2:00PM Water Cooler 4/20/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The European Commission says that its new investment proposal –the Investment Court System – will protect governments’ abilities to regulate on crucial matters such as public health and environmental protection” [The Transnational Institute]. “But analysis of five of the most controversial arbitration cases in recent years shows they could still be launched under the current proposal.” In other words, just a rebranding.

Presidential Candidate Questionaire [Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition]. Clinton’s answers; Sanders answers.

“The [US Free Trade Agreement with Panama] seems to have incentivized more tax haven activity in Panama, not less [Lori Wallach, HuffPo]. “The Obama administration sold the FTA with claims it would generate economic benefits and force Panama to end its tax haven activities. Instead, U.S.-Panama trade is flat. And Mossack Fonseca’s records shows if anything, the FTA’s investor protections and the U.S. stamp of approval made Panama a preferred venue to hide assets.”

“France threatens halt to TTIP talks barring progress in coming months” [Reuters].


Readers: No anatomical references, please; I don’t want to waste time ripping them out. And if you respond to comments containing them, your comment has to be ripped out too, since otherwise WordPress corrupts the comment nesting. Thank you.


“Fighting for Change in the U.S. Senate” [Elizabeth Warren, Harvard School of Public Heatlh]. Interesting speech.


“Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday said she agrees that there is an ‘obscene’ amount of money in politics” [The Hill]. “‘Absolutely,’ the Florida Democrat said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ in response to a question about whether she believes what Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said about there being too much money in politics.”

“Sanders’ big spending also means that he’s burned through a lot of his cash. So while the Vermont senator has brought in more money than Clinton recently, the Sanders campaign had just $17.2 million in cash on hand, compared to Clinton’s $30.8 million last month” [International Business Times].

The Voters

“Liberals might not need the South, but leftists do” [Jacobin]. “[R]egardless of who wins the Democratic Party nomination, leaving the South behind would doom millions of voters who refuse to go along with the region’s right-wing Republicans.”

“How American oligarchs created the concept of race to divide and conquer the poor” [WaPo].

Question: How did wealthy landowners thwart the efforts of enslaved Africans and European indentured servants to join forces in a common struggle for economic justice?

Answer: Divide and conquer through the invention of race. Make the white servants feel superior to black slaves by virtue of skin color; manipulate poor whites into believing that any perceived gains by blacks had come at their expense.

“But Sanders’ performance and prospects can’t be assessed by the metrics of traditional electoral politics, because he has always set the goals of his campaign on terms that defy the yardsticks of campaigning as we know it” [Guardian]. “In Sanders’ own telling, Obama’s biggest mistake was that ‘after his brilliant campaign in 2008, he basically said to the millions of people who supported him: ‘Thanks for getting me elected – I will take it from here.’ I will not make that mistake.”


“During Jack Lew’s confirmation hearing, Senator Chuck Grassley asked Lew why he took almost $1 million from an insolvent bank being propped up by the taxpayer. Lew answered: ‘I will leave it to others to judge.’ When Hillary Clinton was asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper why she took $675,000 for three speeches from Goldman Sachs, her response was: “Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered'” [Wall Street on Parade].

New York

“4) Polls In worrying ways, Mrs. Clinton is moving in the wrong direction. Mr. Sanders erased her national lead in a recent round of polls while her unfavorability ratings have climbed. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 56% of voters in both parties held a negative view of Mrs. Clinton, compared to 32% who viewed her positively. That 24-point gap has nearly doubled in the past month. By contrast, 45% saw Mr. Sanders in a positive light, versus 36% who viewed him negatively. And yet, Mrs. Clinton isn’t losing. She’s winning” [Wall Street Journal, “Five Reasons the New York Democratic Primary Felt Competitive”]. Trump’s unfavorables are huge, too. And he’s winning, too.

“Senior Clinton Aide Tells Reporter: Fuck Bernie” [Gawker]. Well, that unity schtick didn’t even last a news cycle, did it?

“5 takeaways from the New York primary” [Politico]. “Bernie and Hillary officially hate each other’s guts. ‘We kicked his ass tonight,” a senior Clinton aide told me Tuesday night. “I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, f— him.” As Clinton said: “This one was personal.”

“The Clinton campaign was, from its start, built for the general election. She and her team, though, have stepped carefully to keep from alienating primary rival Bernie Sanders and his supporters by appearing dismissive of his candidacy” [Bloomberg]. Oh, wait..

“‘From long lines and dramatic understaffing to longtime voters being forced to cast affidavit ballots and thousands of registered New Yorkers being dropped from the rolls, what’s happening today is a disgrace,’ [Sanders] said” [CNN]. Shouldn’t a competent party apparatus be able to hold an election without butchering it? “Speaking to CNN on Tuesday night, Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan pushed back against the growing criticism, saying, ‘We’re not finding that there were issues throughout the city that are any different than what we experience in other elections.'” I believe it.

“Presidential primary voters in the five boroughs ran an obstacle course of ineptitude to cast their ballots: Broken machines, shuttered precincts and purged voter rolls” [New York Daily News]. ” The most complaints came from Brooklyn, where entire sections of poll books listing the names of eligible voters were reported missing, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.” Sure is odd. One thing is clear: This disproportionately discourages new voters.

Clinton supporter reaction to online reports of voting problems was pretty scathing. One voter’s response:

“A Huffington Post impostor site falsely reported that New York primary voters witnessed their votes changing from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton” [Snopes].


“After his resounding victory in New York Tuesday night, Republican front-runner Donald Trump looks ahead to a series of primaries in the Northeast, including Pennsylvania, where he will deploy a new strategy that includes aggressively courting delegates, a tactic he had previously and vocally panned as unnecessary and part of a ‘rigged’ system” [NBC News].

The Trail

“After New York comes the question: What does Bernie want?” [WaPo]. He told you: Medicare for All, tuition-free college, $15-hour minimum wage.

“[A]ny young and ambitious Democrat looking at the demographics of the party and the demographics of Sanders supporters has to conclude that his brand of politics is extremely promising for the future. There are racial and demographic gaps between Clinton and Sanders supporters, but the overwhelming reality is that for all groups, the young people are feeling the Bern” [Matt Yglesias, Vox].

“[The Sanders letter to the DNC] is clearly about using the confusing and complicated infrastructure of party fundraising to imply corruption that isn’t there” [Amanda Marcotte, Salon]. Lost in all the verbiage is that the ClintonVictory fund collected IIRC $35 million, ostensible for the states, but only $2 million of it actually got to them. The rest went to ClintonLand. Clintonite defenses of the Victory fund oddly, or not, never actually follow the money trail, which was pieced together by Politico and WaPo. And since I just linked to Marcotte, I’ll just leave this here–

“And though any and all instances of sexist slurs deserve condemnation, Sanders’ keyboard warriors accounted for just 89 such tweets during the New Hampshire primary. That is a mere 0.17 percent of all the tweets mentioning @HillaryClinton that we examined” [WaPo]. Shorter: The #BernieBro smear is a crock or, more politely, a concoction.

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of April 15, 2016: “Purchase applications for home mortgages in the April 15 week fell 1.0 percent while refinancing applications rose 3.0 percent from the previous week” [Econoday]. “The very low mortgage rates that have been the driving force [***cough*** manipulation ***cough***] behind increased mortgage activity were a shade higher in the week.”

Existing Home Sales, March 2016: “Existing home sales rose more than expected in March, up 5.1 percent” [Econoday]. “Regional data are very positive with all four regions showing monthly gains led by the Northeast.” But: “Our analysis of the unadjusted data shows that home sales declined, and the rolling averages degraded. Sales price rate of growth was mixed” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “Truck shipments are reported down in March – with one index showing year-over-year growth whilst the other showing year-over-year contraction” [Econintersect]. However, Econintersect gives a number of reasons why this ATA index isn’t reliable, so FWIW.

Shipping: “The Panama Canal Authority has started taking reservations for transit through the canal’s new wider, deeper locks, which are slated to open June 27” [Wall Street Journal, “Panama Canal Authority Takes Reservations for Vessel Transit”].

Shipping: “The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) dipped two points today to reach 669, ending a rally seen every consecutive trading day since February 10” [Splash247].

Shipping: Visualisation of Global Cargo Ships [Shipmap.org].

The Fed: “The three academics, Cinzia Alcidi, Matthias Busse and Daniel Gros, argue in their recent paper that policy makers shouldn’t measure inflation with the commonly known consumer-price index (CPI). Instead they should use the GDP deflator, which ‘measures the difference between nominal and real GDP and, unlike the CPI, captures changes in prices related to production and income developments,’ according to the authors” [Wall Street Journal, “Central Bankers Urged to Use ‘GDP Deflator’ to Measure Price Pressure”].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75, Extreme Greed (previous close: 74, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 20 at 11:52am.


“A Small but Growing Diversion of Public Funds to Private Schools” [Oklahoma Watch].

” Here comes the charter school sneak attack: This is how a bipartisan education reform bill turns into a disaster for our kids” [Salon].


“Two state environmental officials and a Flint water administrator are accused of manipulating water testing results, tampering with evidence and misleading federal and county officials about the safety of Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water in criminal charges filed Wednesday” [Detroit News].


“[Eduardo Porter] makes a huge error in claiming that evolution by natural selection operates at too slow a pace to be perceptible by ordinary (non-scientist) humans. The evolution of bacteria and viruses is real-time and crucial. The evolution of crop pests in response to pesticides also occurs right in front of our eyes and is, or ought to be, a major public concern” [Econospeak].

“Ecuador disaster toll tops 500, big new quake shakes coast” [Reuters].

“Deadly animal prion disease appears in Europe” [Nature].

The Jackpot

“Germany has become a world leader in renewable power thanks in part to its Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which came into force in 2000. It established a feed-in tariff program that guarantees producers of carbon-free power an above-market rate of return for 20 years” [Grist] “EEG pays tariffs to solar PV, concentrated solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, and landfill or sewage gas. The tariffs vary according to capacity and level of technological development; they drop every few years based on the latest costs and level of penetration. German electrical ratepayers fund the program through a small fee that amounts to about 15 percent of their electrical bills.”

“If we’re going to start copying Denmark, let’s do it right. Let’s not just cherry pick the high taxes, paid parental leave, and free college. Let’s tax carbon, decentralize energy production, enforce efficiency goals, support the rapid build-out of renewables, improve the grid, interconnect new grids, and make the electricity sector more flexible and dynamic.” [Vox].

Guillotine Watch

“What’s Wrong with Voluntourism? Everything” [Vivala].

“These moms spend thousands on cosmetic surgery to get Coachella-ready” [New York Post]. “‘You can go like a peasant, too, but it’s going to s*ck,’ says [Sarah] Mirmelli, who splits her time between Miami and Midtown and works as an associate publisher for Haute Living (when she’s not prepping for ‘`Chella’). ‘The goal is looking blog-ready.'”

Class Warfare

“The fashion industry – particularly the fast fashion sector (the one responsible for recreating runway looks in a highly sped up manner and offering them for dirt cheap prices) – has wreaked havoc in the lives of garment workers, on the environment, and in the lives of consumers, as well” [The Fashion Law]. Good roundup “by the numbers.”

“Man charged with felony robbery after pouring $1.49 worth of McDonald’s soda into water cup” [Raw Story]. He didn’t steal enough.

News of the Wired

“The [polio] vaccine switch is part of the final strategy to put a noose around the few remaining cases, by improving the match between the viruses that remain in the wild and the vaccine that suppresses them. If it goes as planned, it will improve children’s immunity to wild-type polio while removing their vulnerability to a variant of the disease that can be accidentally caused by the vaccine itself” [National Geographic].

“What would motivate any young person today to pull the plug?” [Steven Fry].

Well maybe they should consider this for a moment. Who most wants you to stay on the grid? The advertisers. Your boss. Human Resources. The advertisers. Your parents (irony of ironies – once they distrusted it, now they need to tag you electronically, share your Facebook photos and message you to death). The advertisers. The government. Your local authority. Your school. Advertisers.

Well, if you’re young and have an ounce of pride, doesn’t that list say it all? So f*ck you, I’m Going Off The Grid.

* * *

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 (Kokuanan):


ZOMG. Spring tulips. I can’t even.

* * *

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. nippersmom

        That would be too conducive to someone actually holding her accountable for her responses. She can spin her carefully worded non-answers to mean whatever she needs them to, depending on her audience.

    1. Carla

      Clinton did not provide answers to the questions; she only commented on the questions.

      Bernie answered the questions, and THEN commented, which would be the correct way to answer a questionnaire. A problem– in one of his comments, in response to question 3 about the ISDS provisions of “free” trade agreements, Bernie concluded as follows:

      “As president, I will not approve any trade agreement that gives foreign corporations the right to undermine American democracy through the disastrous Investor State Dispute
      Settlement system.”

      So for American corporations to undermine American democracy is okay? Must be, because they do it every single day.

      1. nippersmom

        Sanders is pretty clearly and consistently on the record regarding his opposition to corporate undermining of the American system of government. It is the centerpiece of his campaign. He responded within the parameters of the questionnaire he was answering.

      2. John k

        The trade agreement only provides foreign companies such rights, if a local tobacco wants to get a new tax on tobacco products reversed, they must sue via a foreign subsidiary.
        So the only companies germane to the discussion are foreign ones.

  1. Eduardo Quince

    The most complaints came from Brooklyn, where entire sections of poll books listing the names of eligible voters were reported missing

    What a coincidence that Brooklyn is home to a disproportionate share if not outright majority of NYC’s BernieBros (not to mention BernieSistahs)

    1. direction

      from Francesca Rheannon on Facebook, April 19, 11:14 p.m. EDT
      Note: This was a public post to Facebook i found on reddit.

      MY EXPERIENCE AS A POLL WORKER THE EPIC FAIL OF A PRIMARY I just got off my 17 hour shift as an election official in East Hampton, NY. I am from this area and went canvassing for Bernie for 4 days here. While canvassing, I found overwhelming support for Bernie in my middle class area — nearly every house where I actually talked to voters (about 40% of the houses), almost all were for Bernie.
      But today at the polls, many of those had disappeared from the voter roll book. In my own ED district, which is the district I was working in, out of 166 Democratic voters, 39 were forced to file affidavit ballots. (ONLY 2 Republican voters had to file affidavits.) That’s close to 20%. Let that sink in for a moment.
      Many of these voters were long term registered Democrats — some were in couples where one person was on the rolls and the other was not. Most had not moved since the last election and had voted in the most recent elections.
      Hillary won by 11 votes in my ED — not counting affidavits. THE AFFIDAVITS MUST NOT ONLY BE COUNTED, THEY MUST BE ALLOWED.
      It was impossible for me, an election official, to get a straight story on whether the affidavits would be counted. The “coordinator” — the top person at the site — let slip that they count the affidavits “proportionately”. If she is correct, that means, I assume, they take a sample of the ballots to count. Not all. If that sample is based on the proportion of official ballots cast, then I imagine it would just reproduce the first results WITHOUT the affidavits. But it’s worse than that. If the voter has been purged from the Board of Elections rolls — like 125,000 Brooklyn voters were — then it seems the affidavits (because no one could tell me for certain WHAT would happen to the affidavits — are not counted. If you can’t prove you are a registered Democrat, then you won’t be counted, it seems. (If you received a voter card, you have some proof. But not everyone did or they may not be able to retrieve it.)
      The ruling that came down from the emergency voter protection suit was no remedy. It allowed for getting a court order to vote. The nearest judge is more than an hour from here. And I was strongly discouraged from even informing voters that a court order was an option (I had to fight to be able to tell people of their right to a court order.)
      Finally — this was NOT business as usual. This was my second election. The last one I worked at, exactly ONE voter needed an affidavit ballot in my ED. Every poll worker there, at all the ED tables (there were 4) was shocked at the number of voters who were not on the rolls. Many have been working for years — and had never seen anything remotely like this.
      The whole purging and affidavit process needs to be investigated on an emergency basis BEFORE the election results are decided. Bernie’s folks need to be on top of this. They need to fight for an honest election. They owe it to us who have worked so hard for them.

      1. Eduardo Quince


        Epic farce not epic fail. The outcome was an epic success for those who rigged it.

        1. Thoughtful person

          “Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything” Stalin.

          Been that way forever, but I prefer to pretend that it is not the case. Unfortunately when the fraud is so blatant as with Bush or now Clinton, it is hard to pretend anymore.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        In one of the live blogs I was reading on election day I saw a snippet from an upstate town with a university, hence Sanders voters, and one of the poll workers saying “They’re not even Democrats!” and grumbling about the affidavits; as well as complaints about lawyers getting in the way of things.

        I would have added it — It was in the Guardian or the Times, IIRC — but I couldn’t find it again. (One of those Internet things where “I’ll be able to find this again, so I don’t even need to stash the URL”…)

  2. Jen

    Re NY from Benchmark Politics. Note 2nd sentence.

    Clinton demolished Sanders in CD10, Clinton +33%. That’s incredible and was not expected. This was supposed to be one of Sanders few good districts in the New York City Area. This is basically western Manhattan and the whitest part of Brooklyn. As a result, this 6 delegate district will go 4-2 to Clinton.

    Congressional District: 10
    Counties/Cities of note: West Manhattan, South Brooklyn, Wall Street, Greenwich Village
    Number of Delegates worth: 6

    Expected combined spread: Sanders +10%
    Clinton Delegates from Spread: 3
    Sanders Delegates from Spread: 3

    link: http://www.benchmarkpolitics.com/

  3. Mav

    Good to see Matt Yglesias feels the demographics. Vox probably realised they cannot alienate 80% of their readership.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I can’t remember if it was during Jeopardy or the Celtics game, but I thought it was telling I saw a commercial for what was once being pushed as George Clooney’s anti-Wall Street movie with the director, Jodie Foster, describing the movie. I wonder if the studio noticed Clooney’s fundraiser wasn’t sitting well on the Internets which so often shape perceptions of movies. Instead of relying on A-list actors, they decided to hide behind a retired actress with one little seen movie under her directing belt.

      If Team Blue hasn’t noticed, I bet advertisers have.

    2. Nick

      I think one of the great things about this election season (imagine that, an upside to this sideshow), is that you get to see the true colors of the press and “journalists” and that way you know to be extra critical of their writing in the future, or, as I do, just ignore it.

      I don’t doubt that Matt Y is a very smart person, he just also happens to be a tone deaf and indoctrinated shill. As far as I’m concerned, he could do a complete 180 now and I still wouldn’t bother reading his stuff – there’s just way too many other good reads out there to waste my time on him (like the time I spent writing this post…I sure showed him!)

  4. Jim Haygood

    Uhhh … what day is it, man?

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Thousands of people will descend on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to smoke pot for the annual 4/20 celebration, in what may be the last year marijuana is illegal in California.

    In California, this year’s unofficial pot holiday could be the last that users have to call for legalization, with an initiative expected on the November ballot. The drug’s use for medical purposes got approved in 1996.

    Voters in Nevada, Arizona and Massachusetts also are expected to consider marijuana legalization measures. And the Vermont Legislature is discussing a proposal to legalize the possession of up to 1 ounce.


    Cali looks like a lock for passage, whereas the Arizona Republic published a poll yesterday showing 43% for, 49% against.

    Meanwhile, NY & NJ, both of which nominally have medical marijuana, continue sabotaging it every step of the way so it’s difficult, costly and nearly invisible.

    1. Pat

      The process in NY is byzantine, complicated and expensive. Had a friend who recently went through the whole thing, the first several week long process – finding a doctor. And that was just the start.

      I do not believe this is about the ‘drug war’, but about protecting Big Pharma. Just remember that Cuomo was a big factor in the complication of the process…

      1. Jim Haygood

        Someone I know in NJ who has multiple sclerosis paid $1,000 for a doctor’s scrip. Then it was off to a nondescript outlet in Montclair — apparently the only one serving the populous northern part of the state — to pay $500 an ounce, twice the commercial price.

        Nice guys …

    2. perpetualWAR

      After working in the 502 marijuana business for 4 months, not only have I gone clean and sober, but I quit. I couldn’t take it…..every day seeing hundreds of people buying pot. The one day that had me literally in tears was watching a new Mom plant her stroller containing a newborn and a toddler in front of the pot store. As the Mom went inside to buy her weed, the toddler desperate for her Mom to stay with them, grabbed at the door frantically and screamed “Momma, don’t leave us!” I took a picture to remind myself that checking out, whilst in the middle of having a new bundle of joy at home, is not what brings happiness to life.

      Happily NOT engaging in any “420” bullsh*t, thank you.

      1. Waldenpond

        That’s the problem with this faux legalization…. it’s a punitive system. That same mom can make craft beer at home, wine, cider etc…. or just go to any grocery store and pick up any of those items or a bottle of JD, but she is forced to leave her children outside to pick up weed. I happen to think that alcohol is much more unhealthy that pot so there is the social/health aspect also.

        1. cwaltz

          I think there’s room for BOTH of them to be unhealthy choices for the average person.

          I can understand someone with medical issues medicating themselves, however from a “recreational” standpoint it’s an extremely lazy way to entertain oneself.


        2. perpetualWAR

          It just saddened me that we, humans, in this increasingly stressful world need to “check out” when you have 2 little ones at home looking for a Mom who is THERE.

            1. cwaltz

              I think her point is that since she has two small children that she doesn’t belong “checking out” at all. They need a mom that engages them rather than a mom who is just smoking pot for recreation.

              I’m not sure why she couldn’t relax by reading a book with her kids or enjoying a day in the park. Heck, since she has the money for pot she could probably even take them to a swimming pool or to the movies. You know things that would ENHANCE their childhood rather than just be something to relax her(at the expense of them.)

    3. Waldenpond

      Counties and cities have already enacted legislation to restrict. The majority of local governments are only allowing limited large grows which favors wealthy corporate interests with a multitude of sales etc restrictions. There is interest in a couple of empty banks as they have huge safes for those that are required to lock up daily. To further perpetuate corporate control there are restrictions for the peasant class to limit plants(3-6) if on more than an acre. They do additional setback requirements etc. Our courts are still filled with pot cases and the process in complicated enough to make sure the little people remain targeted for fines.

      1. different clue

        The answer would be the straight-up delisting of cannabis from the C 1-4 System. It was listed for fake reasons to begin with, it can be decreed back off the list. Of course any President who so ordered would risk assassination by the multi-billion dollar community of interests who benefit from keeping it more-or-less illegal . . . or failing that, keeping it C-list controlled and monopolized by favored OverClass Insiders.

        Once cannabis is quasi-legalized for big-money monopolies and jump-through-our-hoops-good-doggie bureaucracies . . . the next step would be total delisting and total freedom for individual natural persons to grow for individual natural person use or barter outside the money system.

  5. Gee

    Bye bye Bernie. We hardly knew yee. (sad face)

    yada ydda…something about dying with a whimper, etc.

    Another election, another crushing defeat for hope.

    Canada here I come! (packs bags) Adios.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Let us know how that works oot for you.

      Last time I checked, Canada has a point-based immigration system that favors skilled younger workers.

      U.S. retirees hoping to get free medical care need not apply.

      1. local to oakland

        When I checked, my health condition disqualifies me from immigrating there. It is a rational choice for them to make, but disappointing anyway.

    2. different clue

      Time for Canada to build a beautiful Wall. Perhaps the Canadian government could hire TrumpCo Incorporated to build it.

      All the Bernie voters and supporters can very well form a bigger-than-Bernie movement to carry on the work on many levels after the Clinton nomination. It need not be the fizzle of vain hope. It could be the start of A Thousand Points of Hate, to paraphrase the deathless phrase of President George “Opium Poppy” Bush.

  6. Mav

    If I were to prepare a media shills for Hillary list, Amanda Marcotte would be on the top 10.

    Come to think of it, would it be useful to prepare such a list of media personalities to avoid? (Warning:It is a very very long list).

  7. Pat

    Regarding the failure of the Panama Trade agreement to meet even one of the benchmarks that the Obama administration said it would…Um have any of them. KORUS has increased our trade deficit and led to the loss of over 100,000 jobs the last time I looked. And remember how Columbia was going to clean up its act in regard to how it treated trade unionists…

    Seriously, one of the major ways you can tell that the media has an agenda is the fact that the Obama administration is not quoted with the notation “consistently wrong about the results of Trade Deals” or something similar.

  8. dcblogger

    Germany has become a world leader in renewable power thanks in part to its Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which came into force in 2000. It established a feed-in tariff program that guarantees producers of carbon-free power an above-market rate of return for 20 years
    all put in place by a Red/Green coalition that was voted in in 1998. You want policies like this, you have to vote green.

    1. no one

      Ontario has a similar law; in fact, it was copied from the German model. Not adopted by the Greens but by the Liberals (Ontario’s Clintonesque party).

      Unfortunately, provincial politicians have sized up their personal interests (corruption a la Teachout) and followed the path dictated by bankers and businessmen (who headed a government-appointed privatization commission). One assumes the revolving door will soon be apparent.

      Unsurprisingly, given this level of commitment at the highest level of the province, there is rampant abuse allowed in the program (the system is being gamed by landlords, for example, who use holding companies to break up their installations in order to earn the maximum rates, fiddle with start dates and engage in other corrupt practices). Hard to believe Germany would tolerate such rampant abuse.

      Now the province has sold off 60% of the publicly-built system to private investors, laughably arguing that the public’s 40% is a majority share that protects the public interest. Predictably, rates, that used to be among the lowest in North America, are skyrocketing and the aging nuclear plants are getting billions of taxpayer dollars to keep pumping tritium into the air and water supply. This is a province that could be electrified entirely by renewable power (largely hydro, wind and solar) and save millions of dollars simply by buying Quebec’s excess hydro.

      The premier has pursued this path despite upwards of 80% popular opposition (since almost all of us use electricity, its not a theoretical issue). Over the past couple of months, however, newspapers have exposed cosy fundraising parties sponsored by corporate masters for their wholly owned provincial ministers. The premier has been forced to end this type of graft for the time being. It is to be hoped that she will be pressured to do more.

      1. cnchal

        All of it to build three blocks of subway in Scarberia. Nothing about it was mentioned before the last election, so Ontario’s MSM is worse that useless, they are actually an enemy of the people.

        Kathleen Wynne. Wicked witch of Queen’s Park.

        What she did is burn the people’s furniture to cook her hot dog.

        1. cmap

          Every analysis done to date shows the province coming out in the red from the Hydro sellout.

          No infrastructure of any kind will be financed from it. Nada. Bupkis.

          It’s all just pure guilt-tripping “but please won’t someone think of the puppies” BS.

          1. cnchal

            Yeah. But it made Ontario’s finance parasites joyous. Power rates go up to satisfy investors demand for greater and greater profits.

            Corrupt to and at the core.

            Ever heard of the “Ring of Fire”? A new scam / sellout. From yesterday’s Globe and Mail, whose reporters are ball garglers of the first order.

            A team of Chinese engineers is endorsing a planned rail line to Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire and says the project could open the door to Chinese bids on other Canadian rail projects.

            If approved, the planned $2-billion rail line to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits would mark the first time that a Chinese rail company plays a major role in rail construction in Canada. China’s state-owned rail companies are aggressively eyeing international expansion, particularly in the area of high-speed commuter rail.

            In an interview with The Globe and Mail in Ottawa, senior engineer Zhu Lizheng spoke positively about the potential of building a north-south rail line about 340 kilometres long that would connect the Ring of Fire to an existing CN Rail line near Nakina, Ontario.

            “Now with this trip under our wing, understanding what the situation of the project is, our company thinks this project has very good potential. It’s a very good project,” Mr. Zhu, who is vice-president of China Railway First Design Survey Institute, a subsidiary of state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation, said.

            Mr. Zhu and eight other engineers were on Parliament Hill Tuesday, along with officials from Canadian mining firm KWG Resources, to talk to MPs about KWG’s proposal to build the rail line using engineering expertise and long-term financing from China.

            In addition to financing, the project would also require approval from Ottawa, Ontario and area First Nations.

            The engineers toured the Ring of Fire region by helicopter last week and concluded there are no major construction challenges.

            After destroying their own environment, the Chinese want to do it again in Canada.

            Every time I read the Globe & Mail finance section, it get’s sickening to read the fawning adulation of every finance parasite’s idea of generating money, for themselves of course.

            Moar dirty digging than you can throw a shovel at.

            Canada is engulfed in a hellfire of neoliberalism.

            To the effing politicians, just say HELL NO.

  9. RabidGandhi

    The jubilation is unrestrained in the Casa Rosada as Argentina returns sombrero in hand to the markets, paying a not-very-NIRP 7.14% for the privilege of once again issuing debt in a foreign currency.

    WSJ celebrates:

    Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s market-friendly president elected in November following many years of left-of-center rule, made settling with holdout bondholders a priority. He devalued the country’s currency and immediately moved to lower subsidies to help shore up the country’s reserves.

    Michael Hudson retorts:

    Every country needs to owe its debts in its own currency. This is a prime rule of international finance: Never owe debts in a hard currency when your revenue is in a soft one. Otherwise the debt burden will rise and rise, as Latin America’s dollar debt did as the continent devalued at IMF insistence in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. The wrongheaded IMF “absorption” theory was based on the principle that when you devalue, foreign-currency becomes more expensive.

    This is supposed to make imports less attractive. Unless the economy really needs them and doesn’t have much choice. It also is supposed to shift “resources” to the “export sector.” Except for countries that only have raw materials, not a domestic industrial and agricultural export sector. So the idea that devaluation helps is unrealistic for countries that do not employ enough labor to produce the full range of commodities being traded. The actual aim of this junk-economic theory is to keep countries producing raw materials and remaining dependent on foreign agricultural and industrial exports.

    When a country devalues, what increases is the foreign-currency debt overhead. Heavier debt service slows economic growth, by diverting spending away from domestic output. The more Latin America devalued, the worse its balance of payments position got.

    Meanwhile, speaking of “employing enough labour”, the Macri Administration has lost an average of 100 jobs per day thus far.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Michael Hudson is right that borrowing in one’s own currency cuts the risk of being strong-armed by rich-country creditors.

      But the problem with borrowing in Argentine pesos is a benchmark rate of 35 percent, which translates to a harsh real rate (after 25% inflation) of about 10 percent.


      Having fouled its own nest with years of chronic inflation, Argentina can borrow cheaper in foreign currency than in its own currency. (This is true for many middle-income countries with less-developed capital markets.)

      Currently, Argentina’s 48.4% debt-to-GDP is moderate. But Rienhart and Rogoff point out that for countries with a long rap sheet of defaults, 50% of GDP is the threshold of rising default risk.

      One would hope that Argentina’s borrowing binge stops right here, right now. But history offers no support for such an expectation.

        1. Jim Haygood

          This bond sale wasn’t to finance the operating budget. Its main purpose is to settle with holdout bondholders at a 40% discount. Since the defaulted debt is dollar and euro denominated, Argentina’s net external debt won’t change that much.

          Finance Minister Prat-Gay told Ambito Financiero that holdouts were demanding 11% yields if they were paid in bonds instead of cash.

          “We saved 4 percentage points, or about $3 billion, by issuing our own bonds,” he said.


          When Argentina sells local currency bonds, the amounts are typically in the US $1 billion range, and the terms are usually short (up to 5 years). The country’s thin bond market couldn’t possibly absorb a $16.5 billion sale, with much of it concentrated in 10 and 30 year maturities.

          But selling local currency bonds is of no use when billions of dollars and euros are needed for the settlement.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Again, total bollocks from the regime, which you are now repeating.

            Macri et co. inherited U$D 27b in reserves and the dubious liability of having to pay the vulture funds up to 12b (CFK’s last and greatest mistake was not to settle for a much lower amount than Macri’s team).

            But Macri not only had paying the vulture funds on his agenda, he also wanted to devalue the peso and kickback USD $8b to his landholder supporters in the form of lifting export agro withholdings. In other words, there was no reason whatsoever for Argentina to return to taking out debt, much less in dollars, except for the usual one: there are certain sectors that benefit every time the country mortgages its future (hint: FinMin Prat Gay before waltzing back through the revolving door was an exec at JP Morgan, plus the rest of the cabinet who are all ex-execs with corrupt corporate ties).

            But of course, once you create crises that did not exist then suddenly, heavens to betsy TINA!

  10. different clue

    The Axis of Clinton-MSM will now try to discourage and dispirit Sanders supporters from even coming out to vote in the remaining primaries. One hopes the Sanders supporters come out and vote anyway to provide a measure of Sanders support at the end of the process.

    Which are the very last two primary states? California and Indiana? If it becomes clearer than clear by California and/or Indiana that Sanders can not / will not get more voter-based delegates than Clinton will . . . then the thoughts and plans of Sanders supporters should leap ahead to pre-shaping the general election battlespace. And the way to do that would be to help nominate the Republican with the greatest chance of defeating Clinton in the general election. Why? Because a Clinton defeat could be used by a spiritually-violent hate-filled Sanders movement to carry the post election battle to the heart of the enemy . . . . the Axis of DLC/Third Way/ Clinton/Obama currently infecting the darkened heart of the Democratic Party.

    And the way to produce that outcome would be for Sanders supporters to invade the Republican Primaries of California and/or Indiana to vote for the most electable Republican. And who is the most electable Republican? I don’t know how others feel, but i would be least afraid of a Candidate Trump in the General Election. I could live with a President Trump. I could NOT live with a President Kasich or Rubio or Cruz. If it is Clinton vs. Kasich/Rubio/Cruz/Ryan/Bush . . . . then I vote Clinton. If it is Clinton vs. Trump, I will be free to at least compare Trump’s positions and thinking-brain dogs with Clinton’s positions and thinking-brain dogs and see which frightens me less. If Trump ends up frightening me less, then I would feel free to write in Sanders as the most insulting protest I could think of. Or even vote for Trump itself if the Trumpian evil seems lesser enough.

      1. cwaltz

        I’d laugh if it weren’t for the fact that there are people here actually advocating for the guy.

        Vote Hate instead of Corrupt

    1. jrs

      “And the way to produce that outcome would be for Sanders supporters to invade the Republican Primaries of California and/or Indiana to vote for the most electable Republican.”

      This simply can not be done in California. That’s not how voting works here period. The Republican presidential primary is NOT open to non-Republicans (independent voters) here. The Dems are allowing independents to vote in the Democratic primary though, so a vote for Sander’s can be cast by independents but you have to be a registered Republican to vote in the Republican primary (I’m not sure what date you have to have registered Republican by).

      1. different clue

        A beautiful idea . . . shot down by ugly fact. So it is up to the Independents to vote for Sanders, then.

    2. RabidGandhi

      If HRC survives the primaries and loses the general election it will be our fault for having been so truthful mean to her in the primaries. We will spend years hearing how each evil policy from whoever won the election was Nader’s Sanders’ fault, and we will be cowed into voting for whichever neoliberal Team Blue shoves down our throat in 2020.

      Heads you lose, tails the DNC wins.

      1. cwaltz

        That’s only if you choose to believe the DNC narrative. Personally, I think a lot more people are going to ignore it for the byzantine, oligarchic apparatus that it is after this cycle.

        Instead of DNC they should change their name to ONC, that way it can accurately reflect what it is.

        1. Vatch

          Instead of DNC they should change their name to ONC

          Ha! The words “Oligarch” and “Obama” begin with the same letter.

        2. Pat

          One of the things I’ve loved about this campaign is how many people I have seen calling bull shit on the whole Nader thing. Lots of spouting of facts and figures at people who have been going remember Nader!!!! You know the stuff like Gore lost his home state, that more democrats voted for Bush than voted for Nader, not to mention the whole butterfly ballot and voter roll purging problems. I was a Gore supporter, and I never bought that facile but massively wrong meme. And if your candidate is derailed because some of their flaws are pointed out in the primary process by the guy who doesn’t go for the jugular she really isn’t going to be a match for the guy who does.
          And for the record it doesn’t matter who the GOP nominates, none of them will punch their punches with her.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If people on the other side vote, rain or shine, and we only vote when we’re excited, one can see why the other side has an advantage.

            “It doesn’t have to be an adventure. Think of it as a boring job you must do.”

    3. Waldenpond

      The Sanders camp doesn’t need anyone to dispirite them. Phone banking has collapsed. Six of us went to a local college to register voters from 9:30 to 1:00…. 3 people, that’s it. People were already registered or adamant they weren’t voting.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Phonebanking was a losing proposition from the git-go. I know. I tried it.

        Reached quite a few people who said that they’d already gotten several calls from the Sanders campaign and could we PLEASE stop calling. Then there were the verbal abusers. And the hanger-uppers.

        Methinks that the campaign’s obsession with phonebanking is NOT working.

    4. EndOfTheWorld

      Count me in as one of the Bernie supporters who will now support Trump. Am I nuts? Probably, but I think it will look cool to have a Trump bumper sticker right underneath my Bernie one. And a “Hillary for Prison” if I can find one.

      1. Massinissa

        IMO, dont play the lesser evil game. Just vote Jill Stein like me. Trump isnt good enough to vote for. And Trump is going to beat Hillary anyway.

      2. Christopher D. Rogers

        As an avowed left-winger, a real European one not corrupted by greed, my own recommendations on this are similar to yours, namely, whilst morally if Sanders fails to get the Dem nomination we should switch to Jill Stein, logically a vote for Trump makes more sense based on the notion of denying the ‘Queen’ the Whitehouse, whilst discrediting the system to the extent that its collapse will be hastened, which is my take on Trump, whom is a known disruptor. It helps he has no blood on his hands.

        So, those who support Sanders need to think carefully, but as its the system that’s the real enemy the best way to change it if Sanders is not running for President is to vote Trump in the hope he’ll bring the whole house of cards down on himself and Washington.

        On a lighter note, and despite all the shit the Establishment heaped on Jeremy Corbyn of the UK’s Labour Party last year, at least we got him elected leader of the Opposition and he’s making slow, but effective progress.

    5. Massinissa

      Whoever Hillary Clinton runs against, im voting Jill Stein.

      I vote FOR candidates, not against them. And I dont play this lesser evil shtick.

      1. direction

        what if bernie loses the rigged democratic primary and then stein declares him as her runningmate…dreamy….

        1. cwaltz

          I expect that Bernie will probably honor his word and “endorse” Hillary. I don’t think endorsing her precludes helping the Green Party though.

          1. Thoughtful person

            One thing that appears hopeful to me is that Sanders is, overall, the top choice of the US electorate. Independent voters are over 40% of the electorate, and Sanders seems to be winning these voters. Sanders does better than Clinton vs any of the Repubs. Sanders has the best likeability ratings of all the candidates. It could be that the majority of the electorate is moving away from the establishments orbit. Unfortunately, not quite enough Dems so far, (though the voter purging and other shenanigans in NY are no different that FL ’00 or OH ’04). So maybe there are enough Dems moving left, they just are not beating counted. In any case bodes well for other means of change catching on than electoral politics.

  11. JohnnyGL

    New Prez of Argentina and the crew that surrounds him seem like a real classy bunch.



    I know the Kirchner’s weren’t the most competent, transparent, or squeaky clean, but Macri’s crew seem to be on a full-blown looting spree!

    Look at these quotes from the new debt sale:

    “Argentina is a grab-fest out there,” one New York-based investor told Thomson Reuters publication IFR earlier in the day.


    Was that a bit more revealing than was intended?

    1. RabidGandhi

      Also interesting is that it was Telesur that broke the story of how Marcos Peña and others in the Macri Administration made out like bandits from the devaluation. Two days after the story broke, the Argentine government announced that it was withdrawing from Telesur (a joint South American media projected founded by Hugo Chávez).

      In other (related) news, Reporters Without Borders today issued a report lamenting the media situation in Argentina since last year’s election. The previous administration had fought tooth and nail to pass a law to break up the country’s media monopoly (led by Grupo Clarín). Macri’s very first act as president was to issue two emergency orders neutralising the country’s media watchdog departments, effectively nullifying the law.

      The effect of all this is that when the Panama Papers and dollar futures scandals broke, the majority of Argentines had no access to the stories on TV or in most of the print media. Instead they were treated to a series of soap operas about Nestor Kirchner’s alleged ex-lover. Who needs debbie downers like Telesur or 678 when you live in the Republic of Happiness?

    2. Jim Haygood

      Telesur is sponsored by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Bolivia. It’s headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela.

      It’s the Fox News of the Latin left, as it were. Telesur reports, you decide! :-)

      1. Alejandro

        No panama? Reads like an endorsement…unwitting?

        “Fox news”…are you insinuating that rupert murdoch may be pulling the strings?

      2. RabidGandhi

        Comrade Haygood is right: Telesur is blatantly partisan toward the nominally-leftist latin american regimes in the way that the MSM in the US is blatantly partisan against them. That said, their coverage is a rare antidote in South America, where the media are overwhelmingly dominated by extreme rightwing media monopolies like O Globo and Clarín. The purpose of the media laws that were promulgated in countries like Brazil and Argentina was to bring sorely needed diversity by breaking up the monopolies: ensuring that there would be voices like Telesur and Clarín competing with each other, but in Brazil the project was strangled in the cradle, and in Argentina it became a dead letter upon the accession of Macri.

  12. Praedor

    The South is irrelevant. Hillary won the primaries there handily BUT not a single one of those states will vote for her in the general. Every single southern state she and her bots tout as big wins will be deeply red come the general election in November. Leftists in the south are just screwed. They live in DEEP RED territory and “paying attention” to them will not change the electoral math. They will vote left but their senators, congress crooks, and the Prez candidate their state picks will be GOP.

    1. RUKidding

      Yes x 1000.

      Sorry Team Blue voters in the south don’t count, but in terms of the POTUS election, they might as well not bother to vote (vote down ticket, though, by all means).

      1. Carla

        Vote 3rd party if you possibly can. It’s never too early to plan for a future without the Democrat and Republican parties!!!

    2. cmap

      “[R]egardless of who wins the Democratic Party nomination, leaving the South behind would doom millions of voters who refuse to go along with the region’s right-wing Republicans.”

      He never explains the nature of this “doom” in the article. Funny that.

      And by his logic the 80% of voters who don’t live in “swing states” are likewise “doomed”.

  13. Tertium Squid

    “Man charged with felony robbery after pouring $1.49 worth of McDonald’s soda into water cup”

    Iinnocent mistake, I think. Water is the only thing McDonalds provides that isn’t poison.

    1. JTMcPhee

      What was the felony charge? Attempted suicide? Oh, just “robbery.” What was his name again, Jean Valjean?

      Would love to see video of the “felony,” the detection by what, some hyper-corporate-loyal store manager, the takedown by the fuzz…

      1. cwaltz

        I’m pretty sure that the charge was robbery because the guy attempted to run over the manager with a car instead of staying at the scene to get charged with a misdemeanor for stealing $1.49 worth of soda.

        Personally, I think it was pretty crappy that they thought stealing was appropriate to begin with. It takes a special kind of entitled to drive through a drive thru where a manager gives you a cup at no charge filled with water and then you repay that by parking, dumping out the water, and then proceeding to steal soda. At least the other two he was with had the grace to be ashamed enough when confronted to return the cups.

        1. RUKidding

          Yikes. At first I thought this sounded petty on the part of the McD’s employee, but now I get it (clearly didn’t read the article). That’s ridiculous, and yes, the person deserves to be charged, esp as he tried to hit the staff w/his car.

          Albeit that said, if I had been the Mgr, I would have taken the car make/model and license plate and called the PD.

        2. Propertius

          Exactly. Assaulting the manager in the process of committing theft is what makes it “robbery” instead of simple “theft”. That’s why it was a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor. “Robbery” = “theft” + “assault”. Given that automobiles are often considered deadly weapons in this sort of situation, he’s lucky he wasn’t charged with “aggravated robbery” (robbery involving a deadly weapon is “aggravated robbery” in Arkansas):

          5-12-102. Robbery.

          (a) A person commits robbery if, with the purpose of committing a felony or misdemeanor theft or resisting apprehension immediately after committing a felony or misdemeanor theft, the person employs or threatens to immediately employ physical force upon another person.

          (b) Robbery is a Class B felony.

          A.C.A. § 5-12-102

          5-12-103. Aggravated robbery.

          (a) A person commits aggravated robbery if he or she commits robbery as defined in § 5-12-102, and the person:

          (1) Is armed with a deadly weapon;

          (2) Represents by word or conduct that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon; or

          (3) Inflicts or attempts to inflict death or serious physical injury upon another person.

          (b) Aggravated robbery is a Class Y felony.

          A.C.A. § 5-12-103

          One assumes there are security cameras at the McDonalds and there were doubtless witnesses in the store and the parking lot – I suspect there will be no problem whatsoever with proof. My bet is that it never goes to trial. They’ll probably plead it down to theft, anyway.

          1. cwaltz

            No doubt. The kid in question is young too (if ill mannered) he doesn’t really belong in jail(yet anyway.)
            It does bother me though because the manager even tried to give the shmucks a second chance by just confronting them and asking them to hand over the cups.

            The guy who stole and then tried to get away was the only one charged.

            I hope they give the guy community service and a pretty large fine to deter him from ever thinking he can pull that crap again.

    2. Optimader

      I would line to see a link that establishes $1.49 bei g withon the tbreshold of a felony theft charge
      Btw , is the cup labeled “for water only”
      Does the selfserve Beverage machine have operating i structions prominently displayed?

      1. cwaltz

        If you read the article it says the guy attempted to drive off, when the manager attempted to stop him from driving off he “hit” him with the car. I’m not sure how hard he was hit since the manager went around from behind the car and then attempted to obtain the keys and then got “hit” again. However, it is not cool to not take responsibility for your actions and try to flee the scene when you are confronted by someone for stealing…..whether that stealing be $1.49 or not.

        1. Gareth

          You have to be some kind of crazy to try to physically restrain someone who is inside a motor vehicle for stealing $1.49 worth of soda. There is such a thing as taking loyalty to the company too far. Get the freaking license plate number and call it in.

          1. optimader

            Thank-you for outlining it for me cwaltz, I might have read it otherwise.

            You have to be some kind of crazy
            Probably not operating with rocket scientists here. Felony stupidity maybe? I think so, both of them.
            On the flipside, . Someone intentionally hitting another person with a car sounds a lot like aggravated battery
            Not withstanding being petty theft, the guy is a jerk. After creating the situation, why not just drink the evidence and hand the manager the cup with a smile? Serial bad judgment.
            Good luck with proving robbery tho, too bad for the taxpayer.

          2. cwaltz

            I’m more inclined to believe young, not trained to deal with crooks, and worried about retaining their job.

            Then again, my local Mickey Ds has a bunch of managers in their early twenties.

            1. optimader

              Well, I had my last McD product in highschool ~1973 when I learned that Ray Kroc was Richard Nixon’s largest campaign contributor.
              That was an easy line in the sand to draw because I have always thought their burgers smell like soiled baby diapers.

              Full disclosure though, I do occasionally have drinks at the McDonald’s Lodge in more recent history. Its a fun place to bring out of town guests/put up customers, particularly Europeans when they find out they have a hotel reservation at McDonalds
              Prairie Style mash up with 1960’s James Bond Architecture


              1. cwaltz

                My 4th works there. He’s been there a little over 6 months. The pay, of course, sucks. However, he likes most of his co workers and managers and with their perpetual shortage of workers he gets well over the 40 hours he needs to be considered full time.

  14. Ranger Rick

    That voluntourism piece bothers me on a level I can’t really put a name to. Casting all volunteer excursions outside one’s country of origin as self-serving enterprises that only tangentially benefit someone in need is an appalling contempt for charity. Sure, it looks bad that the people involved leave and don’t instantly become committed activists to solve the problems they came to help with, but what of the charity itself?

    1. RUKidding

      It’s a bit of conundrum. I have volunteered in my home town (mostly food banks and such), but I am considering some volunteer opportunities overseas. I admit that I love to travel, so a biggish part of my motivation is selfish. And yet… If I’m willing to give my time – and often it costs the volunteer money, too – is that such a bad thing?

      I think I “get” the author’s (the woman who wrote the article) very mixed, and seemingly angry, emotions vis volunteers who came to Nicaragua. She apparently viewed them as selfish white people who used her (and other Nicaaguan citizens) to make themselves feel better about themselves. Yet the author admits that the aid provided was needed and helpful. I get it that the author is pointing out that she and her family were impoverished in part bc of policies and practices of the USA. So why aren’t more white USA citizens working to change things in the USA to assist in improving the lives – via various means – of citizens in other countries?

      Well there’s the rub. It’s a good point, but speaking only for myself, I feel that I have done quite a bit to change US policy, and I admit that it’s pretty much been a failure (mostly). I think that’s what the author might not realize: that US citizens do try to effect changes, but it doesn’t always work out. So, then: charity comes into play.

      Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, although clearly it upsets some who are at the receiving end of the charity.

      Speaking only for myself, I very leery of any charity that only dispenses aid or goods if the “receivers” attend church services or similar. I am not in favor of most or all missionary work, and I don’t support those efforts. I also have mixed emotions about groups that go to foreign countries, stick only within their group and do good works, like building things, but do NOT involve the locals in these projects. I prefer projects that include locals, who can be trained and taught skills and expertise… not just handed a finished product while the richer person goes away.

      Enough. It was an interesting article. One that caused me to think. I thought the author was rather bitter, but that’s her point of view. Good for her for speaking her mind.

    2. Carla

      Here’s my exposure to “Voluntourism.”

      A few years ago, I traveled to Cusco, Peru, where I stayed for 3 weeks, seeing the famous tourist sights, including Machu Picchu, and taking Spanish lessons a few hours a day at a (for-profit) language school run by Americans. I stayed in a so-called “Family House” owned and operated by the school.

      It was a great experience for me, and a very inexpensive way to visit that region of Peru. To my surprise, at 60, I was by far the oldest resident of the “Family House” (where I had a private room but baths were shared). Most of the others were aged 19 to 25 or 26. They were for the most part delightful young people who couldn’t believe that someone their grandmothers’ age was traveling in Latin America alone. And what were they doing there? Most of them were “voluntouring.”

      Their parents had paid about $1,700 per week, as I recall, for them to have this experience, which they considered a valuable addition to their resumes (or college or grad school applications). Some of them spoke Spanish well, and most of those spent their days working in medical clinics, sometimes translating for other American “voluntourists” with medical expertise but no Spanish. Those who did not speak Spanish took language instruction each morning, and helped to build playgrounds and projects like that in the afternoons (none had construction skills). There was time in the evenings to socialize (lots of bar-hopping) and on the weekends to visit Machu Picchu and other tourist draws.

      As I say, most of these were exceptionally nice young people; however, few had skills particularly suited to the real needs of the community.

      But the main thing is, this was very profitable for the language school owners, who charged the students approx. $1,700 a week for room, board, and up to 20 hrs/wk of language instruction.

      By not being a volunteer (actually, I had not even known of volunteer — er, voluntour — opportunities before arriving at the Family House), I paid $565 for THREE WEEKS of room, board (3 meals a day) and Spanish lessons 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.

      And I must admit, I had more $ leftover to freely spend into the tourist economy of the area than any of my housemates, whose parents’ dollars benefited mainly the American owners of the school and the Family House.

      1. RUKidding

        That’s interesting. Cusco’s such a great city.

        Well one has to do one’s homework and research. I have friends whose high school and university aged kids did similar kinds of volunteer work in a variety of countries. I couldn’t say whether it was a kinda-sorta rip off – as in what you experienced in Cusco, where an American family charged a highish fee for these kids to stay there – or whether it was a more reasonable experience, for example, the program was run by locals for the benefit of locals.

        I have also supported an orphanage/K-12 school & ashram in India. It incorporates locals and a few US citizens who run the place or teach or work there in a number of capacities, but there have been a lot of volunteer efforts over the years to build the place and provide support to the local community. At first the locals were very very leery of this effort (due to a huge amount of cultural stuff), but over the years, they have come to see it as a good thing, not a rip off, and a real benefit to their community at large. I think because most of those employed there are Indian nationals, it helps a lot. Both serves the community and provides locals with jobs.

        Something to consider. It’s tricky. It still sounds like the kids you encountered in Peru did some good for the local community, while also learning Spanish and having some exposure to a foreign culture + fun.

        1. Carla

          Just to clarify: the language school in Cusco was owned by Americans. They had 12-15 college kids paying $1,700 a week every week of the summer (Peru’s winter of course) in exchange for a “volunteer work” credential. I paid less than $200 per week to the same people for the same language instruction, room and board, minus the credential and “helping” locals.

          This was not an American family doing this; it’s more like a little industry. I guess we can be grateful that it’s “only” well-off American parents who are being ripped off, and not the locals. I’m not at all sure the latter are helped by the volunteer work being done; from the little I could see of the program, they were at least not being harmed. But basically, I regard this as a scam.

  15. voteforno6

    Linking to Amanda Marcotte? She’s nothing more than a hack, and not even a particularly competent one.

    1. EGrise

      True, but she’s such an obvious hack that whatever she says can be taken as being straight from Dem party Clinton campaign HQ.

  16. Kim Kaufman

    ““Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday said she agrees that there is an ‘obscene’ amount of money in politics” [The Hill]. “

    I’d like to see a Bernie ad with the above clip plus George Clooney clip saying we needed to get money out of politics right after his multi-million $$ Hillary fundraiser last weekend. Showing what they said and what they raised and from who v Bernie what he’s said and what he raised and from who. I’d like to see that right before the CA primary. I’d like to see Clooney tarnished a bit.

    1. afisher

      He has been pimping for HRC since last fall. He has lost members over that and called any Bernie supporters delusional. Keeping it classy, ugh. Perhaps he is looking to move to DC and be a lapdog.

  17. Synoia

    Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday said she agrees that there is an ‘obscene’ amount of money in politics, thanks be to God.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sanders outspent Hillary in a few states, I believe.

      It seems money hasn’t been a big problem.

      Running for the first time might have been a bigger problem. (Generally so, for a lot of us, in many endeavors.) He would have been better prepared, with more name recognition.

  18. Peter Pan

    Readers: No (unmentionables), please; I don’t want to waste time ripping them out.

    Oh, no! Did I miss the best ever (quoting Yves from today’s links) “clever original poems in the comments section” about President Erdogon?

    Or is Lambert a certifiable masochist for adding another moderation rule? Does he have urbandictionary.com on speed click?

  19. Anon

    Hopefully, this gains some traction at this late hour or if nothing else, becomes discussion fodder for tomorrow’s Links/Water Cooler. Here it is, a piece by David Brooks:

    The Dangers of A Single Story

    Which gives us gems like this one:

    American politics has always been prone to single storyism — candidates reducing complex issues to simple fables. This year the problem is acute because Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the giants of Single Storyism. They reduce pretty much all issues to the same single story: the alien invader story.

    Every problem can be solved by finding some corrupt or oppressive group to blame. If America is beset by wage stagnation it’s not because of intricate structural problems. It’s because of the criminal Mexicans sneaking across the border or it’s because of this evil entity called “the banks.”

    Is this a new thing? Where people, having a decent amount of time between now and the great crisis, can’t seem to wrap their head around the fact that banks were a part (dare I say central) of it?

    1. Daryl

      Immigrants and banks, two groups with exactly the same organizational capacity and influence over the government.

    2. dots

      “There are people in this world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Mohandas Gandhi

      Satyagraha. The way of Truth and Love, my brother.

  20. ColdHeartedLiberal

    Wonder if Argentina’s new bonds will have a pari passu clause that fixes the “problem” language used in the previous defaulted bonds.

  21. Propertius

    “Man charged with felony robbery after pouring $1.49 worth of McDonald’s soda into water cup”

    Maybe the “raw story”, but not quite the whole story, Lambert. He was charged with robbery because he assaulted the store manager after stealing the soda. If he’d just stolen the soda, he would have at most been charged with petty theft (a misdemeanor). Given that he struck the manager twice with his car (a deadly weapon – and at least one of those strikes seems to have been deliberate), he was lucky not to have been charged with aggravated robbery.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Yup. He’s been nothing but trouble for her and her team and it is not surprising in the least that they want to see the back of him.

    2. allan

      This is perfectly acceptable behavior for tough-guy neoliberals:

      Rattner depicts White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as a force to be reckoned with who disparaged unions — once quipping “Fuck the UAW” — and who effectively supervised Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner during his first rocky months on the job by dictating his public appearances and staff picks.

  22. Nick


    An article in the Economist entitled “Can she fix it?” Well, to paraphrase Mr. Clinton, “That depends on what your definition of ‘fix’ is.”

    When I read analyses like this, I can’t help but think of that old drug lord adage, “Never get high on your own supply.” The Economist et al. are lying passed out on a defunct and decaying bathroom floor with a free-market/free-trade syringe in their arm, all the while thinking they’re at the Four Seasons.

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