2:00PM Water Cooler 7/14/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

In my post on Clinton’s speech, I had explained that I was opening comments there because I didn’t hit the 2:00PM mark for Water Cooler, and readers would expect to be able to comment, somewhere, at 2:00. Unfortunately, the system had other ideas, and the version of the post with that explanation disappeared, along with the announcement that I would post a “Clinton-shortened” Water Cooler post later in the day. So here is the 2:00PM Water Cooler, at 5:24PM. And now to try Neem Oil on my poor, suffering cucumbers. –lambert


List of traitors in House and Senate, with phone numbers. Hat tip, reader Vatch. Be sure to visit them when they return to the district. If a traitor is mentioned in Water Cooler, their name is in bold. (A reader helpfully sent me an updated version with phone numbers which I will install shortly!)

“Both the House and Senate had exactly the number of votes needed — and not one more — because they knew everyone who voted for the unpopular Fast Track risked their political career” [Bud Myers]. It’s the least we can do. See the list above, and brighten the corner where you are.

“Below is a list of 605 corporate advisers who have been allowed access to the TPP text” (as of 2102) [Flush the TPP!]

TISA and open source: “TISA has the potential for the most widespread impact, with Europe, the U.S., and many more countries negotiating in secret. A recent leak included a particularly nefarious term: a prohibition on governmental mandates for free software. Article 6 states that “No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory” [Free Software Foundation].

TPP and WTO: “The main goal of the U.S. and friends is to clear a path in the WTO to introduce a dangerous set of new issues that correspond to their agenda in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)” [HuffPo].



“Self-styled socialist candidate Bernie Sanders often avoids the personal politics of race. After all, he serves a mainly white working-class constituency in Vermont and his most radical ideas are about the economy (tax the rich), education (make college free) and healthcare (institute single payer)” [Latin Times]. On the other hand, won’t making college free and single payer benefit the marginalized — however marginalized — disproportionately?

“What Sanders proposes is a reasonable equilibrium between public goods and private interests, one that existed for much of the 20th century. He doesn’t want to change America so much as make it work in ways it once did. The hysteria surrounding his candidacy is manufactured, a ploy to marginalize his voice, which is much more mainstream than his opponents would have you believe” [Salon].

Sanders on groaf: “Unchecked growth – especially when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent – is absurd,” he said. “Where we’ve got to move is not growth for the sake of growth, but we’ve got to move to a society that provides a high quality of life for all of our people. In other words, if people have health care as a right, as do the people of every other major country, then there’s less worry about growth” [WaPo]. Clinton’s speech is quite a contrast!

“The public skepticism of Sanders’ bid reflects how rapidly he’s gone from peripheral figure in the Senate to serious factor in the 2016 primary.” [Politico]. This wording implies that skepticism about Sanders comes from the public, rather an being expressed in public by a gaggle of Clintonistas from Politico’s Rolodex.

“If Mr. Sanders did build a coalition of working-class voters, it would look a lot different from the coalitions assembled by recent liberal Democratic primary candidates. It would be positioned to do far better among Hispanic, black and less educated white voters than recent anti-establishment Democratic challengers, like Barack Obama, Howard Dean, Bill Bradley and Jerry Brown” [New York Times].

The S.S. Clinton

Economic speech: See here at NC.

Economic speech: “Clinton is asking America’s progressives to trust her. She is offering sentiment without specifics” [Gawker].

Economic speech: “[Clinton] did not talk about expanding Social Security, she did not call for raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, and she did not explicitly disapprove of President Obama’s trade deals with Pacific Rim nations and Europe” [WaPo]. Plus she thinks problems in capital allocation can be solved if only banksters with hearts of gold gather together. Let us know how that works out.

Economic speech: Clinton’s $1,500 tax credit for hiring workers: “[S]ome Democratic lawmakers and liberal economists say the tax credits don’t provide the jobs they are designed to deliver” [Bloomberg]. And this is about the only specific we have.

Poll: “Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential field with 17%, followed by Jeb Bush at 14%, Scott Walker at 8%, Ted Cruz at 6%, Marco Rubio at 5%, Ben Carson at 4%, Mike Huckabee at 4% and Chris Christie at 3%” [Suffolk University]. Part of me says: “Pass the popcorn!” Another part of me says isn’t “We can control him” what German conservatives thought in the 30s?

Israelis give their marching orders on Iran deal [The Hill]. Hey, now that the Republican caucus is running their own foreign policy, maybe they can invite Netanyhu back to give another speech in the Capitol!

Republican Establishment

“U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday said a new nuclear agreement with Iran was a ‘dangerous, deeply flawed and short sighted deal'” [Reuters].

Republican Principled Insurgents

“Rubio’s burn rate is around 19 percent, which is low, and suggests he’s running a streamlined campaign that’s not bleeding money on consultants and staffers. His campaign released a cash-on-hand figure, which suggests they’re proud of this” [National Review].

Walker: “The left claims they’re for American workers, and they’ve got lame ideas, things like minimum wage” [Politico].

“If Democratic turnout in Wisconsin’s three biggest counties had been at presidential-election-year levels, Walker would have struggled to win reelection as governor” [National Journal]. Yeah, too bad the national Democrats didn’t lift a finger to help the Wisconsin Democrats. How hard could it have been to cut a check for a GOTV operation?

Republican Clown Car

“[Christie] aides officially pushed New Jersey’s subsidies to corporations over the $6 billion mark — a record. One of the tranches of public money was a $40 million package of tax incentives to a firm founded by real estate mogul Murray Kushner, who has delivered more than $125,000 to Christie’s campaigns and to state Republicans since 2009” [International Business Times]. Christie really does give zero f***ks.

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, June 2015: “Small business optimism fell very sharply in June” [Bloomberg]. “Today’s report, like the June employment report, could be a surprise signal for slowing ahead. ”

Retail Sales, June 2015 “The second-quarter suddenly doesn’t look very strong as retail sales for June, showing broad weakness, came in way below expectations” [Bloomberg]. But “Our view is that this month’s data has improved the rolling averages” [EconIntersect].

Business Inventories, May 2015: “Rose modestly in May in line with sales”  [Bloomberg]. “Looks to me like business is likely to be cutting output to reduce inventories” [Mosler Economics].

“Now five of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are signaling Fed headquarters that their directors want the discount rate to go up, the Fed said Tuesday, a sign of growing impatience with the zero-rate environment that Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last week is likely to change this year” [Market News].

“[F]our misperceptions have pushed Treasury bond yields to levels that represent significant value for long-term investors. … The most widely held view of these four misperceptions is that the poor performance of the U.S. economy thus far in 2015 is due to transitory factors. As those conditions fade, the economy will strengthen, sparking inflation and causing bond yields to move even higher. The premise is not compelling, as there is solid evidence of a persistent shift towards lower growth” [Econintersect].

“Investors ramped up their cash holdings in July to the highest level since the global financial crisis in 2008 as China’s stock market plunged and the Greek crisis reached boiling point, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday [Reuters].  Monthly Bank of America Merrill Lynch poll of 191 fund managers survey.

“Mapping the market” [China Economic Review]. Mapping provinces by stock market exposure.

Class Warfare

“Survivors of modern-day slavery in Britain are at high risk of falling back into the hands of traffickers because of gaps in the government support system, a report published on Monday said” [Reuters].

“In retrospect, the Uberization of the economy began innocently enough back in the late 1970s….. [I]nvestors and management gurus began insisting that companies pare down and focus on what came to be known as their “core competencies,” like developing new goods and services and marketing them” [New York Times]. Interesting idea. Then we had outsourcing. Then we outsourced everything.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Hiding in Plain Sight” [Scalawag]. Very good.


“No, the Earth Is Not Heading for a ‘Mini Ice Age'” due to sunspots [Slate].


“Pre-trial hearing set in Hastert hush-money case in Chicago” [Wild About Trial]. How are the mighty fallen. And to think that Hastert was one of the Republicans clutching his pearls and moaning about moral standards during the Lewinsky Matter.

News of the Wired

“Mozilla blocks all versions of Adobe Flash in Firefox” [ghacks].

“Health officials leading the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone say fear, fatigue and denial are allowing the virus to continue to spread” [BBC].

“This Is Your Brain on Jane Austen: The Neuroscience of Reading Great Literature” [Open Culture].

* * *

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:


A photographer friend says this looks pretty good. I wonder if it’s too gaudy!

NOTE: Please free to test the donation dropdown, where the amount you select should finally appear on the PayPal form. Thanks to kind reader DK, who fixed my code. (And if you have problems, please let me know using the contact link, so as not to clutter the thread.)

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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. Chris in Paris

    Will the “Sanders doesn’t care about black people” slander stick? I see all kinds of comments like this on the Web. A part of me (the Jewish part) thinks it might be antisemitic dog whistle.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      If you’re seeing it everywhere, it’s probably starting to stick (flung by Clinton operatives, no doubt). Hopefully Sanders is smart enough a pol to address it.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Sanders’ bona fides on civil rights are an order of magnitude more solid then Hillary’s or the other Republicans over in the high centered clown car. I find it interesting how little has been said about Sanders’ Jewishness; my mother told me when JFK was running his coming from a Catholic family was at the time considered shocking and ground breaking for a presidential candidate. Jewish, Catholic, Agnostic, woman, man, young, old, I don’t care, where are you on *policy*?

      1. grayslady

        Sanders’ bona fides on civil rights are an order of magnitude more solid then Hillary’s or the other Republicans over in the high centered clown car.

        No question about it. However, Bernie’s participation in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s could be viewed by those who didn’t live through those days as radical. For those of us who were in college in the ’60s, we were all involved in causes, whether it was civil rights or women’s rights, or what have you. Bernie was actually pretty typical for the time–socially engaged. We all were.

        Your mother was right about JFK, by the way. His being RC was a big deal at the time. To this day, many Protestants are still terrified by the smells and bells of the Catholic church. For them it’s mysterious and suspicious. It’s no wonder the warmongers in Congress and the press have been able to convince many Americans to support a 21st century version of the crusades.

        1. Oregoncharles

          No, the problem is not that the Catholic Church is “mysterious.” The problem is that it has very specific social policies, at odds with most Americans (including most American Catholics, as it turns out), and it claims authority over members of the Church – as, for instance, most Protestant churches do not.

          Hence, it appears that if the President is Catholic, the Pope is making the decisions. JFK literally had to reassure voters that he wasn’t all that good a Catholic; very few Americans, other than Pat Buchanan, are. Nor Europeans. Instead, they take a pretty Protestant attitude toward church authority.

          At the moment, Pope Francis is making the church look good, or at least progressive, because he’s focussing on the economic issues where church doctrine is very progressive. The problem has been that the church potentates were very conservative, so they de-emphasized those aspects. If he gets back to sex or death, he’ll look reactionary again.

          1. YankeeFrank

            From your comments its clear you know very little about the Catholic church and less about Pope Francis. His views on women, homosexuals and the transgendered are actually quite open and accepting. He comes from the largest Catholic order, the Jesuits, who promote family planning, social justice and are very leftist. Yes there are conservative elements within the church but they actually make up a very small, if vocal, minority. Francis has completely de-emphasized the church’s anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-contraceptive backwardness, and has forced the church to actively cooperate with the worldwide judicial efforts to hold pedophiles and their protectors in the church accountable. If you look at any organization that works with children pedophilia is a persistent problem. I’m not in any way excusing the church’s awful history of coverups, etc., but Francis and his team are working very hard to turn this around. And we must remember that changing such a large institution in such fundamental ways as Francis is doing takes time and cannot be done in one or even a few years.

            The idea that Catholics are controlled by the Pope is protestant propaganda. JFK did pledge to put the interests of the US before the church, but that was only to appease the bigoted protestant elites of his day.

            The Catholic church is a very large organization, with good and bad elements just like any large institution. The good works it does, fighting poverty, ignorance, sickness and starvation throughout the third world is unmatched by any other charities. Yes, there are ugly conservative orders in the church but they are greatly outnumbered by the various orders of nuns, Jesuits, Franciscans and others that fight, and die, standing up for the downtrodden and powerless. They do very practical good works, and Francis is merely the most visible manifestation of their efforts.

          2. Procopius

            From the way he resolved the long-standing effort to control the women’s orders I think he’s going to be a lot more modern than the guys since John XXIII. Do I have the right one? There was a John-Paul in there too, before Radzinger sometime. I lose track. Anyway, the one who called Vatican II.

    1. hardWorkingBee

      When doing business in Latin America the IMF usually demanded its pound of flesh from the rich and powerful elites too. The IMF was not in the business of losing money and everybody had to ante up. It looks like the EU is about to experience the IMF’s tender mercies and ministrations. As Philip Levine wrote: “They feed they Lion and he comes.”

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I had read that and the dissonances between the conclusions expressed in this ‘confidential report’ and public positions of the troika–including those of the IMF–are starkly irreconcilable. It’s exactly like any facts counter to the austerian line are literally ignored and replaced with boilerplate nonsense like a mouth droning on reading a script in spite of its connection to the brain having been severed. When Varoufakis described talking to eurocrats and their reacting to his arguments as if they were mechanical automatons, I think this is what was happening. He very nearly was.

    3. Dugh

      Resistance is futile!

      From ZH on Schauble:

      The good news, at least for those who seek to connect dots, is we can now close the book on what Schauble was talking about when he said “Aber glauben Sie mir, das Problem ist lösbar” in this 2011 interview with Welt am Sontag:

      Schauble: “We decided to arrive at a political union via an economic and currency union. We had the hope – and we still have it today – that the Euro will gradually bring about political union. But we’re not there yet, and that’s one of the reasons why the markets are distrustful. 
      Welt am Sonntag: “So will the markets now force us into a political union?” 
      Schauble: “Most member states are not yet fully prepared to accept the necessary constraints on national sovereignty. But trust me the problem can be solved.”


    4. Howard Beale IV

      The question becomes if the IMF walks, who takes the haircuts, assuming Tspiras can’t get the Parliament to commit sepekku?

  2. jo6pac

    Retail sales drop off the cliff, we need another round of bad car/house loans and more of the good old corp. welfare aca. That should fix the problem;)

    Lambert kick back dud, take time to smell those flowers.

  3. ekstase

    The piece on the neuroscience of reading is interesting. That experience of picturing another reality while reading novels seems to be fading out of favor. Photography and film have something to do with this, but novel-reading had its own charms, and I wonder if we’re losing something valuable forever. I think novels are still worth reading.

    1. LifelongLib

      I always imagine myself into a story or novel as best I can, but I would call that reading for pleasure. If I’m studying or analyzing a text I’m much more separated from it. The article seems to imply the opposite. I wonder if “literary PhD candidates” were the best choice for research of this sort. They would seem to be epitome of people who study novels rather than read them.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I think it’s entirely possible to be both critically attuned and in the world of a novel. One of the most compelling interpretations of Morrison’s A Mercy I’ve read does precisely this: uses an imaginative and detailed description of Florens’ room to explain how Morrison uses the history of slavery as a way into understanding language and the layering of languages (and failures to produce language) as a way into how the novel deals with slavery in the Americas. That said, my experience of most graduate students in the humanities is that their thinking is far more mundane than most people imagine. In that, they are perfectly typical.

        1. ekstase

          But some graduate students in humanities are also artists, poets, and writers, so they must be able to both analyze and enjoy art. I think we all have the capacity to wonder and think about how and why an artist creates something, and also to enjoy it. People need more encouragement to do this.

  4. Vatch

    Since Ted Cruz is mentioned, I thought I would quote a couple of sources.


    born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, December 22, 1970

    From Article II, Section I, of the U.S. Constitution:

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    I guess the U.S. needs to annex Alberta, pronto!

    1. Chris in Paris

      Thanks. That text seems so clear and as far as I know there is no gloss on it from case law. How can Cruz honestly be running?

      1. hunkerdown

        It’s not just Democrats who love identity politics; they’re just better at the game. Cruz might catch some money and attention from those marks, er, rubes, er, demographics that wouldn’t pay attention otherwise and don’t understand the impossibility of their hopes.

      2. AJ

        I’m assuming this is sarcasm (I hope). I for one look forward to The Donald bringing this up in the debates.

        1. AJ


          I see Chris claims to be from Paris, maybe there are non US folks that don’t understand. To be a “natural” US citizen merely means that you were a citizen from birth. Since Rubio’s mom was a citizen, that makes him one as soon as he was born, regardless of where he was born. For comparison, remember McCain was born in Panama.

            1. Vatch

              Hmm. When McCain was born, the Canal Zone was not considered U.S. territory, but it was retroactively declared U.S. territory a year later. Regarding Cruz:

              Ted Cruz (born 1970), a Republican United States Senator from Texas, announced on March 22, 2015, that he was running for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in the 2016 election.[118] Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada,[119] to a “U.S. citizen mother and a Cuban immigrant father”,[120] giving him dual Canadian-American citizenship.[121] Cruz applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship and ceased being a citizen of Canada, on May 14, 2014.[122][123] Professor Chin (see above),[120] former Solicitor General Paul Clement,[124] former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal,[124] and Professor Peter Spiro of Temple University Law School[125] believe that Cruz meets the constitutional requirements to be eligible for the presidency.[126] Orly Taitz, Larry Klayman, and Mario Apuzzo, who each filed multiple lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility, have asserted that Cruz is not eligible.

  5. grayslady

    Lambert, all cucurbits are plagued with more serious insect pests than just about any other vegetable family. Neem oil may help, if the insect is a bug, but, if the insect is a beetle, control may not be as good as you hope. In my experience, when raising cucurbits, row covers are the way to go. Row covers are a bit expensive initially, but you can re-use them for years.

    1. tegnost

      i’ve seen them grown from arched trellises, fruit hangs down under the shade of the foliage growing on the arbor, keeps them out of the dirt…straw also but if you’re on the neem oil it seem likely there’s leaf pests currently feeding…in the old days my granddad would put a plug of tobacco in soapy water with tabasco, it’s illegal now because nicotine (a natural pest control) is too toxic for consumption….

    2. Rhondda

      Yep. I have not seen Neem control cucurbit beetles at all. And they are wily and learn fast so you can’t catch and squish but a few before they have learned to flit away or hide when they see you coming. I hate those things. They are the vector for downy mildew and other cuke and melon destroyers. In my experience, once the beetles have come to your garden, thereafter you have to grow cucurbit’s under a row cover. (Get the summer weight.) It’s a pain but it’s the only thing I’ve found that works. And you have to bury the edges under soil all the way around. Cucurbit beetles can’t dig (or so I’ve read) so this keeps them out well. You can also help by choosing to plant varieties that the beetles find less tasty. Some good info on this at GardenWeb, fyi…

  6. Danny

    Everyone needs to uninstall Adobe Flash now. Adobe continues to demonstrate its disinterest in maintaining the platform and these major security bugs will continue to surface until it’s finally dead.

    1. Dr. Luny

      Sadly much of the internet, especially the older, neglected climes still depends heavily on flash. I think firefox has a good approach, making you manually activate flash and warning you about the risks, at least on my linux box.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I run some extension on my Chrome browser that makes me give explicit permission for Flash to run in each instance on each page. I frankly thought it’d be one of those extensions that sounds good in theory but is a PITA in practice but it hasn’t been at all. 90+% of the stuff it blocks is stuff I prefer blocked. The quiet is maybe the best part. Isn’t HTML5 supposed to supplant Flash someday soon?

        1. hunkerdown

          The big four browser vendors settled on H.264 video encoding in late 2012, and out-of-the-box support for all their browsers on all desktop platforms has only been available since the end of last year. As Internet sites refresh their design for no reason other than it’s been a few months, Flash will slowly start to fade away.

  7. edward

    So I was finally justified never installing Flash, ever. Somehow, I survived without it. Irish Times still uses it, sadly.

  8. TarheelDem

    Thanks for David Neal’s “Hiding in plain sight”

    That is a common experience progressive Southerners go through even when their ancestors are not in the local 1%.

    As for myself, one of the things that turned me was the offensiveness of a letter that the White Citizens Councils sent to all entering Southern college freshmen in 1965. Unlike the Patriots of North Carolina, there was nothing subtle about it other than the pamphlet by a racist professor of psychology at Columbia University, who had apparently testified in support of segregation in district court and in the Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board case.

  9. Kurt Sperry


    “The Maine Green Independent Party faced one of its greatest challenges in years as a discussion about supporting Progressive Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont, or Presumptive Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein erupted in vitriol from party activists and threats to leave the party from mainstream and locally elected Greens.”

    Parochialism vs. ecumenism erupts in ME. The stupid in the parochial side here is impressive in both its depth and its breadth.

  10. John Merryman

    The Iran deal brings to mind the neocon comment about real men wanting to go to Tehran.
    Maybe there has been a tiny stepping down from the high horse, given Russia was probably licking its chops to see that fall apart.
    If it had fallen apart, whatever credibility the US had left in the Middle East would have wilted, so some sense of the larger reality must be seeping in.

  11. jgordon

    From the Bud Myers link:

    …describes the consequences if these treaties become law:

    Good that these are being called treaties in more venues. If an inane little euphemism like “trade deal” can so easily circumvent the clear intent of the Constitution then America is already finished. Luckily more people are making noise about this bizarre lingual and Constitutional affront.

    Also–the “villain rotation” the Democrats engage is particularly notable as far as scumbagery goes–not least because they just assume that everyone is too dumb to see through it. There aren’t any good ones. Heck, I’m even inclined to vote [chokes] Republican just to punish Democrats for using such a transparent and contemptuous scheme against the public. Well, actually I’ve done that before. Republicans may be villains, but at least they aren’t two-faced villains like Democrats.

    1. Oregoncharles

      They aren’t treaties; they’re passed by simple majority of both houses, so they’re executive agreements supported by legislation. Although it’s supposed to make them easiier to pass (assuming both Houses are corrupt), it also makes them weaker and easier to reverse. They do not have the special status of treaties – so, for instance,t he provisions supposedly making them irrevocable are outright nonsense, at least in the US.

      Of course, the same is true of the actual treaties underlying the EU and the Euro, as Europe is presently discovering.

  12. Kim Kaufman

    “I wonder if it’s too gaudy!”

    No. It’s beautiful. The blue perfect. I’ve had a hard time with blues – just some wretched plumbago I cannot get rid of.

  13. Wayne Gersen

    Your comments about the Uberization of the economy resonated with me. As a school superintendent from the early 1980s onward I faced the need to weigh the value of outsourcing “non-core” functions like transportation, food service, maintenance, payroll, etc, vs. having the school district oversee those functions. Little did I suspect at the time that ultimately the management of the school district itself would be outsourced… and if vouchers take root the entire enterprise of public education will be outsourced. My observation after leading in school districts in ME, NH, NY, VT and MD and consulting since my retirement in New England: the small rural districts are the least likely to consider any outsourcing because the people who are likely to lose jobs as a result of that decision are sitting in the audiences at town meeting. Small town democracy might be the best antidote to the wholesale privatization of public schools.

  14. Jack

    I know it’s a ‘family blog’ and all, but wow, what a bunch of unapologetic assholes the Republicans are. Both politicians and voters. Ultimately on issues of policy and substance the Dems are more or less just as bad, but they at least pretend and play good cop. The GOP isn’t even trying anymore and it seems like Trump is surging ahead precisely because of his brazen bile; he’s giving voice to what a large number of voters really think and they love it. What must it be like to be so mean and vicious and view the world with such hatred and fear?

  15. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – Thanks very much for the Scalawag link. It is indeed a very good essay, and very moving. Growing up in Mobile with my family involved in the civil rights movement from the ’50’s, I am very familiar with those groups. They were (and are) very dangerous.

  16. Jeff W


    On the other hand, won’t making college free and single payer benefit the marginalized — however marginalized — disproportionately?

    Adolph Reed, Jr.:

    The movement for racial justice has shifted
    its focus from inequality to “disparity,” while neatly evading any
    critique of the structures that produce inequality.

    [“Nothing Left”—Harper’s, March 2014]

    REED: …the notion of disparity as the metric of racial justice means that blacks should be represented roughly in their percentage of the population in the distribution of goods and bads in the society. So you can have 15 percent unemployment, but if blacks are only 12 percent of the 15 percent that are unemployed basically…

    FRANK: Then it’s OK?

    REED: Yeah. And while no one actually says that would be okay, the way in which the problem is posed leaves that implication and deflects discussion away from the underlying structural problems in the political economy that put anyone in the exploited or oppressed position…

    if you’re concerned with the conditions of black Americans, most black people are working people. One might say even disproportionately. And what improves the condition of the working class is going to improve the condition of more black people than the disparity focus would. That’s not to say it’s either/or.

    [Adolph Reed, Jr., interviewed by Thomas Frank, “We are all right-wingers now: How Fox News, ineffective liberals, corporate Dems and GOP money captured everything”, Salon, 9 March 2014]

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Adding, I missed this. I don’t see how remedying the disparity as I propose can be done without also simulataneously (while ameliorating) the structural problems. That’s why Clinton plays small ball. I suppose one could consider anything short of, oh, St. Petersburg in 1917 as “small ball,” but I don’t put free college and single payer in that bucket.

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