2:00PM Water Cooler 6/3/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


TPP nukes the Tenth Amendment [Bleeding Heartland]. Talk to your state reps, too. Not only are they even more accessible than the Washington critters, they talk to your local oligarchy.


For two years, along with other state legislators, I have waved yellow flags about the Pacific and European trade deals being negotiated by the Obama Administration.

As Congress moves to give the president authority to “fast-track” trade treaties with other nations — meaning Congress would give up its ability to change the agreements — those flags are turning red.

Why do state legislators care? Proposed language in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could threaten our ability to enforce state laws. This undermines the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States.” Congress may give the President the ability to effectively negotiate this amendment away.

Potentially decisive in the House are “moderate, pro-growth members” of the New Democrat Coalition [Wall Street Journalist]. Well, the Third Way/DLC types are Republicans, after all. Hi, Steve Israel! [waves]. Another New Democrat Coalition story [WaPo]. 17 Democrats support TPP, and 25 are needed, so the remaining few Blue Weasels Dogs who haven’t been tossed out by the voters in favor of real Republicans may hold the balance of power.

Obama failing to come up with enough ka-ching to sway the Congressional Black Caucus: “‘That’s bullsh*t,’ one member responded when asked if summer jobs money, or a deal on the Cadillac tax was enough to win their vote. That response was not atypical. Several members expressed skepticism that the White House could find the money to even pull off such gifts” [Crew of 42]. “Gifts.” Let us remember that Obama successfully whipped the CBC during the TARP fight.

Polling shows support for “free trade” on the rise [Wall Street Journal]. But polling results are all in the questions …

U.S. Trade Rep calls in the DHS after AFL-CIO demonstration knocked on the agency’s closed doors [International Business Times]. Theatre, but good theatre.

Charles Freeman, Nixon’s interpreter in China: “In the real world, there is no way that new rules for trans-Pacific trade, written without regard to China and without Chinese participation, will somehow pivot the United States into a lasting position of supremacy in China’s backyard” [Boston Globe].

“If I had to pick a single reason for the degraded quality of our trade debate, it is the relentless refusal by the supporters of freer trade to acknowledge that trade creates both winners and losers” [CFR]. Well, the losers are clearly workers, or the administration wouldn’t be proposing “workers’ courts” to compensate workers for lost wages, just as ISDS compensates the 1% for “lost profits.” Oh, wait….

WIkileaks published new “Trades in Services Agreement” documents [Sidney Morning Herald].

The leaked draft TiSA financial services chapter shows a continuing strong push by the United States, Australia and other countries for deregulation of international financial services


Giving Ilya Sheyman a well-deserved kick on the way out, along with Run Warren Run [Wonkette].


“O’Malley’s immediate problem isn’t the large lead for Clinton in name recognition and opinion polls. It’s that Senator Bernie Sanders has already claimed the “progressive alternative to Hillary” niche” [Bleeding Heartland]. Yep. And Sanders isn’t walking around worrying about Baltimore in the hot summer, either. True, O’Malley has nicer hair.


Sanders on his 1972 essay, on MTP: “Something like Fifty Shades of Grey—very poorly written 40 years ago” [Bloomberg]. Incidentally, the Mother Jones reporter who broke the “story” said he didn’t get an oppo dump. So, I was too cynical, and kudos to the reporter. Good wrapup from Bloomberg.

The S.S. Clinton

“Her campaign says she will attend a campaign organizing event in Iowa, but no word yet on where it will be or who may attend” [Des Moines Register]. In Iowa terms, OUCH! Let’s apply our Iowa-ology skills, helped by alert reader and Iowan NT: The constraints of “Iowa nice” demand that you “be polite to a fault, and couch your criticisms in the weakest terms possible.” Hence the “OUCH” sentence, which translates to “Clinton is taking Iowa for granted,” is buried at the very end of the article.

Also on Iowa but re: Sanders, NT confirms that hundreds of people did indeed attend the Sanders events, but the halls were too small to hold the crowds. Both facts show good advance work; you should always hire a hall that’s too small, because a hall that’s too big generates a “disappointing turnout” story. So if you’re a Sanders supporter, that should encourage you.

“The approval of American chemical weapons sales to Egypt as Mubarak’s associates were stocking Clinton family interests with cash is but one example of a dynamic that prevailed though Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state” [International Business Times].

Republican Clown Car

Huckabee on Caitlin Jenner: “Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE” [USA Today]. Well, the Clown Car is a fun-filled riot of laughs….

“How Democratic or Republican is your job? This tool tells you” [WaPo]. This is fun, but it’s also self-reported data. So it’s easy to guess that somebody who reports their occupation as “sovereign nation” is a Republican, but… I dunno….

Stats Watch

Portuguese 10-year bonds: “GSPT10YR:IND Yield 2.875; up 0.032; change: +1.13%” [Bloomberg]. Still going up, so Mr. Market’s nervousness over Greek contagion persists, but moderated. Yves says that Mr. Market always interprets motion as progress, so the moderation may be a reaction to yesterday’s exciting events.

MBA Mortage Applications, week of May 29, 2015: “sputtering with MBA’s composite index down a very steep 7.6 percent” [Bloomberg].

International Trade, April 2015: “Second-quarter GDP looks to be getting a lift by a decline in imports” [Bloomberg]. “Consumer goods show the strongest improvement on the import side.”

ADP Employment Report, May 2015: “[P]rivate payrolls rose a moderate 201,000 in May which is right at the Econoday consensus for 200,000” [Bloomberg]. “Likely seasonality issues with this data series” [Econintersect].

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, May 2015: “New high” for “perceived job creation” [Bloomberg]. “Altogether, the economy appears to show a mixture of good signs and bad signs. However, this new high in perceived job creation is a good sign for U.S. employment.”

PMI Services Index, May 2015: “[V]ery solid rates of growth though at a little slower pace” [Bloomberg].

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, May 2015: “solid but at the low end of expectations” [Bloomberg].

And then there’s this from AEP:

Yes, the Atlanta Fed is right, or wrong. Nevertheless.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Consistent disparities in labor market outcomes demonstrate the failure of markets to advance racial equity since the 1960s, even after decades of equality in law” [Demos]. That’s not a bug.

Our Famously Free Press

Boston cops whack a guy, claim he has a machete, which the press immediately propagates. Later photos show he had a knife [The Intercept]. And it all went downhill from there.

On FIFA, 72-year old investigative reporter Andrew Jennings broke the story, and now he’s got a stuffed and mounted Blatter in his den [Wapo]. Here’s how it’s done:

“I’m a document hound. If I’ve got your documents, I know all about you,” [Jennings] said. “This journalism business is easy, you know. You just find some disgraceful, disgustingly corrupt people and you work on it! You have to. That’s what we do. The rest of the media gets far too cozy with them. It’s wrong. Your mother told you what was wrong. You know what’s wrong. Our job is to investigate, acquire evidence.”

Meanwhile, the boys on the Acela are blinding and stiffing because the Clinton campaign won’t let them do access journalism. They held a meeting (!), which First Read covered. Headline: “Why the Media’s Fight for Clinton Access Matters.” I’ve helpfully annotated the meatiest whinging:

By trying to play by the same set of rules that govern the White House press corps (background briefings, tightly regulated pool coverage, and very limited questions to the principal), Team Clinton is [1] playing into the exact narrative they’ve pledged to avoid – appearing to hold a coronation, not a contest. If the media feels as if Clinton has the attitude that her campaign is above press accountability, [2] the coverage is going to reflect that. And by the way, this isn’t just about playing nice with reporters and bringing donuts to the back of the campaign bus. It’s about [3] treating the process with respect.

[1] Note lack of agency: “playing into the exact narrative.” Well, who writes the narrative? Little elves? [2] Oh, now we descend to open threats! [3] I think the phrase “Homeric laughter” was invented for this. Was Judy Miller at the meeeting? More to the point, Jeff Gerth? “Spiky” Issikoff? No? What I think is interesting here is that the press is making themselves the story, which they always try to avoid doing. Maybe that was the Clinton campaign’s evil plan.


“So much of our corruption is in plain sight these days” [Charles Pierce, Grantland]. FIFA, the poster child.

Squillionaire Watch

The Moustache of Understanding uses Baltimore to pimp his squillionaire spouse’s charter school [Thomas Friedman, New York Times]. Could have filed this under “Our Famously Free Press,” “Black Injustice Tipping Point,” “Corruption”, “Class Warfare”…. It all hangs together.

Jamie Dimon now a billionaire [Bloomberg].

With JPMorgan shares near a record high, Dimon’s net worth is about $1.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. …. Dimon’s status is unusual because, with the exception of former mentor Sanford “Sandy” Weill, few bank managers accumulate that much wealth.

Another squillionaire makes his money the old-fashioned way… By stealing it! (Well, modulo the bonuses paid out of our bailout money. I wonder if Bloomberg’s Index adjusts for that?)

Class Warfare

Squillionaires on ROI for buying election [Reuters]. David Walsh, a retired investor living in Jackson, Wyoming, who would not disclose his net worth but has given several multimillion dollar gifts:

“I do believe — and I’ve told my kids this — that I can do more for them by giving money to the right presidential candidate in 2016 than by leaving them double that amount in my will.”

Remembering that the Framers understood citizenship to be a public office, Walsh exempiflies the “self-serving use of public power for private ends” that is the very essence of corruption.

Hilsenrath reflects on his humorous-except-not piece from yesterday (hat tip alert reader JCC) [Wall Street Journal]. Hilsenrath:

A number commented on the tone of the commentary. While a small number found the tone to be clever, many found it offensive. Some said the item showed this reporter is arrogant, elitist and out of touch with the challenges faced by many Americans. That spoke to a broader mistrust that many respondents expressed toward a wide array of American institutions, including the Federal Reserve, banks, the media, corporations and the Obama Administration. Moreover many expressed a lack of conviction that the U.S. expansion would last, or that it was spreading prosperity beyond America’s elites. Others described serious continuing financial burdens related to high debts, a rising cost of living, health care costs, and a lack of wage growth.

In a way, Hilsenrath’s post was a lot like the posts Yves runs, where she solicits anecdotes. Hilsenrath concludes:

Judging solely from the responses of Wall Street Journal readers, however, you should not expect a big spending rebound. They say a deep undercurrent of mistrust and economic strain still holds back many Americans, regardless of what the numbers say.

I understood the post was ironic. However, it’s hard to imagine people who lost their jobs and their homes due to the actions of the people Hilsenrath’s publication services were ready to laugh at the joke; I felt it was like getting an anecdotal reading on the medical equipment market by going out and kicking a cripple to see if they fell down. We are not amused.

News of the Wired

  • John Waters’ commencement speech at RISD, 2015 (transcript) [Fawny].
  • “Legislation would put hidden sections of Maine’s constitution back into print” [Portland Press-Herald].

    The sections, which included the treaty obligations with Indian tribes that Maine agreed to assume as a condition of its separation from Massachusetts in 1820, are still forbidden to be published with the rest of the state’s fundamental laws, the result of a constitutional amendment ratified by Maine’s people in 1875 and which went into effect the following year.

    Sounds like the TPP! Maine’s motto is Dirigo, after all.

  • “I Made an Untraceable AR-15 ‘Ghost Gun’ in My Office—And It Was Easy” [Wired]. With a $1500 gun mill. Freedom of the mill belongs to those who own one.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant, the third of Gardens, Week Five, in which Lambert expresses his frustration with mud season in June:


Lilac blossoms landing on my yards of soil. If this were a Japanese woodblock print, we’d have cherry blosssoms, not lilacs, and probably not mud, either. I had Skippy in mind when I picked this…

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

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the soil, seeds, flats, and sheet mulching season, so I need straw!


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

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Carolinian

    From the build your own gun article

    Just the idea of a 3-D-printed lower receiver bothered him; if the ring that held on the buffer tube and stock (the big loop at the back of the receiver) were to break, he pointed out, it could unleash a large and powerful spring inches from the shooter’s face. “It scares me,” Rynder said.

    Also note that you still have to buy the barrel, ammunition. Buying the barrels is apparently registration free but who can doubt the ATF takes a keen interest. Aren’t these stories just a lot of bs meant to mess with liberals?

    1. jgordon

      Are you suggesting that Lambert is trying to troll liberals? Huh, I hadn’t considered that. I just thought he wanted to share a feel-good story about a welcome expansion of personal privacy despite the State’s incessant and malicious desire to spy on everyone constantly.

    2. optimader

      barrel stock grip trigger springs ect ect ect.
      I don’t get it, what is the point?
      Is it for the opportunity/pride to potentially be in possession of an illegal weapon? Once it is fabricated all local, state, federal laws apply.

      Ultimately the lower receiver is a part worth ~$70.00. If someone really had a burning desire to fabricate it, they can buy a jig for about under $100.00 and do it on a drill press. So, spend +$1,200.00 to get there?

      I guess the crowd this appeals to aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.

      1. jgordon

        I suppose it’s the difference between someone who thinks it’s cool that he NSA is recording everything they do on their phone and the other guy who’s willing to put some money and effort into maintaining his privacy. Yeah that guy that is willing to pay an extra 20 bucks to maintain his privacy must not be the sharpest tool.

        By the way when I was in the Marines all our personal information was available online to any other Marine who could log into it. Not surprising that I was being constantly bombarded with rent-to-own solicitations in the mail sent directly to my unit. I got in trouble for putting them all in a pile and lighting them all on fire in the shop one day out of disgust. I think I would have paid something out of my check to keep my info out of Marine online, so I guess I must not be such a sharp tool myself.

        1. optimader

          Yeah that guy that is willing to pay an extra 20 bucks to maintain his privacy

          Nott really sure what you mean jgordon I was pointing out that you could buy an 80% receiver jig from literally dozens of shade-tree gunsmith suppliers for ~$100 rather than a goofy cnc kit for $1,200– if you feel compulsed to make AR-15 receivers.

          But if you have angst about purchasing a legal receiver due to the “NSA recording everything”, why in the wide world of sports would you think they are not also keeping tabs on who buys AR-15 gunsmithing kits!?!

          Bottom line, follow the ammo.

          Ultimately I think one would be well advised to get good legal consul on the implications/liabilities of building and owning/selling unregistered weapons.

          1. jgordon

            As far as I know, the gun kit can be used to make more than one AR-15. In fact, it looks like a pretty sturdy piece of equipment. I bet it could turn out a whole lot of them.

            And mentioning the NSA was only by way of illustration. Running multiple illegal and unconstitutional spy programs against American citizens is proof of how much legitimacy the government in general has. At the very least buying equipment with cash and squirreling it away has a lot more potential for maintaining privacy ATF approved gun shop and advertising exactly what you have to people who are likely even more rabidly against citizens exercising their Constitutionally protected rights than you are.

          2. ambrit

            True about the ammo part. .22 cal long rifle rounds are still somewhat difficult to get, and still pricey.
            As for legal consul, well, that will usually get you an expensive lecture on the byzantine machinations of the Civil and Criminal codes. The bottom line; anything and everything can be and often is illegal.

      2. hunkerdown

        I hate to remind you of this, but it’s germane: Remember that poorly-attired guy in the ladies’ room? It’s not that they’re dim LEDs, so much as that public transgression is its own thrill and celebrated for its own sake. We’re not even talking oppositional defiance here so much as a war of attrition. Even more so for the creative class, especially when they can pantomime subverting the Man through fetishizing his commodities on his terms.

        1. optimader

          Remember that poorly-attired guy in the ladies’ room?
          I like the analogy…. and your probably onto something!

          Maybe I’ll start selling Maker Faire claymore mine and shaped charge casting kits as craft projects for the buried schoolbus crowd! :o)

      3. micky9finger

        Just go buy one for $1500, who gives a rat’s patootie.

        I read about assembling an AK 47. You buy all the parts legally and then go to sort of hobbiest meeting in your town with a group of fellow fans to make the receiver where you make it out of a flat piece of steel and rudimentary techniques. It is not illegal to own such a serial number free hobby built fire arm.
        Hence the ubiquity of the AK47 and the ease of manufacture of them in less technologically advanced countries. They were probably hammering them out in backyard factories in China in the 50s.
        But I drift; just go to a local gun show and buy one.
        What are you afraid of? That if you go out and massacre a bunch of people they will come and take your gun back.
        Off the subject but I love the earlier link about crowd sourcing $100,000 for a hacker to get the text of the TPP and publish it. It can’t be that hard to get into wherever the congress or the president is protecting it.

        1. optimader

          But I drift; just go to a local gun show and buy one.
          Well, bottom line, If I had the urge to own an AR-15 and I was worried about “the Man” confiscating it, I think buying a professionally built one at a gun show, packing it in cosmoline and burying it in a neighbors yard would be simpler than becoming a shade-tree machinist, then buying the other 75% of the gun anyway.

          it looks like a pretty sturdy piece of equipment. I bet it could turn out a whole lot of them.
          No doubt, but maybe I just don’t get it, how many receivers does one need to feel good?

          Someone needs to connect the dots between Running multiple illegal and unconstitutional spy programs against American citizens
          and why I would want to assemble a bunch of AR-15s with homemade receivers?

          Ultimately, what’s the point? If you find yourself in the front lawn shooting an AR-15, or anything else for that matter, you’ve already lost whatever it is you think you’re fighting for.

          Bottom line, whenever I get into these fantastic exchanges I feel obliged to point out that if you perceive no alternative to shooting a gun at someone, at least recognize that you are really in the wrong place at the wrong time, and anything beyond a full clip, you really would probably have been more prudent to put your money into a reliably fast, pre-electronic ignition vehicle that gets decent gas mileage rather than a bunch of guns and a pallet of bullets.

          Depending on your budget, alternatively spending the weapons/pallet of bullets budget on a light sport aviation license can be done for ~$4,000.00 and 20hrs training on the weekend Then at least you can pack a piece and really “bugout” when “the man” comes a look’in.

    3. hunkerdown

      Perhaps that’s what they’re meant for, but Lambert’s spotlighted the lack of perspective that makes this and most other breathless moralizing about the democratization of technology possible: it speaks purely from the standpoint of WIRED’s target demographic, the creative class, as if they were (sing it!) “the very model of a modern lib’ral citizen” and any deviation from this expectation demands a bug report.

      Furthermore, observe the assumptions. Because the creative class have the wherewithal to do it, all people can generally afford to acquire the means of production free, clear and without ongoing encumbrances on the use of the tool as the owner sees fit. Likewise, because the state of affairs of such “easy” access is a problem for the creative class and their vestments and appropriations, that it is a problem for all people. Why, not even the one piece of nominally productive equipment that almost everyone possesses — no, the automobile, not the coffee machine — is free of manufacturers’ claim of some permanent interest, and WIRED wrings their hands about this as well. Is it a case of missing self-awareness, or is it doublethink (i.e. not “missing” it at all?)

      It could be that Conway’s Law is at play here: that an organization which produces systems is constrained to produce likenesses of its own organizational structure. Ecosystems being systems, I believe this holds for them as well. A fashion publication is thus constrained to mustering a fashion police. (You could call it Condé Nast’s Law — I haven’t spotted a counterexample yet among their brands, though ars technica seems to be holding on, by their fingernails.)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Oooh, Conway’s law. How interesting. I wonder if that was true the Internet. If so, Flex Nets might have more general application. Joking, but only sorta.

        1. hunkerdown

          Jon Postel (pbuh) was, for many years, the central coordinating authority of the Internet. IPv4’s hierarchical addressing model and next-hop routing model bear some loose resemblance to Pentagon command-and-control structure. The transition away from unambiguous, frozen specs and toward living, extensible standards seems to mirror the change from a command-and-control model to an open network model. Broadly speaking, the Robustness Principle seems to have declined in popularity alongside providing solid customer service. This probably deserves more examination. I can come up with plenty of facile comparisons, but if I’d slept better I might cook up a falsifiable hypothesis, download some decent corpora, and test it.

          Other than the likes of BitTorrent Inc. using customer resources to distribute Hollywood’s crap, algorithms and protocols that attempt to converge on truth might be subvertible through flex activity. NTP without security comes to mind but I can’t think of others. That said, I’m only sorta laughing, as decentralization in networks seems to be a hot topic today.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            It’s not clear to me in retrospect that the Robustness Principle — “Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send” — was correct, because the effect is that data displayed in a browser has no integrity. Just another way for programmers to optimize for their program, in other words, which has been fabulously destructive of what could have been a commons in content using standard formats. Imagine if your water company worked that way: Selling pure water, and accepting contaminated. How long before the entire water system was contaminated? I think the analogy is exact.

    4. Jack

      In the end the one being trolled the most will be the one using a Eugene Stoner designed rifle, homemade or otherwise. Enjoy your jamming.

  2. fledermaus

    Re: Hilsenrath

    His response is just some CYA from his previous nonsense. Remember “Fed officials want to start raising the cost of your borrowing because they worry they’ve been giving you a free ride for too long with zero interest rates” It certainly appears that he believes the ‘free money for banks’ policy is really good for consumers, and lowers retail borrowing rates.

    If it was irony, which is a dubious description (definition: the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.) it was remarkably uninformed, showing all the cluelessness we’d expect of a financial journalist cheerleader.

    1. jsn

      Isn’t it cute the way on the ride up we’re “stingy” when we don’t indulge Finance by going further into debt, but as soon as the market turns suddenly our stinginess is rendered “profligate” and have the pain we deserve coming to us for what we couldn’t avoid?

      1. steelhead23

        Bingo. Very astute.

        A note to Lambert and Yves – how about adding those plus and minus buttons we see over at ZH?

  3. allan

    Despite Obamacare, gap health insurance market explodes

    Despite the promise of coverage through the U.S. Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of people applying for non-compliant, short-term health insurance policies was up more than 100 percent in 2014, according to new data available from companies who broker these policies.

    Hard to believe, I know.

  4. Anon

    Re: Jennings

    Now, if only if we had about 100 more reporters like him, things would be different. Also, I’m glad that I have a place like this that can really remove the blindfold with the probable/possible inevitability that is a Clinton nomination.

  5. different clue

    I am surprised and pleased to learn that some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are suspicious of the Fast Track to Obamatrade. Perhaps they are beginning to suspect that they have been Obama’s marks whom Obama has played for chumps this whole time? If they are realizing that, they may be on the road to feeling a deep and personal sense of betrayal by Obama and personal hatred for Obama as well. Who would be in a position to lead them along this road to political War, Hate and Understanding regarding the Obamanator? Is it possible that the CBC as well as the CBC’s voter base could realize that Obama was never “one of them” and never will be? And indeed was never even black but merely learned how to play black on TV?

    Every CBC vote against Fast Track is one less Tea Party vote which has to be found in the Congress against Fast Track. Now the trick is to find and support enough Tea Party Republican Congress votes against Fast Track to neutralize and nullify the Traitor Shitobamacrats. That may mean “progressives” will have to work with and maybe even under the Limbist-Beckist-etc. movement against Fast Track. Are “progressives” willing to swallow their pride in that regard? Are they ready to become LimBeck’s fellow-travelers-of-convenience on this one issue?

    1. different clue

      Another new word just occurred to me in case anyone wants to use it. Since we have reason to suspect that the Clintonites are also pro Fast Track and just lamely trying to hide it for now, perhaps we could refer to Traitor Clintobama Shitocrats? I hereby Copyleft and UNcopywrite that phrase in case anyone wants to try using it and see if they can meme-launch and viralize it.

      1. different clue

        In future I will circumlocute and/or also try avoiding such words except very rarely . . . in which case they will be circumlocuted.
        Would “Clintobama fecorats” be circumlocuitous enough?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Not sure about the rat part*, but I like “feco.” It sounds like a unit of measurement: Milli, micro, nano, feco…

          * Functionally, not from a “family blog” standpoint.

        2. hunkerdown

          “Feocrats” has the distinction of being “feo” — Spanish for ugly. Maybe Podemos would like to borrow that.

    2. Mel

      I’m not so surprised. ISTR that one of Obama’s early acts of Presidential leadership was to go beat up the Congressional Black Caucus for wanting to do things in ways that were not his. Maybe I remember wrong?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I read the post as “Gimme more.” Unfortunately for the CBC, who exemplify the Black Misleadership Class, Obama’s cupboard may be bare. Perhaps he can dole out a few Fellowships for his Presidential Library.

    4. neo-realist

      I find it rather condescending and racist that the President would offer up a deal on the “Cadillac Tax” to the CBC. Does Obama use 70’s black exploitation film as a frame of reference for the needs of black people? Does he try to engage in the latest handshakes with the CBC as well?

      1. jrs

        Probably throwing a bone to unions or thus progressives as many of those health care plans were Cadillac taxable, can’t really see the racial angle although some union members may be black.

        But Obama does have to learn about black people somewhere …

        1. neo-realist

          Oh, I forgot the Cadillac was with regard to the President’s Health Care legislation.

          However, the President thought he was dealing with a bunch of children in that he could throw the CBC some symbolic crumbs in return for getting their support for significant, if crap for Americans as a whole, trade legislation.

    5. hunkerdown

      A little night music from They Might Be Giants… Sold My Mind to the Kremlin (YouTube)

      “With no place in the processional
      and no seat in the convention hall
      I sold my mind to the Kremlin on the Fourth of July”

      “An intercom with just one button”… brilliant, as ever.

  6. hunkerdown

    Autodesk’s John Walker Explained HP and IBM in 1991 (I, Cringely). In which Walker is quoted describing the fundamentals (!) of a public stock software corporation, including why public companies favor codependent mergers over self-improving investment (because Mr. Market wants that capital expenses should be driven to zero, therefore a corporation’s profits should be used on any business except the one that produced them).

  7. alex

    Portuguese 10-year bond yields may be up but German 10-year bond yields are up a lot more so the spread is down, both today and yesterday. Looks to me like Mr. Market is getting less nervous about Greek contagion.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know I’m only looking at the one index, but I too concluded “less nervous.” You’re saying you would prefer an index of indexes, as it were?

  8. jgordon

    I like how NC is finally running positive stories about gun ownership and simultaneously spreading awareness of personal fire arms manufacturing. Seeing how easy Defense Distributed has made making a new gun, with privacy intact, intrigues me. Thanks for advertising it!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m sure you’re irony was intended, but NC runs links we disagree with all the time, as well is covering things we wish weren’t happening, but are. That ammosexuality can now be expressed through the product of a personal milling machine doesn’t strike me as a positive, and the $1500 price tag is a good indication of the sort of person at whom this technology is, er, aimed. Clue stick: Not your Walmart shelver or home health worker or taxi driver, etc.

      1. jgordon

        The corporate state and the empire is a malicious entity that’s genetically bent on exhausting every resource to sustain itself, and when that fails taking down everything and everyone with it as it sinks. I celebrate whenever the corporate state’s power is diminished in favor of the American citizenry.

        And I don’t think you should be conflating the fixed cost of a single machine with a single rifle. And I think it’s entirely possible that these unfinished receivers will become much cheaper as availability of the machine spreads. It could be very well possible that soon these unmarked and untraceable, privacy-preserving weapons will be cheaper and more widely available than the weapons available from the micro-managing authoritarian control freaks in the corporate-state complex.

        1. Carolinian

          Clearly you are one of the liberals the rightwingers are trying to mess with. As my quote from the story shows these homemade guns are just as likely to blow your own head off. I’m sure no self respecting criminal or rightwing terrorist would go near the things. It’s not like there is any shortage of professionally manufactured guns in America.

          The whole gun printing thing is just more rightwing crazie pie–a talking point. It’s not to be taken seriously. The most important part, the barrel, still has to be drilled and rifled by some high tech machinery.

          1. jgordon

            Respectfully, but you didn’t read the story very closely. I won’t dog you out for not reading since it was somewhat longish–but to be concise you’re completely wrong. The Defense Distributed-aided part performed flawlessly. After firing 40 or so rounds from his home made AR-15 the intrepid reporter then borrowed an additional 60 or so from the SWAT team practicing next to him on the range for some more testing. It was an unmitigated success.

            If your argument was that people should not produce guns at home because they are dangerous–well you no longer have to worry about that. According the journalist his homemade weapon was just as functional and safe as any produced by a manufacturer. You can have peace of mind while you advocate for citizens to produce their own means of self-protection at home now.

            1. Skippy

              A hundred rounds is not a QC check by any stretch of the imagination, additionally guns don’t make people physically safe, its only a mental perception.

              Skippy… with our laws down under guns only seem to play into criminal activity and low socioeconomic regions disputes, grudges, payback.

      2. optimader

        and the $1500 price tag is a good indication of the sort of person at whom this technology is, er, aimed

        Perfectly equivalent alternative means to the end available for less than 10% of that cost, so don’t assume any financial barrier to a motivated Walmart shever, hhc worker. Ultimately it is the intent and knowledge not the technology.
        One of dozens of examples http://www.tr-enabling.com/AR-15-tools-s/1871.htm

  9. grizziz

    What, no snark on Sirota’s IBT peice on Clinton’s gas for cash scheme? I mean Bill stumpin’ for the Foundation while Hill is providing sheikhs and dictators tear gas to pacify those freedom lovin’ Arabs fomented by the hopey changey Prez when he delivered his New Beginnings speech in June of 2009 in Cairo. For Flexian fans this is the WWF of WTF!

  10. rich

    It Rubs the Lotion On Its Skin

    “It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.”

    Buffalo Bill, The Silence of the Lambs

    “Fed officials want to start raising the cost of your borrowing because they worry they’ve been giving you a free ride for too long with zero interest rates. We listen to Fed officials all of the time here at The Wall Street Journal, and they just can’t figure you out.”

    Jon Hilsenrath, The Wall Street Journal

    So the moneyed class asks their servants to ask you, Why aren’t you out there, recovering? Are you trying to make the Fed and the Congress and the Mighty Reformer himself look bad?

    But, alas, the rest of the American public, that broad base of consumption, is living pretty much hand to mouth, with little savings to cushion any sort of shock like a sickness or major car repair, and is facing very dire prospects for their non-retirement. There are plenty of shit jobs for poverty wages if you live near a gated community of the wealthy, but that is about it.

    Is it the credibility trap, that causes the pampered princes of New York and Washington to so totally misread the public, and the actual conditions they manage and forecast for their own country? Is their blindness willful, an artifact of the credibility trap, or do they just live such sequestered, privileged lives that they have lost all contact with reality?

    So get out there and buy, and work harder, and quit your whining you stupid sods.

    Dangerous times, my friends, when the ruling class has lost even their meager sense of the public mood. And yet they always seem to be so surprised, each time they steer the economy into the ditch.


  11. Ed S.

    Lambert —

    1) Can you check the hat? I set the dropdown to an amount greater than $25 but when I clicked on the hat it defaulted to $25 and without any apparent way to change the amount.

    2) W/R/T Hilsenrath – I actually didn’t find it funny one bit — even after learning that it was supposed to be “funny”. Went from thinking “arrogant a**h**e” to “tonedeaf arrogant a**h**e”. And if this is what the FED believes — well they gotta tell the rest of the government to stop telegraphing how they’re going to screw everyone who (a) wasn’t screwed over in the GFC and (b) isn’t part of the 0.01%. Ya can’t simultaneously tell people to SPEND! in one breath, and in the next tell them how you want to eliminate Social Security and Medicare and all of the other programs people have paid into for the last 50 years.

  12. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    rEAL wORLD UPdate on the *T*P*P*, Part Two:

    The former Treasurer of the Labour Party of Australia, much reviled by the current government, went to Singapore to attempt to fight Philipp Morris’ ISDS case. That’s like John Boehner rallying to support Obama in front of some extra-national tribunal:


    So the so-called “sovereign” people of Australia are 100% united in their fight against a multi-national. They will probably lose…and so will we all.

  13. Tom Stone

    The “Ghost Gun” article is amusing to me. 80% lower recievers have been available for years and you do not need a CNC mill to finish one. They are very popular and I’m OK with that.
    Americans have been able to make their own firearms legally for several centuries and it hasn’t been a problem.
    And it isn’t now.
    Newsflash,Criminals do not obey laws.
    Does anyone in their right mind think that a violently insane person will see a sign reading “Gun Free Zone” and suddenly abandon the idea of mass murder and volunteer at a local food bank instead?
    When criminals want guns they buy stolen guns, or steal them themselves.
    Or they can pay a bent machinist to make them, P.A. Luty’s designs show up in australia quite often.
    In many countries and sometimes here in the USA they buy them from Cops or the Military ( Google “Evidence room Theft”).
    You can not disarm criminals but you can certainly disarm law abiding responsible citizens. It struck me recently that I first heard the phrase “Gun Violence” ( Which implies that an inanimate object has agency) about the same time “The Homeland” became a popular way to describe the USA.

  14. Carolinian

    Robert Parry talks about ex Georgian leader Saakashvili, now part of the neocon’s Ukraine dream team

    While cooling his heels in Brooklyn, Saakashvili fumed over charges leveled against him by prosecutors in his home country of Georgia. According to the Times profile, Saakashvili was accused of “using public money to pay for, among other things, hotel expenses for a personal stylist, hotel and travel for two fashion models, Botox injections and hair removal, the rental of a yacht in Italy and the purchase of artwork by the London artist Meredith Ostrom, who makes imprints on canvases with her naked, painted body. …

    “Mr. Saakashvili is also accused of using public money to fly his massage therapist, Dorothy Stein, into Georgia in 2009. Mr. Saakashvili said he received a massage from Ms. Stein on ‘one occasion only,’ but Ms. Stein said she received 2,000 euros to massage him multiple times, including delivering her trademark ‘bite massage.’ ‘He gave me a bunch of presents,’ said Ms. Stein, who splits her time between Berlin and Hoboken,” including a gold necklace.


    Your deep state in action–not so much House of Cards as Veep.

    1. OIFVet

      WTH is a ‘bite massage’? Ms. Stein must have omitted the pearl necklace Mishka gave her out of modesty, sounds like. No, definitely not Veep, more like Real Kitschy Puppets of the Caucuses

    2. Brindle

      NY Observer article points out that the appointment of Saakashvili is partially meat to poke at Putin:

      — Alexander Cooley, the incoming director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute (who has written a few articles with me), expressed a similar concern, “Rather than getting on with the difficult internal process of reforming Ukrainian institutions, this move sends geopolitical signals that the Ukrainian government is thinking more about ideology, image and positioning in the eyes of certain western actors, rather than governance.” Mr. Cooley also cautioned, “Its the equivalent of waving a red cape to a Russian bull that’s about to start charging again.”—


    3. Jack

      Veep is a much more accurate vision of how our government actually ‘functions’ anyway. House of Cards is the cool, slick, sexy (and pretentious) version that the Beltway wishes was reality.

  15. optimader


    : failed after I sent the message.
    Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn’t have a yahoo.com account (lambert_strether2006@yahoo.com) [0] – mta1135.mail.gq1.yahoo.com

  16. Jim Haygood

    Nice to the see the Tenth Amendment get a shout out. Unfortunately, it was nullified in 1941 by a Supreme Court scared into submission by Roosevelt’s court-packing plan of five years earlier:

    The federal government was a government of only limited and enumerated powers, not a general government of plenary powers. This inconvenient truth was removed from Constitutional jurisprudence by the Supreme Court in 1941 (United States v. Darby), with the claim that the Tenth Amendment was merely a “truism” or “tautology,” that it merely said that “all is retained which has not been surrendered.”


    Just cause though it may be, opponents of TPP can’t resuscitate the moldy corpse of the Tenth Amendment. Too late, it’s gone!

    The ‘living constitution,’ moldable like Play-Doh in the hands of folks with partisan agendas, put paid to all that. And the Patriot Act buried what was left of the constitution at the crossroads, with a stake driven through its heart.

  17. JM Hatch

    Repost: (I could not find the thread on Bernie Sanders, so it’s going here)

    While Bernie has my vote, this is one of those critical areas where he was missing in action, playing nice to Obama, and it makes me wince. (His foreign policy is to pro-war for my taste, but here I will give ground and not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. After all Bernie could wise up on with the right staff and a budget of more than peanuts.) However, his not pressing Mary Jo White, or Obama, for her non-performance and cuddling of thieves is much more serious, it is a particularly key area of his platform.

    New comment:
    Thirty years ago, SS. Clinton was steaming the rapids of “Whitewater”, a few deaths and much money poured oil on the waters and they safely squeezed through. As to Bernie, shame on him for trying to think outside the box while bell bottoms were still in vogue.

  18. JTMcPhee

    All this stuff about us “consumers” not fixing the Economy. Maybe someone can document where all the REAL WEALTH that is whatever ” recovery” has happened was created by? The jobs, such as they are? The size and character of the grey and black political economies that seem to be like the dark matter that invisibly makes up what, 96% of the mass of the universe?

    Is there a model that quantifies fear, pain, loss, suffering, illness, insecurity, to put up against the standard measures of performance that econofoggers flag for us as signs of “recovery?” As a lawyer, I could put a price on “hedonic damages” and suchlike. Where are the numbers and stories that speak to that enormous jury out there, primed, it might seem, to “do a little justice”?

  19. william fleming

    I read on your site daily and recommend it to those few who show real concern for what’s been going on in this country for some time. But being a sawmill worker, I just don’t feel I have much to offer by way of critique or elaboration on the discussion. I swallow nothing whole, but feel ya’ll make accessible much I could not easily find for myself, and find the posts very helpful for making some sense of a most confusing situation. Don’t mistake my silence as indifference-much of what is being discussed here has concerned me since the early 1980’s. Being working class, as very few of your audience seems to be, I can tell you that you may never know what your efforts may inspire, but don’t on that account despair. Thank you for your help, and please continue as long as you can-with appreciation, William.

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