2:00PM Water Cooler 4/6/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“In all areas assessed, the [health impact assessment] found that proposed TPP provisions were likely to adversely affect health. These provisions are also likely to more adversely affect the health of vulnerable populations” [British Medical Journal].

Australia: “Campaign to stop the TPP in 2016” [Chris White]. Round-up of the (very many) Australian organizations campaigning against the TPP.

“[I]f the concern is drug prices and spending, the current evidence suggests that the pharmaceutical provisions in U.S. trade deals may not justify the large claims made for or against their inclusion” [Council on Foreign Relations]. (Related article here, but paywalled.)



“From Yemen to Somalia, the White House has gone back to bombing men [sic] it can’t confirm are militants — potentially leaving innocents trapped in the crossfire” [Foreign Policy]. “[T]he next president will inherit Obama’s drone war policies, including the signature strikes. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders, the avowed democratic socialist and presidential candidate, has given his blessing to the ‘targeted killings.'”

The Voters

“These are sadly typical stories of those disempowered at work, with all the risks put on their shoulders. “Angry” voters may simply be angry workers tossed into the Darwinian world of the modern economy, operating without any fallback support from their employers or their government. This was bound to find its way into our politics, but though solutions for these workers exist, nobody is talking about them” [David Dayen, The New Republic]. “The fact that this shift toward the 1099 economy occurred mostly during a terrible labor market suggests it was never a matter of worker choice, but an exercise of employer power.” Compare “What “Hope” (and Change) Look Like in the Labor Market, According to the New York Times.”


Wisconsin exit polls (Democratic) [CNN].

Wisconsin instant analysis (Democratic) [ABC].

“Clinton, who left Wisconsin over the weekend to focus on winning the Empire State [that is, to hold a fundraiser], did not hold a public appearance Tuesday night” [Seven Days]. She really needs to get out on the trail more.

Readers, I should have more on Cruz vs. Trump, but… I’m b-o-o-o-o-r-r-r-e-d. It’s like some Beltway strategist got to Trump and told him he needed to stop being an entertainer and start being a serious candidate. (I mean, come on. An interview with MoDo? What was that about? Roger Stone can’t do it all!) So his ratings are falling. Trump needs to remember that Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and act accordingly.

New York

UPDATE “NY Election Boards Inundated With Calls From Voters “Pissed Off” About Registration Issues” [Gothamist]. Funny how the Democratic Establishment isn’t able to run basic voting infrastructure competently, and yet its very incompetence — I’m being charitable, here — rebounds to its own benefit. It would be beautiful, if it weren’t so sick.

“The [Daily News] has twisted an interview its editorial board conducted with Sanders on April 1 into a pretzel to come up with a headline screaming that Sanders “callously defends gunmakers” against the relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting” [Wall Street on Parade].

“Yes, Bernie Sanders Knows Something About Breaking Up Banks” [New York Times]. Despite a fool’s chorus of wonks clutching their pearls. It’s like all the pundits want the President to be somebody from their social circle. They want a President who’s the world’s best Democratic strategist (and to be fair, so does Clinton); or a President who crafts legislation, like a staffer; or a President who is the master of detail, like the Acting Under Assistant Deputy Secretary of Something or Other. Heaven forfend we have an energetic executive with a unifying vision and high goals!

“Homo Politicus ≠ Homo Wonkus” [Corey Robin]. “Bernie Sanders really didn’t botch that interview with Daily News, which has prompted this latest wave of policy tut-tutting in the media. And his answers about Dodd-Frank and banking regulation were basically right. ”

It seems Clinton will shortly argue that Vermont guns cause New York crimes; Vermont Governor and Clinton Superdelegate Shumlin makes a pre-emptive response [YouTube].

“Clinton just blasted Sanders for not being a Democrat. Here’s why.” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. Closed primaries are coming up. This is interesting:

Sanders genuinely believes the Democratic Party’s achievements during the Obama era are far less impressive, relative to what might have been accomplished, than Clinton does. Sanders believes that Obama advances on health care, Wall Street reform, and climate change fall well short of the scale of our challenges. But more to the point, he faults the Democratic establishment’s complicity in this: Dem politicians are part of the problem, because they remain in thrall to plutocratic money and weren’t genuinely interested in mobilizing the grassroots to break Congressional gridlock.

Clinton, by contrast, is more sympathetic to the view that structural constraints genuinely limited the scale of what was possible. She believes building incrementally on Obama’s achievements is probably the best we can hope for in the near future. She also thinks the most formidable obstacle to any future progressive change — whether incremental or ambitious — remains the Republican Party and its structural and ideological entrenchment, as opposed to the plutocracy’s grip on the bipartisan elite establishment.

Sargent may be right. I have never seen a Democratic loyalist take responsibility for anything. “The Democratic Party can never fail. It can only be failed.” Of course, a party apparatus that completely lacks the capacity for self-criticism will, at some point, implode; the only question is when. “I can think of nothing more poisonous than to rot in the stink of your own reflections,” as Jessica remarks somewhere in Dune.

“The case against Bernie Sanders, according to Barney Frank” [WaPo]. No doubt a room-mate of negotiable affection helped Frank in his future career as a banker. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Let’s just say that the standards for “collegiality” on The Hill seem… odd.

“Puerto Rico Invites Chaos as Debt Moratorium Upends Progress” [Bloomberg].

The Trail

“Clinton has ‘had enough’ of Bernie Sanders” [Politico]. Also, young people are stupid:

“Stop lying about my record” didn’t work for Bob Dole either.

Reuters/Ipsos poll: Cruz has 35.2 percent support among Republicans to Trump’s 39.5 percent, according to the survey taken from April 1-5, putting the two within the poll’s credibility interval of 4.8 percentage points [Reuters]. I’m sure Clinton would rather run against Trump than Cruz. She’d better help out The Donald!

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, April 2016: “Purchase applications for home mortgages declined by 2.0 percent in the April 1 week, but refinancing, boosted by lower rates, increased by 7 percent” [Econoday]. “The weekly report fails to support certain isolated evidence of revival in the housing market.”

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, March 2016: “The March job creation index climbed to plus 32, matching the highest level of its eight-year history. The increase from February’s plus 29 reading is the first upward movement since May of last year” [Econoday]. “Job creation indexes for all four major regions — East, Midwest, South and West — showed gains in March.”

Shipping: “The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) has climbed by 13 points from Tuesday and was assessed at 500 points today, its highest level since December 14” [Splash247].

Concentration: “The US Government is set to take legal action this week to block a proposed merger of the world’s second and third largest oilfield services firms Halliburton and Baker Hughes” [Splash247]. “It was originally valued as a $35bn merger but market conditions and falling share prices have seen that valuation drop to $25bn.”

Honey for the Bears: “U.S. gasoline demand, one of the strongest pillars supporting oil consumption, fell in January for the first time in 14 months, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed” [Mosler Economics].

Honey for the Bears: “But what if large-scale economic slumps can be traced to declines in relatively narrow industrial sectors? A newly published study co-authored by an MIT economist provides evidence that economic problems may often have smaller points of origin and then spread as part of a network effect” [MIT News]. So the aggregate statistics are drunks looking under the lamppost?

Honey for the Bears: “If the government thinks the private market is failing to provide enough of something, such as college education, the right response is to subsidize it directly. Instead, Congress invariably chooses to subsidize borrowing for that activity” [Narayana Kocherlakota, “Who’s Responsible for the Next Crisis,” Bloomberg].

Honey for the Bears: “Losses on bonds from defaulted companies are likely to be higher than in previous cycles, because U.S. issuers have more debt relative to their assets, according to Bank of America Corp. strategists. Those high levels of borrowings mean that if a company liquidates, the proceeds have to cover more liabilities” [Bloomberg].

“The ECB Explains Why Central Banks Can’t Go Bankrupt in a Footnote” [Bloomberg]. “They cannot run out of that which they create.” Who knew?

“Also weird is the disconnect between what’s supposedly happened in the private markets and what we know happened in the public equity markets. The aggregate value of small energy companies with publicly-traded shares is about half what it was in 2011-2012, yet the implied value of private equity energy assets, which should be broadly similar, has been flat for many funds, or even gone up” [FT Alphaville, “Private equity’s mark-to-make-believe problem” (RS)]. It’s not “weird.” Teach private equity to phish, and they can phish for a lifetime. Part of the global bezzle!

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75, Extreme Greed (previous close: 69, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 6 at 12:16pm. Big swing to Extreme Greed!


“Hedge funds waiting for the final exit from Iceland’s capital controls have a lot riding on the survival of the current government coalition” [Bloomberg].

“Panama Papers: the revelations so far” [Guardian].

The Jackpot
“The Jackpot” is a reference to William Gibson’s The Peripheral.

UPDATE Here’s the quote; I think it’s self-explanatory.

[The Jackpot] was androgenic, he said, and she knew from Ciencia Loca and National Geographic that meant because of people. Not that they’d known what they were doing, had meant to make problems, but they’d caused it anyway. And in fact the actual climate, the weather, caused by there being too much carbon, had been the driver for a lot of other things. How that got worse and never better, and was just expected to, ongoing. Because people in the past, clueless as to how that worked, had fucked it all up, then not been able to get it together to do anything about it, even after they knew, and now it was too late.

So now, in her day, he said, they were headed into androgenic, systemic, multiplex, seriously bad shit, like she sort of already knew, figured everybody did, except for people who still said it wasn’t happening, and those people were mostly expecting the Second Coming anyway. She’d looked across the silver lawn, that Leon had cut with the push-mower whose cast-iron frame was held together with actual baling wire, to where moon shadows lay, past stunted boxwoods and the stump of a concrete birdbath they’d pretened was a dragon’s castle, while Wilf told her it killed 80 percent of every last person alive, over about forty years. …

No comets crashing, nothing you could really call a nuclear war. Just everything else, tangled in the changing climate: droughts, water shortages, crop failures, honeybees gone like they almost were now, collapse of other keystone species, every last alpha predator gone, antibiotics doing even less than they already did, diseases that were never quite the one big pandemic but big enough to be historic events in themselves. And all of it around people: how people were, how many of them there were, how they’d changed things just by being there. …

But science, he said, had been the wild card, the twist. With everything stumbling deeper into a ditch of shit, history itself become a slaughterhouse, science had started popping. Not all at once, no one big heroic thing, but there were cleaner, cheaper energy sources, more effective ways to get carbon out of the air, new drugs that did what antibiotics had done before…. Ways to print food that required much less in the way of actual food to begin with. So everything, however deeply fucked in general, was lit increasingly by the new, by things that made people blink and sit up, but then the rest of it would just go on, deeper into the ditch. A progress accompanied by constant violence, he said, by sufferings unimaginable. …

None of that, he said, had necessarily been as bad for very rich people. The richest had gotten richer, there being fewer to own whatever there was. Constant crisis bad provided constant opportunity. That was where his world had come from, he said. At the deepest point of everything going to shit, population radically reduced, the survivors saw less carbon being dumped into the system, with what was still being produced being eaten by those towers they’d built… And seeing that, for them, the survivors, was like seeing the bullet dodged.

“The bullet was the eighty percent, who died?”

“The nutritional value of agriculturally important food crops, such as wheat and rice, will decrease as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide continue to reduce the concentrations of protein and essential minerals in most plant species” [U.S. Global Change Research Program]. Finding 54…

“State officials warn that Southern California could face as many as 14 days of scheduled blackouts this summer because of depleted reserves of natural gas caused by the massive leak in Aliso Canyon” [Los Angeles Times]. Welcome to the Third World…


“Stone Age humans brought deer to Scotland by sea: study” [Agence France Presse].

Class Warfare

“But what does ‘intergenerational fairness’ (or its opposite) mean? And how would we know if it is ‘rising’? In practice, this discussion is bedevilled by confusion, both conceptual and empirical” [Sage]. The conclusion: “The simple story of coddled pensioners and struggling youth does not really add up: both inequality and redistribution within generations remains much greater than that between generations – and its impact is growing – while the impact of recent policy decisions on intergenerational equity is more ambiguous than is immediately apparent.”

“After nearly a decade of crisis, bailout, and reform in the United States and European Union, we have a financial system—both in those countries and globally—that is remarkably like what we had in 2006” [Democracy Journal]. Mission accomplished!

“Thin political markets are processes wherein technical, esoteric rules that underlie the basic institutions of capitalism are determined” [Pro-Market]. “[T]hin political markets could extend to other esoteric regulatory areas such as bank governance regulation, actuarial standards, auditing standards, insurance standards—things that are essential for modern complex capital markets to work but are largely outside the attention of the general public. In my studies on the political economy of accounting rule-making, I encountered a number of instances where a small group of informed special interests with deep experiential expertise were able to shape the rules of the game in self-serving ways.” TPP is a classic example of this idea, and a powergrab for global corporate governance to boot.

“Giulio and the Italians of Egypt” [Mada Masr]. “Prior to the Arab uprisings in 2011, Italian activists’ interest in the Middle East was primarily focused on the Palestinian struggle. But after the uprisings, after Tahrir Square exported an invigorating theatrical protest that made many on the Italian peninsula turn their faces to the south, many Italian intellectuals became preoccupied with south Mediterranean countries, especially Egypt. Soon enough, the names of Egyptian revolutionaries, such as Alaa Abd El Fattah and Mina Daniel, were becoming known throughout Italian university campuses and activist communities.” Interesting long read. (And remember that Tahrir Square was part of a continuous strong of occupations, starting in Tunisia and ending in the United States.)

“Nearly Half of Job Switchers Earn Less in Their New Roles” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. Yikes! Puts JOLTS data in a new light…

News of the Wired

“Why the Awl and the Hairpin (and a Bunch of Other Websites) Are Migrating to Medium” [New York Magazine].

“Brian Bilston: the Poet Laureate of Twitter” [The Irish Times]. See the poem “Refugees” at the end.

“Why Are Humans Afraid to Touch Robot Butts?” [Motherboard].

“Funk legend Bernie Worrell is sick, buy this David Byrne remix to help pay his medical bills” [Boing Boing]. Since this is a finance blog:

* * *

Readers, I still need to fix my fershuggeneh contact form! Hopefully noting that fact publicly will serve a lash and a spur to my endeavors. (Meanwhile, thanks to readers, who already have my email address, who sent in images of plants!)

See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Mark K):


Mark K wrote:

Hi, Lambert I took this picture in April of 2014 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. I didn’t know what kind of tree it was, but from looking at photos on the Web, I think it is a jacaranda.

Flowers coming right out of the trunk?!

* * *

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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. Tertium Squid

    Bernie Sanders is going to be under increasing pressure to abandon his candidacy after such a poor showing in Wisconsin, where Hillary Clinton came in second and Sanders a pathetic next-to-last.

    1. Qrys

      +1 (even if there’s no upvoting, and even when you’re already at the top of the comments)

    2. Sandwichman

      Sanders’s slim 13.5-point margin in Wisconsin declined precipitously from his 60-point margin in Alaska 10 days earlier. The momentum is obviously working in Clinton’s favor. No supper-delegates for you, Bernie.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Momentum is fickle, more a function of scheduling.

        Alaska, or Utah, matters not.

    3. fresno dan

      Very good.
      suggested alternate:
      Bernie Sanders is going to be under increasing pressure to abandon his candidacy after such a poor showing in Wisconsin, where Hillary Clinton amassed a place of “2” which mathematically is 100% more than Sanders pathetic next-to-last place of “one”, which is one half the numerical value of Hillary’s place, or as everyone knows, mathematically, a two to one ratio favoring Hillary…

    4. Ivy

      From the archives: About 50+ years ago there were US-USSR track meets to take some chill off the post-Bay of Pigs cold war. When announcing the meet results, the Soviet contact noted that the USSR came in second place, while the US finished next to last.

      That story is probably apocryphal, yet there is some comfort in knowing that the torch has been passed to a new generation.

      1. RP

        Modern-day DNC apparatchiks the natural descendants of USSR memory-hole operators?

        Sounds about right.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Will they share the fate?

          “Oh, yeah, I remember that political party. Someone once tried to save it, perestroika or glasnost for the party. Good intention, but quixotic at the end…”

    5. RP

      One wonders, with Scott Walker’s voter ID law, and the Clinton inside-machine game, what the real numbers are (or would have been). 60-40? 65-35?

      Biggest collapse in American political history. Enjoying every minute of it. Couldn’t happen to a more mendacious pair of sociopaths like the Clintons.

      1. Tony S

        Hillary has stalled out, but she hasn’t really “collapsed”, and she retains a strong delegate lead over Bernie. Now Bernie still has a (long) shot, but he’s going to have to kick some serious butt in NY and CA. Possible, but hardly likely.

        I would be more concerned about Trump leveling off. No matter how bad Hillary is, a President Cruz would be a full-scale orders-of-magnitude-worse disaster for the country and the world. Cruz makes Hillary look like Henry Wallace. I was gratified by Bernie’s victory in WI — and a bit alarmed by Trump’s poor showing there.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It’s also interesting to consider the idea that the Clinton campaign bet on Cruz, but that the Republican establishment will “right itself” and nominate Cruz or a “fresh face” instead.

    6. craazyboy

      Hillary_Borg decrees “Resistance Is Futile. Young People Will Be Assimilated. Bernie Doods Will Be Assimilated. The Queen Borg Has Spoken. The Clinton Foundation can and will hunt you down.”

      1. optimader

        Before her Vicodin sedation, Hillary_Dalek was heard yelling Exterminate! Exterminate! while pointing a plunger at frightened campaign volunteers

  2. Anon

    In the Sargent quote up above, you have Clinton’s part twice, as seen here:

    she also thinks the most formidable obstacle to any future progressive change — whether incremental or ambitious — remains the Republican Party and its structural and ideological entrenchment, as opposed to the plutocracy’s grip on the bipartisan elite establishment.
    she also thinks the most formidable obstacle to any future progressive change — whether incremental or ambitious — remains the Republican Party and its structural and ideological entrenchment, as opposed to the plutocracy’s grip on the bipartisan elite establishment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Twice to emphasize the fact that Fortress Manhattan will be defended to the last gold coin by the plutocrats.

      Many serfs might just be able to survive the coming summer with spent gold-coin-bullet casings they can salvage from the battlefield.

      “Steiner, where is my gold-coin army? From my foundation bunker, I order you to attack, attack.”

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      Goebbels 101: Repeat the Big Lie enough, and it becomes the Received Wisdom.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        “Everyone is under suspicion.”

        Especially if you are a Cartesian.

  3. diptherio

    Apropos of yesterday’s article on the increasing number of us working in “alternative arrangements,” I thought some folks around these parts might find this of some interest:

    Working Alone Together: Cooperative and Trade Union Solutions for the Gig Economy


    It’s mostly focused on efforts in Europe, but there’s a lot here for USians and everyone else too.

      1. Jason

        Obviously. I mean just look – everything he says and does hurts her chances at winning the nomination! Why is he even in this race in the first place?

      2. jrs

        talking about Hillary has been banned here, don’t you know? It’s ruining likely frontrunner Sander’s chance at beating the Republicans. You don’t really want a President Cruz or Trump do you? That’s why we banned all discussion of Hillary, so that support for that obviously sore loser, wouldn’t detract from the more successful Sander’s campaign.

        1. cwaltz

          No one says you can’t talk up Hillary. I’m sure we’ll all enjoy a good laugh.

          Most of us aren’t afraid of Trump or Cruz. We reject the idea of voting for the lesser evil. I, for one, will be voting Jill Stein if Hillary is the nominee. I’m voting for the best candidate in the general, just like I did in the primary. If the Democratic Party can’t offer up someone not corrupt and part of the status quo then I’ll find somewhere else to go. I own my vote. If they want it they’ll have to earn it(and they won’t earn it with Clinton as the nominee.)

          1. perpetualWAR

            The Washington Democrats appear very concerned. Last week, they sent me 4 separate requests for money. Today, they sent me “can we count on you for your vote in November?”

            I responded as I always have:
            “When you people tell the WA super delegates, the party insiders, to vote the way the electorate demands they do, perhaps my wallet and my vote will oblige. However, if the Democrats suceed in nominating Queen Hillary, my vote will be to oust the incumbent regardless of party. Your choice.”

        2. Christopher D. Rogers

          Why don’t you look at Hellary’s record from the time her husband was Governor of Arkansas, then do some genuflection. I’m confident once all facts are gleaned you’ll note nothing positive can be said for Hellary. And if that does not turn your stomach, just look at the mess she left in MENA – the woman has much blood on her hands, whilst Trump has zero blood. Now which would you prefer?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Likely Democratic primary voters – voters in remaining primaries or in ones already voted?

      The former is of more interest.

      1. giantsquid

        I assume it’s both and since Democratic primary voters have tended to favor HRC in the previous primaries, the likely voters in future primaries ought to favor Sanders by a somewhat greater margin than is shown now (if the poll holds true).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If voters who have already voted are more favorable towards Sanders now than when they voted – and we have learned that the more they know, the more they like him – that means a good portion of that improved number in the latest Reuter tracking polls comes too late.

          We have good reason to assume voters who have not yet voted are also increasing favorable towards him.

          Just so we don’t presume, the worst scenario we have to plan for (and hope it is not the case) is voters who have not yet voted (the coming primaries) are less favorable, but not by more than those voters who have voted (past primaries) are more favorable now, so that overall number is improving, but not the states that are relevant going forward.

          1. giantsquid

            Yes, but what I was trying to say (poorly) was that states that voted previously included a large proportion that heavily favored Clinton and likely still would, especially the Southeast and Texas, suggesting that in the states remaining Sanders lead might be significantly larger. For instance, in the Reuters poll leaving out voters living in the Southeast Sanders has a 9 point lead. And leaving out both the Southeast and Southwest, Sanders leads by 15 points

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Clicking, I got this:

              There Aren’t Enough Responses To Give Sufficiently Accurate Results In This Time Period. Try Changing The Date Range To See Results.

              In any case, does he really lead in New York (it’s outside the Southeast and Southwest)?

              1. giantsquid

                OK, strange. But if you go back to that page, click on “Personal” button under the graph and click on all regions except the Southeast and Southwest and on “Political” and click on “Likely Democratic Primary Voter”, you’ll get a graph showing Sanders ahead by 15 points. I never even looked at a graph for likely voters in the Plains states, so where that came from I have no idea. I’d do it over again but I fear it might go into moderation for sometime. As to NY, I can’t say, only that Sanders has a fairly large lead overall in the states remaining, according to the poll.

                1. giantsquid

                  so the link is being shortened as it posts, leading to the wrong page and I have no idea how to fix that. Frustrating

                  1. hunkerdown

                    Is this one right?

                    If so, you needed to URL-encode the pipe symbols by replacing | with %7C. You might also try making an HTML link like <a href=”http:slashslashyadda…”>link</a>instead of a bare URL so that the system doesn’t have to try to trim punctuation off the end a bit too eagerly.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    That’s why I am a neo-Luddite.

                    Why neo? Because neo always sounds good.

                    1. ambrit

                      Neo too because the shiniest, newest toys are the bestest!
                      Try Neo Traditionalist if you are feeling peaked.

                  2. Lambert Strether Post author

                    Again, just use normal garden variety HTML from the link button. That’s what it’s for.

                    Adding: Twitter has a better algorithm for converting URLs to HTML links than WordPress does (which you would expect, given Twitter’s level of funding).

                2. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Don’t dump the URL in the text. Use the “link” tag in the tag bar above the comment. That’s what it’s for.

                  Any browser is smart enough to interpret the URL inside the HTML link tag correctly. WordPress has to interpret URLs dumped in the text, and convert them to HTML. If the URL is complicated, as this one is, it will fail. As it did here.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              That Reuters polling site is terrific, I should mention.

              But please (for the third time): Put its URLs inside an HTML link, otherwise they might not work!

    2. Jeff W

      Speaking of polls, here is this from USA Today:

      In recent surveys of likely New York Democratic primary voters, a CBS/YouGov Poll gave Clinton a lead of 10 percentage points, 53%-43%, and a Quinnipiac University poll a lead of 12 points, 54%-42%. [Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff] Weaver noted that Sanders had been trailing in the campaign’s internal polling in Wisconsin as recently as last week, and that he had been down 20 points 10 days before the Michigan primary, a contest he also won.

      In fact, just before the Wisconsin primary, the polls had Sanders up by about 2 points and he beat Clinton by over 13. So a lead of 10–12 points (the amount underestimated by the polls with regard to Sanders in Wisconsin) by Hillary, especially with a bit less than two weeks to go before the New York primary, is not a bad position for Bernie to be in. He could be close to even with her even now in terms of actual voting. And as Weaver says “Bernie Sanders closes very, very strong.”

      Incidentally, Weaver said “I think there’s a lot of frustration over there [at the Clinton campaign].” Apparently, things have been a bit tougher than they anticipated.

      1. cwaltz

        It’s a closed primary and there already appear to be some signs of shenanigans. I’ll be surprised if he pulls off a win. I’m just hoping he keeps it close.

        I think California will be a more favorable climate for him but he needs to keep it close to keep her from getting the delegates she needs before they vote.

        1. Jeff W

          Yeah, New York’s closed—that is a factor—and 538 has Clinton with a 95% chance of winning (sheesh) but that percentage is based on polls that were all taken before Wisconsin so all that analysis will likely change.

          California with its semi-closed Democratic primary (“no party preference”-registered voters can vote in it) is better but, as you said, the outcome in New York will obviously affect Bernie’s margin for error in California.

          1. Stephen Verchinski

            Get out and phonebank between now and New York Primary . There are about 180,000 calls to make for a big win over Hillary.

            Berniesander.com phone website page has a tutorial for the method that you can do from home with a wi fi hookup, laptop, earbuds and phone. One guy has been doing 500 calls a day. If you are still unable to figure it out you may be more comfortable with a one on one tutor. Find a local college or university bernie supporter that can walk you through the process. Most student activities offices have the local Bernie campus contact.

            Then there are phone banking at most local campaign offices many with full setups. Just show up with your headphones/earbuds and have at it!.

            If you want Bernie to be the party nominee for July you had better be prepared to help him now to make it.

            Another 30,000 calls made into Wisconsin could have produced another 3 points in his lead. That would have been a great victory instead of just a good victory and would have also began a shifting of superdelegates. Together, US, we can do this for America, the land and peoples we love. . Go Bernie!

    3. lesliec

      hillary thinks all those younguns are stupid. I am a 65 year old white female, college educated, former nurse, former teacher, former lawyer and I am all for Bernie. Have worked in public and private healthcare, public and private schools, and for the IRS and banking. I grew up in Indiana and come from a very conservative Republican background. Won’t ever vote Republican again. I view Hillary as a moderate Republican who wants to be like the boys. I worked in DC under Bush I and Bill and saw very little difference under them. I do not view her as a feminist. Yes, she was badly treated and differently treated (and still is) than Repub wives of roving politician husbands, but she seems like she wants to prove she has balls. War in Iraq, undermine opposition in Honduras, back your buddies on Wall Street, rah rah TPP until Bernie forces you left.

      1. John

        Pity so many people my age are satisfied with status quo, and so terrified of rocking the boat, they would support somebody so totally corrupt. Maybe door has been revolving so long it seems normal and not corrupt. Ditto selling protection and calling it just a speech.
        Bernie is so different as to be electrifying, to not feel it is to be numb… Or dead.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I don’t think “satisfied” and “terrified” are the same thing. And Glen Ford remarked on a similar dynamic among black voters.

          If Clinton is speaking successfully to these voters, Sanders needs to find a way to compete (or write them off).

  4. grayslady

    Today’s plant is an Eastern Redbud (cercis canadensis). Beautiful spring blooming tree, but highly susceptible to canker and verticillium wilt.

    1. farrokh bulsara

      Yes, that was my first thought as well. However, the tree (as pictured) is much too large for an eastern redbud. I have several on my property and there are many, many others in the woodlands around me. I’ve never seen one more than 20 – 30 ft. in height. But it’s not a jacaranda either since they are tropical/sub-tropical.

      1. Steven

        The branch in the foreground is growing from a redbud behind the photographer. The trees in the background are different trees. May also be redbuds. Or double flowering cherries. Hard to tell.

        1. polecat

          I was going to mention Cersis as well…..though the photo leaves (uhg) a lot to be desired, uh…… taxonomically speaking.

          It certainly looks to be of the family Fabaceae, formerly Leguminosae (Pea family)

      1. farrokh bulsara

        Thanks for that. I’ll try some of the pods once the trees leaf out. I must have had a couple of bushels last year but never thought to pick and cook them.

        1. Stephen Verchinski

          Todays tree is western. The Canyon Ironwood. Grand Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon and SE New Mexico. Pale thin bark and scaly. Inner bark bright orange ( like feel the bern) wood is heavy, strong and hard ( like a Senator Sanders). From Peattie ” At the Grand Canyon in 1889 Frank Knowlton the distinguished paleobotanist with the USGS ventured down the Hance Trail. There he encountered an Ironwood or Hophornbeam recognized by its fruit like hop bags. (Hops are used to make beer)This is a type of tree you never expected to find in the Grand Canyon. Eastern hophornbeam is when the daintiest and most characteristic of Appalachian types but does not come within 2000 miles of Arizona. ( like a politician born in.Brooklyn) This was a new species. This pleasing little tree has proved oddly elusive. A careful search was made for it some years after its discovery in the type locality but no specimens were found there. It was to be threatened to join the mysterious company of lost trees. (Like an independent in Congress) Later it was to be found by the distinguished astronomer Professor Percival Lowell (discoverer of Pluto) in beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona. Finally found in the Grand Canyon under both North and the South rims by Dr. Vernon Bailey the ornithologist who.had been with the USGS party of 1889. Several hundred trees are now known to grow on the Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail and colonies been discovered at widely separated points in the southwest all the way to West Texas. The catkins bloom in April (like a Bernie hitting his stride in winning states and being noticed) the wood, like that of the Eastern species, is very hard but the trees are so rare that no commercial development is in prospect for this little species.”

  5. allan

    Former U.S. coal CEO gets prison time for blast that killed 29

    Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $250,000 on Wednesday for his role in a 2010 West Virginia coal mine explosion that killed 29 workers.

    Wow. That’s more than 13 days per life. Good thing for Blankenship that he didn’t steal any candy.
    Who says that the justice system is broken in this country?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, that’s appalling.

      I wonder if there’s some sort of countdown ticker on the lives in the guy’s cell? Might need to some much-needed reflection on Blankenship’s part. Not.

  6. gary headlock

    Redbud, Cercis canadensis, RE: today’s plant.

    Woops, grayslady beat me to it.

    1. Mark Alexander

      I intend to email Shumlin asking him to respect the will of the people and support Bernie, and I encourage other Vermonters to do the same. Unfortunately, he’s a lame duck, so it won’t work to tell him that we won’t vote for him again if he goes with HRC.

      Here’s the governor’s contact page: governor.vermont.gov/contact-us

      1. RP

        The DNC apparatus should account for a lame-duck SuperDelegate by having a provision that states the candidate which wins the majority in that state gets any lame-duck Supers.

        Sorry guys, I got transported to the alternate universe in my mind where the “Democratic” party is interested in fairness. We all know if that was a concern, SuperDelegates wouldn’t exist at all.

        In the brightest timeline, we’ve got voter registration drives, a maximum wage, a wealth tax, a speculation transaction tax, and full employment.

    2. MtnLife

      Gotta love the art of calling someone you’ve endorsed, and will be voting for, a bald faced liar. The look of discomfort on his face was beautiful. It would be nice to see him be the first drip in a stream of super delegates to switch to Bernie. Overall, her weak attempt to link Vermont’s gun policies (and thereby Bernie) with NYC’s crime looks like a thinly veiled, juvenile attempt to talk sh*t about the state full of gun toting liberals who told her to GTFO.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I bet if every Vermonter came down to New York, carrying a gun, and left their gun in Times Square for the populace to pick up and take away, for free, it wouldn’t make the smallest dent in NYC’s gun problem.

        And how come “Sanders will never get through that through Congress ZOMG!!!!” doesn’t apply to gun legislation, anyhow?

  7. PQS

    “Angry” voters may simply be angry workers tossed into the Darwinian world of the modern economy, operating without any fallback support from their employers or their government. This was bound to find its way into our politics…”

    Was just sitting here thinking that not only is Trumpolini the end result of decades of racist fearmongering amongst the RW crowd through the RW media, but ALSO the rest of the voter rage is the final, finished product of the plutocrats’ efforts to bust unions, take everything for themselves, shred the safety net, destroy the public infrastructure, and every other little pet project they’ve undertaken since 1980.

    They are truly reaping what they’ve sown, but I sincerely doubt they understand this. Why, they are positively irritated at our ingratitude, I’m sure.

  8. RabidGandhi

    “There is a persistent, organised effort to misrepresent my record”

    In other words: there is a vast leftwing conspiracy.

    Of course, this is not at all bad strategy by HRC, since what most seems to garner support for the Clintons is the idea that they are under attack (“lucky in their enemies” dixit Lambert). This turns all valid complaints about HRC (Warmongering, Corruption, Pandering, More Corruption…) into a whiney version of Leave Virginia Alone. Don’t make it about the issues, make it about poor Hillary being persecuted.

    For example, most folks I know think the whole l’Affaire Lewinsky was about whether POTUS should be persecuted for having sex with that woman. Because the repubs made it about that and the Clintons went along– much easier to defend themselves in the culture wars than against the actual charges of perjury, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

    This shows what the new aggressive Clinton campaign will be about, meaning Sanders must stay on the issue of her corruption, Goldman speeches, PACs, etc., and pull no punches when HRC starts to play the victim.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another woman abused domestically (i.e. over non-foreign affairs).

      That would be her campaign slogan.

      We live in a world of mean men…before long, we all will be reminded of that.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      I gather she’s gone on record as preparing to attack Bernie on his gun record (cf. the business about guns from Vermont). That’s on record. Off-record, it appears the attacks will be using the carefully planted “Berniebro” theme to attack his integrity. It started with a hit piece on AmericaBlog claiming a “Sanders supporter” released a spreadsheet full of personal info and began urging people to harass Superdelegates who’ve said their voting Clinton even in states Bernie won.

      With predictable results to the Superdelegates and a slew of outrage from the people who unconsciously embrace the HRC-as-bullied victim concept.

    3. ChrisPacific

      “There is a persistent, organised effort to misrepresent my record”

      Indeed there is. It’s called the Clinton Campaign.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        Indeed, all campaigns do that, unless it’s one run by a saint and all followers are saints themselves.

    4. rich

      Hillary’s Goldman handcuffs,,,,,,,,,,,,a reminder.

      the youngsters are still waiting for Hillary Clinton to come clean…

      the young are smarter than their years..….

      Hillary Clinton has been looking into releasing her transcripts for paid speeches to Wall St. and other special interests for

      61 days 21 hours 10 minutes 14 seconds


      Maybe she has been waiting for a New York moment?

    5. Stephen Verchinski

      Actually every time she talks smack its time for all of us to reference sections to the press, the blogs and local media of “The Essential Bernie Sanders” by Johnathan Tasini. Like “Pie in the Sky” calls you go to pp. 12-14. Talk.about that it is a rollback to responsibility to the country. It used to be a patiotic duty of an American . An example is number 6 repeal all of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax breaks for the top 2% that would reduce the deficit by about four hundred billion dollars over the next 10 years. After President Clinton increased taxes on the top 2% the economy added over 22 million jobs after President Bush reduced taxes for the rich the economy lost over 600,000 private-sector jobs. But I almost forgot, Hillary Clinton does support Barack Obama and in 2008 if I remember correctly Obama’s budget director was grilled by Bernie for increasing the tax breaks to the upper 1% and oh yeah you got a sluggish economy ever since BUT those upper west side New Yorkers did some moving up and remodeling at our expense. And did not Hillary go for a fundraiser there recently? Wonder if she will also be visiting the home states of the 2250 new private contractors Obama let into Iraq in the last 12 months that suck off the military teat. Did not Obama endorse Hillary? Wonder which corporate functions will give him speaking fees when he leaves office? GO Bernie!

  9. Bas

    “Why Are Humans Afraid to Touch Robot Butts?”

    Could it be it’s not fear of the robot butt, but revulsion of the perversion of being asked to do it and pretend the experiment is normal??? Researchers are a sick bunch.

      1. Bas

        what, from not knowing people are afraid to touch robots’ butts? somebody got a grant…oh, and that guy that just had to find out if he could make a weaver bird give up if he took the bird’s nest apart enough times. researcher 0, bird 1.
        I will say then, there is a subset of sick researchers, better?

  10. ambrit

    The Funk still reaches out and slaps ya up side the head. This is what hip hop wished it was. Since he sings about ‘insurance’ he must be heading in the general direction of Gangsta Funk.
    I hope he gets better.

    1. diptherio

      There’s a reason Snoop Dog was so popular, and that reason is Parliament Funkadelic. Some of the hip hoppers are hip to the funk. Mos Def and Chance the Rapper or two of my current faves.

      1. polecat


      2. ambrit

        Boy howdy! I saw Parliament Funkadelic during the Mothership tour. That was a scene!
        As below, Bootsy Collins, and the good Doctor Funkenstein. Watch that cat chasin’ the dog.

  11. Andrew Anderson

    “Yes, Bernie Sanders Knows Something About Breaking Up Banks”

    By which is meant to break up the TBTF banks?

    By why stop there? Let’s break up the entire banking cartel by allowing everyone* to have inherently risk-free accounts at their central bank and by abolishing deposit insurance and other privileges for the banks. THAT would be breaking up the banks and it’s a breakup that’s long overdue.

    *Thereby establishing a payment system independent of banks and other depository institutions and thus ending the hostage holding of the entire economy by said banks and depository institutions.

  12. Stephen V.

    FWIW, from the tax preparation trenches of the 1099 Economy…for the past 20 + years –depending on the facts and circumstances– I have treated my client with the fubar 1099 as an Employee: simply by creating a Substitute W2, Form 4852 and reporting their income there.
    Knock on wood, I have never had the IRS question it. Comes up a few times a year for us.
    From what I’ve read about Uberr: I wouldn’t hesitate …
    This will not resolve an income tax issue–no withholding–but they will get credit for Social Security / Medicare!
    And oddly, (CA this may not apply to you!) I’ve never seen the employer audited by IRS–although they should be.

  13. clinical wasteman

    Hall of Fame is a sideshow, Cleveland can claim to be the home of properly depraved rock & roll. To name just the obvious: electric eels, Rocket From The Tombs, Pere Ubu, Dead Boys, Styrenes/Mirrors, Pagans, X-Blank-X, and (leaping into the future now) Bassholes, This Moment In Black History, DJ aLiVE, Muamin Collective, Red-I and the incomparable Obnox. And beyond rock & roll (but beloved of electric eels, Obnox and ClePunk at large), the spiritual Fire Music of Albert and Don Ayler.

    (Belatedly lurching back to topic now) … Restoration of 2006 economy = “mission accomplished”: yes indeed! Do other commenters/contributors also feel more sickened than gratified by the opportunity to say “we told you and kept telling you for the last nine years“?

      1. polecat

        I mean, with BoomHillda wanting in the wings to become the new and improved #warmungerinchief…………we’ll all due to become ‘Janitors’ sooner or later!

    1. Pavel

      Continuing the “Spinal Tap” motif from an earlier Links…one of the most classic scenes was of course in Cleveland. From an interview in 2009 when Tap was on their “Unwigged & Unplugged Tour”:

      Q: If I had a dime for every time a musician has performed here and said, “Hello, Cleveland!” with a Spinal Tap accent, I could retire comfortably.

      A: Really? That’s cool. That’s nice.

      Q: How did the “Hello, Cleveland!” bit originate? Was it in the script or improvised?

      A: All the dialogue you hear is improvised in the film. There are two lines that were written: one for Patrick Macnee, ’cause we wanted this elaborate speech, and one intro that’s only partly in the film. Everything else was improvised.

      So when Harry started yelling, “Hello, Cleveland!,” it was because we were in Cleveland in this scene.

      We mapped the tour out before we started really nailing down the scenes. Cleveland was where they get lost under the stage.

      It was just a sentence in the scenario, but it worked rather well.

      This wonderful actor named Wonderful Smith, who is the janitor that we meet in the basement of the stage — he [gives] an underrated performance. He’s really brilliant in it.

      It was a cool scene, and I’m glad that it took place in Cleveland, because Cleveland has a lot of meaning for all of us.

      I went on to make a movie [“Light of Day”] that took place in Cleveland. We shot it mostly in Chicago — I don’t know why — but we shot for two weeks in Cleveland, including a week at the Euclid Tavern.

      It is a rock ‘n’ roll town. You can’t deny it.

      –The Plain Dealer: Hello, Cleveland! For ‘Spinal Tap’ stars, amps don’t go up to 11 on Unwigged & Unplugged Tour

  14. DJG

    Diamine, as the Italians say. That word. It’s following me everywhere: “Incremental.” Which means more stagnation. An endless episode of can’t-do America (at Eschaton, Atrios riffs on the can’t-do theme). Even our wars for Freedom (Which Isn’t Free™) are incremental, as we allow Syria and Iraq to bleed to death. So the elites are tired, what with all the looting that they had to do, and now they want a long rest and a chance to contemplate (but not too deeply) “Waiting for the Barbarians,” incrementally, by Cavafy.

  15. Vatch

    Foreign Policy mag drone article: Even Sen. Bernie Sanders, the avowed democratic socialist and presidential candidate, has given his blessing to the ‘targeted killings.’”

    Sanders’s support for this is very limited. See: http://dronecenter.bard.edu/presidential-candidates-on-drones/ :

    Sanders supports the limited use of targeted drone strikes, but believes that collateral damage, when it occurs, is detrimental to U.S. interests in the region.

    In an interview with ABC in August, Sanders, who described military intervention as “a last resort,” said, “I think we have to use drones very, very selectively and effectively. That has not always been the case.” He explained, “What you can argue is that there are times and places where drone attacks have been effective.” Sanders continued, “There are times and places where they have been absolutely counter-effective and have caused more problems than they have solved. When you kill innocent people, what the end result is that people in the region become anti-American who otherwise would not have been.”

    In a conversation with the Iowa Press last month, Sanders reiterated his position. “I am concerned. I think we have seen situations where drone attacks have ended up doing us a lot more harm than good…When they can be effective, that’s good, but I think when they are killing, as they have done, innocent people—we’re seeing women and children being killed—that is not a good thing and it turns people against the United States. I think you’ve got to be very selective in that area.”

    Remember when Trump said that the U.S. should “go after” family members of terrorists? And Clinton is much more supportive of drone strikes than Sanders is. Interestingly, Ted Cruz seems to be more opposed to the use of drones than Clinton is.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He is better off proclaiming boldly that he will immediately suspend and review the program once he gets into the office.

      The way that interview comes off, he is sounding like he’s talking talking about acceptable fracking victim rates.

      “You weigh the gains versus the costs.”

      “Let me check with my bean counters.”

  16. Tertium Squid

    This is amazing. Hillary Clinton:

    “I hope I’m a better candidate. I feel like I am. I mean … I’m not a natural politician,” she said. “I’m not somebody who, like my husband or Barack Obama, [where it’s] just — it’s music, right? I am someone who loves doing the job that I have. I would love having the job of president because I know how to do it. I know what the country needs. But the campaigning part is hard for me. … Some of this may be personal to me [and] from all the literature I’ve read, [it] may be gender-linked … I’m very comfortable saying, you know, “he,” “she,” “we.” But when I had to stand up in front of people and basically say, ‘I’m asking for your vote,’ I had to really work at that. It absolutely took years. … And, even today, I have to remind myself, you know, I’m asking people to vote for me.”

    She tries charming self-deprecation and instead comes across even more aristocratic. It’s so HARD to “pass through the tedious and expensive forms of a popular election, and to expose their dignity to the shame of a public refusal”.

    1. sid_finster

      I’d say she comes off as whiny and self-pitying.

      Hillary is not a victim. Hillary is a perpetrator.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If people know you’re lying, you’re not a good liar.

      A known danger is not as dangerous as an unknown danger.

      Except those who have voted or will vote for her….they don’t know Hillary can’t fool those who see through her, and they don’t know how to make themselves see through her.

      They probably need more education or maybe more common sense. Perhaps courage.

      Courage to say you will take away money for foreign wars.

  17. Ahimsa

    From the Politico interview with HRC:

    I am someone who loves doing the job that I have. I would love having the job of president because I know how to do it. I know what the country needs. But the campaigning part is hard for me. … Some of this may be personal to me [and] from all the literature I’ve read, [it] may be gender-linked … I’m very comfortable saying, you know, “he,” “she,” “we.” But when I had to stand up in front of people and basically say, ‘I’m asking for your vote‘, I had to really work at that.

    Ok, you can parse that different ways, but I read, Huuuge ego! She knows what the country needs. But asking regular folk to vote for her? Isn’t there some way around that? I mean she knows how to do the job! – I get the feeling HRC hasn’t done too many job interviews.

    1. Plenue

      Remember her recent Saturday Night Live appearance? Literally the first lines out of the fake Hillary’s mouth were something to the effect of “why won’t the people just step aside and let me lead?”. Even the people writing comedy intended to fluff her know how arrogant and entitled she is.

    2. nippersmom

      Yes, I read that as “you can’t expect me to have to actually campaign, much less ask the great unwashed to vote for me. You should just give me the nomination because ‘I know what the country needs.’ (And besides, it’s my turn.)”

    3. ahimsa

      I will post this again once today’s links are up.

      From Politico: Fallon said, New York is a “must-win,” but even with a victory, “that only prolongs the contest, it doesn’t put him on the trajectory to overtake us in our pledged delegate lead.”

      Ok, so the “but even with a victory” part is not a direct quote (I haven’t found that yet) but the rest amounts to an admission by the Clinton camp that it’s not unthinkable.
      Secondly, let’s get real here, New York is a must win for Clinton also.
      Rubio was forced to drop out because he couldn’t hold FL. Kassich is somehow still running just because he won OH. If Clinton can’t win NY, then surely writing is surely on the wall?

  18. Plenue

    “Dem politicians are part of the problem, because they remain in thrall to plutocratic money and weren’t genuinely interested in mobilizing the grassroots to break Congressional gridlock.”

    I will never cease to be amazed at the ability of the Democratic Party to flush two entire years down the memory hole. Between 2008 and 2010 the Democrats had the Senate, Congress and Presidency. There was no damn gridlock, they could have done pretty much anything they wanted. Does anyone else remember all the things Obama promised to do in his first 100 days in office? Because I sure do. They lost that monopoly on power precisely because they did exactly nothing with it.

    1. hreik

      ^^^ This ^^^. Truth is, they don’t want reform. They are all feeding from the same trough w a very few exceptions.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Beyond reform.

        Beyond redemption.

        Time for a new party or go Indie…no more quixotic adventures to save pluto-saurus dinosaurs.

    2. curlydan

      And at the end of two years of long deliberations while the rest of the country was suffering through a terrible recession, they passed the Ben Nelson Health Insurance Oligopoly Act. What does Ben want? Doesn’t matter, Ben gets it.

      At that time, LBJ was rolling over so hard and fast in his grave his was drilling through the Central Texas limestone, hurtling to the core of the Earth.

    3. RP

      The Democratic party, like Batman, must always have an enemy — obviously unhinged at that — that he can blame the chaos on.

      To not look outward would require one to look inward and accept the possibility that the Democratic party is part of the problem.

      This is not something the party is capable of doing.

    4. Steven

      They point to Obamacare and Dodd Frank. Obamacare was engineered to practically destroy the Democratic Party. They could have used the budget reconciliation process to ram through Medicare for all or at least the public option as well as a real jobs program and Wall Street taxes.

      The purpose of Dodd Frank was to protect Wall Street, not reform it. Instead of action, it was all Obama’s working with Republicans BS. Obama tries to convince people the country’s main problem is that the party of the millionaires needs to work with the party of the billionaires. I say they work together just fine. As to which is the party of the millionaires and the party of the billionaires, what day is it?

      1. Steven

        They deliberately fumbled the ball and were relieved to lose the House in 2010. They also threw the election in 2014.

        Obama was joyous in capitulating to Republicans over the Bush tax cuts and the budget. It’s what Democrats do.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      According to Tom Ferguson (too lazy to find the link) 2010 Massachusetts votes for Scott Brown correlate to foreclosures at the county level.

      So the Democrats lost control of the Senate in 2010 as a direct result of Obama’s feckless foreclosure policy; foaming the runway, and so forth (“feckless” being charitable).

      And I will give Clinton this, because it was one reason Clinton was marginally better on domestic policy in 2008 than Obama: She advocated an FDR-like HOLC program to deal with the foreclosure crisis. Obama said he’d look in to it, and of course did nothing.

  19. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Trump says “we should kill the families of terrorists” and the universal reaction is outrage.
    Obama DOES kill the families of terrorists on a daily basis as a routine practice and the reaction is “oh did you see how cool he looked at that Cuban baseball game?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Robots are killing humans, by taking their jobs.

      Not killing directly, nor immediately, and hardly visible.

      So, that’s OK.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Do robots have to diaper-change baby robots?

          That is clearly one advantage humans can’t overcome.

    2. Pavel

      Thanks HAL… this is one of the hypocrisies that drives me insane.

      Rather like Hillary going after Sanders for his “gun control” issues. This from the woman who (along with Cameron and Sarkozy) managed to destroy Libya and in so doing scatter guns and other armaments around the region. She is also the woman who helped divert weapons to the “moderate” Syrian rebels via Libya, Qatar, and elsewhere. These same “moderate rebels” (e.g. Al Nusrah) are in fact linked to Al Queda and other extremist groups, and are known to have passed the weapons on to ISIS. So much for HRC’s “gun control” concerns.

  20. Tertium Squid

    More Hillary:

    “Early on, back in Arkansas, we would fly on anything. I flew on crop dusters. I flew on planes that were so small you felt like you were putting on a pair of pants. I’ve been on planes where doors have flown off …”

    Never happened, unless it was the door to the bathroom or something.

    1. Pavel

      Next she’ll be claiming she was in the cockpit of the crop duster in “North By Northwest”.

      You’d think after the Bosnian sniper fire incident(s) she’d learn to avoid these grandiose claims.

      1. Tertium Squid

        Or limit them to time periods where she wasn’t being photographed and videotaped continuously!

        1. RMO

          Wow, she actually flew on small aircraft! What a heroic sacrifice! What about the thousands of us who work hard at learning how to fly small aircraft and work even harder to get the money so that we can afford to fly those small aircraft and feel blessed to be able to do so because we love flight so much? I genuinely feel bad for her that she was subject to the indignity of being forces to fly in any aircraft that didn’t have a spiral staircase, lounge, stateroom and piano bar on board. Royalty deserves such luxury!

          Seriously I have to question the crop duster thing. There are some larger aircraft that have been converted to that duty but almost all ag aircraft are single seaters. Is she actually trying to get some proletarian cred by attempting to convince us that she rode in the chem hopper of a Pawnee?

    2. Jim Haygood

      “I’ve been on planes where the doors have flown off …”

      … “as we circled the site of burning black churches.” — a Bill Clinton confabulation in support of a federal law banning same.

      Fortunately Hillary wasn’t on the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s flight when the doors blew off.

  21. Alex morfesis

    ECB can go bankrupt…the U.S. federal reserve was the first “modern day” (post electricity) non-royalist central bank…the ecb claims it is not a royalist central bank…time will tell…but every kingdom has had its own “central bankers” with the rule by law enforcement by arrow, sword or as today, lead…

    By chance, circumstance or conspiracy…they all failed…

  22. Gareth

    FWIW – If you are going to tip Lambert turn off your ad blocker software. It took me five attempts, each one kicked back at me by Paypal before I figured out what was wrong. But, I persevered.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you! And I’m sure Yves is experiencing the same drop-off.

      Ad blockers seem to deprive NC of the money we need to fund operating expenses.

      Please whitelist NC!!!

  23. allan

    Say finito to fintech: ‘Fintech’ Loses Some of Its Attraction for Investors

    One problem for Elevate is that its technology does not truly overcome a crucial hurdle faced by subprime lenders: high default rates. The company’s documents show that a large proportion of the loans it underwrites are likely to never be repaid. So-called net charge-offs represent about half of its annual revenue — a big price tag for an already unprofitable company. [Just make it up on volume, guys.] …

    Investments from venture capital, hedge funds, private equity and mutual funds have poured into fintech start-ups. In 2015, $19.1 billion was invested in the industry, almost eight times the amount invested in 2011, according to data compiled by CB Insights, a research firm. Where the money went, the start-ups followed, with about 4,000 businesses now labeled fintech, by CB Insights’ categorization. …

    Over time, though, the public-market investors will decide which companies should be awarded the technology multiples. …

    The discrepancy between the valuations fintech companies have received privately and what public-market investors are willing to pay has already narrowed.

    On to the next bubble.

  24. afisher

    This landed in my InBox today:

    I answer questions from reporters all the time. You know what I want to do more of? Answer questions from all of you.

    Get excited. It’s another edition of the uncreatively but accurately named Team Franken online campaign, “Ask Al.”

    This is your chance to speak your mind. You can ask me anything — like a burning question about an important issue or my take on an idea you have.

    Now is your chance to ask. Click here to send in a question now, and I’ll answer some in an upcoming email.

    (He is a super delegate that has already spoken of his undying support for HRC. )

    Seeing as how he asked, I wrote him a question about superdelegate support.
    Do you want to ask him a question, here is the link. http://www.alfranken.com/landing/e160406/?subsource=ngpattre160406

    1. polecat

      Did you, by chance, “ask Al” if he holds “dual-citizenship”, and to just ‘whom” his allegiance is pledged??

    2. smedley

      “Hello, Al, I enjoyed you as a comedian, loved you as a candidate,but now, as a pale blue dingleberry on the hairy ass of the Democratic party do you ever intend to stand in opposition to anything Hillary: inequality, wars, and cetera? Do you feel there’s a reason to be in the senate, or are you just waiting for a call from Lipowitz and SNL?

  25. Jerry Denim

    Dang-it Lambert! Go easy on the plot spoilers from “The Peripheral”. I’m only about half-way through the book. I’ve been a big Gibson fan for while. I feel bad for sleeping on this one, but I hate buying hardbacks. Definitely liking the book so far.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s more the premise than the plot. (And when you get to the end, tell me what you think. I like the premise and the atmosphere of The Peripheral better than the plot, but I think the premise and the atmosphere (“Hefty Mart”) add up to a brilliantly conceived future world, more important than the plotting. (It’s also interesting to think how his depiction of the flyover states presaged this election.)

      That said, thinking about the quote above, I’m not sure that I’m happy with Gibson’s premise that class structure is constant over these enormous changes. Surely the payment system wasn’t operative for the whole time? And if not, how did the rich extract their rents?

      The other thought I had was about Wilf’s unexpressed sadness and survivor’s guilt. Wilf is, of course, very much like the Martha’s Vineyard Democrats, the 20% and up, who will doubtless shed crocodile tears twenty years from now about the terrible things that happened to working class people in the heartland… “But it was inevitable, of course. The surplus population was just too great.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You’re welcome. Neither Tahrir Square or the capital occupations nor Occupy (nor #BlackLivesMatter, before the TFA types creamed the energy off) died; they went underground, like rhizomes….

  26. rjs

    re Honey for the Bears: “U.S. gasoline demand, one of the strongest pillars supporting oil consumption, fell in January for the first time in 14 months, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed”
    that report came from Reuters on Monday…it was updated by Reuters oil analyst Jack Kemp on Tuesday who noted gasoline demand is up to a record high since, in the weekly EIA data…after his report, Reuters took down the original article citing a 2 month old blip in the data…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was it due to people unable to drive in snow at the beginning of the year?

  27. nothing but the truth

    “If the government thinks the private market is failing to provide enough of something, such as college education, the right response is to subsidize it directly. Instead, Congress invariably chooses to subsidize borrowing for that activity”

    the function of the private sector is to extract rent. dont blame it if it does that. that is like blaming water for being wet.

    the function of the govt is to prevent/tax the rent extraction.

    there is no shortage of education. there are just too many millionaire professors/university blokes corresponding to the trillions in student debt.

  28. karma fubar

    “a room-mate of negotiable affection”

    Best. Line. Ever.

    In fact, I suspect there is an uber-like app there somewhere.

  29. TomD

    Wisconsin exit polls (Democratic) [CNN].

    Interesting thing, Sanders won both voters who want more and less liberal policies than Obama. Clinton, unsurprisingly, won people who want the same. I’d be curious to know what the people who want less liberal policies than Obama mean by that.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Fewer, more accurate drone strikes?

      Cheaper Obamacare premiums?

      Expedited BATF permitting of machine gun purchases?

    2. hunkerdown

      More socialist, possibly. Liberalism means the same thing as it did 150 years ago, and it ain’t “left”.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Perhaps. “Liberal” likely means corrupt to many voters in light of the DLC and Democrats championing fraud such as public private partnerships under the veneer of a false diversity.

        Or “liberal” might even must denote identity politics over substantive politics. After all, Ted Olsen, noted conservative activist, did more to allow guy marriage than Obama did in the fantasies of the most ardent Obama supporter. Good “liberal democrats” ran from the court challenges.

        Honesty and integrity simply have more meaning than “more or less liberal” at this point.

  30. Cry Shop

    Is there a missing link, or is the quote just to start a conversation/pass on a keen observation?

    I’d just add to to part of the quote ” Not that they’d known what they were doing, had meant to make problems, but they’d caused it anyway. ” There were quite a few who thought they knew what they were doing, and thought they were fighting the good fight. In their ignorance they were attempting the equivalent of wrapping the tip of the ice-floe with a thermal blanket, designed in a glass panel high-rise in London, threads spun in Mexico, fabric woven in Bangladesh, panels stitched in Bangkok, assembly coated and treated in Sweden, then loaded on the boats in Miami. The non-profit’s for profit directors and professional workers would make the attempt from boats burning diesel made from palm plantation ripped from primal forests. The fleet of boats would be exhausting hot water on the bottom of the floe while dumping even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    Inspired by some commenter in today’s Links (who, wanting to go on with their consumerist lifestyle) implying facts are not important in mitigating climate change, just celebrating feel good news (while burning more carbon) will do the trick.

    PS. Excellent Funk, have not heard Worrell in ages.

  31. Bubba_Gump

    Love the Gibson reference! But he misused a word, even in the original: it’s “anthropogenic.”

  32. Qrys

    UPI :: Poll: 1 in 4 Bernie Sanders supporters would not vote for Hillary Clinton:

    “The poll underscores what has become an increasingly thorny problem for Clinton, the front-runner: How to dispatch Sanders without turning off his passionate supporters.”

    I’d say Clinton opened that barn door herself. There are myriad reasons to not want to vote for her. And considering she’s now repeatedly disparaged these voters, can you blame them if they don’t just forgive and forget?

    1. tegnost

      I think that underestimates the reality, do you think 75% of bernie supporters will vote clinton? I don’t. Bernie has both the right and left side of the independent vote, and as you point out forgive and forget aren’t happening these days. Many will vote for trump over hillary but sanders over trump. Others will go green, an astonishingly large number will write in….3 in 4 sanders to clinton? Not a chance.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Again, that’s why I think Sanders should explicitly defend his voters from the idea that they’re sheeple who can be easily deceived, or that they’re not doing “their own research.”

  33. ewmayer

    Re. “But what if large-scale economic slumps can be traced to declines in relatively narrow industrial sectors? A newly published study co-authored by an MIT economist…” — I was not aware that housing was considered a “relatively narrow industrial sector”. See, that’s why we need academic economists, to explain that and other fundamental but not-necessarily-intuitive concepts, like “debt is wealth”, “slavery is freedom”, “offshoring $X worth of domestic wages so the CEO can keep $0.9*X more for himself is a net plus for the economy, because the laid-off workers will now be able to buy the same goods they were paid to produce more cheaply, i.e. their no-longer-existent salaries will go much further!”

    Oh, and almost forgot that classic “shuffling borrowed-into-existence money around among various various purely speculative enterprises equals meaningful economic activity.” I wish I had a second lifetime, so I could major in econ and become an expert in such things.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not sure I agree (and they do say “relatively narrow”). Since the economy is a complex system, it makes sense that “butterfly wings” can have unexpectedly large effects (I would have used the fall of capital investment from the oil patch debacle as an example). That’s not a mainstream perspective, and it should be.

  34. EndOfTheWorld

    If HRC gets the dem nomination, I will strongly support the repugs the rest of my life, never ever voting for another dem. I want the dem party to be destroyed completely, if Hill is the best they can come up with.

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