2:00PM Water Cooler 3/21/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Struggling out of my Campaign 2016 yellow waders…


“President Obama’s allies in the media are working hard laying the groundwork for Congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)” [CEPR]. “Robert Samuelson did his part with a column warning that it would be “dangerous” if the next president repudiated the TPP. I suppose the piece is worth some brownie points with the administration, but it doesn’t make much sense.” Shocker.

“Why Vietnam Loves the Trans-Pacific Partnership” [The Diplomat]. “In China’s shadow, Hanoi is biting on the trade pact and swallowing its bitter past with the United States.” Wait, doesn’t that imply TPP isn’t a “trade pact”?



“Kasich’s Contradictory Foreign Policy” [The National Interest].


“These ZIP codes give the most to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders” [USA Today]. “Six of the 10 ZIP codes providing the most campaign cash to Clinton sit in Manhattan.” Sanders gets college towns.

“During last month’s critical phase of the Democratic presidential campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) raised $14 million more than former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, according to reports filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission. In that same month, Sanders spent $9.4 million more than his rival” [Seven Days]. And all without any negotiable affection with lobbyists and squillionaires!

“Some 82% of her funds raised through January were for more than $200, compared to 29% for Mr. Sanders. He [xic!!] also has a well funded super PAC, Priorities USA Action, supporting her.” [Wall Street Journal, “Hillary Clinton Touts One Million Donors, While Bernie Sanders Approaches Two”]

“Bernie Sanders and the Democratic National Convention” [Observer]. “Led by Sanders, progressives should form a People’s PAC to elect liberals.” No. Not liberals. Leftists, including socialists. No neoliberals allowed.

The Voters

“How the Media Gets the Narrative on the White Working Class Totally Wrong” [In These Times]. “[T]he assumption [is] that white people who have graduated from college are less racist, less anti-immigrant, less anti-feminist, less homophobic, and generally more tolerant of diversity than people who have not. As a college professor, I very much hope this assumption is valid, but I could find no solid evidence that it is. At least in political commentary, the question is never asked, and you have to wonder why not.”

“Who Is the Hillary Voter?” [The New Republic]. “This, then, is the one thing the Clinton voter has in common with the Trump voter: a refusal to buy into the prevailing wisdom about their candidate.”

“Sanders Voters in MA to Sue Bill Clinton for Trampling on Voting Rights – Seek Delegates be Awarded to Bernie” [Ralph Lopez (MR)]. Interesting but only a draft. No complainants.

“That establishment Republicans such as Williamson are deluded enough to believe that the last 40 years haven’t been an economic disaster for working class Americans, and that therefore their personal struggles provide an appropriate occasion for sanctimonious moralizing, helps explain why Donald Trump is winning the battle for the Republican nomination” [Alternet].

“Beyond the Bern: How Progressive Movements Leap Ahead of Electoral Politics” [Truthout].

The Trail

“Breaking: Report Of High Level DNC Infiltration In N. Carolina Sanders Campaign” [Wall Street $Shill].

“For Republicans, the Senate May Be the Price for SCOTUS Blockade” [Washington Monthly (ReSilc)]. “The [Republican] seven senators who signaled their willingness to meet with Garland are heading into tough fights in November.”

“We’re Still in Nixonland: 20 theses about the state of politics today” [Corey Robin]. Must read; very astute.

Clinton Email Hairball

Fact checking the Hillary Clinton email controversy WaPo. A bit stale, but a worthwhlie roundup for an issue that seems unlikely to die.

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, February 2016: “A warm weather drop in utility output is a major factor behind a much lower-than-expected reading for the national activity index” [Econoday].

Existing Home Sales, February 2016: “Housing demand continues to soften with existing home sales down a surprising 7.1 percent in February” [Econoday]. “Another month of price concession did not boost sales. The weakness in this report, described as “meaningful” by the usually upbeat National Association of Realtors, is substantial and, like last week’s drop in housing permits, represents a downgrade for housing, a sector that was supposed to be a leader of the 2016 economy.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78, Extreme Greed (previous close: 79, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 21 at 1:10pm.

Police State Watch

“Professional liability insurance sales among policemen jumps 15% in one year – report ” [Russia Today]. The magic of the marketplace!

“Last year, US government lawyers, long loath to admit to the programme’s existence, admitted to the existence of 14,000 photographs of prisoners being transported on planes and held in secret locations.” [Financial Times, “The appearance of disappearance: the CIA’s secret black sites”]

“Owning Up to Torture” [New York Times]. Come on. Torturers have impunity just as much as banksters.

“Obama Administration Breaks Record in Rejecting FOIA Requests” [AP].

“Orange County district attorney’s office can stay on case despite courthouse brawl” [Los Angeles Times]. Weird violience-in-the-establishment story #1.

“Illinois Lawmaker’s Daughter Charged In Staple-Gun Attack On Mom’s Opponent” [Talking Points Memo]. Weird violience-in-the-establishment story #2.


“A Chinese factory is breeding 20 million male mosquitoes a week, and releasing them into nature to copulate with wild female mosquitoes. Its aim—culling the population, and eradicating disease” [Quartz].

Class Warfare

“BREAKING: Duke Non-Tenure-Track Professors Unionize” [Inside Higher Ed].

“Why we should fear a cashless world” [Guardian]. “Cash, on the other hand, empowers its users. It enables them to buy and sell, and store their wealth, without being dependent on anyone else. They can stay outside the financial system, if so desired.”

“How your taxes ended up enriching coal executives who are betraying their workers” [Vox (ReSilc)]. My taxes? How about our labor?

News of the Wired

“Fluid dynamics explain how quickly a vampire could drain your blood” [Phys.org (CL)]. I should really file this under class warfare.

“The Deep History of Your Apps: Steve Jobs, NeXTSTEP, and Early Object-Oriented Programming” [Computer History Museum]. This is a terrific article, but it also shows how slow progress in software engineering has really been. After all, we’re still living in Doug Engelbart’s world!

“Video: Mobile phone apparently causes fire at Thai petrol station” [Asian Correspondent].

“America, Regulate Drones Now or Get Left Behind” [Wired].

Liquor licensing in Boston is a total mess [Dig Boston (Judy B)]. “All politics is local…”

* * *

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 (Fred H):


Lovely! Fred H writes:

Also known here as a fairyslipper or, technically, Calypso bulbosa. The first one that caught my eye, years ago, I plucked before thinking too much about it. Then I looked around, and not seeing any others I had a terrible thought…

Luckily, I was wrong.

* * *

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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. Garrett Pace

    Why Trump is getting crushed in Utah.

    Mormons even favor an EX-Mormon over Trump, as polls showed while Marco Rubio was still in the race. Trump’s brash and amoral bombast is quite at odds with our polite, passive-aggressive culture. :)

    FYI Utahns, the Republican Caucus tomorrow is closed, party members only, but the Democratic version is open to any voter that wants to go and vote. So go and vote.

    1. Massinissa

      Its not really accurate to say hes an ex-Mormon. His catholic family just attended a Mormon church for three years when they lived in Las Vegas between age 8-11. They were catholic before that, catholic after that, and probably catholic during that, they just attended Mormon church for some reason (were there no Catholic churches in late 70s/early 80s Las Vegas?)

      1. Garrett Pace

        He doesn’t meet any definition of “anti-Mormon”, certainly.

        I don’t bring it up to attempt to categorize his belief – this is more about how LDS voters might view a person who disaffiliated from their faith. People who leave the fold are sometimes reflexively viewed with suspicion and disappointment.

        1. Massinissa

          Even if they joined at age 8 and left at age 11? He wasn’t even a teenager. I don’t think its applicable in this case.

          1. afisher

            When I was much younger, the LDS baptized at 8 yo…after that you were LDS for life – unless they didn’t like you. And individual wanting to leave – not so easy.

            My mom relayed a story: some one knocked at her front door, the person standing there identified themselves as Richard Nixon. She didn’t know which was worse, the ex-POTUS or an LDS missionary. She refused entry. :-)

  2. Llewelyn Moss

    Just for apples to apples comparison…

    Yesterday at Sanders rally in Spokane WA… source spokesman.com

    Thousands of people lined up Sunday in hopes of getting into the event. Campaign officials counted nearly 10,000. Only about 1,000 were allowed into the rally. The rest were diverted to overflow rooms, where they watched Sanders on screens.

    The line of those who waited to see him stretched from the Convention Center to Canada Island in Riverfront Park and to Spokane City Hall.

    Today in Spokane WA… Bill Clinton arrived to speak.

    With about 30 mins to go til the Clinton rally starts, there are 500-600 people in line hahaha.
    See tweets with pics here. twitter.com/AllieKXLY/status/711977889256747008

    No word on how many could not attend because they are stuck in oxygen tents.

    1. NoOne

      And yet somehow, on the day of the primary election, Hillary ends up with 55 to 60 percent of the votes.

      Go figure

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        You gotta give the Clinton Crime Family its due.

        Q If Hellery and Trump are on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it sinks, who survives?
        A America.
        Hahaha. I love that one.

        1. Massinissa

          Im not so sure. In that case I think it would be Cruz ‘surviving’ rather than America.

          Unless all three of them suddenly die we are screwed.

        2. Jim Haygood

          In a mirror image of the ‘stoning of the devil’ ceremony in the muslim Hajj, today Hillary devoted thirteen paragraphs of her AIPAC speech to scourging the Iranian devils, including this dog whistle to Netanyahu and the Likud party:

          We must maintain the legal and diplomatic architecture to turn all the [Iranian] sanctions back on if need be.

          If I’m elected, the leaders of Iran will have no doubt that if we see any indication that they are violating their commitment not to seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons, the United States will act to stop it, and that we will do so with force if necessary.

          One of the first things I’ll do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to visit the White House.


          AIPAC spent twenty years trying to co-opt the U.S. into attacking Iran on Israel’s behalf, until overplaying their hand last year with Netanyahu’s unsuccessful attempt to sabotage Obama’s Iran deal.

          Now Goldwater girl Hillary Milhous Clinton is promising that like deposed Republican Speaker John Boehner, she’ll invite Netanyahu back to lecture America on how to run its foreign policy.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thankfully, people are peaceful today and we get to hear Hillary’s plan/intention/tribute, with it being interrupted/cancelled.

          2. Llewelyn Moss

            Hellery has been Frothing At The Mouth to attack Iran this whole campaign. It is one of the Awful, Sure Things I expect from her if elected. And I have no sympathy for Israel since it continues to poke a stick in the hornets nest by stealing land in the west bank — b/c you know, Gawd told them it’s their land.

            Hillary Milhous Clinton , hahaha, classic.

          3. fresno dan

            Jim Haygood
            March 21, 2016 at 3:34 pm

            Thank you for that link!
            If only as much time and effort went into the security of America’s working class….

          4. barrisj

            Also, I did like her proposal for involving the Israelis even more in “customising” their “security” needs by:
            “… [A]nd I will send a delegation from the Pentagon and the joint chiefs to Israel for early consultations”.
            Oh, how about closer ties with spy-and-surveillance Israeli companies? Well…
            “..[.L]et’s also expand our collaboration beyond security. Together, we can build an even more vibrant culture of innovation that tightens the links between Silicon Valley and Israeli tech companies and entrepreneurs.”.
            There’s a lot to like here, folks…Hillary: Ich bin eine Zionister”.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              “vibrant culture of innovation”

              Oh, great. Would be interesting to know if some part of the Clinton hairball is being funded by Israeli tech companies.

      2. RP

        I figure vote fraud.

        Exit polls vs official results in Massachusetts scream it. Iowa well-documented. North Carolina just the latest drip drip drip…

        Bernie, like Kerry in ’04, too polite to call out Hillary Nixon, er, Clinton.

        1. Benedict@Large

          And the split second Bernie said a peep about election fraud, the lame stream banshees would be screaming. Bill could sit at a ballot box on a live YouTube stream from dawn to dusk jamming paper into it, and the headlines would begin, “Outrageous Accusations by Sanders Campaign …”

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            The thing is, maybe you know there was some kind of manipulation of the computerized vote tallies, but how you gonna prove it? Who actually is in control of the voting machines? This is a question that should be answered and printed up by the MSM for each and every election. That’s at least a start.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              What’s needed is not the statistics but an end-to-end story from the ground, with all the links in the chain of manipulation clear. That’s not so easy to do (though was done with the 2008 Texas Caucus Fraud documentaries, before the Dems deep-sixed them.)

        2. HopeLB

          This needs to our first priority, paper verified voting. Bernie/Trump fans need to join together to protest this scourge on our Republic. Bernie needs to start mentioning it at his events.

          1. frosty zoom

            in my backward country, all we have is paper ballots.

            you americans just gotta do it the exceptional way.

        3. jhallc

          When I was watching the primary results come in here in MA, I noticed that the next town over (Sudbury), with 1 precinct reporting, had 500 for Clinton and 0 for Sanders. Thought that as a little odd. Think it was a NYT website.

      3. Wendys

        I was working the phone bank for Burnie tonight. Someone there said that 50,000 ballots pre-marked for Hillary had been sent out to Seniors. Our Caucus (Washington) is Saturday. I sure hope they were wrong.

  3. allan

    O’Hare no longer one of world’s 100 best airports, passengers say

    O’Hare International Airport may be the nation’s second busiest airport, but passengers no longer rank it one of the world’s 100 best. …

    Airports are rated in 39 areas, from ease of access via public transport, through cleanliness and wait times to food choices. …

    The slip in the ratings comes little more than a month after Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans unveiled a $1.3 billion plan to build a sixth runway at O’Hare, add de-icing pads and build new taxiways in a bid to increase capacity and reduce delays. …

    Critics of City Hall’s plans for O’Hare say that there is an urgent need for more gates. While Evans last month announced the addition of five gates for American Airlines, taking the total number of gates to 194, competition between airlines at O’Hare has been hampered by the iron grip that American and United airlines have over the vast majority of gates.

    File under Imperial Collapse, Regulatory Capture and Rahmpocalypse.

    1. DJG

      A few years back, I returned to Chicago and O’Hare from Istanbul, departing from Ataturk Havalimani. It was like flying from the first world to the third world. Oh, wait. I must have gotten that wrong somehow.

      1. Propertius

        It could have been worse. You could have landed at the midfield concourse at Dulles. That’s like landing at a third world bus terminal.

  4. Andrew Anderson

    “Why we should fear a cashless world” [Guardian].

    I’ll tell you why banks and their supporters should fear a cashless society. It’s because a Nation’s money, its fiat, exists in only forms: fiat balances at the central bank, aka “reserves”, and physical fiat, aka “cash.”

    Currently, in the private sector, only depository institutions, aka “banks” are allowed to have accounts at the central bank leaving everyone else, individual citizens, businesses, etc, only physical fiat to deal with.

    So imagine the fury if physical fiat, aka cash, is abolished and the citizens are informed they MAY NOT use their Nation’s fiat AT ALL but must instead work through an accursed usury cartel?

    Bring it on! This may be the “straw” that finally breaks the camel’s back wrt tolerance of government privileges for banks – totally unnecessary privileges, I dare anyone to dispute.

      1. Andrew Anderson

        Actually, I was too kind. The abolition of physical fiat without the allowance of accounts for all citizens at the central bank will mean the population is enslaved to what is essentially a counterfeiting cartel working for the benefit of the rich, the most so-called creditworthy and who are also the largest share-owners of banks, credit unions and other depository institutions with accounts at the central bank.

      2. Andrew Anderson

        “The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863. from http://www.themoneymasters.com/the-money-masters/famous-quotations-on-banking/

        With the Internet, it takes only a few who understand the system and who are not interested in joining it, to edify, directly or indirectly, “the great body of people” of people who are being looted by it so the few who understand the system and wish to use it for their own goals should be warned that that option is being precluded by said edifying and should look to their own necks instead.

        1. TomD

          “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

          Henry Ford

        2. fresno dan

          Andrew Anderson
          March 21, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          It is always astounding to me that people who have failed so completely, so miserably, with such overwhelming, irrefutable evidence, are given trillions more with nothing more than the admonishment to keep doing what they have been doing.

    1. Benedict@Large

      I fancy way of saying that we would be charged a fee every single time we executed a financial transaction. You wouldn’t even be able to give a homeless person a buck or drop an envelope into the basket at Sunday mass without Godman Sachs taking his cut.

      The world that awaits us.

  5. Vatch

    “Bernie Sanders and the Democratic National Convention” [Observer]. “Led by Sanders, progressives should form a People’s PAC to elect liberals.” No. Not liberals. Leftists, including socialists. No neoliberals allowed.

    I have doubts that the word “neo-liberal” will ever be recognized by the majority of people in the United States. For most U.S. Americans, “liberal” means the same as “leftist” or “progressive”.

    1. hunkerdown

      They’ll have to get over their Exceptionalism at some point, and a good first step is to work with words as they are instead of bending them and ruining them for others.

    2. Massinissa

      I have to agree with Hunker. In the rest of the world, ‘liberal’ basically means what Libertarian means over here…

    3. TomD

      This kind of semantic argument is exactly what powerful people in our country want.

      Personally, I like term progressive. Sander’s platform feels like a natural advancement of what was started in the late 19th century and Teddy Roosevelt et all championed. It also sounds like a more positive term and it’s easy to verbify. We’re progressive because we want to progress vs we’re liberal because we want to liberate. See it just seems strange. Especially with the Orwellian overtones of liberate in the post-Iraq invasion world.

      To the vast majority of America, left, liberal and progressive all mean the exact same thing though, while most couldn’t tell you what a neo-liberal is. Additionally, they’d probably describe neo-liberal economics as conservative. There’s no word left for the old protectionist conservative economics.

      1. I Have Strange Dreams

        19th Century politics was waaay more progressive than the weak-as-piss effort we see today. Das Kapital was not banned in Czarist Russia because the censor thought it was too difficult to read. How many Americans have a clue about, never mind read, Marx? America: the empire that hustled itself to death.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        HRC self-identifies as a progressive. That is enough for me.

        No. Not liberals. Leftists, including socialists. No neoliberals allowed. Yes.

        1. TomD

          I’m sure she’d self-identify as a leftist too if you asked her. While she wouldn’t identify as a socialist if you want your club to only include people with the political courage to identify as socialists, that’s going to be a very exclusive group.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            I’m sure she’d self-identify as a leftist too if you asked her.

            I don’t think so but someone should put that question to her.

        2. Massinissa

          Im a socialist, not a progressive, but I think youre being a bit unfair to progressives in regards to Hillary. I mean, Hillary would self identify as ANYTHING if she thought it benefitted her.

          If converting to Hinduism for some reason was able to secure her presidential nomination, then she would identify as a Hindu. If she thought it would help to identify as a Weatherman or a Trotskyist or a John Birch Society member, she would do those things.

    4. Left in Wisconsin

      For most U.S. Americans, “liberal” means the same as “leftist” or “progressive”.

      But most U.S. Americans (my favorite kind!) are not correct about this and need to be disabused of this notion.

    5. Vatch

      Good luck trying to change people’s perception. When people have blamed the Great Financial Collapse on neo-liberalism, I’ve heard and read responses along the lines of “Yes, I agree, it was those left wing liberals!”, even though it was really the right wing neo-liberals. If I want people to understand me, I try to avoid the use of “neo-liberal”.

      1. TomD

        Free-marketers or laissez faire work as terms for neo-liberals. Not 100%, since they want regulatory capture for their special interests, but close enough.

        1. craazyboy

          “crony capitalism” is the most mainstream description we’ve had in my lifetime.

          “Liberal” was used first by Adam Smith I believe, and meant government should be liberal in it’s regulation of business. Then the early 20th century “libertarianism” meant the same thing, and that’s was the robber baron era.

          Today we supersized the robber barons via globalization and the government not only has a “hands off” approach towards them, but wants to help too. That’s what adding the “Neo” is for.

          But I wouldn’t want to try and explain it in a prez debate, or even to a NYT, WaPoo or WSJ reporter, because I would surely be misquoted.

          1. TomD

            Crony capitalism is an accurate term, but not great if you want to start a constructive dialog with someone who doesn’t think too hard about it, but generally agrees that “because markets” sounds like a good idea.

  6. Ed

    “Liquor licensing in Boston is a total mess [Dig Boston (Judy B)]. “All politics is local…)”

    Is there any American city where this is not the case?

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      But the issue the article raises is that it is the STATE that has made the mess.

  7. nycTerrierist

    This is huuge. Needs to be circulated:

    “Breaking: Report Of High Level DNC Infiltration In N. Carolina Sanders Campaign” [Wall Street $Shill].

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Reify authenticated the source (interestingly, the guy is a Parliamentary Debater!)

      That said, remember when Rove (I’m guessing) released a document that made true claims but could be falsified in forensic terms, thus discrediting the claims?

      That’s the level of ratfucking we’re dealing with. These guys are all as twisty as corkscrews. Be careful out there!

  8. DJG

    Reports from a war that Obama supposedly ended:


    Along with the one in Afghanistan, which the New Yorker, hardly a font of criticism of the Obama administration, recently estimated at 800 billion dollars since 2002.

    Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton the Inevitable is making as speech to AIPAC in which she goes through the usual checklist (only democracy in the Middle East, regional instability) and includes a threat to Iran. Undoubtedly, she knows that what the U.S. needs as a fifth or twelfth incursion in the Middle East. (And I’m all in favor of it, so long as Chelsea is leading the proverbial Boots on the Ground.)

    1. HopeLB

      Funny I just heard Hellery spouting the following at AIPAC, “We need to approach Iran with mistrust and verification”. Should be the subtitle to everything she says.

  9. By the balls

    How odd to see more maudlin hand-wringing by a torture coward like Eric Fair. That skeleton’s safely in the closet here at home. Why showcase a Deer-Hunter type weepie now, at election time?

    Aha. The CAT Follow-up review is coming up April 18-May 13, 2016. That’s why. The US having blown off its binding commitment to prosecute or extradite all torturers, UN special procedures have invoked the ‘widespread and systematic’ criterion that makes US torture a crime against humanity.



    The pressure only intensifies. There’s no statute of limitations. It’s a very good sign that the NYT glavlit is compelled to issue torture propaganda during electoral ceremonies.

  10. Jim Haygood

    In an interview today with the WaPo, Trump adopts an anti-interventionist stance that hasn’t been heard in mainstream U.S. political discourse for 75 years:

    “Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting,” Trump said. “They’re not doing anything. And I say: ‘Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing? Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.’ ”

    Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. “We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore,” Trump said, adding later, “NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.”

    Trump questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.

    “South Korea is very rich, great industrial country, and yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do,” Trump said. “We’re constantly sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games — we’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing.”

    Asked whether the United States benefits from its involvement in the region, Trump replied, “Personally, I don’t think so.”


    Tectonic plates are moving, shifting the ground beneath the mastodons and stegosauri of the Depublicrat establishment, who assure us that the Jurassic epoch is forever.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need bases to protect our movie copyrights.

      Can’t let people just sell pirated Jurassic World with impunity.

      Maybe we need a ‘protection tax’ on earnings abroad.

      “How do you know if your smartphone factory, without our carriers, won’t be seized by an evil empire abroad?”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To be fair, the honor of cracking down goes to the previous presidents.

        “This conversation will be recorded for quality assurance purposes.”

        To assure what kind of quality?

        Already, the Chinese claim to have invented un-(national) activities….see Sesame Index.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Remind me again why I’m supposed to hate this guy? Oh, right, his hair.

      It’s “unpresidential.”

      1. TomD

        He wants his followers to use violence to promote his cause, wants to turn USA into an armed fortress were we peek out at the world behind a wall, and wants to use torture, etc, etc, etc.

        1. craazyboy

          If we could exorcise that last piece of Hillary’s Ghost outta him, he’d start sounding pretty good.

          Also a big point is due when he says he wants to negotiate drug prices, instead of just letting them quote their wildest dreams.

          I saw a list posted here recently of what the chemical compound cost was for about a dozen or so common prescription drugs. The selling prices ranged from 3000 to 10000 times the material cost of the chemical compound.

          Sure, you need a pill press still and have to put them in a retail box, but I still think Pres Trump could buy Atlantic City and re-purpose all the casinos there with pill presses and the USG would have the “means of production” for most pharma products sold in this country, and all of a sudden most drugs would cost the same as aspirin.

          That’s called negotiating from strength.

        2. Faf

          wants to turn USA into an armed fortress were we peek out at the world behind a wall,

          There is another theory that this has already happened.

          and wants to use torture,

          See above.

          1. TomD

            I’m not sure what your point is. Because a previous president did something evil, we should support or vote for a president who promises to keep doing it?

            1. hunkerdown

              It raised a wry smile from me, taken as a Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference. Perhaps the USA has been turned into an armed fortress packed with sadistic cowards already, aspirations to that end are merely appeals to the status quo, and fear of such a dramatic end is misinformed, cynical or late.

              Besides, the world owes us a favor for helping out with the Responsibility to Patronize Protect the world’s better-behaved inmates — if it comes down to that, maybe some enterprising volunteer nation can step up by destroying the USG’s physical plant, billing us for the rebuild, and giving us as good a Grundgesetz as Germany got after the war.

              1. TomD

                I’ve already voted for Sanders in my primary. If he loses I’ll probably go 3rd party or abstain the presidential vote in the general.

      2. John

        Bernie’s and trumps supporters are both unhappy with status quo, which is what Clinton I’s proudly selling and the complacent dem elderly are happily buying.
        Imo, Clinton will not persuade Either group to vote for her. She will have to make do with her mostly dem seniors, and it won’t be enough, she’ll be buried.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Hillary’s consort “Bill” disagrees:

          “Literally from the time I met her 45 years ago till we talked yesterday, she is the best change maker I have ever known.

          “She always finds a way to make something good happen, to make people feel empowered, to buy people into the process, to make democracy work the way the framers intended for it to work,” [Bill] Clinton said.

          “Now, if you don’t believe that we can all grow together again, if you don’t believe that we’re ever going to grow again, if you believe it’s more important to relitigate the past, there may be many reasons that you don’t want to support her.

          “But if you believe we can all rise together, if you believe we’ve finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us and the 7 years before that when we were practicing trickle-down economics and no regulation in Washington, which is what caused the crash, then you should vote for her,” Clinton said.


          “Awful legacy of the past eight years” — OOPS! There goes that pardon deal for HRC that Bill and Barack sealed on the golf course last year.

          1. craazyboy

            Are you sure Bill wasn’t reading a speech he wrote in 2008? He may be getting a little addled.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I’ve started to wonder how Bill would have handled the modern Internet. I don’t think he would be found to be as charming as his reputation.

            2. fresno dan

              March 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm

              “Are you sure Bill wasn’t reading a speech he wrote in 2008?” I imagine so – hard to see him making that kind of error.
              “…if you believe it’s more important to relitigate the past, there may be many reasons that you don’t want to support her.”
              But we see the most important policy of the demopublicans through the ages – never ever prosecute former government officials or the rich…

          2. HopeLB

            Bill is himself responsible for the deregulation of Wall Street and it is his policies that led to the crash. Obama simply reinstalled the Clintons’ banksters, Rubin, Geitner , Summers) so they could clean up their fraud on the taxpayers’ dime and then further asset strip the US..

          3. TomD

            “Rise together” sounds like a super PAC for Romney, Jeb! or Rubio.

            I mean, I know where the Clinton’s loyalties lie, but couldn’t they do a better job hiding it?

          4. Pavel

            Hillary the “change maker” … that’s for sure, of the KA-CHING kind, as Lambert would put it. She and Bill have made 120 million dollars worth of change since he left the White House.

            I saw Bill Clinton for the first time in a while on CNN or somewhere last night — he looked old and unwell and borderline senile. If I were on Team Clinton I’d send him off to the golf course or somewhere and keep him far away from the campaign. Imagine what Trump will do to him.

    3. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      March 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      I never would have believed that a black president would be elected in my lifetime. And I never would have believed in the lifetime of the earth that a presumptive republican presidential nominee would be saying bring the troops home…

      1. Jim Haygood

        On the other hand, after opening his AIPAC speech by promising not to pander, Trump spent the entire rest of his speech doing exactly that — sliming Palestinians as terrorists; promising to move the U.S. embassy to “Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem;” and stoning the Iranian devils just as enthusiastically as Hillary.

          1. Jim Haygood

            I am totally committed to defending our eternal ally Costa Rica from the Nicaraguan terrorists.

    4. Jagger

      —-Tectonic plates are moving, shifting the ground beneath the mastodons and stegosauri of the Depublicrat establishment—

      Apt description. I may borrow that dinosaur phrasing at some point.

    5. Jagger

      That does it. Trump is definitely a fascist. Pulling back from foreign adventures is obviously the first step to world conquest. Wasn’t that Hitler’s strategy???

      [Q]“Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting,” Trump said. “They’re not doing anything. And I say: ‘Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing? Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.’ ”
      Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. “We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore,” Trump said, adding later, “NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.”
      Trump questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.
      “South Korea is very rich, great industrial country, and yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do,” Trump said. “We’re constantly sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games — we’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing.”
      Asked whether the United States benefits from its involvement in the region, Trump replied, “Personally, I don’t think so.”

      1. TomD

        Franco Spain didn’t bother with world domination and actually slowly gave up colonial holdings throughout.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      Canada to the North, Mexico to the South, the Atlantic to the East, the Pacific to the West. We’ve got a whole hemisphere of our own to put the screws to, why are we swanning around breaking stuff and setting it on fire everywhere else?

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    “Hillary Clinton Touts One Million Donors, While Bernie Sanders Approaches Two”

    If money is speech, shouldn’t Sanders be winning?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The neoliberals pride themselves on their productivity.

      They claim they can do more with the same amount of money.

      “You only bought one election with that money? I could have bought two.”

  12. craazyman

    That really is a nice photo. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen here at WC. Pink and green, very tastefully done, the way nature knows how. Not like a Preppie clothing store! (If they still have those anywhere). Props to the photographer!

  13. Paul Tioxon

    The Vox article about coal executives is an excellent summing up of a dying industry that deserves to die. Only the US Government can assume the care of the people who have and will continue to lose jobs, pensions, health care and even their lives and health working in the worst job in history, a mine worker. None worse than coal mining. It should also come with an end to the usual circumspect hem and haws of cautious decision making when sustainable alternatives are presented as the solution to transition away from this dirtiest of electricity producing fossil fuels. ASAP is the only course of action, and building a string of Giga factories in Appalachia, an Appalachian Technology Authority, which will build out the necessary manufacturing capacity to produce the Solar panels that will displace first coal and eventually gas fired turbines that make the electricity we need. When the factories are ready to be staffed, another coal mine can be shuttered for ever. These people need some place to go and we can make that place along the Appalachian mountain range from Kentucky, through West Virginia and into the Mon Valley of Pennsylvania. The coal industry is dead, that doesn’t mean the miners are also dead to us. 10s of thousands of jobs along side the rail lines that carry coal can carry the solar panels, turbines, wind towers and other parts and supplies for a new electrical grid throughout N America and to ports for S America.

  14. herman_sampson

    i have met many white people who had at least a B.S. degree who are racist, homophobic and anti-scientific (even those who had degrees in engineering and science). i consider them as merely trained, not truly educated. most live in their own white ghettos and minimize contact with people different from them, decreasing the probability they would express their pre-Enlightenment thinking.

  15. Pavel

    This is the Water Cooler so forgive me a small rant. Travelling in the US (and elsewhere) has become absolute hell due to completely insensitive cellphone use. Woman on train — speaking loudly for 60+ minutes. Another next to me in the airport restaurant — speaking loudly non-stop even whilst eating. Another person in the waiting area speaking loudly and nonstop. Nobody except grumpy curmudgeons like yours truly seems to care.

    (I say “elsewhere” but it does in fact depend. On French trains people are advised to use the spaces between the carriages. On Japanese trains people don’t really use their phones at all — very bad manners. Fancy that!)


  16. kj1313

    This is why I plug in my headphones. Too many people without manners. Rather listen to some good tunes and zone out a bit.

  17. Cry Shop

    That’s the small risk, peanuts, but like the TSA, the safety organs focus on it because it puts the scare in people while avoiding anything that might cost the corporations.

    Hehe, people worry about cars being hacked, wait till either a gas station or a gas delivery truck gets hacked, the former in a build up city. Imagine every pump in a station surrounded by high rises being told to keep pumping. Did a safety analysis for US oil company’s new gas station systems in an Asian mega-city, all the mechanical protections were replaced with ic based ones for easier trouble shooting. At least in this case the government forced them to put the mechanical protections back in, I doubt the USA gov. is up to it.

    The corporations know the risk, but they get a bonus today for cutting the margin, and the real risk, risk of life and limb is born by others. The rest is just insurance.

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