2:00PM Water Cooler 4/29/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership as a Foreign Policy Tool (PDF) [Council on Foreign Relations]. Note this chart:




“Trump Repeats Hoax Story About Shooting Muslims With Pigs Blood to Rapturous Applause” [Mediaite]. Of course, intellectually and morally, the fables of neoliberalism have exactly the same status as Trump’s “hoax story.” But then, they get “rapturous applause” from Very Serious People.

“The definition of acting “presidential” – for denizens of the White House and even their pets – has, at times, been stretched. But as Donald Trump struggles with admonitions from advisers who want the pugnacious Republican front-runner to ratchet back his freewheeling bombast, those who study the presidency say he’s got a long way to go” [McClatchy]. I think the more interesting question is whether Trump is a fascist. Thing is, I’m so old that I remember when there was a serious critique of Bush as a Fascist (2003-2006) based on his usurpation of executive power. Heck, Bush matched the checklists! Of course, that critique died instantly when Obama took office and proceed to normalize and legitimize everything Bush did. (Heck, it died in 2006 when Pelosi took impeachment off the table.) So, when I hear career “progressives” crying “Fascism!” I remember that episode.

The Voters

“The 2016 presidential season will only be of historical significance if it leads to a fracturing of the duopoly electoral system in the United States, a ‘trap within a trap’ in which the rich control both parties – one of which is always the overt party of white supremacy” [Black Agenda Report].

Sanders: “‘The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big-money interests?’ Mr. Sanders asked the crowd. ‘Do we stand with the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor? Or do we stand with Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies? Now our job is not just to revitalize the Democratic Party, not only to open the doors to young people and working people — our job is to revitalize American democracy'” [New York Times]. The headline: “Bernie Sanders, Shifting Tone, Takes On Democratic Party.” I know that’s the narrative the political class wants; they are now in that stage of the campaign where they’re pulling the wings off flies — those candidates deemed losers. (In 2008, they started doing this to Clinton in February.) But it’s not clear to me this is a tone shift at all: Clinton is, after all, the embodiment of the Democrat Establishment.

“Former Bernie Sanders Staffers Seek To Elect A ‘Brand New Congress‘” [HuffPo]. “Though it could be challenging to find Republican candidates who won’t flee from any affiliation with former Sanders supporters, the PAC hopes to recruit Republicans to run in districts hostile to Democrats. ” [Salon] comments:

Sanders has yet to endorse the group, but I suspect he will after the election – and he should. His campaign has shown that the country will respond to a progressive platform if it’s couched in the right terms. Sanders has outraised the Clinton machine for three consecutive months on the backs of small individual donors and despite being far behind in the delegate count. He’s amassed a two-million-person donor list, which can be used to leverage support for progressive House candidates nationwide. That Sanders, a relative unknown on the national stage a year ago, could accomplish this much this quickly says something significant about the mood of the country.

Yes, the Sanders list is a big issue in the game. Hope the DNC doesn’t steal it.


“[The] key argument of the right-wing justices in Citizens United has now become the key argument of the Clinton campaign and its media supporters to justify her personal and political receipt of millions upon millions of dollars in corporate money: ‘Expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption” — at least when the candidate in question is Hillary Clinton'” [The Intercept]. It’s not clear to me how the Unity Bandwagon squares this circle, particularly since Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, has taken no position on Citizen’s United.

The Trail

“In a hypothetical Clinton v. Trump contest in November, voters under 35 [in a a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote poll] would choose Clinton by a crushing 52%-19%, a preference that crosses demographic lines. Among whites, she’d be backed by nearly 2-1, 45%-26%. Among Hispanics, by more than 4-1, 61%-14%. Among Asian Americans, by 5-1, 60%-11%. Among African Americans, by 13-1, 67%-5%. And the yawning gender gap she has against Sanders would vanish: Clinton would carry young men and women by almost identical margins of more than 2-1” [USA Today].

“Mapping the 2016 Electorate: Demographics Don’t Guarantee a Democratic White House” [Cook Political Report].

“Hillary Clinton Campaign Offers Supporters A Literal ‘Woman Card'” [Talking Points Memo]. Whoever heard of a cash card with the swipe stripe on the front?

“Here Comes The Victim” [Blind Gossip].

“A top Clinton supporter explains how Hillary and Bernie can make peace” [Greg Sargent, WaPo (April 26)]. DiFi to open her “manse” for peace talks.

Clinton responded that she had not demanded that Obama meet any “conditions” when she endorsed him in 2008 after a bitter, hard fought primary.

If she’s saying that, non-disclosure was part of the deal. Honestly, does Sargent think his readers are little children?

“The end is near: Clinton and Sanders camps quietly signal resolution” [Greg Sargent, WaPo (April 28)]. If Sanders offers the Clinton camp anything, he’d better feed it to them on a long stick. Because if he doesn’t, they’ll take his hand off at the shoulder.

Here is the intraparty dynamic at play [Greg Sargent, WaPo (September 23, 2010)].

Top Obama adviser David Axelrod got an earful of the liberal blogosphere’s anger at the White House moments ago, when a blogger on a conference call directly called out Axelrod over White House criticism of the left, accusing the administration of “hippie punching.”

“We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day,” the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for liberal bloggers and progressive media.

The call seemed to perfectly capture the tense dynamic that exists between the White House and the online and organized left: Though White House advisers in the past have dumped on the left, anonymously and even on the record, Axelrod repeatedly pleaded with the bloggers on the call for help in pumping up the flagging enthusiasm of rank and file Dems.

“You play a great role in informing people about the stakes of elections,” Axelrod told the bloggers. “One of the reasons I was eager to expend time was to enlist you.”

But hovering over the call was the obvious disconnect between this plea for help and statements like those of Robert Gibbs, who recently pilloried the “professional left” for being overly critical of the White House.

That tension burst out into the open when Madrak directly asked Axelrod: “Have you ever heard of hippie punching?” That prompted a long silence from Axelrod.

“You want us to help you, the first thing I would suggest is enough of the hippie punching,” Madrak added. “We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day.”

From my Twitter feed, this has not changed.

“Donald Trump’s breathtaking romp through the Northeast corridor on Tuesday points to a fundamental shift in the GOP race. Once thought of as a candidate with a low ceiling, Trump won all but eight of the 119 bound delegates at stake in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. His smallest margin of victory was 30 points, and he carried all 34 congressional districts and all 107 counties” [Cook Political Report]. “For the first time since mid-March, he’s ahead of where we estimate he needs to be to reach 1,237 delegates and clinch the GOP nomination. In fact, current polling in the remaining ten states is consistent with a scenario in which Trump could capture as many as 1,400 delegates by June 7. Indiana is now a must win for Ted Cruz and the #NeverTrump movement, but the odds of a contested convention have dramatically declined.”

“Growing acceptance of Trump is due in part to Republicans’ fear that a contested convention will damage the party beyond repair. Dick Wadhams, the former Colorado party chairman, told the Post that “More and more people hope he wins that nomination on the first ballot because they do not want to see a convention that explodes into total chaos. People just want this to be over with, and we need a nominee” [New York Magazine].

“[N]ot perhaps since George McGovern in 1972 has a presumptive nominee so signally failed to carry the most committed members of his party with him” [David Frum, The Atlantic]. “So what happens now to those who regard themselves as party thought-leaders? Do they submit? Or do they continue to resist?” ZOMG!!! An actual, not ironic usage of “thought leader”!

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, March 2016: “Spending is weak [autos] but income is solid” [Econoday]. “The wages & salaries component rose a very solid 0.4 percent in the month while the savings rate rose 3 tenths to 5.4 percent. This matches the highest rate of the last three years.”

Consumer Sentiment, April 2016: “April was a downbeat month for consumer sentiment” [Econoday]. “This decline points to uncertain confidence in the jobs and income outlooks. But the assessment of current conditions is still holding in, up more than 1 point.” And: “The general trend in the Michigan Sentiment Index since the Financial Crisis lows has been one of slow improvement.The survey findings since December 2015 have seen a gradual decline with January 2015 remaining the interim peak” [Econintersect].

Employment Cost Index, Q1 2016: “Wages, not benefits, are driving up costs for employers as the first-quarter employment cost index rose 0.6 percent following gains of 0.5 and 0.6 percent in the prior two quarters” [Econoday]. “The rise in wage costs in this report, mirrored by actual wage gains in this morning’s personal income & spending report, will definitely catch the eye of Federal Reserve policy makers who are counting on wage pressures to build and give a badly needed lift to overall inflation.”

Chicago PMI, April 2016: Flat [Econoday]. “Growth in new orders has slowed while backlogs are down sharply. These readings do not point in the coming months to strength for production or employment which are already soft.” And: “The Chicago Business Barometer which recently has spent more time in contraction than expansion barely remained in expansion. This survey came in below expectations” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “The deceleration in the rail rolling averages began one year ago, and now rail movements are being compared against weaker 2015 data – and it continues to decline” [Econintersect]. Note this applies to carloads, not just intermodal (which was affected by last year’s strike).

Banks: “A trade group for the nation’s largest banks has asserted a constitutional right to risk-free profit from the Federal Reserve” [David Dayen, The Intercept]. “Rob Nichols, the chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, argued in a comment letter Thursday that a recent federal law reducing the dividend on the stock that banks purchase as part of membership in the Federal Reserve system, violates the Fifth Amendment clause banning the uncompensated seizure of property.”

“Why is Amazon all of a sudden not re-investing all its profits?” [Early Moves]. Interesting speculation…

“Don’t Blame Silicon Valley for Theranos” [New York Times]. Interesting on the social structure of Silicon Valley’s venture capital “community.”

“Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. Sued for Third Time for Dishonest Labelling” [The Fashion Law]. Never eat at a place called Mom’s….

“Pop Goes the Digital Media Bubble” [Mother Jones]. “For one thing, all the big new digital shops today employ, between them, a few thousand journalists—compared with the ten-thousand-plus laid off in the great retrenchment of 2007 to 2010. For another, like virtually every other hot property across the internet, digital media startups are better at growing than at showing a profit. And since a profit is what the people supplying those giant piles of cash are ultimately looking for…”

“[Warren] Buffett said simply, ‘This economy is not boomin, On the other hand, t’s not falling apart either” [Business Insider].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62, Greed (previous close: 70, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 74 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 29 at 12:12pm. Dropping toward fear…


“Major U.S. government contractors have received $1,171 in taxpayer money for every $1 invested in lobbying and political action committee contributions during the last decade, according to a MapLight analysis” [Maplight]. That’s a lot of rice bowls.

The Jackpot

“”Growing Food for Growing Cities” [from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs] forecasts that two-thirds of the world’s population, 6.3 billion people, will be squeezed into the cities by 2050 and that global food production would have to increase 50% to 60% to keep everyone fed. The world’s urban population now stands at 3.9 billion, according to the United Nations” [Los Angeles Times].

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Five of six Air Force F-35 fighter jets were unable to take off during a recent exercise due to software bugs that continue to hamstring the world’s most sophisticated—and most expensive—warplane” [Fortune].

Class Warfare

“More than 151 million Americans count themselves employed, a number that has risen sharply in the last few years. The question is this: What are they doing all day? Because whatever it is, it barely seems to be registering in economic output” [New York Times]. Three theories, but that there’s no reason to work harder (or smarter) if you don’t share in the gains isn’t one of them. Odd.

And then there’s this:

(Median annual household income in the US in 2014 was $53,657.) And both Drum and Mother Jones are considerably less captured than most of the wonkosphere. Et in Arcadia ego….

“In effect, we have two American economies. One is made up of expensive coastal zip codes where the pundits proclaiming “recovery” are surrounded by prosperity. The other is composed of heartland regions where ordinary Americans struggle without jobs. Over 50 million Americans live in what the Economic Innovation Group calls ‘distressed communities’—zip codes where over 55% of the population is unemployed” [Quartz]. I bet you can even see some of those communities from the Acela — if you raise the curtain on your window and aren’t too busy yammering on your SmartPhone.

“That means first it’s necessary to go out into the pain. I was surprised by Trump’s success because I’ve slipped into a bad pattern, spending large chunks of my life in the bourgeois strata — in professional circles with people with similar status and demographics to my own. It takes an act of will to rip yourself out of that and go where you feel least comfortable. But this column is going to try to do that over the next months and years. We all have some responsibility to do one activity that leaps across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country” [David Brooks, New York Times]. Book deal? But it’s been a strange year. I wonder what Moral Hazard thinks about this?

News of the Wired

“The Secrets of Medieval Fonts” [Medieval Books]. Fonts before type!

“Think of the internet economic loop as a model train track. Positions in front of you can redirect traffic around you. Positions after you can build new tracks that bypass you. New technologies come along (which often look toy-like and unthreatening at first) that create entirely new tracks that render the previous tracks obsolete” [Medium].

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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 (Tia Bee):

Snow Stars

Snow stars (Chionodoxa), with visitor. Hardy early blooming bulb which naturalizes well, even in No.Colo.

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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. dcblogger

    Trump can win the general election if Republican governors close the polling stations in Democratic precincts, and I don’t see anything to stop that from happening.

    1. edmondo

      Not sure that Trump can win as much as I think it is entirely possible that Clinton can lose. Her best bet to end up in the White House is to go on a world tour the day after the D convention and return to America on Election Day after the polls close on the East Coast.

      1. Procopius

        Do their Secretaries of State? I’m almost sure they do in Ohio and Kansas, but don’t know about other states. Michigan?

    2. craazyman

      I’m planning on getting drunk and voting for Trump.

      I figure maybe 4 or 5 Jamaican Red Stripes by 2 pm and I’ll be ready. Then I pull the lever.


      hahahahah. It’ll be amazing. Never in 1 million years would I have thought this would happen. I bet it was almost as unbelievable when General Sherman was laying waste to Atlanta. Just years before he was in bed, insane, being cared for by his close family, having relieved himself of command, an empty hollow shivvering shell of a man. Then just a few years later — whoa boy! You can see a picture of him in the reviewing stand next to General Grant on Pennsylvania Avenue after the war. It almost seems like it was a few weeks ago. Time is weird. Have you noticed how weird time is?

      Things happen. And time passes. Things happen that you would never believe. And the things you believe, sometimes they have never even happened. If you think about that, it will open your mind to vistas of perception that you have never experienced.

      Why on earth would somebody like me get drunk and vote for Trump? Well, I guess it’s because it would be hard to do sober. But after 4 or 5 Red Stripes, I think I probably can do it. I don’t think I could vote for Hillary after 12 Red Stripes. Or 40. Or a whole week of binge drinking. Sometimes you just have to scream. You know?

      1. kimsarah

        You don’t have to drink to vote for Trump. Because it will be a sober vote against Hillary and the DNC Wasserman Schultz machine.

        1. jgordon

          It’s this. Trump is entertaining and likeable. But do I trust him? No way! If Trump doesn’t screw over America as president I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but it’s not like I’m counting on that. No, I’ll vote for Trump because the thought of a President Hillary makes me want to puke all over myself and curl into a little ball. And staying home or voting for Jill is at least half a vote for Hillary, so I’ll just go with Trump thank you.

          1. Roger Smith

            This is how I see it as well. At first my plan was to write in Bernie or vote for Stein (or abstain). But I am absolutely disgusted with Clinton(s) and the destructive Democrat machine.

            In tug of war I could use one arm (Stein or pointless write in) or use both and vote for Trump. I am willing to show solidarity with the working class citizens the Democrats screwed over years ago, even if they’ve mistakenly scapegoated blame.

            In no reality will Clinton ever get my vote. Words cannot explain how much absolutely despise everything she stands for. I’d rather perform harakiri.

            1. John Zelnicker

              If Trump is the nominee, he will win Alabama by a landslide, even Cruz would win in this state. So, even if I got drunk enough to vote for Hillary (not actually possible), it wouldn’t make a bit of difference here. So, I’ll either write in Bernie so someone has to look at my ballot and be reminded of him. Or, I’ll vote for Jill Stein like I did in 2012 (Obama fooled me only once).

      2. Aumua

        If this happens, I’m seriously not voting, or else writing in a useless write-in. I simply cannot endorse either Clinton or Trump, even as the lesser of evils. They’re both equally abysmally evil in my view.

        Fuck it. FUCK IT.

    3. Waldenpond

      I believe we are already past deadlines for reducing stations. In fact, areas that were reduced in the primary already had plans for more in the general. This makes sense as depressed turnout gets the more conservative candidate in both parties and will move the country to the right overall.

      Was just watching TYT. Sanders staying in is good because… demographics are against Trump and Sanders is registering more voters (once their in, they rarely leave) and creates enthusiasm for the election. It’s Clinton’s to lose already.

  2. MikeW_CA

    ““Major U.S. government contractors have received $1,171 in taxpayer money for every $1 invested in lobbying and political action committee contributions during the last decade, according to a MapLight analysis” [Maplight]. That’s a lot of rice bowls.”

    A lot of rice bowls. And a SPECTACULAR return on investment.

  3. nycTerrierist


    re: possible demands by Sanders for his support for Clinton.
    Why ever would anyone believe that Clinton and the Dems would keep their word?
    Campaign promises are broken all the time.

    (I personally hope Sanders runs as a Green, if he does not get the nom.)

    1. Waldenpond

      I don’t understand the position that Sanders isn’t going to work w/the Ds. He has for decades. He’s a D loyalist. Good grief, he cut a deal for his run and has stuck to it to the detriment of the campaign. His supporters act like they want this more than him.

      He’s not running as an independent, he will head no new groups, his list will go to the Ds. He’s very honest about his support for the system. He believes the system is distorted by money but that the systems are good. His good friends are just victims of a corrupt system.

      If he wanted significant change, he would move forward outside the D party. He’s the incrementalist.

      1. divadab

        Which is why he will get something useful done. He’s already got Hillary fighting for her life.

        1. Waldenpond

          Hillary hasn’t had a complete cake walk. So what? She’s got the votes and the delegates. She may have had to lie a bit on some issues but that’s what Clinton’s do. She’s a plutocrat and will govern on behalf of the 1%. I have seen nothing that indicates any shift.

        2. jgordon

          This is a common misconception, or rather excuse, that should be dispelled for good. Incrementalism never works in real life; rather, incrementalism results in a steady drip of worsening conditions, like a frog boiling in a pot of water. The only time things ever generally improve for people is when sudden, spasmodic, or even violent breaks with the past occur. Incrementalism is the opposite of that, and thus is in reality a promise of continued decay.

          Incrementalism and timidity is what destroyed the Sanders’ campaign.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Given the campaign calendar I don’t see much alternative. I have a vague notion that the Sanders campaign was meant to deal a quick knockout blow to Clinton in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada (and not the South). Actual victories in all three, not moral victories in two. If so, the Sanders campaign underestimated the tenacity of the Clinton machine in Nevada; I’m not sure what went wrong in Iowa. However, the Sanders campaign might also have underestimated the power of the Sanders message and its fund-raising potential (the same mistake Dean made, I think). Suddenly a light army built for a quick strike had to scale up and maneuver on a continental scale. “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

            I think the sort of full-throated assault on Democrat Party orthodoxy that so many (including me) would like to see, orthodoxy as represented by both Obama and Clinton, would have had to be started at least a year earlier than Sanders began to campaign. Apparently, Sanders was going around the country testing the water and trying out his speech a year before the launch, but that’s not at all the same as in essence going into ground war mode a year before the election visibly begins. And how would that have been funded, in the absence of an official campaign?

            As it is, we’ll have to be content with an avowed Socialist winning 40% of the vote in a Democrat Party primary, with California in play. All in all, not such a bad outcome. There’s a good deal of sneering in the political class about how much Sanders’ consultants were paid — That the left should be able to hire campaign professionals! The idea! Doesn’t the left understand that they need to stay poor and powerless?! — but if you look at outcomes they did and are doing a pretty good job.

            1. jgordon

              There is something not right here that everyone is missing about politics, and I think Trump is just managing to brush against it in his campaign. For human beings the experienced reality has far less to do with objective facts than it has to do with beliefs and feelings and perceptions–and these latter realms are where people truly become inspired enough to break with the past and move in radical new directions. While Bernie certainly has an attractive message, his insistence on being reasonable, polite, and fact-based doomed his campaign from the beginning. He should have been aiming to create his own reality by being a glorious and unholy bastard as Trump has done. This was such a wasted opportunity for him, and for America this time around.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I personally hope Sanders runs as far from the Greens as he can. And I’m sick of this hopey nonsensicalness; see my comments elsewhere on this thread.

      The Greens need to develop their own candidates organically. Sanders is not their savior.

      1. Arizona Slim

        The Greens need to start working on basic concepts like appealing to voters outside of their tight little circle of friends.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Their idea seems to be that it’s enough to be a third party. I can see how the Avis campaign about being #2 worked (“We try harder”) but I don’t think the same idea works for #3. I can’t think of an example, at least.

  4. Jason

    Clinton responded that she had not demanded that Obama meet any “conditions” when she endorsed him in 2008 after a bitter, hard fought primary.

    Wow. She is such an awful candidate that it beggars the imagination. Is there anyone, at all, who thinks she was appointed Secretary of State on the basis of her single Senate term and time as First Lady? Anyone?

    And yet I’m still probably going to have to vote for her in the general, because Trump is worse. (I’m really starting to think he is a Clinton plant. She’d lose against anyone else, from Vermin Supreme on up.)

    1. tegnost

      clinton will drive the neoliberal team over the goal line and there’s likely no turning back for the country at that point (already?), while you can fight against trump. I suggest you reconsider…or go with stein and give them something unforeseen.

      1. Waldenpond

        I agree though the polling shows the Ds falling in line. Rs are mocked for falling in line, Ds are patted on the head.

        Love the poll on the youth vote. Once they sign up, they rarely leave. Sanders has brought in the next round of nose holders for the Ds. He may not have intended to sheepdog (his kneecapping his campaign says he was) but that is the result of his campaign approach.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Dunno about “kneecapping.” That’s the narrative, for sure, but he’s still out on the trail. I suppose one could argue that 40 states worth of staff should have been parachuted into California.

          I don’t know about political campaigns, but I do know that adding more programmers to a project can slow it down (because of all the communication that needs to take place to bring them up to speed).

          1. Waldenpond

            The myth that CA will save the campaign… 5-6 million voters if turnout isn’t lower than our typically dismal levels and yes, I saw the request for programmers. Phone calling and texting in place of on the ground canvassing. Because tech can win this!

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              The phone banks, at least according to the description I linked to, are about cleaning the list so the ground operation can GOTV.

              They’re not about messaging.

              1. Waldenpond

                Ideally, initially operates both online and ground game. Registration, identification, recruiting, gotv as phonebanking/texting/fb. As the states came closer together, it switched to identification and gotv phonebanking and recruiting/gotv canvassing.

              2. Arizona Slim

                I have phonebanked for the Sanders campaign, and let me tell you, their list needs work.

                You’ve probably heard about all of those enthusiastic under-40 people who are so down with Sanders. Good luck finding them on a Sanders phonebanking list. The lists I used were very heavy on over-50s, most likely with landlines.

                Oh, and the people I reached? I got more than a few who had already been called by the Sanders campaign, and could we PLEASE stop calling them?

                Then there were the verbal abusers and the hanger-uppers.

                After a few sessions like this, I started to wonder if the Sanders campaigns heavy reliance on phonebanking was such a good idea.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  May I ask the content of your script? (I have no doubt, however, that different phases of the list are worked on by different teams at different times for different purposes. The duplicate calls worry me, however. Maybe that’s part of the methodology, though. I don’t know.)

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              1) If you’re saying he knee-capped his campaign, then you’re saying that keeping the staffers on would have served some purpose. I don’t know where “the myth that CA will save the campaign” comes into that.

              2) I’m talking about adding programmers to a project not a campaign request for programmers. See Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man Month.

            3. Titus Pullo

              The phone banking helps canvassers, who compromise both groups, are mostly volunteers. The Sanders’ campaign is way more organized than the Clinton campaign, hence the “woman card” for a $1 donation. The lesson Sanders is teaching young adults (and some older) is that democracy isn’t real in this country. People power, while effective in the long run, is routinely suppressed in localities all over this “great” nation, that shining city upon the hill, a beacon to the world.

      2. Waldenpond

        What’s the unforeseen for the Green’s? Their approach is to only run in safe states so they never have an impact on any election. They make it a strategy/goal to never be a Nader. They make a passing attempt to get funding by getting a marginal vote in safe states.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          That’s not true. The NY Greens are pretty good (Howie Hawkins). The Maine Greens are a disaster, less than a decade after having made a perfectly respectable run for governor. Their candidate for mayor in Portland (last I heard) was terrific, and at the end of the process said outright he’d never run for office again. The Green organization nationally is a disaster. They feel like a dysfunctional non-profit.

          1. Waldenpond

            I was referring to national strategy. I’ve never seen a local or state campaign. ha!

          2. Arizona Slim

            Here in AZ, the Green Party seems to be a refuge for people who, shall we say, never left the Sixties.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        If the Greens were a serious national party, that might make sense. See any Greens leafleting at Sanders rallies? Any tables set up? Active assistance to Sanders, this being a two-way street? The initial Green line, universally, was that Sanders sucked because he ran as a Democrat. That was it. No argument on policy, no nothing. Mind-boggling incompetence at messaging.

        Even in our own little world at NC, both Yves and I actively solicit links. Anything — besides the very occasional link to a party site — from whoever the Green media person is? Of course not.

        It’s really ludicrous to suggest that Sanders should run on the Green ticket; it’s a recipe for disaster. People should stop repeating this truly dumb talking point.

          1. Yves Smith

            Wow, you expect US to do the Green Party’s work? You folks are the epitome of entitlement, that we should come to you, when you have done nothing to convince Lambert or me of the Green Party’s competence to govern. Stein isn’t a credible candidate. She;s never held elected office nor acted as administrator of even a dog pound.

            Moreover, Stein has 80,000 followers. Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times has 500,000. Zephyr Teachout, who is a political figure only in New York, has 36,000 followers. And Twitter is read heavily by journalists, yet her Twitter presence is not translating into media coverage.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            1) We don’t do assignments.

            2) That the first, best option — which I have to assume you’re presenting — for hooking into the putatively national Green Party PR effort is “check Stein’s twitter feed” is exactly the sort of demand I’d expect from a dysfunctional non-profit. Puts the burden on Yves and me and

            3) is utterly useless, since Stein’s feed (like Sanders’, and Clinton’s) consists almost entirely of 140 character soundbytes. I certainly don’t intend to link to any of them.* Our job is to provide value to readers, not amplify campaign messages.

            Snort, indeed.**

            * Except for something egregious, where there is value add.

            ** I’m not sure which you haven’t read carefully: Our link aggregations, or Stein’s feed. Whichever, it’s clear that from an editorial standpoint, they’re not compatible.

        1. Carolinian

          The fact that they run the same candidate every four years also makes them seem unserious.. Nothing against Stein, but is she like the only person willing to do it? They are a boutique.

          Honestly I wonder how interested the youth are in electoral politics anyway. The low Dem primary turnouts say a lot. Going to a rally is like attending a big party. Voting is something you boringly do by yourself.

          1. CH

            They’ve been running Stein ever since a bunch of pro-Democratic Party turds took over the party machinery and torpedoed Rocky Anderson’s leadership bid.

            Anderson was a popular former mayor with populist leanings and a credible dark horse candidate in the general. That could not be allowed–the only legitimate role for the Green Party, you see, is to play “Even Gooder Cop” to the Democrats’ “Good Cop”, and “prove” through their miserable performance that positions held by large pluralities of the electorate are actually fringe positions. Stein performs admirably well in that regard.

        2. hemeantwell

          I have a friend who actually quit a solid academic job to work full time with the Greens. Every time I tell him how much I respect him for it, he tells me what a fool he was. Bickering, endless centrifugal arguing, incoherent organizing, all overdetermined by the mechanics of our voting system. All I can say is that it reflects the fate of the left in a period when capitalism is still capable of patching itself up and staggering along. Now we may be past that.

          1. tegnost

            poverty can do that to people (bickering, arguing, incoherent goals…) but you’d be amazed what, with a little stability, can be created out of chaos…it’s indisputably an existing framework in spite of it’s reported deficiencies. Look how a virus works, it grabs a compatible frameworks and runs with it, if it’s a surprising enough attack it “wins”…

        3. Roger Smith

          This is precisely the Green Party narrative I have picked up following Stein on Twitter. For a long while it was “Party politics doesn’t work. Join Green”. Then, “Sanders was always doomed, Democrats and Replicans are chumps”. And as it has become less likely Sanders will prevail, “Sanders’ supporters have a place here, join us!”

          And here I am wondering why now when before they cared very little, even though Sanders is largely in their spectrum of ideology. The Greens come off as opportunists (and party focused)… exactly part of the dishonesty/lack of sincerity I despise in politics.

          If they really cared about ideology, their party would have come second.

    2. cwaltz

      What? You mean Barack Obama didn’t appoint her because she threw a mean tea party for foreign dignitaries while First Lady? At least, that was what he likened her experience to during the primaries.
      Probably would have been better if as SoS she had stuck to tea parties.

      I’ll be voting Stein. I won’t be held responsible for placing either one of those two in charge of foreign or domestic policy.

    3. lambert strether

      Not to mention Obama’s bundlers helped her retire $22 million in campaign debt. Ka-ching.

  5. EndOfTheWorld

    Is Trump a fascist? The definition of fascism has been changed recently. Originally it meant a partnership of corporations with government. That’s what we have with Hillary. I’ve heard that the definition was changed because now,for all intents and purposes, almost all US pols are in favor of partnership with corporations (their sugar-daddies). So now the racist and militaristic aspects of fascism are emphasized in the definition. Trump is a showman. He talks about getting the Moslems with pig’s blood because stuff like that pleases the crowd. If elected, he’s not going to actually shoot anybody with pig’s blood and more than he’s going to build a wall. He’s probably less of a warmonger than HRC. He’s a wild card. At least he’s the anti-hill.

    1. Optimader

      Is trump anymore bombastic than teddy roosevelt? More disingenuous than bho or hrc?
      Is bombasity worse than bombing? HRC is a guarantee of that.
      The thing is. The new normal is it is fairly irrelevant what a potus candidate states

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Right, nobody will check later to see if they carried out their campaign promises. Trump, as an outsider, can see that and to him it’s just another form of show business. As Gerald Celente stated: “Politics is show business for ugly people.”

  6. Marco

    Regarding the Sanders doner list. What happens with it? Is there an expectation on the part of team Clinton / D party establishment that they deserve access? I WILL burst into flames if I start getting emails or phone calls asking for $$ for Hillary.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      So far as I know, the Sanders campaign owns it. (I assume its in VANS but I’m not sure.)

      I suppose it could be a bargaining chip, if one believed the Clintons wouldn’t break a deal with somebody outside ClintonLand.

      Fear would be a much better motivator; this is purely speculation, but my theory is that Clinton had the affidavits of Texas caucus fraud to hold over Obama in Denver. (“I’ll just leave this in a safe deposit box. Multiple safe deposit boxes.”) Sanders, so far as I know, has no gun to put to Clinton’s head. The only leverage he has is delegates and a floor fight at the convention.

      1. Waldenpond

        How does it ever get to a floor fight? I keep seeing ‘we’re taking it to the convention!’. First vote for Clinton, supers tap in and it’s over. I imagine, if you are into the theatrics of the whole machine operation, it’s interesting to go to.

      2. hemeantwell

        Christ. If the Clinton campaign wants to run a test of how much they’ll benefit from Sanders’ donor list, let them solicit me. My response will not make it past their obscenity filter.

      3. Yves Smith

        I’m told on good authority that Sanders will never give Clinton that list, although as Lambert indicated above, it’s hard not to imagine that they would try to steal something they clearly covet.

        I think the Clintons very much underestimate how many Sanders backers would unsubscribe from the list on getting the first Clinton message.

        1. Optimader

          Well thats the lead ear aspect of it.

          I doubt a Sanders list would even recover the solicitation postage. In fact it would likely harden a pushback in the voter booth, like antagonizing a wounded animal.
          Why would someone contribute to their philosopical antagonist?

    2. Sam Adams

      Already received a DNC “survey” and begging bowl letter signed from DWS. I say let them swing with thier masters.

      1. Anne

        I derive a great deal of satisfaction by ripping those things up and mailing them back where they came from; I know they don’t give a hoot what I think – they just want my money, and they are not likely to be getting any anytime soon.

          1. Anne

            But of course! It’s hard to say which part pleases me the most – that I’m sending them back an envelope full of shredded survey bits on their dime, or wondering how many of these kinds of envelopes they’re having to open…

            And I don’t just send back the ripped up survey – I send back everything – including the envelope it all came in. Sometimes, I include a note: “Dear DNC: my recycle bin is full, so please put this in yours.” Or, “Dear DNC: Are you Fking Kidding Me With This?”

            It depends on my mood whether I include a note, but always, always, the whole mailing goes back to them, and they pay for it.

      2. dots

        If the Party Dems and Clinton keep their focus on chasing after money and donors, they’re going to be very badly positioned down the line because they don’t have their priorities straight. That, more than anything else , has been the Sanders campaign’s greatest contribution. Hell, the wealthy folks didn’t even know the rest of us weren’t feeling the love until Trump and Sanders came out.

        And the kids won’t stay with the Dems if they aren’t being listened to. That line of reasoning does not appeal to them.

  7. Tertium Squid

    The End is Near: Clinton and Sanders camps quietly signal resolution

    Rep. Keith Ellison, a top supporter of Bernie Sanders…”Every Bernie supporter knows that this Supreme Court issue is looming.”

    Even when they make nice they recognize the only thing Hillary gives America is an unsatisfying patina of social progressivism.

      1. ScottW

        I think Citizens United is to Democrats, as Roe v. Wade is to Republicans. A rallying cry for the troops to fall behind with no real interest by either party in overturning either decision.

        Correct me if I am wrong–Hillary and Bill have personally received more special interest money (speaking fees & foundation) than any other candidate in history. She has taken the holding of Citizens United–special interest money is speech unless there is a quid pro quo–to a new level. Not only does lobbyist money given to her campaign not corrupt Hillary, but the hundreds of millions her family has personally received have no influence. Believing that makes you a political idiot.

        She is a poster child for Citizens United. And with the Supreme Court’s reported reluctance to affirm the conviction of VA Gov. McDonnell for receiving $167,000 in gifts/loans for giving assistance to a medical supplement quack, it appears they will never find a quo. Only the political amateurs don’t know how to play the money game and not get caught.

        I think the Supreme Court figures if corruption were properly defined–using public office for private gain–we would lose 95% of our elected officials. And that would be bad because? We could let drug users out of prison and replace them with real criminals.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s interesting that students give money to, that is, pay teachers, but teachers do not change how they educate.

          Perhaps it’s because all students pay equally that teachers don’t favor one over others.

          Does it mean that if we all give the same amount of money to Hillary, she is guaranteed to be impartial?

          Sadly, if the amount it high enough, it’s impossible we all give equally.

          But does it mean she will be partial?

          Here, we seek clues elsewhere – in taxes.

          Do customers, or people, paying more to the government, that is, paying more in taxes, receive better treatment? If you pay less in taxes, if you give less money to the government, are you treated less favorably?

          Reports seem to indicate that those giving less money, or even none at all, to the government can in effect be treated more favorably.

  8. SufferinSuccotash

    Your picture is a striking example of what William James once described as “blooming buzzing confusion”.

    1. jgordon

      I only comment on photos that have some professional merit. Amateur work shouldn’t rate either ridicule or praise, since, after all, someone who doesn’t know anything about photography isn’t looking for a critique anyway. But your analysis is exactly right.

  9. Qrys

    “Five of six Air Force F-35 fighter jets were unable to take off during a recent exercise due to software bugs that continue to hamstring the world’s most sophisticated—and most expensive—warplane” [Fortune].

    Sunk cost fallacy
    , much?

    Please, just let it die…

    1. Jim Haygood

      It’s really annoying getting a BSOD [Blue Screen Of Death] when you’re tooling along at Mach 1.5.

      Then this:

      Access denied
      The file is protected or in use by another application.

    2. Mary Wehrheim

      I see the F-35 as America’s answer to the pyramids: A boondoggle of monstrous proportions celebrating the majesty of the American pharaoh known as exceptionalism . At least the pyramids are durable and cool looking so they have had tourist appeal over the centuries. The F-35s will just end up rotting away in some desert junkyard next to the 1960s Vegas signs.

  10. Gareth

    I expect Trump to soon demand that Clinton disavow the hundreds of violent, out of control Hillarybros who have been assaulting the peaceful citizens attending his campaign rallies. Hillary, call off your thugs!

  11. diptherio

    Thought I’d throw my two cents in on the trade debate, as it seems to be heating up, by starting a “podcast.” Mostly I talk about what “factor price equalization” means for most of us. Exciting stuff…really, it’s just me reading some words over some CC licensed music, but what do you expect for a DIY effort? If anyone wants to help write the script for the next one, I’m open to collaboration:

    Economics for the Rest of Us — Ep. 1

    1. clinical wasteman

      Thanks diptherio! Quietly stylish, unpompous and unpatronizing. Explaining the ‘Ep. 1’-level principles this way without simplifying to the point of travesty is extremely hard to do (think of actually existing Water Cooler talk!) and you’ve done it here.
      On some outlying level there are questions I want to discuss one day (not just with you, also with others here whom I respect, admire & sometimes disagree with on this one point) about the country/the nation/the state as framework for class analysis, but for now my quibbling impulse happily defers to your calm truth-telling.

    2. meeps

      diptherio @ 4:23 pm

      Very succinct podcast. It’s nice to have a friendly voice to pair with your writing here.

      The part about TAA had me thinking about single payer healthcare. If US citizens would be the beneficiaries of an ‘everyone in’ healthcare plan and the losers would be those whose jobs in the for-profit insurance industry would be lost (of course, the healthcare benefit still accrues to them), can a case be made for single payer with TAA? I realize the ordinary context is trade between nations but this looks like a parallel argument.

    3. homeroid

      Good job diptherio bravo. A nice tool in the box for dealing with some folks i know. Look forward to more.

  12. Carla

    “We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day,” the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for liberal bloggers and progressive media.”

    This makes me want to vomit. Why are they even talking to Axelrod, unless every “liberal blogger” and member of the “progressive media” is in fact just another “Crook and Liar.” Guess we know now.

    Here’s a good piece by Andrew Levine, entitled “What is the Democratic Party Good for? Absolutely Nothing”

    1. nycTerrierist

      Yes, good piece by Levine:

      “Democrats can therefore do what Republicans cannot: integrate the victims of the status quo into a political consensus that serves and protects those who benefit most from it – the “one percent,” the “billionaire class.” They are good at this.”

      Paging Hillary’s centurian guard of black church ladies…

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      That piece is from 2010. Apparently the Greg Sargent of 2016 forgot about it. He’s pushing this party unity thing as hard as Jennifer Rubin was pushing that whack job general.

      1. Carla

        Oh, sorry, I missed that the Sargent piece was from 2010.

        However, the Andrew Levine piece is current!

  13. Nick

    The Pentagon says mistakes led to last year’s attack on the MSF hospital in Afghanistan. But don’t you leftist hippies think for a second that those mistakes will go unpunished:

    “The punishments include suspension and removal from command as well as letters of reprimand, which can seriously damage or end a career.”

    I can only presume that the families of the doctors that were killed will write letters of appreciation and admiration to the Pentagon for delivering such swift justice. Steven Seagal will personally be delivering the letters of reprimand to the soldiers who made the “oopsies.”


  14. JustAnObserver

    Re:F35. They seem to have turned the old ‘doze “Blue Screen of Death” from metaphor into something truly lethal – at least to the poor bloody pilots who are supposed to go to war in these barrels of pork.

    On a less cynical note: Anyone out there in the geeky part of the NC commentariat know what OS the F35 s/w uses ? Somehow doubt its open source :-).

  15. DJG

    Lambert: The prospect of Carly Fiorina doing anything makes me buy books. So: My tsundoku. (A word you introduced us to.) The book pile.

    I am reading Masters of Empire by McDonnell. It is a history of the Anishinaabe peoples who dominated the Great Lakes for hundreds of years. Enlightening. As a Chicagoan, I should know the original inhabitants better. History doesn’t start with Rahm.

    From IBS in Milano, I just received:

    Storia della mia gente, Edoardo Nesi. Already considered a classic. Nesi is a poet who comes from a family that owned a fine-textile factory. A memoir of deindustrialization.

    Kobane Calling, Zerocalcare. Zerocalcare may be the best graphic novelist working in Italy. Normally the chronicler of Italian angst (and there is Italian angst), he decides to go to Syria.

    Lo Sguardo Rovesciato, Roberto Cotroneo. An essay on our era of too much photography.

    Cade la Terra, Carmen Pellegrino. A novel that comes highly recommended. I don’t know her work well. Some members of the NC readertariat also read in Italian. Advice?

    Just finished and highly recommended, two illustrated memoirs: Molly Crabapple, Drawing Blood. Özge Samancı, Dare to Disappoint, about growing up in Izmir.

    I am considering taking Dare to Disappoint as my personal motto.

    1. clinical wasteman

      You piqued my curiosity to the point that I had to check whether Edoardo Nesi was anything to do with Berlinguer’s banker Nerio, but he’s apparently not. (Readers who quite reasonably couldn’t care less may at least be amused to learn that according to Wikipedia, Nerio Nesi “became a banker by accident in 1967″.)
      Don’t quite know how Edoardo reconciles his “seething rage” on textile workers’ behalf with running for office with (EU Commissioner Monti’s Scelta Civica.
      Anyway, thanks for the recommendations. Two to offer in return: Wu Ming on class struggle and Mesmerism(!) in the French Revolution in “L’Armata dei sonnambuli”; and even though it’s 10 years old, Daniele Balicco’s “Non parlo a tutti”, an extended reading of Franco Fortini and probably the best thing I know of on the im/possibility of “ruthless criticism of everything that exists”.

    2. annie

      the nesi book ought to be good, given subject matter and nesi’s proximity, but it’s tepid and flabby. you’ll be disappointed.
      already a ‘classic’–says who?

  16. Bunk McNulty

    Zephyr Teachout: There’s No Such Thing As A Free Rolex (NYT)

    From the text: At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the framers devoted themselves to building a system that would be safe from moneyed influence. “If we do not provide against corruption,” argued the Virginia delegate George Mason, “our government will soon be at an end.”

    Today, Virginia’s former governor proposes that there is a “fundamental constitutional right” to buy and sell access. If the court finds in his favor, it will have turned corruption from a wrong into a right.

    1. Carla

      Banks: “A trade group for the nation’s largest banks has asserted a constitutional right to risk-free profit from the Federal Reserve” [David Dayen, The Intercept].

      For all of you who thus far have not considered corporate personhood rights under the U.S. Constitution to be a problem…

      To date, exactly one Constitutional Amendment has been introduced in Congress that addresses corporate personhood as well as the mistaken doctrine of money equaling speech. You can read all about it here: https://legiscan.com/US/bill/HJR48/2015

      If you’d like to work on this issue, take yourself to http://www.movetoamend.org

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have to believe that people a hundred years gave their best to resist the take over the establishment of the Fed.

        Hard to imagine they didn’t warn us of the possibility of risk-free profit to banks from the Fed.

  17. Detroit Dan

    I used to read Drum every day, but he lost me with his attacks on Sanders. Now, it’s NakedCapitalism for me.

    1. cwaltz

      IMO It’s not necessarily a bad idea to read people you don’t always agree with. You just need to make sure your blood pressure can withstand the BS

  18. geoff

    “Clinton is, after all, the embodiment of the Democrat Establishment.”

    Lambert, the Democratic party alternately disappoints and enrages me as much as the next NC reader, but I wish you wouldn’t refer to them as the “Democrat” party or establishment. It’s a straight up Limbaughism, and brings to mind all the “libruls hate America and are actively seeking to destroy it from within” rhetoric I associate with him.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      They need to earn the title. They can a) stop redbaiting and b) stop voter suppression. When they are democratic, I’ll call them Democratic. This isn’t the 50s.

      Adding, the neoliberals do hate America and are actively seeking to destroy it from within. I grant for none of the reasons Limbaugh is said to believe this.

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      Nothing personal, Geoff, but this issue was raised back on April 11 to Lambert, and I had this to say at the time:

      April 11, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      I independently arrived at the same formulation as that about which you are complaining to Lambert. They lost their goddamned right to be pissy about this due to their years of applied treachery toward the interests of those whom they purport to represent, and whose support they have done absolutely nothing to merit. To my mind and experience, they have little to no genuine interest in democratic behavior, and thus have forfeited the right to the name “Democratic”. It’s their club, and we ain’t in it. They won’t secure voting rights, they won’t secure the integrity of the election process, and the very notion that their own Superdelegate-compromised primary process is “democratic” is risible. They can just get off of their damned high horse.

      If ever the “ick” factor I associate with that cabal (I hesitate to say party, as that might connote an organization that actually gives a flying fuck about those who wish that it did have some recognizable interest in representing their views), is substantially reduced, then perhaps the “-ic” might once again have a place in conjunction with “Democrat”. Until such time, no dice for me, a registered Democrat for 45 of my 63 years.

      I felt rather strongly about this at that time, and subsequent posturing and actions undertaken by the Democrat Big Cheeses have, if anything, strengthened my antipathy toward them and the grandiloquent hypocrisy they continue to exhibit.

      Again, nothing personal. I applaud your desire that these inconvenient facts would not be so, but they sure are.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still.” –T.S. Eliot.

        And so with “Democratic” Party. I respect the point that Geoff is making. But times have changed.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      You’re right – it should be DemocRAT. Better?

      Perhaps you’re mistaking this for a different orange colored website…?

  19. Joseph Hill

    I won’t be voting for the first time in my life. Or if I do, it will be for the greater of two evils so we can perhaps bring our national crisis to a quicker denouement. I’m just not sure who the greater evil is yet, but probably Trump. Oh, and I’m so glad to hear that David Brooks will be making one his periodic forays out of Montgomery county to observe and report on the Losers. I hope he is threatened.

    1. Carla

      Please consider voting for a “third” party candidate. We need more alternatives, and “minor” parties need ballot access. If nobody votes for them, they won’t get it.

      1. Joseph Hill

        Thanks, I really do appreciate that approach. I lived in DC in 2000 so voted for Nader as a DC vote doesn’t matter. I voted for Obama in ’08, but was quickly disillusioned and voted Green in 2012. I just don’t think doing something similar helps in 2016. I’m in Maryland now so was excluded from the primary – I refused to re-register as a Dem (from Independent) even though I begin giving money to Sanders almost as a soon as I could (I think NC included a link for ActBlue/Sanders very early last year). In this election I think the sharpening of divisions and swords in terms of how it plays out practically are what may help politicize and sharpen the thinking of so many who have either been asleep or thought their vote didn’t matter. A third party may be more visible in the wreckage of the two old ones.

  20. PQS

    Poor Old David Brooks. Maybe he’ll finally get to have a salad at the Applebee’s salad bar…..too bad he’s such an insufferable old boob. He won’t make it past Ohio.

    1. SufferinSuccotash

      He won’t get past his first encounter with Creamy French Dressing. We’re talking serious culture shock here.

  21. A letter of reprimand

    Nick, A letter of [gasp] reprimand.! Under the US War Crimes Act, 18 U.S. Code § 2441,

    “Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.”

    In case you were wondering whether the facts as reported by MSF constitute a US war crime,


    A letter of reprimand.

  22. Elliot

    The only use I can think of that Hillary might have for Sanders’ list is as the basis of an enemies’ list; who to punish for supporting Sanders. It certainly won’t be a trove of new Clinton voters or donors.

  23. Carolinian

    Fun stuff

    There is one aspect, however, in which Game of Thrones has a claim to being the most realistic show on television. Despite the wizards, the wights and the way every character manages to maintain perfect hair even when they’re being pointlessly tortured to death, there is something horribly relatable about Martin’s world of Westeros, whose characters have now become part of public myth. What sets it apart is not the monsters, the nudity or the festering gallons of gratuitous gore, but the overwhelming sense that the plot got run off the rails three books ago and is being steered towards a terrible precipice by a bunch of bickering, power-mad maniacs. This, coincidentally, happens to be the plot of the entire 21st century so far.



    1. VietnamVet

      I enjoyed the article. All of the apocalypse shows on TV are to prepare ourselves for the coming Winter or a plague of Zombies. The real and fictional elite are incompetent and vicious. Yet, we believe nothing will happen. Even though, right now, the Obama/Clinton regime change campaigns are flooding Europe with refugees. A small taste of what is to come.

      WP published six maps to rethink the world by focusing on the dozens of mega cities instead of nation states:

      Like a Game of Thrones script, the moving of agricultural production from the heartland to Canada mentioned in the text is treated as nothing significant. But, in effect it is predicting that Middle America will turn into a dust bowl and nothing will be done to stop it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        As Trump said:

        No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down and will never enter.

        Hard to imagine Clinton making the underlined statement. That said, I do find those maps interesting. Here’s what global strategist Parag Khanna has to say on politics:

        You hear Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump scapegoating globalization — it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. America has been the creator and driver of globalization over the last 25 years. Yes, it is now a more level playing field [for whom?], and we are not always the winners, but that is the fault of politics and bad policy. In 2004, a pillar of John Edwards’s presidential campaign was worker retraining programs for new industries. Twelve years later, where is that program? Just because we didn’t create it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The Germans did it, the Swiss did it, the Koreans do it. Other countries don’t blame globalization, they manage it, they take advantage of it. I think we [we?] failed to do that, and that’s what explains Trump and Sanders.

        First, I don’t hear the elites being asked to give their wealth for the good of the entire planet. So why is it OK to make the same request of working people? Second, Khanna might say “Well, I advocated for solutions like those Edwards proposed.” So why does Khanna not take the next step, and ask why Edwards ideas weren’t implemented?

        Basically, what we have here is a very smart technocrat explaining to the American working class that there’s nothing in it for them.

  24. Carolinian

    Raimondo has extensive excerpts from Trump’s FP address and it sounds a lot better than some of the summaries would have you believe. And get this bit

    “No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down and will never enter.”

    “the false song of globalism”….from NC’s lips to DT’s ears.


  25. Cry Shop

    Shipping / China Economy

    Empty 20/40′ shipping container storage is one booming business in South China, at least in acreage.

    According to a China Light & Power (Hong Kong) executive speaking at Q&A session of a recent solar power seminar in Hong Kong, China’s National Grid electric demand grew only 1% in 2015, that not just their thermal plants, but even CLP’s hydroelectric joint venture project has not received permission to dispatch (connect to the grid), though it’s been declared in commercial operation (and thus all the vendors mostly state firms in China can collect their final check). Seems things are so grim among state firms that the government is putting the squeeze on wealthy JV partners who can come up with the cash.

  26. Cry Shop

    “More than 151 million Americans count themselves employed, a number that has risen sharply in the last few years. The question is this: What are they doing all day? Because whatever it is, it barely seems to be registering in economic output” [New York Times]. Three theories, but that there’s no reason to work harder (or smarter) if you don’t share in the gains isn’t one of them. Odd.

    They also left out that all the cream/profit from “economic” activity has been off-shored into tax havens. Mossack Fonseca for the Win. All those financial trade agreements have demonstrated their use.

  27. Kim Kaufman

    Re “I think the more interesting question is whether Trump is a fascist. ”

    Lucifer, Trump and Who’s Behind the GOP Factions?

    Former Clinton advisor Bill Curry says most of the Establishment likes neo-liberal predictability and continuity, they don’t trust Trump and could prefer Clinton; some GOP politicians are supporting Trump’s populist fascism


    “But I’’ll just–. Let me just summarize it by saying Trump reminds us–to me, Trump deserves the word ‘fascist’. You know, yeah, it’’s not Hitler, but it’’s not too far from Mussolini. And people will say, but he doesn’’t really believe it. And I’’m not sure Mussolini did, you know, or that anyone does. And they’’ll say that his thinking is eclectic, and it certainly is. The Democratic Party gifted him many of the most important issues of economic populism that were once the birthright of the Democratic Party. They’’ve given them to Trump to run on in this election. It’’s astounding.

    But the fact of the matter is that being a fascist was always ideologically nondescript. It didn’’t matter if you were for or against universal healthcare or global trade so long as you were racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, so long as you were a bully, so long as you were using, willing to use the instruments of power to quell the process of democracy. That’’s what makes a fascist, not some bundle of platform positions.”

  28. Darthbobber

    David Brooks is going to go forth and report on why on earth the hoi polloi are feeling aggrieved. This should be fun.

    Could be the one man version of the idiocy we were treated to in the 90s, when the NY and Washington media camped out in Arkansas for Whitewater, sexgate, troopergate, too late we’re out of the gate gate, etc. With time on their hands they did a ton of condescending, preening local color pieces, written in the style of really incompetent popularizing anthropologists bewildered by the quaint and picturesque customs of the “primitive” tribes they were stuck in the midst of.

  29. Ran

    Posted this to my almost exclusively Dim “friends” on FB. Radio silence so far.

    Let’s see what our corrupt, scumbag duopoly has squeezed out in the way of front runners this year. On the Dim side we have a career grifter, congenital liar and AIPAC/ Wall Street/MIC fellating war criminal with a record unblemished by success, unless you consider success countless dead/widowed/orphaned/refugees in our numerous Killary backed wars and coups. On the Rethug side we have a despicable racist blowhard moron, the Donald, born on home plate who swears he hit a home run, not a war criminal yet but give him a day or two if he wins. I’m throwing up a lot in my mouth right now.

  30. Virginia Simson

    I am curious as to why you maintain that Merrick & Garland llc has never taken a position on Ctizens United.

    The good journalist at Think Progress,Ian Millhaser, has shown that he has; so has Rob Hager at Counterpunch. Hager pounds away at this endlessly. Hager took on Citizens United in Montana and knows what he is talking about.


    The SpeechNow.org case should tell you EXACTLY where Garland is coming from.

    The propoganda mill to get Garland in is operating on FULL TILT – but it will not end the fundamental problems resulting from the Buckley decision.

    1. Debra D.

      Thank you for responding and providing this information. I’ve heard Hillary Clinton say she advocates for a constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united. Yes, I’m sure she’ll get right on that.

      I don’t know whether her advocacy extends to reversing the “corporations are people” embodied in the buckley decision.

  31. Roger Smith

    “Whoever heard of a cash card with the swipe stripe on the front?”

    When has Clinton ever had to go to the store for herself? She has people for that…

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