2:00PM Water Cooler 3/25/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“TPP: The New Gold Standard for Intellectual Property Protection in Trade Agreements?” [HuffPo]. Author is a Director, Economic Policy and Debt, The World Bank. Useful compendium of terms you have flagged, like “innnovation.” Here’s the intro:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, with its emphasis on dismantling behind-the-border trade restrictions and on fostering regulatory coherence, is often referred to as the new “gold standard” for preferential trade agreements.

“Behind-the-border trade restrictions.” You know. Like laws.


The Voters

“Sanders’s is not a campaign that history will judge by the number of votes he won. Like only a handful of predecessor campaigns, like no presidential campaign since Barry Goldwater’s, his will be judged by whether it sparked a movement that transformed America. That’s the metric by which Sanders himself measures his success” [Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect]. “Problem is, electoral campaigns don’t create enduring organizations, much less social movements. Though Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign likely mobilized more volunteers and donors than any that came before, the organization through which it sought to keep its activists active once Obama became president—Obama for America—lacked all autonomy or organizational life; it failed even to exert any pressure on Democratic members of Congress who were cool to Obama’s agenda.” Because Obama killed it!

“Is Retaking the House a Democratic Pipe Dream?” [David Dayen, The New Republic]. “But it takes years to recruit and train candidates who can raise enough money to win a congressional election; you can’t throw it together in a few months. You can see how unprepared Democrats are for this scenario by looking at how many districts won’t have a Democratic candidate at all.”

“85 of the 100 fastest growing counties voted for Mitt Romney in 2012” [WaPo]. With handy map.


“Fundraising in the presidential contest has zoomed past the $1 billion mark, fueled by the dozens of super-wealthy Americans bankrolling super PACs that have acted as shadow campaigns for White House contenders” [USA Today].

The Trail

Even though this is a family blog….


(Readers will note the name “Roger Stone.”) Yes, the Enquirer, who also got Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, and IIRC Tiger Woods right. So….)

“The actual story—which is not online, but which Gawker has obtained a copy of—does not name any of the women with whom Cruz purportedly was involved. Descriptions are given for each, however, and at least one should sound very familiar to folks who have been following this election” [Gawker].

“Inside Trump’s plot to thwart a contested convention and seize control of the GOP” [WaPo]. There’s an awful lot of 11-dimensional chess going on here, and I have the feeling none of the players are much good.

“Donald Trump beat Sen. Ted Cruz earlier this month in Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary by 3.6 percentage points, but the Texan may wind up with as many as 10 more delegates from the state than the businessman” [Wall Street Journal, “Ted Cruz Gains in Louisiana After Loss There to Donald Trump”].

Gene Smith’s “Lysistratic Non-Action” tactic proposed against Trump [New York Magazine].

“The John R. Kasich of 2016 is a much mellower politician than the hard-charging congressman of the 1990s, who could be so difficult that House Speaker Newt Gingrich, never known for his diplomacy, offered Mr. Kasich firm advice about his tendency to bulldoze colleagues” [New York Times]. Gingrich mellows out Kasich. What a year this has been…

“Both Clinton and Sanders are starting to beat Trump by a lot” (with many charts) [Philip Bump, WaPo].

Warren on Sanders: “‘He’s out there. He fights from the heart. This is who Bernie is. He has put the right issues on the table both for the Democratic Party and for the country in general so I’m still cheering Bernie on” [Politico].

“An Open Letter to Dolores Huerta” [HuffPo]. “[W]hy your article on Bernie Sanders came as such a surprise to me — that the same woman who has made it her life’s mission to speak the truth and shed light on corruption, lies, and false narratives created by the corporate elite and special interest groups, would now suddenly create a narrative that distorts facts and misguides American voters.”

“Common Arguments from Prominent Hillary Clinton Supporters Debunked” [HuffPo]. More analytical than the headline.

WaPo’s delegate tracker [WaPo].

Stats Watch

Markets are closed today.

Corporate Profits, Q4 2015: “Held down by declines in the petroleum and chemical industries, corporate profits in the fourth quarter came in at $1.640 trillion, down a year-on-year 3.6 percent” [Econoday].

GDP, Q4 2015: “Real GDP came in stronger than expected in the fourth quarter, at an annualized plus 1.4 percent for the third estimate vs expectations for 1.0 percent. The second estimate was also 1.0 percent with the first estimate at plus 0.7 percent” [Econoday]. “The third estimate got a boost from an upward revision for personal consumption expenditures.”

“[W]hile upper income households did a lot better than the lower income households, in absolute terms those upper income households haven’t done all that well” [Mosler Economics]. Taking income as a proxy for wealth, the power curve is fractal. I bet if that 95% percentile were broken down, the top would be doing extremely well. And the top of the top even better. And so on.


Shipping: ” Rail Week Ending 19 March 2016: Rail’s Slide Into The Abyss Worsens” [Econintersect].

Honey for the Bears: “Party chiefs face a difficult task. Over the next five years, they need to shut down millions of tons of industrial capacity that’s making China’s economy inefficient. This means downsizing scores of steel, coal and other large industries that currently employ hundreds of thousands of workers. They have promised to do this without large-scale layoffs. Those displaced, Mr. Li said, would be given new jobs or government assistance.” [Wall Street Journal, “China Warns Officials: No Unrest, Or Lose Your Job”].

“Wall Street executives complain about the dearth of liquidity so often that Bloomberg’s Matt Levine has a section in his daily email dedicated to detailing their gripes” [Bloomberg]. “It has been interesting to note, then, that some official sector research has suggested that it isn’t all that much of a problem.”

“Hedge-fund shutdowns outnumbered startups last year for the first time since 2009” [Bloomberg].

“[W]e should regard policymakers who knowingly ignore evidence with great suspicion, and those that try to deliberately keep evidence out of the public domain should be condemned” [Mainly Macro]. So, to the tumbrils with the entire political class, then? Given that, except for a few outliers, they believe that government is like a household?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66, Greed (previous close: 70, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 24 at 5:30pm.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Black Lives Matter Founders Are Among the World’s Greatest Leaders” [Fortune].

“While TFA claims to have increased the diversity of those within its ranks, it also causes a decrease in the number of teachers of color by displacing them” [Diane Ravitch].

“In Baltimore, public investment — and disinvestment — in transportation have figured greatly in the persistence of racial and economic inequality” [Place Journal]. Excellent long read on “white flight” in Baltimore, which started not with the post-war suburbs, but with pre-war streetcars. “These lovely neighborhoods exemplified the charms of the early streetcar suburbs (Roland Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.). But they exemplified as well the prejudice that at least in part explained why these new planned communities were such a sure investment for real estate developers. Not only did the Roland Park Company build some of the earliest garden suburbs in America; it was also among the first to deploy restrictive racial covenants on deeds of purchase.”

Health Care

“[Minnesota’s] Gov. Mark Dayton is pitching a $500,000 study of moving Minnesota to a single-payer health care system” [AP].


“According to a new report from Syracuse University researchers, federal corruption prosecutions have hit a two-decade low. In all, such prosecutions have dropped by more than 38 percent since 1995. Much of that decline has happened under President Barack Obama: In just the last five years, the number of federal corruption prosecutions have dropped by more than 30 percent” [David Sirota, International Business Times].

“Erik Prince, founder of the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and current chairman of Frontier Services Group, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies for attempting to broker military services to foreign governments and possible money laundering” [The Intercept].

“In White Castle, Louisiana, a reporter for the local ABC affiliate WBRZ was arrested yesterday after he visited City Hall to follow up on a public records request he’d sent earlier in the week. Chris Nakamoto, the reporter, was investigating a pay raise that had recently been given to the mayor, and not all of the documents he’d requested had been provided to him” [Gawker].


“Sex Is a Coping Mechanism” [Nautilus]. Not that way! “The mitochondrial genome tends to mutate quickly and is prone to fall out of sync with regulatory genes in the nucleus, with potentially negative consequences for the organism. Dowling thinks sex evolved as a way for the nucleus to keep pace with the protean realm it supervises.”

“Modern Peanut’s Wild Cousin, Thought Extinct, Found in Andes” [Scientific American]. “We now know that the first inhabitants of South America in their long voyages carried A. ipaensis to the land of A. duranensis 10,000 years ago. Once in the same area, bees pollinized the peanut plant flowers, allowing the birth of the hybrid that our South American ancestors ate and that eventually led to the modern peanut, Arachia hypogaea.” Globalization…

Class Warfare

“If Congress continues to serve the interests of the donor class rather than the working class, fails to provide the economy with the infrastructure it needs and the jobs that come with it, and forces further reductions in social services through tax cuts and demagoguery over the national debt, the discouragement so many people feel will only get worse.” [Mark Thoma (!), CBS Money Watch]. “Unfortunately, the anger and discouragement so many people feel is only being exploited by politicians seeking the presidential nomination. Will the voices of people struggling to make ends meet every month be truly heard once the election is over? And will those needs translate into policies that serve the vast majority of Americans rather than those at the top? That remains to be seen.”

“Disparity in the life spans of the rich and poor is growing” (audio) [PBS]. “Class warfare” not metaphorical?

“How Airbnb Short-Term Rentals Exacerbate Los Angeles’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Analysis and Policy Recommendations” (PDF) [Harvard Law and Policy Review].

“Public transit’s moment arrives just as public spending disappears” [Boing Boing].

News of the Wired

“Even as Facebook and other competitors have vied for video content, YouTube’s audience remains widespread: More 18-to-49-year-olds watch its videos on their phone than tune into any cable network in America, Nielsen data show” [WaPo]. “Google says its surveys have found that more than half of baby boomers and seniors are watching online videos, too.”

“So why aren’t jihadis taking advantage of running dark web sites? Rid and Moore [of the of the Department of War Studies at King’s College] don’t know for sure, but they guess that it’s for the same reason so few other people publish information on the dark web: It’s just too fiddly” [Quartz].

“Authorities say a man covered in gold spray paint was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in the San Francisco Bay Area” [AP].

“Out Here, No One Can Hear You Scream” [HuffPo]. “The dangerous culture of male entitlement and sexual hostility hiding within America’s national parks and forests.”

For fans of the beautiful game:

* * *

Readers, I still need to fix my fershuggeneh contact form! Hopefully noting that fact publicly will serve a lash and a spur to my endeavors. (Meanwhile, thanks to readers, who already have my email address, who sent in images of plants!)

See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Isolato):


Looking forward!

* * *

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Water Cooler would not exist without your support.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. fresno dan

    “If Congress continues to serve the interests of the donor class rather than the working class, fails to provide the economy with the infrastructure it needs and the jobs that come with it, and forces further reductions in social services through tax cuts and demagoguery over the national debt, the discouragement so many people feel will only get worse.” [Mark Thoma (!), CBS Money Watch]. “Unfortunately, the anger and discouragement so many people feel is only being exploited by politicians seeking the presidential nomination. Will the voices of people struggling to make ends meet every month be truly heard once the election is over? And will those needs translate into policies that serve the vast majority of Americans rather than those at the top? That remains to be seen.”

    Keep hope alive!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is the default set to?

      The default is set to the government (including the Executive, etc) being captured.

      To achieve hope and change, the People have to overcome the seemingly impossible…that is, to overcome a lot.

      I understand that nothing is free in the world and one must work hard to get what one wants, but couldn’t we set the default to something else, so when we open the MMT spigot, it doesn’t get abused?

      Well, here’s to overcoming the default setting.

      1. Carla

        “couldn’t we set the default to something else, so when we open the MMT spigot, it doesn’t get abused?”

        MLTPB — hope that, like me, you see the new and preferred default as actual democracy. Because if we do not define it, somebody else sure the hell will.

        I think it will require restricting constitutional rights to actual human beings and re-defining speech to mean actual…uhm, speech (not money):


        Yeah. Corporations are not people, and money is not speech.

  2. hreik

    Three of the names are at the theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/03/24/the-national-enquirer-runs-story-of-multiple-ted-cruz-affairs/#

    Interestingly XXX in addition to being a well known political operative, was also the campaign manager for Carly Fiorina. And that little factoid brings an earlier discovery into question; where the Super-PAC for Ted Cruz (Keep the Promise) actually sent the Super-PAC for Carly Fiorina (Carly for America “CfA”) $500,000 (link).

    And there’s a screenshot of the 500K transaction as well as a copy of a letter from the SEC about said transaction. links abound

      1. Pavel

        It seems the WaPo had an article about that $500K payment from Cruz PAC to Carly PAC way back in 2015. All very suspicious and the FEC raised questions:

        A super PAC supporting former tech executive Carly Fiorina’s run reported raising $3.5 million — with a half-million dollar lift from a super PAC supporting GOP presidential rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).

        The pro-Cruz PAC, Keep the Promise I, reported the disbursement Friday in a document filed with the Federal Election Commission. That is…unusual, to say the least.

        WaPo: Why did a Ted Cruz super PAC give $500,000 to Carly Fiorina’s?

        It seems the Cruz campaign had heard rumours about “The Thing” but kept it quiet.

        In any case, by far the best thing Cruz has ever done is spawn the #CubanMistressCrisis hashtag on Twitter!

      2. MsExPat

        FYI, I did some freelance work for the Enquirer years back and found their fact checking more rigorous than anything I ever encountered in the MSM, including the NYT.

        They don’t print anything until their team of lawyers has had a go at it.

        1. sleepy

          Well, they did run that story about Madonna adopting a Martian baby. Or maybe that was The Globe?

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Ok A Hooker, A Teacher, A Co-Worker and a Politician walk into a hotel bar… stop me if you heard this one.

      Oh Teddy, what have you done. Pray hard and it will all go away.
      And then there was Only Trump. Hahaha.

    2. DJG

      Who knew that Ted Cruz is a hunk-a hunk-a burnin’ love? Somehow, though, sending billets doux to the ultra-nasty Carly Fiorina is almost what one would expect of the ultra-nasty Cruz. We are watching the mating rituals of the elite in all of their eroto-monetary splendor.

  3. Steve H.

    – “Disparity in the life spans of the rich and poor is growing” (audio) [PBS]. “Class warfare” not metaphorical?

    ‘Class’ is subject to all sorts of category errors. Lifespan isn’t.

    1. Steve in Flyover

      I wrote off a “traditional” retirement a while back. My new plan is a “early and sudden heart attack/stroke/dying” plan. Ideally, I’ll croak at my primary job, or on my 1099 job.

      With any luck, I’ll collapse on top of the floor drains in the shop, thus minimizing the clean up.

      It’s the best of a bunch of (100% bad) options, unless I win a lottery.

      Better than the “dementia-riddled, homeless in a cardboard box” plan. Better than the “Staring at the walls/TV all day because you can’t afford to do anything” plan. Better than the “trying to restart your network/find employment at age 70 plan”, because you underestimated the cost of retirement.

      My plan has the benefit of preventing the medical bloodsuckers from sticking you in an ICU, and sucking out the last of your net worth by hospital bills.

      1. Steve H.

        Sounds rational to me.

        I figured I needed a time frame to work with, so I went with taking the long walk at 92, and putting effort into staying functional until I’m most of the way there.

        A test for functionality is skydiving when I hit my 70’s. One hitch has been the legal requirement to pay money to health insurers that I’d planned to use for staying healthy. But we live in a high-GINI high-free-culture city, so there’s always something to do, and I no longer have a black-and-withered-thumb for gardening, so we might still do okay.

      2. jrs

        Well it’s probably possible to retire in another country, not a rich one, so don’t read that as Canada, because none are letting older Americans who aren’t rich in, but nonetheless.

        “Better than the “Staring at the walls/TV all day because you can’t afford to do anything” plan.”

        Well actually that sounds better than working to me. If you can get library books, it’s a better rat park than the cubical.

        1. Procopius

          You don’t need to be super-rich to retire in Thailand. Minimum requirement is (guaranteed) pensions totalling ≈ $1,900/mo, or ≈ $23,000 in a lump sum in a Thai bank. Biggest problem is you can’t use Medicare here. I’ve got Tricare Overseas, and it pretty much sucks, but medical costs are very low compared to U.S.

            1. John Zelnicker

              FATCA is mostly a reporting issue. As long as you report your foreign accounts and pay taxes on any income there is no problem. And the reporting is actually quite easy. Most foreign banks will provide the necessary information including the required exchange rate.

              Also, the US has many bilateral pension income agreements that prevent double taxation. I don’t know if there is one with Thailand.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A rich person is more likely to live longer, and every year lived is more likely to be more enjoyable as well.

      Total joy = (Joy per year) x (number of years enjoyed).

      1. Steve H.

        – every year lived is more likely to be more enjoyable as well.

        Not so sure about that:

        “The ‘Elves’ are ‘immortal’, at least as far as this world goes: and hence are concerned rather with the griefs and burdens of deathlessness in time and change, than with death.” [Tolkein]

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some look at existence as one painful experience.

          The rich aim to be less painful and relatively speaking more enjoyable.

          Is that short sighted? Probably, but no more than say killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        Sorry, I don’t think there is any such thing as constant joy per year, even for a single individual. Also, what is joy? Is it the same as happiness? And do we really know rich people experience more joy? I’m skeptical. Also, because not rich, uninformed.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right and we can improve by doing an integral over the period.

          As for joy or happiness, we can also improve on measuring it quantitatively. Right now, it’s more a qualitative idea, based on the difficulties we have seen with workers.

          Workers getting paid less – that’s the quantitative part.

          Does one need more money to be happy? Probably not. Does less money mean more difficulties in life? it depends. But we don’t want workers getting paid even less. We look forward to fewer difficulties (less restriction to health care, less menacing bankers, etc. — qualitatively, we can think of fewer difficulties as more joy or more happiness…loosely speaking, of course.

        2. Procopius

          I certainly agree there is no such thing as constant joy or permanent joy. The Buddha explained that because the world (samsara) is made of temporary things and is constantly changing, even when we are briefly satisfied we soon are discontented again. Alexander the Great is said to have wept because there were no more countries for him to conquer.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How does it compare with the price for, say, proconsul-ship or a cushy job at the Dept of Education?

        1. NoOne

          I guess they’ll have to have someone from Christie’s Auction house on the transition team.

    1. Embed

      And the Bernie Sanders campaign responded to it in today’s email.

      “In the movie Oceans 11, a gang of lovable thieves successfully heist $150 million from a vault in the basement of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

      Fueled primarily from high-dollar donations, Hillary Clinton has raised more than that in this campaign, and is now enlisting the support of George Clooney (Danny Ocean) to pad that total at a dinner event that will cost people up to $353,400 to attend.

      Now, most of us can agree that is an obscene amount of money. It’s a sum that would require an employee making the federal minimum wage to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for more than 5 years.”

      I love the emails from this campaign. They are smart, thoughtful and on point. Very different from what the Hilly sends out.

  4. diptherio

    Fan of the beautiful game here, but as a former fullback, that video was painful to watch. It does, however, reinforce my defensive dictum of days past, “when in doubt, take ’em out.” Take the yellow for the team, it’s the right thing to do.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      That’s how my brother played and he was always all-conference.

      Cruyff was the best.

    2. so

      American? Your the reason football never caught on with me in the seventies. The coaches philosophy, for a center half, was long ball. I just loved watching the ball sail back and forth over my head. Yuk!
      Some how in 2006, 31 years later I found football. Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers!
      Poetry in motion.

    3. Alex morfesis

      One of my sadder moments in life was when cruyff walked away from the deal with the cosmos…beckenbauer…bogi…carlos alberto and cruyff…that would have been magic…

      rupert murdoch killed american soccer with his run at warner…but the domination of san diego, st louis and north jersey soccer areas by foreigners who thought 1-0 mittelstad soccer vast das mproper vayz oft footvall helped annoy me out of the game…giants stadium was ten minutes from my door…would have been great watching him and bogi drive defenses crazy…

    4. ambrit

      Yes, I always did the ‘sliding tackle’ myself.
      “I was going for the ball ref!”
      My Dad and his long time mate “Uncle Jerry” used to sing a football song on the sidelines whenever they could get to watch one of my High School games. The chorus was; “And the ref said, Play On!”
      A favourite call from one of us fullbacks to another fullback was, “Is the Ref watching?”
      But, my oh my, that man was quick, and fast! Watch him accelerate out of midfield into opposition territory. Poetry in motion.

  5. sd

    Trying to put something into words….Thinking quite a bit about follow the money and am wondering what others thoughts are on the Clintons, money and where it goes. Specifically, how much is calculated regarding the final destination of the fees to the Clintons? By way of example, is Goldman passing fees to Clinton to reach further down the chain to the various groups Clinton funds? Is there more to the down the chain impact than expected?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wish someone had patented the idea of greed.

      Only one person can be greedy.

      The rest of us have to be altruistic.

      That way, we reduce the number of opponents to just one…maybe stronger, but much fewer in number.

    2. RWood

      Umm, this is me thinking:

      “Inside Trump’s plot to thwart a contested convention and seize control of the GOP” [WaPo]. There’s an awful lot of 11-dimensional chess going on here, and I have the feeling none of the players are much good.

      Well, we know they’re no good, but at the game? Some have deep roots “at the game.”

      My, “some?”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It seems to me that one consequence of the Republican implosion (and, it is to be hoped, of the slower-moving Democratic implosion) is that many players heretofore perceived as at “the top of their game” are not in fact very good.

        They are highly adapted to circumstances that changed, and the changes have caught them by surprise.

        A variant of Buffet’s trope about seeing who’s swimming naked when the tide goes out.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Like watering the garden, as opposed to watering a particular plant.

      Adding, extending the metaphor, I wonder if we might think of the Democrats as a garden that’s poorly mulched. So watering the whole garden doesn’t work any more, because there’s nothing to capture the water and hydrate (if that’s the word) every plant. So instead, one gives one or two showy plants — say, Rosa Hillaria — a drip feed, and the rest of the garden gradually dies off…

      Perhaps a better metaphor than “weak bench.”

  6. Ranger Rick

    Interesting how those IP trade restrictions are seen as a harmonization problem. Several nations don’t believe that one can own ideas and thus don’t even define intellectual property as a good that can be traded. You’re going to have to get over the ideological hurdle first.

    Besides, it’s perfectly legal for private industry to impose its own trade restrictions. Then it’s called licensing.

  7. kimsarah

    Since the Bill Clinton days, Democrats stopped investing in state and local networks of candidates to groom while the Republicans did the opposite. They planted seeds, the “fruits” of which we see today.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Much of this was purposeful. In Wisconsin, Clinton ally Jim Doyle won governorship by being a tough-on-crime Attorney General, then proceded to spend his entirety as Gov (2 terms) knee-capping every other potential Dem adversary in the state. His negatives were sky high when he decided not to run for re-election in 2010. No good Dem candidates. Result: Scott Walker and R sweep of legislature. The rest is history. Dem bench in state is still bare.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I seem to remember that we killed Al Qaeda’s #2 like 10 times. Sort of a running gag in national security circles.

      Of course, if I remember rightly, we then decided to ally with AQ against ISIS? You can’t tell the players without a scorecard….

      1. Cry Shop

        Perhaps the rise of ISIS is another proof of Darwin’s Theory, but in this case applied to a social systems. The US keeps killing the #2, and ISIS keeps getting stronger.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg published a good graphic of latest census estimates, showing the seven states estimated to have lost population between mid-2014 and md-2015:


    Illinois and West Virginia lead the losers. The real shocker, which doesn’t even show up in the graphic, is that Puerto Rico is estimated to have shed 6.8% of its population in the past five years, according to census.gov.


    The island’s population bleed occurred BEFORE its sales tax was hiked from 7.0% to a swingeing 11.5% on July 1, 2015, which is likely accelerate the human capital flight.

    After all, when you aren’t there, they can’t make you pay. Next up: Land o’ Rahm (Chicago), which lost 6,263 residents in 2015, as its schools and pensions sink into insolvency. The best thing they can do is run.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The way it’s going, one day, some rich elite will buy the island, or a corporation will (to turn it into one giant amusement park/resort).

      “Come see the raptors.”

  9. Pat

    You know if I were Ryan and McConnell, and I wanted to screw with Clinton before the election, I would pass a few laws. Starting with one that makes it illegal for any top elected official to have a charity, or at the very least one that makes it illegal for that elected official, their spouse or immediate family members to have ANY contact with their charity for their entire term of office. And requiring said charity to have a chair and a board majority of people who have no previous ties personally or professionally with the elected official. That said charity must disclose ALL donations, and provide a full accounting of all expenditures every six months (and this disclosure would apply to their donations and expenditures in the year previous to their taking office). That along with laws that make it illegal for any President to use anything but the government servers including for personal email, plus any other thing they can think of to disrupt the Clinton gravy train.

    Sure Obama might veto them, but what the hell. I’m pretty sure it would give the Press something to focus on besides Ted Cruz’s sex life. (ewwwww).

      1. Pat

        Goldman Sachs’ agenda will go through regardless of the discord between the Congress and the Clintons (see Obama).

        And how will this kill it more than the endless investigations and constant threat of impeachment?

        1. hunkerdown

          I meant the GOP’s base’s agenda. She’s known to be vindictive. If they kick her now and make her campaign harder than the rigged cake walk it was intended to be — as if that commie Bernie Sanders and his meddling kids weren’t enough — I doubt she’s going to be so liberal with the pork in those long, hard compromise packages when the “negociating” wraps and it’s time for the bipartisan unity act.

  10. Lee

    I saw Barney Frank on PBS Newshour yesterday. He looked disheveled and his repetitive and querulous anti-Sanders rant (“How big is too big to fail?”), was suggestive of cognitive decay. The piece got the almost uniformly negative response it deserved from the comments section– well, truly and deservedly berned, it was.


    Don’t know what to make of this.

    CNBC analysis: Don’t trust those GDP numbers
    Margin of error +/- 1.3 percentage points


    1. Llewelyn Moss

      I saw that Barney Frank piece. He was disgusting. Clearly playing the Hellery surrogate role. Saying Bernie is wrong about everything: “No need to break up the banks, their size is just fine; No need to bring back Glass-Steagale b/c that is not what caused the 2008 crash.” (paraphrased). What a Hellery tool. He should go back to retirement and with all the other Wall Street Has-Beens .

        1. petal

          According to wiki: “Mr. Frank joined to the board of directors of the New York-based Signature Bank on Wednesday, June 17, 2015”

  11. dk

    The Phrases That Sanders And Clinton Repeat Most

    Sourced from :

    Culled from the Dem debates, as compiled by WaPo. The article itself is quite dismissive of Sanders: “… if Sanders had a delegate for every time he said “income and wealth” in a debate, he’d still be losing by a nearly insurmountable margin.” And the value of this kind of analysis should be understood to be very limited.

    But the chart is interesting. Lots of ways to compare: Sanders repeats his top four policy points more often than Clinton repeats her top one. Sanders hammers (roughly) eleven policy points in his top 30 phrases, compared to Clinton’s three or four (no sure what saying “the auto industry” really means, is it about trade or employment, or about bailouts?). Most clearly, Sanders is not a one-issue candidate.

    I think some of Clinton’s “soft” and non-specific phrasing comes from a conscious effort to invoke a (nominally) feminine persona, going for appeal by contrast, and to emotion. Which puts me in mind of another woman in politics, E. Warren, who is, by contrast, no mincer of words (or of policy, for that matter).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How did Hillary and Obama compare in 2008, I wonder.

      More ‘hope and change’ from the latter?

      1. dk

        Certainly that, and “yes, we can”.

        The Sanders campaign’s “A Future To Believe In” slogan irks me no end, belief is for dummies.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Believing is something only the humans do.

          No other normal animals do that.

          That could be our fatal or tragic mental defect.

          1. dk

            I believe it is.

            Oh wait…

            No but seriously: belief is a substitute for information, and a poor one. It can arise from impatience, and a desire to take action without waiting for clear evidence. It is also invoked when evidence is complex, and diverges from desired conclusion. Even when belief seems to coincide with fact, it has been achieved without end-to-end rational evaluation; it can only appear valid by coincidence, not by its nature or origin.

            The great danger is when we mix our beliefs with what we know concretely, and give belief equal or similar weight to evident information. At that point, we are skewing our conceptual world-model away from observed (and generally reproducible) evidence and towards some fantasy, be it comforting or frightening. Too much of that, and people begin to doubt their own ability to understand anything. We doubt what we actually know. There is no sadder state.

            Separating out beliefs from knowledge is a process that takes some time. As socio-economic (population and resource) pressures drive us to spend more time/effort in competition and alliance evaluation, we have even less time to devote to reviewing and scrubbing our cognitive models.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I believe you, though it’s hard to know concretely what is what…

              Measurements are imprecise.

              Explanations are only the best explanations, for now, until progress brings us better best-explanations. One becomes less confident (or should) about messing with butterflies and Nature, based on our own partial knowledge.

          2. Vatch

            Believing is something only the humans do.

            No other normal animals do that.

            I disagree. Pack animals, such as wolves, believe very strongly in their pack leader. That’s why dogs can be so loyal to humans; they’re descended from wolves.

        2. Qrys

          It would be a weak slogan were it not such an overt dig at Hillary’s credibility:

          “A Future to Believe In

          Definition: Believe
          1 accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I don’t like that “fight for” locution because Democrat regulars use it constantly.

            If you’re always “fighting for” but never winning, then you always retain your clients and their contributions, right?

    2. different clue

      If a “future to believe in” becomes a “future firmly believed in” which further becomes “a future to work towards” . . . . then “a future to believe in” becomes not stupid at all. That depends on whether the Sandernistas organize themselves into a movement or movement-of-movements capable of lasting and working for the several decades needed to organize and conquer the power needed to cram “a future to believe in” down the throats of all the social class enemies and their toady lackey flunkies who oppose that future. Time will tell.

      ” Hope and change” . . . ” yes we can” . . . . these sleight-of-mouth bait-and-switcheroo phrases of deceit have left much bitterness and dejection on the part of people who swallowed the bait and have a barbed hook in their mouth to show for it.
      I believe one of Obama’s missions was to destroy the very emotion of hope itself. He came to burn down all hope of hope. Has he succeeded? Time will tell.

      Remember . . . with a head full of plans and a heart full of hate, we can make things happen. If there are enough of us with enough deep and broad overlapping networks.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To be a movement, it means the race does not end at the convention or in November.

        The kind of energy we have seen so far, if we can harness it like the Tortoise in its journey, and if we can bring it to every election at every district, every time, then, we might begin to see a revolution.

        After an election, you can forget your representative. Just recall the overwhelming opposition to bailing the banks circa 2008/2009.

        But they do listen at election time though…not just the big prize, but the not-so-big ones as well.

        1. different clue

          What if every Representative and Senator who voted for banker bailouts were defeated and deleted in its next primary or election? Every single one?
          Their fellow officeholders would learn that “merely being the rotating villain du jour” would no longer be sufficient excuse to forgive them their vote. It might make crucial swing-officeholders reluctant to play the “rotating villain of the hour” just because their party leadership gives them the order.

          Such focused targeted revenge-voting might be one pathway towards disinfection and decontaminating the Congress and also one or the other targeted Parties.

          Perhaps such overzealous no-mercy purge-and-burn politics from the right and the left can drive the Wall Street Republicans out of the R Party and drive the Wall Street Democrats out of the D Party. Perhaps it could
          lead to a Three Party System in this country. A Democratic Populist Party on the Right, a Democratic Socialist Party on the Left, and a Depublicratic Party in the Vital Center. A big-but-shrinking tent in the militantly-moderate middle where Romney, the Clintons, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Ryan, etc. can all keep eachother company. Birds of a feather and all that.

  12. mitzimuffin

    I never go to Booman anymore, but I saw this at Nomoremrniceblog and had to check it out:


    from the piece:

    Priotities USA Action is a Super Pac, to which unlimited contributions may be made, that supports one candidate in this election cycle: Hillary Clinton. As noted in my post yesterday about Mayor Weaver of Flint MI endorsement of Hillary, the top donors to Priorities USA Action include many of Hillary’s wealthiest and most prominent supporters, including billionaires such as the J.B Pritzker and his wife, George Soros, James Simon (hedge fund manager worth over $15 Billion), Steven Spielberg, and many other wealthy individuals in the finance and entertainment industries.

    If Ryan Hughes did receive payments from Hillary’s Super Pac, as Mark Craig alleges, this is more than just an ethical lapse in judgment. It would be even more evidence of Hillary operatives infiltrating Bernie’s campaign to sabotage it.

    Mr. Craig certainly believes that Ryan Hughes did everything possible to destroy grassroots activism for Bernie in Michigan, including working against long standing groups that had formed to support Bernie back in 2015, and which were already coordinating with each other regarding each group’s activities and events (e.g., rallies and canvassing activities) among themselves. Among the many things Mark shared with me about Ryan Hughes performance are the following:

    1. Refusing to requests by volunteers to politicize the Flint water crisis. Even though the Hillary campaign was doing so for months prior to the election, Hughes told volunteers not to make the water crisis a point of emphasis until only shortly before the date of the primary.

    2. Telling volunteers they could no longer do door to door grassroots canvassing. Instead, volunteers in Flint were directed to canvas only those residential addressed that included likely Sanders’ voters. When volunteers went to those addresses they usually found abandoned homes, or people who were registered Republicans.

    3. Ignored volunteers request to canvas in African American neighborhoods.

    4. Kicked out all of the volunteers who were willing to work for free to staff the Flint office. Hughes replaced them with paid staff, many of whom had no Michigan ties.

  13. Left in Wisconsin

    For anyone interested in Wisconsin Republican politics, IMO there are 3 distinct groups, or 4:

    1. Suburban Milwaukee: Traditional midwestern suburban right-wingism (hates poor people, black people, other minorities too, and the City of Milwaukee). This is Walker’s base. But the real dominant influence here is local rightwing talk radio, esp. Charlie Sykes, who also acts as mouthpiece for rightwing Bradley Foundation and other Koch-allied enterprises. If you want to follow their thinking, easiest way is to check the website rightwisconsin.com. A check today confirms they are now all in for Cruz – State House leader and close Walker ally Robin Vos endorsed Cruz today.

    2. Religious fundamentalists, of which there are (to me) a surprisingly large number in the state: Walker’s genius is that he is one of them, too! But they are extremely doctrinaire. For example, they are always trying to abort stem cell research (pun intended) at UW Madison even though this is one of the leading areas at the U. They are, of course, all in for Cruz. Until Vos, most of the Cruz endorsees in the state were in this category.

    3. Outstate (not Madison or Milwaukee) “traditional” Republicans: Outstate has trended increasingly Repub over last 30 years (as economic base has collapsed).

    3a. I think Lambert’s local elites (I forgot that great word he uses) are truly consternated – hard to see them going for Cruz or Trump. Former state hero Tommy Thompson maybe represents them best and he is working the state for Kasich.

    3b. Everyone else outstate (not local elites) is likely Trump material.

    Should be very, very interesting. And for those of you who question electronic voting, Waukesha County (ground zero for Walker base) has become known for always reporting its results last, and some sketchy things have happened there in recent times. A late-reporting Waukesha County and a narrow Cruz victory will no doubt set tongues wagging again.

    1. In the middle of Wis

      I live out state. Have many very dear well educated friends who are lifelong Republicans. Makes no sense to me as they are truly decent people. Initially, to my shock, they favored Chris Christie. They hate Trump. Won’t vote for him. Had a conversation last week with one who used to run campaigns for state candidates. She told me she hopes the party implodes because she is sick of all of it.

      Also in Wisconsin, we have a conservative Lutheran denomination that is very active politically and they align with the Christian Right. They’ll vote Cruz.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I think it’s a Spanish word, perhaps used in South America? Means (something like) local implementers of global capital.

  14. Keith Elder


    Since your contact form is still broken, I sent a plant photo to the regular Antidote email. I think it’s worth a look.

    Thanks to Lambert and all the commenters here; what a great site!

  15. hunkerdown

    RP wrote in yesterday’s Cooler, “I’ve never cared so much about a house democratic primary for a seat from Florida, but damn do I want Canova to excise the cancer that is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.”

    It’s a pretty good Friday for Tim. In an email blast dated four minutes before RP’s post, Tim Canova wrote: “Moments ago, as our lawyers were preparing to file a lawsuit against the Florida Democratic Party, we received a call from their Executive Director informing our insurgent campaign they were reversing their decision to block our campaign’s access to the voter file.”

    Seems the Party as a whole knows they’re on thin ice, trying to stage-manage the outcome of the election as they are. It appears their new plan is foaming the runway by erecting rationalizable, disposable obstacles that cost themselves little but cost insurgents time and resources many times over.

    1. In the middle of Wis

      They have done the same thing in Wisconsin. Myron Bucholz is challenging Ron Kind. Kind voted for TPP. The WI dems won’t give Myron access to the VAN.

  16. crittermom

    I have to wonder if DWS had anything to do with the caucuses CLOSING at ten tomorrow morning in WA? Closing at 10 a.m.?
    Isn’t Bernie favored to beat Hellary in that state?
    Ten in the morning? CLOSING? On a Saturday? Really?
    Who is behind that?

    I’ve already run out of popcorn while watching this election ‘show’.
    I choked on the last of it Tuesday while noting Hellary being declared the winner in AZ with only 1% of the votes in & how the “computer” messed up by listing many, many folks as Independents who were in fact registered Democrats whose votes then didn’t count when given an alternative form to cast their vote.

    Yes, I’m one of those who signed petitions since then demanding an investigation (for whatever good that’ll do, but at least “they” will know “we’re” noticing all the shenanigans & are not happy).

    I was already riled when some CO caucuses were closed due to overcrowding (fire danger), but the news coming from other states has been even worse.

    The most corrupt goings on I’ve yet to see in my 64 yrs.
    And so blatant!

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      The reason I don’t ever watch CNN anymore: I watched it for a few minutes and they showed Jane Sanders campaigning for Bernie in Hawaii. They called her JILL Sanders. These are the best journalists they can hire out of every smart person in the US, enticing them with great perks and high salary? Nobody knows what her name is?

  17. Keith Elder

    This rebuttal by Ted Cruz to the Enquirer article is priceless! I think Jon Stewart retired because he just couldn’t keep up, same with the Onion, they are now obsolete.

Comments are closed.