story.’ I’ve known a few Vets who would vehemently disagree.

      1. Willipedia

        I don’t know about the legitimacy of the claims at the time, but I’m pretty sure when Heroin was invented, it was marketed as a less-addictive version of morphine.

      2. Ron

        Morphine or Heroin either is ok, better then oxy and the rest of the pharmaceutical pain relief that is my point and from what I have read people can stay on morphine for years without problems and do whatever they need to do without pain. It is the same for heroin. The negative stories about these drugs have created endless myths that trap people into using only pharmaceutical created pain pills, its about money.

        1. Faroukh Bulsara

          Yes, this is true about long term morphine use. And as Elliot (the main character in the new USA summer drama “Mr Robot”) says, he uses 30 mg per day and is okay. But don’t make major decisions while using morphine! BTW, the show looks like real life entertainment.

  5. ambrit

    The “FBI builds silencers for the mentally ill” piece reminded me immediately of the poor “backwards” Communist who was charged with setting the Reichstag Fire in 1933. (Even today this is a contentious subject.)
    Whether the ‘dupe’ acted alone or was ‘assisted’ in his or her malfeasance, the effect is the same. The ‘opposition’ is demonized by association with the ‘perps.’
    That the FBI manufactures terror plots in order to knock them down for political and jurisdictional purposes should be no surprise; that is what Secret Police the world over do for a living.

  6. Vatch

    Thanks for reminding us about the Senatorial Trade Traitors. Let’s not forget that there are also 28 Democratic Trade Traitors in the House of Representatives. Here’s a list of 27 of them in Yves’s preface to an NC article by Joe Firestone. This list was compiled prior to the vote, but sadly, all 27 voted for treason. One other representative joined them, and deserves condemnation along with them:

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz 202-225-7931

    The roll call is here.

      1. Vatch

        No, this is TPA (Trade Promotion Authority, fast track). The acronym soup gets kind of messy.

    1. abynormal

      Me: “You mentioned wasteful military spending. The other day … I’m sure you’ve heard about the F-35 catching fire on the runway. The estimated lifetime expense of the F-35 is $1.2 trillion. When you talk about cutting wasteful military spending, does that include the F-35 program?”

      Bernie Sanders: “No, and I’ll tell you why – it is essentially built. It is the airplane of the United States Air Force, Navy, and of NATO. It was a very controversial issue in Vermont. And my view was that given the fact that the F-35, which, by the way, has been incredibly wasteful, that’s a good question. But for better or worse, that is the plane of record right now, and it is not gonna be discarded. That’s the reality.”

      That was the exchange I had with US senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at a town hall in Warner, New Hampshire, this past weekend (skip to the 45:30 mark of this video to hear my question). Sanders came to New Hampshire to gauge the local response to his economic justice-powered platform for a presumed 2016 presidential campaign. While his rabid defense of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and takedown of big money running politics was well-received, he contradicted his position of eliminating wasteful military spending while defending the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/24583-bernie-sanders-doubles-down-on-f-35-support-days-after-runway-explosion

      hmm maybe he’d govern differently with trillions worth of contracts…beyond sad

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: he contradicted his position of eliminating wasteful military spending while defending the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program

        Nonsense. If you’d think like a (non-neo) socialist for a moment, you’d see the logic:

        1) F35 is a jobs program.
        2) jobs programs are good because they create jobs and grow-t
        3) jobs programs which create jobs and goodness and grow-t are proof that government works!
        4) government that works is what socialism (of the non-neo kind) is all about.

        The wasteful military spending is the kind that George Bush (and those nasty Coke Brothers) was always for, it didn’t create any jobs or grow-t. So, what is need is more jobs programs, more grow-t, and more GOOD military spending that proves how well government works; for “da people” (and the future of our children, of course).

        Hope I cleared this up for ya.

        Besides, those F35 look cool. And real men love cool weapons.

        1. abynormal

          “-You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You’re dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!” ‘)
          Heller, Catch-22

      2. Faroukh Bulsara

        Well, he IS running for the Democrat nomination. So, he can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the pragmatic! Just saying.

  7. Vatch

    UMKC decides not to fork over $275,000 fee for Chelsea Clinton speech [WaPo]

    But they did pay $65,000, which is still a pretty good chunk of change, in my humble opinion.

    1. craazyboy

      I wonder how much UMKC pays for Paris Hilton speeches? Assuming she speaks on MMT, of course.

  8. washunate

    That’s interesting to see Android programmers complaining about Apple and web browsers. If you don’t like Safari, don’t use it. If you can build a better product, build it. That’s the beauty of technology; it’s one of the areas where there is some choice at the consumer level and some ability to do things differently as an entrepreneur on the producer side.

    Apple wanted the web browser to be central, for mobile devices to have a real web browser rather than the crapified ones on so many phones of the early 2000s. They were so adamant about it they didn’t even allow third party applications when they introduced the iPhone.

    Apple was criticized for that, so they responded with a new emphasis. Now the focus is on delivering performance through native apps rather than web browsers. The mobile web browser is just for basic tasks at this point. Users appear to love that change.

    1. Gerard Pierce

      If you can build a better product, build it. //They were so adamant about it they didn’t even allow third party applications when they introduced the iPhone.

      Do you notice a contradiction between these two statements? It illustrates the Apple/Jobs style of doing business.

      Way back in the 1980s, Apple set up an incredible list of rules that had to be followed to develop Mac/Apple Applications. The developers (I was one of them at the time) said “screw this” and developed applications for Microsoft/Windows.

      You couldn’t sell a third-party disk drive that would work on an Apple machine. All the high-powered drives ran on PC Compatibles.

      For the next 20 or so years, Apple went down the drain while Microsoft owned the marketplace. Even when they dumped Steve Jobs, Apple was unable to be competitive because they kept the Jobs philosophy of trying to control everything. Despite being a revolving SOB, Jobs was a brilliant designer and revived Apple in spite of himself.

      Despite the success of the iPhone, if Jobs were still around, in a few more years Apple would be back to circling the drain because they never learned a thing from Apples failures in the 1980s

      1. washunate

        Do you notice a contradiction between these two statements?

        No, those are actually rather cohesive positions. This is what’s so wrong with the comparison to Internet Explorer. Microsoft was a major market power, the dominant force in personal computing. The level of control they exercised had not been seen since the age of the robber barons.

        Apple does not now, nor ever did possess, anywhere near that level of dominance. There are many competitors selling phones and tablets.

        The developers (I was one of them at the time) said “screw this” and developed applications for Microsoft/Windows.

        DOS was the dominant OS when Apple introduced the Macintosh. Microsoft used their market power in DOS to shift most of the market to Windows. Not sure what this has to do with current situation in mobile web browsers?

        For the next 20 or so years, Apple went down the drain while Microsoft owned the marketplace.

        What are you talking about? Microsoft and Intel were the dominant forces in computing before Apple released the Macintosh. They were the dominant forces after Apple released the Macintosh. Apple didn’t go down the drain. Quite the opposite, they were the only computer maker that survived the Wintel duopoly. It was everybody else that went down the drain.

        Commodore. Tandy/Radio Shack. Amiga. Atari. Compaq. Gateway. On and on, those are the companies that disappeared. IBM itself no longer makes personal computers. What is unique about Apple is they survived long enough to see the transition to mobile computing.

  9. vidimi

    this is simply a vicious takedown of british and american society. an incredible read courtesy of a scottish comedian; it cuts like a knife:

    Occasionally I wonder whether at some point in the past 100 years the US gave the rest of the world a safe word and we’ve simply forgotten it. Or maybe we’re just saying it wrong (Aluminium? I’m sure you said it was aluminium …) Hillary Clinton has been speaking out against the “racist terrorism” of Dylann Roof despite being the architect of the US military intervention in Libya. The US’s record of invasions, assassinations and government overthrows is racist, I think. Imagining that you can kill people and seize control of their resources without believing them to be inferior requires a certain amount of intellectual flexibility. The same sort of intellectual flexibility that allows people to express grief for the migrants who drown in the Mediterranean and hatred for the ones who survive.

    i would excerpt the whole thing but there’s some kind of etiquette against that or sumthin

    1. Jack

      Frankie Boyle is also the source of this wonderful quote:

      “’cause not only will America go to your country and kill all your people, but what’s worse I think is that they’ll come back twenty years later and make a movie about how killing your people made their soldiers feel sad. Oh boo-hoo-hoo! Americans making a movie about what Vietnam did to their soldiers is like a serial killer telling you what stopping suddenly for hitchhikers did to his clutch.”

      1. RUKidding

        Thanks for those. Made me laugh.

        Yes, we Yanks are truly out of control – said seriously. I don’t get it either, but we’ll whinge endlessly about certain kinds of “isms,” usually the dreadful “ism” du jour,” but have a remarkable capability to be utterly in massive denial about how racist we truly are overseas. But then again, it’s got something to do with some divine right to do what we’re doing because we’re Number ONE!!!!

        Well I’m simplifying a tiny bit, but most US citizens have really bought into the notion that whatevertheheckitis we are doing overseas is “for the good of all concerned” and “to keep us safe.” And they’d be gobsmacked to learn that it’s really pretty racist on top of being homicidal maniacs. Go figure. The propaganda is really good/bad here (depending on your perspective).

        Really. Yes, it’s sad, horrible, terrifying and disgusting, but that’s my analysis, fwiw.

  10. Jack

    Well, there are those who would claim that the F-35s inability to dogfight doesn’t really matter, since modern air combat is all beyond-visual-range. The problem with this is that not only does it smack of the Vietnam-era attitude that the new F-4 didn’t need a cannon because the fancy new missiles irrevocably changed the nature of aerial combat (turned out the missiles frequently failed and the plane was quickly fitted with a cannon), but the F-35s supposed advantages in BVR combat are bunk. Stealth almost certainly doesn’t work in any event, at least against Russian-made long-wave radar SAMs, and the F-35 has such a massive heat-plume from the engine that it can be targeted by heat-seeking missiles even from the front.

    You would think the bloated military-industrial complex would have at least some care about ultimately delivering a workable weapon, however delayed and over-budget. If your country has defective weapons, it could lose a war and maybe even be conquered. And then where would the big companies be?

  11. ewmayer

    One [Christie] adviser is Robert E. Grady, a former Carlyle Group LP partner, who in March joined San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors Inc., a private-equity firm

    At least this particular PE firm chose its name aptly, gryphon being a variant spelling of griffin, the name of a famous mythical beast with the head and wings of an eagle (and typically eagle-clawed forelegs) and the body of a lion. Basically a creature as bloodthirsty as a lion, but – unlike the lion – unwilling to share even the least of the remains with scavengers, not quitting until the carcass is picked clean.

  12. tommy strange

    Drug war funneling black men into prison? Certainly. Way out of proportion to population. Part of Nixon’s plan (“let’s get the blacks”) ….right up through clinton and obama. But please remember, as prisoners always tell me when I send them books…..HALF of them are white….and large majority for drug shit, and non violent violation of parole…and many in solitary confinement. You can go so far with identity politics, that you lose all sense of class….and thus….failure to organize to fight back. Half the dirty poor are white. and over 2/3’s of the white poor don’t vote for either fucking party.

  13. EmilianoZ

    Spain’s new “public safety” law:

    Spain has been the epicenter of some of the largest protests in Europe against government austerity cuts, including a youth-led mobilization that called itself the “indignants,” which took over Madrid’s main square in May 2011 as a precursor to the Occupy Wall Street movement. As of Wednesday, though, such demonstrators could individually face fines of as much as 600,000 euros, or nearly $670,000, under a new law that has been strongly criticized by human rights activists and others as an antidemocratic response by the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to the social discontent set off by the financial crisis and near-record joblessness…

    The law also forbids the kind of amateur video footage that has increasingly been used to expose police tactics in the United States, and which last month showed police beating demonstrators in the Basque country. In addition, the law sets hefty fines for a range of offenses: ¤600 for insulting a police officer, as much as ¤30,000 for spreading damaging photos of police officers and ¤600,000 for taking part in an unauthorized protest outside Parliament and other sensitive locations…

    Still, among the dozens of types of protest or public behavior that the new law aims to punish are some that have become a staple of Spain’s antiausterity movement during the financial crisis, including efforts by activists to prevent housing evictions, authorized by courts but mostly demanded by banks. One of the leading antieviction activists, Ada Colau, was recently elected mayor of Barcelona.


    Received the Franco seal of approval. And also of le Comité de Salut Public.

  14. norm de plume

    A good half of my last several comments have disappeared but here goes anyway..

    A great ISDS tribunal resource which I can’t recall seeing linked here, called Who Guards the Guardians:


    See especially the part on the 15 arbitrators who have sat on 55% of known cases so far, and the neat little graphic which illustrates how cosy this is.

    And a nice summary of objections to the passage of the TPP through the Australian Parliament by Greens Senator Scott Ludlum:


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I found them in the spam folder and pulled them out.

      Skynet tends not to like a lot of naked URLs, because that’s one signature of a spammer.

      You might consider using the link button on the toolbar to embed the URLs in text as part of the prose; maybe Skynet will think a spammer wouldn’t go to the trouble.

  15. norm de plume

    So that’s what it’s for! (slaps forehead)

    I am fond of calling myself a Luddite because I am so hopeless with the technology and often say bad words when tussling with things others find simple (my daughter used to say ‘What’s wong Daddy?’)

    But my brother sent me a link the other day that the Luddites didn’t hate the machines per se, just the way the owners used them to pay lower wages to kiddies not properly trained to use them, thereby downgrading the skills they thought necessary to operate them. And I guess the respect, and self-respect, possession of those skills engendered.

    By the way, I wrote to my state and federal members about TPP 2.5 weeks ago, only silence since, so sent a follow up today. I notice others here have done the same; if any of them respond you might want to consider running them together in a post. We could see some evidence of international astro-turfing!

    (If the link, the bold and the italics all worked, I will treat myself to an extra glass of shiraz)

Comments are closed.