By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“But as Hazledine points out, [reduced tariffs on New Zealand exports to other TPP countries] tells us nothing about who would capture the benefit of those tariff cuts: New Zealand producers, consumers in the importing countries, or middlemen? It depends on who has market power at various points in the supply chain, and generalising about that is just silly” [New Zealand]. See Barry Coates, Rod Oram, Dr Geoff Bertram and Professor Tim Hazledine, “THE ECONOMICS OF THE TPPA” (PDF).
“7th Republican debate transcript, annotated: Who said what and what it meant” [WaPo].
Picture of Jebbie’s cowboy boots, with embossed “JEB” (no exclamation point) in gold. He tweeted this [Wall Street Journal, “Thursday’s Republican Debates — Live Blog].
“Fact check: The seventh Republican debate” [USA Today].
Rubio went too far in claiming that Clinton “wants to put Barack Obama on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.” Clinton only said that she would take an Iowa resident’s appointment suggestion “under advisement.”
Really? I’d say USA Today fell for Clinton’s lawyerly parsing, and left out the good stuff in the middle. Here it is:
Rubio was referring to a comment that Clinton made Tuesday in response to a voter question during a campaign rally in Decorah, Iowa. Here is the question and her response (around the 7:40 mark) courtesy of Live Satellite News:
Questioner, Jan. 26: The next president will probably appoint several members of the Supreme Court. Will you consider appointing Obama?
Clinton: … He may have a few other things to do. … I would certainly take [your suggestion] under advisement. I mean, . Now, we do have to get a Democratic Senate to get him confirmed.
It pains me when Rubio is correct, but when he says that Clinton “wants to put Barack Obama on the Supreme Court,” he’s right; that’s exactly what she said. “Do you want to go out for Chinese?” “Wow! What a great idea!” That means I want to, even if I get all polite and qualify it. (Of course, if I’m being ironic, it means just the opposite, but last I checked, irony was not trope #1 on the campaign trail.)
“Bernie Sanders’s health care plan is underfunded by almost $1.1 trillion a year, a new analysis by Emory University health care expert Kenneth Thorpe finds” [Vox]. The numbers all depend on the market power of the single payer, I would say, and that’s subjective; anyhow, every other industrialized, civilized country is able to provide universal health care. America, at least in this regard, is truly exceptional. (Meanwhile, here’s PNHP’s figuring). Note: The article describes the Sanders campaign interacting as if they were having a serious policy conversation. No. This is a political campaign. Good faith should not be assumed.)
“Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Trolls Trump: ‘I Bailed You Out Twice'” [HuffPo]. Via Twitter, naturally:
Trump:You base your statements on photoshopped pics?I bailed you out twice;a 3rd time,maybe? https://t.co/Raco0mvusp https://t.co/jStBl7Ghia
— الوليد بن طلال (@Alwaleed_Talal) January 28, 2016
“New York Times Gets it Wrong: Bernie Sanders Not ‘Top Beneficiary of Outside Money'” [Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept]. “The newspaper calculated totals using only “independent expenditures” spent by Super PACs. … To debunk the claim that the nurses [National Nurses Union are the top Sanders contributor] are outspending all pro-Clinton outside groups, one merely has to look at six months of spending and limited independent expenditure disclosures by the primary pro-Clinton Super PACs.” Now here’s the Times
“Bernie Sanders Tops His Rivals in Use of Outside Money” [Nick Confessore, New York Times]. Confessore has done good work in the past, so what did Clinton do? Offer him a seat on the Supreme Court?
“Ron and Rand Paul’s top campaign aides, led by the husband of Ron Paul’s granddaughter, bribing and extorting a crooked Tea Party Iowa politician to endorse the “Ron Paul rEVOLution”—which turns out to have been little more than a mirage built on fraud, oligarch cash, and the credulous fantasies of a few thousand pimply college-aged waffendweebs” [Mark Ames (but then you knew that), Pando Daily]. Unlocked for 48 hours.
“We think a different approach is necessary, one that links, rather than counterposes, class and race. The progressive movement should expand from a vision of racism as violence done solely to people of color to include a conception of racism as a political weapon wielded by elites against the 99 percent, nonwhite and white alike” [The Nation].
“Trump: candidate of truth” [I cite]. Well worth a read:
As Trump makes explicit the power of money in the contemporary US, (jouissance). Trump openly expresses the racism, sexism, contempt, and superiority that codes of civility and political correctness insist be repressed. This expression demonstrates the truth of economic inequality: civility is for the middle class, a normative container for the rage of the dispossessed and the contempt of the dispossessors. The .1 % need not pretend to care.
Some of the underpaid and exploited . Not only does he give them permission to express their racism, sexism, and hate, but they are already accustomed to imagining themselves with his power, firing and degrading a wide array of those with whom they disagree. His television shows taught them to do this, instilling in them practices of judgment and dismissal ready to move out of prime time and into the political sphere.
. Here Trump confirms for them their rightness in despising the Republican base, itself only seldom anything other than their own disgust with the working class. As they use Trump as a catalyst for their own good feeling, liberals repeat his practices of contempt in another register. Not only is he a candidate they can enjoy hating but he enables them to extend their hate to all the non-millionaires supporting Trump: they really must be idiots.
“How the Iowa caucuses work, part 1: The basics” [Bleeding Heartland]. “On the Democratic side, the Iowa caucuses are entirely a battle for delegates.” The mechanics need to be read to be believed; it’s a game with numbers, but not a numbers game. The post is well worth a read. This local’s prediction:
The viability threshold and the fixed number of county delegates for each precinct are major reasons why
For the same reasons, pockets of heavy support in Iowa are less valuable for a Democratic candidate than support spread evenly across the state. This aspect of the caucus system informed my prediction that Clinton will outperform her polling numbers on Monday night. My hunch is that Sanders supporters will tend to be more clustered into a smaller number of precincts, where there is an upper limit to the county convention delegates that can be won.
“A string of wins in small and midsize counties could overwhelm strong performance in the cities. Both campaigns use sophisticated modeling to try to figure out where they’ll get the biggest bang for their buck, while also trying to reach into as many corners of the state as possible” [Wall Street Journal, “In Iowa, Some Votes Outweigh Others”]
“A good deal of evidence suggests that Sanders has assembled a rather different kind of voter coalition than any primary challenger of the past generation — that he is the rare “progressive” candidate who can actually win over white working-class voters” [Jacobin]. “In Iowa, a September Quinnipiac poll showed Sanders with a nineteen point lead over voters making less than $30,000, while Clinton led voters making over $100,000 by fourteen points. This week another Quinnipiac survey gave Sanders a four point lead overall, while showing income divisions sharpening even further.”
FIRE sector accounts for 21.5% of Ohio’s GNP [Bloomberg]. So I wonder how geographically dispersed they are, a propos our discussion in comments on Des Moines.
Politics ain’t beanbag: “Operatives from Bernie Sanders’ campaign have donned Culinary union pins and secured access to employee areas inside Strip hotels to try to garner votes for the Feb. 20 caucus, sources confirm” [Ralston Report]. Case in point: “[T]he casino politicking is a reminder — and an ironic one — of how the Clintons made their way inside various Strip resorts to try to get to workers in 2008 after the Culinary endorsed Barack Obama.” Still, sloppy and dumb. Insurgents must be above suspicion.
“Clinton’s next big test will come on March 1–Super Tuesday–where most observers are predicting Clinton will have a solid command of Southern states like Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia” [Talking Points Memo]. Populism did used to be a thing in the South, though….
“Left out of the media hype, [veteran Democrats and some Hillary Clinton supporters] argue, is that Clinton already has more than half of all Democratic super-delegates — 359 of the 712 outstanding, according to an Associated Press count — before any votes have been cast” [The Hill]. In other words, the real story is that the establishment thinks Clinton’s got this one in the bag because they put it there?
“Donald Trump’s Twitter Insults: The Complete List (So Far)” [New York Times]. What an awesome resource!
On Charles Koch, squillionaire: “Looking for a new puppet.” I hate it when Trump’s right!
“Video: Protestor throws tomatoes at Donald Trump mid-speech” [BGR News].
Trump responded in typical fashion, first stating calmly, “Get him out!”. But ever the performer, Trump then proceeded to butter up the audience by putting on a performance akin to a WWE promo. “Ready?”, Trump asked the crowd, knowingly revving them up. “Are you ready?” he asked once again before responding with an emphatic, “GET HIM OUT OF HERE!!”
And naturally, the crowd cheered wildly in approval.
“In a matchup between Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, adding Bloomberg’s name to the ballot would trim Clinton’s lead over Trump to six percentage points from 10… In a Trump versus Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders matchup, adding Bloomberg would erode Sanders’ lead over Trump to seven points from 12” [Reuters].
“Just 33 seats out of 435 [in the House] are truly competitive, including 27 held by Republicans and six held by Democrats” [WaPo]. “Democrats would need to hold all six of their seats and pick up all 27 from Republicans — 12 of which the Cook team says “lean Republican.” And even then it wouldn’t be enough.” 2010 was a disaster for Democrats because it put redistricting in Republican hands. Thing is, one of the basic, blocking-and-tackling things that political parties must do is win votes, elections, and seats. The Democrats failed to do this in 2010 and 2014, and their response, in essence is to fire the voters.
GDP, Q4 2015: “Consumer spending is the central driver of the economy but is slowing, at least it was during the fourth quarter” [Econoday]. “There are definitely points of concern in this report, especially the weakness in exports and business investment, but it’s the resilience in the consumer, despite a soft holiday season, that headlines this report and should help confirm faith in the domestic strength of the economy.” However: “This advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision. (See caveats below.) Please note that historically advance estimates have turned out to be little more than wild guesses” [Econintersect].
International Trade in Goods, November 2015: “The nation’s trade gap in goods widened 2.0 percent in December… The rising shortfall reflects further contraction in exports especially food and capital goods” [Econoday]. “Exports fell 1.0 percent in the month and compared to last year are down 10.4 percent. Imports were unchanged in the month with imports of industrial supplies rising and imports of autos showing special strength. Imports of consumer goods, however, fell sharply for a second month while imports of capital goods also declined, in declines that betray a defensive outlook for the nation’s businesses”
Chicago PMI, January 2016: “[A]ccelerating sharply to 55.6 in January after hitting the brakes in December at 42.9. New orders are at their best level since January last year while backlogs, though still contracting, posted substantial improvement. Production is also at its highest in a year” [Econoday]. “Negatives include another contraction for employment, which however still improved in January, and another contraction for prices paid that reflects commodity price weakness.”
Employment Cost Index, Q4 2015: “Wage inflation is very likely building based on the employment cost index which in the fourth quarter rose an outsized 0.6 percent for a second quarter in a row. Benefits rose 0.7 percent in the quarter which is a sizable increase for this component” [Econoday]. “For the hawks, who are always on the watch to head off inflationary flashpoints, this report is meaningful and will offer debate points for further rate hikes. For Fed policy in general, this report is positive and supports expectations that wage inflation will help offset continued commodity deflation.”
Consumer Sentiment, January 2016: “There’s been very little impact on the U.S. consumer from global volatility and losses in the domestic stock market” [Econoday].
Fodder for the Bears: “Wall St. up as weak GDP raises hope of slower rate hikes” [Reuters]. What’s wrong with this picture?
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 25, Extreme Fear (previous close: 20) [CNN]. One week ago: 13 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).
“Montana Senator Max Baucus tucked into the Affordable Care Act a special section that expands Medicare to the people of Libby and the surrounding area who were poisoned by W. R. Grace’s deadly mine causing mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease” [PNHP]. “Shouldn’t the people of Flint, all of them not just the children, have Medicare also for life? We must do much more, but, at least, we can start here.”
“Michigan governor appoints Flint whistleblowers to remedy water crisis” [WaPo]. Synder created the 17-member “Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee,” which has “three years to report their recommendations” [WaPo]. Problem solved! “The committee includes Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, who has extensively studied the issue in Flint and elsewhere, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is credited with bringing the problem to the public’s attention after state agencies initially dismissed her concerns” [WNEM]. So far as I can tell, there are no non-credentialled activists on the issue from Flint.
“Gov. Rick Snyder: Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee will support long-term needs in Flint” [Michigan.gov]. Here’s the make-up of Snyder’s committee:
The Coordinating Committee will be composed of the following 17 members, who shall serve an initial term expiring on Dec. 31, 2018:
The director of Office of Urban Initiatives within the Executive Office of the Governor;
The deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security within the Michigan Department of State Police;
The director of the Department of Environmental Quality, or his or her designee;
The director of the Department of Health and Human Services, or his or her designee;
The director of the Department or Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or his or her designee;
The state treasurer, or his or her designee;
The superintendent of public instruction, or his or her designee;
The elected mayor of the City of Flint, who shall be appointed to the Coordinating Committee by the Governor;
Three additional representatives of the City of Flint who shall be submitted by the Flint mayor and appointed to the Coordinating Committee by the Governor;
Three representatives of Genesee County who shall be submitted by the Genesee County Board of Commissioners and appointed to the coordinating Committee by the Governor;
Three subject matter experts who shall be appointed to the Coordinating Committee by the Governor.
After the initial appointments, members of the FWIACC will serve three-year terms. The council will be asked to create an incident action plan, review recommendations made by the independent Flint Water Task Force, establish routine protocols for communications at the local, executive and legislative levels, make recommendations regarding the health impacts of the affected population, and assess the status of infrastructure and determine feasible actions for upgrading Flint’s water system.
I’m not getting a good feeling about this.
“Document: Snyder Admin Trucked In Clean Water for State Building in January 2015” [Progress Michigan].
“The layer of sand Honeywell has applied to the Onondaga Lake bottom to keep toxic mercury and other chemicals in place has failed at least three times since 2012, spilling wastes onto areas of the lake that had been relatively clean” [Syracuse Post-Standard]. “‘Essentially Honeywell’s cleanup efforts put contaminated muck into deep lake areas that didn’t have to be cleaned up,” said Alma Lowry, an environmental attorney working with the Onondaga Nation. ‘The stuff basically slid downhill like a landslide or avalanche.'” Reminds me of landfill lines up in my sacrifice zone in Maine. The landfill operator says: “The liner is guaranteed to last fifty years!” The Penobscot Nation rep says, very drily, “Our time-frame is a little longer than that” (seven generations, IIRC).
Police State Watch
“Hackers post private files of America’s biggest police union” [Guardian]. “Hundreds of contracts between regional authorities and local fraternal order of police lodges across the country were posted online as part of the hack. Some such deals have been sharply criticised as shielding police officers from prosecution or disciplinary action following the excessive use of force.” Hmm. I wonder if there’s anything about police pension funds?
“Chicago Police Hid Mics, Destroyed Dashcams To Block Audio, Records Show” [DNAinfo Chicago]. For baldfaced effrontery, Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo’s reaction is hard to beat: “How they can figure out what is mechanical or what is human error, I’d like to know.” Look at the maintenace logs, which is what DNA Info did.
“Chicago police officer will sue estate of teen he fatally shot” [WGN].
“Since 2003, state and local governments from Alabama to Tennessee have given more than $120 million worth of taxpayer funds to at least seven major firearms companies” [Mother Jones]. “Most of those subsidies—nearly $100 million—have been pledged just over the past three years by states seeking to lure gun producers from the Northeast, where new firearm regulations have angered industry leaders.”
“Wounded Warrior Project Denies Claims of Waste, Lavish Spending” [Military.com]. “According to 2014 tax records, the Wounded Warrior Project spent 34 percent of its total expenses on fundraising while only doling out 60 percent for direct care.”
“The admiral in charge of Navy intelligence has not been allowed to see military secrets for years” [WaPo]. Because he may or may not be involved in a corruption case. Doesn’t the Navy need intel? Is this any way to run an empire?
“DC Bar punishing whistleblower for revealing criminal activity” [Undernews (Furzy Mouse)].
“With the Oregon standoff’s leaders either dead or in custody, a Georgia man has emerged overnight as the new leader of the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge” [Talking Points Memo]. “Like many of the men who have been holed up at the Oregon refuge for more than three weeks, Patrick was involved in the 2014 Cliven Bundy ranch standoff against the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada.” Idea: Arm the militia moderates!
“What Americans think about feminism today” [WaPo]. “A national survey by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation finds 6 in 10 women and one-third of men call themselves a feminist or strong feminist, with roughly 7 in 10 of each saying the movement is empowering. Yet over 4 in 10 Americans see the movement as angry, and a similar portion say it unfairly blames men for women’s challenges. Younger women are more optimistic about movement across a variety of measures, and more than 4 in 10 say they’ve expressed their views about women’s rights on social media.”
“Uber for welfare” [Politico]. “A bold proposal to use the ‘gig economy’ to reboot the safety net.” The nice thing, of course, about the gig economy is that there’s no self-organizing by working people at all. And you’re required to take a gig.
“Will those who led the financial system into crisis ever face charges?” [ABA Journal]. By Betteridge’s Law, no, but it’s nevertheless good to see a long profile of Bill Black in the decidedlly not fringe ABA Journal.
“Minimum wage employers are now acting like cults who demand our hearts and souls as well as just our time. It’s obsessive and frankly sinister” [Telegraph]. “Individuals earning barely more than minimum wage are required to adopt a constantly cheery persona not just for the benefit of customers, but also to appease their bosses.”
News of the Wired
“Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang, founded in 1959, is one of the world’s biggest art factories. It employs about 4,000 people, including 800 to 900 of North Korea’s most talented artists” [New York Times]. “The studio produces a variety of works, including most of the propaganda art and sculptures that dot North Korea.”
“Will Driverless Cars Become a Dystopian Nightmare?” [National Journal]. Of course not. This is America.
“Here’s Why Writing Things Out By Hand Makes You Smarter” [Business Insider] 2014, but the crapification aspect is interesting…
“[Giphy’s] rise has helped make the [*.gif] format a culturally relevant (some might say vital) communication tool—a mostly wordless way to emote via text, Snapchat, Gchat, or e-mail [Bloomberg].
“Earth is actually made up from two planets which came together in a head-on collision that was so violent it formed the Moon, scientists have concluded” [Telegraph].
“The curtain is slowly coming down on the time when one introvert quietly writing code could build something that flies better than anything else. It’s the extroverts who are running the startup, or even the major open source code project, and the focus is less on DIY and more on pulling together stock parts” [Medium]. “But the Mozilla foundation’s HTTPS requirement is, to me, the real end of the DIY era.” Since HTTPS requires you to fill out registration forms….
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 (Marin T):
I don’t think this is from Maine.
If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter has come, I need to buy fuel, make a happy plumber happier, and keep my server up, too. Water Cooler could not exist without your support.
Is my clock wrong, or did the 2:00 p.m. Watercooler actually post at 1:00 p.m.?
Maybe the Maritime Provinces have their own time zone now.
Shows you how much I know. The Maritime Provinces do have their own time zone. Lambert must be visiting friends up in St. John.
If it were St. John, it would have posted at 12:30 (“a half-hour later in Newfoundland,” as the CBC says). I only know this because Dr. Mrs. Propertius is a proud Newfie.
My oh my. Incrementalism in Canada! Does this mean he was out on Oak Island searching for treasure?
(Thanks for the info. I never would have guessed.)
Newfoundland, a wonderful place. Love me some fried cod tongues.
NL has St. Johns; NB has Saint John. You have to live here to know here.
Maine is not a Maritime Province!!!!
Technically true. It should be one though. Originally it was part of Massachusetts, no? Doing a Google of the history of Maine I find a quite convoluted tale. Much of Maine see sawed back and forth between England, France, Holland, and Massachusetts up until Statehood in 1820. I particularly liked “New Ireland.”
The Maritime Provinces should conjoin with New England and form a separate and unitary polity.
” a head-on collision that was so violent it formed the Moon ”
Youtube link or it didn’t happen.
“Don’t drink and orbit!”
“Minimum wage employers are now acting like cults who demand our hearts and souls as well as just our time. It’s obsessive and frankly sinister” [Telegraph]. “Individuals earning barely more than minimum wage are required to adopt a constantly cheery persona not just for the benefit of customers, but also to appease their bosses.”
Um, no, they want you to be friendly to customers so they’ll come back and your job still exists next month. The chanting/dancing/”We Are Wal-Mart!” aspects are truly awful. They’re also almost exclusively the hallmark of giant corporations.
Small businesses who have no choice but to pay minimum wage because of economy of scale and cost of doing business should not be lumped in with the soulless corporate environment. I’ve worked in both. If you big-time your employees like a wannabe Fortune 500 CEO, the good ones will leave and the ones left will work just hard enough not to get fired until they find a job with less BS.
Why not make a law that any business with over 10 employees in which the highest-paid employee makes more than 2.5x the lowest-paid employee pays a prohibitive tax? Then guys earning 6- or 7-figures whose job it is to break the will of the untermensch for an extra few % profit will cost more than they’re worth? Just thinking out loud…
Regarding your assertion that “[s]mall businesses who have no choice but to pay minimum wage because of economy of scale and cost of doing business,” this “logic” is precisely what’s wrong with business “thinking” in the U.S. today.
If a business can’t afford to pay its employees a living wage, then it is not a viable business. Period.
It is completely unethical to build ones business on the immiseration of others. And it’s terrible policy like minimum wage law that institutionalizes the injustice by providing a rationalization for it.
Laws that protect workers negotiating for wages and other benefits are the answer.
Plus, why is it that small businesses can’t get all the “tax credits” and assistance from local government to expand/hire more workers/improve their infrastructure. Why is it only when the Big Boxes come around that suddenly there’s all kinds of money for “investment”? Whatever happened to community investment?
I watched a documentary about how WM hollowed out a town and this was the exact complaint of the hometown hardware store owner….”WM got a new road, new stoplight, and all their utilities and infrastructure just for coming to town. We’ve been here for 50 years and never got anything like that.”
Exactly right. A guy I knew back in the late ’80s started using Walmart as a verb, as in “that town got Walmarted.”
It’s amazing to me that after all these years and all the small towns destroyed people still don’t seem to understand what happened, even in those self-same towns. At Christmas a relative by marriage visiting from southern Indiana was bemoaning a Walmart’s closing near where he lives. When I said that it might actually allow for an economy to return to the area, he was mystified. To his credit, once I explained that it wasn’t just the grocer and the hardware store that Walmart closed down, but the sign painter, the printer, the glazer, the small appliance repair guy and on and on, he actually said something like, “Wow, I never thought about it like that.”
But how is it that so many people have apparently never thought about it like that? I find that shocking. What accounts for the complete obliviousness abroad in the land?
So many people have never thought about the economics of Wal Mart because ‘they’ have never been taught how to think in the schools.
Wal-Mart hollowed out so many main streets and towns around the country, got benefits, and has employees that need public assistance to live. They ruined many lives, but economists will brush that off as externalities as they focus on a narrow set of data that says the communities are doing better through the lower prices.
If there are McDonalds outlets inside Wal-Mart stores, does that make them McJob McJobs?
Reason #47 why I hate so-called supply-side economics. I’ve always viewed the ‘theory’ as a rationalization of bad behavior. Compound that with notions of market self-policing and the theater becomes even more absurd. The social fabric continues to fray.
Because I remember it and also for others to see it, here’s the documentary in question:
Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices
Seeing that documentary ensured that I’d never shop at a WalMart, except for a small handful of times when there was no viable competitor nearby/open.
The missing component that really gives these laws teeth it an employment policy that really targets full employment. We haven’t had this since the Johnson administration and the effects have been in evidence since the late seventies. Strong minimum wage laws AND full employment.
Full employment measures improve the situation, true. Still, I’d rather have the right to negotiate with my employer over the conditions of my employment. Otherwise it seems to me that the myth of our needing them more than they need us just gets perpetuated.
Horsehit. I run a small business and I do not pay minimum wage. I pay more that I “have” to and it’s worth it all day. You get much better work, more productivity, more loyalty and less turnover if you ante up. Those who pay minimum wage are greedy, lousy managers.
“Arm the militia moderates.” Surely you jest. They’re already armed!
Anyway, todays’ armed militia moderates are the State Security Apparatchiks. After all, moderate anythings are assumed to be pro America. Look at Syria if you doubt me.
I think Lambert just needed a snark symbol….
That’s allright. With Lambert, it’s a given. (I believe the proper keyboard method is Control-Hashtag-S, or Default to Snark.)
On the lack of competitive seats: we’re back to the problem of Team Blue (the party apparatchiks and safe seat office holders) versus the Democratic Party (someone called it the brand, and that makes a lot of sense). Team Blue types aren’t losing their jobs, even if the roof caves in on the Democratic Party. Their incentive is to stay on the good side of their donors, not the voters. I used to tell my students in a government class I taught that political parties and individual candidates need a critical mix of votes and money. That used to be more true than it is now. Parties still need voters. But those who make up Team Blue just need contributors (to their campaigns, journals, think tanks, and media outlets).
It’s like the ownership of my beloved baseball team. We fans think that the point of having a ball club is to win the World Series. Not so. The purpose of owning a team is to line the pockets of the owners. Winning is nice, and if you are smart it boosts revenue tremendously and lines your pocket even deeper. But it’s hazardous to adopt the old adage that you have to spend money to make money. Team Blue, like the Mets, would rather just rake it in and hope for the best. Why take a risk when you know you can’t lose by just doing the minimum while hoping the other guy falls flat on his face so you can get the maximum reward for the minimum cost.
Campaign in poetry, govern in prose; campaign in prose, govern in exile.
But as you say, politicians make a pretty penny whether they’re in office or out. So prosaic campaigns that don’t upset donors make sense.
Democrats for the Donor Class!
There’s the ticket.
I was naturally suspicious about the Vox article (disclosure: I never willingly read Vox, primarily because of its association with Markos Moulitsas), so I looked up information on Dr. Thorpe. Turns out he was Bill Clinton’s Assistant Director of Health Policy at the Dept of Health and Human Services–working with Hillary, it would seem, to draft an earlier version of Romneycare/Obamacare. Also, in spite of being asked to work with the State of Vermont looking into a single payer plan, his bio at Emory describes him as working for quite a few insurance companies. The Emory bio states that he worked with a number of U.S. senators “to develop and evaluate alternative approaches for providing health insurance to the uninsured.” Notice that his specialty was making sure everyone in the country was insured, not that every citizen received affordable health care. Draw your own conclusions here.
Thanks for some very interesting information.
Thank you for looking into his background.
Sounds like a leading contender for the 2016 Frederic Mishkin Iceland Prize for Intellectual Integrity.
Excellent sleuthing. This should circulate.
And the pushback has already started: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-himmelstein/kenneth-thorpe-bernie-sanders-single-payer_b_9113192.html
And they caught that he was a Clinton apparatchik in the first paragraph, too! I hear you on Moulitsas; he (successfully?) crashed the gates one too many times using his head as a battering ram, and the results are fairly obvious.
Great link! Thanks. Himmelstein and Woolhandler do a real hatchet job on the flaws in Thorpe’s arguments. As someone whose real estate taxes are spent primarily on public schools and public employees, I appreciated that the authors pointed out how Thorpe totally ignored savings from increasingly expensive private insurance plans for public employees.
In reading Thorpe’s biography, there was just something about the man’s background that struck me as an individual marketing himself as one of those expert witness “guns for hire.” Too many connections to insurance and big hospital groups for my comfort level.
Nice digging into Dr. Thorpe’s real agenda. I am nominating you for the site Private Investigator position. Naked PI if you will.
The article about the Admiral in charge of Intel not being allowed to receive any Intel is beyond insane. It is the Old Boys Network gone senile. The Carrier jocks who run the Navy must all have closed ranks around this guy, but if he had an ounce of concern for the national interest he should have stepped down as soon as it became obvious that he is hindering the operation of the Navy. My guess is that the carrier mafia are grooming him for the CNO slot because they need a gung-ho advocate for the dubious necessity of keeping all the super-carriers active and replacing them.
They sound very much like the Battleship Admirals during the Interwar Period. Then it was the introduction of Carriers that doomed the Battlewagons. Today it is, what, hypersonic cruise missiles, pocket nukes? (How did Neville Shute start WW3 in “On the Beach?” A carrier in the Adriatic?)
City leaders from NYC, Madison, Rochester talking community development live right now at CUNY
RE: “Uber for welfare” [Politico].
Here’s a better “Uber for….” that does involve “self-organizing by working people.” NYC’s Cleaning Cooperative Si Se Puede recently released it’s own app:
I read about them recently, thanks. Been meaning to give you an update on my environmental consulting co-op.
I read about Si Se Puede! in materials from a meeting with Northwest Cooperative Development Center. A former member of Union Cab has been advising us, and it’s awesome: An unbelievable amount of priceless advice, all for free.
We went over basic accounting and ran the numbers last Tuesday. Can still hardly believe we can employ ourselves all year (only 20h/week), pay ourselves the whole time, and still have money left over. Won’t be able to quit my night jobs right away, but that’s what I expected.
Of course, that depends on finding people who’ll hire us, but NWCDC is even helping us with marketing.
We’re trying to figure out how to fold my independent office-cleaning work into the mix to smooth out the seasonality.
We’ll have articles of incorporation and by-laws in about 3 weeks. Some of the stuff I read here at NC might even begin to make sense!
That’s great! If you would like to share your experience with other people trying to do the same sort of thing, send a note to editors[at]geo.coop. It’s important that people like you share what you’re doing. It inspires more people to try, which is what we really need right now. We’re always looking for more practitioners (as compared to developers) to write up their experience or do an interview. Give us an e-jingle.
Thanks, I’ll do that.
We used to have unions to help workers have collective power, now we have an app. That’s great, set up the governance right and 1. it won’t be corrupted by bosses and dues and kickbacks, and 2. it will be really hard to demonize and to shut down. Bravo!
Alwaleed Bin Talal isn’t trolling Trump, he’s just reminding us who picks our presidents. If you recall, Alwaleed Bin Talal is the guy that greased Obama into Harvard* before his puzzling meteoric rise. He’s rich enough to throw good money after bad, if he wanted Trump in there.
*Percy Sutton: “”I was introduced to him [Obama] by a friend who was raising money for him and the friends name was Dr. Khalid al Mansour from Texas,” Sutton said. “He is the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men [Alwaleed]. He told me about Obama. He wrote to me about him and his introduction was ‘there is a young man that has applied to Harvard and I know that you have a few friends left there because you used to go up there to speak, would you please write a letter in support of him?’…I wrote a letter in support of him to my friends at Harvard saying to them I thought there was a genius that was going to be available and I sure hoped they would treat him kindly.” The Obama campaign called Sutton ten kinds of senile cause he spilled the beans, remember?
Here’s a science link for Saturday.
This is NASA stuff, not something somebody made up. Planet 9 and Niburu! This is real, not just fake.
This is perhaps equally as good as the 50 year old Dallas Cowbody cheerleader story that for some reason was ignored by Yves and the editorial staff and was never posted as a link, but this story today involves men who are scientists. So maybe that will qualifiy it as “serious” enough to post.
Always with your finger on the pulse!
Ya baby! They cast the net wide to put together that article.
Almost make you believe in 50 year old Dallas cheerleaders!
be careful what you believe, because it might be true:
Google: “Sharon Simmons, Grandmother, Auditions For Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading Squad”
Actually she was 55!
Interesting, but the only mention of NASA in the article is this:
“NASA has thoroughly debunked the Nibiru myth via its Beyond 2012 page, saying, ‘Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye”.
I want to believe!
that strikes me as a minor detail. NASA is NASA no matter what the context. They didn’t believe in Planet 9 until a few months ago. Even Ed Wood saw this when he looked at the future and made his movie. Plan 9 from Outer Space. There is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Unless you’re somebody like Jeff Bezos or The electric car guy, Elon Musk. Maybe they’ll be the only two human beings left in the universe when they get their rockets going. They better take some women with them.
Rumor has it that Elon and Jeff are negotiating terms with the Victoria Secret girls at this very moment.
Finally saw The Big Short yesterday. They mentioned Lewis Ranieri (the “father” of mortgage-backed securities), so i went back a read the part of Liar’s Poker that described his start at Salomon Brothers. I think it’s worth revisiting the passage (in Chapter 6) that describes the origin of Ranieri’s intense loyalty to the firm. Michael Lewis claims it began with the firm’s response to Ranieri’s need for healthcare —
Organizations like the mafia thrive in spaces where the greater community has abandoned its responsibilities. Far less of “the government is the problem” propaganda would fly if the gov’t took better care of its people. I have to believe single payer is coming sooner rather than later — not just to stay sane, but because today’s bosses are barely even helping anymore. I can imagine them just telling Ranieri to go shopping.
I completely forgot about that passage in liar’s poker, back in the day when health care wasn’t 17% of GDP. Single payer or better yet breaking Robinson-Patman act and enforcing the Sherman Act (anti-trust) would remedy the current health care cartel.
Looks like the campaign trail is heating up:
The gig economy should be used to reboot the safety net of course, that is strengthen it. One might not like the gig economy, but if we’re going to have it, we need a safety net all the more, as those jobs provide no stability and no benefits. Healthcare can’t be job dependent, nor can retirement. And maybe other necessities of life can’t either like housing. Not when hours worked is so uncertain (which is different than having periods of unemployment between steady jobs – it’s much more uncertain).
And yes I hesitate to even imagine what work requirements for unemployment insurance (the whole point of which is to provide for people without jobs!) forcing people into the gig economy will do. Look Uber and Lyft … they seem low skilled, but not everyone is even a good driver. Do we really want people who KNOW they are bad drivers driving people around out of desperation? Or would we rather they look for work that is more suitable and at worst they are just driving themselves there?
THREE out of SEVENTEEN members of the committee are critics and that’s the headline WaPo comes up with?!? A bunch of people who probably knew about the problem and did nothing (or their designees), along with a bunch of people appointed by a guy who knew about the problem and did nothing and….THREE critics. And we’re supposed to believe that those three whistleblowers are going to set the agenda, make things happen and “remedy [the] water crisis”? Is that how government committees usually work, in your experience? Where the minority nay-sayers against the establishment run the show? Not in mine…
The article linked to the ABA Journal is an excellent column on Bill Black. This should receive an elevated posting in the Links. Anyone with a passing interest in the financial crisis and the sordid details related to the issuance of private label Residential MBS ought to read.
Please keep hammering away, professor !
The daily dose of Corruption Eruptions (Hillary’s analogue to Bill’s bimbo eruptions):
‘Counseling’ … are they serious? This is way past the ‘counseling’ stage, unless they mean the counsel of a defense lawyer who’s used to negotiating serious felony raps. Jail to the Thief!
Excerpts from a comment by ‘you enjoy myself’ elsewhere on the web:
Sh*t’s gettin’ real. Hillary’s about where Nixon was in early 1974 … nearing her sell-by date.
“The intelligence community will go apeshit if staffers go unpunished for spillage that very likely put spies in danger for their lives and compromised our sources and methods.”
Oh really? David Petraeus suffered zero consequences (except maybe a frosty marriage).
$40,000 fine, bumped up to $100,000 by the sentencing judge = 1 lecture fee? Check.
Cushy academic post in NYC? Check.
Still advising the WH on Syraqistan stratergery? Check.
Demoted from four stars to three stars in retirement? Cry me a river.
And the stuff he was dealing to his biographer-with-benefits included agents names,
which presumably HRC’s emails didn’t.
I’d be interested to know what source, if any, the commenter you quoted has.
Leave David Petraeus alone!!!
It turns out I spoke too soon in the comment above.
Even the one-star demotion in retirement is too much punishment for our golden boy:
Pentagon won’t punish David Petraeus any further in sex-and-secrets scandal
If Ash Carter can’t stand up to Petraeus’ fan club in D.C.,
how is he going to stand up to Putin, Xi and Corbyn?
The intelligence community no doubt has a lot of dirt on Killary, and could be nudged into some off-the-record commentary on non-security matters just to embarrass her.
And some useful perspective from the same commenter:
Yoga routines and cookie recipes, probably. 8-/
Which would be more beneficial for the top brass at the FBI: A- to simply do their job and evenhandedly treat the Clinton leaks the same way they’d treat them if they’d been done by a whistleblower or B- to sit on the material and have a cache of felonious dirt on what could likely be the next POTUS?
What about underneath that tier? An agent in the news for pursuing Clinton Inc. will be huge. Books, speaking fees, you name it. Who cares about the brass? How many agents have the goods is more relevant than what the directors think. Can every agent be promoted or bought off?
Part of HRC’s problem is the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees in relation to sending classified information. This is potentially a big story which is an easy story for people to see without having the dots explained.
The projects to occupy, develop, and restructure Iraq and Afghanistan are among the largest projects the United States has ever attempted. The expedition to Afghanistan, now in its fifteenth year, has been a series of thoroughly-documented failure. Yet we learn nothing and the project runs on while Afghanistan deteriorates.
The presidential candidates seldom mention it and show no interest why we have burnt so much money there while America’s vital infrastructure rots. Historians probably will consider it one of the clearest examples of the inability to learn from experience that so damages US political affairs.
Here is the latest, a 230 page compendium of failure — with some small, mostly exaggerated, success. Like its predecessors, it will have the effect of a pebble thrown into the sea.
Trying to come up with something clever about Talleyrand, “They learned nothing and forgot nothing”, and modern-day Bourbons but I’m clearly too tired to pull it out.
In Kentucky, a push for engineers over French lit scholars
First they came for the philosophers, and I didn’t speak up.
Then they came for the French literature scholars, and I didn’t speak up.
And then … they came for me …
The Fed Gov’s BLS own stats, note that only 25% of BS or higher STEM degree holders are holding a STEM-related job. IIRC if you limit it to engineering, computer science, or math/stats, it increases to 50%.
Type 1 Underemployment is widespread, & not even B Sanders mentions it. Instead the BigPoli-trick-ians & BigCorpMedia keep hyping a non-existent “STEM worker shortage”.
If Univ degrees are limited to fields that have higher (75%+ ?) percentage of grads actually working in the field, Univs might have to “downsize” to only include BS in Biochemistry (or similar major), & medical professional graduate degrees.
Perhaps this current reality is an excuse to be seized upon by right-wing austerity fiends like KY Gov. Bevin, to advance general austerity, via the specific public Univ downsizing. Note that Bevin wants to reduce public Univ funding via reducing majors offered, not by reducing the bogus absurdly increased “expense ratio” of high-paid Univ administrators, & other costs such as luxury buildings/dorms/stadiums/etc.
That’s from the first sentence of the AP article. Emphasis is mine,
How about we compromise and produce more journalists and editors who know correct English?
A comic about the inherent violence of Windows 10. (Warning, contains graphic violence and extensive swearing.)
Nice link, and a decent explanation of the evils of the tech ‘giants.’
We refused to “upgrade” to Win10. We’re also ‘resisting’ the ‘upgrade’ to IE11.
Interesting about the ‘direction’ of ‘reading’ in Nipponese. Spider graphs are fascinating for a ’round eyes’ as well.
re: The Voters section. excellent. thank you.
Re: Sanders operatives entering Culinary Workers 226 secure area
How did the media get tipped off? Was it the union’s press release, or did someone notify a reporter and then the press statement was issued? The union’s press release reads, “We can confirm multiple reports of Bernie Sanders’ campaign staffers attempting and gaining access to Employee Dining Rooms at Las Vegas Strip properties where over 57,000 members that we represent work.”
Either way, shouldn’t the union have contacted the campaign before blasting it to the media? This smacks of DWS notifying the media of the alleged data breach by the Sanders campaign rather than going to the campaign first and settling it among themselves. And BTW, Hillary supporters are bringing up the data breach and saying it’s proof Sanders is resorting to illegal activities because he can’t win any other way, blahblahblah,
Here’s a link to a story that has more information about how the issue was resolved:
Lambert: Insurgents must be above suspicion
Ahahah. Insurgencies always come with a heady dose of suspicion. Where it doesn’t exist it will be invented.
On the yesterday’s links’ article, Charles Pierce “Donald Trump Is Not the Biggest Extremist of the 2016 Campaign”
Pierce just claims how Cruz is worse than Trump, & notes how Cruz is theocratic, & has some loony religious leaders as backers.
OTOH, Trump has demonstrated fascistic, racist, & dictatorish tendencies. Trump has berated journalists, cheered assault of anti-Trump voters protesting his rally. Trump has called for separate, unequal, 3rd class citizen, Unconstitutional treatement of certain USian demographic groups, notably claiming USian Muslims would not be allowed in the US, & US-born USian citizen Latinos (& others?) of undocumented noncitizen parents would be deported.
What is the argument for Cruz being Even Worse (GO2E aka Greater Of 2 Evils?) than Trump? Am I missing something?
He actually is insane, while Trump is less nuts by being merely a blowhard and a narcissist. And everyone who has worked with Cruz hates him.
Sander’s plan can’t work? Where does the extra spending come in if it can’t work?
All insurance, whether paid by the employer or employee, when required by law is a private tax (tax farm). Moving that tax from the private tax farm holders into a central tax holder cant possibly cost that much. Hence I did a little checking on Thorpe’s own website and his papers and positions make it clear he’s a big supporter of Obamacare. Anyone holding a chair in academia gets it because he brings in big money donors or other income. Since Thorpe isn’t issuing patents, and isn’t getting federal grants for basic research, it’s a safe bet his money is from industry. I don’t have the resources and time to find out the money trail, but I’d take a good bet the insurance industry is a good friend to Emory and Thorpe.
Whoops, greyslady started a comment stream earlier in the comment section for this post that covered a good part of the money trail
Has Moon of Alabama’s take on the election been discussed here? Usually only a foreign policy site. Commenters are Well read. Well reasoned and interesting, as always. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/01/my-first-take-on-the-presidential-election.html#comments
Per the White House website, Obama by executive order today gave USTR Froman authority to sign the TPP agreement next week in New Zealand.
As the $15 billion lawsuit over the Keystone XL pipeline by TransCanada under NAFTA abundantly demonstrates, this is prima facie a policy failure for the American people.
So, foreign policy by executive fiat. True to form, America is slipping into autocracy, not just oligopoly.
I did a Google search after looking at the whitehouse.gov tight-lipped link. I found myself poking into House Report 114-167. All I have to say is what a rat’s nest of obfuscation. Nothing’s ever said outright — it’s a twisted mess of references to elsewhere in the document or to other document’s not present. Like an Escher image gone fractal nightmare or Pollock painting twisted into an even more disturbing n-dimensional torus. Purposeful. And winking clever. Damn them.
Generous serving of Obfuscation smothered in Bernays sauce… Not to digress, had previously interpreted Jasper Johns’ painting of the American flag in green as symbolic of the influence of money. Recently read that there is an additional layer of distinction in the painting between memory and reality that relates to perception:
Thanks for that! I hadn’t know about JJ’s interest in perception per se. Also, thanks for that helping of Bernays sauce. Quite a chuckler!
In addition to the NAFTA Keystone XL pipeline lawsuit, there’s the lawsuit against Country of Origin Labeling for meat under the WTO. The United States already lost that case, and in response, the Congress and the President repealed the law. So much for national sovereignty.
“As they use Trump as a catalyst for their own good feeling, liberals repeat his practices of contempt in another register. Not only is he a candidate they can enjoy hating but he enables them to extend their hate to all the non-millionaires supporting Trump: they really must be idiots.”
I understand the point being made here, but if not stupid, a whole lot of Trump supporters are willfully ignorant. I’m mindful of Chris Hedges observation that working-class Americans who voted Republican after NAFTA passed weren’t being stupid; they knew exactly who had betrayed them and voted accordingly. But Trump is a complete joke, he’s just saying what people want to hear. How can they not see that? The ones that don’t actively applaud his blatant racism and general douchebaggery (and there are a hell of a lot of people applauding) are prepared to hold their noses and support him because…what? He claims he’ll go after banksters?
If Romney was practically a self-parody of the out-of-touch rich boy, Trump is something far worse, horrifying and laughable in equal measure.
Re: the Nick Confessore Sanders hit piece
“…so what did Clinton do? Offer him a seat on the Supreme Court?”
Do you really think that the story is the Clinton campaign’s doing?
My guess is that the Times is doing what it did in 2000. They want to burn the house down because it’s so much fun to watch a fire.