2:00PM Water Cooler 5/20/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

As usual, readers, I found too much of interest, and so I’ll add more UPDATEs in the next few minutes.


“[U.S. International Trade Commission ] (USITC) modeling exercises in the past have not been good predictors of the outcomes of trade deals. For example, their models failed to project the large increases in the deficit with Mexico following NAFTA, the increase in the deficit with China following PNTR, and the increase in the deficit with Korea following the U.S.-Korea trade agreement” [Dean Baker, CEPR].

“[Yesterday’s] U.S. International Trade Commission report offers further evidence that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a disaster for working families, communities, and our climate. ITC reports have a record of projecting economic benefits of trade agreements that have failed to materialize, so it is noteworthy that even the overly-positive ITC acknowledges that the TPP would have real costs and estimates economic benefits that are slim” [Sierra Club].

“There’s no basis for claims that the NHS is under threat from TTIP” [OpenEurope]. The headline is much stronger than the case actually made, which depends on text not yet adopted, and ignores the chilling effect of ISDS.

“David Cameron moves to head off TTIP rebellion” [BBC]. “Tory rebels were threatening to join Labour and the SNP to back an amendment ‘regretting’ the lack of a bill to protect the NHS from the TTIP deal. But Downing Street has denied them the chance by saying they will back it…. Conservative MP and Leave campaigner Steve Baker MP said: ‘The government has today admitted that the EU is a threat to our NHS. The only way we can protect the NHS from TTIP is if we Vote Leave on 23 June.'”

“China’s land-based ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ — which together make up its ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative — puts Beijing’s proactive engagement and growing confidence on display” [East Asia Forum]. “OBOR will connect more than 60 emerging foreign markets and a population of over four billion, amounting to a total worth of about US$21 trillion.”



“[Trump] offers an impressive list of replacements for Antonin Scalia.” [Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump’s Day in Court”]. I very rarely quote the WSJ opinion section, but this one shows how rapidly the Republican establishment is accepting Trump’s takeover. They’re rolling over like little puppies to get their bellies scratched!

“In case you were wondering what Bill Clinton’s pet cause might be in his wife’s administration — the way recent first spouses have spoken out against addiction, or read books to kids, or gone on TV to promote healthy eating — Hillary spelled it out while campaigning last weekend. Bill, she said, would be in charge of rebuilding the national economy” [Matt Bai, Yahoo]. “Because she’s apparently going to spend her presidency focused on something, you know, more pressing.” Ouch. “I can’t really tell if Clinton’s political instincts are just that bad, or if a few of the people giving her advice should consider other careers, like maybe welding… This one statement undermines so much about her campaign, while revealing the absence at the core of it, that it’s truly hard to peel back the layers of inanity.” Both are true. Clinton’s instincts are that bad, and her advistors should consider other careers. The common factor is sycophancy.


UPDATE “Inside the Clinton paid speech machine” [Politico]. This is a ridiculous puff piece, a beat sweetener.


“San Francisco’s Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club Has Endorsed Bernie Sanders For President! [Wall Street $Shill]. Dated, but still interesting.

“San Jose: Bernie Sanders continues call for ‘political revolution'” [San Jose Mercury News]. Big crowds, too.

Nevada Debacle

“I watched Hillary Clinton’s forces swipe Nevada: This is what the media’s not telling you” [Salon]. It started early:

At 9:30, a full half hour before registration closed, [chair Roberta] Lange read the results of ballots that had been passed out to early arriving conventioneers regarding temporary rules for the convention, rules which would discount the results of the county convention (the second tier of the caucus process, where Bernie had won more delegates), rules which would require that all votes at the convention be decided by voice alone, and which ruled that the decision of the chairperson would be final. These temporary rules had passed by flying colors, which did not sit well with the Bernie delegates, many of whom had not been given ballots.

In other words, the entire process was illegitimate from the beginning. As a display of raw political power by Harry Reid’s machine, it’s impressive. As a foundation for elusive party unity, less so; see under inequity aversion. (Note that the revised rules permitted the chair to call for a vote by division if the results of a voice vote were not clear. Throughout the very long day, that’s all that Lange had to do to legitimate Reid’s process. She chose not to.)

“We Called Up Bernie Fans Who Threatened Nevada Dem State Chair and Asked Them to Explain Themselves” [Jezebel]. So far as I know, Jezebel is the only media venue to have done this; the rest of our famously free press took the Clinton campaign’s frothing and stamping at face value. Not that I support threats, but the reaction — given the sad sacks and the legitimately angry quoted — the whole fauxtroversy seems overblown. Exactly as with the airborne seating allegation, if anything serious had happened, there would have been arrests and charges.

UPDATE “We had all this reporting about purported threats and violence in Nevada, but it was all based on basically taking at face value the words of one side and dismissing the words of the other side. This was videotaped” [Robert McChesney, Democracy Now]. In other words, the Dean of Nevada political journalism, Jon Ralston, served made-up shit to the national press, which gobbled it down with unseemly haste.

The Voters

“Author Thomas Frank Talks Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and His New Book, ‘Listen Liberal'” [Bill Moyers]. This:

liberalism itself has changed and that the Democrats aren’t who we think they are. That’s the answer to basically every question you want to raise about them for the last 30 or so years. They aren’t who you think they are. Their unofficial motto is that they’re the party of the people. That goes back to Jefferson and Jackson. And it’s just not so. This is a class party. I think the Republicans are as well. The Democrats are a class party; it’s just that the class in question is not the one we think it is. It’s not working people, you know, middle class. It’s the professional class. It’s people with advanced degrees. They use that phrase themselves, all the time: the professional class.

“Middle class” is the confusing category here, given that it conflates the 80% working class with the 20% professional class.

UPDATE And on the Black Misleadership Class [Progressive Army]. “From the beginning of this cycle’s presidential race, Black people of all stripes, myself included, flocked to the well-known Democratic brand, Hillary Clinton. It felt safe, warm and familiar. I was content. I was on a barreling freight train headed straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave”…

I pushed past the smiling faces. Many were like me, gleeful. Just glad to be riding along. As I walked through first class, I saw many people I looked up to- “leaders.” Some were even known to me as heroes. These people were not smiling. They were plotting. Cutting deals with each other, those in the luxury class and Billary Express leadership. I then realized that my fellow riders were not passengers. We were cargo. Votes to be delivered for whatever Team Billary decided we were worth.

“Cargo” has a particularly loaded connotation, here.

The Trail

“Only 35 percent of Democrats said they weren’t worried about unifying the party, with 42 percent ‘somewhat worried,’ and another 23 percent who were ‘very worried'” [Politico]. From a survey of a representative sample (?) of the political class, therefore interesting. And then there’s this:

[I]nsiders were asked to rank the effectiveness of the individual criticisms. The top finisher among insiders in both parties was: ‘It’s too risky to make Trump commander-in-chief’ 51 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans chose that from a list of four possible attack lines.

Better the insane national security establishment you know…

The political class seems to be taking several lines on Sanders simultaneously: (1) Hissy fit (Robinson; Chait); (2) Deal parameters (Sargent); (3) Sanders is a hypocrite (Kapur); in short form from Fred Hiatt, TPM, and on the twitter, this takes the vulgar form of saying Sanders is decieving his followers by not conceding. No doubt others will be deployed in the coming days.

“[T]he Sanders campaign is behaving like a 2-year-old who can’t have ice cream for breakfast” [Eugene Robinson, WaPo]. Robinson is normally pretty mild-mannered, so this hissy fit is surprising.

“Sanders has his reasons for staying in the race. … [G]iven the overall stakes of his behavior, his decision is also maddeningly narcissistic” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. Chait’s hissy fit, however, is not.

“[I]f you listen closely, Clinton and her campaign are actually trying to signal to Democrats that they should dial down the hostilities with Sanders and his supporters” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. I dunno. It’s pretty hard to read the interview with the candidate herself in that light. “CUOMO: Why don’t you reach out directly to Senator Sanders and do the work of reunification… CLINTON: Well, I certainly said many times… [blah, blah, blah].” And: “CLINTON: I will be the nominee for my party.” Seems odd; I would have thought the party belonged to the voters, not one individual.

“Sanders, Defiant on the Stump, Quietly Reassures Democrats on Unity” [Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg].

Many in the Democratic establishment are privately seething over Sanders continuing to paint Clinton as the candidate of Wall Street and business and the party as corrupt.

Reality is hard. Notice that in all the discussion, the only indisputably central fact of the Sanders campaign is meticulously airbrushed away by all establishment players: The Sanders funding model means that Democrats can run a national-scale political campaign without corrupting themselves through campaign “contributions” from big money. In fact, if you regard decreasing the class power of the 1% as revolutionary, then the Sanders campaign is, indeed, revolutionary. And I’d go so far as to suggest that influence brokers like Robinson, Sargent, Kapur, and Chait airbrush away Sanders’ lack of dependence on influence peddling because today’s corrupt system is the system they prefer.

“DNC to offer Sanders a convention concession” [WaPo]. “[S]eats on a key convention platform committee.” Come on. And below, framing that Israel is the key difference between Sanders and Clinton and not, for example, “never ever” single payer.

UPDATE “Ex-Gov. Rendell apologizes for ‘ugly women’ comment” [AP]. “Rendell had said Trump’s past comments on women might gain him some working-class Democratic voters, but will cost him Republican women because he said ‘people take that stuff personally.'” Because, ya know, working class people are all sexist, in addition to being racist, which is why all right-thinking people hate and despise them. Rendell then went on to remark that “there are probably more ugly women in America than attractive women.” Where’s the pearl-clutching from the Clinton campaign’s soi disant feminists?

UPDATE “Did Clinton laugh about a rapist’s light sentence and attack sexual harassment victims?” [Glenn Kessler, WaPo]. Worth a read. I don’t mind that Clinton provided an alleged offender with representation; somebody had to. And Kessler awards three Pinocchios to the charge, on what looks to me like a reasonable judgment call. There are two things that give me pause about this extremely tangled history: First, in this story, how “Hillary Clinton’s account at the time” morphs, further down, into “the timeline does not support the claim.” Second, when Clinton claims that a “vast right-wing conspiracy… has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president” she is, in my judgment, 100% correct (those dudes from the Arkansas baitshop that David Brock — yes, that David Brock — worked so assiduously to turn into sources had ties to highly unsavory Little Rock anti-desegregationists, for example). In fact, that was one reason I supported Clinton in 2008: I expected her to take on and destroy the “vast right wing” in a way Obama would not. Of course, that didn’t happen, and now Clinton proposes to make “incremental” changes through bipartisan cooperation… with today’s players in that very same vast right wing conspiracy. So I’m experiencing a little cognitive dissonance.

UPDATE “Trump refers to alleged Bill Clinton assault as ‘rape'” [FOX]. The riposte to charges of sexism, and not a bad one.

Stats Watch

Existing Home Sales, April 2016: “Progress in the housing market is slow but steady. Sales of existing homes rose 1.7 percent in April to a 5.45 million annualized pace and are up a very solid 6.0 percent from April last year” [Econoday]. “These are not earth shattering but they are at the very top of other growth rates in the economy.” But: “Our analysis of the unadjusted data shows that home sales improved relative to last month, but the rolling averages degraded. Sales price rate of growth improved” [Econintersect].

Employment situation: “Why Is the Labor Force Participation Rate Increasing?” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. They looked at gender, education, and not income. “[W]e concluded that the recent increase in the labor force participation that we observed has been mainly driven by males and the lowest education workers.” The pessimist in me says that’s a sign that the “recovery” is awfully long in the tooth, and that these workers will be first to be thrown under the bus.

Shipping: “[Rail] rolling averages continue moving deeper into contraction” [Econintersect].

UPDATE Shipping: “Spring brings little heat to US freight economy” [Journal of Commerce]. “A measure of over-the-road freight volumes, the Cass Freight Index, rose for a third month in April, but only by 0.7 percent, and remained 4.9 percent below April 2015. In fact, this April’s Freight Shipment Index reading was the lowest reading for April reported by Cass since 2010.”

Shipping: “A new air cargo freight rate index is set to provide transparency on general cargo pricing on key city pairs” [Air Cargo News]. The TAC Index. Not free, though doubtless somebody will monitor it.

Retail: “Many traditional retailers have recently announced rough quarterly sales results. Still, 1.3% growth in retail spending in April makes [John Conlon, chief equity strategist at People’s United Wealth Management] believe that the main problem is ‘not with the consumer, but is more concept-specific’ to the companies” [MarketWatch]. ‘”‘The large department stores still follow the model they have used for a long time,’ he said in an interview Thursday. “Consumers are shopping online and have become more conscious of bargains.” Talking, apparently, some retail book and not Amazon, but nevertheless interesting (and of actual impact to people who live in areas where there used to be a downtown before the retail-anchored mall devoured it).

Retail: “Retail landlords are on edge. Their tenants in malls across America are reporting awful revenues and earnings, and they’re shuttering stores, and some are going bankrupt. And they’re all getting their clocks cleaned by ecommerce” [Business Insider].

Honey for the Bears: “The attempt to sweep this collection of structural instabilities and fragilities under the carpet with talk of a New Normal is a damaging distraction to the urgent task of confronting this reality” [VoxEU]. “distribution, institutions, and politics matter. This is something which is largely overlooked by the neoclassical economic models, with their single representative agents, which are still doggedly employed by many economic forecasters.” Claim: Political risk is the mother of all capital flows. Readers?

Fodder for the Bulls: “Federal Reserve officials recently indicated that the central bank could raise interest rates sooner than the market expects, and ‘underlining that is the feeling that the economy is starting to accelerate at a faster rate,” Lloyd Blankfein” said [Marketwatch]. “”We see the same things they must be seeing,” Blankfein said, noting how economic and political uncertainty has dented corporate and investor confidence in the past year. That weakened trading activity, and slowed the pace of deal-making and investing.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs: Measured productivity growth has continued to disappoint, averaging only ½% over the past 1, 3, and 5 years. We think much of the weakness is due to a mixture of adverse cyclical effects and increased productivity measurement error reflecting the greater difficulty of accurately capturing technological progress in today’s economy” [American Enterprise Incident].

The Fed: “‘What we need most, now that we are near full employment and approaching our target inflation rate, is faster potential growth,’ Fischer, the Fed’s second-in-command, said in prepared remarks before an economics conference in New York” [Futures]. “He added it was critical to the future of the U.S. and global economies, and that more study should be devoted to developing policies that can influence the [the long-run equilibrium interest rate].”

Concentration: Great cartoon with a fine example of Conway’s Law in action at Google, from the consumer perspective [BonkersWorld]. Google’s monopoly power conceals how much of a mess it is, as loony squillionaire executives pursue mad schemes.

“U.S. credit-card balances are on track to hit $1 trillion this year, as banks aggressively push their plastic and consumers grow more comfortable carrying debt” [Wall Street Journal, “Balance Due: Credit-Card Debt Nears $1 Trillion as Banks Push Plastic”]. “Outstanding balances near precrisis levels as banks promote cards and borrowers regain confidence.” What could go wrong?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56, Greed (previous close: 52, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 20 at 12:42pm. Big flip into greed! We’ll see what the boys say at the Nineteenth Hole on Sunday afternoon….


“Miami’s booming high-end real estate market is at least partially used to launder money and a majority of units purchased are through offshore shell companies that hide true ownership and serve as a legal way to evade taxes” [HuffPo]. “Yet developers keep building at a fast pace, rents continue to increase beyond any local’s affordability, all while small businesses close one after another.” 1% real estate investment in big cities seems a lot like the resource curse.


“The Changing American Diet” [Flowing Data]. Chicken replaces beef, margarine replaced butter. (The animated sparklines confused me at first, but they’re moving by date, seen at top right). Cool!

“China is ditching Western fast food joints for healthier options” [Quartz]. And very sensibly, too.

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Barbara Fields is an esteemed historian of the South, where she was born, and teaches at Columbia University in New York. She fights racism by denying race categorically. The problem that has taken this country to the precipice, she told us this week, is inequality. She says racism is the evil code of group privilege and invented differences. In this light, race is a non-science and ‘racecraft’ is a process of self-deception” [Verso Books]. Must-read (and see also #BernieMadeMeWhite for the Clinton campaign’s erasure of black Sanders voters).

“From sandwich-makers to sitcoms — more tales of monopsony” [West Coast Stat Views (on Observational Epidemiology and more). Of the television networks like NBC/Universal/Comcast:

We’re thirty-plus years into an experiment in laissez-faire economics and certain conclusions are difficult to avoid.

1. Left unchecked, economic power tends to consolidate.

2. Once gained, that power is remarkably difficult to lose, even in the case of spectacularly incompetent management.

3. Inevitably, that power will be abused.

As a statistician, I know I’m always supposed to be calling for more data, but in this case, I think we have enough.

Will Lord Acton please pick up the white courtesy phone?

“They find strong evidence that socioeconomic status is incredibly persistent. The wealthiest surnames in Florence today belong to families that, in 1429, were members of the shoemakers’ guild — at the 97th percentile of income. Descendants of members of the silk guild and descendants of attorneys — both at the 93rd percentile in 1427 — are among the wealthiest families today” [Wall Street Journal, “The Wealthy in Florence Today Are the Same Families as 600 Years Ago”]. So the Clintons and the Bushes and the Trumps are just getting started!

“Buddhist Economics: How to Start Prioritizing People Over Products and Creativity Over Consumption” [Brain Pickings]. Not sure about this one. The Buddhist nations I’m familiar with aren’t notably egalitarian.

“Millennials Opting Out Of Traditional Homes, Apartments For Co-Living Spaces” [CBS]. Look at the images. Plywood sleeping cubes, not even painted!

News of the Wired

“The Subject in Play is Not the Subject at Play” [Sweet Talk]. “The game is the thing. To understand meaning, and the vast conjective web that humans spin together, you need to attend to the relevant games, which give the specific thing under observation its context as a move or role in a game.” Well worth a read, especially for Wittgenstein geeks. Wait, wait! If you want to think about where identity politics is actually practiced, a philosophical perspective like this may be useful. Think of a Twitter thread, for example, as a language game, with moves.

* * *

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 (Maggie):


More light ahead…

* * *

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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. jsn

      And this just addresses zoning. If you add in the Building Code, I expect you would get something upwards of 90%. Whenever I have a customer tell me “I want to build a simple building” in New York, I tell them its against the law.

  1. Tertium Squid

    You saw the Linkedin embarrassment that their 2012 data breach was almost 20 times bigger than they told the world at the time.

    From a data breach alert:

    LinkedIn is once again forcing password resets for members thought to be included in this breach.

    The time for that was four years ago.

    From a CNN article:

    “We take the safety and security of our members’ accounts seriously,” wrote Cory Scott, the company’s chief information security officer.

  2. Tertium Squid

    “They find strong evidence that socioeconomic status is incredibly persistent. The wealthiest surnames in Florence today belong to families that, in 1429, were members of the shoemakers’ guild — at the 97th percentile of income.

    There’s a “yeah, but” there. Every generation some people with those wealthy heritages would drop out of the privileged classes, via primogeniture, drink, etc. I expect they could look at everyone with those surnames today and find very little difference, on average, from any other surname.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Last names weren’t overly common in 1429. My first question would be where the name comes from. If one has the last name of a Founding Father, chances are that person is black. Are they related? Possibly. The names were probably picked to fit in post slavery than anything else.

      When everyone knew each other, we could go by names such as Worf, son of Mogh from Kronos.

      To me, the shoemaker’s guild name is a good name for non aristocrats to adopt. It has the semblance of respect but won’t annoy anyone important.

      1. Tertium Squid

        Your Worf example does in fact have a surname, two of them in fact – one for lineage the other for place of origin. Both very popular ways of identifying a person. The only question is whether he’s passing them on to his children or not.

        The article is about Florence and I don’t know the history of last names in Italy, but in England they were prevalent by 1429. I’ve heard it said that the became most necessary after Christianization, when hundreds of perfectly good Anglo Saxon first names were abandoned for the two dozen most popular names from the Bible. All of a sudden every village had sixteen Johns!

        Just like how phone numbers have ten digits now.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        From the article:

        The two economists — Guglielmo Barone and Sauro Mocetti of the Bank of Italy — compared data on Florentine taxpayers in 1427 against tax data in 2011. Because Italian surnames are highly regional and distinctive, they could compare the income of families with a certain surname today, to those with the same surname in 1427. They found that the occupations, income and wealth of those distant ancestors with the same surname can help predict the occupation, income and wealth of their descendants today.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Good job nailing down the correlation.

          The cause?

          Has the path been one of losing wealth and regaining it – possibly due to ‘superior genes?’

          Or has it been one of constant wealth – indicating, among other possibilities, man-made environmental (as in the society, the institutions within, they have erected) factors that have survived Risorgimento and wars?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There are plenty of studies showing that relative family incomes stay stable over centuries. Studies of French Acadian families in the US and Canada have shown that those with names associated with the poorest French immigrants in the 16th Century are still significantly poorer than those with names associated with wealthier families. Its still noticeable in Britain and Ireland that Norman French names associated with medieval conquerers still tend to be associated with the professional classes.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I found the mention of Florence particularly intriguing because of the work of Giovanni Arrighi, summarized here:

        Capitalism as a historical system emerged in the context of the “war of all against all” during the Italian Hundred Years War which ended with the Peace of Lodi in 1454.  Florence, specifically, with its management of Papal finances and wool trade, took the lead: “High finance in its modern, capitalist form is a Florentine invention.” (97)  In Florence the Medici family established “de facto… monarchical rule” of the city and were financially dominant for four reasons: first, the vacuum created by the financial troubles of the Bardi and Peruzzi families; second, the Medici’s preference for government loans (and prudence about who to loan to); three, the Medici’s state-making abilities, notably their artistic patronage which solidified city-state loyalty and prevented overaccumulation in their business; fourth, the atmosphere of competition for finance, brought about primarily because of the English/French Hundred Years War but also because of the enlargement of Papal finances after the Black Death. (105-109)

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Add in Charles I’s accessing to the Rothschild’s demands to issue both paper scrip AND physical to collateralize his war loans…and you have a straight line to our parlous state of affairs today

        2. Ulysses

          Anyone interested in the political, social, and economic mechanisms through which elite families have established long-lasting high status should read the work of Giorgio Politi.

          In his Aristocrazia e potere politico nella Cremona di Filippo II, Politi shows– with remarkably granular detail– how a handful of wealthy families game a complex system to cement their advantages.

          Today’s world is in many ways similar to what Machiavelli, or for that matter Cicero, knew and understood. Even here, surrounded by millions of people from all over the world, I enjoy a completely unmerited advantage– because I descend from rapacious Dutch people who came here nearly four centuries ago.

    3. reslez

      Last names are passed down through the patriline along with resources and inheritance. If the system didn’t work this way they would have changed it. And it’s worked for 600+ years.

      Just like the system we have today. If it didn’t benefit wealthy people in power, they would change it.

      Failed policies never last long. If a policy appears to be a failure, it means you’re not looking at it from the correct perspective. Who benefits?

  3. craazyman

    There’s about a thousand plants in that picture, so which one is the antidote?

    Bernie Bernie
    Bernie Bernie

    I haven’t watch even one debate, not one Bernie speech, not one Hillary speech, not one paid ad (OK, I watched the Bernie ad posted as a Link weeks ago here, I think it was, with the Simon Garfunkel song. If it weren’t for YouTube, people under 30 would think they were a law firm!).

    I haven’t read one editorial opinion about any aspect of the race. I haven’t read one journalistic profile. I don’t even know what the candidates are saying! All I know is the news headlines say there’s a lot of controversy. That sort of surprises me. Aren’t they supposed to be philosopher kings calmly debating in order to find The Truth? Shouldn’t Truth be obvious to Philosopher Kings? Yes is the right answer. It “should” be.

    You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, you can look out the window. But of course you have to be able to see.

    Cynics addicted to power and privilege see only mirrors. QED. I gave Bernie $100 dollars two times. it was the best $200 I’ve spent in years, even better than the Paul Stuart suits and the Crockett & Jones Westfields. Fortunately, there have been no prostitutes or massage parlor visits, so I can claim “zero’ there with integrity. Even the money I gave to the MIT Math class website, while certainly a good expenditure, wasn’t as good as the $200 I gave Bernie.

    I hope Bernie shoves it up their asses so far it comes out their mouths like second tounges. Then when they talk they can talk with two tounges, literally and not just figuratively, but at least one now will be honest.

  4. Kokuanani

    When last I visited Eugene Robinson’s tirade [15 min. ago], there were 2,500+ comments. Many were Clinton robo-criticisms of Bernie supporters, but a good majority tore him a new one. Added my own comment and got attacked by a couple of these folks. My main point was to note that there were suddenly plenty of “Bernie and his supporters need to behave because: party unity,” but NO “Clinton and her supporters need to stop acting like such entitled assholes because: party unity.”

    And again, we should all move to Mississippi and Arkansas to have our votes in the primary “count,” and just forget about it if we live in CA?

    He was supposed to have a “chat” today on the column. I’d like to see the transcript.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        She of the Shock Doctrine?

        Do they all party together at Versailles? Where is my invitation?

        1. Montanamaven

          Yes, The Shock Doctrine! The book that opened my eyes to frightening and murderous ways of “free trade” which the Clintons obviously embraced. She wrote of the millions of Russians who died because of convincing Yeltsin and the Russians that they too should embrace Friedmanommics. The Chicago Boys. Why Naomi? Why? It makes me terribly sad.

              1. ambrit

                I think you’re confusing a brioche with a ‘corniche,’ the ur-daddy of the ‘moveable feast.’

        2. different clue

          Is Naomi Klein a “feminist of privilege”?

          Does she identify psychologically and emotionally with Hillary’s crusading effort to break through the final Tiffany Glass Ceiling?

      2. Pat

        The comments are brutal, but I’m not so sure it wasn’t sarcastic. Look at the graphic: it pretty much says flat out that the only candidate the public likes still in the race is Sanders.

        So her line about Clinton’s losing because of the left coupled with that graphic could really be saying she is going to lose because people do not like her.

        Mind you I could think that could also be because both her and Greenwald (she was retweeting the graphic he tweeted) have been relatively supportive of Sanders. So, take it as you will.

        1. montanamaven

          Yes, first time I read it I thought it had to be sarcastic. But I didn’t see a rebuttal saying, “Sarcasm, Duh!”. But sarcasm is tough on twitter. That’s why I don’t tweet.

        1. Emma

          Klein is not a ‘Mrs Menners’…..rather, she’s a Miss Manners.
          Whereas Hillary is a “Deal me in” woman, Klein is a “I’ll cut the cards” lady.

        2. different clue

          Oh . . . . well then, never mind.

          I have said before here and there that the digital media is NO PLACE for attempts at sarcasm or snarkasm or any such thing. The opportunities for disunderstanding are rife.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think one could caucus in Iowa on February 1 and migrated to California to vote in June, if we can make it more convenient for voters.

  5. Ranger Rick

    That OBOR/Silk Road thing sounds impressive — except when you consider that $25 trillion figure they quote (out of the total estimated assets of the entire world being $125 trillion) is stretched to cover two of the most populated countries on the planet. Combined, India and China represent 2.6 billion people. Round up to account for the other 58 countries they’re talking about and you’re talking about a fifth of the world’s total assets spread out over a little under a half of the world’s population.

    In other words nobody is winning from this trade arrangement except China, trying desperately to pivot from its utter economic dependence on the United States.

    1. different clue

      China hopes to create the Greater Afro-EuroAsia Co-Prosperity Sphere. If Europe allows any of these direct overland connections between Europe and China to be built, Europe will be well and truly NAFTA-fied. Perhaps the New Chinese Overlords will maintain Europe as a sort of cultural petting zoo.

      China’s plans for America are rather worse. China intends to make America its New Overseas Tibet, if it can. American traitors in high places, like Bill Clinton and Steven “Cock” Roach (the noted Free Trade hasbarist), will certainly work their hardest to help China get it done.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By creating chaos all around China, maybe she will be too busy to look this way.

        Tibet, Vietnam, South China Sea, Japanese islands, Taiwan, etc.

        1. different clue

          But the ChinaGov isn’t trying to create chaos. It is trying to create a Greatest Ever Co-Prosperity Sphere. Chaos would prevent the orderly extraction of all resources worth extracting. These places must be made submissive and ORDERLY for the strip mining, strip fishing, strip logging, strip farming, etc. to take proper hold. It is the rise of the New China Order, or so they hope.

          China wants at the very least the sort of Tributary Empire which the Aztecs created for a while in Central Mexico.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      And I linked, I think yesterday, to a story on the China rail from Spain — the Spanish weren’t enthusiastic because the cars weren’t insulated, so shipping olive oil that way would be a bad idea.

      So far, land as opposed to sea power isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, sea transport is still, and likely always will be, much cheaper for long distance transport. The Silk Road is primarily political (and also of course designed to soak up excess concrete and steel production). I’m a big fan of train transport, and more train links across Central Asia should in general be good, but its not ever going to be a significant alternative to sea transport, except in an emergency.

        Mind you, most Central Asian countries would be smart to do what the Mongolians did, which was build their railways on a different gauge to China and Russia, so that they couldn’t be used by either to use Mongolia as a passage if they invaded each other.

        1. Synoia

          Overland transport has three advantages:

          1. The people along the route get included (More markets)
          2. It is independent of a 600 ship navy
          3. Goods travel faster (giving greater velocity of money)

          I’m not sure about the economics of ships v trains when time is also included. I am sure of the strategic imperative of being blockade free.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Those points mostly only apply within a country – there are a lot of borders to cross on a Silk Road route, and lots of remote areas which are not necessarily free of bandits or various forms of terrorism. And add to that the problems which arise if a railway is severed by an earthquake in a mountainous area (and there are lots of those between China and Europe). Railway travel across continents simply does not have the level of redundancy to engineering or political risks that blue ocean transport has – this is the primary reason there are so few genuinely international railway goods links (outside of the EU).

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Every single point on the railway must be defended.

              Railway – one, or at most a few alternate routes.

              Ocean transport – almost infinite number of routes.

              1. optimader

                building railroads are social welfare programs!.. that’s a lot of steel..
                china likey.
                imagine all the lawyering opportunities for Eminent Domain paperwork

    1. Rhondda

      I could hardly get past the first paragraph of that shit Jezebel piece. The author seems to have sucked up every MSM lie with a straw and just regurgitates it in one big spurt: ohtheheinousfrighteningchairthrowingchaosandmeantalk(threats)!
      I should’ve known better than to click a Jezebel link.

        1. Rhondda

          LOL. You kill me with your gift for understatement and dry wit, Lambert. Re-airing of blatant lies isn’t what I’d call an “editorial stance”. Nevertheless, I apologize if it seemed like I was trilling my displeasure at you; I wasn’t. Also, merci mille for the Carl Beijer link the other day. I haven’t been able to get enough. Delicious.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      People say mean things in digital media. Film at 11. I understand why tendentiously establishment Democrats would equate words with violence, but I wonder if there’s something cultural going on as well in the professional classes that are the Democrat base:

      1) Sycophancy and politesse are critical in the “national conversation” the professional classes think they own (see if you have not this appalling piece by Thomas Frank from a Clinton Foundation conference on murderous Third-World usury microlending). Raised voices are oddly, or not, not seen as “disruptive” or “innovative” in that context;

      2) As professional wordsmiths, they are accustomed to seeing words as weapons (and indeed, as we see through the foreclosure crisis, contractual language is exactly that). So the equation of mean words with violence is easy for them to make (and they may well project their own propensity to violence using different words onto others). Nothing like academic warfare to sharpen up the claws!

      I feel I can say this, being a manqué member of the professional classes myself.

      On mean words, I can say I’ve been as mean as it’s possible to be, especially in 2003 – 2006, when that was seen as a way to attack the Bush administration. I try not to be, first because the outcome of 2003 – 2006 shows that strategy failed, and second because it’s bad for me personally. (If people think I’m snarky today, they have no idea :-)

      1. fresno dan

        “Author Thomas Frank Talks Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and His New Book, ‘Listen Liberal’” [Bill Moyers]. This:

        liberalism itself has changed and that the Democrats aren’t who we think they are. That’s the answer to basically every question you want to raise about them for the last 30 or so years. They aren’t who you think they are. Their unofficial motto is that they’re the party of the people. That goes back to Jefferson and Jackson. And it’s just not so. This is a class party. I think the Republicans are as well. The Democrats are a class party; it’s just that the class in question is not the one we think it is. It’s not working people, you know, middle class. It’s the professional class. It’s people with advanced degrees. They use that phrase themselves, all the time: the professional class.

        Words are so important to dems in the same way that communication, images, and the whole shebang of advertising is to business – to convey an image that is NOT reality – reality is the ENEMY. No, no matter how many Mustangs you buy, if your 55 and fat, your not going get the 20 year old yoga instructor. No matter how many dems you elect, your not going to get effective health reform because they are not on YOUR SIDE…despite what they say.

        What is odd about political advertising is that your competitors actually try and accentuate what you say you are trying to do (even though it is 180 from what you are ACTUALLY trying to do) – repubs say dems are super liberal, and dems say repubs are ultra conservative. Like all advertising, the REAL characteristics and attributes of the product are never discussed (make your patrons richer). You would never ever have GM saying that Mustangs will get you two 20 year old yoga instructors…

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        I feel I can say this, being a manqué member of the professional classes myself.

        We need a club. Although you might be too successful to join :)

        What I find truly amazing about the professional liberal meritocracy, though, is that a) personal professional success and b) organizational success are ENTIRELY de-linked from movement success. It’s almost as if it’s a feature, not a bug. Because when you articulate that fact, you get fired. At least I do.

    3. reslez

      A pure example of bullying: get Sanders supporters in a headlock, then cry for the teacher when they get angry and defend themselves. Meanwhile the audience, the new media, is in the tank for Clinton, so they side with the bully. It goes back to Graeber on the Bully’s Pulpit.

      Bullying creates a moral drama in which the manner of the victim’s reaction to an act of aggression can be used as retrospective justification for the original act of aggression itself.

      Not only does this drama appear at the very origins of bullying in early childhood; it is precisely the aspect that endures in adult life. I call it the “you two cut it out” fallacy. Anyone who frequents social media forums will recognize the pattern. Aggressor attacks. Target tries to rise above and do nothing. No one intervenes. Aggressor ramps up attack. Target tries to rise above and do nothing. No one intervenes. Aggressor further ramps up attack.

      This can happen a dozen, fifty times, until finally, the target answers back. Then, and only then, a dozen voices immediately sound, crying “Fight! Fight! Look at those two idiots going at it!” or “Can’t you two just calm down and learn to see the other’s point of view?” The clever bully knows that this will happen—and that he will forfeit no points for being the aggressor. He also knows that if he tempers his aggression to just the right pitch, the victim’s response can itself be represented as the problem.

      And this, I propose, is the critical human flaw. It’s not that as a species we’re particularly aggressive. It’s that we tend to respond to aggression very poorly. Our first instinct when we observe unprovoked aggression is either to pretend it isn’t happening or, if that becomes impossible, to equate attacker and victim, placing both under a kind of contagion, which, it is hoped, can be prevented from spreading to everybody else. (Hence, the psychologists’ finding that bullies and victims tend to be about equally disliked.) The feeling of guilt caused by the suspicion that this is a fundamentally cowardly way to behave—since it is a fundamentally cowardly way to behave—opens up a complex play of projections, in which the bully is seen simultaneously as an unconquerable super-villain and a pitiable, insecure blowhard, while the victim becomes both an aggressor (a violator of whatever social conventions the bully has invoked or invented) and a pathetic coward unwilling to defend himself.

      1. tony

        Graber is probably getting causation wrong about bullying victims. Well-liked, socially adept kids rarely get bullied. They have too many allies. Victims of bullying tend to be unpopular and vulnerable to begin with.

        With the Iraq war, most social media bullying and IRL bullying, the bystanders have already chosen a side and simply need a pretext. So the flimsiest evidence is enough, just attack anyone questioning it.

        1. ambrit

          I endorse this idea. I was the “odd man out” in grade school and suffered accordingly. Being taken to the Principals office for punching back was worse than the original fracas.
          Therein lies the present dilemma. Many have been, often forcibly, ‘socialized’ to passivity in the face of unreasonable actions by others. By extension, this ‘other’ winds up being the forces of social and civil control that work for the status quo. Standing up for ones’ self then becomes demonized as ‘barbaric,’ or ‘anti social.’ No wonder ‘Progressives’ are finding it so hard to gain any political traction.
          I take Lamberts’ point about the self defeating component of “Snark.” However, there are times when ‘snark’ is just a manifestation of a greater and more desperate state of being that is barely being held back. I view ‘snark’ as a predecessor of revolutionary action, not a manifestation thereof.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        I agree with Graeber. And I would go further to suggest that this is the basic MO of entrepreneurial (Gates-, Thiel- and Zuckerberg-style) capitalism (distinguished from rentier capitalism). Super-agressive a$$holes are tolerated until it’s too late.

  6. tgs

    Many in the Democratic establishment are privately seething over Sanders continuing to paint Clinton as the candidate of Wall Street and business and the party as corrupt.

    What the clown who wrote that doesn’t get is that many of us were already quite aware that Clinton is the candidate of Wall Street, the MIC etc., We also knew that the Democratic party is completely corrupt. What we didn’t have was a candidate who was saying this openly. Obviously, there were a lot of us who felt this way; hence the enthusiastic support for Bernie. And many younger voters who perhaps didn’t realize how corrupt and broken the entire system is have gotten a crash course this primary season.

    The days when progressive voters could be herded like cattle to vote for the likes of a Clinton or an Obama because of the fear of some Republican are, I believe, over.

    1. James Levy

      Perhaps they shouldn’t be, but many will, which is why Trump going out of his way to heap praise on Scalia was so uncharacteristically maladroit. When he makes statements like that (which he often does, but people seem to breeze past looking for confirmation that Trump might not be a plutocrat and a Republican after all but some kind of stealth tribune of the people “Because Hillary”) it doesn’t help him with his base of voters (who are fed up and what the bums out) but does scare away people for whom Scalia is (rightly) anathema.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Iraq and Clinton cronyism are why she isn’t President today, never mind this election. The disdain for Clinton Inc. was sufficient then to let an empty suit win. Democrats might want to start there or try to understand why self described independent voters who identify as liberal or progressive have been growing. Of course, Democrats would have to self assess for a few seconds.

      “Hope and Change” was Obama’s slogan in use against Hillary.

    3. cwaltz

      That’s the real win of this primary season.

      Lesser evilism is dead.

      Now if we can just get some agreement among progressives on 2 prongs forward

      a) recreating a Democratic party that is more functional for the majority
      b) creating a viable alternative to them should the financiers manage to capture them again.

      I don’t care which order succeeds first but they BOTH should be done.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        In the current system “Lesser Evilism” only dies when there is a viable alternative that is also, ahem, *electable*. Like all other spheres of American life, power in this sphere concentrates ever upwards so “bottom up” becomes less and less possible. Until, that is, we get the ultimate “bottom up”, US in 1776, France in 1789, etc.
        We’e all in line at the gulag, being offered just two choices: the line for the firing squad or the line for death by overwork and starvation. Forming a third line inside the camp walls won’t work, at the count of 3 we all need to rush the gates, trample the barbed wire under our feet, and “strangle the last aristocrat with the entrails of the last priest”. (N. Bonaparte)
        I wish it weren’t so. Yesterday they said the proportion of Americans who would struggle to put together $1000 was…*two-thirds*. Wait a bit…that will be three-quarters, then nine tenths…then it’s the Hunger Games, but with many fewer in the audience and many more in the woods just trying to live another day.

        1. Jim Haygood

          “strangle the last Democrat with the entrails of the last Republican”. (N. Bonaparte 2.0)

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          at the count of 3 we all need to rush the gates, trample the barbed wire under our feet, and “strangle the last aristocrat with the entrails of the last priest”. (N. Bonaparte)

          Yes. But the tricky thing is to figure out when. And I am pretty sure that the only way to really know when is to try over and over again, knowing that most or all of the first waves are going to be cannon fodder.

    4. JCC

      The Democratic establishment is seething because the Sanders faction has shouted, “But the Empress and her cohort have no clothes!”

      Embarrassing, and, gee, that just isn’t fair politics.

  7. Jim Haygood

    The mills of justice grind on:

    Tom Fitton, whose [Judicial Watch] group is suing the State Department, says he is restricted in what he can legally say about an interview conducted on Wednesday with Lewis Lukens, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state during Clinton’s tenure.

    But the Judicial Watch president did tell The Daily Caller that Clinton will not be pleased with the information he provided. “The testimony was not helpful for Clinton or the State Department,” Fitton told TheDC in a phone interview.

    Lukens is of interest to Judicial Watch because of emails that he sent just days into Clinton’s term in which he proposed the idea of setting up a stand-alone computer so that she could email from the agency’s executive offices.

    Judicial Watch will be also be interviewing Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Bryan Pagliano, and State Department officials Stephen Mull and Patrick Kennedy.

    Mull is the official who sent an email to Kennedy, Mills and Abedin in Aug. 2011 discussing Clinton’s private server.


    So Hillary’s private server was an open secret. But none of these officials acted to obtain her correspondence, until the server’s existence was disclosed nearly two years after Hillary left the State Dept.

    Any competent federal prosecutor could turn this picture into conspiracy charges against the lot of them. Hillary’s declaration that she’s wrapped up the nomination is equivalent to tossing a scarf at the investigators’ feet and daring them to pick it up. With pleasure, ma’am.

  8. marym

    Although Bernie Sanders has scored a series of victories in recent primaries to slow down Hillary Clinton’s likely presidential nomination, the vast majority of Democrats (70%) do not think the continuing campaign for the Democratic nomination is hurting the party. Sanders and Clinton supporters share this sentiment, and Democrats’ views are unchanged from last month (71%).

    Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 13-15, 2016


    1. Jim Haygood

      Three first quarters in a row have been weak:

      1Q 2014: –0.9%
      1Q 2015: +0.6%
      1Q 2016: +0.5%

      … followed by second quarter strength:

      2Q 2014: +4.6%
      2Q 2015: +3.9%

      This unusual pattern suggests possible seasonal adjustment problems. If that’s the reason, then a bounce to 2.5% growth in 2Q 2016 might actually correspond to a flat, “treading water” economy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And when we don’t get a 2nd quarter bounce, it will probably mean the many bubbles all around us are getting old, and incumbent candidates better watch out.

        1. polecat

          Fischer, et al will just throw more chicken bones on the Eccles lobby floor, to see how much more ‘non core’ inflation the plebs can take …..before the first guillotines & gibbets show up !!

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Italy’s the one to watch, “bad bank” is swallowing “less bad bank” and the recent Italian bank “bail-in” was a wake-up call for locals.

              1. ambrit

                Wait a second! There was an Italian bank ‘bail in’ recently? I missed this. Any links?

  9. Nick

    Re all of the articles spewing crap against Sanders: I hope and suspect that this will have the same effect on Bernie Democrats and Independents that it had on Trump’s supporters – it will fire them up to go to the polls and vote for Sanders, so I say keep it coming (with the one caveat that Sanders also remains “defiant”).

    Re the wealthy people of Florence being the same as 600 years ago: it’s the same all over Europe. It’s obviously not universal, but if you have an aristocratic last name (often something beginning with De or Von, but as long as it’s known as being aristocratic it doesn’t really matter) then you’ll generally have a leg up in life because for some strange reason, people are still really impressed by that kind of thing and want to be associated with those people.
    And primogeniture (I’m learning so many new words on this site btw :)) which Tertium Squid mentioned above, doesn’t really matter all that much because people in society and the business community still want to be associated with you because you have access to the family even if you don’t hold the wealth yourself. It’s the social equivalent of having a permanent Louis Vuitton logo attached to your name.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its not just Europe, you have the same with WASP names in the US. I posted this above, but studies of French Acadians in Canada and the US has shown remarkable stability in relative economic positions of family names from Nova Scotia down to Louisiana.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Every dynasty throughout the last 2,00 years had given sinecure jobs to not only his male descendants but also those of his more prominent male disciples.

        Where was their first female sage?

        Will they finally get a first female sage?

        1. Vatch

          Hypatia lived around 400 C.E. in Alexandria, in the Mediterranean region. I don’t know whether she was the first female sage in that area, and she wasn’t Chinese. She also met a nasty end when she was flayed to death by an angry mob of Christian monks.

        2. Seas of Promethium

          Sappho was universally regarded as Homer’s equal in the classical world. I wonder how modern culture would be different if the works of both had survived, or if Sappho’s had survived and Homer’s lost.

  10. Lee

    Class War?
    Pensions may be cut to ‘virtually nothing’ for 407,000 people


    “I can’t really tell if Clinton’s political instincts are just that bad, or if a few of the people giving her advice should consider other careers, like maybe welding…”

    Welding is honest work so they wouldn’t be morally qualified.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Hillary’s people would be welding metal looted from empty houses by junkies … and praising it as “carbon neutral.”

    2. Arizona Slim

      Welding is skilled work. It shouldn’t be a second career for people who can’t run a campaign.

      1. ambrit

        “Welding is skilled work.”
        Not the way I do it! (I see much more low skilled work being done now. Expect a wave of inferior physical work failures in our near future. Someone is trying to ‘financialize’ physical laws. That won’t end well at all.)

    3. crittermom

      Oops? My response was to Lee’s comment…
      Wow. Great article in the link.
      I’m tempted to send it to my neighbor, who along with her (3rd) husband are among those ‘secure’ with their pensions in their nice home with all their toys.
      She’d even remarked to me recently how she feels bad for those who don’t have pensions, as those are no longer being offered in the workplace.
      I replied she should feel very, very lucky, & tried to tell her that even pensions aren’t secure.

      If I send her the article, however, it’ll probably just make her mad, or even worse, bring out her own defiant denial that it couldn’t happen to them.

      I’ve already lost everything to the banksters. Maybe we can carpool to the food bank when she’s forced to join me one day, as reality bites ’em in the behind, since it’s becoming evident that NO ONE is secure in their retirement.

      Did I mention they’re staunch Republicans who think Bernie is intent on only helping those “too lazy to work”?
      *chomp* Yep. It’s gonna hurt ’em if/when it happens.

      RE: “Welding is honest work so they wouldn’t be morally qualified.”

  11. Carolinian

    Re Matt Bai–so domestically it’s going to be Bill’s third term and overseas it’s going to be Bush’s third term. Didn’t they pass a Constitutional amendment about that sort of thing?

    And you stole my puppy/belly scratching comparison which I was going to use for Lindsey Graham. Trump called up the former Never Trump-er and Graham later said, in effect, “he sure was nice.” More rolling over and tail wagging to come.

    1. ambrit

      Don’t forget the ‘golden showers’ that Reagan ‘normalized.’ (I once wanted to make a poster of Reagan urinating off of the White House porte cochere roof onto a mass of working class looking people scurrying by and title it; “Trickle Down Economics.”)

      1. crittermom

        Love your poster idea!
        No telling what Hellary is hiding under those pantsuits (besides bags of Goldman Sachs money).
        Maybe you could do the same cartoon using her?

        1. ambrit

          Uh, how about; “She stoops, and conquers.”
          Hillary would do just fine for a character out of “School for Scandal.”
          Or, the Ghost of Reagan and H C side by side micturating upon the “huddled masses” below with a caption reading: “Equality at last.”

  12. Alex morfesis

    Ice cream 4 breakfast ? Well I wasnt allowed to have meusli and vanilla ice cream in the morning when I was 2 yrs old…so making up for lost time wapo…
    for hot mornings in flow read dah it is ice cream or cold apple cider with meusli in the morning….

  13. Rhondda

    Somebody oughta be checking to see if Jon Ralston has participated in any strange-but-odd real estate transactions like the one linked to this morning between the Brooklyn elections clerk and HRC Dems. I’ll bet you scratch some of these “media accomplices” and beneath the surface you’ll find that it ain’t fealty or high morals driving their – ahem – output. Nefarious work like Ralston’s deserves many many Tubmans, but you can’t just hand ’em over in a big ol’ stack…”Thanks for the lies, bro. You did me a solid!”…No, you gotta have a back channel for that kind of remuneration. A bank or three to move your money around and some houses bought cheap at foreclosure prices. Laundered clean as a whistle! Yeah, that’s the ticket. I mean racket.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “strange-but-odd real estate transactions”

      In Vegas? How could we tell?

      Seriously, that’s an excellent suggestion. However, the payoff may come also come as Ralston vaults into the ranks of first-class pundits, much as Maddow did in 2008. (I started following him after a tweet from Chris Cilizza…)

      1. Rhondda

        I bet you’re right about the payoff. I did a cursory search. It seems he not too long ago married a Reno politician lady liberal and is moving right up the ladder of the “professional class”.

        I no longer turn my eyes or ears to Maddow…or anything MSNBC. She lost me long long ago with 1.) her breathless and uncritical embedment into .mil in Afghanistan and 2.) her inability to utter the word Israel.

  14. DG

    ““San Jose: Bernie Sanders continues call for ‘political revolution’” [San Jose Mercury News]. Big crowds, too.”

    Another mention of chair throwing! Unbelievable – don’t these journalists have any desire or incentive to get their articles right?

    1. flora

      The more I look at the one and only clip of the guy hoisting a chair over his head, the more it looks like he was using it as a prop while yelling something. Maybe yelling “#!@$ the Chair ” in response to some rigged results being announced by the Caucus Chair.

    2. sd

      Does anyone know where Sanders supporters like myself should go to get their regulation throwing chair?

  15. Stephen Tynan

    Water Cooler was particularly brilliant today.
    Thank you for keeping us informed!

  16. Lambert Strether Post author

    Clinton fury with Sanders grows The Hill

    “This is the worst-case scenario and the one people feared the most,” said one Clinton ally and former Clinton aide.

    Once again, “the people who can destroy a thing, they control it.” (Frank Herbert, Dune). To deploy a locution and a trope I hate, the Clinton people really do need to move through anger and grief toward acceptance, admit Sanders has leverage, and cut a deal. I say they need to. I also don’t think they’ll be able to. The fish rots from the head on this one (“My party”).

    “Unfortunately, he’s choosing the path of burning down the house,” the ally said. “He continues with character attacks against Hillary. He continues with calling the Democratic Party corrupt, and he not only risks damaging Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party but he’s currently doing it.”

    But the Democrat Party in general and the Clintons in particular are corrupt; they use public office for private gain. And corruption is a systemic problem, not a character issue, as pointed out on TRNN here, today.

    Clinton allies say Sanders is only piling on by insisting that Clinton join him for a debate ahead of California’s primary on June 7. The debate would be aired on Fox News, a network Clinton supporters see as fanning the flames between Sanders supporters and the former secretary of State.

    Insisting that Clinton keep her word[1] seems like a strange form of “piling on.”

    A second ally said Sanders should stop criticizing the party and the front-runner’s supporters even if he continues to fight for delegates through the six state contests on June 7.

    “It’s inappropriate at this point, and I hate to tell him, it’s not helping him in the long run. It’s only hurting her,” the ally said. “The Republican Party has their nominee, and he’s free and clear of his Republican opponents and is taking shots at Hillary. We need to move closer to that process, and he’s not helping.”

    I love the word “inappropriate,” and you should mentally flag it when you hear it used. It’s one of those “national conversation”-style words Democrats like so much, where a word used to describe etiquette infractions, generally by children, infantilizes the other while simultaneously masking an appalling desire for control, not to say lust for power.

    [1] Headline: “Clinton, Sanders agree to debates in Michigan and California.” The sourcing on California seems a little iffy. That said, Clinton did commit to X number of debates. If not California, where?

    1. Pat

      And if someone said this in a conversation to me I would pretty much respond with:

      “Wah wah wah, my opponent won’t stop telling the truth about me!!!!” and then continue with, if Clinton cannot contend with Sanders how the hell do you expect her to contend with Trump. She isn’t fighting a two front war here, despite your implication that she is. She is fighting the same war: convincing voters she IS trustworthy, IS not selling them out for personal gain despite all evidence to the contrary, and IS not a lying, war mongering menace. If she cannot convince Sanders voters’ of these things she sure as hell is NOT going to convince Republicans who have believed it for a lot longer than the young people who have made up the bulk of Sanders supporters.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        All that we 4 dimensional mere mortals deem impossible can make perfect sense in 11 dimensions.

        To her, there is still a narrow path even if she can’t convince Sanders’ voters.

        1. Pat

          I’m still hearing from various people that the Dems could run a monkey in November and they would win. Because you know that Trump has lost women, Hispanics and Blacks, there is no way he can win especially with electoral college, even with polls that put him at a dead heat in major battleground states.

          It isn’t just Clinton that lives in denial. I think a huge portion of the Democratic Party has not gotten that 1.) the Republicans really have destroyed faith in government for the good of the people and 2.) by selling out their constituents for donors Democrats have reinforced this notion and destroyed their base without even realizing it. That eventually those with no place else to go will just go forget it, and not extrapolating what happens to them when there is no one to vote for them but sycophants that go to the highest bidder.

          1. Buttinsky

            I would put a clinton on a slightly different branch of the evolutionary tree from that of a monkey, but nevertheless it does appear that the principle is going to be tested by the Democrats in November.

          2. Rhondda

            “I think a huge portion of the Democratic Party has not gotten that 1.) the Republicans really have destroyed faith in government for the good of the people and 2.) by selling out their constituents for donors Democrats have reinforced this notion and destroyed their base without even realizing it.”

            Pat, you have hit the nail on the head, imho. And it seems to me that the “portion of the Dem Party” of which you speak are the wealthier, credentialed class who are largely doing just fine economically (or think they are, compared to others) — who are also a tad tuned out, get their “news” from the MSM and don’t really care very much about folks being turned to pink mist in foreign places as long as equities keep their retirement phat. At least this is what I have encountered in my conversations with the smug status-quo-works-for-me HRC supporters in my milieu.

          3. Anonylisa

            The denial is real. In conversations with my family Hillary supporter, she could not reconcile her disdain for Bernie supporters with the Party’s need for them. She basically doesn’t understand why the Bernie supporters cant just be quiet about Hillary’s faults and vote for her because, Supreme Court.

            When i explain that we Bernie voters feel disaffected by the party and feel like the party has treated us unfairly, she wonders why we are even Democrats at all! The party can do as it likes. It is a private organization and can put forward whatever candidate it likes. (if we hate the party so much why don’t we leave it?…after all Bernie wasn’t even a D before this race). She also very strongly feels that anyone who is not a member of the party should have no say in the nominee, which i understand to a degree (but don’t think its a smart strategy if you want to grow your party). I explain that this attitude is not going to get the democrats any new voters, and the party will not grow…they will lose Bernie votes. There will be no unity. She then got mad again because obviously Bernie voters don’t care about the Supreme Court or all the great things Obama has done.

            There is a level of cognitive dissonance here. So much of the justification for her positions appear to boil down to Rooting for Team D no matter how bad they are (lesser evilism). But on issue after issue, she understands that the right policies have not been pushed.

            I just don’t know how to break through this line of reasoning.

            1. Jeff W

              The party can do as it likes. It is a private organization and can put forward whatever candidate it likes.

              I’ve heard that exact formulation elsewhere. I wonder if that isn’t some Clinton talking point.

              She also very strongly feels that anyone who is not a member of the party should have no say in the nominee, which i understand to a degree…

              Well, the percentage of people who are not members of the two major parties outnumbers the percentages of those who are members of either party. Here, from Pew:

              Based on 2014 data, 39% identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans. This is the highest percentage of independents in more than 75 years of public opinion polling.

              So if the Democratic Party wants to take its chances with a candidate chosen by a group that represents only a third of the electorate in a contest where the entire electorate has a say, it is certainly free to do so but that might not optimize its chances of winning. (Given that the presumptive nominee—for whom only 18% of registered independents likely to vote say they will vote—gained a lot of her pledged delegates in closed primaries, it seems like the party has done just that.)

            2. tony

              Intellectually you can’t. She seems to be what Altemyer called a “right-wing authoritarian”. Right-wing here referring to the dominant views in the society.

              You would need to convince her that her social group supports Bernie and use the correct trigger words to reorient her mind. Think about those TV preachers who get caught having meth-fueled gay affairs. RIght combination of words and images and the flock is back in line.

          4. readerOfTeaLeaves

            Completely agree the Dems have destroyed their own base without realizing it.
            Otherwise, we wouldn’t have stupid nonsense about how ‘Hillary is furious with Bernie’.

            Bernie is pointing out the obvious.
            The Dems are in deep, deep denial.

            And part of that denial is a belief that a monkey could beat Trump in November. This idiocy from the same people who thought Trump would never do well in the primaries.

      2. fresno dan

        May 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm

        Very nicely put.
        You know, if someone was to simply say, “What EXACTLY is Sanders saying about Hillary that is not true” – like a number of comments in this thread about how the dem professional class speaks (i.e., Thomas Frank), there would be a tremendous amount of words and tendentiousness about how Hillary is not in the pocket of Wall Street, with astounding amounts of disingeniousness.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Stole this comment from another site:

        If Hillary were just a little bit smarter, she would simply concede to Bernie in exchange for the VP slot.

        After Bernie beats Donald, then she could just kill Bernie like all the other Arkancides.

        That’s the only way she’s ever going to make it back to the White House.

    2. grayslady

      The Republican Party has their nominee, and he’s free and clear of his Republican opponents and is taking shots at Hillary.

      So what’s to prevent Hillary from shooting right back? Too wrapped up in tissue paper to take aim and fire? No, it’s because Hillary is a petty, vindictive individual who would rather discredit Bernie than discredit Trump, even if it means sending out hordes of surrogates to stir up trouble. This is getting so tedious. Can we just go back to the surrogates breathlessly saying, “But, but…he’s a socialist.” I sort of liked that one.

    3. inode_buddha

      I would say, (in a very calm and level voice) “OK, let’s talk about inappropriate behavior” and have a very long list about Clinton and her supporters, including the party itself, in detail with sources…

  17. allan

    Shorter Clintonistas: we know Hill’s toast in November
    and need to find someone else to blame when the inevitable defeat occurs.

    1. cwaltz

      They can TRY to blame him all they want. It’s just going to be pointed out that HE already informed the DNC that he was the more electable.

      It isn’t going to be Sanders supporters that are ultimately responsible for a Trump nomination. They aren’t the ones rigging state parties, suggesting that 40+ % of the electorate be disenfranchised during the primary process, or purging voter rolls. That’s the Clinton supporting half of the DNC.

      After they coronate her in July, they’ll own the DNC’s loss or win.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bernie can say to them, after July, ‘You won’t have me to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last dance. Adios. I am leaving your party.”

        1. cwaltz

          He’s made it pretty clear that he’s a “reform it from the inside” player at this point.

          I’m fine with that.

          I’m not convinced it can be reformed from the inside but I have no wish to engage in a circular firing squad with someone who I see as a natural ally when it comes to agreement that the system does not work for the majority of us.

          He can work from the inside while I work from the outside and hopefully one of us at some point will succeed in getting reform.

          It actually makes the most sense to approach it from both avenues. We really do need to create a viable alternative so that when and if the Democrats or their Alternative Party become corrupted there is a place for those on the left to go. In an ideal world we’d have 4 parties instead of 2. Then there would be some place for the conservatives go when the GOP ignores them and there would be some place for the liberals to go when the Democrats ignored them. Political homes for more than the money class.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Clinton people are very sensitive (from Lambert above):

            “Unfortunately, he’s choosing the path of burning down the house,” the ally said. “He continues with character attacks against Hillary. He continues with calling the Democratic Party corrupt, and he not only risks damaging Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party but he’s currently doing it.”

            For these people, he is not reforming.

            He is burning down the house.

            I guess if one is inside the house, one should know whether the house is burning or not….unless one is prone to dramatizing. Then our reform becomes their burning down.

            1. cwaltz

              Personally I’m all for burning down the house at this point. Who wants a pest infested, dilapidated and rotted mess anyway? I get the impression that Bernie feels that he can work with some of the people(beams) within the party even as they are screaming that he’s burning down the house even as the guy is trying to tear out the rot and save what he can of the original foundation.

          2. fresno dan

            May 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

            I too wish we didn’t have this duopoly. But it is just amazing to me that people will seriously say “I can’t waste my vote by voting for a third party” – like voting for Clinton or Trump isn’t a waste???
            I can only hope Trump really has demolished the repubs. I would hope Bernie would see that the best thing he could do, like Samson and Delilah,is topple the temple

  18. JustAnObserver

    IMHO One thing that is becoming increasingly clear and lies behind all the fake calls for “party unity” is that (some of) the Democratic Party’s elite/nomenklatura/apparatchiks that make up the superdelegate mob have realized that there are now only 2 choices:

    1. Force Ms. Clinton’s nomination and lose to Trump in the general => Dark money spigots dry up.

    2. Nominate Sanders, he wins => Dark money spigots dry up.

    Hence the hysteria from all the folks who hear the distant sound of smashing rice bowls invading their dreams of credentialed comfort.

    [paranoia ON]
    I can see a variant on #2 where he’s nominated and then the DNC works to make sure he *loses* … the limit case of hippie punching. Either out of bitter vengeance or out of a calculation that they will then completely own the Dem party … mine, all mine they can say with a Dr. Evil cackle, no more pippies with their hop songs to get in the way of the neolib juggernaut.

    And Bloomberg, that well known progressive, can just say “See. I told you to listen to your parents”

    [paranoia OFF]

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think you have to travel in 11 dimensional space-time continuum there to get an idea of what the Empress-to-be is doing.

    2. hunkerdown

      I’m not so sure the dark money spigots dry up in case 1. The two-party system is defense-in-depth on the part of the nobility. They’re not being paid to win, necessarily. They’re being paid to grind down the left, to preserve the self-indispensable noble classes, and to crowd out challenges to aristocratic order *first*. The appearance of inter-Party competition is a secondary priority.

      Under Trump Terror™ (coming soon to pay-per-view) Democratic machine propagandists could expect to have all the work they could handle setting up the customary three-act play (simulated reflection, insider coalescence, demanding obedience from the rabble) on the way to a neoliberal midterm sweep, especially if people get and stay mobilized against them. It seems that is the very purpose behind Trump Terror, seeing where it has been aimed.

      1. fresno dan

        Nice analysis (love that term “defense-in-depth’)
        Say Bernie wins (presidency) or say Trump wins and he is not as beholden to the oligarchy as Clinton would be….so what?
        People seem to forget there is a congress and a huge bureaucracy in place. When I worked at the FDA high officials were in a revolving door – everybody knew how the game was played.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Methinks the “Trump might win” meme is a fantasy, or false flag, or kabuki, or mis-direction, or all of the above.
          Because: the electoral college.
          So Methinks Part Two is that the corporo-fascist billionaire-ati are still nervous about a repeat of 2008, where the Anointed Female Fascist-in-Chief was unexpectedly derailed by an Black Outsider Fascist-in-Chief with a different set of promise-keepers and paymasters. Looked like their rice bowl was moving to parts unknown, can’t have that.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Ohio, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, PA, Virginia, and Colorado aren’t out of reach. Of course, Minnesota and Wisconsin have been GOP targets. With trade on the ballot, the electoral college isn’t insurance for a disaster of a candidate.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              From your lips to Allah’s ears.
              (He/she does have ears, doesn’t he/she? Or is he/she trans-substantiated or something…I get confused)

      2. aab

        I don’t think that’s quite right. Machine propagandists kneel before Zod. The New York Times will be kneeling right quick if Trump wins, just as it did for Bush. Those too closely aligned with Team Clinton will be unable to pivot sucessfully; Krugman, for example. He’ll be okay, because he can retreat to some academic sinecure. But not all of them can.

        Big money pundits will continue to be big money pundits. But Comcast won’t need to keep MSNBC afloat to the same degree, without a President Clinton to please. Under Bush, MSNBC thrived. But that was with a nice big audience buying into the “We’re Good Team Blue” frame. The old audience that will continue to watch cable news will shrink further. Rachel’s $7 million a year won’t make sense.

        Meanwhile, all those Democratic pols seeking lobbyist landing strips after losing when SS Clinton goes down will also suffer. Again, Goldman, Exxon, et al. will still fund Schumer and Murray and a couple of others. But why pay to lobby a party that controls NO branch of government, and few states? Like the pundit pool, the lobbying pool will shrink. As will the consultant pool, and the think tank pool, and so on and so on. Establishment Dems have done a great job getting rich by never having quite enough power. But with zero power, the game will be essentially over.

        I can’t guarantee they really understand this. But Joan Walsh’s insane behavior today does suggest they’re starting to, on some level. After getting Matt Bruenig fired, she then went to a Bernie organizing Twitter account — not an official one, one of the many, many independent grassroots ones — and made fun of the volunteers, suggesting no one was signing up. The photo in the tweet she was replying to was of a packed room of volunteers, who were exactly the people she is constantly saying don’t support Bernie: tons of working class people of color. She misspelled her comment, even. I swear to God, after I got over the shock of her pointless rudeness, I thought, “Is she drunk? Who does this?” But panic would also explain it.

    3. Ulysses

      There’s some precedent for the 2nd scenario in the behavior of establishment Dems during the McGovern campaign.

  19. Pat

    Someone in the past few days opined that there was a splitIin the Democratic Party regulars, and used a quip by Biden denying there was any split to back it up.

    I’ve been thinking about it. I admit it plays to my own feeling that there is a plan to push Biden into the nomination depending on a whole lot of possible bumps in the road. But I really do have to wonder if the raucus refrain of ‘shut up, shut up, shut up and sit down’ we have gotten for the last few days is not the last gasp of a desperate Clinton campaign. Not because they are really afraid Sanders is going to win, but the longer he stays in, the more obvious it is how vulnerable she really is to Trump. The early declaration of victory usually only happens when there is great reason to think it might not have been one, in my experience. I wonder if there is a deepening split, AND if the Clinton camp is getting more of an icy reception than they are used to.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      June 1st is the official kickoff.

      There are three key issues for yellow dog Democrats outside Sanders supporters versus Republicans. I’m referring to people who are invested in winning. Polls can change, so they can ignore her weakness to a certain degree.

      -where is the money? Where is the money Hillary has been raising for the state parties? She can’t spend that on her campaign. This money has been promised to every legislative candidate. MA you of these candidates have loads ed themselves money expecting to be paid back. This has nothing to do with Sanders v Clinton because the primary money is separate unless Hillary is being unethical.

      -Two. What is the reception and volunteer situation? A volunteer in May is worth 100 in October. The danger for Democrats isn’t Sanders voters not voting. The danger is the non primary voters not voting. Most people don’t pay attention until October 15, after all the registration deadlines. Who will do the grunt work for team Hillary? Could Hillary win today in Ohio? She did well in closed primary states, but new voters and people who became independents favored Sanders.

      -The third issue is Clinton is chomping at the bit to swing right. If Hillary did manage to win suburban Republican women, they are basically fascists, how does that help down ticket Democrats? The last thing Democratic candidates want is Republicans voting at all. If socialite X votes for Hillary because Trump is a pig, they are still voting Republican down ticket.

      1. Pat

        Umm. I will have to digest what you have said, but I did have one visceral reaction.

        This has nothing to do with Sanders v Clinton because the primary money is separate unless Hillary is being unethical.

        Huh, what? I didn’t even think that was up for debate here – unethical is the starting default for Hillary.

        But you do bring up a very real point. Sometime in the near future, all that money and help she has been ‘promising’ is going to have to become tangible. And if I were a ‘super delegate’, I would damn well want a significant portion of it BEFORE the convention. But then if I had made a deal to launder money for the DNC and Clinton as a state chair, I would sure as hell have made it clear that X percentage goes immediately to the state (and in my case X would be at least 50%) because the truth is that if the FEC decides to crack down on this, it is very much going to be my ass and I can make a much better case to save it if the state actually got a decent part of the money even if it still illegal. Apparently the grifters haven’t quite gotten that the Clintons consider everyone expendable.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I mean for yellow dog partisans. They need to hire organizers. They won’t blame Sanders for the missing money because it’s their money not Hillary’s. I believe they are angry because it’s an old complaint about the Democrats (the GOP loves their lower tier members), but they won’t blame Sanders because he’s not causing them to lose money unless Hillary is illegally spending their money.


          This article is a good read. I think Hillary was put forth as a solution to the problems listed by members, and I do think there is anger at Obama going back to 2010. The members are too afraid to say it. Hillary was seen as a savior, but they never actually bothered to look beyond an SNL sketch. A 73 old white guy from Vermont has no business being here, but the problems the Democrats have from 2014 are the same effect problems they have right now.

          The myth of Bill Clinton, political super genius, is being put on full display. Democrats are looking for Clinton magic, and he was never that great in the first place.

  20. portia

    in the case of the rape case, Hillary did laugh it off that her client was guilty and she knew it, but still had to win, because, win–anything goes. She put the victim through hell on the witness stand even though she knew. Lawyers. IMNSHO they should be barred from elected office because they are taught to win at all costs, or at least end up with the advantage no matter what the cost to the other side. I know, I was a legal secretary among many other things.


  21. JustAnObserver

    Fundamentally the Clinton camp really, really didn’t expect to have to put any effort into this coronation. They’d just wipe the token challenger, O’Malley, and then done. The possibility that a real challenge might arise didn’t, I think, even occur to them so they didn’t game it, focus group it, prepare defenses for it and now they’re shocked, shocked I tell you, to find campaiging going on here.

    Every time the Sanders campaign shows its fighting mettle the Clinton camp are reacting like that famous John Cleese voice-over

    “No more ffing gondolas”

    from the spoof travelogue “Away from it all” that appeared with the release of Life of Brian.


    1. Jim Haygood

      Waiting for Hillary to go 1998 on Sanders heretics:

      “It’s a vast left-wing conspiracy.”

  22. JIm

    Thomas Frank stated above: “Liberalism itself has changed and the Democrats aren’t who they think they are…The Democrats are a class party…It is the professional class. It’s people with advanced degrees. They use that phrase themselves, all the time, the professional class.”

    Does Frank have an historical explanation for how this professional class emerged in both the Republican and Democratic parties?

    One element that is of interest to me is that it is assumed by about 95% of the NC commetariat that a significant portion of our current economic crisis is to be found in the way capitalism and finance have evolved in the past 70-80 years–becoming increasingly predatory and extractive.

    How does the rise of the professional-managerial groupings fit into this narrative?

    What if our current economic/financial crisis is not simply a crisis of capitalism but a crisis of a type of new capitalist/socialist brew which began to emerge in the early 1930s and was even more predominant in 20007-20008?

    Is our modern economy now a mixture of investment for profit and investment for social welfare?

    Is the administration of this mixture now primarily in the hands of the professional-managerial class?

    Is the hegemony of this planning cabal the origin of present economic crisis?

    Can this hegemony be broken through a process of democratic reorganization of this modern capitalist/socialist mix?

      1. JIm

        Beginning in about 1933 (for just one brief historical example) wasn’t there a type of national mobilization of federal emergency employment programs and state-mandated collective bargaining:
        Passage of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the National Labor Relatlons Act (Wagner Act), the Public Contracts Act, and the Fail Labor Standards Act made possible the national administration of labor’s hours, wages, unionization, hiring, firing, compensation, personal welfare and contract bargaining. Also the Civil Works Administration, the Public Works Administration, the National Recovery Administration, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation which, I believe, collectively provided millions of jobs along with items like the Social Security Act of 1935.

  23. Alex morfesis

    Even if shillary wins, that motley krewe have seem to have forgotten their “brilliance” came from ross perot carving up bushieboy 1 & that little detail known as the fall of the Soviet union…al gore inventing the internet by declassifying tons of spy/military technology leading to the little mission impossible spy box most people hold in their hands today, commonly called a cellphone…

    What magic will empress $hillary pull out of her thingy that will give her an opening…?

    She does not have a big enough family or set of kids to spread the boot around…

    If she thinks she will hide behind some wars…even bobo frikinyahoo is watching his own generals and spymasters call him an idiot…if he tried to start a war with iran, no one would show up…

    Bernie…the more me thinx about it mahn…you best threaten to walk aways now if the demz dont fold…

    Go do a bernie 2018 counter coup thing…

    you are in your strongest position ever…

    Use the take away…take your marbles off the playground and watch them turn yellow…she can not win without the bernie or bust crew…el donaldo has finished his coup…he will Krrruussh her….

    1. Rhondda

      Right you are, Alex. She cannot win without us — and she will never have us.
      Thinking on’t…This makes the likelihood of some sort of “untoward event” much greater. Something that will make us do it. I can never forget that the neocons called for/predicted/identified the need for a “new Pearl Harbor.” These people aren’t paying foofoo games. This is for all the marbles. October Surprise, anyone?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I saw this story in the Bangor Daily News today:

        Angus King says Donald Trump is too ‘hot, impulsive’ to lead

        If you wonder whether Donald Trump’s lack of experience in the national security arena could hurt his candidacy, consider Sen. Angus King, the only independent in Congress. After a recent trip on the “doomsday plane,” the one to be used by the president in the event of a nuclear attack, King has concluded that the presumptive Republican nominee is not fit to be commander-in-chief.

        The Maine senator, a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, said he and several other lawmakers recently flew in a mock exercise on the plane. That persuaded him that it would be too risky to put Trump in a position to order the use of a nuclear weapon.

        Never mind the idea that Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Honduras, and our loony episode in Ukraine might possibly mean that Clinton has an itchy trigger finger….

        Since you mentioned an October surprise… What the heck is a supposedly serious administration doing giving Senators joyrides on the “doomsday plane”? Is the ultimate gaslight a nuclear one?

        Not that I’m foily…. And I’m sure Manafort and Stone are gaming all this out right now. They’ve been here before…

  24. flora

    Just watched the PBS NewsHour Shields/Brooks segment with Woodruff. They were talking about the primaries and Bernie’s challenge to Hillary, and Brooks said: “OK, [the primaries] haven’t been totally honest, but [Hillary] has won fair and square.”
    David Brooks never disappoints.
    The NewsHour followed that segment with a pro-TPP segment built around identity politics.
    The NewsHour never disappoints.

  25. fresno dan


    Budweiser, now owned by Belgium’s AB Inbev, will rename its beer “America” this summer and alter its labels with images and phrases affiliated with the republic.

    The red, white and blue campaign is being launched into a very competitive market already foamy with craft beers, and upon a drinking public bracing itself for a presidential election likely to be unlike any before it.

    The campaign, called “America is in Your Hands,” will run from May 23 through November and will include on cans and bottles passages ranging from Pledge of Allegiance to lyrics from “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

    If that is not a sign of the end of “America” than I don’t know what is…..

    But you gotta love the irony
    “Budweiser, now owned by Belgium’s AB Inbev”

    I am looking forward to the Simpson’s parody – America, get on your Duff!

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Bud Classic” will be back on the shelves in six weeks as sales crater.

      This is “new Coke” only worse — no obvious link to the established brand name.

      No wonder the French tell Belgian jokes.

    2. grayslady

      I put out saucers of Bud Light years ago, trying to lure slugs from my garden. Unfortunately, the slugs actually liked the Bud Light, and I found very few slug carcasses drowned in the beer the way they were supposed to do. I wonder if InBev would appreciate my testimonial?

  26. meeps

    re: Millennials Opting Out Of Traditional Homes, Apartments For Co-Living Spaces

    If the people who use Podshare feel it meets their housing, social or financial needs, more power to them. Is it a solution? Or a homeless shelter where one reserves a cot for $40 to $50 a night? The prices quoted amount to $1200 to $1500 monthly, per person. The space in the video had at least 11. Hmmm…

    1. jrs

      Ha I thought it was $40-$50 a *month*, it’s really a night? Well if it’s really truly going to be competitive with having one or two roommates and your own room in a shared apartment it should cost less than that. It doesn’t, not even in L.A. prices (in fact you might very well be able to get a place of your very own for those prices if you look around). And it sounds like a really @#$# way to live so if not your own place, why not just get roommates?

      However maybe it is all about noone having the security deposit. If noone has 1k in an emergency no matter how much money they make, I could see paying the security deposit even on a shared place getting hard to do, even if rent on one of those things runs more than the rent on an actual apartment would. Wow that would be sad.

      1. meeps

        Yes–per night. It would be sad. I, too, think there must be other factors like credit (or lack thereof, or full homeless shelters) because this arrangement seems to neglect as many human needs (safety, privacy, sexuality…) as it might meet. Roommates with their own bedrooms can be challenging; this much “closeness” would melt my brain.

        1. ambrit

          Check out ‘weekly’ rentals at the local Motel 6. Here Down South, that is presently running at about $30 a night. I did it a few times on short duration out of town jobs. Get two people sharing the twin beds motel room, which usually come with a mini fridge, bring your own hot plate, and per diem, where available, (it being a fast disappearing commodity,) makes the exercise in self flagellation possible.

    1. Light a Candle

      Really enjoyed both those Shaun King articles, thank you.

      And thank God/ess for Naked Capitalism, an oasis in an MSM desert. And of course Yves and Lambert!!

  27. Wayne Harris

    Rolling Stone also talked to some of the Bernie supporters pushed over the edge by the rigged Nevada caucus.


    Here’s one response:

    You’re right, stuff like that doesn’t benefit the campaign, but it’s not necessarily about his campaign, as [much as] it is [about] anger. And I’m not justifying any threats or anything like that, but I would justify people who were upset. Because there is clearly stuff that should not have happened that did happen on Saturday. I can speak for myself: that was very upsetting to me, and the person I was viewing it with, because it felt like democracy was stolen. Like, people weren’t getting their voices heard. The DNC is a private organization — they can do whatever they want to do, but if you watch the video, and I’m sure you have (there are several videos and live-streams and news reports), you could understand there were a few different times when [Lange] didn’t do the best job of making sure people’s voices were heard fairly.

  28. aab

    I’m still really new to commenting here, and I’m not sure whether I should email you instead, Lambert. But I hope you cover the Matt Bruenig firing from Demos. I didn’t think it was possible to be more appalled by Clinton World, but Joan Walsh and Neera Tanden getting him fired for using intemperate language on Twitter as he pointed out Walsh’s misleading use of data to justify hurting the poor is something special. His wife is giving birth within days. She voluntarily shut down her own Twitter to protect her job and access to health insurance.

    These are terrible, terrible people. I realize you guys want intellectually valuable comments and not ranting, but I have to rant somewhere with more than 140 characters.

    1. sd

      What a pathetically thin skinned bunch Joan Walsh and Neera Tanden are. “Mommy mommy, Matt said something mean to me.” Good lord.

  29. VietnamVet

    Bill Clinton was assigned the economy since Hillary Clinton will be in command of the Wars against Russia and Islam and both Clintons know that the economy is doing great for them. However, Bill Clinton will be kept busy bleeding the hoi polloi dry and dealing with China’s debt problems. USA had one year of stimulus plus its endless wars. China had eight years of stimulus but the crashing commodity prices indicates that it is all over. Austerity doesn’t work. The possibilities are narrowing. Writing off the bad debt over the dead bodies of the plutocrats, a World War wiping out everything, or the triumph of right wing populism in the midst of the second Great Depression.

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