By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“This afternoon the Wallonian government voted a resounding NO to the Canadian EU Trade Agreement otherwise known as CETA which is viewed by many as ‘TTIP through the back door’. The vote does not necessarily mean the EU cannot ratify the agreement but it does mean that Belgium as a country will not be able to sign it” [Health and Trade Network].
“”Monster Corporate Sovereignty Ruling Against Russia Overturned By Dutch Court, But It’s Hard To Tell Whether It’s Over Yet” [TechDirt]. “That lack of legal clarity underlines one of the worst aspects of ISDS: the fact that it does not sit neatly within traditional legal systems, but in many ways lies outside them. Far from helping to uphold the law, as supporters of corporate sovereignty like to claim, it makes it arbitrary and unpredictable. When you’re talking plus or minus $50 billion, that’s a pretty serious flaw.” ($50 billion was the amount Russia was being sued for under an ISDS provision in a trade treat it did not ratify (!).)
“The French government appeared to toughen its stance on the TTIP transatlantic trade partnership on Tuesday with Prime Minister Manuel Valls warning that the proposed deal being discussed by the European Union and the US will not go through if health and environment standards are not maintained and negotiator Matthias Feki saying it might not be signed at all” [Radio France International].
I’m going to skip the dogpile on Trump’s foreign policy speech; the entire foreign policy/national security establishment has no standing to speak on these matters, given that they’ve lost two wars (in Iraq; Afghanistan), butchered two states (Libya; Syria), and presided over the cheerful destruction of the Fourth Amendment “because we can.” And no standing goes double for the small-bore hacks primping themselves in the green room and collecting their tiny checks for peddling this hollow and lethal imperial crapola. (Sorry for linking to NewsMax — ick! — but I couldn’t stand the screeching and preening over at Politico.)
“Wealthy, educated voters fuel Trump’s East Coast sweep” [Reuters]. “His sweep of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island on Tuesday included wins in some of the richest and best-educated counties in the country – like Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Newport County, Rhode Island – and added to victories in his more traditional strongholds of white working-class neighborhoods.”
“To Clear the Air, Sanders Should Challenge New York Vote” [Counterpunch]. And all those provisional ballots are still sitting in limbo, somewhere. Odd.
“Ted Cruz called a hoop ‘a basketball ring.’ What does he call other sports equipment?” [SB Nation].
“The race here is shaping up to be a last stand not just for Cruz, but also for the “stop Trump” movement, an unlikely confederation of activists and party donors. But, from members of the donor class in Indianapolis unwilling to back Cruz to blue-collar voters in Elkhart outraged by the collaboration, the movement is not coalescing, and is even backfiring” [Bloomberg].
“But whatever high ground Trump’s opponents may have commanded was pretty much squandered when Cruz and Kasich announced that they were, in fact, going to game the system in an effort to subvert Trump at the convention. Now, when Trump says the party elites are trying to rig the process and undermine the voters, you’d have to admit he’s not crazy” [Yahoo News].
“For delegates, the cost of participating in the nominating process can run into the thousands of dollars. They often have to pay for travel to the conventions, hotel rooms, meals and incidentals. State parties may also require delegates to pay fees for participation” [Wall Street Journal, “Delegates Turn to GoFundMe to Pay Way to Conventions”]
“The Hoosier State now faces the choice that the Badger State faced several weeks ago: Does it want to vote to bring this race to a close, or does it want the anti-Trump forces to fight on? Wisconsin overwhelmingly chose the latter option, and Cruz is hoping Indiana does as well” [Center for Politics].
As opposed to 2008, “this year, the policy differences between Clinton and Sanders are bigger, which could make party unity more elusive” [CBS]. At least on the twitter (granted, not a good sample) Clinton supporters seem generally unwilling to admit that many Sanders supporters are policy driven. And if Clinton wants the same things as Sanders does (“more that unites us then divides us”) then her policy proposals should bear a close resemblance to his. They do not. And people are keeping track.
“You’re about to meet the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton” [Wall Street Journal, “The Clinton Pivot Begins”]. “In 2008 during the Ohio Democratic primary, which Hillary won, I watched her in one day win over three auditoriums of mostly white, cheering blue-collar women. Now she has to win back their husbands and boyfriends. The Clinton pivot into the Trump base has begun. It won’t stand for anything principled or recognizable, but this year that doesn’t seem to be the point.”
Sanders: “‘We have had a very large staff, which was designed to deal with 50 states in this country; 40 of the states are now behind us” [New York Times].
“‘I think she has to tap into the economic anxiety that leads Americans to think all the systems are breaking down,’ said Bill Burton, a Democratic strategist and former Obama aide. ‘She has to stay authentic to who she is but hear and understand what Americans who feel stuck in the lower-middle class are feeling'” [WaPo]. You know what I think she needs to do? I think she needs to reintroduce herself to the American people. Again.
Access journalism profile of John Podesta, Clinton consigliere, co-founder of “Washington’s fourth largest lobbying firm,” and progressive rice bowl purveyor via the Center of American Progress [Jay Newton-Small, Time]. If your diabetes is acting up, skip this.
GDP, Q1 2016: “Consumer spending, largely on services, helped hold up first-quarter real GDP which came in at an annualized plus 0.5 percent rate and just below the Econoday consensus for 0.7 percent” [Econoday]. “Residential investment, up 14.8 percent, is a highlight of the report and helped offset a sharp 5.9 percent decline in nonresidential investment where weak energy drilling is taking a big toll. … The consumer bailed out the first quarter, both on services and also on fixing on their homes. But otherwise the report points to nearly no momentum going into the Spring quarter.” Wonder who’ll be the first to wheel out the “stalling speed” trope?
And: “In summary, the Q1 GDP Advance Estimate of 0.5 percent was worse than most mainstream estimates and below the 1.4 percent of Q4 of 2015” (charts) [Econintersect]. Caveat: “In short, GDP does not measure the change of the economic environment for Joe Sixpack in 1970, and Joe Sixpack’s kid, yet pundits continuously compare GDP across time periods.” It’s also subject to revision. And: “Weakness in commercial real estate and business equipment spending spread beyond the oil patch in the first quarter, as six consecutive quarters of falling profits have taken a toll. So far, companies are still investing in human capital, but ongoing employment growth cannot be a sure thing given the extent of the weakness in business investment” [FTN Financial, Across the Curve]. On the bright side, both inventories and durable goods orders seem to have stabilized.
Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, April 2016: “Oil prices may be higher but steady contraction is the long uninterrupted theme of the Kansas City Fed manufacturing sector” [Econoday].
Jobless Claims, week of April 23, 2016: “Initial claims did rise 9,000 in the April 23 week but the 257,000 level is still below expectations and among the very lowest on record” [Econoday].
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 24, 2016: “The [0.5 point] rise keeps the index’s trend near the 43 line, still solid but about 1 point lower than earlier in the year” [Econoday]. “Easing levels of confidence point to less optimism on the outlook for jobs and income.”
Household Income: “According to new data derived from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), median annual household income in March 2016 was $57,263, not significantly different from the February 2016 median of $57,180. … Thus, we are getting very close to the real level of median annual household income that existed in January 2000 ($57,342), the beginning of this statistical series” [Econintersect]. Best economy ever.
Commodities: An extensive new scientific analysis published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy & Environment says that proved conventional oil reserves as detailed in industry sources are likely “overstated” by half” [OilPrice.com]. Interesting, if true.
Banks: “Yesterday, the regulator of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, sent out a severe warning to its flock that there could be a five year jail sentence waiting in the wings for anyone attempting to use technology to block its mandated access to bank records. The letter was authored by Bethany Dugan, Deputy Comptroller for Operational Risk” [Wall Street on Parade].
Bonds: “Even if Puerto Rico manages to strike a last-minute deal to defer bond payments due in three days, the commonwealth’s financial collapse is about to enter an unprecedented phase” [Bloomberg]. “Anything short of making the $422 million payment that Puerto Rico says it can’t afford would be considered a technical default. More importantly, it opens the door to larger and more consequential defaults on debt protected by the island’s constitution, and raises the risk of putting efforts to resolve the biggest crisis ever in the $3.7 trillion municipal market into turmoil.”
The Fed: “The Federal Reserve acted as expected Wednesday: It left interest rates unchanged and used language that was somewhat more hawkish, increasing the probability of a rate increase in June” [Mohamed El-Erian, Bloomberg].
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76, Greed (previous close: 72, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 74 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 28 at 11:25am. C’mon. Let’s go for 80. What’s wrong with you people?
“Ex-BSI Singapore banker involved in 1MDB probe faces additional charges” [Channel Asia]. Small fry. Will he sing?
“Over the last 15 years, the Braves have extracted nearly half a billion in public funds for four new homes, each bigger and more expensive than the last” [Bloomberg]. And that’s before we get to the small towns they screw for their farm teams:
The Braves are similarly methodical about using other people’s money to build their ballparks. In 2001, for example, while trying to persuade Rome to build a $15 million, 5,105-seat stadium for the Single-A Braves, who then played 150 miles south in Macon, the Braves brought local officials to Turner Field for executive dinners and to watch games from the owner’s box. “It was hands down the highlight of my life,” then-Floyd County Manager Kevin Poe says. That November, Rome voters approved a 1¢ sales tax to pay for the stadium by a 142-vote margin.
Which is how things work for municipal bonds, private equity…
“On just one particular day this session, Feb. 16, lawmakers had seven separate organizations plying them with food” [Des Moines Register]. Great detail:
For breakfast, they had the choice of dining on the nickel of an economic development group, a local nonprofit that serves troubled youth, or a state association of podiatrists. For lunch, the Iowa Land Title Association was providing snacks in the Legislative Dining Room, while nearby, a nonprofit that helps Iowans with multiple sclerosis was dishing out $3,000 worth of food and drink in the form of a Chinese buffet. Legislators could wrap up their day either at the nearby Embassy Suites hotel where the Iowa Credit Union League spent almost $10,000 on food, drinks and entertainment, or they could head for the Renaissance Savery Hotel where the Greater Cedar Valley Chamber of Commerce had laid out a spread that cost $6,100.
Amazingly, this sort of lobbying actually works.
Indeed; see above.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“How a Black Lives Matter activist lost his battle for City Hall in Baltimore” [Yahoo News]. Decapitation accomplished! (Of course, decapitation is one of the functions of TFA, so kudos there, as well.)
Our Famously Free Press
“Bloomberg has become the latest news organization to place bets on automation as a measure to cover so-called “commodity news” and free up time for enterprise journalism” [Poynter]. Oh, yeah, right. The only thing that’s holding back financial journalism is the cost of labor.
“Joining the Uber board, which CEO Travis Kalanick announced this morning, represents for me an opportunity to have an impact on a global scale in a way that truly adds value to people’s lives — which are also priorities for us at The Huffington Post” [Arianna Huffington, HuffPo].
“Musk said in January that he wants to send the first humans to Mars sometime ‘around 2025′” [CNN Money]. I’d wish for all the squillionaires in Silicon Valley to leave for Mars, were it not that they are exactly the reason Earth should be quarantined.
“The chancellor of the University of California’s Davis campus was put on paid leave Wednesday amid an uproar over her service on corporate boards and the school’s hiring of consultants to improve its image online, following the widely criticized pepper-spraying of protesters by campus police, the university’s president announced” [AP]. Good. But she’s not a “bad apple.” The whole barrel of university administration is rotten and should be dumped.
“GDP is just the sum total of the output of the economy, it doesn’t say how much of that is going into whose pocket. In the first three years of the recovery, 91 percent of all gains went to the top 1 percent. So the bottom 99 percent saw nothing. Many were actually becoming worse off: Their balance sheet had been destroyed, their major asset has been their home and the value of their home had gone down anywhere from 20 to 50 percent. Then came QE, and it created a stock-market but the average American has very little in the stock market. Overall ownership of stocks, is much more concentrated than the concentration of wealth itself, so QE was basically a gift to the 1 percent” [Joseph Stiglitz (interview), The Atlantic]. “The people at the bottom are not doing very well, and wealth inequality, in that sense, has gotten worse. There are so many of these dimensions where the statistics that the Federal Reserve and the administration don’t connect with the lives of ordinary Americans.” First answer to the first question. Shows you how powerful to elite bubble is, that this question is even asked.
“For years now, people have been talking about the insulated world of the top 1 percent of Americans, but the top 20 percent of the income distribution is also steadily separating itself — by geography and by education as well as by income” [New York Times]. “This self-segregation of a privileged fifth of the population is changing the American social order and the American political system, creating a self-perpetuating class at the top, which is ever more difficult to break into.” We still don’t have the right word, here. I’ve used “the 20%” (accurately, as it turns out), and the “credentialled classes.” The Archdruid uses “salaried”. The “political class,” the “helping professions”…
“Wealth inequality is even more of a problem than income inequality. That’s because you have to have enough savings from income to begin to accumulate wealth – buying a house or investing in stocks and bonds, or saving up to send a child to college” [Robert Reich]. “But many Americans have almost no savings, so they have barely any wealth. Two-thirds live paycheck to paycheck.”
“The way Congress measures income allows many wealthy Americans to delay paying their income taxes for years or even decades. Well-paid athletes, executives, movie stars, hedge fund managers, private equity managers, real estate investors and others all benefit from special rules that let them earn now and pay their taxes by-and-by. Myriad other devices to delay or eliminate paying taxes keep thousands of highly paid tax lawyers and accountants employed gaming the system for rich clients” [David Cay Johnston, Investopedia].
“How Americans Blow $1.7 Trillion in Retirement Savings” [Bloomberg]. Yeah, sheesh, I’m deeply regretful I took money out of my 401k and spent it on something fun before the bankers blew up the economy (again) and my whole account went down the crapper. What’s wrong with these people?
Why you should never waste time reading Jonathan Chait [Corey Robin]. OK, I’m paraphrasing.
News of the Wired
“Depression” [Nutrition Facts]. A reader writes: “I would be the last to suggest that people can deal with economic collapse by a balanced diet, but small things can make a difference. and if you are living with a depressed person, it might be good to know that just putting saffron in their food could help.” Saffron works, eh? And listening to Mozart? Probably varies by the person, so get moving!
“Scientists have created an ‘atlas of the brain’ that reveals how the meanings of words are arranged across different regions of the organ” [Guardian]. “No single brain region holds one word or concept. A single brain spot is associated with a number of related words. And each single word lights up many different brain spots. Together they make up networks that represent the meanings of each word we use: life and love; death and taxes; clouds, Florida and bra. All light up their own networks.”
“This Is What Happens When an Historian from Iraq Teaches Veterans of the Iraq War in a US Classroom” [History News Network]. Very encouraging, and the author sounds like a good teacher.
A great article about Jane Jacobs, who took on Robert Moses and won! [Guardian]. For learning how to look at a city, there’s no better book than The Death and Life of American Cities.
“FOAAS (F*ck Off As A Service) provides a modern, RESTful, scalable solution to the common problem of telling people to f*ck off” [FOAAS].
I think I fixed my fershuggeneh contact form below. Just to keep the NC comment section clean, will only those who already have my email address tell me if they have issues, using email? Thank you!
Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Nancy Ames):
Dutchman’s Pipe Flower.
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!
As a Canadian, I have to say, “I’m sorry, but *YIPPEE*!!!!!!!”
Thank you, Belgium! May others follow your fine example.
However, “The vote does not necessarily mean the EU cannot ratify the agreement but it does mean that Belgium as a country will not be able to sign it”
So, will they be able to sign it as a vassal state?
If it’s Thursday, this must be Belgium!
I bet the superdelegates live high on the hog. If I was a regular, I’d definitely swing it to a second ballot so I could, you know, get reimbursed for my expenses by whoever wanted to make an offer.
Any Bernie delegates need rides? I can always send the $$ to Bernie, hope he will make sure they get transport and a place to stay.
Democracy can be *hard*!
the way to get rich is NEVER spend (or invest, these days) your own money.
“You know what I think she needs to do? I think she needs to reintroduce herself to the American people. Again.”
Third time’s a charm?
Uhn, DeRay? Well, you know… Perhaps the ‘decapitation’ was right, even if for the wrong reasons.
” I’ve used “the 20%” (accurately, as it turns out), and the “credentialled classes.” The Archdruid uses “salaried”. The “political class,” the “helping professions”…
Been listening to The Power Broker, Robert Moses, there Al Smith (There have been some good men in politics.) refers to them as The Interests.
Highly recommend this book, Chapter3 about progressive fantasies and the chapters about Al Smith are really great.
‘She has to stay authentic to who she is but hear and understand what Americans who feel stuck in the lower-middle class are feeling’
“Who she is” is antithetical to understanding (and especially to actually caring about) what Americans who
arefeel stuck in the lower-middle class are feeling.
Maybe she converts on her way to, er, liberate Damascus?
“I know what I must do now.”
Yeah, this guy giving the advice to Hill needs to find out who he himself is and authentically reintroduce himself to himself, and don’t worry about HRC, who already has more paid advisers than the law allows. People are always giving free advice to pols. When Bernie first started, he got lots of free tidbits of advice, which he never listened to. And the guy made a very good run, which is not over yet.
“Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI.” The National Lampoon
“Authentic to who she is?” Who the hell is she? Her lack of authenticity and her penchant for trying to be all things to all people are among the reasons I can’t vote for her. There are times when I can’t decide if her fondness for trying to convince people she has “always” held this position or that is some sort of delusion, or simply the result of ambition – and greed – driving everything she says and does.
Chameleons are frantically searching Ancestry.com to find out if they’re related to her.
she’s a human adaptive algorithm. or human AI. or something
Wow. FOAAS. but I really enjoy doing it myself. one of my great pleasures. are they hiring?
It’s pretty brilliant, I dare say. With Hillboughts in the wings, efficiency is paramount.
I doubt they are, but you could always try your luck with a pull request.
So Bernie loves drones. I think I’ll go take a powder. Or maybe just sip some Angostura Single Barrel Dark Rum and contemplate what the end of democracy feels like.
Meantime Donald Friggin’ Trump looks like the anti-war candidate, compared to the woman who scares the pants off even Col. Jack T. Ripper at the Pentagon.
In a better world, the people (who are mostly good) would get a say in how things go. They want something to eat. They want someone to go to when they’re sick. Get their kids educated. Not get murdered. Put a few pennies away for their old age. Instead we get satanic billionaires who just can’t help themselves, gotta squeeze that last dime out of the serfs, no matter the consequences.
And so it goes. As Lenin said “what then shall be done?”. Maybe nothing, just gaze at the stars while we all slide into oblivion.
Actually it was General Jack D. Ripper at Burpelson AFB. Gen. Buck Turgidson was the guy at the Pentagon.
But you’re right, HRC would scare them both.
You may have missed the Bobby Knight intro: Donald Trump is the guy who wouldn’t be afraid to use the A-bomb.
I think he said, he would not limited the option to only brown or black people.
He would not be a bigot, and would not rule out Western Europe.
A different kind of scary.
One may say, color-blind scary.
Trump says “we should kill the families of terrorists” and the blogosphere goes nuts. Obama DOES kill the families of terrorists every day and…total silence.
Same thing with nukes, Obama has committed an additional $500B for brand new nukes over the next 10 years; his generals salivate over a “small” nuke so its use can be more “thinkable”. Obama stores his B-61 tactical nukes in Turkey (close to the Russian border), he aggressively rattles his saber in the Baltic Sea immediately offshore Russia, he creates new large-scale economic and political provocations with Russia that Hilary begs him to expand even further: Ukrainian coup, Syria intervention, financial terrorism by cutting Russia off from SWIFT.
Trump? He wants to sit down and talk with Putin. He wants to talk about whether NATO itself even makes sense any more, or whether it’s time to disband that Cold War relic that just provokes Russia even further.
I will take talk over complete and utter provocation anytime in this arena. For me it’s binary: which candidate really presents a lower marginal chance of continuing Permanent War and heading for World War version 3.0?
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I fear HRC more.
Any sources for more rational international trade agreements? Like, rational tariffs or tariff mechanisms or volume caps? What would that look like? How bad (or good) is the status quo?
It just irks me to be called “isolationist” for not wanting to get reamed by friction-less value and rights flows. But the idea of being a guest (as in polite, respectful) in another person’s country seems to be abhorrent to some folks.
Wasn’t the US Govt itself largely funded by tarriffs prior to 1913?
Depends what you think a country is for. If it’s for the highest possible standard of living for its citizens, you would argue that “leveling the playing field” with a bunch of countries with much lower standards of living wouldn’t make any sense.
But if a country’s purpose is to maximize the profits of a small parasitic shareholder class who stash their winnings where they are out of reach of the taxing authorities of the host country then sure, knock yourself out, support “free trade”.
Protectionist is not the same as isolationist.
Of course there are trade policies which would be neither, but for some reason are never considered. For example, what if we just required all good imported to USA were worked on by people making at least the fed minimum wage?
That wouldn’t restrict trade at all, would help millions of people, and put everyone on a level playing field, but it’s impossible because?
I know people personally whom strongly state that someone (or an entire class of people) they don’t approve of socially is not worthy of a living wage. the phrase “they will just spend it on [fill in the blank]” or “they aren’t intelligent enough to own a home”, etc ad nauseum. These people are in a position to “enforce” their views. They are rentiers, basically. we need to get rid of them in order to have a “level playing field”
One step up from that is people who take an active glee in the misfortune of the lower class. They exist and they are rentiers too.
Homeland security is “Protectionist”. A 20 amp fuse in the fuse box is Protectionist”. Insulating the attic is “insulationist” but it does save energy.
Trade is already substantially liberalized. Even TPP fans acknowledge the gains as show in their models are trivial, so they go though a sleight of hand that amounts to saying, “But I support it anyhow because moar free trade is better.” It’s pure ideology on the trade front at this point, and maybe the fantasy that the Japanese will buy American beef (they never will, the Japanese see foreign products as inferior, particularly food).
Yves, you miss read the Japanese, or you only see a very select few. Having lived there on and off for many years I can say they too are human. So It’s not that international trade can’t export cheep beef, there are plenty of Japanese who will buy cheap(er) food it they think it’s safe (and they know US Beef isn’t), Even being perceived as unsafe isn’t the issue. There are enough poor Japanese that even if it isn’t safe, they will buy it from time to time to get a different tasting protein– just let it be cheap enough.
International trade isn’t about helping the average man. International trade flows through high carbon channels controlled by large conglomerates, who can more easily siphon off a greater slice of the monies than they can from local based, low carbon business. This is why Obama backs fracking, off-shore drilling and anything to keep oil cheep, his masters demand it.
It is the establishment of export driven markets and the establishment of carbon intensive large chain stores ala Walmart, or new organs like Amazon that are the largest proven threat to small/medium size farmers, small industrial firms, etc. They can’t get the scale to afford the off-shore accounts, the big (but no longer 8) accounting firms, lawyers, and other tax cheats that make the hidden subsides for wealth transfer fall due on those who least benefit from them.
I don’t think we’re disagreeing as much as you say. You agree that Japanese won’t eat US beef because they see it as inferior (and they are correct). Pretty much no US products meet Japanese quality standards, which are exacting. Not many foreign products do either (I’ve seen how Japanese inspect seams to see the number of stitches, something you don’t see elsewhere). So while I didn’t unpack it, the Japanese “buy Japanese” preference is based on a generally correct view that Japanese goods are better. One obvious exception has long been foreign luxury goods, where there is no domestic analogue to a Chanel or an Hermes anyhow. They are willing to be persuaded, but the products need to deliver.
I agree that safe is one quality standard, but even safe is relative, moved up and down the scale, either sacrificed or sacrificed for. I’ll just point out that Brazil and Australian Beef are widely available in Japan (currently through the sogo sosha, which control distribution networks) even though they are perceived as inferior, but they are judged safe. The sogo sosha are given an unofficial monopoly by the government, partly enforced through the yakuza which the government allows to play the role, while protecting the agricultural powerbase, which due to the structure of representation in Japan gives party bosses the equivalent of the power of California from the voter base of Wyoming. The points I wanted to show are(10 it’s not really about the beef, but stil (2) that not all, but still enough Japanese will eat beef from the USA. These Japanese, the poor and lower middle class, now recognize no political party represents their interest, so their nationalism is a bubble waiting to be exploited by their own Trump/Hirohito. Meanwhile the party puppet masters are calculating if they can pull yet another one over their base, buy them off with more subsides, or will they get it wrong and push them into the arms of the urban/union faction & dissent parties? The beef objections are more about money politics, which means the neo-liberal agenda will eventually win out over the medium term, if with Japanese characteristics. Long term things could get very ugly.
Anyway, I digress. As an example of meat source, meat from China gets into Japan, though it’s perceived as the most dangerous, because inequality makes people willing to sacrifice their nebulous future safety for a concrete cheap protein fix. After the aforementioned scandal blew over, imports from China have gone back up again, even though China is perceived as a threat by the elite.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7: 16-17)
And yes, I do prefer the language in the King James version.
A republican libertard who becomes a democrat demagogue without having lived through a real personal crisis shaking her self-image is in the end is just a neo-conservative neo-liberal flip flopping with the demographics. This isn’t her first hypocrisy, she and Hill-Billy are standard build for the phenotype.
DeRay McKesson. I wonder if the people he is talking about who are interested in fighting have seen more of people starting out working within the system, then becoming the system, and then turning their backs on them.
An Obama in training. Doesn’t kiss ass because he has to. Kisses ass because he enjoys it.
kissing ass seems to be a means to an end to some people–a delusion that you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? or just personal ambition?
Or because of a need for the approval of people judged to be important. One reason why Obama is the most image-obsessed president we’ve ever had.
McKesson, from his speech, appears to be talking about effecting change, but doing so by penetrating the system and changing it from within, thereby creating a more responsive and better system. And possibly laying the foundation for others of a revolutionary mindset to effect change in other organizations and institutions the same way. His spiel doesn’t sound like he’s laying down his arms, but taking a different tack.
if only he weren’t a product of TFA.
The neo-liberal thought collective seems to be entirely exempt from his critique. Odd.
Yes, he struck me as a Corey Booker type, but Obama in training works, too.
I rather like DeRay as a person; he got credentialed at Bowdoin, after all. And he’s very level-headed on the Twitter. I don’t see him saying something like criticism of private equity nauseates him, as the odious Booker did.
I think it’s more a matter of his education, and of course TFA, which is doing exactly what it is supposed to do: Create the next generation of the Black Misleadership Class, while posing as a “career open to talents” (which, given its assumptions, it is. Long-dead economists….
The trick is to enter the system and then make the system become YOU who have entered the system.
Perhaps that is part of what Sanders wants the Sanders movement to understand and work towards.
Enter the system and make the system become THEM.
I would hope so, for it may potentially be the most effective way of making change.
the system tends to be a hierarchy that spits you out if you don’t conform. so how do you replace what spits out reform from the highest levels?
Become stealthily too big to spit out. Stealthily so your growing size and power isn’t noticed and “too big” so that when you are noticed, it is too late for the system to spit you out. Perhaps “system infiltratiors” need to learn , develop and perfect the ‘stealthy’ part.
Yes. Too big, too important and too influential for the the PTB to move against you without those powers possibly incurring significant backlash. and yes, work on strategizing the stealthy part.
then we must infiltrate everywhere, not just in government, because, IMO, except at the local level, and sometimes State level, government is being run from above.
Arianna Huffington qualifies as Clinton’s running mate now.
Thnx for the Corey Robin link and his thumbnail history of neoliberalism. I too remember reading Washington Monthly back in the day–each issue sporting a Charlie Peters column about his cool new idea. If anyone was Dr. Frankenstein for this particular monster it was him.
Robin gives us some of his thinking and summarizes
Meanwhile institutions that ameliorated risk like unions or Social Security were the enemy. At the time–in the doldrums of the post Vietnam period–it sounded like it might work but for anyone such as Chait or HRC to defend this crap now is just the latest chapter in the United States of Amnesia. As J.K. Galbraith once said about the related Chicago school: “the problem with their ideas is that they’ve have been tried.” They reinvent the wheel and then the stupid thing refuses to turn.
LOL! I am stealing that!
until the market lost, that is
but then, when everyone loses no-one does?
no, I mean the government is for the Market when it loses. and fuck the “losers”
the Market always wins
The 20% is the Outer Party.
Except it’s not organized as a party, which is why I reject that metaphor.
At a town hall Wednesday at Stanford University, in fact, Boehner called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” — and then went there.
“I’ve never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” he added. Boehner even suggested he would vote for Donald Trump, but not Cruz.
Sorry for the double post, but it is a debate worth having:
Who is the more effective evil:
A – Satan
B – Ted Cruz
Write in candidate: Hellary
Senator Barbara Boxcutter, erm Boxer, had a few choice tweets about Carly Fiorina, too. Amusing to read in a twisted kinda way.
That photo has a good concept this time, but the maker needs to invest in a macro lens.
On Trump’s foreign policy speech: I appreciated how he called out the neocons and told them that they’re full of crap in the speech. These people are like lice infesting the government and media, and hitherto every president from H. W. Bush right up to Obama have been cool with letting them sit there and suck blood. Trump is the first presidential candidate ever to call them out. Heck even Bernie is now revealing some neocon sympathies, with his newly exposed love for drones coming out in the open. If I’d actually been actively supporting him till now I’d feel super betrayed right now. Good thing I’m too cynical for that.
Well whatever. You all should really think about supporting Donald Trump. If nothing else, out of all the candidates he’s the one who seems least likely to start a nuclear World War III. You really going to vote for Jill Stein or stay home when there’s even a tiny chance that Hillary “Greater Evil” Clinton could get in? I’m not being hyperbolic here she’s not only crazy, but she also has bad judgement. It’s nuclear war we’re talking about.
Look, I dont do the lesser evil thing. Period. And we all know Trump is going to beat Clinton anyway.
No, I don’t think we do. I can see how he might, but that doesn’t mean he will.
Also, Im not entirely convinced the denunciation of neocons is real. Doesnt he have some as advisers already? I swear I read that somewhere.
[Keith] Kellogg, a former Army lieutenant general, is an executive vice president at Virginia-based CACI International, a Virginia-based intelligence and information technology consulting firm with clients around the world. He has experience in national defense and homeland security issues and worked as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad following the invasion of Iraq.
[Joe]Schmitz served as inspector general at the Department of Defense during the early years of George W. Bush’s administration and has worked for Blackwater Worldwide.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, Joseph Schmitz was the Pentagon inspector general under Donald Rumsfeld, and he didn’t really inspect much of anything. He was a big cheerleader, actually, for many of the most kind of excessive policies of Rumsfeld and the Pentagon in the post-9/11 world. And when Schmitz left the DOD, he became an executive at Blackwater. And Joseph Schmitz is a—you know, is a radical Christian supremacist. He is a member of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta and really is sort of a—you know, has a neo-crusader worldview. And I’m choosing those words carefully. I mean, that’s—he is definitely a radical Christian supremacist.
And he was an enthusiastic fan of Erik Prince and Blackwater, and he goes and he joins that company. And, you know, this is a guy, though, who—when I was researching him for the Blackwater book, he wrote a series of letters to the editor of conservative newspapers—Washington Times and others—in the ’90s. He was a fanatical opponent of abortion.
[Walid]Phares is a former Romney adviser, and selecting him as an adviser reflects just as poorly on Trump as it did on Romney. Leon Hadar has described him in TAC as a neoconservative and “an academic who was involved with right-wing Christian militia groups during the Lebanese civil war,” but that doesn’t do full justice to Phares’ record of bad judgment and alarmist rhetoric about foreign threats. As McKay Coppins reported shortly after Romney named Phares as an adviser, “Throughout his career as a pundit, he has warned that some Muslims are plotting a secret takeover of American institutions with the end goal of imposing Sharia.”
So, in other words, standard issue national security types?
Adding, snark aside, I’m making a serious point. I listen to a podcast from Foreign Policy, and despite their NPR-soft voices and advanced degrees, they’re as crazy as sh*thouse rats. All of them. Just listen to what they actually say.
“Trump’s team of foreign policy advisers, led by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, consists of counter-terrorism expert Walid Phares, energy consultant George Papadopoulos, former Defense Department inspector general [Joseph E.] Schmitz, managing partner of Global Energy Capital Carter Page and former Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the names to CNN.” [brackets mine]
Sessions is alright on a few bits of domestic policy, perhaps, but… two energy consultants, a Blackwater alumnus, an Abu Ghraib alumnus, and one of Romney’s foreign policy advisors doesn’t sound like the sort of team that would shut down empire, to put it mildly.
Let’s recall that Sessions was one of the very few not only to get TPP right, but to reveal portions of it. Say what you will about his politics, he’s got stones. (It was the “loony right,” let us recall, that was against the bailouts, along with 99% of the callers to Capitol Hill. It took the Democrats — and in particular Obama working with the CBC — to get TARP passed on the second try.)
“[T]he sort of team that would shut down empire” isn’t on offer. It’s not even clear to me that the people with the requisite institutional expertise exist. (One would need the “defense” equivalent of Joe Kennedy at the SEC; a crook who became an effective regulator.)
Someone mentioned a link, South something, about Trump’s neocon foreign policy adviser.
Yeah, it’s troubling. But neocons are like cockroaches. Wherever you go when you turn over a rock one or two are liable to be there. Let’s hope Trump is able to fumigate them out by the time he gets to the White House.
However as of yet, he’s still calling the neocons dummies. We can still hope that we’ll have at least one candidate this time who is against the neocons. Because no one else is even potentially against them.
It was Southfront. And I wouldn’t know how to find the article in question but I saw it too.
Looks like RT? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It’s probably this.
The article mentions John Bolton being cited by Trump as an adviser last August but haven’t heard anything about that since. In ever changing Trumpworld something that long ago might as well not have happened. His more recently named (to the WaPo I think) ‘foreign policy advisers’ are an unimpressive crew but haven’t heard much else about them either.
Trump is a big mystery but he’s also the unHillary just as Sanders is the unHillary. One could argue that the popularity of both is because people are desperate for an alternative to Hillary. In this case better the devil you don’t know may be better than the one you do. Even big liberal Sarandon said she might consider Trump rather than vote for Hillary. The downside of TINA is that people like having a choice.
Trump is a nuclear weapon in and of himself – he doesn’t need the real thing.
And yes, I’m voting for Jill Stein (again).
It’s difficult to square this rejection of the neocons with his declaration of love for a certain country at AIPAC.
Many people love Israel, but loving Israel does not make someone a neocon. The defining feature of the neocon is a desire to have one nation ruling the world as hegemon, and an utter devotion to the use of war and violence to achieve that end. Their love and appreciation for war is such that they will do anything and suffer any cost to have more war. In short, they are batshit crazy. Also, they pretty much control US foreign policy and the media.
It’s incredibly brave (foolish?) of Trump to not slavishly following the neocon doctrine. That is dangerous in America at this point in time.
Yes, I’m REALLY going to vote for Jill Stein.
I don’t like Trump and I don’t like Clinton. So no, I won’t be voting for either.
The scary thing about voting for Trump in protest, is what if he WON? (which he will) I would spend 4-8 years feeling bad about it :(
I mean, yeah, Hillary is admittedly worse, but I don’t want to be an accomplice to ANY Imperial administration.
Sanders has been consistent is his position all along. He has always expressed support for drones (he’ll be very selective when he blows people up because the one word he wants to be known for is compassion), war on terrah! etc. People kept calling him a socialist and i kept insisteng he was a mediocre D. I actually do think he will kill less people and it’s horrid that’s the best we can get for the primary.
Latest poll is still consistent… reuters 75% of Ds will vote for Clinton, 11% T, 11% 3rd party and a couple of points will stay home. Indies are leaning T right now but a large number are undecided.
Re: Lambert’s first Class Warfare item about GDP as a crappy measure. This week’s Economist synopsis just hit my email and believe it or not, they are discussing why GDP is a lousy measure of prosperity:
Almost puts a bounce in my step.
IIRC the Economist changed editors a couple of years back and since then it seems to be taking the occasional baby step away from cheer leading the fetid swaps of neoliberalism.
A little less of the “City is God, bow down you ungrateful plebs”. Probably too early to expect a Sanders endorsement though :-).
I posted some links if you can check back later when they’ve cleared through moderation.
This was supposed to be a reply to Massinissa @ April 28, 2016 at 4:51 pm
It went through, thanks buddy :)
The rich deferring taxes david cay Johnston…pay their taxes by and by…not so sure it is fair to suggest tax professionals are gaming the system…
since I resemble that remark…
But it certainly is much easier to follow the bouncing ball today…the federal register is online…
oh just not where you think…
That thing at federalregister dot gov…go down to that little thingee on the bottom left…legal status…yup…it is not actually officially official as the ACFR refuses to wave the magic wand…so you have to go to FDSys dot gov…which then takes you to the gpo…then on the far right…hit federal register and Then…you can read the daily bribe sheet to see which lobbyists bribed or blackmailed your happy little sheriffs of Nottingham into keeping you serfs in line…
True…I have no life but why dream of an ancient world of Byzantine intrigues when you can follow along live and in concert…I might be from Ithaki, but that I know of there are no secret archives in its vast caves network…at least nothing that has ever been shared with me…
So…the fed register will have to do for now…
re: “. “That lack of legal clarity underlines one of the worst aspects of ISDS: the fact that it does not sit neatly within traditional legal systems, but in many ways lies outside them. Far from helping to uphold the law, as supporters of corporate sovereignty like to claim, it makes it arbitrary and unpredictable. …”
Sounds kinda like the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS)
Ah mers…while we lament that…the 2b2f krewe are off to mismo dot org…because since no one went to jail why dont we just double and triple down….
“The Certified MISMO Standards Professional (CMSP) helps individuals and companies distinguish themselves from others by providing independent certification of expertise with the MISMO standards. If you want to become one of the select individuals with this designation – check out the CMSP today!”
From the MISMO front page.
Mars by 2025????
An earlier leader was more careful in his goals
Elon is your richard branson
why don’t they bring Mars back here?
It’s very elitist to go to Mars, the more democratic thing would be to get Mars and bring it back to earth and put it in orbit with the moon.
That way, we’d all have a chance of going to Mars with known technologies, not elitist fancy technologies only billionaires can buy. Maybe even an airplane with reclining seats could be reinforced for a trip around Mars. It could even land. You could get out, walk around in a space suit, then come back. It would almost be like going to northern Canada with orange tinted goggles.
But what if there are people on Mars? Just because the Mars lander hasn’t seen them doesn’t mean they’re not there. They may be underground. You’d have to ask them if they wanted their planet to come and orbit earth. If they said “no”, then you’d have to pay them. That shouldn’t be a problem, really. If they don’t take the money, then, well, we tried. They’ll like it here! There’s no doubt.
My man, our only hope at this point is that the Martians bail US out.
In real money, not Martian scrip.
Well “we” won’t pay them. The billionaires will, because we’ll tell them we’ll rename Mars after them. Just like a football stadium. If one of them gives less money than the others, we’ll name a part of northern Canada after them. It may be “the Bezos Tundra” or something like that but every time you look up at night you’d see “Planet Musk”. The tundra may seem unflattering and that would incentivize all of them all to fork over some real cash to make this work. Thinking up a name they could all live with wouldn’t be that hard. once we get Mars in orbit, we could rename it within a few weeks, tops.
Naming rights to Mars. That’s brilliant.
Convention Against Torture follow-up of US compliance gets adopted May 10.
Civil Society got to pile on:
The US government’s crime against humanity of systematic and widespread torture is under review,
Grading is A/B/C. Watch the US government go for the gentleman’s C in Prosecution of Suspects and Punishment of Perpetrators of Torture 101.
John Kerry is shocked — SHOCKED — that a Syrian hospital was bombed:
In light of the U.S. criminal profile of having bombed a Médecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan last October — and with Syria denying responsibility — what do you want to bet this latest outrage is just recidivism with a better cover story?
The Pentagon has disciplined 16 service members for mistakes that led to the deadly airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan last fall, but no one will face criminal charges, The Times has learned.
One officer was suspended from command and ordered out of Afghanistan. The others were given lesser punishments: Six were sent to counseling, seven were issued letters of reprimand, and two were ordered to retraining courses.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that he doesn’t think President Obama has been told the results of the Pentagon investigation. Earnest said he would not prejudge the outcome but “accountability is important and that’s something that was communicated to the military leadership.”
The Pentagon has acknowledged that Doctors Without Borders representatives had reminded U.S. and Afghan officials of the hospital’s precise location repeatedly before the airstrike because of fighting in the area. The facility was on the military’s list of prohibited targets.
Officials said last fall that the AC-130 gunship crew believed they were targeting a building about 300 yards away where several Taliban fighters were supposedly hiding. Less clear is why they continued to strafe the hospital for nearly an hour while aid officials in Kabul and Washington made frantic attempts to call them off.
At least 15 calls and text messages were exchanged with U.S., Afghan, United Nations and Red Cross officials, records show.
Ah, the great American legal system – mistakes were made….
But we all knew the outcome of the investigation the day the incident was reported.
The high level policy is always correct, it’s only screw-ups by the lower level. In this case they didn’t use proxies to bomb the hospitals.
The US DOD has a funny definition of fired. Anywhere else, it means you lose your employment. Inside the Pentagon it means you’re given a paid vacation before your promotion. Carey’s position, after being fired, was helping running Space Command, the agency tasked with spying on the communications of all of us, including Congress What a position for a man known to be compromised by the Russians.
Interesting how Wikipedia volunteers sanitized away his promotion to space command after his being “fired” from nuclear missile command.
Fabulous to read about the extraordinary Jane Jacobs, still relevant, highly courageous, and right.
I bet they’d plant a corporate flag. (Too bad the US moon shots had to include that damn flag planting, must have given scary flashbacks to Cubans, Nicaraguans, Vietnamese. etc). If Musk and crew were to stumble onto the black oblisk of Authur C. Clarke, would it signal back home: “arrange extermination (if they don’t get there first by themselves)”?
All things aside, he’s not nearly as nasty as some, like Leonardo I drive a Tesla DeCaprio, who also putters around on a yacht which in one hour puts out more greenhouse gasses than the coal fired electricity used to charge up a Tesla for a month of daily driving.
“I’d wish for all the squillionaires in Silicon Valley to leave for Mars, were it not that they are exactly the reason Earth should be quarantined.”
Yes, the problem is that Mars is too close to assure our future comfort and safety:
1) It can be seen with the naked eye.
2) Due to Mars’ lower gravity, objects escaping its surface may eventually end up on Earth, for example, ALH84001.
My preference would be to send them to the Oort cloud, although the risk of long period return is not zero.
Suit Accuses New York Times Executives of Bias
Thought it was accusing them of editorial bias…I was like, sure, but how do you work that into a lawsuit?