2:00PM Water Cooler 10/7/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Sanders on TPP: “Elizabeth Warren and I will help lead the effort to defeat it” [RealClearPolitics] (Chris Hayes clip). But I’m not finding a confirming quote from Warren. Sanders out over his skis on this?

Explainer on ISDS [Monkey Cage, WaPo]. Read it all. On the sausage-making:

I would be surprised if a TPP vote in Congress really aired all the finer points of this issue. Groups concerned about ISDS will have to fight for air against all the numerous side deals being negotiated. The genius of wrapping up so many issues (from auto tariffs, to dairy quotas, to intellectual property, to regulation) in a single package is that any group or senator can usually find something to like, some goody. This is already on display, with environmental groups that dislike ISDS praising some of the TPP provisions on wildlife protection.

And so long, national sovereignty.

“Tobacco companies will be precluded from accessing the treaty’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, being relegated instead to domestic courts when bringing a grievance against a host state” [The Conversation]. So, the public relations problem is fixed (tobacco) but the ISDS mechanism remains unchanged. That has Obama’s fingerprints all over it.

“Eighty-five percent of the members of the Obama administration’s 28 trade advisory committees are from corporations and trade associations, the Washington Post reported in 2014. Those members, the paper wrote, ‘attend private meetings with administration officials and get access to documents that the public cannot see'” [Business Insider]. Obviously, the administration should make all those “documents” accessible at once.

“A spokeswoman for the vice president confirmed Tuesday that Mr. Biden “supports the TPP agreement and will help pass it on the Hill'” [Wall Street Journal, ” Will TPP Alter Joe Biden’s Relationship With Labor Before 2016? “]. “[AFL-CIO’s]Trumka has called the vice president a ‘good friend’ and a ‘champion of working people.'” Gad.



“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will roll out a plan to ‘go after risk’ in the financial markets, she told Iowa voters Tuesday, stopping short of calling for reinstating the tough financial regulations her husband repealed” [Politico].

“Hillary Rodham Clinton, as she offered up a sheaf of new health care proposals, said she was “building on the Affordable Care Act.” But lurking in those proposals was a veiled criticism of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement: For many families, the Affordable Care Act has not made health care affordable” [New York Times] (as we pointed out recently here, and NC readers could see coming a mile off). Sure, the famously thin-skinned Obama is “surprised and irked,” but Clinton’s still tinkering round the edges, and won’t mention single payer, despite her claims to take an “evidence-based” approach.

The Voters

“[A] massive open on­line course on the Iowa caucuses, a four-week, self-paced ex­plor­a­tion of the first-in-the-na­tion state’s big polit­ic­al claim to fame” [National Journal].

The Trail

Sanders to interrogate ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli in hearing [Raw Story]. Pass the popcorn.

“Hillary Clinton hired a Connecticut company [Datto Inc] to back up her emails on a “cloud” storage system, and her lawyers have agreed to turn whatever it contains over to the FBI, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday” [McClatchy]. “The source [familiar with Datto’s storage] said, however, that Platte River had set up a 60-day retention policy for the backup server, meaning that any emails to which incremental changes were made at least 60 days prior would be deleted and ‘gone forever.’ While the server wouldn’t have been ‘wiped clean,’ the source said, any underlying data likely would have been written over and would be difficult to recover.”

“Clinton was also surrounded by a Secret Service detail and an even more anxious team of staffers. ‘She has this very cautious staff that, when she’s on the rope line, she’s not answering reporter questions, she’s just sticking on message, and that’s really different than the way that a lot of other candidates work'” [Bloomberg].

Anti-Clinton quote dump from “Democratic strategists” including Axelrove [The Hill].

Grayson files ethics report on Benghazi [The Hill].

“For every county in the first four voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the Cruz campaign has locked down county chairs in charge of not just lending their names to the campaign, but of spearheading outreach and organizing efforts” [New York Times]. And he’s still at 4%…

 Not the Onion: “A lawyer who is standing for the US Senate in Florida has admitted killing a goat and drinking its blood as part of a sacrifice ‘to the god of the wilderness'” [Sky News]. Alrighty, then.

“Presidential Debate Grammar Power Rankings” [Grammarly].

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 2, 2015: “New disclosure rules, under the TILA-RESPA regulatory change, pulled forward mortgage applications in the October 2 week” [Econoday].

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, September 2015: “Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index registered plus 32 in September, the fifth consecutive month it has been at this level and the highest in Gallup’s seven-year trend” [Econoday]. “Net hiring in the private sector, where the large majority of U.S. employees work, was plus 33 for the month of September, the same it has been for five of the past six months. Government hiring netted plus 25 in September.”

Glencore: “Banks’ Glencore Exposure Is a $100 Billion `Gorilla,’ BofA Says” [Bloomberg]. More soberly, “Global financial firms’ estimated $100 billion or more exposure to Glencore Plc may draw more scrutiny as regulatory stress tests approach,” says BoA. From BI explainer: “The market volatility shows that no-one is quite sure what the company is worth” [Business Insider]. As if valuation were only intermittently puzzling… 

VW: “The [Volkswagen] scandal has wiped more than a third off its share price, forced out its long-time chief executive, led its new CEO to predict ‘massive cutbacks’, and sent shockwaves through both the global car industry and the German establishment” [Reuters]. “In his newspaper interview, [new VW CEO Matthias] Mueller rejected the suggestion Volkswagen informed financial markets too late about the test rigging despite having told officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency weeks before it went public.”

VW: “Although specifics remain sketchy, it appears that management from the engineering team instructed the use of the software, under pressure to market the “clean diesel” breakthrough” [Legal Reader]. “If these employees are identified as the key decision makers, Volkswagen may be able to avoid some of the financial penalties that the U.S. Justice department is seeking.” How con-v-e-e-e-e-n-ient. “Naming names is exactly what the Department’s new procedure calls for in order to receive credit during criminal probes.”

Monsanto: “Monsanto unveiled plans to cut one-in-eight staff and slash up to $400m in costs as the seeds giant unveiled a bigger quarterly loss than Wall Street had forecast, and braced investors for a worst-than-expected performance ahead” [Agrimoney]. “Agrichemical profits in the new financial year were forecast to fall sharply, to $900m-1.1bn, from $1,91bn, reflecting “continuing low” prices of generic glyphosate weedkillers, and the absence of a one-time $274m licensing deal which boosted profits in the latest year.”

Commodities: “Commodity price shocks ‘tend to cause large fluctuations in fiscal revenues and, correspondingly, very large changes in government spending,’ the [MF’s latest Fiscal Monitor report] said. ‘Indeed, empirical analysis of oil-exporting countries suggests that oil price shocks affect growth mostly through public expenditure'” [Market News].

The Fed: “There are two odd things about this debate. The first is that proponents of an interest-rate increase generally treat it as an end in itself. The second is that a tiny increase in the federal funds rate should be thought to be so important either way” [Bloomberg]. “Tightening current policy would signal that future policy will also be tighter, compared to a world where the Fed declines to raise rates.” So it’s not the change as such, but the direction of change.

The Fed: “Emerging market companies have an estimated $3 trillion in overextended loans that threaten to trigger a sharp credit crunch and capital outflows in economies that have already been hit hard by low commodity prices, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday” [Reuters]. “The IMF calculates that there is around $1.5 trillion in embedded leverage in U.S. bond funds through derivatives, which could unwind dramatically if the Fed’s normalization process provokes liquidity shocks.”

“They say its the strong $ that’s hurting exports. I say it’s the drop in oil related capex after the price collapse” [Mosler Economics]. 

Fear & Greed Index, October 5, 2015: 35 (-5); Fear [CNN]. Last week: 21 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Our Famously Free Press

Get a load of this at [Business Insider].

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’s Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners, including Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

No conflict here!

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“[British intelligence agency GCHQ] have special tools that let them take over your smartphones with just a text message, said Edward Snowden, and there is ‘very little’ you can do to prevent them having ‘total control’ over your devices.” [Hacker News]. Dumb phones looking smarter and smarter!

Dear Old Blighty

“In rhetoric, most Tories — apart from May — are trying to hog the center ground (though they prefer to call it the ‘common ground’). They even use terms like ‘one nation,’ ‘social justice’ and ‘progressive.’ Yet look at where the cuts have fallen and are predicted to fall, and you can see that their own supporters have been brazenly protected” [Politico]. Nobody could have predicted…. 

“Ministers should waste no time to make unpopular cuts to pensioner benefits, a [Taxpayers’ Alliance] director has said” [BBC (AH)]. “Many of those hit by a cut to the winter fuel allowance might ‘not be around’ at the next election.” Tory scum. A splendid example of Rule #2 of neoliberalism.


“Malaysia’s royals make unprecedented call for action on corruption” [Guardian]. “The comments, which come ahead of a two-day gathering of the Conference of Rulers starting Wednesday, are unprecedented as the sultans assume a non-political role in Malaysia and rarely speak on the functioning of the state.”


“Microbes foil attempts to increase deep ocean carbon sequestration” [Oceanbites]. “The prospect of an inert carbon pool trapped in the ocean indefinitely raises exciting possibilities for geoengineering: if we can understand how and why this material is produced, we could produce it on a large scale and mitigate CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. …. This study suggests deep-sea DOM is not decomposed because individual compounds are too dilute to justify producing enzymes targeting them.”

South Carolina’s Savannah River 7″ above flood stage after Joaquin [NOAA (MW)]. So how about those nukes?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, an online database providing information about slaves and slave trading voyages, will soon expand to include information about intra-American slave trade” [The Emory Wheel].

Imperial Collapse Watch

“In late December, the popular Iraqi television show, Afaq, funded by former prime minister turned vice president Nouri al-Maliki, aired a news segment claiming that the United States was arming ISIS militants” [HuffPo].

Guillotine Watch

“2 weeks after controversial pharma CEO Martin Shkreli announced he would lower the price of Daraprim, it’s the exact same price” [Business Insider]. Ka-ching.

Class Warfare

“Male suicide on rise as result of austerity, report suggests” [Science Daily]. They call it class warfare for a reason… 

“Despite the drought, well-heeled residential customers in affluent neighborhoods are being allowed to use as much water as they want to buy, according to a review of utility records from the state’s biggest urban water agencies” [Reveal News].

News of the Wired

“The Newly Discovered Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh” [Ancient History Etc].

“Items listed at multiples of $100 ultimately sold for 5 to 8 percent less than items with non-rounded prices, but received offers faster and were more likely to sell” [NBER]. Signalling behavior…. 

“Strong placebo response thwarts painkiller trials” [Nature]. “An extensive analysis of trial data has found that responses to sham treatments have become stronger over time, making it harder to prove a drug’s advantage over placebo. Simply being in a US trial and receiving sham treatment now seems to relieve pain almost as effectively as many promising new drugs.”  Makes me wonder if marketing (“Ask your doctor about….”) has a bigger medical effect than we think.

“Lynda Barry’s Wonderfully Illustrated Syllabus & Homework Assignments from Her UW-Madison Class, ‘The Unthinkable Mind'” [Open Culture]. Absolutely awesome, with many drawings.

* * *

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 (Jon):


Jon writes:

A curated Illinois prairie. This is where I have collected apples for years. teh trees are very old and passing on, seemingly no one else other that a grounds keeper are aware/care about them.. Now have the cultivar established in my yard so they live on. Best apples I’ve have ever had.

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


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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. Lambert Strether Post author


      For seven in 10 Medicare beneficiaries 2016 will be much like 2015. They will pay $104.90 per month for their Medicare Part B premium just as they did in 2015.

      But 2016 might not be anything like 2015 for some 30% of Medicare beneficiaries

      So, 70% go to Happyville, 30% to Pain City, based on the luck of the draw or a coin flip. So awesome.

      1. Katiebird

        The punchline comes at the end. People who are waiting to get Social Security will pay the higher premium. But if you are already on Social Security and your premium is taken out, then your premium stays the same.

          1. Jess

            Just got the happy(?) news: My Medicare Part B Medi-Gap (not Advantage) plan is only going up from $210 a month to $219 starting in April.

            1. Carla

              Ain’t it amazing? Part B covers 80% of your medical costs for $104 a month, and the Medi-Gap policy covers 20% for $219…

              There is just nothing more American than private enterprise!

  1. Brindle


    Sanders to receive first congressional endorsement—and it’s a good one, Rep. Raul Grijalva.

    —One Tucsonan is set to show Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders his support, days before the Vermont Senator will visit Old Pueblo.

    Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is expected to give Sanders his first congressional endorsement this week.—


  2. different clue

    Tea party conservatives and nationalists could be and maybe should be worked with as a counter-TPP/TTIP coalition to stop and kill these pacts in Congress.

    Those Democrats who support THEIR President Obama should be reputation-assassinated as traitors. This definitely includes the Congressional Black Caucus. Pray a big strong loud enough movement can be crafted in advance to credibly threaten every CBC member with public image destruction as racial-tribalist traitors before a wider aMERican audience if they dare to support their preciousss Obama on TPP/TTIP. And figure out other ways to degrade, attrit and destroy other Traitor Democrats for trade agreements. I continue to believe a very loud and noisy picketting/boycott campaign against the Pelosi family restaurants in California could have some effect. Either keep boycotting them till the trade agreements are DEFEATED in Congress . . . or if the agreements are passed, boycott the Pelosi restaurants all the way into commercial extermination and distress-liquidation as a show of effective revenge against a Trade Traitor.

    1. Lee

      One black congresswoman and progressive caucus whip, Barbara Lee is, as is so often the case, on the right side of this issue. (Disclosure: she is the one Dem who can count on my vote.)

      Cristina Marcos, The Hill

      Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that trade deals that outsource American jobs “wreak havoc” on minorities.

      Lee’s comments in a brief House floor speech came after President Obama urged Congress to give him trade promotion authority, which many Democrats oppose.

      “When jobs are shipped overseas because of bad trade deals, communities of color bear a huge brunt on the loss of those jobs,” Lee said.
      Lee claimed that minorities who lost their jobs still encountered hardship, as they typically were only able to gain employment at a 30 percent lower wage.

      “Trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being negotiated in secret, wreak havoc on communities of color. We cannot allow more bad trade deals to be enacted, especially when unemployment rates and poverty rates in these communities is much too high already,” Lee said.

      “TPP is certainly not fair and must be defeated,” Lee concluded.

      1. different clue

        Representative Lee deserves the gratitude of a grateful nation. More to the point, the Stop Obamatrade movement should consult very closely with Rep. Lee on how to phrase their ( our) arguments to appeal to other CBC members. Or at least to open mouseholes-of-escape for them should they wish to sneak out of Barak’s Obamatrade dungeon.

    2. Mike Sparrow

      Sorry, but “tea party conservatives” agree with the TPP. They can’t support it dialectically. But they agree with it.

      This deal has nothing to do with jobs at all. It is all about turning the control of the rule of law over to property owners, which this pact, does. That is why they supported it before being exposed.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The question is whether they support turning the rule of law over to international property owners — one-worlders, in fact. I can see that logically from points of view. But…. What about the property owners who are Othered?

      2. ambrit

        “…turning the control of the rule of law over to property owners…”
        Sorry, but this has been the basis of the Western legal tradition for centuries.
        There are ‘Tea Party Progressives’ if you didn’t know. Remember the people who oppose the NSA coup? A lot of Tea Party members there.

  3. allan

    Verizon to Share ‘Super Cookie’ Data With AOL’s Ad Network

    Why should you care? The move is only valuable because it uses your personal data. Starting next month, Verizon will start sharing data it receives via “super cookies” with AOL’s ad network. “The combination will help make the ads you see more valuable across the different devices and services you use,” according to Verizon.

    File under Information Wants to Be Free Monetized

  4. wbgonne

    Sanders on TPP: “Elizabeth Warren and I will help lead the effort to defeat it” [RealClearPolitics] (Chris Hayes clip). But I’m not finding a confirming quote from Warren. Sanders out over his skis on this?

    Frankly, I’m beginning to doubt Warren’s bona fides. Another Democrat keeping her powder dry until the war is over?

    1. praedor

      I suspect Warren too. Her little “chat” with Biden a couple months ago makes me think VP or some other Biden Administration gem position was tossed around. If so and she DOESN’T jump in with Sanders on TPP, then she’s a traitor and to be dumped.

    2. Mike Sparrow

      Most likely the sign Biden is not going to run. He would have done the opposite if he was.

    3. nippersdad

      She had a lot of negative things to say about TPP during the TPA proceedings that she is not going to be able to walk back, even if she wanted to. She may not be working with Sanders per se, but she is going to be one of the leaders of the revolt in the Senate.

      1. wbgonne

        Oh, I have no doubt Warren will oppose TPP. The question is whether she will take this moment to endorse Sanders and use TPP as the springboard. That’s what could make a difference both on TPP and Sanders’ candidacy, and it is wholly within her power.

        1. neo-realist

          Another NC commenter inferred that Warren could be hedging her bets on a Clinton 2.0 administration and wants a shot at a cabinet position to presumably create change from within. A cabinet position that wouldn’t be forthcoming if she endorsed Sanders and Clinton won anyway.

          1. Gerard Pierce

            She’s doing a pretty good job at creating change from without. The only cabinet position worth anything would be Attorney General and that’s not going to happen with the current crop of Democrats in charge. (But it would be fun watching hair catching fire and heads exploding if she were nominated.)

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I did notice that Clinton came out against some changes that the Republicans wanted to make to the CFPB, so one might wonder if there is some horse-trading going on.

        3. nippersdad

          I have noticed in her recent speeches that she is using nearly identical language to Sanders. It looks like there may be an implicit, tacit, endorsement going on but I sincerely doubt that she will come out with an explicit one until after the early primaries. She is looking at 2020, and an early expression of disgust with the establishment (a’ la Sanders) that she will have to work with is unlikely.

          As a pol, being in your seventies has its’ advantages.

  5. tejanojim

    “The prospect of an inert carbon pool trapped in the ocean indefinitely raises exciting possibilities for geoengineering[.]” Well all righty then. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. cwaltz

      As a member of humanity, I’d like to assure you that any mistakes we make will be purely accidental.

  6. subgenius

    Re. Placebos….

    Maybe there should be a major research programme looking at how to utilize the placebo effect – it is in the same ballpark of efficacy as many drugs, but far cheaper and with less side effects…

    1. hunkerdown

      Thousands of years of prior art are a bar to patent validity even in the most captured Ferengi outposts.

      1. craazyboy

        Someone invented high fructose corn syrup, and if they have been making us well all these years, they deserve to be compensated for it!

    2. different clue

      When a drug actually “does something” we could call that the brute force effect. When the brain-body thinks something has been or is being done, the brain-body does that think itself without “realizing” that it is the brain-body doing that thing itself. And that is the placebo effect.

      So what if in the case of using brute-force-effective drugs, we could elicit a placebo effect going in the same direction as the brute force effect? Would the two effects merely be additive? (Which would be good enough right there). Or would the two effects multiply eachother’s power and reach? (That would be even more gooder).

      1. LifelongLib

        Well, if the brute force drug is actually helpful, isn’t it already going in the same direction as the placebo effect?

        The opposite case would be if the drug was supposedly helpful, but was actually detrimental. Oddly enough people seem able to recognize this situation too. So maybe the placebo effect only works if the drug is helpful or neutral?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Hence my “appears”. The source was reported as just a leak of an interview recorded yesterday. We’ll see. I didn’t include the link because it didn’t provide detail + moderation queue, but it was on the/a google news page.

      1. wbgonne

        Of course, I hope you’re right but I’m not sanguine. Hillary’s opposition, if genuine, could sway a few Democrats away from supporting TPP. But if it’s a wink-and-a-nod opposition, then it might not do much of that. Conversely (perversely?), Clinton’s nominal opposition might make it MORE likely for the GOP to support it, and the GOP will likely decide the fate of TPP (as it does with nearly everything). With Fast Track locked down, the Republicans might hold out for a GOP president to re-negotiate.

        If Clinton really opposes TPP, which I highly doubt, she should directly challenge Obama, which never happens. That will make him squirm, and he might make misstakes trying to propagandize the TPP. However, I note three things: 1) Clinton apparently consulted with the White House before announcing her position; 2) Biden’s phantom candidacy is all-in on TPP (no wonder he’s Big Labor’s crush — morons); and 3) I see nothing in Clinton’s remarks about ISDS and sovereignty, which can mean her TPP opposition is nominal only.

        1. nippersdad

          Re ISDS: Basic magicians trick of misdirection. If you are talking about beef tariffs in Japan, you are not talking about corporate coups in sovereign nations. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the subject to arise on her account.

            1. wbgonne

              I’m not so sure you’re wrong. First, in her book Clinton says we should “avoid” ISDS provisions and it’s not clear what that means. Second, Clinton said nothing about ISDS in announcing TPP “opposition” today. Third, ISDS, to my knowledge, has always been a part of TPP, even when Clinton was helping negotiate it as SOS and when she proclaimed it the “gold standard.” And fourth, most importantly I’d say, Clinton knew that ISDS was in the TPP when she refused to oppose Fast Track, which may well prove dispositive in TPP’s passage. In other words, whatever Clinton’s campaign statements (and that’s what her book is), Clinton’s actions demonstrate little concern about ISDS .

              1. different clue

                She is a lawyer and speaks like a lawyer. “Avoid” ISDS provisions could well mean “avoid any legislation or regulation that would trigger an ISDS action”. In fact, knowing her, that’s exACTly what it means. It is couched in lawyer-speak so as to be a “blank screen” upon which hopeful Democratic voters can project their own hopeful belief that she is against TPP.

            2. Ian

              Poor Tobacco companies, they really do get picked on being the only example that is published in the article and that they’re excluded from being allowed access to the ISDS provisions in the TPP.

        2. Ian

          She didn’t say she opposed it, just that it needed work and currently was not good enough to be approved. And “lets take lemons and turn it into lemonade.”

          1. Yves Smith

            Problem is the deal has already been made, so her position formally is tantamount to a “no”.

            But I suspect this is a shot across the bow to tell Obama to quit supporting Biden, which he is doing (for instance, via the drip drip drip of the e-mail investigation).

            1. Ian

              Once she gets in what’s to stop her from reneging with some superficial, but very kabuki like changes.

            2. wbgonne

              But I suspect this is a shot across the bow to tell Obama to quit supporting Biden, which he is doing (for instance, via the drip drip drip of the e-mail investigation).

              And very interesting that Biden has already announced that he will be TPP pointman. The Machiavellis have the knives out. Let’s hope they shiv each other instead of us for a change.

    1. JohnnyGL


      Feeling the Bern, perhaps? The timing seems important on this. I’m sure she’d wriggle out of it and try to push something similar if she wins the presidency, but I think she feels compelled to get decisive on an issue after sitting on a bunch of things. The recent SNL skit had her joking about it, clearly she feels insecure about it. Obama’s legacy had to be thrown under the bus to save a flailing campaign, it seems!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think I need to put on my rubber waders yet; but this statement should be read very carefully. It’s a “based on what I know now” statement, which is a set-up for “I am relieved to learn” or even “At my request [the following minor tweak was made].”

  7. Vatch

    “Tobacco companies will be precluded from accessing the treaty’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, being relegated instead to domestic courts when bringing a grievance against a host state” [The Conversation]. So, the public relations problem is fixed (tobacco) but the ISDS mechanism remains unchanged.

    There are still potential public relations issues in the TPP. Food safety and financial regulation are two good examples. Who wants to eat poisoned food from another country, and then be unable to sue for damages? Ditto for the types of financial frauds that Richard Smith brings to our attention.

    People will have good reason to be frightened that local zoning could be at risk, too, as was pointed out here at Naked Capitalism a few months ago. A lot of suburban Republicans care about their zoning regulations.

  8. Carla

    “[AFL-CIO’s]Trumka has called the vice president a ‘good friend’ and a ‘champion of working people.’” Gad.

    Labor in this country is a corporate beast. It can be counted on to abandon the workers every time. Trumka’s done an about-face on TPP already. Didn’t I read about it on NC?

    1. wbgonne

      Trumka is a blowhard clown. He already announced that TPP was not a dealbreaker for labor’s support.

    1. nippersdad

      Why would you be surprised? In a populist election year, she could hardly come out against Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and El Donaldo. The question was always when and how.

      1. curlydan

        yep, in the primaries, campaign leftward, govern right. In the general election, campaign middle, govern right.

      2. Vatch

        Why would you be surprised?

        I guess I’m just naive about some things. I associate her with the corporate establishment wing of the Democratic party (Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Dianne Feinstein, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, etc.), and they are very supportive of “free trade” agreements.

        1. nippersdad

          That you elect to use the word “naive” wrt a Clinton just says that you are lot nicer than I am. She IS the corporate establishment of the Democratic Party, so your analysis is fundamentally correct. (metaphor alert) This is just another of the classic “I am not against all wars, just stupid ones” pander to the sensibilities of the left wing of the Party. She will be back to invading/bombing/sabre rattling every country that the Kagans have taken a dislike to again once she has gotten the nomination….and then apologize later when it is convenient. We have seen this play before.

          You will notice that Biden is reportedly “strongly supportive”, so the establishment has their propaganda machine in place to sow doubt amongst the proles without her.

      3. wbgonne

        Actually, I am a bit surprised. Hillary’s fingerprints are all over TPP from when she was SOS. And she has made numerous statements in favor. So this policy reversal, no matter the fig leaf she uses, plays right into her political weakness of being seen as untrustworthy by so many people. That said, I’m glad it happened. Whatever her motivation, Clinton’s opposition might help defeat Obama’s monstrosity, though as I have noted, her opposition may also make GOP support more likely.

        1. nippersdad

          “Authenticity” is the fashionable word of the year, and one of its’ precepts is the ability to admit having been wrong. Unfortunately, she is not “wrong” that such a deal would be very lucrative, and with the Clintons it is always a good bet to follow the money. This is just something else for her to apologize for after the devastation has been wrought and she needs to seem “authentic” once again.

          I agree, though. If she is to come off as believable to the low info voter she will have to attack it, and such efforts will only accrue to the benefit of those who are legitimately against it. The political dynamics within the GOP is interesting in the same way, too. El Donaldo is a bull in a china shop, who knows what a mess he can make of their side of the aisle; again, efforts also accruing to the benefit of those against it. Between them (Clinton and Trump) they are going to make the TPP toxic for the Congressional coattails crowd, and that is what really interests me at this point.

          Can we get fifty plus one percent of them to vote against?

          1. jrs

            Authenticity is so 70s, so human potential etc. Are we really back then again? Well other than our wages that is.

      1. nippersdad

        Warm, damp and stinky would be a good descriptor for him. I have never seen his charm, but then getting “warm tingly feelings down my leg” has never been something that I actually wanted to experience from any pol.

        They both really peg my ick meter.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Part of the myth of Bill was after the Democratic wipe out in ’94, Bill was the only prominent Democrat left under deranged GOD scrutiny. They sued to get the guest list to Chelsie’s slumber party. Teddy, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Biden, Charlie Rangel, etc. are not great standard bearers once you scratch below the surface or possess a memory superior to a goldfish.

          With the decline of the Democratic Party under Clinton’s leadership, his loser friends took their place, and let’s be honest, guys like Carville and Begala are otherwise unemployable without the largess of a friend. The Clinton machine has been abysmal in elections outside of machine heavy ones. There was only one Democratic voice for so long it’s easy to see why people might think Bill is super charming, and the GOP stories were so bizarre thugs such as Limbaugh and O’Reilly were always surprised Bill didn’t hit them when he met them.

          1. nippersdad

            It has always struck me that this is a game for them (on both sides of the aisle). It might not be a lot of fun being the butt of every joke and conspiracy theory, but you have to admit that it pays well and keeps the proles entertained while their pockets are being picked.

            I would have liked Bill Clinton a lot more had he punched out a few Limbaugh types, instead he goes into business with them (see Bush 41 and the Clintons in Haiti). Shades of things to come wrt the Obamas.

            1. JTMcPhee

              The archetype is that loving couple, Mary Matalyn and James Carville. One blows smoke Leftish, the other hard Right. They go to bed laughing at the rest of us, every night. And laugh some more, all the way to the bank.

  9. cwaltz

    Well, I personally, congratulate Clinton for being on the side of not ceding our sovereignty or selling out labor.

    It doesn’t give her my vote but it does make me feel a smidge better about her.

    1. hunkerdown

      Remember when Austan Goolsbee told Canadian investors to stand down on pursuing investors-rights cases against the US during the 2008 Presidential campaign because he was just selling his brand and had no intention of following through? They lie to you because that’s how rule works. If there were no frauds to enforce there would be no need for rulership.

      1. nippersdad

        Harper’s election is in two weeks, we may see a redux of that!

        Something to wish for…..

  10. Vatch

    Not the Onion: “A lawyer who is standing for the US Senate in Florida has admitted killing a goat and drinking its blood as part of a sacrifice ‘to the god of the wilderness’” [Sky News]. Alrighty, then.

    Perhaps he should apply for a job at a military dental clinic.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My parents drank cow blood with the Massai in Kenya. It is what it is. I admire the honesty.

      What’s au jus sauce? This is no different from going to a church and enjoying a factory farm family meal later In the day. Or the crowds who went crazy for the Pope followed by communal dining on Jesus’ flesh and blood?

      1. nippersdad

        There are overtones of Santeria about this admission that might not make the Republican evangelical/nativist base comfortable. I think that is why this is so surprising on his part.

        I have to wonder if this wasn’t a preemptive admission; whom he might be preempting would be an interesting topic for subsequent articles.

  11. ewmayer

    @cwaltz: I suggest you actually *read* the CNN piece, which early on notes that “As secretary of state, Clinton actively advocated for the TPP. In fact, she did so 45 times between 2010 and 2013.”

    Whenever I read such a “Hillary says!” piece, I first invoke my anti-pandering mantra: ‘Words are wind.’

    1. cwaltz

      As a Secretary of State I’m pretty sure she would have been required to. Maybe it’s part of the reason she left?

      It’s really early in the election cycle, and I’m okay with just telling candidates that I appreciate their stance rather than parsing their words at this point. Yes, at some point I’ll be looking at truthiness based on record but I’m not at that point yet.

  12. tgs

    Hilary has come out in support of a plan to impose a no-fly zone in Syria. She is smart enough to realize that either Putin will lose his nerve and back off or we will have to go up against Russian fighter planes.

    That’s not bad policy or typical hawkishness. That is insanity. She is not fit to hold any office.

    1. cwaltz

      Other than Jill Stein(and maybe Trump this week) I’m not sure that there are any of the candidates that aren’t hawks. Sad really.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Are you sure? She wasn’t smart enough to recognize the Alawites weren’t the tribal arrangement in Libya? She wasn’t smart enough to recognize the problems with Iraq, leave room for issue oriented campaigns, not have a better excuse for Iraq, to understand delegate allocation rules, etc. I know she is a smart kid in Versailles on the Potomac, but yeesh, I’m not giving Clinton or any leader for “being smart enough.”

  13. rich

    First Lady to Headline PEU Event

    MarketWatch reported:

    First Lady Michelle Obama will join a roundtable discussion with the hosting firms’ CEOs, senior leaders, and veterans hiring champions and deliver remarks to approximately 150 portfolio company hiring representatives at the inaugural Veterans Initiative Summit, jointly hosted by Blackstone BX, +1.23% KKR KKR, +0.44% The Carlyle Group CG, +0.11% and TPG. The sessions in which the First Lady will participate will begin at 1:00p.m. EDT on Thursday, October 8th.

    Obama’s PEU Presidency is now a family affair. The rewards for this couple for their PEU service will be great.

    that was fast….welcome to the W-inner circle!

    1. Christopher Fay

      Obamas just coasting till they can start cashing it in Clinton Family Values Corp. style. And see the plutocrats wrap themselves into that “I support the troops” flag.

    2. Bridget

      The Clintons’ continued relevance (and ability to cash in) has been centered entirely in the expectation of their paymasters that Herself would be coronated.

      Since he’s our first Black President, history is duty bound to treat O kindly. However, I’m thinking he’s only good for leeching a few lousy tens of millions unless he can gin up a Moochelle Presidency. Didn’t he just rendezvous with a bunch of paymasters to discuss lift post White House? Ginning her up.

    3. Chris in Paris

      I predict a Michelle run for Senator (Illinois, I suppose) in the next mid-terms. She’d get +/- 60% of vote.

  14. ekstase

    (Trying again; I’m having trouble getting things to post.)

    That Linda Barry syllabus is great. I had at least one experience of being told not to use visuals in class, (because visuals are dumb!) So she’s cool. Verbal vs. visual thinking and exchanging ideas is complex. It seems to me we need both, and people have different strengths and weaknesses in each. I wonder how this works in other fields, like science, math, economics, as well as in the arts?

    1. cwaltz

      LOL! I, for one, appreciate the attempt at levity. I have a feeling it’s going to be another loooooooong election cycle.

  15. MikeNY

    Re: Homelessness and Mental Illness.

    A few days ago, the question came up of the relation of mental illness to homelessness, and I said I would try to find good data. By serendipity, it came to me in an email today here.

    The short form is: 35% of the homeless in SF reported psychiatric or emotional conditions; 37% reported a problem with substance abuse.

    1. ira

      The stress of homelessness would be enough in of itself to cause ‘psychiatric or emotional conditions’, descriptions of which are often so general so as to be applicable to almost anyone at some point in his/her life. That notwithstanding, no doubt there are many, many homeless people who suffered from mental illness before becoming homeless.

      Ditto for substance abuse.

      In short, the causality can cut in both directions, and, in reality, is probably mutually reinforcing between all three variables — homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse.

  16. allan

    Barton Gellman displays classified documents in a conference presentation at Purdue. Hilarity ensues.

    On September 24 I gave a keynote presentation at Purdue University about the NSA, Edward Snowden, and national security journalism in the age of surveillance. It was part of the excellent Dawn or Doom colloquium, which I greatly enjoyed. The organizers live-streamed my talk and promised to provide me with a permalink to share.

    After unexplained delays, I received a terse email from the university last week. Upon advice of counsel, it said, Purdue “will not be able to publish your particular video” and will not be sending me a copy. The conference hosts, once warm and hospitable, stopped replying to my emails and telephone calls. I don’t hold it against them. Very likely they are under lockdown by spokesmen and lawyers. …

    Eugene Spafford, a Purdue professor of computer science who has held high clearances himself, wrote to me afterward: “We have a number of ‘junior security rangers’ on faculty & staff who tend to be ‘by the book.’ Unfortunately, once noted, that is something that cannot be unnoted.”

    ‘Junior security rangers’? Haven’t they heard that the Stasi went out of business in 1989?

  17. A Farmer

    If Cruz’s county chairs are half as obnoxious and smarmy as he is, I’m impressed he’s at 4%.

  18. Bridget

    I’m surprised that California municipalities won’t publish shaming lists of their biggest users. San Antonio does so regularly:



    But then there are the Austinites who drill their own back yard wells to avoid water restrictions;


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