2:00PM Water Cooler 2/5/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Australia: “The signing ceremony on February 4 in Auckland for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is mainly a public relations exercise.” Let’s hope so [Sidney Morning Herald]. “It masks the fact that for Australia and most TPP countries, the public debate and parliamentary process to pass implementing legislation, leading to final ratification of the deal, is just beginning, and it will be a rocky road.” And let’s hope so.

“There was a 90 day clock that was required between releasing the text and before the US could actually sign onto the agreement. The stated purpose of this 90 day clock was in order to allow “debate” about the agreement. Remember, the entire agreement was negotiated in secret, with US officials treating the text of the document as if it were a national security secret (unless you were an industry lobbyist, of course). So as a nod to pretend ‘transparency’ there was a promise that nothing would be signed for 90 days after the text was actually released” [Tech Dirt]. “So… uh… what happened to that ‘debate’? It didn’t happen at all.”

“Faith groups oppose the TPP trade agreement” [Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns]. Nice roundup.

New Zealand: “[C]entral Auckland grounded to a halt as trade ministers signed the TPP. All streets around Sky City Convention Centre and motorway on and off ramps leading to the central business district were blocked by protesters” [The Herald].


Readers, this 2016 section will be a little light because I’m got to tug on my yellow waders and do a close reading of the Sanders/Clinton debate transcript. And if there are any special moments in the debate for you, please add them in comments! Also, today is mostly about Clinton, as many other days have been mostly about Trump, simply because everybody is talking about the Clinton candicacy. –lambert


“Hillary Clinton Will Not Commit to Releasing Transcripts of Her Speeches to Wall Street” [Wall Street on Parade]. “[W]e’re not talking about some tenuous relationship between Hillary and Wall Street. We’re talking about the fact that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, four of the top five lifetime donors to Hillary’s campaigns have been the employees, executives and Pacs of mega Wall Street banks: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.”

“Even as Hillary Clinton has stepped up her rhetorical assault on Wall Street, her campaign and allied super PACs have continued to rake in millions from the financial sector, a sign of her deep and lasting relationships with banking and investment titans” [WaPo]. “Clinton’s success at raising millions from major Wall Street players — even as she blasts some of their most lucrative practices — shows how she continues to benefit from relationships she and her husband forged over decades.” Which is the use of public office for private purpose; Teachout’s concept of corruption.


“Hillary Clinton’s real theory of change can work — but liberals may not like all the changes” [Matthew Yglesias, Vox]. For example… Wait for it…

A very productive Clinton term could feature things like:

The Grand Bargain: This is the big one, and of course you should never count on it happening. But recall that back in 2011, the Obama administration and John Boehner were close to reaching an agreement on a deal that would cut Medicare and Social Security spending while raising taxes on high-income households.

It fell apart, but mainstream Democratic economic policy aides still think it’s a good idea and John Boehner says its collapse is his greatest regret. What’s more, in 2017 — unlike in 2011 — there will be a plausible argument that the deficit is actually a problem that’s worth addressing. Borrowing as a share of GDP will likely be rising then, not falling, and interest rates should be above zero with the unemployment rate below 5 percent.

So awesome.

“Hillary Clinton’s Mixed Record on Wall Street Belies Her Tough ‘Cut it Out’ Talk” [Pro Publica]. Sadly, by Jeff Gerth, but it’s really a link and quote roundup, not reporting.

“Hillary, the Banksters Committed ‘Fraud,’ Not ‘Shenanigans'” [Bill Black, HuffPo].

“[T]here’s way too much politics going on when certain people who used to know this [health care policy] suddenly don’t anymore and start spouting the company line” [Eschaton]. Linking to: “Meet the New Harry and Louise” [Jacobin]. “Vox’s attack on Bernie Sanders is sold as a policy critique. It’s actually a dishonest exercise in managing the Democratic Party base.” I don’t get it. For establishment Democrats, that is a policy critique.

The Voters

Quinnipiac: “The poll released Friday finds Clinton leading the race with 44 percent support, compared to 42 percent support for Sanders, within the survey’s margin of error. The last iteration of the poll in December had Clinton leading Sanders nationwide 61–30” [The Hill]. Elections, however, aren’t won on a national vote, but state by state by state. And none of the polls have covered themselves with glory this year. Still, Sanders is on an amazing ride, and it’s continuing.

“‘I love Bernie, and the values that he and Hillary share are so important to all Americans, that electability really matters,’ [Senator Claire McCaskill] said [The Hill]. We’ve linked to this story already, but once again:

The shift in party affiliation over the past seven years is absolutely incredible. In 2008, there were 35(!) states that were either solidly or leaning Democratic, five solid or leaning Republican and 10 judged as competitive. The following year there were 33 Democratic states, 12 competitive states and, still, five Republican ones.

Clearly, the Democratic establishment has no concept of electability whatever. We need a hostile takeover, followed by a management shakeup with mass firings of executives, as well as a purge of vendors.

“Certainly, some voters in the Democratic primaries are levying gendered attacks against Clinton. But many of these voters were not going to support Clinton anyway. The voters who may be most likely to fall back on feminine stereotypes are the undecided primary voters. These undecided Democratic voters could see Clinton’s gender as a benefit inferring that she will support progressive women’s issues. Alternatively, they could see Clinton’s gender as a bane inferring that she is unqualified for the presidency. And for many of these voters, Clinton’s gender might not matter at all” [The Monkey Cage, WaPo].

“The men’s rights meet-ups planned around the globe this weekend were supposed to be an opportunity for men to get together and commiserate. You know, just bros bein’ bros, talkin’ ’bout booze, babes, game, ‘legal rape,’ and the systemic oppression of men worldwide” [New York Magazine]. I’m filing this here as a usage example for “bros,” so you can understand how, er, artful the “innuendo” in BernieBro really is.

Democratic Debate

“It’s objectively weird that someone is willing to pay anybody $675,000 to ‘talk about the world,’ and anyone who collects those fees and also wants to secure the presidential nomination of a party [with a faction –lambert] that rails against income inequality is going to run into some political problems” [Salon]. “Imagine a voter – a young voter, in particular – who is getting screwed by slow job growth and wage stagnation watching Hillary try and explain away as meaningless the fact that a bank paid more than ten times the median annual income for three speeches.”

“There are two ways to see the fight over progressivism. On one level, it’s a rather frivolous piece of identity politics [!!]. Who cares what they call themselves? But for Sanders, it’s a way to show that Clinton says different things to different audiences. Whatever else you care to say about Sanders, he hasn’t changed his story for decades. The conversation also forces Clinton into silly places, such as insisting that she’s not part of the establishment. Does any American really believe that?” [The Atlantic]. “But Clinton, playing aggressively, got in a couple good licks at Sanders, arguing that his definition of a progressive would rule out Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and even Paul Wellstone, and adding ‘I don’t think it was progressive to vote against the Brady Bill five times.'” Wellstone?

Clinton on foreign policy: “A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS, [Clinton] said, noting that she has apologized for what she now considers a mistake. ‘When New Hampshire voters go on Tuesday to cast your vote, you are voting both for a president and a commander in chief,’ she said. ‘And there is no way to predict what comes in the door of that White House from day to day that can pose a threat to the United States or one of our friends and allies, and I think this is a big part of the job interview that we are all conducting with the voters here'” [WaPo]. Look for plenty of gaslighting in 2016.

“Clinton, who has been searching for ways to attack Sanders without alienating his supporters, seems to have fixed on the idea that there is something dishonest, rather than aspirational, in Sanders’s talk of initiating a ‘political revolution’ to upend a corrupt system” [The New Yorker]. “She is walking a fine line by arguing that money has a baleful influence in politics generally but has left her, personally, unaffected—Clintonian exceptionalism.”

New Hampshire

“Gov. Hassan: Clinton just might beat Sanders in N.H.” [USA Today]. Note the last paragraph, but otherwise reads like a beat sweetener.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, January 2016: “Headline weakness masks an otherwise solid employment report for January. Nonfarm payrolls rose 151,000 vs expectations for 188,000. December was revised 30,000 lower to 262,000 but November was revised 28,000 higher to 280,000. Now the signs of strength as the unemployment rate fell 1 tenth to 4.9 percent while the participation rate rose 1 tenth to 62.7 percent” [Econoday].

International Trade, December 2015: “The nation’s trade deficit widened in December to $43.4 billion from a revised $42.2 billion in November. Exports have been extremely weak and weakened further” [Econoday]. “The decline in exports is the latest hard evidence of global effects made more severe for U.S. exporters by the strength of the dollar, but the [0.3 percent] rise in imports, despite the decline in consumer goods, offers a positive indication on domestic demand, strength underscored this morning by the January employment report.” But: “The BLS job situation headlines were disappointing. Jobs growth decelerated this month, some economic internals were weak, continued inconsistency between the household and establishment surveys – all while the establishment survey was re-benchmarked and the household survey reflected updated population estimates” [Econintersect]. And: “While this report was not unambiguously positive, it shows a steady pace of hiring that stands in contrast to a wide swath of economic data that points to decelerating economic momentum” [TD Securities, Across the Curve]. “Keep in mind that this was not a pristine report and the pace of employment would likely be weaker if it were not for the influence of warmer temperatures across most of the country.” Even more: “As previously discussed, the numbers are showing that business is hiring more than output is increasing, which doesn’t seem to make sense to me. That is, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this reconciled by a drop in hiring, or a downward revision to employment in general” [Mosler Economics].

“Billionaire Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management is being investigated by a U.S. regulator over possible conflicts posed by an internal fund that manages money for the firm’s partners, according to people with knowledge of the matter” [Bloomberg].

“CREDIT SUISSE CEO: ‘The doomsday scenarios are not justified'” [Business Insider]. Good to know.

A long article on Uber that says, in essence, that we have no idea whether Uber’s business model works or what its valuation should be (which the headline does not reflect) [Pando]. But boy, can Trav suck in capital from squillionaires and screw over working people like nobody’s business!

“[T]he pool of investment banking revenue is already shrinking much faster than anyone expected, as results reported by Europe’s biggest banks this earnings season show. Investment banking revenue at Deutsche Bank fell 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 from a year earlier, while that of Credit Suisse was down 26 percent. At UBS, the decline was 10 percent” [Bloomberg]. Correct me if I’m getting this wrong, but doesn’t this imply a finanical flow? Doesn’t the capital that used to go to investment banks have to go somewhere? If so, where? The article doesn’t say.

“The U.S. Federal Reserve is squeezing a good deal of the profit out of mortgage bond trading, and Wall Street banks are increasingly heading for the exits” [Bloomberg]. Another big and wierd financial flow.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 20, Extreme Fear (previous close: 25) [CNN]. One week ago: 26 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). The dial’s been bouncing all around this week!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Much of America’s past is the story of white people benefiting from a system that white people designed and maintained, which increased their chances of success as it suppressed those same chances in other groups” [Charles Blow, New York Times]. Like the (white) Irish, for example, coming over here after the (white) British neoliberals of the day failed to alleviate the potato famine, and then (see Gangs of New York) battling U.S.-born (white) nativist gangs. Or the (white) Conquistators from Spain, who slew (see Charles Mann’s 1492) several Native American civilizations. Except their descendants are not white, but “Hispanic.” My point being that Blow’s post strikes me as riddled with category errors, and we have very poor language to discuss fuzzy sets in any case. None of which is to deny brute facts like those expressed in this tweet:

Modulo, again, “white people” as a category without fuzzy edges and with homogenous properties that enable identification. Nevertheless, basically, yeah; I like that “because” is introduced. (A similar example: I as a (add fuzziness here as appropriate) male can walk alone late at night without having to think about it. Never occurs to me to think about it. Not so for women. Suppose you were designing a world to be born into, but you didn’t know which gender you would be. Is that the world you would design?) Right now, the only language we have to discuss these issues is dominated by Democrat identity politics apparatchiks, and the vernacular is optimized for that purpose.

Our Famously Free Press

“Journalists as ‘hit squad:’ Connecting the dots on Sheldon Adelson, the Review-Journal of Las Vegas and Edward Clarkin in Connecticut” [Press Think]. With Class Warfare and Corruption, this post hits the trifecta.


“Paris prosecutors have launched a formal investigation into whether Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, was paid bribes over a long-contentious $1.2bn arms deal when he was defence minister” [Financial Times, “France opens probe into ‘bribery’ of Malaysia’s Najib Razak”]. The idea of the French investigating anybody for bribes is pretty funny, but Najib really is a piece of work, isn’t he?

“A federal judge’s ruling this morning means the [Chicago] Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is still on hold” [Crain’s Chicago Business]. “In a lawsuit, advocacy group Friends of the Parks argues that the $400 million museum, planned for an area just south of Solider Field, violates the public trust doctrine that restricts development along Lake Michigan, and says the lakefront area should be protected. Today U.S. District Court Judge John Darrah denied a motion to dismiss the suit.” “Public trust.” Huh? (I was originally thinking Rahm sold the public land to the Lucas Museum for a dollar. In fact, that was the deal for the Obama Library. My bad.)

Militia Watch

“[A] growing cadre of county sheriffs, many of them from the rural West, … believe themselves above the reach of federal government, constitutionally empowered as the supreme law of the land” [High Country News]. Sounds like Touch of Evil.

“LaVoy Finicum’s death in Oregon occupation prompts memorials across country” [Oregon Live].

Guillotine Watch

Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley — you know, the guy who got promoted to run the Detroit School system after poisoning thousands of children in Flint — has, as a fringe benefit to his contract, lifetime health care [MLive].

Class Warfare

Interview with Didier Jacobs, author of Extreme Wealth is Not Merited (OxFam) [Too Much]. Jacobs: “[M]y research traces 65 percent of the world’s billionaire wealth to the rents of cronyism, inheritance, and monopoly.”

Well, this is unfortunate. @DeRand:


Fascinating it may be, but is that always what’s going on? See Adolph Reed today.

“[T]here has been a significant uptick of labor activism on college campuses in the past five years, with graduate students and adjunct faculty members demanding the right to join unions. As universities depend increasingly on part-time lecturers and professors without long-term contracts to teach their classes, adjunct faculty members are organizing for fair wages and working conditions” [Al Jazeera]. They’re only teaching our children. What’s wrong with these people?

News of the Wired

“Repair groups from across the industry announced that they have formed The Repair Coalition, a lobbying and advocacy group that will focus on reforming the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to preserve the ‘right to repair’ anything from cell phones and computers to tractors, watches, refrigerators, and cars” [Medium].

“Europe’s highest court is considering whether every hyperlink in a Web page should be checked for potentially linking to material that infringes copyright, before it can be used. Such a legal requirement would place an unreasonable burden on anyone who uses hyperlinks, thereby destroying the Web we know and love” [Ars Technica].

“Cryptopolitik and the Darknet” [Taylor Francis Online]. Among other things, content analysis of the illicit material on the Tor darknet.

“These Haunting Photos Show the Interior of a Sunken Cruise Ship” [Esquire]. Great metaphor…

“Human Brain’s Bizarre Folding Pattern Re-Created in a Vat” [Scientific American].

“Multitasking is Killing Your Brain” [Medium]. Ouch! Ouch!!

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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 (Rex):


Fish-hook Barrel Cactus, snow blowing in wind to 60 mph.

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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. Tim

    Aw shucks, a bunch of shenanigans happened last night that is going to become impossible to esplain away unless some old fashioned concrete action is taken.

  2. Chris in Paris

    Re HRC’s Wall St. connections and profits: what is so fascinating to me and perhaps others is that this is only a (D) issue. On the other (Republican) side of the American debate, _it truly doesn’t matter_.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Aren’t Repub pols, by definition, unabashedly Pro-Business in every neoliberal respect. And why working class repub voters can’t connect the dots that that means rigging the system against them is mind boggling.

      1. Eric Patton

        And why working class repub voters can’t connect the dots that that means rigging the system against them is mind boggling.

        Translation: You think working people are stupid. I’d appreciate it more if you’d just come out and say it, rather than using coded language.

        This is a ubiquitous sentiment on the left — virtually always expressed, when it is at all, in this coded way. But this is truly how the left is. And you act like working people don’t notice.

        1. armchair

          Honestly, is there anything more hurtful and insulting than a lefty’s insinuation? It is time for lefties everywhere to stop the horrible insults of coded language, and let people live with pride and self-esteem. We on the left have tremendous insult-super-powers, and must resolve to use them with care and concern.

        2. Waking Up

          Working class people are NOT automatically stupid (and no, it is not a ubiquitous sentiment on the left). But, propaganda to convince people on what to believe which has been pretty universally in favor of wealth building for a few has been VERY successful.

          1. Darthbobber

            It has been helped greatly in this task by the fact that much of the party that affects to defend the working class on economic issues hasn’t actually done so for decades. (And part of its primary contest this year is really about the question of whether it might be time to make a few feeble steps in the direction of doing so again.)

        3. cwaltz

          “This is a ubiquitous sentiment on the left — virtually always expressed, when it is at all, in this coded way. But this is truly how the left is. And you act like working people don’t notice.”

          Heh, because no one on the left ARE working people. We know. We all sit home on our Obamaphones and wait for the free stuff the left side of the aisle promises us.

          By the way, you can find statements like the one above in just about ANY comment section. But hey, let’s play pretend and suggest that it’s the left side of the aisle that insults people. Bahahahahahaha

          Perhaps some of those working class people never learned the golden rule: If you want respect to be given than use it freely towards others.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, “the left” is a pretty fuzzy set, right? I know that “we’re smart, you’re stupid” is deployed a good deal among “progressives,” especially credentialed ones. That’s not identical to “the left,” which I’m not even sure has a clear definition, at this point.

          All I can say is that a genuine left movement had better not think workers are stupid.

      2. fakie wallie

        on the other hand, if you know that (D) is just as thoroughly bought and sold, doesn’t it come down to simply voting for the suite of cultural institutes you’d like to inflict on the other half of the population?

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          (D) is just as thoroughly bought and sold

          Agree 100%. But the team blue voters overlook their politician’s transgressions just like the red voters do. Hard to underestimate the stupidity people who vote for teams.

    2. Jen

      I wouldn’t say it doesn’t matter to the voters, just not the candidates, who after all, all have their hands in the till.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Go for the source of Wall Street wealth – the Fed.

      Which candidate will change/reform/audit the Fed?

      1. Skippy

        “Go for the source of Wall Street wealth”

        Um…. try MPS….

        “What exactly is neoliberalism, and where did it come from? This volume attempts to answer these questions by exploring neoliberalism’s origins and growth as a political and economic movement.

        Although modern neoliberalism was born at the “Colloque Walter Lippmann” in 1938, it only came into its own with the founding of the Mont Pèlerin Society, a partisan “thought collective,” in Vevey, Switzerland, in 1947. Its original membership was made up of transnational economists and intellectuals, including Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Karl Popper, Michael Polanyi, and Luigi Einaudi. From this small beginning, their ideas spread throughout the world, fostering, among other things, the political platforms of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and the Washington Consensus.

        The Road from Mont Pèlerin presents the key debates and conflicts that occurred among neoliberal scholars and their political and corporate allies regarding trade unions, development economics, antitrust policies, and the influence of philanthropy. The book captures the depth and complexity of the neoliberal “thought collective” while examining the numerous ways that neoliberal discourse has come to shape the global economy.”


        Skippy…. that is unless buildings can exert agency….

    4. cyclist

      The Guardian just had a particularly HRC friendly opinion piece by someone named Dan Roberts entitled ‘Clinton puts Sanders on the defensive in heated Democratic debate’. I can’t understand where the Guardian is headed these days, and the comments on the Roberts piece clearly demonstrates how the readership is becoming disillusioned. Not only on their take on Bernie, but Corbyn and Julian Assange, to name few other recent targets of their scorn.

      1. flora

        I’ll counter the Guardian piece with today’s Matt Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone:


        “In her speech, Hillary’s ‘we’ included the executives in her audience. Her message was basically that It Takes a Village to create a financial crisis. This was the Robin Williams breakthrough scene in Good Will Hunting, with Hillary putting a hand on the Goldmanites’ shoulders, telling them, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

        “The “village” didn’t do this. Lloyd Blankfein and his buddies did this. (Goldman just a few weeks ago reached a deal to pay a $5.1 billion settlement to cover its history of selling bad loans to unsuspecting investors, joining Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and others)….”

        “People aren’t pissed just to be pissed. They’re mad because a tiny group of crooks on Wall Street built themselves beach houses in the Hamptons through a crude fraud scheme that decimated their retirement funds, caused property values in their neighborhoods to collapse and caused over four million people to be put in foreclosure.”

        1. perpetualWAR



      2. PlutoniumKun

        The Guardian has been moving distinctly right-ward since its new editor took the helm. There also seems to be an increasing pressure on the journalists to take the new stance – its remarkable how, for example, the entire Guardian commentariat has turned so viciously on Julian Assange.

        You can see it particularly with writers like Mona Chalabi – she writes straight up statistical analysis – wonky stuff – when she writes for FiveThirtyEight she is very good – but some of her Guardian writing is quite embarrassing – she is an intelligent writer who knows her stats, so she must be fully aware that some of the articles she is writing on polling is not just junk, but deliberately distorted nonsense. I can only assume this is down to pressure on freelancers to take on a ‘house style’ which is increasingly a ‘house ideology’ as well. I wonder how long the dwindling number of really good writers – Aditya Chakrabortty as one example – will stick it out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      She owns the IP. She could release it if she wanted to.

      IP is an issue if another party has it and wants to release it.

  3. Bill Smith

    “Europe’s highest court is considering whether every hyperlink in a Web page should be checked for potentially linking to material that infringes copyright…”

    Does the government have a copyright on the documents they produce? Leaked documents? Secret documents?

  4. JTMcPhee

    Yesterday at CNBC: “Why Wall St. doesn’t care about Hillary’s cold shoulder,” http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/04/why-wall-st-doesnt-care-about-hillarys-cold-shoulder.html

    Wall Street gets it. And Wall Street Democrats, in particular get it.

    Hillary Clinton has been postponing fundraisers with financial executives ahead of the New Hampshire primary. But don’t expect folks on Wall Street to be offended that Clinton is distancing herself from them. In fact, they see it as smart politics and they understand that Wall Street banks are deeply unpopular, particularly with the Democratic primary base voters, according to a survey of several prominent Wall Street Democrats by CNBC.

    “Everybody knows how the world works,” said one Democrat working at a Wall Street bank. “If you take offense to that, you’re really unsophisticated.”

    For Hillary supporters on Wall Street, the focus is very much on keeping Bernie Sanders — who they see as much, much, worse for Wall Street — away from the Democratic nomination for president. “Democrats like me say: ‘Do what you need to do to get in the seat,‘ ” said the Wall Street Democrat.

    What the hell is a “Wall Street Democrat?” FDR?

    And this: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/03/wall-street-is-betting-big-on-rubio-clinton.html

    Kayfabe and booolsheeet.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Wall Street Democrats are college young republicans who lack the patience to endure Nascar and hillbilly antics and aren’t part of a traditional political dynasty.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

      A little Wall-Street bashing is a dangerous thing…go deep, all the way to the Fed, or taste not the wealth equality spring.

  5. Jess

    Under News of the Wired/the crapification of Apple, the Guardian has a story up today about how, if you have your iPhone 6 repaired by a non-Apple vendor, then install the next software upgrade, your phone goes completely and permanently dead. All stored data, photos, etc., permanently gone and un-retrievable!


    This has impact for me because I am about to go from my old flip phone to a smartphone, but not really by choice. Finally breaking down and getting a hearing aid. Seems that all the top brands nowadays have an app that lets you use your smartphone to adjust both the volume and tone. Also, they pipe phone conversations directly into your hearing aid, rather than you having to hold the phone by your ear. So, if I can indulge the cumulative wisdom of the NC commentariat for a little advice:

    Can you still buy earlier versions of the iPhone at Apple Stores? At other retailers? (Including ones that don’t require a fingerprint for access?)

    Friend has an iPhone 4 that he replaced with an iPhone 6. Says he’s willing to sell it to me cheap. Any drawbacks? (Assuming he will delete all his info, history, apps, etc.)

    iPhone vs Android: Prefer the iPhone to record music, and some folks I’ve talked to say it’s easier to use than the Android models. Any truth to this? User’s experience?


    1. Anon

      Oh wow, talk about screwing over the customer! To answer your questions:

      1. As of now, (I believe) you can still get an iPhone 4S from the Apple Store. Barring that, you’d have to scour Ebay or a phone reseller.
      2. The only drawback I can think of is that depending on what model you get, is the capacity. iPhone 4 models start out at 8GB and go up from there (to a max of 64GB)
      3. Having an iPhone for work and an Android for personal use, I’ve never bothered to record music with either device. That said, with iPhones (unless it’s different now) you have to use iTunes to add songs, whereas with Android, if you can use a flash drive, you can use an Android phone. Also, as far as app selection goes, due to earlier market penetration, apps that are free on Android may cost money on iOS.

      I think that covers the bases, but I’ll be around to answer questions for a little while longer.

      1. Jess

        About capacity on the iPhone 4: Happen to know if you can increase the GB later? Ex: Buy with 16 or 32, later increase to 64?

        And thanks again for your earlier answers.

        1. Anon

          Unfortunately, you can’t increase the storage unless you buy another one. If anything, you’ll probably be fine with 16GB or 32GB at least. I go for the higher sizes in case you find apps that happen to be useful/(re)discover a love for podcasts to listen to while on the go/a big music collection.

          Glad that I could be of help.

    2. Howard Beale IV

      Android Phones (Specifically many of the Samsung Galaxy series) support many of the hearing aid apps. I just got a new hearing aid myself and it works swimmingly well with my Galaxy Note 4. Not only that, but Android phones also have memory card support, which Apple has never had and never will.

    3. hunkerdown

      The only way to tell whether iOS or Android is easier for you is to lay your fingers on both and see which one you bond with, just as if you were buying a guitar. One complication on the Android end is that device vendors often put their own special sauce layers on the UI, which sometimes results in UI defects in odd apps (super-dark labels on buttons etc). In any case it wouldn’t hurt to swing by a Best Buy or the like on your way to Mordor.

  6. Jim Haygood


    BEFORE engineers dreamed of eliminating drivers in cars, they imagined eliminating the side mirrors. The protuberances are ugly, create aerodynamic drag, and their associated blind spots are the bane of parking-challenged drivers everywhere.

    But now, a long-sought solution looks closer to finally stripping cars of their Mickey Mouse ears, as many automakers demonstrate video systems that replace side mirrors with cameras.

    Continental, a major parts and systems supplier to automakers, calls them digital mirrors.


    Old-school shiny-metal mirrors are highly reliable. They don’t need power, so they work even when the ignition is off. It’s like … magic or something.

    Presumably this article is just product placement: NYT is giving PR Wire a run for its money.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If they can make wearable computers, surely wearable cars can not be too difficult for our technology wizards.

      “Put this one and you can go 60MPH easily. To look what is behind, just turn your head.”

    2. Steve in Flyover

      This is not limited to automobiles……….an example I’ve just seen on aircraft that I work on.

      Before 1995 or thereabouts, thrust reversers on aircraft were electrically controlled, with dumb, old fashioned switches and relays. Cost? A few hundred dollars for relays/switches. And you could troubleshoot they system, and replace the individual relay or switch if it failed.

      In the 1990s, they started replacing dumb relays with printed circuit boards/”Logic Modules”…………a plug in card, with transistors and ICs. Theory being, if you had a problem, you can troubleshoot it by swapping cards left to right, then R&R the card if it is bad, instead of paying a guy to locate a bad switch or relay.

      This scenario recently occurred on an airplane I work on. Thrust Reverser intermittently wouldn’t deploy. Problem followed the card……great! Check cost/availability on the card from the aircraft OEM.


      And you guys thought airplane toilet seats were outrageous.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      I imagine they will work like electronic window roll down. That is, when they don’t work, there is nothing you can do about it. Well the window isn’t so bad, unless the car is on fire, but no rear view mirror? Happy crash!!! or perhaps the car just suddenly stops dead and you can start singing, “Why don’t we do it in the road?…”

  7. WanderingMind

    The intersection of race and class has been increasingly on my mind. To this, of course, one can add gender and sexual orientation as well.

    One way to conceptualize the U.S. is through the characteristics of those who set down the fundamental rules of the Constitution. They were all males, all white, practically all non-Catholic, non-Jewish, owned substantial property and who knows what their sexual orientation was or even whether they thought of sexual orientation in the way we do now.

    In short, the rule makers represented a small minority of the persons who lived in the country at the time and they made the rules to favor themselves. And why wouldn’t they? They were there, they were in charge and they thought the possession of the power they had was as self-evident as any of the other self-evident things listed in the declaration of independence.

    Since then, all of those excluded from power by those rule makers have been in a continuing struggle to wrench some of that power away. The white males who had no property were the most successful, but the other groups fought for some power as well.

    That struggle continues today. Dividing the population up into those who have to trade their labor for money in order to have a chance at life is useful in analyzing that struggle, but among the laboring class, the burdens of that economic system have been spread unevenly. White males do less worse than non-white males and white females do less worse than non-white males, and white males do less worse than white females, etc.

    So, to me, there is something else going on besides class and that something else is rooted in systems pre-dating capitalism and which, if not addressed specifically, are likely to survive changes to or even elimination of capitalism.

    So no, I don’t agree with what Charles Blow wrote, but he’s not all wrong either.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Sounds to me like you’re talking about mythology. AKA worldview, belief system, etc. Ones mythology sets the world stage on which one then acts, all the while pretending not to have done so.

      But these days, we bust myths, right? We’re not subject to them at all, right? At long last, unlike millennia past, we see the world as it really is. We play no part in constructing the world we perceive, right? Because modern. /s

      Yeah right.

      What is the universe, how does it function, what societal organization does it imply, and what is the proper role of being human in it?

      The relationship of applications to operating systems is somewhat analogous. We won’t arrive at different solutions using the same OS that got us into this mess to begin with, no matter how clever the GUIs.

      Shorter me: it’s the mythology, dammit!

  8. JTMcPhee

    And for oversold ledes, try this:

    “Balancing humility and ego–
    How a New Hampshire rabbi opened Hillary Clinton’s heart – in his own words
    Jonathan Spira-Savett invoked saying of 18th century Hasidic rabbi at televised town hall meeting to ask Democratic presidential candidate about humility,”


    1. 3.14e-9

      Did anyone else notice that she said “I” more than 30 times in her answer? “Me” & “my,” 15 times. Lost count of how many times she referred to her accomplishments. She did make a major confession, though:

      “I have had to come to grips with how much more difficult it often is for me to talk about myself than to talk about what I want to do for other people.”

  9. GlobalMisanthrope

    Clearly, the Democratic establishment has no concept of electability whatever. We need a hostile takeover, followed by a management shakeup with mass firings of executives, as well as a purge of vendors.

    It’s not that they have no concept (I agree with the rest…), it’s that they’re not interested in governing any more than the Rs are and they need R control to provide cover for their fraud. The fact that the Rs pretend not to have caught on is further evidence that they are all in it together.

    It’s the parties v the voters now. That’s what makes Sanders’ running as a Dem a brilliant strategy…and (Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi.) it’s our only hope.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Both party leaderships are well trained by past elections to confuse the difference between electability and fundraiseability– all as a means to win not the opportunity to govern, but to keep their self licking ice cream cone from melting.

      Their confusion of these concepts– and the Rs “pretending” not catch on– I believe are not in fact confusion or pretending at all; they are rather concepts that have been swallowed whole by the governing class (thus their feathers get in fluff at the mere mention of Sanders). Or to use that delightful word spurted out by the Wall Street Democrat above “unsophistication”. It is downright unsophisticated to think that elections might be about anything other than 1 dollar, 1 vote.

  10. Steve in Flyover

    “The Repair Coalition” is just another division of the so-called “Free $h#t Army”

    Essentially, they want to access the software/code for free, to undercut the prices of the repair shops/dealers who paid good money to use the licensed software.

    Manuals and software code are intellectual property that cost money to create. Even after it is published, there are ongoing “Revisions” that are a continuing expense.

    Plus, there are legal liability issues involved. OEMs have been left holding the crap-bag repeatedly when fly-by-night repair shops use OEM data to “improve” a product, then disappear when the lawyers show up.

    Just sent in the invoices to renew my software and maintenance manual subscriptions. About $6k. Just the cost of doing business the right way.

    1. WanderingMind

      A pre-1970 U.S. made automobile took a lot of time, money and effort to build also. There are many parts in them that are patented. But the owners of those cars, if they have the skill, can and do modify them in ways that they want but the manufacturer didn’t necessarily plan on.

      The software lockout on consumer items today is nothing more than an attempt to create a new revenue stream where none existed before.

      1. Greg

        All the café standards seems to be for the same reasons. My favorite car was a 1957 VW Karman Ghia which had a 36 Hp air cooled engine and 6 volt system. It had over 300K miles on it before someone ran a red light and killed it. Gas mileage was never a thought. I have to admit though syncro in the gear box and the 12 volt system were an improvement in later editions, seatbelts too.

      2. nothing but the truth

        i am a software guy. i used to do real engineering before. i can see why real engineering is dying.

        it is too hard. the reason why analog electronics got replaced by code is because it was an art. you were lucky to find those engineers who could build good analog stuff. i was in awe of the folks who designed some of the circuits i got to work on. code is … just code. in spite of what NYT might tell you, code is not really STEM. at least not good old school STEM. it is an illusion of STEM.

        contrary to what they tell you, technological change has actually slowed down of late, because we are starting to confuse code with scientific progress. there is progress in biotech and nanotech, but basic engineering quality is actually declining alarmingly. About half of the machines and electronics i buy i’m having to claim warranty on.

    2. Oregoncharles

      You DID hear about “Error 53”, didn’t you? If not, look it up – I think it’s in Links.

      It’s the new business model. I guess they’re trying to protect people like you – but remember: I stopped using Sears mowers, and recommending them to others, because the service became so s….y. That’s the way things are going, and it’s not in your interest.

      Now I’m using them again, because Sears no longer controls service and parts.

  11. Unorthodoxmarxist

    Reforming the Democratic Party is a Sisyphean endeavor. The party is a transmission belt for the ruling class to manage possible reformist and anti-systemic tendencies. Every electoral system has one (Labour, post-1914 the Social Democratic Parties, etc.). Dems are no different, and in fact they are the far worse graveyard of leftist tendencies and efforts towards change. Tom Ferguson did the classic analysis on the New Deal Dems, but if we include the ND Dems as part of a larger 1930s Social Dem current, I think there’s a lot to be said in the analysis provided by Abraham in his Collapse of The Weimar Republic: those old-style reformist-left/liberal parties need a section of the bourgeoisie supporting them to enact their reforms. The ND Dems had what Ferguson calls the “high-tech” or capital-intensive industry of the day alongside sections of finance capital that were willing to grant labor unions rights in order to head off a more radical class explosion; the German Social Democrats ruled with a similar type of acquiescence from the German export sector. Both were willing to trade reforms for labor peace and making workers and the party a complete part of the electoral system.

    The Dems have, at least since the late 70s, given up needing to pay lip service to reform. The capitalist system since the 70s has had no need for labor peace since jobs have been offshored and industry even more capital-intensive when it remained onshore. Thus even the Dems were willing to allow a beatdown of labor, organized and unorganized. Sanders (and Corbyn in the UK) are riding a wave of class discontent with the decline of the old US structured world-system, but it is unclear how or why the parties they lead could be reformed to provide what their supporters want: a mid-20th century Social Democratic party.

    I think instead we’re going to see electoral capture of the Sanders’ surge *unless* Sanders is willing to break fundamentally with the Democratic establishment and lead his supporters out of the party. He would have to commit to ripping the party at its seams and leaving behind a rump corporatist machine, but this would also mean that they would run into the same structural issues that Syriza found in Greece – either radicalize quickly or capitulate once in office to the banksters.

    1. Darthbobber

      But is it any more clear what a third-party would do? Certainly it won’t be any of the self-proclaimed Vanguard parties. The only successful 3rd party in American history simply replaced the previous second party, and it was back to a 2-party system by the end of the civil war.

      Our setup is one in which, unless your base is concentrated regionally, you can pull a fifth to a quarter of the vote and come away with no representation at all. No variant of a disciplined, parliamentary party has ever taken root here, either. So one becomes a party officeholder by running a personal campaign, beating out the rival personal campaigns and then attaching the donkey or elephant to your brand if motivated to do so.

      (If the Greens, for example, were ever large enough to be seen as a potential career vehicle or to have multiple candidates for most nominations, they would instantly face the same issue.)

  12. Carolinian

    We have this on the authority of high-ranking members of the Clinton Treasury who gathered in Harvard in the summer of 2001 to mull over the lessons of the 1990s. At that conclave it was revealed that on Clinton’s orders a top secret White House working party had been established to study in detail the basis for a bipartisan policy on Social Security that would splice individual accounts into the program. Such was the delicacy of this exercise that meetings of the group were flagged under the innocent rubric “Special Issues” on the White House agenda.

    What was in fact being prepared for the President was precisely that second dose of welfare reform, this time targeted on the very citadel of the New Deal, the Social Security program Roosevelt himself established.


    Some Sanders oppo workers need to flesh this old Counterpunch story out, then put HRC’s feet to the fire on entitlements.

    Elsewhere: the Koch brothers versus Trump with some interesting inside info.


  13. NotTimothyGeithner


    I do think Team Blue has an understanding of electability. Their main problem is most of the current Team Blue are no longer electable, and they know this. They rallied around Hillary in hope the electoral map would be better in four years and could hide behind Hillary’s celebrity status until then. Hillary wouldn’t have to go to the Country Cookins, barbershops, senior government classes etc to run for office because she is a celebrity. Hillary can control the narrative around her. Everyone else would face questions, not the soft ball questions of the media, but real ones.

    Who would go to a Mark Warner meet up in Iowa or New Hampshire? A person eager for an interview with a guy who invested his inheritance in a cell phone company.

    Team Blue was open with their fantasy Hispanic voters would become as loyal as African Americans, and Team Blue could blow off activist types.

  14. Steve H.

    – Multitasking

    Here’s a fun experiment from a difference article:

    “First, you write “MULTITASKING” and then 1,2,3, 4. You give each letter a serial number.
    Those are the two tasks. Writing the word and giving each letter a number. Do one after the other as fast as you can. The champion for the moment is eight seconds.

    Then you do the same task, but you start multitasking. You write the M and the number 1, the U and the
    number 2, the L and number 3. You do the same as fast as you can. You should be surprised if it takes
    you double the time than the first time, if you make mistakes, and if you feel more stressed. That’s going
    to be the result of this little experiment.”

    Why it’s important:

    “For example, you’re driving through a village, and there’s a little red, rubber ball bouncing over the road. For your reflex brain, that’s nothing. Your reflex brain cannot think about the future and cannot think about things that are not present through the senses. Your reflecting brain has to be on standby. It’s your reflecting brain faster than I can tell that thinks, “Oh, wait a minute, slow down, because maybe behind the truck, there’s a little boy following the ball.” Your thinking brain can think about the boy. That’s not visible and can think about the future, something that might come. You slow down, and indeed, the little boy follows the ball and nothing happens.

    But if at that moment, you have been on the phone, there is a huge risk that you would have hit the child. It’s very clear.”


  15. alex morfesis

    Chicago friends of the parks bashnish for the spouses…if this is the same group i recall…the humanities mafia…only good tasting tuna gets to be…lucas is being shaken down…lincoln park/lakefront nimbistanis who magically never have a problem when people chose to use their spouses or friends tall building law firm…extortion chicago style…not that i think the museum should be in the park by the waterfront…but this is not people who care…just people who insist you share your funding with the approved karabinieri

    1. DJG

      Sorry, alex morfesis, but you are thinking of some other group in some other city. Friends of the Parks is very serious about preserving Chicago’s park system, which is quite a marvel, if we can can get businesspeeps to leave it alone. They also tried (and failed) to keep the Children’s Museum at bay. Imagine suing a children’s museum in favor of parkland. Not sure how they were involved in the Harris Theater–which impinges on Grant Park by sheer volume. So they are a respectable group. And since you refer to the lakefront as the waterfront, I have a feeling that you aren’t close enough to Chicago to get the political dynamic or “extortion chicago style.” I have to pull geographic rank this time.

  16. wbgonne

    I had a wonderful comment under composition when my iPad ate it so I’ll just say this about the Democratic race:

    Young people are saving the Democratic Party, this country, and, hopefully, the whole world, too. Which makes sense since they’re going to be here for a while. Just know some geezers have your backs. And remember:

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

  17. Jim Haygood

    Long Treasury yields sink to a 10-month low — a Depression-like 1.85%. Chart:


    This is pathological in many respects. It’s a flight to quality, as the safety of corporate debt becomes suspect. It’s a hedge against deflation, as U.S. investors watch sovereign yields sink below zero in Europe and Japan, and suspect that it could happen here.

    Finally, it’s a millstone around the neck of pension funds, whose prospects of hitting their 7 percent return targets become ever more remote as safe yields shrink toward zero.

    How’s that policy error workin’ out for us?

    1. griffen

      Bumping along the bottom of expectations for groaf, GDP…this ZIRP busines will get out of hand & we will be lucky to live thru it..

    1. Vatch

      I have read a random selection of seveal comments, and the headers for a couple of hundred of comments, from people whose names are in several parts of the alphabet. I have yet to see a comment that supports the TPP. The people who commented are close to being unanimously opposed to the TPP. I’m genuinely surprised that so few industry supporters of the TPP posted comments — it’s even possible there are zero supporting comments, although that is unlikely.

    2. TedWa

      Thanks for you due diligence Vatch, much appreciated. Looking over a few hundred myself, no comments seem to be for it and most are vehemently against it.

  18. Steve H.

    L’il problem with the ejection seat in the F-35:

    “The level of risk was labeled ‘serious’ by the Program Office based on the probability of death being 23 percent, and the probability of neck extension (which will result in some level of injury) being 100 percent.”

    Oh, and that’s only if you’re in the 136-165 lb range, less than that you aren’t allowed to ’cause the risk is too severe.

    These guys crack me up.

  19. craazyman

    faakk that Gambling pdf by Ole Peters and Murray Gell-Man looks like the North Face of the Eiger. I’m gonna put on the spiked shoes and get out the ice ax and climb it this weekend. I read a little of it, and frankly it’s not a masterpiece of narrative lucidity.

    But it has some pictures! Nothing like pictures of the ergotic properties of random variable time series to get the mental juices flowing. I even saw the word “stochastic”. That’s always fun. Let’s see if they actually do it or just talk about it.

    But I’m a bit concerned these dudes are stuck inside the Newtonian delusion with all the other economists, even though Mr. Gell-Man is a quantum physicist — when in Rome, squeeze yourself inside the Roman Box I guess. It’s hard to think outside the box, that’s for sure. It really takes a jolt out of the blue and you don’t get those unless you’re lucky or mentally deranged. But I don’t want to jump to conclusions, lest I speak falsely and that, to me, is a big No No. I’m just being honest.

    1. craazyboy

      Well, check out the wiki on Ergodic theory. It is physics. Also, stochastic people get fired from Goldman-Sachs. So economists are barking up the wrong tree here. They should stick to counting to ten on their fingers, or lying with simple statistics, if they must.

      But, careful what you wish for. Quantum Economics would be much worse.

    2. Dugh

      It’s a fun one. I’m enjoying trying to follow along and fill in the qualitative framework. These guys are true intellectual powerhouses and Gell-Mann has a nice way of bringing disparate ideas together, hence his SFI prominence. Definitely lots of QM style cleverness in there with Gell-Mann’s witty and subtle sense of humor. Child’s play for these guys. Looking forward to the follow ups.

  20. DakotabornKansan

    Faith groups oppose the TPP trade agreement [Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns]

    “A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.” – Paul Farmer, In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez (founder of liberation theology)

    Access to affordable, lifesaving medicines will be threatened where they are needed most – in parts of the developing world − if the U.S. insists on implementing restrictive intellectual property policies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

    “White liberals think all the world’s problems can be fixed without any cost to themselves. We don’t believe that. There’s a lot to be said for sacrifice, remorse, even pity. It’s what separates us from roaches” – Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World

  21. Oregoncharles

    ” there is something dishonest, rather than aspirational, in Sanders’s talk of initiating a ‘political revolution’ to upend a corrupt system”

    I didn’t think it would ever happen, but I agree with her. Claiming to lead a “political revolution” while seeking to represent a right-wing, legacy party is a bait-and-switch. That’s especially true when the rest of a “revolution,” at the very least an overturn in Congress and in the administration of the party, is not in evidence and not in his power – even as nominee.

    We’re seeing a familiar pattern: the presidential race as sparkle-pony, a distraction from the real business of change. It’s precisely what rendered Occupy ultimately irrelevant. I’m as guilty as anyone; the drama is hard to pass up. But I keep wondering: what’s he going to do about the Secret Service? Does anyone think the Praetorian Guard is really neutral?

    1. Yves Smith

      I doubt you’ve actually listened to any of his speeches and heard him talk about that in context. That bit is regularly taken out of context, usually by people like Lloyd Blankfein, to make him seem dangerous. What Sanders says on that point is pretty basic and quite sensible.

      And as we and others have discussed, Sanders is not “representing” a legacy party. The party apparatus is dead set against him. He is making a hostile takeover.

      There are legitimate criticisms to be made of Sanders, but this is not one of them.

      I have warned you about your Green party boosterism. You need to rein it in or your commenting privileges will be limited further.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Just gaining the nomination does not constitute a hostile takeover, as McGovern discovered. If he is nominated, he will indeed be representing the Democratic Party, insofar as they let him.

        I wish I could see the kind of movement that would be necessary. I don’t, and neither does Lambert. Do you?

        I didn’t mention the Green Party, even by implication. I commented on the rather awkward position Sanders is in. He’s doing remarkably well, considering.

      2. Darthbobber

        I don’t really understand the 3rd party fetish.

        I suppose that its correct in some weird sense to say this isn’t a political revolution, but only from a point of view that holds that anything short of “Storm the Winter Palace” is just a non-starter.

        This country does not have a parliamentary system, and in its entire history the only successful party succeeded only under pre-civil war conditions in which it was successfully replacing (and in a very short time frame) the previous second party.

        And the reasons aren’t hard to find. Sure, if you run on a purely sectional issue like the first version of George Wallace, you can actually gain influence in that section. But on national issues, even a fifth or a quarter of the vote gets you between nothing and next-to-nothing.

        And while neither party has ever been “revolutionary”, what were the occassions when the mass of the populace actually proposed to make a “revolution”?

        Either party, and the Democrats traditionally more than the Republicans, is a brand whose politics are those of whoever can succeed in dominating it. (as well as a brokerage house for the different interest groups and individuals using it as a common vehicle.)

        I’ll concede that 3rd parties like the Greens are presently pretty much immune from corruption at the moment. But that means literally nothing when you have no power or influence that you could trade if you wanted to. When you have something to sell, time enough then to boast about how you won’t sell it.

        And they don’t presently suffer much danger from “career politicians” for the simple reason that nobody who sees politics as a “career” has any reason on earth to think that the extant third parties could possibly be a vehicle for that.

        Let them enjoy any success, and all of that changes too. Certainly it took the German Greens very little time to travel the full distance from righteous radicals to consummate opportunists.

        1. cwaltz

          I, personally, think third parties can be important, if and when leveraged correctly.

          The reality is the Democrats can and have used them to thwart activists. When Ned Lamont won the primary the Democratic Party undermined him by supporting Lieberman’s bid as a third party candidate.

          That being said, I do agree with Yves, that Sanders is essentially “using” the Democratic Party because the ballot requirements for third parties are onerous. It’s pragmatism(which is why it makes me laugh that he’s being painted as some “pie in the sky” idealist.)

          If Bernie loses though, I’m happy that the Green Party will be there for me to send the message to the Democratic Party that they don’t own my vote.

          1. Darthbobber

            But then, the third parties have been uniformly self-thwarting.

            Possibly its just that none of them have been leveraged correctly yet?

            This is what always makes the arguments about “the” correct path so funny in the United States. The parties have always played BOTH roles. A vehicle for thwarting things, and the mechanism for implementing those changes for which the demand becomes overwhelming.

          2. wbgonne

            Yes, if Bernie loses everything changes. But while Sanders is viable that seems to me the best bet for initiating the change we need. The political vehicle already exists, it just needs a different driver. Hence the hostile takeover Yves mentions. We’re gonna steal the car back from the thieves! If we can’t, then we’ll need a new vehicle.

    1. Adam Eran

      “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs. ” – John Rogers.

  22. Roquentin

    The coverage coming out of a lot of the ostensibly “liberal” major media outlets on the primary is getting so bad I can hardly stand to read it. I’m a big fan of Jacques Ellul and his ideas about propaganda, but never has the inseparable nature of news and propaganda been clearer to me.

    1. Vatch

      it has been a cancer on my inbox ever since.

      LOL! I think a lot of people are suffering from the same malady.

  23. Tom

    Hi Lambert. As a foreign citizen (German) who has spent part of his youth in the States and has relatives there let me give you my take on the debate.(I have read the whole transcript)
    1. Sanders is amazing. I believe the energy of those millions of contributors is pushing him forward. I have no other other explanation. Yves thought that he made a mistake by agreeing to more debates. He didn´t. He´s getting more free air time that otherwise he would never get. A bit like Trump
    2. His ploy is very clever. He takes Hillary by her word. That is all her progressive talk and thereby throwing her back to where she once upon a time started. That puts her on the defensive psychologically. Don´t dismiss her so easily when she talks about the scars of political battles. I once read either an interview or a longer piece by Gore Vidal who knew the Clintons in their early days in the White house.
    Hillary really was the main driver behind Clintons main attempt at reform: the introduction of general health care. That begot the Lewinsky affair and Kenneth Starr. That was the opinion of Vidal. I believe it.
    3. He is going for the jugular. Hammering at the main points again and again. Money and power and the distribution of both.
    Finally: did you notice how Hillary both in her opening and her closing statements hammered on the favourite cultural issues of LBGT, racism and feminism? Sanders doesn´t need these dividing issues to distinguish himself from Republicans.
    I still believe they will somehow stop him. And be it by assasination. But anyhow anger is growing and big changes are afoot.

    1. Carolinian

      Hillary cultivated an image as the “liberal Clinton”–something that persisted right up through 2008. We now know through insider accounts–believable or not–that she was an enthusiast for all of Bill’s rightwing moves such as NAFTA, Dick Morris and triangulation, welfare “reform” etc.

      And perhaps Vidal was right and this public image motivated the GOP’s rabid attacks However it’s also likely that they saw the Clintons as politically weak and easy targets. Part of that weakness was that his then far more liberal Dem party didn’t like him much.

      1. Darthbobber

        I’d say through the first part of 2008. By the latter part of the Democratic contest, I saw her as explicitly positioning herself to the optical (though not necessarily policy) right of Obama, with what I took as a below-the-radar appeal to whiteness. Certainly here in Pennsylvania Obama was the favored candidate of the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions, and Clinton was the candidate of the Appalachian area (referred to hereabouts as Pennsyltucky) in between. She was going to revive the coal mining industry, among other things, as I recall.

        With the Republican nomination effectively decided long before the Democratic one, she also temporarily got annointed the “more conservative and acceptable” of the Democrats by the Republican talking heads, some of whom, like Limbaugh, went so far as to campaign for Republicans to vote in the Democratic primaries on her behalf. (Not that they necessarily meant the good words, they just hoped to drag out and ideally deadlock the Democratic fight if they could.)

    2. Yves Smith

      I did not say he made a mistake by agreeing to more debates. I said he made a mistake by agreeing to the TIMETABLE of those debates.

      This was the only one before Super Tuesday. That will lock whether he can beat Hillary or not, given that she has the superdelegates (the only way he might unlock enough is if he does extremely well before and on Super Tuesday). In NH, Sanders is so far ahead, there is no way she’d win unless toads started hopping out of Sander’s mouth. So he had little to gain, and she could pretend to look like she was willing to engage when she wasn’t. All she wanted was a shot at denting his momentum in NH.

      In other words, debates after Super Tuesday might as well be Saturday night for all the good they will do Sanders. Too late to have an impact on the trajectory.

      It does look like that backfired, but I’m referring to the objectives on both sides and what each had to gain and lose.

  24. rich

    Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton’s Tutor in War and Peace
    Last night, Clinton once again praised a man with a lot of blood on his hands.

    But whatever Hillary Clinton might have once felt about Kissinger’s invasion of Cambodia or the role he played in sidelining healthcare legislation she worked so hard on, she has made her peace and accepted the elder statesman as her tutor too. Last year, reviewing Kissinger’s World Order for The Washington Post, Clinton said that “Kissinger is a friend” and admitted that she “relied on his counsel” and that he “checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels.”

    The “famous realist,” she said, “sounds surprisingly idealistic.” Kissinger’s vision is her vision: “just and liberal.”

    Clintonism is largely an extension of Kissingerism, so Clinton’s cozy relationship to Kissinger shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    Both Clintons have excelled at exactly the kind of fudging of their public-private roles that Kissinger perfected. Kissinger, the private consultant, profited from the catastrophes he created as a public figure.

    Beyond his role in brokering NAFTA, in Latin America his consulting firm, Kissinger and Associates, was a key player in the orgy of privatization that took place during Clinton’s presidency, enriching itself on the massive sell-off of public utilities and industries, a sell-off that, in many countries, was initiated by Kissinger-supported dictators and military regimes.

    The Clintons, too, both as private philanthropists and private investors, are neck deep in corruption in Latin America (especially in Colombia and Haiti)–corruption made worse, à la Kissinger, by the policies they put into place as public figures, including the free trade treaties and policies that Hillary helped push through, first as senator and then as secretary of state.


    1. Daryl

      One of those great Hillary-isms, since her positions are already bought and paid, no need to change them.

  25. Bill Frank

    Astounding that as solid Sanders is on economic issues including healthcare and trade, he is truly clueless about foreign policy. He adheres to the false narratives dished out by the masters of media propaganda such as, “Iran is a major sponsor of global terrorism.” Hogwash.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Sander’s passion is obviously not FP. He plays it like it’s not a front he wants to open up to big, risky, controversial change. Here’s where his immense focus could be a liability. Who should he pick to be his SoS?

    2. sd

      Frankly, the US could stand to have a President who actually spends a little more time on domestic policy and a little less time stomping around the world and blowing people up – that blowing people up part is pretty much a description of Obama’s last two terms.

    3. Darthbobber

      Is he clueless, or just aware that the nation he’d like to be president of is clueless?
      Maybe he just calculates that its a rare election that’s won or lost on foreign policy and sees no gain from going there except in fairly nebulous terms?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Most voters won’t care. It’s a question of attacking the still sitting Democratic President, the still sitting African American President in a racially charged atmosphere (Bundy, Trump, anti-refugee rhetoric).

        There Is a Republican state legislator in my neck of the woods who African Americans never vote against, and the local African Americans will vote in huge numbers against other candidates. He goes to every town hall and public meeting in black areas of his district. The Republican doesn’t patronize, and he doesn’t try to pretend there is just a minor disagreement. The Republican legislator does listen. The WASPY Democrats who have run against him or for other offices whine about having to go to poor areas.

        When it comes to foreign policy, Sanders voted against Iraq, Clinton didn’t. People outside of military who follow veterans issues such as Sanders reforms at the VA will be more concerned with what affects their budget. Moving he conversation to foreign policy Is a waste of time during elections. Do poor African Americans want to hear about how crummy Obama is?

  26. Plenue

    “Neoliberal is just a snarl word for anything you hate, it’s a shibboleth.”

    I’ve seen this claim before (though not often, at least in American circles the right would much rather people didn’t even know neoliberalism was a real term, something they’ve been massively successful at). It’s always struck me as incredibly stupid. I can think of at least a dozen writers who very clearly define it. It’s not a complex concept: “Government bad, markets good. PRIVATIZE. EVERYTHING.”

    1. Darthbobber

      Yes. And it has in common with the deeper anticapitalist critique that either capitalism or neoliberalism can be factually connected to most subjects under discussion. Whether in the pigeonholes of economics, culture, or foreign policy.

      For calling it just a snarl word to be meaningful, the people tossing that line out would need to get down to cases. As in “You tried to connect this Flint emergency manager thingie to neoliberalism, but it just can’t fall under that concept for these reasons.” Which is precisely what never happens.

    2. wbgonne

      Neoliberalism is the boiling water we all live in. Of course, the corporatists don’t want us to notice because we might demand that they turn the burner off (so to speak).

  27. ewmayer

    Re. Multitasking piece, specifically the ‘set a checking schedule’ advice of the article: Of course most modern workplaces severely discourage such not-on-call-24/7-ness, as do modern dating and marital e-leash standards. There is a price to be paid for tuning out of the ceaseless buzz of the Birg Hive Mind.

    And I had to LOL at the author note at the end:

    Larry Kim is the Founder of WordStream. You can connect with him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

    So, after checking each of those ‘just 3 times per day’ plus e-mail, plus VM, plus text-messages, how much time for coherent unitsking remains in a day? I’m sensing Mr. Kim may well have filed this piece under ‘Advice To Self’.

    And now I forgot what I was doing… :P

  28. tegnost

    I think this talking point that sanders is bad on foreign policy is grasping at straws. He’s been in the thick of it for many many years.

  29. charles 2

    “The idea of the French investigating anybody for bribes is pretty funny, but Najib really is a piece of work, isn’t he?”
    French investigators have been for a very long time on the heels of corruption practices, which allegedly involved “bribe back” to French Politicians, hence the sensitivity. I don’t now why, but there seem to be a cluster around naval contracts (Frigates in Taiwan, Submarines in Pakistan and Malaysia). They have not been successful so far. Within the current set of rules, it is very difficult to win if one plays by the rules, which is what the judges are doing, being men of law.
    Most investigations are led by Renaud Van Ryumbeke who is a remarkable individual.

  30. clinical wasteman

    Re: TPP protest topography: the 99++% of NC readers who weren’t raised in Auckland may understandably have missed the detail that the deal was signed in the ‘Sky Tower’, i.e. a giant casino shaped like a hypodermic syringe.
    (Also, getting anywhere near blocking the Harbour Bridge — the only transportation link between the two sides of an abjectly car-dependent city — is quite a feat: I don’t remember that being achieved even by my parents’ generation of Maaori-led anti-apartheid ‘rioters’, who in 1981 invented the wonderful technique of entangling the bloodthirsty local police in something like giant fishing nets. Kia kaha to the new generation.)

  31. Foppe

    Reading this made me laugh. And wonder.

    Clinton suggested Sanders had set himself up as “the self-proclaimed gatekeeper for progressivism”, imposing a definition that would have excluded a roll call of popular Democrats, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy.

  32. RMO

    To those of you here who are U.S. citizens and who therefore may have to face the prospect of an election where your choice of vote for President comes down to Clinton, whoever the GOP picks or a protest vote (Green Party for instance) you have my deepest sympathy. If Sanders is an option I would certainly vote for him. He’s not perfect but as far as I can tell he’s campaigning because he seems to believe he can do some good for the country and the world by being elected. Clinton’s only motivation seems to be power, prestige and money which would explain why she seems to have little in the way of a vision or platform besides “the Republicans are worse so vote for me.” The current GOP crop certainly would be worse but from her record she would be pretty awful too. I would hate to see any of the Republicans elected but I don’t know if I could actually manage to vote for Clinton. Aside from the long list of problems that people here have with her record what really repulses me is that her enthusiasm for war and violence makes me think that she actually gets sadistic pleasure out of seeing people murdered.

  33. Cry Shop

    Nice article in Japan Times connecting a lot of dots with TPP.


    But it has long since become exploitative. Attracted by an opportunity to make money without producing things, corporations began to claim the rights of all manner of artistic merchandise after paying off needy creators.

    Sometimes, they even claimed the right to something that had theretofore been free, such as the extraction of a substance with medicinal properties from plants and trees used in indigenous forms of medicine. ….

  34. Procopius

    … got in a couple good licks at Sanders, arguing that his definition of a progressive would rule out Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and even Paul Wellstone,

    Well, I certainly would rule out Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

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