2:00PM Water Cooler 2/19/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Quiet ‘Legal Scrub’ Of TPP Makes Massive Change To Penalties For Copyright Infringement Without Telling Anyone” [Tech Dirt]. Just a simple change of “subparagraph” to “paragraph”…

“Ding ding! TTIP: Round 12- what you need to know” [TTIP 2016]. “Despite two and half years of negotiations, many controversial issues were put on the long finger up to this point, which now leaves negotiators in a tight spot; can they seal a deal by the end of the Obama administration, when thorny issues like investor rights, agricultural market access, regulatory cooperation, remain unresolved?”

“Regardless of who wins the presidency in November, approval of TPP and T-TIP looks unlikely. Meanwhile, there is no push in either party for reviving the multilateral talks that once took center stage in trade discussions” [Wall Street Journal, “In Murky 2016 Contest, Clear Opposition to Trade Agreements”]. Interesting if true, but we’ve thought these zombies were dead before.

“‘I do not believe that we’re going to reach a T-TIP agreement before the president leaves office,’ White House spokesman John Earnest said this week. ‘But he’s certainly interested in moving those negotiations forward and in a direction where we can be confident that the economy of the United States will be enhanced through the completion of an agreement, hopefully under the leadership of the next U.S. President'” [Forbes].



“Krugman: too pessimistic about Sanders´ ideas about the economy?” [Real World Economics]. Flagging the Betteridge’s Law Violation. For example: “[Operative K] also states that it is bonkers to assume, like Sanders does, that the USA participation rate can return to the 1999 level. But Sanders might in fact be not too optimistic but too pessimistic. Why should the participation rate not be higher than in 1999? The US of A were about the only country which, after 2008, experienced a large drop in the participation rate. In many other countries this rate is increasing.”

And Real World Economics isn’t the only source to ding Krugman on the labor force participation rate: “A leap of the sort that Friedman envisions seems unlikely. I took a look at the ratios in a few other countries, though, and it turns out it’s not unprecedented” [Justin Fox, Bloomberg View]. For my own part, I hope to work ’til I drop. Shuffleboard is a death sentence.

“In fact, if you plot the real GDP growth rate against the projections of the Clinton/Obama CEA chairs, you’ll find that they’re consistently wrong by a fairly wide margin” [David Dayen, The New Republic].

Let’s remember that the CEA has a full staff and the weight of all the data-gathering resources of the U.S. government behind it, compared to one economist in Massachusetts playing with hypothetical models. And yet the CEA still gets it wrong routinely. Which is fine—history tells us we should not expect such precision. But let’s not allow one subset of Democratic economists to take the high road of “evidence-based” mathematics when they’re all throwing darts at a board.

So when The Great and Terrible Operative K calls Sanders proposals “voodoo” — and I do question why a putative progressive would use “voodoo” as a term of disparagement — he really means that Sanders isn’t performing the proper rituals.

Sanders interviewed by consummate insider Mark Halperin [Bloomberg].

Halperin followed up: “Just on the question, and we’ve discussed this with you before this, on the skepticism that you are telling people things that they want to hear.”

Sanders’ voice intensified. “Yeah, I am telling people what they want to hear! People want jobs. They want health care. They want educational opportunities for their kids. They want to deal with climate change. They want the wealthiest people to pay their fair share of taxes. Yeah, that’s what I’m telling people. And on every one of those issues, that is exactly what the American people want.”

Mic drop. People often forget that Sanders is a pretty good politician.

“Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right” [WaPo]. “It is results, not intentions, that matter. History has proven that a bigger, more controlling, more complex and costlier federal government leaves the disadvantaged less likely to improve their lives.” What a steaming load: Medicare. Social Security. The USDA Extension service. Land grant universities. And on and on and on.

“The highest levels of delinquency on student loans are in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of African-Americans or Latinos, a new analysis finds” [Christian Science Monitor].

The Voters

“Hillary Clinton’s cynical race appeals: The revenge of neoliberal identity politics” [Salon].

The thing about Clinton’s newfound identity politics crusade that has planted so many palms across left-wing faces is that Clinton is brazenly channeling the latest racial and gender justice discourse to block a racially diverse working-class assault on the oligarchy she has long defended—it’s just too much. All of the important struggles that Clinton cites cease to be intersectional the moment they are abstracted from political economy. …. “I think it’s very cynical,” says Rutgers historian Donna Murch, the author of a recent New Republic article titled “The Clintons’ War on Drugs: When Black Lives Didn’t Matter.” “Saying that political economy doesn’t matter to black people, I think that that is terrible. Especially when you look at the impact of what happened with the subprime crisis.”

“But [Clinton] is running on a fundamental and untenable racial contradiction. She claims she will fight ‘systemic racism’ at a time when the system and Bill’s role in it is under a fresh microscope from a new generation represented by the Black Lives Matter movement. At some point, the firewall cannot hold back the flames the Clintons fanned” [Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe].

“If Trump and Sanders are still surging after Saturday’s GOP primary in South Carolina and Democratic caucus in Nevada, it will be in large part because the country’s populist anger is so great that the normal laws of political science have been suspended. A lot of voters are convinced Trump and Sanders are electable, and as long as they think that, their candidacies will stay aloft” [National Review]. It’s almost like “confidence” in the world of business, isn’t it?


“”That’s the going rate,” explains a senior Wall Street executive who arranges such events [as Clinton’s speech]. “It’s a pretty efficient market, like anything else.” He says people like George W. Bush, Ben Bernanke and Geithner get paid even more than the $225,000 that Clinton received. “So I certainly don’t fault her,” he said. “In hindsight for her, I do think that you could have seen that if you wanted to run for president, you know …” He left the comment hanging, but he clearly indicated that she should have known that taking so much money from Wall Street banks before the start of the next presidential election cycle was not the smartest decision” [Politico]. “Optics matter, sometimes a lot” [New York Magazine].


The Trail

“Exchange of the Day” [Political Wire]. Must read.

“The power brokers who could decide the 2016 election” [The Hill]. This is fun. I don’t think of Elizabeth Warren as a power broker, but I suppose she is. The last broker: “[Jim] Comey, who heads the FBI, is being briefed regularly on the agency’s investigation of Clinton’s email server controversy. He is known for his independence, having taken on former President George W. Bush when he was deputy attorney general.”

“After the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders has a small 36-32 lead among delegates won in primaries and caucuses. But when superdelegates are included, Clinton leads 481-55, according to the AP count. It’s essentially a parallel election that underscores Clinton’s lopsided support from the Democratic establishment” [AP].

“Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decried the country’s “broken two-party system” at a book party in New York City Thursday night, testing out a message that could serve as the underpinning of a presidential run” [MSNBC]. “Candidates sense that … America has lost faith with its institutions, but instead of fixing it, they are trying to exploit it,” Bloomberg said at a book party for columnist Peggy Noonan, according to a transcript provided by a source close to the former mayor. “The list of supposed villains we hear about is long – but the actual solutions that Americans seek have been in short supply.”

“Aboard his campaign plane Thursday, Sanders told reporters that Killer Mike was quoting someone else — but that he agreed with the basic premise” [MSNBC]. “‘What Mike said essentially is that … people should not be voting for candidates based on their gender, but based on what they believe. I think that makes sense.'” Subtext: Sanders didn’t throw Killer Mike under the bus.

Nevada (this Saturday)

“Transcript: MSNBC and Telemundo’s Clinton-Sanders Town Hall” [NBC News]. Clinton is a policy wonk on what’s already in the legislative hopper, Sanders on what ought to be in it. Unfortunately, the format didn’t put the same question to each candidate, or allow the candidates to interact. And NBC’s recap is awful. In fact, most of the reporting is awful; this, from the Los Angeles Times, seems the most comprehensive.

A question asked of Clinton:

Clinton’s answer:

CLINTON: Well, let me say this. I’m happy to release anything I have when everybody else does the same, because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including Senator Sanders.


CLINTON: But let me get to the heart of your question. I was the candidate who went to Wall Street before the crash. I was the candidate who went to them and said you are wrecking our economy. What you are doing with mortgages is going to bring us down.

I called to end the carried interest loophole for hedge fund managers. I called to reign in CEO pay. I now have the most effective and comprehensive plan to deal with the threats that Wall Street poses, and I go further than Senator Sanders does because I want to go through after all the other bank bad actors.

The bad actors like hedge funds, the bad actors like AIG, the insurance company. Like Countrywide mortgage. I take a backseat to nobody in being very clear about what I will do to make sure Wall Street never crashes main street again. And, that you can count on.

Where to begin? With the first talking point, “including Senator Sanders.” “Financial records show Sanders made $1,876 for two paid speeches and a television appearance last year. Sanders donated the speech fees to a local charity in Vermont that serves low-income families” [The Intercept].

“The buzz generated by Sanders’ initial sermon on economic inequality [in 2014] led to a second invite last year — months before Sanders announced his presidential bid — when the Culinary Union hosted the senator for another economic town hall event. The first gathering was mainly attended by older, white progressive men, but the second event attracted a more diverse crowd” [Politico]. And many “Clinton operatives” “concede that, unlike the Barack Obama phenomenon in 2008, they still don’t understand the Sanders appeal.” Sounds like they’ve got a blind spot. I wonder what it could be?

“Bernie Sanders wins backing of African American group in Nevada’s largest county” [WaPo]. “Yvette Williams, chairwoman of the caucus, said that Sanders’s agenda most closely aligned with that of her nonpartisan group, saying the endorsement of Sanders ‘wasn’t a very difficult decision. His message really resonates when he talks about income inequality, racial justice and prison reform.'”

“Recording Suggests Hillary Clinton Backers Testing Attack Lines Ahead of Nevada Caucus” [ABC]. In other words, push polling.

South Carolina (Republicans, this weekend; Democrats, Saturday, February 27)

Marist poll: Trump 28, Cruz 23, Rubio 15, Jebbie 13, Kasich and Carson 9. Clinton 63, Sanders 29 [Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump’s Lead in South Carolina Narrows as Conservatives Turn to Ted Cruz, Poll Finds”]. And here’s a good breakdown of the Marist results on Trump [WaPo].

“Bush machine running on fumes” [Politico]. The quotes are just sad. How much money did Bush light on fire? $250 million?

” U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn to endorse Hillary Clinton for president” [The State]. Clyburn’s endorsement, of Obama, in 2008, made a big difference. Clyburn: “Well, you know, I think of both candidates being a certain cachet to the system. Bernie is really energizing young voters, and we need them. Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that the older voters feel that she is very reliable, and we need reliability. Hopefully, when one is successful and the other is not, we can combine our forces and resources.”

“Ted Cruz’s firewall is the bloc of southern states that vote between February 20 and the so-called March 1 SEC primary. Chocked full of Republican voters who define themselves as very conservative and evangelical, these states look much more like Iowa (where Cruz won) than New Hampshire (where he didn’t). The Cruz strategy is to use South Carolina, with an electorate that’s traditionally been around 65 percent evangelical, as a springboard into evangelical-heavy SEC primary states like Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Yet, the latest polling out of South Carolina shows that the evangelical firewall is not looking all that fireproof. Almost every poll shows Cruz trailing Trump by double digits” [Cook Political Report].

“A strong Trump win in South Carolina sets him up well for March 1st. But, I’m watching as closely for how he does among non-college-educated voters as how he does among evangelical voters. A dominant performance among blue-collar voters means he has serious staying power once we get out of the south and into blue-collar heavy Midwestern states like Michigan (March 8) and Ohio (March 15). I will also be looking closely at how well Trump does among Republican (non-independent) voters and those who define themselves as “somewhat conservative.” As I’ve written earlier, the deeper into the primary calendar we get, the voters get more secular and the rules more prohibitive” [Cook Political Report].

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, January 2016: “Consumer prices are on the rise and the Fed’s December rate hike doesn’t look misplaced at all” [Econoday]. “Services are the center of the economy’s strength and prices are rising, led by medical care which jumped 0.5 percent in the month for a year-on-year plus 3.0 percent. The subcomponent for prescription drugs also rose 0.5 percent. Shelter rose 0.3 percent in the month as did rent while owner’s equivalent rent rose 0.2 percent. Away-from-home prices jumped 2.0 percent… These results may prove to be a game changer for the FOMC, pointing to pressure for next week’s PCE price data and perhaps reviving chances for a March FOMC rate hike.”

Architectural Billing: “The Architecture Billings Index has begun this year modestly dipping back into negative terrain. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January ABI score was 49.6, down slightly from the mark of 51.3 in the previous month. This score reflects a minor decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 55.3, down from a reading of 60.5 the previous month” [American Institute of Architects].

Honey for the Bears: “Perhaps the most fundamental distinction between today’s global economy and those of 1998 and 2008 are the many more sources of vulnerability today than in the previous crises. Sadly, unlike in both 1998 and 2008, when the global economic crisis emanated from a confined geographical area, today’s crisis has the potential of being driven by events not only in China and the emerging market economies but also by events in the European economic periphery, the United Kingdom and Japan” [The Hill]. Author is from AEI.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48, Neutral (previous close: 48) [CNN]. One week ago: 21 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 19 at 10:33am. Shift to greed after a visit to the Nineteenth Hole on Sunday?


“Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday the creation of a statewide water quality rapid response team to address contamination problems like those that have left residents in the Hoosick Falls area reeling” [Times Union]. “The announcement was made on Long Island, where the state will take area-specific steps to address water quality issues. That includes a $6 million islandwide study of salt water and chemical contamination of fresh groundwater and independent testing of a plume of contamination surrounding the once-bustling Northrop Grumman plant in Nassau County. … The issue of who would test what and when has come to the forefront in Hoosick Falls, where the state has gone as far as to begin blood testing residents who think they have been affected by the perfluorooctanoic acid-contaminated water.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday dismissed a request for compensation from the estates of three people who had been involuntarily sterilized by the state” [Courthouse News]. “To be eligible for a portion of the $10 million fund, victims must have been alive on June 30, 2013, but Hughes, Redmond and Smith all died between 1996 and 2010.”

Our Famously Free Press

“So what was the result? First, the response rate was higher for FOI than just asking. To be exact an FOI was twice as likely to get a response as an informal approach. The bottleneck appeared to be over emails getting lost or going into junk at the earliest stage. Second, FOI triggered more compliance and our findings showed that FOI requests got stronger and not weaker the more was demanded” [London School of Economics].


“Universal resilience patterns in complex networks” [Nature] (summary at Phys.org.) “The proposed analytical framework allows us systematically to separate the roles of the system’s dynamics and topology, collapsing the behaviour of different networks onto a single universal resilience function. The analytical results unveil the network characteristics that can enhance or diminish resilience, offering ways to prevent the collapse of ecological, biological or economic systems, and guiding the design of technological systems resilient to both internal failures and environmental changes.”

Guillotine Watch

“Kenneth Griffin Joins Elite Rank of Hedge Fund Art Patrons With $500 Million Deal” [New York Times]. Big bucks from a synthetic beta male, eh Ken?

“The world’s largest provider of kidney dialysis equipment and services has agreed to pay $250 million to settle thousands of lawsuits from dialysis patients and their relatives claiming that the company’s products had caused heart problems and deaths” [New York Times]. Why aren’t the executives in jail? Since people died because of their actions?

Class Warfare

“Under pressure from the hotel industry and a populace concerned with the surge of foreigners in their neighborhoods, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has released guidelines for home-sharing — called minpaku in Japanese — that could make most Airbnb rentals in the country illegal” [Japan Times].

News of the Wired

“Secret Memo Details U.S.’s Broader Strategy to Crack Phones” [Bloomberg].

“Plano couple sued after giving one star to pet-sitting company on Yelp” [Dallas Morning News]. Apparently the contract had a non-disparagement clause.

“Remains at a Swedish fort tell a story of bloody Iron Age warfare” [Ars Technica] (from Archeology). “For once, superstition has actually helped the progress of science. Because people were afraid to loot or touch Sandby Borg, the town has remained frozen in time, with all its artifacts intact. It offers archaeologists a perfect snapshot of life in the mid-400s, at a time of dramatic transition for Europe.” So the taboo lasted over a millenium? We’ll probably have to do the same with fracking sites…

* * *

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 (Kurt Sperry):


Day lilies. In February. The sheer injustice!

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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. voteforno6

    I am actually heartened by the pushback from the establishment against Sanders. That means that they’re starting to pay attention, and that they’re scared.

        1. different clue

          So once Bernie has released all his speech transcripts, he could impishly puckishly ask Candidate Clinton if she plans to ask the Repuglan candidates to release their speech transcripts so she can release hers. ” Or does she not WANT to release her speech transcripts? Is she merely hiding behind the Repuglan non-release of THEIR speech transcripts as an excuse to withhold HER speech transcripts?”

  2. Carolinian

    Finally saw a Hillary road sign. The graphics are odd–it looks like a corporate logo. However if signs show who will win then Trump must be feeling confident. Around here he easily wins the sign count.

    And speaking of Trump, this is a good article that talks about Trump’s appeal among the decaying working class.

    My anger sprang, not from a difference over policy, but from somewhere more primal. I wanted, as Walt Whitman might say, to sound my “barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Whatever I thought about Jeb’s education plan or record as governor, he had touched a raw cultural nerve. His defense of his brother ignored and insulted the experiences of people like me, and he was proud of it.

    In an instant, I became Trump’s biggest fan. I wanted him to go for the jugular. I wanted him to inquire whom, precisely, George W. Bush had kept safe. Was it the veterans lingering in a bureaucratic quagmire at the Department of Veterans Affairs or the victims of 9/11? Was it the enlistees from my block back home, who signed their lives on the dotted line while Jeb’s brother told the country to “go shopping” — something kids like me couldn’t afford to do?

    Though Trump held his fire in the debate, he lit into George W. Bush on social media and in interviews afterwards. Other candidates defended the former president. They, too, failed to understand Trump’s appeal, how something so offensive to their political palate could be cathartic for millions of their own voters.

    Catharsis….the thing the bemused elites aren’t getting?


    linked via the below which is worth a read in full


    1. Irving Washington

      I would encourage everyone to read the last link above, in full as suggested. Thanks, Carolinian.

      1. DJG

        Thanks, Carolinian and Irving Washington. The second article, by Dreher, is anguished and compassionate. I recall driving through towns in Ohio and Pennsylvania that are mainly wreckage, with some chain restaurants around the edges for the occasional celebration. And yet, Lambert quotes the National Review article:

        “the normal laws of political science have been suspended. A lot of voters are convinced Trump and Sanders are electable, and as long as they think that, their candidacies will stay aloft”

        So you have the American Conservative as a lonely voice, arguing a lefty viewpoint, ironically, and you have National Review thinking that there are inevitable laws of political science and that the voters are deluded in thinking that if enough people vote for Trump or Sanders, one of them may assume office. And the DLC, the Rahm Democrats, and the National Review are our betters?

        I’m glad to be a groundling.

    2. EGrise

      Thanks very much for that last link, very interesting reading. And very interesting overlaps in some political Venn diagrams.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes. And the “overlaps in some political Venn diagrams” is exactly what (dread word) intersectionality is all about — and what the vulgar identity politics erases. When the overlaps are erased you (a) literally cannot think “wage worker” as a basis for politics (since it overlaps virtually everything in the diagram and (b) get institutional silos, which reinforce conceptual silos, based on the non-overlapping categories.

      1. fresno dan


        I was e-mailing with a liberal friend this morning about my Trump posts. He said he was shocked by the reaction, especially considering that I was clear that I was just working out a thought experiment. He wrote:

        I’m totally with you on how out of touch these people are. The Trump-ites are my people, your people. When I go home to [deleted] I see so much despair, it just feels bleak. If you have any acquaintance with actual working class folks Trump should be easy to understand. It’s disturbing really that these “leaders” can’t get this. How can you read the studies of working class white men dying, killing themselves, stuck in addiction, and more and think, “Well, more free trade and tax credits will solve this!”

        I would add to this, “… and think, ‘Well, more restrictions on abortion, attempts to overturn Obergefell, and religious liberty protections will solve this!’”

        You readers know that I think religious liberty is the most important question facing America today. But I don’t know many people outside my relatively small circle of intellectual Christians who share my concern. It’s not even on their radar. Hey, it ought to be on their radar, because it’s going to affect them down the line more than they realize. Still, when you’re facing the kind of problems so many Americans who are not as well off and as secure as I am are facing, the kinds of things I worry about are an abstract threat.

        I believe abortion ought to be further restricted. I believe Obergefell was wrongly decided, though I think attempts to overturn it are a waste of time. I am extremely interested in more religious liberty protections — so much so that the religious liberty issue will probably determine my vote this fall.


        Late the other night, we got a text from a woman we know. She is one of the working poor, white, and older. She is a good-hearted woman who works very hard. She came into work one day for a friend of mine. Her hand was swollen, and probably broken. She didn’t have the money to go to the doctor. My friend offered to pay for it, but the woman wouldn’t take it. She was too proud to take charity. She went to work. With a broken hand. My friend was moved to tears by her dignity, and begged her to go to the doctor, to not worry about the cost. It did no good.

        When she texted the other night, she asked us for help moving. She lives in a poor town a parish (county) over from ours. She is in a bad marriage. I’m not sure which marriage this is; she has bad luck with men. We asked her if she was safe, did she need a place to stay? No answer. We were on tenterhooks. She has grown children, but they’re a mess, for Fishtown reasons. The next day, she got back in touch with us, and said everything was fine. I’m sure everything is not fine. She’s working with a broken hand, metaphorically speaking. This is her life.

        I have no idea who this lady is supporting for president, or if she even votes. But I would bet you what’s in my wallet that to the extent that she is engaged at all in politics, she’s voting Trump. Because she would be voting her desperation. When you live in a small town like I do, you see folks like her, and you get to know them. It’s not hard to see how folks like that are the authors of their own misery in many cases, but that doesn’t make them any less human, or any less our neighbor (and that is true for people of all races). The thing that gets to me about this woman is that because of my own personal social network, I know how hard she works, and at a time in life when people her age are supposed to be able to slow down and take it easy. She will be working that hard until the day she drops, because she has nothing.

        What does Jeb Bush have to offer her? Or Marco Rubio? Or Ted Cruz? Frankly, I don’t think that Donald Trump has much to offer her either (as J.D. Vance grasps), but he at least sees her, or appears to. That’s not nothing.

        “Frankly, I don’t think that Donald Trump has much to offer her either (as J.D. Vance grasps), but he at least sees her, or appears to. That’s not nothing”

        If one wonders about Hillary’s support among blacks, simply acknowledging people is worth a lot. It may not be sincere, it may not be factual, but if no one else even speaks to these people…. As the repubs can’t acknowledge blacks or working class whites, the fact that Trump does so well is not surprising….

  3. Jim Haygood

    Using today’s CPI release, last week’s retail sales report can be divided by CPI to obtain real retail sales (with the spurious inflation component removed).

    Result: year on year, real retail sales rose 2.3%, up from last month’s 1.5%.

    Point being, real retail sales aren’t falling, as they usually do in recessions. The U.S. economy may be slowing toward stall speed, but it hasn’t flopped nose-down yet.

  4. Vatch

    I know why Bush and Clinton have been able to spend so much: family connections and good relations with the oligarchs. But how has Ben Carson been able to spend more than $50 million? Who donated all of that money to him? Was it reincarnated pharaohs who were amused by his theory about the pyramids?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is his theory on the pyramids?

      Does it have anything to do with the one on the dollar bill?

          1. Vatch

            Think of the Genesis story of Pharaoh’s dream as interpreted by Joseph: seven years of good harvests followed by 7 lean years. Carson thinks they stored the grain in the pyramids.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                The Sphinx isn’t as relevant as finding “evidence” of the bible. Nothing has changed since Saint Helena, but anything that doesn’t fit is ignored.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I wonder what he thinks of the ark housed in the Ethiopian Church at Axum?

                  More evidence?

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    I believe that is an Eastern Rite. Evangelicals don’t go for anything too Catholic, one of Jeb’s real campaign problems. Santorum avoided this problem because Mittens was Mormon. Proving the historical nature of the bible is more important than relics, so I suppose it’s a bit different than Helena.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Money laundering? On a more down to earth note, he was a star for almost two months when Trump refused to go away and the GOP clown show was on full display. From a distance, Carson was a great candidate once he broke out.

    3. hunkerdown

      Probably, it was Shel Adelson who was impressed with his ability to convince the electorate of what isn’t so. Not that one should expect much else to fall out of a contest structured as it is, without broad vigilance.

      1. Peter Pan

        Perhaps Dr. Carson was operating several “pill mills” around the USA and just funneled the money into his election campaign. He could have a pledge to stop America’s pain by prescribing pain killers.

    4. RWood

      Well, plutocrats don’t just look at the bottom line. They appear to want to set cultural bounds, and they’ve established that there are many means to keep their dreams afloat. On bloody money.

  5. Carolinian

    McAfee offers to decrypt shooter phone so Apple won’t have to (and set a precedent)

    Cyberscience is not just something you can learn. It is an innate talent. The Juilliard School of Music cannot create a Mozart. A Mozart or a Bach, much like our modern hacking community, is genetically created. A room full of Stanford computer science graduates cannot compete with a true hacker without even a high-school education.

    So here is my offer to the FBI. I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team. We will primarily use social engineering, and it will take us three weeks. If you accept my offer, then you will not need to ask Apple to place a back door in its product, which will be the beginning of the end of America.


    1. Daryl

      McAfee is completely off his rocker. Has been for a long time. So much so that running as a Libertarian candidate is one of the less insane things he’s done.

    2. Skippy

      Lmmao…. “We will primarily use social engineering, and it will take us three weeks.”

      Skippy…. is that like code for water boarding and Gitmo accommodation…..

  6. Jim Haygood

    Some background on yesterday’s link concerning drastic cuts in benefits by Central States Pension Fund. This article is from Oct. 2015, the month after Central States first proposed benefit cuts:

    At the current rate, [Central States] likely will become insolvent in about 10 years. And that event in turn could trigger insolvency at Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is an insurance agency. Under a single-employer plan, the current maximum guaranteed benefit per retiree (starting at age 65) is $60,136 a year, with payments indexed for inflation. Under a multiemployer plan [such as Central States], the maximum annual benefit is only $12,870, a limit in place since 2001.

    [PBGC’s] multiemployer program ended fiscal year 2014 with a whopping deficit of $42.4 billion, a sum more than five times higher than the $8.3 billion deficit existing at the close of fiscal year 2013.

    The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 authorizes pension plans of a “critical and declining” status to reduce benefits, either permanently or temporarily. “Critical” means that a plan’s assets are less than 65 percent of projected long-term liabilities. “Declining” means that the plan is projected to run out of money in less than 15 years, or under special circumstances, less than 20 years.


    Breathtaking, ain’t it? A ‘rich country’ that bristles with shopping malls domestically and wields a ‘global domination’ military abroad not only has broke pension plans, but also has broke guarantee schemes standing behind them. A $42.4 billion deficit is serious money.

    Note that Social Security — about 20% funded and projected to blow out in 17 years — would easily qualify as “critical and declining” under MPRA-2014.

    So consider Central States as a ‘pilot project’ for eviscerating what’s left of the middle class. Meanwhile, the Depublicrat elite wonders why its establishment candidates are getting their faces ripped off …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why the huge difference between single-employer and multiemployer plans?

      And why the difference between the former and Social Security?

      Why can we have one universal pension plan, for all?

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘Why the huge difference between single-employer and multiemployer plans?’

        Don’t know. Got to be a story behind it. It’s eye-popping.

        Five to one, baby, one in five
        No one here gets out alive
        You get yours, baby, I’ll get mine

        — The Doors

        1. wbgonne

          The old get old and the young gets stronger
          May take a week and it may take longer
          They got the guns but we got the numbers

  7. C

    “‘I do not believe that we’re going to reach a T-TIP agreement before the president leaves office,’ White House spokesman John Earnest said this week. ‘But he’s certainly interested in moving those negotiations forward and in a direction where we can be confident that the economy of the United States will be enhanced through the completion of an agreement, hopefully under the leadership of the next U.S. President‘” [Forbes].

    I.e. we want to set things up so that Hillary can “evolve” again and pass them once she no longer needs the Democratic “Base” or Unions to get elected.

  8. Left in Wisconsin

    So I sat through the entire Sanders/Clinton forum thing last night. Here are some observations to go with the transcript.

    1. They ran a little canned intro of soundbites from both candidates first. I presume they tried to make it even-handed (in that journalistic way) but it felt like a Sanders campaign ad – he was that much better than her on every soundbite.

    2. Sanders went first and he killed. A couple of questions were pretty specific so he couldn’t do much with them but on most he was just dead on.

    3. HRC went second and you could see she was trying to triangulate every answer based on what she already knew he had said. (Specific questions were different in the two segments but the topics were mostly the same.) You might think this would give her an advantage but on question after question, you could sense the unease in the audience at her, let’s call it, lack of straightforwardness.

    4. Some of the questions from the audience members were fantastic. First time I have heard a question directed to HRC about her time on the Walmart board. That Q&A was very revealing. Questioner asked her if having been on Walmart board would make her reluctant to challenge Walmart’s anti-unionism. HRC responded by saying “But I have all the union endorsements!”

    1. wbgonne

      HRC went second and you could see she was trying to triangulate every answer based on what she already knew he had said.

      Hillary speaks like she’s being deposed. She is a dreadful politician. She is losing to every GOP clown candidate except Trump while Sanders beats them all. The fact that the Democratic Party elites desperately want Clinton demonstrates yet again that they would rather lose with neoliberalism than win with economic populism.

      On a related point, this debate about whether Clinton is a progressive is absurd. Clinton is a neoliberal, which is the opposite of progressive. The fact that the term neoliberalism has not yet entered the mainstream of American political discourse illustrates why American politics is failing: we can’t even call things what they are.

      1. timbers

        “Clinton is a neoliberal, which is the opposite of progressive. The fact that the term neoliberalism has not yet entered the mainstream of American political discourse illustrates why American politics is failing: we can’t even call things what they are.”

        My theory is call Clinton, Obama, etc what they are: right wing conservatives. Use the work neoliberal among the average Joe and you get blank stare. No one knows what it means.

      2. rich

        RALPH NADER: Hillary Clinton sugarcoating her disastrous record Published: Friday, February 19, 2016
        Detailed studies in the New England Journal of Medicine show big savings from a single-payer system in our country.

        It is Hillary Clinton who is not levelling with the people about the costs of maintaining the spiraling U.S. costs of drugs, hospital stays and insurance premiums that are the highest in the world. The costs include: 1) the waste of well over $1 trillion a year; 2) daily denials of coverage by the Aetnas of the corporate world; 3) about forty thousand Americans dying each year, according to a peer-reviewed Harvard Medical School study, because they cannot afford health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time; and 4) daily agonizing negotiations over insurance company denials, exclusions and bureaucratic paperwork that drive physicians up the wall.

        Clinton hasn’t explained why she was once for single-payer until she defined her “being practical” as refusing to take on big pharma, commercial hospital chains and the giant insurance companies. She is very “practical” about taking political contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street and the health care industry.

        As one 18 year-old student told the New York Times recently about Clinton, “sometimes you get this feeling that all of her sentences are owned by someone.”

        This protector of the status quo and the gross imbalance of power between the few and the many expresses perfectly why Wall Street financiers like her so much and prove it with their large continuing monetary contributions.

        Hillary Clinton is not “levelling with the American people,” when she keeps the transcripts (which she requested at the time) of her secret speeches (at $5,000 a minute!) before large Wall Street and trade association conventions. Her speaking contracts mandated secrecy. Clinton still hasn’t told voters what she was telling big bankers and many other industries from automotive to drugs to real estate developers behind closed doors.

        She has the gall to accuse Bernie Sanders of not being transparent.


      3. Jim Haygood

        ‘Hillary speaks like she’s being deposed. She is a dreadful politician.’

        Precisely. Her consort “Bill” is a politician first, lawyer second. HRC is the other way round.

        Theoretically, they are equally qualified. In practice, it’s night and day.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          She has a hard time unlearning what she had learned in law school.

          Proving, once again, that unlearning is harder than learning.

          “I can forget completely what I learned in graduate school.”

          “No way!!! What is your secret?”

      4. fresno dan

        February 19, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        “Hillary speaks like she’s being deposed.”
        Great insight!! Nails it!
        I saw a snippet of Hillary on a political show being interviewed by Scott Pelley of CBS who asked Hillary if she had ever lied.
        Hillary’s answer, “I don’t believe I ever have.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Her problem is she is not a good liar.

          Many liars are better than her; and we don’t even know they are lying.

          1. bdy

            I grew up sharing a room with a pathological liar. Arguably, I enabled them and exasperated the condition by believing every word they said — until I was ten or so.

            The trick to being good at it (lying) is to be delusional — enough so that you can believe that whatever story happens to serve your agenda is the absolute truth, right as it comes out of your mouth. Hello Ted Cruz and GWB establishing Christian bona fides, Trump padding his resume, or the Bills Gates and Clinton setting themselves up as heroes of the downtrodden.

            As for Hillary and Barrack, what can you say? It’s quite obvious neither has an ounce of sincerity or veracity, but so many of us still buy it. Maybe a delusional audience helps as well. Or maybe it’s like me with crazy sibling, where not believing is just a little scarier.

        2. fresno dan

          Turns out the whole conversation I referenced was in today’s water cooler


          PELLEY: You know, in ’76, Jimmy Carter famously said, “I will not lie to you.”

          CLINTON: Well, I have to tell you I have tried in every way I know how literally from my years as a young lawyer all the way through my time as secretary of state to level with the American people.

          PELLEY: You talk about leveling with the American people. Have you always told the truth?

          CLINTON: I’ve always tried to. Always. Always.

          PELLEY: Some people are gonna call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself.

          CLINTON: Well, no, I’ve always tried —

          PELLEY: I mean, Jimmy Carter said, “I will never lie to you.”

          CLINTON: Well, but, you know, you’re asking me to say, “Have I ever?” I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever will. I’m gonna do the best I can to level with the American people.

        3. abynormal

          ”I am surprised at the way people seem to perceive me, and sometimes I read stories and hear things about me and I go “ugh.” I wouldn’t like her either. It’s so unlike what I think I am or what my friends think I am.” ~Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Times, p. 1 (January 10, 1995). An off-the-record comment to reporters, published by Marian Burros.

          “Even an obvious fabrication is some comfort when you have few others.”
          Margaret Atwood

        4. Lambert Strether Post author


          1. to remove from office or position, especially high office:
          The people deposed the dictator.

          2. to testify or affirm under oath, especially in a written statement:
          to depose that it was true.

          I originally read your comment as sense #1, but now I see you meant sense #2 :-)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      From my reading of the transcript, you’re spot on. The difference in tone between the two candidates was striking. And the questions were great, far better than the network commentators (though if they were screened, letting that one through about Hillary and the transcripts means the screening wasn’t too skewed).

      Not hearing any hosannas from the Clinton campaign, so I assume they don’t think they won.

      I don’t know enough about immigration policy to know what impact Sanders’ vote against the 2007 immigration bill will have on the Hispanic vote. That he voted against it because the “guest worker” provision amounted to involuntary servitude seems reasonable, but perhaps Hispanics would have preferred any bill to no bill.

  9. wbgonne

    I think tomorrow’s caucus in Nevada is important. If Sanders wins, and especially if he does well with Latinos, then Clinton will be under enormous pressure in South Carolina and will likely begin to over-mine her support within the African American community. When Clinton is under pressure she makes mistakes. While I find this parsing of ethnic groups most unsavory and counter to the 99% ethos the nation needs, it is the current political reality in the Democratic Party. If Clinton’s only real bastion of support is AAs, particularly elderly AAs, then Clinton can be beaten. Nevada may be telling.

      1. Carolinian

        Fake Morgan Freeman may be available for Sanders ads. After all if Hill is going to go nuclear with the celebrity endorsements then this means war!

        the agency that produced the ad said that “there was no conscious decision to use the talent because he sounded like Morgan Freeman, we chose him because he always does a great job of delivering a message because he is a very talented announcer.” By “talent,” they probably meant, “sounds a lot like Morgan Freeman.”


        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          All’s fair in love and war.

          Two things so different and yet, so alike…at least as far as playing fair goes.

  10. flora

    re: Apple vs FBI

    On the one hand government officials and agencies are encouraging stronger efforts to protect user information:
    “The [California] Attorney General’s Office also recommends organizations:
    “Make multi-factor authentication available on consumer-facing online accounts that contain sensitive personal information. This procedure provides greater protection than the username-and-password combination typically used for online shopping accounts, health care websites and patient portals, and web-based email accounts. Consistently use strong encryption to protect personal information on laptops and other portable devices, and consider using it for desktop computers. This is particularly important for health care, which appears to be lagging behind other sectors in this area. Encourage individuals affected by a breach of Social Security numbers or driver’s license numbers to place a fraud alert on their credit files. This measure is free, fast, and effective in preventing identity thieves from opening new credit accounts.”
    -my emphasis

    On the other hand government officials and agencies are trying to keep digital devices insecure.
    See Apple vs. FBI.
    You can’t make security holes that only the good guys will access.

    It’s a dilemma.

    1. tegnost

      apple really needs iphone 7 buyers so at the least there’ll be much braying. The NSA is proving, so far, to be bad for globalsation, there must be something i’m missing…

  11. wbgonne

    Department of kudos. First, to Lambert for his amazingly broad and deep Water Cooler aggregations, not to to mention his frequently brilliant commentarial accompaniments (yes, I just invented those words). Second, to Jim Haygood, whose wonderful comments so often make me smile. There should be a Jim Haygood Pith and Erudition Award for NC comments.

  12. RP

    The graph re: Spending vs polling

    Likely the first and only time you’ll see Clinton to the left of Sanders on just about anything.

  13. Clive

    I, of course, love Japan and the Japanese, but the typical Japanese neighbourhood populous does not particularly like the idea of non-Japanese residents in their midsts. In traditionally established foreigners’ haunts (Tokyo’s Roppongi, to name but one example, where the U.S. base probably helps, ironically; quite why the U.S. needs “boots on the ground” in this upscale chi-chi district was a mystery to me, but that’s another subject) fine.

    But outside these, well, be prepared for as a minimum a bit of suspicion and don’t expect a Welcoming Committee.

    This is not in my opinion because the Japanese do not like foreigners. It is rather because in densely populated urban Japan where you inevitably live cheek-by-jowl and everyone has to know — and adhere — to the myriad of unspecified and unspoken rules, no one thinks the foreigners will ever “get it” and everyone thinks there’s no point in trying to educate a non Japanese becuase, of course, not being Japanese they’re never going to get the hang of it.

    After many months or even years of unstinting effort and palpable displays of 一生懸命, they go easier on you. It’s worth the effort.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s amazing how Kahru mastered the Japanese woodblock printing, considering the obstacles you mentioned.

      BTW, is Yokosuka fairly friendly to Westerners? Or is it more like Okinawa?

      1. Clive

        Ah, sorry, I don’t know that area to be able to say! But if it is in any way an established tourist destination (with hotels, public places, restaurants, bars, onsen, anything like that) and you’re a visitor, as the “honoured guest” you’re sure to get the kindest of greetings and have a great stay.

        I was more referring to where you are off the beaten track and are outside of where public Japan is found.

        What I explained above was an abridged, probably sanitised version. A lot of the sorts of mistakes a foreign person trying to live in “real” Japan (how I hate that phrase, it is all “real”, but anyhow, the non-foreigner frequented areas, shall we say) could make might be really jarring to the Japanese themselves.

        To give a “for instance”, I was once visiting a friend’s apartment for the first time. I got out of the station and navigated the mysterious maze that is most of Japan’s cityscapes. Addresses and street numbers in Japan are an opaque art, not a science. But I had a map and was reasonably sure I was at the right mansion block. I rode the lift to what I thought should be the correct floor. But I didn’t reconcile the description of my friend’s apartment with what I was looking at. I then got a little disoriented (it was a large-ish sprawling building) and wondered if I’d written down the floor number in the English notation (starting at “ground” not “first”) rather than the one used in the U.S. and Japan. Or got the wrong building. Or the wrong district entirety. The kind of worrying things that go through your head when you’re a bit lost.

        Never mind, I thought, I’ll wander around for a while and be bound to come across someone local – hopefully a resident — I can ask. But a floor or two up from where I started, there was a small sign on one of the doors which indicated that that particular apartment was used, well, let’s just say for dubious entertaining for an exclusively male set of customers. And the purveyors of the entertainment were not very old. I gathered that the apartment could well be being used for one of Japan’s notorious high school prostitution rings (sorry, I mean “compensated relationships”). If that’s indeed what was going on there, in this quiet, ordinary mansion block, then the yakuza (Japan’s mafia) probably would be involved somewhere – owning, renting or fronting the apartment most likely.

        I went back down to street level and phoned my friend playing the hapless, incompetent foreigner card and asked to be met at the station entrance. I certainly did not mention the house, or rather apartment, of ill repute I’d stumbled across. It is not for foreigners to shove Japan’s societal problems up the noses of the Japanese. I knew that. But your typical Air b ‘n b renters? No, they probably wouldn’t know. You don’t, by-and-large, rock the boat in Japan. So if you’re minded to go rocking it, the Japanese don’t really want you in it.

        This is where Air b ‘n b and the like are genuinely for once – and unfortunately – “disruptive”. The yakuza would never, ever, set up an operation like the one I think I stumbled across anywhere near where anyone (be they Japanese or non-Japanese) wanting to visit “public” Japan would be likely to go. Certainly nowhere near a proper hotel or where you might get tourists. It would break the yakuza’s social contract. Yes, I know saying that gangsters might have a social contract sounds silly, but that’s a fair description.

        But with the effects that Air b ‘n b might have (and this is what the Japanese press article Lambert linked to was driving at, although it did, in characteristic Japanese style, hum and haw around it) then – in Japan, just like everywhere else – Air b ‘n b breaks all the established rules.

        Hope that all makes some sort of sense !

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s a nice story.

          It’s the same here in Southern California.

          Welcome to Disneyland.

          If you want to live and work in, say Anaheim, you have to get ‘it’ – ‘it’ could be the Standard American Diet, American pop culture, football, no time for family or relatives, standard distance (the North American distance standard) when talking to someone, owing a car or many other things.

          Luckily, many newcomers seem to get ‘it.’

          I attribute it to the power of imperial propaganda.

          That’s my guess, though I am likely wrong.

        2. notjonathon

          Now that depends. My frustrations with Japanese life over the past quarter century are myriad, and I’m fond of replying to “How do you like living in Japan?” with “Well, I’m used to Japan, but Japan isn’t used to me.”
          On the other hand, I remember, in my professorial days, how, after arguing with my xenophobic colleagues all day over policy, on my way home, the obaachan (elderly lady) weeding her garden would cheerfully call out, “okaeri nasai” (welcome home) as I passed by.

          Speaking of gangsters, no one seems to be probing very deeply into “I’ll sue you if you mention that” Donald Trump’s relationship with the Mafia.

          1. Clive

            I think that’s part of Japan’s charm isn’t it, just when it’s begun to repel you to such a degree that you think it’s pretty much crossed the line and that’s that, you’ve had enough, it beguiles you so delightfully that all is forgiven.

  14. BDBlue

    “I don’t go around, no one has ever heard me say, ‘Hey guys, let’s stand together, vote for a man.’ I would never do that, never have.”

    This – from that MSNBC piece on Sanders – is maybe one of the stupider things Sanders has said. If you don’t believe me, change “man” to “white person” and have Hillary Clinton say it in 2008. Because, of course, he would never, ever do that because to do so would make him a sexist ass. And it is not actually the same thing as what Hillary is doing, which is speaking to a real desire on the part of many women and some men to see not just a woman elected president, but the first woman ever elected president. That doesn’t, of course, mean that she’s the right woman or that such desire should automatically outweigh benefits other candidates may offer. I think there are a lot of arguments to be made against her candidacy in that regard and I don’t think you have to throw Killer Mike under the bus to do it. But to deny the desire to elect a woman president exists or that it is somehow not a legitimate thing seems just dumb and politically tone deaf (something I think Sanders rarely is). The better course would be to acknowledge the desire and explain why his policies make it worth passing on achieving that symbolic victory this go round.

    1. Pat

      I have to say Killer Mike handled it better on the View today. That said this is a no win subject. Ever.

      Personally I may be deeply offended by the mere idea that I should vote for Hillary Clinton because I also have a uterus. But those who have invested in the idea of the first woman President and for some reason have decided that Clinton is the best shot for the job are not willing to understand that yes, for some of us, you are asking us to vote for the Democratic equivalent of Sarah Palin, despite having better polish.

      They know that it is not just about being female, but being unwilling to really look at the resume, to understand how thin and frayed it really is they just won’t get where they need to go. Which is not THIS woman.

      And truth is that yes, Women for Hillary is just as offensive as Men for Bernie is but without understanding that if you decry identity politics for one group you have to decry it for your own, that will not be clear to those who chose to get offended.

    2. efschumacher

      Actually iIhung back for quite a while from supporting Bernie on grounds of his age. I was waiting and hoping for Elizabeth Warren to run. If she did so, or does so, she will unquestioningly get my vote. Not becaue she is a woman, but she tells all the truth that Vernie tells, supports all the policies that Bernie supports, and yes, she is younger.

      Bernie is my Plan B.

      I don’t have a Plan H.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      “The better course would be to acknowledge the desire and explain why his policies make it worth passing on achieving that symbolic victory this go round.”

      That’s good framing.

  15. Plenue

    “A lot of voters are convinced Trump and Sanders are electable”

    Now, forgive me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t this how democracies are supposed to, you know, work? If enough people think a candidate can win, surprise, they win.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Both low information and high information.

      And humans are flexible.

      They might have been low information many times, but they can be high information also.

      “Whatever I like, the world must like too. It doesn’t matter I loved beef yesterday. Today I fancy chicken and the world must agree with me that that is the most delicious thing in the world.”

  16. VietnamVet

    In America, poor white women are dying at an increasingly earlier age. This a direct consequence of the loss of good paying jobs, despair, abysmal public health care and the elite contempt of the under-classes. At the same time, the Clinton family has enriched itself. Hillary Clinton and her surrogates are telling women to vote for her due to her gender. They ignore the inequities suffered by their sex as a few get wealthier.

  17. rjs

    be aware: a lotta people are looking at the unchanged CPI and think inflation is heating up…that’s because last January the CPI was down 0.7% on a 9.7% collapse of energy prices…hence, the year over year comparisons now drop the change from Dec 2014 to Jan 2015, which makes it look like the YoY CPI rose from 0.7% last month to 1.4% this month…

  18. knowbuddhau

    So when The Great and Terrible Operative K calls Sanders proposals “voodoo” — and I do question why a putative progressive would use “voodoo” as a term of disparagement — he really means that Sanders isn’t performing the proper rituals.

    Late to the party as ever, just want to say, thanks for emphasizing the ritual aspect of political economics.

  19. RMO

    I seriously doubt Paul Krugman has been given a talking to by the Democratic party powers that be – he just isn’t that important to the Washington elites. He’s on the fringe as can be seen by just how little attention the media or political movers and shakers actually pay attention to anything he says. I think he probably really does think the Sanders would lose the election if he were the nominee and thus is putting everything he has, not that that really amounts to much actual influence, into Clinton’s campaign. That said, it’s sad to see how bad his columns on the campaigns have become, and heartening to see that the comments they draw seem to indicate that the vast majority of readers aren’t buying it. Regardless of the outcomes of the GOP and Democratic primaries I think that this year is going to deliver quite a blow to both parties if the establishment approved candidates are selected. I think the conclusion of a piece linked on the site (can’t remember whether it was in Water Cooler, links or comments) about the attempt to claim that it wasn’t Bernie in that 60’s sit-in picture are dead on about the Democrats attitude towards actual voters: “You don’t f*****g matter” and the GOP has roughly the same opinion of it’s base though perhaps they fear them a little more. If the “insider” candidates get the nod it will be made painfully clear just how much contempt the parties have for the citizens. Ultimately a nation is a shared act of belief among a group of people. If the belief dies the nation is in grave danger.

    1. bdy

      K’s bread and butter has always been staking out the leftward bounds of the Friedman era Overton window. Too much privilege from thinking he’s the leftiest voice in the realm of possibility. Too much built-in apology to his schtick: “why we can’t . . .” Guy wussed himself into a corner, can’t budge any direction other than right without losing his last bit of dwindling cred with the wrong crowd.

      Hey look I’m in yesterday’s water cooler! Oops.

  20. cripes

    Horrible spectacle unfolding on MSNBC and CNN coverage of Nevada caucuses.

    Tweety Mathews and his gang are in the bag for Hillary and don’t bother to hide it. Every guest is a Clinton bagger.

    Millennial for Clinton (read with Valley Girl accent) “Bernie Sanders hasn’t do-o-o-ne much. Hillary gets things do-o-o-ne.” When asked what Hillary had “done.” she sez: “She’s worked hard in the senate, and Obama made her secretary of state because he knew she could get things done, and she’s been to the middle east, like, working for peace.”

    I kid you not.

  21. barrisj

    Well, surely, after SC, the Kasich money peeps will finally get it, and persuade this douchebag to pack it in, he done. My man Jeb! bails, da Trumpster still flying high, the execrable Cruz and the beyond-featherweight contendah Rubio locked in a cage-match to…well, to what? An “alternative” to the Donald? No effing way…Trumpster is rolling, last man standing. Who knew? Of course, now evahbody will be saying that all the “smart money” be flowing to Marco…he the stopper, back this horse NOW, or forever STFU, because – if not, Trumpster has it in the bag…oy vey, soch a business. Can anyone with a straight face proclaim Marco-fecking-Rubio as a plausible, credible alternative to DT? Da pipple have spoken, already…Marco is your server at this new trendy Latin fusion restaurant in the Village…no, he’s NOT – for the love of God Almighty – your next fecking Pres’dint. An, dat’s da trut’.

      1. Skippy

        Some want a – Real – American in the white house…. as seen on “Reality TV”….

        Skippy… On the other hand I had the misfortune of moving through the lounge room to catch Hillary in the Red outfit and could only see the devil figure in a Sanders movie or more ominous The Cell…

  22. Elliot

    re: “So the taboo lasted over a millenium? We’ll probably have to do the same with fracking sites… ”

    Even moreso, highly contaminated nuclear sites like Hanford and now Fukushima; I remember reading that one part of the cleanup process is figuring out how to make ‘warning/stay away’ signage that will outlast our languages, as surely they will have ceased to be used long before those sites are safe for human entry.

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