2:00PM Water Cooler 3/15/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The Trouble With the TPP, Day 50: The Case Against Ratifying the Trans Pacific Partnership” [Michael Geist]. The last of 50 posts (!) on the TPP. The perspective is Canadian, but TPP should be opposed everywhere.

“Bernie Sanders & the death of TPP: Why his stunning Michigan upset could be the final nail in the free-trade coffin” [David Dayen, Salon]. Under pressure from Sanders, Clinton, in Youngstown, OH, comes out against TPP’s “rules of origin” on automobiles. “Seeking this change from the other 11 TPP member nations would probably doom the entire deal,” and it’s a precise change that Clinton would find it hard to walk backMR SUBLIMINAL But surely not impossible! And in Illinois, Clinton spins in the other direction: “[Sanders’] position [on trade] is so anti, he’s against things before they’re finished, before they’re read,” she said.” [MSNBC]. So TPP isn’t finished enough for Sanders to be against it, but is finished enough to say “rules of origin” are bad policy? Confusing!



“Hillary Clinton: ‘We didn’t lose a single person’ in Libya” [Yahoo News]. As Olivier Knox comments: Hoo boy.

The Voters

“Voter anger explained—in one chart” [Brookings Institute]. “the Rust Belt geography of the nation’s anger suggests another, perhaps deeper, explanation for the populist rage that has driven Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders victories in primaries from New Hampshire to Michigan.”

According to these data, globalization, offshoring, and automation have since 1980 liquidated nearly 7 million manufacturing jobs in U.S. communities—more than one-third of U.S. manufacturing positions—as manufacturing employment plunged from 18.9 million jobs to 12.2 million. Moreover, as the chart depicts, while the trend is longstanding, it actually accelerated in the 2000s.

As to the labor-market, wage, and social impacts of these developments, they have been brutal—as is well-known. Notwithstanding the heralded consumer benefits of trade and deindustrialization, these trends have also created substantial adjustment costs and distributional consequences in the labor market, with much of the pain visited on blue-collar workers in manufacturing-oriented metro areas. Exacerbating all of this, meanwhile, was the onset of what the economists David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson call the “China shock”— the period beginning in 1991 when local factories found their outputs competing directly with Chinese imports. Those wondering about the deepest sources of populist anger in 2016 will find no better guide than the same authors’ painstaking new analysis of the regional and worker impacts of the China shock. Autor, Dorn, and Hanson show that the arrival of cheap Chinese imports demolished manufacturing in scores of communities, produced widespread unemployment, disrupted workers’ careers, and depressed wages for years. Most poignantly, the scholars show that deindustrialization’s losers have experienced difficulty in exiting threatened jobs, a hard time finding and keeping new employment, an inability to relocate, and diminished lifetime earnings.

No wonder they are frustrated. Only recently stabilized, the decline of U.S. manufacturing remains the primal scene of economic dissatisfaction, and the impacts are still being felt.

“Poignantly.” This process has been going on for many years. So where the hell were you, Brookings?

And then there’s the National Review:

Funny, I always thought the Republicans feared their base, and the Democrats hated theirs. Guess things aren’t that simple!

“Mostly missing from the competing explanations for Trump’s emergence have been insights from prospect theory, an influential model of the choices people make under conditions of uncertainty” [WaPo]. “[I]n the real world, people’s attitudes about risk depend on what is at stake. When confronting possible gains they tend to play it safe, and when confronting possible losses, they prefer to take chances and hopefully minimize the damage. Or as academics put it, in a ‘gain frame’ people are risk averse, and in a ‘loss frame,’ they accept risk…. According to surveys and demographic trends, Trump’s voters believe they are in a socioeconomic equivalent of a loss frame. White middle- and working-class voters have suffered stagnant wages for decades, and the 2008 financial crisis erased much of the wealth they had accrued through home equity.”

Trump Panic

“Veteran Says He Regrets Shoving Female Protester at Trump Rally” [Military.com]. Alvin Bamberger, a member of the Korean War Veterans Association:

At first, he wrote, “everything seemed to be under control and mostly orderly. All that changed when Trump got to the stage. Protestors in the crowd became vocal and began pushing and shoving their way toward the stage. At one point I was physically knocked down and fell to the ground, losing my jacket (which was eventually returned to me). The protestors were holding up signs, chanting ‘black lives matter’ and pushing and shoving Trump supporters.

“Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out’ and people in the crowd began pushing and shoving the protestors,” Bamberger said. “Unfortunately a lot of this behavior was happening right next to where I was standing and having been pushed to the floor myself, my emotions got the best of me, and I was caught up in the frenzy. I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit, an action I sincerely regret.”

Bamberger said he learned only afterwards that some of the Trump supporters “standing right next to me” were members of a white supremacist group.

“Unfortunately my state of mind after being knocked down and hurt myself, and being caught between a group of white supremacists and Black Lives Matter protestors contributed to my behavior however, there is no excuse for my actions,” he wrote [in a letter to the Korean War Veterans Association].

Good for Bamberger. One thing we often don’t factor in to thinking about Trump’s appearances is the atmosphere his rallies create — impossible to be unplanned, given Trump’s mastery of kayfabe.

“Mr. Trump earned $400 million worth of free media last month, about what John McCain spent on his entire 2008 presidential campaign. Paul Senatori, mediaQuant’s chief analytics officer, says that Mr. Trump “has no weakness in any of the media segments” — in other words, he is strong in every type of earned media, from television to Twitter. Over the course of the campaign, he has earned close to $2 billion worth of media attention, about twice the all-in price of the most expensive presidential campaigns in history” [New York Times]. “Earned.”

“Top liberal leaders call for ‘massive’ anti-Trump campaign” [Politico]. So this is how the sheepdogging will work? If Trump didn’t exist, the Democratic establishment would have to invent him.

“Was It a Good Strategy to Shut Down Trump’s Rally in Chicago?” [Chicago Magazine]. We don’t know!

Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio

“What We’re Watching as 5 States Hold Crucial Primaries” [New York Times]. “If Mr. Trump loses Ohio (possible) or Florida (less likely) and wins less-than-commanding victories in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, he would face the strong possibility of falling short of a delegate majority and entering a contested Republican convention this summer…. [Sanders] has a real chance of winning in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, where the polls show a much tighter race than they did before Michigan. Like Michigan, the three states might be particularly receptive to his message on trade, and they are less diverse than the nation. But the challenge for Mr. Sanders is not simply to win in the region, it is to win big. Hillary Clinton could win Florida and North Carolina by more than 20 percentage points, making her likely to add to her big pledged delegate lead. Narrow victories by Mr. Sanders will not do much to cut into Mrs. Clinton’s growing edge.”

“[B]oth polls and demographics imply that Clinton is likely to win by blowout margins in North Carolina and Florida. If Sanders were to win or come close in one of those states, it would be an even bigger upset than Michigan and would suggest that something fundamental had changed in the Democratic race” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight].

“Live updates: Five questions to consider for Tuesday’s Florida and Ohio primaries” [Los Angeles Times]. Re Illinois: “The city has been riven by protests over police violence, especially the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, and much of the anger has been directed at Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In his appeals to activists, including black residents angry at the mayor, Sanders has called on Emanuel to resign. Clinton, whose ties to Emanuel date to his work in her husband’s presidential administration, has been more circumspect in her comments.”

The Trail

A lot of pieces on the inner workings of the Sanders campaign recently.

“It’s not over til it’s over: inside the Sanders campaign’s do-or-die moment” [Guardian]. This post is a bit triumphalist, and very much from Sanders angle, but it’s important nonetheless:

RoseAnn DeMore of National Nurses United, who are mobilizing for Sanders, is part of that movement: “We had an uprising in Wisconsin, where the governor was going after the unions. We had Occupy Wall Street, which took the temperature of the country and showed enormous discontent. It had incredible social acceptance for a time. People got the fact that they were part of the 99%.”…

Winnie Wong and Charles Lenchner would agree. They are Occupy activists who set up People for Bernie in early 2015, following unsuccessful efforts to draft progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren for president. They came up with the #FeelTheBern rallying-call. Now their Facebook network has far greater engagement than the official campaign’s page, growing 80% in the last week.

In 2008 the articles about Obama’s victory focussed on how they would go into a state and open an office and train people, whose job was then to train others,” Charles says. “In every single state, Bernie’s people were already there and ready before a single staffer showed up. They’re willing to more or less follow the directives of staff, but they also have a tremendous amount of autonomy. And the way they got there was by using social networking.”

He continues, “A lot of the people who got attracted to the campaign had experience with movements like Occupy or #FightFor15. All these movements have been fuelled by digital tactics. And now that people know what the routine is, they’re like, oh, I’m going to start a page for my neighbourhood, city or constituency. The Sanders team didn’t build it – the Sanders team can’t dismantle it.”

Since the crash, there’s been a tremendous accumulation of, er, social capital by the left, and the highlighted examples are a smallish sample. Remember that Wisconsin (way back in 2011) was not the only state capital occupation; and though it followed Tahrir Square and the indignados, it preceded Occupy Wall Street. One must also throw fracking and climate change resistance into the mix. And of course last year we had BlackLivesMatter. In other words, there are a lot of organizers out there, and perhaps just as important, people who know how to be organized. Any politician with the right message could have gotten all these little magnetic filings lined up in a field of force; Elizabeth Warren, maybe Sherrod Brown. But only Sanders did. Power was lying in the street; he picked it up.

Zack Exley, senior advisers to the Sanders campaign: “If you ask me, the most innovative thing to talk about here is the way we’re setting volunteers up to make commitments to each other instead of to paid staff, in ways that ensure follow-through on hard, scary things like hosting phone banks and leading canvasses—and all the tools and techniques that allow for all this to scale massively. Decoupling paid staff from the organizing process allows virtually unlimited scaling in a movement like this because of the vast ocean of volunteers to draw from” [The Nation]. And if you want to know where that ocean of volunteers came from, see above.

And [Politico]. “They’re already prepping the fallback plan: 10 areas, including killing Obama’s trade deals and changing the super-delegate process that they’re going to organize around and try forcing into the Democratic platform.”

“In an exclusive survey of American military personnel, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders emerged as active-duty service members’ top choices to become the next commander in chief.” [Military Times].

“RIGGED: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Strikes Again” [New York Observer]. “Ms. Wasserman Schultz is blocking any challenger to a Democratic incumbent from accessing the [VAN] voter file database—a vital campaign tool for any election.” Remind me why they call their party “Democratic”?

Stats Watch

Empire State Mfg Survey, March 2016: “After seven straight months of contraction, the general conditions index of the Empire State report is back in the plus column, though just barely at 0.62 in a reading that signals fractional strength for factory activity during March. New orders are the report’s most convincing headline, at plus 9.57 to end nine straight months of contraction” [Econoday]. “Flat is really the theme of this report which, compared to the deep contraction of prior reports, is relatively good news for a factory sector that has been getting hit by weakness in exports and energy equipment.” And: “As this index is very noisy, it is hard to understand what these massive moves up or down mean – however this regional manufacturing survey is normally one of the more pessimistic” [Econintersect].

Business Inventories, January 2016: “It’s been a weak morning for U.S. economic data and business inventories are no exception. Inventories rose an unwanted 0.1 percent in December against a 0.4 percent decline for sales in a mismatch that drives the stock-to-sales ratio from 1.39 to 1.40 for the fattest reading of the whole cycle, since May 2009” [Econoday]. “Heavy inventories are a negative for future production and future employment and today’s report points to slowing for both during the first quarter.”

Housing Market Index, March 2016: “Demand for new homes is solid but lack of available lots and shortages in construction labor are holding back growth” [Econoday]. “The gain in traffic hints at the drawing power of low mortgage rates [***cough*** manipulation ***cough***] and speaks to the strength of the labor market. But there hasn’t been much acceleration in housing nor is any expected in tomorrow’s permits data. The housing sector, which was billed as a strength for 2016, has yet to build any momentum this year.” If only there were some mechanism, like an invisible hand, the match the demand for construction labor to the supply!

PPI-FD, February 2016: “Producer prices came in soft across the board in February, down 0.2 percent overall and unchanged for the ex-food & energy reading and up 0.1 percent for ex-food/energy/services,” in consensus [Econoday]. “[T]his report, despite the improvement in the year-on-year rates, doesn’t point to any accelerating [price] pressures.”

Retail Sales, February 2016: “Consumer spending did not get off to a good start after all in 2016 as big downward revisions to January retail sales badly upstage respectable strength in February” [Econoday]. “[C]onsumer spending, despite high employment [ha ha ha], is struggling to break out of a flat run that included a very soft holiday season.” But: “Retail sales declined according to US Census headline data. Our view is that this month’s data was strong. There was a significant increase in the rolling averages” [Econintersect]. And: “with labor market activity remaining buoyant and household’s mood relatively upbeat, we expect spending momentum to rebound in the coming months as US household spending continue to underpin the economic recovery” [TD Securities, Across the Curve].

“In 2015, Bitly reached profitability for the first time ever — what I believe will become an increasingly critical benchmark, especially in today’s environment” [Medium]. I love “profitabilty” as a “benchmark.” Valuation issues, anyone? (Anyhow, this horrible company has made squillions of “shortened” URLs dependent for their functioning on the continued operation of its software. Well played.) “With the billions of clicks that Bitly processes each month, we can offer unprecedented insight into the journey that each individual takes in content consumption — from what they consume to the device they consume it on” [cough. spew].

This is epic [Financial Times, “Productivity and innovation stagnation, past and future: an epic compendium of recent views”]. “Economists lack a coherent theory for what generates or stifles total-factor productivity growth.” 33 “takes” in the post. And more in comments.

“Instacart Inc. is cutting the fees it pays couriers who shuttle groceries in several cities, the latest Silicon Valley on-demand startup trying to contain costs in a tightened funding environment” [Wall Street Journal, “Grocery-Delivery Startup Instacart Cuts Pay for Couriers”]. Ha ha. No more free money sloshing about, so naturally the first priority is to screw the workers. “In its emails to drivers, Instacart said drivers could still earn ‘$18 or even $20 or more per hour’ based on its expectations for tips.” Right, right. That’s why pizza delivery is a career: The tips. Making the announcement by email is super-classy, too. And we wonder why there are productivity problems….

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72, Greed (previous close: 73, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 15 at 11:01am. Stuck in the mid-70s…

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Now, not even nine months after the massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the momentum to force Confederate symbols from official display has often been slowed or stopped. In some states this year, including Alabama, lawmakers have been considering new ways to protect demonstrations of Confederate pride” [New York Times]. Again, I would love to know how the “national conversation” turned to symbols. Suddenly that was all “everybody” was talking about. How did that happen?

Health Care


“[O]ne is tempted to suggest that co-evolution between viruses and hosts might have helped generate physical complexity on Earth. In this way, viruses might very well present a double-edged sword: potentially devastating to individuals, but beneficial to the evolution of diversity and complexity, if you like that sort of thing, as I do” [Scientific American].

“The pioneering law makes Oregon the first state in the nation to legislate a ban on coal for the electric supply, while also mandating that utilities provide half of their electricity from new renewable sources by 2040” [Ecowatch (PT)]. In a humane country, we’d consider the systemic effects on coal mining communities.

Guillotine Watch

Note the source:

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“As U.S. Passports For Domestic Flights Loom, IRS Can Now Revoke Passports” [Forbes]. If you owe over $50K. Of course, if you owe $500K, or $500M, you’ve already purchased a second passport from some other country. So that’s alright, then.

Class Warfare

“Why Not Say What Happened?” [N+1]. Excellent book review of Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence. “It is difficult to imagine a return to a time before metal detectors. But Days of Rage offers one example of resistance that remains within reach. On May Day 1970, the audience at a Bronx theater indignantly refused to evacuate after a bomb exploded—they wanted to see the rest of the movie. The heroic equanimity of these minor characters reminds us that, then as now, we have better things to worry about.”

“Varieties of Krugmanesque experience” [Doug Henwood]. Fun stuff. Good thing to know that Operative K is not a “purist”!

News of the Wired

“The Origin of QWERTY” [Hackaday]. “The QWERTY keyboard was not designed to keep a typewriter from jamming. The primary users of the first typewriters were Morse operators who could send and receive at least thirty words per minute. When used by stenographers, the typewriter would be used to record more than one hundred words per minute.”

“The web’s original sin” [Quirks Mode]. “Free content entitlement, that’s what.”

“At a luxury hideaway in Morocco, two years of talks on Icann’s running of the internet finished with a deal to put multiple global stakeholders in charge” [Guardian].

“Pi is inescapable because cycles are the temporal cousins of circles; they are to time as circles are to space. Pi is at the heart of both” [The New Yorker].

“People who read from an iPad for 30 minutes before going to sleep felt less sleepy and had different electrical activity in the brain during sleep than those who read from a physical book, a recent study found” [Business Insider]. That’s funny. I engulf Twitter krill on my iPad before sleeping, but I always pick up a physical book last of all. Readers?

“Indonesian man chokes to death on fried chicken during speed eating contest” [Asian Correspondent]. KFC, naturally. When I think of KFC competing with Asian street food and winning, I just want to pound my head on my desk.

“What is to stop someone, who has access to a 3D printer, from making their own orthodontic aligners?” [Amos Dudley]. America is still a great country. Truly!

* * *

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 (Frosty Zoom):


A snow angel!

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. DakotabornKansan

    The economically insecure working class is choosing Trump and Sanders.

    Defiant movements from the bottom … Can power from below change income inequality?

    Income inequality is a problem and it is getting worse. Some cities are more unequal than others. The Boston Globe reports that Boston has the highest rate of economic inequality among America’s largest 100 cities. Half of its residents make less than $35,000 a year. About 40 percent of jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to less than 27 percent nationally. Those who don’t have that degree end up in low-paying jobs, usually part-time, forcing them to work two or three jobs to just get by.

    These inequalities in our society are the costs as neoliberal globalization advances. Our nation’s well-being is being eroded by rising inequality and insecurity, war, and environmental destruction. The one percent lack the morality to change this. The Progressive Policy Institute’s blueprint takes aim at the populist anger: “We believe progressives owe U.S. voters a hope-inspiring alternative to populist outrage and the false remedies of nativism, protectionism and democratic socialism.” Work and pray, live on hay. You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

    Can power from below force change?

    “Like all forms of power, interdependent power has a dark side, and it has always had a dark side. The hungry and diseased mobs who terrified the burghers of late-medieval Europe were not enlightenment thinkers, nor are the suicide bombers thrust forward by a resurgent Islam. Even the struggles of the Western Federation of Miners had a dark side, as they fought state and company violence with their own violence. Still, the defiant movements from the bottom that are fueled by interdependent power hold at least the hope that the needs and dreams of the great masses of the planet’s people will make their imprint on the new societies for which we wish. Of course, the process of reform will be complicated and the outcomes shaped not only by interdependent power, but also by the complex institutional structures we inherit, cultural memory, and the concentrated power resources of aggrandizing elites. All that said, without the tempering influence of movements from below and the interdependent power they wield, our future is ominous.” – Frances Fox Piven, “Can Power from Below Change the World?”

    1. Starveling

      Savage. Let us explain this word. When these bristling men, who in the early days of the revolutionary chaos, tattered, howling, wild, with uplifted bludgeon, pike on high, hurled themselves upon ancient Paris in an uproar, what did they want? They wanted an end to oppression, an end to tyranny, an end to the sword, work for men, instruction for the child, social sweetness for the woman, liberty, equality, fraternity, bread for all, the idea for all, the Edenizing of the world. Progress; and that holy, sweet, and good thing, progress, they claimed in terrible wise, driven to extremities as they were, half naked, club in fist, a roar in their mouths. They were savages, yes; but the savages of civilization.

      They proclaimed right furiously; they were desirous, if only with fear and trembling, to force the human race to paradise. They seemed barbarians, and they were saviours. They demanded light with the mask of night.

      Facing these men, who were ferocious, we admit, and terrifying, but ferocious and terrifying for good ends, there are other men, smiling, embroidered, gilded, beribboned, starred, in silk stockings, in white plumes, in yellow gloves, in varnished shoes, who, with their elbows on a velvet table, beside a marble chimney-piece, insist gently on demeanor and the preservation of the past, of the Middle Ages, of divine right, of fanaticism, of innocence, of slavery, of the death penalty, of war, glorifying in low tones and with politeness, the sword, the stake, and the scaffold. For our part, if we were forced to make a choice between the barbarians of civilization and the civilized men of barbarism, we should choose the barbarians.

      Old Hugo quote. Not 100% accurate to the moment but it seems to fit the feel of the times.

  2. grayslady

    Came back 45 minutes ago from voting for Bernie here in Illinois. Pretty decent mid-day turnout for my little polling area. Thankfully, the thunderstorms that were forecast for us today don’t seem to be materializing. Of possible interest: absolutely no Trump signs anywhere.

    1. katenka

      It was buzzing at my Chicago (40th ward) polling place this morning about ten thirty-ish. I actually had to wait briefly in line, which is unprecedented!

    2. TomD

      I posted in the links thread, but a similar experience for me. Only presidential sign I saw by the polling place was for Bernie, but the woman in front of me did ask for the republican ballot.

      Minor funny thing, an old woman next to me was concerned that she had to tell the election judges what party ballot she wanted.

      It’s the first time I’ve ever voted in the primary. Didn’t realize we voted for actual delegates and our presidential preference.

      1. DJG

        Lunchtime voting for me, also in the 40th Ward of Chicago. Our polling place is used by two precincts. Many people, for lunchtime, six or eight election judges and about twenty voters. I was number 279, but I’m not sure if that foreshadows a big turnout. Usually, a lunchtime, though, I have been, maybe, number 114.

        A middle-aged white woman, blonde, came in and asked for a Republican ballot. Wowsers, I haven’t seen a Republican around here in years.

        Only the Sanders people leafletted and put up signs. Nothing for Hillary: Her peeps are already all over FB demanding that all Democrats fall in line and vote for her. Because: Nader! SCOTUS! The impending Double-Stuft Oreos shortage!

          1. Pavel

            LOL — brilliant! Most timely comment ever. I was just reading about the factory to be closed today. I believe in fact Hillary was there offering solidarity and saying how she would prevent jobs moving to Mexico in the future. After her husband (with her support) signed NAFTA. Can’t make this stuff up!

            Pretty sad that the USA can’t even make Oreo cookies at a competitive price any more.

            1. different clue

              Competitive? Competitive with what? With semi-slave wages? With sub-social anti-standards? With zero worker safety and environmental protection and hence zero costs?

              To accept “not competitive” as an excuse under the artifically structured Free Trade race to the bottom is to accept the legitimacy of the investing classes working the differential conditions/costs arbitrage rackets which are the sole and only point of Free Trade. Abolish Free Trade and restore Protection and American oreo makers wouldn’t have to worry about artificially structured “competiveness” with Mexican oreo makers and Chinese oreo makers after that, and then Bangladeshi oreo makers and then Cambodian oreo makers and forever onward and downward.

          2. craazyboy

            Yup. I don’t why they didn’t just move it all the way to China. Twinkies too. Oreos and Twinkies have a longer shelf life than Chinese refrigerators, so shipping them all that way shouldn’t be a problem.

            1. polecat

              Anyone remember the lyrics* to R. Crumbs’ ‘Get a load of this’……

              *twinkies & ding dongs included…..

              not sure what to make of the pink burrito !

        1. katenka

          I’ve seen Bernie signs around our ward (a fair bit of which I’ve been tromping through in the past month) but not a single Hillary sign yet. I’ve been surprised in a good way about all the pro-Bernie sentiment I’ve heard around here while canvassing for him. (I hope you voted for Dianne for Committeeman — on the very bottom of side two of the ballot, so awfully easy to miss — and that we will be rid of Anita…!)

          1. DJG

            Katenka: Dianne Daleidan for ward committeeman, of course. Also, Bernie Sanders. Kim Foxx, especially after that moving story in the Reader about her. I noticed that our execrable state senator Heather “Me Loves Charters” Steans was running as a Hillary Clinton delegate. I didn’t mark the arrow for ole Heather as state senator or as delegate.

            And I think that I finally figured out who in the Metropolitan Sanitary District makes sense. Ballot Ready dot com helped.

            1. katenka

              Bernie, Dianne, and Kim for me too! I didn’t look to see who the Clinton delegates were — heh, Steans, I should have guessed. I had not heard of the BallotReady site before, and I now immediately love it, thank you!

            2. TomD

              I hadn’t heard of ballot ready. The local NPR station was pushing their voters edge partner site, but it was nearly useless.

    3. Carla

      I was petitioning for the Move to Amend in the City of Cleveland today. Polling places seemed busy; busier than at the municipal elections last Nov. Got lots of signatures:


      Took a break to vote in Cleveland Heights: again, reasonably busy. The Move to Amend ballot issue supporting a Constitutional amendment stating that corporations are not people, money is not speech, and only human beings are entitled to constitutional rights received a 78% yes vote in Cleveland Heights in 2013.

      It was on the ballot in Toledo, OH, today; we’re waiting to hear.

  3. Andrew Watts

    I try to stay away from anything that looks like confirmation bias, but…

    Russia ready to cooperate with U.S.-led coalition in fight for Syria’s Raqqa

    “We are ready to coordinate our actions with the Americans, because Raqqa is in the eastern part of Syria, and the American coalition is mainly … acting there,” Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying in an interview with the Ren-TV television channel.

    Perhaps, this is no secret, if I say that at some stage the Americans suggested performing a ‘division of labor’: the Russian Air Forces should concentrate on the liberation of Palmyra, and the American coalition with Russian support will focus on the liberation of Raqqa,” the minister added.

    It’s becoming obvious that Russo-American cooperation is taking place in Syria. The cease fire commission jointly chaired by both countries is an example of that cooperation and other areas of mutual agreement. The Pentagon has repeatedly disavowed any cooperation since the beginning of the Russian intervention but amateur propagandists always repeat the same lie over and over again.

    …and I don’t believe anything until it’s officially and repeatedly denied.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The US-Russian Non-Aggression Pact.

      You get the eastern half and we get the western half.

      “Mr. John Bull, you OK with that this time?”

      1. different clue

        I don’t believe that is what this is. I believe this is the DC FedRegime finally getting with the program of exterminating the jihadi rebellion and restoring lawful authority to all of Syria.

        1. Procopius

          … exterminating the jihadi rebellion and restoring lawful authority to all of Syria.

          Heh. It may be the neocons in State finally realizing they blew it this time and have to go back to the drawing board. They’ve been working quietly on this project since 2006, at least, and they were that close to getting what they wanted. Of course this will mean that the CIA is going to have to find some way to employ their al Qaeda fighters elsewhere, probably Libya.

  4. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    “I engulf Twitter krill on my iPad before sleeping, but I always pick up a physical book last of all. Readers?”

    “Twitter krill.” :D

    Tablet reading – of books – before bedtime, with no discernible effects.

    But now I’m tempted to go back to paper and ink and see if I notice any difference.

    1. dk

      They have achieved, and retained, power by promoting loyalty over skill. Which works during times of stability and surplus.

    2. jrs

      Those are the things at one time the Republican party would have proposed, before they went completely barking mad and senile.

      “PPI advocates a shift from income taxes to consumption taxes, which many economists say would boost economic growth by removing disincentives to work — but which remains a tough sell with voters. It would reduce the corporate tax rate while eliminating some business deductions.”

      If disincentives to work actually existed (I have my doubts they are much of a factor compared to inability to find work), maybe they should start by making jobs suck less. The main disincentive to work is how much most jobs suck donkeyballs afterall! People don’t dream of winning the lottery and not working because of income taxes on labor.

      1. Steven

        Tax wealth, not labor. Make trust fund babies pay. Consumption taxes penalize the poor. That’s why PPI likes them. Obama too.

        1. Steven

          PPP is a front for rent-seeking Wall Streeters. From charter schools to trade deals it’s about locking in the power of blood sucking rent seekers.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      What a steaming load. There is one copy editing error:

      The centrist Democrats who oppose that leftward lurch have struggled to match his simplicity. They tend to view the economy through a lens of skills and adaptation, not power and treachery not skills and adaptation.

      Fixed it for ya.

      I mean, we’re talking centrist Democrats here, amiright?

  5. clincial wasteman

    Apologies to Lambert and readers because this is off all the immediate topics, but I couldn’t imagine where else I would ever want to ask: does anyone know anything that debunks or in some other hard to imagine way mitigates this Counterpunch report [http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/15/donald-trump-and-michael-walzer-great-minds-think-alike/] that Bernie Sanders as hired Michael Walzer as an advisor, and on foreign policy of all things?
    The Trump and Kant bits of the article are mostly beside the point, and the present spasm of shock is not because from a huge geographical and political (somewhere over a cliff to the left) remove I expected any better of Bernie, but because Walzer’s documented opinions on communitarian class policing and global military policing alike make the appointment look like a slap in the face of a lot of Sanders supporters, and I ‘support’ (if that makes sense from a distance, which I doubt) them whatever I happen to think of the campaign, for reasons mostly to do with dread of their, i.e. our collective future as currently on offer.

    NB. Best critique of Walzer I know, albeit mostly issue-specific, is an old essay by Edward Said called something like ‘”Exodus”: a Canaanite Reading’. Can’t immediately find an online copy; if I do and anyone’s interested I’ll forward the link either here or directly.

    1. Hacker

      The original Politico article says “consulted with” not “hired”.

      On Friday Sanders’ campaign sent POLITICO a list of a dozen foreign policy experts that it said he and his top Senate foreign policy aide, Caryn Compton, have consulted in the past several months. The list includes regional experts from several think tanks like Brookings and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as well as second-term Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), an Army veteran. Other names include Michael Walzer, a Princeton University professor who has written about “just war” theory, and James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute.

      Furthermore, it says that some of the people he talked to were people he disagrees with, just to get an informed opinion.

      Though he said he is no Sanders confidant, Takeyh called the Vermonter thoughtful on the subject of the Iran nuclear deal. Takeyh opposed the deal, but Sanders called him anyway. “He wanted to hear different perspectives. He demonstrated command of the topic,” Takeyh said.


    2. steelhead23

      I know nothing of Walzer, but if I were preparing to debate Mrs. Clinton on foreign affairs, I might wish to have someone in my camp who espouses theories similar to hers. But thanks for the heads-up.

    3. HopeLB

      What do you think of Michael Brenner (University of Pittsburgh) as a foreign policy advisor?

  6. sleepy

    Trump needs to start waving around that NRO article and referring to it in his speeches.

    Bernie too.

    1. diptherio

      It’s demented. The guy is obviously off his meds, along with the editorial board of the NR.

      Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster.

      Compare this with:

      According to these data, globalization, offshoring, and automation have since 1980 liquidated nearly 7 million manufacturing jobs in U.S. communities—more than one-third of U.S. manufacturing positions—as manufacturing employment plunged from 18.9 million jobs to 12.2 million. Moreover, as the chart depicts, while the trend is longstanding, it actually accelerated in the 2000s.

      There’s you’re disaster Williamson…have Brookings explain it to you.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Liquidated jobs.

        Exterminated work.

        Rounded up all those inferior manufacturing machines.

        Shipped all the dirty coal to the East.

      2. cwaltz

        Its the advent of richsplainin’.

        It’s kind of ironic that some of middle class America seems to think the really, really wealthy guy who admits he’s shipped his products overseas to exploit labor and reap larger profits is their hero. Because “everyone else is doing it.”

        He may not be blatantly saying middle class America deserves what it has gotten but when he says that they(you’ll notice it’s a they not a we) need to get used to the wages they have now he’s pretty much giving middle class Americans the finger.

        Someone should ask him why HE shouldn’t be asked to make less profit and actually have his products made here. Is it really necessary that he be obscenely wealthy instead of just well off on the backs of American workers.

        1. Steven

          So the right is “populist” in terms of making all kinds of minorities the “other,” as well as on guns and other cultural talismans, but when their white constituency has actual needs, they throw them under the bus. The neocons despise their sheep just as much as the neoliberals despise theirs.

          1. neo-realist

            The white constituency may have actual needs, but they’re ok with being thrown under the bus because they’re all about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, not taking welfare like the blacks do and they know that those elites will make sure the blacks don’t get over at all (being facetious).

    2. Blink 180

      That conservative richsplaining screed is so obviously just the boilerplate conservative whitesplaining screed with “black” changed to “white” that I had to go check the NRO site to make sure that it wasn’t a spoof.

      C’mon guys. Don’t just phone it in. Put some effort into it here.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      These are the “bitter”/”cling to” voters the Democrats threw under the bus when Obama’s faction took control of the party in 2008. Same class of people.

      The entire political class hates the working class, but Democrats make exceptions for carefully curated clientelists based on identity politics.

  7. Jim Haygood

    “As U.S. Passports For Domestic Flights Loom, IRS Can Now Revoke Passports”

    Fortunately Americans don’t learn much history. Few will recognize the historical parallels:

    An internal passport is an identity document that may or may not be used by a country to control and monitor the internal movement and residence of its people.

    Internal passports have been used by Imperial Russia and its successor states, France, the Confederate States of America, the Soviet Union, the Ottoman Empire, South Africa during apartheid, and other countries. Countries that currently have internal passports include Russia, China, Iraq, and Ukraine.


    We’re the Soviets now, comrades. Our constitutional rights are protected by the Party.

    1. tegnost

      privatized prisons, combined with the IRS as enforcer for student loan and ACA collections…I see workhouses in our future

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Mission creep for the IRS…You’re not just fighting inflation by collecting taxes any more.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The infuriating part is that it will not do one single solitary thing towards the stated goal: make “Murkans safer from Terrah”
      Much more likely to die from a falling TV set or from your gun-toting toddler.
      What a stupid, stupid government (I prefer to think that, rather than “what an evil, evil government”).

      1. perpetualWAR

        I go directly to evil evil govt.
        Anyone can see that saving the banks but throwing 14+ million people from their homes is beyond evil.

    3. sleepy

      Don’t most European nations mandate a national ID that you are required to have on you? I don’t believe the UK does, but I believe in others you do. I had a Belgian friend years ago who was fined when she couldn’t produce her national ID card.

    4. Sam Adams

      Many expat Americans are renouncing citizenship between financial reporting requirements, worldwide sweep of USA taxation and double taxation of investments. Where are those 500k passports?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Unfortunately, you can’t do that unless you’re wealthy. Though I can’t imagine why some Pacific Island doesn’t get into it, rather like “Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong” in Snow Crash.

        1. Robertdudek@yahoo.ca

          Wouldn’t the US slap stringent visa requirements on any such “factory passport operations”?

    1. ekstase

      That, NR piece was just a wealth of new information! Here’s what I took away!:

      “the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish”
      (Oh, yes. Now I see the problem!)

      “the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants.”
      (And now I see your solution. Thanks!)

      “Narcotics Anonymous meetings,”
      (How dare they!)

      “the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers,”
      (How dare they not mind me!)

      “the quality of the available workers is not enough to attract good jobs”
      (You just can’t get good help anymore.)

      “There’s a great deal of drug use, welfare fraud, and the like,”
      (Oh, yes. The like.)

      “the corpone accent”
      ( I don’t know anything about linguistics or cultural history, and if you know what’s good for you, neither will you.)

      “These are no sons and daughters of Andrew Jackson, no fiercely independent remnants of the old America clinging to their homes and their traditional ways.”
      (Damn it! Whatever happened to those people? Fetch me my bourbon!)

      “its young women being somewhat less savage than most of their counterparts across the country.”
      (Or so I’m told. Frankly, women frighten me!)

      “There is no cure for poverty, because there is no cause of poverty”
      (My logic, like the bubble I live in, is airtight.)

      “Some things just sound more appropriate in German.”
      (I like my cultural references racist and fake!)

      1. TomD

        I decided to take a look.

        “The music isn’t “Shady Grove,” it’s Kanye West.”

        Cool meta-race-baiting bro. These people are so far gone they’re listening to that that kind of music.

    2. ekstase

      That, NR piece was just a wealth of new information! Here’s what I took away!:

      “the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish”
      (Oh, yes. Now I see the problem!)

      “the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants.”
      (And now I see your solution. Thanks!)

      “Narcotics Anonymous meetings,”
      (How dare they!)

      “the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers,”
      (How dare they not mind me!)

      “the quality of the available workers is not enough to attract good jobs”
      (You just can’t get good help anymore.)

      “There’s a great deal of drug use, welfare fraud, and the like,”
      (Oh, yes. The like.)

      “the corpone accent”
      ( I don’t know anything about linguistics or cultural history, and if you know what’s good for you, neither will you.)

      “These are no sons and daughters of Andrew Jackson, no fiercely independent remnants of the old America clinging to their homes and their traditional ways.”
      (Damn it! Whatever happened to those people? Fetch me my bourbon!)

      “its young women being somewhat less savage than most of their counterparts across the country.”
      (Or so I’m told. Frankly, women frighten me!)

      “There is no cure for poverty, because there is no cause of poverty”
      (My logic, like the bubble I live in, is airtight.)

      “Some things just sound more appropriate in German.”
      (I like my cultural references racist and fake!)

  8. Ed

    Re the Brookings Article

    Its becoming clear to me that the dominant feature of the history of the world in the last fifty years has been the global elite’s obsessive quest for cheap labor.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Ex-president Lula in Brazil follows the Hillary strategy — taking public office to stay out of jail:

    Brazil’s ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will accept a position in his successor’s cabinet, according to a national newspaper, in order to protect himself from prosecution in a corruption case involving the state-run oil company, Petrobras.

    Rio-based O Globo newspaper reported on Tuesday that Lula had told several close advisers that he would rejoin the cabinet, citing no sources.

    Lula will meet with his successor as president, Dilma Rousseff, on Tuesday, according to O Globo.


    That’s what you call “doubling down.” Expect 20 million protesters in the streets this coming weekend.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      According to Zhuangzi, he would rather stay in a cage (or jail, I guess) than taking public office.

      Those ancient Chinese were funny people.

      1. craazyboy

        Maybe they’ll give Hillary GPS ankle bracelet and she can be a “stay-at-home” President.

  10. petal

    Heard this interview on NPR this morning. I really, really need to stop doing that to myself. Bob Buckhorn was disgusting. And the interviewer didn’t even challenge or question the guy on anything, just let him spew his script. I don’t know how anyone can listen to that crap on a daily basis. It boggles.

    1. Starveling

      I heard this interview and kept growing angrier and angrier. If this is the Clinton plan I’m swearing allegiance to Trump should Bernie win. This was infuriating in ways I cannot completely put to words.

      His attitude reminds me of that NRO article where the GOPe tells its base to go pound sand and get a Uhall. Are the DLC Dems and the mainstream Reps essentially the same party? Seems like, save for culture war window dressing.

        1. pretzelattack

          from the standpoint of breaking the stranglehold of the duopoly, i’m not sure if it is more effective to write in sanders, if he loses (not possible in all states) or vote for trump.

          1. Bullwinkle

            I don’t believe electors are associated with any write-ins. There’s always a third party. Jill Stein comes to mind (GREEN).

            1. TomD

              This also has the advantage of possibly getting the 3rd party to 5% of popular vote and getting matching funds.

      1. Ulysses

        “Are the DLC Dems and the mainstream Reps essentially the same party? Seems like, save for culture war window dressing.”

        It’s great that people have been waking up to this important fact!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          No, they’re different coalitions based on different factions (where factions are driven by property interests. A twist is that the the political class as a whole — including the apparatchiks of both parties — has identical property interests, hence constitute similar factions. The parties handle the contradiction between the factions in the apparatyus and and factions in the base in differing ways, as we are seeing in this election.)

          But it’s a two-party system. One system.

    2. petal

      As as for that horrid NR article, the author is completely clueless, wrong, and a useless human being. I grew up in western NY in the 80s and 90s. I witnessed that downturn first hand and lived through my parents, other family members, and family friends and neighbours being terrified when news of upcoming layoffs were announced, and benefits were gutted in some of the most weaselly ways possible. I regularly heard stories about security escorting people out. Kodak, then Xerox, then lots of other companies. Every day I heard stories about what was happening inside these companies. Some of it was mismanagement(good god, the things that went on at the upper levels of Xerox!), some of it was NAFTA/ manufacturing being shipped off to China and Mexico. A lot of good people, good families, got caught up in that and never recovered. People’s lives and families were destroyed. Literally destroyed. That person has no idea how hard it is to dig out of something like that. It was a terrible spiral. They have every right to be pissed off at Washington, the Wall Street fat cats, and rich company CEOs. It’s been festering for decades and is finally erupting. It’s going to be very ugly. Those sitting above can no longer control the ones below-that’s why they’re having a meltdown about Trump. Control has been lost. Okay rant over. Sorry, guys.

      1. DJG

        Don’t be sorry. The NY Times article trying to analyze the effect of trade on Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri comes off as clueless. As you say, festering for decades. And what is the solution offered by the two parties? Rahm or Rauner, take your pick.

      2. PQS

        A couple of years ago, hubby and I rented a UHaul truck to haul off some garbage to the dump. The very polite and meticulous fiftyish man at the rental place (in my far off suburb of Seattle) told us he was only working there because Kodak laid him off and took his pension of 30 years. Left him with very, very little after a long career. Lather, rinse, repeat, as Lambert says.

        I continue to be amazed at the lack of more violence directed at the culprits.

  11. Том

    Thanks to you Lambert I have installed f.lux. My notebook tones down the blue and ups the red in the evening when surfing the net. It makes a real difference. Before sleep only a book

  12. MikeW_CA

    “If Trump didn’t exist, the Democratic establishment would have to invent him.”
    Maybe they already did.

  13. cnchal

    . . .“Economists lack a coherent theory for what generates or stifles total-factor productivity growth.” . . .

    There go the useless eaters again, feigning stupidity, to prolong sitting on their throne at the policy table.

    When wealth creating work gets sent to China, and the labor there works at the point of a gun, and has their sweat stolen by the .001 % and the 99.999% it is no wonder. Apple’s $200 billion hoard, beat out of Chinese labor, which Apple won’t bring home because it draws a tax bill, is the evidence.

    If American economists are so messed up and non productive, they should be fired and replaced by cheap Chinese economists. It wouldn’t actually solve any problems, but the bill for them would be a lot less, freeing up money for more important things.

    1. fresno dan

      I was reading something and it brought up something I had totally forgotten. Remember when Obama ran in 2008 – he was going to “renegotiate NAFTA”
      what ever happened to that …

      1. cnchal

        What the useless eaters fail to understand, is that by taking a factory, like Carrier Air Conditioning, and moving it into a militarized compound in Mexico, because the Mexicans will turn out first world quality with third world pay is self defeating.

        The heart of manufacturing is tooling. Industrial tools like stamping dies and injection molds and countless custom items made by the people involved living in Indianapolis. The decades of incremental progress are plucked by absentee executives, and sent to Mexico. What one could call in business terms, goodwill, the combined knowledge base of suppliers to Carrier will eventually be lost, and I wonder where that goes on the people’s balance sheet?

        The Mexicans go to work in factory compounds, and all that tooling gets set up, and no doubt some Carrier employees will go to Mexico to teach them how it’s supposed to work, and after some teething problems, will turn out pretty good stuff.

        The problem is that thousands of people in Indianapolis now don’t make that money, and neither do the Mexicans. The only way it works is if Carrier reduces it’s prices to reflect the cheap labor, and were they to do that, the whole move would be pointless.

        Globalization is about the free movement of everything except labor. It was sold as a way for third world countries to “earn” their way out of poverty. They earned it alright, but that got stolen too.

      2. perpetualWAR

        Oh, are we supposed to actually hold them to what spews from their lyin’ ass mouths?

        That’s a new one.

    2. paul

      But when they come up with the theory, get your old fashioned roller skates on!

      Economists,our last,best hope for what we get stuck with.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Are you positive this isn’t Krugthullu’s fear? Perhaps not Chinese economists, but unfortunately, new economists are anointed every year. Would one fulfill Krugthullu’s role of misleading the left without a increasingly known record for a whole lot less money? A rotating column might be a better sale.

  14. paul

    I know people think you are far too hard on Clinton family friends, but this a good zinger from the curmudgeon henwood:

    But a guy who’s getting paid $225,000 a year to teach one graduate course and study income inequality is familiar with embracing contradictions.

    “After the New Economy” still washes up pretty well, despite it’s extreme age

  15. B1whois

    This article in Poltico was a surprise for me. I didn’t realize that Rubio dropping out of the race could make it easier for Trump to win on the first vote of the convention. It makes sense, I just hadn’t thought about it. I would think that the establishment would be encouraging everyone to stay in the race until the convention as a way to stop Trump.

  16. EndOfTheWorld

    Yes, active duty military support Trump or Sanders. Trump at least says he was against the Iraq war. He at least admits it was a mistake. Bernie voted against it. Military personnel see first hand how screwed up the present foreign policy is. The default position is apparently perpetual war. HRC is buried in the defense establishment horse manure up to her eyebrows. Taking a vacation with Henry the K? Come on. Bernie has fought for veterans too.

    1. pretzelattack

      what’s more, he actually called out the bushes on it. rather than say hugging them.

      1. Pavel

        I was perusing Daily Kos earlier and one of the Hillbots actually commented on the W-hugging-Hillary photo, saying something like:

        Nothing wrong with a hug, and compared to the current Republican candidates George W. isn’t such a looney.

        Thus the presumably “liberal” DKos member excuses or erases GWB’s torture, lies re WMD, and other assorted war crimes. Jesus wept.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I rather politicians hug than get into a fist fight.

          “Settle it at the ballot box.”

          1. TomD

            This is a thought, but maybe Hillary should be running against Bush and what he stood for instead of embracing him… literally.

        2. jrs

          Actually I find a hug at a funeral where you probably are expected to make nice, a lot less offensive than being friends (really the Clintons are friends) with Kissinger and spending your free time socializing with him.

    2. Tom Allen

      Trump’s call late last week for 20,000 to 30,000 ground troops in Iraq and Syria would seem to be right in line with the perpetual war philosophy, though.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If South Korea won’t pay their share, I wonder if Trump just rotates them to Iraq, and withdraws from the stingy Europeans and Japanese.

    1. B1whois

      Link to article at Politico that I referenced above.

      The name of the article is “Path to convention chaos”

  17. hunkerdown

    PPK thinks “entitlements” are “unearned privileges”? Oh no no no. Entitlements are EARNED privileges. Free content may not be “earned”, but perhaps the problem is in “earning” as if the word publication did not include the word public and content is naturally scarce, rather than artificially so as in fact. I suggest PPK ought to steer clear of politics and stick to browser testing for as long as browser engines still matter.

  18. pretzelattack

    i usually read a book before going to sleep. fiction seems to keep me awake longer.

  19. Elizabeth Burton

    The issue with reading on the iPad is, if I understand correctly, the wavelength of the light. I’ve found this can be corrected by switching the reading app to the “night” setting, where you have cream font on a black background. The issue seems to be less of a problem, too, if one has one of the readers that uses a version of E-Ink, like the Kindle Paperwhite.

    I also noticed that someone has a project on IndieGoGo to design a screen (only phone size at this stage) that filters out the “bad” wavelengths, but I’d need to see more science on that.

    1. Carolinian

      The screen resolution matters a lot for making tablet reading more book-like. This was one of the problems with the original kindle along with its preference for non serif fonts. There is a reason that real books, for the most part, use serif. However I now read a lot of books on a non hd Fire tablet so I’d say
      Amazon is getting more hardware savvy.

      I also find that shining a small directional l.e.d. desk lamp onto the tablet, or for that matter my computer monitor, helps a lot with eyestrain. This seems to enhance the contrast (assuming you have a shiny screen).

      1. bob

        The nook was great at all of these things. The tech already exists, it’s just not as friendly to ads, the ultimate source of revenue for the vending machines that people buy and call “tablets”.

        I’ll throw in n amazon link for one. They are discontinuing them.


        No backlight at all,

        I still prefer real books, but that’s the closest analog that has ever been available. And it has an SD slot on the side.

        1. TomD

          The Kindle (non-Fire) is the same technology, although it’s been updated with newer and better versions. There is also a company called Kobo that makes them if you want to avoid Bezos (they also have a DRM free ebook store).

          1. bob

            I had a good comment vaporize. I looked, was very curious..

            No SD slots in any of the readers.

            I believe that most “DRM” these days is done with storage capacity, and the ability to only move things onto the reader via wifi, only through “their” own portals.

            You don’t need DRM if you control the only means to get books onto or off of the reader.

            I have TONS of technical manuals that I keep on mine. I doubt I could even find some to buy them. I currently have a 16GB card about half way full.

            The stock 4GB is WAY too small.

            Not being able to load my books, my way, no thanks.

            I do appreciate the tip though.

            I’d be super interested in any reader that also got google out of it. All of them are android based.

            1. Carolinian

              The kindle fire that goes for a bargain fifty bucks has an SD slot. It can also be rooted and you can install the Play store and not even use an Amazon account. There are of course many copyright expired books available on the web. For reader apps I like Cool Reader.

              1. bob

                The fire is way to much. Huge and heavy.

                Rooting also used to mean something other than it does now. Getting rid of the OS, to start with.

                Can you get android off it?

  20. crittermom

    A bit off subject perhaps, but having to do with the election.

    I have made small contributions to Bernie Sanders campaign (all I could afford, living 247% below poverty level on my meager SS alone).
    So I continue to receive emails from the Dem Party asking for contributions, as well.

    Each time I reply with an email saying I refuse to support Hellary (yes, I spell her name incorrectly to them, also) & all of my contributions are going directly to Bernie Sanders campaign.
    I conclude by saying that if/when they recognize they have TWO candidates running & begin to support Bernie, I’ll reconsider.

    Jus’ doing my little part to let ’em know not all those voting Democratic support Hellary.

    I’ve also signed petitions (adding my comments) advising Super Delegates to support the candidate we voters want, rather than some political elite of their choosing.

    While I don’t know whether it does any good by responding like that to their donation requests, I figure it can’t hurt.
    So I don’t hesitate to tell it like it is right back at ’em.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      If HRC gets the nomination, not only will I vote for the Republican (whoever it is) that is running against her, I will probably formally change my voter registration from Democrat to Independent. The only reason I’m registered as a dem anyway is because when you go down to get your driver’s license they ask you what party you are. I just figure there is no advantage really to registering as an independent, so I have always told they I’m a dem just in case I want to go to the caucauses. But if HRC is the best they can do, with a totally rigged primary system, then I am truly ashamed to be associated with this criminal organization even nominally, so if I get a chance I will switch from dem to maybe libertarian or repug. If I vote my pocketbook I will vote repug anyway, but I’ve always had the hope that there might be just a small ray of sunshine coming out of the democratic party. That was Bernie. If he gets shot down (and he apparently is) I’m through with the dems for good and forever (ie for the rest of my life.) You heard it here first.

      1. pretzelattack

        more wars, more surveillance, more privatized prisons, privatized social security (george carlin was right), more corruption, more inequality. i don’t have one reason to vote for democrats at the top, and precious little reason for voting for them downticket. the more effective evil.

          1. pretzelattack

            yeah, more high stakes testing (altho i think california recently dropped its contract with the educational testing service). more militarized cops. more a lot of bad stuff. yesterday was so very disappointing.

    2. mk

      I used to send the democratic party back their mail with comments in red ink about putting banksters in jail before they get another cent from me. Would even use my own stamp. Didn’t do a bit of good. They just ignored me, as usual.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s hard for me to imagine, after the fight so far, that Sanders would support, much less endorse, Hillary, if she gets the nomination.

      1. kimsarah

        Yes, he has to stay in for a little while longer to gin up some more turnout before he turns over all his support and supporters to Hillary for her November blitz to the White House. Start feeling the Hill.

      2. different clue

        He said he would right at the start of all this. Do you really expect him to prove himself a liar?

        The Sanders movement will have to figure out how to become a post-Sanders movement and get stuff done regardless.

    1. 3.14e-9

      Comments were censored closed after reaching 804. Predictably, the NYT editors chose as their top pick a comment backing up this POS, even though it got only 35 reader recommendations. And, predictably, the top readers’ pick completely invalidated the premise of this POS, and received 656 recommends.

      What I really want to know is whether there were any BernieBro sightings while the reporter (sic) was on campus. Everyone “knows” there are thousands of them, and yet she wasn’t able to find a single one to get a direct mansplaining quote. That can mean only one thing: they were all on a road trip in search of Bigfoot.

      Oh, and did I mention that this story is a POS? .

      1. pretzelattack

        the guardian pulls the same shit. i’m about done with their useless propaganda ridden rag, too.

    2. ChrisPacific

      That was pretty funny:

      Even Mr. Sanders’s most engaged fans are looking ahead to the possibility of voting for Mrs. Clinton in the general election. <…>

      “Of course we want to see Bernie win, but we have a contingency plan,” Mr. Netzer said. “Sort of.”

      And that plan? “Continue pushing forward with what Bernie has set forth.”

      The author apparently thinks that this means “looking forward to voting for Hillary.” I have my doubts.

      Incidentally, Bernie leads this demographic by 6 to 1. I get the sense that American youth have had a gutsful of crony capitalism.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes, it’s hilarious to watch the Dem establishment:

        1) Strangle a youth movement and

        2) Firmly reject any funding model other than sucking up to squillionaires and corporations.

        Because “progressive.”

  21. McWatt

    Got to say the polling places here in suburban Chicago are way more busy than usual!

    Go Bernsuelo!!!!!

  22. Zane Zodrow

    From my sister:
    Brainiac Ben Carson just said on video that he only endorsed Trump because he was offered a job. So what does this mean? I am sure he did to Christie too. I was thinking can they DO THAT??

    U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 29, Section 599 reads: “Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

    * FWIW *

  23. hemeantwell

    “[I]n the real world, people’s attitudes about risk depend on what is at stake. When confronting possible gains they tend to play it safe, and when confronting possible losses, they prefer to take chances and hopefully minimize the damage. Or as academics put it, in a ‘gain frame’ people are risk averse, and in a ‘loss frame,’ they accept risk…. According to surveys and demographic trends, Trump’s voters believe they are in a socioeconomic equivalent of a loss frame. White middle- and working-class voters have suffered stagnant wages for decades, and the 2008 financial crisis erased much of the wealth they had accrued through home equity.

    Chrisamighty. Do voters see Trump as a “risk” or as someone who is going to be pugilistic regarding trade and not be afraid to kick over a card table where they’ve been consistently getting a raw deal and see no hope of a better hand? The dogged effort by most social scientists to shout Eureka, wave their hands in the air and claim that they’ve come up with a “covering law” explanation usually just ends up in abstraction mongering that ignores the most important features of a real situation. Pox on ’em.

    1. jrs

      it helps that those they put most at risk (various minority groups) aren’t themselves. I guess that’s why they call it white privilege.

    1. fresno dan

      March 15, 2016 at 6:40 pm
      Great article Rich. I always thought of libertyblitzkrieg as on the “right” – now I guess they have gone so far right that they’re on the left – who knows, but it sure shows people aren’t buying the fairytales anymore. Quoting Stiglitz – strange bedfellows in these times.

      I was watching bloomberg, and of course they were talking about Trump. And they were talking about Rubio….and Trump will win Florida because of race, rage, hate, etc. Well, maybe race will be the predominant factor and the other things. But Florida, with repub orthodoxy for “entitlement reform” not even mentioned AT ALL?
      It strikes me that not to mention that Trump says he won’t cut social security while the others really don’t hide (they don’t promote it) “entitlement reform” – and not to mention that AT ALL – with regard to FLORIDA – is kinda bizarre. Maybe a conspiracy????

    2. inode_buddha

      Somewhat unrelated, but my rather conservative Dad just opined that Liz Warren is a flaming liburl and Sanders was gonna take away all ourt social security and turn america into a gulag.

      1. bob

        She’s got better name recognition as a repub dog whistle than among dems.

        Wall st money well spent- fox did it’s job well for them after 2008.

    3. Ranger Rick

      “The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.” — Honoré de Balzac

  24. craazyboy

    It’s official – Rubio drops out. One establishment empty suit down – one to go.

    Bernie didn’t do too well in Florida. I thought Florida is supposed to be Jew Heaven. Now I find out it’s just another brown people state like the rest of country – and brown people self-identify with Hillary. Politics is weird.

    1. frosty zoom

      there’s only one way ms. clinton will be able to defeat mr. trump. time to scoop up that diebold stock, hang your chads and summon the ghost of mr. scalia.

      1. Jerry Denim

        Speaking of Diebold, is anybody else watching the primary returns roll in right now? WTF? Clinton is outperforming polls by more than 20 points in Ohio? Sanders is losing by bigger numbers than the polls anticipated everywhere except maybe North Carolina. What gives? It’s not like Clinton has had any positive events to shift the momentum of the race since her surprise loss in Michigan and her dismal debate performance. Something smells very rotten tonight.

        1. jrs

          It was the reverse in Michigan though, wasn’t it? Polls didn’t predict the Sander’s upset.

          Possibly what Clinton had in terms of positive events is fear of Trump and people fleeing toward “Clinton safety” (I don’t agree with it, but I could see it happening), that’s all I can think of.

          1. pretzelattack

            maybe it’s the underappreciated war criminal vote. i though most of those nazis were dead, though by this time.

        2. pretzelattack

          something has smelled rotten in ohio for at least 3 of the 4 last presidential elections. oh well, back to plan 2, vote for somebody else, if this keeps up.

          1. jrs

            That’s true about Ohio’s dubious elections, but it’s possible a lot of people who might have gone Bernie went Kasich in Ohio.

        3. craazyboy

          Bernie is losing everywhere by a roughly 60-40 split.

          Hate to see what happens when we finally get to the “properly liberal” states like CA and New Yawk.

          1. jrs

            California voted for Hillary in 2008 (not Obama), and I expect it will go to Hillary again (but I’m registered and it won’t be due to me!). And it is WINNER TAKE ALL (all that huge delegate count). If Bernie doesn’t lose long before then California could be his defeat.

            California has a lot of decent legislation on some things, as far as state laws go, but it’s not really a liberal state in many other respects, certainly doesn’t have many real political movements on class issues etc. which are Sander’s issues.

            1. tegnost

              unless your class issue is to make the rich even richer. That is the natural order of the meritocracy, after all…

          2. edgar

            The Democratic Party is bleeding support. I think what the 60-40 split really means is that of the remaining people in the Democratic Party, there are 60% that are conservative and 40% that think change in the party can come from working within the party.

            This election is decimating that 40% and leading to an even more conservative Democratic Party. My parents in a “swing” midwestern state have never voted for a Republican in their life and vote in every election they can. They are saying that if the Presidential contest is between HRC and Trump they will simply not vote, or they will vote and leave the Presidential selection blank. My mother even has moments where she thinks Trump would be preferable to HRC, but then has second thoughts given many of the aggressive things Trump has said.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              One might also take the view that if Sanders is not on offer, vote for gridlock. So if the Republicans will control the Senate, vote for the Democrat president. And vice versa. Best way to prevent TPP, a Grand Bargain, etc.

              1. aab

                Except with Clinton as the Democratic President, wouldn’t that GUARANTEE passage of TPP and a Grand bargain?

                I’ll be voting for Bernie in California, but if we do end up in a Voldemort/Palpatine election, Trump is the best hope of avoiding the TPP. And I’m only mildly confident he’ll stick to his position — if he does, it will be out of spite.

                1. pretzelattack

                  yeah i don’t trust trump at all, but i’m getting so desperate for something, anything to shake things up.

    2. craazyboy

      Bernie had a late spurt in Missouri and is edging out Hill 50/48 and now projected to win. So the day was not a total disaster.

      Kasich beat Trump in Ohio 43/37. I guess maybe that keeps the Rs hopes alive for a hung convention and the opportunity to declare Mittens the winner. But first democracy has to fail, then you do the Monarchy. The Rs are easier to figure out than the Ds.

    3. kimsarah

      Seniors at Lady Lake don’t mind the retirement age being raised to 70 because they’re all older than that.

  25. frosty zoom

    hi, folks.

    hadn’t noticed the picture. that’s a DUCK ANGEL. we surprised a sleeping duck in the snow, and upon take off, it left us a nice duck angel.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Speaking of small-town America, Bangor has a Jeppesen office, and IIRC it’s the closest airport to Europe in US territory. And every so often I’d see an executive jet, possibly a Gulfstream, fly far overhead. So one does wonder….

  26. Western Union

    Crazy as this sounds, but if blacks give HRC and Wall St the win instead of voting out HRC & Wall St, monies influence in politics and the neocon neoliberal agenda and establishment that has hurt them more than anyone else, many Sanders voters will vote for Mr Wall St himself, Trump – and only because he isn’t part of the establishment and owes no one anything for his win. They’re voting for HRC because they don’t want Republicans to win instead of venting rage where it belongs, at Wall St, and voting against their own and or best interests. Wow.
    Irony writ large.

    1. craazyboy

      Yes. I’m very disappointed in our brown people. This is known as “the art of getting chickens to vote for Colonel Clinton”.

    2. jrs

      Paul Street makes a decent case why some blacks might vote for Hillary (I have no inside track on this):

      And yes Hillary’s policies ARE objectively worse for blacks and most of the 99s than Sander’s potential policies (well unless congress is changed the policies are little more than potential). Of course if we could actually get it, social democracy would do blacks and many of the 99s a world of good. I think many blacks may also be socially (not economically) conservative, though Street doesn’t mention it, and that could be playing in somehow, even though those aren’t Bernie’s main issues.

      But anyway blacks do see a hateful idiot gaining more and more popularity, it is scary, and yes another neoliberal is all of our destruction (it’s the planet’s destruction, although it doesn’t mean I think Bernie alone can do much). But yea hateful idiot gaining power might lead one to want to stop Trump at all costs. What’s to blame there? Blacks or the history of white racism that seems still to be a scratch away? As if blacks don’t know what the KKK Trump won’t denounce is all about. You tell me.

        1. djrichard

          LoL! Oh well, c’est la vie. I guess we’ll have to build bridges for the next election so we’re drinking to our respective health instead of to each other’s respective poison.

      1. craazyboy

        hmm. Couldn’t help thinking Krugman coulda wrote this article – anything to keep the Rs out of the WH.

        I see he did mention Obama once – then go on to spend half the article chastising Mayor/Senator Bernie for not doing enough for blacks – and also acknowledging the Clintons were terrible for blacks and the 99%.

        So it’s all to keep nasty Donald out of the WH? I’d like to see a poll on that.

  27. pretzelattack

    so, i’m going to vote for a candidate that promises not to cut social security, didn’t vote for the iraq war and opposes trade treaties which screw the working class. that’s the democrat in the race, right? right??

    i’m feeling as depressed regarding politics as i did when they changed their call on florida in the 2000 election.

    1. jrs

      Yea and the person who might support those things, is not only a lot of other things, but is also a known flip flopper who flips his positions like a trout and it’s hard to tell what if anything (I’m going with nothing) he really believes.

  28. bob

    “When I think of KFC competing with Asian street food and winning, I just want to pound my head on my desk.”

    Brings back the story of the affluenza kid getting caught by ordering pizza hut in mexico.

    You ordered pizza hut in mexico? That alone should be a crime.

  29. bob

    Still having trouble finding actual voting DATA in today’s primaries. Lots of ANALis, exit polls, not much information.

    The wonders of the democracy of the internet.

    1. kimsarah

      It’s almost as if the stories and outcomes were pre-written, with actual numbers to be plugged in at a convenient time later.

    2. jrs

      politico carries vote results as they are coming in if that’s what your looking for, it’s just the totals by state, nothing like total turn out or anything like that and not a demographic breakdown. But it will tell you who is winning. Read it and weep.

  30. For The Win

    In 1809, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, set to work on “The Book of Fallacies.” His goal was to expose the fallacious arguments used to block reforms like the abolition of “rotten boroughs” — electorates with so few electors that a powerful lord or landowner could effectively select the member of parliament, while newer cities like Manchester remained unrepresented.

    Oh that the average Joe/Josephine would but have a real education. No wonder Hellary is working so hard on dumbing down public schooling, whle her daughter and grandchild will both avoid it.

  31. curlydan

    well, crap. Bernie apparently is only popular in the country. Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland go pretty solidly for Clinton. Bernie squeaks out a win in Missouri in part thanks to Columbia–university town plus rural area. Bernie got his butt kicked in Columbus, OH. I never did like the Buckeyes.

    Here’s a pretty good summary of results where you can click on country maps. Goodnight!

    1. tegnost

      “I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half”
      jp morgan
      looks like a win

  32. different clue

    People here may remember the Chipotle e. coli outbreak which happened just after Chipotle made its no-GMO-food announcement. And some people here may have heard of Joel Salatin, the high-production carbon-capture eco-livestocker. And some people may remember my speculation that the e. coli was introduced into Chipotle food on purpose by agents of the GMO conspiracy.

    Well . . . Joel Salatin has had something to say about that just recently. I will copy-paste the relevant paragraphs.

    Joel Salatin: Well, first of all very specifically on Chipotle, we service two of their restaurants so I have had some conversations with pretty high up people – we are friendly with some of them. We have been with them a long time. They are not ruling out sabotage. This is one of the first times that an outbreak has not been able to identify a smoking gun. That is highly unprecedented. You have got to realize Chipotle has angered a lot in the industrial food movement with their cartoons and their jabs at the industrial food system. They have really taken on a pretty big tiger there, a tiger that doesn’t always play nice. And so it would not surprise me at all if there is some sort of a sabotage involved with that particular thing.

    But beyond that, what is interesting is while all that with Chipotle was going on—which actually didn’t hospitalize anybody—nine people died of tainted cucumbers, but that wasn’t even reported in the media. Which again gives a sense of collusion within the media and big business to gang up on Chipotle and give it an unfair spotlight and make the story bigger than it was.

    Here is the link to the post I took that paragraph out of.

  33. sd

    Whats the best way to respond to “everyone agrees that free trade benefits everyone” – can anyone recommend a few articles? I tried and failed to have a meaningful discussion on the topic earlier today.

    Thanks so much.

    1. bob

      First, I’d say- Define free trade.

      Then have them explain why ‘free trade’ requires how many THOUSANDS of secret pages of legalese?

      Short on links at the moment…gotta get some sleep.

      1. sd

        In trying to have the discussion, I was continually met with simplistic sound bites which made it very difficult to have a discussion.

        “Free trade created more jobs here than were lost” I asked for examples of specific industries that benefitted.
        “Free trade raised the GDP by .5%” I couldn’t think of a way to repond that wouldn’t come off as insulting.
        “Free trade raised wages and standards of living in Mexico” I tried to discuss displaced farmers and the effect trade had on Mexicos agriculture.

        Each time, I was met with a new sound bite. I found it all very depressing.

        I had one of those moments where I realized it was years of conditioning.

        1. Ian

          A Liberterian confronted me on a thread. Simplistic, idiotic and oblivious to the realities and repercussions of what he was supporting. His assertions were pretty much delusional. No arguing with stupid.

        2. tegnost

          I seem to recall you are in san diego and feel your pain, the kool aid here is very strong and I get in major arguments with the don’t confuse me with the facts crowd. Expecting a lot of gloating today…yeah, any tips people hae I’d be glad to hear them. In my case it’s “Obama wouldn’t cut S.S.” and TPP is meaningless, they love NAFTA

  34. MsExPat

    Looking at the NYT poll breakdown state by state, I notice that if you add together the number of Republican voters for Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, etc. it not only beats the total number of voters for Trump by 30% or more in each state–it also tops the number of votes for Bernie Sanders.

    There’s a reason why Hillary was photographed hugging Bush at Nancy Reagan’s funeral. Expect the hard pivot right any nanosecond now. Her win game is grabbing these disaffected Republicans. Forget issues from here on in: the drumbeat of fear, Anyone But Trump, is going to drown out everything else.

    That’s why I hope Bernie Sanders stays in the game despite the near-universal media death knell for his campaign (which actually didn’t do too bad, all things considered–1.8% in Illinois is a hair courtesy of the Chicago machine, and Missouri is a virtual tie. Florida was never in play as it’s a closed primary, and Ohio is a bizarre outlier of crossover voting).

    I don’t believe for a minute that Sanders will be able to nudge Hillary to the left but I do want him to hang in there as long as possible to call her on her crap. And keep these issues and the movement going until it has a chance to get a life of its own beyond Sanders. If it does. I’m trying not to believe that this was a last stand and that there really is no way to break through the wall that the elite has fortified between the levers of power and the people.

  35. Larry Y

    KFC is has a more upscale cachet, air conditioning, and bathrooms. May also be perceived to be cleaner.

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