2:00PM Water Cooler 2/26/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


The Petersen Institute study on the trade benefits of TPP assumes that trade surpluses do not change” [Dean Baker, Los Angeles Times]. “Working from the assumption that the TPP doesn’t change the trade balance, if the pharmaceutical industry starts getting more money for its drugs, then other American industries will start getting less money for whatever they try to sell overseas. Manufacturing is quite likely to be a big loser. In effect, the money foreigners might have spent on our cars and other manufactured goods will instead be used to pay Pfizer higher prices for its drugs.”

“Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC. In the letter, which was provided to Ars by a Disney employee, Iger tells workers about his company’s recent intellectual property victories, including stronger IP protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Supreme Court victory that destroyed Aereo, and continued vigilance about the “state of copyright law in the digital environment.” It also mentions that Disney is seeking an opening to lower the corporate tax rate” [Ars Technica]. How feudal. Perhaps Lord Iger should simply reinstitute the corvée?



“Wanted: Goal-Oriented Non-Ideological Fiscal Policymaker” [N. Kocherlakota]. Interesting. “[W]e need a government that is firmly committed to using the power of fiscal policy to fill the void that is being left by monetary policy.” At a high-level, I’m dubious about the possibility of “non-ideological” “goals” when making “policy.”

“SENATOR SANDERS’S PROPOSED POLICIES AND ECONOMIC GROWTH” [Christina D. Romer and David H. Romer]. “However, a wide range of evidence suggests that while there is likely some output gap currently, it is not nearly large enough to accommodate growth of 5.3% per year for ten years without pushing the economy well above its productive capacity.” I can’t speak to most of the paper. Readers? But I’m not so sure about the output gap. See this handy chart from Doug Short and Steve Hansen:


So far as I can tell, we wouldn’t even be having this “conversation” if Sanders hadn’t made his proposals and Friedman hadn’t costed them out. So why would I care about the Romers’ carefully parsed prose? Do neoliberal economists really imagine themselves to be scholars? There’s work everywhere that needs doing, but “the economy” can’t get it done. So the spectacle of the class of people who run “the economy” all piling onto this one economist and savagely kicking down would be amusing, if it weren’t so pathetic. And so damaging. Would it be too cynical to imagine that the only jobs they’re concerned with are their own?

“Big Banks and the White House Are Teaming Up to Fleece Poor People” [Foreign Policy]. The way to solve the problems of “the unbanked” is a Post Office bank, not whatever new looting scheme JP Morgan has in mind.

“Donald Trump’s Big Socialist Idea” [HuffPo]. “In November 1999, the businessman proposed a one-time, 14.25 percent tax on the total wealth of individuals and trusts with a net worth of $10 million or more.”


“TV Pundits Praise Hillary Clinton On Air, Fail to Disclose Financial Ties to Her Campaign” [The Intercept]. Very, very detailed. Names names. Ka-ching.


“Thanks to the combination of the court ruling and congressional action, donors will be able to make an annual donation of $666,700 to the Hillary Victory Fund. (Previously, donors were limited to giving $123,200 to candidates, parties and political action committees per election cycle.) And some are already giving large sums” [HuffPo]. “Philanthropist Laure Woods gave $334,400, wealthy Chicagoan Fred Eychaner gave $353,400, Esprit co-founder Susie Tompkins Buell gave $320,000 and real estate billionaires J.B. and M.K. Pritzker each gave $320,000. Integrated Archive Systems CEO Amy Rao also gave $100,000. The $600,000 sent to the DNC by the super joint fundraising committee represents only a small slice of the group’s funds. The committee spent another $800,000 on fundraising expenses and on salaries for Clinton campaign staff [ka-ching]. The other $1.75 million has yet to be distributed to either the DNC, the Clinton campaign or the various state parties.”

“[Trump’s] report shows he has assets valued between $1.5 billion and $2.1 billion. But included in that are 23 assets whose value is labeled ‘over $50 million'” [Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump’s Financial Disclosure — What We Learned”]. With PDFs of the disclosure forms.


“Bernie Sanders Still Has a Path to Victory. Here It Is” [In These Times]. Lots of detail on delegates and caucuses, but this is a good summary of voters: “Polling in upcoming states, to the extent that polling can even be trusted in the modern campaign era, is virtually nonexistent. Sanders won huge margins of young voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire, but we’ve yet to see if that will hold true with young voters of color. Clinton is expected to win the African-American vote, but it’s unclear whether she’ll be able to do so with the same overwhelming margin that Obama did in 2008. Sanders is reaching white voters that Obama lost to Clinton, and Clinton is winning over households with higher incomes that Obama won. Turnout so far has not been nearly as high as it was in 2008. There are a lot of unanswered (and unanswerable) questions.”

“Marshall Kirkpatrick, of social-media analytics company Little Bird, took a look at the 21 people the Donald has blessed with his fantastic, luxurious retweets this week, and discovered that six of them follow major white-nationalist accounts, and 13 of them follow multiple accounts that have used the #whitegenocide hashtag” [New York Magazine]. Somehow, I don’t think many of those accounts are Sanders supporters. (Of course, the left generally — let alone career “progressives” has no framing for the “‘Stunning’ Rise in Death Rate, Pain Levels for Middle-Aged, Less Educated Whites,” so that rather leaves the door open for white nationalists, doesn’t it?)

The Trail

“Sanders unloads on Clinton during raucous speech in Chicago” [WaPo]. Good. My $0.02 is that Sanders needs a simple question, akin to “What does Stanton stand for?” in Primary Colors, that he can ask over and over again. That contextualizes the policy inconsistencies. That’s what his supporters on the Twitter are trying to tell him with #WhichHillary. In fact, “Which Hillary?” might do the trick.

“Twitter Attacks Clinton’s Record With #WhichHillary” [Wired].

“Trump does not proceed from the assumption that government is the problem; government mismanaged by stupid and/or corrupt elites is the problem. He is not committed to the idea that free markets and limited government are the solution to people’s economic ills. He promises to destroy Obamacare — reflexively — but he envisions a government role of some kind in making sure everyone has health care. He pledges not to touch entitlements, breaking with the sacred Paul Ryan covenant. He does not genuflect before George W. Bush’s national security greatness; he ridicules it” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. And the substance of Rubio’s attacks assumes all of these shibboleths.

“There’s a Science of Snap Political Judgments—and Trump and Clinton Are Winning” [Bloomberg].

Republican Debate

“Transcript of the Republican Presidential Debate in Houston” [New York Times]. What the heck, I made a Wordle from the text*:


Despite WaPo’s Dana Milbank calling out Trump for his third-grade level vocabulary, there doesn’t seem to be any overarching abstraction arising from the Republican field, collectively. We see “people” “going,” and not “freedom” or “liberty” or even “markets.” Odd. All the issues are tiny little words around the periphery. (* I took out the speaker names, like “TRUMP:”, but as you can see, “LAUGHTER” and “CROSSTALK” still came through.)

“11 most interesting moments of the GOP debate” [Politico]. Good summary, but the political class wants Trump to lose so bad that it’s hard to run a bullshit detector on the hot takes. I wonder what their body language was like if you watched the TV with the sound off; I’d bet Rubio still looked like a Junior High School valedictorian. So it seems to me what the pollsters have to say is key; if they, too, aren’t totally gamed. And on Trump’s tax returns and fraud (at Trump University): Trump’s elite. Therefore, he has impunity. So it will be interesting to see if a special exception is made for him.

“Debate Takeaways: Rubio, Cruz Aggressively Take on Trump” [New York Times]. “‘If he hadn’t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now? Selling watches in Manhattan,’ Rubio charged.” And we all know what color those people are. Amazing.

“Republican Debate Takeaways: Descent Into a Free-for-All” [New York Times]. “Mr. Trump’s supporters may be indifferent to his limitations as a candidate, but his obvious discomfort handling policy questions and his apparent unwillingness — or inability — to elaborate on his ideas, may further unsettle Republicans already concerned about his capacity to compete in a general election.” If you’re the sort of voter who wants to extend a giant upraised middle finger to the political class, and there are many such voters, then “policy” doesn’t matter very much, does it? That’s an Acela thing. And as far as whoever drops out next: Do people really believe the dropout voters will all go to Anybody But Trump?

Stats Watch

GDP, Q4 2015: “An upward revision to inventory growth made for an upward revision to the second estimate of fourth-quarter GDP, to an annualized plus 1.0 percent rate for a 3 tenths increase from the initial estimate” [Econoday]. “Given slowing in demand during the quarter, the gain for inventories, at $81.7 billion vs an initial estimate of $68.6 billion, very likely reflects a build in unwanted inventories. A clear negative in today’s report is a downgrade for personal consumption expenditures.” But: ” The latest number puts us 14.7% below trend, the largest negative spread in the history of this series” [Econintersect].

GDP: “Despite the upside surprise to the headline, real final domestic demand was actually marginally weaker than expected, as the gauge was revised from a 1.6% rise to a 1.4% gain. Real consumer spending growth was shaved from 2.2% to 2.0% based on new data on gasoline sales, apparel prices, and new motor vehicle registrations. Business fixed investment was essentially unrevised, as a small downward adjustment to structures was roughly offset by a slight upward revision to equipment. Government spending was lowered to account for softer state and local government construction figures for December, while federal outlays for defense were also revised downward. Finally, the trade balance narrowed from the preliminary reading” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve]. ” In sum, real final demand turned out to be marginally weaker than the preliminary print.

International Trade in Goods, January 2016: “In a report pointing to economic weakness, the nation’s trade gap in goods widened” [Econoday]. “Exports fell across the board including industrial supplies at minus 3.0 percent in the month and capital goods down 2.3 percent. The decline in imports included a steep 6.8 percent drop in industrial supplies and a 2.4 percent decline for capital goods. The declines in industrial supplies are tied in part to low prices for oil and petroleum products while the declines in capital goods points to lack of global confidence in the business climate and lack of business investment in global productivity.”

Personal Income and Outlays, January 2016: “There’s plenty of life in the consumer. Personal income jumped 0.5 percent in January as did consumer spending, both readings higher than expected” [Econoday]. “But the big story of the report is the core PCE, especially the year-on-year rate which is up from 1.4 percent to 1.7 percent and is pointing confidently toward the Fed’s 2 percent line. Total prices, which include food and energy, rose only 1 percent but the year-on-year rate for this reading has been on a tear, moving from about zero late last year to plus 1.3 percent in January.”

Consumer Sentiment, February 2016: “The break out of Donald Trump’s presidential bid did not affect the consumer sentiment index” [Econoday]. Wow. Editorialize much?

“What Is The Real Unemployment Rate?” [FiveThirtyEight]. “The economy has improved a lot over the past six years, though, and economists don’t agree about how many people are still stuck on the sidelines of the labor force. Officially, there are about 600,000 discouraged workers (roughly 300,000 more than when the recession began), but the government’s definition is pretty narrow. … [I]f there are really hundreds of thousands or even millions of willing workers just waiting to get back into the labor market, that means there is room for job growth to continue without driving up inflation.”

“The report [from the Economic Policy Institute], released this month, found that while unemployment rates have fallen across much of the country and the national unemployment rate is now half of its recession-era peak, only a handful of states have seen meaningful improvement in the labor market for African-American and Latino workers. And conditions vary greatly from state to state” [Wall Street Journal, “Black Workers in Many States Haven’t Seen Much of a Recovery, Analysis Suggests”].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58, Neutral (previous close: 53) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 26 at 10:39am. Big flip to greed.


“Two top advisers to Gov. Rick Snyder urged switching Flint back to Detroit’s water system in October 2014 after General Motors Co. said the city’s heavily chlorinated river water was rusting engine parts, according to governor’s office emails examined by The Detroit News” [Detroit News].

Health Care

“The Agonizing Limbo Of Abandoned Nursing Home Residents” [Kaiser Health News]. Another win for multi-payer health care!

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Pentagon Destroyed Islamic State Cash By Investing In F-35” [Duffel Blog].


“The panel of federal regulators that oversees operations on the nation’s railways is moving to allow railroads to prioritize freight trains over passenger systems such as Amtrak” [The Hill]. I love the parsing:

“The law requires that ‘[e]xcept in an emergency, intercity and commuter rail passenger transportation provided by or for Amtrak has preference over freight transportation in using a rail line, junction, or crossing … However, ‘preference’ is not defined by statute,” the panel said in a notice of its proposed policy change.

“Currently, we do not view the preference requirement as absolute,” the panel said. “In other words, a host rail carrier need not resolve every individual dispatching decision between freight and passenger movements in favor of the passenger train. Under this view of preference, the Board would take a systemic, global approach in determining whether a host carrier has granted the intercity passenger trains preference.”

Yeah, it’s not like passenger trains need to adhere to schedules, even notionally.

“Officials: Lancaster County tornado unprecedented” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. Global weirding.

“A team from Northwestern University has examined the hidden costs of parental empathy. They found that while the children of empathetic parents are better off physically and emotionally, the parents’ cells reveal chronic, low-grade inflammation. When their children suffer psychologically, empathetic parents’ immune systems take a hit” [Quartz].

Class Warfare

“From 2010 to 2013, for example, employment in the most prosperous neighborhoods in the United States jumped by more than a fifth, according to the group’s analysis of Census Bureau data. But in bottom-ranked neighborhoods, the number of jobs fell sharply: One in 10 businesses closed down” [New York Times]. “Officially, the economy has grown every year since 2010, at an average annual rate of expansion of just over 2 percent. But don’t bother telling that to many Americans: A Fox News poll last year showed that 64 percent of people still thought the economy was in a recession, echoing an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey in 2014 that found much the same thing.” (Study from Economic Innovation Group. Note “Innovation,” so count the spoons when they leave the house. Oddly, or not, I can’t find any mention of their funding sources on their site.)

“Campaigners in many rich countries want to strip private banks of the power to create money. In Switzerland members of the ‘Vollgeld Initiative’ presented the government with enough signatures in December to trigger a national referendum on the subject. Bank deposits, they point out, make up some 87% of the readily available money in Switzerland, vastly exceeding notes and coins. Since money creation is the main fuel of both inflation and growth, they argue, it should not be in private hands, let alone entrusted to institutions that are prone to binge and purge” [The Economist, “Shake your money makers”]. “The Swiss government responds officially to every issue to be put to a referendum. On February 24th it released its verdict on the Vollgeld Initiative (the actual vote will not take place until next year at the earliest). It is not a fan. As the central bank issued more money, the government points out, its liabilities (cash) would rise without any increase in its assets. This, the government fears, would undermine confidence in the value of money.”

“More phones, few banks and years of instability are transforming Somalia to a cashless society” [Quartz]. “‘People are doing business without any fear of losing cash to militants or conmen,’ [Halima Aden, a member of the Somali Economic Forum] said. ‘The country’s telecommunications sector has undergone a rapid rise, fueled by intense competition amongst the numerous telecommunication firms that dominate the country.'”

“Mercedes says it is replacing many of its production line robots with humans – a reversal of recent trends” [Sky News]. “Head of production Markus Schaefer said: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualisation and the many variants that we have today.”

News of the Wired

“Codex: A Legal Scripting Language for Ethereum” [Medium]. With a focus on contracts. I wonder what our banking IT gurus think of this?

“How did NEJM respond when we tried to correct 20 misreported trials?” [Compare]. Is there a doctor in the house?

“A Robot That Has Fun at Telemarketers’ Expense” [New York Times]. “Whenever Mr. Anderson hears from a telemarketer, he patches the caller through to his robot, puts his phone on mute and lets his bot do the talking.”

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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 (Claudia F):


Claudia writes: “I took this pic yesterday in Central Park. I’m fairly sure it’s a Japanese flowering quince. it looks like it jumped the gun a bit; i hope it survives this week! Spring is coming :)” I’m so jealous. And I wonder if the plant has survived?

* * *

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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. DakotabornKansan

    Last night Bernie Sanders was asked about his Jewish faith. He said he is very proud of Jewish heritage.

    His overwhelming sense of empathy for the poor is profoundly Jewish. He grew up in a world of liberal Jewish activism for civil rights for African-Americans, better working conditions and labor unions, desegregated housing, and equality for women. Witness his youthful activism in Chicago.

    Has Bernie Sanders’s Jewishness affected his reception with black voters?

    Whatever happened to the once historical black-Jewish civil rights alliance?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The nation is different today than it was in the 60s or even in the 80s.

      For Catholics, much different…people are generally less religious, so even those at the bottom can sense the change.

      For Jews, also much different, again, not just from top down.

      For the blacks, they have trickle down racial equality (a president, wealthy stars) – better maybe, but not as much, or still too often, worse, especially for those at the bottom.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Jews in the South came earlier than the Eastern European Jews. Jeff Davis’ right hand man was Jewish. The might have been Jewish, but they were white.

      They aren’t “Jewy,” and they started to disappear from public life in the early 20th century as their numbers shrank through intermarriage and the Southern culture was far too prominent to not be absorbed into, so they weren’t there for the civil rights movement. Kids would be raised Christian in mixed marriages. Not to say they were racist, but they were part of the fabric of the South.

      Hillary was race baiting for a long time in the South.

      1. sleepy

        I grew up in Memphis which, believe it or not, has the largest Orthodox Jewish congregation in the US at Baron Hirsch synagogue. As a kid growing up there, Jews were always active philanthropically and politically, and still are. The congressman from the majority black Memphis district is jewish, Steve Cohen.

        Of course, as one poster has already said, Jews were accepted because they weren’t black, and the big divide was black-white. In high school, I had a jewish friend who was a supporter of George Wallace.

        Like they say down there, Shalom y’all.

        1. vegasmike

          My mother was born in South Carolina 1911. Oddly her birth certificate lists her race as Hebrews. Jews were not victims of segregation. They went to white schools, lived in white neighborhoods, and rode in the front of the bus. One of my cousins graduated from the Citadel in the 1930s. One of my other relatives said she was refused membership in the local Garden Club, because she was Jewish.

          1. sleepy

            Willie Morris wrote a little bit about Jewish culture in small town Mississippi. Greenville MS at one time had 2 synagogues. I went to college with a Mississippi kid, Abe Boone, from Boone MS whose town was named after his family.

            As most small town Mississippi culture has died out, the small town Mississippi Jewish culture has just about disappeared as well.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Bernie Sanders had the good grace to skip the repellent spectacle of Israel’s PM Netanyahu denouncing U.S. foreign policy from the dais of the U.S. House of Representatives last March.

      Ironically, owing to his ethnic background, Sanders can speak frankly about divergences between Israeli and U.S. interests, without being vulnerable to the Lobby’s reflexive habit of smearing critics of Israel as antisemitic.

      1. Robert Dudek

        Doesn’t seem to have worked for Norman Finkelstein. Might not work for Bernie in the medium to long term.

    4. b1whois

      There may be problems with that relationship. Many Black Lives Matter activists have formed affiliations with the Palestinian activists. Both groups feel an affinity of racial oppression by another, largely white, group. Both groups feel they are being killed by an occupying hostile force. The enemy of my friend is…

  2. willf

    Regarding the article “Twitter Attacks Clinton’s Record With #WhichHillary” [Wired]. your readers might wish to know that Twitter has censored the hashtag #WhichHillary:

    Twitter wants to control what political messages you see.

    In a truly egregious move yesterday, Twitter suspended the account responsible for #WhichHillary, activists @GuerrillaDems. Twitter also removed #WhichHillary from trending status — odd, considering the hashtag received more than 450,000 tweets in less than 24 hours.

    This isn’t the first time Twitter has exerted political control like this. It is also a demonstrable conflict of interest, in light of Twitter Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani’s Sunday, 2/28 fundraiser with Clinton.

    The link goes to a DKos diary, yes. But that diary carries a link to the people who first created the tag #WhichHillary.

    The revolution, it seems, will not be tweeted.

    1. different clue

      The WhichHillary tweeters can frustrate Twitter’s censorship by constantly re-tweaking the spelling of WhichHillary. They can create WwhichHillary with the videos. When Twitter censors that, they can create wWhichHillary with the videos. They can re-tweak and repost as fast as Twitter takes their hashtagged tweets down. By the time Twitter decides to pre-censor any hashtag that looks the least bit like wHichHillaRy, that basic “WhichHillary” concept may have so many followers that those followers can then be rallied to attempt massive denial of service/denial of access attacks against Twitter and take Twitter itself down. (If that is technologically possible).

      1. Yves Smith

        It’s not the hashtag, which still works. It’s removing it form “trending” which shows it’s really getting followed and which induces people who have not heard of the topic to go look at the hashtag.

        1. different clue

          Oh. That is one big thing I didn’t/don’t understand about Twitter, then. So . . . can any of the tech-knowledgeable people here come up with a workaround for Twitter’s ability to blind “trending” to the presence of highly popular hashtags which the Twitter management disapproves of?

          1. Will

            Can you make a law without going through Congress? Can you get an app published on Apple’s App store without Apple’s approval? Can you get a Billboard top 100 song without going through the music industry?

            Twitter owns Twitter. They control everything on the platform. If you don’t like it, learn to work face to face with people and don’t ever allow intermediaries – who are most definitely not on your side – to have the sort of influence Twitter does.

            1. different clue

              There’s something to be said for that warning. People could very well try getting and staying in touch through meatspace analog methods . . . at worst through US Postal Service landmail letters and copper landline phone-trees ( where real landlines and real telephones still exist). Or at second best, cellphone trees among cellphone users. An internet of people. Social groups and social circles without the social media.

              In the meantime, it occurred to me . . . how does something get onto Twitter Trending to begin with? If it is an automatic process . . . hashtag hits and follows over a threshhold number automatically show up on the Trending Page, that would mean Twitter has to take them down by hand if it doesn’t want them to appear. If THAT is how it works, then retweaking the spelling of WitchHillary and getting a huge mass of followers trained to watch for these retweakings might result in every #retweaked spelling on the subject boosted right onto the Trending page forcing Twitter to remove it by hand . . . over and over and over again. Eventually Twitter itself could be humiliated by being publicly exposed as censoring anti-Hillary Trendings on Hillary’s behalf.

            2. jgordon

              Uh yeah. It’s why I’m smart enough not to use Twitter or Facebook to learn what’s popular. These people are the lowest sort of scummiest bunch when it comes to reflexive “progressive” identity politics and pro-disarmament stuff.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Snowden just Tweeted: “Election 2016: Trump versus Goldman Sachs”.

                I guess it could be worse, Trump versus Kanye, or Kanye versus Kim Kardashian…

  3. fresno dan

    “So far as I can tell, we wouldn’t even be having this “conversation” if Sanders hadn’t made his proposals and Friedman hadn’t costed them out. So why would I care about the Romers’ carefully parsed prose? Do neoliberal economists really imagine themselves to be scholars? There’s work everywhere that needs doing, but “the economy” can’t get it done. So the spectacle of the class of people who run “the economy” all piling onto this one economist and savagely kicking down would be amusing, if it weren’t so pathetic. And so damaging. Would it be too cynical to imagine that the only jobs they’re concerned with are their own?”


    So real median income has been going down for years. Break it up into quintiles and the lower groups have been are worse off for DECADES, and the upper groups are stagnant – except for the 1%


    except for one anomaly (CAUSED by idiots, criminals, or idiotcriminals on Wall street) we have had ever rising GDP.
    WHY, WHY, WHY is this considered the all important metric when it demonstrably, empirically, irrefutably has no relation to most peoples income????? Maybe because it is what makes the rich richer????????????? Or heaven forbid, we ever discuss that we DO have economic growth – just that most people NEVER get ANY of it…

      1. Lee

        The per capita annual income for the U.S. is $54K for every man woman and child over the age of fourteen (GDP/population). Perhaps this is over simplifying, but this would seem to indicate that even a modest amount of redistribution could solve our deficiencies in health, housing and hunger.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Better sharing.

          We don’t need more new money as much as better distribution of existing wealth.

          If should we need new money, let it well up from the bottom, without prejudice, color-blind.

  4. bwilli123

    “Trump does not proceed from the assumption that government is the problem; government mismanaged by stupid and/or corrupt elites is the problem.

    Not that it would ever happen but it would be supremely entertaining to have a 3 way debate between Sanders, Trump and Hilary.

    1. Massinissa

      We will have to settle for a Trump/Klinton ‘debate’. (It will mostly involve them trying to talk over eachother)

      I, for one, embrace our new orange overlord. At least hes not a Klinton.

      1. HotFlash

        No, he’s not a Klinton, and he says he is against the TPP, so that’s alright. OTOH, the reason the TPP is *so* bad is that it destroys sovereign governments’ ability to respond the the *real* enemy, the Judean People’s Front Global Climate Change. And it seems The Donald thinks AGC’s a hoax. And we are running out of time to fix it, if we, by some miracle, aren’t too late already.

        He might do a gratifying send-up of stuffed shirts, but I wonder how many of us will be laaughing through a Trump presidency.

        1. NOONE

          I wonder how many of us will be laaughing through a Trump presidency.

          Or how many of us will be crying through a Clinton one?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Historians, please let us know if this was what it looked like at the end of the Great Roman Empire, vacillating between crying and laughing.

            1. Robert Hurst

              The end of the Republic would be the more apt comparison.

              It devolved into a 100-year civil war.

        2. different clue

          Trump can deny AGW as much as he likes . . . until his mainly-seaside properties go “under water”. Har dee har har.

          1. HotFlash

            Since he’s a real estate guy, I imagine he’s already got options on Idaho seaside properties. You see, he can move plus he can profit on the disaster. The rest of us? Well, ‘Har dee har har,” on us, I guess.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I always love to see grammar nazis on the web, I agree, this is something up with which we should not put.

    2. HopeLB

      Maybe they could do it as fundraiser with the money divided between Flint and fighting the TPPP?They are all for infrastructure and against the TPP afterall.

  5. fresno dan

    The panel of federal regulators that oversees operations on the nation’s railways is moving to allow railroads to prioritize freight trains over passenger systems such as Amtrak” [The Hill]. I love the parsing:

    That is news to me. I took the train down to Miami from Washington just because I like riding trains – never again. Several times, we had to wait for hours because of freight times – it struck me that they had priority. I think the conductor told me that the freight lines owned the track so they had priority.

    I don’t mind going slow – its just hours at a dead stop with nothing to look at that makes it unendurable.

    1. Daryl

      I use the train when I travel around California, it’s good enough there that I find it pretty disappointing that I can’t do it anywhere else I go in this country.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have traveled across the country on Amtrak a few times…always enjoyable.

      That was years ago.

      My last trip was last year, a short trip from Fullerton to San Diego. Occasionally, we had to wait, like you said, but never hours. That’s bad…waiting there for freight trains with flammable crude oil to come at you, at 50 or 60 MPH, to, luckily, just pass you by.

    3. cwaltz

      It’s another one of those the taxpayers paid for the rail but the rail carrier gets the profit because now the rail carrier pays to maintain it things.

      Amtrak was handed over to government at the rail carriers request. Why? They couldn’t profit off it.

    4. lb

      This story of deprioritizing Amtrak trains rhymes with the net neutrality debate, doesn’t it? (Preferential) traffic shaping indeed.

    5. petal

      I used to take the train from Boston to Rochester, NY and back. Freight always had priority because they owned the tracks. Every trip, I had to factor in 2-4+ hours extra to the time of my trip. We’d sit in one spot off the main track for hours. It got to the point I couldn’t stand it anymore. It’ll be a long time before I take a train again in the US. It’s been ruined. Very unfortunate. What was it that ol’ Grover said? Neglect it and make it so small (and lousy) you can drown it in a bathtub? Well, it is certainly working.

  6. Vatch

    How feudal. Perhaps Lord Iger should simply reinstitute the corvée?

    Yes! Then we all could help build giant pyramidal grain silos!

    1. Massinissa

      You know, it might actually help rebuild our infrastructure. I mean god forbid the Masters of the Universe having to think about *paying* people to rebuild roads and pipes.

  7. different clue

    I have read very recently that Sanders allegedly “reminds black people of their landlord”.
    Sanders was never a landlord. Nor was his father. Nor was his mother. If there are black people who wish to practice the displacement racism of voting against Sanders because he “reminds them of their landlord”, that sort of bigotry is entirely on that sort of bigoted black voter. It is not the least bit on Sanders. And Sanders has zero obligation to do the least thing to humor or seek favor with the sort of bigot who chooses to vote against Sanders because he “reminds them of their landlord.”

    1. Massinissa

      That may be so, but…

      I don’t think Sanders is going to win super Tuesday. I think its over for him.

      Trump V Clinton is going to be such a nightmare… Im not even sure which one is the ‘lesser’ evil, I think it might actually be Trump…

      Time to get ready to vote for Stein. Again.

      1. aliteralmind

        Of course he’s not going to “win” this Tuesday. Most of the states he’s banking on come after it.


        The next couple weeks are going to be hard, but it’s much easier after that.

        For those of you out there they really want this to happen, stop talking about how it might not work out, and get up off of your butts and help him. We’re in this together. He absolutely cannot do this on his own. He says this in every single speech.

        Go to http://bernieonreddit.com, create an account and join the conversation. It’s the center of the entire revolution outside of his official websites. Before the New Hampshire primary there were 160,000 members. Now there are 190,000. Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy here a full month before his public announcement. It’s not officially supported, but the campaign communicates with us regularly, and also posts pretty much every day. In fact the creator of this website is now the campaign’s online communications director.

        Getting Bernie Sanders into the White House is only the beginning.

        1. grayslady

          Thank you. I’m getting tired of some of the fatalism I see here. Revolutions are never easy, but Bernie and his team are experienced campaigners who haven’t made any major errors yet; whereas Hillary constantly sticks her foot in her mouth. Those of us who want to see Bernie elected President have to keep fighting hard and smart, because it won’t get any easier once he’s in office. There’s far too much at stake here to hand over our country to fascists and plutocrats with nothing more than a whimper.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Before the election, the little people have home court advantage.

              After the election, the big people, with their money, lobbyists, think tank advisers, legislative experts, machine politicians, will be playing at home.

              Sorry, only a few members of the little people team are allowed to travel to the game.

              1. HotFlash

                Congresscritters have local offices. As in, the same locality as their constituents. No reason on earth you need millions in the streets of DC. Hundreds, or even a few dozens, at constituency offices would be much more do-able and send a more precise message. The Tea Party also demonstrated quite effectively that tossing out an incumbent was very instructive. So, with a leader at the top (cross fingers, don’t get fooled again; little to gain but nothing to lose) and the people below *and* demonstrably not needing corporate bigbucks.

                Only you can help us now, Obernie Wan Kenobi.

          1. aletheia33

            welcome aboard katiebird!

            aside from donating $$, we can really help by getting on the berniedialer (at the campaign website) and calling people in other states. you can do this from home for as often and as short or long a time as you like. it’s very easy. it’s mostly just calling and eliminating wrong numbers and the like, but it saves the volunteers on the ground a yu-u-u-ge amount of otherwise wasted time.

            we can close those margins in the primaries. we can keep bernie out there speaking the truth.

            there IS a movement taking form in this country, bernie or no bernie, and it sure feels good to be a part of it now.

            1. katiebird

              Do the phone numbers come from voter registration lists? I haven’t done any phonebanking in the modern cell phone age. Back in my time we used city directories mostly — do those even exist anymore?

              Also, how do people feel avout getting calls from people in other states? …. Are these calls coordinated by the campaign? We do have a campaign office in my town is there a link?

              1. aletheia33


                yes, these calls are coordinated by the campaign. you are calling known primary voters. in fact, the berniedialer dials for you, and then you get a screen telling you who you’re talking to. i think you need a laptop or tablet to see it. just google phonebank for bernie and you will get a link to the phonebank page on the campaign website.

                no one i’ve talked to in south carolina showed they even noticed i’m from another state. like i said, it’s a lot of wrong numbers and other versions of the person you are calling not being there, or being so strong for clinton that it’s not worth investing time in them. some are undecided or strong for sanders, and the ground workers will contact them. it’s just a winnowing, and it’s kinda grunt work. BUT it is what the campaign is saying they need the most. it clears away bad info so the volunteers in the state you’re calling don’t have to waste a lot of time making a lot of fruitless contacts.

                you are given a prepared script to read from while you’re talking. you’re not supposed to try any persuasion. you’re just basically sort of taking a census.

                it took me 15 minutes to learn the procedure using the instructions provided at the site.

                good luck!

      2. neo-realist

        I’m not 100% sure that it’s going to be Trump across the aisle: Rubio is talking about stealing the nomination in a brokered convention (which presumes Trump won’t get the majority of delegates). Given the discontent among many of the GOP elites/moneymen with the prospect of Trump as their standard bearer as well as many of them backing Rubio, I wouldn’t put it past them to do it.


      3. Starveling

        Clinton is the greater evil in a Trump v Clinton matchup. Not by an inch, but by an entire poiltical establishment. Trump is a self aggrandizer and promotor, likely racist, but I honestly think in his own, flawed way, he would try to do what is best for the people. If not out of love for America, out of love for Trump.

        All Clinton wants is to perpetuate her family’s patronage machine. Trump already deserves our regards for the bullycide of JEB, if he is able to take out both major dynasties in the same year he’s more deserving of Obama’s peace prize than is Obama.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is his wife an American citizen?

          If she is not, does she sleep in a separate house or bedroom, if there is classify information around?

          1. dale

            Well, being the real estate tycoon, he might just rent out the White House and look for cheaper digs in Manhattan, like his own apartment.

      4. different clue

        I think he and his movement will keep plugging and grinding along right up to the Convention Floor. He and they will want to see how big or small his movement is, and who voted with it and who did not, and study the results from every angle and decide what to do from there.

        If he is still on the ballot by Michigan Primary time, I will vote for him no matter how hopeless people tell me his “chances or electability” may be.

        And yes, if it comes down to Trump versus Clinton in the general, I and others will be forced into a zone of painful choices. Ian Welsh reminds us that pro-waterboarding Trump is beyond the pale. But Colonel Lang has reminded us of what a deadly danger the pro-Banderazi pro-jihadi neoconservative monster of Responsibility To Protect the WarPig Clinton is. So voting “against” Trump is not an automatic given. Trump might try waterboarding thousands. Clinton might try killing millions. In a world of imperfect moral and ethical choices, which is beyond what pale?

      5. jgordon

        I wouldn’t vote for Trump simply because he’s the lesser evil. The fact that he’s entertaining and demented is the deal maker for me.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          My litmus test is which candidate puts the biggest case of dynamite under the entire show because that is what it so richly requires. By that calculus that means I do everything to feel the Bern, if he falls short then it’s all out for Trump. Wrestlemania? Teddy Roosevelt also had public wrestling matches. Idiot blowhard? Fer chrissakes we had two terms of laughingstock George Bush, making the pie higher and putting food on our families. Entertainment/actor? See: Reagan, Ronald. Just his contempt for our presstitute Fifth Column will be worth it, and it just may cause enough people to have a hard look in the mirror and ask if we need a serious rethink of our entire election machinery.

    2. GlobalMisanthrope

      Dog-whistle for Jew. I’m betting that whoever’s reporting this is actually trying to rekindle the old “Blacks are anti-Semites” canard. Where did you read it?

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        That was meant for

        different clue
        February 26, 2016 at 2:38 pm

        I have read very recently that Sanders allegedly “reminds black people of their landlord”.

    1. jrs

      Destroying the Republican party = good
      Possible birth of new fascist populist party in it’s place = bad

      I think the bad may outweigh the good. But the article blaming the rise of Trump all on Republicans, I don’t know. Hasn’t 8 years of a Democratic president that has failed to make the lives of the 99s any better, also contributed? Seems to me it has! Won’t another 8 years of the same (Hillary Clinton) contribute to that and worse? It very well might.

    2. hunkerdown

      Jack Valenti once compared the VCR to the Boston Strangler to protect his perception of control over his trade association’s members’ rent streams. Which is exactly what neocon Robert Kagan, whose wife f—ed the EU (indirectly), is doing.

  8. fresno dan

    “Trump does not proceed from the assumption that government is the problem; government mismanaged by stupid and/or corrupt elites is the problem. He is not committed to the idea that free markets and limited government are the solution to people’s economic ills. He promises to destroy Obamacare — reflexively — but he envisions a government role of some kind in making sure everyone has health care. He pledges not to touch entitlements, breaking with the sacred Paul Ryan covenant. He does not genuflect before George W. Bush’s national security greatness; he ridicules it” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. And the substance of Rubio’s attacks assumes all of these shibboleths.

    From the debate
    CRUZ: Donald, true or false, you’ve said the government should pay for everyone’s health care.
    TRUMP: That’s false.
    CRUZ: You’ve never said that?
    TRUMP: No, I said it worked in a couple of countries…
    CRUZ: But you’ve never stood on this debate stage and says it works great in Canada and Scotland and we should do it here.
    TRUMP: No, I did not. No I did not.
    CRUZ: Did you say if you want people to die on the streets, if you don’t support socialized health care, you have no heart.
    TRUMP: Correct. I will not let people die on the streets if I’m president.
    CRUZ: Have you said you’re a liberal on health care?
    TRUMP: Excuse me. Let me talk. If people…
    CRUZ: Talk away. Explain your plan, please.
    TRUMP: If people — my plan is very simple. I will not — we’re going to have private — we are going to have health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I’m president. You may let it and you may be fine with it…
    CRUZ: So does the government pay for everyone’s health care?
    TRUMP: … I’m not fine with it. We are going to take those people…
    CRUZ: Yes or no. Just answer the question.
    TRUMP: Excuse me. We are going to take those people and those people are going to be serviced by doctors and hospitals. We’re going to make great deals on it, but we’re not going to let them die in the streets.
    CRUZ: Who pays for it?

    That is just a small snippet, and it still doesn’t completely capture the crux – the repub establishment (Cruz and Rubio are hung up on socialized medicine – even though to them its not socialism to pay whatever big medicine wants (go figure) – but what really is telling is the studied, complete total silence on the problem of the uninsured or of people harmed by the current insurance system. The fact that the repubs, as WELL as the media won’t address the elephant – that in fact the repubs really don’t have anything to say about people dying in the street, and DON’T WANT TO)
    “TRUMP: Correct. I will not let people die on the streets if I’m president.”
    Funny how neither Rubio or Cruz refused to make that unequivocal comment – though Rubio took umbrage at saying repubs say its ok for people to die on the streets…
    “RUBIO: This is a Republican debate, right? Because that attack about letting people die in the streets…”

    Yes Marco, the consequences of repub policies can never, ever be discussed….facts can never be brought to bear cause thats class warfare or something…. that would frighten the horses and maybe dissuade suburban voters….

    Maybe the pundits thought Marco not addressing health care substantively was a winner – well, neither did Donald – but you know what? Donald did address his health care values, I think that reflects a far larger percentage of the base than Rubio’s do what big medicine wants me to.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump will shout down congressional Republicans.

      Who is going to give congressional Democrats the treatment they deserve?

    2. HotFlash

      Why didn’t he just say, “The same place the money for the bank bail-outs came from, and the wars in the ME, and the F35’s.”

      It’s a matter of priorities.

  9. fresno dan

    “A Robot That Has Fun at Telemarketers’ Expense” [New York Times]. “Whenever Mr. Anderson hears from a telemarketer, he patches the caller through to his robot, puts his phone on mute and lets his bot do the talking.”

    I had wished Neo from the Matrix would have used his powers for something more substantive….(Mr.s Anderson)

    1. Yves Smith

      Please read our Policies!

      The WORST WORST WORST thing you can do is keep posting your comment, which is precisely what you have been doing. If a comment goes into moderation, Lambert and I will free it at some point. But if you keep reposting you are training our software to see you as a spammer. It throws your comment in the spam folder. We get well over 1000 spam messages a day. We don’t review the spam folder because it takes more time than we have.

  10. DakotabornKansan

    The Agonizing Limbo of Abandoned Nursing Home Residents

    Reading this article is difficult to determine the exact circumstance of the cases cited. How long were they hospitalized? What were the bed-hold policies of these nursing homes? Did the families pay for the nursing home beds in order to hold them during the hospitalization? Were the former beds no longer available once the hospitalizations were complete?

    Nursing home residents who need to be treated in a hospital usually want to be able to return to the same bed and room in the nursing home as soon as they are discharged for the hospital.

    Regarding nursing home bed reservations (holds), under elder law:

    Before a nursing facility transfers a resident to a hospital it must provide written information to the resident and a family member or legal representative that specifies the duration of the bed-hold policy under the state plan, if any, during which the resident is permitted to return and resume residence in the nursing facility and the nursing facility’s policies regarding bed-hold periods permitting a resident to return.

    Many nursing homes will ask the resident to pay for the nursing home bed during the hospitalization in order to keep that bed available. Medicare will not make any payment to the nursing facility to reserve a bed for a Medicare beneficiary. Medicaid will make bed reservation payments for up to 15 days. Once those payments have been exhausted, the resident or family member or legal representative cannot be required to pay to continue to reserve the nursing home bed. Many do so voluntarily at the Medicaid per diem rate to assure that the resident can return to his or her bed.

    Even if no one paid to reserve the bed, the resident is still entitled to return to the bed in the facility provided a new resident hasn’t taken that bed. If the former bed is no longer available, the resident will be entitled to the first available bed at the facility.

    This was my personal experience with my elderly mother as well as my professional experience. Initial placement of elderly and severely, chronically ill patients in quality facilities was often very difficult. And once placed, it was very important to pay close attention to the above in order not to lose that bed should hospitalization occur.

  11. dk


    They have an entire section for their argument that productive capacity is too small to allow such significant growth… they seem to be arguing that productive capacity is fixed, or constrained.

    Maybe they don’t get how infrastructure spending works?

    I agree with some of their criticisms of Friedman. But those are largely matters of degree (Friedman uses some generous estimates). But their main and major criticism is that the production capacity for significant growth does not exist. This must mean that we are close to our production capacity right now. This recent report from the Fed (Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization seems to show that average current prod. cap. utilization is running below or around 80%. Crudely spitballing that an additional ~20% utilization translates into ~20% more output (I know, utilization never hits 100%)… I think Romer & Romer are spitballing, too. They also seem to completely ignore that capacities can be built (and that this contributes to employment), except when obliquely mentioning that inflation could impact capacity investment.

    Romer & Romer conclude with:

    Finally, a realistic evaluation of the impact of Senator Sanders’s policies on
    productive capacity (something that is neglected in Friedman’s analysis) suggests that those
    impacts are likely small and possibly negative.

    However, aside from mentioning their fear of negative impacts, they never explain, much less show, how such negative impacts will come about. There are a several allusions to smaller-than-predicted effects, but a scenario with a negative result is never given (it’s just “feared”).

    1. Yves Smith

      There is a post coming out at INET that debunks the Romer analysis, release delayed due to tech staff schedules. I have not seen it.

      To elaborate about capacity limits…..in a service economy, manufacturing capacity is only a proxy. I’d argue that with the number of people who are un and underemployed plus discouraged workers, we have a hell of a lot of unused capacity. Plus these models basically assume no one works over 65. We have additional slack in that there are tons of able bodied people over 65 who have insufficient retirement savings or might want to work to have a higher standard of living.

      During WWII, the US ran at well over its theoretical capacity for years by bringing women into the workforce. That reversed itself as soldiers came back. However, I think the ages working longer will prove to be a sustained trend, given the poor state of retirement savings + ZIRP killing retirement incomes, and there is more capacity than is accounted for in conventional models.

      Having said that, there could be skill or regional mismatches….but those could be alleviated to a degree over time too by targeted spending.

  12. optimader


    Telegram for Mr. Krugman!.. paging Mr. Krugman!..

    …Certainly, they are far less visible than the “systematic reviews” churned out by Lord Voldemort and his ilk, which constitute a sort of “Gish Gallop” that can be hard to defeat.

    The term “Gish Gallop” is a useful one to know. It was coined by the science educator Eugenie Scott in the 1990s to describe the debating strategy of one Duane Gish. Gish was an American biochemist turned Young Earth creationist, who often invited mainstream evolutionary scientists to spar with him in public venues. In its original context, it meant to “spew forth torrents of error that the evolutionist hasn’t a prayer of refuting in the format of a debate.” It also referred to Gish’s apparent tendency to simply ignore objections raised by his opponents.

  13. grayslady

    Interesting that WaPo only mentioned Bernie’s address to Chicago State University. According to the Chicago Tribune this morning, Bernie addressed large crowds at both Chicago State and the University of Chicago (Bernie’s alma mater). For what it’s worth, CSU’s students are mostly minority, and the school is having serious financial problems right now because Rauner has refused to disburse most state funds since last July. CSU doesn’t have a big endowment and relies heavily on its modest (30%) contribution from state taxes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Students are rightly attracted to his free college education.

      If he would include Income Guarantee or free new money income, he will likely attract many more, expanding his base.

      1. different clue

        And he could call his Income Guarantee by its original name . . . . The Nixon Plan.
        It would sure be funny seeing how the Repuglans handle that.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The problem isn’t the GOP. Being smug has never bothered the GOP before.

          In 2006, the Democrats numbers only rose after Murtha came out against the Iraq War. Even when the GOP was tanking over Social Security privatization, Team Blue did nothing. Team Blue did nothing during the Schaevo circus. Oh, I suppose strong Dems became really strong Dems. Worrying about the GOP miss a waste of time. If you call it Nixon anything, Republicans will send, irk and say, “oh right, the guy behind the epa. Where was Obama’s epa in flint?” They have no shame.

          Trump as an outsider is a threat because he can hammer trade policies and foreign policies. We can’t have nice things because of Hillary’s wars will be all the rage.

          1. jo6pac

            Yes as has pointed time again demodogs have done more damage to the middle class as any repug. Why, because the sheeple can’t understand how the master could be tray ( the right word) them. Glen Ford nailed it for Blacks but the SWP (stupid white people) will not vote in their interest like Blacks, Sad day in Amerika.

            Serfs Up

  14. Jim Haygood

    From above:

    Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC.

    Iger tells workers about his company’s recent intellectual property victories, including stronger IP protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    Disney … that would be the company which bribed convinced Congress (and President Bill Clinton) in 1998 to add 20 years to corporate copyright terms … so that Mickey Mouse, a 1920s cartoon character, is STILL not in the public domain.

    So it’s practically a moral obligation to share, repost and resell as much Disney content as we can possibly steal. And to spread the word with this logo:


    Bugger the Mouse!

  15. Carla

    ‘ “Big Banks and the White House Are Teaming Up to Fleece Poor People” [Foreign Policy]. The way to solve the problems of “the unbanked” is a Post Office bank, not whatever new looting scheme JP Morgan has in mind. ‘

    I’ll tell you what: if JP Morgan Chase can’t stop postal banking, it will simply co-opt it. After, Chase has the SNAP franchise (the federal “food stamp” program).

    I think we gotta get a handle on the banks FIRST, before we can institute any kind of “public” banking. Otherwise, the banksters will just crappify whatever “public” mechanism is established.

    Remember, most of the payday lending industry already is owned, directly or indirectly, by the money-center banks, which also launder money for the international drug trade. These people will not allow public banking without getting their cut off the top first.

    Prosecute and jail the bankers first. Restore the concept and reality of a legal system that actually operates in the public interest. Then maybe we can develop some public institutions that will not be subject to systematic looting by JP Morgan Chase and their ilk.

  16. Benedict@Large

    Campaigners in many rich countries want to strip private banks of the power to create money.

    They don’t. The money multiplier is an accounting error. Correct the error, and it goes away.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe even Hillary can beat Trump…or maybe it’s a tie/draw…and it goes to a 8-man or 8-person Supreme Court.

    2. barrisj

      David Cay Johnston, a cry in the wilderness…he’s been at this for many years, well-researched books and articles…but, the beat goes on…this be Murka, get over it.

  17. Kim Kaufman

    ““TV Pundits Praise Hillary Clinton On Air, Fail to Disclose Financial Ties to Her Campaign” [The Intercept]. Very, very detailed. Names names. Ka-ching.”

    Didn’t mention Chris Matthew, whose wife is running for congress and who Hillary has given $$$$ to.

    1. Terez

      That’s because the link is indirect, and it’s generally assumed that spouses are allowed to have different opinions (like Spike Lee’s wife).

    1. jgordon

      Right, and what’s especially annoying is that nobody cares about victims. And speaking of victims, why doesn’t anyone ever report on the multiple drunk driving fatalities that occur every day in America anymore? Here we have two incredibly dangerous things: multi-ton rolling death machines, and a substance well known for inducing violent/stupid/lethal behavior–either of which are downright scary things that ought to be illegal on their own–and yet no one hardly mentions anything about it when the two are mixed together. What is this world coming to?

  18. Mark Alexander

    If you do a google search for “lenny bot telemarketer” you’ll find an earlier anti-telemarketer bot that is both hilarious and supremely powerful. In one call, it reached a colossal 38 minutes in wasting a phone spammer’s time. I wish I could use it at home, but it requires VOIP and PBX hardware, if I understand correctly.

  19. For The Win

    Does Lord Iger have throne room an office up in the Disney Castles, like Walt use to?

    I would not be surprised if Iger eventually asks his staff to all apply for mail-in ballots so he can view and correct them, and kindly have Disney apply the postage. At a local and even state level this would give feudal power in selecting local, state, and in the case of something like Bush/Gore, even Federal nobility. The subtle application of vote direction already gives him a lock on local elections. Don’t get pulled over by the cops anywhere near Orlando, Lambert.

  20. Skippy

    You will laugh….

    Oh, gummy bears! They’re so tasty and delicious you can never eat just one. In fact most of us eat them by the handful. And with diet season in full swing, some of us may be looking at the sugar-free alternative to help ease the gummy bear cravings.

    But before you hop on Amazon to make a bulk purchase of the sugar-free variety, you just might want to read the safety warnings. Or better yet, take a look at the user submitted reviews. We’ve compiled the best of the best for you right here:

    Sugarless gummy bears may taste like the original, but these come with a safety warning…REVIEWS MAY CAUSE EXTREME LAUGHTER!


    Now you will cry and cry and cry…

    Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.

    What you don’t know WILL hurt you. Find out the dangerous effects of artificial sweeteners to your health. Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr. John W. Olney and consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974, as well as investigations of G.D. Searle’s research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.

    Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as part of aspartame dangers are:

    What Is Aspartame Made Of?
    Aspartic Acid (40 percent of Aspartame)

    Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate or MSG is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.

    How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage

    aspartateAspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death.

    Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins), it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.

    The blood brain barrier (BBB), which normally protects the brain from excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, 1) is not fully developed during childhood, 2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain, 3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and 4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.

    The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. The large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include:

    Skippy…. another goal for Monsanto

    1. griffen

      Those stories of pain and suffering following a gummy bear splurge were priceless.

      Few years back, I indulged in sugar free gummy life savers. The label warned against eating in bulk, primarily for the reason you cite. Who wants sugar free goodness with a laxative effect.

  21. rjs

    “But the big story of the report is the core PCE, especially the year-on-year rate which is up from 1.4 percent to 1.7 percent and is pointing confidently toward the Fed’s 2 percent line. Total prices, which include food and energy, rose only 1 percent but the year-on-year rate for this reading has been on a tear, moving from about zero late last year to plus 1.3 percent in January.”

    makes it sound like inflation is heating up, huh? but it has little to do with recent months – from 12/14 to 1/15 energy prices fell 9.7%, and that’s no longer part of the year over year comparisons

  22. flora

    TPP and TPIP – and
    Apple vs. FBI.

    Imagine that the TTP or TTIP passes. And say, Japanese or German laws require strong digital security and encryption for data security. Say that Apple or MS can then now sue these govt’s because their security and encryption standards cost Apple or MS business and profits. Or, imagine a foreign business suing Apple or MS because MS or Apple operating systems are insecure and knowingly compromise said company’s data security. I recommend a good sense of humor when contemplating these US govt created inanities. aka the US govt’s right hand doesn’t know what its left hand is doing.

  23. flora

    US press and 2016 election:

    The US press is starting to sound nervous about not knowing WTH is going on in the primaries. WHY is Trump the breakout candidate?!? WHY is Sanders gaining on Clinton?!? The media sound shocked that they themselves don’t understand what’s happening and don’t know the answers to these questions.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The MSM is either a propaganda or money making venture. At some point, the owners and the advertisers will start to question whether Krugthullu or any number of overpaid hacks can be replaced by robots or infomercials.

      Melissa Harris Perry left MSNBC under poor circumstances, but her worth was carrying water for Obama. She never built an audience. Obama will be gone in less than 11 months. No one needs an Obama water carrier anymore. More will follow as audiences and revenue are sought.

    2. different clue

      The media is part of the Class Enemy. The media does not deSERVE to know why this is happening. Perhaps the media can self-destruct on camera in its frustration and embarass itself so badly on camera that it begins to lose viewer eyeballs.

    3. barrisj

      Yes, and in the deep background, mass shootings continue apace, and all the so-called candidates just blithely “move on”…well, they would, wouldn’t they? As an old Brit friend once exclaimed…”This is America”….full stop.

      1. jgordon

        Mass shootings, drunken drivers, too many cheeseburgers and cigarettes. The list of things can kill you is disheartening to be sure. If only they could all be reported in the media each and every day, in order of their relative importance and likelihood of killing you I mean. Which would place mass shootings pretty far down the list. Why are people worried about those in particular I wonder? Sensationalism?

  24. TomD


    “Two top advisers to Gov. Rick Snyder urged switching Flint back to Detroit’s water system in October 2014 after General Motors Co. said the city’s heavily chlorinated river water was rusting engine parts, according to governor’s office emails examined by The Detroit News” [Detroit News].

    Water that’s literally destroying car parts, but I’m sure it’s safe for children to drink.

    1. Steve H.

      Please don’t. The review contains conjectures that Pollack has specifically stated do not apply. The original work is groundbreaking, the review muddies the water.

      There are several videos of Pollack explaining his work available.

    2. Skippy

      His book is not a scientific work. He presents his proposed yet untested ideas and theories regarding phenomena that may be attributed to EZ water; it however does not claim anything is proven at all. It is a good thing to have ample imagination; however at least at this moment he is somewhat behind the schedule on proving these ideas.

      In fact, he is currently carrying out research on many of these subjects. According to what I saw on his website, his research seem to be sound, but at this moment no conclusive results are produced yet about any of his big hypotheses.

      Actually it is fairly common to describe a proposed research to have the potential to have a revolutionary impact on the life of every man on earth. Very few write a book like him though.

      I would not call him a deluded scientist because he did not really claim anything non-conventional being discovered. However he does put himself in a position where immense commercial profits are generated solely through exploiting and distorting results of his research.

      Skippy…. for profit green washing… barf~ … do your homework before linking rubbish…

  25. ewmayer

    Re. “WaPo’s Dana Milbank calling out Trump for his third-grade level vocabulary” — Dear Dana Milbank: I knew third grade. Third grade was a friend of mine. And the word “schlonged”, sir, was not part of third grade.

    1. barrisj

      Wait, the Donald has already praised “the poorly-educated voter” as being – you know – genuine…he is amassing amongst his core voters the untermenschen und lumpen …he is speaking their language…have any of you on this website ever gone into a working-class bar and really listened to what the patrons are on about? I would think not, and that’s prolly why most people here at NC just don’t get Trump and whence his support. He may be “dangerous”, but he really has tapped into millions of people’s anxieties and over-wrought fears…because no one else other than Sanders has even tried to articulate those issues…you see, what concerns “the great unwashed” are treated as merely throwaway lines by the conventional, mainstream candidates – at their peril, and Sanders and Trump are actually addressing – sui generis – those fears and concerns of the majority of both parties’ voters. Finally, I even got it, and having presumed that my man Jeb! was the real deal, because…well, that’s American politics, right? No, SO wrong…and if both parties actually have the temerity to trot out tired mouthpieces of Big Capital as their respective candidates, I shrudder to think of the consequences beyond Election Day.

      1. Skippy

        “he really has tapped into millions of people’s anxieties and over-wrought fears”

        Ahhh… the toying with peoples irrational fears… now if memory serves NC has covered that ground…

        Skippy…. kinda different being a participant…. rather than a unattached observer tho….

  26. ewmayer

    @barrisj & skippy: In case it wasn’t clear, I was actually trying to make the point that Milbank’s vocab-criticism is just more typical elite snobbery, and that as a high-achieving 3rd grader I would have loved to have been able to (a) use ‘schlonged’ in a sentence and (b) unapologetically get away with it.

    A friend sent me e-mail earlier today (or I guess yesterday, now) with the link to the HuffPo piece titled Donald Trump Demanded An Apology From Vicente Fox. This Is What He Got Instead, along with the comment “Donny, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” My reply was “I suspect the loudly-taking-offense-ploy is simply part of Trump’s standard blusterous, browbeat-your-detractors-into-submission repertoire. If it works a goodly fraction of the time – and it seems to – great, otherwise move on to the next tactic or issue. Assuming Trump is really taking such stuff personally is a mistake IMO, it is a form of underestimating the man, and by now it should be eminently clear that that is both an all-to-easy and a dangerous thing to do.”

    And getting back to Milbank’s sniffy-nosed comment, we’ve seen what most of the eloquent candidates do with their vocabulary, which is lie their loquacious butts off. It’s as bogus as dismissing someone’s economic-policy ideas because “he’s not even a degreed economist.”

  27. RMO

    Bernie Sanders the person can’t really lose. Even if he was abducted by aliens tomorrow he still would have accomplished much more that the pundits would have ever imagined and probably a lot more than he even dared hope for. I think he started the campaign just in the desire to bring certain issues into the spotlight and perhaps force his party to make some sort of move back towards actual progressive policies. His campaign has done all that despite being studiously ignored for ages by the media and has managed to get to the point where the DNC and Clinton are actually worried. It’s like entering a F1 race with a soapbox derby racer. The odds ares so stacked against you that even making it through qualifying would be an immense victory.

    He can’t lose but your country and the rest of the planet sure can. If Hillary wins I don’t think I could possibly run far enough away to be safe because I don’t own a time machine or interstellar spacecraft.

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