2:00PM Water Cooler 8/11/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



Director of the Iowa DOT: “And so the reality is, the system is going to shrink. There’s nothing I have to do. Bridges close themselves. Roads deteriorate and go away. That’s what happens. Let’s figure out which ones we really want to keep” [Strong Towns]. Sounds like something the Archdruid would say. I’m filing this under 2016 because in the possibly vain hope that a candidate can be brought to say something about it, in Iowa.

“In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, [Jebbie] will argue the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq under President Barack Obama paved the way” for ISIS [Wall Street Journal, “Jeb Bush to Attack Hillary Clinton for Islamic State’s Rise in Iraq”]. Well, Clinton did all she could to help out Jebbie’s brother by voting for the AUMF. Jebbie’s got a problem with Clinton’s boss, Obama, not Clinton.

Clinton’s proposes to make college affordable. I do like like that the plan claims to incentivize, er, education as opposed to rec centers and administrative bloat. And I like the focus on state schools [WaPo]. Being a Clinton plan, it’s got a lot of moving parts, too many to summarize here:

At the heart of the plan, dubbed the New College Compact, is an incentive program that would provide money to states that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public universities and community colleges. States that enroll a high number of low- and middle-income students would receive more money, as would those that work with schools to reduce living expenses. Because Pell grants, a form of federal aid for students from families making less than $60,000, are not included in the no-debt calculation, Clinton anticipates lower income students could use that money to cover books, as well as room and board.


“‘[This proposal] does not go far enough,’ said Art Motta, a senior at the University of Santa Cruz, who serves on the board of the United States Student Association. ‘We are looking for politicians and decision-makers to fully commit to a vision of free, public higher education for all. We have not heard that commitment from Clinton’s proposal.'”

Exactly. Whenever the Overton Window gets dragged left, it’s important to say: “Great! But what have you done for us lately?” Clinton would also finance the plan by closing “tax loopholes,” which is mere handwaving. Sanders would finance his plan with a tax on Wall Street transactions (leaving aside the misunderstanding that Federal taxes fund Federal spending for now; they do not).

[Wall Street Journal, “Clinton Student-Loan Plan Draws on Bipartisan Bill”]. Ooooh, “bipartisan.” Here comes the big weinie… 

The $350 billion plan to make college more affordable unveiled by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday takes a page from the left wing of her party, but it also champions an idea gaining traction on the right: holding schools liable when a student’s education doesn’t pay off.

So now the colleges — or, more precisely, the parasitic college administrative layer, which should be gutted — will hire the collection agencies instead of the Feds? So awesome.

“The so-called New College Compact is designed to do the same thing for higher education that the Affordable Care Act did for health care” [Bloomberg]. I don’t think this means what they think it means… 

“John Kasich Calls Climate Change ‘Some Theory That’s Not Proven'” [TPM]. “I BRIEFLY THOUGHT HE WAS THE ADULT IN THE ROOM” [@ritholtz].


“Last year, the laptop of a dead libertarian activist was stolen from his parents’ home. Police are investigating Paul’s deputy campaign manager in connection with the theft” [Mother Jones]. Well, I’m sure the theft took place in a totally rights-respecting manner.


“Hillary Rodham Clinton told a cheering crowd at her largest rally so far that “the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money” must be stopped. Two weeks later, the main super PAC backing her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination accepted a $1 million contribution that cannot be traced” [AP]. Ka-ching.

“Rick Perry Stops Paying South Carolina Staff” [National Journal]. Puzzling, after a debate performance like that…

“Governor Scott Walker’s fiscal conservatism will collide with the reality of sports-team subsidies when he commits Wisconsin taxpayers to pay $400 million for a new basketball arena” [Bloomberg]. The co-owners of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks donated [$200,000] to a group backing Walker. Ka-ching.

The Voters

“One of the biggest questions in next year’s presidential election will be what role gender will play in the voting and outcome, particularly if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wins the nomination” [National Journal]. Round-up of polling data.

The Trail

Trump: “I do whine because I want to win and I’m not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win” [CNN]. The many is a money quote machine, I’m tellin’ ya. A machine!

“Admit It: You People Want To See How Far This Goes, Don’t You?” [The Onion].

“The photo above is what 19,000 people packed into a basketball arena to hear Vermont socialist/independent Sen. Bernie Sanders looks like. What you don’t see are the 9,000 other people who couldn’t get into the arena but listened on loudspeakers outside” [WaPo]. More small donors.

“Symone Sanders — Bernie Sanders’ new national press secretary who is not related to the candidate — opened the program and talked at length about racial injustice” [AP]. Oakland: A woman in the crowd yelled, ‘Senator, do black lives matter to you?’ ‘Yes,’ he said.” Scripted or not….

Sanders: “[L]et me be frank – and I’m running against her – some of [the criticism of Clinton] is sexist. I don’t know that a man would be treated the same way that Hillary is” [MSNBC]. Nothing like 2008, so far.

National Nurses Union endorses Sanders [The Hill]. NNU has been totally bad-ass on single payer, so no wonder.

“If Joe Biden ever heeds the close friends urging that he run for president, he’ll need a groundswell of support from friendly constituencies. At last week’s Iowa AFL-CIO summit in Altoona, no such Joe-mentum was apparent” [Bloomberg]. Trumka: “Joe isn’t doing any of the things that a candidate needs to do at this point in time to get into the game.”

Stats Watch

Productivity and Costs, Q2 2015: “Output in the second quarter rose 2.8 percent vs a depressed 0.5 percent in the first quarter” [Bloomberg]. “Looking at year-on-year rates, growth in productivity is very slight.” But: “Bottom line: the year-over-year data is saying that costs are still rising faster than productivity” [Econintersect]. In addition: “The current levels are well above recession territory.”

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, July 2015: Small business optimism, plans for employment an”d capital improvement all up [Bloomberg]. NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg: “My first reaction was relief that the index didn’t go down. My second thought was that there’s really nothing there that’s going to support a second-half surge (in the macro economy)” [Dunkelberg]. Idea: Continue Fed policy of free money for those who have lots of it.

Wholesale Trade, June 2015:  “Inventories in the wholesale sector had look bloated earlier in the year but have since stabilized” [Bloomberg]. “Stock-to-sales ratio steady.”

Fed Labor Market Conditions Index: “This Fed indicator, whatever it means, just went down some” [Mosler Economics]. “Unemployment may be down but hiring has been soft and the 2015 trend for this index is the weakest of the recovery.”

Disemployment: “According to the BLS, the bogus nature of who is counted as “employed,” is even worse than [Gallup’s Jim] Clifton suggests [in “The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment.”] . Not only is a person counted as employed if they are working one hour a week in a lawn job paying $20, but a worker who makes no money at all donating his or her services to a family business for 15 hours or more per week is also considered employed” [Wall Street on Parade].

The dismal labor force participation statistics are completely consistent with a tepid economy that can’t get out of the mire of 2 percent annual GDP growth, negligible wage growth, extended periods of unemployment (28 weeks versus the typical 16 weeks in the two decades prior to the 2008 crash), sluggish consumer demand, collapsing commodity prices and persistent warnings of the threat of global deflation.

Disemployment: “Of the 19m jobless Europeans, more than half have not worked for the last year. And over 15% have not had a job for more than four years. … But in contrast the number of people who have been looking for work for a long time in America fell when its economy recovered; the long-term joblessness rate now sits slightly above 20% of the total” [The Economist, ” Why long-term unemployment in the euro area is so high”]. Neither figure is anything to brag about.


“Japan is unlikely to wrap up domestic ratification procedures for an envisaged Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact by the end of the year after the 12 negotiation member states failed to reach a broad agreement at ministerial talks in Hawaii late last month” [Japan Times]. “With the schedule for a next ministerial meeting still up in the air, the government will likely face an uphill battle to obtain Diet approval for the regional free trade deal during an expected extraordinary session in the autumn.” I’m reluctant to stick a fork into anything as multi-tentacled and monstrous as TPP, but this is starting to look dispositive; remember Abe’s August 29 deadline? If so, the battle the elites lost in Maui was decisive and means the loss of an entire campaign. Naturally, our betters will conclude the solution is improved public relations, and base their next campaign on that, but delay only serves sanity.

“Avoid TPP pact for now” [Bangkok Post]. The Thai technocratic middle class speaks.

IP provisions in TPP would protect ‘clinical trial data submitted to regulatory agencies from use by competitors'” [TechDirt]. “[D]ata exclusivity is a kind of super-patent in that it can’t be challenged or revoked: if a drug company has run clinical trials to establish the safety of its new drug, it has an absolute and irrevocable monopoly on the use of that data [for a period of years].” Wait. That sounds like Big Pharma doesn’t want science done on their products…. 

Black Injustice Tipping Point.

Cops whack a white kid, but #AllLivesMatter outrage is muted [AOL].  And they shot him in the back… 

One year anniversary in Ferguson:

“‘[A] group of five white men who call themselves the Oath Keepers arrived on the scene,’ St. Louis Public Radio reports. ‘They carried assault weapons, which raised alarm from protesters'” [NPR].  Can anyone imagine the hysteria if the protesters had carried weapons? Then again, the nice thing about open carry is that people don’t need to wear cumbersome sheets anymore. So there’s that.

A thoughtful piece on the #BlackLivesMatter disruption of the Sanders Seattle event from someone who organized it and was there [The Stranger]. And a useful explication of “white allies” [@FeministaJones] (see the whole thread). Still waiting for disruption at an event where the Democrat has actual power.

“How did African Americans discover they were being ‘redlined’?” [TalkingPointsMemo]. Redlining forced non-whites to rent. And it took a generation to even address the problem, which started in Federal agencies like FDR’s (sigh) Home Owner’s Loan Corporation. So if you want an example of how accumulating wealth intergenerationally — say, with an estate that includes a home — sorts by racially-based categories, there’s a big one [Brookings].

“The Ferguson Protests Worked” [HuffPo]. This is good reporting, in that it shows how the problems of law enforcement for profit in St Louis — and race-based extraction of said profits — have been known for years. Not so good in that it conflates protesters and rioters. Different cohorts, different motives…. 

“Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end” [Deray McKesson, Guardian]. “I will always remember that the call to action initiating the movement [in Ferguson] was organic – that there was no organizing committee, no charismatic leader, no church group or school club that led us to the streets. It is powerful to remember that the movement began as everyday people came out of their homes and refused to be scared into silence by the police.” Everything I’ve read and seen testifies that this origin story of how #BlackLivesMatter originated a year ago in Ferguson is correct.

Health Care

“New York’s State Assembly in May overwhelmingly passed a bill to establish a single-payer-style health care system” [In These Times]. “[G]etting it through, with unprecedented support from big unions, shows that state-level campaigns are still a fertile ground for health care justice organizing, despite the recent setback in Vermont.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“If it is true that we are mysteries even to ourselves — as the original Socrates suggested — the eavesdroppers at the NSA invade our privacy without learning who we really are” [First Look]. Very good long-form.

Class Warfare

“The pay for 20 top-paid healthcare executives who earned both a base salary and bonus and incentive income in 2012 and 2013 soared 29.6% year over year,” the last year for which figures are available [Modern Health].

Doing the math on IBR (Income-Based Repayment) student loan forgiveness programs  [Business Insider]. The reporters used a handy online calculator:

We made a hypothetical situation where a new borrower took out $100,000 in direct subsidized loans at a conservative 4% annual interest rate, has an annual income of $45,000, is single, lives in New York, and has no children.

That IBR program has a couple of big downsides. First, she would be paying far more interest than she would with a standard plan — $76,563 under the income-based plan versus $21,494 with the standard plan.

Second, under the income-based plan, our borrower would have a balance of $72,050 left after 20 years. The government would then forgive that balance, but it would count as taxable income in that year. Assuming 2014 tax brackets and rates, along with her initial $45,000 income, this would increase her tax bill in that year by almost $19,000.

Yes, the overall amount owed is lower. However, someone who is barely able to make ends meet is unlikely to be able to save another $19,000 to pay the tax bill that comes with the loan forgiveness.

If the government really wants to address the student-loan problem, it should look at this conservative example and realize there are a lot of people who may end worse off.

Exactly like HAMP! So who are the Feds foaming the runway for this time?

News of the Wired

“Edit distance is only computable in quadratic time” [WaPo].

“Ramblings on New Browser Features, Interoperability, Craft, and the Future of the Web” [Aaron Gustafson].

“Code ‘transplant’ could revolutionise programming” [Wired]. Like bacteria exchanging genetic material… 

“Don’t Hit Send: Angry Emails Just Make You Angrier” [Wall Street Journal]. But anger isn’t always bad…. 

“City delays business side of controversial cloud tax until Jan. 1” [Chicago Tribune]. “Start-ups” get a break. But then, don’t they always?

Ocean travel by freighter [Atlas Obscura].

“Toxic algae blooms in Pacific Ocean worse than first feared” [CTV Vancouver].

“The Physics of Butterfly Wings” [Azimuth]. Gorgeous images.

Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain, but that’s based on “observational studies” [WaPo]. “One of the primary troubles in observational studies is what scientists refer to as ‘confounders’ — basically, unaccounted factors that can lead researchers to make mistaken assumptions about causes.” I would think that “confounders” are everywhere in complex systems… 

“Rather than telling viewers what to think, as Cronkite and his kind did generations ago, Stewart and Colbert—almost certainly inadvertently—taught viewers to think.” [Vanity Fair]. Maybe.

“TALK LOUDER: A Military Guide To Group Work” [Duffel Blog]. IRRC, the Federal government gives veterans preferential treatment in hiring….

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:

The article that associates the word (yes, it’s real) with the picture; the image; source for the images.

Great metaphor, eh?

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And cover the travel home, as opposed to the first leg of the 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. Vatch

    Director of the Iowa DOT: “And so the reality is, the system is going to shrink. There’s nothing I have to do. Bridges close themselves. Roads deteriorate and go away. That’s what happens. Let’s figure out which ones we really want to keep”

    If we do a web search for information about the Iowa population growth rate, we’ll find that Iowa’s population is still growing, although other states are growing more rapidly. If the system shrinks and bridges and roads close themselves and go away while people are still using them, it could be awkward. It would guarantee employment for people who work in trauma centers, I guess.

  2. Brindle

    re: #BLM/ The Stranger

    —“When the disruption first happened, the crowd (mostly white) turned ugly. It’s hard to say what is the chicken or the egg. Some of it may have stemmed from the protesters calling the whole crowd racist”—

    If I were at an event and somebody took over the mic and called the crowd racist at that point the speaker doesn’t have much credibility. I do think there is an undercurrent of Obama supporters feeling that white progressives have not shown enough adulation for Obama and that gets turned into a supposed racism issue,

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, it was a protest, right? Let’s loosen up just a tad, here. It’s always important to get the detail right, but I think at some point we need to dolly back as well. The 30,000 foot view, IMNSHO, is no disruption of any Democrat with real power. Why that is, I’m not sure. Resource constraint? Cultural? Strategic? Identity politics vs. class politics? Loyalty to Obama? Ratf*cking? A complex mixture of the above? We don’t know. But so far, the pattern — the dog that does not bark — is very consistent.

        1. flora

          There was a very interesting link on NC last week that talked about how in the late 19th and early 20th century the railroad barons and big business owners kept bringing in new groups of immigrant workers from different countries to drive down wages. The owners would pit one worker group nationality against the other to keep all from uniting to demand better wages and working conditions – the Irish against the Chinese, the Japanese against the Irish, the Mexicans against the Japanese immigrants.
          Sanders is the only candidate talking seriously about raising the minimum wage, improving job conditions, stopping terrible trade policies, and protecting the social safety net. Now he, and only he, is getting campaign disruptions that could wind up dividing the groups who ought to be natural allies in the fight for better wages and public policies. It’s a very interesting coincidence.

      1. Elmer Gantry

        I haven’t heard anybody say this or write this yet. I live in Seattle, and so was very interested in the events of Bernie’s weekend here. In regards to the women who interrupted/ took over the Westlake Center event, I keep returning to the shrill yelling they were doing, “we will shut this down!” and “reasonable?!” What is this evoking in me? I finally pinpointed it: I am reminded to the videos of people being pulled over by police, to fatal effect. There was all that authoritarian shouting, “get out of the car!”, etc. And then I am reminded to, back in the 80s, ACT-UP members attended mass and threw condoms. These are disruptive events. It is unsettling and weird to be confronted by my own white-supremacist tendencies, which I don’t even think I have. And yet, Seattle is very segregated racially and has a huge problem with income disparity. As much as I think the ladies were rude, it also caused me to reflect in a new way about my life and my privilege. By the way, I love this site.

        1. different clue

          But the ACT-UPers disrupted groups and venues with considerable political power over things. What power do the marginal DemParty targets chosen by the Black Lives Matterisers have over anything? So the Ratfucking theory still deserves testing and observation to see if it is robustly predictive.

      2. Pat

        I have two questions regarding this: why chose a candidate AND a program that has been good to the community at which to protest. This was an event about Social Security – planning fail one. And Sanders – planning fail two. Sorry, I’m going with ratfucking because from the choices AND from the description they not only did not gain anything from this, they actually alienated people likely to be on their side.
        But the second question is bigger – did anyone announce the intention to disrupt the event on social media prior to it happening? Because today someone announced on twitter – we’re going to disrupt the Clinton event.
        Call me beyond but I think the people pulling this have a big fat other agenda and BLM is not only secondary, but can be pushed under the bus for it. (And the fact that I think that way anymore AND that a worthy cause/idea could be just so much road kill in all this are both disgusting statements on our current political reality.)

        1. jrs

          We seriously need SOCIAL SECURITY protests in their own right. Would someone please interrupt a Hillary speech and ask her what she thinks of the Grand Bargain? If a Social Security rally can be interrupted for BLM why can’t we interrupt people like Hillary for Social Security?

          1. neo-realist

            And just as well, Jeb and any other republican straight up committed to destroying the safety net should be interrupted if they can get past the security/politics vetting at the rallies. Heighten the contradictions a bit watching them harden their positions against the better interests of the American people.

      3. lee

        Is it true that the self-proclaimed BLM member and Bernie disrupter, Marissa Jenae, is a Sarah Palin supporting fundamentalist Christian? If so, things are getting curiouser and curiouser.

        Over at Daily Kos there’s major word battles going on as to whether or not whites have a right to criticize BLM tactics particularly as they relate to Sanders. See for example: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/10/1410719/-Open-letter-to-progressives-You-re-doing-it-wrong-and-it-ll-cost-the-Democratic-Party

        Here’s me responding to the question as to who was I, as a white person, to think that I had the right to criticize BLM. Things had been getting pretty heated at this point.

        I am a fellow citizen who like Bernie Sanders has stood shoulder to shoulder in the streets with black, white and brown for civil rights. Been shot at, batoned and arrested. That is who the fuck I am.


        Then deal with the fact that BLM is not about you, Sanders, your opinion of Sanders, this election, etc.. It’s about 324 black people killed by police since Aug 2014, most unarmed and for bullshit reasons, and minimal legal recourse. If you can’t get behind that problem, then at least stay out of the way.

        My response:

        I completely support the aims of BLM but I question the motives, methods and even the character of certain individuals who purport to represent the movement as a whole. Furthermore I find even more questionable some at this site who seem to be cynically using this issue as leverage against Sanders to benefit Clinton.

        As I reflect upon recent events it seems highly likely that they will serve Sanders well as he is moved to demonstrate more openly and vociferously his long time belief in and support for racial equality thus bringing more attention to BLM. So maybe I should be saying bring it on.

        Another response to mine:

        Thank you. As a person of color, I’m furious about the stupid antics of SOME black lives matters protesters.

        The killing of Black Mothers’ Sons affects each and every one of us. Not just those of us who are black.

        I’m sick and tired of other blacks telling our white allies to shut up. They have good ideas, they stand with us and they are KEY to fixing this problem. You don’t have to have dark skin to understand racism, to hate racism, to fight racism.

        Thank you, every white person who stands by me and my community. Please continue to help us and to offer ANY suggestions that you think supports our cause. We Stand United.

        Sorry diarist, but this struggle is not just about blacks. When police brutality is directed at my community, our entire country and everything we stand for suffers. Attacking one of us is attacking the very foundations of freedom.

        1. cwaltz

          Some of us even have family that are AA. We don’t have Jim Crow laws any longer. Just because someone’s skin isn’t dark skinned doesn’t mean they can’t be invested in what happens to AA community. My sister is white, her SO and 2 of her kids are AA.

          1. Lee

            I’m right there with you. I’m an old white guy living with a black man and a white lesbian. My sister married an Iranian and the mother of my son is Hispanic-Native American. Sometimes we can all just get along. I do have some issues with my ex but they have nothing to do with our racial or gender differences.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          “I completely support the aims of BLM.”

          Well, I’m not sure I do (which isn’t the same as saying they’re not worthy of respect and empathy and support and coverage and even emulation; they (the movement, considered from the bottom up, surely are).

          But I see “identity politics” and class (wage-earner vs. owner/rentier) politics as currently incommensurable. When some genius, hopefully in this campaign season, figures out how to make them commensurable, then I’ll know where my “complete support” might lie. And much of #BlackLivesMatter — certainly not all; as I keep repeating, it’s a diverse movement — seems identity-driven to me, and that’s highly compatible with the worldview of the Democratic nomenklatura (of which a subset is the Black Misleadership Class). I find that concerning, because…. Well, take Cory Booker. Please! Am I to be asked to support a private equity shill based on his blackness, however defined? I think that would be bad.

          1. Lee

            Not to mention the likes of Clarence Thomas.

            Identity politics is so complicated, But one thing is clear, identity politics devoid of class considerations is reactionary and there have been some utterances from BLM promoters that quite explicitly attempt pose them as competing concerns.

        3. allan

          Clinton meets with #BlackLivesMatter protesters after they were barred from her event

          Secret Service agents on Tuesday kept five people in #BlackLivesMatter T-shirts from entering a Hillary Clinton event in New Hampshire, but the candidate later met with them in an overflow room set up near the event.

          Initially, the meeting between Clinton and the protesters was going to be covered by pooled members of the media, but Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign, said the #BlackLivesMatter protesters asked for the event not to be recorded by the media once they were informed journalists would be let in. Members of the media were never in the room with Clinton and the protesters.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Well, that’s certainly a contrast to the Sanders campaign. And we know where this leads:

            In the months before the 2004 election, dozens of people across the nation were banished from or arrested at Bush political rallies, some for heckling the president, others simply for holding signs or wearing clothing that expressed opposition to the war and administration policies.

            It’s bipartisan!

            (Classic silencing manevuer, offering the chance to speak to the candidate with no press present.)

            1. different clue

              That would be exactly correct if it were the Clinton people who said “no media”. But the comment claims that it was the #BLMers who demanded “no media”. So what does that mean?

          2. willf

            Initially, the meeting between Clinton and the protesters was going to be covered by pooled members of the media, but Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign, said the #BlackLivesMatter protesters asked for the event not to be recorded by the media once they were informed journalists would be let in.

            That seems an odd choice for a movement that wants to bring attention to what they consider to be a problem of epidemic proportions.

    2. Romancing the Loan

      The calling the whole crowd racist thing makes me think even more that the interruptions are a planned Rovian op, coming as they did right after a sprinkle of little dropped references on social media to economic injustice being somehow a separate issue competing with racism instead of deeply intertwined with it. The #blacklivesmatter movement otherwise seems like it’s far too busy protesting their local police departments and the department of justice to give a crap about the presidential election a year out. They’d like to stop being murdered now please, and if Obama won’t help them there’s very little reason to think the next guy will, whoever he or she might be.

        1. cwaltz

          How does interrupting a rally on Social Security and attacking a candidate even remotely accomplishing that though?Any change is going to have to be systemic and threats to hold your breath until you turn blueor until Bernie Sanders apologizes for the police) aren’t going to make accomplishing that any faster.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I really don’t think that infantilization (“hold your breath until you turn blue”) is useful in this context. I think we need a whole lot more “both/and” and a whole lost less “either/or”). It doesn’t sound to me like the Seattle action was thought through or executed very well, and the Sanders campaign, for whatever reason, did not turn it into an opportunity (though the campaign now seems to have displayed adaptability). That said, it’s surely a legitimate beef that black people are being whacked by cops with impunity, and that’s a now thing, not a future thing like “Black Medicare Matters” or “Black Social Security Matters” (I’m spacing out on who came up with that useful formulation). That may be easy for me to forget, but it’s probably not so easy for others. And although its easy to use the Seattle action as a synecdoche for the whole #BlackLivesMatter effort, at the best, I just don’t see that as proven; BLM is not organized like that, so far as I can tell. (It’s another question whether a movement organized like has the immune system to resist opportunistic infections like ratf*cking, or co-optation by Democratic loyalists. Time will tell).

            I forget where your sympathies lie in the race, but I do not believe that support for a particular candidate and empathy for protesters are mutually exclusive, even when the protesters disrupt “my” candidate. Let’s all put on our big-child pants here.

            1. Romancing the Loan

              On the other hand this strategy seems to have worked out pretty well for #BLM so what the hell do I know, maybe it’s not ratf*cking at all:


              Not a bad start, although the first plank is missing a civilian oversight board for police killings or complaints of police violence. The idea that training is the problem here seems both sweetly naive and pretty condescending to police. They know what they’re doing.

              1. John Zelnicker

                Training is the issue, in fact. This guy is going around the country teaching cops to shoot first and ask/answer questions later. And he gets $1,000 per hour to justify their actions if they are hauled into court.

                1. different clue

                  Perhaps any sue-able action which gets a police figure sued should be dug into to see if the Police Department and/or the police person being sued was trained by this ” this guy” or people that “this guy” trained to train police. If so, perhaps “this guy” and all his relevant subordinates should also be named in the lawsuit.

                  And if that road were taken, and proved effective, perhaps “this guy” and his subordinates could be subject to criminal prosecution for depraved indifference to human life and/or other criminal offences involved in the effect of what they teach to police?

            2. DJG

              The article in The Stranger by Rep. Jayapala is good, and she has appeared on TV since. Likewise, the Sanders campaign has appointed a woman named Symone Sanders as a press secretary to address these matters. So we see nimbleness.

              Some observations on whys and wherefores:
              1. Opportunity. It was a protest organized by lefties. You put your name on a sign-up sheet claiming to represent the Liberation Army of Andorra. Groovy. No control of the rostrum.
              2. White parochialism. White middle and upper-middle classes are parochial. That’s part of the reason for racism. It’s also why these sophisticates from Seattle think that if they go to Paris, the French will yell at them.
              3. Black parochialism. The two young woman seemed to have believed that yelling at a crowd of people and insisting that the crowd was racist would somehow be an effective political tactic. Only if you are parochial do you think things like that.
              4. No opportunity at Clinton (or Walker) rallies. We are talking a lefty demo, with security run by people wearing Grateful Dead t-shirts. Try getting into a staged Clinton rally. Walker? (That was just a joke.)
              5. ACT-UP. An interesting mention of a certain kind of very effective disruption. But what has caused the gradual disappearance of ACT-UP tactics? Marriage equality, which is a conservative movement. We should be so lucky that Black Lives Matter will decline because the problem is solved. (And now that marriage equality is more or less settled, the question among gayfolk is whether or not to bring back ACT-UP style tactics related to inequality and discriminiation. Hmmm.)

    1. Brindle

      Trump should show up at the next debate with a Travolta “Battlefield Earth” do—that would likely throw Megyn Kelley off her game.

    2. Crazy Horse

      As those with pre-smart phone memory duration will recall, Trump made questioning the authenticity of Obama’s American citizenship the cornerstone of his previous Presidential campaign. It is only fair that we now question the authenticity of Trump’s hair. We should demand that he be placed in stocks in Times Square for a day so all who question whether it is real human hair or some strange mutant animal can come by and give it a good tug.

  3. Kim Kaufman

    Heard on NPR yesterday evening introducing a story on Bernie Sanders: “Bernie Sanders, the far left of center candidate running for president…”

    I doubt we’ll ever hear, “[fill in the blank for any of the Republican candidates], the far, far right of center candidate running for president…”

    1. Crazy Horse

      I doubt if we’ll ever hear “Hillary Clinton, the right wing neo-fascist corporate shill running for president” either!

      “If voting mattered they’d make it illegal” George Carlin

      1. different clue

        Well, they are trying to make voting illegal for certain group-loads of people. Therefore, voting is still seen to matter to certain people, George Carlin notwithstanding.

  4. mad as hell.


    Nice. I spent more time looking at the pictures then reading Water Cooler articles. Can’t find any hypocrisy in tree roots. Thanks Lambert. I know I keep coming back for some reason.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I feel like hugging that tree.

      Anthropo-Aphercotropism – Chinese foot binding and the long necked women of Padaung, in Pagan, Burma or Myanmar.

  5. Peter Pan

    “In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, [Jebbie] will argue the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq under President Barack Obama paved the way” for ISIS [Wall Street Journal, “Jeb Bush to Attack Hillary Clinton for Islamic State’s Rise in Iraq”

    I’m not sure if this was previously posted in links or comments, but I found the title of this article interesting.

    “US Made Willful Decision to Create ISIL”


    1. Tom Allen

      ISIL aside, wasn’t the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq negotiated by Jeb’s brother George? Checks Wiki. Yep, Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement in December 2008. Sure, Obama takes credit for the withdrawal (though he wanted to keep combat troops there much longer) and there’s still a lot of US military forces there under other names (e.g. private defense contractors), but the official withdrawal was as bipartisan as the war.

    2. sleepy

      The US withdrew from Iraq because the Iraqi government wouldn’t extend the terms of the US military presence–terms negotiated by W–even though Obama wanted to extend the deployment and the agreement.

      Despite that, I well remember Obama fans at the time trumpeting the withdrawal as a great credit to Obama’s peacemaking, as if it were voluntary.

      Seems that lie has now caught up with the dems. Ironic justice that the repubs now use that lie as if it were true and throw it in the dems’ face.

      1. afisher

        People are not supposed to use facts to counter GOP wannabee talking points – did not you receive the memo? :-)

  6. mondee

    HRC’s college plan with a “combination of federal dollars, increased state spending and belt-tightening by colleges” is hard to parse. Universities are being hit on multiple sides: 1. Administrative bloat is extracting rents like in other sectors of the economy. 2. State governments have been very eager to cut funding to universities and shift the money towards other rent extracting organizations like private prisons and politically influential groups. Even when done under the auspices of austerity during bad economic times, funding has not returned to pre-recession levels and is significantly lower (on an inflation-adjusted basis) than even the amount of state funding in the 90’s. 3. Universities largest costs are salary and benefits, and they are being decimated by increasing health care costs.

    That she would like to increase federal funding and incentivize state spending is promising, but then the article goes on to mention the plan will require “innovative cost savings, such as offering more online classes”. Online education is an inferior education, and studies have shown that people benefiting from online education are primarily already college graduates. Those undergraduate students from low socioeconomic backgrounds will be the most harmed if education moves towards online classes, since studies show that these students do not succeed in online classes. Given the difficulty in parsing the actual mix of this program, my suspicion is that the majority of the burden will fall on cost reductions via lowering quality of education; meanwhile, the same politicians decimating public universities will continue to send their own children to elite private schools that are not being harmed.

    Sander’s plan of increasing funding to bring tuition down seems better because it has less moving parts, and because it is implicitly an acknowledgement of the fact that the majority of tuition increase has been due to drastic state budget cuts towards universities. (Studies showing that tuition increases are due to increased availability of federal aid and loans are reverse in their causality; rather, funding for tuition has shifted from the state and public towards individuals, and individuals are being forced to make up for the increased private costs by seeking out additional sources of funds.) His proposal to move to single payer will also lead to significant cost savings for universities, which can be used for belt-tightening without negatively affecting the quality of education.

    However, the other troubling thing with all of these plans is an implicit argument that public universities only exist to provide credentialing and job training for industry. There is often a lack of interest in the educational quality provided, or in the research functions of universities. A large portion of the new technologies being commercialized had their origins in universities, even for companies like Google (the founders were PhD students and converted their research into the company). This is important from a national perspective because industry has largely abandoned scientific research and instead depends on publicly funded research at universities.

    1. Ed S.

      Given Hillary’s past, it’s VERY important to read her words carefully. And although it’s not a direct quotation, the headline is: Hillary Clinton Proposes Debt-Free Tuition at Public Colleges (bold added)

      Call me cynical, but I note that the estimated cost of one year of on-campus undergraduate education for a California resident at a U of C school (e.g. Berkeley, San Diego, Davis) is $32,000 to $34,000 — of which $11,220 is tuition. So only 1/3 of the cost is actually “tuition”. It’s not hard to imagine how “tuition” goes down, but lots of pesky fees suddenly appear.

      Oh, and non California residents pay an extra $23,000 per year — and their numbers have doubled in the last 8 years. UC system spokeswoman Dianne Klein said the university benefits from a geographically and culturally diverse student body…..(and) the extra tuition they pay “is crucial to UC’s core academic mission,”

  7. optimader

    Note to Lambert..
    I allowed a bunch of Basil go to seed in the back of the yard, and I think I found all the missing honeybees this morning.
    Oddly in years past they would be all over the flowers on the mint this time of year, but not so much this year.

    1. Brindle

      Have not seen a honeybee yet this year in the foothills of the Wasatch Mtns here in Utah. Troubling.

  8. abynormal

    Why the 2015 Perseid meteor shower is going to be especially awesome
    This year the meteor watching should be especially good because the shower peaks between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, coinciding with the new moon.

    With no moon in the sky, even the dimmest meteors will be visible if you can get yourself far away from man-made light pollution.

    “Moonlight is the bane of meteor watchers because bright moonlight washes out faint meteors,” said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky and Telescope. “It is nature’s own light pollution.”

    weather uh service is suggesting peak time after 1am…clothes optional

    1. fresno dan

      I saw the French au natural weather girl. Well, she was in the town with the translated name of “nude” and she was supposedly running around sans clothes, but as it was filmed from 7 or 8 miles away, kinda of….uninformative.

      August 11, 2015 at 11:52 am
      where you been? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2510806/Weather-presenter-Doria-Tillier-hosts-forecast-naked-France-win.html

      we’re still cycling a bit too much Puritan DNA

      So even though I am very interested in the weather girl mooning me, pass experience indicates it was a bust (or more accurately, lack of bust…)

      1. abynormal

        this is a family site (i think) and i gave yall the family version…she’s floating on a cloud out there somewhere. Happy Trail Dhal’n

    2. fresno dan


      I thought about doing that but decided I didn’t really have enough funds – the freighter travel wasn’t too expensive, but I wanted to stay where I went for an extended period.

      Somewhere, I read a recommendation that a book by Christopher Buckley (the ?son? of William F. Buckley) was a good read. Don’t worry – no politics and it did take you to an unfamiliar world.


  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Business Insider on Income-Based Student Loan Repayment

    The “big problem” the article has discovered with “income-based repayment” is that, after making absolutely astronomical loan payments for 20 years on an initial loan of $100,000, the loan “forgiveness” would result in a $19,000 tax liability.

    I’d say a bigger problem is that, after making payments that appear to go up and down between $228 and $719 per month for 20 years, and having paid back a total of $104,512, the loan balance is still $72,050!!

    It sounds like a payday loan.

    The article gratuitously asks, “Should a needy person be expected to pay a $19,000 tax bill?”


    A better question would be, “Why should a person with a $100,000 college education EVER have to worry about being NEEDY?”

    1. jrs

      It sounds like a mortgage. Is it much worse than most 30 year mortgages? You are paying nothing but the interest for about the first 10 years right?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        At least with a mortgage you get a house.

        With a student “loan,” you get “needy.”

      2. cwaltz

        Income based actually works out the opposite of a mortgage because at the beginning of your career you aren’t making much so you pay the least. This sounds more like one of “creative” loans that has a balloon payment at the end, thanks to the government considering the forgiveness “income.” I do agree with one of the above posters, the larger question is why is someone who spent $100,000 on their education in the “needy” category after completing it?

        1. alex morfesis

          why is 4% considered conservative…it is borderline usury compared to rest of the oecd…americans get told they can not afford a b or c because interest rates have to be kept at “market” for when the interest rates “inevitably” go back up…

          ok then why isn’t captain free float and his moody company screaming about all the european banks that are about to crash from all the fixed rate 2 percent home loans in germany and france…
          the internet has fixed nothing…there are 168 hours in a week…but the weak use them badly…

          oh…and redlining and racism did not begin with fdr and the holc…holc only bought at par existing loans…and black communities saw their biggest demise after the domincan congressman charlie rangel did a nod and a wink after he was put in place after stealing the election from acp by making votes vanish…he took the empowernment zone money originally designated for black venture capital type business development and handed it off to day care organizations and then made sure his fellow dominicans got the section 8 housing allotments in harlem originally designed for black folk…redlining existed and still exists…and so does jim crow…just look around if you think otherwise…it is a sad state of affairs this fading democracy of ours…we could be so much…but…will we be ?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Especially compared to zero, as in ZIRP.

            On FDR, I’m sure that racism did not begin with FDR. However, IIRC, a mapping legend that classified neighborhoods by race was devised at the Chicago Fed in the 30s, and then implemented under HOLC.*

            * In 2008, Clinton advocated for a HOLC-like program to deal with the foreclosure crisis, and Obama said that should be studied. Then he implemented HAMP, and foamed the runway for the banks. HOLC was in every way better… Except for this sinful stain at its heart. That’s just so damn discouraging.

            1. alex morfesis

              redlining was “officialized” with holc but it had a much limited effect in the 30 years at fha as compared to the destruction of black communities after hud officially claimed it was “by law” going to end housing and finace discrimination and did the exact opposite…too many try to deflect the post 1968 actions by reaching back to some mythical starting point such as the holc “secure” lending maps

  10. fresno dan

    Disemployment: “According to the BLS, the bogus nature of who is counted as “employed,” is even worse than [Gallup’s Jim] Clifton suggests [in “The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment.”] . Not only is a person counted as employed if they are working one hour a week in a lawn job paying $20, but a worker who makes no money at all donating his or her services to a family business for 15 hours or more per week is also considered employed” [Wall Street on Parade].

    Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

    None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.

    There’s another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

    Yet another figure of importance that doesn’t get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find — in other words, you are severely underemployed — the government doesn’t count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

    There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.


    Why is the unemployment rate so inaccurate (with all the excuses and rationalizations for not counting people who CANNOT find a job? Is there an agenda here?

    There are two things that have happened as I have aged from young adulthood in the early 70’s to now that I find extraordinary. The change from a isolationist, pacifistic outlook (probably an outlier due to Vietnam) and the tremendous emphasis when I was young on the unemployment rate kinda just evaporating.

    However that happened, it really shows a mastery of controlling the public perception and agenda.

    1. timbers

      “There are two things that have happened as I have aged from young adulthood in the early 70’s to now that I find extraordinary. The change from a isolationist, pacifistic outlook (probably an outlier due to Vietnam) and the tremendous emphasis when I was young on the unemployment rate kinda just evaporating.”

      “However that happened, it really shows a mastery of controlling the public perception and agenda.”

      Growing up in Minnesota, I recall the Fed and other officials being hammered by Congress people with the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment act. HH was often in the headlines….Senators demanding the Fed act according to HH requirement that it fight unemployment.

      And today? When’s the last time anyone brought up HH and it’s requirement the Fed do something to promote full employment? Does anyone under 50 even know what HH is?

    2. Mike Sparrow

      The unemployment rate isn’t that misleading. You have the U-5 and U-6 for more broader coverage. I doubt many people are counted as “working” grass mowing jobs on their own as a job.

      Historically the U-3 generally was about 5.0% for full employment until the mid-70’s when the Boomers started flying into the labor markets.

      1. LarryB

        From the story:

        The balls are made of polythene and cost 36 cents each. Black is the only colour strong enough to deflect UV rays

    1. low_integer

      Polythene does not contain BPA (Bisphenol-A) or any other plasticizers so there shouldn’t be issues with leaching. The kind of grade that would be used for these purposes is stable to about 115˚C (240˚F). It is not, in my opinion, an inherently bad material, however like any petroleum based material, should be used wisely and sparingly when other options will not suffice. Unfortunately it is often used simply due to its low cost.

    2. vidimi

      36 cents each times over 90 million balls amounts to some serious money for a municipality.

      assuming prevailing winds are from the west, this will adversely impact nevada and arizona

      1. low_integer

        Just to be clear, my comment wrt cost was meant in the relative sense, i.e. the cost by weight is low compared to other polymer, metal, composite, and ceramic materials used for engineering purposes.

        I would be surprised if many blow free of the surface, however I may be wrong and time will provide a definite answer in any case. As an aside, this is the sort of thing that can be quantified quite accurately using mathematical modelling, so I hope whoever was in charge has done their due dilligence.

        UV does cause polythene to degrade, however carbon black essentially solves this issue in a manner much like pigment in human skin prevents sunburn. Polythene is usually a clear material.

        Anyways, there are no endocrine disruptors in polythene, and it has very good corrosion resistance, so that should at least ensure there is no threat to the integrity of the water for human consumption.

  11. cwaltz

    Someone should tell Jebbie that the reason we withdrew from Iraq was because of the Status of Forces agreement that Bush signed. Obama was just executing what his brother agreed to. Oopsie

  12. Adam Eran

    First, an important reminder: As a Senator, Clinton voted to tighten bankruptcy laws so student loans cannot be written down or forgiven in bankruptcy any more. Even people on Social Security are getting their checks garnished. Let’s see her walk back that vote before we get too excited about her *new* *improved* college financing plan.

    Second: It’s also worth remembering that Federal spending for higher education has declined 55% since 1972. Gosh, I wonder why tuition went up? Where is any candidate’s plan to restore that funding?

    Finally, If you want me to grind my teeth, say something like this: “Whenever the Overton Window gets dragged left, it’s important to say: “Great! But what have you done for us lately?” Clinton would also finance the plan by closing “tax loopholes,” which is mere handwaving. Sanders would finance his plan with a tax on Wall Street transactions (leaving aside the misunderstanding that Federal taxes fund Federal spending for now; they do not).”

    This is a FUNDAMENTAL

    1. John Zelnicker

      Lambert – This seems like a good place to THANK YOU for constantly and consistently reminding everyone that Federal taxes do NOT pay for Federal spending.

      1. micky9finger

        I second that. It’s a neo-liberal myth found everywhere especially among the economic pundetry. It’s corallary to ” we’re running out of money so we can’t afford ( fill in the blank).”
        It should be called out, especially in naked cap articles.
        The public believes it because ” I can’t pay my bills till I get my paycheck” referencing the difference between a household and a currency issuing sovereign nation.

    2. craazyboy

      “Second: It’s also worth remembering that Federal spending for higher education has declined 55% since 1972. ”

      Why? When I graduated in 78, my tuition at an out of state school was $850/semester. If I had gone in state, it would have been a tad over $400. Plus Fed & State research grants have been holding up quite nicely.

  13. lee

    This gunning down of young whites by police might the cops way of achieving racial parity in policing. A kind of affirmative action for the homicidally inclined.

  14. Adam Eran

    First, Hillary voted to tighten bankruptcy law when she was a Senator. Student loans can no longer be excused or lessened as part of bankruptcy as a consequence. Let’s see her walk that one back before we get excited about her *new improved* college funding plan.

    Second: Federal funding for higher education has declined 55% since 1972. Gosh, I wonder why tuition has gone up? Let’s see *any* candidate talk about restoring funding.

    Thanks, BTW, for the parenthetical: “Whenever the Overton Window gets dragged left, it’s important to say: “Great! But what have you done for us lately?” Clinton would also finance the plan by closing “tax loopholes,” which is mere handwaving. Sanders would finance his plan with a tax on Wall Street transactions (leaving aside the misunderstanding that Federal taxes fund Federal spending for now; they do not).”

    The idea that taxes fund government is a FUNDAMENTAL misunderstanding about the relationship between government and currency. The U.S. government is an *issuer* of currency, not a *user* of currency. It can make as much as it needs without raising *any* taxes, as long as it doesn’t overheat the economy (not likely now).

    Taxes do not provision government. Where would tax payers get their dollars if government didn’t spend them out into the economy first? They don’t need *any* of our money. Taxes just make the money valuable; they do not provision government.

    Recommended reading: http://www.rooseveltinstitute.org/new-roosevelt/federal-budget-not-household-budget-here-s-why

    Note: Bernie Sanders hired Stephanie Kelton, someone who shares the link’s economics (Modern Money Theory). He should know better, but never mentions it. (Why…? A bridge too far? Too unbelievable for the voting public? Too much to explain?)

    1. Fred

      “Note: Bernie Sanders hired Stephanie Kelton, someone who shares the link’s economics (Modern Money Theory). He should know better, but never mentions it. (Why…? A bridge too far? Too unbelievable for the voting public? Too much to explain?)”

      I think he will mention it, because he has no choice, particularly if his candidacy continues to grow and he obtains a general parity with HRC nationally. For instance, he advocates for medicare for all and free college education at public schools. The push back is “we can’t afford it” or “what about the deficit” or some such nonsense. If he becomes a genuine contender, these questions have to be answered. Otherwise what’s the point of his candidacy? Moreover I don’t believe he can become a genuine contender without answering.

      The readership here already knows the answers to these questions. The rest of the country doesn’t. I don’t think the answers are “[a] bridge too far” or “[t]oo unbelievable for the voting public” or “[t]oo much to explain.”

      1. craazyboy

        I think Bernie has the balls to tell the American Public that money grows on trees and treasury bonds grow on trees. Plus he has to prove to us that he really isn’t Jewish, and that would be a good start.

  15. John Zelnicker

    My opinion: I think Bernie has to be careful about this, and I think he has started off in the right way. First, he needs to get buy-in from the public that these things are needed, i.e., free public higher education, Medicare-for-All, etc.

    Once that is accomplished, he can, I hope, start to address the reality that the Federal government can pay for all this without increasing taxes or borrowing or causing inflation. Trying to educate the public about the truth of government monetary operations as described by MMT is a paradigm change that will be difficult, at best. I think if he tries to do this too soon, he will end being categorized as a crank and will lose what effectiveness he has.

      1. Fred

        I believe that the 10 to 15% Sanders has consistently polled for the past several months are people who already understand how a currency issuing government funds its operations. It has taken a bipartisan effort with the assistance of the MSM for the past 35 years to create the neoliberalism system we live under and the way of thinking that makes neoliberalism seem perfectly natural and proper among the general public. It will take at least that long to roll it back. Sanders candidacy is as good a place to start as any.

        What I would like to see is a debate with only Sanders and HRC on the economy. No other candidates with Sanders nipping at her heels. In the run-up to the debate, Sanders explicitly explains how we can afford his proposals and why the deficit doesn’t matter, daring the moderator to ask him about it during the debate. In addition to answering the questions, Sanders can clearly describe Obama-Biden as the 3rd and 4th terms of Bush-Cheney and the 5th and 6th terms of Clinton-Gore and that HRC intends to continue in their footsteps. In my opinion this would be priceless and would be a giant step in rolling back neoliberalism.

        1. craazyboy

          Yeah. If we had been really serious about this decades ago, America would own the planet by now.

  16. Mike Sparrow

    More whites die by cop than blacks. The dirty secret nobody wants to admit. A large part of the reason is white’s wave their flag anytime another white is shot dead by the cop saying they deserve it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      In absolute terms, but not when when blacks are considered as a percentage of the population.

      Not sure about waving the flag. In fact, I posted at #AllLivesMatter shows they don’t. It is true that “they got what was coming to them” is a response, but it’s very often applied to blacks. So I’m not sure where you’re coming from on this.

    2. Yves Smith

      Odds are high black deaths are underreported. The person who gets beaten up but they get the coroner to write it up as heart attack, or the suicide that wasn’t. Whites have more credibility in fighting implausible deaths in the proximity of police than blacks.

  17. Synoia

    My 2 cents worth. I’ve lived in Africa, Nigeria, and South Africa under apartheid, and the US.

    Nigeria was colonial, until independence in 1960; we left in 1963. South Africa White Ruled.

    IMHO the most racist place I’ve ever lived was Dallas, TX. Possibly because I could recognize it at that point (older and wiser, maybe). The racism in Dallas was institutional, no flood berms on the Trinity River for the Black neighborhoods, no Supermarkets for Black Neighborhoods (obviously poor Black people don’t eat), no Banks in Black Neighborhoods (obviously Blacks are all poor and indigent, and thus don;t need Banks) – which is given the lie by the existence of Black Neighborhoods, poorly maintained roads in the Black Neighborhoods, and the separation of the nice parts of Dallas, Highland Park and University Park by those Cities being separately incorporated cities, separate from Dallas that is, which is the heart of Apartheid – separateness.

    Similar to the situation I read about in St Louis county and Ferguson.

    We have a system where legal games are played to “separate” benefits, schools, roads, and commons, for affluent taxpayers form disadvantage poorer taxpayers.

    That is the essence of Apartheid. The absolute essence. Apartheid is what the rich, their puppets, the Republicans and DLC Democrats fight for, day in and day out.

    Apartheid should be named, named constantly, and named again at every opportunity.

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