2:00PM Water Cooler 5/16/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, sorry I’m a minute late. A computer kerfuffle!


“In all corners of Europe, opposition to TTIP has swept like wildfire since the deal was announced in 2013. Huge demonstrations in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Helsinki, Vienna, Warsaw, Ljubljana and Prague show no sign of ending. In its first year alone, 3,263,920 people signed a petition against TTIP by a London-based charity. Not only do Dutch voters seek a referendum on TTIP, opinion polls make sobering reading on where most Europeans stand. Only a few days ago, it was revealed that some 70% of Germans see TTIP as bringing “mostly disadvantages” [Euractiv].

” At a time when environmental milestones pointing to irreversible global warming are being reached on a daily basis, the U.S. political leadership’s response is to pronounce publicly that it favors environmental resolution while using ‘trade’ negotiations to assure that effective resolution never takes place” [Counterpunch].

“[The TTIP draft directive on trade secrets protection] is meant to protect companies against the theft of trade secrets but has a potential scope which is too large and threatens to enable lawsuits against people who are not criminals: journalists, trade unionists or whistle-blowers publishing internal information from a company, or employees using information acquired in a previous job.

“Broad opposition in Europe to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has prompted its supporters to summon the “protectionist” spectre. In response to the criticism of TTIP by US presidential candidates and progressive politicians in Europe they, according to media reports, are talking up the end of “free trade” that has allegedly brought so many benefits (to so few)” [Prime Economics]. “By contrast, we find little reporting of the considerably stronger spread of EU mercantilism, the witch’s familiar of fiscal austerity.”



“How Obama Can Break the Impasse on the Supreme Court Vacancy” [Op-Ed News (Glenn F)].

“For Obama, an Unexpected Legacy of Two Full Terms at War” [New York Times]. Mulligan on that Nobel?

The Voters

“Difference” [Interfluidity]. This is an important post I urge you to read in full (and don’t worry it starts with Yglesias).

Universalists want group identity to become less salient and consequential, and so resist tactics that highlight difference in order to promote intragroup solidarity and to sow open conflict with other groups. Identity-centered activists view solidarity and conflict as the best and perhaps only way to overcome identity-distributed oppression. To a universalist, tactics like “no platforming” sow precisely the sort of divisions we ought to be working to overcome. To an identity-centered activist, “no platforming” an apologist for racism or sexual violence is just winning. This distinction blurs in practice, because neither universalists nor identity-centered activists restrict themselves to “neutral” (race-neutral, gender-neutral) tactics. Procedural neutrality is a trope of conservatives, of people working to defend status quo distinctions rather than to alter them. But universalists adopt group-conscious tactics as a means of reducing the salience and importance of group difference (think of how Singapore actively manages the composition of its housing to prevent the emergence of distinct ethnoracial communities), while identity-centered activists work to advance the interests of the groups for which they advocate in ways likely to accentuate the salience of group membership and encourage continued group identification and solidarity.

The core dispute, I think, in identity politics as in economic policy, is over whether to embrace consequential difference across groups but make outcomes more legitimate, or whether to try to reduce the degree to which difference is socially and materially consequential.

I think I’m a universalist with respect to ends (that is, I think Cliven Bundy should be entitled to Medicare for All) and intersectionalist with respect to means (“All politics is local,” for some definition of local). However, “vulgar intersectionality” as practiced by Democrats is “either/or” as opposed to the “both/and” it should IMNSHO be. (For example, you never hear the phrase “black working class,” which is pretty odd, when you consider the Northern diaspora post-World War II.) I regard vulgar intersectionality as a function of Democratic clientelism and corruption; patron/client relationships are exclusive, not inclusive (“accentuate the salience of group membership,” as for example with walking around money). Reader thoughts welcome; these are hard (even wicked) problems, and I’m not sure I’ve got them right.


“The bigger problem [at the Clinton Foundation [besides the”family friend” who got a grant, and the ensuing “bimbo eruption”] may lie in what [the Sunlight Foundation’s] John Wonderlich described in the act of blending of politics, charity, and business. That is, after all, the troublesome nexus from which the questions about Hillary’s relationship with ExxonMobil [here] emerged” [Nonprofit Quarterly]. The “troublesome nexus” is a polite way to say the use of public office for private gain; the definition of corruption, which NPQ politely skirts. (NPQ also treats David Brock’s Media Matters as a serious source. They shouldn’t, because Brock is a very well-paid Clinton operative.) Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.

Nevada Debacle

“[T]he only thing I have learned is that my vote doesn’t count for a damn thing in the eyes of the establishment.” [Medium].

Every single step of this caucus process has been a nightmare. From the overcrowded caucus held in my old high school’s cafeteria by precinct captains that shrugged their way through rules read off of a piece of paper, to the County Convention where we went nine straight hours without food or water, witnessed votes held during a “lunch break” while people were out of the room, and received misleading emails from the Convention organizers incredulously telling us we didn’t have to show up at all. It should have come as no surprise that the State Convention would’ve taken all of these issues and magnified them to an exponential degree.


“Sanders steps up in California — will Clinton?” [San Francisco Chronicle]. Betteridge’s Law…

The Trail

“I was on cable news for an hour Monday night, and guess what we spent about 50 minutes discussing? You guessed it, Donald Trump’s attacks on Bill and Hillary. But not just that — we were treated to a media package about Bill Clinton’s past misdeeds” [Roll Call]. “[F]or a generation of millennials who didn’t live through the scandals of the 1990s — who now live in a time when allegations of sexual harassment are taken more seriously than ever — this is not necessarily something the Clintons enjoy seeing recycled. … Trump is a more formidable adversary than his opponents may appreciate. Just when it looks like he’s doing something stupid — playing right into your hands — you wake up to discover he has pulled off a miracle. The Clintons had better take him seriously.” They are. That’s why the recent flood of oppo.

“For those who see Trump as a paradox and a conundrum — a billionaire Republican who favors taxing the wealthiest, a man who has described himself as both “very pro-choice” and “very simple, pro-life” — add one more contradiction to the list. While he’s spent his whole career saying things that are arguably sexist, like “You wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful,” and things that are seemingly patronizing, like “I cherish women,” and “I will be phenomenal to the women,” Trump has consistently hired women for positions of real power in his organization and been darned proud of doing so” [Yahoo News]. Which the Times story said too. But who wants real power?

“5 Times Bernie Sanders Got Just As Passionate About Women’s Rights As He Is About Corporate Greed” [Bustle].

“The Anti-Trump Plot to Find a Third-Party Challenger Hits a Wall” [Vanity Fair]. Was it ever in motion in the first place?

“HIV/AIDS Activists Look To Keep Pressing Clinton After “Unconscionable” Nancy Reagan Comment” [Buzzfeed]. These activists just had their Sister Souljah moment, as Clinton turns toward Republican voters and donors for the general, and they don’t even know what’s happened to them.

“Although the administration has been reaching out to BLM activists since its inception in the wake of massive protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 (Obama has twice met with activists), many within the movement have treated those overtures with some skepticism. That, in turn has frustrated Obama and his top aides, who feel that activists need to work within the system, even as they use direct action protests to bring pressure on it” [Buzzfeed]. A second Sister Souljah moment.

“Centrist Democrats: We can work with President Trump” [Politico]. And a third Sister Souljah moment.

“Sanders campaign hopes major voter registration effort pays off in Oregon” [Los Angeles Times]. Oregon is a closed primary. Not at all in the bag for Sanders.

“Clinton team looking for a VP who will be fighter, excite Sanders supporters” [USA Today]. The Democratic establishment seems to be moving past the denial stage, and — very much unlike their supporters online — admitting that Sanders voters have leverage:

The biggest divide in the Democratic Party is along generational lines. A significant number of Sanders’ supporters will have voted against Clinton during primaries in 2008 and 2016. “They’re not Democrats, these kids,” said Howard Dean, a 2004 Democratic primary candidate and a Clinton surrogate. “They’re independents and they could vote Republican eventually if we don’t do something to get them into our party,” he said.

“Why Will Superdelegates Decide The 2016 Democratic Primary? Unearthed Documents Hold The Key” [Business Insider].

And McCaskill:

The populist calculus could change if Sanders agrees to aggressively campaign for Clinton the way she did for then-senator Barack Obama in 2008. “It’s why you see the absolute hands-off respect to what Bernie has accomplished,” said Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. “At the point in time that she is nominated, which I believe she will be, this will really turn on Bernie and how Bernie handles it.”

Interestingly, no mention of private equity-lovin’ Cory Booker.

Stats Watch

Empire State Mfg Survey, May 2016: “What little momentum there was in the New York manufacturing sector is fizzling” [Econoday]. Consensus range: 2.50 to 11.20. Actual: -9.02. Ouch. But: “As this index is very noisy, it is hard to understand what these massive moves up or down mean – however this regional manufacturing survey is normally one of the more pessimistic” [Econoday]. “This survey has a lot extra bells and whistles which take attention away from the core questions: (1) are orders and (2) are unfilled orders (backlog) improving? Econintersect emphasizes these two survey points – and both declined. Respondents believe the level of unfilled orders (backlog) is has been negative since 2011. Unfilled order contraction can be a signal for a recession – and remains contraction this month.”

Housing Market Index, May 2016: “Optimism among home builders is solid and steady” [Econoday]. “sales are the most positive component in this report, at 65 for 6-month sales and 63 for present sales. The drag on the index comes from traffic, unchanged at 44 and continuing to reflect unusual lack of interest from first-time buyers.” “Unusual” or a new normal.

“Retail Sales Rev Their Engines With 1.3% Increase” [The Economic Populist]. ” Retail sales increased 1.3% for the month and auto dealers sales surged by 3.5%. Without autos & parts sales, retail sales still had a great showing with a monthly 0.8% gain. Gasoline station sales have also shot up as prices rose, a 2.2% increase for the month. Retail sales have now increased 3.0% from a year ago and all of auto dealer sales for the year were gained in April, 3.5%.” And: “Better than expected and some upward revisions as well.” [Mosler Economics].

Employment Situation: “Summary: The news overflows with chaff about the economy. It’s great! It’s a recession! Neither is true. Since the 2009 trough we have had growth — but unusually slow growth. Here we look at one measure of growth: jobs, going in slow clear steps from the wonderful headline news to the grimmer reality” (charts) [Fabius Maximus].

The Bezzle: “To project a healthy business to skeptical VCs, job candidates, and potential business partners, [on-demand startups] have started shouting to the world how they are (or soon will be) profitable—at least, by some definitions of the term” [Bloomberg].

The Banks: “Deutsche Bank AG is stuck in a vicious circle as co-Chief Executive Officer John Cryan seeks to overhaul an impaired business that needs more capital, which the bank would struggle to raise if it tried to tap investors, according to Berenberg” [Bloomberg (RS)]. “The Frankfurt-based lender’s biggest problem is excessive leverage, Berenberg’s James Chappell wrote Monday in a note that said the bank faces

‘insurmountable headwinds.'” “Headwinds.” As ever, watch out for those airplane metaphors.

Honey for the Bears: “The fuel of the US economy is getting cut off” [Business Insider]. “The warning signs of a credit slowdown are beginning to appear.” Loanable funds theory…. You can pump all the blood you want into a zombie, but it’s still a zombie.

Shipping: “April 2016 Import Sea Container Count Continued Collapse Raises Recession Concerns” [Econintersect]. “This data set is based on the Ports of LA and Long Beach which account for much (approximately 40%) of the container movement into and out of the United States – and these two ports report their data significantly earlier than other USA ports. Most of the manufactured goods move between countries in sea containers (except larger rolling items such as automobiles). This pulse point is an early indicator of the health of the economy.” But see interesting “Caveats on the Use of Container Counts.”

The Fed: “Market participants place less than 10 percent chance of a rate hike in June. In contrast, San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams continues hold out hope for a third” [Tim Duy’s Fedwatch].

How Maine marketed lobsters to China, solving a glut problem [WaPo].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 60, Greed (previous close: 55, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 16 at 1:26pm. More and more anemic.

Health Care

“Some early studies of the impact of the Affordable Care Act plans are proving patients’ grumbling justified: Compared with the insurance that companies offer their employees, plans provide less coverage away from patients’ home states, require higher patient outlays for medicines and include a more limited number of doctors and hospitals, referred to as a narrow network policy” [New York Times]. All these problems — and many others — were flagged for NC readers immediately at program launch; the 20%-ers in charge at the Times are only just now catching up, probably because they don’t have to use the program (which is why they waited for studies, when all they really had to do was read the NC comments section and use their heads).

​”How Republicans Finally Got a Victory on Obamacare” [The Atlantic].

Dear Old Blighty

“[There have been] constant rumors in the British press of coups to topple Corbyn. Early predictions were that he wouldn’t last a month. But if such plots existed they have all been stymied by the support that Corbyn retains among the Labour membership, where he enjoys an approval rating of more than fifty per cent. ‘We are in a situation now where he is unelectable in the country but unassailable in the Party,’ Lord Mandelson, one of Blair’s closest advisers and an architect of New Labour, told me” [The New Yorker]. “Lord Mandelson.” Says it all, doesn’t it?

The 420

“A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash than drivers who use alcohol.” [WaPo]. “And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.”


Hat tip alert reader guurst:

“Researcher under fire for New Yorker epigenetics article” [Nature]. Epigenetics, as a concept and a field, however, seems to be doing just fine.


“Not to repeat ourselves too often, but it is very likely that many of our future wars will not be over oil, but over water, the commodification of which is one of the more indecent aspects of corporate power and the global economy” [Charles Pierce, Esquire]. Kunkstown, PA meet Poland Springs, ME.


“As U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office issues a storm of subpoenas to the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his close associates in relation to the state’s Buffalo Billion economic development program, the governor and his aides have delivered a consistent message: the investigation targets the dealings of a few bad apples, the governor wasn’t aware of any wrongdoing and he wants to get to the bottom of the situation as quickly as possible” [Gotham Gazette]. “The message rings as spin to a number of expert observers who insist Cuomo has long overseen a system that allows, at the very least, for the appearance of pay-to-play to flourish as mini-economies have popped up around the state where connected consultants work with both state government entities and those looking to win state contracts, and where the state funnels money through non-profits, allowing them to avoid scrutiny and standard state contracting procedures.” Cuomo should have set up a Foundation!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“City of Cleveland to pay $6 million to Tamir Rice’s family to settle lawsuit” [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]. “Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback nor dispatchers involved will admit to any wrongdoing.” Of course.

“Black and Hispanic students are both more likely to take on debt and to take on more debt than white and Asian students, they found. (Asian students are 40% less likely than whites to borrow for college, the study reports.) The result is a significant race gap in overall student-debt burdens” [Brookings].

“Why Have So Many People Never Heard Of The MOVE Bombing?” [NPR]. A little bit of Philly history….

“The [Memphis] Massacre showed the failures of Reconstruction even as congressional Republicans seized control from President Andrew Johnson, a Tennessean and former military governor of the state. Johnson’s lenient national policies toward rank-and-file ex-Confederates promoted peace and a speedy political reunification after the war ended in 1865. Ex-Confederate states reentered the Union on ex-Confederate terms” [The Atlantic]. A poor choice for Vice President can have outsized impact.

“The curator of the show, Siona Wilson, told me that it’s her intention to demonstrate the centrality of women in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, citing its formation by three women who, not incidentally, identify as queer. The convergence of queer politics with those of race and class is precisely what lies at the foundation of the idea of intersectionality — Wilson’s key organizing principle” [Hyperallergic].


“The Kerner Commission report” [Understanding Society]. So much is still true.

“Attempt to turn France’s ‘Nuit Debout’ protest movement global falls flat” [France24]. Interestingly, an indignados anniversary event had excellent turnout, suggesting organizational rather than structural problems. However, from this in the Guardian, we may also be seeing some of the problems that Occupy had.

“Media Blackout on Nuit Debout” [Counterpunch].

“Two thirds of the Nuit Debout followers are men, with 63 percent from the city of Paris (90 percent from Paris and surrounding suburbs) with a large proportion of those from the trendy and more working/middle class eastern arrondissements” [The Local]. ” Around 20 percent – double the national average – were unemployed, with 61 percent having gained qualifications above a normal degree, well above the national average of 25 percent.” Large numbers of highly educated and unemployed young men are never a good sign for any regime.

Class Warfare

Critique of the Case-Deaton study: ” A confusion of parts and wholes, however, began with Case and Deaton themselves, as we can see in the table above. Whites are by far the largest group, so it makes sense to break them into three parts by educational attainment, but that leads Case and Deaton to compare all Hispanics and all blacks with three separate segments of the white population. It could well be that blacks and/or Hispanics with only high school or less have even higher death rates than comparable whites. We can’t tell because parts are being compared to wholes” [Portside]. “But the reverse is just as important: comparing patterns between white and black, with no recognition of class differences, erases substantial differences in life conditions and life chances among whites. Dividing the white population by education reveals that white-skin privilege may not be all it’s cracked up to be among the largest group of American whites – those with only high school educations or less.” See discussion of intersectionality under 2016/voters.

“There’s a fairly robust body of research showing that “having or thinking about money appears to heighten self-reliance and dampen attention and responsiveness to others,” as Bianchi and Vohs put it. In lab experiments, people who are primed to think of money become more motivated to work and less interested in socializing. Exposure to money diminishes compassion toward others. Wealthy people tend to disengage from social interactions” [WaPo].

News of the Wired

“Over the past couple weeks a project with no mainstream press has become the second biggest crowdfunding project in history. .. It’s crowdfunding — or more accurately, crowd-founding — a corporation called “The DAO”. This is a corporation whose bylaws are written entirely in code” [Tech Crunch]. :By allowing economic cooperatives to be spun up with a line of code, and by allowing anyone on the internet to become owners of these organizations, DAOs may allow more people than ever before to fully participate in and benefit from the innovation economy.” Uh-oh. “Innovation.” Sounds like prosecutation futures…

“The Worst API Ever Made” [ Casey Muratori]. You’ll like this, if this is the sort of thing you like.

“How to Memorize a Random 60-Bit String” (PDF) [Marjan Ghazvininejad, Kevin Knight]. “We learned that long sentences are seemingly easy to remember, but actually hard to reproduce, and we also learned that our poetry method produced relatively short, memorable passwordsthat are liked by users.”

“Physicists just discovered a totally new form of light ” [Science Alert].

“It is the goal of this paper to introduce a theoretical perspective on the common psychological experience of feeling’creeped out’…” (PDF) [Francis T. McAndrew, Sara S. Koehnke, New Ideas in Psychology].

“Novices play better golf when they have expensive brand name equipment, research shows. Brand name products alleviate some performance anxiety but brands have no effect on better players” [NPR].

“The Generation That Doesn’t Remember Life Before Smartphones” [Popular Mechanics].

* * *

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 (Chet G):


Always a thrilling moment, to see blossoms emerge.

* * *

Readers, Water Cooler will not exist without your regular support. Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. If you enjoy what you’re reading, please click the hat!


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Jim Haygood

    Christina Aguilera is available for the vice presidential nomination:

    In a tease of Monday’s episode, The Ellen DeGeneres Show released a clip of guest Christina Aguilera discussing Hillary Clinton “staring” at her chest.

    “There’s a picture of you — was it you staring at Hillary or Hillary staring at you?” DeGeneres said as Aguilera began to laugh.

    “She was staring at my bosoms,” Aguilera replied.

    The audience roared when they were shown the picture:

    “It’s amazing, it’s awesome,” Aguilera said. “She supports the girls.”

    The two then discussed a recent fundraiser Aguilera held for Clinton’s campaign.


    As the Gridiron Dinner illustrates, jokes are a means of alluding to topics that are too delicate to confront head on.

  2. cm

    Washington State Democratic voters — I just spoke w/ my county’s election office and they confirmed that the ballots we received in the mail *may* be used by the Democratic party instead of the caucus. Presumably if Clinton wins the mail-in election those results would be used instead.

    Please get the word out to Washington State Democratic voters who support Bernie Sanders that they need to mail in their ballot!

    1. katiebird

      I have family in WA state. But, I have no idea what you mean. … What should I tell them? I thought WA voted a long time ago!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I participated in the Caucus, but just filled out a “primary ballot” that was mailed to me. Very confusing and seemingly unnecessary. I suspect bad intent at work here.

        1. Wendys

          I will let people know, I turned mine in today. I know at least one person who wasn’t going to vote in the primary, because you have to declare a party, and he didn’t want to get locked in. This isn’t the case.

    2. ouranos

      According to this link:

      2016 Presidential Primary

      it appears only the results of the caucus will be used to determine delegate allocation for the Democratic Party, but the wording is somewhat ambiguous. (my emphasis in bold)

      “How will the political parties use the results of the Presidential Primary?

      The political parties retain the authority to decide if they will use the Presidential Primary to allocate delegates to the national nomination conventions. The political parties may also use caucus results, or a combination of primary results and caucus results.

      The Republican Party will use the Presidential Primary results to allocate 100% of their convention delegates. The Democratic Party will not use the Primary Election results to allocate any of their delegates. They will rely solely on the results of their Precinct Caucuses on March 26th.

      For more information about the caucuses, please contact the political parties.”

      Sounds like clarification may be needed. I wouldn’t leave anything to chance in this election.

  3. Jim Haygood

    ‘All these [Obamacare] problems — and many others — were flagged for NC readers immediately at program launch; the 20%-ers in charge at the Times are only just now catching up.’

    And yet the subhead of the article reads, “The growing pains of the health care act are frustrating patients.”

    Rich! Does Greg Boyce, CEO of bankrupt Peabody Coal, go around claiming that “the coal industry is experiencing some growing pains“? He’d get laughed out of town, if not involuntarily committed.

    And of course, it’s the patients’ fault for getting “frustrated.” Sillies! Why didn’t they shop more responsibly?

    Having endorsed Hillary on Jan. 31st, the Saddam’s WMDs paper is nothing but a Clinton PR agency with an auxiliary newsfeed.

    Parakeets from good families don’t even deign to take a dump on it.

  4. cm

    The Washington State Democrats help their first caucus on March 26, which is what got the press. Their was a second-tier caucus held at different times for filtering out those selected as delegates at the first election. There will be a third (final) delegate selection caucus this weekend, which is only for those delegates who made it through the second tier.

    AT THE SAME TIME, there is a public mail-in election on May 24. I didn’t understand this until I called today, but apparently the Democratic party has the option of using either the caucus results or the mail-in results. It would cause a Nevada-style furor, but I can well imagine the Party deciding to choose whichever outcome favors Clinton.

    If you live in Washington state, I urge you to call your local election office to verify.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘the option of using either the caucus results or the mail-in results’

      It’s the “Florida 2000” ballot for the Democratic primary. Except this time round, no voting machines will be harmed in the making of this farce.

    2. katiebird

      This is beyond insanely horrible. Actually horrible.

      I am so glad I am an unaffiliated independent voter now. I can’t imagine rationalizing this.

      1. cwaltz

        I’m trying to figure out how after, doing everything you can to screw Independants out of their vote in your primary process, you think you can ask them with a straight face to vote for you in the general election?

        Hey, Democrats! Wanna know what might “excite Sanders supporters/Independants?” I don’t know, maybe having their votes actually count during your bullshit process to actually pick which nominee runs,.

        Good luck winning with just the grandma, grandpa and superdelegate vote.

      1. cm

        No I’m not. If a Washington State Redditor could verify w/ their County election office that would be great!

    3. jrs

      Primaries seem much better ways of doing things that caucuses, but having both so nobody can even understand the election system anymore- no not cool. How many people will believe they have already done their civic duty and don’t have to mail in a ballot?

    4. different clue

      Strange that there are states which have such arcane delegate selection methods. Might there be a way to torture and terrorize such State Democratic Parties into adopting straight up simple primaries? Such as every registered voter in those states boycotting every Democratic officeseeker within or from such arcane-procedure states until they realize their precious Party may well go extinct within the borders of the arcane-rules states unless those state Parties adopt simple primary rules?

  5. Massinissa

    Could someone explain to me what a ‘Sister Souljah’ moment is? I think im too young to remember whatever it is, especially if it was before the late 2000s.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The membership at a racist country club and executing the mentally handicapped weren’t enough. Of course to Democratic partisans, Bill was being tough on crime when he made a point of returning to Arkansas to oversee the execution of a man with a lobotomy, but George W Bush was evil for executing a mentally handicapped man.

  6. EGrise

    Reading about Barbara Res, Trump’s construction manager “who was in charge of construction of Trump Tower and then the Plaza”, I thought about my father who spent 43 years as a construction project manager in the southern US (FL/SC/TN). In that time I’d never heard him mention a female manager, so I called him.

    What he told me confirmed that female construction project managers were like narwhals: he’d heard of them, seen photos of them, but never actually seen one in person.

    And Trump did that in the 80s? Quoting my father, “Well, that’s a hell of a thing.”

    1. hunkerdown

      Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, computing pioneer, is famous for having said it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. How feminist!

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Watched the video and once I realized it was a James O’Keefe I had a hard time believing it.

      As much as I tend to believe the Clinton campaign engages in these tactics from what I’ve seen from other sources, O’Keefe is completely disreputable. It was his highly edited videos of ACORN employees that wound up shutting down that whole organization.

      While I’d love to see Clinton in the slammer, this guy ought to be right there with her.

      1. portia

        yes, here is one of the comments:

        “More crap lies. “Do whatever you can get away with” was taken out of context. It refers to stores not wanting citizens to register voters outside their doors. Voter registrars are encouraged to register everyone everywhere, until someone asks them to leave. It DOES NOT refer to anything illegal, partisan, or biased toward EITHER candidate.”

        I imagine someone paid him for this. the Kooks? before they decided they like her?

  7. portia

    Is this what is meant by Ponzi Finance? And it is necessary?

    have started shouting to the world how they are (or soon will be) profitable—at least, by some definitions of the term”

    this is why finance horrifies me so much. I know accounting.

    1. ewmayer

      Lemme guess … by some definition of the term other than the Old-Fogey-smokestack-economy-ish “revenues minus expenses.”

      What do I win?

  8. Uahsenaa

    I wonder sometimes whether the question of the intersection between race and class is a matter of visibility in the public sphere rather than interests restricting themselves to more parochial concerns. For example, I live in a very mixed race, working class neighborhood, yet back on caucus night, all I saw at my precinct were a bunch of white people. I even remember talking to my next door neighbor about it, and she seemed interested, but come caucus night she was a no show. The gym is literally a five minute walk away and I know she was home, because we talked to her afterwards.

    Eddie Glaude, in Democracy in Black, makes the intriguing suggestion that black people should show up to the polls and other public political events but refuse to participate, at least in the way the system as setup wants them to. The point of this is to be visible in spaces that otherwise casually disregard your existence, to make people uncomfortable about that indifference, and start to take your (meaning African-Americans’) existence into consideration. Protest is another way of achieving this visibility. Obama seems to think it’s only about policy goals, thus his frustration with the unwillingness of protesters to participate in his photo-ops, but it’s also about getting the broader public to wake up to a reality they’ve been slumbering through for so long.

    Given what I saw on caucus night, I can understand why Glaude would suggest this course of action. There is a public that is sympathetic to plight of the oppressed, but unfortunately the well-minded won’t go out of their way to see it.

    1. TK421

      Show up but not participate? Just to increase visibility? Sheesh. This sounds like warmed-over Obamaism, where publicity and image are theprimary concern, not outcome.

      Trust me, white people know there are black people in this country.

    2. participant-observer-observed

      Re intersectionality in politics, social scientists Claire Graves and Don Beck found that group-bound social identity (sport teams to race) is a developmental level, but you have to have the level before you can transcend it>>it can’t be bypassed.

      More importantly, they found that social groups cannot evolve more than 1.5 developmental levels beyond their current level at any one time. So you cannot lead racists to environmental Gaia thinking directly, there has to be intermediary steps. Concrete operational development precedes abstract symbolic thinking which precedes systems level. Basically Piaget in social domain. But they did the field work to get the empirical data.

      The 1st chapter of Beck’s book Spiral Dynamics is available as a free download (search online).

      1. Rhondda

        I have long loved this Vladimir Nabokov quote from Speak, Memory: “In the spiral, every synthesis is the thesis of the next one in the series.”

        Poetic, encapsulated truth, imho.

  9. TarheelDem

    The accurate (as of 2009) comparison for the Affordable Care Act is with then-existing individual policies in an environment in which all policies excluded people with pre-existing conditions, revoked policies on use for major care, and had lower medical-cost ratios. Employer-subsidized policies were made subject to rules ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions and recissions. Given the number of employer-subsidized policies that are “self-insured” and can in effect get around HIPAA for identification of employees with significant health issues, of course the employee-subsidized programs will be shedding unhealthy people to the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

    Only a single-payer system can clarify what this runaround is for patients. And only a system without deductibles, copays, and limits will return to actual health care. Care rationed by condition not by ability to pay.

    Picking at the Affordable Care Act is nibbling around the edges of what was baked in in 2010. It was known then that individual premiums would be higher than employer-subsidized premiums but that those premiums would be significantly lower than then-current individual premiums.

    1. Isolato


      I was self-employed and had a “catastrophic” plan that cost less than $400/mo, had a $3000 deductible and allowed me to see any doctor I wanted to. Now my plan costs $600/mo, has a $6000 deductible, and god forbid I should set foot outside of the “network”.

      But your main point, that the ACA needs to be replaced by single-payer system gets my vote!

      1. Pat

        In the last year, at least two friends who had tried to tell me that ACA was a start, and I was crazy are converts to the ‘it needs to be scrapped and we need to go single payer”. One with employer provided insurance, one self-employed and on the exchange. Both have watched their options for actual health care be constricted every year to the point where one sees little care for a great deal of money, and the other is recognizing that there is less and less health care and more and more money being spent on insurance than on actual health care for most of the people she works with.

        I fully expect that number of converts to grow exponentially.

        1. Greg

          My only income is Social Security so I’m eligible for Medicaid the only problem is that I have savings so am not. I decided not to enroll because I’m one of those once a year medical participants that just checks the fluid levels. In a couple years I’ll be eligible for Medicare so then I will check on those various warts, moles, ticks and creaks. I think we should get a discount if we have ourselves tattooed ” Do not resuscitate”.

  10. Clive

    Re: Labour, Corbyn and Lord Mandelson’s Pearl-Clutching

    A good summary, albeit unintentionally I’m sure, of the malaise which the Blairites are now in. They keep going on about “unelectable” Corbyn, but the constant blurring of personalities and policies shows the weakness of their position. Is it Corbyn who is unelectable, or is it Corbyn’s policies they think make him unelectable?

    If it’s the former, then you can change the leader as many times as you like, but if the party members want the same policies, changing the leader won’t change a thing. If it’s Corbyn’s policies they don’t like, then why the banging on about Corbyn being unelectable — if they have problems with the policies, then the Blairites need to say what it is they object to and what policies they think are better and why, while making sure they don’t end up being just another appeal to the middle ground because look how that turned out last time you tried it.

    In the UK as in the U.S. pitching a party as “lesser of two evils” is no longer a big hit with the electorate. And there’s a lot of Grand Bargain scepticism. In the UK we tried that with the Liberal / Conservative coalition and we saw how that movie ended.

    1. Pavel

      Lord frigging Mandelson, a/k/a The Prince of Darkness… the greediest and sleaziest grifter politician this side of Hillary Clinton. US readers will (for the most part) be unfamiliar with his own set of financial/political scandals. He’s doing all right now, of course, and is an ensconced member of the British perma-establishment.

      I saw Christine Lagarde of the IMF warning the Brits to avoid Brexit… now that the horrid IMF is against it along with Cameron, Bliar, Mandelson, Goldman Sachs, and other assorted banksters and oligarchs I’m now firmly in the Brexit camp if only to shake things up.

      1. windsock

        Are you mad? Go that way and we’ll end up with major narcissist EVIL sh!ts like Johnson, IDS, Farage, Gove and Grayling in charge. No thanks. Their alternative plans for UK will be much worse than anything the EU could dream up.

    2. paul

      Policies or personalities?
      It would be hard to make any judgement as Jeremy’s policies are pretty much ignored. If he’s caught brushing his teeth for less than the full three minutes, that’s front page news, supporting striking doctors, not so much.
      Lord M knows pretty much sweet FA about winning, he lost quite a few while waiting for the tories to reduce themselves to a high wire act with a bottle in its hand.
      Talking about ‘unelectability’; the blairites combined got 40% to Jeremy’s individual 60%, and that’s within their own party.
      As for the EU, anything that throws sand in the gears of that transatlantic golem is fine by me.

  11. Anne

    I don’t know how others feel, but my guess is that Clinton’s idea of a VP candidate who excites Sanders supporters will fall well shy of that mark; some of the names I am hearing don’t just not excite me, they trigger my gag reflex.

    I mean, this is the candidate who apparently believes that telling the world that her husband will be in charge of “revitalizing” the economy will reassure and excite the electorate; seems kind of desperate to me. Reinforces my belief that this is going to be a case of getting the old band back together, which – sorry – does not bode well for us little people.

    Meanwhile, I am appalled and disgusted that the goings-on in Nevada – which come on the heels of “irregularities” in a number of states – are being treated as if there’s nothing to see, just move along.

    I despair.

    1. Pat

      Personally, imo it will be one more clueless move on the Clinton campaign front, and it will backfire on them almost as much as the Carly Fiorina selection by Cruz as a means of buoying a drowning campaign.

      Disgusting as it is, I’m pretty sure the Nevada shenanigans are another sign that desperation is flooding the Clinton camp. Why were the two dozen or so delegates gained by infuriating hundreds more (and the tens of thousands they were going to bring into it) so important? What metric are they working off it for this? Obviously not long term thinking, if they are going to court Sanders voters with their VP choice. There is just a huge sense of throwing everything at the wall without any rhyme, reason or plan; and hoping they find the door they know must be there.

      That curse about living in interesting times is proving to be more and more true. I may not be able to stomach most of it, but it sure is fascinating in a train wreck kind of way.

      1. polecat

        …well, tighten your shackles Pat, cuz the passenger car we’re all bound to is truly going off the rails…..and straight on the rocks….

        ‘HOLD ON’……………/\/\^ /\^^ /\^^^ /\——@#%!^$&*#!


          1. polecat

            Hey! ….wasn’t me…..I swear with mine own two eyes !!

            ….twas that damn caboose tender DWS…..

      2. portia

        I wondered if the State Dem party people were frightened out of their wits if it did not go her way. It reminds me of the usual making other people get their hands dirty while you smell like a rose–Clinton’s reaction was that she was unaware of anything that had happened.

  12. Left in Wisconsin

    “Difference” [Interfluidity].

    This is an interesting post. I think the author is correct in positing different approaches to politics from universalists and identitarians. But I take issue with the notion that “economic stratification” (economics) and “consequential identity” (identity) are distinct (unrelated) vectors. It seems to me that the author has simply taken “class” out of identity, relabeled it “stratification” (an old sociological trick), and given it its own vector.

    As a result, the author ends up with a strange, 2X2 table where US “left-liberals” are allocated to four different categories, with “classical liberals” inhabiting, apparently, the same quadrant as everyone who is not “left-liberal,” and the “universalist left” occupying a different quadrant than the “intersectional left.”

    Again, to me the whole point of intersectionality is that there are different dimensions of oppression (class, gender, race, etc.) so that the lived experience of oppression varies depending on one’s identity. But this hardly means that “economic stratification” is a different, unrelated, vector. Indeed, it is pretty much the key overall measure of oppression.

    Maybe others interpret the post differently?

    1. Patricia

      I agree. It was Yglesias who separated identity politics and economic stratification—he is conventionalist and fuzzy. IMO, this separation has been a gigantic blindspot in our culture. Meanwhile, economic stratification grew ‘behind our eyes’ into a severe power problem, intensifying class issues until it is now the most obvious of the ‘identity politics’ we face.

      I think humans need to be constantly dismantling elitism/classism. I believe it to be as important a habit of action as attending to the other end of the spectrum, ‘the poor you always have with you’. These are constant weaknesses of humanity, it seems, and so we need to maintain social discipline towards them.

      I also think it is important to live locally. The best art is made where there is a sense of place (be it physical or social, usually both). Humans need to feel safe, welcome, useful. We need more of it than what’s provided by personal property and immediate family. Falling in love with a place, a community is healthy—it’s an anxiety-reducer, for eg.

      We don’t have to be competitive just because there are differences, but again, it requires some attention on our parts.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Here’s another 2×2 table and accompanying concepts that maybe helps explain a lot of the other stuff the Enlightened NC Reader intersects with in his or her daily quest for identity and understanding:

      The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

      I’m planning, personally, to advance my own understanding of The World via a concentrated plunge into Futilitarianism, http://www.amerika.org/social-reality/futilitarianism/ Not that all is dark lost, even in that odd corner of the cognitive universe: https://futilitarianism.wordpress.com/

    3. moebius inversion

      I can’t agree that class is an “identity”. Class is based on the differential distribution of resources among people. Identity is a psychosocial phenomenon based on group identification (who I believe I am, who others believe I am). No amount of identifying with a given group or others identifying someone with a given group will give a person more capital. Class can potentially be an identity, but it isn’t by itself such.

      1. Patricia

        Just observation, not firm on the ground—when a person becomes part of the upper middle class (say 200k and up), it appears to be difficult not to eventually identify with that more than their ethnic group (say they have one). Not that ethnic habits are necessarily left behind but they are superceded by the milieu of the new culture.

        This seems to me particularly true in the US—it isn’t as prominent in Canada (where I’ve also lived). USians give great social respect to wads of money, so much that it ‘changes everything’.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Money rules in this country, no doubt, but I find in talking to successful black people that their life experience is still heavily influenced by race in ways that white people’s lives aren’t. Another example of intersectionality.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        I think where we disagree is over “identity.” As much as us mopes identify with the .01% (in theory), we still aren’t elites. It’s not “belief” it the sense of “convincing ourselves,” it’s belief in the sense of how we see the world, and how others see us. No convincing required.

        Also, class, race, gender, etc. are not by themselves “identities.” They are markers that combine together in each individual. Each of us has our own identity, but not one of our own choosing. A working class person who wins the lottery is still working class, even if they aren’t any longer economically stressed.

    4. jsn

      I think the universalist position Waldman ascribes to himself says that along any identity vector, the class vector always plays out: differences of rich and poor within each category is more or less the same, wealthy to impoverished blacks, whites, LGBT etc.

      But the converse is different in each case: discrimination against women is different from that against blacks as against black women as against black gay men etc. and within each identity vector the facets of discrimination along all the other vectors will play out with some black men discriminating against some white women, for instance.

      Because it is inherently multi dimensional, whenever you reduce it to two you foreshorten a bunch of absurdities into your flat space. I wouldn’t contest “there are different dimensions of oppression (class, gender, race, etc.) so that the lived experience of oppression varies depending on one’s identity” but would add that the economic is different in that it applies to all in a uniform way none of the others do. Of course I may be missing something.

    5. different clue

      Well, I looked up “identitarian” on the net. It is already a word and already a thing, so I guess the word is already a term of art and it is too late to coin the word “identyan”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And I’m not happy with the meaning, either. Thanks for doing this.

        I think “identyan” looks odd and it’s not clear how to pronounce it; three syllables, or four?

        Maybe identist? (With the pleasing connotation dealing with them is like putting teath?)

        Then you could have identist, identism.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          I found two different definitions, only one along the lines used by me.

          (From Wiktionary) identitarianism ‎(plural identitarianisms): noun
          (psychology) the set of ideas arising from an ontology of identity
          (sociology) politics based on social identity

          and one describing a rightwing European movement:
          (From Metapedia): Identitarian is a term used to refer to a European New Right movement and its sympathizers. It holds the preservation and development of ethnic and cultural identity as its central ideological principle, and criticises the state of the contemporary West.

          Yikes! I didn’t realize. But interesting how easily “identity” becomes a term of art to both “progressives” and anti-progressives.

  13. dcblogger

    “They’re not Democrats, these kids,” said Howard Dean, a 2004 Democratic primary candidate and a Clinton surrogate. “They’re independents and they could vote Republican eventually if we don’t do something to get them into our party,” he said.
    no, no one is going to vote for Republicans. Most likely some will vote Green Party and some will just leave the United States.

    1. cwaltz

      I disagree, some of the people they are pissing on are going to vote for Trump.

      They’re going to vote angry and they’re going to vote against her.

      I may not agree with it but I certainly understand it.

      1. polecat

        Thank you for mentioning that cwaltz !!

        I’m marking Sanders on my state (Wa.) primary ballot, as I type this……..
        ……however, If hillary gets the nom. ……..I will vengance vote for Trump in the general !!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Quite right. Democrats take great big sacks of money from banks, blow lots of faraway brown people to pink mist, and practice voter suppression enthusiastically. Who would want to be one?

  14. dcblogger

    Getting ready for Trump wins in their home states may just be good politics for moderate senators.

    Getting ready for a potential Trump presidency in their home states may just be good politics for moderate senators such as Heitkamp, Jon Tester of Montana and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. They’ll be top targets for Republicans in 2018, a midterm year that could favor the GOP if recent trends of lower turnouts in nonpresidential elections continue. And it’s a good bet that they’ll need Trump voters to keep their jobs.

    they have no intention of winning this election. they are planning to lose.

  15. Jason

    “The people will have a chance to vote. If Donald Trump is elected president there will be a great opportunity to sit down and have a conversation about what that agenda looks like,” explained Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has long backed Hillary Clinton. “If he’s president, we’re going to have disagreement. But we’d better all figure out how to come up with an agenda for the American people.”

    “An agenda for the American people”. Doubtless it will be much like the agenda that cattle get at the feedlot and the slaughterhouse

    Trump is reprehensible. Being willing to sell-out to him and what (little) he stands for is equally reprehensible. If the Democrats aren’t willing to draw a line in the sand on Trump, of all things, then they truly are vile and useless beyond all hope.

    I suspect this means Trump is nowhere near as anti-establishment as he’s been pretending in public. (Although it could also mean that the Dishonorable Sen. Heitkamp has fewer brain cells than the individual components of her state’s beet crop). It also makes it quite clear that my hopes that Clinton would be less bad than Trump are almost certainly misplaced and futile, and that no one outside of the 1% has any hope of “winning” from this election. (Unless a miracle occurs and the D nominee ends up being Sanders.)

    Thanks to Lambert for sharing all the same, even if it is a drink from a bitter well.

    1. cwaltz

      Heidi shouldn’t worry too much. I don’t suspect she’s long for office if and when President Trump gets elected.

      Hillary superdelegates are going to be people non grata after this election cycle from both sides of the political spectrum.

      1. polecat

        If Trump is elected President, all my state democrat senators & representatives will be swimming in a sea of egg !!!

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t think there’s a spectrum because a spectrum is linear.

        There are three poles: Conservative, liberal, left.

        Conservatives and liberals each have a party (with some overlap in the Blue Dogs). The left does not have a party.

        Conservatives and liberals are neoliberals. The left is not neoliberal.

        For good or ill, all the policy ferment is on the left. From a policy perspective, conservatives and liberals are both played out, exhausted.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      He makes some good points but he seems to have concluded that intersectionality now only means the Clintonian kind (or that the concept must ultimately degrade to the Clintonian interpretation) and not the Crenshaw-ian kind. And he comes off a little Colbert-ian: “I don’t see race because it’s only a cultural construct.” (My made-up quote, not his.)

      And it doesn’t help that he seems to see things upside down. He focuses on “a person’s ‘privilege ranking'” when the real issue is oppression, not privilege. Not being oppressed is not the same thing as privilege, though certainly one hears that viewpoint quite a bit in not-very-insightful discussions of “white privilege.”

  16. Pat

    Regarding the New York Times lack of critical thought on the ACA, they didn’t need to read NC or even wait for the studies. All they had to do, and the logical decision if you want to do a real study of the ACA was to compare the final product to the Swiss system, and the various incarnations that the Republicans have used since Dole first touted as an antidote to Hillarycare. And then examine who had a hand in making the changes and why those changes MIGHT be important to them. There has been a clear trajectory to make sure this plan was revised to provide less healthcare and more profit for insurance companies (and by extension to their partners Pharma and private medical) from the first time Heritage presented any version of it. But that would have meant getting down in the weeds AND insulting some of their advertisers by calling them the crooks they are. Couldn’t have that, or even just noticing the world around them…

    To me the fact that this is getting coverage of any kind in a mainstream corporate tool major outlet means the collapse is closer than I thought.

  17. KnotRP

    > …has prompted its supporters to summon the “protectionist” spectre

    So the sociopathic econorapists would really appreciate it if you would just stop struggling?
    For the greater good?

    1. different clue

      Perhaps it is time to change the word “protectionist” from a spectre to a flag to rally round and a standard to aspire to.

      Free Trade is the New Slavery. Protectionism is the New Abolition.

      Perhaps someone should write a The Protectionist Manifesto. ” A spectre is haunting Free Trade . . . the Spectre of Protectionism.”

  18. Jim Haygood

    Kurt Schlicter pens a near-future political drama with real-life protagonists:

    FBI Director James Comey knew he had to make a decision that would change his life, and maybe the history of his country, as he surveyed the piles of papers spread out in his office.

    The Deputy Director in charge of the investigation of Hillary Clinton – a criminal investigation, not some benign “security review” as the Clintonistas had tried to spin it – sat quietly, letting his boss think.

    The evidence was overwhelming. Hillary Clinton was clearly guilty of multiple felonies, and the Obama Department of Justice was not going to prosecute her. Now, it fell to Director Comey to decide what he would do about it.

    … / …

    “What will you do, sir?” asked the Deputy Director. Comey gestured to the door.

    Now alone, Comey stared out his window, and his eyes settled on the tip of the Washington Monument piercing the skyline of the city named in the first president’s honor. There was no question what George Washington would do, the Director mused. He sighed, stepped back toward his desk and picked up the phone.

    “I’ve made a decision,” he said.


    With the right songs, we could take it to Broadway as the sequel to Hamilton.

  19. DrBob

    “For those who see Trump as a paradox and a conundrum — a billionaire Republican who favors taxing the wealthiest…”

    Not sure where the idea came from that Trump “favors taxing the wealthiest”.

    As far as I can tell, he floated the idea of eliminating the carried interest loophole back in late Aug 2015 in two interviews. “I would let people who are making hundreds of millions of dollars a year pay some tax,” Trump said during an interview with Bloomberg News. “Because right now, they’re paying very little tax. I think it’s outrageous.” When the interviewer pointed out that, since Trump is rich, taxing the wealthiest might mean he would pay more in taxes, his response was, “That’s right. I’m okay with it. You’ve seen my statements. I do very well. I don’t mind paying a little more in taxes.”

    “The concept of hedge funds — now these are guys, they don’t really build anything,” Trump told MSNBC a few days earlier. “They shuffle paper. They go back and forth. They live beautifully. And so do I…I mean, I could tell you, I have friends that laugh about how little they pay. And it’s not fair to the middle class.”

    However, a month later, he posted his tax plan proposal on his official website, and it included significantly lower income tax rates for ALL individuals AND corporations…along with elimination of the estate tax [https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/tax-reform].

    While not widely reported at the time, analyses by a few groups did point out that his proposal would be a massive gift to the wealthiest (HRC has recently referred to his plan as “trickle-down economics on steroids”). Yet it’s only been in the past few weeks that news outlets have paid any attention to the actual proposal as written…and some (including today’s article by Yahoo’s “Chief National Correspondent”) still paint him as some sort of traitor to his class.

    Fact is, even during that interview he only said “I don’t mind paying A LITTLE more”…and that he “would LET people who are making hundreds of millions of dollars a year pay SOME tax.” Clearly, though, the proposal he made public well over six months ago suggests that his actual intent was NOT to increase taxes on the wealthy at all.

    While his plan would (presumably) eliminate the “carried interest loophole”, it’s explicitly pointed out on his website that his proposal “reduces or eliminates loopholes used by the very rich and special interests made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rates on individuals and companies.” In other words, many of “the wealthiest” wouldn’t even have to bother with “loopholes” in order to pay LESS in taxes.

    Based on my readings of a fair number of comments on other websites, that idea that Trump is planning to raise taxes on the rich has gained a lot of traction.

  20. Vatch

    Re: the Corruption category. Have you noticed that a lot of state Speakers of the House have been prosecuted recently? There was Sheldon Silver of New York, Bobby Harrell of South Carolina, Salvatore DiMasi of Massachusetts, and now Mike Hubbard of Alabama. At the national level, of course, there’s Dennis Hastert.

    I’m sure I’ve overlooked some.

  21. nippersmom

    Speaking for myself and many of the Sanders supporters I interact with on a daily basis, it would not be possible for Clinton to choose a VP who will “excite” Sanders voters; such a person does not exist (one meme I saw today said “I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if Jesus Christ were her running mate). And Claire McCaskill is delusional if she thinks Sanders will “aggressively campaign” for Clinton, or that it would sway a significant number of his voters even if he did. That’s a popular talking point with blue dogs, but the typical response from Sandernistas is that no one, including Bernie, will ever convince us to voter for her. We are not sheep who will vote for whoever we’re told to vote for. We are also not buying the “lesser of two evils strategy” (and many of us do not consider her to be the lesser evil).

    1. Pat

      I was never going to vote for Clinton regardless of who her competition was (although I do admit Cruz had me somewhat reevaluating that). That Sanders ran and gave me a relatively mainstream option was a joy and a blessing.

      And while I think I am somewhat unusual among Sanders supporters I am not unique. A great many will hold their nose and vote for her. Others will stay home. Others will vote for Trump (some LOTE, some blow the whole thing up). But I think that the obvious corruption of the system and the disdain with which Sanders and his supporters have been treated is not something that Clinton can walk back, and what are sure to be tone deaf and half hearted attempts to appeal to them will drive the largest number of his supporters to vote third party or write in. And I’m with nippersmom (and Bernie), his choice will not determine theirs. It was always up to Clinton to ‘win’ their vote, not something to be handed to her because someone thought she was entitled to it.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I think that there was a time when Sanders MIGHT have been willing to campaign for Clinton. But I think that time has come and gone. He has a real doozy of a presidential campaign, and he isn’t about to give it up.

    3. TK421

      I agree. Hiary isn’t close enough to getting our votes that a good VP would put her over the finish line. Even if she picked someone good which, let’s be honest, is about as likely as a vampire going to a tanning salon.

      1. Vatch

        Interestingly, in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, the title character is not destroyed by sunlight. He is merely weaker during the daytime, and doesn’t have his special powers, which is quite different from the solar devastation in current vampire novels, movies, and legends.

        I couldn’t stop myself from participating in your vampire simile. Hillary Clinton, like many servants of the billionaires, really brings out thoughts about parasitic vampires!

    4. john k

      Sanders represents honesty, a fight against corruption, unnecessary wars, and racism.
      Shill represents corruption and wars, at best neutral on racism.
      How could somebody that would vote for Sanders in a primary vote for Shill in the general?

      Because Trump? I contend he is against wars, bad trade deals, maybe neutral on corruption, and a racist, though not so more than most reps, particularly southerners, though more outspoken. On these bases she is clearly the greater evil. How can a Bernie Bros vote for a corrupt warmonger?
      Because she is a woman? Granted, but this is a racist argument.

      And what about 2020? A progressive would find it even more difficult to unseat a sitting dem president. OTOH, if Trump is as bad as is feared, a progressive will have an opportunity in 2020.

  22. TK421

    The Clintons had better take [Trump] seriously.

    If they did, they would withdraw and make way for the candidate most likely to defeat him.

    1. portia

      my feeling is that they will make it work for themselves, whatever happens. it’s not like they think people outside their milieu are even worth considering.

  23. oho

    so I take it that as of 5/16 the NY Times has officially sold out?

    see the NYT’s online front page (but below the fold) coverage of viral news stories: the Yellowstone bison and the cardigan-wearing weatherwoman.

  24. VietnamVet

    The showplace of evil and crapification is America’s continuing misadventures in the Middle East:

    Secretary Hillary Clinton was the primary architect of the regime change campaigns in Libya and Syria which have turned into absolute disasters. Only Benito Mussolini’s invasion of Greece in 1940 is comparable. Germany had to come to Italy’s rescue which delayed the invasion of Russia which stalled at the Gates of Moscow in the dead of winter.

    America’s wars will continue with no end in sight and blowback is guaranteed unless the current foreign policy establishment tossed aside.

    1. different clue

      The disaster in Syria is not yet absolute. It only becomes absolute if the regime changes. Until then it is merely very destructive . . . but still correctable. By correctable, I mean . . . every single jihadi and jihadi supporter within Syria getting killed.

      1. Cry Shop

        There is a link in the NC article I referenced,but for good orders sake。http://www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/anticorrupt/corruptn/cor02.htm

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “the abuse of public office for private gain”

          Fascinating to watch liberal Democrats adopt the quid pro quo definition from the majority opinion in Citizens United, throwing principle off the droshky to save Clinton’s candidacy.

  25. different clue

    I just saw a disturbing story with disturbing headline at Yahoo News front page news feed. It is titled:
    Nevada Democrats: Sanders Campaign Has Violent Streak. Here is the link.

    Did this really happen? If so, were the “violenters” really Sanders supporters? Or were they false-flag Clintonites planting a news-meme as part of a long-range Clintonite “Information Operation” designed to pre-shape the “brainwar battlespace” at the coming Democratic Convention? Or were they provoked into violence by the Official Nevada Democrats who knew how to get certain Sanders supporters violent based on extensive psychographic research done on Sanders supporters? It certainly appears to have been “made for TV” and “just what the doctor ordered” from a Clintonite standpoint.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I would like to know if there are videos. But I don’t have time to watch 10 hours of Periscope. Frankly, I’m surprised that there was a lag on this; seems like it took some time for the PR stars to align.

  26. Jeff

    “Physicists just discovered a totally new form of light ”
    For over a century we have been told that at its basis, the universe is discrete: light is not a continuous flow of energy, but rather a train of ‘photons’. And everything else is supposed to move in discrete steps.
    And now scientists find a half of things. Next time they will find half a photon.
    So they are excited about finding things that contradict their science (physics!) without realizing it destructs the foundations of their science (well, the new foundations laid early in the 20th century).
    They could as well go and do economics or politics, where a contradiction a day keeps the worries away.

  27. ewmayer

    @Jeff: You misunderstand QM – and science in general – on several fronts:

    o While Einstein’s 1905 photoelectric-effect paper showed the quantized nature of light, at the same time wave/particle duality means that at quantum scales things may be discrete in terms of energy, but not in terms of spacetime localization – a ‘photon particle’ (discrete) also behaves as a wave (continuous);

    o Fractional quantities are not uncommon: electrons have half-integer quantum spin, protons are made up of 3 quarks whose fractional charges sum to +1;

    I see nothing about such new discoveries destroying ‘the foundations of their science’ – and even if the results were somehow fundamentally at odds with prevailing physics, so what? That kind of conflict is precisely how science advances and corrects past errors. Unlike economics and politics, good scientists welcome rigorous tests of their current theories, and even help design them. How many leading economists have admitted ‘we were all wrong’ in terms of their models and pet dogmas failing to spot the the late great housing bubble or the growing systemic risk in the financial system which culminated in the 2008 crash?

    1. Cry Shop

      I think Jeff also needs to learn a bit about how to treat sources. The original source is owned by a commercial shop, http://www.sciencealert.com/jca.html which makes its money blowing up “science” to help promote various agendas, particularly regarding money/funding. The site isn’t nearly as sleazy as some of the green sites linked on NC in the past, which report any thing clap which will attract clicks to fund their owner’s ban accounts. NC provides all kinds of links, some contrarian to NC own values, it’s up to the reader to provide their own intelligence.

      Feynman on doubt & uncertainty – BBC Horizon An intelligent mind is use to living with relative degrees of uncertainty.

      it would be very interesting to physicist to learn that ESP works, as current models do not explain it.

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