2:00PM Water Cooler 8/13/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



Can’t, sorry. There’s no emoji of chains that are animated, include the clanking noise, and simulate the dragging weight. What were Clinton’s social media people thinking?!

So far as I can tell, there’s no #BlackLivesMatter spokesperson — any more than Occupy had one such — but this is interesting nonetheless.

UPDATE “[Jebbie’s] account of the withdrawal as a ‘case of blind haste’ omitted the fact that it was his brother who’d set the withdrawal date of Dec. 31, 2011, in an agreement that he signed with the Iraqi government in 2008” [McClatchy]. Jebbie is a horrible human being.


Readers: I’m filing the Clinton email saga under criminality (a) because it’s demonstrably corrupt, and (b) because if an official privatizing their public communications isn’t criminal, we should find a way to make it so.

Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton press secretary, in mail to supporters: “‘It’s okay. We’ll be ready. We have the facts, our principles, and you on our side. And it’s vital that you read and absorb the real story so that you know what to say the next time you hear about this around the dinner table or the water cooler (!)” [Business Insider].

“Howard Dean believes ‘there’s nothing criminal’ about any of the correspondence Hillary Clinton kept on a private email server she used while in office, the former Vermont governor said Thursday [Today].

“‘I’m not sure they completely understand the credibility they are losing, by the second,’ said one Democratic strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “At some point this goes from being something you can rationalize away to something that becomes political cancer. And we are getting pretty close to the cancer stage, because this is starting to get ridiculous” [The Hill]. Well, take anything any “Democratic strategist” says with a dose of  salts, anonymous or not. But that fact of the quote has its own significance.

“Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s most trusted confidante, is increasingly becoming a central figure in the email scandal that’s haunting her boss on the campaign trail” [Politico]. But then, that’s what a fishing expedition would do, isn’t it?

“Two aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton say they’ve agreed not to delete any work-related emails. The pledges from Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills are in response to a federal judge’s order that they preserve their records” [AP].

The Voters

“[P]eople do care about electability. They just don’t care about it yet” [WaPo].

The Trail

Kasich: “If I’m talking about someone else, I’m not talking about me. And I would rather them know what my record is and my passion is. time attacking other people, that doesn’t get me anywhere” [National Journal].

“Fox News chairman Roger Ailes on Monday reportedly told real estate tycoon Donald Trump to make nice with the powerful network or else ‘go to war'” [Talking Points Memo].

“Weak Men Like Trump Have Always Feared Menstruation” [Daily Beast]. Ouch!

“It only took six weeks for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign to outgrow its headquarters in New Hampshire” [WaPo].

Stats Watch

The Fed: “The Fed finds itself in a dangerous quandary: no ability to cut rates to stimulate the economy if growth starts to tank again because the Fed is already at the zero bound range; while conversely running the risk of setting off a global financial asset selloff that destabilizes markets further if it raises rates” [Wall Street on Parade].

The Fed: “But I do agree the Fed is heck bent on raising rates in Sept, even without ‘some’ improvement, and will do so unless there’s a stock market decline severe enough to hold them back. So far that’s not happening” [Mosler Economics].

Jobless claims, week of August 8, 2015:  “Jobless claims continue to hold at historically low levels” [Bloomberg]. “The unemployment side of the labor market is very healthy and, for policy makers, is very tight, justifying perhaps a rate hike at the September FOMC.” It’s the bestest recovery EVAH! And: “Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves Marginally” [Econintersect].

Retail sales, July 2015: “Big upward revisions underscore a very solid and very important retail sales report” [Bloomberg]. “Strength in both vehicles and restaurants point to the health of the US consumer and will likely give the hawks the courage, despite all the troubles in China, to push for a rate increase at the September FOMC.” And: “[T]his month’s data has improved the rolling averages” [Econintersect]. “The quirky U.S. consumer has apparently decided to load up on building supplies, eat and drink at restaurants, forego filling the refrigerator, and snub Macy’s” [Wall Street on Parade].

“Combined revenue from the most popular dark Net sites, the online black market, exceeds $100 million every year” [Business Insider]. Not very much.

Mortage delinquency: “The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.30 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the second quarter of 2015. This was the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007” [Market News].

Business Inventories, June 2015: “Inventories rose relative to sales in June but the news isn’t that bad given that the build was centered in autos” [Bloomberg]. “Note that this report, along with the retail sales report, are likely to lift revision estimates for second-quarter GDP.”

Import and Export Prices, July 2015: “Cross-border deflationary pressures were, unfortunately, very evident in July with import prices falling a very steep 0.9 percent and with export prices down 0.2 percent” [Bloomberg]. “This report highlights the risk of deflation which, given this month’s ongoing decline in the price of oil, remains a stubborn obstacle for Federal Reserve policy.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of August 9, 2015: “Consumer confidence readings are solid but off highs early in the year” [Bloomberg].

Renting: “Americans living in rentals spent almost a third of their incomes on housing in the second quarter, the highest share in recent history” [Bloomberg].

“With inflation adjustments, business sales is in now marginally in expansion. The inventory-to-sales ratios remain at recessionary levels” [Econintersect].

Rail traffic: “Continued Decline of One Year Rolling Average” [Econintersect]. Note that this analysis backs out coal (and grain).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Jeb Bush’s town hall in North Las Vegas on Wednesday ended abruptly after the Republican presidential candidate answered a question about racial inequality, and Black Lives Matter advocates began chanting as he made his exit” [CNN]. So, not only non-front running Democrats.

“Ferguson is not a ghetto. It is an established, solidly working-class suburban municipality on the outskirts of St Louis. Ferguson saw significant demographic change during the 1990s, going from a majority white to majority black population” [Raw Story]. “Ferguson is not a ghetto. It is an established, solidly working-class suburban municipality on the outskirts of St Louis. [But] municipalities [like Ferguson] rely heavily on traffic fines and court fees to stay afloat…. We should expect continuing community unrest anywhere that similar conditions are allowed to continue to smolder.”

Police State

“Cops Are Not ‘Warriors'” [East Bay Express]. “The increasingly over-the-top funeral services for police officers killed on the job are hugely disproportionate to the dangers of the profession.” Amen.

Militia Watch

Noting the deep roots in the Democratic nomenklatura of the first two sources… 

“Founded last April by Yale-educated lawyer and ex-Ron Paul aide Stewart Rhodes, the group has established itself as a hub in the sprawling anti-Obama movement that includes Tea Partiers, Birthers, and 912ers” [Mother Jones]. 

“‘We are committed to securing the mine site of George Kornec and Phil Nappo, owners of Intermountain Mining LLC, which was requested due to threats to their mining venture,’ the [Oath Keepers of Josephine County and the Idaho Three Percenters, another militia group] press release read. ‘There is a dispute between the actions taken by the United States Forest Service and the miners. Our goal has been and will continue to be to secure that area from threats until a legal action takes place within the court system'” [Talking Points Memo]. So Oath Keepers are all about resource extraction? I don’t get it.

“Why is it that white Americans carry high-powered weapons openly in the name of ‘property,’ while African Americans constantly risk the full wrath of state power for virtually no reason?”  [Pacific Standard].


Malaysia: “The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the government not to rush into signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which it said may have adverse effects on the nation’s healthcare system” [Malaysian Insider].

ISDS: “US Says ‘No’ To EU Plan For New Corporate Sovereignty Courts: So What Happens Now With TAFTA/TTIP?” [Techdirt].

United States: “While [Senate Majority Leader and] Kentucky Republican [Mitch McConnell] stopped short of pulling his support for the deal, he warned in a letter that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman should “not set a new precedent for future U.S. trade negotiations by negatively carving out a specific American agricultural commodity — in this case tobacco” [Politico].

ISDS: Interesting article on Argentinas’s experience. “The system has proved to be extremely inflexible, which prevented it from addressing the exceptional peculiarities of the Argentinian case. [T]he wide margin of discretion available for the arbitral tribunals resulted in the adoption of inherently poor decisions, and with high levels of incoherence among them” [IPS News].


“My timeline is unique to me. No one else follows exactly the same shifting group of gurus, so no one assembles exactly the same set of maskings and mummeries. This is my exceedingly fine slice across the global conversation” [New York Magazine].  This is what the company is trying to muck up [emphasis in orginal]. Twitter’s investors are getting golden eggs, but they want foie gras.”  Great article. Exactly. Thanks to QE, there is far too much stupid money, and stupid money thinks Twitter should be like Facebook because returns. But we have Facebook. 

“[NBC Universal] is investing $200 million in Vox Media” and Buzzfeed each [Recode]. You’d think with all that lovely loot, their reporting would be better.

“Hersh’s stories break down complex events into chains of isolated, largely reactive individual decisions. His reporting never points back, as Pynchon’s novels do, to shadowy conspiracies; there is no titanic clash between impersonal forces, no central organizing principle, only human action churning away. Near the beginning of Hersh’s book on the Iraq war, an intelligence official complaining about the ‘enhanced interrogation’ tactics at Guantánamo says, ‘It was wrong and also dysfunctional.’ A few pages later, this refrain is repeated by another source: “It’s evil, but it’s also stupid'” [N+1]. Good long form!


Tianjin body count now 50, 12 of them firefighters [WaPo]. As opposed to the official count of 17. Look at the pictures, though; I would guess the official death total is off by an order of magnitude. Granted, I haven’t seen images that would prove this, and granted the explosion didn’t happen during the working day, but it’s hard to imagine the port shuts down at night. And the port area is surrounded by apartment blocks. And see the last sentence here (also in links): “Executives of the company [whose “chemicals” exploded] have been controlled.” “Controlled”? It would be interesting to know who those executives are. And who owns the company. I’d welcome commentary from any China hands in the readership on this point.


“KUALA LUMPUR—Malaysia’s central bank said Thursday it has completed an investigation into debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, and submitted a report recommending ‘appropriate enforcement action’ to the country’s chief prosecutor” [Wall Street Journal]. The $700 million (!) that appeared in Prime Minister Najib’s personal bank account…. We still don’t know where it came from.  Move along people, move along. There’s nothing to see here!

“Malaysian authorities using Sedition Act to stem criticism, opposition says” [ABC].

“[Illinois governor Bruce Rauner] is part owner of a company that advises the Chicago teachers pension fund” [Chicago Reader]. What, isn’t that conflicted? Do these private equity dudes even know what conflicted means? (Of course, it’s not conflicted if you assume they act in their own interests no matter where they are, but public office isn’t supposed to work that way.)

Dear Old Blighty

Tony Blair on Corbyn: “The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below” [Guardian]. Anything that induces hysteria in a war criminal like Tony Blair is probably a good thing.

Class Warfare

“The ‘Worker Voice’ summit will focus on how to ensure workers ‘are fully sharing in the benefits of the broad-based economic growth [ha ha ha] that they are helping to create,’ the White House said in a statement Wednesday that announced the Oct. 7 event. [Wall Street Journal]. That’s “helping to create create.” Fixed it for ya. More: “The White House said that as it continues to address economic inequality and adapt to workforce changes it wants ‘to energize a new generation of Americans to come together and recognize the potential power of their voice at work.'” Their voice? More Democratic nomenklatura “join the conversation” crapola. Say, how’s card check coming?

“The Future of Work: Why Wages Aren’t Keeping Up” [Pacific Standard].

News of the Wired

“How Doodling Can Help You Get Ahead at Work” [Bloomberg]. Verges on product placement, but (confession time) I like the products.

“Why I’m The Best Programmer In The World*” [Coding Horror].

Unfortunately for privacy advocates, [Windows 10’s] controls don’t appear to be sufficient to completely prevent the operating system from going online and communicating with Microsoft’s servers” [Ars Technica]. This is the “weak tea” version of Weinstein’s article in Links today.

“Harvard student loses Facebook internship after pointing out privacy flaws” [Boston Globe]. Attaboy, Markie. You’re a squillionaire. You show ’em what Facebook is all about!

“The real reason American public transportation is such a disaster” [Vox]. Seems to me that “public transportation” is transportation; it’s only that subsidies to the car are privileged by being hidden.

“‘Shakespeare Smoked Dope?’ Shakespeare Magazine Editor Pat Reid investigates the clickbait headlines and reveals the dodgy research and unbelievably shoddy journalism behind the sensational claims” [Shakespeare Magazine].

“Hello. My name is Michael Hsu. I’m an adult. And I ride a kick scooter” [Wall Street Journal].

“No More Crying Babies: Are Child-Free Flights the Next Thing?” [Yahoo Travel].

“Google is testing drones in US airspace by piggybacking on Nasa exemption” [Google]. “Documents show the tech company has skirted regulations for private firms for a year by flying its Project Wing aircraft over private land as part of a deal with Nasa. Privilege = private law….

* * *

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 (Alex):


Near his coffee house… This reminds me of a vast stand of basil near my little fountain — the bees love it, and you can see the basil vibrating slightly as the heavy bumblebees alight…

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. Uahsenaa

      The fact that Billington is not himself a librarian, along with the increasing frequency with which major academic and public libraries throughout the US have come to be run by corporate management types rather than, oh I dunno, actual librarians, has annoyed and in some cases angered people in the profession for many many years. This sort of behavior is not surprising.

      1. lambert strether

        First thing we do, let’s fire the administrators. And give them useful, character-building work.

    2. Vatch

      I love the first sentence in the article about the new crisis management professional:

      Anthony Weiner, whose career went up in flames because of his inability to handle PR crises, is the newest consultant at a PR firm that helps companies through PR crises, according to the New York Post.

      1. allan

        Not to mention:

        The firm’s clients include Gold’s Gym, Netflix, and Ball Park Franks.

        Journalism has perks, such as being able to write that sentence, that make up for the low pay.

  1. cwaltz

    I don’t get why “almost a third” on rent is that big of a deal. The federal government pegs an “affordable mortgage” at 28% of your income before taxes are taken out. That’s pretty much almost a third. I suspect the larger problem is that almost the third is coupled with 10% in taxes, over 9% in medical, more for transportation,food, and more importantly debt like student loans. Aat some point you run out of percentages of income to throw at categories.

    1. inode_buddha

      Running out of percentages is exactly the point. 28% before taxes is pretty unrealistic for most i would suspect. I know that I run out of “breathing room” at 25% *after* taxes. After all, I don’t live on my gross. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be reading and posting here.

  2. Bill Smith

    “Clinton email saga”

    Since that server was used by Clintion and now her top aides (among others) my question is this. There was a lot of internal State Department correspondence on that server. Forgetting all the secret stuff – but what are the rules for people who leave government and keep access to all the working papers / internal correspondence / decision making details. A lot of that stuff would not be FOIA’able.

    Are there laws against that?

    1. DJG

      I suggest the we give Clinton and Co. the same advice that she gave Edward Snowden: Return to the (real) United States (not ClintonFoundationLandia) and face trial.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Hillary already got some sound advice from the authors of a book she borrowed:

        The last batch of Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department included one from Clinton asking to borrow a book called Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe.

        Chapter Six: “The Email That Can Land You In Jail” includes a section entitled “How to Delete Something So It Stays Deleted.”

        But Shipley and Schwalbe warn that deleting emails could lead to future legal troubles. On page 226, the writers warn, “If you’re issued a subpoena, your deletion binge will only make you look guilty.”


        ‘Deletion binge’ … ah ha ha ha … ‘I knew it was wrong, but once I got going, I just couldn’t stop till they were all gone.’

    2. James Levy

      As a member of the Society for Military History, I get updates in our newsletter from time to time on this very issue, as many members deal with Presidential and other US government papers. My impression is that the rules are constantly changed, that their are exemptions and secret codas out the yin-yang, and since Kissinger literally had a semi show up at the White House the night before Carter was sworn in and carried off everything that wasn’t nailed down all bets are off. In fact, I only found out the other day from a new bio of Nixon that one of the key reasons he taped everything was that he was sure that Kissinger was going to lay the blame for every foreign policy misstep from 1969 to 1977 on Nixon and claim that in every case his sage advice had been ignored. Nixon wanted proof that would harpoon such claims and make Kissinger out to be a self-serving liar. Under such dysfunction are we ruled.

      1. DJG

        I’m not that fussy. I’ll take a trial of Kissinger if we can’t have a trial of Hillary Clinton right away.

  3. Steven D.

    If the Fed raises rates next month, the Republicans will win the election. The sagging economy will ensure it. I wonder now if Summers would have done a better job than Yellin. Seems obvious now that Obama wouldn’t have appointed Yellin unless he had assurances she would play things Wall Street’s way.

    1. James Levy

      I don’t know what Wall Street’s way is. Interest rate hikes don’t help them. They hate inflation, but they love the bond market, and if interest rates go up, I’ve been led to believe that it will initiate a blood bath in the bond market. The interest rate hikes would be a way for the Fed to reassert some institutional control over what’s happening out there in the world economy. Right now things are caroming around with little sense of anything but impending crisis. Rate hikes seem to me more about preserving the psychological equilibrium of Fed officials than serving the interests of Wall Street.

    2. edmondo

      Yep, a whole quarter of one percent interest rate increase means that the next time the Fed lends you a billion dollars you have to pay almost $2 million a month in interest. Clearly a recession is baked in the cake with those onerous terms.

      BTW – I’m pretty sure the Republicans are going to win the next election anyway – regardless of what the Fed does or doesn’t do.

  4. hemeantwell

    Re Oathkeepers, there was an interesting vid at the Guardian about their presence at Ferguson, with one rifle-toting, civilian fatigues-wearing white guy saying their presence was necessary because, after all, look what police had done to not only Mike Brown, but also Tamir Rice and Eric Garner.


    It might just be putting on another form camouflage on their part, but it makes me wonder if this bunch, while sharing a common anti-state stance, is composed of differing tendencies regarding choosing whom to support against the state. If they operate in a way that allows local initiative, it’s not hard to imagine some of them, especially in light of the TPP and Tea Party opposition to it, finding their way to interfering with state support of multinational corporations. Has anyone seen any coverage that doesn’t assume that their rightist ideology implies giving absolute priority to support for any and all forms of private property?

    1. Jerry Denim

      I’m not entirely convinced that these gun-enthusiast vigilantes aren’t modern day brownshirts but they appear to not be under the control of any mainstream political movement. The disdain and distrust of big Federal government certainly seems to unify the oath keepers but I would guess individual members harbor different levels of Fascist tendencies like respect for authority, the capitalist overclass, and a preference for quick and effective actions over due process and democracy. There is no doubt in my mind the Federal government would prefer to see less of this group and I’m not so sure their allegiances and behavior can be easily predicted and controlled. If the Oath Keepers really sympathize with Brown, Rice, Garner, etc. I think they should ally with the BLM movement and shadow police patrols in troubled districts like Ferguson and video traffic stops (with or without their firearms) like the original Oakland Black Panthers used to do in the sixties with their self-defense patrols. Speaking of the Black Panthers there are some resurgent Black Power groups like the Huey P. Newton Gun Club and the New Black Panthers that share the original Panther’s penchant for exercising their Second Amendment rights and utilizing open carry laws. It’s nice to see them at work in Waller county Texas but perhaps reinstating the Oakland Panthers self-defense patrols would be a more effective way to achieve some of their goals. If the tactic really unnerves the police ( as I suppose it would) perhaps that would create a negotiating opportunity for BLM activists to create some kind of local police civilian oversight board in exchange for getting the armed vigilantes off the backs of local law enforcement. If civilians can be given real power over police hiring, firing, prosecution and policies that would be a true victory.

      Personally I would find it deeply satisfying if contemporary Black Power groups could politically exploit the ALEC funded conceled-carry, stand-your-ground, gonzo-gun-nut type advocacy laws which are typically embraced by racist redneck types in states like Texas. It would be true poetic justice. I’m guessing most of the Republican support for these types of laws would dry up fairly fast. The entire Republican party may even become anti-gun.


      1. kj1313

        Agreed. Most of the commenters on Breitbart did a compete 180 compared to their reaction to the Oathkeepers in Ferguson.

  5. Sally

    Does anybody take seriously some of these positive stories by the MSM on the economy? Retail sales up?

    They are going to raise rates in September? Really? What with $20 trillion in debt? Good luck with that. It seems to me China is positioning itself for a major slow down in the world Economy. Hence the devaluation. Yet the talking heads are saying “Happy days are here again.”

  6. different clue

    ” So, not only non FrontRunning Democrats.” Oh? I hardly think so. The BLMers graciously waited for Bush to finish his whole speech and answer questions and waited till he was already leaving before having a gracious courteous non-disruptive polite chant. That is hardly the same as conspiring to disrupt and preVENT a Sanders rally and preVENT Sanders from EVen SPEAKing at another event. So I am not yet accepting pro-BLM hasbara and excuses for their ratfucking behavior against Sanders specifically just yet.

    1. lambert strether

      Clinton was treated to a private meeting, as well.

      OTOH, these are all local chapters. In fact, even “chapters,” I think, is too formal. I dunno….

  7. DJG

    I hate to wave a red folio, but “investigates the clickbait headlines and reveals the dodgy research and unbelievably shoddy journalism behind the sensational claims” is about all it takes to deal with the camp that believes that Will is not the boy from Statford who made good, too.

  8. jgordon

    [Jebbie’s] account of the withdrawal as a ‘case of blind haste’ omitted the fact that it was his brother who’d set the withdrawal date of Dec. 31, 2011, in an agreement that he signed with the Iraqi government in 2008″ [McClatchy]. Jebbie is a horrible human being.

    Back then Obamatards were glorifying the fact that Obama had pulled us out of Iraq. I rather enjoyed pointing out at the time that it was actually W who had signed off on the agreement to pullout of Iraq while the Obama regime had been fighting that pullout tooth and nail from almost the moment they got into the White House.

    Of course they had invincible ignorance on their side, and thus weren’t swayed. People are weird.

    1. jgordon

      Oh, on Clinton I was tipped off to this hilarious correction while reading zh earlier:


      An earlier version of this column said that Hillary Rodham Clinton makes five times the average American’s annual income. She makes that amount per speech.

      Clinton would seem a lot more honest and respectable (if no less venal) if she just stopped trying to play these dumb games with trying to identify with the plebs and using the phony accents. It’s all so incongruent that it’s no wonder why she’s perceived as dishonest and manipulative.

      1. Uahsenaa

        Oh, I dunno, she seems to be doing a swell job slumming it with the four or five sycophants her advance team hand picks for her in each small town.

  9. abynormal

    Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton press secretary, in mail to supporters: “‘We have the facts, our principles, and you on our side.”

    Jennifer is the example of why Hillary’s tweet disconnects.
    seems Hillary uses Mansion Mirrors to choose her inner circle.

    Mirrors should think longer before they reflect. Cocteau

  10. hunkerdown

    The electronic hobbyist demographic in a nutshell. Disappointingly, only 2.3% of electronic hobbyist respondents were female. You can do better, ladies. (And so can we 97.7%.)

    1. craazyboy

      They’ve always been afraid of buttons, unless they’re the kind you push a sewing needle thru.

  11. Vatch

    United States: “While [Senate Majority Leader and] Kentucky Republican [Mitch McConnell] stopped short of pulling his support for the deal, he warned in a letter that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman should “not set a new precedent for future U.S. trade negotiations by negatively carving out a specific American agricultural commodity — in this case tobacco” [Politico].

    Under a future ISDS system, if coca, hemp, or poppies are grown commercially in a country that has a free trade agreement with the U.S., will investors from that country be able to sue the U.S. government because our drug laws cost them future profits?

    1. T Mink

      Since ISDS sets the status quo in stone, it would seem that any relaxation of drug laws that allowed local cultivation would be actionable since it encroaches on a previously protected market. I would recommend that states that have legalized hemp and marijuana start soliciting international investment fast so they can employ ISDS to fight any potential federal crackdown

  12. afisher

    The economic CV is that imports are going to be “less expensive”…..the chance that the price will trickle down to the consumer?

  13. afisher

    Dupont’s long journey with C-8 is a re-run of the Berman Tobacco denial game. Believe NC – this really is a must read.

    1. diptherio

      Wondering why those execs can’t be brought up on murder charges…or, at the very least, manslaughter. But of course, such a thing would require that we live in a country where justice is still an operable concept, so…

      1. jo6pac

        That’s easy in the new Amerika corp. are citizens. The corp. will pay the fine a tax right off and execs are paid bonus. The new owned Amerika,

        Everything is on schedule please move along.

        1. vidimi

          a citizen with that kind of record should get the death penalty. as someone who has used, and no doubt scraped, teflon frying pans for many years, i can only hope that i won’t be shitting into paper bags when i’m older.

  14. Kurt Sperry

    Sanders official position on the state of racial justice in the US as enunciated at the link above is about as good as I could reasonably hope to read from a viable presidential candidate. Really there’s hardly a wrong note in it. I’m still voting Green if Hillary wins the nomination though.

  15. Kurt Sperry

    “Why is it that white Americans carry high-powered weapons openly in the name of ‘property,’ while African Americans constantly risk the full wrath of state power for virtually no reason?”

    It seems like maybe a few black armed militia armed to the teeth legally and very publicly carrying, exactly like what you see sometimes in news reports, would break the minds and perhaps even the will to support open carry where it is currently legal.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      The Black Panthers did this, openly carry guns, and read from the CA laws and US Constitution that they were entitled by law to be armed and defend themselves. Of course, the war waged against the Panthers from sea to shining sea as they grew in chapters and influence included police gun battles during the raids that eventually wiped them out as an operational group.

      The white gun nuts who regularly show up with their open carry fear rallies, their I’m gonna protect the war heroes at US Military recruiting stations or militia defense show of strength for some set upon rancher all seem to be unscathed, and supported by state legislatures who promote NRA legal initiatives. The non-violence tactics of the Black Civil Rights leaders precluded gun rights and sought out instead voting rights. Of course the right wing politicians and the republican party on the national and especially the local level think it is more important for white citizens to be armed no matter what and for most citizens, especially minorities, to not be able to vote at all. Since when in a democracy is it more important to defend gun ownership over voting, over having consent from every citizen? The vote is under constant attack as some sort of easily co-opted and fraud prone pain in the neck, while guns are viewed as sacraments of divine origin. It’s no wonder, the African – American solid voting block is put under the pressure that gun ownership never is. The gun nuts threaten 2nd Amendment solutions on a regular basis while voting is considered a fatally flawed form of political decision making, especially during voter registration drives.

  16. allan

    Jeremy Corbyn would cost every British family £2,400 a year

    Senior Labour figures, most notably Tony Blair, have said that a victory for Mr Corbyn would keep the Tories in power for decades.

    But some Tories say there is unease within the party about the prospect of facing an unknown quantity with radical views, citing the rise of the SNP in Scotland as proof that political parties can be successful from such a position.

    Some believe Mr Corbyn could help them inflict a series of defeats on Number 10 which would be avoidable under his rivals.

    Successful? Why would a Labour politician want to be successful?
    Isn’t the point to lose as a neoliberal rather than win as a progressive?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Wouldn’t any late primary challenge from the old school DNC right like Gore or Biden just siphon votes off Hillary? How does the Party get Sanders out of the way by putting forward another center-right, status quo party dinosaur challenger? It seems to me that the only tactical space open to the old guard is limited to crossing their fingers and marketing Hillary as a staunch progressive, then have her do an Obamian hard right turn the moment the primaries are over. And who will buy Hillary as a change agent or progressive? That’s gonna be a tough sell, especially with Sanders in the picture.

        If it ever looks like Sanders has a real chance, look for the Dem old guard to go batshit exactly like Blair went off on Corbyn yesterday. I’m talking full panic, fainting couch mode. A Sanders primary victory would put everything and everyone in the party invested in the neoliberal status quo into real jeopardy, and would directly threaten the control of the party. Sanders being elected president would likely be exponentially worse for party insiders than a loss to either Jebbie or even Trump in the General, that’s not a real problem. Sanders in the Oval Office could easily mean the end of everything, existential threat, gravy train derailment, privileges at stake, power–income streams. Everything. The Republicans cannot really do any of that. As always the danger, the threat, to the Democratic Party that must be stopped is the threat from the left. The Republicans on the other hand would probably see the same thing as an opportunity to grow the party. Offer a typical conservative, neoliberal obamabot a choice between Sanders and Jeb, surely many will find a more kindred spirit in the latter, yet at the same time they’ve been conditioned to a state of visceral partisan hate for the GOP. Tough spot, it would be.

        1. allan

          I think the reason trial balloons like Biden or Gore are being floated at this time is that the party `leadership’ realizes that S.S. Clinton is not doing so well (other than in fundraising). They want a Plan B to deny Sanders the nomination – or Warren, if she looked at how Clinton’s campaign is doing and decided to run, late as it is. You are absolutely right that the professional Democrats would not do well under Sanders, either as a candidate or as a president. They see HRC’s campaign not gaining traction, and possibly with a snowballing scandal, and need a safe alternative, fast.

        2. hidflect

          All this is so true it arouses a fear in me that one of these multifarious groups will be motivated enough to push Bernie aside, one way or another. He’d better be very, very careful. If he keeps this up he might suddenly get debilitating cancer like Chavez.

        3. Chris in Paris

          Wouldn’t a strong old guard centrist candidate simply dilute Hillary’s numbers? I think they should be very careful with this unless it’s really because Hillary is already sunk. I think they’ll in the end manage throw enough money and oppo up to keep Sanders away from the nomination but if he’s got a good 1/3 of the delegates, the split in the party could divert resources from fighting the somewhat (much) greater evil possibility of the GOP winning this one, with both houses in their control (and many states as well). Nightmare scenario.

          1. allan

            The consensus among the chatterers seems to be building that Hillary really is sunk.

            AP EXCLUSIVE: Top secret Clinton emails include drone talk

            The two emails on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private server that an auditor deemed “top secret” include a discussion of a news article detailing a U.S. drone operation and a separate conversation that could point back to highly classified material in an improper manner or merely reflect information collected independently, U.S. officials who have reviewed the correspondence told The Associated Press.

            The sourcing of the information in the emails could have significant political implications as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, agreed this week to turn over to the FBI the private server she used as secretary of state, and Republicans in Congress have seized on the involvement of federal law enforcement as a sign that she was either negligent with the nation’s secrets or worse.

  17. barrisj

    Re: “Over-the-top” cop funerals…these spectacles are borrowed from “the fallen Leader” obsequies held in totalitarian societies, and from the “Band of Brothers” military honours given to “a fallen comrade and brother-in-arms”, all of which are explicitly designed to inform “enemies” that the passing of a Leader will only strengthen “the will of the People”, or that to kill a “Guardian of the State” is an affront to all, and that revenge will be taken. Essentially, continuity with intimidation is the message, and the longer the cortege and the bigger the flags, the more severe will be the consequences. Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia reduced these spectacles to a science, well calibrated and calculated for maximum public effect.

  18. ewmayer

    Re. “Cops are not ‘warriors'” – yeah, I live in the Bay Area, and found the coverage of Sgt. Lunger’s slaying and subsequent assumption-into-cop-heaven-and-instant-sainthood flat-out appalling. Imagine, every night for over a solid week, at least 10% of every local news broadcast – and I surfed most of the local channels – was devoted to weepy testimonials, video of solemn processions of his ‘fellow warriors and brothers (and sistahs) in arms’, appeals for donations, and the like. And then Oracle bloody Arena – seriously? Last time I checked, the Mexican trabajadores who do most of CA construction have higher on-the-job fatality rates than our beloved, indispensable ‘warrior hero peace officer upholders of the law and all around swell guys (and gals).”

    You’d think FDR had come back from the dead and solved all the world’s problems, only to be assassinated by a cowardly anarchist, erm, I mean commie fifth columnist, erm, I mean Islamist terrierist. It was un-fucking-believable.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I would say that any Mexican trabajadores — especially an undocumented one — demonstrates far more raw courage than a cop. Dangerous work and the fear of immigration. All to take care of their families, too.

    2. optimader

      So why is this phenomena persisting and scaling up I wonder? Cause and effect. The effect is seemingly widely embraced, I just don’t get the cause part. This phenomena sure wasn’t operative when I was a kid.

  19. JohnB

    After reading the article on Calpers, I’m curious about private pension schemes (particularly in Europe):
    My personal impression of pension schemes (private ones where you’re voluntarily investing into them), is to be extremely cynical of them, and to view them as very risky investments, that can easily turn into a really bad deal, with results not matching what was promised ‘on paper’ – is this a bit overblown?

    I’d imagine that they have many of the same issues as described with Calpers, and with a lack of transparency that makes them an easy money making vehicle for the finance industry (a gigantic pool of money, nested away for future safety, being protected/invested by financiers in a poorly regulated industry – foxes guarding the henhouse comes to mind) – wariness of that alone, would make me avoid them permanently.

    At the same time, there’s the common sentiment that you’d be ‘crazy’ not to be contributing some of your salary to a pension etc. – which just strikes me as a sales-pitch tbh – but it does give me pause to wonder if I’m being too cynical about private pensions.

  20. vidimi

    re: push scooters

    the first time i arrived in paris almost a decade ago i was befuddled at the sight of businessmen dressed in suits zipping by on the sidewalks on them. they are still ever popular with the professionals and with children today, and it makes perfect sense: the broad, smooth sidewalks are perfect for them and, unlike a bike, you’re not obligated to go on the road, and you’ll get where you need to go thrice as quickly as by walking.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Push scooters seem to have had their moment as a fad although they do make some real sense as short range urban transportation. Good luck finding any businessmen scooting around Paris today, where are you that you still see them being used by adults?

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