2:00PM Water Cooler 5/12/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



“The Urban Institute and the Tax Policy Center have released an analysis of the costs of Bernie Sanders’ domestic policy proposals, including single-payer national health insurance.They claim that proposals would raise the federal deficit by $18 trillion over the next decade” [CNBC]. “To put it bluntly, the estimates are ridiculous. They posit outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, and ignore vast savings under single-payer reform, and ignore the extensive and well documented experience with single-payer systems in other nations — which all’ spend far less per person on health care than we do.”

“Bernie Sanders wants everyone to be offered a tuition-free college education and he’s called crazy. America can’t afford it, naysayers scoff. He’s just pandering to young voters” [Los Angeles Times]. “But too many of us in California forget: This state did provide tuition-free college for generations.” Really, the DNC might just as well hang a “This is Reagan Country” sign on their front door!

“Hillary Clinton Takes a Step to the Left on Health Care” [New York Times]. So Clinton is adding a few more epicycles to save our broken system; “Medicare for Some,” as Sanders, correctly calls it. And get this: “Mrs. Clinton did not say, for example, whether lower-income Americans choosing Medicare would receive help paying their premiums.” Clinton’s supposed to be the detail-oriented candidate, and she left a gaping hole like that in her proposal? Clearly, Clinton just isn’t serious.

“A $15-hour minimum wage could harm America’s poorest workers” [Brookings]. “In some parts of the country, many employers will be very reluctant to pay high wages to workers with modest skills.” Well, employers are “reluctant” to do lots of stuff. And I’m so old I remember when Brookings was liberal!

The Voters

“Today’s rejoinders to criticism of these [corporate-friendly] policies from many establishment Democrats underscore how tone deaf the party elites have become. They claim that things would be a lot worse if Republicans had been running the show. Without a doubt, I believe that to some extent, that is true. However, ‘Hey, vote for us because we’re not as bad as the other guys’ is a lackluster slogan — a wheezing plea that lacks credibility for many voters who have been ignored for decades” [CNN]. “Wheezing plea.” Ouch!

Our Famously Free Press

“Washington Post Squeezes Four Anti-Sanders Stories Out of One Tax Study Over Seven Hours” [FAIR]. That Jeff Bezos, he sure does know how to use the lash with the galley slaves, eh?

I’ll just leave this here:


“Sorry, but that fake pundit isn’t more accurate than Nate Silver” [WaPo]. Political class protecting their own, the “fake pundit” being Carl Diggler…

West Virginia

“CARL DIGGLER’S ANALYSIS: Bernie Sanders’ Win in West Virginia Was His Worst Loss Yet” [Carl Diggler, Cafe].

A study by bipartisan David Brock Study Group (PDF here ) revealed that late primary Sanders voters have racism levels of 58%.

“If Sanders’ rise in coal territory shows one thing, it’s that candidates can embrace strong action on climate change and still manage to earn support in Appalachian counties” [Grist].


“Donald Trump’s rise to de-facto Republican nominee for president poses an unusually high level of uncertainty for investors and businesses, potentially weighing on the economy and the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates this year” [Reuters]. Political risk…

House and Senate Races

“Democrats are increasingly bullish about their chances to take back the Senate, where Republicans now dominate 54-46, with Trump atop the Republican ticket. The challenges for Democrats in the lower chamber, however, where Republicans outnumber them 246 to 188, are much steeper. They hope a landslide win by Hillary Clinton, their likely presidential nominee, would lead to significant gains in the House, but plenty would have to break their way to have a legitimate shot at retaking the chamber” [Real Clear Politics]. As is well known, however, Obama’s been a disaster for downticket Democrats, and Clinton’s Victory Fund, while ostensibly raising money for the state parties, is in fact a money laundering device for the Clinton campaign, and the states don’t see the money. So call me a bear on this one, based on institutional factors.

The Trail

Jon Stewart on Clinton, oddly unremarked in the press [@Shaunking].

“We’re about to find out if Trump really is a gifted politician, or merely a boor who got lucky. Because if he’s as smart as a lot of his supporters claim, he won’t waste a lot of charm sucking up to congressmen” [Yahoo News].

“[T]he Republican establishment just got its butt kicked all over the map by a guy who says he loves debt and has no idea what the nuclear triad is. So I’m not sure the warm embrace of party leaders is necessarily the key to generating critical enthusiasm anymore…. Talk to frustrated pollsters for other candidates who conducted focus groups during the primaries, and they will tell you that Trump’s essential outsider-ness was the main reason that nothing he said or did — no matter how crass, offensive or flat-out dumb — substantially affected his support. Trump was blowing up the entire system, and that’s all anyone cared about.”

Yep. You can always tell when some strategist poured a little poison into Trump’s ear, because his messaging goes off. Same with Sanders (who should have amplified “unqualified,” not damped it down, IMNSHO. How on earth do Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Honduras, and our mad adventure in Ukraine qualify anyone to handle the launch codes?)

“In the interview, Trump outlined a general election campaign that banks heavily on his personal appeal and trademark rallies while spurning the kind of sophisticated data operation that was a centerpiece of Barack Obama’s winning White House runs. ‘I’ve always felt it was overrated,’ Trump said. ‘Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me'” [AP]. That’s not such a bad argument (and keeps Trump away from the wonk perps responsible for Romney’s Orca debacle).

“No Tax Returns Means No Real Skinny on Trump’s Charitable Behavior” [Nonprofit Quarterly]. A good wrap-up. The political class seems to think they’ve got Trump by the short and curlies on his tax returns. I’m not so sure a Walmart part-timer making money under the table as the contractor they used to be would agree.

“Trump and Ryan say they are ‘totally committed to working together'” [WaPo]. “This is a developing story. It will be updated.” I’ll bet. Totes committed. Rilly.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of May 7, 2016: “There are no special factors behind a very large jump, the second large jump in a row, in initial jobless claims, up 20,000 in the May 7 week following a 17,000 rise in the prior week” [Econoday]. “Unsettling but not definitive.” And: “The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 258,000 (reported last week as 258,000) to 268,250” [Econintersect]. But: “the odds that the labor market is falling apart and that layoffs are accelerating rapidly are extremely slim. There is little to no indication that labor demand are weakening, so even if I did not have an explanation ready at hand, I would be skeptical” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve]. “However, in fact, I do have an explanation. New York City schools were off for spring break in the week of April 25, and as I laid out back in February, when NYC schools had their winter break, every year, when NYC schools are out, there is a blip in claims. The story is that non-teacher school employees (bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc.) are somehow permitted to file for unemployment when schools are closed for a week or two…. Since the timing of the breaks swings around from year to year, the seasonal adjustment process is unable to properly take this special factor into account. In any case, of the 18K increase in initial claims nationally on a not seasonally adjusted basis in the latest week, almost 15K comes from New York. … [T]he bottom line is that … the rise in claims has nothing to do with broader economic fundamentals.”

Import and Export Prices, April 2016: “The rise in oil prices gave a second straight but still limited boost to cross-border inflation pressures in April….Export prices rose 0.5 percent in April for the best showing since May last year” [Econoday]. “The decline underway this year in the dollar is another major factor that should help lift import prices which, though still concentrated in oil, are showing improvement and will help what has been a stubbornly weak inflation outlook.” And: “Trade prices continue to deflate year-over-year – although the rate of deflation declined this month” [Econintersect].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of May 8, 2016: “The consumer comfort index continues to break lower” [Econoday]. “Weakness in consumer confidence readings typically reflect weakness in job and income prospects. ” The beatings will continue until morale improves.

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]. “We are now at the very end of the strike impact” (which affected intermodal only, not carloads). The deceleration still holds when backing out coal and grain. I know it’s a service economy now, but beauty salons still have to buy shampoo and scissors, at some point…..

Retail:” “The Labor Saving Effects of Switching from Store to Online Purchases: Amazon vs. Department Stores and Malls” [Econintersect]. The first part focuses on whether online retail costs jobs (it does), but the second focuses on the evolution of malls (in my mind because the Bangor Mall is anchored by Sears and Macy’s). “Occupancy rates are now as high as they were before the 2008 collapse. And operating incomes at malls are higher than they have been in years. … So what is propelling the growth of malls? Like gambling casinos have been doing for the last decade, successful malls are transforming themselves into all-purpose “recreation experiences” for customers. This can be seen most clearly in northern states where indoor malls are where many families with children will spend a good part of a day. They shop, have a meal, and possibly take in a movie.” And imagine. We used to have “downtown” for that. Progress is a wonderful thing!

Real Estate: “The world’s wealthiest homebuyers are pulling back from the traditional magnets of New York, Hong Kong and London, making way for cities such as Auckland, New Zealand, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to rank among the fastest-growing luxury real estate markets” [Bloomberg].

The Bezzle: “[A]s the number of likes attracted by a Facebook page is considered a measure of its popularity, an ecosystem of so-called “like farms” has emerged that inflate the number of page likes” [Bentham’s Gaze]. “the jury is still out on the effectiveness and the scalability of deploying algorithms that use timeline features for fraud detection over billions of posts.” So it’s a phishing equilibrium!

The Fed: “The U.S. Federal Reserve will likely wait until September before raising interest rates again, stretching to nine months the time since its first hike in nearly a decade, as it waits for clear signs inflation is picking up, a Reuters poll found” [Reuters]. “A majority, 45 of 51 respondents, said they were ‘confident’ the labor market was in good shape despite a recent slowdown in the pace of hiring. Four said they were not sure and the remaining two said they were ‘not confident.'”

Thomas Friedman on foreign policy… Larry Summers on economic policy. And on the cover of Business Week:

Shaking my head…

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59, Greed (previous close: 61, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 12 at 11:37am. C’mon, man. The Fifties?


“Half-Million on Strike Across France” [Blog Factory].

“French gov’t bypasses parliament to push through labor bill” [Deutsche Welle].

Nuit debout:


“Southeast Asia’s Rivers Run Dry” [Asia Sentinel]. A good wrap-up, and includes the geopolitical importance of China’s position upstream.

The Jackpot

“Imagine trying to throw a giant party while going through an ugly divorce — and as disease-bearing mosquitoes swarm around your badly damaged house. That, essentially, is what Brazil is trying to do as it barrels toward this summer’s Olympic Games during an impeachment crisis and an as-yet uncontrolled Zika outbreak” [Foreign Policy]. “[T]he Olympics could help a dangerous strain of Zika go global.”

Guillotine Watch

“[M]ere millionaires being humiliated by billionaires in paradise” [Bloomberg]. “‘The pool had been a major problem,’ says Mike Sack, who bought in 2004 with his partner, suspense novelist John Saul. ‘I’ve been down to the pool, and someone has reserved five chaises, and that’s a problem for me.'”

Class Warfare

“Workers in plants run by the largest U.S. poultry producers are regularly being denied bathroom breaks and as a result some are reduced to wearing diapers while working on the processing line, Oxfam America said in a report Wednesday” [Bloomberg].

“Poor Wages Send A Third Of US Manufacturing Workers To Welfare Lines In Order To Pay For Food, Healthcare, Data Show” [International Business Times].

“[Uber and Lyft] call themselves “ridesharing” companies, but that’s a deceit, for they don’t share anything — their business model relies on folks needing a ride to hire a driver through the corporations’ apps. With the bulk of the fare going to out-of-town corporate hedge funders” [Jim Hightower, Salon]. “Their gig economy is aptly named, for “gigs” are crude four-hook fishing devices that are dragged by commercial fleets through schools of fish to impale them, haul them in, and cash in on the pain.”

“An April 29 ruling from the [NLRB] says that employers cannot require employees to be constantly positive at work” [HuffPo]. “The NLRB’s ruling last week said that requiring employees to maintain a “positive work environment” is too restrictive, as the workplace can sometimes get contentious. You can’t keep your employees from arguing.” And the key point:

The key here is recognizing that being positive at work is good for business, but what’s good for business is not always good for labor.

Reminding me irresistibly of:

“[Emma Watson], who played wizard Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, set up an offshore company using Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the leak, newly released data show” [CNN]. “‘Emma (like many high profile individuals) set up an offshore company for the sole purpose of protecting her anonymity and safety,’ [Watson’s spokesman Luke Windsor] said in a statement emailed to CNNMoney.” Something the rest of us don’t need, eh?

News of the Wired

“This Isn’t a Google Streetview Car, It’s a Government Spy Truck” [Vice]. In Philly, note well.

“The Unbiased Algorithm is a Myth” [Medium]. “[A]lgorithms cannot be completely objective or pure. Designing algorithms requires compromise, especially when the input and output involves human messiness. Algorithms are made by humans that have bias in optimizing the algorithm’s output towards a goal.” Including Facebook’s “Trending” algorithm. Or Google News. Or…. Or…

“Indonesian villagers mistake inflatable sex doll for fallen angel” [Asian Correspondent]. And who’s to say they’re not right? If life were a William Gibson novel, they would be!

“The True, Boozy, and Very Disturbing Story of The Replacements” [St. Louis Magazine].

* * *

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 (James H):


A Pacific serviceberry, in Saskatoon.

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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. jo6pac

      That’s their game plan, no progressives.

      In my part of Calli we had an ex-astronaut running as a Demo-Progressive. The local Teamsters gave all they had in door to door and whatever funds they raised local. The guy grew up in the fields working with his parents, a rags to success story. The repug and demo ran neck and neck until 4 weeks before the election, the repugs dumped $700,000.00 $ into TV and radio. What did the demodogs do 0 and he still only lost by 4%.

      1. HopeLB

        I became a fan of Alan Grayson after seeing his brilliant unmasking of the Banksters during the Bailout hearings on c-span. (Marcy Kaptor was also good, pointing her finger and saying “I’ll get YOU!”.) Now, Alan is being accused of ehics violations, Reid told him “I want you to lose” and Obama and Biden have endorsed his opponent Murphy, a hitherto life long Republican turned Dem. Not sure if Alan is as bad as people say or if he is being impugned due to his vicious but well deserved, televised attack on the Banksters.

        1. sparkylab

          He may be. But I think more and more, reactions like that, are simply an indication that the individual is not considered to be ‘playing the game’ – it doesn’t matter which team you are on – the knives come out.

  1. diptherio

    “In some parts of the country, many employers will be very reluctant to pay high wages to workers with modest skills.”

    Oh no! I guess they’ll have to train those workers to make them worth $15/hr. The horror!

    addendum: and since when is $15/hr a “high wage”?

      1. inode_buddha

        Maybe $15 an hour is “priced to perfection”…{/sarc} its actually a realistic bottom-line minimum cost of living in most of the country. Every time I hear some CxO grousing about this, I think to myself “Maybe you guys should cut prices instead of having to raise wages”…. And every time the discussion comes up with Conservative family members, its all the Governments fault that the cost of living is so high! This $15-an-hour-situation is the direct result of the C-level classes trying to have everythng both ways for too long.

        1. zapster

          They could consider, like, I dunno.. cutting c-suite comp to something like it was back when there was enough left over for workers…

    1. Brindle

      Training is a no-no–it’s mostly a “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” approach.Training is often spending time on a computer rather than another human showing you the ropes etc.

    2. TK421

      Since when do we pay people solely according to their skills? Is a quarterback more skilled than a college professor? A movie star more skilled than an airline pilot?

      If someone is contributing to a richly successful business, their pay should reflect that. If they arent contributing, why employ them at all?

      1. RMO

        The instructor I had for my single engine training went on to work for Westjet – his first year right seat in a 737 (early 2000’s) he earned about $23,000 or so. I’m sure his pay increased over the years but that first year had to have been a knee in the groin.

    3. portia

      They are screaming because they are just used to being able to pay .25/hr or less in third world countries. if they succeed in making the U.S. into a third world country, and they are well on their way, then the $15 minimum wage is throwing an annoying monkey wrench into their draconian model. wait, wait, they say–we’re not done totally screwing you yet.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Free Trade! Free Trade! So we can have the same standard of living as the people in Venezuela and Pakistan.
        It’s enough to make you vote for a made-for-TV blowhard narcissist with orange hair (no I’m not talking about Bozo the Clown)

        1. portia

          Bozo’s Circus! a real blast from my childhood. former Chicagoan, are you? or just in syndication?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            My NJ childhood was steeped in Captain Kangaroo, Bozo, then Speed Racer and Tobor the 8 Man.
            Much more innocent times.

            1. portia

              Illinois childhood, with Garfield Goose, Bozo, and all the Looney Tunes, which were great because I was into classical music, Tom and Jerry, Heckle and Jeckle. yes, innocent times.

    4. cwaltz

      If a little over $31,000 a year is “high wage” then what does that say about the CEO who gets that multiplied by 100 times?

      1. Praedor

        You’re dead wrong. In the US the CEO gets 450+ times that wage.

        Only in the US. All other advanced maps have more control of the process. CEOs only make 15 times ave worker pay or less.

    5. Bubba_Gump

      Why bother training them? They just get caught drunk driving, or get in a bar fight and not come to work, or get high and not come to work, or fall off a ladder and cause a workers comp claim, or forget their glasses today, or wreck the company truck, and and and. Screw ’em.

    6. Minnie Mouse

      Training them to be worth $15/hour would immediately make them “overqualified”.

  2. James Levy

    OK, so $15 dollars an hour are “high wages”–so what the hell are $15 million a year? How can businesses claim that paying $15 an hour is exorbitant while paying executives tens of millions? How come one is impossible and the other standard operating procedure? Why does no one point his out?

    I’m pretty close to taking a break from NC. The mass of insanity going down all around is just overwhelming.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      One point I’d like to see added, is that given the massive Type 1 & Type 2 Underemployment Risk, $15 min wage is even more vital in the modern post-2008 GFC, permanently Crapified e-con-omy.

      It seems the anti-$15 min wage discuss the $7.25 min wage, as if we have a MMT-style 40 hr/wk Job Guarantee exists, to any adult who wants it. Perhaps BigMedia & BigPol DO have such a private Job Guarantee, er Sinecure Guarantee (at > $50/hr, not $7.25!) for their Lifetime Service of figuratively continuous fellating 1%ers & BigCorps. The rest of us 99% do not have such a Job Guarantee!

      Heck, as an example, IIRC a commenter here suffered both Type 1 & Type 2, a PhD historian who taught 1 univ course (Type 2 – not 40 hrs), & as a 2nd job is a delivery driver (Type 1 – delivery driver possibly requires a HS degree but definitely not a PhD degree!)

      AFAICT Underemployment (both Type 1 & Type 2) is a super-ignored issue by BigPol & BigMedia. IIRC not even Sanders mentioned it.

      1. philnc

        Bernie has mentioned unemployment in every stump speech I’ve seen. For the reasons you stated it is a critical piece of the puzzle. Only a serious government jobs program like the infrastructure repair effort proposed by Bernie is going to put a dent in it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The propaganda is like this;

      1. There is only one Alpha Chimp, at $15 mil a year.

      2. There are 500 little chimps @ $30,000 a year, totalling $15 mil a year.

      And we humans have it better than chimps. This is their reality, in the wild:

      1. The real wild Alpha chimp has 15,000.000 wives in his harem.

      2. The 500 little chimps have 0.

    3. Carla

      My sympathies, James Levy. Sometimes head-sand seems like the only solution, but of course it doesn’t solve a damned thing.

  3. Jim Haygood

    The Atlantic details Venezuela’s slide into oblivion:

    In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country outside of war.

    Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

    The real culprit is … its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).


    Try to top this anecdote:

    The Universidad Central de Venezuela’s Institute for Tropical Medicine was burglarized 11 times in the first two months of 2016. The last two break-ins took place within 48 hours of one another, leaving the lab without a single microscope.

    1. JohnnyGL

      The Atlantic has quite literally been writing Venezuela-is-a-failed-state stories for years. A quick google search demonstrates. It’s hard to believe them because every single one is critical of Chavez and Chavistas and they never have a bad word to say about any of the coup mongers in the opposition or any of the corrupt thugs that ran the country before Chavez.

      Imagine the impression you’d have if you ONLY read the WaPo on Bernie Sanders or ONLY read MSNBC on Trump. You’d think both were crazed loons!

      1. JohnnyGL

        To be clear, I’m not singing the praises of the Chavistas, just saying they’re the worst Venezuela’s ever had…..except for all the other people who’ve been in charge! :)

        Atlantic seems to be pushing an agenda here.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        First came regress, then progress.

        When Romans conquered a tribe, they enslaved the captives, and made them use silver or gold Roman coins as their currency.

        Then, nations just vanquished other nations and made them use the victor’s paper currency. That’s regress (less honest, forcing others to use paper currency. Think colonial exploitation, exchanging fiat money for their slave labor in slave factories to make tanks to fight the Soviets, or exchanging it for tropical lumber, etc.).

        Now, we don’t see countries do that anymore. Venezuela is not going to war on neighbors and force them to use the fiat Bolivar money. (“Babies in Caracas will never lack medicines again, now that everyone accepts our regional reserve currency.”)

        That, my friend, is progress (after regress).

    2. P Walker

      institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions);

      Wait, but isn’t that what the West does when it destroys democracy with trade deals like NAFTA, TTIP or TPP? Isn’t democracy destruction what we do? So how can they blame Chavez?

      Besides, Chavez had always been vocal in saying that he was hoping to create conditions for change. Instead he ended up like Brian from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. He was hoping that the “good” in people would win out and there would be others like him to follow.

      Instead, he became fearless leader and then surrounded by basically apparatchiks.

  4. EGrise

    What are the Philadelphia police up to? My guess: establishing a baseline for travel/occupancy of certain neighborhoods prior to the Democratic convention, which would allow them to figure out locations and traffic flows of non-residents in case of, er, something. Something completely legitimate, I’m sure.

    Seriously, one of the highest priorities for police during “civil disturbance” situations is locating the headquarters, marshaling areas and lodgings of protesters. This seems like one method. Might also be useful for cordoning places off: “You can’t go in, we have no record of you having entered there in the past 6 months, you’re under arrest.”

    Politically-motivated youth protestors versus the notoriously violent Philly cops, now with more spy gadgets (not to mention lots of “surplus” military hardware). What could possibly go wrong?

    1. TK421

      When the protesters say “we’re just making them do it”, Obama will tell the police to ease up!!!

    2. nippersmom

      Sad to say, this could end up making the 1968 Chicago convention look like a day at the beach.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Just like Occupy, a few days beforehand two guys in suits will pay a visit to pre-crime protesters in their homes, based on their recent web searches/emails/cellphone calls. They’ll flash their DHS or FBI badges and talk darkly about how they can disappear them for some waterboarding if they don’t behave. Problem solved, the MSM gets a placid and heartwarming picture of democracy in action at the peaceful convention, the deviant gets a cell next to Barrett Brown, and PA gets a $ reward from the taxpayer for outperforming their quarterly sales target for incarcerated souls.
        Wow that’s quite a fantastic scenario…I just wish whole-hardheartedly that it were not also true.

  5. James Levy

    Your semi-excuse for Trump’s likely crooked dealings and tax evasion (“the Walmart guy won’t care”) is sickening. You can’t run around bitching about corruption then excuse it when “your guy” (and the pretense that you are some objective observer is past wearing thin) does it.

    I know, I know–“BUT HILLARY”. I remember when you used to mock Democrats for using that line vis-a-vis Republicans. I guess that doesn’t apply with your guy, either.

    1. Ron Showalter

      Just wanted to let you know that since Bernie-phrenia has taken nearly full hold of this and other left-ish blogs, I only briefly visit from time to time to see if you specifically are still attempting to inject some rationality into the storm of nonsense that is – as you aptly named it – best called “BUT HILLARY”-ism.

      I appreciate your efforts.

      Not many years ago, I had to entirely stop reading this blog b/c the mania-du-jour at that time was Occupy Wall Street. Anyone that tried to comment on how/why OWS was an ill-conceived/poorly-managed endeavor were screamed down with charges of being – and I quote – “nihilistic”.

      Yes, if you weren’t a wild-eyed fervent supporter of OWS then – according to the majority here – you were – at that time – a lunatic nihilist who would rather talk about destroying the system instead of actively help in trying to change said system.

      I guess it wasn’t cool in 2011 to be TOO anti-establishment, huh?

      But now?

      Why – as you know so well – trying to calmly point out the logical errors/hypocrisy/nonsense of the Bernie-phrenics as they daily do solemnly swear to nihilistically pull the lever for an outright fascist/racist/billionaire/sexist/Establishment moron in Trump only will get you screamed down even if you continue to tell them – as you do – that you are NOT a Hillary supporter just a rational observer.

      Nihilism is the new black for the bourgeois left in 2016, I guess.

      Additionally, lost on everyone here apparently, is the potential that much of this Bernie-phrenic behavior has been instigated and manipulated by TPTB themselves. For example, it was documented that some of the same people who worked on Color Revolutions abroad were also integral in the creation of OWS and thus it consequent support.

      Gee, could the same people – the bourgeois left – be falling for another con like OWS? Could their echoing pledges to fall instep with the nihilist “BUT HILLARY” campaign be the result of having their minds manipulated by the media Spectacle?

      Should the fact that they are now all exactly parroting the RW echo chamber’s anti-Hillary talking points of the last 3 decades give them any sort of pause?

      Oops, I forgot, the Establishment really hate Trump and a vote for him will be inevitably bring us all closer to tearing the whole thing down, right?

      Just like OWS brought about a Tobin Tax or something revolutionary like that, right?

      Oh well.

      1. portia

        LOL. are trying to out-CT the people you are calling CT boobs?

        much of this Bernie-phrenic behavior has been instigated and manipulated by TPTB themselves.

        I have not seen such a thorough bid to muddy the waters, kick up dust and blow smoke anywhere–are you from Correct the Record, by chance? You sound like a pro.

      2. hunkerdown

        Nihilism is the antithesis of bourgeois identity, cookie. We don’t take kindly to Barrier Breakers around here.

        1. cwaltz

          Oh, it’s okay to break barriers to the powers that be- they just have to be the “appropriate, pre approved” barriers.

          For example, the DNC is all about carrying a woman President over the threshold that will continue in the proud tradition of selling out average Americans, including women, out.

      3. Alejandro

        Hill-bought? If so, weak…very weak!

        What makes you think OWS was “conceived” or “created”? What I remember thinking was how fucked-up things were and a spontaneous realization that I was not alone in this thinking and that WS had, and does have a lot to do with how fucked-up things were and continue to be.

        1. hunkerdown

          “What makes you think OWS was “conceived” or “created”?”

          It’s what he sees in the next conference room over, perhaps? Plain old Rovian projection: Attack your opponent with your own weakness.

      4. Christ on a bike

        Finally somebody calls out those Occupy scammers in their luxurious sleeping bags who made even the Republicans acknowledge terms like “the 1%” and “the middle class.” Remember when we had to bail out those little pricks for almost $800 billion?

        Oh, wait…

      5. Sammy Maudlin

        Perhaps you might have more success in persuading these people to whom you refer as “the majority of people here” if you gave us an idea which “RW echo chamber’s anti-Hillary talking points of the last three decades” these people are parroting…


        Why those specifically identified talking points are incorrect.

        Thank you for your assistance in avoiding future delves into useless insults and generalizations.

    2. Waldenpond

      They are both completely corrupt. Clinton supporters excuse her privatizing the SoS and laundering bribes through her fake foundation…. Trump supporters won’t care if he’s a tax dodger, they hate taxes… it’s the government stealing their money and giving it to those people.

      There are two noxious candidates and the base of both parties are going to spend the general sniveling about the other.

      1. cwaltz

        Yep, and then if Hillary loses, as she very well might, it’s going to be all the fault of those mean ol’ voters who refused to pick the Democratic corrupt candidate.

        The entitlement of the Democratic party and it’s base never ceases to amaze me.

        I practically puked the other day when Samantha Bee suggested that it was all the Democratic bases fault that the GOP party won state legislatures in 2010, as if somehow or another the incompetency and or corrupt behavior of the DNC has nothing to do with their failure to win.

        I’m done. I’m not actively supporting corrupt anymore. The DNC can lose until eternity as far as I’m concerned if all they are going to offer up is the “lefty version” of corrupt and bought out. I’ll vote green, write in, and do everything but accept their insistence that I HAVE to vote for their candidate to save myself from the corrupt GOP candidate.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Pro tip: If you’re going to take a writer’s words out of context, don’t do it on the same page as the original; it’s too easy to check. I wrote:

      The political class seems to think they’ve got Trump by the short and curlies on his tax returns. I’m not so sure a Walmart part-timer making money under the table as the contractor they used to be would agree.

      I have no idea what your sloppy “semi-excuse” formulation actually means; but quite clearly I wasn’t expressing a judgment on Trump, but assessing the likely political effects.

      Consider getting that knee seen to?

      1. James Levy

        I’m a writer, too, and have two books plus lots of flotsam to my name.

        Since when don’t you take up the position of the Walmart worker? I’ve seen you defend such people many times. This time, it seems, you aren’t. You are just making an observation. You never meant to imply that you agree with that person. You can make that claim, and I can’t disprove it, but I am skeptical.

        You are, of course, under no obligation to answer the second point, that the entire tenor of this website has become one gigantic “BUT HILLARY!” exercise, an exercise that when employed by defenders of the current President against some rather loathsome Republicans like Mitt Romney, was rejected and denounced.

        This stinks of hypocrisy, and I don’t like it and have been, I hope, clear, consistent, and honest in showing how that has become prevalent here.

        1. cwaltz

          You might reread what he wrote.

          I believe he’s clearly making the argument that the DNC has done everything it has done to grind workers, including Walmart workers, under the necks of their corporate overlords. See Plouffe- uber for just one of MANY examples of Democratic betrayals. They haven’t used the power of government to improve workers plight. As a result many workers RESENT the government, they RESENT the taxes they pay and they RESENT what they perceive as no value for what they have to pay for.

          Can’t say that I blame them.

          My tax dollars pay the medical bills for Congress and meanwhile many can’t even afford their own deductible to pay for medical coverage for themselves. You have people from the working class party arguing that $30,000 a year is too much for entry level employees while making 5 times that for screwing up the country and naming park benches. Yeah, I can see why they’d say screw the Democrats and their status quo incrementalism.

        2. lambert strether

          I regard taking quotes out of context as dishonest. Your mileage may vary, and apparently does.

        3. Darthbobber

          I think he’s making the fairly obvious point that a huge number of hard-pressed voters aren’t going to give a damn about this, making it a much less telling point than the party hacks believe it to be.

          Its about the 500th “magic bullet” projected to be the one that destroys Trump.

    4. hunkerdown

      If corruption is simply a fact of the human condition, human societies have a choice to make: they can either spread the benefits of that corruption around among everyone who hasn’t provem themselves unworthy — as trade unionists do — or they can consider corruption unseemly and create a small ruling class under which rug to concentrate, sequester, and carefully control access to it on the orders of ghosts — as evangeliberals would corruptly prefer.

  6. TK421

    Without a doubt, I believe that to some extent, that is true.

    Oh, sure, just because more income gains went to the 1% under Obama than under W. Bush, and Obama prosecuted more whistle-blowers, and attacked more countries doesn’t mean the Democrats are as bad or worse. I mean, wouldnt you rather be killed by a missile lanched by a Democrat than a Republican?

    1. Praedor

      Well, the Democrat might actually express the “regret for the loss of innocent life” afterwards. The Republican will just say you were a terrorist.

      Wouldn’t got prefer that you being blown to shit was “regretted” rather than you be lumped a terrorist?

      1. sparkylab

        I have many progressive friends that express an aspect of this sentiment regularly.

        “Yeah, droning that wedding party was terrible, but I’m sure the President meant well……and felt terrible afterwards’

      2. BananaBreakfast

        If I ever get blown up by a DoD idiot missile while I’m in the bathroom or at a barbecue or whatever, I hope afterwards they make me sound like a total badass and the most dangerous guy on earth. I don’t need my murderer’s contemptuous, phony regret.

  7. Adam1

    Shipping – Coal and Petroleum are the biggest factors in the volume declines. Both are way off from prior couple years.

    1. Synapsid


      Don’t forget frack sand. Those quarries in the Upper Midwest aren’t doing much these days, and that stuff weighs a lot and takes up a lot of room.

  8. polecat

    Looks like Luke Windsor conveniently forgot to mention that Miss Emma uttered “evanesco”…the ‘Vanishing Charm’, to remove all traces of improper evidence……..while also, moments later casting the ‘ Impliment Curse’…”impedimenta”……….seemingly to impede any and all investigatory reprisals!

    1. polecat

      Oh wait a minute… OH MY GOD!…….my right arm just caught fire…….. I coulda swearn I heard “Confringo”…the ‘blasting curse’…. just as I finished the above post….$#@&%*——————FWUMP !!!!

  9. ProNewerDeal

    Lambert “So Clinton is adding a few more epicycles to save our broken system; “Medicare for Some,” as Sanders, correctly calls it. And get this: “Mrs. Clinton did not say, for example, whether lower-income Americans choosing Medicare would receive help paying their premiums.” Clinton’s supposed to be the detail-oriented candidate, and she left a gaping hole like that in her proposal? Clearly, Clinton just isn’t serious.”

    +1 Thank you.

    I would add that supposedly H Clinton also “evolved” re-flip-flopped her health insurance policy to include a “Public Option” for the 18-54 cohort. We need more details! Is this “Public Option” Medicaid? Will the premium be discounted via gov taxes for those bt. 138-400% FPL, as done in the ACA?

    Like you, I am disgusted w H Clinton’s continual bragging of being wonkish & detailed-oriented. I am disgusted that H Clinton claims this, while proclaiming the actual wonkish detailed-oriented Sanders as being a policy lightweight. Psychological projection, H Clinton?

    AFAICT, H Clinton is a “moderate” Trump Jr, on the attribute of massive flip-flopping & being detailed-challenged.

    1. Waldenpond

      Everytime I hear public option buy in, I see liens on any property some peasant might have been able to accumulate. A meager house to leave your heirs or basic healthcare. Pick one.

    2. Carla

      Re: the Urban Institute mis-information campaign against Single Payer:

      I signed the following Change.org petition to protest the outrageous Urban League – funded study claiming that single payer would cost $18 trillion over the next decade.

      I hope NC readers will consider signing and posting the link to your networks, FB, etc., too.


      Here’s the comment I added, along with my signature:

      I am signing because the Urban League “study” rivals the birther movement and Exxon-funded climate change propagandists for flat-out LYING to the American people.

      1. Carla

        Oops — I twice mistakenly blamed the Urban League — it was the Urban INSTITUTE, not the Urban League — mea culpa.

  10. RMO

    I cannot thank you enough for the Guillotine Watch link today! Reading that didn’t give me schadenfreude- just pure freude. The thought of these fools wailing an gnashing their teeth, outraged over minuscule inconveniences in the paradise they thought they bought their enshrinement in with their hard grifted cash made my day. My fiancee is a violinist: I wonder just how small a violin she can play for them?

    What really amazes me is how shallow their ambitions seem to be – with the money they command they could be doing so much, even if those things were selfish but apparently living in what looks to be a luxury-rap rap video without any black people in sight seems to be the most they aspire to,

    1. nowhere

      One of my favorite sections:

      “I’m a rule-follower type of person,” Zyda says, shouting over the buzz of his groundskeeper’s weed whacker. We’re sitting in the backyard of his five-bedroom spread at Hualalai, sipping water and looking out on the ninth green of the resort’s Jack Nicklaus golf course. “I don’t try to make trouble.”

      I wonder if he invites the groundskeeper for a round of golf and drinks by the pool?

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Donald Trump’s rise to de-facto Republican nominee for president poses an unusually high level of uncertainty for investors and businesses, potentially weighing on the economy and the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates this year”

    Trump doesn’t even have to do anything, but his mere status poses uncertainty for investors, and maybe even tanks the stock market, which Hillary, as the status quo candidate, is connected with.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That is to say, it seems like they suggesting that Trump doesn’t have to anything and Hillary will be defeated, due to a market crash.

      Incredulous, because only a Messiah can do that.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hillary was supposed to coast. Very few in the Beltway circle jerk saw a competitive Republican or grasp Sanders at all. Trump not being stopped and being supported by the local upper tier Republican is mind boggling to these people.

        I try not to watch cable news, but it seems to me elected Democrats aren’t stumping for Hillary with the same vigor. The ones running should be ready to start their campaigns on the 1st, and my guess is they aren’t seeing much local support. The local partisans are older and less numerous than the last election. Hillary was supposed to bring in young women, and the best laid plans are falling apart. Everyone who saw a run away Clinton machine can’t deny being tied with Trump, a game show with no message discipline.

  12. Left in Wisconsin

    So what is propelling the growth of malls? Like gambling casinos have been doing for the last decade, successful malls are transforming themselves into all-purpose “recreation experiences” for customers. This can be seen most clearly in northern states where indoor malls are where many families with children will spend a good part of a day. They shop, have a meal, and possibly take in a movie.” And imagine. We used to have “downtown” for that. Progress is a wonderful thing!

    So here in flyover millenial university new economy yuppie-land (I think I have that right), there is an interesting countertrend. The two traditional malls at the edge of town (1980s-style: no movie theaters or amusement parks within) continue to limp along but the really cool mall is the 1960s-era one in town, which has many stores with outside entrances and is in the process of turning itself into a mall where all the stores have outside entrances, by demolishing those interior mall hallway things and by tearing up parking to put in “streets” around the outside with stores on both sides. Here in the land of six-month winter!!

    Also interesting, there is a quasi-mall in the suburbs that tried to create a fake streetscape (surrounded by acres of surface parking) but has struggled from the beginning.

    On the other hand, the other older mall is almost dead and will probably be demolished for redevelopment before long.

    Is this happening elsewhere?

    1. Waldenpond

      Half our mall is empty. The stores have moved into one wing over time. I haven’t been there in a couple of years but I went to the bank and they have a bouncy store and have removed the playground (pay to play!) and installed seating areas for some unknown purpose. It lost Gottschalks, Mervyns etc and now has sport, hair supply stores, discount stores. Areas of parking are blocked off because they are not going to be repaired.

      As far as multiple use/recreation…. older people walk there in the mornings.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I see many new restaurants around here.

        I don’t know if there are many rich immigrants eating out, or if the rich would-be immigrants are investing in new restaurants to get their green card.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Lemme guess, what’s left is: check cashing, a bar, a gun shop, and a dollar store. Maybe a nail salon so you can sit somewhere for a few quiet hours and get some tiny personal attention that doesn’t cost much. Maybe pay with food stamps.
        The one near where we lived had a huge sign with 3 foot letters that said NEW YORK HAIR NAIL. That never seemed to entice.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Malls are very different now. They still eat your soul and tire you out with marketing overload, but now the stores are all boutique and specialty stores, anchored by a sell-everything target/walmart type store.

      I haven’t seen any revamped as you describe into “outdoor” malls, but there’s a new one built around here on the wreckage of an older shopping area that uses that style. Parking in the middle, surrounded by stores with outside entrances. I don’t really hate it any more than older-style malls which you rightly describe as “limping along”.

      Suburbs have to try to do something to mimic what people like about smaller cities. And the REITs that own malls have ZIRP money burning a hole in their pockets.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe mega churches will buy vacant malls and turn them into tax-exempt places of worship.

        1. ambrit

          Well, as to the churches… The local mall just refurbished a mid sized ‘generic’ church back into a movie ‘palace.’ Most ‘storefront’ churches around here stick to the decaying strip malls, which are next to their demographic bases’ equally decaying inner ring suburban zones. Take a Sunday morning out and visit one of these storefront churches and watch the congregants closely. I saw a lot of fear and anxiety mirrored in the faces of the people attending the services. One of the main ‘values’ of religion is its’ ability to help people cope with adversity. Either that or we could all emulate Sartre.

    3. Sammy Maudlin

      So here in flyover millenial university new economy yuppie-land (I think I have that right)

      If you are referring to Madison, Wisconsin you have scored a bulls-eye.

      I think I know of the landscape to which you refer. The downtownish redeveloped mall is doing great as a substitute for the old “main street” style shopping, whereas the “drive out to the mall on the edge of town with lots of free parking” is struggling at best. I think it’s indicative of a larger trend we will see more of in the future.

      What is being attributed as a millennial-driven trend (I agree with Lambert though–generations don’t have agency) is really Americans going back to a more normal way of living. Prior to Ford pulling up stakes in downtown Detroit and moving to Dearborn, ironically you could say, most of the workers who built cars rode the train or walked to work. Ford made the move in large part to promote the suburban lifestyle of driving everywhere (and eating in your car, and whatever else…)

      It stuck for a while. But the great housing crash of 2008- caused many people (not just millennials) to re-evaluate their financial priorities. Cars are a terrible financial burden on most people. Many are realizing that consistently driving long distances to get to car-accessible establishments is just not a sustainable model on a macro or micro level.

      The hottest housing markets in my neck of the woods are all “walkable.” I live in a throwback Republican-dominated exurb where (seriously) the gas stations run out of premium because of all the Canyoneros filling up on the weekend. People are not seeing their housing values rise out here, despite the fact that other areas with similar income levels are skyrocketing.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Interestingly, the mayor is now upset that the actual downtown shopping district is becoming all bars and no shopping.

        My reading of history, though, is that Ford moved to Dearborn to get beyond the reach of Detroit politicians, and so he moved to a new municipality that he could entirely control. (Same as the meatpackers and Allis-Chalmers moving out of Milwaukee.) Those were the days when the UAW was running candidates for local office.

  13. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re: “How on earth do Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Honduras, and our mad adventure in Ukraine qualify anyone to handle the launch codes?”

    Excellent question, Lambert. All are failed coups, military adventures, or wars of choice which IMO reflect either very poor judgement or pathological issues and have led to terrible loss of life and suffering.

    Honorable people would have resigned and left public life.

    1. Alfred

      Seppuku … but that would be too honorable for the offensives committed or the unrealized shame exposed.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is why the “anyone but Trump” and “Supreme Court” arguments will fail. Trump isn’t an unique evil.

      The Democrats can’t run on their successes.

  14. Chris in Paris

    So now we know what Hermione was talking about with Christine Lagarde at that White House Correspondents’ Dinner after party? I’m sure friendly advice was proffered. But from which one?

      1. Anne

        I suppose the problem is that celebrity has a way of making one’s life public property, and anyone is free to stir up a rumor. I can’t imagine having to wrestle with gender identity issues out of the public eye, much less having to do it under the media microscope.

        If there’s something going on with Jenner, I hope she works through it; meanwhile her representatives are denying it.

        1. portia

          yes, me too. I just thought when I read this it is such a non-issue, and more to do with some “journo” having to come up with something.

      2. cwaltz

        I doubt the problem has to do with how Jenner sees herself and more with how others perceive her.

        The reality is that most people still view gender as binary. They still see people as a sum of body parts.

        I actually think she is a fairly confused individual herself. Her position on gay marriage suggests that she viewed herself as male pre transition even while suggesting to the world that she always had a female brain.

        Transgender is really difficult to wrap your brain around because it actually acknowledges the idea that some of us may have aspects of BOTH genders even though our chromosomes suggests that everyone is either/or.

    1. hunkerdown

      Under proper neoliberal etiquette, the brand is the article of intercourse; the goods are not to be examined. (No puns are intended.)

      Indeed, there is a developing norm in alt communities whereby the referent’s choice controls. (Xe/xer seems to be a hot new one. No idea how the x is pronounced.)

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      My kids tell me the proper pronoun in cases where one doesn’t really know the specifics is “they.”

  15. Gareth

    Paul Ryan is trying the media-whore his meetings with Trump for all the TV time he can get as he’s facing a primary challenge from the right and his opponent is sounding a lot like Donald:

    “I went from being a maintenance mechanic in a factory at 18 years old to running businesses. I ran that business, I ran businesses all over the U.S. I was in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for a Fortune 500 company,” Paul Nehlen told Laura Ingraham on her radio show.

    He added, “Paul Ryan went from driving the Wienermobile in Wisconsin to Congress. That’s what you’re dealing with here.”


    Wisconsin is an open primary state so one might expect a number of Democrats to come out to vote against little Paulie.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Wouldn’t mind seeing the Koch bros hatchet man get de-throned.

      I’m curious how many candidates start trying to impersonate Sanders and Trump in the next few years.

    2. Sammy Maudlin

      Mind you, Ryan is based in Janesville, in Rock County. That area was one of the few in southeast Wisconsin to go for Trump in the Republican primary, and went big for Bernie Sanders. Ryan really could face a battle.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Not convinced. The primary is early August, which seems designed to lower turnout. And Ryan always does well enough in Janesville in the general election.

  16. rich

    Top 2 hedge fund managers bankroll Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, after making $1.7 billion each in 2015
    Hedge fund managers James Simons and Kenneth Griffin have poured millions into the corporate Dems’ campaigns

    Kenneth Griffin, the other top hedge fund manager in 2015, is the founder and CEO of Citadel. He has an estimated $7.5 billion, making him the richest man in Illinois.

    Griffin calls himself a “Reagan Republican” and

    insists the rich have “insufficient influence” on U.S. politics.

    He donated more than $3 million to former Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, all of whom dropped out of the race.

    Griffin was also the biggest donor to Rahm Emanuel, who was re-elected for a second term as Chicago mayor, the Guardian highlighted.

    Emanuel is often seen as a symbol of the Democratic Party’s increasingly neoliberal, pro-corporate tendencies. When he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, her opponent, self-declared democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, insisted he did not want Emanuel’s endorsement.

    “I want to thank Rahm Emanuel for not endorsing me,” Sanders said. “I don’t want the endorsement of a mayor shutting down schools and firing teachers.”

    The Chicago mayor has faced bitter backlash from the left for closing 50 public schools and encouraging privatization. Griffin, on the other hand, complained that this wasn’t enough, and wished the candidate he funded had instead closed 125 public schools.


    They’re with her….and we’ll get thrown overboard which they’ll attribute to being under “the influence”.

  17. Charles Peterson

    The NYTimes is telling us the French Workplace is miserable because of job protections. Workers who get the (now very hard to get) CDI or “indeterminate” job contract (euphemistically called “permanent”) are impossible to fire “without cause” and the claim is that many such workers hang on to useless dead end jobs because of these contracts, while new jobs are not being created. (This actually doesn’t make sense, since so few new jobs offer CDI’s anyway, it would seem to me you can’t blame the CDI’s for lack of new jobs.) Self-described Socialist Hollande is using rarely used constitutional clause to ram through a large set of changes to French labor laws. Look to the comments and many French and other readers think this is nonsense and the protests to stop the gutting of French labor laws are righteous. I was hoping to read about this here.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Wow, that was a pretty strong editorial bias in that article with some outright fallacious statements. People with a CDI feel trapped in their job because no new jobs are offering them, and that’s an argument that CDIs are bad and should be abolished?

      Let’s try applying that one in a different context: CEOs and economics professors should be paid less than the median salary for their position, because otherwise they will have a hard time securing similar compensation elsewhere and will feel trapped in their job as a result. Still like the argument, NY Times? Not looking quite so sensible now perhaps?

    2. annie

      druckerman might have mentioned (or perhaps she was instructed not to mention) that the new york times is closing its paris bureau and keeping just a london one–precisely because french laws make it hard to let workers go. and the nyt is getting rid of many of its workers just now.

  18. fresno dan


    Pagliano was also personally employed by Mrs. Clinton. She paid him $5,000 to migrate her regular State Department email account and her secret State Department email account from their secure State Department servers to her personal, secret, non-secure server in her home in Chappaqua, New York. That was undoubtedly a criminal act. Pagliano either received a promise of non-prosecution or an actual order of immunity from a federal judge. He is now the government’s chief witness against Mrs. Clinton.

    It is almost inconceivable that all of his emails have been lost. Surely this will intrigue the FBI, which has reportedly been able to retrieve the emails Mrs. Clinton attempted to wipe from her server.

    While all of this has been going on, intelligence community sources have reported about a below-the-radar, yet largely-known debate in the Kremlin between the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Intelligence Services. They are trying to come to a meeting of the minds to determine whether the Russian government should release some 20,000 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails that it obtained either by hacking her directly or by hacking into the email of her confidante, Sid Blumenthal.

    As if all this wasn’t enough bad news for Mrs. Clinton in one week, the FBI learned last week from the convicted international hacker, who calls himself Guccifer, that he knows how the Russians came to possess Mrs. Clinton’s emails; and it is because she stored, received and sent them from her personal, secret, non-secure server.

    I would be interested in how creditable NC commenters think the above is. Is there any source other than far right (or right source that could still be considered fact based)

    1. Jim Haygood

      The Russians debating whether to release Hillary’s emails seems highly improbable and naive.

      Intelligence services never admit to anything.

      Russia isn’t the State Dept’s freaking FOIA service (although they could probably do a better job).

      If we want the Russians to release Bryan Pagliano’s four years of missing messages, it’s gonna cost us. ;-)

      1. BananaBreakfast

        Hillary’s role in Syria, Libya, and the Ukraine, and her position on a no fly zone for Syria, are almost certainly enough on their own to make Putin prefer to work with Trump or Sanders. If the Russians thought they could torpedo her and minions of hers like Nuland, they’d take 10 cents on the dollar, and get a sawbuck’s value. The hold up provided that information is true would be a) finding a reputable associate in the US government to act on the information and b) ensuring it would in fact hurt her, and not stir up perverse feelings of Russian manipulation.

    2. Steve H.

      Considering Putin was high in the intelligence food chain with, iirc, a focus on Germany before the fall of the Wall, I would consider thus: You don’t throw away leverage for nothing. He is very skilled in handling proof of corruption, and it works best the higher up the subject is.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would probably be too naive to think they don’t have anything on Bill.

    3. Rhondda

      @fresno dan
      I have seen a lot of info about this from commenters on Moon of Alabama. I have seen the Russian story in numerous places. The lasts paragraph of the Reason story seems beyond obvious to me. FWIW… no doubt some here would say naught.

  19. steelhead23

    That Bloomberg piece on apartheid in paradise gave me terminal Schadenfreude. I like a good fight, and really don’t care who wins. Let us pray it gets real ugly.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y., a close friend of Mr. Clinton, who also lives in Chappaqua.’

      I’m guessing ‘a close friend’ is a code phrase meaning ‘mistress.’

      Take a look at the full height photo of this hot cougar and you may agree.

      1. edmondo

        …foundation officials said, “President Clinton has forged an amazing universe of relationships and friendships throughout his life that endure to this day, and many of those individuals and friends are involved in CGI Commitments because they share a passion for making a positive impact in the world.

        A spokesman for Mr. Clinton, Angel Urena, said, “President Clinton counts many CGI participants as friends.” Mrs. Clinton’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

        LOL. The bimbo eruptions over the next few month should make Mt St Helen’s look like a sixth grade science project.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Let’s be thankful we will not likely see a retiring Tiberius lost in orgies on the island of Capri.

          1. ambrit

            Considering to amount of damage a neo-Clinton Presidency could produce, being lost in orgies on the Isle of Capri doesn’t sound so bad, for all involved. (But then, look at who replaced Tiberius.)

  20. Archie

    The latest installment on primary election fraud allegations is up at CounterPunch, and it is a doozy. Key point:

    “The impacts of registrations denied or switched and of voters improperly purged from voting rolls, even when they followed stated laws and procedures, goes well beyond those 100,000+ uncounted ballots, however. Thousands more voters appear to have been denied ballots altogether or simply stayed home when online State records told them they would not be allowed to have their vote counted. The only available conclusion is that forces supporting the campaign to elect Hillary Clinton were willing to use any means necessary – legal, gray, or flatly illegal – to put down the Bernie Sanders insurgency that threatened to upend Clinton’s coronation as the presumptive Democratic nominee.”

    Read the whole thing here:


    And we should all vote Dem all the way cuz they are the LESSER Evil?

  21. Synoia

    This Isn’t a Google Streetview Car, It’s a Government Spy Truck

    Either apply Mud, or take the license plates off.

    I’m a believer in a very dirty vehicle.

    1. Praedor

      There are license plate reader jammers available. Some place a bright IR LED light strip over or under tv the plate, blinding most readers but incurable to naked eye. Another way is to simply use very bright plate illuminator lights. Not enough to blind a person but enough to bork a digital camera. There’s also I blocking films, highly reflective visible light films, all keeping the plate readable to the naked eye but disruptive to digital plate scanners.

  22. Propertius

    “Bernie Sanders wants everyone to be offered a tuition-free college education and he’s called crazy. America can’t afford it, naysayers scoff. He’s just pandering to young voters” [Los Angeles Times]. “But too many of us in California forget: This state did provide tuition-free college for generations.”

    I’ve been pointing this out on various blogs for months. In fact, virtually all of the land-grant and state colleges in the US (not just in California) were originally tuition-free, beginning with Mr. Jefferson’s own University of Virginia. We’re not talking about adopting some pie-in-the-sky Euro-socialist innovation here – we’re just talking about returning these institutions to their original policy and purpose.

    When I attended a public university in the early 1970s, the only charge for full-time students was a $190/quarter “registration fee”, which paid for University recreation fees and the student health plan. There was no tuition – and this was in the deep South, so it’s not like it was some sort of neo-Leninist worker’s paradise.

    1. Sammy Maudlin

      There was no tuition – and this was in the deep South, so it’s not like it was some sort of neo-Leninist worker’s paradise.


      1. Propertius

        And, as I forgot to mention, this meant that when I graduated I had *no* debt. Not one dime. I cannot imagine what it must be like to try to start out life saddled with five or six figures worth of non-dischargeable student debt. It’s a crime.

    2. ambrit

      Yes, and at the local level, there is ‘sixteenth section land,’ which is a land grant of the centre of each ‘section’ of land in a county to the local school board. When you build on sixteenth section land, you own the building, not the land it sits on. A ninety nine year lease is the usual arrangement. I can see the greedy one percent salivating over the prospect of obtaining outright possession of that land, some of it very valuable, in any ‘privatization’ deal.

  23. tongorad

    …when some strategist poured a little poison into Trump’s ear

    Thanks from a former English teacher :)

    1. ambrit

      former English = American English? Elizabethan Age usage? Caribbean English? Beeb? -/sarc/-

  24. Sammy Maudlin

    I saw The Replacements a few times. One time, they were all so drunk that the set lasted four songs; the fourth being a Paul Westerberg solo version of the theme from the Andy Griffith Show. Their last show on July 4, 1991 in Grant Park is sometimes referred to as legendary because it was such a disaster. No way. It was just a bad show, probably intentionally. These are the shows that made them infamous, not legendary.

    The last time I saw them was at Summerfest in Milwaukee on July 1, 1991, three days before the Grant Park debacle.

    It was far and away the greatest rock and roll show I have ever seen. They played it straight. When they did, no one was better. These are the concerts that made them legendary.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I was in Madison for 2 years in the early 80s but didn’t get into Mats until later in Detroit. Never saw them live but do remember SNL appearance. Now my 14 year old wants all their stuff on her iPod, which I will have to convert from vinyl.

      As a 1977 HS grad, they summed up my world view exactly (If this is all there is, kill me now. Ironic how it’s only been downhill from there.) Pretty much still do.

  25. Darthbobber

    The van Dorn tweet is hilarious and symptomatic. Note that in strict honesty he could have dropped the modifier “white” altogether, and just mentioned that he’s glad to have no point of contact with the working class. White just gets tossed in to try to cast a pseudo-antiracist gloss over flat-out disliking the working class. After all, the white component of it is the only part he had even PAST contact with.

    Elephant-blame the trash of color.
    Establishment donkey-blame the white trash.
    Either way, it works out just fine for those on up the feeding chain.

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