2:00PM Water Cooler 7/28/15

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 this week. If a traitor is mentioned in Water Cooler, their name is in bold.

Hawaii session: “Stage set for ‘final’ negotiations on proposed TPP trade deal. “Akira Amari, Japan’s minister in charge of TPP negotiations, said significant progress was made as a result of ‘tough’ bargaining between chief negotiators in the run-up to a crucial four-day ministerial session starting Tuesday on the Hawaiian island of Maui” [Japan Times]. “The Hawaii session is viewed as a last opportunity to sign a deal by the end of the year, given the United States will soon be preoccupied with campaigning for the 2016 presidential election.”

New Zealand cartoon: “The Pencilsword: Who’s afraid of the TPPA?” [The Wireless] (TPPA = TPP).  Well drawn and very funny, and raises ISDS effectively. “Sir, I told you already, this is a secret matter. Move along.”

ISDS: “Left gathers forces for final push against TPP” [The Hill]. I’d be a lot happier if the headline read “Left and Right.” TPP’s surrender of national sovereignty under TPP can unite left and right, but somehow our famously free press has erased that from the discourse.

Promises, promises: “A complaint alleging that the Government of Peru is failing to comply with the labor standards of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) was filed on July 23, 2015, by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Peru Equidad, and Peruvian unions representing workers in the textile & garment and agro-export industries. The complaint alleges that the Government of Peru is failing to enforce basic labor laws in its garment, textile, and agricultural export sectors, which together employ hundreds of thousands of workers who produce billions of dollars of goods for the U.S. market” [International Labor Rights Forum]. “It also raises new questions regarding the labor rights record of a key member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Obama Administration’s proposed mega-trade deal that will, on paper, require all members to maintain and enforce labor laws consistent with recognized International Labor Organization standards.”

Promises, promises: “In attempt to quell the controversy surrounding the TPP, the administration is recycling the same lofty promises that were used to push for passage of CAFTA: the deal would safeguard public health, spur economic prosperity at home and abroad, and protect workers, consumers, and the environment” [Eyes on Trade]. “After 10 years of CAFTA, the emptiness of such promises is on full display.”

TPP is pro-slavery:  “It appears Malaysia will be given a free pass on human trafficking in order to protect the controversial trade deal” [The Nation]. So “America’s first Black President” reinforces slavery in South East Asia. Nice. “[T]he move suggests the administration isn’t serious about enforcing other areas of fast track and the TPP when it comes to other human-rights, environmental, or labor standards.”

TPP is pro-slavery:  “Malaysia controls a key oil shipping lane to China, and the U.S. sees it as a key strategic partner in efforts to neutralize China’s growing influence in Asia” [The Intercept]. One imagines an earlier empire making the same arguments in favor of slavery when William Wilberforce was agitating to abolish it. “But what about the sugar trade?”

TPP is pro-slavery:  “Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said, ‘Giving countries with clear evidence of human rights violations, like Malaysia, a front-row seat to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership is unconscionable” [The Hill]. “Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, insisted Monday that Malaysia’s qualification to remain part of the TPP didn’t come into play when evaluating its status.” BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!

Malaysia: David Cameron to visit Malaysia starting Thursday. Opposition leader: “On Thursday Cameron will be standing beside [Prime Minister Najib] praising him uncritically as a Muslim moderate and committing the UK to cooperate with Najib on trade liberalisation and a mutual security agenda ” [Telegraph].  Cameron is arrivine “as the country reels from a multi-billion dollar scandal engulfing a controversial state investment bank founded and headed by Mr Najib,” of which Najib is trying to suppress press coverage.

The disabled and IP: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens all users’ ability to access information and participate in culture and innovation online, but it’s especially severe for those with disabilities or who otherwise depend on content in accessible formats. That’s because it doubles down on broken policies that were heavily lobbied for by Hollywood and other major publishers that impede the distribution of accessible works” [EFF].


Readers, I have recategorized this section. I had been filing items in candidate- and party-focused buckets, but I think that’s encouraging people discussing their votes or, worse, proselytizing for candidates or even parties. We have Kos, Reddit, and any number of conservative sites for that. I hope this recategorization encourages discussion of policy and structural issues, though I have to confess I love the human interest of the campaign trail, which is in there too. I’m retaining the Clown Car because the stupid! It b-u-r-r-n-n-n-n-s!!!!!


“Calling climate change one of the “most urgent threats of our time,” Hillary Rodham Clinton laid out elements of a sweeping plan Monday that would see every U.S. home powered by renewable energy by 2027, even as she declined to take a position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline opposed by environmental activists” [AP]. Clever to drive a news cycle with a fact sheet, then expand on the ground. I wonder how many of those solar panels will be made in China?

“During an Iowa speech on climate change Monday, Clinton refused to weigh in on the project. She argued that because she served as President Obama’s secretary of State when the pipeline was under consideration, it would be inappropriate for her to comment” [The Hill]. Oh, come on. Anyhow, we can check her email! Oh, wait.. 

Sanders’ plan: “[W]ould look like a tax on carbon; a massive investment in solar, wind, geothermal; it would be making sure that every home and building in this country is properly winterized; it would be putting substantial money into rail, both passenger and cargo, so we can move towards breaking our dependency on automobiles” [Think Progress].

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer:” Huckabee Guilty Of Same ‘Incitement’ That Led To Rabin Assassination” with “to the ovens” comment [Talking Points Memo].

The Voters

Recap of Florida 2000 from Avi Berman [The Nation]. “If 12,000 voters were wrongly purged from the rolls, and 44 percent of them were African-American, and 90 percent of African-Americans voted for Gore, that meant 4,752 black Gore voters—almost nine times Bush’s margin of victory—could have been prevented from voting. It’s not a stretch to conclude that the purge cost Gore the election.”

It’s important to understand that Berman is retailing a self-serving and self-exculpatory Democratic lie myth. 308,000 Florida Democrats voted for Bush; that’s two orders of magnitude greater than the voters Jebbie disenfranchised. Democrats lost Florida for Bush, and nobody else. And the party has never been able to look itself in the mirror on this. Never. It’s always somebody else’s fault with these guys.


Democrats make up half of Jebbie fundraiser in the Hamptons: “‘This guy sells well,’ said Kenneth Lipper, the money manager and registered Democrat who hosted the event, after Bush left. Virtually the only one who left without writing a check, Lipper said, was a buck deer that wandered past the group assembled on the wooded grounds” [Bloomberg]. And the deer wasn’t the only pest on the grounds, was it?

“Map: Where 2016 Candidates Raised Their Money” [National Journal].

Legal Troubles

“Ivana Trump once accused the real-estate tycoon of ‘rape,’ although she later clarified: not in the ‘criminal sense.’” [Daily Beast].

“Clinton’s new e-mail storm is no criminal scandal” [WaPo]. As I keep saying, the Clintons have always been lucky in their enemies.

The Trail

Top Ten List of Republican Candidates: 1 Trump: 18%;  2 Bush: 14%;  3 Walker: 10.6%;  4 Rubio: 6.2%;  5 Paul: 6%;  6 Cruz: 6%;  7 Huckabee: 5.6%;  8 Carson: 5.2%;  9 Christie: 3%; 10 Perry: 2.2%. [First Read]. These are the candidates who would make the cut for the Presidential debates today, and so not Kasich, Santorum, Jindal, Fiorina, or Graham. Waiting to see Trump beat Bush to death with his combover, then scoop out his skull and use it for a drinking cup. And the crowd goes wild!

Rand Paul seems to be missing in action [WaPo].

Republican strategist: “Imagine a NASCAR driver mentally preparing for a race knowing one of the drivers will be drunk. That’s what prepping for this debate is like” [@JWGop].

Our Nation’s Capital

“House to vote on three-month highway bill, break for recess” [The Hill]. So make sure to visit their offices and share your views, especially on TPP.

Stats Watch

S&P Case-Shiller HPI, May 2015:  Case-Shiller reports surprising weakness in home prices. The data include a sizable downward revision to April” [Bloomberg]. “Declines are widespread, hitting 12 of 20 cities including a second straight decline, at a steep minus 0.7 percent in May, for the usually very strong San Francisco.” But year-on-year: ” the year-on-year rate is seen posting a very solid gain to plus 5.6 percent from April’s 4.9 percent. This report, as well as the FHFA housing price index, are on steady moderate climbs consistent with underlying strength in existing home sales”. And: “The non-seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) year-over-year rate of home price growth was unchanged from last month’s 4.9%. The authors of the index say: “Over the next two years or so, the rate of home price increases is more likely to slow than to accelerate” [Econintersect].

PMI Services Flash, July 2015: “Service sector growth is strengthening slightly this month” [Bloomberg]. “[O]ptimism in the 12-month outlook, perhaps shaken by the outlook for the global economy, is the softest it’s been in three years.”

Consumer Confidence, July 2015: “Consumer confidence has weakened substantially this month” [Bloomberg]. “Weakness is centered in the expectations component which is down nearly 13 points to 79.9 and reflects sudden pessimism in the jobs outlook where an unusually large percentage, at 20 percent even, see fewer jobs opening up six months from now.” And: “[S]ending early hints of second-half slowing, slowing that could push back of course the Fed’s expected rate hike.” Oh, well then… 

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, July 2015: “The Richmond Fed is reporting the best strength of any manufacturing region this month” [Bloomberg]. “New orders are especially strong. Hiring, however, is slowing.” And: “Of the five regional Federal Reserve surveys released to date, three show manufacturing expanding and two are in slight contraction” [Econintersect].

State Street Investor Confidence Index, July 2015: “The investor confidence index is down sharply this month but from an unusually high reading in the prior month” [Bloomberg].

“Along with the troubles in China, the U.S. economy is facing a rash of equally serious headwinds. Canada has now entered a technical recession with two back to back quarters of contraction this year. Canada is the number one export market for U.S. goods, buying $312 billion from the U.S. in 2014 or 19.2 percent of all U.S. exports” [Wall Street on Parade].

“A sufficiently large reverse-repo facility is a way to ensure that the Fed will be able to meet some of the demand for a safe asset, preventing secured rates and unsecured rates from diverging again — and without resorting to the kinds of ad hoc measures that were necessary in the last crisis”  [Cardiff Garcia, FTAlphaville]. The mechanics of lift-off, if any, are as important as the fact of it.

“[Bank of England chief economist Andy] Haldane looked at the philosophy of shareholder primacy and questioned its legitimacy. He cited evidence of increasing short-termism by shareholders, of increasingly diversified shareholders failing to exercise corporate control and of the quest for shareholder returns fuelling risk taking” [Market News]. ” Haldane says that by creating a diversified portfolio, shareholders become risk insensitive over their investments in any single company and, therefore, “unlikely to discipline risk-taking by management.”

Dear Old Blighty

“Hard left actually a retired teacher with a duffle coat” [Daily Mash].


Sausage-making in Chicago: The Obama Presidential Library (ka-ching) [The Baffler]. “Like so many things Obamian, when it comes to transparency, fantasies of reform turn to ashes in our mouths.”

“I’d clearly leave them with an expectation that a fundraising request will be forthcoming,”  [K&L Gates oil lobbyist Peter] Gleason advised, according to the talking points, “and emphasize that he prefers to have these types of discussions before asking for money (i.e., ‘it’s the right thing to do’)” [Post-Gazette]. Indeed! First of two parts on the fracking industry and Pennsylvania politics.

Our Famously Free Press

Gawker’s Denton reaching out to Omidyar (!) [Daily Beast]. “I knew Graydon Carter and you, sir, are no Graydon Carter.”

“[S]mall cues can lead to large differences in how people consume content” [Bloomberg]. A “respect” button instead of a “like” button, for example.

Wretched Excess Watch

“Hunter who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe ‘paid gamekeepers £36,000” [Daily Mail]. Corruption, too.

News of the Wired

“I want a moratorium on new browser features for about a year or so” [Quirks Mode]. “[W]e should focus on the web’s strengths: simplicity, URLs and reach. The innovation machine is running at full speed in the wrong direction. We need a break.”

“Goldman Sachs, arguably the most powerful bank in the world, quietly, without fanfare, is making a play to become one of the most influential investors in technology startups” [Bloomberg]. So good luck with the moratorium.

“In Praise of the AK-47” [Dear Design Student]. Must the beautiful always be good? Is the good orator always a good person?

“Pluto has nitrogen glaciers flowing down from its distinctive, icy heart” [Nature].

“Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Later” [Buzzfeed]. First in a series of actual reporting!

“The NFL Just Hired Its First Female Coach *Ever*” [Marie Claire]. Just in time for the brain damage lawsuits to kick in…. 

“Women Who Code has taken its network to 53 cities and six continents in the past four years” [International Business Times].

Happy Birthday, World War I! [Business Insider].

Arthur Silber’s requiem for his cat, Cyrano  :-( [Power of Narrative]. Silber is one of the great old-school bloggers, who tend to be prematurely correct a lot. He’s always worth a read.

* * *

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 (IsabelPS). This view is very pleasing to the eye; I have the feeling Christopher Alexander would approve:


Can it possibly be true that Europe shuts down for the month of August?! If so, I hope more European readers will take a moment to send in photographs of European plants. We’ve had Dimitri’s olives, and now Isabel’s pears, but more would be nice!

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.

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


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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. Carla

    “Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said, ‘Giving countries with clear evidence of human rights violations, like Malaysia, a front-row seat to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership is unconscionable”

    To Senator Brown (MY senator): The whole danged TPP is unconstitutional. Would you just say so? And then please re-iterate for the TTIP and the TiSA?

    (I have just sent this message directly to Senator Brown as well.)

    1. Vatch

      I think he has said that, albeit indirectly. See the paragraph on ISDS, one of the most obviously unconstitutional parts of the trade treaties, here:


      Investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) is written into trade deals and provides for an extrajudicial way for corporations to sue governments for regulating or passing laws. Investor state provisions allow corporations – like tobacco companies – to use trade agreements to challenge laws that they argue undermine their investment in a particular country. State, local, and federal governments shouldn’t have to be looking over their shoulder every time they decide to pass a public health measure, or deny a permit for environmental reasons. Investor-state dispute settlement allows corporations to challenge laws using arbitration panels. ISDS represents another way for corporations to maximize profits by challenging government regulations they don’t like in an extrajudicial system with rulings that are divorced from precedent. Brown’s amendment would ensure that future trade agreements can be concluded without ISDS.

      1. Carla

        I want to hear our Senators, including my Senator, say it explicitly. I’d like to see our Senators start making the world safe for democracy.

        It’s clear, Vatch, that Sherrod Brown and probably many more Senators understand the implications of the ISDS and other toxic provisions of the TPP and its brethren. Is there any way that we citizens can make them feel safer to state the unvarnished truth? I would like to encourage them, but don’t know quite how.

        1. Vatch

          I’m not clever enough to know how to elicit straight talk from a politician! I guess we need to praise them when they’re good, criticize them when they’re bad, and encourage our friends to do the same.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Folks, the word “unconstitutional,” as far as I can tell, has lost all power to inflame or intoxicate what so many of us think of as “real America,” or to influence or abate any of the many aspects about the Corporatized World where the US whatever-it-is gets to be the “sole remaining superpower” (another impotent meaningless term.) There’s some recognition here and elsewhere that national boundaries and even the “idea” of nations have been drowned in “trade” and the structural changes in the Great Game — where the Players are more visibly and pointedly death-wish-driven corporate entities that wear “national” affiliations as shabby masks and cloaks-of-invisibility and convenient and comfortable handles and prime movers attached to the levers of power.

      The only parts of the Constitution that seem to have any residual force are the Second Amendment (and that’s largely because the arms industry inflates its leaky envelope), and the bits about the Executive running foreign policy. It’s also helpful, apparently, to manage and herd us mopes by helping us pretend that there’s a Rule of Law that we can rely on to protect us against the impunity and predations of the Very Special Successful Few, and that the electoral process magically confers “democracy”-legitimacy on “the law” which patently is written and unwritten by corporate interests that dominate all the essentials of political economy and plain old life.

      Freeing the slaves was apparently “unconstitutional,” as was the outrageous intrusion into the rights of Capital to employ child labor and sell poisonous medications and machinery that would kill the user, and there’s dozens more examples. If what one means by “unconstitutional” is just that one disagrees with the outcomes that the actual workings of the power structure in the political economy is, ah, “disagreeable,” maybe that’s a sort of acceptable working definition. But in the Age of Arbitrary Power, of the Panopticon, uncaged monsters like GoldenSocks and JPMordorChaos, http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/02/11/john-mack-stop-beating-up-on-lloyd-blankfein-and-jamie-dimon/, of permanent war that ignores borders, and the casual Color Revolutions, and NSA and CIA and FBI funsies, “unconstitutional” might be a fine heady whine to go with a ripened cheese on toast points, but it don’t mean sh_t. In my little view. A pretty aspiration, but as the Neocons said of other “past restraints” on murderous excess in pursuit of “success,” nothing but “quaint.”

      One of those lines from Frank Herbert’s exegesis of imperial power in a universe that runs on “trade,” the “Dune” series, was the observation by old nasty Baron Vladimir Harkonnen that even in the free-for-all of grabbery and commercial-political murder, “The forms must be observed…”

      You want to fight ISDS and the rest of the corporate putsch, you gonna have to unlimber some weapons and words with some actual potency. In other places where the reality and the political discourse are a little closer, and more honestly congruent, one sees AK-47s and RPGs as agents of change and public debate… None of any of this, the Brownian motions of near 8 billion humans and their limbic systems and tribes, appears to be “trending” in the direction of a future where humans get to live in their better-nature raiment…

      1. Ulysses

        “Folks, the word “unconstitutional,” as far as I can tell, has lost all power to inflame or intoxicate what so many of us think of as “real America,” or to influence or abate any of the many aspects about the Corporatized World where the US whatever-it-is gets to be the “sole remaining superpower” (another impotent meaningless term.) There’s some recognition here and elsewhere that national boundaries and even the “idea” of nations have been drowned in “trade” and the structural changes in the Great Game — where the Players are more visibly and pointedly death-wish-driven corporate entities that wear “national” affiliations as shabby masks and cloaks-of-invisibility and convenient and comfortable handles and prime movers attached to the levers of power.

        The only parts of the Constitution that seem to have any residual force are the Second Amendment (and that’s largely because the arms industry inflates its leaky envelope), and the bits about the Executive running foreign policy. It’s also helpful, apparently, to manage and herd us mopes by helping us pretend that there’s a Rule of Law that we can rely on to protect us against the impunity and predations of the Very Special Successful Few, and that the electoral process magically confers “democracy”-legitimacy on “the law” which patently is written and unwritten by corporate interests that dominate all the essentials of political economy and plain old life.”

        These two pithy paragraphs say it all! The transnational kleptocracy is now large and in charge, and people from Athens, Greece to Albany, Georgia know that fact all too well. We need to learn how to resist effectively– it is foolish to pretend that there are ways to fix this without very radical changes to the status quo. Gibson’s projected “jackpot” is disturbingly vague– today’s violent kleptocratic outrages are all too obvious, and getting worse by the minute.

  2. voxhumana

    “It’s important to understand that Berman is retailing a self-serving and self-exculpatory Democratic lie myth. 308,000 Florida Democrats voted for Bush; that’s two orders of magnitude greater than the voters Jebbie disenfranchised. Democrats lost Florida for Bush, and nobody else. And the party has never been able to look itself in the mirror on this. Never. It’s always somebody else’s fault with these guys.”


    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      It’s certainly true that corporatist Dems and their apologists love to blame Nader (“Thanks Ralphing”) and by extension silence their current critics on the left.

      But I won’t forgive Kitty Harris or ¡Jeb! for cheating, or our corporate media and Supreme Court for aiding and abetting same.

        1. Vatch

          There is shared responsibility for what happened in Florida. The Republicans committed some severe ethical violations (and possibly broke the law). The Democratic voters simply exercised their right to vote for whom they chose, and the Democratic politicians were inept. In this series of events, the Republicans deserve far more blame.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Background from the Jerusalem Post on the impending parole of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, quoting from a declaration filed in 1987 by then-SecDef Caspar Weinberger:

    The obvious result of Mr. Pollard’s largesse [in supplying classified documents to Israel] is that US bargaining leverage with the Israeli government in any further intelligence exchanges has been undermined.


    Nothing has changed. Pollard’s release shows the “world’s only superpower” groveling for mercy before a nation of 7 million, because it “lacks bargaining leverage.”

    Has anybody seen our missing cojones?

    1. JTMcPhee

      It seems our imperial Rulers also sent their schlongs to Tel Aviv too, and not for circumcision…

    2. jo6pac

      If this happens there will be a lot of unhappy old guard CIA do to the fact that israeli sold the Russians the list of cia spies/vendors in Russia at the time that they received from pollard.

      Then again I won’t be surprised.

  4. Tertium Squid

    There’s our superior culture at work. Women in football is as inspiring as women starting wars, or chopping off heads. Now they can handle thanatos as well as eros, or even better maybe.

    1. PQS

      Ugh. I think I upchucked a little this morning during the NPR segment on this woman’s hiring. The team hiring manager checked with the “senior players” first before bringing her onboard – just to be sure they were going to be OK with it. You know, must make sure the Men who Run Things are going to be good with a woman doing something besides cooking and cleaning up. (Oh, and don’t forget, cheerleading for free).

      Afghanistan and the NFL – where their paths converged: running right over the top of a woman’s body….

      1. Jess

        Having once worked in pro football, I think that checking with the senior players was a good thing. It gave management a chance to outline their reasoning, relate her qualifications, specify what input and responsibilities she is going to have, etc. Consulting senior leadership players is often done to assess the merits of a planned move. Top QB’s are frequently consulted on possible trades or free agent acquisitions at various positions, esp. on offense. Defensive stars are similarly consulted regarding changes or upgrades to the defense.

        These kinds of consultations serve to prepare the players so they are not blindsided in ambush interviews and say something that doesn’t come out, or come across, the way they wanted it to. It also allows management to get a feel for questions the players may have that will have to be addressed when they come up in the press.

        Make no mistake about it; Bruce Arians is considered a “player’s coach” but he also runs the show…with an iron hand when necessary.

    2. hunkerdown

      Handling thanatos comparably well to The Other Gender seems to be sufficient for them.

      Eros don’t enter into it, except as a resource to privatize.

  5. Cugel

    The critics of Nader are right and these pointless “Gore lost the Democrats” arguments are not only wrong, but so naive by 2015 that it’s shocking to see them repeated.

    Yup. Gore lost the White working class. In 2004, Kerry lost it worst. In 2008, Obama won election with 53% to McCain’s 45%, essentially with the McGovern coalition, women, especially single women, minorities, non or seldom church-goers, northern liberals and unions, but he won only 47% of the white working class. And Hillary will probably do worse with white workers who make under $50,000 a year than Obama did.

    They will agree with her on economic issues over Jeb or Walker or Rubio, and they’ll vote Republican because . . . reasons.

    “Using the income definition, all white voters with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 are said to be “the white working class.” This white working class was 25% of all voters in 2008, and only 47% of them voted for Barack Obama. Looking at these same voters state-by-state, however, shows a wide variation – from 68% for Obama in Massachusetts to 11% for Obama in Alabama.”

    Majority in Massachusetts down to 11% in Alabama, eh? So, racism explains most of the difference, just as it has for 200 years. The only reason that southern white working class voters joined the New Deal coalition from 1932 to 1968, is that blacks were specifically excluded from participation. The minute the Democratic party became associated with civil rights in the 1960s the white working class switched to supporting the Republicans.

    “If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.”—Lyndon Johnson

    For 200 years Progressives have been trying in vain to solve this problem, that poorly educated and low income whites see minorities as a threat to their incomes. When push comes to shove, they have always lined up with the 1% because of racism. It’s been much worse in the South of course, which blocked unionism when unions in America were at their most powerful. Today, unions are almost extinct in the South, many states of which have “right to work” laws.

    Today’s Democratic party has won with minority and middle class support while the white working class joins the Tea Party.

    I don’t see that changing any time soon just because Democrats adopt a more progressive stand on issues. In fact, all such attempts simply cause the fault lines in American society to widen, with resentful white workers arguing that the Democrats only favor “welfare” for minorities. The “Black Lives Matter” campaign – which I support, plays into these racial resentments, which increase whenever economic times are hardest – like now.

    I remember vividly in 2012 having these arguments with a working class white friend. I pointed out every aspect of how corrupt and useless Romney was, how he made tens of millions of $ from the auto industry bailout he publicly opposed, how he was a vulture capitalist down to the bone, who was bound to make things vastly worse. He agreed with everything – and then he said “yes, but if Obama gets elected all the blacks will be on welfare.”

    There’s just no arguing with this stuff. Racism just trumps every other consideration.

    They’re the ones who are talking about Mexicans “with cantaloupe thighs” from running drugs across our borders. They’re the ones who agree with Trump that immigrants are “rapists and murderers.” They don’t just want to deport “illegals” they want to deport ALL Latinos – because they’re all really “illegal.”

    Democrats are going to have to openly stop worrying about the white working class. They have to adopt programs that will create jobs, but they cannot be naive enough to believe that that’s going to get lower class whites, especially rural whites, and even more so in the South, to vote Democratic because it’s not. Democrats focus on middle class voters because that’s who’s going to vote for them. The guys with pickup trucks are not.

    Gore may have been wrong about a lot of things, but it wasn’t an accident that he lost Tennessee. That state has been going further and further right. It will probably be another 30 years before a Democrat would stand a chance of winning a Senate seat there.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      So it’s not the Democrats’ fault they couldn’t display adaptability when the electorate changed. Oh-k-a-a-y.

      And man, do I hate that “white working class” formulation. Seems to me if we didn’t want to divide the electorate, we’d just say “working class.” Seems to stick in Democrats’ throats, for some reason. In other words, I feel that your comment restates their myth, albeit at greater length.

      1. DJG

        Every time the Democrats get out the crying towel to tell us about the perfidious Nader, I have to find an ancient WWW article about the missing mayor of Miami:


        This guy could have had the Penny-Loafer Rioters arrested. This guy could have presssed for a recount. But like so many Democrats, when it gets truly tough, he’s off somewhere else, “fighting” for us or running off copies of his résumé.


        And now the Democrats have Wasserman-Schultz. But it’s Nader’s fault that they rely on the likes of Wasserman-Schultz. No wonder the Dems can’t take on a clown like Scott Walker.

  6. grayslady

    Wretched Excess: Turns out the killer of Cecil is a dentist from the wealthy Eden Prairie suburb of Minneapolis. Claims he didn’t know Cecil was protected (even though Cecil was wearing a radio collar). Says he trusted his guides.

    Problem is, this isn’t the first time he’s lied to authorities about shooting an animal. Last time, it seems he lied to authorities about where he shot a black bear in Wisconsin. Then there’s the issue of the money. Why do you need to pay a local $50,000 for something if it’s legal? This is a guy with a serious ego problem–running around the world shooting protected species with his bow and arrow–and then having pictures of himself taken standing next to some poor dead animal looking as though he’s just achieved something brave and heroic.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Yep, grayslady, Heroic, all right.

      Anyone remember when CBS did “reporting?” The network put up a documentary in maybe 1975, titled “The Guns of Autumn,” of course not any kind of play on Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August.”

      “Commenting on “The Guns of Autumn,” Bill Leonard, CBS News senior vice president, said, “this is purely and simply a broadcast about hunting … It is not for the faint-hearted, but neither is hunting.” Irv Drasnin, the writer, producer and director, noted:

      “Millions of people regard hunting as recreation … Yet most people don’t realize what is really taking place, or why, or even what the rules are. We’ve tried to find out.” http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9904E1DF163FE034BC4D53DFBF66838E669EDE, and http://www.worldcat.org/title/guns-of-autumn/oclc/317343586 Don’t find the whole piece in free video.

      There’s a ton of hate pieces in the gun-n-bowhunt fanzines, keeping the faith and trying to shoot holes in the awful facts and images, bolstering that Belief Structure of “God, Guns and Guts,” attacks that can’t quite undo the reality — that includes, as I recall, a Brave and Daring White Hunter in his safari duds paying what, $10,000, in 1975 dollars, for the Big Game Hunting Adventure of a Lifetime. Creeping along a dusty farm road in the Jungle Vegetation beside a field fence in Texas or somewhere, under the watchful eye of his faithful Safari Guide/ranch hand, to poke his .308 or maybe it was a .600 Nitro Express rifle through the weeds and shoot a placid buffalo standing a few yards away, in a herd kept on the ranch range for just such Bravos to “hunt.”

      And yes, as I recall, the Bucko Bravo posed with White Hunter stance with his gun and his “kill.”

      One is a Believer, or one is not and is maybe sickened by the thought processes: “What caliber gun is used to kill an elephant? ” https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090202130421AAeIoTS Read it yourself — I’ve done a little bird shooting and some shooting at humans, a very long time ago, and gotta say it looks every day more and more like I ought to clean the shootin’ irons and go to the range for some practice… Like maybe some of this, mah fellow Amuricans? http://www.oklahomafullauto.com/ , or this, http://fullautoevents.com/, or this, http://www.lesjones.com/2011/05/31/luckygunner-machinegun-shoot-2011-full-auto-videos-and-pictures/

      And one has to really love the proud parents that set this 3-year-old up to shoot a few thousand rounds out of a 7.62 Minigun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNbBYwD472w Or this, for people in Boswash who have maybe gotten out of touch with so many of the folks we share this despoiled continent with, the ones that live “out there,” west of the Oranges and the Jersey shore — http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-347797.html

      There used to be a group of rich folks that had a running competition going to see who would be the one to kill the most “last specimens” of the of various vanishing species… or maybe that was just in a sci-fi story I read. But probable? Certainly not impossible…

  7. optimader

    .. If so, I hope more European readers will take a moment to send in photographs of European plants. We’ve had Dimitri’s olives, and now Isabel’s pears, but more would be nice!


    Hi. This is the qmail-send program at yahoo.com.
    I’m afraid I wasn’t able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
    This is a permanent error; I’ve given up. Sorry it didn’t work out.

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

    it would seem to be an unhappy email address..

  8. afisher

    More from the TTP front:
    1. Romania is being sued by Canadian Corporatation: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/trade-society/rosia-montana-omen-ttip-316594

    2. John Keys PM of New Zealand: Mr Key told reporters this morning that it was “highly probable” that drug patents would last longer under the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and that meant Government would have to pay for the original drug – as opposed to the cheaper generic version – for longer.

    “But for consumers that won’t make any difference because on subsidised drugs you pay $5 for your prescription. So the Government may incur slightly more costs there.” (now about that swamp-land)…


  9. Paul Tioxon

    Scott Walker on the campaign trail in South Philly, stopped by the Twin Peaks of Cheese Steaks, Geno’s and Pat’s. He is not getting the best of reviews for his street cred when it comes to ordering, eating, or walking away from out door tables leaving his trash. It’s all self service and you pick up after yourself. His advance team did not get the memo on how not to piss off Philadelphians. The tweets are entertaining all by themselves.


    But don’t worry, even John Kerry couldn’t please us when he asked for some snooty cheese other than provolone. He asked for Swiss and immediately I knew he was a doomed pol.


  10. RWood

    Re: TPP is pro-slavery: “It appears Malaysia will be given a free pass on human trafficking in order to protect the controversial trade deal” [The Nation]. So “America’s first Black President” reinforces slavery in South East Asia. Nice. “[T]he move suggests the administration isn’t serious about enforcing other areas of fast track and the TPP when it comes to other human-rights, environmental, or labor standards.”

    A part of the statement of brotherhood among the cloaked and naked tyrants:

    Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, in their 2007 paper “Silencing Dissent”, argued: “States that establish restrictive media environments aim to suppress dissent and to provide positive messages about the regime, rallying support for the authorities, as well as generating more feelings of patriotism and spreading ideological values favorable to the regime. “If state control succeeds in its objectives, we would expect regular exposure to the news media to generate relatively high levels of confidence in the authorities, encouraging relatively negative attitudes towards democratic values and reinforcing feelings of nationalism. This is the sector of the mass media where the state usually exercises the greatest control.” Much of the criticism stems from the current administration’s aggressive prosecution of leakers of information. –

    See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/khoo-ying-hooi/article/in-times-of-crisis-truth-is-first-casualty#sthash.5DxC1sz1.dpuf

  11. TimmyB

    Bush would not have been appointed president unless African Americans were illegally disenfranchised in Florida. That is a fact. Blaming Gore or the Democrats for not attracting enough voters to nullify the effects of this disenfranchisement doesn’t mean the disenfranchisement didn’t take place. Nor does it mean the disenfranchisment had nothing to do with Bush being appointed president.

    In this instance, it is completely irrelevant that a large number of Democrats voted for Bush. African Americans were disenfranchised and this cost Gore the election.

  12. Paul Tioxon

    POLICY: Hillary’s Solar Gambit

    Let’s look at the capacity to manufacture 500 million PV panels. Domestically, the Chinese crushed our defenseless industry and created the legend of Solyndra, the government corporate welfare crony gone belly up due to not being purely market driven. The year was 2010 and the CCP finally realizing the major problem of having no air to breathe for its citizens as well as ground visibility reduced to less than the length of a football field invested $45Bil in the construction of PV panels. This of course resulted in the unanticipated drop in price and the dumping of their product into our market. Combined with juicy state and federal tax incentives, projects jumped out by the smart money in the USA. The NFL stadium in Philly is covered with them, more than enough than needed for games. Pocono Raceway did likewise for the Nascar set. A supermarket down the street from me gets a 1/3 of the electricity from their rooftop, which is a lot if you realize the store is really a warehouse of freezers and refrigeration cases for 2/3 of the store. But, in response to the dumping, a complaint was filed and the Chinese realizing they were facing import levies, cranked up exports and warehouses in the USA became vast holding areas for cheap imports more than we could use right away.

    By 2013, with import duties in place, Chinese imports were cut in half. Canada, along with the EU and the US are united in anti-dumping policies against Chinese solar imports and Taiwan as well, but a lower rate than the barriers erected to defend against China.

    What happened to the huge stock pile of Chinese panels? They were exported South to Central America and other places while more efficient state of the art panels made here were used by American installation firms. Right now, SolarCity, is building a huge PV plant that will produce 1
    Gigawatts worth of PV panels per year. You can read about this here:


    This level of production coincides with the Hillary promise of 500mil panels in a decade. This plant would absorb most if not almost all of that initiative by it lone self. The state of NY is paying to build the facility and paying for the equipment inside that will do the manufacturing. And there are hiring and job creation metrics to be met for other considerations. But if SolarCity fails and bails or succeeds and tries to run away to Mexico or where ever, the state will have its own trained workforce and ownership of the factory and equipment to keep on operating. So Hillary’s plan is analogous to the Department of Agriculture buying up milk and cheese to support prices and keep the farmers in business so we can eat. The company has built in demand if Hillary gets in and won’t fail. NY has all the reason in the world to support Hillary. And Hillary also gets to agree with Pope Francis, which doesn’t hurt in heavily Catholic Iowa. It also doesn’t hurt with a large contingent of pissed off TEA Party Libertarians who want to install solar power on their roofs and sell excess electricity to the power grid, but are being stymied by government laws that are protecting the utilities from the this new threat to their monopoly. Hillary looks good to tree huggers, Catholics, Sierra Club types as well as creating a wedge issue splitting off some angry Tea Party types who want Solar Power and see it as way to live with personal independence but maintain a 21st Century standard of living with all of the electrical gadgets, internet etc.

    And, since 90% of the energy sector’s political contributions go exclusively to republicans, it’s not much skin off of the national democratic party’s back. Big Oil just can’t leverage dems when they give so little to them. On the other hand, solar gets huge support for tax credits for PC, wind turbines etc. Solar is a mom and apple pie issue with little downside for Hillary. The real question is how hard is she willing to charge to get this done on the scale and time line necessary for it to have real impact environmentally and also to stimulate jobs for people with real paychecks for decades to come?

    1. rusti

      I hope environmentalists aren’t dumb enough to let Hillary anoint herself as their champion, in the same way that NC readers understand that her facade as an economic populist is utterly unconvincing. The idea that we can just install a bunch of rooftop solar to avoid climate disaster is on par with the fantasy that we’ll retrofit a bunch of brown coal burning plants with carbon capture and storage and ride happily into the sunset.

      Rooftop solar on an American home is the utility-bill equivalent of driving a two-ton electric car with 85 kWh in battery storage and thinking that you’re an environmental champion because the ugliness was abstracted away with the removal of the tailpipe. The raw material requirements for scalability are gigantic, the installation costs are nearly twice that of utility scale deployments and most importantly it doesn’t address seasonal variation or base load requirements. Nor does it address how this is going to propagate to the rest of the world to compensate for the 80% of emissions that aren’t on US soil.

      If we’re using her analogy of Kennedy’s moonshot, she’s aiming to burn out somewhere in the Stratosphere before crash landing off the coast of Florida. Probably even lower when she inevitably swings right after winning the primary and even further right as President.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        So when Hitlery marches Israel to the oven doors, the ovens will be solar powered? I can only hope we can be so smart as to see through all of facades including yours, of not doing anything at all but make empty complaints. This site is no different than most others when it comes to politics, bathed in darkness with some scattered light. America doesn’t have to shove anything down the rest of the world’s throat when it comes to climate change, most of the world doesn’t use as much fossil fuels to maintain their lifestyles as we do. The largest nations that are comparable, China, India, Japan and Germany are all heavily investing in solar, wind, etc. Only a nation of fools wants to be beholden to Russian, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela for oil til the end of the century. Oh, you forgot to whine about all of the birdies that die when they hit the wind turbines and concentrated solar arrays. And clean coal is hard to accomplish when coal plants are just being abandoned. As usual, this is another uninformed denouncement whose ideas are clashing with the facts as they present themselves.

        Coal plants will not have air scrubbers, they will just be closed down. They are closing down, many are already closed, and this will continue unabated because it simply is being abandoned due to the costs. The demands for coal scrubbing clean coal technology were just too expensive for most utilities and the money could be invested in other alternatives including conservation with promotion of more efficient household appliances, solar, wind and unfortunately, natgas. I guess you can’t always get what you want. Coal was given an impossible task as an industry, so you may think it was a delusion. I think it was a way to kill it off without looking like it was being shoved aside for natgas and renewable, sustainable replacements. The business news services are being flooded with obituaries for bankrupt coal companies and massive losses due to prices collapse of 70% from just a few years back. No delusions here buddy, coal is a goner.




        What I find most disturbing with your blurting out of sheer nonsense is some sort of obligation on your part to not only ferret out the slightest hint of political approval of Hillary, tacit or otherwise, in my policy analysis of her newly announced solar stance, but some sort of purity litmus test to equally disavow any industrial replacement of burning fossil fuels for energy. Considering that America has de-industrialized to such a great degree, perhaps you have read some of those pathetic deluded articles on this site as well, an entire new generation of 21st factories are being built on a massive scale to provide the alternatives to replace the coal plants, the internal combustion engines, the inefficient heaters and the energy leaking construction techniques for a world of cheap fuels that are cheap no more and polluting the air and changing the climate.

        Tesla’s mammoth battery plant in Nevada will have solar panels on its roof and wind turbines on its property, providing it with most of the energy it will need. It will then manufacture batteries which will help to store energy when its alternative sources fall short. As all new enterprises undergo the early pump priming stage, the burn rates of cash until profitable, solar and wind operate under the aegis of a power grid fueled by coal, nuclear, natgas as well as hydro and other sources. But it will manufacture its own platform of power generation that will push aside the fossil fuels one by one until it will operate in a self sustaining manner, as hoped for. It is now going through a stage of development that is without doubt wholly dependent on the existing mix of energy. Not unlike childhood. At some point it will stand up on its own 2 feet and move on its power.

        Until that happens, the pseudo intellectuals of the world will always complain about the contradictions of a “Green” technology that has to use more energy than it produces currently to be manufactured! It will smirk at the hypocrites who drive their cars to air pollution protests. Then, they will administer the coup de gras when they point out all of the styrofoam cups littering the ground after the pro-environment rally. Materials and factories that will be built to produce the solar and wind products will use the same industrial by products that they are meant to replace. Glass, metals and plastics will be used!! Don’t environmentalist know you can’t do that and still be an environmentalist? As any organizer knows, you use the resources, materials and people at hand, and organize with what you’ve got. Waiting for the messiah is not in any play book worth mentioning.

        I am talking about the policy, not Hillary and I don’t care who brings the policy to actualization, as long as its a policy that gets the results. Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee would be just as good if they announced a bigger, better policy of 1 billions PV panels, because you know, Trump’s a billionaire and he does big better than any body. And a billion panels would be reflective of his net worth! But, alas, they have not announced their climate change policy. And Lambert keeps posting her policy. So, that is what I will comment on, since solar power is near and dear to my heart. And has been since Earth Day 1970. So I’ve seen all of the windbags give their denouncements from the left, the right and the moderate middle. But now, the world is going my way, and I will report the facts as presented. The facts are looking good for solar, bad for coal and are undermining oil demand for an eventual exit from the energy mix.

        1. rusti

          Uh, well, that was certainly a long-winded rant. Apparently you’ve projected onto my post the image of some other boogey-men from your past and don’t realize that our differences in opinion are not nearly as large as your angry tirade indicates.

          I spend a lot of time reading sites like Green Tech Media and Green Car Congress and while they’re full of fantastic technical information and insightful commenters, the idea that we’re just going to continue to live lives of absurd material excess and replace the fossil fuels with some fancy new gadgets doesn’t seem to stack up well with the timeline for massive droughts and sea level changes throwing a wrench in the works of global political and finance systems already fraught with risks and showing signs of breaking. There’s a lot of triumphalism about the relative cost per kilowatt for solar and wind being cheaper, but go look at the projections for the biggest polluting countries and their timelines for reducing emissions when they already have incentive to fudge the numbers.

          Realistic solutions start with energy conservation and massive R&D for new power generation, building materials, city design, and transport fuels & powertrain architectures. It means installing much more cost efficient utility-scale solar and not the Libertarian symbolic approach of having it on rooftops. If the primary-season version of the energy plan doesn’t even mention anything else, then it is woefully inadequate and it shouldn’t be mistaken for progress just because the Republicans manage to be even worse.

          As far as the Gigafactory goes, I sure hope they succeed in getting the Lithium-ion cost per kilowatt hour down past some economic tipping points, but those don’t have anything to do with nature’s tipping points. I live in a small condo, commute by bicycle and buy things second-hand. My monthly energy bill is about the same as a single charge of a Model S, but not nearly as sexy.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          “I don’t care who brings the policy to actualization”

          Exactly. It doesn’t make me unhappy that Clinton sees political advantage in doing this; but I’d like a bit of “both/and” on Keystone, because the place for oil is in the ground. (I realize it will take a generation or two for this religious taboo to “take.”)

          Adding… I don’t have a car or ride a bike, because if I fall of my bike (again) and break a hand, I can’t type. So on the one hand, I’m doing my little bit on carbon, but on the other, I don’t see “doing without” as a virtue in itself (cue the American lifestyle discussion over there).

          What I would like to see — and Paul may have this information at his fingertips — is some sort of total lifecycle analysis of the panels. I mean, do they use rare earths hacked from the Earth by slaves? What happens when they wear out? Do we dump them in landfills? Et cetera.

  13. vidimi

    the bush dynasty was built on the “merger” of the bush and walker families. i wonder if scott walker comes from that same walker clan? would be quite cosy if he did. maybe a bush walker 2016 repug ticket?

  14. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – Yes, it is true that Europe virtually shuts down for August (at least it did in 1971 when I was there). Most countries there require 4 plus weeks of vacation and the majority of the workers take off in August, leaving a skeleton crew that took their vacation in July. I was in Bergen, Norway, and my girlfriend needed emergency dental work. There were only 4 dentists working in August in a city of 100,000 or so. Also, the root canal she had with a temporary crown cost $9.75, which was double the cost for citizens. Ahh, the horrors of single payer health care.

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