2:00PM Water Cooler 4/14/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Progressives should not buy into a false and counter-productive narrative that sets the interests of the global poor against the interests of rich countries’ lower and middle classes. With sufficient institutional imagination, the global trade regime can be reformed to the benefit of both” [Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate]. I don’t want to be cranky about this, but isn’t there a saying about robbing Peter to pay Paul? How about the 0.01%, who are doing very well indeed off the project for the free global movement of capital, take a giant slice of the wealth they extracted from the working people of this country, and give it back. That would be a helpful starting point for “reform to the benefit of both,” and an excellent litmus test for the “institutional imagination” Rodrik imputes to them.



“‘She’s Baldly Lying’: Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defense of Her Role in Honduras Coup” [Democracy Now]. But it she lying, or is she bullshitting?

“I’m the real-life Gordon Gekko and I support Bernie Sanders” [Guardian]. “No candidate other than Bernie Sanders is capable of taking the steps necessary to protect the American people from a repeat of the recent debacle that plunged the nation into a recession from which we have not recovered.”

“Statement from Senator Warren on Rejection of Banks’ “Living Wills” by Fed and FDIC” (press release) [Elizabeth Warren]. Let me quote a giant slab of it, with a few annotations in square brackets. Nothing here that NC readers do now know, of course:

“There’s been a lot of revisionist history [***cough*** Paul Krugman *** cough ***] floating around lately that the Too Big to Fail banks weren’t really responsible for the financial crisis. That talk isn’t new. Wall Street lobbyists have tried to deflect blame for years. But the claim is absolutely untrue.

There would have been no crisis without these giant banks [and not “shadow banking,” as Clinton would have it] . They encouraged reckless mortgage lending both by gobbling up an endless stream of mortgages to securitize and by funding the slimy subprime lenders who peddled their miserable products to millions of American families. The giant banks spread that risk throughout the financial system by misleading investors about the quality of the mortgages in the securities they were offering. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) spent years looking into the causes of the crisis and concluded that ‘collapsing mortgage-lending standards and the mortgage securitization pipeline lit and spread the flame of contagion and crisis.’

“Big bank executives got rich off that pipeline, but when it all predictably – yes, predictably – blew up, the government lavished their institutions with billions in taxpayer bailouts [including “foaming the runway” with HAMP]. None of those executives lost their jobs in exchange for the taxpayer rescue, and none of them went to jail for the rampant illegal activity that has been subsequently uncovered by the Department of Justice in bank settlement after bank settlement after bank settlement. Some of them, like Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase – whose bank was tagged as a continuing threat to the economy today – are still running the same banks.

Revisionist history is dangerous because it can blind us in the present – and bind us in the future. As the FCIC wrote, ‘If we do not learn from history, we are unlikely to fully recover from it.’ Today’s announcement should remind us of the central role that the big banks played in the last crisis – and it is a giant, flashing sign warning us about the central role they will play in the next crisis unless both Congress and our regulators show some backbone, stand up to the revolving door culture [that is, corruption] that is pervasive in Washington, resist the millions spent on Wall Street lobbying and campaign contributions [***cough ***], and demand real changes at these banks.

I’m not seeing Warren endorsing Clinton anytime soon.

The Voters

“American Narratives: The Rescue Game” [The Archdruid Report]. Fun approach using transactional analysis, although I can’t “The Rescue Game” in Eric Berne’s admirably trenchant Games People Play, although the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescue occur in many games,

New York

Debate at 9:00PM EST tonight on CNN. Sanders had better bring his best game (which is good) and not lose his temper (since Clinton will seek to discredit him on trivialities). He also should not repeat Clinton’s attacks, since that only reinforces them.

“If recent weeks are any indication, Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Brooklyn, N.Y., will feature plenty of fireworks” [USA Today].

“Sanders Denounces Supporter’s Comment About Corporate ‘Whores’, in the warmup to Sanders Washington Square rally. (The speaker, Paul Song, issued a clarification almost immediately; his phrasing was “corporate Democratic whores” [Bloomberg].

There’s a good deal of pearl-clutching about this in ClintonLand. Some comments: I deprecate the comparison of politicians to whores for a several reasons. First, it’s insulting to ladies of negotiable affection. Second, sexual relations simply aren’t a good template for political relations, in the same way that a household is not a good template for the government. More crucially, the comparison adds to the confusion about corruption — much of it propagated by the Clinton camp — and not in a good way for Sanders. Most defenders of the establishment tendentiously equate corruption with a quid pro quo; leaving the money on the dresser, as it were. However, as Zephyr Teachout (endorsed by Sanders) urges, corruption is the use of public office for private gain, a practice that’s pervasive in official Washington. Playing the whore is a suitable objective correlative for crude payoffs, but not for state-of-the art corruption as practiced in DC today. Goldman’s $675K payout to Clinton for three speeches was an investment, and private gain (rather like the cattle futures) that would never have been available to Clinton absent her public office. However, one doesn’t invest in a whore. So Song’s metaphor, besides being “insensitve,” was not adequate to the object of its analysis (corruption) and undercut Sanders message, as well. Not a good look.

“[B]y taking this position that only quid pro quo equals corruption, Clinton supporters are essentially adopting the reasoning of the Roberts court that they claim to abhor – that unless there is direct evidence of overtly trading money for votes, corruption doesn’t exist. As Lawrence Lessig has written, Democrats have been slowly embracing this stance for years, but the Clinton campaign seems to cementing it as the party’s policy” [Guardian].

“Today, less than a week before the New York primary, the Transit Workers Union Local 100 endorsed Bernie Sanders at a press conference in Brooklyn” [Wired]. “The reason this endorsement matters so much is because it’s not just coming from a single powerful individual or publication. The Local 100 is 42,000-members strong. With immediate family included, their reach stretches to roughly 100,000 people. They’re already organized, and they understand full well the importance of turning out the vote, as they’ve done so many times before to protect transit workers’ interests in New York City.”

“Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has a new line of attack against Hillary Clinton tailor-made for New York voters: that she is too soft on hydraulic fracturing” [The Hill]. “Anti-fracking forces in New York are more organized than elsewhere in the country. Community groups popped up several years ago to oppose drilling and fracked gas infrastructure projects in the state and worked to win over New Yorkers and government officials to the cause.” Successfully!

“A week after her husband had a tense encounter with black protesters, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday received a lukewarm response from a gathering of black leaders and voters in New York” [New York Times]. Oddly, or not, the story doesn’t mention Clinton and Deblasio’s humorous skit about “Colored Peoples’ Time.”

“Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, a snapshot of Donald Trump’s New York” [WaPo]. It used to be that reporters would interview the cabdriver. It’s my impression that we’re seeing more and more reporters interviewing locales and regions, which I think is a good thing.

The Trail

“Verizon CEO Attack on Bernie Sanders Receives Gushing Praise — From Fellow Execs” [The Intercept].

“Jane Sanders: Bernie and I Will Vote Hillary if We Have To” [Daily Beast] (not a direct quote, but in substance correct).

“Bernie Sanders Will Become Democratic Nominee Even If Clinton Leads in Delegates” [HuffPo]. “An iceberg named Hillary Clinton threatens the system of honest graft that provides political power to so many establishment Democrats. Superdelegates and the DNC know that an irreparable fracture within the Democratic Party awaits, if Bernie Sanders isn’t the nominee. They’ll wait until the last second, especially until after the FBI’s decision, to side with Vermont’s Senator. Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination, not only because of a progressive political revolution, but also because it’s in the political interest of Democratic Party bosses.”

Pennsylvania: “43 state House Democrats throw their backing to Hillary Clinton” [Penn Live].

“[A]s a result of the incompetence of his delegate-wooing operation, the Donald’s path to a pre-convention majority has narrowed into a tightrope in recent days. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz has been so dominant in the delegate selection process, the Washington Post reports he will likely pick up at least 130 votes in the event of a second ballot — nearly enough to make a Trump victory impossible, barring a fundamental change in the mood of other unbound delegates” [New York Magazine]. But politics, er, trumps the math; a fact this author seems to understand, but many Democrats do not.

“Don’t look now but Donald Trump is starting to do some very smart things as he tries to lock up the 1,237 delegates he needs to be the Republican presidential nominee.” [WaPo].

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, March 2016: “Slowing in shelter prices put the brakes on core consumer prices which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are no longer on a gradual path of acceleration. The core, which excludes food and energy, rose only 0.1 percent in March following two solid back-to-back gains of 0.3 percent” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year, the core is moving in the wrong direction, down 1 tenth to a 2.2 percent reading that justifies Janet Yellen’s doubts whether inflation, not getting much lift from wages, will show much traction this year.”

Jobless Claims, week of April 9, 2016: “In yet further confirmation of labor market strength, initial jobless claims fell a very sizable 13,000 in the April 9 week to 253,000” [Econoday]. “This matches the March 5 week for the lowest level since 1973 (a time when the size of the labor market was much smaller).”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 10, 2016: “Right when consumer comfort seemed to be at the risk of breaking down, the index rose 1.0 point in the April” [Econoday]. “[C]onfidence readings in general have been holding at firm levels, in contrast unfortunately to consumer spending.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “The leading indicators are to a large extent monetary based. Econintersect’s primary worry in using monetary based methodologies to forecast the economy is the current extraordinary monetary policy which may (or may not) be affecting historical relationships. This will only be known at some point in the future” [Econintersect]. “Leading Indicators Bottom Line: No recession in the next six months but most suggesting moderate but flat economic growth.”

Honey for the Bears: “Yesterday the Federal Reserve released a 19-page letter that it and the FDIC had issued to Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on April 12 as a result of its failure to present a credible plan for winding itself down if the bank failed. The letter carried frightening passages and large blocks of redacted material in critical areas, instilling in any careful reader a sense of panic about the U.S. financial system” [Wall Street on Parade]. Redacted material, eh?

Commodities: “Driven by the rise of battery gigafactories and game-changing Powerwall and energy storage businesses, the world now finds itself at the beginning of a lithium super cycle that is all about securing new supply, much of which is poised to come from lithium superstar Argentina” [Oilprice.com].

Shipping: “Cargo volumes at the nation’s West Coast ports appear to be making a comeback from a lackluster year in 2015, reporting gains in the first quarter of 2016 and a hopeful improvement on the export side.” [Wall Street Journal, “West Coast Ports Look to Make Comeback in Cargo Volume”]. 2015 being a strike year, “[c]ompared with the first three months of 2014, when the West Coast ports were operating without disruptions, the first quarter of this year saw an improvement of roughly 6% in overall container volume at the Port of L.A.

Shipping: “Thieves targeting California almonds, walnuts ” [AP]. “The sophisticated organizations in many cases use high-tech tactics, hacking into trucking companies to steal their identity. Armed with false shipping papers, they pose as legitimate truckers, driving off with loads of nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pistachios valued at $150,000, and some worth $500,000 each.”

Media: “There’s blood in the pixels again. Since the beginning of last year, media companies with large U.S. digital operations have been shedding employees and even shutting down entirely. In total, more than 1,000 job cuts have been announced over the last 12 months, and industry watchers fear more to come” [Buzzfeed]. “For those cutting jobs — and for those that are still growing — the steady migration of audiences to mobile mega-platforms like Facebook and Snapchat and the abrupt rise of video has businesses scrambling to shift their advertising models.”

Media: “If Buzzfeed is screwed, everyone else is REALLY screwed” [Pando]. “To anyone watching, Buzzfeed has already been in the midst of another pivot during the last year– heavily focusing on video. … Internally, this has rankled some of the Buzzfeed New York staff, from what I hear. But the Facebook algorithm is prioritizing video now, so Buzzfeed has to move with it.” Hmm. The algorithm has agency?

“Banks look to enter the lucrative business of check-cashing” [AP]. Get rid of those pesky accounts

“[Bank of America] was one of nearly two dozen companies — including eBay, Burger King and CNN — to say they plan to use the Messenger platform to interact with customers through chat bots, artificial intelligence software that can understand questions and provide answers” [Bank of America]. I’m sure no crapification will be involved.

“The two spoilers in the much anticipated startup downturn? Corporate and international VCs” [Pando]. Lock will expire in under a day…

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70, Greed (previous close: 70, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 68 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 14 at 11:05am.


Will Upton Sinclair please pick up the white courtesy phone?


“1Malaysia Development Bhd., the troubled Malaysian state fund that’s the subject of global investigations, said it could be a victim of fraud if payments of $3.5 billion intended for an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund never made it there” [Bloomberg]. “It’s complicated.”

“When charter schools close, taxpayer-funded property often goes missing” [Orlando Sun-Sentinel]. To be fair, the losses are in the thousands. But it does make you wonder what a close look at the books would show.

Dear Old Blighty

“Jeremy Corbyn overpays his taxes” [Boing Boing]. If they didn’t hate him before, they hate him now!

Militia Watch

“For all intents and purposes, American militias and their supporters act as the de facto armed vanguard of the movement to wrest control of public lands from the federal government” [Gawker]. Tragic, awful, gruesome stories, however; it’s as if America has become a distillery that bottles this sort of life: “Carter and his girlfriend, Mandy Sulser, had been living in an RV on Smith’s property, a few miles from the Red River (Texas’s border with Oklahoma). The couple—both Texans, born and raised—ended up homeless last year after Carter lost his job, Sulser told me. They were living out of her car…”


“Drought-hit Venezuela waits for rain” [Reuters].

“How Do We Get Our Drinking Water In The U.S.?” [NPR]. Explainer (for some definition of “we”).

“Drought, suicide and India’s water train” [Al Jazeera].

“Coastal cities across the globe are looking for ways to protect themselves from sea level rise and extreme weather. In the U.S., there is no set funding stream to help — leaving each city to figure out solutions for itself” [NPR]. Then again, in Philly: “[G]reen infrastructure is cheaper — especially compared to more traditional engineering approaches like building a large concrete tunnel to hold the extra water. That hole-and-tunnel approach would have cost the city’s ratepayers $10 billion and taken decades to complete. The thousands of rain gardens, green roofs, and tree trenches will cost the city around $2 billion.”


“Next month, the Weather Service will start publishing most of its forecasts, like warnings of extreme weather and daily outlooks, in mixed-case lettering. The agency hopes that the change will make its warnings to the public more effective” [New York Times].

The Jackpot

“Oil companies’ coordinated cover-up of climate risks stretches back decades and rivals that of big tobacco companies” [HuffPo].

Class Warfare

“Over the last few years, hedge funds and mutual funds have bought up large tranches of Puerto Rico’s bonds at cut-rate prices, hoping the island will pay back its debts in full, thereby giving those financial interests a big payout” [International Business Times]. That gamble, however, has relied in part on the bet that the island will make draconian cuts to social services and worker pensions and use the savings to pay back 100 cents on the dollar to its Wall Street creditors — a bet, in other words, that Congress will prevent the island from simply erasing some of its debt through the kind of bankruptcy protections that are afforded U.S. cities.”

“How foreign investors are squeezing out Vancouver’s middle class” [The Walrus]. Homes purchased as boltholes or pied a terres and left empty. A global plague of rentiers.

“Very early on, it became clear to me that lower-income respondents minimized the risk of food waste by purchasing what their children like. And often children like food that is calorie-dense and nutrient-poor” [Harvard Gazette]. “It can take children some eight to 15 times to accept the food that they didn’t like at first. Vegetables, for example, are a little bit harder to love than macaroni and cheese, and it can take repeated experience to come to like something like mustard greens or Brussels sprouts. The low-income parents were quite attuned to this possibility of waste because their budgets were often so tight that they couldn’t take an economic hit in the form of food their children wouldn’t eat.”

News of the Wired

“Mora-Blanco is one of more than a dozen current and former employees and contractors of major internet platforms from YouTube to Facebook who spoke to us candidly about the dawn of content moderation” [The Verge]. “But as hidden as that army [of content moderators] is, the orders it follows are often even more opaque — crafted by an amalgam of venture capitalists, CEOs, policy, community, privacy and trust and safety managers, lawyers, and engineers working thousands of miles away.”

“When a nation is hacked: Understanding the ginormous Philippines data breach” [Troy Hunt]. “[T]he Filipino breach has been very broadly distributed. Not only has it been readily available for download from multiple locations on the clear web, it’s been quite extensively torrented too. The genie is well and truly out of the bottle and it won’t be going back in.”

“Facebook’s new login tool lets developers sign up users with just a phone number” [The Verge]. So how long before that’s required instead of optional? Could I order a burner phone from Facebook?

“Virus trading cards” [Tabletop Whale].

“What It’s Like to ‘Wake Up’ From Autism After Magnetic Stimulation” [New York Magazine]. Wow.

* * *

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 (Furzy Mouse):


Furzy says “Spring pruning in Thailand.” I dunno. “Pruning” seems hardly adequate!

* * *

Readers, Water Cooler will not exist without your regular support. Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. If you enjoy what you’re reading, please click the hat!


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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. Blurtman

    Re: “How foreign investors are squeezing out Vancouver’s middle class”

    I live on the Eastside of Seattle and it is happening here as well. All cash buys.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unfortunately for Trump, there is no fortress nor wall that money can’t seize or scale.

      “Throw more money at that wall.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For the Manchu, it was his love for a woman in Beijing that the defending Ming general let the banner soldiers slip through the Great Wall.

        So, money or women can scale great walls

        (If you read that in your next fortune cookie, don’t appear puzzled, but make yourself look good with that explanation.)

      2. jrs

        Well they could ban foreign investors in real estate and they probably should. I have no idea Trump’s position on that (the man has his own selfish interest in real estate). Of course citizenship itself is often easily bought if you have enough money.

    2. RP

      Time for a foreign investor real estate tax?

      What is the going rate for money laundering these days? Used to be 20-25%.

    3. TedWa

      Watching RT news and the Max Keiser report they said London is a ghost town most days because of foreign investors that don’t actually live there. Some kind of tax haven for them I believe. But really, can you imagine? It’s happening here

    4. meeps

      Blurtman @ 2:38 pm

      Although not yet as bad as Vancouver, the situation in Colorado is lousy, too. 17% of residential sales in the 11 county metro Denver area are cash buys! The median price is $417,000K, so it’s likely not Mr. and Mrs. Local making these purchases.

      The realtors here say it’s a sellers market. Is it? I don’t know of a homeowner who can afford to buy another home here if they sell. They may have equity, but it won’t cover the high price of housing. They would be going backwards, so they are staying where they are. My guess is that’s why inventory is low; only a month and a half of stock.

        1. meeps

          pretzelattack @ 7:56 pm

          Good question. The report linked below includes sales of condos, which is as close as I can find to apartment data. There aren’t many condos in the sales category under $99,999.00. What I can say is that monthly rents in apartments seem to be priced at what a mortgage on a modest single family home was just a few years ago. If I can find something more relevant I’ll pass it along.


          1. pretzelattack

            thanks, it’s a lot cheaper to own in the part of texas i live in, apartment rates are through the roof (assuming you have the cash or can get a mortgage). similar situation here with condos, too, the ones under 100k are often bank repos. so basically people are having a hard time affording a place to live, which explains why i see so many homeless people.

    5. polecat

      Come further west east man…….the good citizens of the Olympic Peninsula could use the cash!

      ….and the restaurants…always the restaurants!

  2. fresno dan

    “Progressives should not buy into a false and counter-productive narrative that sets the interests of the global poor against the interests of rich countries’ lower and middle classes. With sufficient institutional imagination, the global trade regime can be reformed to the benefit of both” [Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate].
    I don’t want to be cranky about this, but the Bible has something to say about robbing Peter to pay Paul. How about the 0.01%, who are doing very well indeed off the project for the free global movement of capital, take a giant slice of the wealth they extracted from the working people of this country, and give it back. That would be a helpful starting point for “reform to the benefit of both,” and an excellent litmus test for the “institutional imagination” Rodrik imputes to them.


    Dean Baker has written quite a bit about this – to me the most relevant and biting thing he has said is that this idea that raising the wages of 3rd world people had to lower the wages of the middle class AND make the rich much richer…
    I heard it before (i.e., Nafta, from the Clintons) how there would be winners and losers, but protections, reforms, yada, yada, yada could be passed…yet somehow that never happened…..and in twenty years, it has never happened.
    How many decades have to pass before Rodrik get it through his skull that strip mining the wealth of the middle class is a feature and not a bug of “free trade” agreements??? Does HE have the imagination to even ask HIMSELF why that hasn’t happened as of yet!????? (how many years has Obama been president? How many years was Clinton president AFTER Nafta passed??? BUT DONT STOP BELIEVING IN FREE TRADE)

    1. Bas

      Question for the oligarchs: how much is “enough”?
      Clearly, never enough for them, never enough to live for the people who enable their wealth

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Rich people competing with other rich people is not a good thing (Sadly, because competition, we are being told, is a good thing).

        When a rich person’s house is $40 million, the others will have to extract more rent in order to afford $100 million mansions.

        Rich people should stop competing like that.

      2. inode_buddha

        I have wondered this for a long time. I concluded that the entire world cannot be enough for them, simply because they are trying to use material means to fill in a spiritual hole. And meanwhile, as the elephants fight is is the grass under their feet that loses.

        1. pretzelattack

          i don’t even know if there is a spiritual hole. you have to have a spirit don’t you? i just think it’s a big game, and we’re the little toy trains and dogs they move around the board; they only recognize their fellow billionaires and maybe some faithful retainers as human.

  3. TomD

    I have no idea what’s going to happen, but Bernie has been given about the most perfect set up he could hope for tonight’s debate. Panama Papers with his opposition to the Panama trade agreement, and HIllary’s strong endorsement of, Bill attacking BLM, what some are reporting to be the largest rally for a primary ever, $15 min wage getting through in several states, the Verizon strike.

    Everything’s coming up Milhouse.

    1. JohnnyGL

      We can dream, can’t we? But, stay prepared for disappointment.

      I’m dreaming of getting rid of my criminally bad health insurance (as mandated by my employer).

      Hope…..Obama peddled the idea of it, Bernie is creating it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        No one is perfect.

        it would be our own fault to project infallibility unto a fellow human being.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Instead of infallibility, can I project better health insurance onto someone who’s outlined a plan to give it to me?

          If Bernie got into office and didn’t destroy any (new) countries and got me some decent health insurance, I’d be thrilled.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Sometimes I am delusional (maybe often), but I believe it’s no projection. He really has said he will offer a better health care plan.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wonder if the Roman Catholic Church has any accounts handled by Mossack Fonseca?

    3. Blurtman

      I am afraid all we can do is vote, if we can even do that. Patty Murray is up for re-election. She is a Hillary superdelegate in spite of WA state voting 72% for Bernie. Neither she nor her staff will describe her vote on the Hank Paulson confirmation. Won’t even respond to a simple e-mail inquiry. Not even the knee jerk no answer e-mail response. Hank was CEO of Goldman Sachs during much of the $5.1 billion fraud period. Our senators voted to confirm a criminal as a cabinet official. I won’t vote for Murray. The I-may-be-bad-but-the-other-guy-is even-worse defense cannot be allowed to continue. I know he won’t do it, but I hope Bernie splits off from the Democrat party.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One calculation is, by changing from Independent to Democrat, you can capture the nomination and the loyal voters who faithfully vote party’s nominee, and still keep the Independent voters in the general election.

        The other is to remain Independent, and pick off unhappy Democrats in the general election.

        The concern with the latter is it might be spoiling it for the D party, as people claimed Nader did in 2000, and you can’t take advantage of those ‘loyal D voters’ without being its nominee.

        But with Trump or Cruz so unfavorable, it is not as risky now.

        Could he have known this last year?

        Sometimes it is not possible to see what the future holds, and one does what believes in, not to calculate which one is most likely to succeed…or, which of the best laid plans of men.

        1. TomD

          I think it’s more about having access to the Democrat party’s apparatus and not have to fend off their dirty tricks (did you see the article the other day about how their plan with Nader was make him bleed money on lawsuits, etc?).

          There are many states, where it’s near impossible for an independent to even get on the ballot.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            He has worked with Democrats for many, many years.

            Yet, the party was not good enough for him (very wise of him, I would say) become one.

            Now it is, for him to join.

            It’s realpolitik for every one. (I will use you more than you will use me).

            We should expect, at the very least, the beast to fight back.

      2. polecat

        ‘the’teacher in tennis shoes’ my ass…………both she and Cantwell need to go!

        they’re like the Wa. State versions of Pelosi and Feinstein………throwing crumbs to the plebes…and all the while, gaining more power for themselves!

        1. neo-realist

          Unfortunately, there’s no countervailing movement among the democrats or progressives in WA State to run against those two. Too well financed to beat? I guess it’s no big deal to most people that Murray and Cantwell support a neo-liberal like Clinton as long as the bounty of high tech and aerospace continues in the state?

      3. perpetualWAR

        Murray does not have my vote, nor does Inslee.

        Oh yeah, since you’re a Washingtonian, please vote “the other guy” for Lt. Gov. Steve Hobbs is running as a Dem as he has been poison for homeowners as the Senate FIHI Committee Chair.

        1. polecat

          I don’t think there are ANY dems here that I’d vote for……they’re all playin for King County !!

          Even my rep…’Where’s waldo’ Kilmer is WAY less than stellar !!!!

          all these pols just smile, talk nice platitudes, …….and continue to screw us…….

          1. lindaj

            the lesser evil thing works so well for them. nowhere to run to.

            but i’m thinking about boycotting the vote this year. acknowledging the kabuki and calling them on it.

            either that or keep on voting green for show.

    4. Waldenpond

      Sanders doesn’t set the debate agenda. When you support politicians you are doomed to be disappointed. Sanders assumed the fetal position for the 2nd time and just canned his young, female, progressive Jewish outreach coordinator because right wing nutters complained she called Netanyahu and @sshole.

      Two main items for questioning Sanders tonight will be the use of wh@re last night and @sshole from today.

      1. Waldenpond

        Correction: not canned, just suspended. Sending your staff to a corner for a time out because of intemperate language is a display of strength and does not look condescending, tone policing and paternalistic at all. Nor does it look like collapsing to whinging, whining right wingers at the most mild of circumstances.

    5. Waldenpond

      Is it just me or is he not doing well at all? Watching TYT. Sickening to watch him refuse to give examples of votes for money and she sneers and says ‘see, he can’t find an example’ and her supporters CHEER for her corruption. Sickening.

      1. sleepy

        Yep, also noticed that in the gun control portion, he never raised the issue of the NRA contributions to her campaign. I kept waiting, but nothing.

        Hillary’s got some slick bullshit which should be an easier target than Sanders is hitting.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Of course, the “examples” is the (false) quid pro quo argument. The whole system is set up to avoid the examples. Nobody leaves an envelope on the dresser; there’s a job at a think tank, later, or a lobbyist position, or some language slipped into a bill, and on and on and on. I don’t like it that Sanders can’t land a punch on this when it’s so obvious.

  4. allan

    BP Investors Stage Protest Vote Over CEO’s 20% Pay Increase

    BP Plc shareholders voted in protest at the company’s decision to award Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley a 20 percent pay increase after the company reported a record net loss and announced thousands of job cuts.

    More than 59 percent of shareholders voting by proxy rejected BP’s remuneration report, according to an announcement at its annual general meeting. A final voting tally, including investors present at the meeting in London, hadn’t yet been released but is unlikely to change the result.

    Who are these shareholder people and why do they think they have a say in the matter?

    Per the NYT/WaPo Dem primary stylebook, the headline should be
    “BP Investors Fail to Meet Expectations on Pay Increase”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Citizen investors who (are shareholders in the sense we hold and share – equally – an interest in it) invest in the government of the Little People, for the Little People, by the Little People, we should protest the outrageous salaries of our ‘I am in it to serve my country’ senators, among others.

      “Elect me, because I am like you.”

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘the Weather Service will start publishing most of its forecasts in mixed-case lettering’

    Together with vernacular language and punctuation, it’s a real attention getter:

    tOrNAdO on Yo a$$, bItCHeZ!!11!!!

      1. Arizona Slim

        Not just UC Davis. There is suspicion that the same thing has happened here in Tucson.

        The current president of the University of Arizona, Ann Weaver Hart, recently joined the board of DeVry, a for-profit university that’s in quite a bit of legal trouble.

        Needless to say, this isn’t going over well locally. There are calls for her to resign.

        Before she left Temple University to come to the UA, the Philadelphia Inquirer did an expose on the bonus that she got. In the Philadelphia area. that bonus was about as popular as her decision to join the DeVry board.

        Good luck finding any mention of that Temple bonus. It has been buried.

      2. polecat

        ……williambansai7 uses pepper spray cop in many of his graphics…………often in conjunction with drones…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Any conscientiously objecting professors wanting no more association with the University of California or any other colleges?

      It’s a difficult decision, but easier said than done, for any of us faced with such a situation.

      For those in Asian religions department, they have the concept of Bodhisattva to inspire them – I will not enter Nirvana unless all are saved as well.

    1. pmorrisonfl

      Technically, you are correct, no judgements are made about financial transactions between Peter and Paul. However, the larger point can be supported, e.g.:

      James 5:4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

      1. Vatch

        I’m not a religious person, but I have respect for the message of the Book of James. I wish more right wing Christians would read this book — it’s only about three pages long.

      2. Propertius

        No, it can’t. Robbing Peter to pay Paul refers to neglecting one legitimate obligation to satisfy another legitimate obligation. Stealing someone’s wages to enrich yourself doesn’t meet the test of legitimate obligation. It’s not a reference to actual thievery, you, know.

        1. pmorrisonfl

          You view robbing Peter as a legitimate obligation? You’re right, I won’t be able to provide a verse or argument against you.

    2. Bunk McNulty

      Robbing Peter To Pay Paul
      The expression refers to times before the Reformation when Church taxes had to be paid from St. Paul’s church in London and to St. Peter’s church in Rome; originally it referred to neglecting the Peter tax in order to have money to pay the Paul tax….(idiomatic) To use resources that legitimately belong to or are needed by one party in order to satisfy a legitimate need of another party, especially within the same organization or group; to solve a problem in a way that makes another problem worse, producing no net gain.

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    Gotta say I’m tremendously disappointed at Bernie’s refusal to jump into this “corporate democratic whore” thing with both feet. Does he really think that that’s not what everyone hears when he pounds away at corporate-funded super pacs and secret wall street speeches? Can he really not know that things have already gone too far for the “revolution” to be fought with “proper language” rules? War is war.

    Wake the eff up, Bernie. They’re stealing the nomination from you with their closed primaries, superdelegates and captured media. (You know, the one that equates 27,000 Sanders supporters with 1300 clinton sycophants.) They don’t even consider you a “real democrat,” and they’re not shy about telling anyone who’ll listen what a hammer-and-sickle goofball you are.

    This morning on msnbs Jane Sanders said they’ll go all the way to the convention because their supporters are counting on them. And we are. So land a punch. It’s a target-rich environment. Or let the Dr. Songs of the world land one for you. Just don’t stomp on it. We want more than lousy planks in a worthless “platform.”

    They ARE corporate whores, Bernie, and you know it. And, btw, that goes for obama too.

      1. HotFlash

        According to both Oxford and Merriam, ‘whore’ can be used of either sex, point being sexual or other favours exchanged for payment.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Excellent point on the use of language.

          However, as I said, that reinforces the idea that corruption equals quid pro quo. That’s the majority opinion in Citizens United!

          1. inode_buddha

            I prefer to use “tool” as it illustrates and reinforces how these people are used (and then discarded after they are no longer useful) by those higher up the food chain.

      2. Optimader

        As a matter of record.
        I would say the sexuLly related definitions are not gender specific and not relevant

        whore (hôr)
        1. A prostitute.
        2. Often Offensive A person considered sexually promiscuous.
        3. A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain.
        intr.v. whored, whor·ing, whores
        1. To associate or have sexual relations with prostitutes or a prostitute.
        2. To accept payment in exchange for sexual relations.
        3. To compromise one’s principles for personal gain.
        Phrasal Verb:
        whore out
        1. To compromise one’s principles for personal gain.
        2. To offer (oneself or another) for sexual activity in exchange for money or personal gain.
        3. To exploit (someone or something) crassly or unscrupulously for personal gain.
        [Middle English hore, from Old English hōre; see kā- in Indo-European roots.]
        Word History: Derivatives of Indo-European roots have often acquired starkly contrasting meanings. A prime example is the case of the root *kā-, “to like, desire.” From it was derived a stem *kāro-, from which came the prehistoric Common Germanic word *hōraz with the underlying meaning “one who desires” and the effective meaning “adulterer.” The feminine of this, *hōrōn-, became hōre in Old English, the ancestor of Modern English whore. In another branch of the Indo-European family, the same stem *kāro- produced the Latin word cārus, “dear.” This word has several derivatives borrowed into English, including caress, cherish, and charity, in Christian doctrine the highest form of love and the greatest of the theological virtues. · Another derivative of the root *kā- in Indo-European was *kāmo-, a descendant of which is the Sanskrit word for “love,” kāmaḥ, appearing in the name of the most famous treatise on love and lovemaking, the Kamasutra.
        American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the movie, Baaria, our hero had to study to become a communist in Sicily, and other party members had to vote on the application.

      I wonder if it is still like that in some countries in the world.

      Here, people switch in and out.

      If the two parties hold primaries on different dates, one person can actually vote for both.

    2. Bas

      Bernie is fully aware, I am sure or this. This has been going on since before I was born. His phonebankers are making sure that people are going to offer themselves as alternate delegates, and there are observers at every primary. There is a lot going on unseen, and this can not be undone just like that. He is building awareness, that is so vital.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Phonebanking is a lot more productive, and efficient (for our neoliberal naysayers) than, say, criticizing Hillary’s hair, dress or her nauseating voice.

        Not as emotionally satisfying for sure, but more efficient.

        There, I said it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We also thank the phonebankers…the unknown (not for long hopefully) soldiers of the revolution.

        1. Propertius

          I agree. And so is a well-reasoned critique of her policies (to the extent one can figure out what they are). Snarky comments about personal appearance really don’t contribute to the process at all – they’re the stuff of high school gossip. If Clinton came out as an honest-to-God New Deal/Great Society liberal I’d be happy to support her.

    3. jrs

      If Sander’s really suspects there’s a chance he might lose then who in heck cares whether he supports Clinton or not in that case. It’s outright insulting to imagine his supporters want to hear about this.

      What does matter in that case is really making the case for issues that would outlive one’s candidacy. Not a useless plank that no one can trust anyway (the only good plank would be one we could make Shillary walk – aye mate?). But issues that one has raised to a pitch that they are active social forces going forward. Trade is a good one, how the trade agreements before us are a corporate coup. They are, it’s the truth. The ideas need to have some kind of real power to change the existing dynamic. How about pushing a Constitutional amendment to get money out of politics? That would be a good one. If money in politics is a real problem and we all know it is, this has to outlive Sander’s candidacy even if he should lose.

      If all we’re going to have is hating on the billionaires (not that they don’t deserve it, but how powerless does that make us?) and longing for a European welfare state that people don’t even fully understand (if they did they would be calling for more than Sander’s measures) then will anything outlive Sander’s candidacy if he loses?

      1. farrokh bulsara

        It does not matter one iota whether Bernie (and Jane) voices support for Clinton. It matters even less if that “support” involves a quid pro quo for “planks” in another neoliberal campaign. We (Bernie supporters) are not so much enthrall with Bernie as we are enthrall of his beliefs and visions of an egalatarian society. This is anathema to the very core of the Democratic Party. That is what outlives the Sander’s candidacy even if he wins. And what’s so awful about hating on some billionaires? Maybe we should all start having “hate on billionaires” backyard parties in our neighborhoods every Friday evening.

    4. farrokh bulsara

      Kat, as someone who has spent most of his life “burning bridges” and surviving all the same, I feel your disappointment and anger. I call a spade a spade and damn the consequences. But if you look at Bernie’s life story, that is not in his character.

      He is a lifelong activist and idealist, so he has no compunction in being intellectually vicious. But perhaps because he is 1st generation of immigrant parents or maybe due to spending his formative years entirely in the 50s, he is just a polite and decent person. Derogatory epithets like “democratic corporate whores”, while certainly apropos imo and yours, are just not acceptable to him.

      Yes, politics and campaigning for national election are blood sport in our current culture but in the end it is ideas and pursuit of ideals that motivate us to change the status quo. Bernie is the latest spokesperson to assume the banner for change. I think it was almost ingenious of him to attempt it within the guise of the Democratic Party Primary. He knows the deck is stacked against him but that’s the whole point of challenging the status quo. We may not agree with each of his tactics but he must be himself, first and foremost. Ultimately, that is what makes him believable, trustworthy and authentic.

      Whether he wins the nomination or not, the Dem political party as we know it must end with this election. That is really what is at stake here.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We have to the fortunate that Sanders is polite and decent.

        Tactically, it may be ingenious to use and take advantage of life-long un-redeemable Democrats’ toys, and with hindsight, we will eventually know.

        Strategically, it is not clear if that is the best way long term, for if the first attempt is not successful (we know and ‘he knows the deck is stacked against him’), we must try and try again. In that case, it’s better to for a clean break with the Democrats, and confront the last 8 years as ‘weak’ (and worse) as well.

        1. farrokh bulsara

          Absolutely, and I think that (clean break) is plan B. Whether Bernie leads that break or not is immaterial. IOW, the revolution has already begun.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I fear the worst, and it will not be “polite and decent”, picture the country after 4 years of Clinton: health care 20-50% higher, interest rates below zero and pensioners starving (even more than they are now), Hilary’s boots on the ground in the Ukraine and Turkey bogged down and casualties and costs soaring, the latest TBTF bank bail-ins draining people’s bank accounts, college costs 20-30% higher.
            “Those who make gradual change impossible make revolutionary change inevitable”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By the way, I believe one can be very aggressive while being polite.

        I know from having to deal with bankers too many times.

        1. farrokh bulsara

          Well yes, I always thought I was polite and aggressive in my criticisms. But I learned that YMMV.

      3. tongorad

        He (Sanders) is a lifelong activist and idealist, so he has no compunction in being intellectually vicious.

        I don’t know about viciousness, but it would be nice if Sander’s rhetoric even remotely approached the power and oppositional fury of FDR’s:
        FDR: I Welcome Their Hatred

        But Sanders is no FDR.

    5. TomD

      It’s extremely offensive and disrespectful to sex workers to use this term to refer to corrupt politicians.

    6. Waldenpond

      I was briefly counting on him to actually win the nomination. I could never figure out why he was running and I won’t list my guesses as none are to his favor, but I just don’t take him seriously. 1. Unqualified 2. Wh@re and today 3. @sshole. He’s boring me at this point. So no money from me. I’ll register voters but not have his gear up. Anything else, the signage comes down and the t-shirt hits the garbage.

      I’m utterly fed up w/his ‘my good friends’ schtick. He’s purposely tone policing to protect the establishment he claims to be running against.

  7. rich

    President Killary — Paul Craig Roberts

    Hillary Clinton is proving to be the “teflon candidate.” In her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, she has escaped damage from major scandals, any one of which would destroy a politician. Hillary has accepted massive bribes in the form of speaking fees from financial organizations and corporations. She is under investigation for misuse of classified data, an offense for which a number of whistleblowers are in prison. Hillary has survived the bombing of Libya, her creation of a failed Libyan state that is today a major source of terrorist jihadists, and the Benghazi controversy. She has survived charges that as Secretary of State she arranged favors for foreign interests in exchange for donations to the Clintons’ foundation. And, of course, there is a long list of previous scandals: Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate. Diana Johnstone’s book, Queen of Chaos, describes Hillary Clinton as “the top salesperson for the ruling oligarchy.”

    Hillary Clinton is a bought-and-paid-for representative of the big banks, the military-security complex, and the Israel Lobby. She will represent these interests, not those of the American people or America’s European allies.

    The Clintons’ purchase by interest groups is public knowledge. For example, CNN reports that between February 2001 and May 2015 Bill and Hillary Clinton were paid $153 million in speaking fees for 729 speeches, an average price of $210,000.

    As it became evident that Hillary Clinton would emerge as the likely Democratic presidential candidate, she was paid more. Deutsche Bank paid her $485,000 for one speech, and Goldman Sachs paid her $675,000 for three speeches. Bank of American Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Fidelity Investments each paid $225,000. https://theintercept.com/2016/01/08/hillary-clinton-earned-more-from-12-speeches-to-big-banks-than-most-americans-earn-in-their-lifetime/

    Despite Hillary’s blatent willingness to be bribed in public, her opponent, Bernie Sanders, has not succeeded in making an issue of Hillary’s shamelessness. Both of the main establishment newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times have come to Hillary’s defense.


    I’m not even sure Song’s reference was strong enough.

    1. hunkerdown

      Teflon, my bottom. Tom and Daisy’s eCat, more like — the hired help is surreptitiously coming in nightly to clean it.

  8. optimader

    “‘She’s Baldly Lying’: Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defense of Her Role in Honduras Coup” [Democracy Now]. But it she lying, or is she bullshitting?

    Not mutually exclusive

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A man, her boss, is using her, a woman to shield himself.

      “A man may work from dawn to dusk, but a woman’s work is never done.”

      Just because.

      “Give me just a handful of not lying, not BS, male and female politicians, and I will spare the party from My wrath.”

  9. John

    I’m disappointed in how Elizabeth Warren is handling herself–she should have endorsed Bernie long ago. She’s already angling for the 2020 or 2024 elections it seems and is being quite calculative. Her comments on Trump were disappointing as well and clearly aimed at gaining publicity. The Democrats will manage to get Hillary in the White House and hopefully Warren will be our next choice, but I’m just not as excited about her as Bernie. He clearly never planned for any of this and is the realest politician we’ve had in decades.

    1. TedWa

      Warren will be 69 this year. It’s kind of doubtful she’s considering a run in 2020 or 2024. Although, she’d be great to get on SCOTUS.

      1. ScottW

        It would be nice to hear Bernie say Sen. Warren is the kind of person he would want as his Sec. of Treasury and rhetorically ask Hillary if she feels the same way. She would undoubtedly dodge the question, but it highlights how money influences much more than just legislation. It’s called the Cabinet and all of the other Presidential appointees who can either be business revolving door government employees (thank you Obama), or independent government employees not looking to cash in on public employment. I think there are still a few of those around, but maybe not many.

  10. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    “The low-income parents were quite attuned to this possibility of waste because their budgets were often so tight that they couldn’t take an economic hit in the form of food their children wouldn’t eat.”

    I thought the “parent” was the one in the relationship who made the decisions for the “child.” It doesn’t sound like the people putting the food on the table are the parents in the equation of the other side gets to decide what it does – and doesn’t – eat.

    1. cwaltz

      You sound incredibly cavalier. Unlike rich folk, those at the lower end of the economic ladder, can’t afford Disney or vacations. There isn’t a ton of money to give your kid “experiences.” Quite often, the way you show you care is by trying to get some measure of enjoyment when you are together. It should come as no surprise that an adult would want to prepare food their kid wants to eat barring the fact that there aren’t a ton of other options for them to get the shared enjoyment.

      Yes, it probably is counter productive to give your kids the mac and cheese they want that offers low nutrition instead of the broccoli, however after spending your day away from your loved one, do you really want to spend all your time arguing about eating something they don’t want and do you really want to waste money when you know they won’t eat it?

      Oh and for the record, even upper income folks struggle with getting their kids to eat nutrient dense food. That’s why there are several cookbooks dedicated to hiding veggies in food. It’s also been going on for ages. I have incredibly real memories of dumping my peas in a napkin and then tossing it behind the refrigerator to get out of eating food I didn’t like. I guess that makes my mom and dad non parents(since this child managed to manipulate the situation to my advantage.)

      1. Gaianne

        It probably doesn’t help to try to tell others what to do.

        Nonetheless it might bear noticing that the notion that children inherently like non-nutritious food is doubtful. I think it is false. Mostly, I suspect children learn to crave crap from watching TV–and other media–that works diligently to sell it to them.

        During my own childhood, which is now quite a while ago, I got to witness my younger brother fall for the food media completely, and more than once. Not to say I was immune, only that is easy to see in someone else.

        We live in a toxic environment. Everyday life and everyday expectations continually assault health and well-being. Poor people have plenty of other problems as well, so it is certainly wrong to blame them for neglecting good food choices. But it is also wrong to excuse them–food is certainly part of life strategy every bit as much as finding a way to pay taxes and rent. No matter how good or bad your situation, you have to figure out what it is possible for you to do, and then do that.

        Toxic food is just that: Toxic. What part does dealing with it fit into your own strategies?


        1. cwaltz

          My TV was very limited. We watched Wild Kingdom and Wonderful World of Disney on Fridays. Occasionally on a Saturday we’d watch the creepy show that said “Thriller” with the hand coming out of the ground or I’d go into my paternal grandmas room to watch Days of our lives where she’s give us candy(square lollipops that tasted like Jolly Rancher or coffee Nips).

          I still recall though being excited by the idea of the ice cream man or sitting in the kitchen hoping to lick the bowl when my mom would make a box cake. My personal feelings is we are wired to enjoy sugar and salt and over time we get used to it in and on our foods.

          You can overcome conditioning though. I have kidney issues and as a result have been watching my sodium for years. It’s actually kind of interesting to me because when I go certain places eating foods feels like I am eating salt lick. Why? Since I consciously try to limit my salt I’m no longer used to eating so much of it. (This is in my opinion the biggest argument that parents should at least try to push the boundaries with things like salt, fat and sugar when cooking. You get used to levels.)

          That being said, I sometimes get frustrated with being told about making good choices. I don’t smoke. Never did drugs. I maybe have two drinks a month(and that’s on a month where I feel up to a date night(which quite frankly isn’t often anymore.) I’ve limited my salt since I’ve been around 30 for the sake of my kidneys. I drink my eight glasses of water. I don’t drive which means I walk a lot. Despite all these really good choices I’ve made for myself my health is not great. Heck, it’s worse than many who choose smoking, drinking, or a myriad of other bad choices. I am type A so I’m sure some of this can be contributed to stress and a life that quite frankly would have taxed many(and I’m sure that my good choices may have indeed helped my body a little when it’s had to struggle with issues like a perpetually inflamed right kidney that seems to have a blockage but does still have some function or my zen rock garden on both sides or the fibroids that I have that I could maybe shrink with hormones- but wait I have high blood pressure and migraines, so yeah maybe not.)My personal feelings at this point are that lifestyle choices may indeed be a contributing factor to disease but genetics play far more of a part in things than the medical community wants to admit. The good thing about choices is they make us feel empowered and in control. The bad thing is that even if you make them well the universe tends to make it abundantly clear that the control you think you have is all an illusion. *trying to be grateful for what I have and what I’ve had instead of indulging in self pity for things I didn’t get or that I no longer have*

          1. Gaianne

            In the wild humans never encounter salt or sugar, so we never learned how to be satiated. Civilized humans have learned how to extract and refine salt and sugar, so now we are obligated to learn to compensate for the absence of satiation.

            We live in a civilization and a culture that deliberately exploits this vulnerability to do us harm. That the foremost goal is to make money does not mitigate the harm at all: The harm is still there and it is real.

            So how do you defend against that? There are individual strategies and there are collective strategies. Collective strategies are better–when they exist, but they usually don’t. Of course the effectiveness of collective strategies is why our civilization hates them, and tries to eliminate them.

            But no matter what, there is always something you can do–individual or collective. The main question is:

            Do you care? Is it worth it?

            But there is no single answer to that.


            1. cwaltz

              I’d like to think that during this lifetime I’ve always taken the path of caring. As far as living healthy goes though I really haven’t seen the “worth” of it(the thought process being if you make healthy choices that you’ll have a healthy outcome appears to be a crock from where I’m sitting.)

              As you and I largely agree though this is going to be shaped by personal experience.

              I also think that this is a matter of parenting style as well. Some people may be comfortable using force to get their kids to comply with all things(You’re the parent- make them eat it- my parents style, by the way. There were days I literally fell asleep at the table. I was that stubborn- Who am I kidding? -still am). Myself? I tended to try and lead by example, which doesn’t always have a 100% effectiveness rating either. I do know this, after working a 10 to 12 hour day I was already tired when I came home from work(when I worked. I did stay home with them a number of years too.) I already had other things I needed to do. I had missed my family. The last thing I wanted on my to do list was -fight with kids about eating the food on their plates. Mainly what I wanted when I got off work was get what I needed to done and then enjoy my family(I often incorporated the 2 by having the kids help me in the kitchen.)

              1. Gaianne

                The main practical thing to do is to make sure that real food is available, while you get the junk food out of the house.

                (This is an approach recovering addicts use: Get the drugs out of the house!)

                The second thing is more arduous: Set a good example: Your expectations for others should not be greater than those for yourself.

                Third thing: Do what you are able and ready to do, and then stop. Don’t even think about it. Guilt has no point and no use whatever.


            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              “In the wild humans never encounter salt or sugar, so we never learned how to be satiated.”

              And never encountered capital, either. (Arrighi speaks of “endless accumulation.”)

      2. ChrisPacific

        Well put. I’m going to guess the original commenter is not a parent. General advice from most parenting books is to offer a range of healthy foods and then let the child decide what to eat.

        Trying new foods can be a genuinely frightening experience for small children. I have vivid memories of food that I disliked so much that even the thought of eating it could bring me to the edge of vomiting. Trying to force a small child to eat something they strongly dislike is likely to (a) fail, (b) distress the child greatly, and (c) possibly lead to eating disorders later in life if you persist.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s not what the author said. If the kid won’t eat the broccoli, then the money to buy it goes to waste, and the family’s so on the margin, that money is a substantial hit.

    2. Timmy

      The prevalence of eating disorders tell us that food is deeply laden with control issues and simply demanding compliance as an adult is often insufficient relative every human’s ability and willingness to control what goes into their mouth or body. As a parent, I’ve seen the possibility of going to war over food issues. Not only is food and money continually wasted, relationships can suffer lasting damage.

      1. Stephanie

        Not only is food and money continually wasted, relationships can suffer lasting damage.

        This. What to make for dinner was the source of most of the major fighting in our household when my step-sons were young. There were tears when I added parsley to lasagna, shouting when I added garlic to a stir-fry, recriminations when I bought bananas instead of candy-bars. Finding compromise foods (because of course not everyone was picky in the same way) was exhausting. There was collective resentment over the memory of some meals for years.

        That said, a few years ago my oldest step-son called from college and demanded why we had never fed him Indian food – it was amazing! I asked him if he could honestly say that his reaction an Indian restaurant as a kid would not have been a very public tantrum. He told me I had a point … but it was still pretty amazing!

  11. hemeantwell

    Re Clinton,

    But it she lying, or is she bullshitting?

    The definition of bullshit, that it expresses the speaker’s indifference to the truth, is on the right track, but it misses what Adorno and Horkheimer picked up about fascist ideology, which I think is appropriate to consider. To them, to question the truth content of fascist ideology was to immediately encounter a threat, “so you’re interested in the truth? Well, you’ll soon see where that gets you.” To call Clinton a bullshitter misses the way that her speaking invokes a power relation, and that if you try to effectively challenge her, you will suffer the consequences. Not with a bullet in the head, but all the other sanctions available. To cast this as bullshit makes it sound like you’ve run into someone making up shit at a bar, not someone who wants to run the most powerful government in the world and will crush opposition to their plans. No, I’m not calling her a fascist, but only because she and I both realize she doesn’t need to resort to fascist politics to gain power.

  12. allan

    On New York’s Gifted Tests, Children in Wealthy Districts Again Do Well

    The number of students who scored high enough to qualify for New York City’s gifted and talented programs rose this year, the Education Department said on Thursday. But the neighborhoods in which those children live continued along a familiar pattern: In wealthy districts, more children take the tests, and score well on them, than in districts where families are poor.

    Surely there’s a way to monetize this.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some of this is tautological.

      If a society values people who can’t jump, and punishes those who can jump really high, then the rich neighborhoods will be full of people who can’t jump and the poor areas with people who can really jump.

      Now, the genius scientists come along and test children to see how likely they will succeed in a society organized to value people who can’t jump, I think you will find the rich families’ kids are likely to success, like their parents, in that society. They will…test well.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “Congratulations!!! You kid can’t jump at all. I see a great future. We will put him/her in our super elite school for the gifted. He/she will get even better by competing with other non-jumping kids.”

    2. aab

      Part of what’s frustrating about this is that the wealthy reading that will think,”See? We are rich because we are smart.” It reinforces the false myth of meritocracy.

      I have one of those super-high IQs, as does my kid, so I’ve been in a lot of situations where people make all sorts of assumptions based on their or their offspring’s IQ score while demonstrating a stunning inability to reason, understand evidence-based argument or even valid basic math usage. Even when they experience the brutal reality of how ability without class advantage usually gets you nothing, they continue to assert their belief system while evading any explanation for why their own experience invalidates it. I mean, they usually don’t have the wit to use the “anecdote not data” rationale, which actually would be valid.

      Some of the most intellectually vacuous people I have ever met had very, very high test scores. (I have third party evidence in some cases.)

      I co-sign the jump high=punished, no jump=rewarded analogy as being dead on.

      1. inode_buddha

        I’m just signing in to let you know, that you are not the only one in your situation ;) I often go through the same frustrations. Unfortunately.

  13. Bas

    We, in the 50s and 60s, had to eat what was put in front of us. I know I suffered from this. Velveeta did not actually make me healthy in the long run–I am still recovering. Cheap food is crap, and has become crappified more and more. But kids have not discovered the difference yet, perhaps. It’s a conundrum.

  14. ScottW

    Citizens United is a bad decision because it permits the proliferation of corrupting money in politics by special interests.

    Hillary personally taking hundreds of millions from those same special interests through the Foundation, speaking fees and other perks is not corrupting.

    Please explain.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The smart people know to exploits the rules and make millions and millions legally.

      The not-so-smart ones will get sentenced to Devil’s Island for stealing a loaf of bread.

      The smart people did well (and passionately) as Mao’s Red Guard, as they are today doing God’s work under capitalism, or as Red Pioneers under the old USSR as they are today toiling as billionaires.

      “Everything is legal. We just know to take advantage of the rules better. We (and our people) have better education, to know stealing a loaf of bread is illegal.”

      1. rich

        “Law reflects but in no sense determines the moral worth of a society.

        The values of a reasonably just society will reflect themselves in a reasonably just law. The better the society, the less law there will be. In Heaven there will be no law, and the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

        The values of an unjust society will reflect themselves in an unjust law. The worse the society, the more law there will be.” Grant Gilmore, Ages of American Law

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am reminded that in many ‘primitive’ societies that share, there is no law on theft.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            “You stole my made-in-America shoes.”

            “No, we share.”

            “Can I steal that idea?”

            “No, that’s my idea.”

            “But we don’t share?”

            “No, that is my genius idea.”

            “But, but ideas don’t belong to anyone. An idea exists before any man thinks of it. There is a realm of ideas – that’s where they live. That’s my idea of the nature of ideas.”

            “Your idea?”

  15. egg

    Lambert, your commentary on whores and corruption is brilliant, clear, and precise. And the analogy with the household fallacy is great. I knew something felt off to me with that slur but (aside from the obviously egregious insult to hard working prostitutes) couldn’t put my finger on it. Thanks!

  16. Alex morfesis

    I hope new york democrats realize they hold the future of the planet earth in their hands…the world may long remember the choices they make…and the young men who will die in foreign lands for the hubris of hillary…a vote for hillary is a vote for war…every tin pot dictator will test the disconnection of a republican congress vs hillary…she has to know…has to have been briefed and does not care…think new york…the future is in your hands….

  17. rich

    “Let Them Sell Their Summer Homes” – NYC’s Largest Public Pension to Ditch Hedge Funds

    The good news is some of these public pensions have finally discovered their status as glorified fee-generating milk cows. Reuters reports:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City’s largest public pension is exiting all hedge fund investments in the latest sign that the $4 trillion public pension sector is losing patience with these often secretive portfolios at a time of poor performance and high fees.

    The move by the fund, which had $51.2 billion in assets as of Jan. 31, follows a similar actions by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), the nation’s largest public pension fund, and public pensions in Illinois.

    “Hedges have underperformed, costing us millions,” New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James told board members in prepared remarks. “Let them sell their summer homes and jets, and return those fees to their investors.”


    Took long enough….must be nothing left?

  18. TedWa

    I REALLY would love to see Hillary have to wear logos of her corporate sponsors !
    I’d bet you couldn’t even see the pants suit if she did.

    1. rich

      I REALLY would love to see sHillary release the transcripts:

      Hillary Clinton has been looking into releasing her transcripts for paid speeches to Wall St. and other special interests for

      69 days 22 hours 33 minutes 20 seconds

      They must really be hard to find……………….

  19. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    I am incredibly cavalier.* I spend a fair amount of time every day dealing with the results of “parents” who are clearly not the persons in charge of their households. It also comes as a shock to their children when they get dumped out of the juvenile system and into the real world. As one writer (Terry Pratchett, I believe) put it – it’s kind of like childbirth, but with the disadvantage that your mother isn’t there.

    I’m also with Gaianne in no small part – some of that stuff is nasty. But if the “parents” don’t teach, and don’t lead by example, and let the children make bad decisions because it’s easier than – qua Timmy, “going to war,” – then you get to see the whole pathology we have today.

    *I’m also a throwback to the “you don’t leave the table until you finish your dinner” era. And if it wasn’t finished, guess what was on the table the next morning for breakfast, thus neatly solving the alleged “food wastage” excuse/red herring. Ask any person who’s been in a survival situation – you will eat ANYTHING after a day or two without.

    1. dots

      “Ask any person who’s been in a survival situation – you will eat ANYTHING after a day or two without.”


      That’s the 3-day rule. What’s the difference between what you like and what you’ll eat? Three days without food.

  20. JIm

    Dear Senator Warren:

    The type of politics necessary to resolves our political/financial/economic/cultural crisis are about to go far beyond what you are presently advocating as policy solutions:

    “stand up to revolving door culture”
    “reset the millions spent on Wall Street lobbying and campaign contributions”
    “and demand real changes for the banks”

    My guess is that such policy prescriptions presently looked upon as being ahead of the curve are increasing behind the curve–especially on an emotional level.

    No more political pleading–it is time to develop strategic visions for taking and governing without the affluent upper-middle class being presented to us as our saviors–in an attempt to manage our outrage.

  21. dots

    “Waking Up from autism”

    I usually avoid reading anything about curing autism. As with ADD/ADHD, there’s been a huge amount of damage done to people with medications and experimental therapies such as ECT. More often than not, these treatments are aimed at making people who are different fit in to an increasingly conforming society. It was interesting to read about how this “treatment” elicited a synesthesia in the narrator. Synesthesia (like Savantism) sometimes accompanies autism, but it’s misleading to think that any random person on the spectrum will experience either condition. The saying is, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Autism is a different way of experiencing reality and I’m not sure that “Waking Up” from it is a helpful message.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I did and didn’t read the piece in the same way. I was amazed by the experience of the narrator, and especially that he thought “Won’t it be great when I can finally experience people’s feelings?” and then it turns out a lot of that involves pain. (I think I remember a science fiction story based on that premise, years and years ago.) I didn’t put the article in the “cure” frame at all.

      But this passage really struck me:

      [I]t’s important to understand that I always had the ability to feel your pain. Like, if you were my girlfriend and you got sick I’d be more worried about you than your own mother. I was always that way. But no matter how much I cared about you, if we were crossing the street, you fell down and skinned your knee, I would see your skinned knee and I would say “Come on, we gotta get going,” or I would say, “Here, I’ll get you a Band-Aid.” I would have a practical response. The way I responded is no reflection on how much I cared for you. I could care for you with all the love in the world and still I’d respond practically.

      So, speculating very freely: What if “autism” is a random genetic variation, a la evolutionary theory post-Darwin? And then what if, in conditions like The Jackpot, “autism” actually turned out to be adaptive? Because in many scenarios, there are many skinned knees to come, and many pragmatic responses needed.

      1. dots

        I’m quite convinced about a genetic component to autism. One entire side of my family is neurodiverse with a cluster of traits that are most pronounced in the males, but are still fairly strongly expressed in the females. We seem to understand each other and the world around us in ways no-one neurotypical does.

        I often wonder if neurotypicals ‘can’ understand this way and just choose not too because….

        1) It’s too much work and most NT’s won’t do thinking that requires sustained repetitive efforts unless there is enough of a perceived payoff.

        2) NT’s become frightened when they encounter too many experiences that are stripped of filters. People tend to really, really, really depend on a host of cognitive biases to maintain their subjective realities. For example, the average person would go to extreme lengths to avoid feeling sensory overload (sensory overall is entire topic on its own though.) Not saying that ASD people don’t have biases, just that it all works differently –which sounds like what the narrator was experimenting with.

        3) NT’s are simply unaware that there are other ways of experiencing things that don’t equal psychosis or cognitive devolution. Even the language used to convey the idea of ‘other ways of experiencing things’ doesn’t convey what it’s like to actually experience things in ‘other ways.’ Language is often missing, hampered, or otherwise altered with ASD and different forms thinking are utilized.

        The latter seems to be the most commonly addressed line of reasoning. I’ve seen a host of videos created by ASD people trying to educate others on ‘what it’s like to be autistic’ and of course, April is National Autistic Awareness/Acceptance month. Some of the stereotypes like synesthesia and Savantism may have a certain cache, but the truth remains that 75% of autistic adults remain unemployed or underemployed throughout their lives and approximately 80% live with parents or other families members. With long-term dependency comes a greatly reduced quality of life and significant strain on families.

        Ironically, I’m also convinced that ASD people have something absolutely vital and necessary to contribute to the world. I’m not the only person thinking along this line either. Temple Grandin believes that autistic kids are uniquely adapted to help us solve energy and other systems-dependent problems n the future. If you haven’t listened to or read anything by her, I highly recommend doing so. She’s a great advocate and role model.

        1. Bas

          As a neuro-atypical, I have always had people appreciate my ability to perform and organize and complete tasks, but at the same time be annoyed at me. It was completely mystifying to me until I recently saw the host of autism sites run by autistics, and realized that is who I am. They remark on the same friction I feel. The focus is completely different, not at all on the schmoozing aspects of neurotypicals when working with others, and you put it so beautifully as getting on with life after a skinned knee (not serious, easily dealt with). Thanks for your lovely comment. It started out my day with a smile.

  22. ewmayer

    Re. corporate whores – like the often-thought-to-be-guy-specific pejorative ‘asshole’ (about whose gender-specificity Matt Taibbi had a fun column/reader-poll a few years back) I don’t see ‘whore’ as being a gender-specific slur in such a context anymore, unless of course you are a politically opportunistic corporate whore who happens to be of the female persuasion, and are looking to keep your attackers on the defensive. I have on several occasions this year described Hillary in the following terms, which include a lead-in making it specific that I am not being gender-specific:

    Like her husband, Hillary is a warmongering, elitist whore of Wall Street

    In fact, my Mac dictionary app cites a specific example of whoring in the nonsexual doing-it-for-money sense which features – ta-da! – a man:

    debase oneself by doing something for unworthy motives, typically to make money : he had never whored after money.

    Thus, the notion of gender-specificity in such a context is bullshit. (Or is it a lie?) Discuss!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I vote for bullshit. In a way, it’s like 2008 all over again. The Obots trivialized America’s terrible racial history by making “You’re a racist!” their second move in any discussion. And now the Hilbots are doing the same thing with sexism. It’s like watching locusts eat up a field. I wonder what identity they’ll chew up in 2024?

  23. abynormal

    MarketWatch: A popular tool families use to help boost retirement income known as “file and suspend” will be taken away after April 29th of this year, courtesy of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

    File and suspend is essentially a way for one person who is eligible to file for his/her retirement benefits to file, but delay getting them until age 70 (in return for an 8% per annum credit). Once the benefits are filed for, however, that person’s spouse can file for spousal benefits and begin to receive those right away, thus increasing income to the couple.

    One final element of this strategy is that if the higher income earner dies, the spouse can now receive the full benefit including that 8% per year credit amount earned by delaying, which significantly increases the income of the surviving partner.

    incoming…: Interest payments are also poised to rise, both because of an expected rise in interest rates from the recent historic lows and because of a rising government debt, which the CBO said would hit 100 percent of GDP in 25 years. The interest payments alone are expected to hit $227 billion this year, more than double to $480 billion by 2019 and more than triple to $722 billion by 2024. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/01/26/cbo-interest-on-federal-debt-will-triple-over-coming-decade/

  24. Cry Shop

    “Progressives should not buy into a false and counter-productive narrative that sets the interests of the global poor against the interests of rich countries’ lower and middle classes. ” ….extract from the working people of this country, and give it back.

    If we don’t think about it, then the Jay Goulds of this world win every time.

    The primary reason the American and later the European middle class did so well during and after WWII and up through the 1990’s is that they served both as a gathering function for the wealth ripped from the wider world, a world where any government or party that stood in the way of either European or American interests was brutally put down, as well as a bulkwark against the communist/socialist agenda. The Union’ leaders and intellectuals had many chances to get out and organize the workers of the world, but they got comfortable in the extractionist system, never imagining that one day their role in the empire could be replaced.

    The Lesson of Carrier: America Needs a Real Socialist Agenda: Econospeak

    Besides being prescient on all the problems of capitalism Karl Marx was right on at least one part of the solution. What the world really needs is an international workers community. Trying to address these issues at the national level without an effective tool to counter act Capitalism ability to go international is doomed to fail. Seeing this as us against the Mexican workers, rather than all of us against the capitalist is just playing the game they want us to play.

    “I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.” Substitute “nation” for “working class” and Jay Gould could be Obama, Congress & the Supreme Court’s paymaster.

    How will we live in this new world? Not where borders no longer exist,
    but where they have become, ever increasingly, the impediment to
    safety of our health and wealth? This is going to be one of our real
    challenges in the future!

  25. Kukulkan

    “American Narratives: The Rescue Game” [The Archdruid Report]. Fun approach using transactional analysis, although I can’t “The Rescue Game” in Eric Berne’s admirably trenchant Games People Play, although the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescue occur in many games,

    It’s a version of the Drama Triangle developed by Stephen Karpman, a student of Eric Berne’s.

    I don’t know if anyone’s ever done a study of it, but effective elites are adapt at taking on each of the roles as required to manipulate the public and get things done. Thus, sometimes they’re Victims who need to be rescued by their supporters — Donald Trump and hostile interviewers and the Republican establishment; Hilary Clinton and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and the Patriarchy with its glass ceiling; Bernie Sanders and the the Mainstream Media. Sometimes they’re Persecutors who will punish those who deserve it — Trump and illegal immigrants; Clinton and young black “superpreditors”; Sanders and the too-big-to-fail banks and financiers. And sometimes they’re the Rescuers coming to save us — Trump and outsourced jobs and poorly negotiated trade arrangements; Clinton and the Greater Evil of Republicanism; Sanders and International Trade Deals and the consequences of neoliberal economics.

    This works because the Drama Triangle creates a straightforward narrative that people can easily understand and get involved in. The trick is to cast a real problem in terms of the Triangle in such a way that the public accepts the role they’re offered in the narrative, whether as Victims, Persecutors of Rescuers.

    I think it’s a sign of growing dysfunction when an elite starts adopting roles that are not acceptable to their supporters and, worse, offer those supporters a role that they reject. In this sense, the Clinton’s campaign casting of young women as Rescuers who need to vote for her and Black Lives Matter as Rescuers trying to protect “superpreditors” seem to be such missteps to me. Similarly, the Republican establishment’s attempts to cast their supporters as Victims who need to be saved from Donald Trump.

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