2:00PM Water Cooler 7/20/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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! I swear it!)

“Scotland’s senior politician in Europe David Martin MEP has cast doubt on completion of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal in the lifetime of the current European Parliament or the Obama administration” [Herald-Scotland].

“These conclusions suggest that even though the vote was extremely close, TTIP negotiators should be able to achieve an agreement that attracts support from sufficient numbers of MEPs who abstained in the vote on 10 June, provided that they compromise to that effect” [London School of Economics].

“The European Union will soon give the United States a formal proposal for revamping an investment dispute settlement mechanism that has raised concerns in Europe over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership pact” [Politico].

“The ambassadors for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) have endorsed a deadline of notifying any additional new annexes by 31 July, and submitting completed offers by 15 September” [IP Watch].


“Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley Failed Their #BlackLivesMatter Test” [David Dayen, TNR]. Almost skipped TNR, but then saw the author. It was a #SayHerName protest, too. Nut graph:

Sanders did even worse. Instead of expressing solidarity with the protesters, he talked about his pet issue—economics. He wasn’t “in the room,” and didn’t alter his pitch based on what was happening. “What Sanders should have done, when they said ‘Sandra Bland,’ you say ‘Sandra Bland!’” said political analyst and Blue Nation Review contributor Goldie Taylor, claiming that a simple show of empathy would have disarmed the protest. “He would have shut down the shutdown!”

Economics is hardly a “pet issue.” That said, yes. Candidate problems; staff problems; institutional problems (I mean, it’s hard to argue that black people getting whacked by cops with impunity shouldn’t be treated as a matter of immediate concern, no matter the unresolved structural issues on the “left’s” racism/sexism/class permathread.) Dayen interviews two of the protesters, Ashley Yeats and Tia Oso. Kudos to Dayen for the reporting. Note this incident tees up success for Clinton, assuming protests at a Clinton venue use the same format. Or Clinton staffers read the twitter.

“They wanted the candidates to empathize, not pontificate. Is that really so much to expect?” [Crooks and Liars]. Sadly, the appearance of empathy can be simulated by sociopaths, as is surely well-known in the political class. I’ll settle for real-time reaction “in the room,” which is operationally testable. Movement time moves a lot faster than political time, doesn’t it? Even in the moment.

“Hillary Clinton trains her attacks on Republicans, while Bernie Sanders says the real problem is the ‘billionaire class’” [Wall Street Journal].


“How the NRA helped put Sanders in Congress [WaPo].

“Bernie Sanders says ‘real unemployment’ rate for African American youth is 51 percent” [Politifact]. Mostly true.

“Bernie Sanders Continues to Draw the Biggest Crowds of Any 2016 Candidate” [Bloomberg].

The S.S. Clinton

“For 2016, Clinton has assembled a team, led by campaign manager Robby Mook and chairman John Podesta, intended to quell the worst elements of Clintonworld. Thus far, they appear to have succeeded. But like a game of Whac-a-Mole, some of the problems that plagued Clinton’s last presidential run have resurfaced with her super PAC. And those problems appear to be both symptom and cause of the group’s sluggish financial figures” [Bloomberg]. (We might remember, when the Clinton-in-disarray trope is deployed, that the 2008 Clinton campaign won all the big states, and a slim majority of the popular vote, if all the votes are counted.)

“Hillary Clinton has turned to a familiar source to find supporters willing to raise more than $100,000 each for her presidential campaign: major donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation” [Wall Street Journal]. Note that this link, and the link following, fit neatly into the “Typology of Corruption” outlined here.

“Democrat Hillary Clinton had the most success in the last quarter, logging donations from more than 1,300 people who identified themselves as CEOs, chief financial officers, chairmen or vice chairmen, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission” [Bloomberg].

GOP candidate field now set, with Kasich cramming himself into the race Tuesday [McClatchy]. “The Republican free-for-all is about to become a 17-candidate scrum.” 

Republican Establishment

Jebbie slams lobbyists (guffaw) [David Sirota, International Business Times]. “When Bush announced his presidential campaign in June, he made criticism of lobbyists a central focus of his speech. But lobbyist Al Cardenas told The Hill newspaper that he “talked to him privately” and said that Bush “understands that the lobbying world — at its best — is well-informed and educates policymakers.” The Washington Post has reported that some lobbyists are now informally advising Bush.” And then there’s the “Southern Strategy Group,” ka-ching ka-ching. Richard Nixon has risen from the grave?

The Hill

Two problems with Warren’s Glass-Steagall bill: “First, banks can take up to five years to implement the new law. … Another serious problem with Warren’s proposed legislation is that it leaves the trillions of dollars of interest rate swaps on the insured commercial bank’s balance sheet [Wall Street on Parade].

Multi-member districts with proportional voting could end gerrymandering [Vox].

“A bill to impose voluntary labeling standards on foods made with genetically engineered ingredients — and block mandatory rules — is headed to the House floor” [The Hill].

Stats Watch

No stats; Mr. Market can head for the hammock!

“St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said Monday that while next week may be too soon for the Fed to raise interest rates, the chance of the Federal Open Market Committee lifting rates off zero at its September meeting were above 50%” [Market News]. What? No more free money for people who already have it?

“While Silicon Valley heatedly debates whether technology valuations have risen to excessive levels, the investors who helped fuel the boom aren’t waiting for an answer. Venture capital firms are starting to take steps to protect themselves in the event of a downturn” [Bloomberg]. No more free money to throw at glibertarian space ships!

“Commodity Rout Worsens as Prices Tumble to Lowest Since 2002” [Bloomberg].

“Pearson to Explore Sale of Financial Times” [Bloomberg]. “No formal process underway.”


At the mercy of the water mafia in Delhi [Foreign Policy].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“David Brooks Writes a Sestina About Ta-Nehisi Coates” [The Toast] (the sestina).


“Following the FIFA Fiasco” [Bloomberg]. Handy interactive chart, less successful than some others, since there’s no unified view.

Groves of Academe

“Collective Cleanliness: A Meta-Discursive Study of Academic Tearoom Culture” (PDF) [Journal of Applied Elbow Grease].

Wretched Excess Watch

“JFK to open ‘The Ark’ – a luxury airport terminal just for animals”  [Daily Mail]. “Travelers can drop off their pets at ‘top-dog suites’ before getting on a plane. The suites will go for around $100 a night and include a human-size bed and flat-screen TV.” So, if you’ve got a stable of polo ponies… Problem solved! Looking at the images, I see a Temple Grandin-style walkway for farm animals; I sure wish TSA would install something like that!

“For the last decade, colleges across the U.S. have been tricking out campuses to compete in an amenities arms race aimed at attracting prospective freshmen. Free tanning, bouldering caves, gourmet dining and luxury fitness centers are not uncommon” [Los Angeles]. Networking opportunities!

Class Warfare

Lloyd Blankfein becomes a billionaire [Bloomberg]. See what happens when you’ve got a President who will stand between you and the pitchforks?

“Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money” [Quartz].

“Given the importance of an entrepreneur’s personal debt capacity in financing a startup business, student loan debt, which is difficult to discharge via bankruptcy, can have lasting effects and may have an impact on the ability of future small business owners to raise capital” (PDF) [Philadelphia Fed].

Income related to brain development [Bloomberg]. “[Researcher] Pollak says the research has made him think of poverty as a medical problem, akin to exposure to lead paint, rather than strictly a social condition.” 

“The cost difference between employing W-2 workers and 1099 contractors, which is what Uber’s drivers currently are, is a lot. For common-law W-2 employees, employers need to withhold income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment taxes, according to the IRS. The same is not necessarily true for an independent contractor” [Business Insider]. So whaddaya know. Uber’s sky high *** cough *** valuation is based on screwing the workers. Who knew?

News of the Wired

“Baxter State Park vs. Scott Jurek: The Clash of Commercial Sports and Wilderness Preservation” [Appalachian Trials].

“Search for extraterrestrial intelligence gets a $100-million boost” [Nature]. Yes, but is there intelligence on this planet?

“Pantone named “Marsala” as the color for 2015. How did you come up with that prediction?” [Nautilus]. “‘Marsala’ is the color of wine. You also see it in food, and it is appetite stimulating. So there is the fulfilling connection to food and wine, but also the robustness and connectedness to more earthy tones. That quality seems to reflect what people are telling us they are looking for and what will make them feel more satisfied, more comfortable.”

Official color codes for the world’s biggest brands [Brand Colors].

“Large caches of data stolen from online cheating site AshleyMadison.com have been posted online by an individual or group that claims to have completely compromised the company’s user databases, financial records and other proprietary information. The still-unfolding leak could be quite damaging to some 37 million users of the hookup service, whose slogan is ‘Life is short. Have an affair'” [Krebs on Security]. And just before they were going to, er, go public… 

“Your phone knows how you feel” [Harvard School of Public Health]. The author is “an emerging figure in the field of network science—which studies the connections among thousands of individuals, or among biological substances such as proteins and metabolites—whose findings are informing a wide range of public health questions.” What could go wrong? 

Paper: “Human Screams Occupy a Privileged Niche in the Communication Soundscapes” [Current Biology]. “The key turned out to be a particular acoustic property called ‘roughness,’ which is a measure of how quickly a sound changes from soft to loud” [Business Insider]. 

Portland, ME diner owner: “I chose to yell at a kid (and) it made her shut up, which made me happy, it made my staff happy, it made the 75 other people dining here happy, and they left, they may never come back, other people may not come in — their loss, really” [Raw Story]. Oh, those loveable “unruly toddlers….”

* * *

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 (Dimitri):


Perhaps Mr. Market can contemplate the sutras from his hammock…

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. Lambert Strether Post author

      Teachout: To the Framers, “Political corruption referred to self-serving use of public power for private ends” and “citizenship was understood to be a public office.” Looks to me like this is what the #BlackLivesMatter protesters were treating citizenship as a public office, and not acting in a corrupt way. That’s refreshing. And hard to quarrel with, if one strips of the jersey with the name of one’s candidate.

          1. ambrit

            Me, I’m in with the ‘sans jerseys’ crowd. You know. The people with the wooden shoes.

      1. Ditto

        Let me start this by saying 1. I’m African- American, and 2. I have no problem with the debate about Sanders.

        That being sad, I do have a huge problem with the fact Clinton was not part of this because it comes across as partisan.

        I don’t like how race ends up being used by Neoliberals for political gain. I also have a problem with the frame of trying to exclude economic issues from discussions of racism. Who does this serve ? Neoliberals. It’s like the faux-black activists of DKos who only seemed interested in race as long as it is something like prison incarceration but not economic factors like health care that also harms us

        1. Carla

          Ditto, I agree with you. And also, it appears that #BlackLivesMatter allowed themselves to be used by the Neoliberals. I don’t like that, either.

    2. flora

      In a bit of fortuitous timing I received a fund raising letter from Hillary Rodham Clinton today. What is striking is her campaign logo: a bold H – where the vertical bars are blue and the cross stroke is a red arrow. A large red arrow pointing to the right. I can’t figure out if its FedEx logo re-work or if it’s supposed to show team red running right over a field of blue lines.

  1. Tertium Squid

    Being a parent makes me deaf to the screaming of other peoples’ children. Actually it might make me happier – a child is screaming and I don’t have to do anything about it.

    1. katiebird

      This is true for me too — as the oldest of eight children. I never notice screaming children unless someone I’m with draws it to my attention. And usually they are as annoyed by my oblivion as the disruption. (Doesn’t that bother you? How can you stand it? … Me: Shut up, you’re bugging me – just kidding!)

    2. JohnnyGL

      I mostly just feel the same as when you see someone who’s car has broken down on the side of the road. “Oh man, that really blows, hope they get it resolved easily enough.”

      I’m often surprised at how tolerant of screaming children most adults can be. Mine completely LOST IT on a 3 hour flight once and we kept apologizing profusely to the surrounding passengers and most of the people were very good natured about it. Some even tried to help out a little bit by playing with the baby, — with mixed results as best.

      1. Tertium Squid

        LOL. Children take cues from their parents, especially in an unfamiliar setting (like an airplane). Sometimes when the parents are wigging out with anxiety and social mortification, the kids pick up on it and figure something horrible is happening to the family, and you get a feedback loop.

        1. tomk

          Not so funny here in Maine. That reminds us of the family services social worker that killed the 4 year old girl that she had arranged to adopt after removing the girl from her family. She duct taped the child to a chair as well as taping her mouth. It did serve to bring attention to some long standing abuses that had previously been dismissed as the ravings conspiracy theorists.

          I try to appreciate children’s screaming as I would difficult avant-garde music or performance. The unrestrained expression, the powerful, if tiny, lungs.

          1. lambert strether

            If I want to hear a concert, I’ll to go a venue where concerts are performed. Typically, that doesn’t include diners.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Actually, what you learned as that when the sign over the door says “Mariachi band,” expect a Mariachi band. Surely you’re not saying all Mexican restaurants have mariachi bands?

                1. Tertium Squid

                  Forsooth, not all restaurants have babies either. Kind of like Mexican restaurants, even when there is no sign saying “Warning you may face entertainment by Mariachis”, if you end up with one by your table you shrug as you say to yourself oh well what was I expecting at a Mexican place and dang if I give a tip will they go away, or stay longer?

                  Maybe you should try tipping parents who sit near you at restaurants and see if it makes them go away or stay longer. And please report back I think a lot of people could use the information.

                  BTW since I don’t trust anyone’s account of the incident I am agnostic on the article you link, though I think what shut the baby up was being out-childished by the owner. Even small children can recognize when they are in the presence of a master.

                  And “difficult avant garde performance” is definitely how I will be thinking of my kids’ tantrums forthwith, in public or no.

                  1. alex morfesis

                    just look the baby in the eye and start laughing…it usually throws the babys off and they start giggling instead…

                    for older brats, start crying right back in an overt manner…they suddenly get confused and usually then try to hide behind their parents leg…

                    works 90% of the time for me…

                    the other 10% ???

                    I make sure to hide the evidence…

                  2. Lambert Strether Post author

                    For whatever reason, American restaurants are uniquely bad in this regard (IMNSHO). Personally I welcome the restaurater’s intervention to protect a public space from screaming, exactly as I welcome quiet cars on Amtrak, and non-smoking areas as well. I think the bright side, here, is that this incident will give the parents a chance to reflect. The owner, the wait staff, and the 75 other patrons are far more important than the parents’s amour propre.

  2. JTMcPhee

    Uberscrewing is not limited to “workers,” any more than McWalMed’s is — the externalizing of life-necessity costs goes to the bottom line of the “commons…”

  3. Brindle

    re: Sanders–#SayHerName

    This was a misstep by the Sanders campaign in not preparing for or understanding the legitimate rage African Americans feels about police killings. One can make rationalizations about why Sanders missed this “opportunity” , but he did.
    On a different level this reveals a divide between economic justice progressives and identity politics progressives—for lack of a better word. The identity politics activists don’t really see neoliberal economcs as related to the plight of oppressed minorities. It’s a complicated dynamic that sociopath politicians can exploit (Bill Clinton).
    Will be interesting to see Sanders in the next few weeks, I think he will do well.

    1. Ditto

      That divide is very convenient for the dem party’s leadership

      A divide that I actually find dangerous

      Or don’t the black lives killed due to economic neglect count ?

        1. Ditto

          This particular factional divide came into existence I believe with president Obama

          I first ten into it in fact on sites like daily Kos where the so called black activists would meticulously ignore the impact of economic policy based on race

          1. Brindle

            On Daily Kos the pro-Obama people often indulged in cult of personality behaviors and fealty tests—they were mostly white folks, btw. I used to comment there a lot, a few years ago, now I occasionally browse—there are a few good writers still there.

              1. Ditto

                That’s generally trure but there is Black Kos, which tries to stir racial discussions at Kos. If you search the articles they have written, the intersection of race and economics,such as in healthcare is rarely discussed. I have a hard time believing that’s not bc of the ACA where they want happy talk 24/7.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  In your view, what does that “intersection” look like? (I’m asking because I’d like to know. I’ve thought hard and done a lot of reading, and I’m not clear. I’m not even clear on the terms of discussion.)

                  Take Ferguson. Clear law enforcement for profit <- municipal budget <- debt <- foreclosure crisis <- 2008 crash <- accounting control fraud -- or something like that! -- has a lot to do with the context. But it's no means sufficient as an explanation.

                  1. JTMcPhee

                    Just a white guy’s dilettante proffer, but didn’t Dr. Martin Luther King have a lot to say on that intersection? Kind of a pretermitted discourse, unfortunately — his intersection with a rifle bullet, and all that. He had done the diagnostics, too, as I recall it, had a pretty good bead on some remedies, and a lot of people seemed to be forming ranks around him. With the usual salting of traitors and self-interested sponges, of course, we love our “Game of Thrones,” and “West Wing…”

                    I got the feeling he understood political economy very well, and had both the charisma, the strategy and the tactics that threatened to actually inspire hope and catalyze change, change that was not just crapification and consumption squared…

                    1. NotTimothyGeithner

                      The NAACP was a well run organization for a number of decades. While King was preaching and teaching in Atlanta between Birmingham and his re-emergence, the NAACP and other outfits were organizing different fights. Joe Lieberman (I know, I know) registered voters in the deep South.

                      Even if King was just a dreamer, there was a political operation behind the general cause. Rosa Parks and her “stunt” was a very well thought and planned operation along with the support necessary to help black bus riders. Parks was far more interesting and impressive than the trite portrayal in the national myth.

                      Morally and intellectually, King was a titan, but he wasn’t alone. The black church may push that myth because black ministers were a tad worried by both integration (what if the wealthier congregants went to a more established church) and the less religious views of King and Abernathy’s associates.

          2. OIFVet

            I agree with everything you’ve said in Watercooler. It’s another divide and conquer move by the the Dem leadership as far as I am concerned. 7 years in office and miserable track record on economic and civil rights issues facing the black community, yet not a single action against Obama. Speaks volumes about what happened in Phoenix. Oh yeah, Cornell West dared to speak out against Obama. The retribution was swift and the message clear: you do not speak against Obama, or else…

            1. Carolinian

              Well there is Black Agenda Reporter. They really really don’t like Obama.

              But I recall seeing Jesse Jackson weep when Obama gave his Chicago victory speech in 2008. I’m not sure those of us who are are white can appreciate how much this victory meant to many African Americans. It may be the one Obama accomplishment that won’t turn to dust.

              1. OIFVet

                I understand that. I spent election evening 2008 in the barbershop where Obama used to get his cuts, I am friends with the owner and was invited to the party. I shed a few tears too. And for what? Hope and change turned out to be bait and switch, and not just for black people. We all got screwed by Obama and his neoliberal posse. Why isn’t Black Lives Matter laying siege to the Obama White House, then? Because Obama is the first half black president? That accomplishment matters very little to the 99% of us, for whom his presidency has not produced any tangible benefits other than the momentary feel good in November 2008.

            2. Left in Wisconsin

              I don’t think Black Lives Matter is a Dem leadership operation. At least here in Madison, it seems to be the voice of very articulate and frustrated young black people who are definitely not interested in supporting, or attacking for the benefit of another, this or that candidate. It is a protest movement. I find it sad but not all that surprising that neither O’M or Sanders could hear what they are saying. On the other hand, as with Occupy, it isn’t clear that BLM has any kind of larger analysis or program of what is to be done, which I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to, but which Sanders must find frustrating.

              1. lambert strether

                “I don’t think Black Lives Matter is a Dem leadership operation. ”

                Nothing in life is certain, but I’m as certain as I can be that it is is not. I’ve been watching Ferguson daily since before there were hash tags, partly for Water Cooler, and partly because I follow protests (Tahrir Square, indignados, Capitol occupations, Occupy proper, carré rouge and now this). It certainly looked organic to me.

                That said, Dem operatives are hardly above using movement and movement figures for their own purposes (a variant of IIRC Malcolm X’s distinction between wolves and foxes, here to be applied to Republicans and Democrats).

                That’s not to say the protesters were naive and it’s no knock on them. Dem operatives are world-class manipulators, and anybody might fall to prey to them.

                1. Ditto

                  I don’t think they are. My point is about how the partisans are using it and the lack of awareness on the part of Black Lives Matter about the politics of going after one candidate but not the other. I also have a substantive problem with the economics is not a part of this. The later position is however separate from my concerns over the partisans.

                2. Ditto

                  By the way, I know from experience , which I will it go into here, that race, racism and economics intersect.

                  Take for example healthcare, and the issue of how many lives are lost to racism and economics.

                  1. Left in Wisconsin

                    What I take from all of this is the complete absence of a left or power analysis in BLM, for which I do not blame BLM but take to be a result of the weakness of the left and its complete absence in many (most? all?) black communities.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Well, the BLM folks could try to read BAR. I am white and I read it religiously. What’s their excuse for not exploring the wealth of info out there?

                    2. Ditto

                      It is a combination of both a weak left ( so there is no clear alternative to the right
                      as far as the intersections that I mention ) and a reinvention of the wheel based on emotion rather than using the emotion to seek better outcomes through policy. The energy they have is great but it needs to focus on outcomes. OWS suffered from similar problems

              2. OIFVet

                All it takes is one mole. Or two, as the case may be. Ditto’s posts summarize my views perfectly. Miss Yeats talks about gentrification, yet I haven’t heard of her going after the Obama/UChicago partnership that’s about to push a lot of poor blacks out of their neighborhood…

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Good point. Chicago people are tough!

                  * * *

                  While I’m as sure as I can be that the origin of #BlackLivesMatter is organic, that was what, a year ago? That’s a long time for the usual suspects to get themselves involved. Generally, I use this source (linked to before, IIRC) very carefully, but….

                  1. OIFVet

                    Interesting… I hate the fact, or is it the need for, extreme cynicism, but in this instance I am extremely cynical. Seems to be a necessary mindset these days. I have no doubt that the vast majority of BLM activists are sincere and passionate advocates for the rights of black people. I just detect a strong whiff of rancid Dem establishment presence in the Phoenix stunt. Sorry I have been belaboring the point, this really has me worked up. Not because I think that Sanders is some savior in waiting, but because I see this as incredibly damaging for both economic and black justice.

                2. Ditto

                  I don’t believe it’s anythibg deeper than the possibility of disonnance rather than that the activist are not truly concerned

                  President Obama and possibly Clunton are perceived of as on the same team and excuses are made to ignore Clinton’s sometimes questionable pandering on race in 2008 with white voters and the impact of President’s polices on POCs

                  It would for me depend on the environment, message, circumstance of a protest and activitist for me to say what is happening

        2. cwaltz

          Bingo, for the record, lived across the street from someone shot by police(they were responding to a domestic dispute call and claim that his hands looked like they had a gun,,,,,,,,,,,his skin color……..white. Mind you they didn’t kill him but they did get trigger happy with him and they’ve been harassing him since(they conveniently thought to drape themselves across our vehicle and discuss their story unaware that they were being taped by our surveillance and this state does not require 2 party consent to record and so his lawyer has tape of them and discussion of incidence. We lived in a trailer park and it isn’t uncommon to see police abuse their authority……simply because those in the park are poor and so their complaints fall on deaf ears(should sound familiar to blacklivesmatter.)

      1. Propertius

        Or don’t the black lives killed due to economic neglect count ?

        Excellent point. So much of this is interrelated, and reducing tragedy to a Twitter hashtag is just a way to capitalize on outrage without solving difficult problems in a way that might inconvenience major donors.

        Poverty kills.
        Lousy healthcare kills.
        Underfunding education kills.

        There’s more to oppression than police brutality.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Lost in the “blacklivesmatter” phrasing is the common and casual brutality faced everyday by the poor especially obvious minorities which is driven by economics and ultimately the cause of greater brutality and deaths. The Eric Garner case is particularly interesting because even if the cop had used proper hold techniques there would still be a situation 4 or 5 cops are tackling a guy selling loose cigarettes. The police didn’t set out to kill Garner as much as they are casually brutal.

          Many of these cops involved in the deaths aren’t model citizens, but they haven’t annoyed the wrong person who can fight and continue their behavior.

          The NYPD instituted sleep inducing (according to the trainees) sensitivity training instead of cleaning house, getting cops in pairs out of cars, creating specific response units, and whatever else might the issue. I imagine the tactics used by soldiers in the occupied territories migrated back here. Counseling for cops may need to be increased, and I don’t where the money would come from. The response to Garner’s death was still was to paint the slums so the elite could feel good about themselves.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I wish I had a handy chart of mortality sources by income (as a proxy for class).

          * * *

          I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of the twitter hashtag. Twitter is reductive as a medium. What the hashtag served for was a virtual organizing hub around which actions and ideas could accrete. That’s not the same as being an analytical tool.

          The movement also turned names of those killed into hashtags, and it’s a recent lament that there are too many such hashtags. Indeed this is true, but — becoming cold-eyed, here, and putting on my data analysts hat — that’s also a sign to think about how to aggregate those individuals; a layer of subclassing between the individuals and the class as a whole. Thinking procedurally, this translates to “What are your demands?”

          In fact, now that I think of it, a list of demands would be an excellent thing to present to Clinton. We could probably pay for everything with a few F-35s….

          1. JTMcPhee

            C’mon– people on the ProgressiveLeftLiberal side don’t Make Demands, they “request,” they “petition,” they “politely enquire.” No agency, no ownership, occasional motions toward trying to herd the cats, and then TINA gets herself in as chair-one (old enough to remember the passionate fights over political-corrections to the lexicon — “chairMAN” is out, “chairLADY” and “chairwoMAN” and “chairpeSON” too, on patent sexist referents, “chair is furniture you park your ass on, leaving “ChairOne”? Does anyone use Ms. any more, after all that about Mr., and Mrs., and Miss?)

            Talk about fissures and fussy divisions and being afraid to fight? Maybe it’s just more eyewash and kayfabe, but Bernie (and TRUMP?) seem to be stirring the sleepers in the back of ol’ Plato’s Cave…

    2. Oldeguy

      ” They wanted the the candidates to empathize not pontificate. ”
      In other words, groveling phoney ” I feel your pain ” BS ( at which Neo-Lib Identity Pols excel ) would have done the job. Quite possibly so- it worked well for Bill, and I’m sure we will received a huge helping at Hillary’s first opportunity.
      Form over content has given us the Democratic Party we now enjoy.

      1. grayslady

        I agree. The manner in which the action took place was incredibly stupid in my opinion if its intent was to elicit a substantive response. Far better, IMO, had the activists stood up on stage and said, “Look, we’re sorry to interrupt, but the organizers of Netroots Nation have decided, for whatever reason, to exclude our concerns from the conference. All of us from Black Lives Matter would be grateful if you could go off script for a minute and tell us what you plan to do to keep us from being murdered on a daily basis on our sidewalks, our streets, and our jails.”

        These purity tests against a few of the people most likely to be sympathetic to the cause strike me as every bit as selfish as if I were to run up on stage and complain about the elderly who are dying every day because they can’t afford to purchase their medicines. We’re all in this together, and many of us have life-and-death grievances. Just because the over-55 set is dying quietly from penury doesn’t make it less important than the more visible black men and women dying from police actions. Different causes, but dead is still dead, no matter race, gender, religion or any other distinction.

        If the Black Lives Matter activists had a beef with the organizers of the conference, they should have directed their anger and action at those individuals. Blind-side the candidates only when they repeatedly ignore your issues, not when they haven’t even had a chance to speak.

        1. hunkerdown

          “We do what Hillary says.”

          There’s an interesting question: were those who be flossin’ seen at Hillary’s private conference?

      2. hunkerdown

        For what it’s worth, The Debt Collective has won the NASFAA Big Idea Policy Challenge. “Our winning idea is simple: end student debt for good by making higher education tuition free for all.”

        The Big Idea being to all but end student financial aid administration? Or simply to shift their attentions to all those other things one needs to have a reasonably effective and vaguely comfortable learning environment?

    3. Eclair

      Don’t know if this is the place to reply or comment to the problems of the intersection of racism and economic injustice, and I’m late to the party since I am catching up now on Monday’s postings.

      I have been reading Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” in the last three months. She writes about the effects of the War on Drugs beginning in the 1970’s. The WoD itself was a continuation of Jim Crow, but with an overtly racially non-biased focus: tough on crime, not on black/brown people. But say “drug dealer” and most middle-class white folk picture a black male, even though drug dealers are more likely to be white males.

      As incarceration rates skyrocketed during the next 3 decades, men released from prison found themselves legally barred, due to their ex-felon status, from public housing, scholarship aid, public assistance and voting. Employment was difficult to impossible and many licensed professions bar felons.

      So, you have a growing class of men, mainly men of color (African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous), because they are disproportionately incarcerated, who have no jobs, no place to live and are denied further learning. They become, not the ‘working poor’, but the destitute. And this destitution spreads through their families.

      And, Alexander does not even treat the government policies that led to the ‘redlining’ of whole areas of cities, effectively creating open air concentration camps where African-Americans were ‘allowed’ to live.

      I read Alexander and Naomi Klein (and a few years back, the Chalmers Johnson trilogy) and so many disturbing anomalies click into place and become clear. But the clarity results in my increasingly having a despairing heart.

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Can’t pay, won’t pay’ says S&P:

    Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its credit rating on debt issued by Puerto Rico Public Finance Corp. in 2011 and 2012 from “CCC-” to “CC” Thursday. The ratings agency said a default on those bonds is “a virtual certainty” when the next payment comes due on Aug. 1.

    Puerto Rico’s legislature did not allot for debt-service payments in its budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which S&P said was the reason for its downgrade.


    Oh well … maybe they can emigrate to Cuba, and get in on the ground floor.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it possible to merge PR with Greece, and put all the bad loans into one of the two, leaving the other debt-free?

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The color of 2015.

    Confusing Marsala with Masala would mean one’s color blind.

    I wonder how many will make that mistake.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Imagine spilling Marsala while wearing Marsala. “Fiddlesticks, I’ve split wine on my… oh then, never mind.”

  6. optimader

    “Hillary Clinton trains her attacks on Republicans, while Bernie Sanders says the real problem is the ‘billionaire class’” [Wall Street Journal].

    And here is where Hillary’s frontrunner status will fatigue and ablate. Same old content.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The problem with Hillary playing the dogeared and beer stained Because Republicans! (should probably be in all caps) card in the primary is she is clearly politically far closer to the the “evil” being warned against than Sanders, her opponent. This cannot even completely escape the notice of a herd of soon to be leaderless o-bots who will have to redefine themselves post-Obama. Some will seamlessly transfer their unquestioning allegiance over to Hillary; others surely won’t.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Plenty of the Obots are so shallow they will drift away when Obama is gone, and I think Hillary’s camp knows this hence “Obama plus.”

  7. Vatch

    “They wanted the candidates to empathize, not pontificate. Is that really so much to expect?” [Crooks and Liars]. Sadly, the appearance of empathy can be simulated by sociopaths, as is surely well-known in the political class.

    Absolutely! Some of the nicest seeming people are really empathy free psychopaths. Remember Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain”? A few years later we got the repeal of Glass Steagall in the Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999, followed by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which restricted the regulation of credit default swaps. These actions set the stage for the Great Financial Collapse of 2008, which hurt Americans of all races. People in the financial top 0.1% survived the collapse nicely, though. They’re the ones who profited well from the fake recovery of the past 7 years.

    1. cwaltz

      While empathy is nice I’m not sure that it’s very realistic to expect a white millionaire to understand and share the feelings of an AA who has to contend with an abuse of police authority and I sure as heck wouldn’t expect it to happen when you hijack a planned presentation.

      Sadly enough as someone who can empathize with a group who has seen police abuse I tend to think they did more harm to themselves since in this case THEY come off as the bullies. I’m more inclinced to believe they would have been better served to approach the Sanders and O Malley campaign privately and helped them brainstorm real solutions instead of grandstanding.

      1. Tom Allen

        O’Malley, as mayor of Baltimore and as governor of Maryland, is personally responsible for some of the abusive “zero-tolerance” police techniques that resulted in the deaths of Freddie Gray and other people of color in Baltimore. Protestors have been dogging him since he announced his run. So maybe — now that he’s not running as a “tough on crime” mayor but as a liberal darling — he should come up with a better response than “All lives matter” and “We’re all responsible.”

        It’s a bit much to ask the very people he targeted for abuse to come to him hat in hand and help him brainstorm solutions for his campaign, though, don’t you think? Especially since he’s still proudly defending the policies that they abhor.

  8. allan

    Speaking of -paths (psycho- or socio- I couldn’t tell you), the Beltway speaks:

    Outside of Netroots Nation, among the Democrats who had followed the Obama strategy, these critiques sounded part cruel and all wrong.

    “Look, I wish this country were further left than it is, but I live in reality,” former congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who worked with the White House to overhaul Wall Street regulations, said in a phone interview. “These people watch MSNBC, and they talk to each other on the Internet — in some ways, they’re like the tea party. They’re in this parallel universe.”

    David Axelrod, the Obama campaign strategist who was a senior White House adviser during the crisis years, said Sanders-style criticism ignored the reality of the economic crash.

    “There was a constant tug and pull between the need to discipline an industry whose excesses had triggered the crisis and keeping the system from collapsing, which would have exacerbated an already reeling economy,” he said. “Senators don’t face such conundrums. Presidents do.”

    The story doesn’t say whether Frank or Axelrod bit their lower lips while saying these profundities.

    1. willf

      “These people watch MSNBC, and they talk to each other on the Internet — in some ways, they’re like the tea party. They’re in this parallel universe.”

      Wait, isn’t MSNBC was the accepted Democratic Party mouthpiece, now?

  9. hunkerdown

    For what it’s worth, The Debt Collective won the NASFAA 2015 Big Idea Policy Challenge. “Our winning idea is simple: end student debt for good by making higher education tuition free for all.”

    The Big Idea being to all but end student financial aid administration! Wow. Or simply to shift their attentions to all those other things one needs to have a reasonably effective and vaguely comfortable learning environment?

  10. Propertius

    Multi-member districts with proportional voting could end gerrymandering [Vox].

    Maybe – and all it would take is a vote by those who have already benefited from the gerrymandering (and their colleagues in the Senate) and a Presidential signature. Not particularly likely in my experience. It’s sort of like expecting Blankfein, Dimon, Rubin, and Summers to band together and reform the financial system.

    1. ambrit

      Do you mean like when Franklin Roosevelt, and his Brains Trust, saved Capitalism from itself in the 1930s?

    2. Gio Bruno

      …you sure? Districts are shaped at the state level and only every 10 years (after Decadal Census).

  11. Vatch

    Two problems with Warren’s Glass-Steagall bill: “First, banks can take up to five years to implement the new law. … Another serious problem with Warren’s proposed legislation is that it leaves the trillions of dollars of interest rate swaps on the insured commercial bank’s balance sheet [Wall Street on Parade].

    Ah! Perhaps this answers the question I asked on Friday, which was which Glass Steagall bill is better. Marcy Kaptur’s H.R. 381 has a two year window instead of Elizabeth Warren’s 5 year window. All other things being equal (yes, a cliche), it looks like H.R. 381 is better than S. 1709 and its House twin, H.R. 3054.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      First, it’s still just a stunt*. An important stunt, but a stunt none the less.

      Two, if the new Congress an President were open to reform, I’m pretty certain the time line can be truncated. No vote will be lost if that promise were broken.

      I think the important issue is educating the public at large about bipartisan crimes or how Bill and Newt (Denny Hastert) could work together to help out bank despite their differences over whether adult friend finder or Ashley Madison was a better idea.

      My sense is Liz is going after Hillary. Glass-Steagall and the revolving door in the same week.

      Besides McCain might not be a Senator in 2017.

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