2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


G7 Leaders Declaration: “We welcome progress on major ongoing trade negotiations, including on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), [and] the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) … We will make every effort to finalize negotiations on the TPP as soon as possible… We will immediately accelerate work on all TTIP issues” [White House].

“The fight over fast-track trade authority is coming to a head, with a House vote possible as early as Thursday” [The Hill].

“House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and other GOP leaders have not yet committed to bringing up Trade Promotion Authority by week’s end, a sign that while pro-trade leaders in the House are closing in on the 217 ayes they need to pass the bill, the contentious vote remains very close” [Politico]. Ron Kind (Wisconsin) is the lead Democrat whipping for the legislation (that is, Pelosi’s straw).

Congressional Black Caucus: “Even for a president who desperately needs them, on an issue he desperately wants, many of Obama’s most loyal foot soldiers are expected to abandon him” [Christian Science Monitor].

“Chocolate makers accused of leveraging ‘loophole’ on child slavery” [Confectionary News]. Right now, 19 U.S. Code § 1307 prohibits importation of goods made by slave labor, except when “goods, wares, articles, or merchandise so mined, produced, or manufactured” cannot be made in sufficient quantities in the US to meet domestic demand. However, this pro-slavery provision could not be abolished without setting up a trade barrier, so TPP would freeze it in place. Another way of looking at the TPP, I suppose, is that if Lincoln’s United States had signed the TPP, it would have had to compensate British cotton manufacturers for “lost profits” from passing the Fourteenth Amendment.

Op-Ed: “I truly believe that James Madison and many of the Founding Fathers would be completely disgusted by this entire issue. They would likely be incredulous that Congress would so willingly sign away its constitutional authority” [News-Advance]. The author is chair of the Virginia Tea Party Federation. And he’s right.

Rand Paul: “To me, it’s kind of you put the cart before the horse to give the permission to do something you haven’t seen” [The Hill].

“The AFL-CIO, along with some public sector unions, announced a campaign finance freeze in March” “over a package of trade bills being debated in Congress” [Roll Call]. “[T]he freeze is frustrating and alienating plenty of House Democrats, many of whom say they are being punished even though they have been critical of the issue.” No. The Democrats as a party need to repudiate TPA/TPP/TTIP/TiSA. Otherwise, they get to play the revolving heroes game. The AFL-CIO is quite right on this; the whining Democrats should bring pressure to bear on their leadership, not the unions.

“The Communications Workers of America says it will steal majority-female jobs from low wage workplaces like call centers, as well as higher wage sectors such as human resources” [HuffPo].

Does the TPP contain provisions that corporations can use to force us to privatize “public” things like our Post Office, public schools, public roads etc., so they can replace them with profit-making enterprises that provide a return only to the wealthy few? [CAF]. Simple Answers to Simple Questions: Yes. In fact, that’s the whole point.

TISA: “The leaked draft language, proposed by the U.S. and several other countries, states that a government may not prevent a foreign services company ‘from transferring, [accessing, processing or storing] information, including personal information, within or outside the Party’s territory.’ Essentially, this says that privacy protections could be treated as barriers to trade” [Slate].

“Unlike their counterparts on the right, however, the left has generally been less willing to primary Democrats on ideological grounds” [The New Republic]. Which is why Obama and a small minority of Democratic traitors in the Senate, along with Pelosi and perhaps 17 House Democrats, can sell the country down the river.



Sanders: “Let me tell you a secret: We’re going to win New Hampshire” [Keene Sentinel].

Wisconsin straw poll, at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention: Sanders, 41%; Clinton, 49% [Politico]. Speculating freely, Wisconsin Democrats remember quite well how the national Democrats threw them under the bus on the Walker recall. “The attendees at events like the state Democratic convention are the dedicated activists” [ABC].

“Tanned, Exquisitely Coiffed Bernie Sanders Tells Supporters Corporations Actually Have A Lot To Offer” [The Onion].

The S.S. Clinton

“Hillary Clinton is planning about a dozen speeches and announcements in the coming months on social and economic policy, aides say, with topics that include college affordability, women’s pay equity and Wall Street regulation” [Wall Street Journal, “Clinton to Roll Out Policy Ideas in Series of Speeches”]. That’s the lead? Yes. Yes it is. It’s a Presidential campaign, so one would expect speeches, even on policy. Clinton campaign spokeshole:

“It’s a long campaign, and she’ll be taking the coming weeks and months to explain her vision how to continue building an economy that allows everyday Americans to get and stay ahead.”

Translation: Clinton still wrapped in tissue paper, rather like a fragile art object. I mean, seriously. Think of what the country’s been through since the Crash of 2008. And Clinton doesn’t have “a vision”?

Clinton “called in to a convention of low-wage workers” to support their effort for a $15 minimum wage [WaPo]. She phoned it in?!

Clinton on the vote: “‘So today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,’ [Clinton] said in a speech in Houston. ‘What part of democracy are they afraid of?’ She charged them with promoting a ‘phantom epidemic of election fraud.'” [Wall Street Journal, ” Hillary Clinton Takes First Swings at GOP Rivals”]. Right on all counts, fifteen years after Jebbie tried to steal Florida 2000 for his brother, a period in which Democrats have been entirely supine.

Squillionaire Soros funding Democrats’ voting rights lawsuits [New York Times]. So it makes sense that Clinton’s first major speech is on this topic, eh? And the Democrats are so strapped they couldn’t have funded such lawsuits all by their own selves?

Republican Principled Insugents

Iowa: Walker says his 2003 Harley had bullet hole decals [Wall Street Journal, “Republican Presidential Hopefuls Vie for Voter Attention at Iowa ‘Roast and Ride’”]. Fake bullet holes, rather like his fake claims to be threatened by protesters.

Critique of the campaign logos [Bloomberg]. Rubio uses a map of the United States as the dot in the “i” of his logo. Hmm.

Republican Clown Car

Lindsay Graham: “If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a Republican, she is welcome in my party” [Us]. Good for him!

Iowa voter: “Rick Santa-something? … Rick Sanitarium” [Kansas City Star]. No, no. That’s not right at all.

Staff turmoil in the Carson campaign [WaPo].

Facebook: “[A]s much as 72 percent of the new material your friends and subscribed pages post never actually shows up in your News Feed” [WaPo].

Herd on the Street

“Kozmo pioneered the idea of same hour delivery in 1998, fifteen years before its time. Kozmo pioneered the idea of raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year long before it became fashionable, even normal to do so. Kozmo nailed the practice of scaling while your unit economics are upside down. They took that practice into almost twenty markets before the capital markets turned on them and there wasn’t money available to incinerate anymore” [Fred Wilson, AVC].

Stats Watch

Portuguese 10-year bonds: “GSPT10YR:IND Yield 2.985; up 0.036; change: 1.22% ” [Bloomberg]. Going up. Mr. Market more worried about contagion, though only mildly.

“The budget deficit is now looking too small to sustain growth, as evidenced by the incoming data over the last 6 months” [Mosler Economics]. Headwinds for Democrats in 2016….

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Brief and Tragic Life of Kalief Browder” [The Atlantic]. Commits suicide after being sent to Rikers in 2010 for a crime he didn’t commit.

“Ferguson Police Department from interim chief’s point of view” [Los Angeles Times]. Wild stuff, some of it utterly unmoored from reality.

“Skyscrapers and Everything” [Paris Review].

“Why We Be Loving the ‘Habitual Be'” [Slate].

Korean MERS Outbreak

Bird flu in the U.S., MERS in Korea…

“More than 2,500 people remain quarantined, either at home or in health facilities. And more than 1,800 schools remain closed” [CNN].

“[E]xperts do not consider this outbreak, in which all cases are hospital-associated, to have pandemic potential or even expect it to spread further within South Korea” [Nature]. Five reasons why.

“MERS becomes increasingly less contagious as it is spread from one person to the next. In Korea those infected by patient 1, the “super spreader,” have in turn infected relatively few third generation MERS cases” [Voice of America].

“Health officials have linked all of the cases in South Korea to the 68-year-old man, whose MERS diagnosis came nine days after he initially sought medical help” [The Australian].

“[T]he man visited doctors and moved around medical facilities in South Korea from May 11 to 20 looking for answers for his symptoms—and apparently transmitting the potentially fatal virus to at least 30 people, including medical staff, fellow patients and hospital visitors” [Wall Street Journal, “South Korea MERS Outbreak Began With a Cough”].

“Hong Kong upgraded to ‘serious’ on Monday its response to an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea” [Reuters].

“For the people who fought Toronto’s devastating SARS outbreak in 2003, the news out of South Korea right now sounds eerily familiar” [CTV].


“Justice Department probes banks for rigging Treasuries market” [New York Post]. At this point, wouldn’t it be easier to make a list of markets that aren’t rigged?

Class Warfare

“[T]he conditions that attend poverty—what a National Scientific Council report summarized as “overcrowding, noise, substandard housing, separation from parent(s), exposure to violence, family turmoil,” and other forms of extreme stress—can be toxic to the developing brain, just like drug or alcohol abuse” [The New Yorker]. That’s not a bug….

News of the Wired

  • What happened to the “the stentorian, phony-British Announcer Voice that dominated newsreel narration”? [The Atlantic].
  • “The Dark Enlightenment: The Creepy Internet Movement You’d Better Take Seriously” [Vocativ]. “Its belief system is unapologetically reactionary, almost feudal.” In Silicon Valley. Naturally. See also on Technocracy, Inc. [Wired].
  • Seventy-year-old Xia Yunchen at Chinese press conference after Chinese cruise ship capsized: “You view the common people as if we are all your enemy. We are tax payers. We support the government. You had better change your notion of this relationship. You are here to serve us. You need to be humane” [Reuters]. Good for her.

* * *

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 first of Gardens, Week Six (Andrea):


I’m not much of a one for cactus succulents, or cactus succulents in Maine, but I suppose the rocks serve as a sort of mulch to preserve the heat of the sun?

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

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


(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. diptherio

    That’s not a cactus, but some variety of succulent, if my eyes don’t deceive me.

  2. diptherio

    Am I not paying attention, or has there been no mention of the fact that an anti-eviction activist, who has publicly declared criminal bankers criminals, heading a commons-based political party has just recently become the mayor of a Barcelona. Seems like the kind of thing that would get more play on NC…just sayin’. So, I’ll try to kickstart a little interest once more:



      1. diptherio

        You are very welcome!

        Just read another report on successful commoning in Maine…this time in the form of a Community Supported Fishery (like a CSA for fish) in Port Clyde. Who knew Maine was so hip? (well, you probably…)

  3. JustSayKnow

    re chocolate The more that is revealed about these so called trade bills the more disgusting they become.
    I took a look over at Huffington Post Sunday night and noticed there was not one front page post (and it’s a big page) regarding fast track/tpp. Shame. The fix is in.

  4. Stephen V.

    Harper’s Cover Story for its Jan. 2015 issue went into the insane dystopia / Dark Enlightenment you mention. The article is paywalled but well worth seeking out:

    “We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” The apocalyptic libertarians whose dogmatically rational and technocentric subculture Sam Frank investigates this month are much nicer than Star Trek villains, but their confidence is comparable. Frank summarizes their view of the world: “Our whole society was sick—root, branch, and memeplex—and rationality was the only cure.” Frank’s travels take him from the dark corners of the Internet—he speaks with the founder of a website whose members include “a grab bag of former libertarians, ethnonationalists, Social Darwinists, scientific racists, patriarchists, pickup artists, and atavistic ‘traditionalists’ . . . plumping variously for fascism or monarchism or corporatism or rule by an all-powerful gold-seeking alien named Fnargl who will free the markets and stabilize everything else”—to sunny California, where he attends a workshop held by the Center for Applied Rationality. There, the focus is on productivity; politics, he writes, are viewed as “tribal and viscerally upsetting.” He discovers our would-be computing overlords are (of course) mostly male and lacking in imagination. But he also finds reason for hope.

      1. jrs

        Ha Justine Turney, didn’t they try to tell us originally that the only reason they work for google is “I really needed money, and health insurance and stuff so I had join the system …”. Though you have to question how dire the economic prospects really are for someone who can get hired at Google (unwilling to earn less than 6 figures?), but fine, if you say so.

        Only people might understand “keep your head down and keep your job”, but promoting your CEO for dictator of the U.S. is a whole other matter and not just “poor me, I needed a job desperately”. What fakes these people are.

    1. Pepsi

      The dark enlightenment is really funny. They’re an assorted bunch of fascist libertarian clowns.

      Imagine if carpenters all decided that all the people in the world who didn’t know about dovetailing were ignorant fools who should be ruled by the noble t square men. That’s essentially the same as IT workers deciding they’re an ennobled class.

    2. jrs

      “Its members are loud and growing in number, and they demand nothing less than the elimination of the democratic system”

      You mean they support the TPP?

      Isn’t the elimination of all democratic accountability very near a done deal anyway? They’re railing against something that doesn’t exist.

      Distaste for mass culture? By which we mean what? Entertainment industry culture? Join the crowd. Smash your television.

      It’s not hard to see what people find so disastrous about modern society if you’ve read any social criticism. But most of that set of followers sound young and misguided, the leaders, may be another matter.

  5. Anon

    Re: Facebook

    Paragraph of the day:

    Anyway, none of this is inherently bad or nefarious. In fact, for the casual, social Facebook user, it’s probably really good. The problem is that more and more people are using Facebook for more and more important things — like informing how they vote — without entirely understanding how it works.

    Selective screening is good, wealth of information is bad! That could explain why some of the articles I grab from here don’t get a lot of traction…

  6. Marianne Jones

    “MERS becomes increasingly less contagious as it is spread from one person to the next. In Korea those infected by patient 1, the super spreader, have in turn infected relatively few third generation MERS cases.”

    My reading seemed to indicated that more recorded tertiary MERS infections have occurred in Korea than anywhere else in the world. In comparison to measles, the VOA statement is true, but looking at MERS history globally, the numbers of tertiary infections in Korea is notable.

    Would be interesting to figure out what is special about the SK outbreak to allow for as many tertiary infections to have occurred.

  7. Fool

    If Hillary spends the next 16 months (#reverse?) dog-whistling I may just vote for the other guy/gal — out of spite.

      1. Ulysses

        The people who want to continue to be Villagers with a “seat at the table,” like Mr. Nichols, will always denigrate Bernie Sander’s chances– feeling that only a corporatist like O’Malley are “realistic” candidates. Sigh… all of this electoral kayfabe merely buys time for the kleptocrats to put the finishing touches on their global system with TPP, TTIP, TISA, etc.

        Upton Sinclair, 1934: “I have believed all my life in democracy, the right and ability of the people to govern themselves.”

        I still believe that we can recover government for the people, by the people, and of the people. This national electoral kayfabe is severely testing my faith!

        1. Carolinian

          The people who want to continue to be Villagers with a “seat at the table,” like Mr. Nichols, will always denigrate Bernie Sander’s chances– feeling that only a corporatist like O’Malley are “realistic” candidates

          Try reading the article. He doesn’t say anything like that. But I am impressed with your noble sentiments.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        FWIW, if there’s a sheep dog (collusive Democrat) it’s O’Malley. Not that I don’t like some of the more populist verbiage. Note that O’Malley’s after “the youth vote”; in other words, Democratic identity politicsl. Sanders doesn’t talk that way at all, another sign he’s outside the norm.

        1. Carolinian

          Nichols is just profiling candidates and also did one on Sanders. As I’ve said I think the sheepdog thing is a bad analogy in general. That said, O’Malley fits my main requirement (anyone but Hillary). That doesn’t mean I’d vote for him in the general. I do think the political scene is desperately in need of fresh faces.

  8. C

    “The AFL-CIO, along with some public sector unions, announced a campaign finance freeze in March” “over a package of trade bills being debated in Congress” [Roll Call]. “[T]he freeze is frustrating and alienating plenty of House Democrats, many of whom say they are being punished even though they have been critical of the issue.” No. The Democrats as a party need to repudiate TPA/TPP/TTIP/TiSA. Otherwise, they get to play the revolving heroes game. The AFL-CIO is quite right on this; the whining Democrats should bring pressure to bear on their leadership, not the unions.

    I agree wholeheartedly. The Democrats have become all too skilled at playing the game of revolving heroes as have the Republicans. While it may grind the individual reps to be punished for their party they choose to back it and unless they pay a cost for doing so things will not change.

    1. C

      The Roll call article has some interesting contrasts. From the “labor is a meanie” side we have:

      During the closed-door meeting, Pelosi made it clear she has already expressed her concern about the AFL-CIO tactics directly to the people who need to hear it. But Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., chairman of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, said later Wednesday he was still worried leadership wasn’t prepared to go far enough to shield members from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who he referred to as “the bully.”

      “We certainly overall represent labor’s interests,” Schrader told CQ Roll Call. “We’re solid on labor issues and to have this become a litmus test for one individual issue, I think that’s demeaning.”

      Apparently it is “demeaning” to withhold funding from people who are “overall” with you based upon the most important issue of the legislative agenda. Labor must just pay and like it or they are “bullies.”

      On the actual rational side, however we have:

      Meanwhile, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, suggested Democrats ought not to complain about the funding freeze — or be surprised, at that.

      “Here’s the deal,” Grijalva said on Wednesday. “Everybody goes to the well of labor when they’re running for office in terms of contributions. … Early on in this process, anybody around in the last session knew that with [trade] coming up, that was going to be a litmus test, and so to say now that labor is being mean or over the top in terms of their criticisms of Democrats who are going to vote for [TPA] is kind of like a late realization when you’ve already taken the money and the support.”

      That seems a bit more logical to me.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Kurt Schrader mis-represents the next district over. I need to call him and tell him our plans to spoil his race if we possibly can – and we’re asking the unions to help.

        The question: how much ammunition do you want to give us?

    2. Kim Kaufman

      I told my the phone answerer at Congress Critter Adam Schiff’s office last week it wasn’t OK for him to just say he would vote against fast track – he also had to come out against TPP and work on the rest of his party to oppose it. The phone answerer was taken aback by my upped demand – but Schiff is listening because he’s a “former” Blue Dog in a much more lefty district now.

      1. C

        I’ve been using much the same tactic in my calls both to my Reps and to the Senate. The screener at one senate office was actually quite prepped for that but he had already been publicly against it. The aide at the other office who backs it seemed shocked that I wasn’t calling up to say thanks.

        At the House level they have clearly been bothered by the calls because they are no longer transferring me to the aide on the topic but are now screening at the door. My own rep has promised “a statement soon” but I am not holding my breath.

      2. different clue

        It really is important to obstruct and defeat Fast Track in and of itself, because Fast Track is the laxative designed to speed TPP’s passage through the Legisfecal Excretion Process. If Fast Track itself is prevented, then there is a better chance of killing TPP and every other ugly reared head of Obamatrade through the “death of a thousand cutting ammendments”.

        Obama and the Free Trade Treasonists know that very well. That is why they are so desperate to get the Fast Track itself passed. So killing Fast Track itself would make the abortioning of Obamatrade agreements much much easier.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      AFL-TPP: the very idea of the people who do the actual work being organized and having even the slightest say in their destinies (unions) has been completely demonized in the US. Started with “what’s good for GM is good for the country”, then via Reagan’s air traffic controllers, and now is received wisdom across the political spectrum: union = BAD.
      Contrast to Germany where every company *by law* must have a representative of the workers on the *board of directors*. Oh, look, when they want to launch a new product they get input from the guys on the shop floor who will actually build the damned thing, how quaint. Our CEOs couldn’t give a damn about the workers, they just want to have lunch with that Wall Street guy again so he can figure out new ways to asset strip the company, buy back overpriced stock, pay out a fat dividend, and earn 320x the guys doing the work.
      With corporate profits reaching new highs daily, all their cash hoarded and uninvested in plant or people, and multi-national fascism/TPP on the verge…isn’t it time Americans had a rethink about that dirty word called “labor”?
      You have nothing to lose but your chains.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      It looks to me like they’re teeing up a narrative of labor as losers. Gawd knows I hold no brief for the national labor unions (as opposed to the locals) but there are more forces at play here than that.

  9. C

    The CS Monitor article on the Congressional Black Caucus has some interesting points. The first I note is that they spend all of their time focusing on Fast Track for the TPP when half of the problem is that this is a blank check for all “trade” deals not just this one.

    The article is also fascinating as it contains some interesting sniping at labor for daring to oppose this. For example:

    Meeks lays the blame for the president’s tough slog squarely at the feet of organized labor and the “heavy, heavy lobbying” by the AFL-CIO. Some members, he says, committed to labor to oppose fast track last year, and now that they’ve seen the facts, they wish they had not made that commitment. Others, he said, are still weighing the politics versus the facts. “They’re agonized,” he says.

    It is interesting how it is framed as “politics” versus “facts”. Almost as if they want to make it a fight about the one thing they control.

    Members are complaining about hardball labor threats to fund primary campaigns against those who side with the president on trade – or, at least, to withhold campaign funds and support. African Americans, many representing low-income districts, are particularly dependent on labor contributions, and the president has promised to help supporters who may face a primary challenge.

    Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) of Louisiana has said that labor is going overboard and may face a backlash among House members. And yet, he seems to agree with their argument, citing stagnant wages, high unemployment, and income inequality as reasons he may vote against fast track.

    Meeks is clearly a mouthpiece on this issue. Interestingly earlier in the article he complains about members of congress not being correct and is quoted as saying:

    “What I’m trying to do is see if we can talk about the actual facts,” says Congressman Meeks in an interview.

    Without claiming to speak for others I would say that I agree with that call. And once the administration deigns to release the actual text and to permit us access to “the facts” then we can have the discussion that they say they want.

  10. Kim Kaufman

    Squillionaire Soros funding Democrats’ voting rights lawsuits [New York Times]. So it makes sense that Clinton’s first major speech is on this topic, eh? And the Democrats are so strapped they couldn’t have funded such lawsuits all by their own selves?

    In Los Angeles, the Advancement Project, which also funds voting rights lawsuits, has their own squillionaire, Molly Munger, liberal daughter? sister? of Charles (of Warren Buffet empire). Plenty of money there but they’re just putting out fires, not dealing with overall problem.

  11. Gerard Pierce

    “Op-Ed: “I truly believe that James Madison and many of the Founding Fathers would be completely disgusted by this entire issue.”

    Benjamin Franklin’s opinion is well known, and is printed several hundred times each year. And each time it is quoted, it is immediately forgotten.

    1. different clue

      Well, it is remembered by the people who quote it. And if it is quoted yet again enough thousands of times, it might start getting remembered by some of the people hearing it enough thousands of times. So there is no reason to stop quoting it.

  12. hunkerdown

    Dmitry Orlov once suggested that, while human languages can’t bar one from entertaining certain mental concepts, they certainly can compel one to entertain them. It is understood that fluency in a second language requires a certain level of fluency with the ideologies of its native speakers. Being heavy with prepositions, English forces a speaker or reader to contemplate the nature of relationships between just about any object referenced in the very process of speaking or reading. That is, English has a built-in pecking order that is apparently reproduced or conserved in Anglophone societies, perhaps because so few see a personal benefit in learning any other and hence miss out the benefits.

    The habitual tense seems to be a standard feature of other languages, such as Spanish, whose conflation of “in” and “on” is marginally famous to any English speaker who’s taken a semester of it.

    From this angle, can the fundamental attribution error be analyzed as the consequence of a linguistic infacility to distinguish habits from observations? Or can we lay the blame at the feet of Aristotle (“We are what we repeatedly do”)? Not that it hasn’t been clear from not only their actions but their timing that Slate be trippin’.

  13. afisher

    Squillioniare Soros – spending $5M for the lawsuits Not even interesting number, when compared with the known squillionaires of the GOP. 2 brothers say $899M. Math.

  14. Carolinian

    From the Politico story on fast track

    Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland have said they are committed to finding a “path to yes.” But they have otherwise refused to signal which way they are leaning on fast-track

    So they are whipping for the bill but they are too shifty to even say if they are for it? Your Dem leadership in a nutshell. Maybe one reason the Republicans do far better than they should is that when it comes to Democrats nobody still believes a word that they say.

    Also, why do I have a sinking feeling that this is going to pass. So much deja vu…..

  15. Eureka Springs

    I’m amazed that the AFLCIO has been holding money back for three months and yet news of it is just now getting out. Of course as soon as the House vote is over Labor will be back on bended knee with contributions in hand and a seat at the particle board made in China table.

    1. Ulysses

      Some of the Labor “misleadership” class will probably do as you suggest. My brothers and sisters in TDU, otoh, are so done with the corporatist Democrats it ain’t even funny.

    2. C

      I’m not so sure. Certainly for years Labor has been like the religious right. All too willing to run back once their party says that “they’ve changed.” But Trumka doesn’t seem like as much of a fool and the new rising generation of labor people have no ties whatsoever to the old D order. And those are the people that actually made Seattle’s minimum wage happen.

      I think that this is getting news now for the same reason that Obama is now turning on Warren in public. They are offended that anyone is challenging them, and perhaps a bit scared that they might lose.

      And really they are right to be. Even if they “win” and pass the TPP the party needs the kind of foot traffic that Labor brings and the kind of knee-jerk support that many give them. But things like this and Obama’s dismissive attitude towards Civil Liberties is threatening all of that. That’s why they see Trumka as a “bully” because for once someone is standing up to them.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        First Fast Track, then TPP. If Obama does make the text public, a huge 60 day battle. Followed, I would certainly hope, by court cases. How is surrendering national sovereignty constitutional?

        1. frosty zoom

          When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for our corporations to dissolve the labour and environmental regulations which have caused untold wealth to be unaccumulated, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the supreme court had entitled us, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind means nothing when confronted with isds arbitration.

          We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all profits are created equal, that they are endowed by fast track authority with certain inalienable rights, that among these are my way or the highway, serfdom for thee and the pursuit of more yachts.

          1. craazyboy

            hahaha. Too as well, how are corporations people???

            No Taxation With Representation!

            There. Everything fixed. Have a banana. We deserve it!

  16. RUKidding

    Don’t know how to do links from my phone but NPR had brief news report re CalPERS dropping the “more expensive” investment vehicles because not paying off. Mentioned dropping hedge funds but not PE.

    Go NC! Someone may be paying attention.

  17. Phil

    I think Hillary might be holding back to protect her energy and health. I’m not big on some of her past moves, nor am I confident that she would be that much better than Obama. That said, I would hold my nose and vote for her just because she’s NOT any one of the clown car GOP candidates.

    I’m pulling for Sanders, who I think has more of a chance than many think. His rhetoric resonates with the key problem vectors that most voters – left and right – are feeling in their respective gut – left and right…excepting some key policy stances (abortion, women’s rights) that are hot button issues for the right. There’s a lot about Bernie Sanders that even a Tea Party voter would like. It’s going to be interesting.

  18. Oregoncharles

    ““Unlike their counterparts on the right, however, the left has generally been less willing to primary Democrats on ideological grounds””

    Again: that isn’t the Left.
    That’s the suckers.

    And that’s why you need an alternative party, to “primary” them in November,w hen it counts.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Surely there’s a “left” that is neither Green nor Democratic loyalist. And oddly, the Greens that I read — and this comment, too — seem to be converging that the appeal of the Green Party is that they’re not one of the two existing parties. Which is all very well, except for being (a) utterly Inside Baseball — where are the concrete material benefits to voters? — and (b) Lesser Evilism. “You can’t beat something with nothing.”

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