2:00PM Water Cooler 8/18/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



“[Clinton’s] plan came on the heels of Bernie Sanders’ plan, which is much simpler. Sanders has called for ‘tuition-free’ public colleges, similar to how college used to be for most of U.S. hiistory and in most of our economic rivals abroad” [Alternet]. The parallel between RomneyCare (whose essentials Clinton supported and Obama implemented) and single payer is suggestive. Sanders plan: Simple, proven internationally, little room for rent seekers. Clinton plan: Complicated, not proven, lots of room for rent seekers. Of course, the Democratic nomenklatura likes it for that reason, exactly as they liked ObamaCare, but in each case, why not focus on the patients students consumers citizens?

” A day after the Obama administration gave Shell the green light to search for oil in icy Arctic waters, Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to voice her disapproval” [National Journal]. Closing the barn door….

“Despite his nativist rhetoric, Mr. Trump may grasp the staggering economic and social havoc that mass deportation would wreak. Hence his offhand comment, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that he’d ‘bring them back rapidly, the good ones'” [WaPo]. Impressive agility.

“Late Monday, Black Lives Matter Boston released the first video from the closed-door encounter between Hillary Clinton and activists with the group” [Buzzfeed]. “Currently, there does not appear to be one, full, unedited video of the entire interaction.” From the transcript; I picked this part because it shows the interactions between the questioner, Clinton, and a staffer:

QUESTION:  But your—you and your family have been personally and politically responsible for policies that have caused Health and Human Services disasters in impoverished communities of color (inaudible) the domestic and international War on Drugs that you championed as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. And so I just want to know how you feel about your role in that violence and how you plan to reverse it?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, you know, I feel strongly, which is why I had this town hall today. And as the questions and comments from people illustrated, there’s a lot of concern that we need to rethink and redo what we did in response to a different set of problems.

And you know, in life, in politics, in government—you name it—you’ve got to constantly be asking yourself, “Is this working?  Is this not?” and if it’s not, what do we do better?  And that’s what I’m trying to do now on drugs, on mass incarceration, on police behavior and criminal justice reform. Because I do think that there was a different set of concerns back in the ‘80s and the early ‘90s. And now I believe that we have to look at the world as it is today and try and figure out what will work now. transcriptAnd that’s what I’m trying to figure out and that’s what I intend to do as president.

QUESTION:  Yeah. And I would offer that it didn’t work then, either, and that those policies were actually extensions of white supremacist violence against communities of color. And so I just think I want to hear a little bit about that, about the fact that actually while—

HILLARY CLINTON:  Well, I’m not sure—

QUESTION:  —those policies were being enacted, they were ripping apart families and actually causing death.

HILLARY CLINTON:  Now, I’m not sure I agree with you.  I’m not sure I disagree that any kind of government action often has consequences.  And certainly, the War on Drugs, which was started back in the ‘80s, has had consequences. Increasing penalties for crime and “three strikes and you’re out” and all of those kinds of actions have consequences.

QUESTION: I think that the next step, respectfully, and I have attempted to allow you, and I feel like we have allowed space for a nice conversation and it is a pleasure and an honor to be in this dialogue with you but i think that a huge part of what you haven’t said is that you have offered a recognition that mass incarceration has not worked, and that it is an unfortunate consequence of government practices that just didn’t work. But the truth is that there is an extremely long history of unfortunate government practices that don’t work that particularly affect Black people and Black families, and until we as a country, and then the person who’s in the seat that you seek, actually addresses the anti-Blackness current that is America’s first drug.

We’re in a meeting about drugs. America’s first drug is free black labor, and turning black bodies into profit and the mass incarceration system mirrors an awful lot like the prison plantation system. It’s a similar thread, and until someone takes that message and speaks that truth to White people in this country so that we can actually take on anti-Blackness as a founding problem in this country, I don’t believe that there is going to be a solution.

Because what the conversations that are happening now and why there is so much cohesion across the divide, the red side and the blue side, it’s because of money, right, we are spending a lot of money on prisons. We’re spending more money on prisons than we are on schools, but if we look at it from lens of let’s solve this financial problem, and we don’t look at the greater bottom line that African-Americans who are Americans are suffering at greater rates than most other people, every other people, for the length of this country then it’s not going to go away. It’s just going to morph into something new and evolved.  You know, I genuinely want to know, you, Hillary Clinton, have been in no uncertain way, partially responsible for this.  More than most.  There may have been unintended consequences.

But now that you understand the consequences, what in your heart has changed that’s going to change the direction of this country?  Like what in you—not your platform, not the things you’re supposed to say—like, how do you actually feel that’s different than you did before?  Like what were the mistakes, and how can those mistakes that you made be lessons for all of America for a moment of reflection on how we treat black people in this country?

SPEAKER:  I just wanted to say apologies.  We have—

QUESTION:  I would really love for her to answer this question.  We’ve worked really hard.  We’ve driven so many hours.

SPEAKER:  We have to stop before—I’m just letting you know, we have a couple more answers left, more people (inaudible).  I’m not interrupting what you’re about to say, I’m just doing you a heads up on timing.

HILLARY CLINTON:  Well, it’s a very thoughtful question, and here’s a thoughtful answer.  And I can only tell you that I feel very committed to and responsible for doing whatever I can.  I spent most of my adult life focused on kids, from the Children’s Defense Fund and then efforts to try to give kids—particularly poor kids, particularly, you know, black kids and Hispanic kids—the same chance to live up to their God-given potential.  And that’s where I’ve been focused. 

And I think that there has to be a reckoning. I agree with that.  But I also think there has to be some positive vision and plan that you can move people toward.  Once you say, I mean, this country has still not recovered from it’s original sin—which is true—once you say that, then the next question, by people who are on the sidelines—which is the vast majority of Americans—the next question is, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?  What am I supposed to do about it?”

That’s what I’m trying to put together in a way that I can explain and I can sell it.  Because in politics, if you can’t explain it and you can’t sell it, it stays on its shelf.  And this is now a time—a moment in time, just like the Civil Rights Movement or the women’s movement or the gay rights movement or a lot of other movements reached a point in time—the people behind that consciousness raising and advocacy, they had a plan ready to go.  So that when you turn to, you know, the women’s movement—we want to pass this and we want to pass that and we want to do this—problems are not taken care of, we know that.

#BlackLivesMatter is not a monolith. Nevertheless, I find the deferential tone shown by the questioner to Clinton startling, and in great contrast to the events both at Netroots Nation and Seattle. Here we have — as the oleaginous Democratic argot has it — a “conversation.” I stand by my claim that #BlackLivesMatter does not disrupt powerful Democrats. UPDATE “What in your heart has changed?” I can’t even. And “tone-policing” charges coming in 10… 9… 8…. counting

The Voters

“On Apr 14 2015, the Virginia State Board of Elections immediately decertified use of the AVS WinVote touchscreen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine. This seems pretty minor, but it received a tremendous amount of pushback from some local election officials” [Freedom to Tinker]. Check out the tech. The horror! The horror!

The Trail

“U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders eked out a win over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the informal Iowa State Fair poll during the weekend, finishing with 47.5 percent of the Democratic voters polled to Clinton’s 47.17 percent” [International Busines Times]. The butter cow only got 14.29%.

“How Black Lives Matter is making Bernie Sanders a better candidate” [Waging Nonviolence].

Sanders: 1) Narrow base; 2) Bill Bradley; 3) New Hampshire is unique [Wall Street Journal, “Three Reasons to Be Skeptical of the Bernie Sanders Surge”].

“‘I know a little bit about Carly Fiorina, having watched her almost destroy the company my grandfather founded,’ Arianna Packard, the granddaughter of the Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, wrote in a letter in 2010, when Mrs. Fiorina was a candidate in California for the United States Senate” [D%albook, New York Times]. When you’ve lost Andrew Ross Sorkin… 

“Mark Halperin Rides in Style With ‘The Donald'” [Bloomberg]. Everything that’s wrong with American political journalism packed into one headline.

“Maureen Dowd Explains Defending Trump’s ‘Blood’ Remark: ‘I Believe Him'” [Talking Points Memo].

Stats Watch

Housing Starts, July 2015: “Building permits slid sharply in July but reflect in part a plunge in the Northeast where a change in New York City real estate law pulled permits into June at the expense of July” [Bloomberg]. “Report is on the soft side and doesn’t increase the chances for a September rate hike from the Fed.” And: “Permits always lead, as there are no starts without permits. And in NY it was the rush to get multi family permits in before June 15 when a tax break expired is what caused the prior surge in permits and some starts as well and is now reversing” [Mosler Economics]. Caution: “Be careful in looking at this data set with a microscope as the potential error ranges and backward revisions are significant. Also the nature of this industry causes variation from month to month. But… ” [Econintersect] “… the July data was not good. Using 3 month rolling averages likely is the best way to view this series – and still the data remains in the range we have seen over the last 3 years.

“According to data from Bloomberg, corporations have issued a stunning $9.3 trillion in bonds since the beginning of 2009. The major beneficiary of this debt binge has been the stock market rather than investment in modernizing the plant, equipment or new hires to make the company more competitive for the future. Bond proceeds frequently ended up buying back shares or boosting dividends, thus elevating the stock market on the back of heavier debt levels on corporate balance sheets” [Wall Street on Parade]. The rest of the post confirms my Maine Bear priors…

Walmart: “Walmart cut its annual profit forecast on Tuesday, attributing the move to the effects of a stronger dollar and increased spending on workers’ wages and e-commerce” [New York Times]. 

Walmart: “‘Inventory shrinkage [theft] was meaningfully higher than planned for the quarter,’ [Walmart US president Greg] Foran said in an earnings call” [Business Insider]. “Walmart probably loses about 1% of its US revenue — or roughly $3 billion every year — to stealing by customers and employees.” Oddly, or not, the Times left that out. Speculating freely, could Walmart’s reputation be so bad that people feel it’s fine to steal from it, on a tit-for-tat basis?

Walmart: “The profit challenges have caused one other big change at the hard charging Wal-Mart: A pullback in planned new-store openings. Wal-Mart now expects to open a total of 160 to 170 of its smaller format Neighborhood Market stores this year, down from a previous forecast of between 180 and 200” [The Street]. Good. See also under Class Warfare.

Charlene Chu, the “rock star of Chinese-debt analysis,” has “a doomsday scenario” [Business Insider].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“One year later: Ferguson is still pumping out arrest warrants” [CNN]. Sort of amazing to see “Policing for Profit, Targeting the Poor” on a mainstream chyron.

“[T]here is the Ferguson that new arrivals see: cheap housing, a diverse population and vibrant community activism” [NBC News, “Why Move to Ferguson?”]

“The New York Civil Liberties Union today requested that the New York Court of Appeals review a lower court’s decision to keep secret records from the Grand Jury which failed to indict an NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner” [NYACLU].

“But a new study has found that for black and Hispanic college graduates, the shield [of a college degree] is severely cracked, failing to protect them from both short-term crises and longstanding challenges” [New York Times].

“‘Muslim-Free’ Gun Shop Raffles Off Confederate Flag Painting by George Zimmerman” [Gawker]. When multiple buttons are pressed, is the result additive or geometric?


“Faked peer reviews prompt 64 retractions” [Nature].

“Lawmakers call for oversight hearings on green jobs measure” [AP]. “The Legislature decided to send half the money to fund clean energy projects in schools, promising to generate more than 11,000 jobs each year.”

The AP reported that three years after voters passed Proposition 39 [the Clean Energy Jobs Act], money is trickling in at a slower-than-anticipated rate, and more than half of the $297 million given to schools so far has gone to consultants and energy auditors. The board created to oversee the project and submit annual progress reports to the Legislature has never met.

Hmm. I wonder what party the consultants and energy auditors were from; we had a similar problem, on Maine’s scale, up here with an insulation program.

Dear Old Blightly

Re: Corbynomics, Corbymania, and Corbynmania:  “[T]hese neologisms serve to confirm the man’s media supremacy” [Guardian].


“Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Friday that he will block a trade nominee’s Senate floor vote until the Obama administration makes the text of a sweeping transpacific agreement available to eligible staffers” [The Hill]. Setting the table for the next round.

“Mexico car makers seek 50% regional content in TPP trade deal “  [Globe and Mail]. Ditto, now that other countries have made the running.

New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key: “Name a single free trade agreement we’ve ever done in the public” [Stuff]. So that’s alright, then.

“Publicly, business lobby groups are heavily pushing the idea that TTIP will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). But behind closed doors they admit the reality: that small companies will “face increased competition” and that “benefits remain hypothetical” [Corporate Europe].

“A huge Trojan horse … has been erected in Valletta this morning to protest against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), ‘a dangerous deal that puts the interests of big businesses before the rights of EU citizens’, according to Friends of the Earth Malta [Malta Today].


” ‘First flowers’ may have ‘bloomed’ in water, not on land, fossils suggest” [Los Angeles Times].

“[B]reathing Beijing’s air is the equivalent of smoking almost 40 cigarettes a day and calculates that air pollution causes 1.6m deaths a year in China, or 17% of the total” [The Economist, “Mapping the invisible scourge”].

Anthropoligist Lawrence Keeley: “The only reasonable interpretation of these cases, as here, is that a whole typically-sized Linear Pottery culture hamlet or small village was wiped out by killing the majority of its inhabitants and kidnapping the young women. This represents yet another nail in the coffin of those who have claimed that war was rare or ritualised or less awful in prehistory or, in this instance, the early Neolithic” [Guardian].

Class Warfare

“We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. ” [Ursula LeGuin, Guardian]. Timeless, rather than stale.

“But when algorithms start affecting critical opportunities for employment, career advancement, health, credit and education, they deserve more scrutiny” [Aeon]. Very important; another example of “Code is Law” (see here, here, and here).

“Football Players at Northwestern Barred From Unionizing” [New York Magazine].

“There is a rich research agenda ahead” [Economist’s View, “Stiglitz: Towards a General Theory of Deep Downturns”]. Indeed! I’m filing this here, making an assumption that since “at the center of these [new] models is a wide variety of financial market imperfections and a deep analysis of the process of credit creation” that something akin to a notion of class warfare will result. I mean, we don’t believe that financial transactions are in any way symmetrical, right? Given what we know about how the payment system can be made to operate, after Greece? (Sady, the complete paper is paywalled; the so-called “National” Bureau of Economic Research is, after all, not a public institution.) UPDATE Yves’s crosspost bears on the same topic!Dennis Buckley, mayor of Beech Grove: “Walmart is draining our resources, it’s bleeding us. They only pay property taxes into the local taxing district, not back to us in the town. So Walmart is using our cops we pay for, for their security… They also use our fire department services, too” [FOX (!)]. For my money, this is a more significant story than Walmart not meeting profit expectations, since so much of Walmart’s profit comes from “draining local resources,” i.e. plunder.

“80 percent of domestic air travel now goes through just four carriers, and one of them is Delta” [Gawker]. Funny how Amtrak, woefully underfunded, and not subject to the mantra of “because markets,” is so much more dignified and comfortable as a travel experience than our horrible airlines.

“Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos asked employees to report to human resources any ‘shockingly callous management practices’ like those described in a New York Times article published over the weekend” [Bloomberg]. Go to HR? Is Bezos demented? I also like “shockingly callous management practices.” It’s got a-a-l-l-l-l-l-l the wiggle rooms. For example, would “the Red Wedding” qualify? I’m guessing no, since that was a one-time thing, and therefore not a “practice.”

News of the Wired

“While we in the science fiction community have been debating the need for optimism, and indeed encouraging it, we have forgotten that, like a predictable pessimism, optimism can also be the function of a weak imagination” [Madeline Ashby].

“Stop pushing redux” [QuirksMode]. Why aren’t apps shareable? A question that answers itself, once asked.

“The curious case of whistled languages and their lack of left-brain dominance” [Ars Technica].

“Physicists Solve the Mystery of Interleaved Phone Books” [MIT Technology Review].

“The internet is a magical place full of mainframes. This bot finds them for you and puts them on your screen” [Mainframesproject].

“Flamethrowers – given up by the military – are now being sold to the public” [WTKR]. A hundred household uses…. 

* * *

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 (optimader):


Optimader sent me a ton of pollinators, and this is an especially nice one!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. TAhis is turning into a tough month, and I need to keep my server up!


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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. ProNewerDeal

    fw http://www.correntewire.com/neoliberalism_kills_part_one , shows the Harvard public health study, that estimates that with pre-ACA health policy, ~54K USians would have died in 2015 due to lack of having health insurance, whereas given the ACA policy “only” ~30K died, & with a Medicare For All policy NONE would died due to lack of having health insurance.

    Mindless 0bots would likely say that 0bama saved ~24K lives. I recall the news from the ACA law (2011?) Jane Hamsher/firedoglake and others noting sources that 0bama killed the For All Public Option, to serve the Private Oligopolist Crapified Health Insurer faction of Sickcare Mafia Complex faction of 0bama’s Owners/campaign funders.

    I would say that 0bama would rather kill ~30K USians/year, by killing Medicare Public Option, & even better Medicare For All (a human right, not a buy-in), in order to beneift his Health Insurer Corporate Welfare Queen Owners. In this sense, 0bama, similarly owned poli-trick-ians like John Boner, Hellary, Jeb!, etc; and the Health Insurer Oligopoly murder far more Muricans than ISIS or whoever the Terist BoogeyMan Du Jour TM is.

    Similary, the faction of US police that are Terist Murderers of innocent USians, murder ~1K USians/year, far worse than the ISIS Terist BoogeyMan Du Jour TM. However, the 0bama/BigPol/Health Insurer consipiracy to kill Medicare For All & Medicare Public Option, are even worse murderers of USians (~30K) than Terist Cops (~1K).

    Black USians face the highest risk of Terist Cop Murders, as #blacklivesmatter states. blacklivesmatter is doing great work by protesting these barbaric Terist Cop Murders, the existence of which preclude USA from being considered a civilized nation.

    However, even if the entire 1K annual Terist Cop Murders ONLY affected Black USians, but Black USians had a proportionate share of Medicare For All-Killing Conspiracy Terist Murders, 13.6% (Black USian population per Wiki) of ~30K is 4080 annual Black USian murdered by the Medicare For All-Killing Conspiracy Terists.

    Thus, hopefully a Black USian Medicare For All activist(s) could rudely disrupt a blacklivesmatter, Hellary, or any Repub Pres candidate event, noting that the ~4080 annual Black USians MATTER, and hold the likes of Hellary to account for perpetuating Denial of Medicare For All Terist Murders of USians.

    Both Black & NonBlack citizens of Civilized nations like Canada, do NOT have to fear significant risk of murder, either by Terist Cops or by Denial of Medicare For All. Until the Barbaric USA changes these 2 policies, USians will be Terrorized by both Cops & the Sickcare Mafia Complex.

    D party candidate Bernie Sanders, & Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, both strongly oppose Terist Cop Murder, and support Medicare For All. Perhaps blacklivesmatter citizens should consider supporting one of these candidates, and challenging the other candidates like Hellary.

  2. ChrisFromGeorgia

    A day after the Obama administration gave Shell the green light to search for oil in icy Arctic waters, Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to voice her disapproval

    Yep, she’ll only take a position if she has no skin in the game. Compare and contrast with her waffling on the TPA – that was some pretty cold calculating along these lines:

    A. Come out against it, raising her populist “street cred” but losing out on a boat load of Wall Street cash
    B. Support it, but risk throwing some gas on the Sanders fire
    C. Waffle and spin, evading any concrete position

    C = Winner!

    1. Pat

      I’m still amazed that people honestly think she has not taken a stand on TPP. Oh, I give them that as a supposed candidate she hasn’t come out and said “fuck the working American, I’m with the oligarchs who want to make sure you have no right to interfere with their imagined profits”. But the record of her work on Trade Issues and her work with the USTA as SoS makes it very clear that not only does she support TPP, TTiP and TiSA she has been instrumental in their negotiations.
      Just because you have to look a little rather then just have her tell you does not mean she has not made her position crystal clear.

      1. diptherio

        I’m still amazed that people even care what any politician “takes a stand on.” Who is dumb enough to believe politicians anymore, or think that what comes out of their mouths is going to have anything at all to do with what they actually do, once in office? And yes, this goes for Bernie too. As long as we maintain the current system of non-accountability we are bound to get screwed. Just when I think people are starting to understand this, some socialist runs for office and everybody jumps right back on the “if we just elect the right person everything will be fixed” train which, they fail to notice, never actually leaves the station….”but this time it’s different!” Yeah, right….

        1. jrs

          Well since there’s no conceivable way to change the U.S. voting system (and I rather doubt most Americans even want to – they are perhaps the most status quo loving people on earth. Maybe millennials will be different…), it’s all that people can do to support Sanders, and it probably won’t work.

        2. DanB

          I concur with your amazement. This is why Black Lives Matter having a meeting with her is not really about persuading her or getting (meaningless) commitments from her. So when the BLM person says, “But the truth is that there is an extremely long history of unfortunate government practices …” this is meant to lead readers to non-conscously accept the idea that, “mistakes were made” as opposed to telling Hillary she was involved in supporting or creating policies intended tot benefited the 1% and to hell with the 99%. This sit-down with Hillary is like having a discussion with your tormentor. But if you are looking for -as Lambert puts it- an eventual ka-ching career move it’s just the right thing to do.

        3. Torsten

          To his credit, Bernie is on record saying that just electing him won’t be enough to float this boat. He talks about building a “movement”. Which is what it will take, if it can be done.

    2. Roquentin


      It’s just like the damn TPP. She comes out and voices opposition to something after it passed of failed, so she can take the credit without actually taking a stand. It’s practically HRC’s MO. Just watch, two days after the deal is done she’s there trying to retroactively apply a stance on the issue.

  3. TarheelDem

    I stand by my claim that #BlackLivesMatter does not disrupt powerful Democrats.

    It is not generally a good tactic to disrupt politicians who practice access extortion unless you are ready to write them off entirely. No one uses access extortion defensively more often than Hillary Clinton. Especially this year. There is the full transcript and video of the meeting that still can drop. Those #blacklivesmatter speakers did not totally turn over all of their political tools. This interaction between the movemental #blacklivesmatter and the establishment candidates for office is just beginning. And don’t rule out actions against Republican candidates.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Sure, there are reasons why my claim is true, and some of them may be good. The claim still stands. Perhaps future events will invalidate. I hope, in fact, that they do, and that’s why I keep repeating the claim.

      1. wbgpnne

        Not only is your claim valid, I will go one step further. This BLM Swiftboating of Sanders is orchestrated by the Obama White House in cahoots with the Clinton Machine. The BLM activists are pawns, whether they realize it or not.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Evidence, please. One point of Water Cooler is to provide points for people to employ in conversations around other Water Coolers. The claims I make is easily provable; just look at the record.

          1. Ditto

            I agree with you. In fact, you don’t need a vast conspiracy of coordination to swift boat here. Just pre existing predispositions and a slight nudge based on the circumstances. People ire disposed to like and make excuses for a Clinton. Others who see all White men as the enemy. A group that is not well organized. The lazy press that likes a good simple meme. And may be only a nudge frim Clinton supporters taking advantage of the opportunity presented to them to engage in some back channel whispering.

          2. wbgonne

            It is inferential. You may accept it or reject it as you choose. There will never be “evidence” because it is all done with nods, winks and dog-whistles.

            1. Obama is a neoliberal who wants Hillary to serve the Fifth (and Sixth) Clinton terms.

            2. Obama despises Bernie Sanders’ policies.

            3. BLM emerges at the tail end of Obama’s second term. BLM fails to meaningfully challenge Hillary Clinton (or Obama for that matter) but attempts to humiliate Bernie Sanders.

            4. The Obama-Clinton Alliance realizes that neoliberalism is anathema to the Democratic base and that Sanders will prevail over Clinton on policy so, instead of a frontal assault on economic populism, they employ racialism to drive a wedge between Progressives and blacks.

            5. Just two weeks ago, Hillary Clinton tweets (paraphrasing): some say racial injustice can be solved sole with economic measures. I disagree.

            6. Using Daily Kos as a surrogate for the Democratic Establishment (which it is), I have observed that the neoliberals have joined with the racialists to attack white progressives, undermine Sanders, and buttress Clinton.

            Maybe it’s all coincidental but I don’t think so.

            1. lambert strether

              Actually, that’s not true. Swiftboating was not done with “nods and winks.” It was a full-on assault, right out in the open, with visible funding sources and a (horrible) website.

              Your inferences may, or may not, be true. But even if they are that’s not swiftboating.

              This is a technical vocabulary. If you want to go to the index of the playbook and pull out the play, you’ve got to use the right terms. So let’s not have any shilly-shallying that this is “just semantics.”

              The way to go beyond “inferencing” would be, IMNSHO, to follow the money. And who gets hired by whom to do what. Adding, potential contexts for that would be clientelism, co-optation, access, “Black Misleadership Class,” etc.

              1. EGrise

                Out of curiosity, would the situation wbgonne describes (no opinion on veracity) be considered “ratf*cking”? Or something else?

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Generally, ratf*cking is performed by highly skilled professionals, or very dedicated amateurs who are adopted by professionals.

                  #BlackLivesMatter taken as a whole over its life is organic and diffuse. On the one hand, that makes it more difficult to manipulate from the top down (at least without capturing the misleaders); on the other, it makes it easy to infiltrate.

      2. Oldeguy

        Actually, case is stronger than you outline. Ignoring for a moment how he BLM delegation acted ( though the contrast to the Sander’s encounters is glaring ), just consider :
        1) they met HRC in a setting SHE determined.
        2) they met at a time SHE determined.
        3) they met for a duration SHE determined
        Control is how Strength, Power and Confidence manifest themselves- all are qualities prized in a leader.
        It really didn’t matter what HRC said ( it was the usual evasive Clinton coming-down-firmly-on-both-sides-of-the-fence drivel ), the Event was all about appearing simultaneously Presidential, Caring and Sensitive ( in that order ) , and unless a video clip of HRC slapping a small Black child on the way out surfaces, it was flawless kabuki theater.

    2. Ditto

      So BlackLivesMatter only if the task of saving those lives is easy. I’m sure as Rosa Parks was prepping to advance the cause, she probably wasn’t thinking “I’ll sit almost at the back of the bus bc that way making a protest for equality is easier.” If you are right, that would be an incredible admission that this is not a movement or struggle that will last. I can think of several ways they could push her into making a statement., if they aren’t willing to put anything real on the line, I don’t trust they gave the conviction necessary to avoid co optation.

  4. Eric Patton

    Had Charlene Chu been young and pretty, I suspect Business Insider would have found a place in their article for a picture of her.

    Is there any place on earth where a man is described as a “rock star” (as this article describes Chu) and the article does not contain a picture of him?

    Is there any place on earth where an attractive woman is ever the subject of an article and the article doesn’t have a picture of her?

    But when said “rock star” financial analyst is just an average-looking woman with an above-average intellect, suddenly editors have less interest in her picture accompanying the article.

    Frankly, it rather pisses me off.

  5. Oregoncharles

    In case it isn’t already posted, here’s BLM and Clinton:


    You may want to note that they confronted her AFTER her talk, possibly because of better security.

    I think I support their decision not to be too d..n polite, though. That’s a formula for ineffectuality – like all those polite, legal demonstrations the PTB cheerfully ignore.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You don’t feel that “I have attempted to allow you, and I feel like we have allowed space for a nice conversation and it is a pleasure and an honor to be in this dialogue with you” is “too d..n polite,” then? Can you give an example of what you feel would be “too d..n polite”?

      Personally, I regard seizing a microphone (as happened twice to Sanders) as “disruption” (and “confrontation”). I do not regard a private meeting, a nice conversation, and the later release of a video, followed by an appearance on Rachel Maddow as equivalent. Salon seems to, but then they’re a Democratic house organ.

      Now, one can make the argument that there are all kinds of reasons for this approach, tactically, and this is the best way to get the word out, but again, my claim is that “#BlackLivesMatter does not disrupt powerful Democrats.” Still true!

      1. Uahsenaa

        If we’re limiting ourselves to “BLM does not challenge TPTB,” then maybe I can follow you, but I think there is a real takeaway here. 1) While the language is a bit too fawning–people tend to behave differently when they’re standing in the presence of men in suits carrying guns–the questions do at least press her on the emptiness of what she is saying and her unwillingness to accept her culpability in a profoundly racist system. 2) The statements here are actually substantive and directed specifically toward the person being addressed. I read the interviews with Garza and the disruptors at Netroots and honestly find little substance in them. Here at least, we see someone drawing the connections between a particular candidate and real structural effects for which she is partially responsible. I see that as a win.

        Tactics do have to change. Mere disruption for its own sake is the domain of Silicon Valley koolaid drinkers. Here, they managed to get a challenging message (defanged, admittedly) to a candidate whose whole campaign outfit is designed to insulate her from those challenges. I consider that a success.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yeah, I’d have to think about the analysis itself, which means taking it seriously, but on first reading I liked it.

          That said, is there really a reason why exactly the same tactic could not have been used with Sanders? Twice? And video-ed and distributed? The distinction I come up with is that Clinton (for now) has real power as a Democrat and Sanders doesn’t.

          1. Michael

            I still feel like the things with Sanders were more idiosyncratic than that. The first one, O’Malley responded early in such a brutally racist fashion that there was nothing to do. The second appears to be a function of the specific activist’s personality.

            We’ll see. I’m not of a mind to criticize BLM, since they’ve gotten a lot done.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              My general attitude about getting things done is “What have you done for me lately”? ;-)

              Of course, movements earn and deserve a lot more slack than political parties, but honestly, if one can’t critique them, how strong are they, really, and what’s wrong with feedback? You can’t do course correction without it!

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Here is the nut graph:

              [T]he New Hampshire demonstrators couldn’t crash the Clinton rally, but they still met with the candidate—quietly—and discussed their concerns. In all likelihood, the pressure on Sanders has forced Clinton—the likely nominee—to devote more time to Black Lives Matter, in a bid to protect her flank. And in turn, this brings their issues up the ladder, closer to the top of the party’s agenda.

              Well, maybe. Of course, no attempt was ever made to crash the Clinton rally, because the BLM activists announced their intentions in the New Republic, and then arrived late. But grant that the claim is true. We now have the transcript (or at least part of it) of their “quiet conversation” with Clinton. Did I miss the demands?

          2. Uahsenaa

            The Seattle one was especially unfortunate, because Sanders basically gave them the mic and they proceeded to do… well, nothing much except insult people. A dialogue like this one, where perhaps Sanders is really pressed in his soft spots, like his perfect willingness to support our bloated military and how its hardware facilitates the very militarization of the police people of color suffer under–I would welcome that. There are, I think, so many things mixed up in this: protest politics, people using a protest movement to move into a position of influence or power, apparatchiks using Sanders’ not great response to bolster the prospects of their preferred neoliberal shill, etc. The effects, then, are messy, but yes, I would like to see precisely this sort of thing with Sanders as well.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Actually, I agree: they were effectively confrontational with Sanders, TDP with Clinton. That MIGHT be a personal difference – opposite ends of the country, after all, and different people. Or it might be a judgement that she’s likely to be President and alienating her completely would be counterproductive (I don’t favor the conspiracy theory, that they’re in league with her, on this one). It is not, as you said, a unified movement.

        I posted that before I saw your analysis in Water Cooler – wanted to make sure it was available.

  6. Pat

    I knew I could count on Lambert to catch how meaningless Clinton’s coming out against Arctic drilling was. But I do give her people props. They were looking for something that would not annoy the donors to use to pretend to be environmentally friendly and lefty about. This was a great choice. Even smart people I know were all “Go, Hillary!!” I’m not sure they appreciated my pointing out that it is a done deal and her disapproval doesn’t mean diddly. Now or if she becomes President.

  7. albrt

    I guess I can comment on Kanbur/Stiglitz since Lambert mentioned it?

    Their interpretation of Piketty is much closer to mine than any other I have seen. Returns routinely exceed growth in a “stable” society because the wealthy steadily consolidate power to squeeze out more and more rents over time.

  8. Irrational

    Thanks for interesting links as always.

    Re. The parallel between healthcare and student plans: Astonishing for a European – although I do think it is healthy for the beneficiary to have an idea of the cost of services (to curb e.g. people going to the GP constantly, students taking forever to get their degree), there is clearly too much room for profiteering in health and education in the US.

    Re. Walmart: Not to forget the cost of putting local businesses out of business.

    Re. Secret free trade agreements: So the citizen of today has to be “gläsern” (transparent as glass), but the same does not apply to our ruling class? Yes, yes, I know – but still, the arrogance!

    1. Torsten

      The perpetual patient and the perpetual student are actually receiving primary mental health care–something the 90% are effectively denied in the US.

  9. ProNewerDeal

    Given the claims that the U3 unemployment rate is gamed/bogus (example: a person who worked 1 hr in a week is considered “employed”), what is a good ,or least-bad overall measure of the US employment market, from a worker perspective?

    Perhaps the 25-to-54 yr old, “prime working age”, employment-to-population ratio?

    Perhaps the male 25-to-54 yr old employment-to-population ratio, to note long-term trends, since the data goes back to the 1940s iirc, since women were discriminated from many occupations during part of this time span?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Ed

      Either of these measures are good.

      Its been years since I even looked at U3. Its been some time since it tracked with labor force participation or median inflation adjusted wages, which it should if it were an accurate measure of anything. Its actually supposed to measure upward, supply driven, pressure on wages (not even close to what everyone thinks it tracks), but since it hasn’t tracked with median wages adjusted for inflation, it doesn’t even do that.

  10. diptherio

    The Federation of Southern Cooperatives has been successfully assisting farmers in helping themselves and each other since the 60s. If you’re looking for models of alternative economic development that works for the 99%, look no further:

    With Heart and Backbone: History of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives

    “There are two sets of people in this country now how have power: organized money and organized people. And if you don’t got no money you to got to organize the people if you want to have some power in this country. And organized people will always overrule organized money. And if you come with that type of understanding of things, that makes you a dangerous poor people.” ~Wendell Paris

  11. Brindle

    Sanders/ 2016

    Here is Sanders two days ago in Iowa engaging in free flowing back n’ forth with reporters. Sanders emphasizes how the major media are not very interested in the issues and try and frame things through the personality lens. I think Sanders does well in this clip:


  12. vidimi

    on corbyn, george monbiot has a way with image:

    To imagine that Labour could overcome such odds by becoming bland, blurred and craven is to succumb to thinking that is simultaneously magical and despairing. Such dreamers argue that Labour has to recapture the middle ground. But there is no such place; no fixed political geography. The middle ground is a magic mountain that retreats as you approach. The more you chase it from the left, the further to the right it moves.


    1. Torsten

      Or, as Jim Hightower puts it, “The only thing in the middle of the road is dead armadillos.”

  13. Jim Haygood

    When the going gets desperate, the desperate claim discrimination. Fed whisperer Jon Hilsenrath jumps the shark:

    The Dallas Fed hire [of Goldman Sachs alumnus Robert Kaplan] is “another example of the revolving door that exists in the Federal Reserve,” said Shawn Sebastian of the Center for Popular Democracy, a left-leaning advocacy group.

    Goldman is an object of particular animus among some Fed critics, who see the Wall Street bank as having an unusual hold on government.

    Taken to extremes, criticism of the firm, which was founded and built by Jewish Americans, smacks at times of anti-Semitism.


    How low can they go? Their desperation confirms that critics hit a nerve.

    1. craazyman

      wow. that’s low. that is really low.

      oh man. even the shark was shocked by that jump.

      “He wrote WHAT??? AYFKM?”
      -The Shark

      See, I’m not just making this up either.

      1. Oregoncharles

        This is awfully meta, but: NC’s comments are useful because they’re moderated, apparently by Yves and Lambert. This is extremely unusual – usually it’s the lowliest intern. They don’t post everything.

        At the same time, it’s just a blog, not a big commercial website, so resources are limited. The moderating system is somewhat erratic – I’ve seen the moderators complain about it. And they only promise to check the queue once a day, though they usually do better than that (they can adjust their halos here.)

        If you really want to fix the problems, you make a sizeable investment in the site. In the meantime, we make do – and then, of course, there are always the usual Internet gremlins, who sometimes make things disappear just for fun.

        1. Yves Smith

          What you said is not quite accurate.

          All comments are not moderated. We have moderation tripwires. Most comments go straight through. Those that the mod software catches have to be reviewed and released, and only site admins can do that.

          However, we also have comments that wind up in moderation that violate no rules we have set up. And many of those are ones we are glad wound up in moderation. Hence we’ve been joking that we are incubating Skynet at NC.

          Also sometimes when you post a comment, it might wind up hitting the wrong point in our caching cycle and thus takes as many as two minutes to appear. So if you don’t see the comment come up and don’t get the “your comment is awaiting moderation” warning, try refreshing your browser in a minute or so.

          1. Oregoncharles

            There’s an AI buried in the moderation software?

            Anyway, thanks for the clarification. I was speaking just from observation.

            1. Yves Smith

              Look, there isn’t supposed to be, but it sure acts like there is. Or else it has lots of bugs that wind up accidentally making it look like AI.

      2. hunkerdown

        Race condition: usually, Cloudflare returns the cached page before WordPress has fully saved and re-rendered your comment. Cloudflare, much like a politician, exploits the “non-responsive” response to efficiently satisfice many petitioners at once.

  14. Jack

    I must say I’m getting very tired of this #BLM assault on Sanders. It’s asinine in the extreme. I know “don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good” is the type of argument that has been used for years to excuse non-leftist Democrats, but I think the basic logic of it is sound. Regardless of your position you’re never going to find a candidate that you agree on everything with. What you can find though is one that you agree 70 or 80% with and who is most definitely on your side. Sanders is not the enemy of black people, and the notion that primarily focusing on economic justice is some sort of pandering platform that only appeals/matters to “cis gendered white working class people” is, frankly, the opinion of a moron. It’s an completely stupid statement that could only be uttered by someone who has been so poisoned and twisted by decades of identity politics that they’ve completely lost sight of what truly, fundamentally matters to everyone. MLK himself knew about the importance of economic justice, and when he started putting a central focus on it (and being antiwar), he was killed for it.

    And I’m not even a big fan of Sanders. I think he’s incredibly weak sauce; that he can stand up and claim to be a democratic socialist and people accept it at face value is a sign of how pathetic and broken American politics has become. Oh, he is one, just not a terribly good one. I also genuinely don’t think he has legs; he won’t get the nomination, if for no other reason than the Democratic establishment can’t allow him to, and will do whatever it takes to stop him. Up to and possibly including a bullet to the head. But he’s a damn sight better than anyone else in the field right now.

    I also very much suspect these #BLM attacks aren’t actually genuine parts of the movement and are on somebodies, probably Clintons, payroll. They could even mark the first successful attempts by The Powers That Be to exert control over the movement.

    1. RUKidding

      You express very well what I feel. I’m not a fan of Sanders, but for better or worse, given the current crop of “alternatives” offered either by the GOP or the D-Team, he’s the pick of the litter. It’s all very sad, and I find it doubtful in the extreme that Sanders will go anywhere other than spend some time on the campaign trail. That said, Sanders clearly has a following. Very reminiscent of when Obama ran in 2008. Citizens are even more desperate, and they’re going for someone who they think has a chance and might actually, you know, at least make a passing stab at serving the 99%.

      Well Bernie ain’t gonna make it, and he’s already stated that he’ll turn over his “flock” to Empress Clinton. Ergo, what’s the point of even “following” what Sanders is doing/saying? Essentially, I feel insulted by Sanders – that’s just me speaking – as I feel it’s yet another form of pandering. Like the .0001% is going to let Sanders “win”? Get real. See: Gore, Al, Florida, 2000.

      Whatever. From where I sit the whole BLM schamozzle does appear to stink, and one has to wonder why there is this attack. I mean, really? Let’s go after Sanders for not being ??? whatever enough for minorities. Yes, agree, it sucks to be a minority in the USA, and everything’s just gotten worse for them. It’s horrible. Seems whatever as white person to say it, but I can at least *recognize* the issues. But why go after Sanders? I mean, if the dood even stood a chance, do AAs really think that Sanders wouldn’t be on their side (or whatever terminology is appropriate)?? Really??

      So, yeah, I feel that it *looks like* some kind of set up. That’s just to me. I’m about as cynical as one can get, but let’s get real. Does anyone out there truly not believe that a set up cannot happen? Really??

      Because it seems like the PTB may be sweating just a little at the following that Sanders has. And as others have pointed out, Obama loathes Sanders, and I’m sure Empress Hillbot loathes him even more, even though, at the end of the day, she will “benefit” from the souls that Sanders harvests for her.

      It’s weird. Something’s rotten in “Denmark” yet again. Quelle surprise.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “she will “benefit” from the souls that Sanders harvests for her.”

        Assuming they go quietly. They actually have no reason whatever to do that. The primaries aren’t even the real election.

        My guess is the turnout next November will set new records – downward.

    2. hunkerdown

      To be fair, the further the Democratic Party chases the rainbows of iteratively splitting the difference with the receding right, the further away social democracy looks. Not saying it’s not by design.

      The ginned-up stars-and-bars-at-the-statehouse controversy seems a good marker of the first major “redirection” (as the LMSWs call it) of the movement away from threatening the status quo with their class interests and back into the harmless evangelical superstitions that “befit their station”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The Confederate Flag is a symbol that I’m happy to see set on fire or placed in a museum, but the focus on the symbolic after the Charleston shootings was remarkably swift and universal. Suddenly, that was the issue. I do try to keep track, but I’m not sure how it happened.

  15. Oregoncharles

    “Amtrak, woefully underfunded, and not subject to the mantra of “because markets,” is so much more dignified and comfortable as a travel experience than our horrible airlines.”

    Try going cross-country on it, if you can’t afford a sleeper. My wife actually tried this, because she hates flying. The food is terrible, too. OTOH, she said those who did have sleeper berths appeared to be having a good time.

    And it’s definitely preferable for short hops.

    I keep wondering what keeps the airlines in business, since they’re so awful. A conspiracy not to compete, perhaps?

    1. DJG

      Oregoncharles: Cross-country in coach? That’s like flying Ryanair and then complaining.

      I’ve done r/t on the California Zephyr twice. Chicago to Emeryville. (Doesn’t go into San Francisco anymore.) The berths are narrow but comfortable. It’s a two-day trip, after all. Which would be unbearable in coach.

      The food is heavy, but it is pretty good. You reserve for dinner.

      They turn the berth into a bed at night and then make up the bed in the morning.

      What’s not to like?

    2. RUKidding

      I’ve never tried a long trip on Amtrak, but I have friends who do it with some regularity. One couple I know hate airplanes and have regularly gone cross-country on Amtrak – both the sleepers and just in “coach” or whatever it’s called when you just have a seat. They like it. I have friends who gone on somewhat shorter journeys, such as CA to Seattle or CA to Chicago, and same deal: very nice.

      I think it depends on whether you have the time and patience to travel at a slower speed. Yeah, the sleeper berths may not be fantastic, and perhaps the food is only ok, but… some people definitely like it.

      For shorter hops, it’s undoubtedly waaay better than plane travel these days and/or often waaaay better than driving. I use Amtrak with some regularity, and I’m grateful it’s there.

      I am “forced” to fly more than I want due to time constraints and/or lack of other suitable alternatives. Air travel SUCKS hugely. One is stuck with the horror show of just getting to the d*mn gate, and don’t tell me how TSA makes us “safer.” BAH-LONY. TSA is only “good” for giving citizens jobs. What a boondoggle and sheer utter barking waste of time, money and energy.

      Then there’s the even worse horror show of flying in way over-filled planes with no room at all. I am a shorter, smaller person, and I find it difficult to fit into the d*mn seat. For anything longer than 90 min flights, it’s sheer torture. I don’t know how larger/taller people stand it.

      And nowadays, all the US airlines (at least) are colluding and have jacked up the airfares to ridiculous prices. Of course, they claim they’re not colluding. I have no proof, but given that fuel prices have dropped dramatically while all air carriers have risen their rates to the exact same stratospheric rates… well, gimme a break. Bastards.

      I’d rather go by train any day, and I do when possible.

      1. laughingsong

        Amtrak any day. Even in coach: the legroom is great and there are leg-rests, there is space between you and the seat next to you (enough for a small cooler or backpack), the seats recline further (although not far enough) and you are not looking up at the person behind. There are electrical outlets for charging stuff, water stations in every car, more than enough bathrooms, and you don’t have to worry about taking on a bottle of water or if your mouthwash bottle is too big. You can stretch your legs, food is certainly no worse than a plane’s and you can bring some of your own.

      2. tegnost

        I do short trips on amtrak, nice and comfy, has internet so I can read NC while travelling. I too wish the sleepers were cheaper and I’d take it to San Diego, but it’s hard to beat the airfares. Rail in general is a very cheap way to move material so a train grid would be fantastic, that was what I hoped the current president would do when first elected in a time far gone…

  16. Eureka Springs

    Thanks for the Clinton BLM Q&A excerpt Lambert. How the questioners held their composure in re her non answers is way beyond me. I would have lost it. Her arrogant contempt through evasion is constantly on display in everything she does. I mean seriously would anyone ever hire someone who never answers a question in an interview… why the people/voters play along will always astound me?

    I remember OWS daze when everyone (rightfully so) inside or out questioned who had authority to speak for OWS. I think much the same should apply for everything BLS.

    That said, keep up the clarion call for a list of demands. The Clinton q&a suggests they have no there, there… I expect the same from a list of demands generated by this group.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Condensed version:

      Questioner: “What in your heart has changed that’s going to change the direction of this country?”

      Hillary: “What do you want me to do about it? What am I supposed to do about it? That’s what I’m trying to put together in a way that I can explain and I can sell it.”

      A good concept and a good story — that’s what you need to flog stocks to cold-called prospects, or to flog candidates to voters.

      Unfortunately, Hillary’s handlers haven’t yet developed the script for triangulating black lives. Caught without a script, she’s a deer in the headlights.

      Focus groups are forming now.

  17. Peter Pan

    If you’re not quite ready to jump on the ammosexual bandwagon, then the obvious solution is to open carry an ungun.

    The X15 Flamethrower is the perfect solution for “self protection” if you’re a white man. You can even order it over the internet!!

    Flamethrowers are federally unregulated and not even considered a firearm by the BATF. No need for any NFA tax stamps, weapons licensing or even an FFL dealer. It’s the purchaser’s responsibility to ascertain that ownership and or use does not violate any state or local laws or regulations.

    Imagine hunting down that wild hog……you can kill it & roast it at the same time. A real time saver!! (The term “wild hog” is not meant as an inference to a militarized law enforcement officer).

    1. Yves Smith

      Bludgeons are far and away the best weapon at close range. That’t why London cops (until recently) carried only billy clubs.

      I am sure some obliging manufacturer could make a very nice bludgeon look like a small umbrella. But I agree, a blowtorch has much more pizzaz.

      And remember the guy in No Country for Old Men with his oxygen tank!

      1. optimader

        After a brief explanation what the flaregun will do, you probably wouldn’t have to shoot it, other than perhaps up as an alert for assistance. (there is a color etiquette btw)

        Orion Signal Products – Alert BASIC-4 Kit – Model#584
        Designed for lake and coastal boating use. Pull the trigger for instant signaling power. Features a corrosion-resistant 12-gauge safety launcher with lifetime warranty and bandolier that can hold up to six high-performance signals. Includes four red 12-gauge high-performance aerial flares that burn at 16,000 candlepower for 7 seconds and reach 500′. USCG-approved for day and night.

        After a brief explanation what the flaregun will do, you probably wouldn’t have to shoot it, other than perhaps up as an alert for assistance. (there is a color etiquettes btw)

      2. Jess

        With all due respect, the best weapon at close range is the S&W Governor 5-shot revolver which fires the 2-1/2″ long .410 gauge SHOTGUN shell.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          With all due respect, Yves has taken professional training in combat (that’s why the comment section is so good). And while she will correct me, I would bet her instructor would say that in close quarters, the guy with the bludgeon can knock the weapon out the gun guy’s hand faster than the gun guy can bring their weapon to bear.

  18. Rosario

    With respect to BLM critiques. I believe Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report said it best when he asked “What are their (BLM) demands?” I could speak for days of my hopes and desires for the BLM movement (or lack thereof). I’ve put in some work and plan to put in more but I can’t help but notice the clear effects of “professional activists” utilizing the anger of 16 generations (and more) of black Americans to, I hope unknowingly, feather the nests of their careers. Again, paraphrasing Glen Ford, “saying black lives matter is not enough”. I’m even more cynical WRT white America, I don’t think many people in the white club particularly care if black lives matter and requesting people state such means little. The civil rights movement’s gains (limited as they were) were made because white America was forced to acknowledge black life through law and its enforcement.

    The post-modern fixation on language and its supposed mystical power to change minds is fast becoming a disaster for radical political movements and most of the “language” is spoken inside an echo-chamber. The language and perceptions gained among radicals and academics is not much use if it cannot prove useful in political gains. The post modern tools should be utilized (and are effective) within the movement to define the movement (language, direction, etc.), or, use postmodernism to build the ideology and frame the problem, but once a movement hits the streets the game must be political, as in, these are our demands, these are our desired policies, etc. A good start would be (this is from Ford again) “we (black America) want control over those who police us”. This is a radical demand, thus it is fully politically engaged. Saying black lives matter is radical in America for sure, but it does not manifest materially, it does not guarantee accountability.

  19. Lambert Strether Post author

    The more I think about it, the more that Clinton/#BlackLivesMatter transcript screams out for annotation, because think about it.

    Clinton says (for example) “That’s what I’m trying to put together in a way that I can explain and I can sell it.” Well, how could her interlocutors have helped with that? Idea [sound of unfolding paper]: “These are our demands.” They didn’t even give her anything to sell!

    Instead, what we get is this nonsense of her “heart.” Reminds of the state of affairs after Obama was elected in 2009, when all the “progressives” were fretting about whether he was a “progressive” in his heart. Wholly irrelevant, since what Obama did, which was nothing like progressive, was what mattered, not a psychological intangible. Similarly with Clinton. Who cares if her heart is like Nixon’s if (say) she’d sign on to legalizing marijuana and amnesty for those (mostly Black) imprisoned for its use?

    If you ever get a royal audience, use the time well!

    1. abynormal

      Hillary falls back on her heart more than i can count
      Hillary Clinton To Put Wages At Heart Of Economic Policy
      now Trump is trumping with his…
      Donald Trump’s change of heart on Hillary Clinton | MSNBC

      dangerous amount of (necessary?) projecting going on
      wouldn’t it be belly laffs if debate moderators began with this:

      “The exciting thing about mathematics and science and music and literature is what they can tell us about the workings of the human mind. For these disciplines are literally models (extensions) of at least certain parts of the mind. Just as the knife cuts but does not chew, while the lens does only a portion of what the eye can do, extensions are reductionist in their capability. No matter how hard it tries, the human race can never fully replace what was left out of extensions in the first place. Also, it is just as important to know what is left out of a given extension system as it is to know what the system will do. Yet the extension-omissions side is frequently overlooked.”
      Edward T. Hall

      overlooked and terribly taxing

  20. Enquiring Mind

    In re BLM, I am curious as to how to revisit one of the fundamental causes of the destabilization of black families. That is the 1960s era change in welfare laws that had the consequence of encouraging fathers to leave the home due to a type of means test for overall income.

    US policies since that era seem to have been trying to address symptoms instead of root causes like encouraging family formation instead of discouraging it.

    Query: how can the populace get its elected representatives to eliminate the disincentives, with the result that there would be more likelihood of greater family, and therefore community stability?

    While the above is only one topic, and not intended to be a panacea, what would be the real harm in trying to help rather than hinder? Where are the current commentators in the style of the late Patrick Moynihan to address the topic?

    1. tegnost

      This is what I liked about the job guarantee rather basic income. Sanders said “Human beings want to be productive… They want to be a part of something. They want to go to work, earn a paycheck, bring it home. You feel good about that.” and I agree. I also think the conversation about these issues has been pretty good lately

      1. Oregoncharles

        I remember both of them. Like “Enquiring Mind,” I thought Moynihan was primarily criticizing the welfare system itself. Recasting his message as an attack on black people may have been a defensive response from the welfare administrators.

        Did you read the original article in Harper’s (or maybe Atlantic) – I guess by Herrnstein, not Murray? Memory’s getting a little vague. It was extremely interesting in several ways. One was that he demonstrated, I thought, that heritability, the key variable, was an “all things equal” number. That means it applies to populations of like circumstance, or to the overall average – but not to populations of obvious unlike circumstances; for instance, “black” or “white” Americans.

        But having explained that quite clearly, he failed to apply it or point out the implications. And from that failure flowed “The Bell Curve.”

        the last part posed an alarming speculation about class that at the time I thought was science fiction, but that was before I realized how little social mobility there is or the full implications of evolutionary theory – that is, that quite small effects can multiply over time. I’m being vague because I don’t want to open a can of worms here – but trust me, an interesting article, especially from the present point of view.

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