2:00PM Water Cooler 3/10/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Following Announcement of TransCanada’s Investor-State Case against the United States, Environmental Organizations Urge Opposition to Trans-Pacific Partnership” (PDF) [Sierra Club]. The organizations:

350.org * Bold Nebraska * Center for Biological Diversity * Center for Food Safety *Center for International Environmental Law * Clean Water Action * Climatetruth.org * Community In-power & Development Association Inc. * CREDO * Dakota Rural Action *Delaware Riverkeeper Network * Earthjustice * Earthworks * Energy Action Coalition * FLOW (For Love of Water) * Food & Water Watch * Forest Ethics * Friends of the Earth * Grassroots Global Justice Alliance * Green America * Greenpeace * Hip Hop Caucus * Honor the Earth * Indigenous Environmental Network * Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy* Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program * Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) * MoveOn * Oil Change International * PeaceWorks * Physicians for Social Responsibility * Public Citizen Climate & Energy Program * Rainforest Action Network * Rising Tide North America * Science & Environmental Health Network * Sierra Club * SustainUS * U.S. Climate Plan * Wica Agli * Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)

But groups, or groupuscules? (And see NC on the TransCanada lawsuit today.)



“If one lesson of history is the danger of globalization running amok, another is the malleability of capitalism. It was the New Deal, the welfare state, and controlled globalization (under the Bretton Woods regime) that eventually gave market-oriented societies a new lease on life and produced the post-war boom. It was not tinkering and minor modification of existing policies that produced these achievements, but radical institutional engineering” [Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate]. Rodrik’s trilemma: “It says that democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible: we can combine any two of the three, but never have all three simultaneously and in full.” Election 2016 seems to be about which horn of the trilemma to triage: Both Sanders and Trump would answer global economic integration, although for different reasons.

“[Marshall Steinbaum, a research economist at the Center for Equitable Growth] explained that, according to the internal workings of the models, “trading a lot more doesn’t actually increase people’s utility all that much,” which is economics-speak for “lots of trade doesn’t make people better off.” This is kind of freaking economists out, because the models are otherwise so good at predicting real world outcomes. “People see that as a puzzle, because a lot of economists just have it in their bones that trade is supposed to be super beneficial,” Steinbaum continued. “Yet the model that’s empirically successful says that it isn’t.” [The Week].

“the focus of the campaign on both sides, at least for the next month, and in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and (to a lesser extent) Missouri, is going to sharpen on the issues of globalization, trade and their assorted consequences. All of the candidates are going to have to sharpen their positions accordingly. (If Kasich continues to rise, his support for right-to-work laws in Ohio is bound to come up.) The auto workers in Michigan have run out of patience with platitudes and easy answers. At least on one side of it, this is becoming an election for people who see past the politics all the way into their own lives. That’s what I learned in Flint, anyway” [Charles Pierce, Esquire].

“Let’s pretend for the sake of argument that the horror expressed by Clinton and her supporters over Sanders’ 1980s positions on Latin America was all driven by some sort of authentic outrage over praising tyrants and human rights abusers rather than a cynical, craven tactic to undermine Sanders using long-standing right-wing, red-baiting smears. Is Hillary Clinton a credible voice for condemning support for despots and human rights abusers?” [The Intercept]. Let me guess….

Trump Panic

Trump: “At the right time, I will be so presidential that you’ll call me and you’ll say, ‘Donald, you have to stop that'” [Politico]. This is Trump’s version of a pivot to the general.


“Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy speaks eloquently of embracing the people, values and thinking that make this nation a leader in the world. But her campaign tactics, particularly in Michigan, did not live up to this vision” [Editorial Board, New York Times]. “Even with a double-digit lead before the primary, she failed to avoid the type of negative tactics that could damage her in the long haul.” Every time a Clinton supporter uses “Berniebro,” a kitten dies she loses a Sanders vote in the general. (If she wants it, which I doubt she does, preferring moderate Republicans.)

Florida Debate

“AP fact check: Eye-popping claims about Sanders” [AP]. Clinton becoming more florid.

In the debates, “Clinton attacked Sanders in a series of ways that are, well, pretty disingenuous.” (“Disingenuous” means she lied like a rug, for those following along at home) [Aaron Blake, WaPo]. Blake then proceeds to award the debate to Clinton, because Sanders didn’t produce a gamechanger.

“This Hillary Clinton attack on Bernie Sanders makes no sense” [Chris Cilizza, WaPo].(That is, Clinton “casting Sanders as in the pockets of Charles and David Koch,” well-known closet socialists.) When you’ve lost Chris Cilizza… It’s as if Clinton has a list of demon figures, and she’s randomly trying to tie Sanders with them.

An unforced error:


I’m not sure what kind of answer that is. It’s important for the Sanders campaign to force Clinton onto the trail as much as they can. It stresses her, and it forces staff to prep her; she doesn’t function well unless prepped. As she admits, she’s “not a natural campaigner.” So force her to do a lot of what she’s not good at.

“Clinton Misses Chance to Erase Michigan Loss in Immigration-Heavy Debate” [Bloomberg].

Florida Primary (Tuesday, March 15)

“Looking back, Rubio’s supporters see these fateful days [when Rubio tried to out-Trump Trump] as central to his unraveling. A strategy designed to get under Trump’s skin and force him on the defensive instead backfired on Rubio, diminishing the 44-year-old senator who had spent years trying to demonstrate presidential gravitas. At rally after rally, Rubio was unintentionally personifying the caricature that Trump was perpetually drawing of him: ‘Little Marco'” [WaPo].

The Trail

“But here’s just one way Bernie Sanders could win enough delegates to surpass Hillary Clinton” [Medium]. I don’t have the skills to assess whether this “path to victory” is any more credible than Nate Silver’s. Readers? But I like this: “If Michigan should teach us anything, it’s that this year’s primary campaign — like all modern politics — is dynamic, not static; fluid, not fixed. ‘Everlasting uncertainty and agitation,’ a guy once said, ‘distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones.'”

Shorter Nate Silver Michigan post mortem: “Basically, all the reasons the pollsters screwed up in Michigan boil down to…politics: that is, the contingent, unanticipated, thoroughly novel and surprising transformations that ambitious political actors — from candidates for high office of state through on-the-ground local activists and organizers — help make happen. Pollsters and pundits assume that past is future. Political beings act on the assumption that it’s not” [Corey Robin, Facebook (sorry)].

The irresistible farce and the immutable reject:

That’s a good question!

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of March 5, 2016: “Payroll growth in last week’s employment report for February proved very strong.Continuing claims round out the good news” [Econoday]. “There are no special factors in today’s report, one that underscores the solid strength of the nation’s labor market.” Just throwing this out there, but isn’t it also possible low jobless claims are a sign of hysteresis? A “If you hate your crap job, you’ve got to keep it”-style-of-thing.

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of March 6, 2016: Edged higher [Econoday].

Quarterly Services Survey, Q4 2015: “Information revenue rose 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year, information revenue rose 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter vs an upward revised 3.9 percent in the second quarter.”

Rail: “Relatively speaking, this week was worse than last week, and the improvement seen last week is fading” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “Too Many Boats for Too Little Cargo Leaves Shippers High and Dry” (lots of charts) [Bloomberg].

Neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics: “China’s finance minister has come under fire after he proposed changing a labour law he said was overprotective of employees and inflexible to business” [FT, “China public outcry over finance minister comments”] “Ultimately, he said, making it easier to fire workers would benefit the workers themselves. “Who eventually bears the costs? The working class who the law was intended to protect,” [Lou Jiwei] said.” And then there’s this: “Mr Lou compounded the perception that he was out of touch with the working classes when he answered a question about government debt, saying that as long as it was invested wisely in productive assets it was OK. It was like a family going into debt to fund its mortgage, he added.” So China’s finance minister believes that government is like a household. “‘The government doesn’t care whether we live or die!’ one Weibo user said. “Our salaries are not enough to pay a mortgage.” If China’s ruling class is this embubbled and captured, China really is in trouble. And Chinese workers and peasants, once they get rolling, don’t crap around.

Fodder for the Bulls: (But see the responses.)

Honey for the Bears: “In the aftermath of 2008, Stiglitz was indeed one of those warning that I and economists like me were wrong. Without extraordinary, sustained and aggressive policies to rebalance the economy, he said, we would never get back to what before 2008 we had thought was normal. I was wrong. He was right [Brad DeLong, HuffPo]. “I was wrong. He was right.” Those words show why DeLong is a mensch, and a scholar, and Krugman is a hack, and a hack. Read the whole thing.

Honey for the Bears: “New signs of weakness are surfacing in the commercial-property market, ending a half-decade run of improvement with steadily climbing values. Amid global shifts like the sluggish Chinese economy and a new era of low oil prices, defaults on loans are popping up in areas that were considered overheated, occurring in small numbers for now, but stoking fears that more could be on the way” [Wall Street Journal, “Now Coming to the Commercial-Property Market: Defaults”]. “This comes as there is a growing view that the best days are in the past for this property cycle, which benefited strongly from low interest rates [***cough*** manipulation ***cough***] and demand by global investors from regions like China and oil-dependent economies in the Middle East.”

“The real economy and markets are so far apart they look like ‘two parallel realities'” [Business Insider].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73, Greed (previous close: 71, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 10 at 10:44am. Still puttering along in the mid-70s. It’s like Gramps put the Index on Cruise Control.


“Australian researchers say a global tracker monitoring energy use per person points to 2C warming by 2030” [Guardian]. “It is the first model to include energy use per person – which has more than doubled since 1950 – alongside economic and population growth as a way of predicting carbon emissions and corresponding temperature increases.”

“Researchers who have analyzed America’s eating habits say they can sum up what’s wrong with our diet in just two words: ultra-processed foods” [Los Angeles Times]. “These foods — a group that includes frozen pizzas, breakfast cereals and soda — make up 58% of all calories Americans consume in a typical day. Not only that, they delivered 90% of the added sugars that Americans ate and drank, according to a study published Wednesday in the medical journal BMJ Open.”

Guillotine Watch

“Chelsea and Ivanka serve as board members and high-ranking officials at the Clinton Foundation and the Trump Organization, respectively. Both non-Jewish women, they married Jewish men from prominent families in real estate and politics — both chose Vera Wang gowns for the high-profile nuptials. Both have written advice books for young women, and despite cultivating a large public persona, both have become perhaps equally calculating and guarded about their public images” [Politico]. Ruling Class Barbie?

“The overall [Wall Street] bonus pool of $25 billion is enough for 2.6 million restaurant and bar servers who typically earn about $10 to $11 an hour to get a raise to $15 — with $10 billion to spare, according to the Institute for Policy Studies” [Editorial Board, New York Times]. And restaurant and bar servers don’t crash the economy, either.

Class Warfare

“Fukushima ‘decontamination troops’ often exploited, shunned” [AP]

News of the Wired

“George R.R. Martin clarifies: George Martin of Beatles fame is the guy who died, ‘Not me’ ” [Los Angeles Times].

“How The World’s Most Beautiful Typeface Was Nearly Lost Forever” [Buzzfeed]. “In the final months of 1916, Cobden-Sanderson threw the punches and the matrices — the templates needed to cast type — into the water beneath Hammersmith Bridge, and followed them with every piece of Doves Type that existed.”

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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 (from a loyal reader on the New Hampshire seacoast):

Dusk seen in a Woodstock VT pond

“Dusk seen in Woodstock, VT pond.”

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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. Pat

    So let me get this straight. Clinton lied and avoided answering during the debate itself, and needed to check with aides during commercials which is cheating.

    Hmm. Why am I not surprised. And why will I not be surprised when her supporters refuse to recognize the former and deny the latter. Hell I’m still trying to come up with a response that isn’t “whatchyou talking about, Willis. Clinton’s term at State was an unmitigated disaster and managed to make Rice look good” to them when they talk about the brilliant Secretary of State thing.”

    1. Steve H.

      – she doesn’t function well unless prepped.

      Remember when W appeared to be talking back to someone feeding him answers during a debate? He looked like he had a receiver underneath his jacket. Can’t find any video, but that was a special moment.

      1. RUKidding

        The meme about Clinton not functioning well unless prepped – which I knew already – cannot be pushed out there enough.

        WTF is she gonna do against Trump?

        I mean, I loath Trump, but I have to give credit where it’s due: he can be pretty nimble and fast on his repartee. Granted he’s a giant sucking bully with no idea about a policy is. Nonetheless, I can just see him eviscerating Clinton. Totally. And I think she’ll get completely rattled and mess up… repeatedly.

        Frankly, I feel Sanders would do much much better against Trump, although he, too, will have some challenges. But I think he could hold his own better and maybe even get in a swift jab or two.

          1. Jack White

            “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar” (A. Lincoln ) The stroke didn’t help either…

        1. TomD

          Sanders is by far the best candidate to “debate” Trump because he’ll totally avoid any personal arguments and just do back to taking about inequality.

          Actually Kasich is probably second best because he also only talks about his ideas for improving government, but I disagree with him and agree with Sanders.

        2. HotFlash

          “Frankly, I feel Sanders would do much much better against Trump, although he, too, will have some challenges. But I think he could hold his own better and maybe even get in a swift jab or two.”

          Yes, totally. I have been trying to bet anyone that Trump would have Hillary in tears by the second debate — she has tons of entitlement and very thin skin, and he is a Jungian feeler-type — knows instinctively where his opponent is weak. No takers. And, of course, that would mean that either Clinton or Trump would end up as pres. NOOOOOOOOO!!!

          I really like the idea of pre-nomination debates. Coz I really would like to see Ms Clinton in tears.

          1. Dale

            I don’t know. Somebody could have a heart attack. Sanders gets awfully red in the face, and he does throw his arms around like he’s either conducting a symphony or scaring away a bear.Trump looks like he’s crushing the podium with his clenched hands and he cannot stop himself from blurting out whatever insult pops into his mind. Under attack, Clinton responds with a smile that is both scornful and condescending. She looks impervious to insult. But I don’t know. Too bad these debates aren’t played in doubles, like tennis.

            1. tony

              You are misreading Trump. He did not beat Jeb Bush into a pulp by accident. The tricks he uses, re-framing, social proof, double-bind, dominant body language, and many others are well practiced and he has probably been using them for decades.

          2. TomD

            Sanders proposed cross-party debates before the primaries start but of course the DNC simply refused to respond. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the RNC go for it because say what you will about them, they aren’t scared to go on stage an lie their asses off.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Seeing her faceplants at the end of the debate, she went walking with the wrong crew.

      That said, she’s got so much awful about her, I’d really rather see her lose on merits and not on procedure.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hillary is portrayed as uniquely qualified, competent. She can take the 3 am call despite policy differences. Hillary has made this part of how she should be judged. If she isn’t with it, that’s a criteria she made because she isn’t running on policy vision.

        1. RabidGandhi

          That’s precisely one of the reasons why she’s so rancid. In her own words, she’s a:

          highly-effective “[neoliberal] pragmatist who likes to get things [eg. bombing, pillaging, poisoning] done”

          IMHO that makes her more dangerous than say W or Reagan.

          1. sleepy

            Yeah, and along those lines, she made the comment last night how–paraphrasing–“I could help the dems retake the senate and get back to bipartisanship”.

            Wtf? I know her fans don’t care what she says, but does she have any clue at all how that sounds to any dem still undecided?

            She’s so programmed to say certain words–retake the senate, bipartisanshp–she’s like a search engine gone mad. She’s fragile and brittle with no ability to think on her feet.

            If Sanders starts winning more states–knock on wood–I think her debate meltdown could take place long before the hypothetical Trump takedown.

            1. crittermom

              “She’s so programmed to say certain words…..she’s like a search engine gone mad.”
              Great analogy! Dead on.

              I continue to hope Trump self-implodes & Hellary has a meltdown long before either has a chance to advance further.

      2. HotFlash

        “she went walking with the wrong crew.”

        Yeah, well, but they always tell her what she wants to hear.

    3. James Levy

      The Rice looking good thing is just nonsense–Rice was a complete idiot out of her league and in her job for optics and to tell Dubya how clever he was. Clinton was awful, but let us not re-write the past to make inept buffoons look better in order to make Clinton look worse. Clinton’s awful tenure speaks for itself.

      1. RUKidding

        I agree. Much as I dislike Clinton and was horrified (but unsurprised) by her reign as SoS, Clinton was leagues above Condi Rice. I just didn’t like how Clinton chose to run things. If Clinton had used her brains and nous to better ends, she would have been a great SoS. As it was, she was not. But not bc she’s not smart enough or competent enough. Rice was neither of those. Just saying.

      2. Pat

        Both terms were awful. Let’s see the supremely competent foreign policy wonk can’t do better than the out of her league idiot? I understand your objection to my portrayal, but that Clinton’s term was that bad despite her ‘advantages’ to Rice…

    4. Llewelyn Moss

      Bernie torpedoed himself by wearing a brown suit — After Freakin Labor Day!! When is the man going to hire a fashion advisor!!
      And Hellery, wearing the Chinese Peasant Shirt is a master stroke. Looking communist, which trumps socialist I believe. :-)

      Was happy to see Bernie finally hang the Bankster Bailouts around her neck. After all her twisted logic answers she “Feels hurt” to hear people don’t trust her. Too bad that was the last debate.

      1. Strangely Enough

        Honestly, it wouldn’t hurt MSDNC’s credibility if they just stuck to the red carpet portion of the awards ceremony.

        “And here’s Secretary Clinton. She’s wearing…”

      2. Michael

        On 538, they said the suit was blue, it was just coming across as brown on camera. Even still, not a good look.

  2. Vatch

    “Following Announcement of TransCanada’s Investor-State Case against the United States, Environmental Organizations Urge Opposition to Trans-Pacific Partnership” (PDF) [Sierra Club].

    If is very likely that several of the organizations in the list endorsed Obama for President. Any that did not endorse him probably withheld their endorsement because their 501c(3) tax status prohibits political endorsements, not because they preferred a different candidate. Irony!

  3. Jerry Denim

    Interesting article in The Week regarding trade but right after the piece calls models and economists out for being hacks there’s this: “This doesn’t mean we should start ripping up trade deals and slapping tariffs on everything.” The author then goes on to quote a Trump talking point claiming everything can be sorted out by cracking down on currency manipulation. Just how does that work exactly since the US doesn’t control China’s exchange rates? Why not reboot our tariff system and just let that handle the problem. Same thing right? Devalue all you want, we’re get you at the border. Value your currency fairly, stop exploiting workers and the environment for advantage, then we will will discuss easing tariffs.

    1. Carolinian

      Related: Times out today with an article suggesting that Trump’s “merchantilism” is the stuff of periwigs and snuffboxes.


      The gist

      “Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires,” President Obama said in his 2012 State of the Union address.

      The measure, however, also increased the amount that Americans spent on tires by about $1.1 billion, according to calculations by Gary Clyde Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. That money, had it been spent on other things, would have supported jobs in other parts of the economy.

      Times account of Peterson doesn’t mention the money taken out of the US economy had those workers’ wages stayed in China. The article also admits that other countries are practicing the obsolete 200 year old thing and says

      “It might be that the threat of tariffs or other trade sanctions could cause American trading partners to open up their markets or drop their barriers to trade,” Mr. Prasad said. “Perhaps as a bargaining chip it’s not necessarily so bad. But there is a risk that rather than having that positive effect it leads to retaliation on both sides.”

      So, would be jape at Trump ends by admitting he might have a point. Still, it’s “risky.” Easier to join the mainstream economists, donning their periwigs, and proclaim to the blue collars: let them eat orthodoxy.

      1. NeqNeq

        Anyone who thinks that modern economic practice (and significant swaths of theory) isnt Neo-Mercantialism is fooling themselves or selling you something. It being the Peterson Institute count on the latter.

      2. ewmayer

        That money, had it been spent on other things, would have supported jobs in other parts of the economy.

        “That money, had it been spent on other foreign-made-from-oil things, would have supported jobs in other parts of the overseas manufacturing economy.” — There, fixed.

      3. different clue

        So . . . . we spent 1.1 billion dollars MORE on tires? Consider this: we spent that 1.1 billion dollars MORE on AMERICAN tires. Which means that AMERICAN tire makers got 1.1 billion dollars MORE than they would have gotten otherwise. And if those more-moneyed Americans spent that 1.1 billion dollars buying OTHER goods and services from yet MORE Americans, then those yet-MORE Americans got MORE money to spend on goods and services from even MORE other Americans.

        Those 1.1 billion extra dollars paid for aMERican tires were 1.1 billion more media of exchange to permit more economic activity within America than would otherwise have been permitted. And that’s why the American market should belong to the American producer FIRST. And that’s why we need to abolish and abrogate all Free Trade laws and treaties and agreements in order to make Americans employing Americans possible again.

    2. Banana Breakfast

      Set tariffs to an index measuring relative wage exploitation, environmental cost, etc. Absent these immoral advantages, better paid and unionized workers will produce more effectively, and with lower transport cost for goods. See for example the pharmaceutical industry, where a whole other tangle of corruption and greed has protected US manufacturers from cheap and environmentally careless competition, and the result is local, well paid factories still in operation.

      1. different clue

        Those are all very good ideas. Currently they are all ILLEGAL under the International Free Trade Regime. We can’t apply any of those good ideas until we withdraw from the International Free Trade Regime and end the International Free Trade Occupation of America.

        Free Trade is the new Slavery. Protectionism is the new Abolition.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          There’s something very knee-jerky about “free trade”, of course everybody should be for it, everyone wants to “trade” and “free” is always good too.
          Maybe we need some new words.
          “Non-American Trade”
          “Foreign Trade”
          “Invasive Non-Native Trade”

        2. Banana Breakfast

          Oh, I know. On the bright side, there is for all intents and purposes no mechanism for enforcement of those laws absent the big stick of the US military, so all the obstacles to a refocusing of US trade policy are domestic.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    I didn’t see it here, but the Atlantic’s Obama article is revealing. The short version is Obama was failed by everyone else on fp.

    MoA has a post up about it.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Thanks for that link.
        With the Goldberg interviews and this piece he is attempting to wash the blood off his hands and to whitewash his legacy.

        And as usual most of the public will swallow Obama’s lie hook, line and sinker.

  5. Anne

    Clinton continuing to use the auto-bailout attack that likely hurt her in Michigan, and using that same style to attack Sanders on immigration reform, is a perfect example of her inability to deliver a true winning message; one can feel the dishonesty in it – which is perhaps one reason why people don’t generally view her as honest.

    Worse was her ham-handed – but gleeful – effort to tie Sanders to the Koch brothers. And that’s not going to work, either.

    If the general election was Dancing With the Stars, Hillary would be the candidate wearing designer cement shoes.

    What’s really coming through for me is that she thinks this race is about her, and Sanders thinks it’s about us.

    1. grayslady

      Something just occurred to me as I was reading your comment about the many types of disingenuous attacks Hillary leveled at Bernie. Hillary is starting to come across as a harridan. Especially since both candidates are close in age, Hillary creates the impression of a nagging wife who, when arguing with her spouse, throws the kitchen sink at him. (It can work the other way around, too, where the husband does the same thing–only Bernie isn’t engaging in that kind of rhetoric.) Is this, perhaps, a subliminal reason Bernie is sweeping up the white male vote? And what happens if Hillary faces Trump? Every henpecked guy in America is going to relate to Trump telling off Hillary.

      1. RUKidding

        Unfortunately, I have to agree somewhat. At the least, I think Trump will wipe the floor with Hillary, and he can’t wait to do it. I don’t see Hillary doing well in debates with Trump, and that has nothing to do with my dislike of her. I feel that, just in this instance, I’m being objective. I witnessed her at these debates, and she’s not turning in great performances. Just saying…

        1. sd

          At times, Clinton actually reminds me of GHW Bush Sr who would get absolutely blood red daggers in his eyes whenever his authority was questioned. Always fascinated me – my underlying assumption was he really wanted to scream ‘I’ve been the acting President for the last 8 years, you peon’

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The GOP is the party of the white male. White males who want Hillary’s message had a host of clowns to choose from. Why would they choose Hillary over a Kasich or a Cruz? They are all awful, but Hillary means less top spots for white males, maybe even affirmative action. The horror.

        If they aren’t voting for Kasich or Fiorino, why would a white male vote for Hillary? The deficit? This is just an excuse for not knowing why a person votes Republican. What is the sell? Sanders has a product which is very different from the GOP and Hillary. It’s just this simple.

        Young people turned against Hillary, partially because racism and sexism are less pronounced among their peers and are experiencing the wonders of the DLC economic leadership first hand.

        1. grayslady

          There are plenty of white males who are independents or Dems. Bernie is eviscerating Hillary in that category.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            What is Hillary’s message? She’s basically a conservative offering up a token prize and a bulwark against the GOP. Bernie checks the token box, but he has a message about economics, education, the environment, and less of an imperial state. White males aren’t threatened as directly by the GOP except through economics and war. If you were a white male, you would vote Republican or for whoever wasn’t offering up identity based Republican policies in this case Sanders. Warren would have cleaned up with white male Democrats and independents too. Tulsi Gabbard or Nina Turner would have a similar following with longer, federal careers against Hillary

            Hillary lost Arabs, a notable population in Michigan, and the youth because they don’t see her as a defender against the GOP.

            1. grayslady

              Yes. Clearly there are many important policy reasons to support Bernie, regardless of the voter’s gender. I’m merely suggesting that unintended perceptions may come into play when you are attacking an opponent rather than attempting to explain why you think your positions are better for voters.

            2. sd

              Hillary’s message is that she has the-rolodex-that-will-get-things-done. That rolodex does not typically benefit ordinary Jane & Joe America and in fact, more often harms them.

              PS For the youngins, a rolodex is what we oldsters used to keep on our desk with our contacts on cards.

        2. Massinissa

          Um, Im actually a white male under 30 who voted for Bernie.

          Anyway, Im voting for a woman in the fall, but its not Hillary, its Jill Stein.

          1. efschumacher

            Massinissa: Anyway, Im voting for a woman in the fall, but its not Hillary, its Jill Stein.

            Why do that when you can write in Bernie? In fact Jill Stein can cede to Bernie if the following Ticket for the General comes to pass:

            Clinton (Dem)
            GOP Apparatchik (GOP).
            Sanders (Independent)
            Trump (Trump)

            Bernie will win that one handily.

            1. Massinissa

              Look, Bernie is not going to run for independent. He just isn’t. And he wouldn’t win even if he did. Whats wrong with voting Greens?

              1. Praedor

                I agree. I’d LIKE him to take the Independent route, maybe even hook up with Jill Stein and go that way. At this point he wont run as an Independent and I’m not sure he ever would have. He would likely feel it is too “disruptive” when he wants to keep on speaking terms with the Democraps with whom he must caucus.

                I think he’d do well as a 3rd party candidate this time around though. Much stronger than Nader ever did, possibly even pull the win, especially if the tickets ran as indicated above.

      3. GlobalMisanthrope

        Trump is a bully and a liar (and talk about disingenuous attacks and the kitchen sink) but nobody compares him to an abusive, cheating husband. But Clinton is coming across as “a harridan” and “a nagging wife,” who “[e]very henpecked guy in America is going to relate to Trump telling off.”

        The inherent sexism of those descriptors is exactly why I have long believed that the U.S. will not see a woman president for many years to come. Americans hate women unless they can use them.

        1. grayslady

          Unfortunately, there’s a very different dynamic at play when two people of different genders appear to be arguing than when two men or two women appear to be arguing, regardless of the arguments. You’re correct. It’s unfair, but it exists.

          Remember, even Obama had to be careful not to sound like an “angry black man” in order to avoid classic stereotypes.

        2. Jim

          “Americans hate women unless they can use them.”

          Wow! Quite a generalization–care to elaborate.

          Your comment makes Trump look like a Saint!

        3. Yves Smith

          Basically, men can be angry and women aren’t allowed to be, or not much. As much as I hate gender stereotyping, there is one bit that is generally true: women tend to avoid head to head confrontation and fights with men because men are typically bigger and more muscular than they are and can beat the shit out of them. So women who are aggressive and confrontational, and above all, angry, are seen as harpies unless they manage to carry themselves with so much authority and confidence that they silence their male opponents (BTW women like that are still seen as castrating).

          The problem with Hillary is when pressed she goes aggressive, but not in a way, IMHO, that leads many people to fear and respect her. Not many women can convey enough of a sense of personal power to pull that off. I’m having trouble of thinking of examples from movies. Sharon Stone in Total Recall and Basic Instinct did (the former role led to the latter). By contrast, I found Meryl Streep utterly unconvincing in The Devil Wears Prada as a powerful woman. She was merely cold. The Brits are better at it because the upper class cut glass accents convey authority, particularly to Americans. Judi Densch, Glenda Jackson, and Helen Mirren can all pull it off.

          Elizabeth Warren is an interesting example here because she does not go the “let me play the I’m gonna out bully you” strategy. She is extremely adept in using her positional power, as in know how to use the power she has in being able to ask tough questions in Congressional hearings and making reasonable sounding speeches that nevertheless convey very critical messages. But stylistically, it’s utterly different than Hillary. She comes off as being intellectually fierce without seeming personally fierce.

          1. Praedor

            I disagree. I think Warren can (and DOES) pull off angry VERY well. She can get away with it because she, like Bernie, feels like she’s actually one of us, WITH us.

            Hillary just…grates.

      4. John

        One of my father’s friends, a baby boomer, by the way, once said that the reason so many men hated Hillary Clinton so much was that she reminded them of their ex-wives. While perhaps such a response is sexist, I think the truth is that HRC does not have the right type of personality to woo male voters over the age of 40, and Bernie has the millennial vote locked down–this leaves Hillary in an awkward position demographically. I just don’t see how she has been able to win the states that she has, who is it that votes for her? Women, a lot of the professional class (particularly its wealthier, older members), and African-Americans, I guess. If it wasn’t for the latter group’s undying support, Sanders would be president.

  6. RabidGandhi

    re: “AP fact check: Eye-popping claims about Sanders” [AP]. Clinton becoming more florid.


    Clinton is thrashing around punchdrunk. Her campaign looks to be in panic mode, and they are going to old standby playbooks that have no defence against Sanders.

    Also, not mentioned in the AP article, this was the second consecutive debate that she tried to attack Sanders for not supporting the Ex-Im Bank. On what planet could this talking point ever gain traction with an electorate that’s overwhelmingly outraged at corporate welfare.

    And supporting the Contras FFS??? Weeping Krishna on a cross

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In fairness to Hillary, the Obama cultists poisoned the well of Democratic Party participation and debate. Sanders support comes from “independents” not Democrats, but how many of the 30 and older crowd left the Democratic party by 2013?

      Obama successfully destroyed conversation of what was achievable in traditional Democratic organizations at all levels. What is left? Wall Street, dead enders, opportunists, and the kids of wealthy donors who can float around the country. It’s an echo chamber of the tone deaf. Until a federal judge and Ted Olsen, conservative activist, embarrassed the President on gas rights, the Democrats knew in their hearts progress would only hurt them at election time then they wouldn’t be able to do good.

      1. steelhead

        I for one. However, registering as “unaffiliated” in my state disenfranchises me from voting in primary elections. Go figure. LOL.

        1. sillybill

          I just early-voted today in NC, I thought I would have to change my party from un-affiliated to Dem so I could vote for Bernie, but I didn’t have to, I just declared that I wanted to vote in the Dem primary, filled out the form, and went to the machine.

          1. Gio Bruno

            For you future voters in California Primary(June). Undeclared (Independent) voters can cast a ballot for a Democrat candidate (without changing status). Your candidate preference will become part of the vote total. Independents cannot vote in the Republican primary in CA.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I am heartsick today, to see this great country laid so low that this criminal harpy harridan who has accomplished *nothing* in her long and unfortunate public life should be slithering and lying her way to the highest office in the land.

        2. Praedor

          If your state doesn’t have open primaries, then you can/should select a party for the purpose of voting in a primary. The affiliation doesn’t actually MEAN anything at this point. It doesn’t lock you into anything, it just lets you pass through the gate to crash the Party.

          Think of it as infiltration. You register as Dem, infiltrate the enemy camp, and undermine the Establishment by voting Bernie. Or if you decided to go as GOP you undermine the Establishment and vote Trump.

          In the general you get to do any damn thing you want. You can even (probably?) re-register as independent before then.

    2. Carolinian

      Didn’t watch the debate but if she was speaking out in favor of the Contras then that would be appalling if unsurprising.

    3. Tony S

      What’s curious is that there’s no reason for Hillary to be in “panic mode”, given her healthy delegate lead over Sanders and her massive advantage in favorable media coverage. Are her internals THAT bad, or are Team Hillary and the DNC just exasperated that Sanders won’t go away and they have to keep talking about uncomfortable issues like trade deals and income inequality?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        She could be hamstrung on issues at a convention. Sanders could move to put items in the platform Hillary has embraced in the last six months which we know she intends to betray, but her supporters will be appalled.

        Obama wasn’t held accountable for anything, partially because he was an empty suit people projected onto. He could pursue a deranged course because there was no record of him saying the opposite clearly. The Super Delegates might vote for Hillary, but they won’t vote for TPP in a crowded arena. Two, the ticket. Sanders isn’t a viable VP, but Tulsi Gabbard is. Sanders could hamstring Hillary and force a VP ready for a 2020 run given Hillary’s youth performance. Hillary has had over 20 years on the national stage to demonstrate fitness. She isn’t going to become popular as President.

        1. TomD

          Has hamstringing a president so the VP can run primary them ever been tried or worked? It seems to me you’d torpedo the VP just as much since they’d be so closely associated.

          Unless there was a public divorce between the two after taking office, but I think that would make the VP look bad too.

          I don’t think scorched earth is a viable political strategy.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Has a political party ever won the White House with a nominee as unpopular as Trump or Hillary? Hillary is 68 years old and very unpopular with the under 40 crowd. She is receiving a healthy challenge from a 73 year old who decided to run when he couldn’t convince anyone else to run. The political environment is as different as anything we’ve since 1932.

            Hillary’s own nature will undo her, but the VP must has to take over if Hillary dies or is incapacitated and cast the tie breaking vote if the VP feels like it. It’s a constitutional office.

            A few years ago, the mantra was this country never elects senators.

          2. Praedor

            Agreed. The VP is a nice way to kill off a future candidate. The VP gets poisoned by the actions of the Pres for simple fact of being part of the Administration.

            This is why I do NOT want Warren or Gabbard to be a VP choice for Hillary (assuming she wins – and I am NOT conceding that at this point). I want both to be viable in 4 years.

        1. Darthbobber

          I’m curious as to what will happen in Chicago. Clinton is joined at the hip to Rahmbo, made trips out to prop up his reelection campaign, gave him a ringing endorsement. And it is precisely the African American community that she views as her own reliable voting bloc that has the biggest grievances with him.

      2. Gio Bruno

        Super delegates are NOT actual delegates. The primary delegates apportioned by voters are actually much closer in sum between Sanders and HRC; despite what the MSM is spewing. My guess is that March 15 will be a split and California/Oregon/Washington State will decide this.

    4. petal

      It’s sheer panic. She’s flailing wildly, like a drowning person. It started several months ago here in NH, maybe over the summer or in the fall. I can’t remember exactly when, but she got rattled and this same behaviour was very noticeable. I think Yves had even commented on it at the time. I think Bernie has gotten under her skin-he knows this and is continuing to do what he has been and is slowly turning the screws. She’s coming unhinged.
      As a research scientist, I am excited to see what comes out of Cuba. I am aware of their lung cancer vaccine but don’t know much about the nuts and bolts.
      Strange weather up here in NH-it was 74F yesterday, and tonight it is monsooning. Things are really messed up. Cheers.

    5. Jerry Denim

      I had a longer form comment on Clinton and her Ex-Im bank attacks that disappeared into the ether earlier, but besides being corporate welfare for Boeing, Sanders is missing a great chance to link the Ex-Im issue back to his major campaign theme – protecting American jobs. The Airline Pilots Union and the execs at all of the major legacy airlines despise the Ex-Im bank and have been lobbying Congress to kill it for years now. Why? The other major beneficiary of the Ex-Im Bank’s below market rate financing is the already heavily subsidized state-owned Gulf airlines. (Emirates, Qatar, Ethiad) The Ex-Im bank is gifting them twenty million per plane which they then turn around and fly those beautiful, new, half-full planes with tons of subsidized goodies to the US pushing US carriers off of formerly profitable routes. I don’t have the exact numbers, but (ALPA does) every time a new US city receives service from one of the Gulf carriers it kills hundreds of jobs and costs the US economy millions of dollars. The Ex-Im bank is giving the Gulf airlines which are already unfairly subsidized yet another subsidy, but from the American taxpayer. Madness. Bernie could hit Clinton back much harder on the Ex-Im issue.

      1. Bubba_Gump

        Great point. I was also thinking about how Boeing gifted so many other countries with production of the various outsource pieces of the 787, which is then being sold via Ex-Im financing. Not to mention the union busting plant in South Carolina. All that doesn’t add up to support of American workers or aerospace technology. Didn’t help that all that outsourcing led to quality problems and gave our global adversaries access to some of our key technical expertise. A la Crichton’s Airframe.

        You should send your comments to Bernie’s campaign. I will send mine.

      2. JaaaaayCeeeee

        Wow, this (Emirates, Qatar, Ethiad) is a really good example of global, not just American, corporate welfare in Exim bank. As crystal clear to explain to voters as Disney’s use of H1 visas. Try to send it to someone who can get it to the Sanders campaign, and put it into Reddit?

        Although Bernie sticking with the same examples, which I thought was dumb at first, seems to be working well. Bernie had 3 well attended rallies in Florida today, teaching over 20,000 people in one day! The Clinton campaign has to be really nervous seeing that.

  7. DakotabornKansan

    Hillary, stalwart friend of some of the world’s worst despots, blasts Bernie over Castro: “If the values are that you oppress people, you disappear people, imprison people or even kill people for expressing their opinions, for expressing freedom of speech, that is not the kind of revolution of values that I ever want to see anywhere.”

    [What about her friend Henry Kissinger’s human-rights record?]

    Shameless redbaiting ensues: “Bernie a lefty sucker for Cuban line on health care.”

    I, for one, admire Cuba’s healthcare system without condoning Castro’s oppressive regime.

    When hundreds of children were left without long term medical care after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cuban government established its Chernobyl Children program at the Tarará Pediatric Hospital near Havana. It has since become an international post-disaster medical center, treating children from all over the world.

    [recall what “special place in hell” Hillary backer Madeleine Albright said about the deaths of half a million children in Iraq: “the price was worth it.”]

    Cuba also founded the Latin American Medical School (ELAM), which offers scholarships to low income students from all over the world with the requirement that they return home after graduation to serve in barrios and remote rural areas.

    One doesn’t hear much about Cuba’s medical internationalism, a beacon of humanitarianism, in our corporate media.

    The horror of it all!!!

    Having lived in South America, my great fear, like Eduardo Galleano, is that we are all suffering from amnesia: our sorry history of imperialism, our overthrow of democratically elected governments, the US sponsored deaths squads that murdered countless numbers, including nuns and priests and Archbishop Romero, et. al. It was my experience that many Latin Americans hated us because we deserved it. That hatred was so intense in certain circumstances that I would say I was Canadian to avoid any unintended consequences.

    1. Pavel

      And absolutely amazing what Cuba has done in terms of health care given the absurd and anti-humanitarian decades-long embargo by big bully USA. Obama could have and should have ended it the first day he was in office. How pathetic that Dems and Repubs cower before a handful of Cuban-Americans just to get votes in FL.

    2. Yves Smith

      Cuba is among the world leaders in bioengineering, FWIW. They had to go there due to the difficulty of importing pharmaceuticals. I know medical professionals who were going there before the sanctions were lifted to check out what they were doing.

    3. Carolinian

      Back in the day I always thought Reagan and Casey were doing in Central America what they would do in this country if they could get away with it. Contempt for other country’s democracies surely implies contempt for our own. If the press are casting about for villains surely numero uno would be Reagan, not the silly real estate guy from NY.

    4. Mark P.

      It’s also worth remembering that Castro’s Cuba was the only country that sent soldiers and doctors to support insurgencies against the military forces of apartheid-era South Africa twice—in 1975-76 and in 1988.

      We — the U.S. — were busy supporting the other side, which very much — in Hillary’s words — oppressed people, disappeared people, imprisoned people and killed people for expressing their opinions.

      1. Gio Bruno

        Castro did Cubans a yuuge favor defeating the US puppet Batista with nothing more than rifles and horses. Most of the Cubans who fled Castro’s Cuba were well to do business owners who enjoyed special favors from Batista. Most Cubans were pro Castro; there is no way the Revolution wins without their support.

        After the CIA led Bay of Pigs overthrow attempt Castro became more paranoid of US intervention. The poverty in Cuba is a result of US embagoes, not the Castro regime.

  8. aj

    RE: “What happens when a party nominates a guaranteed loser to run against a candidate who can’t possibly win?”

    If Trump doesn’t get a majority before the convention, the R’s could nominate one of the others instead. (In my opinion this is why Kasich and Rubio are still in the race. They are acting as buffers so that Trump doesn’t get over the 50% threshold). If Sanders eeks out a win for pledged delegates, the D’s can still go with Hillary with all their superdelegates. My inner anarchist a**hole troll wants to see both of these things happen. Then we could watch the whole system collapse as the country finally realizes their votes mean jack all.

    The other part of me just wants a clean Sanders win so we can go about starting to fix some of this mess.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting thing about the popular vote is that, people have been arguing about why a small state like Vermont should have 2 senators, the same as, say, a big state like Texas.

      “Let’s do away with the Senate.”

      1. Praedor

        But then the crazy (literally batshit crazy-assed) House would be all there is making laws.

        Change the House to be more like a parliament with proportional representation instead of the winner-take-all 2 party crap now. Perhaps change the senate into some other form but still longer terms to encourage a more sedate and considered approach to lawmaking.

        Think of what would have already happened if THIS current House was the main place responsible for all laws being enacted. The Senate has saved us a LOT of evils.

  9. Pavel

    I’m glad you have the link to Glenn Greenwald’s excellent piece on The Intercept re Hillary’s hypocrisy (Surely some mistake — ed.) re Sanders and Cuba.

    That woman has supported arms to the Saudis (whilst taking donations from the Saudi gov’t…hmm) who are committing genocide on the Yemenis as I type. She boasted of being friends with the dictator Mubarek, and considers war criminal and overthrower-of-democracies Henry Kissinger to be a friend and advisor. How dare she criticise Sanders.

    1. Tom Allen

      It’s a bit rich coming from Greenwald, though, who only a decade ago was defending George W. Bush and sneering at Castro, Chavez, and their supporters with posts like this:

      the Latin American socialist agitators who have captured the attention and affection of the American media are as substance-less as they are inconsequential. They are lovers of Fidel Castro. The insist that the source of their severe economic woes is not their collectivist policies or national character, of course, but the evil economic policies of the U.S.

      — from The Reality of the Latin-American Reaction to Bush

      1. Carolinian

        Well people can change their minds after “only” ten years. Greenwald now lives in Brazil…may have a different perspective.

      2. JTMcPhee

        …and Greenwald’s words were wrong (in that snippet you posted) about the impacts of evil US economic policies in Latin America? “Economic Hit Man,” generations of CIA “interventions” and overthrows of elected governments who were “not our guys?” The School of the Americas? Iran-Contra? And there were really good reasons, based on direct, long-term experience, why Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler categorized all the US military involvement in ‘those little nations down there’ as “A RACKET…”

        1. bob

          “and Greenwald’s words were wrong (in that snippet you posted) about the impacts of evil US economic policies in Latin America?”

          Yes, they were. Reading comprehension.

          “are as substance-less as they are inconsequential”

          So, even he didn’t agree with himself, or rather, with the words and policies that he put in the mouths of people he dismissed as “substance-less” and “inconsequential”

          Straw man? Projection? Or maybe just his paymasters words- CATO, formerly the Charles Koch foundation.

  10. Jim

    The Dani Rodrik analysis, which Lambert linked to, “The Poliltics of Anger” clearly shows why members of the profession/managerial elite, like Rodrik himself and his particular theoretical perspectives may become more and more a part of the problem rather than part of the solution in a potential future democratic populist politics.

    Rodrik quite nicely lays out in somewhat different words the “modernizing” agenda of the U.S State in its step by step creation of a globalized international administrative structure since the Great Depression.

    This international administrative structure includes at least 5 key bureaucratic layers:
    The top trade bureaucracies, the top trade organizations, the top U.S. global financial firms and top U.S based transnational corporations and a professional/managerial elite within both the Democratic and Republican parties aligned with the interests of this globalized administrative structure.

    Rodrik’s advice to his constituency (which is not the increasingly decimated men and women of the working/middle class) but rather other intellectuals in the professional/managerial class, is “…not tinkering and minor modification of existing policies” but rather “radical institutional engineering” probably similar in nature to the New Deal of the 1930s.

    If such “radical institutional engineering” by the professional/managerial class does not take place than this same professional/managerial upper-middle class elite and the layers of their modern international bureaucratic administrative structure(which they were intimately involved in creating) may eventually have to face the full wrath of those angry populists–who understand quite well by who and how they have been betrayed.

    Will these “left-wing progressives” eventually side with populist anger or will they continue to try to co-opt and deflect it in a more managed and acceptable direction?

    1. James Levy

      Their response would be, “we did it for you; direct control bankrupted the British and the Dutch and the Spanish before them. We promised you global domination at a profit.” Because that’s what it came down to and that was the plan since, at the very last, 1943. The Americans wanted to use dollar diplomacy and the whole alphabet soup of institutions that cement and administer its domination of the world economy to make the world safe for American capitalism without all the costs of men and money that come from direct imperial control. It worked for the US for some time, but the hidden costs to the American people are now becoming evident and the chickens are coming home to roost.

    2. tony

      What I would really like answered is what is the value of democracy without national sovereignty?

  11. wbgonne

    Please excuse if this has already been noted but I find it a wonderful exposition:

    The big difference between Clinton and Sanders

    An excerpt:

    Remember that it was Bill Clinton who brought Wall Street into the Democratic fold, but at the cost of financial deregulation, privatization of prisons and other public services, a quarter century of financial bubbles, low taxes on the rich, falling public investments, and the off-shoring of jobs. In 1996, Clinton famously declared that “the era of big government is over,” and he meant it.

    Obama, alas, has continued in the same vein. The size of total federal spending on nonsecurity discretionary programs — including infrastructure, training, housing, education, water, climate change, small business and scientific research — is on a decline-path to very low levels of GDP not seen in half a century. This is the Democrats’ Faustian bargain since 1992: Align with Wall Street, take their campaign dollars, win the White House, and then do little more than resist even more swinging cuts proposed by the Republicans.

    Sanders proposes a different path, one that is resonating with voters. Maybe that is why New York Times pundits like Paul Krugman are up in arms, even accusing Sanders or his supporters of letting “idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.” How dare Bernie give us hope? How dare he suggest real changes? How dare he threaten the status quo?

    1. Mike Sparrow

      In fairness to Barry on this one, Republicans are a bigger part of this than you can admit. He wasn’t going to be some big spender, but he wanted to remove more of the supply side features than he got to. Even Bill Clinton got what he wanted on that.

      1. wbgonne

        Well, Obama conceived, proposed, and signed the Sequestration Law that has done more damage to discretionary spending than the Republicans could have dreamed. So there’s that. (For starters.)

      2. different clue

        Plus Obama conspired with Boehner, Reid, etc. to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent. So there’s that, too.

  12. Synoia

    lots of trade doesn’t make people better off…

    People see that as a puzzle, because a lot of economists just have it in their bones that trade is supposed to be super beneficial,” Steinbaum continued. “Yet the model that’s empirically successful says that it isn’t.

    People in the grip of Dogma are often irrational. Or should I write always irrational?

    Many such people are in the Establishment – where denial is rampant.

      1. fresno dan

        DOG ma: I say we go to the animal shelters, trade all the economists for dogs about to be euthanized, and we and the dogs will be much, much better off….

    1. fresno dan

      March 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm
      key word is “empirical” – funny, the things you can learn using actual, real facts…

  13. allan

    Some guy with a blog writes:

    But this could go on for a long, long time. And people who say that it’s good for the Democratic party might want to look at the Sanders Twitter feed, which is, if you ask me, getting pretty ugly in a way the Clinton feed hasn’t.

    1. hunkerdown

      Apparently, once investors have a bill of rights, the only thing a government can do is enforce culture.

    2. grayslady

      What am I missing? I didn’t see anything “ugly” in Bernie’s twitter feed at all.

      1. sd

        The truth perhaps…

        “It’s unacceptable to ask working-class Americans to work until they are 68-70 years old before qualifying for full Social Security benefits.”

        “What kind of morality is it when Congress gives tax breaks to billionaires but cuts nutrition programs that serve kids?”

        “Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear that they’ll go bankrupt if they get sick. Health care must be a right, not a privilege.”

        “We can’t just take incremental steps to combat climate change. We’ve got to be bold because the future of our planet depends on it.”

        “The right to vote is at the heart of freedom and equality in America, and the effort to suppress it must be met by fierce resistance.”

        1. TomD

          Just terrible ugly rhetoric from a presidential candidate. Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to lie and whitewash problems?

    3. JaaaaayCeeeee

      Krugman has gone full David-Brock-for-Hillary smear, except smarter, hasn’t he? Bernie is irresponsible because he’s never been near the levers of power, wants to rip up international treaties without considering foreign policy or diplomacy, threatens your Obamacare, doesn’t understand the financial crisis or how to regulate Wall Street, his numbers don’t add up, blah, blah, blah.

    4. Darthbobber

      The fact that Krugman affects to see something “ugly” in that feed says a great deal about who Paul Krugman is, and nothing at all about the Sanders campaign.

    5. Darthbobber

      The hilarious thing is that he seriously expects people who follow that link to be deeply concerned about the “ugliness” that they will presumably see there. I do hope as many people as possible click that link at his suggestion. I think it will fail of the expected result. But it indicates that the circles he now travels in must consist largely of people who WOULD find that deeply troubling and beyond the pale. Sad, really.

  14. allan

    Record-Strength Upper Low Brings Extreme Rains to South U.S., Thundersnow to Mexico [Jeff Masters]

    A remarkably rare atmospheric event is unfolding over Mexico and the Southern U.S., where an upper-level low pressure system of unprecedented strength in the historical record for that location has stalled out, bringing multiple days of torrential rain to the Southern U.S. and snow to the mountains of Mexico. The upper low tapped into an atmospheric river of moisture from both the Western Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific, bringing rainfall amounts one would expect to occur only once every 200 years (a 0.5% chance of occurrence in a given year) over portions of northern Louisiana. According to the latest NOAA Storm Summary, as of 9 am EST Thursday, the city of Monroe, Louisiana had received 17.25″ of rain since Monday, and Shreveport had picked up 16.70″ at Barksdale Air Force Base.

    `Remarkably rare’. Or as Alan Greenspan would put it, with notably rare exceptions …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps we will see the return of the Pueblo Culture.

      “The drought has ended.”

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the article from Buzzfeed about the history and resurrection of Doves Type, Lambert. It is interesting that particular typefaces often seem to have a capacity to evoke a feeling or sentiment almost independently.

  16. optimader

    Well, so far as a mere observer to the spectacle, it seems advantage Sanders if the secret formula is HRC staff filing a fresh edge on her shovel during break time.

    It would be easy to slide into an unflattering comments about that picture, suffice it to say it doesn’t look much like HRC conferring with anyone, looks more like heading off to a bathroom break..

    Situational memory on the pic, if she were darker complexioned and mounted on the airport golf cart w/ her flunkies in tow, and that purple pant suit was a velour jogging suit, this picture reminds me of when I saw Al Sharpton at OHare back in the Day.

    Same physique form factor, all that’s missing is the gold nugget jewelry necklace..

  17. RDeschain

    Re: the Medium piece, here’s my delegate math.

    Hillary currently leads Sanders by around 215 delegates (counts vary slightly depending on which site you look at). This is largely due to the fact that she has garnered 71% of the delegates in Southern states – her lead in those states is nearly 300 delegates.

    Let’s assume Hillary’s 71% South vote share is maintained in the final 2 Southern states (NC and FL). That would put Sanders delegate deficit, before counting the results of the 27 non-Southern states which have not yet voted, at around 350 delegates.

    In order to win an overall majority of pledged delegates, Sanders would then need to win 57% of the remaining 2,415 non-Southern delegates left in play.

    To-date, Sanders has won 56% of the non-Southern delegates across 12 states.

    This race is still *that* close.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      New York and Illinois are her home states.

      She can’t hold those, she will lose.

        1. TomD

          I’ll say this as someone who lives in Illinois. The Democratic party has a very effective machine here, it’s almost certain to push Hillary in Chicago. However, the machine neither cares about nor bothers with the rest of the state. I’ll think you’ll see Trump, Kasich, and Sanders do well outside of Chicago.

          The wildcard here is both state government and Chicago government have been completely dysfunctional the last two years which could turn even neoliberal Democrats against the status quo.

          1. bob

            Same story with mass. You win by being anointed by the machine in Boston (yes cambirdge, I know I’m pissing you off).

            Or, you win by being a republican.

            There is no third way.

      1. grayslady

        Hillary spent her childhood in Illinois–but then, so did Ronald Reagan. People here think of Hillary as a New Yorker, just as they think of Reagan as a Californian. There’s no particular connection with Hillary for most Illinois voters.

        1. Gio Bruno

          People thought of Reagan as a Californian because he was a B-star in Hollywood and spent 8 years as Governor of California. The ranch north of Santa Barbara was essentially a prop.

    2. Michael

      It’s still going to be a difficult turnaround. He will do better in FL than in the other Southern states, but it’s not like things are looking good in IL or OH (itself a half-Southern state) either.

      1. Gio Bruno

        Well, of course, it’s going to be a challenge. When you start late with a skeleton crew, face the disdain of the MSM and your own Party, and no PAC money, it takes small contributors and a Michigan to gain momentum. There are telltale signs of a tailwind now. If Sanders sails “wing ‘n wing” he can reach a safe harbor on June 6.

      2. Yves Smith

        Sorry, I lived in Ohio, mainly the southern parts.

        I have no idea where you get this “half Southern” idea. I know it’s a common trope, but the evidence is wanting. Even Cincinnati, which is across the river from Lexington, KY, is Midwestern.

        Ohio is another Rustbelt state, whose economy was dominated by auto parts suppliers and mid-sized companies like NCR and Mead that were bought out and their HQs were moved elsewhere. This was a proud state that depended on manufacturing that was left on the dust heap. It’s economically and demographically very similar to Michigan.

        Now the political dynamics may be different due to which local barons fall in for Clinton v. Sanders, but this “southern” meme is way overblown.

  18. JTMcPhee

    “politics: that is, the contingent, unanticipated, thoroughly novel and surprising transformations that ambitious political actors — from candidates for high office of state through on-the-ground local activists and organizers — help make happen.”

    “The most persistent principles in the universe are accident and error.” Murphy’s Law; butterfly wings…

  19. frosty zoom

    holy moly, i just watched a few minutes of the republican debate and all i can say is we are all doomed.

  20. Steve H.

    A late note, I have to make a retraction. The Onion is showing signs of life.

    Clinton Throws Flash Grenade To Divert Attention From Question About Senate Voting Record


    1. Cry Shop

      I’d take that as a sign that the editorial staff and some writers are telling the new pro-Clinton owner to either fire them or sell (back?) the Onion

  21. Cry Shop

    Xi is under attack from within the Communist Central Committee (CCP). This makes even more likely that he will use his base within the military to start an incident with the USA, which he can then use to justify crushing internal dissent within the CCP and probably the politburo, as well as eliminated the term-limits which currently stand in his way of becoming the new Mao.

    Things are going to get exciting in the South China Seas.

    Fukushima Temporary Workers Shunned. The owners and supervisors of these companies are nearly all Yakuza, and those that are not have a close relationship with Yakuza like organizations. The Yakuza and the police in Japan are two sides of the same coin. This makes it doubly tough for the labour, as social workers, labor unions, and the very rare honest local politician all dare not assist them for fear of running afoul of the Yakuza. This is a real fear, unstated in the article, the loss of face if a worker asks for help which must be refused. More scary, these Yakuza companies run all of the waste management and dumping, not just nuclear waste, but nearly every kind of toxic waste. Japan simply does not have the transparency and democratic social conditions to be let loose with civil nuclear power.

    I sometimes feel the USA is just about as bad, when I see the results of the corruption at the DOE, but then I remember the tattoos…

    1. Cry Shop

      Finally found a no-paywall copy of one of my favorite sad photo’s of Fukushima. I like the way the photo catches the aggressive tilt to back of the head of the low end enforcer Yakuza, as if he’s searching the bathers for anyone who’s welshed on a debt, or needs to be put in line. It’s bad enough to be forced from home and hearth, but to have to face touchy, machismo Yakuza, particularly with teenage children in tow must have really ratcheted up the rate of ulcers and cancers.


      The original was from Page 110 of the National Geographic article which I believe was titled “Fukushima: 1 Year After”

  22. mk

    “The overall [Wall Street] bonus pool of $25 billion is enough for 2.6 million restaurant and bar servers who typically earn about $10 to $11 an hour to get a raise to $15 — with $10 billion to spare, according to the Institute for Policy Studies” [Editorial Board, New York Times]. And restaurant and bar servers don’t crash the economy, either.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I used to say they’re not asking for enough, should be $20/hour. Now I think it should be $30!

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