By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
— Wisconsin Defender (@wi_defender) July 2, 2015
This is an oldish post, but I think it’s fair to say it expresses what the pros think [FiveThirtyEight].
[T]he foundational flaws in Sanders’ candidacy are pretty easy to spot. Sanders may be polling well in mostly white New Hampshire, but he hasn’t been able to figure out how to earn more than 5 percent of the nonwhite vote, according to national polls. Nonwhite voters make up more than a third of Democratic primary voters nationally.
Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine why someone who has described himself as a socialist, has never competed for minority voters and has no roots within the Democratic Party should worry Clinton much. She might actually be relieved to be challenged by someone who has so little chance at winning the nomination. Let’s imagine a case where Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire. In that world, you’d likely see the Democratic establishment rush in to try to squash Sanders, much as Republicans did to Newt Gingrich in 2012 after he won South Carolina.
Regardless of what you think of Martin O’Malley (and you know how I feel), he at least has won minority voters, has roots in the Democratic party and wouldn’t be labeled as toxic in the general election.
Perhaps Sanders is betting that the “Democratic establishment” is as functional as the Bourbon ancien regime. That’s nothing like a sure bet, but there’s certainly a case to be made for it (and see the latest dynastic antics below). Give credit: Power was lying in the street, and Sanders seized it, not Governor Jawline (and that O’Malley was distracted by a Maryland eruption is no coincidence).
The S.S. Clinton
“Bill Clinton, Paid to Speak to Biotech Conference, Extolled $1000 Pill to Prevent “Liver Rot,” Despite Lack of Evidence that It Does” [Naked Capitalism]. I’ve gone meta and put an NC post here, first, because it’s such a great catch, and second because it shows the power of the small, deeply knowledgeable, independent blogger to break stories, in this case Roy Poses. Selling patent medicine is flat-out unethical on its face, and that the “liver pill” costs a thousand bucks is a second kick in the stones. Please let’s have no more talk of “lesser evil” with the Clinton Dynasty. It’s true that Dante put fraud only as far down as the Eighth Circle of Hell, but that’s far down enough for me.
“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attended a $2,700-per-person fundraiser at the home of Lynn Rothschild on Tuesday, the same day that archived emails released by the State Department showed that Rothschild may have influenced a profile of the former secretary of state” [Sunlight Foundation]. Ka-ching.
“Hillary Clinton, the democratic frontrunner for President, will visit Provincetown today to attend a major fundraiser at a private waterfront home on the far west end of Commercial Street” [Cape Cod]. “[A]bout 300 people will attend the gala with about half of those paying $2,700, the maximum donation allowed in a primary election. Those donors will get to meet Clinton in a smaller setting. The other half of the attendees will have paid $1,000.” Ka-ching.
Scouring the privatized and partially revealed Clinton emails for relentlessly trivial fun facts and bright shiny objects [HuffPo]. No ka-ching, that being the point.
Can do better: “Hillary Clinton tried to help one private-equity boss with a visa problem and encouraged another on a project in China. She apologized to the chairman of a big corporation for failing to commit to an event right away” [Bloomberg]. Constituent services. Ka-ching.
“Obama: I’m Reagan and Hillary can be Bush 41” [Politico]. The headline is a fair summary.
“Four Democrats, 14 Republicans in Presidential Race” [Bloomberg]. And it’s early days yet!
Republican Principled Insurgents
“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will officially announce his bid for the White House on July 13 in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha” [Politico]. Any Wisconsinites want to weigh in on the location?
“Scott Walker’s Hard Right Turn in Iowa May Hurt Him Elsewhere” [New York Times]. No, it won’t. Walker stomps Democrats. “He has to say that. Anyhow, he didn’t say it. What’s wrong with you?” Worked with Obots.
Republican Clown Car
Trump: “The real estate mogul is rocking the polls, but he’s also been engulfed in an escalating feud with Hispanics over remarks from his campaign launch, when he said Mexico was sending criminals and rapists across the border” [The Hill]. No doubt Republicans will try to avoid hurting “the GOP brand” by keeping Trump out of the debates. Pass the popcorn.
“Pelosi: Warren doesn’t speak for all Dems” [The Hill]. Thank heavens. Pelosi’s a traitor on TPP, and Warren isn’t.
Employment Situation, June 2015: “softer-than-expected employment report where nonfarm payroll growth came in at 223,000 vs Econoday expectations for 230,000 and include downward revisions totaling 60,000 to the two prior months (” [Bloomberg]. “Push back that rate hike, at least that will be the initial reaction.” Attaboy! More free money for those who already have money by the boatload! As if QE ever did anything for working people whatever. Venturing gingerly into macro: The fool in the shower at the Fed doesn’t just have a timing problem — the lag between turning the hot water faucet up and feeling hot water means that people tend to turn up the water faucet a second time, burning themselves. No, the fools in the shower at the Fed have a plumbing problem: They think that their faucet is connected to the hot water tank at all. It isn’t. Then again, a lot of highly paid neoliberal professionals have a great deal of intellectual capital invested in watching that faucet and recommending how to turn it. So there’s that.
Jobless Claims, week of June 27, 2015: “Unemployment is very low right now” [Jobless Claims]. “There are no special factors in today’s report, one that points to unusually low levels of unemployment.” No mention of the labor force participation rate. “Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer must be thrilled! Americans NOT in the Labor Force jumped by 640,000 to a whopping 93.6 million” [Confounded Interest]. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of June 28, 2015: “Payroll growth may be soft but consumer confidence is very strong right now” [Bloomberg].
Factory Orders, May 2015: “The factory sector, hit by weak exports, continues to stumble with factory orders down 1.0 percent in May” [Bloomberg]. Worse than expected. “With the economy as a whole doing fine ***cough***, it’s surprising ***cough*** to see how weak the factory sector has been.”
“Did The West Coast Port Dispute Contribute To The First-Quarter GDP Slowdown?” [Liberty Street].
“Hedge Funds Fight to Save Puerto Rico Investments” [D%albook, New York Times].
“German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose tough stance in bailout talks with Greece has turned him into a hate-figure there, has surged to a new high in popularity at home, with 70 percent of Germans saying they approve of the job he is doing” [Ekathimerini].
Varoufakis on printing drachmas: “We smashed the printing presses” as a condition of joining the Euro. “[W]e have no printing presses [Raw Story].
Josh Davis, Content Manager, Grassroots Economic Organizing answers my repeated question: “Where are the co-operative networks in Greece?” in mail:
Here’s a partial answer to your question about what the left has been doing to fill in the gaps left by austerity in Greece. Gawker
When a tax increase folded into electricity bills resulted in cutoffs for people unable to pay, lists were made and local electricians were dispatched to illegally restore services, with priority afforded to those most vulnerable (the elderly, new parents). A former military installation seized by residents and converted into a community park and cultural center boasted sizeable gardens, tended by locals of varying ages.
When I visited one of the city’s [Athens] oldest popular assemblies in 2012, in the neighborhood of Petralona, residents had just opened a kitchen space on one street corner, with the intention of both providing affordable meals and educating young people about food cultivation, preparation, and health. Participation in all of it seemed pretty eclectic, to my outsider eye. Even local government officials joined in—acting as residents like any others, sometimes with their families in tow. Perhaps even more telling, assemblies were sharing resources between neighborhoods. They were confederating, demonstrating both an ability and an intention to scale up.
TEMS, the alternative currency, also seems to be helping ease things a little, as well as an innovative direct sales platform for producers which sounds a little like a CSA. The Express:
In 2010, when civil service wages were cut, our income was almost halved but there have been some key developments in Volos which have helped us get by.
The most important thing has been the local exchange trading system, the TEM, a form of barter system introduced by Volos residents because so many people were struggling to afford items in euros.
In the three years since I have been trading in TEM, by offering English and guitar lessons, second-hand clothes and bric-a-brac, I have earned and spent 9,500 TEM.
One TEM is equivalent to one euro but scarcer goods and services within the TEM network become more important and then there is no price control so people can charge what they want. To get an idea of the costs and what’s available, I had a week’s holiday with my two children last summer on Mount Pelion, north-east of Volos, which cost 270 TEM and e30.
I had two years of shiatsu massage at 20 TEM a session. I also buy lots of our family’s clothes and shoes with TEM and regularly buy ready-meals with it.
Another important development that has helped our family is the movement Without Middlemen, which began in 2012 as a “potato revolution”. This is a pan-Hellenic initiative where producers such as farmers, dairies and millers, and factories making basic household goods, offer them up directly to consumers via the internet. All items are at least half the retail price as they avoid supermarket margins.
Our local group pre-orders a month before the delivery date. Then, every six weeks the producers bring their goods to a site on the outskirts of town. It’s always on a Saturday morning and is well organised by volunteers.
It is another way of making sure the basics are obtainable.
Lambert here: Time will tell whether these networks can function in the absence of a banking system and a fiat currency. I’d note that pensioners won’t be able to feed themselves by offering guitar and English lessons, and a shiatsu massage isn’t the same thing as fuel in the winter. That said, I find the active participation of the civil service fascinating; it reminds me of Non-Violent Method of Protest and Persuasion #198: Parallel Sovereignty. If power is lying in the street, will the co-ops be able to pick it up?
Without money to buy fuel, Greeks turn to firewood, leading to illegal logging and deforestation (which also ruins the soil, decreasing food production) [NPR]. “In November [2-11] alone, according to figures released by the forest service, 30% of forests were lost due to the activities of illegal loggers” [Greek Reporter]. That number is so huge that I wonder if the translation is right. “Such woodcutting was last common in Greece during Germany’s brutal occupation in the 1940s, underscoring how five years of recession and waves of austerity measures have spawned drastic measures” [Wall Street Journal]. Winter is coming.
Nomura on “redenomination” and political risk [@katie_martin_fx].
Redenomination risk: this time is different. (Nomura) pic.twitter.com/OL8UlHg5K9
— Katie Martin (@katie_martin_fx) July 2, 2015
“Why Greece’s socialists just might be political masterminds” [Bloomberg]. The problem with all these post facto “Just So” stories — highly fantasized origin stories, like “How the Elephant got his Trunk” — is that, by construction, they assume that the Syriza leadership are Straussian philosopher kings, deceiving their people with the “noble lie.” Does the left really regard this model as prefigurative? We know how the Straussian movie ends.
“[T]he insane construction of the euro – a naked currency union without fiscal and political foundations – must inevitably tend to authoritarian monetary dystopia in the end” [Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph]. Sounds to me like Greece caught the early bus.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Crunching The Numbers On Blacks’ Views On Gays” [NPR].
“The Mystery of St. Louis’s Veiled Prophet” [The Atlantic].
But the city’s inability to deal with its history of racial inequality, always closely tied to class issues, has run parallel to the city’s cultural and economic decline, leaving it in something resembling a stupor. A case study in this long decline can be found in the emblematic history of the annual Fair Saint Louis.
In shocker, Rahm gives his private equity buddies a reach-around on Chicago teacher’s retirement funds fees [International Business Times]. Because it’s all about the fee fees. What are friends for?
he initiative could end up shifting billions into a fund whose portfolio is run, in part, by Grosvenor Capital and Madison Dearborn Partners, two firms whose executives have together given over $4 million to the mayor’s campaigns and affiliated PACs. That includes over $2.7 million from Grosvenor CEO Michael Sacks and his wife, Cari. Sacks has been called Emanuel’s “fixer” and “go-to guy;” he was appointed by Emanuel to serve as vice chairman of World Business Chicago, an economic development group that Emanuel chairs.
The corruption is just out in the open, now, isn’t it? And Rahm is blazing the trail for Obama’s Presidential Library, I have no doubt.
“Report Concludes Police Shooting Victim in Washington State Probably Had a Rock” [New York Times]. Oh. OK.
“Georgia family seek arrest of Stonecrest Mall guards for punching boy” [Guardian]. Classy!
America the Petrostate
“BP to pay Gulf states $18.7 billion in Deepwater Horizon disaster settlement” [Christian Science Monitor]. And none of the CEOs go to jail. They have impunity, like all CEOs.
“Impact of Rapid Urbanization on Health” [Counterpunch]. What do you mean? Health in the good neighborhoods is perfectly OK!
‘Terminator’ jokes abound as Sarah O’Connor reports on deadly robot accident” [Daily Dot].
News of the Wired
“[T]here’s a new form of Bubble Wrap coming out — and this one won’t pop” [HuffPo]. Maybe they could use Greenspan’s name for branding?
“Zane, the Queen of Erotica, Has a Secret” [Washingtonian].
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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 (via H):
More from H’s permaculture project in Texas:
8) garden path framed by loquats on either side, some Chinese garlic and basil under the left loquat, and a ferny asparagus trying to escape its bed by hanging over the path in the foreground
The curve of this path is so inviting! As garden paths so often are….
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