2:00PM Water Cooler 4/22/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“[T]he Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) [is] a trade agreement that is being worked on by a bunch of Asian countries, and which is often described as an ‘anti-TPP’ or, at the very least, a competitor to the TPP. It’s being driven by China and India — two countries who were not in the TPP process” [TechDirt]. “Given how concerned we were with the TPP, we had hoped, at the very least, that RCEP would be better on things like intellectual property. Unfortunately, some early leaks suggested it was even worse.”

“Support for huge transatlantic trade deal TTIP plummets in both US and Germany” [Ars Technica]. “Today, fewer than 20% of respondents in favour of TTIP; in 2014 it was over 50%.”

“Support for the transatlantic trade deal known as TTIP has fallen sharply in Germany and the United States, a survey showed on Thursday, days before Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama meet to try to breathe new life into the pact” [Reuters].

“Public procurement could be next TTIP deal breaker” [EurActiv]. “‘The EU would welcome a privileged agreement where ‘we would get rid of all the strings attached,’ said the EU source. ‘Why can’t we transform the ‘Buy American’ into a ‘Buy Transatlantic’?” he wondered.”

“The Real Justification For Free Trade: China Got Rich” [Forbes]. I’m happy for them. Where’s my cut?



One of the more pleasant aspects of the 2016 campaign is Democrats revealing their true selves:

Giving zero f*cks:

“De Blasio Demands Explanation, as Decline in Registered Brooklyn Democrats Doubles” [WNYC].

“Bill Clinton Blames Millennials For Anger, Economy, Congress” [HuffPo]. He dinnit!

“If all the young people who claim to be disillusioned now had voted in 2010, we wouldn’t have lost the Congress, and we’d probably have our incomes back,” [Bill Clinton] said.

What a steaming load of crap. Thomas Ferguson has shown that precinct losses for Democrats in Massachusetts — where the Dems lost the Senate when Scott Brown beat Martha Coakely — correlated to foreclosures; Obama foaming the runway for the big banks and standing between them and the pitchforks lost the Senate for Democrats. Notice, also, that the Democrat Establishment never takes responsibility for failure. The Democrat Party can never fail. It can only be failed. Specifically by voters.

“Boaty McBoatface and the False Promise of Democracy” [The Atlantic].


I’ll just leave this here:


“If the quid pro quo defense sounds familiar, it’s because it is the exact same reasoning that right-wing Supreme Court justicesmake when striking down campaign finance laws, ” [Salon]. ”

New York

A post mortem on the Sanders loss that doesn’t mention voting irregularities [Politico].

” New York Had the Second-Lowest Voter Turnout So Far This Election Season” [The Nation].

The Trail

“Hey, Berniacs: I Learned to Love Hillary and So Can You” [Jon Favreau, Daily Beast]. “But she is running a campaign with a policy platform that’s more progressive than her husband’s administration, her 2008 campaign, and—in a few cases—Barack Obama’s administration. Guess what? Bernie Sanders helped make that happen. He helped push Hillary Clinton to the left. And he should keep pushing her if she becomes president.”

“On Becoming Anti-Bernie” [Medium]. By a lawyer in the hedge fund business. For the defense, natch. I’m only linking to this because it’s gone viral.

“Long Primary Carries Costs for Hillary Clinton: Money and Time” [New York Times]. Never mind that Clinton did exactly the same thing in 2008. Honestly, do they just pull these stories out of the drawer and swap in new names?

“Betrayal is at the heart of U.S. politics” [Reuters]. “Betrayal is an enduring issue in American politics. That’s because the Constitution mandates check and balances and a separation of powers. Every elected president has to compromise in order to get things done.” This is a steaming load. Talk policy: Medicare for All, tuition-free college, $15 minimum wage. All policies were strenuously opposed by both parties, although using differing tactics. Compromise had nothing to do with it.

“The smug style in American liberalism” [Vox]. Prolix.

“The other GOP fight: Packing the convention rules committee” [McClatchy].

“Outsider presidential candidate Donald Trump sent emissaries to soothe tensions with the GOP’s pre-eminent insiders Thursday, and tried to convince them that his bombastic demeanor is merely stagecraft, that his high negatives in the polls can be overcome, and that if he’s the nominee, he’ll raise money for the party and help the Republicans locally and nationally to win elections” [Bloomberg]. Must have been like watching scorpions mating.

Stats Watch

PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, April 2016: “Early indications on April factory conditions are no better than mixed with strength in the Empire State report offset by yesterday’s flat readings from the Philly Fed and another set of flat readings from today’s PMI flash” [Econoday]. ”

Backlog orders are down, which is a negative for hiring and also points to operating slack. Manufacturers are keeping their inventories down with stocks of purchases dropping sharply. Delivery times are up, not the result of congestion in the supply chain but, the report says, of insufficient stocks and capacity cuts among suppliers… The report, in a first of sorts compared to other reports, cites the nation’s ‘political climate’ and its relation to the economic outlook as a possible negative.”

Shipping: “The deceleration in the rail rolling averages began one year ago, and now rail movements are being compared against weaker 2015 data. There were port labor issues one year ago which affected intermodal movements – which skew the results both positively and negatively (this week again negatively as it is being compared to the shipping surge at the end of the strike). HOWEVER, one can ignore the strike which only affects intermodal – and concentrate on carloads – the data looks very soft” [Econintersect].

“”The decline in global activity and the rate of activity disruption reached unprecedented levels as the industry displayed clear signs of operating in a full-scale cash crisis,” [Schlumberger Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paal Kibsgaard] said in a statement announcing first-quarter earnings Thursday. “This environment is expected to continue deteriorating over the coming quarter given the magnitude and erratic nature of the disruptions in activity” [Bloomberg].

Shipping: “North America’s biggest freight railroad reported a 15% drop in its first-quarter profit on a 14% slide in revenue from weakening freight demand, the WSJ’s Laura Stevens reports. The big drops came in energy shipments, and UP’s strong exposure to the shale fracking business hit especially hard” [Wall Street Journal, “Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ”].

Rigged Economy: “Buried in a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was a stunning piece of news. Customers of JPMorgan Chase, the bank that Wall Street analyst Mike Mayo has preposterously called the “Lebron James of banking,” were major victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme – to the tune of $5.4 billion – because of negligence on the part of the bank” [Wall Street on Parade]. Reading more deeply into the article:

According to the Picard investigation, JPMorgan Chase and its predecessor banks also extended tens of millions of dollars in loans to Norman F. Levy and his family so they could invest with the insolvent Madoff. (Levy died in 2005 at age 93 without being charged with any crimes.) According to Picard, Levy had $188 million in outstanding loans in 1996, which he used to funnel money into Madoff investments. Picard’s lawyers said in a court filing that JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) “referred to these investments as ‘special deals.’ Indeed, these deals were special for all involved: (a) Levy enjoyed Madoff’s inflated return rates of up to 40% on the money he invested with Madoff; (b) Madoff enjoyed the benefits of large amounts of cash to perpetuate his fraud without being subject to JPMC’s due diligence processes; and (c) JPMC earned fees on the loan amounts and watched the ‘special deals’ from afar, escaping responsibility for any due diligence on Madoff’s operation.”

Of course! The fees!

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73, Greed (previous close: 74, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 22 at 11:29am.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The South’s new re-segregation plan: The Koch brothers, ALEC and the sneaky scheme to undo Brown v Board of Education” [Salon]. Charters. Naturally.

Police State Watch

“These states let police take and keep your stuff even if you haven’t committed a crime” (map) [Vox]. Ulp.

“You can now be identified by your ‘brainprint’ with 100% accuracy” [Kurzweil: Accelerating Intelligence]. Ulp.


“From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that these human abilities also appear in other species. After all, the whole point of natural selection is that small variations among existing organisms can eventually give rise to new species. Our hands and hips and those of our primate relatives gradually diverged from the hands and hips of common ancestors. It’s not that we miraculously grew hands and hips and other animals didn’t. So why would we alone possess some distinctive cognitive skill that no other species has in any form?” [The Atlantic].

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Seymour Hersh spills the secrets of Bin Laden’s execution: ‘He was a prisoner of war. It was a hit'” [Salon]. “The Saudis bribed the Pakistanis not to tell us [that the Pakistani government had Bin Laden] because they didn’t want us interrogating Bin Laden… what the Saudis were doing, so I’ve been told, by reasonable people (I haven’t written this) is that they were also passing along tankers of oil for the Pakistanis to resell. That’s really a lot of money.”

Class Warfare

“How to survive as a whistle-blower” [Nature].

Don’t confront potential misconduct alone. Although postdocs and PhD students are the most likely to identify inconsistencies in the previously published data of their groups, they are often the least equipped to highlight serious problems. Be ready to give your supervisor the benefit of the doubt, but also be aware that raising concerns directly could provide an opportunity to obscure evidence of misconduct. In fact, the co-founders of the blog Retraction Watch recommend against contacting authors first if no one else knows of issues in the research.

Not just for postdocts and students!

News of the Wired

“Public Domain Citation Book, Baby Blue, Renamed To Indigo Book, Following Harvard Law Review Threats”[Ars Technica].

“Keynes passed away 70 years ago today, with his copyright now expiring, there is an opportunity to build a digital archive of all his work” [Inet].

“These Guys Were on the Deepwater Horizon When It Blew Up” [Mother Jones]. IIRC, BP executives were on the Deepwater Horizon when it blew, but were evacuated. And we never found out how that happened, and whether any workers were on the helicopter, if helicopter it was. Readers?

The rant that launched a thousand memes:

* * *

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 (Chet):


Young dogwood blossoms. Big moment when you look up at the trees and notice the buds!

* * *

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. optimader

    “If all the young people who claim to be disillusioned now had voted in 2010, we wouldn’t have lost the Congress, and we’d probably have our incomes back,” he said.
    Did Bill miss some nickels left laying on the floor?

      1. nippersmom

        Has Bill Clinton ever had respect for anyone who couldn’t further his accumulation of power and wealth?

    1. sleepy

      What’s with Bubba’s self-satisifed “we” business? “We” wouldn’t have lost Congress? Maybe if those young people had voted in 2010 we’d have a few socialists in Congress instead of dems. He’s clueless if he thinks voting dem is the default for the disillusioned.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He’s egging and daring young people to make sure they register one year ahead.

      I’d suggest young people sticky note this on the refrigerator.

      Here is my other suggestion:

      1. Form a new party, next year. Call it People’s Democratic Revolutionary Party or something suitable.

      2. Urge members to register with the D party in time to vote, and when the time comes, in 2018 or 2020, vote their weakest candidates.

      3. Hold new party’s open primaries (or allow same day registration) one day after, for its strongest candidates. They are to be privately funded (probably on the net, since young people are more tech savvy and know how to handle web security and all that stuff), so the government can’t look into private affairs of a private corporation.

      1. optimader


        People’s Democratic Revolutionary Party

        People’s is redundant and revolutionary is red meat.

        How about Democratic Party (rev.2.0)
        Cheaper to print, and naturally allows interpretation

        Same geos fro the Republican Party.

        Going to see this next Saturday
        China’s First Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I saw in an antique shop the bronze version of those terracotta warriors.

          Really well done that I am thinking they are authentic. These are not the cheap, tourist gift shop version one sees. Life size too, or slightly bigger than life size.

          But that would mean the First Revolutionary Emperor’s tomb has already been broken into.

        2. Charger

          The Skunk party. Don’t f with us, or you’ll get more than a raspberry blown in your face.

    3. nippersmom

      Well, Bill, I’m a disillusioned (not young) person and I did vote in 2010. I just didn’t vote for your corporatist cohorts. If you expect people to vote, you need to give them someone worth voting for. And contrary to the patronizing snark emanating from your wife, younger voters do their research; they knew exactly what they would have been getting with yet another batch of neoliberal Democrats. “You” might not have lost congress, but the working people of this country would still be out in the cold.

    4. Pat

      Longer Bill Clinton: “Didn’t you get the memo? You don’t have anyplace else to go. That includes staying home. YOU WILL VOTE DEMOCRATIC. And that includes when you hate the nominee. PERIOD. Stop talking sense having a tantrum and do what you are supposed to do. And that includes voting for my wife. We need to make a billion before I die.”.

      1. HopeLB

        The DNC threw all of the real Progressive candidates under the bus. Just look at the lifelong Republican turned Dem who is running against Bankster Slayer Grayson. Obama and Biden both endorsed this tool.

        1. Kokuanani

          See also Pennsylvania, where the DNC is pouring money in to OPPOSE Joe Sestak in the Dem primary, even though Joe has a better chance of beating the current Republican senator.

          As Sestak points out, the money being used to defeat him in the primary won’t be available to support the Dem nominee in November.

          1. Darthbobber

            They did the same thing on behalf of Arlen Spector in 2010. In spite of the fact that he would have no chance in the General. Which Sestak lost by less than half a percentage point, in a very nasty environment for democrats. I won’t even mention (yes I will) the Clintons’ role in propping up the equally unelectable Blanche Lincoln in the Arkansas primary, against a Democrat who WAS in striking distance for the General. And the fact that team Clinton made common cause in that endeavour with the Walmart folks and the National Right to Work organizations, and attacked the unions as carpetbagging outside agitators.

  2. Roger Smith

    “On Becoming Anti-Bernie” — Did anyone actually make it through this slag? I cannot believe something that long went viral.

    Well liked old guy tells truth, woman punctures her own retinas with fingers…

    If you don’t choose to pander towards the Clinton/Obama/New Democrat dream of ‘Grand Consensus’ you are a loser.

    1. Pat

      I read it far enough and then skipped to the part where Hillary Clinton’s false resume was presented with little or no real clarification of how illusionary it is and thus was not examined with the same ‘thoroughness’ as Sanders for ‘hypocrisy’. At which point it became patently clear that this was written by someone who likely was anti-Bernie from the moment he had the audacity to challenge Hillary Clinton.

      I’m sure at some point I’m going to wade in and start ripping apart both the criticisms of Sanders’ record and the glorification of Clinton’s bullshit. But for now I’m just going to call it the propaganda it is.

      1. Roger Smith

        I did the same thing. I started skimming around. Saw “hypocrisy” and “sexist” poorly supported, then left again.

        1. rich

          Secrecy: As Hillary Refuses to Release Speech Transcripts, New Details Emerge

          On Good Morning America this week, Hillary rebuffed a young Democrat who challenged her to release the transcripts of her paid speeches that reaped millions in fees in between her departure from the State Department and the start of her presidential bid:



          somehow I don’t think the Bernie supporter was persuaded by her sub-standard reply.

          1. kimsarah

            That’s alright, anyone with half a brain can see by her refusing to release the transcripts she is guilty by association.

            Those who vote for her would still do so no matter how many transcripts she releases. Everyone else has at least half a brain.

        1. Steven

          Amazing what skilled propagandists they are against the left but all thumbs against the right.

  3. nippersmom

    Does “I Learned to Love Hillary and So Can You” remind anyone else of “How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb”?

    I can’t bring myself to read something that sounds like a treatise on how you, too, can submit to brain-washing.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      So, with the clinton camp desperate to push the narrative that she has the nomination sewn up in order to pivot to the general and to preserve her cash and flagging energy, are we supposed to believe that all of these “how to break up with Bernie and date hillary” pieces are some sort of lucky coincidence?

      Anybody heard from david plouffe lately?

      1. Pat

        Ha. Want to make bets on how long the ‘nice’ versions last before the screeches become ear splitting?

          1. rich

            Uber Advisor David Plouffe: We’re ‘Not Driven by Greed’

            Politicians need to understand that the desires of startups to see regulatory change is “not driven by greed or by 25-year-old hipsters sitting on exercise balls,” Plouffe told Klein at a Washington, D.C.-based incubator and venture fund called 1776. (Plouffe’s role at Uber changed in May of this year; he’s currently on the company’s board of directors and bears the title “chief advisor.”)
            “Some only take one or two trips a month–making an extra $20 or $40 to get through the month,” he said.

            The perfect ally for HRC…..

      2. ahimsa

        Per usual, Clinton camp are probably shooting themselves in the foot. Saying it’s all sewn up will result in some Dems not bothering to vote. Sanders will keep campaigning, and those resonating with his message will (hopefully) continue to use the ballot box to vote for one of their own and send a message to the DNC.
        We’ll see..

    2. Pat

      Funny thing is that he never really explains how he came to love her, just that everyone needs to take Barack Obama’s example from 2008 and play nice because Trump! and Cruz!. He gives reasons both sides should do it. But even the line about her policies being more progressive than her husbands notes this is largely the result of Sanders’ pressure. Yet, iirc he was supporting her before that. So she didn’t need to support minimum wage increases; or back SS and Medicare; or reject the TPP; or denounce the Crime bill, or even start talking about the need to allow marijuana research for his support. So obviously if she returns to her pre primary stance he is down with that, regardless of Sanders’ supposed bettering of her campaign. (And seriously she needs to name a progressive to be her VP? Yeah, sure they have so much say…)
      No this is just a much nicer way of saying you can keep up your futile campaign but in the meanwhile talk up the annointed one.

    3. jrs

      Man there’s no there there. I thought they would at least make some substantial points (even if inaccurate!) on why Hillary was a GOOD candidate (she actually helped pass this wonderful bill or something – something obscure one might not know). They really don’t.

      It’s all Lesser of Two Evils. That’s all they have.

      “On her worst day, Hillary Clinton is a hundred times better than any of the Republicans.”

      don’t care, don’t care, and don’t care!! On the worst day dying by a bullet through the head is hundred times better than being boiled alive in acid. Therefore vote for a bullet in the head!

      How low does turnout have to be till you can hear our “don’t cares”? If a hundred times better is an Obama clone and passes the TPP, TPIP establishing corporate rule, what do I care if it’s somehow better? Of course it will probably be a more militaristic Obama clone unfortunately.

      “It’s important for them to hear Sanders say that while he’ll keep fighting for a more progressive Democratic Party, the Democratic Party has been a vehicle for tremendous progress in this country—especially over the last eight years. Denying or minimizing the achievements of the Obama presidency only deepens the cynicism of those who worry that change isn’t possible.”

      Unbelievable, reality doesn’t exist only perceptions of reality. No the OBAMA PRESIDENCY itself including for 2 years with a Dem congress only deepens he cynicism that change isn’t possible. Your whole F-ed up political system deepens the cynicism that change isn’t possible.

      And the only other thing they have to offer is that Hillary’s platform in progressive as if a platform was legally binding. Do we have means to enforce her following her platform. No? Then why should I care. With Bernie we wouldn’t either, but people were making a kind of wager on his character to be the follow through on his promises. Why should I trust Hillary’s character?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How low does the turnout have to be …

        That’s why not voting is as expressive as voting for the lesser of two evils.

      2. lambert strethet

        The question is notvwhich candidate is the lesser evil.

        The question is which candidate is the more effective evil.

      3. JeffC

        This will be my 15th US presidential election, and I have never yet seen a party platform mean anything whatever once the election was past. It couldn’t be more irrelevant.

      4. tony

        There is a strage tendency with Hillary supporters to assume that Bernie’s supporters should agree with Bernie and follow his commands. It’s a strange authoritarian assumption.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Utter BS. Is anyone really dumb enough to fall for that excerpted quote about how she’s ‘been pushed to the left’?!?!?

      I seem to remember Pelosi and the DemocRAT party telling us that if we’d just give them the Congress back in 2006 they’d strengthen labor laws with the Employee Free Choice Act, etc etc and on and on. Once they got the majority back no one ever made a peep about it again and it was right back to the same neoliberal crap. And now we now why she took impeachment ‘off the table’ – because the RATs wanted to be able to get away with all their crimes just like Bush/Cheney.

      1. jrs

        They also convinced many they were opposed to and would end the war in Iraq, which was probably a large part of why people voted for them. Of course they didn’t.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And they are wiser, or rather smarter, this time, for they don’t even talk about getting out of NATO, except maybe Trump.

      2. nihil obstet

        The Democratic Party story after 2006, and even more after 2008, was that they didn’t have 60 REAL Democrats in the Senate, so they couldn’t do anything. What we had to do was give them more money. Someday, maybe if they got enough contributions, they would actually be able to do what they claimed they wanted to do. Meanwhile, just remember how evil the horrible Republicans are.

        1. Steven

          Irrelevant. They could have passed Medicare for all and a ton of over great stuff using budget reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority in the Senate. Bush got three budget reconciliation bills in eight years. It’s how he got all those tax cuts for the rich and the prescription drug boondoggle for big pharma. Never needed 60 senators. Didn’t hear any whining about the big bad Democrats blocking it.

          Budget reconciliation is the go-to for Republicans. It’s how they get what they want. Democrats conveniently forget about it and hope you will too. As your comment shows, it worked. Democrats will seize on any excuse to explain why the dog ate their homework.

          It was political malpractice not to pass an omnibus budget reconciliation bill when the Democrats controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. They threw the election so they could whine about how those mean old Republicans are preventing them from doing great stuff. But they just twiddled their thumbs. They are the party of the status quo.

        2. Steven

          I wrote a long comment on this that went into moderation then disappeared. No energy to reconstruct it. Just google budget reconciliation. It’s how Bush got all his tax cuts but Democrats would just as soon you didn’t know about it.

        1. Gvp

          I’ve always seen both (even Report-era) Colbert and Jon Stewart (and whoever hosts the daily show now; I gave up cable before that transition) as a sort of proletarian anger safety valve for TPTB…Just progressive sounding enough that you can laugh away your righteous indignation then call it a night–no pesky thoughts of revolution and so forth to keep you awake at night. I mean, how legitimately progressive can a show be when it’s owned by massive media conglomerate Viacom? Eh, maybe I’m just cynical though.

          1. Lord Koos

            I wouldn’t go that far. I’m sure TPTB would just as soon many of those topics stayed off the public radar.

          2. Skippy

            Moore back in his early days on HBO had a nice description of the dichotomy… HBO as a corporate sponsored businesses via commercial air time only cared about nelson ratings, as this increased the value of the ad slot time for HBO and increased eyes for the corporate buyer of that time.

            So whilst Moore attempted to embarrass the very corporations that spent MMillions on air time, they were quite happy to spend money on air time during his show, because it was logical from their purview of getting eyes and minds on their product or services.

            Disheveled Marsupial… parasitical comes to mind…

      1. polecat

        Man!…I’m really losing respect for these celeb shills, who I once admired not too long ago…….they are becoming un-people to me!

  4. Synoia

    He (Bernie) helped push Hillary Clinton to the left. And he should keep pushing her if she becomes president.

    Pity about the large rubber band, stretched to its limit, on her right….poised to snap her back into “pragmatism” post election day…

    1. HotFlash

      Ah yes, Bernie the President Pusher. Why exactly is that his job? If she wants my vote she needs to walk the walk, and she is only minimally talking the talk. And I don’t trust her as far as I can throw end-the-wars, close-Guantanamo, walk-the-picket line Obama.

      Trump (I know, I know) at least is against the TPP. For me, the big issue is climate change, but TPP and TTIP and all those other trade agreements are how govts will be able to do nothing and then plead, “Oh, but our hands are tied!” Meanwhile, the global temp is going up faster than expected.

      It drives me crazy when the Dems play 50 shades with the multi-national banks and other corps and then whine about how powerless they are.

      Please, start working on your superdelegates. Please check your state, thank any superdelegates who have committed to Bernie (a nice thank-you might be $27 for the ones who are up for re-election?) and politely, respectfully lobby the remainder, esp uncommitted ones.

      I remain convinced that Bernie Sanders is our best chance for getting climate change, endless wars of empire and many other crucial justice issues addressed most directly. We still have a shot a doing it even if he loses the nom, but it will be *so* *much* *harder*. So let’s just get that man elected.

      1. jrs

        Yes how about IF she governs to the left THEN we will vote for her if it comes to that… in 2020 that is!!!

        Until then we have no basis to believe she will.

        Right now we need Bernie.

      2. mk

        Our Los Angeles Mayor and Superdelegate Eric Garcetti was on the radio last week answering the superdelegate question, he said he’s a Hilary supporter, but that Bernie should run as long as he wants and if the people want Bernie, then he will vote for Bernie too. He said it’s his duty to vote with the people. I was very happy to hear it.

    2. Tom Allen

      Democrats tend to run to the left during primaries and the right during general elections. So if she’s tacking left now, that’s hardly surprising.

      And one has to wonder, if Sanders has pushed her to the left, where will Trump (or Cruz or Kasich or whoever) move her? But I’m sure by then her apologists will be ready paeans to pragmatism, and assurances that in her heart of hearts, she’s really a liberal.

    3. RP

      I found myself about a paragraph in wondering, “who would possibly be swayed by this nothingburger? Is this what the multimillion $ online Clinton propaganda blitz will look like? Pathetic.

  5. Pat

    Sadder even then the Politico ‘analysis’ of the Sanders loss in NY is the comment section. Nobody bothering to point out the multitudes of election irregularities. I felt almost as slimed as I do reading yahoo comments most days.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Investigate the past and prepare for the future.

      I suggest people register early the next time.

      The would-be queen has spent a life time working on this, how much less can we give of ourselves? Let her be our inspiration.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Lame duckism and the decline of cognition:

    “I thought it was appropriate [to remove Churchill’s bust from my office] …. as the first African-American president, it might be appropriate to have a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King in my office to remind me of all the hard work of a lot of people who would somehow allow me to have the privilege of holding this office,” Obama said.


    Doubtless Barry asks himself on Terror Tuesdays, “Who would MLK drone?”

    1. RP

      MLK, if alive today, would make Cornel West’s criticisms of the current POTUS seem like cooing doves in comparison

  7. sleepy

    On the meaning of “corruption” as a quid pro quo–

    How on earth can the dem party now oppose Citizens United since Hillary has already said there was no quid pro quo for the vast amounts of money she’s received from corporate interests? As the link stated, that was the basis for the Citizens decision.

    Second question, why has no one asked her directly about Citizens United in this context?

    Yeah, I know, the dem elite never had a problem with the decision except for its rhetorical partisan use, but their support for it should be made public and explicit.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      She is exceptional.

      Many revolutionaries are like that…in the beginning.

      Then, they seized power, incite the Red Guard, and today, are more capitalist than other capitalist nations.

      “We are the good guys. The bad guys can’t have nuclear bombs.”

      In that sense, many of us are hypocrites.

      1. optimader

        She is exceptional
        Such an interesting word, with its availability for counterintuitive interpretation.

    2. nippersmom

      I think that’s the tacit admission that the Party has never actually opposed Citizens United. Only certain not fully indoctrinated members give more than lip service to opposing it, and they are getting no support from party leadership when they run for re-election or higher office.

  8. Mav

    I wonder how Jon Favreau feels about his old boss Obama. Maybe his next article should be “How Obama turned out to be an empty suit, kept alive by my speech writing”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Why? He strung together generic platitudes which made little sense. The speeches were generic and can best be described as word salad. Obama was the star, , it the speeches. Obama could have read mad libs and people would have loved it.

      1. EmilianoZ

        There seems to be a consensus among journalistic experts that Obama’s Philadelphia speech on race, “A more perfect union”, is an undisputed masterpiece.

        According to Wikipedia:

        Video of the speech “went viral”, reaching over 1.3 million views on YouTube within a day of the speech’s delivery.[73] By March 27, the speech had been viewed nearly 3.4 million times.[74] In the days after the speech, links to the video and to transcripts of the speech were the most popular items posted on Facebook.[74] The New York Times observed that the transcript of the speech was e-mailed more frequently than their news story on the speech, and suggested that this might be indicative of a new pattern in how young people receive news, avoiding conventional media filters.[74] Maureen Dowd further referenced the phenomenon on March 30, writing in her column that Obama “can ensorcell when he has to, and he has viral appeal. Who else could alchemize a nuanced 40-minute speech on race into must-see YouTube viewing for 20-year-olds?”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is there any defense against that or are we doomed to be fooled again and again?

        2. JaaaaayCeeeee

          I couldn’t get through more than a few minutes of either Rachel Maddow or Cenk Uygur on MSNBC, but I liked Uygur’s interview of Bernie Sanders a month ago, and it keeps gaining 10’s of thousands of views a day on youtube, now up to almost 1.7 million views. That doesn’t count the many hundreds of thousands of views of bits of the interview Cenk Uygur also features on his web site.

          It’s live, unlike a great Obama speech, but may still end up having much more impact. The first section, 17 minutes, on corporate media is great, after which Sanders covers, again, what media still can’t believe Sanders refuses to do, saying what he’ll demand for getting Sanders support if he loses the primary.

  9. Anon

    Re: Salon Hersh piece.

    For a very good long-read that sheds more light on this, you can read the piece here:

    The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

    The crucial tell is this part:

    The White House’s solution was to silence the Seals. On 5 May, every member of the Seal hit team – they had returned to their base in southern Virginia – and some members of the Joint Special Operations Command leadership were presented with a nondisclosure form drafted by the White House’s legal office; it promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the mission, in public or private. ‘The Seals were not happy,’ the retired official said. But most of them kept quiet, as did Admiral William McRaven, who was then in charge of JSOC. ‘McRaven was apoplectic. He knew he was fucked by the White House, but he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Seal, and not then a political operator, and he knew there’s no glory in blowing the whistle on the president. When Obama went public with bin Laden’s death, everyone had to scramble around for a new story that made sense, and the planners were stuck holding the bag.’

    1. LifelongLib

      Still puzzled on what our beef with Assad is. Saw something (here?) that he was trying to do his own oil pipeline deal that would have messed with one Saudi Arabia and Israel were planning. Anything to that?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Don’t forget “Yes we can” or Obama thought he could add a pelt. If Obama iced Gaddafi, Osama, and Assad, every textbook would have an insert dedicated to our courageous commander in chief.

          Iraq was a target simply because we could. Russian and Chinese military technology was/is being developed around U.S. aggression. At some point and It’s likely happened, cheap anti-aircraft and antiship missiles will be deployed long before an offensive counter can be developed.

          Albright put it best when she asked what old was the military if we didn’t use It. Much like the draft, if the average person understands we aren’t Invincible deploying U.S. forces will be considerably more difficult. Americans didn’t buy the chemical weapon event in Syria.

      1. Waldenpond

        General destabilization in the region, pipeline and mass immigration’s detrimental impact on European civil rights.

        1. RP

          Neocon establishment been rattling sabers for Iran since Darth Cheney was still lurking around in Bush The Younger’s 2nd term.

    2. shinola

      Thanks Anon for the LRB link. Much more info. than the Salon piece (& indeed a long read).

      I must say that I no longer find myself shocked or even surprised by this sort of official disinformation exposed by Hersh.
      I wonder why that is…

  10. lyman alpha blob

    Looks like the establishment doesn’t much care for sHillary either. First it was Obama calling Libya his biggest blunder (although not illegal war crime as would have been more appropriate).

    Now we have Uncle Joe taking some jabs : http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/us/politics/biden-looks-back-aspirations-intact.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=3

    “I like the idea of saying, ‘We can do much more,’ because we can,” Mr. Biden said in an interview on the Washington-to-Wilmington, Del., Amtrak train he has ridden throughout four decades in national politics.

    “I don’t think any Democrat’s ever won saying, ‘We can’t think that big — we ought to really downsize here because it’s not realistic,’ ” he said in a mocking tone. “C’mon man, this is the Democratic Party! I’m not part of the party that says, ‘Well, we can’t do it.’ ”

      1. RP

        Deep down, in their heart of hearts, beyond professional attachment and self-interest, do you think *anyone* actually LIKES Hillary?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, they can…be as imperialistic” as the Republicans.

      “Think big…bigger than Earth. We have to fight in outer space as well.”

    2. hreik

      Some think they are showcasing him as the “in case scenario’… in case $hillary is indicted? Dunno? why would they do this now? timing is odd.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        You might be on to something there. I don’t buy his gaffe prone goofy uncle Joe on the train schtick. He is a long time fixer in DC and knows where a lot of bodies are buried. Several years back some reporters for one of the big UK papers IIRC pretended to be representing some -stani dictator or other and approached a DC lobbying firm to get help for their guy in DC. The lobbyist threw Biden’s name out as someone who could help said corrupt dictator right off the bat: http://harpers.org/archive/2008/09/many-people-have-done-worse/

      2. Waldenpond

        Biden is starting the unity tour. Sanders isn’t so bad, let’s all come together.

        Also, how fun for the media, now that they consider Clinton to have this in the bag, start talking up Sanders as a move to start weakening Clinton…. because there would be no better tv ratings than by ending the Clinton dynasty! Awesome tv.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ah, Joe. It’s too funny. He’s basically a 73 year old male Hillary with even more casual racism to his name.

      1. Carolinian

        Why? Because he called Obama a nice clean Negro (or some such)?

        He shoulda grabbed for the brass ring. Great dentition.

  11. Kurt Sperry

    Movimento Cinque Stelle’s recently deceased IT guru Gianroberto Casaleggio has already shown the way here in Italy. Don’t set out to be a party, be a movement, use the web with its low entry barriers and frictionless nature as your habitat and call physical meet-ups and rallies as wanted or needed to demonstrate shows of force. The M5S can essentially function as a party in the Italian parliamentary system when it is advantageous, but its explicit rejection of formal partisanship makes it extremely difficult to co-opt or hijack. The same formula will work as well or even better in the US, where the Sanders candidacy has identified and brought together a much larger plurality of the electorate than the M5S had to begin with. Imagine the Sanders email/donor list organized into a cohesive, ideologically coherent political movement that can draw on a membership that rivals or outstrips that of either legacy party, that can endorse or oppose candidates from the legacy parties or alternatively field its own as Republicans, Democrats or independents depending on the particular situation at hand.

    The heavy lifting has already been done, the momentum is there, a cohesive set of policies has already been largely agreed upon, we know a huge, enthusiastic and generous membership and donor base is in place. It’d be useful as hell to have Sanders as a figurehead for such an enterprise to launch it but I doubt it would be necessary, and the less it relies on frontmen and personalities the more robust it will be and the more difficult to counter and attack effectively. Imagine an organized movement that could call on similar numbers of voters to either existing legacy party and bring them to bear on the electoral processes from national to local more or less at will. It could make or break candidacies, decide referenda and ballot issues at play, and would revolutionize American politics almost overnight. Why not? There’s really nothing stopping us from making it happen, the legacy parties would be almost helpless against it.

    {posted in yesterdays’s water cooler, but after everyone had long since left and gone home, I’m not accustomed to being on Central European Time and trying to interact with people in North America in some rough semblance of real time.}

    1. John Merryman

      What if you could take it much bigger?

      For instance, everyone is stressing about Islam, but Islam is in the middle of a civil war that has been going on since the 80’s, as the Iran, Iraq War, which the US mostly instigated after the Iranian revolution and it isn’t going anywhere soon. All of which leads to much deeper issues.

      For instance, the simple logical fallacy of monotheism is that it equates the ideal with the absolute. While an ideal, like Plato’s, might be something from which we fell, a spiritual absolute would be that raw essence of consciousness, biology, whatever, from which we rose. The sense of being running through all of us and which the powers that be know they have to keep from coalescing.

      It just so happens that a top down father figure is enormously politically convenient and inherently supports authoritarian leadership. Remember that both Athenian democracy and Republican Rome both grew out of pantheistic religious beliefs. If you have a multifaceted religious model, a multifaceted political model is a natural consequence.

      Of the other two monotheistic systems, Judaism is fundamentally tribal and much of the intellectual talent associated with it is likely a consequence of the diaspora and having to survive in hostile environments for close to 2000 years. As it is, the democracy they have tried to base Israel on is starting to wear thin.

      Christianity is little more than a veneer of monotheism over a fairly diverse European culture, that while it has helped to homogenize it, is certainly not as absolutist in its canon as Islam tries to be.

      The split in Islam goes back to whether authority was hereditary/Shiite, or institutional/Sunni. It will never be resolved because it can’t. If you assume your cultural traditions to be absolute, as in universal, then there can be no accommodation. With people who are not Islamic, nor with people from other views of Islam.

      The absolute is where everything cancels out. The big flatline. Absolute zero. Given the state to which the various of these ancient religions have fallen, a wide ranging conversation over their conceptual assumptions is certainly in order and if you want political upheaval, that would be one very significant torch to add to the fire.

      1. LifelongLib

        Just about every possible spiritual position under the sun has been taken by some group or other calling itself Christian. It would not surprise me if the same was true within Judaism and Islam. Monotheism can mean belief in a single god, or a God that encompasses One and Many. A Father figure may lend itself to authoritarianism (“The King is God on Earth”) or to anti-authoritarianism (“Only God is King, all God’s children are equal”). Monotheism vs Polytheism vs Atheism vs whatever are categories too various to draw political conclusions from.

        1. John Merryman

          Yes, but when they are all going to war with each other and within each other, it might be an opportune time to step back and draw some logical conclusions. The analogy for a God as absolute would be the new born, not the old man. The foundation, not the apex. The political implications of that in a world where the apex seemingly has ever more control, yet the fighting between all these different versions increases, might have give some help to a movement to reduce that control.

        2. John Merryman

          Keep in mind how organic and political dynamics work in the first place. You start off young and full of energy and growing up is like grass pushing up through the concrete. Eventually you develop a niche and harden into it and become part of the concrete.
          Now Capitalism is very good at appropriating the forms which emerge, as it models itself on the ecosystem, rather than as a particular organism. The “market,” rather than a particular company/party/etc. Consider Occupy specifically tried to avoid creating a particular form, in order not to present a target to co-opt.
          The problem with capitalism is that it uses the medium of the market, money, to own whatever works within it. You are not going to break that mechanism directly, because it permeates our atomized culture, but religion, while foundational to our thought processes in many non-conscious ways, is a weak link.
          So developing the idea that a unifying spirit is that element of being flowing through all of life, not some secret within the holy temple, would be a useful concept.
          All political movements have a religious sense to them, in order to be successful and draw people into inclusion within them. If we use the larger understanding of this dynamic to break through the current economic shell and also realize it is a cycle that will take on some form, but which will be ultimately transitional, then it might sustain some flexibility and not quickly settle into a specific institutional form.

    2. Waldenpond

      Many are starting domain names but there is no heft behind any of them. The movement is fragmented units coming to together in cycles/waves. There needs to be a central connection… a party or a person. Sanders is not going to do this or he already would have. You need legal knowledge, organizing knowledge etc and a unifying connection.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Sanders kind of has his hands full at the moment. I still want to know who legally possesses his email/donor list and what his plans are for those going forward win or lose. I don’t think the legal or organizational skills required to form a new political organization are terribly daunting, the hard part is the marketing e.g. building the list of people—and that already exists.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Pretty easy I’d imagine. Really easy, in fact. Bernie loudly announces his email list has been stolen from him and asks his people to make a new account at berniesanders.com

            I would bet he’d have 80-90% of the list reconstituted within a couple of weeks. I probably don’t know a single Sandernista that wouldn’t follow through if it meant continuing the struggle.

            When you have tens of millions of people already committed to a cause, all the organizational stuff that looked essentially impossible a year ago, today looks almost trivially easy. I don’t see any of this as necessarily terribly difficult to do at this moment in time. Let’s please not get bogged down in hand wringing overestimating the difficulty.

          2. Debra D.

            While the VAN list might not be as secure, I would think his fundraising list, which is owned by his campaign through it’s contract with Revolution Messaging, is secure. I get multiple e-mails from his campaign every day. I get none from HRC’s campaign.

            I know the IL paid campaign staff would not release volunteers’ contact information to other volunteers. We ended up sharing our contact information directly.

  12. Carolinian

    Re “Boaty McBoatface and the False Promise of Democracy”

    While one might assume that’s a tongue in cheek headline turns out it isn’t. The author does give a graf to those who think the public were just messing with bureaucrats and their pomposity, but spends most of his space discussing the Larger Meaning. It must be a slow day for pundits.

    1. jrs

      Boaty McBoatface is funny, and since the name of a boat in actual reality is of no importance (and it’s not like they are naming it something offensive, it’s just silly humor), well why not.

      “Since voters aren’t fixated on policy, elected representatives and other top government officials—the rare members of society who are seriously and consistently liberal, conservative, or otherwise ideological”

      maybe in the UK … here with a few exceptions they seem to be consistently moneygrubbing and corrupt for the most part. Those who are actually consistently principled stand out.

      “The authors claim there’s no hard evidence to suggest that these dynamics would vary in countries with political systems of proportional representation and more parties than in the U.S.”

      yes and while we’re at it, why even bother to run elections honestly … since as we know everything is futile anyway …

  13. rich

    Washington Launches Its Attack Against BRICS — Paul Craig Roberts

    President Kirchner resisted and, thus, she had to go. Washington concocted a story that Kirchner covered up an alleged Iranian bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994. This implausible fantasy, for which there is no evidence of Iranian involvement, was fed to one of Washington’s agents in the state prosecutor’s office, and a dubious event of 22 years ago was used to clear Kirchner out of the way of the American looting of Argentina.

    In Brazil, Washington has used corruption insinuations to get President Rousseff impeached by the lower house. Evidence is not necessary, just allegations. It is no different from “Iranian nukes,” Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” Assad’s “use of chemical weapons,” or in Rousseff’s case merely insinuations. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, notes that Rousseff “hasn’t been accused of anything.” The American-backed elites are simply using impeachment to remove a president who they cannot defeat electorally.

    In short, this is Washington’s move against the BRICS. Washington is moving to put into political power a rightwing party that Washington controls in order to terminate Brazil’s growing relationships with China and Russia.

    The great irony is that the impeachment bill was presided over by the corrupt lower house speaker, Eduardo Cunha, who was recently discovered to have stashed millions of dollars in secret Swiss bank accounts (perhaps his pay-off from Washington) and who lied under oath when he denied having foreign bank accounts. You can read the sordid story here:


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yet, the CIA is said to be connected to the Panama Papers (and thus the exposure of Cunha’s secret Swiss bank). How are we going to keep our man in Brazil?

      When it comes to attacking, nothing is more lethal than unlimited creation of the global reserve currency, for use by the system, the machine (rather than by the people), for we know money makes the world go around.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘A dubious event of 22 years ago was used to clear Kirchner out of the way of the American looting of Argentina.’ — Paul Craig Roberts

      Kirchner completed her second elected term of office and was ineligible to run for a third term.

      The Argentine constitution cleared Kirchner out of the way, not the all-powerful USA.

  14. Watt4Bob

    From Wikipedia;

    According to officials, 126 people were on board, of whom 79 were Transocean employees, seven were from BP, and 40 were contracted; several of the BP and Transocean executives were on board for a tour of the rig, maintenance planning, annual goals review, a “Drops” safety campaign, and to congratulate the senior staff of the rig for 7 years of operations without a lost time incident.[33][48]

    A total of 115 people were evacuated.[49][50] Lifeboats took 94 workers to the Tidewater-owned supply boat Damon Bankston, with no major injuries, four were transported to another vessel, and 17 were evacuated by helicopter to trauma centers in Mobile, Alabama and Marrero, Louisiana.[33] Most were soon released.[33][51][52]

    Here’s a link to the Report to the President, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

    This report has very detailed information on the accident and the evacuation.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Canada wanders off the Drug War reservation:

    OTTAWA — The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it will introduce legislation next year to decriminalize and legalize the sale of marijuana, making Canada the first G7 country to permit widespread use of the substance.

    The announcement was made by Canada’s health minister, Jane Philpott, at a U.N. drug conference in New York. It follows through on a promise made during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s successful election campaign last fall.

    With the Liberals holding a majority in the House of Commons, the marijuana legislation is likely to pass.


    Easy for them to do — they don’t have a Gulag to support.

  16. mad as hell.

    “Boaty McBoatface and the False Promise of Democracy” [The Atlantic].

    “The key point is that representatives’ voting behavior was not strongly constrained by their constituents’ views,” Achen and Bartels write. “Elections do not force successful candidates to reflect the policy preferences of the median voter.” The authors claim there’s no hard evidence to suggest that these dynamics would vary in countries with political systems of proportional representation and more parties than in the U.S.

    In other words: By voting, you can play some role in electing your member of Congress. But you have far less control over which policies that member supports once in office, let alone which policies the government as a whole pursues.

    Whether that’s a “no shit Sherlock” fact or an American 21st century revelation. There is no candidate that would better display that characteristic than her grace, Hillary.

  17. allan

    Dell SecureWorks, 2016’s first tech IPO, fizzles on Wall Street [Reuters – will it disappear?]

    The lackluster market debut of SecureWorks Corp, the cyber unit of Dell Inc, failed to rally the battered technology U.S. IPO market on Friday, a reminder that Wall Street does not welcome cash-burning companies without profits.

    “I don’t think it encourages anybody to hop on the bandwagon and go public,” said Robert Thomas, CEO of San Francisco-based security startup CloudPassage.

    SecureWorks priced below its indicated range and opened the day even lower; it also cut the number of shares it was offering from 9 million to 8 million. The shares closed Friday at $14, slightly up from their opening price of $13.89. [Doesn’t that mean it was fairly priced? Is that a problem?]

    In the first U.S. technology IPO this year, ending the longest drought in seven years, many investors and cyber security entrepreneurs hoped SecureWorks would reinvigorate the market and instill confidence in cyber firms.

  18. JerryDenim

    The Forbes article about trade and wealth transfers to China was interesting. There was a lot of the same old tired talking points that have been reheated and repeated since the first Clinton administration but instead of arguing that “Free Trade” (god, I hate that dishonest marketing term) between the US and China is beneficial to Americans the Forbes article kinda, sorta in a contradictory way admits that yeah, “Free Trade” is a raw deal for American workers BUT…. it’s a net good on balance when measured on the scales of global justice because it has lifted millions of Chinese out of grinding poverty. I’m not so surprised a British econ professor that gets paid to write articles for Forbes is more concerned about a Chinese factory worker than he is about an American factory worker, but isn’t the United States government supposed to be more concerned about its citizens/constituents than some hypothetical Chinese guy or gal that may have been happier and healthier hanging out in the village than they are now in a FoxCon dorm room surrounded by suicide nets pulling 18 hour days? This argument about “free trade” being such a great thing because it benefits the “global poor” appears to be an election season troupe now. I am seeing it all the time online from Clinton supporters that wish to dismiss Bernie Sanders bread & butter trade politics and wave away Clinton’s support of NAFTA and the TPP. “Oh, but what about the global poor?” What f*#King B.S. It’s always from some elitist member of the “meritocratic class” that has never done a hard day of work in their lives and probably doesn’t even know one person (outside of their gardner, plumber, building superintendent etc.) that earns a living with their hands. They have their PhD in knowledge gibberish credentially Harvard goop, and the hell with everyone else who wasn’t as smart them. Yeah let’s throw our fellow American brethren under the bus and blast a giant hole in our economy and our trade balance so we can help the “global poor” move from the rice paddy to a hellish urban manufacturing dystopia with a poisoned environment and no workplace protections. Thanks humanitarian Clinton supporters. Yea free trade and go-go global poor! Make those phones get that money!

  19. rich

    Clinton will hold fundraiser in Tel Aviv

    One last thing. Zionist speechwriters. My old boss Jared Kushner, owner of the New York Observer, wrote the speech that Trump delivered by Teleprompter to AIPAC last month– in which Trump said President Obama was the worst thing ever to happen to Israel– and it turns out that Kushner consulted with Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer to do so– the same Ron Dermer who lobbied on Capitol Hill against the Iran deal and managed to keep his diplomatic credentials!

    Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer briefed Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on Israel’s diplomatic and security issues days before Trump delivered a speech written by Kushner to the AIPAC conference last month, Haaretz reported on Sunday…

    Haaretz said Trump’s AIPAC speech sounded in part like it was “taken verbatim from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talking point sheet” thanks to this assistance.

    (The Observer’s national political reporter, Ross Barkan, quit the newspaper because of the newspaper’s coziness with the Trump campaign. It must have cramped his style.)

    Kushner is in a fine new American tradition. Gary Ginsberg, who is an executive at Time Warner, wrote several speeches for Benjamin Netanyahu of all people in recent years

    Ginsberg is on the board of the Newseum in Washington. I was outside that institution the other day and took this shot. Notice that the limestone facade of the building has the Bill of Rights’ establishment clause. And meantime Gary Ginsberg, a member of its board, is writing speeches for the leader of a foreign, religious state surely in large part out of religious affinity. If this were the Christian right, not the Jewish right, it would be a scandal.
    – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/clinton-will-hold-fundraiser-in-tel-aviv/#comments

  20. Steve H.

    – Gaia – How Animals Think

    I’m glad he’s positive about Frans de Waal and his work. Important stuff, a key question I have is “does this condition require humans?” Yet, juxtapose the following lines:

    – In the past 30 years, research has explored the distinctive ways in which children as well as animals think, and the discoveries deal the coup de grâce to the ladder of nature.

    – Much of de Waal’s book has this flavor, though I can’t really blame him, since developmental psychologists like me have been guilty of the same rhetoric.

    with this statement:

    – Behaviorism—the idea that scientists shouldn’t talk about minds, only about stimuli and responses—stuck around in animal research long after it had been discredited in the rest of psychology.

    He falls prey to the politics of thought. By saying “shouldn’t” he embraces an absolutist, almost moralistic view of the rest of psychology. This implies that the experiments are worthless, when in fact they are replicable and they led to functional equations. If a physicist were to talk about relativistic or quantum mechanics, but said that Newtonian mechanics had been discredited, it would seem, odd.

    A further missed opportunity from his bias is that he’s talking about cross-species comparisons, but fails to recognize that the behaviorist experiments yielded results that applied cross-species. That those experiments don’t explain the full breadth of how we think as humans doesn’t discredit them, it means they aren’t sufficient, not that they are not necessary. We don’t expect to explain jazz by simply talking about momentum and frequency, either.

  21. rich

    Company’s executives got stocks worth millions just before a major deal

    Securities experts said Cvent’s 2013 stock incentive plan includes no explicit guidelines on when awards can be granted — every March, say, or in regular, pre-determined periods.

    Instead, the document filed with the SEC on July 29, 2013, says executives can be granted shares of the company “at any time and from time to time” as determined by its board.

    “If it were under a formula, it seems to me it’s not problematic,” said Thomas Lee Hazen, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who specializes in corporate, securities and commodities law. “If they were using their own discretion — well, it’s not necessarily illegal, but it is a very gray area.”

    Gray’s the new green?

  22. Cry Shop

    “The Real Justification For Free Trade: China Got Rich” [Forbes]. I’m happy for them. Where’s my cut?

    Kissinger, both Hill-Bill, both Bushes, and a host of trade negotiators already picked it up. It’s the classic tactic of the China, bribe the opposite sides officials. A prime example, the Clintons, have made almost as much money speaking in China or in the USA but sponsored by China as they have speaking to Wall Street. Even Chelsey was paid to speak. All of these engagements include free private jets, free side trips for a bit of shopping for free (or probably womanizing for Bill), etc.

    Yes, that makes all of them them traitors, but then in their hearts, so are most of their supporters. Because they’d do the same thing if given the chance.

    From where I sit, I should enjoy this, but for some reason it’s sad, pitiful even.

  23. polecat

    Re the above ‘identifying brainprints’ link………

    maybe someone should force Kurzwel into a cryo chamber and hit the PRINT FREEZE button…..and then, say 48 hours later, pull out the plug!

  24. Carolinian

    Phil Weiss on the Hillary NYT magazine profile.

    So why are we learning this now? Donald Johnson nails the journalistic and moral dereliction at the heart of this publication:

    The readers picks on the 600-plus comments on the article are very good. Clinton defenders sound like militarists or idiots. One says she only wants to prevent genocide. Yeah, heart of gold.

    It is utterly cynical of the NYT to publish this after her nomination is nearly certain. The readers noticed that.

    If you read the NYT article it’s more puff piece than expose. The author talks up Clinton’s two fisted pugnacity while as necessary debunking her ideas in somewhat perfunctory asides. A sample:

    Like many of the officers I spoke with, he had preconceptions of Clinton from her years as first lady; the woman who showed up at his office around happy hour that afternoon did not fulfill them.

    “She sat down,” he recalls, “took her shoes off, put her feet up on the coffee table and said, ‘General, do you know where a gal can get a cold beer around here?’ ”

    Yes Hill sees herself as Karen Allen playing sidekick to whatever tough guy general is available in the role of Indy. No “feel your pain” sissy men for her…except perhaps for her husband.
    to quote the Bard.

    Come, you spirits
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty!

    Or more prosaically from her mentor Albright on the dead Iraqi children: “it’s worth the price.”.


    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘General, do you know where a gal can get a cold beer around here?’

      This, from the Hillary who sent Cheryl Mills an email, “And BTW, what does ‘fubar’ mean?”

      She probably don’t know the difference between lager and pilsener either.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The terms ‘lager’ and ‘pilsener’ are used more or less interchangeably. I’ve yet to read a differentiation between the two that was anything close to being both authoritative and coherent.

  25. cnchal

    “The Real Justification For Free Trade: China Got Rich” [Forbes]

    Search for the word “externality”. It isn’t mentioned once.

    From the other day http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/04/soros-warns-of-2008-like-debt-growth-in-china-how-risky-are-its-banks.html and Richard Smiths link, http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue71/Smith71.pdf to his article that exposes all sorts of externalities, internalities and everything in between.

    The totality of polluting every aspect of China bears not an iota of consideration from the Forbes article author Tim Worstall. The only thing that matters is trade.

    From Forbes

    Nothing quite divides the economic profession from the general beliefs of folk economics quite like the subject of free trade. To the economist the value of free trade is obvious: things are produced by those most efficient at production and that’s good. The thing we’re worried about is consumption so, if we’re able to produce more from our scarce resources by being more efficient then that makes us all in aggregate better off. There is also Ricardo’s point, about comparative advantage, which gives us the tagline for this section of this site. Pretty much all of economics is either obvious or trivial except for Ricardo on comparative advantage. The end result of such Ricardian thinking being that, as Brad Delong has put it, there cannot be a result of trade that makes us worse off than no trade at all.

    From Richard Smith’s China’s Communist – Capitalist Ecological Apocalypse

    The first time Li Gengxuan saw the dump trucks from the nearby factory pull into his village,
    he could not believe his eyes. Stopping between the cornfields and the primary school
    playground, the workers dumped buckets of bubbling white liquid onto the ground. Then they turned around and drove right back through the gates of their factory compound without a
    . . . . .
    workers from the nearby Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co. had been dumping this industrial waste in fields around their village every day for nine months. The liquid, silicon tetrachloride, was the byproduct of polysilicon production and it is a highly toxic substance. When exposed to humid
    air, silicone tetrachloride turns into acids and poisonous hydrogen chloride gas, which can
    make people dizzy and cause breathing difficulties.Ren Bingyan, a professor of Material
    Sciences at Hebei Industrial University, contacted by the Post, told the paper that “the land
    where you dump or bury it will be infertile. No grass or trees will grow in its place … It is …
    poisonous, it is polluting. Human beings can never touch it.”
    . . . . .
    Reckless dumping of industrial waste is everywhere in China. But what caught the attention of the Washington Post was that the Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co. was a “green energy” company producing polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world. Indeed, it was a major supplier to Suntech Power Holdings, then the world’s leading producer of solar panels, and Suntech’s founder, Shi Zhengrong, topped the Hunrun list of the richest people in China in 2008.
    . . . . .
    . . . reckless pollution of farm villages is not unavoidable and today China is the only country in the world where such criminal behavior and cynical disregard for the health and lives of farmers and workers has become standard practice on a national scale by governments at every level, even as the government’s own environmental agencies decry such behavior and struggle, mostly in vain, to stop it. As one Chinese researcher told the Post, “If this happened in the United States, you’d be arrested.” But in China environmental regulations are regularly flouted by state owned and private industries with the connivance of government officials at all levels while protesting farmers, workers, and environmental activists are arrested, jailed, beaten or worse and their lawyers with them.

    Polysilicon production produces about four tons of silicon tetrachloride liquid waste for every ton of polysilicon produced. In Germany, where Siemens produces solar panels, pollution recovery technology is installed to process the silicon tetrachloride waste and render it harmless. But such environmental protection technology is expensive. In 2008 the cost to produce polysilicon safely was about $84,500 a ton in Germany and would not have cost much less in China. Chinese companies have been producing it for $21,000 to $56,000 a ton, saving millions of dollars a month, by just dumping the toxic waste in rural areas on helpless village communities.

    Well, there is competitive advantage right there, except it’s a liability on the peasants balance sheet and asset on the polluter’s.

    The real justification for free trade: The plutocrats and Chinese criminal gang disguised as the Chinese government got rich.

    The Chinese peasants got poisoned, and have the pleasure of eating toxic food, drinking toxic water and breathing toxic air. At least they aren’t hungry!

    What’s next? I’m sure economist will explain, it’s all good because the Chinese will find a cure for chemically induced cancer because of all the practice they’re getting trying to treat it.

    1. Cry Shop

      Chinese companies have been producing it for $21,000 to $56,000 a ton, saving millions of dollars a month, by just dumping the toxic waste in rural areas on helpless village communities.

      Let me help you with that.

      Consumers buying Apple/Samsung (fill in your favorite consumer producte) Chinese companies have been getting their kicks by having it produced with savings for $21,000 to $56,000 a ton…..

      It’s not just solar panels, it’s everything, from the cheap clothing and cooking utensils right up to MIC chip sets for DOD contracts. Who reads the labels?

      1. cnchal

        From the Forbes article, here is Tim Worstall’s answer to some comments


        While I am in favor of free trade the key component is that both sides are actively engaged in free trade. China has a history of 1) creating tariffs on imports, 2) confirmed and suspected stealing of ideas/technology 3) flooding markets with cheap products due to cheap labor and a favorable exchange rate. The question becomes then is there free trade between the USA and China and if not how do we create free trade?

        Tim Worstall

        The standard economics answer is unilateral free trade. Who cares what they are doing? Let’s make ourselves richer. Buy buying their nice, cheap, production.

        Clarence Anglin

        How does that make us collectively richer? The US stood still you say. That’s not getting collectively richer. Why not have Americans get richer while China stands still? And don’t forget, China is an enemy to America so why would you want them to get richer? This is a country that has Mao Zedong on their currency still, not to mention the exact same authoritarian government that fought us on the battlefields of Korea and continues to be very anti-American. So why would you want to enrich a country like that?

        Tim Worstall

        Perhaps because I think a little bit more about the benefit to 1.3 billion people of not being starving poor?

        Reading Richard Smith’s detailed report is sobering. The ecological destruction of China is totalitarian, and so is the governing crime syndicate. Objecting to a powerful groups propensity to pollute gets one murdered with no consequences to the murderers.

        But for Tim it’s “who cares what they are doing”, while simultaneously shedding crocodile tears when thinking a little bit more about the benefit to I.3 billion billion people of not being starving poor.

        Let them eat toxic cake! I think he should change his name to Tim Worstofall

  26. Mark P.

    Health Care Industry Moves Swiftly to Stop Colorado’s “Single Payer” Ballot Measure


    ‘ —many of the largest lobbying groups around the country and in the state are raising funds to defeat Amendment 69, the single-payer ballot question going before voters this November.

    ‘The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, a national trade group, is mobilizing its member companies to defeat single payer in Colorado. “The council urges Coloradans to protect employer-provided insurance and oppose Proposition 69,” the CIAB warns. The group dispatched Steptoe & Johnson, a lobbying firm it retains, to analyze the bill.

    ‘Lobby groups that represent major for-profit health care interests in Colorado, including hospitals and insurance brokers, are similarly mobilizing against Amendment 69. The Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry — a trade group led in part by HCA HealthOne, a subsidiary of HCA, one of the largest private hospital chains in the country — is soliciting funds to defeat single payer. The business coalition to defeat the measure also includes the state’s largest association of health insurance brokers.

    ‘The proposal calls for the Colorado legislature to pass new laws raising $25 billion a year from a mix of employer payroll taxes, a 3 percent tax on employee gross pay, and a new tax on self-employed net income —-‘

    More via link.

    1. meeps

      Mark P. @ 10:20 pm

      Thanks for the link. Colorado supporters of Amendment 69 need to let their Corrupt Congress Critters know they’ll be out of a job over this. Michael Bennett opposes Amendment 69 and will lose my vote to Arn Menconi, who supports it:


  27. Squeak squeak

    Another helpful precedent for trying architects of the US torture gulag: ICC convicts a state criminal for creating a “climate of acquiescence” to crimes against humanity – exactly what the US command structure did to encourage murder, rape, and torture in its black sites. The Court’s first command responsibility conviction under Rome Statute Article 28.


    Timely judgment for the countdown to treaty-body follow up of US compliance with the Convention Against Torture, especially since treaty bodies explicitly cited command responsibility in required review. The press works hard to ignore or obscure the mounting pressure. But Alfreda Francis Bikowsky’s got her tit in the universal-jurisdiction wringer and the world is slowly turning the crank. She’s small fry. Brennan’s got his dong caught in the wringer too. Obama, torturer-in-chief of Gulet Mohamed and head acquiescer, is feeling the squeeze on his nuts. Hillary, who took credit for the object-rape of Muammar Gadafy, Ow.

  28. kimsarah

    “The Democrat Party can never fail. It can only be failed. Specifically by voters.”
    Send the idiots a message and vote against the party.

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