2:00PM Water Cooler 4/27/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Medicines New Zealand chair Heather Roy, a former consumer affairs minister, has indicated drug companies may not bother to register drugs here unless the government makes more concessions on the TPP” [Scoop].

“It’s time to give TTIP a chance” [Manfred Weber, Politico]. “We must now talk to citizens, take up their concerns and show how much we care.” Articles like this are suddenly all over the place. Somebody must have written a lot of checks.

“The mutual recognition of standards was always a benefit of the trade agreement. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) even produced campaign videos featuring production managers explaining the cost savings that will follow if they no longer have to worry about the extra inspections and certifications when exporting to the US” [Correctiv]. “Even critics of TTIP agree this makes sense. But it is becoming more and more clear that these benefits are not likely to be included when the agreement is accepted. … The American side cannot mandate the removal because each individual state decides how products are approved.” Hence, support for TTIP is “crumbling” among medium-sized German businesses (who are assuming trade deals are about trade).

“Chevron lobbied the EU to give foreign investors the legal right to challenge government decisions in a major US-EU trade deal because it would act as a deterrent against laws such as fracking bans, the Guardian can reveal” [Guardian].



“When you hear Hillary Clinton repeatedly tell the public that she wants to continue along the same pathways as President Obama and that the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act is not needed, let the image of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and its FDIC insurance logo and its $41 trillion in derivatives come to mind” [Wall Street on Parade]. “According to the [December 31, 2015 OCC] report, the credit exposure from derivatives versus the bank’s risk-based capital is as follows: JPMorgan Chase 209 percent; Bank of America 85 percent; Citibank 166 percent and Goldman Sachs (wait for it) – a whopping 516 percent.” Wait, what? I thought the big banks weren’t playing the ponies any more?

“They Made Him a Moron The strange career of Alec Ross” [Evgeny Morozov, The Baffler]. Fun stuff. Ross entered ClintonLand…


“More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is “rigged” and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll” [Reuters]. I’ve been listening to a podcast on the Civil War that includes an episode on the Lincoln Douglas debates. At that time, Senators were elected by State legislatures, and although Lincoln won the popular vote, he lost the state legislature due to Democrat gerrymandering and over-representation. Plus ça change…

“WASHINGTON – Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist who spent millions to help elect Democrats in 2014, Monday launched a $25 million campaign to drive the youth vote in November’s presidential and congressional elections” [USA Today]. Another squillionaire with a bright idea. Look, if the Democrats wanted voter registration drives to happen, they would already have happened, right? Along with getting people free Voter IDs, that would be normal behavior for an actual, functioning political party that wasn’t simply an ruling class epiphyte sucking money as if it were air.

“Obama has presided over a greater loss of electoral power for his party than any two-term president since World War II. And 2016 represents one last opportunity for him to reverse that trend” [WaPo].

Between 2008 and 2015, Democrats lost 13 Senate seats, 69 House seats, 913 state legislative seats, 11 governorships and 32 state legislative chambers, according to data compiled by University of Virginia professor Larry J. Sabato.

The dogs won’t eat the dogfood. It’s not a money problem at all, as the Sanders campaign proves.

“‘Insurance Warrior’ helps patients get pricey therapies covered” [Stat]. Makes me wonder if constituent services could be unbundled from the political parties and delivered by, say, some new standalone organization on the left.

Our Famously Free Press

“Devolution watch: Maddow’s problem with the truth!” [Daily Howler]. The Howler can be a little… acerbic, but he’s been at the media critique since Bush v. Gore.

“Bernie Sanders and the Politics of Doom” [Vice]. By a Senior Editor:

[Sanders] has been out there telling the kids that they are f*cked, in so many words. “Forty years ago, before the explosion of technology… before the global economy, it was possible in America for one person, one breadwinner, to earn enough money to take care of the entire family,” he began one of his riffs Tuesday. “Today, mom is out working, dad is out working, the kids are out working, and they have less disposable income than a one-breadwinner family had forty years ago. Something is wrong with our economy.” That last line, believe it or not, brought on a massive applause break as Sanders sipped from a glass of water.

“Believe it or not.” These guys really are totally out of touch.

PA, MD, CT, RI primaries

Readers, I should have more on yesterday’s primaries, but the press coverage was so corrosive that my yellow waders sprung a leak. What I would like to know, for the Democrat campaign, is whether the New York pattern of strong support for Clinton from the credentialled classes, and weaker support for Clinton from the poor, continued, especially in PA. However, the screaming for Sanders to drop out (as in Frank Bruni’s column today that Yves linked to), and the insistence that Trump hadn’t clinched it, was so vehement I had problems finding any real news. Lots of noise, very little signal.

“Before a boisterous crowd of 1,300 in Philadelphia, Clinton asked Democrats to imagine a more hopeful, compassionate country ‘where love trumps hate'” [WaPo]. So much wrong with here, even ignoring the tiny (paid?) crowd. I mean, there are operational definitions for making our country more loving: Not killing its citizens, or ensnaring them in debt, or paying them wages below what it takes to live (Medicare for All, tuition-free college, $15/hour minimum wage). Clinton is purveying offensively sentimental slop.

“Sanders vows to go all the way, but signals a new focus on influencing Clinton” [Politico]. And when he finds that can’t be done? Nevertheless:

“That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change,” he continued.

If this pulls the Overton Window left, then good.

“Sanders found a silver lining Tuesday in Rhode Island, where he notched a victory in the nation’s smallest state. It’s not much, and worth little in terms of delegates, but his disheartened supporters will happily take it” [NBC]. I wonder what the difference was? Rhode Island is notoriously corrupt; perhaps the Sanders message resonated for that reason?


“During a rally at World Café Live at the Queen on Market Street, [U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware] offered support for the presidential candidate with a rendition of the Donna Summer classic “She Works Hard For the Money'” [Delaware Online]. More confirmation of the idea that they really don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.

What does Bernie’s attitude toward campaign finance mean for Hillary?” [The New Yorker].

Clinton needs to find her voice on the question of campaign finance—to talk more about money, not less—because valid doubts about the integrity of the system are fuelling Trump’s campaign, too. That won’t change if Bernie is gone.

What we are hearing is Clinton’s voice. It’s also the voice of the professional part of her base. Remember this from Thomas Frank:

Everyone strode with polished informality about the stage, reading their lines from an invisible tele­prompter. And back and forth, the presenters called out to one another in tones of supportiveness and sweet flattery. … Those were just the first few minutes. It kept on like that for hours. When someone’s “potential” was mentioned, it was described as “boundless.” People’s “stories” were “compelling” when they weren’t “inspiring,” “incredible,” or “incredibly inspiring.” A Kenyan activist was introduced as “the incomparable.”

Happily trapped in their glittering bubble, they genuinely believe they are not corrupt.

The Trail

UPDATE “Poll: Trump, Clinton face divides in their parties even if they win nominations” [USA Today]. “Sanders finds himself on solid ground among Democrats on some issues. Even if Clinton clinches the nomination, 54% of likely Democratic voters say he should continue his campaign until the convention, no matter what. That includes not only seven in 10 of his supporters but also four in 10 of her backers.

“Clinton’s tricky task now: Can she ignore Sanders?” [McClatchy].

UPDATE “Today Is Clinton’s Chance To End The ‘Groundhog Day’ Campaign” [FiveThirtyEight]. Nate’s b-o-r-r-r-e-d. Call the whaaaambulance!

UPDATE “You quit the party, and you make it a little easier for the assh*les in the Democratic Party to remain in control. They want you to quit. Please don’t” [Kos, Daily Kos]. Beg, Kos. Grovel. We like that. You’re not doing it nearly enough. Try harder.

“Before ‘unity,’ Sanders must stay in the fight” [Katrina vanden Heuvel, WaPo].

Before endorsing Clinton, for example, Sanders could force platform debates and move the party toward more progressive stances on tuition-free higher education, the minimum wage, corporate trade deals, money in politics and foreign policy. He also could call for new rules to make future primaries more transparent and democratic, such as reducing the role of unelected superdelegates.

Just because Clinton said “Never, ever” on Medicare for All is no reason for vanden Heuvel to leave it off her list.

“Bernie Sanders is no fool. He’ll back Clinton when he drops out” [Dana Milbank, WaPo]. “Sanders sounded like an extortionist Monday night when he said Clinton, if she won the nomination, would have to earn his supporters’ votes by embracing single-payer health care, free college tuition and a carbon tax — all things Clinton rejected in her (successful) campaign against Sanders.” Heaven forefend the left should exercise some political muscle! Or run a policy-based campaign.

“Contested primaries are, by definition, contentious. That provides a natural disinclination to view opponents charitably. The question is whether or not supporters of losing candidates will end up backing the other candidate from the same party. Or if, once again, 2016 will prove to be exceptional” [Philip Bump, WaPo]. “We know better by now than to try and predict that.” One reason 2016 is not like 2008 is that the distinction between Sanders and Clinton is very much based on policy. The idea is that voters “come home” to the Democrat Party, but what if you want to leave home?

“A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a fraud lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general against Donald Trump and his real estate school will go to trial, setting up a potentially unprecedented situation that could feature the Republican presidential front-runner taking the stand” [Wall Street Journal, “Trump University Fraud Suit to Go to Trial, Judge Rules”]. Boy, New York AG Eric Schneiderman’s really being a bulldog on this case, isn’t he?

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of April 22, 2016: “Purchase applications are not pointing to Spring acceleration for the housing sector” [Econoday].

International Trade in Goods, March 2016: “Trade activity slowed sharply in March though the deficit narrowed, down a sharp 9.5 percent to $56.9 billion vs February’s $62.9 billion. Exports fell 1.7 percent to $116.7 billion with consumer goods showing a steep decline together with wide declines for industrial supplies, autos, and foods” [Econoday]. “A positive, however, is a 1.5 percent uptick in capital goods exports, one that follows a smaller gain in February and hints at resiliency for global business investment. But the import side of the report points at declining domestic demand with consumer goods down a very steep 9.1 percent.” Best economy ever. I’m sure there won’t be any stumbles until after November 7.

Pending Home Sales Index, March 2016: “Growth in the housing sector this year has been mostly soft though today’s pending home sales report does hint at greater strength ahead.” [Econoday]. “Sales data show little momentum going into the Spring selling season.”

“Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Tuesday posted its first-ever decline in iPhone sales and its first revenue drop in 13 years as the company credited with inventing the smartphone struggles with an increasingly saturated market” [Reuters]. “The company’s sales dropped by more than a quarter in China, its most important market after the United States, and it also forecast another disappointing quarter for global revenues.”

Shipping: “We now have an industry full of insolvent and bankrupt shipping companies that have a fleet, in excess of demand of more than 30% in some sectors, whose revenues do not meet operating expenses and whose ship values have greatly reduced” [Splash247]. The answer is, of course, consolidation….

The Fed: “The Fed Is Meeting in April to Talk About June” [Bloomberg].

Helicopter Money: “To get out of a slump, the world’s central banks consider handing out cash” [The Economist, “Money from heaven”]. “Advocates of helicopter money do not really intend to throw money out of aircraft. Broadly speaking, they argue for fiscal stimulus—in the form of government spending, tax cuts or direct payments to citizens—financed with newly printed money rather than through borrowing or taxation.” “Rather than” [snort].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72, Greed (previous close: 71, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 27 at 12:10pm. Greed is a sin. Sin boldly, for pity’s sake!


“Japanese Monks Recorded the Climate for 700 Years” [National Geographic].

Health Care

“How Medicaid forces families like mine to stay poor” [Vox]. “You’ll have to get rid of everything.” Remember, ObamaCare forces you into Medicaid. Remember also that Operative K thinks Medicaid is The Answer (“I Have Seen The Future, And It Is Medicaid“). The essential point here is that Medicaid isn’t Operative K’s future.

“Study Reveals That Giving Poor People Health Insurance Reduces Their Medical Debt” [New York Magazine]. So imagine what Medicare for All would do.

Police State

“The NYPD Is Running Stings Against Immigrant-Owned Shops, Then Pushing For Warrantless Searches” [Econintersect (Pro Publica)]. In poor neighborhoods, naturally. “At least a third of the East Harlem businesses agreed in their NYPD settlements to install cameras that the police could access upon request, and half to use the electronic card readers.” And you’ve got to maintain the cameras, or else you get fined.

Our Famously Free Press

“The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America” [Bill Moyers]. “The most powerful [political journalists] – the ones you read, see and hear the most – constitute an elite so far removed that it could only understand us through the most aggressive sympathetic imagination. And that is not going to happen.” They won’t be the ones that lose their jobs either, since they’re brands.

“What I Learned About the Washington Post From Four Years Collecting Data on Police Violence” [Gawker]. Nothing good. This is an important post on how the Pulitzer sausage is made. How does Wesley Lowery live with himself?


“Obama’s Controversial Offshore Drilling Proposal Rests On Research Funded By Fossil Fuel Industry” [International Business Times].

“Grant Park Rental Worth $3.2 Million, But NFL To Pay $103,000” [DNA Info Chicago].

Class Warfare

“How the state of the economy is literally killing people” [New York Post]. As we know from the Case-Deaton study, among others. So how come we read this in the pages of the post? Why aren’t the “liberal media” focusing like a laser beam on this?

“‘Public education…could die on our watch,” [Keron Blair of Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools] said at a recent event for the Milwaukee Teachers Association. ‘The reality is what drew me to this fight is the shared acknowledgement that we are in fact at war, and what I’ve learned about wartime is that you cannot operate with the same kind of rules. You’ve got to make some wartime adjustments”‘ [Think Progress].

“New report raises chilling possibility that mystery of 43 Mexican students’ disappearance will never be solved ” [Los Angeles Times]. And in a way, that means it is solved. Eh?

“One Texas judge is responsible for most of the student debt-related arrests in America” [Fusion]. Well, that’s a relief.

“China’s first intelligent security robot debuts in Chongqing” [People’s Daily]. Hmm. I wonder if the Chinese government has any pressing need for this technology?

News of the Wired

“Companies such as Apple, Google and the education publisher Pearson will be allowed to award cut-price degrees to British students under proposals to be announced in a white paper next month. ” [London Times].

“Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled detonation of 100 million suns” [Phys.org].

“How the world’s leading authority on the English language used Google to write the most comprehensive treatment of English usage ever published” [Business Insider].

“How to Save a Dying Language” [Smithsonian]. Aramaic.

* * *

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 (Keith):


Keith writes: “Tulips. Found on Wall Street. Amusing.”

* * *

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. rich

    The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans

    Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.

    According to research funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, the inflation-adjusted net worth of the typical household, one at the median point of wealth distribution, was $87,992 in 2003. By 2013, it had declined to $54,500, a 38 percent drop. And though the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008 certainly contributed to the drop, the decline for the lower quintiles began long before the recession—as early as the mid-1980s, Wolff says.

    Wolff also examined the number of months that a family headed by someone of “prime working age,” between 24 and 55 years old, could continue to self-fund its current consumption, presuming the liquidation of all financial assets except home equity, if the family were to lose its income—a different way of looking at the emergency question. He found that in 2013, prime-working-age families in the bottom two income quintiles had no net worth at all and thus nothing to spend. A family in the middle quintile, with an average income of roughly $50,000, could continue its spending for … six days. Even in the second-highest quintile, a family could maintain its normal consumption for only 5.3 months. Granted, those numbers do not include home equity. But, as Wolff says, “it’s much harder now to get a second mortgage or a home-equity loan or to refinance.” So remove that home equity, which in any case plummeted during the Great Recession, and a lot of people are basically wiped out. “Families have been using their savings to finance their consumption,” Wolff notes. In his assessment, the typical American family is in “desperate straits.”


    What a title. Too bad the one’s driving policy lack it.

    1. jrs

      Liquidation of all financial assets is crazy in itself, 401k liquidation and you’ll pay much of the money in penalties and then have nothing going forward into old age.

      I’m not sure I’d call that guy middle class though, upper middle class maybe. I mean the middle class doesn’t expect to send their children to elite universities, more like the state college . He really has no idea how most people in this country live who actually have low or no incomes, are bankrupted by medical bills etc..

      And stuff like this is just staggers all belief:

      “We have no retirement savings, because we emptied a small 401(k) to pay for our younger daughter’s wedding.”

      Draining the 401k to pay for a wedding ceremony … completely nuts.

      1. rich

        I think his point was $hit happens and hope of bounce back springs eternal…I guess you never know until the proverbial foot is right up against your neck, nice and hard?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, the water rose to this guy’s neck in a way peculiar to those of his station. From the same Gawker article:

          We could all stand to hear more about men and women who are evicted from their apartments and have nowhere to go—which we sometimes do, but rarely from their own voices. When the only people writing magisterial essays about their empty wallets are sad, broke, literary men, it’s easy to conflate the woes of the chattering class—which are real—with the financial firestorm facing the truly poverty-struck, not to mention the pressures felt daily by the increasingly squeezed middle class.

          “Middle class”….

          1. JoeK

            “Middle class” is itself propagandistic. We should stick with the original term, “working class,” and rather than implying it call the rentier class just that. Then we’re only left with the judgement-laden term “class,” but at least it isn’t hitched to “high” when applied to people with little or no culture or taste like many of the rich nowadays.

      2. cwaltz

        I can’t believe people are still playing the keeping up with the Joneses game and I can’t believe that a grown child would allow their parents to drain their savings account so they could have a fancy wedding.

        1. RUKidding

          Unfortunately, I can. I’ve witnessed acquaintances spending upwards of $100,000+ just on “their side” of the wedding expenses. It’s utterly depraved IMO. Yet usually these people are the same ones who whine incessantly about taxes and how unfair it is that they have to pay “so much” when they work “so hard.” Yes, usually the ones I know live way beyond their means but have some very weird sense that they are “entitled” to live in a lavish way, while blaming unfair taxes when the bills start pouring in.

          then they complain about never being able to retire. Duh.

          The concept of living within one’s means flew out the window back around the late ’70s or so, and we still mostly have not gotten back to a point where frugality and living within one’s means are viewed as virtues.

          I have no sympathy for these people.

          1. polecat

            The concept of ‘retirement’ is a 20th century notion…..certain historical circumstances converged to allow an increasing middle class the ability to fund their future retirement…….not so much now, with dwindling energy and other resources, as well as the lack of a new ‘true’ industrial revolution (not a service oriented economy) to provide the overall wage growth of the previous century……Of course, there’s always massive war to clean the slate….the problem this time around is whether or not society will have the means to start over from scratch! My parents’ generation (post WW2) was, I think, the last to see any appreciable asset gains…….things are now trending on the down slope towards what most of humanity dealt with day in and day out…..basic survival…….

      3. HotFlash

        According to http://www.costofwedding.com/ the averge cost is $26,444 but “most couples spend less than $10,000. This does not include cost for a honeymoon. Understanding wedding cost now can help you with your wedding budget later.”

        I got hitched with wearing a dress I already owned (black sequins) and a cocktail hat, which I also owned but had never had occasion to wear. Worth it for that alone! The groom wore his concert suit, the venue was the local museum and we had a potluck at my dad’s place after that. At our request, no gifts. The Reverend was $100 plus room and board, there were a few bucks for necessary gummint fees. Nobody went into debt or cashed in retirement funds. Seems to still be working after 25 years.

        Cheap as that was, it still could have been less $$ and still just fine. My favourite wedding ceremony is that of the Eskimos, who, reportedly, don’t do anything special, they just move in together.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Well, you just gave the bankers a good idea.

          Non-dischargeable (by divorce, annulment) wedding loans.

        2. cwaltz

          My wedding back in 93 was under a grand. The bulk of it was the $600 we paid for my engagement ring and our wedding bands. I also already owned my dress and we also paid $100 to be wed by the Reverend Elmer Zachey. We had maybe a dozen guests. After our wedding we went to my mother’s house where she had baked a sheet cake and served soda. I don’t regret it for a minute. It’s one day out of hopefully many. Don’t see the need to make it into a circus.

          We’re right behind you, we hit 23 years this June.

          1. MojaveWolf

            21 years and counting. Got married at the courthouse in Vegas. Can’t remember price but the Vegas trip cost money, the wedding practically nothing. Neither of us wanted a big wedding or saw/sees the point of one. We’re happy with each other. Who cares about the rest?

            1. ambrit

              Yes to all that. We hit 38 years in March. We were the last wedding in a hundred plus year old church in Covington Louisiana. The ‘reception’ was at the in-laws house for family and a few friends. Phyllis re-designed one of her old dresses. I wore a sport coat and tie. We waited a few months so my parents and ‘little’ sisters could drive over to be there. Strange days indeed.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hmm. Focus on the anecdote — admittedly, an appealing one, rather like the “Welfare Queen” with the Cadillac — as opposed to the data?

        “the typical American family is in ‘desperate straits.'”

        Surely that is the story?

        1. jrs

          Well if he wanted to write an article about the data he would have, and maybe thrown in an postscript of his personal story at most. But his story was the thrust of the article. So we have a guy probably in the top 10% of the income distribution arguing his problems are middle class problems and then relating it to others who can’t find $400 some of whom are probably living below the poverty line. And I’m not sure there ever was such a welfare queen but this guy claims to be a real person.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        I linked to the Atlantic article two days ago, pulling out the $400-for-an-emergency data point. It got one comment.

        So today we get a long quote from the same link, and one comment deep, because of the anecdote in the quote, we’re into a mini-moral panic about weddings, while at the same time we have a headline “How the state of the economy is literally killing people,” which garners one comment, and not on this thread.


        1. cwaltz

          He’s in “desperate straights” though because he made foolish financial decisions.

          The guy bought a house before he sold his other house, he used his 401k to fund a wedding and the list goes on and on…..

          It’s good that he’s taking responsibility for his choices and his shortcomings. However, I take umbrage with his idea that because he has less than $400 in savings that many of the people in the same situation probably did similar things. The guy making $7.25 an hour never had a 401k. He certainly didn’t choose to carry 2 mortgages. He doesn’t have less than $400 because he made foolish financial decisions. He’s in the shape he’s in because he had no economic power to begin with not because he squandered it like this guy did.

          Do I feel bad the guy didn’t think critically when making financial decisions? Sure, having to live with the consequences of bad choices, sucks. However, even he admits that the situation he is in is because of his own doing(and I’m going to say right here that some of my aggravation is things like, ” I did all the right things like go to college.” Really? Are we now suggesting that if people don’t go to college then they somehow deserve to be taken advantage of or live in a financial hole? The privilege practically drips off words like that and I’d argue words like that are exactly why those at the bottom have had so many problems with earning a wage that supports them.)

          1. jgordon

            You aren’t lying. I have an acquaintance who makes 300k+ per year, yet thinks of himself as poor. Actually, I’ve run into more than a few people in this situation: the more money they have, the faster they spend it on useless crap, and the deeper in debt they are. These people do not need more money. What they need is for someone to slap their hand and tell them “no!” when they go to buy something.

            GD it pisses me off so much. If I were making that kind of money–for just one year–I could build a sustainable bunker/earthship in some rural location with plenty of land to grow exotic fruit trees on, and basically never have to work again. Yet these bozos blow money on worthless houses next to the beach and useless super cars. I keep telling these guys that society is going to collapse soonish and that this stuff is worthless garbage but they just laugh it off. Seeing people flush scarce and valuable resources down the toilet in a few months that if wisely curated could ensure the survival and comfort of a small community for generations is just too frustrating. Our society that allows this kind of behavior is absolutely not worth caring about or saving.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            “he made foolish financial decisions”

            People do.[1], [2] So your view is that we should carve out a stupid exemption from our general indictment of the crappy way our financialized economy works? Including the heart attacks and suicides?

            [1] Often, they’re phished. See the foreclosure crisis, since many on this thread are adopting a moral stance on this that looks shockingly and distressingly like Rick Santelli’s.

            [2] I, myself, have many many. OTOH, if I had not, I would not be blogging at Naked Capitalism. O felix culpa, as they say.

            1. cwaltz

              Our economic system does indeed suck. However, this person had advantages that they pretty much squandered. They CHOSE to send their kids to expensive school. They CHOSE to waste money on an expensive wedding even though they knew there would be a financial penalty for it.

              My sympathies tend to lie with those that never even have those choices available to them to begin with, you know the ones that didn’t do “all the right things” because they couldn’t afford college to begin with so they get stuck with a crap job that pays minimum wage.

              As far as those of us that make bad financial decisions because we really, really want something rather than really, really need it(and yes I include myself in this category because I too have been guilty of saying I’ll cover the costs later and getting what I want now, now, now) I think when the time comes to pay the piper we really don’t get to toss our lot in with the truly economically challenged(those like my son who make $8 an hour over 40 hours per week and still can’t cover the costs of his own place). Do we deserve sympathy? Sure. Being human means we make mistakes and sometimes don’t make the best choices. However, we do also have to acknowledge that it’s more our mistake then systemic injustice(because no one forced us to pay over 20 grand for a wedding with retirement money.)

    2. different clue

      When the future ex-Middle Class Americans get over their secret shame about being secretly not Middle Class any more, then they will be willing to call themselves the Nouveau Poor. Then they will become ready to join a party calling itself the Lower Class Majority Party. Or maybe the Lower Class War Party. Or some such thing.

  2. grayslady

    Lambert, you asked what made Rhode Island different: It was the only open primary of the five that took place yesterday.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I think that all primaries, oh, heck, all elections should be open. And that registering to vote should be as easy as turning 18.

      2. cwaltz

        The Kossacks for Sanders thread actually has a pretty good idea.

        They suggested that those that registered to vote in states where they have to declare a party have a Dump the Democrats day. Right after convention Sanders supporters who feel dumped on should coordinate with each other to Dump the Party. I think it would be fun to watch the DNC pee their pants when they realize how many people they antagonized.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I decided not to wait until the convention. I dumped the Democrats during the wee hours of March 23rd. (Our state’s fustercluck of a primary was on the 22nd.)

          Back to Independent status and I am SO done with the Democrats.

          1. Waldenpond

            I’ll be going after the CA primary. It’s been 30 years but I’m out. I won’t even be watching the general.

            Instead of a dump the Ds, I’d enjoy a Berners4hillary list. Watching people who have such an online hate for Clinton slowly start reaching out to liberal pundits and bloggers they’ve been ignoring, and with great chagrin bowing their heads to the supreme court and being welcomed back into the neoliberal fold.

            Because we all know it’s never about policy, it’s always about the team.

            Can we give awards for first blogger, twitter acct etc?

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              Can I put in a plug for an early 20th century progressive (in the early 20th century sense of the word) reform enacted here in Wisconsin and, I think, some other states?

              Open primaries with no party registration. When you register to vote here, you don’t indicate a party preference. When a primary election is held, you can vote in whichever party’s primary you want on that day, but only in one. (You can’t vote in the D primary for Pres and the R primary for a different office, for example.)

              Given the institutional architecture of elections we have – dominated by and with rules mostly made by the 2 big parties – it is wrong to give the parties control of the primaries.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Why not skipping the primaries all together and opening the Nov. election to all candidates and all voters?

                That is to say, why let a party put only one person on the Nov. ballot, if the decision (of which one person) is not exclusive to party members?

              2. HotFlash

                WRT open primaries, should be not too difficult to coordinate the dates (cheaper, eh? economies of scale and all that…) so you show up, ask for one or the other ballot (which could even be printed up at the time, so they don’t run out) and away you go. One to one and onto, as the mathematicians say.

          2. Cry Shop

            I’m wondering…

            It might send a bigger signal to have stayed in the party. If a million registered Democratic voters vote, but only half of them vote the party ticket, then I’d think that would be a more devastating signal than an independent voter voting for Trump or Stein.

            On the other hand, if one is going to vote for Hill-Billy to keep the Trump troll out, yet again, it’s probably better in that case to register as a Republican to show that it was a vote against Trump and not a vote for Hellery Hill-Billy

            (Wow, what word here could have set off moderation? That Skynet is one sick puppy,)

    1. Roger Smith

      I did not know that. Thanks! I was thinking Pennsylvania was the only closed primary. This explains the results much more clearly.

      It is to bad he did not own a shell company in Delaware… might have gained some more traction there.

      1. cwaltz

        It has been challenged. Supposedly the board of elections is now saying they’ll count all “eligible” affidavit votes.

        I hope every single person who HAD TO file an affidavit remembers how the DNC rigged the game come November and votes something other than Democrat.

  3. Vinny

    Some commentary on RI (grew up there):

    Rhode Island does have a notorious history of corruption, and the state’s citizenry has been woke to it for at least a few decades. All of my friends were already very cynical about politics well-before high school.

    Outsider campaigns have also had some success at the state level. Robert Healey (may he and his shoulder-length hair and beard rest in peace) was a perennial third-party candidate for office in Rhode Island who consistently turned in strong results in both gubernatorial and lieutenant-gubernatorial elections. Even Chafee (who was certainly not an outsider) ascended to the governorship as an independent.

    Everyone I know who still lives in the state supports either Sanders or Trump, so I was thoroughly unsurprised by the ultimate results.

    1. Ulysses

      Robert Healey and his Cool Moose party!! He was a very decent man who made the little town of Warren proud.

      One of the reasons that corruption persists in Rhode Island is that the state is so small. It is almost impossible to rat out someone without also harming the interests of a relative or friend. A state legislator diverted funds to build himself a new pool and patio in the backyard? If you blow the whistle your uncle Ernie, who did the work, won’t get paid.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        ” It is almost impossible to rat out someone without also harming the interests of a relative or friend.”

        There are not very many of the Shing.

        The diameter of the elites shrinks as you approach the peak of the Mountain of Class. So perhaps the same dynamic applies there. Exhibit A: Clintonland.

  4. cwaltz

    Dear Kos,

    You better hope your strategy of Clinton pays off because if it doesn’t there’s a pretty good chance that your party is going to be irrelevant since it won’t control ANY branches of government(and they’ll deserve it.)

    As far as the party goes after Sanders leaves the race, I could care less if it burns to the ground. I think I’d rather see Independants from the left wrest control of the inept Green Party than reform the Democratic Party at this point. It’d be less work.

    1. ambrit

      How about the Democratic Whigs! Uh, no, the Whigs were the fore runners of todays Republicans, so, we already have that party, (minus the name.)

      1. LifelongLib

        As someone pointed out, the original Republicans were the Party of Lincoln. Today they are the Party of Jefferson Davis.

    2. Pavel

      We’ve already seen Trump destroy the Republican party (as epitomised by Jeb!). Let’s hope he does the same to the rotten, corrupt, hypocritical Democratic party. We can then start all over again.

      If it means 4 years of suffering, it will be worth it in the end.

    3. Pat

      I would add not only had he better hope his strategy of Clinton pays off, but he had better hope she doesn’t get us in deeper militarily by pushing regime change and picking a fight with Russia, AND that she doesn’t follow Obama’s lead on picking Supreme Court Justices if you want things like Citizen’s United overturned and gerrymandering overturned and… Oh, and she better veer back to the right on Trade, fracking, and Medicare/SS. Because even if appeals like that to Sanders supporters (and the terror of say Trump or Cruz) convince them to remain in the Democratic Party and vote for asses like Clinton and Van Hollen and Schumer and etc (the awesome is very limited, Kos), they are not going to remain once the SOP of telling the liberals to sit down and shut up and let the grown ups fuck up some more is NOT going to keep them there for the 2018 problem he mentions.

      He would do better to save his party if he were running around with his hair on fire to the Clintons and the Schultzes and the Schumers etc and screaming at them to wake up. Pointing out that their candidate BARELY made it and if Sanders had started earlier and had less thumbs on the scale she would be retiring to be a grandmother after having lost twice. SOP is no longer operative and unless you want to be irrelevant you better stop shitting on the voters and start shitting on the donors. If you don’t fight and fight hard and for real for all those things that were important to those young voters that didn’t turn out for Clinton, you aren’t going to have any part of Congress and no way back – because as cwaltz it isn’t just the Republicans who have a shrinking base.

      1. hunkerdown

        That the Democratic Party management considers winning seats more important than maintaining control of the ballot is as yet unsupported by evidence.

        As the joke goes, “I sent two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?”

    4. Darthbobber

      In the interests of accuracy, Moulitsas should now stop referring to “the assholes who run the democratic party”
      as third persons.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Democratic Party has never been worth saving from the beginning of this primary season.

      The undemocratic rules, machination, corruption were there for all to see, from the start.

      1. cwaltz

        It’s now gotten so blatant though that a majority of the country knows democracy is broken.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Pretty blatant on the R side – candidates, mathematically eliminated, allying simple to just obstruct.

          That’s like some billionaire funding the Green Party (enough but not really enough) to take aways votes from Sanders in a hypothetical general election.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That was about the time I stopped almost completely watching TV.

          It’s been cave-living (more or less) ever since, as a Neo Luddite.

    6. Torsten

      Ah, the Greens! It is hard for a political party to survive in this world without money. When there were unions, there was a chance for labor-oriented political parties. The dues would pay candidates to take a year off from their jobs to run for office. The dues would also pay for a staff of analysts and operatives. In this complex society you can’t run run a competitive government operation–and government is competitive–with a staff of unpaid, volunteer bloggers, no matter how smart they are.

      I think that’s why Bernie had to run as a Dem. The legal, get-on-the-ballot game is not only rigged against third parties–the infrastructure requirements of running and governing have become impossibly complex, expensive, — and largely privatized. Unless a “third” party can scale to the size of the Property Party, how can it compete?

      Who will take up the cause after Bernie, and how?

      1. cwaltz

        My point is the money that was poured into Bernie this cycle could be used to create a viable alternative that would probably not put up much of a fight if you were to support a candidate from their party.

        1. Torsten

          And so I have suggested here previously that in defeat I wish Bernie would disown Hillary and endorse the Greens. Yves says he won’t, but I say he owes it to us, who have supported him to the tune of $27 x 7M.

          IMHO, the Green Party isn’t so much “inept” as it is impecunious. It has been wrong-footed badly by hopey-changey Obama.

          Bernie’s residual monies would be a start. But if he won’t go Green (and I fear Yves is right), where is the infrastructure after Bernie? How can it be recreated? Can it be re-created?

          1. different clue

            I remember when the Green Party ran McGaw against Wellstone of Minnesota deliberately on purpose to get Wellstone defeated and the Republican elected. The Green pressure from McGaw forced Wellstone into more intensive campaigning. On one of those intensive campaign flights, his plane crashed and killed him and his family.

            To me, voting or supporting any Green Party thing will always feel like dancing on Wellstone’s grave.

            1. Sheepy

              Wellstone was on the way to a funeral, not campaigning when the plane crashed. Seems like a lot of the people I talk to in Minnesota don’t believe the crash was an accident.

              1. sd

                Two pilots flying a plane that pings the runway for landing approach and then mysteriously crashes in the woods without either pilot ever radioing for assistance….and visibility under cloud cover was clear so landing by sight was possible.

              2. different clue

                On the way to a funeral? Nothing to do with campaigning? A flight he would have made exactly the same way anyway, even if the Green Party had not been running the Republican ex-Marine McGaw against Wellstone in order to get Wellstone to lose? Well then, I guess the Green Party is not the least bit morally culpable in Wellstone’s death.

                Their running McGaw against Wellstone to get Wellstone defeated still says all there is to say about the morality and ethics of the Green Party. It was still a perfect expression of everything they stand for.

                By the way, here is a blogpost by Jeff Wells at Rigorous Intuition who also found certain events around the Wellstone plane crash odd and strange, to say the least.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            “he owes it to us, who have supported him to the tune of $27 x 7M.”

            Taking “us” as the Greens, that’s a direct lie. The Greens didn’t raise $27 x 7M for Sanders.

            Taking “us” as Sanders voters, it’s deeply bogus. Did anyone ever hear Sanders commit to the Greens. Of course not. Absent a commitment from Sanders, he “owes” nothing.

            You do your (silly*) cause no good with this crapola. Stop it.

            * Silly because for whatever reason, fair or unfair, there are a few functional Green state parties (mine being almost completely dysfunctional; I wouldn’t vote for them for dog-catcher). Silly also because the Greens are doing just the same thing as the Democrats: “Give us your voters and your money!” In each case, the motive seems purely partisan. So who cares?

            1. Torsten

              Oh, please, Lambert!

              No one is more aware than I of just how hapless the Greens are. But implying that they are just as venal as the Democrats or dismissing their platform as “purely partisan” is unfair. I’ve only been a sometimes-registered Green, but I’ve now worked shoulder-to-shoulder with them in three states trying to advance single-payer. Unlike the Dems, the Greens have not sold out. There are institutions and people more worthy of your contempt.

              But to my larger question, who will assume the leadership role of Bernie Sanders, if not the Greens? SEIU? Elizabeth Warren–in eight years??

              1. Darthbobber

                Well,you have to actually have SOME power before you can sell out. The Greens couldn’t sell out if they would.

                heir German namesakes who started the whole Green thing got around to it quickly enough, though.

    7. sleepy

      Kos will do better if the repubs win everything. It will create far more fundraising opportunities and far more uniform opinion and far less dissension among the posters and bloggers.

      1. sd

        I don’t see how. It’s just gotten stupid over there. Other than a very small handful of writers, no one actually does research or writes about matters of substance any more. There used to be some fantastic crowd sourced research, long gone.

    8. jgordon

      I probably would have voted for Sanders over Trump myself, but now I can only see myself supporting Trump. Trump may be an asshole, but he has what it takes to win in a street fight, and that’s something that no other candidate in either party has.

      Everything Bernie should have been saying all along about Hillary, Trump is now saying. Corruption, owned by Wall Street, destroyed Libya, horrible judgement. It’s all now explicitly on the table. These are repetitive, explicit themes that have been in Trump’s speech the past couple of days. Bernie may have wanted to run a “clean” campaign for whatever reason–but guess what. That allowed Hillary to be the nominee and it allowed Trump to be the next president. Not Bernie. Nice guys are not winners.

      Meanwhile Hillary is clutching her pearls and moaning about how she doesn’t like Trump’s tone. That “attack” may have worked on Bernie, but to Trump that’s an incitement. What the hell couldn’t Bernie said this stuff months ago? Why did it take Trump to bring all this out into the Open on the eve of Trump and Hillary taking their parties nominations?

      You know, I’m just saying here–but if Bernie had made me his political adviser and he’d followed my advice, he’d be the Democratic nominee already.

      1. tegnost

        It might and has worked well with republicans but elite dems are too touchy feely for that aggressive manner, bernie has done as well as he has by walking a tightrope, and I hope he keeps at it, Cali is huge and at the end so suspense. Personally, (i’m washington) my cali family is neph/niece bernie, sister, brother, sister in law, mom all hillary, mom and sis in law are the only possible defectors based entirely on outcome for neph/niece so total toss up.All PBS all the time, NPR on the radio, I don’t know how they do it my head would splode. I do think californians will cotton to being the last word and will take it seriously, just seriously like who knows what will happen with those actualized people deciding. I say believe the children.

  5. hemeantwell

    Readers, I should have more on this, but the press coverage was so corrosive that my yellow waders sprung a leak.

    Right, and throughout this campaign I’ve found myself drawn to stay out of the sewage entirely. This site, and your efforts, Lambert, have been very helpful at giving me the gist of the bilge without having to engage it directly. You pass on the main ideas, few as they are, without the rhetoric that undeservedly gives them force. It’s like in middle school, when you knew the assholes were assholes and not worth attending to but they would still, like Hannibal Lecter, get into your head in a, yes, corrosive way.

    1. RMO

      I suggested a while ago that investing in one of those ultra-hazmat, Andromeda Strain suits would have been worth it. If things keep going the way they have been even that may not be enough and a suit which would allow the wearer to comfortably walk on the surface of Venus could end up being necessary.

    2. tegnost

      yes, I and all of the rest of us in the a/v club (nc commentariat) think you are a capital nerd!

      1. tegnost

        commentariat: “if you drive your tricycle over that cliff it’s going to hurt.”
        clinton supporter: “watch me”

  6. ScottW

    The PA results are interesting. In 2008, approx. 2,333,000 Dems. voted in the primary with Hillary getting approx. 1,273,000 votes and Obama 1,059,000 votes. Yesterday, about 1,652,000 Dems. voted with Hillary getting 918,000 and Sanders 719,000. Where did those 700,000 voters go? Hillary received about 365,000 fewer votes than in 2008. Both figures seem huge and might spell trouble for the Dems in November.

    Contrast that with the Republican side. In 2008, about 816,000 voted of whom 587,700 went for McCain. In 2016, the number of Republican voters almost doubled to 1,573,000, with Trump getting 892,000, Cruz 340,000 and Kasich 304,000. “Other” accounts for the extra votes for both parties.

    Obama also lost about 300,000 votes from his ’08 victory over McCain, to his 6 point victory over Romney in ’12.

    Is it possible PA will vote for the Republican in ’16? The primary numbers suggest the race will be much closer than in the past 2 cycles.

    1. Gilby

      Is the Republican primary open–or at least less restrictive–than the Democratic primary in PA?

      Are the rules for the PA Democratic primary the same now as they were in 2008?

      How many polling stations were used in 2008 and in 2016?

      I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but they might or might not explain the discrepancy.

      In general, though, it’s become clear that part of Hillary’s “coronation” strategy from the beginning included something like an indirect commitment to voter suppression. In 2008, both candidates were part of the machine, or rather were fighting for dominance within the machine, hence the need for suppression was not necessary.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I notice the number of delegates of each state differs for the Democrats from the number for the Republicans.

        The total number and the number to clinch are also different for the 2 parties. This part I understand.

        But relative to the total, if a state’s total is based on population, then it should be the same, relative to other states, for both parties.

        Then, I think maybe it’s based on the number of registered Democrats (or Republicans). But I doubt that is the method they use to determine how many delegates for each state. (I mean, then Independents of close primaries would be not counted at all).

        1. different clue

          The Parties are private clubs. They have the legal privilege of setting their delegate numbers and selection procedures any way they want to.

          1. flora

            re: Private Clubs.
            That would be find if it were easy for any party to get on all state ballots for all elections. But, it’s not. The duopoly has pretty much closed the system to maintain their dominance. So saying they are private clubs and can set their own rules, while at the same time only members of these particular private clubs can get candidates on the state ballots, in effect privatizes democracy. Machine politics.
            It’s time for open primaries and open caucuses to keep democracy open.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If Independents, the Green party and other parties can get their candidates on the ballot, then, everyone gets a chance to vote, even if the two parties keep their primaries closed.

              1. flora

                That’s a big “if.”

                First the party has to be recognized by the state. In my state the Green party isn’t recognized and isn’t on the ballot. Getting recognition isn’t simple, it is a large hurdle. The duopoly likes it this way.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  That Sander couldn’t run with that strategy and hope to win was the original undemocracy.

                  The closed primary issue is secondary.

                  I am more up in arms with the former.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Let me give an example and maybe you can fill in what is missing, because I don’t get it.

            For R, there 17 delegates for Penn, and 36 for Maryland.

            For D, you have 189 and 95.

            (I get this by googling ‘2016 primaries’)

            It seems for the Republicans, Maryland (with people) is more important than Pennsylvania.

            Is the R party being undemocratic to Penn, favoring Maryland????

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Maryland at about 6 million is 6 times more populous than Rhode Island at around 1 million.

              Maryland is given about 95 delegates, to R.I.’s 24, close to 4:1.

              Has the DNC shortchanged Hillary who won Maryland, and lost R.I.?

              What do they base their state delegate numbers on? Total population? Based on registered Democrats (in that case shortchanging Independents)? How?

              1. marym

                This is from 2004 and talks about the Dem allocation, but it gives some flavor. The text goes on and on. Elsewhere on that site there’s a page with a link to the Republican rules from 2012.

                The rules of the Democratic National Convention call for the following formula to be used in determining the allocation of delegate votes to each jurisdiction sending a delegation to the Convention.

                Each jurisdiction with electoral votes is assigned a number of Base (delegate) votes based on an “Allocation Factor” multiplied by 3,000 arrived at through a calculation involving the following factors:
                1.State’s Democratic Vote (SDV): The jurisdiction’s popular vote for the Democratic candidate for President in the last three Presidential Elections (in this case: 1992, 1996, and 2000).
                2.Total Democratic Vote (TDV): The total popular vote for the Democratic candidate for President in the last three Presidential Elections (1992, 1996, and 2000).
                3.The state’s Electoral Vote (SEV).
                4.The total Electoral Vote of all jurisdictions (538).

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


                  It seems to encourage the Stockholm Syndrome. That is, if you do not support this year’s Democratic candidate for president (because you feel she is not worthy, sorry, or he is not worthy – don’t want to prejudice anyone), your state will likely be assigned fewer delegated in 2020.

                  Now, you must identify with her, or him.

    2. Synoia

      You have answered your own question

      This Year D Voters 1,652,000 down 700,000
      This year R Voters 1,573,000 plus 700,000

      O’s done so well for the D’s that 700,000 voter walked away from “Hope and Change”

      1. EmilianoZ

        I guess these were 700,000 white ex-Dems going off to the Reps to vote for the Trump leaving the blacks to decide the Dem primary. They were probably not very impressed by Bernie’s decision to cling to the big O’s “legacy”. That decision probably cost him many white votes without winning him any black votes.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “the blacks” didn’t decide anything any more than “millenials” do. They’re not monolithic, for pity’s sake! There are times when I think that identity politics is nothing but a horrid melange of category errors.

      2. cwaltz

        It gets even worse when you consider that some of those 700,000 are independants that reregistered to participate in closed primaries.

        My message to the DNC is “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I hope Sanders will leave them too.

          Why hang around with people like them?

          Unless they made him promise to stay. In that case, we need to liberate Bernie.

          “Saving Bernie” – the next epic movie.

          Or maybe Sanders will leave this summer, and Democratic Party is no more.

          “Revolution, phase 1, completed.”

    3. Tiercelet

      Much as I’d like to be convinced, and this does show an enthusiasm gap, the entire theme from the HRC camp/party machine this election has been that Clinton is inevitable. Given that, I wouldn’t be surprised if there just wasn’t much of a GOTV effort going on, and people decided to stay home.

      The Democratic Party had better hope they can get over that for November.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      It’s been reported several times in the last month of so that 60K PA Democrats switched to the GOP in advance of the primary. As someone who spent her first half-century there, my bet would be so they could vote for Trump. That likely doesn’t include any that switched prior to the months just before the deadline.

      Keep in mind PA is a northern bastion for the KKK, and full of people who blame affirmative action for everything. Meantime, PA liberals were abandoned by the “party of the people” and had nowhere to go. So, those numbers don’t surprise me at all.

  7. Carolinian

    So who are these dogs who refuse to eat dog food? In my experience dogs will eat just about anything. Surely the correct expression should be the cats won’t eat the cat food….

    1. ambrit

      That dogs will eat almost anything is the point. Anything that they do not eat must be really awful.

    2. Clive

      You must be very familiar with my mother-in-law’s cat. I’ve never known anyone so fussy and inconsistent.

    1. rich

      Since you brought up failing……

      Former Tax Lobbyists Are Writing the Rules on Tax Dodging
      Lee Fang
      Apr. 27 2016, 10:14 a.m.

      The secret tax-dodging strategies of the global elite in China, Russia, Brazil, the U.K., and beyond were exposed in speculator fashion by the recent Panama Papers investigation, fueling a worldwide demand for a crackdown on tax avoidance.

      But there is little appetite in Congress for taking on powerful tax dodgers in the U.S., where the practice has become commonplace.

      A request for comment about the Panama Papers to the two congressional committees charged with tax policy — House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee — was ignored.

      The reluctance by congressional leaders to tackle tax dodging is nothing new, especially given that some of the largest companies paying little to no federal taxes are among the biggest campaign contributors in the country. But there’s another reason to remain skeptical that Congress will move aggressively on tax avoidance: Former tax lobbyists now run the tax-writing committees.

      We researched the backgrounds of the people who manage the day-to-day operations of both committees and found that a number of lobbyists who represented world-class tax avoiders now occupy top positions as committee staff. Many have stints in and out of government and the lobbying profession, a phenomenon known as the “reverse revolving door.” In other words, the lobbyists that help special interest groups and wealthy individuals minimize their tax bills are not only everywhere on K Street, they’re literally managing the bodies that create tax law:


      1. inode_buddha

        The fact that Congress doesn’t seem too keen to “look into it” speaks volumes about them. And not in a good way.

        The part about the lobbyists and the reverse revolving door is everything that is wrong with our system.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Crude earl, comrades: the June contract closed at $45.33 a barrel, a fresh high for 2016.

    The energy sector of the S&P 500, XLE, also reached a 2016 high.

    The doomers keep a-cluckin’ while oil keeps on truckin’ …

    1. Clive

      Well all I can say is that even at 45 bucks a barrel, here North Sea oil is still deeply under water.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Time to raise rates to burst that bubble.

      Nothing good will come of oil at these price range.

      1. Jim Haygood

        J-Yel couldn’t disagree with you more:

        Inflation has continued to run below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run objective, partly reflecting earlier declines in energy prices and falling prices of non-energy imports.

        Inflation is expected to remain low in the near term, in part because of earlier declines in energy prices, but to rise to 2 percent over the medium term as the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate.

        The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.


        J-Yel is cheering as oil rises from its deathbed. She’s jumping up and down (cautiously) in her sensible black lace-up shoes.

        With a rare smile on her face, she tosses chocolate treats in the air, to watch Stanley Fischer catch them in his mouth.

        Good lad, Stan! Who’s your mommy?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Hope she enjoys the next few months.

          Hopefully, the next president conducts a thorough review of the achievements over there.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Don’t know about “enjoy.”

            But every day’s a thrill when the financial world is teetering on its axis, and her only tools are a string, a fireplace poker, a squirt gun and a megaphone.

            “I shoulda learned to play the guitar; I shoulda learned to play them drums.” — Dire Straits

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That’s more toys than many 99% parents could afford to buy for their kids.

              “You have to share that string with your brothers.”

  9. ScottW

    In 2008, the PA primary was held on April 22, but almost all of the primaries had been held (Indiana, NC, and a few smaller ones remained). Even with her victory, Clinton trailed Obama by 138 pledged delegates, an impossible number to overcome. There was no path to victory.

    Her statement after winning PA in ’08: “Some people counted me out and said to drop out. But the American people don’t quit, and they deserve a president who doesn’t quit, either.”

    1. Gilby

      On the one hand, this makes Scott W’s observation above even stranger.

      On the other hand, perhaps racism played a factor in the big turnout among Democratic voters in PA in 2008.
      I faintly recall that Clinton and her surrogates did engage in something like race-baiting against Obama in certain select states, PA being one of them.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Clinton has always believed in the system, the party, in collecting delegates, writing the party platform and negotiating with Team Obama.

      Sanders doesn’t believe in negotiating with Hillary.

      What is there to negotiate?

      She needed to continue, as a negotiation ploy.

      Sanders is not going to negotiate with…that woman.

  10. Lexington

    UPDATE “You quit the party, and you make it a little easier for the assh*les in the Democratic Party to remain in control. They want you to quit. Please don’t” [Kos, Daily Kos]


    Kos imposes Comintern style party discipline on his website, banning users who criticize the establishment’s candidate, and now he’s begging them not to abandon the party? It’s surreal. And even though I haven’t read Daily Kos in years it’s still nice to see he’s sticking to the kayfabe of somehow being opposed to the “assh*les” running the party. That was always the best part of his schtick. See the Democratic party isn’t perfect, it has a lot of warts, we all know it. But it can be redeemed. WE can make it better. It’s going to take a lot of time, and effort, and -oh, yes!- it’s going to take money (lots of money), but WE can do it! If we all stick together, and keep the faith, and dare to believe! Don’t despair! If you despair THEY win!

    But until then anyone caught critcizing Dear Leader gets a one way ticket to an all expenses paid luxury oubliette in DKos Pergatory.

    Because all that hopey changey cr*p may be necessary to get the page clicks but at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is winning.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People have to empower themselves.

      Instead of looking to Sanders to guide them, on whether to leave or to stay, they should decide for themselves.

      (And also try to run your own campaign from small donors, instead of relying on a central figure to disperse money from small donors nation-wide).

      My guess is Sanders stays.

      I hope he leaves.

      1. cwaltz

        He’s already said he’d stay after the election cycle. I’m sure Kos will try to use him AGAIN(because yes he has used Sanders in the past) to fundraise. Bernie may be okay with being a doormat for political expediency- I am NOT.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sanders said just the other day that it was up to you, me and the rest of us to keep it going.

          I hope that doesn’t mean he’s leaving the revolution to become a doormat.

          1. pretzelattack

            i just saw a yahoo headline saying his campaign is laying off hundreds of staffers.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Does that mean only Donald the ‘presumptive R nominee’ Trump can save us now?

              1. pretzelattack

                i’m not sure anybody can save us from a disastrous next 4 years. i just hope it will lead to shaking up the system. i think that’s more likely with trump–the less effective evil. i’m kind of depressed at the moment, but long haul…

            2. MojaveWolf

              The headline was (deliberately?) misleading. Bernie is laying off staffers in states that have already voted, with the possibility of bringing them back later, in order to focus resources on the remaining states & win as many delegates as possible, and moving some others from these states to California because that’s where the campaign is especially focusing. That’s as close to a quote as I can give you; don’t remember which version of this I clicked on earlier in the day. He sounds quite defiant & nowhere near giving up in most of what I’ve heard, MSM efforts to paint it otherwise notwithstanding.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                California is going to be interesting.

                $15 min wage has already been signed into law.

                Workers around the ports and at huge import distribution centers have benefited from trade deals. Will they go to Hillary?

                Rich people in Beverly Hills/Bel Air holding $27 per person fundraisers.

                1. MojaveWolf

                  This was going to be a follow up to a (very long) something I wrote in the GP Philadelphia thread, about taking credit rather than blame if HRC gets the nom & loses in november, but that seems to have vanished into the ether (no awaiting moderation note, just disappeared when page renewed after I hit post, and of course I didn’t save anywhere)

                  Was originally in that post, then I cut it, now its all that left. By itself it works better here:

                  I still plan to vote for Bernie in Cali & still have some hope he wins the nomination, via people finally recognizing the fraud/suppression that’s been going on & reacting to it, or something even if I’m not sure what. People have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles before, even when it seemed a lost cause even to them.

                  And truthfully, the polls showing a close race out here are ridiculous. Not only do I only know a single HRC supporter out of 100’s of people from different parts of the state, I repeatedly run into people who say the same thing about their acquaintances and/or the people they talk to phone banking. I’m sure some people support her (a lot of celebrities do, including some whose issue stances seem more aligned with Bernie) and I don’t think he’ll win the 70-30 you might get from Oregon–we have a lot of rich sociopaths living here and I’m sure someone must like her or the polls wouldn’t be pretending its close (maybe the central valley & Orange County & Silicon Valley, I haven’t spoken to anyone from the former & the latter two fit her voting profile) but the only way he doesn’t win by over 20% is if people give up or their is massive disenfranchisement. Cali votes have a paper trail, so outright vote-switching or disappearing will be more difficult than some places. Whether it will be enough or not I don’t know.

                  1. tegnost

                    I can usually salvage comments by going back and scrolling to bottom of page, it’s usually there, c+p then re post…

                    1. MojaveWolf

                      Thanks. I tried & it was there & tried a 2d time & it vanished again so I posted it under same article at Down With Tyranny.


                    2. MojaveWolf

                      Thanks. I tried & it was there & tried a 2d time & it vanished again so I posted it under same article at Down With Tyranny.

                    3. tegnost

                      To the point of your comment, the DNC has become as nefarious as the rnc re: voter suppression, a large number of people are excluded from voting so your anecdotal poll doesn’t work. Still bernie has momentum, and from a strictly sporting angle, i’d take close in the third quarter with momentum over hillary playing 4 corners because she has no game. California is huge electorially so I encourage you, for the sake of all the rest of us, to stay positive and try to turn whoever you can, cali is tough because money and status go together in the parts that I’m familiar with, but theres lots of people there and bernie has done well in the west…

    2. EGrise

      No kidding. That was my first thought too: pretty f*cking rich coming from that guy.

      Another reason I come to NC: they read DailyKos so I don’t have to.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not as rich as Hillary said last night, something along the line that, she wanted, like Sanders, to rid money from politics.

        1. cwaltz

          Well isn’t that convenient? I wonder if I should believe her and the DNCs actions or their words?

          Yeah, Hillary Clinton can bite me.

    3. Darthbobber

      He still refers to “the assholes in the Democratic Party in the 3rd person. This is deceptive now, if it wasn’t always. The Moulitsas business model is pretty status quo dependent.

    4. dk

      I think what he means is, don’t change your party registration. Stay a Dem, but don’t fund the DNC.

      Which would work if the DNC were funded by its voters, but it isn’t, it’s funded by corporates and some wealthies. And it’s completely captured by its consultants and vendors, too.

      But I also think Kos thinks that changing from Dem means changing to Rep. Instead, one can register DTS (Decline To State) in most states. From the parties’ point of view, it’s like putting on a cloak of invisibility. That would freak a lot of people out. Each party sees the DTS as necessarily in cahoots with their enemy, but it’s a very heterogenous bunch.

      But, then what?

      The DNC (like the RNC) has been captured by their consultants and vendors. They run the show, they run the candidates. Consultants make more money from voter suppression, because fewer, wealthier voters can be targeted/messaged more cost-effectively than poorer ones, it’s that simple. This leads to foot-dragging and topic-changing and anything to avoid money going towards ID support programs, and even registrations drives get starved and cut off after a few weeks. Besides, the Dems want to shake the Beware Big Brother stick against ID laws, not for any rational reason.

      So how to ditch the consultants and vendors? Go grassroots, all the way, and prepare to lose and lose and lose until you win. How to build data resources that can be trusted, circulated, and not corrupted? Good question, but I’d expect all kinds of sabotage attempts (not that that’s anything new in politics).

  11. Steven

    Schneiderman knows what side his bread is buttered on. He always performs like a trained seal for the Dem donor class.

  12. JIm

    “If this pulls the Overton window left, than good.”

    It is my assumption that the political anger among the working and middle class has already emotionally broken the Overton window–and that the policy proposals now being put forward as moving the window to the left ( such as free higher education, a higher minimum wage, medicare for all, dismantling of corporate trade deals etc. are actually quite conservative–a type of pragmatic collectivism or managerial control run by the upper reaches of the salary class for the supposed benefit of the working and increasingly decimated middle-class

    But this type of managerialism/social engineering no longer represents the greater public interest but is instead a move by the salary class to further consolidate the merger of state and economy in order to better serve their own private interests for power and control.

    MMT, for example, without a simultaneous radical decentralization of our political structure to a real federalism of local control and direct democracy, could easily become simply a technical monetary solution to keep a corrupt financial/economic/political/cultural system on life support.

    1. Benedict@Large

      +1 Re: MMT

      MMT is a description of how money works. Nothing more. Most MMTers are liberal because of the possibilities of MMT for the social state. However, it is just as easily misused by hard right fascists, who could simply view the government as their personal cash register for whatever hair-brained projects their ambitions might come up with.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Safer to go with ‘new money belongs to the people to spend.’

        Governments come and go. Good ones, bad ones.

        But the people endure…to pay for any indulgences of past governments, like the Tsarist govenment 100 years after they were gone.

  13. Pavel

    Just stumbled on this over at CounterPunch, by (the always enjoyable) Pepe Escobar, about the Clintons’ ties to Goldman Sachs:

    The Clinton machine-Goldman Sachs dangerous liaisons stretch back to the early go-go 1990s, when Bubba was not even in da (White) House. Most of the trail is a mater of public domain; Bob Rubin – then co-senior partner of Goldman Sachs – falling in love with Bill and becoming the economic advisor to his 1992 presidential campaign; Rubin engineering the deregulation frenzy that gave us toxic CDOs and apocalyptic derivatives; Goldman Sachs as a top financier of Hillary’s 2000 Senate campaign, only behind Citigroup; Bill bagging $650,000 for four speeches between December 2004 and June 2005 (once again; no transcripts); then bagging another $600,000 between 2006 and 2014.

    In 2011 the Clinton Foundation moved to a new HQ in downtown Manhattan – conveniently, in a Goldman Sachs building. In the spring of 2014, top Clinton Foundation donors discussed a bright future together inside Goldman Sachs’s corporate HQ. Gary Gensler, formerly from Goldman Sachs and also former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is the Hillary Clinton campaign’s chief financial officer.

    As extensively dissected, the record spells out Goldman Sachs as “the Clintons’ number one Wall Street contributor, based on speaking fees, charitable donations, and campaign contributions”, the three foundations of what Simon Head chose to brand, appropriately, the Clinton system.

    So forget about the extensively documented dodgy practices of Goldman Sachs before, during and after the 2008 financial crisis. Forget about Goldman Sachs being ordered to pay a paltry $5 billion for its mortgage racket (Hillary: no comments.)

    The record shows that for the Clinton system, Goldman Sachs is a sacred cow. Thus those lavish speeches, the glowing P.R., the revolving door always open. Not exactly poetic justice rules that the system (Clintonian and otherwise) as well as stalwart Goldman Sachs are Too Big To Fail. You don’t need to be Leibniz to know that’s the best of all possible worlds for the Goldman Golden Girl.

    –Pepe Escobar: Hillary: Wall Street’s Golden Girl

    Why the fsck doesn’t Bernie throw all caution to the winds and really go after HRC on all this? What does he have to lose? It’s not like he has a future otherwise within the DNC.

    1. Waldenpond

      Sanders is first a D loyalist. He has been honest and consistent, he will support the D nominee and will not run as an independent. At least he was more honest than O who created and org and then knee capped it. Sanders has always been clear that this was it, he works within the system/supports the system and he’s going back to the senate and is in line for committee promotions. He agreed to not interfere in senate races (he hasn’t) and not to attack Clinton personally. He has always been very careful to present the Ds and Clinton as victims of a corrupt financial system rather than the purveyors they are. It has always been an example of a hole in the truth teller presentation.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Will he go back to being an Independent, like he had been for years and years?

        He can endorse, or not endorse, Hillary, even as an Independent. So, this is a separate decision.

        Did he promise he wouldn’t go back, but would now remain a Democrat?

      2. inode_buddha

        He will learn a hard and bitter lesson about the cost of that loyalty even if he somehow does win. I think they used to call it “honor among thieves”. Which is why yes, he should in fact come out with all guns a-blazin’.

        1. MojaveWolf

          Aye. My one and only real disappointment with Bernie this campaign is, if true, the DWT story about him being pressured not to endorse certain candidates at penalty of his committee chairmanship (not at all questioning that DWT believed this to be true, I love that site & trust them, just wondering about the intel).

          If this happened, how did he NOT say a very loud and public FU (not using those words, coz he’s Bernie) to them, and immediately endorse in each and every such race? I really don’t see how you CAN do anything else in that situation, unless you had no inclination to endorse anyway, or they hadn’t endorsed you. Grayson & Fetterman had (tho I can see why given poll #s showing Fetterman way back he might not have wanted to hurt Seestak & help the horrorshow conservadem McGinty, who I dearly hope loses in the general) Genuinely perplexed, thus my wondering about whether this was a false rumor. He can (and should, even if t his is false) endorse Grayson.

          On the positive side, reading that article gave me the name of someone in OH I’ve never heard of before, who I now have high hopes for w/out knowing anything about them, simply because the DNC dislikes them. =)

        2. tegnost

          guns blazing to the bitter end like in a louis l’amour novel. Usually the scoundrel in those stories was a bankster, too… and in the end he wins against all odds… the american success story writ large

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, Clinton fought until the last delegate in 2008. And then she cut the deal with Obama in Denver that may win her the Presidency (speculating freely, that’s because she had the Texas caucus fraud affidavits to hold over Obama’s head).

          So when people say “Sanders should quit” what they are really saying is that they don’t want Sanders to cut the best possible deal on behalf of his voters. And why would that be, one wonders? Because “more that unites us than divides us” is a crock, that’s why.

  14. JaaaaayCeeeee

    Daily Howler’s example of what s/he calls Rachel Maddow’s devolution into misinforming viewers is nothing compared to 3/31/16, when Rachel Maddow and the Clinton campaign concocted the false narrative that Bernie Sanders said womens issues are stupid (which Clinton quickly abandoned) and that Bernie Sanders said womens issues are not serious issues, which Clinton still uses regularly on the trail.

    At 1:30 Maddow tries to put the words into Sanders mouth, which he shoots down completely. So, the Clinton campaign edits in footage from the subsequent interview Maddow did with Clinton, at 2:55, to baldly claim Sanders said that womens issues are less important to him, than they are to Clinton.


    But beyond misinforming viewers about Sanders and womens issues or Rachel Maddow doing it, this is the best example of news media’s biggest trick to misinform voters. This clip successfully distracts from and crowds out what Maddow accidentally allowed Bernie Sanders to say on television (from 2 minutes to 2:55). I remember watching that interview because it had been promoted, and since I never watch MSNBC I’d set up and recorded it. I remember idly thinking while watching, that Rachel Maddow would get into trouble for allowing 2 – 2:55 to happen at all, and laughed bitterly the next day when I saw how Maddow paid her dues, by letting the Clinton campaign put out that briefing of edited together clips the next day.

    Back to the specific claim that Bernie Sanders says womens issues aren’t serious issues. Clinton first used Maddow’s false dichotomy in her sexist #I’mSoSickOf campaign and has been using it ever since, just like the RNC built their 2012 convention around (and under a big banner) “You built that!” after misrepresenting Obama’s “you didn’t build that”.

    Media has created false narratives for Clinton now on womens issues, gun control, and Wall Street using the same logical fallacies, and Clinton campaigned in Illinois this week against Bernie Sanders for being against saving the auto industry. It’s what they are paid to do.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yep. A third party concept is doomed to founder without alternative media sources (as one would have thought the progressive blogosphere learned 2003-2006). That’s a huge issue in the game. (And no, a party newspaper a la Pravda or Iskra is not the answer. We already have those.)

  15. Jess

    Dennis Hastert gets 15 months in prison for attempting to bribe one of his abuse victims.

    Not nearly long enough.

    1. grayslady

      If a former Speaker of the House can be sent to jail, is it too much to hope for that a former Secretary of State can also be jailed?

    2. Jim Haygood

      Important to review the footnotes:

      Federal guidelines for the charge of illegal structuring of bank withdrawals dictated the prosecutor’s recommendation for up to a six-month prison term. Hastert pleaded guilty to the charge in October.

      Hastert would have faced more serious charges for sex abuse had the statutes of limitation for the criminal sexual misconduct not expired years ago.

      Durkin acknowledged he could not sentence Hastert “for being a child molester” and that his sentence would “pale in comparison” to what the former lawmaker would have faced had he been convicted of state charges for sexual abuse of a child.


      ‘Structuring’ is an orwellian, fabricated, victimless offense that consists of depositing or withdrawing one’s
      own money in the “wrong” pattern.

      The only justice here is that Hastert got hoisted on the petard of his own b.s. federal law, which can be used to railroad anybody for making two $6,000 withdrawals instead of one $12,000 withdrawal. For that ghastly arithmetic offense, you can go to prison.

      It’s a free police state, isn’t it?

      1. MLS

        the great irony is that Dennis Hastert passed the PATRIOT Act while he was speaker, which increased the scope of the Bank Secrecy Act to give regulators the information needed to catch him “structuring” his withdrawls.

        1. RUKidding

          Isn’t it ironic? I was pissed off when I first heard the sentence until I realized the parameters of what happened and what Hastert could be sentenced for. I understand that the Judge made Hastert “confess” to sexually molesting the kids and then gave him the longest sentence he could. Better than nothing, I suppose.

          And yeah, I get some satisfaction realizing that Hastert was hoist on his own petard of meddling in citizens’ banking business based on dubious notions of alleged “safety.” At least there’s that!

          1. pretzelattack

            i still remember his moralistic posturing about clinton’s affair with lewinsky. i think he even talked movingly about victimizing young monica, but i don’t have the stomach to search for quotes.

      2. fresno dan

        Jim Haygood
        April 27, 2016 at 5:50 pm

        I actually agree with you about structuring as a crime….
        BUT THIS

        It was not until after he was elected speaker in 1999 that Hastert began stepping up his land investments, parlaying some early real estate deals and a small inheritance he had from his father.
        “By the mid-2000s, Hastert and two partners had amassed 138 acres of farmland outside Plano, Ill., several miles from the proposed site of the Prairie Parkway, a highway connector that would have cut through the northern Illinois countryside.
        ‘The then-House speaker’s ownership of the property was not a public record, as it was held under a blind land trust called the Little Rock Trust No. 225 … At the time, Hastert was championing the highway, which opponents said would tear up the farming region and hasten its suburbanization.
        “Hastert eventually earmarked $207 million for the $1 billion parkway project in a federal transportation bill, which then-President George W. Bush signed during a trip to Hastert’s district in August 2005.
        “Four months after the bill was signed, Hastert’s trust sold the land to a real estate developer who planned to build 1,700 homes on the parcel. Hastert’s share of the proceeds was worth more than $3 million…”
        Get it? Hastert becomes the single most powerful member of the House. He uses that power to earmark money for a project that vastly increases the value of land he secretly owns. This gives him the millions he will need to buy silence from some he sexually abused as a youth, thus enabling him to stay in power for years.
        Was the land deal legal? Yes; cue Michael Kinsley: “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal; it’s what’s legal.”

        One wonders if ANY expenditure is made for the common weal – or if someone somewhere isn’t making a shady profit it just doesn’t happen…

        1. Jim Haygood

          Good research; thanks. Sounds like old-school Illinois “honest graft.”

          Long ago in a state far away, I drew up the land survey for a former state House speaker who ended up presciently owning the land under a prime exit interchange on an Interstate highway.

          Maybe he learned about the highway alignment by reading the Wall Street Journal. /sarc

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I wish we could get back to honest graft. It would be an improvement. After all, the roads did get built, so the public got something out of the deal.

  16. Steve in Flyover

    I remember the good old days, when a political or business leader totally screwed the pooch, they were banished to the wilderness for months/years/forever and were not permitted to be in a decision making position again.

    Now, the eff-ups hire PR hacks to remake their image/sweep the idiotic decisions under the rug. See Hellary as “Exhibit A”.

    Total eff up as Secretary of State, while accepting defacto bribes, and raising “rules are for the little people” to an art form? Call it “Experience”, and become the Democratic front runner.

    I really don’t understand why the american (little “a”) people don’t throw these idiots on both sides of the aisle out.

    I’m pretty much convinced that it’s going to take an economic or military disaster whacking them upside the head for US Americans to figure this out. I’m not talking disasters like The Great Recession, or the odd squad/platoon wiped out in some Third World hellhole.

    I’m talking making a fundamental misjudgement on what someone else may do to protect their “Vital interests”, and implode the economy (again), or getting a Marine Amphibious Brigade or aircraft carrier task force wiped out, by ordering them to (as Two and a Half Men put it) “sticking their dingus in a beehive”.

    I guess my buddy’s F-16 pilot son will be earning that $30K retention bonus.

    1. RUKidding

      Yes, but if you point out Clinton’s many issues on certain sites, you’ll either be banned and/or piled on for daring to suggest that the Empress is anything less than perfect. I don’t get it myself, but authoritarians come in all political persuasions. And these authoritarians love Big Daddy or Big Momma, who’s all-knowing, all-perfect, and who will “take care” of them.

      Go figure.

    2. local to oakland

      Thanks for the comment. Agreed.

      I vaguely remember reading that both sides in our Civil War and both sides in WW I believed in victory in less than a year. I hope we aren’t there yet, but I’m afraid we are much too close for comfort.

  17. steelhead23

    I believe there is a direct link between the NY Post article and the elite view posited in Yves piece on “structural reform” v expansionary fiscal policy. If destroying the safety net does not make labor more productive and consumers more exuberant, at least they won’t add to our economic malaise if they kill themselves.

  18. Ulysses

    Since you asked the question, the difference in lil Rhody was a fantastic group of Bernie volunteers– led by Lauren Niedel, Abel Collins, Robert. Malin and Aaron Regenburg. They started their hard work in the late fall and never let up!.

  19. OIFVet

    “It’s time to give TTIP a chance” [Manfred Weber, Politico]. “We must now talk to citizens, take up their concerns and show how much we care.”

    Sounds like “Message: I care” to me, only this time it didn’t slip out thanks to a senile moment…

  20. Darthbobber

    The “Give TPP a chance” article. (Really an advertorial.)
    The actual author isn’t identified until the bottom (I guess this is the preferred bylining when you don’t want to call much attention to the source. But he’s the chair of the European People’s Party (CDU/Business parties bloc) in the European Parliament. (wikipedia on the EPP:

    So- the people you’d expect t want this want it, for pretty much the reasons you’d expect.)

  21. edmondo

    “That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change,” he continued.

    If this pulls the Overton Window left, then good.

    I sincerely hope that Bernie is spectacularly unsuccessful in this effort. All this will do is delude a few ex-Sanders supporters to actually vote for Cersei Clinton and find out on January 21st that it was just another lie. NO FKN WAY should anyone believe anything that comes out of her mouth. She’s a capable and serial liar. Run as far away from this corrupt and evil person as you can.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many have commented on the idea of party platform as collateral.

      Basically, you don’t write derivatives based on that, much less lending real money.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think the platform per se means anything. However, the fight for the platform might mean a lot, if only to put a stake in the heart of that “more that unites us than divides us” crap.

      “How about you don’t kill me?” seems to be something that the two wings of the party really don’t agree on, and from the NY Post article, I mean that quite literally.

  22. Steven

    The public option would have provided health insurance to all the uninsured, not some, like Obamacare, while letting those with insurance keep it if they wanted it. Sounds pretty good. And Obama promised to get it enacted right up to the moment he gave it the heave ho in return for…nothing.

  23. taunger

    the howler link is terrible. Snyder is horrible, and Maddow’s “dissembling” is well within bounds.

    1. pretzelattack

      not her dissembling on sanders. but yeah defending snyder is ridiculous. I seriously doubt he will be drinking flint water when the cameras aren’t on him, and i wouldn’t be surprised if he induced vomiting after he drank a couple of glasses.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s not “defending” Snyder to say that Maddow is, well, just making up sh*t about him. I mean, remember when the Democrats used to be the good guys?

  24. abynormal

    seriously, they all looked like vaginas to me…….

    (Newser) – Substitute teacher Allison Wint showed eighth-graders artwork by
    Georgia O’Keeffe—known for painting flowers that resemble female
    genitalia—during a lesson last Thursday, remarking that the first viewers who
    saw “vaginas” within the paintings likely thought, “I’m either a pervert or this
    woman was a pervert.” She mentioned the word vagina “maybe 10 times” throughout
    the art history lesson, but “never in a vulgar capacity,” she tells the Detroit
    Free Press. It was apparently enough to get her fired. Wint says the principal
    of Harper Creek Middle School in Battle Creek, Mich., asked her to leave school
    the next day because she had used the word vagina “without previous approval”
    and that “it was inappropriate.”

    “I thought if I used a euphemism, that would make it into a joke. And I don’t
    think that’s a word you should be afraid of,” says Wint. “Being afraid of the
    word … creates an aura of shame around the body part.” School officials say
    teachers need advance approval to discuss forms of reproductive health, per
    WWMT. Wint says she would have sought approval if she had known about the
    policy, but she won’t try to reverse the school’s decision. Some on Facebook,
    however, are calling for her to be reinstated. “Whoever fired this teacher
    should be ashamed of themselves,” writes one user. “It seems some people at this
    school need to do some growing up, and it’s not the students,” says another. (A
    teacher said she was fired for discussing a famous court case.)

    Public Education Died on our watch…

    “I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then.”
    touche G O’K

    1. abynormal

      oops, i rec’d the article from a friend thru my email…the sender posted the ‘seriously’ sentence. sometimes a flower is just aaaa…FLOWER

  25. ewmayer

    Re. Massive Star Explosion — Link broken due to stray phys.org prepended to http. Headline is clickbait, and the text contains some horridly misleading ‘science’:

    The explosion, termed by astronomers Supernova 2013ej, in a galaxy near our Milky Way was equal in energy output to the simultaneous detonation of 100 million of the Earth’s suns.

    Implausible, because even the most massive known stars are way, way less than 1 million solar masses, so impossible for (say) 100 times as much ‘stuff’ to yield 100 million times the total energy, since it’s not as if supernovae burn orders of magnitude more fractions of the star’s starting fuel than does an ordinary main sequence star over its lifetime. (They do burn more, but each successive heavier-elements cycle generates orders of magnitude less energy than the previous one, and helps prop the star against the inevitable collapse for a proportionally shorter time.) Basically, the kind of free-lunch fable only a madman or an economist would believe.

    What I suspected the article was really trying to convey was that the peak luminosity wa equivalent to the luminosity of many millions of ordinary stars — not a particularly remarkable fact, it is very common for supernovae to outshine all the stars in the host galaxies at peak brightness. And indeed, the lengthy caption on the video credit confirms this, as well as noting that the star in question was a mere 15 times as massive as our sun:

    The progenitor star of SN 2013ej had a mass just before its explosion of about 15 times that of the sun, according to SMU graduate student Govinda Dhungana. Its explosion energy equaled the luminosity of 100 million suns.

    Even that is scientifically imprecise – luminosity has units of energy-per-time, whereas ‘explosion energy’ has units of energy, i.e. can only validly be compared to time-integrated luminosity.

    I suppose given the dismal standards of modern journalism we should simply be happy that the editors didn’t go with any article title like “This insane massive star went supernova with the force of 100 million suns — upvote to rank it in our Top 100 stellar nukes hall of fame!”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yesterday’s news.

      As in, that happened long ago (but no human heard it)….like every thing we see in the night sky.

  26. Carolinian

    Like Gatsby’s Daisy Buchanan Samantha Power (her convoy) barrels through an African hamlet, runs over a pedestrian (a small child), keeps going to its destination. The R2P, like the rich, are different.


    Power later expressed regret at the death of the infant who would still be alive if she had stayed in America rather than trying to oversee Africa. Here’s Sanchez’ very appropriate quote.

    Power’s time in power is reminiscent of a quote by C.S. Lewis:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

  27. Cry Shop

    “Happily trapped in their glittering bubble, they genuinely believe they are not corrupt.”

    Not just the people on the platform, but their audience, there and at home. It’s a willful act of ignorance driven by self-interest in many cases. Anecdote, a much older relative who is a double dipper from the federal government** goes on and on about how Sanders is after her medical insurance. She thinks she worked harder than those stiffs who don’t have her package, and when I point out that much younger federal retires doing the exact same jobs already are forced on to Social Security and medicare, nor no Blue Cross to manage their medical. Everything is at reduced levels, she just tunes out. I suspect it’s pretty much the same for anyone who show’s up at a Hill-Bill show, they are defending their advantage.

    “Study Reveals That Giving Poor People Health Insurance Reduces Their Medical Debt” [New York Magazine]. So imagine what Medicare for All would do.

    I suspect there’s a bit of Hill-Billy world play here, ala “It depends on what is is.” Note that it’s “Medical Debt” that went down, but I suspect overall debt went up. Why? Because in most states that have expanded Medicaid to qualify the family have to strip out every asset they own first. How easy is it to make a living without a car outside of NYC, Washington DC or perhaps San Francisco?

    Even prior PPACA, this policy was a driver behind “single” parents. Why marry/stay married if a partner or child needed medical government assistance which would cause the loss of transport and tools(normal bankruptcy can’t take a craftsman’s tools necessary to earn a living, but qualifying for any assistance usually can)?

  28. MikeNY

    Re: Helicopter Money.

    The Fed needs the cooperation of Treasury for this. Not gonna happen on any substantial scale until our elites are literally crapping their panties. Asset inflation + austerity / wage deflation makes the oligarchs relatively richer versus the plebs, and that is their supreme desideratum.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s a 3 front war.

      1 Asset inflation
      2. Austerity/wage deflation
      3. Zero annual adjustment on Social Security combined with health care inflation

      1. MikeNY

        Yes — I don’t think I need to point out that the healthcare-pharma-industrial complex is in large part a bijou of the oligarchs.

  29. different clue

    About saving the dying language Aramaic. . . it isn’t passively dying. Certain people are actively working to kill it by expelling or exterminating its speakers. Specifically, the Syrian rebels of all sorts are killing and expelling or forcing-to-leave the Aramaic Christian villagers. The way to save the language is to save the people and their communities in place. And the way to do that is to help the R + 6 to exterminate every rebel, every trace of rebellion, and every trace of every rebel all throughout Syria. And exterminate them before they can get Aramaic exterminated.

    Barrel bombs away, mitherfackers.

    1. Gaianne

      My goodness, Different Clue! You certainly have gone off the reservation!


      Support the R+6? I am sure the authors of the article had nothing like this in mind!


      1. different clue

        Well, thats a problem. Even people who consider themselves liberals are under cerebro-cortical occupation by the Dominant Narrative Spinners. The first step towards getting the Dominant Narrative out of one’s head is to invite a Competing Narrative INto one’s head . . . and then let the two narratives fight eachother to the death over which one gets to claim the cerebro-cortical brainspace inside one’s head.

        For a very good Competing Narrative about the Legitimate President Assad versus the Illegitimate
        Jihadi Rebels, Sic Semper Tyrannis is a good place to go. I find it googles up real easily if I type in Pat Lang. Near the top of the page will appear Pat Lang/ Sic Semper Tyrannis. SST has subject type headings just like Naked Capitalism does. One of those is called ” Syria”, and will have lots of stuff over the last few years about events in Syria. From a Competing Narrative viewpoint.

  30. Isolato


    And a shout out to to our “ruling class epiphytes”! A phrase that made my day. I’ll try and find one to submit as an antidote.

  31. inode_buddha

    I just thought of something horrifying and funny… imagine if Trump gets the nod and chooses Palin

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump: Imagine how many jobs we can create with this Wall Infrastructure project.

      Why don’t we just pay the Wall construction workers money, to not build? (We don’t need it).

  32. Darthbobber

    The Lincoln-Douglass election. I still sometimes reread the text of those debates. The nature of that election is foreign to voters of the modern era. After all, with the legislature electing the Senator, neither Lincoln nor Douglass was literally on the ballot. And in a “normal” election year, a voter would be considering a lot of other issues in voting for a state representative or senator besides what candidate they supported for the United States Senate seat. But by 1858, “normality” was gone, and the state legislative election was effectively nationalized.

    Douglass’s margin of victory, as I recall, came from the institution of “holdover” reps and Senators in Illinois. (A certain set number of seats were “held over” in the interests of “continuity and stability”, so that not all seats were open to election.) Republicans supporting Lincoln carried the majority of the seats that WERE open for election, but that didn’t suffice to give them a majority, since the bulk of the holdovers were Democrats.

    Crittenden, who captained the remnants of those still calling themselves Whigs, also swung to Douglass, in one of the last politically relevant actions of organized Whiggery in the United States.

  33. affinis

    re: “I wonder what the difference was? Rhode Island is notoriously corrupt; perhaps the Sanders message resonated for that reason?

    Simple. Rhode Island was the only one of the five with an open primary (allowing Independents to vote). Alan Abramowitz’s model nailed all five states.
    The model correctly predicted the winner in all five states with an average error of only one percentage point.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From that link:

      Finally, Table 3 displays forecasts of Hillary Clinton’s vote share in the four Democratic primaries coming up in the month of May: Indiana on May 3, West Virginia on May 10, and Oregon and Kentucky on May 17. Based on the African-American share of the electorate in 2008, the Democratic share of the electorate in 2008, and the fact that all three states are located outside of the South, the model predicts Sanders victories in Indiana and Oregon, a Clinton victory in Kentucky, and a tie in West Virginia.

      And the methodology:

      The model is based on three predictors — region (South versus North), African-American percentage of primary voters in 2008, and Democratic percentage of primary voters in 2008

      Nothing on California, however…

      1. affinis

        If I calculated correctly (and based on data online for African-American percentage and Democratic percentage of primary voters in 2008 in California), the Abramowitz model predicts Clinton’s vote share in this year’s California primary as 45.6% (i.e. predicted Sanders win).

  34. Someone

    There are a whole lot of problems with that Medicaid article. For instance: You can legally give people gifts up to something like $10,000 apiece per year. So it makes no sense to say someone couldn’t pay for the baby’s preschool. That could be a gift to the baby, not the disabled person.

    Also, gifts aren’t reportable as income and therefore I question whether money spent on a Medicaid recipient as a gift would actually count as an asset?? The food you eat is not an asset, the rent for your home is not an asset, etc.

    Also, couldn’t the husband have divorced his wife, kept all the assets, continued to earn as much as possible etc., leaving her in hopeless poverty on paper, as required by the program — but he could still have her live with him, and keep the lights on, maintain an emergency fund, pay for the baby’s expenses etc. Other possibilities include putting some of the assets they are liquidating in the baby’s name. None of this should be necessary and the situation is cruel, but I think they were given bad advice.

    1. Yves Smith

      Don’t make stuff up. It’s a violation of our comment policies.

      The IRS regards gifts as income. Someone has to pay the tax.


      strong>Gift Tax

      The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return. The tax applies whether the donor intends the transfer to be a gift or not.

      The gift tax applies to the transfer by gift of any property. You make a gift if you give property (including money), or the use of or income from property, without expecting to receive something of at least equal value in return. If you sell something at less than its full value or if you make an interest-free or reduced-interest loan, you may be making a gift.


      The donor can pay the tax:

      Who pays the gift tax?

      The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax. Under special arrangements the donee may agree to pay the tax instead. Please visit with your tax professional if you are considering this type of arrangement.

      Giving a gift to a baby solves nothing. The baby is already included as an exclusion on the parents’ income taxes. So it would count as income to the parent unless the donor paid the tax.

      And the “educational institution” exception does not count either. Preschool is not an “eligible educational institution”. From the IRS:

      It is any college, university, vocational school, or other post secondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program run by the U.S. Department of Education. This includes most accredited public, nonprofit and privately-owned–for-profit postsecondary institutions.


  35. Someone again

    From the IRS website:

    “Most gifts are not subject to the gift tax. For example, there is usually no tax if you make a gift to your spouse or to a charity. If you make a gift to someone else, the gift tax usually does not apply until the value of the gifts you give that person exceeds the annual exclusion for the year. For 2011 and 2012, the annual exclusion is $13,000.”

    If you know a family in poverty and want to help them out, yes you can give money to them without paying gift tax under IRS code. I like this site and didn’t expect to be attacked for offering information that could help people in need.

    1. Yves Smith

      The IRS definition of income is not the Medical definition of income. Medical is a joint Federal-state program. One of my friends was in New York’s Medicare and my recollection is that they were also stringent about what they considered to be income.

      The information in the article came directly from a California state employee. This was the germane section:

      I tried to think what I could do. “In a couple of years, as the baby’s aunt, can I pay for preschool?”

      “If it were considered a loan, yes. But if you simply pay for his preschool, it counts as income for Dave and Marcella, so no, you can’t do that.” Brian paused as that sank in. “Of course, if you happen to show up at their house with a carful of groceries, no one will know.”

      In other words, if you make gifts the state can’t find out about, you are OK. But the fact that they suggested food, and in trivial amounts, suggests that they are deadly serious about throwing people off the program who get “income”. If paying for a school (indirect income to child) will get you in trouble, direct payments are even more likely to.

    2. todde

      Medicaid considers almost everything you own or owned in the 3 year look back as an asset and anything paid for you by someone else as income.

      Annuities correctly structured are a way to get around medicaid requirements.

      Google annuities and Medicaid for more information.

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