2:00PM Water Cooler 5/2/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Barack Obama Readies For Final TPP Push, Which Could Benefit Presidential Library Donors” [Business Insider]. Ka-ching.

“A salient goal of TTIP is to shadow the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS), an instrument of public international law granting firms the right to raise an action in a tribunal on the basis that a state’s policies have harmed their commercial interests” [London Review of Books]. “The implications for national governments seeking to regulate capitalism in the public interest are obvious.”

“Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal” [Guardian]. The Greenpeace document dump.

“TTIP could cause an NHS sell-off and UK Parliament would be powerless to stop it, says leading union” [Independent]



“Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy: Implications for Asia” [The Diplomat]. The question of whose finger you want on the red button is not a bad one. However, as the New York Times shows, Clinton’s bias is toward action. Does that translate to an itchy trigger finger?

“Why Zalmay Khalilzad Is Taking Donald Trump Seriously” [Slate]. “I think intellectually he is not the least capable person who would become president.”


“[Clinton] says she’s raising big checks to help state committees, but they’ve gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised” [Politico]. Remember when all the Clinton’s supporters were busting Sanders’ chops because he wouldn’t participate in that effort? Surprise! It was a Clinton scam, and a shameless one, too.

“Time Warner’s cable news network has more than doubled target prime-time audience this year and continues to raise ad rates” [Wall Street Journal, “CNN Enjoys Outsize Ratings Boost From Presidential Race”]. “When CNN President Jeff Zucker saw the ratings for Fox News’s first Republican debate last August—a staggering 24 million viewers—he immediately called up his head of advertising sales and told her to raise prices, by a lot.” Welll, that explains a lot.


“Canadian Partnership Shielded Identities of Donors to Clinton Foundation” [New York Times]. “Aides to former President Bill Clinton helped start a Canadian charity that effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million that went to his foundation, despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state.” And: “But the [Clinton Foundation] statement did not make clear whether parallel organizations like the Canadian entity would be allowed to accept donations from governments that the foundation itself would not take.” Say, from the Saudis?

The Voters

UPDATE Some positive feedback for Andrew Sullivan:

UPDATE “Clinton Campaign Has Astounding Record Of Smugness Toward Young Voters” [Shadowproof]. A fine compilation.

The Trail

“Trump Said to Lack Plan for Fundraising, Running Mate Vetting” [Bloomberg]. Leave The Donald alone! He’s done pretty well so far.

UPDATE “Mr. Trump has seen his support grow in a broad range of places, but has seen particular sharp growth in dense suburban areas” [Wall Street Journal, “How Suburban Voters Put Donald Trump Back on Track”]. “Before the April 19 New York primary, Mr. Trump was winning about 37% of the vote coming from the urban suburbs. But after New York and Mr. Trump’s five-state sweep on Tuesday, he saw that number jump to about 42%.”

“‘It is virtually impossible for Hillary Clinton to reach a majority of convention delegates by June 14, which is the last day a primary will be held, with pledged delegates alone,” [Sanders] added. ‘She will need superdelegates to take her over the top at the convention in Philadelphia'” [Guardian]. Again, in 2008, Clinton fought to the last delegate in 2008, and then cut a deal with Obama in Denver. So, what the faction of the political class that is calling for Sanders to quit really wants is for Sanders not to have the same power. And one might ask why.

UPDATE Clinton compromising on Sanders policy demands: “‘We can’t do it,’ the [Clinton] ally said. ‘But there’s going to be a place for him to weigh in on the campaign and at the convention and he should have the satisfaction that he raised some issues that have been a part of the conversation” [The Hill]. “Conversation” is one of those Democratic nomenklatura words you should always watch out for. Because the nice thing about conversations is that they don’t have power relations.

UPDATE “Bernie Sanders rips Carrier execs: ‘They have no shame'” [Indianapolis Star].

UPDATE “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has withdrawn his lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee, putting an end to an intraparty dispute over unauthorized access to proprietary data belonging to rival Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign” [Wall Street Journal, “Sanders Campaign Withdraws Suit in Intraparty Fight”]. A smallish olive branch?

UPDATE “The complete transcript of Larry Wilmore’s 2016 White House correspondents’ dinner speech” [WaPo].

Stats Watch

PMI Manufacturing Index, April 2016: “The manufacturing sector has started out the second quarter completely flat, based at least on the April PMI which fell 7 tenths to 50.8. New orders did rise modestly in the month but that’s the only good news in the report” [Econoday]. “And manufacturers continue to work down inventories as much as possible. Prices for raw materials, reflecting higher costs for oil-related products, did rise but not selling prices which are decreasing further.”

ISM Mfg Index, April 2016: “April’s 50.8 for the ISM manufacturing index may be moderately below expectations for 51.5 but details in the report are positive [Econoday]. “New orders did slow by 2.5 points but the level at 55.8 still points to a very solid rate of growth.” One gets the feeling that if the index exceeded expectations they’d go mad with joy. PMI isn’t closely watched but ISM is. And: “[The ISM is] in expansion for the second month after 5 months in contraction – however it declined and is barely positive. The key internals likewise declined and remained positive” [Econintersect]. And: “Another worse than expected report, and now it’s been over a year since it all started going bad, even as analysts continue to find reasons to be optimistic that have yet to pan out” [Mosler Economics].

Construction Spending, March 2016: “Construction spending did inch 0.3 percent higher in March, which is lower than expected, but February is now revised sharply higher” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year, total construction spending is up 8.0 percent, which includes a 7.8 percent gain on the residential side and a 9.3 percent gain on the non-residential side. These are down from 10 percent rates in prior reports but are still very hard to match anywhere else in the economy.” And: “The headlines say construction spending improved – but slightly below expectations. The backward revisions make this series wacky – but the rolling averages declined” [Econintersect].

GDP Q1 (April 29): “The initial Q1 GDP estimate shows economic growth as a stagnant 0.5%. Consumer spending was all services consumption. Private investment just walloped the economy as both nonresidential fixed investment and the changes in private inventories contracted. Exports also receded” [Economic Populist].

“The Mohamed A. El-Erian interview: How bad a slowdown do you need as a wake-up call?” [Business Insider]. This is a couple weeks old and Yves linked to it, but the elites do seem to have a bad case of the jitters.

“As venture capital dries up, tech start-ups discover frugality” [Los Angeles Times]. So “startup culture” depended on J-Yel’s gusher of free money. I’m shocked.

“What Good Are Hedge Funds?” [David Dayen, The American Prospect].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68, Greed (previous close: 64, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 2 at 1:12pm. All well at the club on Sunday afternoon.

The 420

” But Schedule I is different: It lumps together every controlled substance that has no approved medical use, regardless of dangerousness. Distinctions between the degree of risk were ignored by the crafters of the scheduling system because they assumed that if there were no medically approved uses, there was no reason to make fine regulatory judgments concerning who is allowed to manufacture, prescribe and research a drug and who is not” [WaPo].

“Walgreens wants to talk weed” [MarketWatch].

“How Pot Can Save Big Tobacco’s Future” [Bloomberg]. Great.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“‘Formation’-inspired protest blocks streets in Chicago” [Rolling Out].


“Brita Unveils New In-Throat Water Filters” [The Onion]. You laugh!

The Jackpot

“3 ways AI could help save the planet” [Business Insider].

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Warren Buffett’s mobile home empire preys on the poor” [Public Integrity].

“Money, Race and Success: How Your School District Compares” [New York Times].

“The Emerging Wealthy White Male Donor Class: A Chicago Case Study” [The American Prospect]. Emerging?

“The WHCA Gave Even Less Money to Scholarships in 2014 and 2015” [Washingtonian].

News of the Wired

“Are these cats the answer to Chicago’s rat problem?” [MarketWatch]. How many legs do the rats have?

“Excerpts from How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet” [First Monday].

“Who invented the cash machine? I did – and all I earned was £10” [Guardian]. And the PIN. Bankers: “Thanks. We’ll take it from here.”

* * *

I think I fixed my fershuggeneh contact form below. Just to keep the NC comment section clean, will only those who already have my email address tell me if they have issues, using email? Thank you!

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Keith E):


Keith writes: “A custom bred camillia, developed by my ex-wife’s grandfather.” Gorgeous!

* * *

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


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Jim Haygood

    Some microeconomic background on Puerto Rico, which defaulted on its debt today:

    Minimum wage laws contribute to Puerto Rico’s abysmal labor force participation rates by inflating employment costs.

    The U.S. federal minimum wage is very high relative to Puerto Rico’s local average, where minimum wage is equivalent to 77 percent of per capita income, compared to only 28 percent in U.S. states. Puerto Rico needs to be exempt from the federal minimum wage in order to lower employment costs and incentivize employers to hire more workers.

    Another reason for the low labor participation rate is a welfare system providing generous benefits often exceeding that of minimum wage employment. One estimate from the Krueger report shows that a household of three eligible for food stamps, AFDC, Medicaid and utilities subsidies can receive $1,743 per month compared to the minimum wage earners take home earnings of $1,159.


    Set the minimum wage and social benefits too high, and it’s a formula for vaporizing jobs … as exemplified by continuing net migration to the U.S. mainland.

    The more people leave, the higher the per capita debt burden becomes on the older, sicker cohort left behind.

    Anne Krueger, formerly with the IMF, authored the Krueger report. Puerto Rico can’t borrow from the IMF because it’s not a country.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Lower minimum wages? Because it worked so well for Greece!

      How flagrant do we want to make the “race to the bottom”?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Greece’s minimum wage was reduced 22% in 2012, after the first bailout. Before the Greek crisis broke out in 2010, the country had a relatively high minimum wage, and was borrowing freely.

        If that sounds like Puerto Rico today, it’s probably not a coincidence.

        High minimum wages are great way to prevent employment from recovering after a crisis. Econ 101: make something more costly, and less of it will be purchased. Works for labor too.

        Central planners would love to repeal basic laws of supply and demand. But bless their little pointed heads, it just doesn’t seem to be working.

        1. JohnnyGL

          “High minimum wages are great way to prevent employment from recovering after a crisis.”

          Low wages are a great way to prevent demand from recovering after a crisis.

          There! Fixed it for you! :)

        2. Gareth

          Econ 101 — Yes this explains how 40 years of stagnant wages has resulted in an industrial boom in the US, oh wait…

        3. Joseph Hill

          the minimum wage issue seems pretty far down the list of the multitude of problems and causes cited for Puerto Rico in the Holtz-Eakin, et al article you link to. If you are genuflecting to Econ 101 it might be good to point out that the evidence for the employment effect of a minimum wage does not uniformly support the theory. I think the key point is that “one size fits all” can be problematic when looking at different labor markets and PR is an island after all. Also in some instances I do think you have a saluatory effect on demand.

        4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          All I know from Econ 101 is that if you price-control a commodity, the supply will shrink.

          That is to say, if you price-control bankers, there will be fewer bankers.

          And if you do the same to lawyers, Shakespeare would be very happy as well.

        5. cwaltz

          Basic laws of supply and demand?

          Spare us the laws of supply and demand where the resource market gets told to suck it and capital reaps all the rewards of any productivity gains.

        6. Ulysses

          I just knew there was an explanation for why so many Danish workers, oppressed by outrageously high wages, have fled their nightmarish existence for the good life of earning a more honest wage in the sweat-shops of Malaysia!! Thanks for all you do to clarify things!!

          Anyone else interested in this phenomenon can simply google: “Malaysia’s huge population of immigrant Danish workers”

        7. Synoia

          Greece’s minimum wage was reduced 22% in 2012, after the first bailout. Before the Greek crisis broke out in 2010, the country had a relatively high minimum wage, and was borrowing freely.

          And Greece is booming now? Pulling itself out of an austerity driven recession?

          Perhaps we should cut the minimum wage to zero, and then the excess population can just die on the Job?

        8. Propertius

          Gosh, Jim, I suppose things would be hunky-dory if we just reduced the minimum wage to its lowest possible level by repealing the 13th Amendment.

        9. Hatacha

          So you’re an utter scumbag as well as a fool, I see.

          And little if anything you learn in Econ 101 is actually true. If you’re still paying any attention to standard economics textbooks despite years on this site, then you truly are a lost cause.

          1. lame-o

            While I often disagree with Jim Haygood’s posts, he’s not trolling, I think unlike someone who instantly trots “scumbag” out the gate. I post infrequently but I value the level of discourse of the commentariat here compared to other corners of the ‘net, so maybe try and reel in the vitriol a tad.

            1. Hatatcha

              No, I think it’s very well deserved vitriol. I’ve seen many Haygood posts, and all they’ve done is further solidify my assessment that conservatives are fundamentally meanspirited as well as impervious to facts. Mostly what he does is sneer at MMT ideas (though never actually make much attempt to challenge them, likely because he can’t) and talk about how amazing he thinks gold is. His comments are longwinded but largely vapid and worthless. There are plenty of commentators I’ll stop to read, James Levy especially, but Haygood just makes my braincells commit suicide.

              Someone who claims we shouldn’t have a decent minimum wage (and we shouldn’t give them welfare either, because that’s obviously evil Keynesianism paid for with fake money, and one day we’ll pay for our vast moral failings) because of some garbage notion of ensuring ‘competitiveness’ a. doesn’t live anywhere near the poverty line, and b. has a character comprised in no small part of simple cruelty. Haygood is a bully, in thought if not in daily deed.

              1. Yves Smith

                I don’t think that’s fair. Haygood provides a lot of useful economic information. However, he is a knee-jerk conservative on certain topics, such as increasing the minimum wage and Argentina.

              2. Skippy

                Jim does has a massive case of bias myopia….

                ““Baron Von Mises (key Austrian economist who invented praxxing), Baron Von Hayek (Nobel Prize-winning Austrian economist), and Kaiser Von Habsburg (would-be emperor) all knew each other and all were Austrian Nobility at one point or another. They all hated FDR for refusing their requests to use American power to reinstate the Austrian nobility/monarchy after WWII.[3][4][5] They put this institute to work combating his ideas,[6] placing it in the deep south to win over disillusioned racists to libertarianism, but also to inspire a new right-libertarianism.[7]

                How do you get southerners, who have a long-standing rebellious streak, generally few wealthy areas, and strong opposition to banking establishments and trading floors, to want to deregulate Wall Street? These things are not in their best interests. To that end, Mises embarked on “Christian Reconstructionism”, marrying neo-confederate author Gary North to Rousas Rushdoony’s daughter. Rousas Rushdoony is the founder of christian reconstructionism, a movement which seeks to take the finer points of Calvinism and insert that into Southern Baptism.[8] Add to all this the fact that they’re pandering to neo-Confederates on purpose (especially DiLorenzo), and we begin to understand the type of propaganda they’re pushing.

                So they’re actively working from multiple angles to combine racism with wealth worship and empirical science denial. Use fuzzy libertarian math to prove that segregation is good and millionaires are great and the poor (read: black) deserve to suffer. Now, get the church to re-enforce that message, and bam, you’ve got “The Republican South” for the first time ever.” – read on


                Yet I agree with YS that even with above noted Jim does provide useful information along with being a long time contributor on NC.

                Disheveled Marsupial…. Let us not be like them and ban Marx, MMT or anything they don’t agree with…. its a big part in how we got into this mess in the first place

              3. JoeK

                Then how about

                “You’re mean-spirited and impervious to facts.” Then perhaps expound briefly on why to hammer home the point.

                I’m speaking as someone who’s read many of JH’s comments and also find them often to be parroting GOP talking points, which are on the whole….yes, mean-spirited and impervious to facts.

                (That’s why, IMO, GOPers have to use various tricks to get votes, because they can’t just state their beliefs openly).

                Scumbag is a nasty word best reserved for actual scumbags, and doesn’t reflect well on the person employing it either.

              4. apber

                Apparently those pundits who keep arguing for increase in the minimum wage, must have had, in their teenage years, wealthy parents that subsidized vacation and summer periods. I didn’t. I wanted a car, so I took any job I could for the experience, regardless of the pay. I learned the value of a work ethic; being on time, always showing up, how to work with others, etc. That experience is invaluable, but because of some minimum wage laws, is denied to vast segments of the youth population. The minimum wage was never meant to be one to support a family; rather if was to gain experience critical to surviving in the work force.

                1. Hatacha

                  Are you really that naive about how the modern economy works? What it was intended for doesn’t matter; the reality is that a huge number of people on minimum wage (as well as above minimum but still not very good jobs) aren’t teenagers doing a short-term summer job. They’re adults, many of them with meaningful degrees, who are taking any job they can find. Many of them do have families to support.

                  As for the conservative talking points about ‘work ethic’ and so on…what is that even supposed to mean? Most people do show up on time and do their job well, the constant threat of unemployment and subsequent starvation is a great motivator if nothing else. I’ve never understood this apparent belief that there is some kind of massive epidemic of lazy workers. And even if there were, it’s pure Calvinist vindictiveness to think that because someone hasn’t worked to whatever amount you deem sufficient they deserve whatever happens to them.

                  ‘Surviving in the work force’. Because being able to make a living is a privilege, not a right, and we are all beholden to our employer overlords, right? What you’re actually saying is that you learned how to shut-up and be a good little capitalist cog.

    2. Vatch

      From your linked article:

      One estimate from the Krueger Report shows that a household of three eligible for food stamps, AFDC, Medicaid and utilities subsidies can receive $1,743 per month compared to the minimum wage earners take home earnings of $1,159.

      As of now, there is no incentive to join the work force because of this discrepancy between benefits of workers and non-workers.

      This is misleading, and the conclusion is at least partly wrong. Low wage workers are often eligible for benefits such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and utilities subsidies. So a minimum wage worker could get his or her wages plus all of the subsidies (except for the AFDC, probably). If a person’s wages increased enough, then the person would lose some or all of the subsidies, and that would be a disincentive to earn higher wages. But I doubt that this sort of disincentive occurs at the minimum wage level.

      1. cwaltz

        The solution would seem to me to be to make minimum wage at least $1744 per month.I’m sure though that we’ll be told $11 an hour is unreasonable and the solution is to lower subsidies.

        The serfs need to work so the feudal Lords can profit.

    3. cwaltz

      Psssst ,if minimum wage is LOWER than what you would receive in subsidies to stay home than it isn’t TOO HIGH, it’s TOO LOW.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Yes indeed. It can also be said this way: the amount of futile, demeaning work required to earn the minimum pittance it TOO MUCH.

        1. procopius

          Most of the people who are getting maximum subsidies are not physically capable of getting and doing a minimum wage job. There is virtually no fraud in Social Security Disability — half of all applicants are turned down. In most states, you cannot get Medicaid if you own a car. Good luck with your job search, kid, which you need if you want to get food stamps.

    4. Alessandro Machi

      the minimum wage should be 50% of the average wage in the U.S. However this formula should be used per state, perhaps even per rural setting and city setting within each state.

      1. cwaltz

        Do you mean median rather than average? At $54,000 that would put a minimum at $27,000 or $520 a week. That’s not far from the Fight for $15, it’s $13 an hour.

        Personally, I don’t think it should be adjusted by setting since both rural settings and city settings have pros and cons. For example, housing in our fairly rural setting is cheaper than most cities, however we have practically no public transport which means people generally need a vehicle and all the costs associated with it(car insurance, fuel, car maintenance fund).

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Very good point on transport. And it costs more to live in a city but there are more amenities.

          Seems to me that a complicated formula is a recipe for more salaries to manage the formula and revise it, for not very much benefit (except the “good jobs at good wages”). So keep it simple and have one nationwide minimum wage (say, $15/hour).

  2. flora

    re: “Are these cats the answer to Chicago’s rat problem?” [MarketWatch].

    Are cats running for mayor and city council?

    1. fresno dan

      All you have to do to get the big, two legged rats as well, is get some bigger cats…..
      A couple of siberian tigers should do, and they can handle the Chicago winters….

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Every cat is different.

      I had one who just simply ignored the rat one night we were invaded.

    1. timbers

      If the article is accurate it seems very clear a lot of voting fraud was done on Hillary’s behalf.

    2. hreik

      Yeah, I saw it. NY was rigged. The discrepancy in the exit polls vs final results is the tell. Why I’ll never vote for her… well one of the reasons…

      1. cwaltz

        The judge ruled that he won’t stop the certification of the results to happen though.

        I hope every single voter who was disenfranchised in NY decides they won’t be participating in the Hillary coronation. Let the DNC reap what they have sown.

      2. pretzelattack

        i expected it to be rigged. no way i’m voting for any more dnc shills.

    3. tgs

      Thanks for that link. I am going to give it a careful read. One thing that has bothered me for a while is the fact that the problems seem to be occurring pretty much exclusively on the Democratic side.

      1. JohnnyGL

        And not just on the Democratic side, but specifically targeted to hit Sanders’ supporters. Making entire blocks of youngish Brooklyn hipsters disappear was awfully convenient.

        It’s worth asking why the voter id laws in WI weren’t such a big problem. I remember hearing about how horrific the requirements were for college students in WI in particular, but somehow Sanders crushed that primary, well beyond what the polls saw coming. Anyone know what happened (or didn’t)?

        1. tgs

          By the way, my girlfriend and I are not so young Brooklyn hipsters who were among the ‘disappeared’. Both of us were contacted by the Democratic party and the Sanders’ campaign two weeks/ten days prior to the primary. Clearly we were registered at that time.

        2. Feelin the Bern in WI

          The UW system acted. They made sure their students could get a picture id for voting and there were focused registration drives. But that was only one group that the new photo ID law targeted.

          I trained as a special registration deputy and worked at the polls. Voters were very confused about what they needed to bring for registration. The problem is all the confusion about what qualifies as proof of residency. It’s going to be more of a problem in the fall when 80-90% of voters turn up at the polls.

          Bernie was very strong in my community which is solid Republican territory. He brought young people out to vote, otherwise I think they would have stayed home. On the Rep side, we had a state Supreme Court race where I am convinced the NRA dropped lots of $$$. I think that brought out lots of otherwise uninterested voters.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            “UW system acted. They made sure their students could get a picture id”

            Oddly, not, the Democrat Party provides no such service. You’d think they would!

    4. Rhondda

      Kudos to Spencer Gundert for undertaking the task of investigating and laying it all out. Fantastic work. Well written and well-designed.

      And absolutely galling. Reading it I actually found myself snarling and making grrr noises.
      What’s really a pisser is how the remedies — when they come at all — come so long after the fact.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’ll be the first to admit that our election system is hosed, and in a way that benefits incumbents of both parties. (The international standard is hand-marked paper ballots, counted in public, and election day should be a national holiday).

        That said, I’m seeing a lot of anecdote in the Gundert piece, and a lot of data for which a case can be made that it’s sketchy. (So often we mistake an image on a screen for an artifact.) There’s a big, big grey area between opportunistic local or media loyalists using every trick in the book and a conscious campaign of election suppress by the Clinton campaign. (Indeed, wouldn’t that be one reason we have consultants and strategists? To work in that grey area?)

        Where this leads is “We wuz robbed!” irrendentism, often persisting for years. It would be a shame if Sanders supporters, 15 years from now, where still ranting about “The theft of election 2016” the way the Greens are still all tied up in knots over Nader. Totally ineffective as a strategy and corrosive institutionally (supposing there to be a Sanders instititution in future).

        My advice would be to suck it up and win next time. Voters don’t care. (Now, if a whistleblower comes forward to make a narrative out of all these puzzle pieces, that’s another story. Nothing so far!)

        1. procopius

          I don’t think making election day a holiday, even a national holiday, would help much. Not, at least, until we make it a felony to require your employees to work on national holidays, like restaurants and shopping malls.

  3. James Levy

    These “let’s feel sorry for the poor white guys” articles miss one salient point: they rarely make the case for who screwed these people, only that they “seem to have been” or “have been” screwed. And they indulge in what I would term “counter-whining.” White guys have had it so good for so long compared to blacks, latinos, women, and gays, that whining is unbecoming. A clear, sharp, and poised recitation of legitimate grievances (and there are many) would do nicely. As Robert Hughes wrote 25 years ago, we don’t need a contest for who’s been sinned against the most–we need actions to remedy wrongs and injustices. Trump’s policies are to punch down and play three card Monty with where the real remedies will come from (yea, through deporting the Mexican rapists, “beating the Chinese” and “making better deals”). As I said the other day, he and Hillary are involved in Cargo Cults, one invoking the 1950s, the other the 1990s.

    And telling me he is the lesser of two evils may prove true but is rather weak tea, especially around here, and there is no evidence that voting for him can be anything but an exercise in lesser-evilism (something people roundly rejected and vilified viz. Obama and Romney but now seem to think is a great idea).

    1. dk

      Wholly agreed about white guy whining being unbecoming in the relative sense. But when even white guys start whining, things have gone very far off the rails; so I think it’s still a significant artifact. And in that context, Trump’s punch-downs are even more disturbing.

      Lesser-evilism doesn’t work between a frying pan and a fire… even for masochists. I think to detect a lot of anger towards the DNC/Dems, and I sympathize deeply (y’all are late to my party), but it’s easier to raise money as an opposition party than as an incumbent party, and I’d suggest that putting the DNC in the incumbent party hot seat would be a better way to roast them, than letting them claim the mantle of opposition to an out-of-control president (given that either Clinton or Trump can fit that bill).

      1. Romancing the Loan

        putting the DNC in the incumbent party hot seat would be a better way to roast them

        That hasn’t worked out very well for the last eight years though has it?

        1. cwaltz

          They need a majority of 100 in the Senate and 435 in the House and then they’ll really, really govern to the left. LOL

          I’m trying to figure out how dk thinks that the party that is electing Clinton by virtue of their superdelegates intends to “oppose” her as an out of control president once they all take office? No, they intend to continue their march rightward. It’s the only direction they know how to go.

          1. dk

            I’m talking about defying and undermining the DNC, not expecting anything useful from them. Their march to the right is their exposure.

            1. Massinissa

              Im sure there are ways to undermine or defy the DNC without voting them back into office.

        2. dk

          They’re not going to roast themselves. Business as usual = business as usual. It only matters if there’s going to be more activism from the left than in the last eight years.

          If there’s nobody bitching at them for, say, not having a 50-state strategy and completely fumbling the 2010 redistricting, or any of a thousand other dropped balls, it doesn’t really matter either way. Another redistricting coming up in 2020, so this next four years is a critical period. In 2004, Dean took the underdog Dems into a very successful 50-state phase, which was hastily dismantled when Obama came in.

          So my thinking is, if you want to do an end run, have them where they think they’re safe. Make them the underdogs again, and you’ll have to compete with them. If they’re underdogs, they will claim that the left belongs to them, no matter what the left says. If they’re in the hot seat, they either have to take the left seriously (unlikely, given the last eight years), or expose themselves as DINO centrists (as is currently happening).

          I could be wrong, I’m just thinking out loud. But in a fight, it’s much better to have an opponent who thinks they are sitting safe and pretty, than to go up against an underdog who knows they have to make an effort. But that assumes one is actually going to fight; just sitting around and watching what happens, that’s playing the part the DNC expects of outsiders.

      2. flora

        Make the DNC Dems the incumbent party? After their actions?
        To quote Melville’s Bartleby, “I would prefer not to.”

        From Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter:

        “…I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:
        I deeply sympathize.’
        With sobs and tears he sorted out
        Those of the largest size,
        Holding his pocket-handkerchief
        Before his streaming eyes.

        O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,
        You’ve had a pleasant run!
        Shall we be trotting home again?’
        But answer came there none —
        And this was scarcely odd, because
        They’d eaten every one.”

    2. sleepy

      Yes, well the divide and conquer strategy for those at the bottom is proceeding nicely though, as you say, Trump’s policies are off-target for addressing the problems of the working class. At least, the bipartisan trickle down, tax cuts for the wealthy programs of the past 30 yrs. are viewed as being destructive by more and more people who the repubs used to take for granted.

      The paragraphs in the Sullivan article cited by Arnade remind me of the experiences my wife had in grad school in the early 70s. She was at Chicago and surrounded by fairly well-off students. Many of those women complained how men had it comparatively easy in life compared to them. Perhaps that was true of the men and women they grew up with, but my wife grew up poor in Kentucky with a father who was a roofer who had lung problems from the hot tar. She resented the fact that there was no recognition among her fellow students as to how much, much better they had it in life compared to her father.

      1. Synoia

        trickle down, tax cuts for the wealthy programs of the past 30 yrs. are viewed as being destructive

        Trump’s customers spend less, and visit less. Thus Trump’s more of a populist because his businesses needs the money people no longer have.

    3. Steven

      Someone who lost a house and a well-paying job in the recession and now has to grasp at pennies at the Walmart doesn’t feel privileged. White privilege hasn’t prevented the destruction of the working class. People who are barely getting by and whose lives are in shambles aren’t going to accept the message that they’re privileged.

    4. Take the Fork

      Sullivan clearly includes himself in the clueless elite.

      Clearly, some white guys have had it better than others. Such as the “white guys” who run the Oscars, for example. They’ve done really well flooding the society with degeneracy for decades.

      The white guys who work with their hands? Not so much – at least not for the past, oh, 45 years.

      Trump is not so subtly signaling that the former’s wealth may have something to do with the latter’s troubles.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      ” As Robert Hughes wrote 25 years ago, we don’t need a contest for who’s been sinned against the most–we need actions to remedy wrongs and injustices. ”

      Got a link to that, or something to search on? That’s pretty much where I am on all this.

      1. James Levy

        Read his book Culture of Complaint–it’s all in there, including a devastating critique of the Politically Correct Democrats and the Patriotically Correct Republicans.

  4. shinola

    Need/want a good primer on Hedge Funds & PE?

    Dave Dayen’s article “What Good Are Hedge Funds?” is excellent. I’d flag it as a Must Read!

  5. petal

    Thank you for the picture. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

    1. Roger Smith

      Seconded. I have never seen that kind of flower before. It is incredible.

    2. nippersdad

      It looks closely related to C.J. Pink Perfection. That was my Grandmother’s favorite. They really are very elegant flowers.

      1. petal

        Oh how I wish I could afford to get myself a couple few acres some day before I die, just so I could plant my favourite things. *sigh*

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I would like to get a few acres someday to take in all the pardoned turkeys.

          “You have been pardoned, turkey.”

          “Pardoned of what crime, sir?”

          “Of the crime of being born a turkey.”

          “Is that so, Mr. Commander-and-Chef-In-Chief? Thank you very much.”

          My few acres of sanctuary will be open to those poor, unfortunate reincarnation victims, who obviously must have sinned in their previous lives and so now, must live out a new existence as turkeys

        2. nippersdad

          You would be most welcome to come here and help with mine! There is still a lot of room and you could plant anything you wanted. I just spent the last six or so hours pruning/cleaning out part of the hedge. A couple hundred square feet down, a few thousand left to go…..It is really easy to let it all get away from you.

          Instead of gardening, I have started calling it communing with the ticks. :)

          1. Eureka Springs

            Just completed this years Battle of Wisteria myself.

            It seemingly will never end.

            1. nippersdad

              Wisteria sucks!

              Have you tried poisoning them? I have had some success using flower reservoirs (Plastic tubes with caps that you can put a flower in for your buttonhole or flower arrangements, you can get them at places like Michaels.) filled with a comparatively weak Roundup mixture. You want it weak so that the cells don’t shut down before it can reach the root. Cut an end of the vine and put it into the reservoir, tape it up and leave it for a few weeks. See if that works for you.

                1. nippersdad

                  “WTH is wrong with you?”

                  I have dealt with it before. Floribunda and Sinensis (exotics) are extremely invasive and can kill off trees. Once they get out of hand they are extremely difficult to tame. Frutescens (native) is not nearly as invasive and still has all of the good attributes of its’ Asiatic cousins.

                  If someone is fighting it, it isn’t the native one.

          2. petal

            Aww, thank you! I’d love to plant heirloom apple and seckel pear trees, roses are my faves, and now I feel a camellia addiction coming on. Sadly, northern NH is not an appropriate place for them. Right now I only have a small community garden plot so have to stick to annuals.

            I commune with the ticks every time I take my two dogs outside!
            Loved reading through this thread, guys. Great stuff-totally cheered me up!

        1. nippersdad

          That is why they call camellia japonica “the queen of flowers”; they really are gorgeous, and there are thousands of named cultivars. Even better, they usually bloom in the dead of winter when there is little else to distract from them. It looks like Keith, the person who took the picture, has a nice bed of them. I wouldn’t mind seeing his list….

          1. Keith Elder

            The picture was taken March 24 by my daughter in law when they were in Spartanburg
            SC, at the grandfather’s property where it was developed. My son is attempting to
            transplant this to SW VA via a technique called “air grafting”. I don’t know squat about
            gardening, not sure what a list is.

            1. nippersdad

              “I don’t know what a list is.”

              Kind of like birding, camellia enthusiasts maintain a list of their specimens. The background shows more of them, I was just wondering which ones they were. Air grafting is prolly the easiest way to propagate camellias; if he has the ball tight enough to maintain moisture within he should have good results from it.

          2. Archie

            Yes, I have 3 different cultivars and I have blooms from November thru January/early February. Then the redbuds take over followed by the early perennials. Living in Zone7/8 is very rewarding. My avian friends and acquaintances enjoy it as well.

    3. craazyman

      It is kind of hard to believe something like that formed itself through random genetic mutation.

  6. dk

    “Why Zalmay Khalilzad Is Taking Donald Trump Seriously” [Slate].

    But those who know him well say that he is quite pragmatic and he will adapt. And that as CEO he will surround himself with people and hold them accountable.

    Which is and always has been the real problem with Presidents. All of them. They hire a staff (and cabinet, etc). The staff level is where corruption happens. The staff isolates the president(/senator/congressperson/governor/mayor/etc/etc/etc), and filters information in both directions. They get to build their post-staff/post-government careers. They’re not necessarily evil people, but in that position even a few small compromises can have significant and lasting consequences.

    And these days, staff is often picked directly from campaign leadership and staff (and advisors.. and contributors…). Campaign people don’t have to (and often can’t) think more than a few months ahead. They deal with consequences as artifacts of the media cycle. Being really really good at campaigning suggests that you could be really really bad at governing.

    So this doesn’t just go towards Trump, but Trumps campaign staff gives me the willies.

    1. Synoia

      The staff isolates the president(/senator/congressperson/governor/mayor/etc/etc/etc), and filters information in both directions.

      Building an unbreachable wall of “Plausible Deniability”

      By design?

      1. dk

        It’s an inevitable by product of bureaucratic hierarchy, which is as old as the hills.

        Nominated for Most Unlearned Lesson Of History, every year for the last 3,500 years. But it’s forgotten so quickly (and ignored so vigorously) that it never wins. :(

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What are they implying with staff-picked-directly-from-campaign-leadership-staff?

      Are all those volunteers of the revolution expecting quid pro quo as staff members in the new administration?

      Are they implying corruption here?

      “Why do you think they give their $27, time and energy freely?”

      “Because the cause is just?”

      “No. Quid pro quo. That was how I got into the best bank in the world – by volunteering first.”

      1. dk

        The corruption comes later. The staff is approached after they are in position, they (usually) have little value prior to that.

        And BTW, quid pro quo is not intrinsically corrupt, it’s the foundation of contracts. Corrupt is when the quid or quo (or both) are illegal or otherwise undermine purposes/duties/responsibilities/etc.

        The volunteer of the revolution is assaulted after they win, not just before. The second assault looks like a friendly handshake and a pat on the back, and offers of assistance “anyting I can do to help, just let me know!”.

  7. optimader

    Comment too politically incorrect?
    There’s civil disobedience and there’s BS.

    1. meeps

      jo6pac @ 4:31 pm

      I’m in Colorado D2. Michael Bennet has what we Hawaiians call ‘deaf ear’. I’ve already admonished his opposition to Amendment 69 and expressed my desire to see him unseated in November. I don’t expect him to give 2 f*cks because I’m not a REAL con$tituent (wink, wink).

      Nice of you to post the link. Arn Menconis’ platform is consistent with the Green Party on many things, including the weaning of the MIC.

  8. craazyboy

    “As venture capital dries up, tech start-ups discover frugality” [Los Angeles Times]. So “startup culture” depended on J-Yel’s gusher of free money. I’m shocked.

    no,no,no. I still haven’t seen December’s 1/4 % rate hike in my savings account. Money is still free. Must be something else clogging up malinvestment flows. A sudden bout of good sense, maybe. Perhaps can’t flip the IPO for a 100 bagger anymore, most likely.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I finally caved in to J-Yel.

      You might consider lengthening your CDs from 12 months to 18 months, to pick an extra 0.1% or so.

      1. craazyboy

        Yea, after 8 years there’s no telling how long Lucy can keep pulling the football.

        Even so, .1% ain’t worth it. Besides, the really weird thing at my banks is I have to go out longer than 2 years on a CD to get more than a savings account interest! I have no time limit on my savings accounts either, I can pull out money whenever I want.

        1. optimader

          Your right, it’s hardly worth the effort, on the other hand, there is essentially no early withdrawal penalty when essentially no interest is accrued to be penalized. A CD is the virtual equivalent of a mattress. Just keep them below the FDIC limit.

  9. Ivy

    Re Onion Brita headline “Brita Unveils New In-Throat Water Filters”:

    There is a real-life analog that is somewhat startling.

    General Electric mailer received today notifies customers about new water filter cartridges for their refrigerators. The new cartridges filter out 94%+ of various medications, in addition to the usual chemicals.

    Just how much medication is in domestic water supplies anyway, and how does that vary by municipality? One wonders about the non-H2O components and then ponders next steps.

    1. Tyler

      My understanding is that the main “medications” are primarily antibiotics, hormones, and endocrine disruptors. Some of the medications are from humans, some of the medications are from over use of medication in livestock, and some is from industrial uses. Supposedly, the amounts are quite significant, but I have not seen any hard numbers.

      1. different clue

        I wonder how much chemotherapy drugs are recycled into drinking water, and also how much anti-depressant drugs.

  10. allan

    Obama on TPP in the Bezos Neoliberal Daily:

    It strengthens the intellectual property protections our innovators need to take risks and create.

    Oddly, it doesn’t discuss the Malaysian slavery carve out.

    1. Daryl

      I thought Burning Man was Burning Man for the pampered elite at this point? I guess they’ll pay extra not to have to rub elbows with old hippies or deal with dust storms.

  11. bob kociolek

    RE David Dayen’s excellent piece of hedges, now long will the people put up with the gifts given to the heredity wealthy, the lucky sperm recipients? The extractive rentiers were exposed by Adam Smith, and yet they continue to be a weight on all our necks.

  12. rjs

    econoday says: “Construction spending did inch 0.3 percent higher in March, which is lower than expected, but February is now revised sharply higher”

    NY Times and Reuters also reported that February was revised higher…

    they are all wrong, February construction spending was originally reported at $1,144.0 billion annually (google it), it is now $1,133.6 billion annually

    January was revised way down, and hence the small downward revision for February turned the January to February change positive…actual spending was revised down.

    even Barclays was quoted by the NYT that it would revise GDP up. they’re wrong too.

    i cant believe it…

  13. Darthbobber

    Sullivan and white/male/straight/CISgendered privilege. I read both the shoutout here and the piece in links.
(Sullivan kinda omits that since Plato thought Democracy tended toward tyranny, you should just cut to the chase by installing something very like a tyranny for all practical purposes from the get-go. Of course, those who believe themselves to already BE the philosopher kings hate the hypothetical Trump variant of tyranny because its the tyranny of the “wrong sort.”)
    But I digress already. Wanted to talk about the present usage of privilege. (Sullivan is, of course, generally wrong about what he calls the BLM “left” or the gay “left.” Most of those activists are trying to address real and sometimes lethally real problems, and they themselves generally don’t use litcrit pseudosociological buzzwords in the pursuit of that goal. That’s largely the province of the generally upscale , would-be fierce “social justice warriors”, who love to attribute everything in the world to privileges other than Bourgeois privilege. )
    These are the people who think that in picking up a highly simplified and popularized version of one of many available social critiques they have found the philosopher’s stone that obviates the need for further thought and allows them, in Bourdieu’s words, to “be a philosopher, an anthropologist, a sociologist and a psychologist, without actually being any of those things or knowing anything at all about all that.”
    Now, the handful of initial theorists who initiated what became the narrative of privilege were themselves, to the extent I’ve read them, reasonably responsible in providing the requisite caveats about what a category error was, and that you couldn’t infer the relative position of a given individual in the hypothesized hierarchy from their mere membership in a race or a gender. But this seems to have gone out the window in the ham-handed hands of those who believe themselves to be SJWs. I’ve often heard and read blather which, taken at face value, would indicate that in a room containing only Paris Hilton, Herman Cain, and some whiteguy day laborer in his fifties living in a flophouse with a Murphy bed and a plywood door with a padlock on it the third person is far and away the most privileged person in the room. (And if anybody quibbles with this, rather than attempting to actually respond to the criticism, they will invariably instead engage in amateur psychoanalysis of what must be wrong with the person who made the criticism.) Really, just an elaborate effort to bulletproof one’s own position against all possible criticism and proclaim oneself “right by definition.”
    Particularly on issues of race, I still prefer “black oppression” to “white privilege.” For the simple reason that when you say “oppression”, the clearly indicated course of action is to remove the oppression. When you speak of “privilege” (and what are called privileges are really things that pretend to be “rights” without actually be extended to all), the “problem” expressed that way could equally well be solved by the reduction of the formerly privileged to the status of the underclass, without doing anything at all for the underclass. Basically an enlargement of the underclass in the guise of egalitarianism.
    It hasn’t escaped my attention that for those SJWs who don’t
propose to attack capitalist sources of oppression, their “critique”, such as it is, actually dovetails well with a certain line of conservative thought, and also with the preferences of a large subset of capitalists who feel that there are now enough other means of keeping the labor force disciplined that the enlistment of race and gender-based subalterns is no longer necessary and may be counterproductive to their interests. (Which goes a good way to explaining how you can continue to hold reasonably prestigious academic positions and rise within the profession while delivering variants of this critique, as long as you don’t annoy people by dragging class into it too often.) The bourgeoisie see privilege critiques as absolutely no threat whatsoever. A useful sandbox in which to let the kids harmlessly work the activism out.
    The purveyors of this (at least those I’ve met) seem oblivious to the limitations of this stance as an organizing technique. Not to put too fine a point on it, but taking this at face value, if one does not propose in any serious way to attack the sources of class oppression, why in God’s name would you expect this to help recruit working class privileged folk to fight only against those aspects of the system from which they derive the only benefit they get at all? If you think this even might work, you might well be from those social strata that can afford noblesse oblige as their motivator. That’s not most people.
    (None of the above rant is at all intended to deny that honkies in the aggregate do indeed have the better of it, and the males among the honkies. But there is a great gulf between those tediously obvious facts and this edifice of pseudotheory erected on top of them.)

    1. fresno dan

      insightful analysis
      I just note that in the talk about the white trash class, no one ever talks about what percentage of the class is racist and how many have to be nonracist before any changing of the present circumstances can occur. I have known poor whites that I would characterize as racists who have black girlfriends and biracial children (oh yeah, some are racist against Asians, and some are racist against blacks – which shouldn’t be too hard to understand – after all, how many affluent whites despise poor whites? Of course, the whole sham of hate due to race bad, contempt due to people not taking advantage of the glorious meritocracy good, is a very convenient justification for manipulating the system to one’s own advantage and keeping it that way. Indeed, I actually doubt the 1%ers “hate” poor whites, any more than farmers hate the livestock they slaughter – it is just the way of the world…)

  14. jfleni38

    RE: “How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet”

    Tell us how our plutocrat clowns are doing any better! The method is called “GIMME” and up-yours ! And is even worse than the USSR of eighteen years ago.

  15. Left in Wisconsin

    UPDATE Clinton compromising on Sanders policy demands: “‘We can’t do it’

    The best line from the article:

    Clinton supporters argue the former secretary of State has already been forced to the left by Sanders, and can’t risk moving further ahead of a general election.

    But I thought she was always guided by what she truly believes. Does that mean her true beliefs have moved to the left during the primary? If so, how likely is it that her true beliefs will move back to the right during the general?

Comments are closed.