2:00PM Water Cooler 9/28/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


I’ve got to say, things seem even murkier than they were before Maui. I remain concerned about a baseline outcome of “agreement in principle,” and I think that’s bad, since anything that moves TPP forward is bad.

“TPP like a zombie that won’t die” [Macrobusiness]. “I was convinced that the TPP was dead and buried, given Canada heads to the polls next month and the ramp up of the US presidential election campaign. It appears I was premature.” No question Atlanta is what the Beltway calls a “heavy lift.” But as I keep saying, the TPP campaign is part of a war: gutting national sovereignty. The setback in Maui was a just a battle.

“Chief negotiators from the 12 countries, which have a combined population of 800 million people, will hold sessions through to Tuesday. And those meetings will set the stage for further talks involving TPP trade ministers on Wednesday, Sept., 29 and Thursday, Oct., 30” [HuffPo Canada].

“[I]n a memo last week to other House members, Michigan Rep. Sander Levin listed a dozen major unresolved issues in areas ranging from labor and the environment to currency and state-owned enterprises. Public Citizen put out its own exhaustive list ahead of what it called the ‘latest’ final TPP meeting” [Politico].

“Several TPP chapters still have unresolved provisions relating to access to affordable medicines, investor-state dispute settlement, capital controls and other macro-prudential financial regulations, labor compliance and more. Plus, exceptions for tobacco and other sectors remain contested [Public Citizen]. (This is the Public Citizen’s list mentioned above; I can’t find Levin’s memo.)

Australia: “Notwithstanding, a conclusion remains within imminent reach,” [Trade Minister Andrew Robb] said. “There are unresolved issues, but hopefully these aren’t intractable” [The Land]. “‘We have taken provisional decisions on perhaps 90 per cent of issues and as a result of these alone Australia would see some most material benefits,’ he said.” That’s not actually very tractable, “perhaps 90 percent.” Always do the easy part first…

New Zealand: “The Crown Law Office faced questions in the Wellington High Court from a judge keen to understand why Trade Minister Tim Groser dismissed an Official Information Act request for the confidential texts of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment pact negotiations, without closely investigating the documents” [Scoop]. To kick the can down the road past the Atlanta meeting, for starters.

Copyright: ” Ways and Means ranking member Sandy Levin fired off a memo on outstanding Trans-Pacific Partnership issues to his fellow Democrats Friday afternoon, saying copyright and fair use language is among the unresolved topics — even though, he argues, those provisions were supposedly all taken care of. “Some Internet groups,” Levin writes, want to strengthen the fair use provisions late in the process, and “there was concern” at the last TPP talks in Maui that the copyright text be reopened. For now, the status of things is unclear, and nothing’s changed since Maui, Levin added” [Politico].

Auto: “The US and Japan can force a deal on auto trade at Atlanta on their terms. The automotive package is part of the US-Japan market access agreement. This is a bilateral package within the TPP. There are 132 of them, 11 for each of the 12 participants. The US has more things that it wants from Japan than Japan wants from the US. There is really only one important issue for Japan – access to the US automotive market. This leaves little room for re-negotiation of what Prime Minster Abe thought was a done deal…. Does it make sense for Japan to enjoy better than NAFTA access to the USA, while Canada and Mexico are subject to less favourable access? The concern is about access to the US market. Canada and Mexico are backed into a position where resistance cannot overcome reality. Neither will cut off its nose to spite its face” [iPolitics].

Dairy: “Canada is preparing to open the border to more American milk, without getting reciprocal access for Canadian dairy farmers in the United States, CBC News has learned” [CBC].

Dairy: “A demand by American negotiators for 10 per cent access to Canada’s dairy markets under the TPP was rejected by Canadian negotiators in Hawaii in July and discussions around dairy access continue, sources close to the negotiations told iPolitics Saturday” [iPolitics].

Dairy: [New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser] said almost a week ago that there was still no adequate offer from the key TPP dairy-producing countries – the US, Canada and Japan. [Scoop]. “Reports over the weekend suggest that the US and Canada are both preparing to move on their highly protected markets, despite protests from the dairy sector in both countries and silence on the prospect of improved access to the Japanese dairy market.” Asia hands will correct me, but I don’t think silence from Japan means “yes.”



Trump on health care: “Scott Pelley: Universal health care. Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now” [CBS (60 minutes)]. Despite the Trumpese, it’s worth noting that in 2008, Obama never commmitted to universal heatlh care — he didn’t even support the mandate — and that in 2015, ObamaCare is not, in fact, universal.

UPDATE “Senator Elizabeth Warren’s speech on racial inequality in full” [Guardian].

I have often spoken about how America built a great middle class. Coming out of the Great Depression, from the 1930s to the late 1970s, as GDP went up, wages went up for most Americans. But there’s a dark underbelly to that story. While median family income in America was growing – for both white and African-American families – African-American incomes were only a fraction of white incomes. In the mid-1950s, the median income for African-American families was just a little more than half the income of white families.

And the problem went beyond just income. Look at housing: For most middle class families in America, buying a home is the number one way to build wealth. It’s a retirement plan-pay off the house and live on Social Security. An investment option-mortgage the house to start a business. It’s a way to help the kids get through college, a safety net if someone gets really sick, and, if all goes well and Grandma and Grandpa can hang on to the house until they die, it’s a way to give the next generation a boost-extra money to move the family up the ladder.

For much of the 20th Century, that’s how it worked for generation after generation of white Americans – but not black Americans. Entire legal structures were created to prevent African Americans from building economic security through home ownership. Legally-enforced segregation. Restrictive deeds. Redlining. Land contracts. Coming out of the Great Depression, America built a middle class, but systematic discrimination kept most African-American families from being part of it.

The Voters

“The Party Decides” model no longer valid? [Ezra Klein, Vox]. “Voters have more information than ever before, and they are able to shape and choose the information they get in unprecedented ways.” Maybe.

“It’s not clear that the broad public is eager to relive the battles dating back to Bill Clinton‘s presidency. But for the Clintons and close allies, the old fights are something they’re not letting rest. Again and again, voters hear them re-airing grievances that are receding in the nation’s collective memory” [Wall Street Journal, “Will Re-Airing ‘Right-Wing Conspiracies’ Help Hillary Clinton?”]. Receding? Or being erased by the press that played such a discreditable part in “the old fights”?

The Trail

Interview with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein [PBS].

UPDATE “[Sanders] said Hyde Park was the first place where he met people who had devoted their lives to social justice and civil rights issues” [DNAinfo]. Speech at University of Chicago to a crowd of 1200:

He said few people during his graduation ceremony in June 1964 would have believed the progress made on many issues or the election of Barack Obama.

“No one in that room in 1964 would have thought it was possible, but it happened and we should be proud of it,” Sanders said of Obama, whose home is mere blocks from where Sanders spoke Monday. “It is not Barack Obama, it is the American people reached the maturity that they would vote for the best candidate not just the white candidate.”

Lines were around the block for the sold-out event the the candidate for Democratic presidential nomination as a self-identified socialist.

“I learned here about Democratic socialism,” Sanders said.


UPDATE “‘I am not going to start to take shots at Bernie Sanders,’ Clinton said, according to a person familiar with the exchange” between Clinton and “a longtime supporter and donor” [WaPo]. Meaning surrogates will? Here’s a beaut:

With the first Democratic debate slightly more than two weeks away, Clinton is batting away suggestions from antsy supporters that she take on Sanders and his unabashedly far-left views.

“Far left” if you live in the Beltway, maybe. Reminds me of Corbynsteria, where newspapers across the entire ideological spectrum, such as it is, combined to paint Corbyn as a combination of Josef Stalin and the the Beast with seven heads and ten horns that came out of the sea, and the Guardian read just like the Daily Mail.

Madeline Albright throws Clinton under the bus on email [CNN, “Albright would not have approved private email server like Clinton”]. Accidentally, or on purpose? Later, Albright tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube: “Your question was whether I would approve it now. After all of this controversy – of course not.” Nobody could have predicted there’d be controversy after Clinton privatized her email server and then had her lawyers and staff dole out what was on it? WTF?

“The campaign confirmed on Sunday that Clinton began using a personal email account in January 2009 — two months earlier than previously stated. Her records begin that March, an official said, when the account was moved to her home server” [Buzzfeed]. Drip, drip, drip, as Clinton says. Well, who’s controlling the faucet?

UPDATE Fiorina comes out in favor of waterboarding [Yahoo].

UPDATE Fiorina lies about her career [WaPo. As NC readers already know.

Fiorina lies about Planned Parenthood [Wapo]. Ditto.

“Jeb Bush is entering a critical phase of his Republican presidential campaign, with top donors warning that the former Florida governor needs to demonstrate growth in the polls over the next month or face serious defections among supporters” [WaPo]. Jebbie’s not exactly dumb, in the sense that he managed to pick $150 million from some squillionaire’s pockets based on his name. But the guy does want to put Maggie Thatcher on our three ten dollar bill.

“A key operative behind the effort to convince Vice President Joe Biden to run for president is asking friends and al­lies to submit résumés if they’re interested in jobs in a potential Biden campaign [National Journal].

UDPATE “‘Duck Dynasty’ star, once a Bobby Jindal supporter, now says ‘I like Trump'” [NOLA].

The Hill

“Maybe we need a government shutdown” [Larry Kudlow, CNBC]. If I believed what the people who defenestrated Boehner believe, I’d believe this too.

“On Capitol Hill, tension is mounting between Republicans hoping to notch incremental progress in dealing with a Democratic president and hard-liners who say they would be willing to shutter the government. That struggle will play out both in House GOP leadership elections over the next few weeks and as lawmakers tackle several deadline-driven issues this winter, including a longer-term budget deal and the need to raise the federal borrowing limit, known as the debt ceiling” [Wall Street Journal, “GOP Discontent That Helped Sink John Boehner Isn’t Easing Up”]. Rule or ruin.

UPDATE “House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation under duress—a move that was both a shock and years in the making at the same time—means tea-party-styled forces have further ratcheted up their power within the party. With each such move, the grip of what people think of as the Republican party establishment—big business donors, official party leaders, congressional leaders whose tenure dates back more than a decade or so—is loosened a bit more”[Wall Street Journal, “Boehner’s Exit Leaves GOP Establishment Shaking”]. In favor of….

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, August 2015: “The consumer is making money and spending money at the same time that inflation is very quiet” [Econoday]. “Personal income rose 0.3 percent in August which is on the low side of expectations but July is now revised 1 tenth higher to a very solid 0.5 percent.”

Pending Home Sales Index, August 2015: “The existing home sales market looks to remain flat in the coming months based on the pending home sales index which fell a disappointing 1.4 percent in August” [Econoday]. Existing home sales are being limited by lack of homes on the market which itself, however, reflects softness in home prices and general demand.

Dallas Fed Mfg Survey, September 2015: “The Dallas Fed rounds out a full run of negative indications on the September factory sector with the general activity index remaining in deeply negative ground at minus 9.5. New orders are at minus 4.6 which, however, is an 8 point improvement from August. Production is actually in positive ground at 0.9” [Econoday]. But: “Of the five Federal Reserve districts which have released their September manufacturing surveys – all are in contraction except the Dallas Manufacturinng Outlook which is weakly in expansion” [Econintersect].

“More than half of corporate cash is invested in investment-grade corporate bonds” [Wall Street Journal, “The New Bond Market: Big Buyers of Corporate Debt Are Other Corporations”]. That seems a little meta to me….

Catalan elections: “I follow the spread versus Treasuries and that spread which was 14 through on Friday AM is now 20 rich to US in the 10 year sector” [Across the Curve]

“Kenyans will soon be able to buy fixed-income government bonds from their mobile phones, a move that will deepen access to financial services in east Africa’s biggest economy while also giving Treasury a cheaper source of funding” [Bloomberg].

“[Walmart] is plagued by negative customer feedback “due to lack of convenience in shopping Supercenter formats, below-average customer service, and below-average quality, freshness, and breadth of produce,” Wayne Hood, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a recent research note” [Business Insider]

“While trying to figure out what happened last October [in the “flash crash”], government investigators were surprised to learn, the Wall Street Journal says, how dominant the high speed algorithm driven firms had become. As a result, investigators could not easily and efficiently access or analyze the trading records that reflect sometimes microsecond differences between buy and sell orders that are now standard for the equity and futures market” [Francine McKenna, Market Watch]. Ooooh, an opaque market totally controlled by software. What could go wrong *** cough *** Volkswagen *** cough *** ?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Black Activists Who Helped Launch the Drug War” [New York Magazine]

Police State

Review of Washington state’s good faith and malice language on police killings [Seattle Times]. “Jeff Robinson, a longtime Seattle defense attorney who directs The Center for Justice of the national American Civil Liberties Union, wants the law changed. Putting himself in the mind of the police officer, he explained: “Unless you can demonstrate that I have this evil motive, I’m not guilty.'”

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Pentagon Requests 500 Gold-Plated F-35s” [Duffel Blog].

“U.S. Air Force instructs airmen on exactly how to praise the F-35” [Fortune]

Dear Old Blighty

Best headline ever: “David Cameron publicly denies Lord Ashcroft pig allegation for first time” [Guardian. Best subhead ever: “Prime minister confirms he is disputing specific claim in Call Me Dave book that he put private part of his anatomy in dead pig’s mouth.” Cameron: “As for the specific issue raised, a very specific denial was made a week ago and I’ve nothing to add to that.” Hmm. “Specific,” twice. Sounds lawyerly, to me. (A handy round-up of the legalities (with bonus Animal Farm quote). For those who came in late:

This story may or may not be true, but legend has it that during one of Lyndon Johnson’s congressional campaigns he decided to spread a rumor that his opponent was a pig-fucker. LBJ’s campaign manager said, “Lyndon, you know he doesn’t do that!” Johnson replied, “I know. I just want to make him deny it.”

“‘He denies it,’ the King said. ‘Leave out that part.'”

“Cameron rubbishes piggate claims, says he is ‘too busy’ to sue” [Irish Times]. With the UK’s libel laws being what they are? Not even reserving the right to pursue the matter as a(nother) hobby in retirement?

Class Warfare

“Cash checking fees, prepaid card fees, money transfer fees, cashier’s check fees — all together, the unbanked pay up to 10% of their income simply to use their own money” [Credit Slips]. You say that like it’s a bad thing!

“[A]ccording to Charles Goodhart, professor at the London School of Economics and senior economic consultant to Morgan Stanley, demographics explain the vast majority of three major trends that have shaped the socioeconomic and political environments across advanced economies over the past few decades. Those three would be declining real interest rates, shrinking real wages, and increasing inequality.[Bloomberg]. But: “The conditions that fostered these three intertwined major developments are nearly obsolete.” Move along, people, move along, the story’s over there.

“Surely one reason so many Americans lack writing skills is that, for decades, most U.S. schools haven’t taught them. In 2011, a nationwide test found that only 24 percent of students in eighth and 12th grades were proficient in writing, and just 3 percent were advanced” [WaPo]. But you can bet the students at, say, the Sidwell Friends, are being taught to write. After all, they won’t be able to run the country without basic skills.

“Toile Chic” [The Awl]. “A history of capital using labor for decoration.”

“Millennials are not who you think they are” [WaPo]. “Often in the media (and I’ll raise my hand here), we evoke the word “millennial” to describe a subset of people born after 1980 who hold college degrees and live in cities. We’re not talking about 20-year-old single moms in small towns, or fast-food workers in the suburbs trying to get by on only a high school diploma.” Whaddaya know.

“Fox guest proposes welfare reform: People earning minimum wage ‘shouldn’t be having children’” [FOX].

News of the Wired

“NASA Discovers Evidence for Liquid Water on Mars” [Wired]. “[Lujendra] Ojha and his colleagues present ‘smoking gun validation’ that it was liquid water flowing on Mars’ surface that formed” “patches of precipitated salt that appear to dribble down Mars’ steep slopes” (original at Nature, paywalled: “Spectral evidence for hydrated salts in recurring slope lineae on Mars”).

“A visual guide to water on Mars” [Guardian].

“After three decades, has the brother of a victim of the Lockerbie bombing solved the case?” [New Yorker]. Sadly, Betteridge’s Law applies.

* * *

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 (Pat):

Clematis 2

Readers, I’d also be interested in any projects you did this summer (now that the time to put the garden to bed is approaching)….

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter is coming, I need to fix my laptop, and I need to keep my server up, too.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. Jim Haygood

    Biotech, comrades: the mighty Hillary smashed it so hard with her threat of price controls last Tuesday, that today the beleaguered sector plunged through its August lows. BTK chart:


    As the greedy pharma barons lower prices, we all eventually will be better off … that is, if we don’t own their shares! This is known as trickle-down theory.

    1. Jim Haygood

      More from Bloomberg:

      Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. shares fell as much as 20 percent after Democrats in the U.S. House asked to subpoena the company for documents relating to drug price increases.

      Valeant’s shares have fallen for three straight days after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said last week that she would reform the drug industry to protect consumers from price hikes.

      Clinton outlined a plan that included a mandate on research and development spending.


      Mandated spending — a phrase investors love to hear! It’s the corporate version of the corvée. And it means prosperity is just around the corner.

      1. OIFVet

        Poor investors and CEOs, they will have to trade down vacation castles for mere mansions. Heartbreaking…

        1. cwaltz

          Next thing you’ll be telling me those investors and CEOs won’t be able to buy diamond collars for their pets. Oh the inhumanity!

      2. Gareth

        Perhaps Valeant’s massive issuance of high yield junk bonds has something to do with the falling stock price. Stocks have also entered what appears to be a bear market, in case no one has noticed. But the all powerful Hillary is probably behind that too, that and the murder of Vince Foster.

      3. giantsquid

        If big pharma, an extraordinarily profitable industry, has concerns about government regulations, it ought to stop gaming patents for extensions with minor tweaks of limited benefit and obvious reformulations, bribing doctors to prescribe their most lucrative products, suppressing the results of failed clinical trials, and paying off companies to delay the release of cheaper generics.

    2. different clue

      If the non-Upperclasses gain more through a rollback of extortionate drug prices than they lose through declines in the value of Big Pharma shares in their 401ks or whatever, then the non-Upperclasses gain more than they lose.

      And since I am in the non-Upperclass majority, I expect I will gain more from non-extortionate drug pricing than what I lose through falling Big Pharma shares in my retirement fund. And since I am somewhat narrow and class-interestedly selfish in my thinking, I choose lowered drug prices over raised share prices. And if that dis-enriches a layer of Upperclass people, well . . . that just isn’t my problem.

    3. Leo

      Easy fix for that, Jimmy Boy: Nationalize the bastards. When Detroit car execs told FDR it was not possible to produce the amount of war material the US needed he told them: “I’m not asking you; It’s an order.” They hummed and hawed and blathered and blew hard about the Magic Free Market but when it came to winning a war, it was a command economy that got the job done.

  2. griffen

    Fiorina is the best US CEO since Jack Welch ran GE !!

    Sarc is sorta, kinda, definitely ON.

    (She has more in common with Waggoner, who headed GM for the decade up to their demise in 2008)

  3. washunate

    I find it oddly reassuring to know that Fiorina apparently knows as much about torture as she did about personal computing.

  4. Eric Patton

    “Video Shows Cops Pulling Guns on Indiana Couple Driving to Hospital to Give Birth” [Vice]. Splendid transcript.

    Lambert, this appears to be the same link you posted last week. That’s okay, but had you intended to post a different link?

  5. shinola

    I find Fiorina kinda scary. She seems to have fallen into the “I have to out-macho the guys” trap which can only lead to no good.
    Yves might be able to provide some insight on women breaking into the guys club.

    1. ambrit

      I had a woman turn the tables on me once by remarking that rather than break the ‘glass ceiling,’ she would prefer to rename it the ‘Meritocracy Divide.’

  6. Brindle

    Green Party / Jill Stein / PBS

    She gives a great rundown of how the Dem party elites will not allow Sanders to become the nominee.

    —Because Bernie is part of a long tradition of principled rebels inside the Democratic Party and you can go back to Jesse Jackson’s amazing campaign, but what happened to that campaign? When he became a real threat, he became the subject of a public relations smear campaign. He was taken out for being so-called “anti-Semitic” and being “anti-Israel”, which was all not true.

    But it demonstrated the fact that the party insiders are not going to let a truly principled peoples’ candidate get the nomination. When that happened for George McGovern who was the rebel candidate that won the nomination, the party abandoned him and, after that, they changed the rules.

    They changed the rules in order to have a Super Tuesday that would cost so much money to run simultaneous primaries in 25 or 30 states. You couldn’t do it without big corporate money and hundreds of millions of dollars. So that’s one of what we call the kill switch. The Democratic Party has a kill switch.

    And then their other kill switch are these super delegates. It’s about half the delegates at the convention that are not accountable to voters that are basically party insiders. That’s also how they prevent people like Bernie from getting it.—

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Information is a lot freer now than the last time they tried to kill a principled outsider contending for the nomination. If Sanders reliably passes Hillary in polling numbers prior to the primaries, fixing the nomination for her (as I’m sure they will want badly to do) will destroy the credibility of the party as being small d democratic. Given that party insiders I’m certain would rather a Republican–any Republican–occupy the White House than Sanders, and the immediate threat of a Sanders party takeover is far greater than any reputational damage caused by overtly fixing the nomination, I expect that the party insiders will do whatever it takes to see that Sanders isn’t nominated–even if that involves pulling off the mask and openly and sneeringly defying the voters. They’d probably rather not do that in the full view of the public, but if it comes down to it, I think they will.

      I’ve said for some time that the Democratic Party must be killed before any meaningful change for the better can occur. It’d be somehow right if it were the party insiders themselves who killed it.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘party insiders I’m certain would rather a Republican–any Republican–occupy the White House than Sanders’

        You’ve just cited the founding charter of the Depublicrat duopoly. Namely, that only candidates vetted by the Bankster/National Security state should be permitted to serve, preferably in 8-year rotation.

        It’s the R-party’s turn in 2016. The duopoly had planned on Hillary as the losing D-party contender, since they have enough dirt available to cripple her at will.

        Conceivably Bernie Sanders could serve the same purpose of throwing a rigged fight. But the oligarchy is deeply worried about what he might blurt out during the campaign.

        1. Bridget

          “It’s the R-party’s turn in 2016.”

          I’m more inclined to think that Clinton v Bush was a win whether the Rs or the Ds won.

          Sanders and Trump have overturned that apple cart, and I for one am hugely enjoying the whole thing.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          I’m pretty sure the leaders of neither party want Bernie to get the nomination megaphone right now, the woods are getting dry on his key issues. If it takes the combined and coordinated efforts of both parties, well that’s just being pragmatic. Whatever. It. Takes.

      2. different clue

        If Sanders refuses to shut up and behave all the way to the Convention Floor, he and his movement may perform the service of forcing the Dem Party into this corner where it has to defraud the Sanders supporters of their candidate before god AND C-SPAN. This is supposing that Sanders gets the most primary votes and voted-for delegates. It offers a very good reason for the Sanders movement people to try achieving that voted-for delegates victory right there.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Hmmm. That would give the Sanders supporters – approximately a majority, at that point – a very good reason to ditch the party – or, of course, sue, I think that would wreck the party altogether, a good reason not to do it. They have to stop him before that, probably by cheating in the primaries – assuming he gets that far.

          The key question for Bernie supporters is still: what do you do if (when) he doesn’t get the nomination?

          The Green Party will be waiting, which is precisely Stein’s point.

    2. Vatch

      Did Jill Stein really praise Jesse Jackson (senior)? If so, that’s very disappointing. Jesse Jackson may have been a principled civil rights activist several decades ago, but at some point, he degenerated into just another shakedown artist. Like father, like son.

      1. jo6pac

        No real praise just how demodogs threw him under the bus when he became a threat. It’s true after MLK died all but Rev. Abernathy became the problem and helped themselves to $$$$$.

        There’s transcript on the PBS page for Jill Stein.

      2. neo-realist

        I suspect that in 1984, Jackson was more of a sheepdog candidate whose role was to shepherd disaffected black voters to the establishment approved Mondale and cut into support for the “insurgent” campaign of McGovern’s campaign manager Gary Hart.

        How can there be an 8 year rotation of parties in the White House when Reagan and Poppy Bush held it from 80 to 92, unless TPTB started the rotation w/ Clinton?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That may be so nationally on the average. We had our first frost warning up in the County a few days ago, and the last two or three winters have been brutal. I blame that cold spot out in the North Atlantic…

      Actually, I’ve had vague thoughts about winter wheat. If I’m going to have grasses, I might was well choose the kind I have…

      1. ambrit

        If it’s grains you want, you canna do no better than ‘quadrotriticale.’ Even Starfleet approves of it!

      2. Oregoncharles

        Not sure if it’s hardy enough, but consider crimson clover (or some similar winter legume). top nitrogen fixer, really pretty if you let it bloom. And not so bad as a winter-killed mulch. USDA: ” Crimson clover has been used
        for a cover crop as far north as northern Maine.” Can’t find a zone rating, I guess because it’s an annual.

        The seed is grown around here; a field of it in bloom is SPECTACULAR. Sorry – no pictures.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Nitrogen fixing in plants is such a neat trick I’m surprised more plants haven’t evolved it. Air is of course 78% Nitrogen.

  7. Vatch

    “Fox guest proposes welfare reform: People earning minimum wage ‘shouldn’t be having children’” [FOX].

    I’m all for encouraging small families and delayed childbirth, but I can think of at least one significant problem with what this person said. People might have a child when their income will adequately support their family, and then they lose their job or jobs, and if they are able to find new jobs, all that is available are minimum wage jobs. Kinda like what has been happening over the past seven years.

    1. PQS

      The other problem with this idea is that while the Forced Birth Society loves to bash “the wrong people” for having children, they are horrified by both abortion, and to a lesser degree, contraception. Ergo, their entire plan is for women to simply Not Get Pregnant. (Never a mention of HOW this happens, of course, or the role of men in the process….)

      1. Vatch

        “Forced Birth Society”: I like that! Well, okay, actually, I dislike the reality of it, but I like the words… So, thanks!

    2. HopeLB

      There is research that points to a real problem with children’s genes if their parents are older.
      Scientists are worried because children’s genes are as old as their parents and thus old age illnesse are starting earlier. Perhaps the research in telomere lengthening will counteract this but having your children earlier is hard in a society which forces the college educated workers into too much student debt and the young disadvantaged into a you-are-on-your-own to scramble to raise this child and yourself.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …just another way we Exceptional USians at the lower end of the scale are killing ourselves off… Can for-profit Assisted Death Spas be that far behind?

      2. jrs

        Maybe noone should ever have kids almost. When your young you are psychologically immature and messed up, when you are old you are old. Or else everyone should adopt kids from younger parents.

      3. Vatch

        Another (huge) problem with having children early is that this enables large families. It’s rare to have a large number of children if one doesn’t first have a small number (triplets, quadruplets, etc. can be the exception). Delaying the first child is crucial to preventing the destructive effects of large families. If there really is a telomere problem with delayed childbirth, then people who have a child early must be strongly encouraged to have vasectomies and/or tubal ligations to prevent a second or third conception.

        1. abynormal

          ha! not working for China so well
          btw, i had one child at 30. had i had a child Any earlier i would’ve drowned it!

          would the government please make our bodies corporations so they can STOP REGULATING THEM!

          1. Vatch

            I’m not asking for mandatory sterilization — that will just create a backlash. But if people have children early, I think that sterilization needs to be strongly encouraged. Overpopulation is one of the major causes of damage to our biosphere. This needs to be corrected pronto!

            1. abynormal

              to quote Hunkerdown regarding ‘reformers’…you and yours first.
              females can only procreate once every 11 mos ‘)

              “The solutions put forth by imperialism are the quintessence of simplicity…When they speak of the problems of population and birth, they are in no way moved by concepts related to the interests of the family or of society…Just when science and technology are making incredible advances in all fields, they resort to technology to suppress revolutions and ask the help of science to prevent population growth. In short, the peoples are not to make revolutions, and women are not to give birth. This sums up the philosophy of imperialism.”
              Fidel Castro

              think of all the fun changes that would be missed:

              “The ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren’t enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.”
              Mikhail Gorbachev

              1. Vatch

                you and yours first.

                Perhaps you missed the place where I said that people need to be strongly encouraged to have vasectomies if they already have one or two children.

            2. abynormal

              Ian just posted over at today’s links:
              “The world fertility rate has declined to 2.43 births per woman from 4.85 in 1970, with a collapse over 20 years in East Asia.

              The latest estimates are: India (2.5), France (2.1), US (2.0) and UK (1.9), Brazil (1.8), Russia and Canada (1.6), China (1.55), Spain (1.5) Germany, Italy, and Japan (1.4), Poland (1.3), and Korea (1.25). As a rule of thumb, it takes 2.1 to keep the population on an even keel.

              The working-age numbers rose sharply relative to the numbers of children and — for a while — the elderly. The world dependency ratio dropped from 0.75 in 1970 to 0.5 last year. This was the sweet spot.

              “We are on the cusp of a complete reversal. Labour will be in increasingly short supply. Companies have been making pots of money but life isn’t going to be so cosy for them any more,” said Prof Goodhart.” http://business.financialpost.com/investing/global-investor/why-world-economy-as-we-know-it-is-about-to-be-turned-on-its-head


              1. Vatch

                We don’t want the population on an even keel. We need population reduction. A total fertility rate of 2.1 is much too high. 2.43 is an absolute disaster. We are in very, very, deep trouble.

                1. abynormal

                  the way our natural resources, technology and environment are abused by corporations…yes we are.

                  less of us gifts them with more power to degenerate the earth, faster

                  we’re the majority Vatch…unless your a believer of the King Alfred* alliance?

                  1. Vatch

                    less of us gifts them with more power to degenerate the earth, faster

                    Who is “us” and who are “them”? Are you actually arguing in favor of population growth? Or have I misunderstood what you are saying?

                    a believer of the King Alfred* alliance?

                    What’s the King Alfred alliance?

  8. fledermaus

    “Personal income rose 0.3 percent in August which is on the low side of expectations but July is now revised 1 tenth higher to a very solid 0.5 percent.”

    Yet if the S&P only rose .5 percent in a month I doubt they’d be calling it a solid gain.

  9. JTMcPhee

    Re the “unbanked:” since when, of course, and with a tilt to all the discussion on this very site, is it or has it ever been “their” money? What a quaint idea!

  10. Carolinian

    Pam Martens suggests Yellen’s senior moment might instead be a bit of sabotage. She also talks about how Wall St criticism mysteriously disappeared from the Pope’s Congressional speech.


    Also: here’s a long excerpt from Michael Hudson’s new book. He descibes his extensive experience working for both financial institutions and universities…a remarkable resume.


    1. OIFVet

      Shouldnt the question be whether the population/citizenry is healthy rather than the market? Will somebody please think of The Market! Stockholders will need to make sacrifices and cut back on conspicuous consumption, Manhattan real estate will crash, then where will we be?

  11. rich

    Double D strip club-linked Staluppi throwing retirement party for Weisman
    September 28, 2015 |

    John Staluppi, whose firm bought the site for a controversial Double D Ranch and Saloon strip club on Southern Boulevard, is throwing a retirement party Friday for former Palm Beach County Administrator Bob Weisman.

    The host committee for the $150-per person party, to be held at Staluppi’s Cars of Dreams Museum at 133 U.S. Highway 1 in North Palm Beach, includes many of the county’s most prominent elected officials and lobbyists.
    The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County will receive the net proceeds from the party, according to an invitation obtained by The Palm Beach Post.

    Former County Commissioner Burt Aaronson, state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, state Rep. Lori Berman, Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw are among those listed as host committee members.

    Others host committee members include state Rep. Dave Kerner, former U.S. congressman Mark Foley, former County Commissioner Karen Marcus, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, state Rep. Mark Pafford and well-connected lobbyists Neil Schiller and Marty Perry.

    Weisman retired on August 31 after 24 years as county administrator.


    Well, at least the venues honest?

  12. OIFVet

    Carly Fiorina: No more flip phones for you!

    “It’s okay, but you’re going to have to upgrade soon,” she continued. “You have 18 months to do this”… “I will go into the Oval Office on a regular basis, I will ask you to take out your smartphones, and I will engage in a conversation with the citizens of this nation,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, who has seen her poll numbers rise following a strong performance in the past two GOP debates, tells the audience… A President Fiorina would then ask citizens to take out their smartphones and open an app to vote in real-time polls about the biggest issues on her agenda.

    Oh Carly, Orwell and Eggers called, called you a plagiarist. Will the Two Minute Hate be during lunchtime? It better be, I would hate to think that you would interrupt the workday and the bottom line of your fellow CEO class.

    1. shinola

      Well that’s kinda creepy. Of course the app would never track & identify the individual voters so that those who don’t vote “correctly” could be targeted for “re-education”.
      Hey Carly – you can have my old dumb phone when you pry it from my cold, dead hand.

    2. jrs

      remember how Obama was going to respond to citizen petitions on a white house website? I think I do vaguely, maybe it was all a dream, but for some reason I wake up grumpy and sad.

  13. ChrisFromGeorgia

    It seems that the machinery of these trade deals grinds on with a life of its’ own, increasingly detached from politics and any change in the political parties in control of their governments. Too many people with “career risk” if this sucker goes down? Might explain why they seem increasingly indifferent to silly things like elections.

    It’s rather depressing to think of all the bureaucrats and functionaries who make their living jetting off to places like Maui and Atlanta, with a hive mind of their own. With neither party really willing to stand up to them, it feels like a mini Greece – why bother with elections when you know you’ll get sold out.

    Yet I’m optimistic that it can still implode – it was refreshing to hear Trump take on NAFTA on 60 minutes last night. Charlie Rose seemed incredulous when Trump pointed out that trade agreements aren’t legally enforceable without the voluntary consent of both parties – they’re voidable contracts that can be declared fraudulent and simply ignored, given enough solidarity within a nation.

    I think the window for this thing is very small, and rapidly closing.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I was going too fast on 60 Minutes and missed this on NAFTA:

      Scott Pelley: But there is a North American Free Trade Agreement.

      Donald Trump: And there shouldn’t be. It’s a disaster.

      Scott Pelley: But it is there.

      Donald Trump: OK, yeah, but–

      Scott Pelley: If you’re president, you’re going to have to live with it.

      Donald Trump: Excuse me, we will either renegotiate it or we will break it. Because, you know, every agreement has an end.

      Scott Pelley: You can’t just break the law.

      Donald Trump: Excuse me, every agreement has an end. Every agreement has to be fair. Every agreement has a defraud clause. We’re being defrauded by all these countries.

      Scott Pelley: It’s called free trade–

      Donald Trump: No it’s not.

      Scott Pelley: –and it is a plank–

      Donald Trump: It’s not the–

      Scott Pelley: –of the Republican platform.

      Donald Trump: Scott we need fair trade. Not free trade. We need fair trade. It’s gotta be fair.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Just one of the ways he’s to the LEFT of the Democrats. (The other, to my knowledge, is support for universal, ie single payer, health care.) Too bad he’s such a jerk personally – and on immigration, for one. But again: that, too, is a populist position.

        He has no personal reason to be a populist, so I wonder whether it’s just rhetoric. Anybody seen any insight on that?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, Sanders is an Independent. (Universal really doesn’t mean single payer. It could also mean a NHS system, like the ones Cameron’s pig Tories are dismantling in the UK, or it could been some horrible but still privatized botch like we have today but even moreso. I grant single payer is the rational interpretation of his remarks, but this is politics…)

          1. Oregoncharles

            I believe he’s praised single-payer in the past; he’s being cagier now that he’s running as a Republican.

      2. montanamaven

        Every agreement has a defraud clause. We’re being defrauded by all these countries.

        Priceless! I like it. His attorney general will be busy. Wonder if he’s got a good lawyer in mind?

      3. Carolinian

        Scott Pelley: always the sock puppet for conventional wisdom. He and Charlie Rose have that in common. They have so internalized the neoliberal world view that they probably don’t even think of it as editorializing.

      4. Praedor

        Pelley and others of his ilk seem to think NAFTA is the Law of the Land and thus immutable. It is an AGREEMENT, not a treaty. Being an agreement, it does not have the force of law behind it and it can (and should) be reneged upon. Same with TPP, TTIP, TISA. Even if Obama passes them they can, and must, be immediately dropped by the next President (Sanders). No reason not to.

  14. Clive

    Silence from the Japanese is a pretty much guaranteed “no” or, at best, a “we’ll need to think about it”. Even a “yes” from a Japanese might mean “no”. Not that this signifies any inherent duplicity; it’s more that the Japanese really hate interpersonal conflict and are a bit embarrassed by it. Not embarrassed for themselves. Embarrassed for the other party who has demonstrably been so inept as to not read what were, to the Japanese, clearly signalled positions communicated well in advance.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I thought so. At a minimum, the Japanese will let others make the running…

      Did you have thoughts on the autoparts article? On the one hand, I can see how the muscle would work; Japan has a lot more power, even as a subaltern, than Mexico and Canada… But the article seemed implausible to me, intuitively. We’re really going to throw continental subalterns under the bus for Japan?

      1. Clive

        No, I think the suggestion that Japan and the U.S. could strong-arm Canada and Mexico into being stuck with a less favourable (legacy-NAFTA) auto parts arrangement while Japan gets a nice, new-and-improved TPP version doesn’t add up. Apart from the obvious political problems for Canada and Mexico, the article treats the subject of auto parts like is exists in a vacuum. It isn’t.

        Japanese language so largely inscrutable to most unfortunately but the useful pictorial representation on pg. 2 of http://www.think-tpp.jp/shr/pdf/tubonotubo/vol_14.pdf shows how different factions which crystallised in Maui are sometimes both on the same side in some disputed TPP negotiating areas (flags in the pink shaded boxes) and sometimes on opposite sides. Japan is “against” Canada and Mexico on NAFTA auto parts, but “with” Canada (and “against” the U.S. and New Zealand) on dairy. So simplistic analysis of the Byzantine horse trading which is the TPP negotiations will invariably miss important power plays.

        1. kj1313

          Thanks Clive for the update. Sounds like sausage making is a lot more difficult than the trade ministers are making it out to be.

  15. Daryl

    > “Fox guest proposes welfare reform: People earning minimum wage ‘shouldn’t be having children’”

    Ah good, I was wondering when they’d circle around from anti-choice and arrive back at eugenics.

  16. Oregoncharles

    On New York Magazine post:

    There’s a simple way for the campaign against police brutality to incorporate this insight:

    Not only do the police kill or brutalize blacks far more often than others, they also fail or refuse to protect poor neighborhoods from the daily crime and addiction they suffer from. That’s at least partly because they’re distracted from real law enforcement by the drug laws, which give them a flood of easy busts.

    IOW, demanding stricter law enforcement, specifically around drug addiction, was a mistake. Now we know. In reality, legalization and medicalization of addiction treatment is the only solution. Involving the police only corrupts them, and endangers everyone.

  17. Matthew Saroff

    I would note that Duffel Blog is a parody site.

    I would also note that if the price of gold falls a bit, about 15%, the B-2 will literally cost its weight in gold, so it’s only barely a parody.

  18. timbers

    While driving to work this morning, NPR radio said: “The White House described Putin as desperate for a meeting, scheduled later on, because of crippling economic sanctions…..” What a tool for propaganda NPR is.

    More likely Obama is desperate to meet Putin because Russia has checkmated him in Syria.

  19. ewmayer

    Re. “Regulators shocked – shocked! to find HFTs involved in flash crash” – Learned helplessness at its finest. They would have us believe that in the wake of the original 2010 flash crash they have read not a single story about the Rise of the HFTs, nor ever heard about outfits like Nanex. Too busy watching Internet P0rn, apparently.

    o Re. Cameron official denial: In Clintonese it would be along the lines of “I did not pork that pig posthumously.” Prehumously, then?

    o “Surely one reason so many Americans lack writing skills is that, for decades, most U.S. schools haven’t taught them.” Taught ‘them’ – the Ameicans, or the writing skills? [10 demerits for being ambiguous … and don’t call me Shirley.] Re. the Sidwell school MOTUs-in-training, I suspect they’re not learning writing skills so much as networking and palm-greasing skills. It’s the lackeys who will be doing most of their writing in future, no point stressing out about that unneeded ‘skill’.

    1. trinity river

      Writing skills? To write well one needs to be able to think. To write well one needs to be taught by teachers who think. But we no longer want teachers who think. We want teachers who will teach to the test and nothing else. Under the iron hand of the current administrators, hired by the elite, we don’t want teachers who think. Teachers are being taught to teach writing by formula.

  20. jo6pac

    Japan will do the righty thing and bow down to Amerikas lords on this and then have on section 9. The part I love, the most is the citizens of Japan ran against this. Who Cares?

  21. Jay M

    Clinton with her server problem shows how many more bits weigh on the shoulders of such mighty ones. Must explain the explosion of lapel stars and american flag pins that provide correctness to the uniform.

  22. tongorad

    Warren: “For most middle class families in America, buying a home is the number one way to build wealth. It’s a retirement plan-pay off the house and live on Social Security.”

    What a shitty plan. Trading wage increases for a turn at the real estate casino. Make sure you stop by your friendly finance officer before you place your bets.
    Financialized gambling instead of a just share of the productivity that labor produced.

    1. ambrit

      The unspoken drag upon the ‘ownership society’ is the continually growing burden of taxes and fees. Whether you own or rent, these impositions will literally ‘eat your lunch.’ This is part of one of the more diabolical anti liberal schemes; unfunded mandates. While income taxes shield the super wealthy from the equitable sharing of these costs, the State continues it’s never ending assault on the powerless.
      Forget wealth; a home is a place to live.

    2. cwaltz

      Using the old economic paradigm her statement rings true. Real estate was an investment that served a dual purpose. That being said, we’re living in a brave new world where you can no longer depend on working for the same place for 30 years even if you work hard. If they downsize you then you need to be able to relocate. Owning a home just means it is one more thing you need to worry about if the time comes to go somewhere else.

      1. ambrit

        The major downside to that ‘lifestyle’ is the almost automatic anomie that results. Constant moving about, for whatever reason, can effect a disassociation of the individual, or, if one were to be lucky in one’s choice of parents, family unit, from the community at large. The Rom and similar transient groups are ‘notorious’ for their insularity. Hence, they were, and, I assume, still are, convenient scapegoats for elites and ‘in groups.’ In the America I have experienced, the fall back positions seem to be religious affiliations, schools, and web based ‘escape’ mechanisms. The underlying values informing all those ‘app’ games should be of primary importance to all parents. It is not for contrariness that Fundamentalists prohibit I-phones and online gaming to their children. The alienation such “play” induces leaves impressionable people wide open to programming agendas.
        All this flows from my observations of our children’s lives when our family moved from trailer park to real tent park, to apartment in our constant chasing of the “American Dream.” Silly Exceptionalists have forgotten how this ‘American Dream’ springs from a universal need and desire for ‘security.’ Look at the refugee stream entering Old Europe from the Middle East today. Whatever the proximate cause may be, those ‘huddled masses’ are chasing that universal dream.
        One truism I remember reading is that as long as the rulers supply peace and security, the populace will forgive the rulers almost anything else. Todays ‘rulers’ have forgotten this and will pay the price.

  23. Sam Kanu

    “..Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now” ..”

    The reality here is that Trump has never taken care of anyone but himself. You can only ask yourself how he pays his workers. And how many of them have lost jobs or wages in his regular strategic “bankruptcies”.

    This is not even about jobs. It’s about democracy. The elite now believe – as they did before – that we have a “surplus” of democracy. i.e. they need a dumber, more pliant population:
    You should connect the dots between trends like the above and the growing surveillance and repression apparatus. Simply different strands of the same agenda. Not coincidental either their seemingly unbounded desire to squeeze more blood from a stone, when you look at the decline in real wages and wealth for the 0.1% vs the bottom 75%.

  24. vidimi

    re: the lockerbie case

    ken dornstein does a good job of linking the libyan guys to the disco bombing in berlin, but he uncritically follows the false leads they set up during the trial. yes, the libyans made bombs, yes, they had operations in malta, but the maltese link is contrived. as someone who sat through all the trials, swire was well aware of that. not once did the author of the article, and perhaps not dornstein either, mention or contact gareth pierce in their research.

  25. Wayne Gersen

    Of course students haven’t been taught how to write because students, schools, and now teachers are measured based on standardized tests and writing isn’t tested because to do so would be expensive, slow, and complicated… and we want cheap, fast and easy in this country!

Comments are closed.