2:00PM Water Cooler 5/24/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I was detained by a household emergency, so this is a bit light. I’ll add some more shortly.


“TTIP and Jobs” [European Parliament]. “Employment effects are highly uncertain: they could be negative in the short run but positive in the long run. In any case, their magnitude is likely to be very small.” And so, “adjustment programs.” Which never really adjust.

“David Cameron narrowly avoided the parliamentary defeat of his Queen’s speech this week – an event that, theoretically, triggers the fall of a government and hasn’t happened since 1924. That was only achieved through an embarrassing U-turn on TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which he ardently supports” [Guardian]. It would sure be nice if the left could manage to heat up anti-trade action synchronously.



UPDATE “Barack Obama plans to raise as much as $1 billion to build his presidential library in Chicago.” [My San Antonio]. “I hope he puts in a ‘deportation wing.’ It could be installed on the right side of the structure since, as president, Obama has approached the immigration issue like a right-winger.”

UPDATE “Talk of winding down the terror wars has been dropped from the Obama administration’s message. Instead, the administration has been pouring thousands of new troops back into the Middle East, and his aides were looking for a new vocabulary to describe a strategy that more closely resembled the approach of the previous decade” [Yahoo News].

UPDATE “Clinton left the White House as the stock bubble that had fueled the prosperity of his second term was in the process of collapsing. It led to a recession that began less than two months after he left office. From the perspective of working people this was the worst recession of the post-World War II era until the Great Recession. The economy did not get back the jobs lost until January of 2005” [Dean Baker]. That’s “comparable to a situation where George W. Bush left office at the end of 2007 and describing his departure as being a period of prosperity. “


UPDATE “Half of the 25 most popular pro-Trump pages were selling Trump merchandise. By contrast, just four of the top 25 pro-Clinton pages had merchandise for sale” [Fusion]. Hmm…


“Bernie Sanders Tax And Healthcare Plans: Think Tanks That Released Critical Study Receive Funding From Industries That Would Be Affected” [Business Insider]. Shocker.

“Our Supporters” [Center for American Progress].

The Voters

“Since he clinched the Republican nomination two weeks ago, Trump has been the object of even more unfavorable press than he was before… So how can Trump be pulling even with Hillary Clinton?… in my travels around the country I’ve found many who support him precisely because of the qualities he’s being criticized for having [Robert Reich, The Week]. “Trump’s rise suggests a new kind of politics. You might call it anti-politics. The old politics pitted right against left, with presidential aspirants moving toward the center once they cinched the nomination. Anti-politics pits Washington insiders, corporate executives, bankers, and media moguls against a growing number of people who think the game is rigged against them. There’s no center, only hostility and suspicion…. That most Americans don’t particularly like Trump is irrelevant. As one Midwesterner told me a few weeks ago, ‘He may be a jerk, but he’s our jerk.'” Not irrelevant note on the #BernieBro narrative concocted by the Clinton campaign and pushed by its supporters: Shakespeare covered this in Sonnet 121: “‘Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed / When not to be receives reproach of being…” As David Axelrod remarks:


No. #messy.

“Wait a second. Calm down. Back in April 2008, 35 percent of Clinton supporters said they would vote for the likely GOP nominee, John McCain, over Barack Obama. At the end of the day, however, the overwhelming majority of Democrats voted for Obama” [WaPo].

I think this misreads the Sanders coalition (which, granted, is not the same as Sanders voters). Since 2008, we’ve had the state capital occupations, Occupy proper, #BlackLivesMatter, anti-fracking, Fight for 15, and a myriad of other organizing events. I would argue that the organizers of all those factional (as we might sort them) unsettlements (as we might dub them) are disproportionately represented in the Sanders faction (with the possible exception of #BlackLivesMatter, but even there, there is real Sanders support); they know how to organize, and how to be organized. Sanders, therefore, cannnot “deliver” a coalition of self-organizing factions in the way that the Beltway expects him to do. By contrast, the PUMAs of 2008 had not (yet, perhaps) acquired similar organizing skills (which is no knock on them, since the time was not ripe for them to do so). Now, I think some subsystem of the Democratic Establishment’s hive mind understands this, which is why the typical strategy of decapitating factions by corrupting their leaders has been replaced — the starting gun was Jon Ralson’s false reporting on the Harry Reid-owned and operated Nevada convention debacle — by getting leaders fired from their jobs (for “incivility”). In that context, see Axelrove’s comment above. #Messy.

UPDATE “A New National Progressive Movement Is Emerging in the Shadows of the Sanders Campaign” [Alternet]. Maybe. I choke on that word “progressive,” because I remember how self-identified “progressives” deep-sixed single payer in 2009-2010.

“Today’s Republican Party is predominantly a Midwestern, white, working-class party with its geographic epicenter in the South and interior West. Today’s Democratic Party is a coalition of relatively upscale whites with racial and ethnic minorities, concentrated in an archipelago of densely populated blue cities” [Politico]. Because, you see, there is no working class in the blue cities. All those lattés are made, the rooms cleaned, the garbage collected, the children cared for, the buildings built, the marble countertops wiped, and the Louis Quinze gold taps in the bathroom polished by little elves. Or subhumans hired on TaskRabbit.

UPDATE “[W]e have two American economies. One is made up of expensive coastal zip codes where the pundits proclaiming “recovery” are surrounded by prosperity. The other is composed of heartland regions where ordinary Americans struggle without jobs” [Quartz]. The coastal zips also seem to be busily inflating a housing bubble for themselves, much of it based on dirty money needing to be laundered by global elites. That’s gonna end well.

Our Famously Free Press

UPDATE And then there’s this:


The Trail

“Clinton needs to back off trying to muscle Sanders out” [Jules Witcover, Baltimore Sun]. “There will be nearly six weeks after the last primaries and the opening of the Democratic convention for Mr. Sanders to fulfill his pledge to join the fight against Donald Trump, and to bring his loyal army with him in the effort. Hillary should not crowd him and wait until she officially is the Democratic nominee, before behaving as if she already is.” I don’t think Witcover knows how long it takes to pick out the drapes for the Oval Office….

“Why ‘Crooked Hillary’ is likely to stick” [The Week]. “The Clinton Foundation and other associated concerns really are a kind of globalist grift.”

As Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash details, Hillary’s loyalty could be well-bought. Consider the financial interests of Mohammed al-Amoudi, who committed $20 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2007. Al-Amoudi profits from the Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies, which could have been harmed by U.S. policy changes in Ethiopia, particularly if the U.S. government scrutinized Ethiopia closely for human rights violations, as required by U.S. rules on foreign aid. Clinton dutifully gave a waiver to Ethiopia during her time as secretary of state. Bill Clinton would praise Ethiopia’s leaders as a new guard for the continent, even if their rule included extra-judicial killing and plunder.

Of course, Ethiopians are faraway black people. So that’s alright, then.

“Clinton declines California debate” [The Hill]. That’s what weak candidates do.

Bill Lee, Red Sox pitching great, is running for governor in Vermont [WCAX]. “‘The problem with Americans is their fist is like this (closed), and you got to open your hands. Republicans are pterodactyls, they have little short arms that never get to their front pockets,’ said Lee.”

Sanders names Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Bill McKibben, Native American activist Deborah Parker, and Palestinan activist James Zogby to the DNC Platform Drafting Committee [WaPo]. The headline reads: “Sanders wins greater say in Democratic platform; names pro-Palestinian activist,” but it might as well read “Sanders puts thumb in the eye of AIPAC,” and personally I think McKibben is far more important. Oh, and Cornel West, so the Black Misleadership Class has its knickers in a twist.

“This is unique in terms of the makeup of the platform drafting committee,” said James Roosevelt, co-chairman of the DNC’s rules and bylaws committee. “What it acknowledges is that the Democratic Party is committed to encompassing the broad range of views that Democrats have surfaced in this very substantive campaign between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. And I think that is unusual but it is also very necessary because a unified Democratic Party will be strengthened by a full hearing for all views.”

That’s “said James Roosevelt through gritted teeth.” Fixed it for ya.

Stats Watch

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, May 2016: “The Richmond Fed index fell a sharp 15 points in May to minus 1, adding further evidence of a serious slowdown in manufacturing activity” [Econoday]. “Several of the survey’s key measures dropped steeply and went into contraction from previous strength.” And: “Of the three regional Federal Reserve surveys released to date, all are in contraction” [Econintersect].

New Home Sales, April 2016: “The new home sales report has sealed its reputation as the wildest set of data around” [Econoday] [whistles]. “April’s annualized rate came in at 619,000 which is not a misprint. This is the highest rate since January 2008 and dwarfs all readings of the recovery. February 2015’s rate, way behind at 545,000, is the next highest rate this cycle. The data even include a very large 39,000 net upward revision to the two prior months, a gain that reflects annual revisions which are included in the data. The monthly 16.6 percent surge is not only far beyond expectations but is the biggest monthly gain since way back in January 1992.” And: “The headlines say new home sales improved from last month. The rolling averages smooth out much of the uneven data produced in this series – and this month there was a significant improvement in the rolling averages.” [Econintersect]. But: “Even with the increase in sales since the bottom, new home sales are still fairly low historically” [Calculated Risk]. Lambert here: Who’s buying?

Housing: “The kids are not moving out. The high cost of housing is having a big impact on the Millennial generation. In high cost areas you are seeing homes being sold to investors (including foreign buyers) and those that do buy as owner occupied tend to be a lot older than previous first time buyers” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “Even from family and friends it is interesting to see a few homes sold in their varied neighborhoods only to be turned into rentals immediately – these were very standard single family homes in neighborhoods where rentals were rare (not anymore). Yet another continuing trend is the number of working age Millennials living at home with mom and dad. Mom and dad are your typical Taco Tuesday baby boomers and are “shocked” that their kids can’t afford to rent let alone buy a home. Given current prices Millennials are not going to be buying in many high priced markets for years to come.”

“The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) expanded 1.0 percent in May following a revised 0.8 percent increase in April and 0.1 percent increase in March. All data is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA)” [Econintersect]. “Accounting for adjustments, the CAB remains up 2.3 percent over this time last year, a marked deceleration of activity from one year ago when the barometer logged a 2.7 percent year-over-year gain from 2014.”

“Revenues in the fixed-income, currencies, and commodities business dropped 28% year-on-year in the first quarter, according to the data-analytics company Coalition” [Business Insider]. “Fixed-income, currencies, and commodities, or FICC, trading is the largest business for Wall Street banks.”

Concentration: “Why a Bayer-Monsanto merger would be bad news for anyone who farms — or eats” [Marketwatch]. “‘The consolidation and driving out of smaller competitors, and controlling the marketplace and raising prices of seeds and pesticides for farmers worldwide is going to be a real shock to the food system,’ said Robert Lawrence, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor and the founding director of the Center for a Liveable Future.”

UDPATE Concentration: “The [LexInnova] study finds that the companies with the greatest number of [Interent of Things] patents globally are the chip-makers Qualcomm and Intel, followed by Chinese network-gear maker ZTE” [Quartz].

UPDATE Oil: “Now, as [OPEC] heads into a June 2 meeting to discuss how to stabilize world oil markets, the cartel has neither the political consensus to cut output nor the technical capability to significantly raise production” [Wall Street Journal, “OPEC’s Ability to Ease An Oil Supply Shock is Now Fading”].

Oil: “[T]he OPEC meeting is not until June 2…. The Iranians must think they are in a better position to negotiate as they have made some significant strides in regaining market share and the Saudi Arabian economy is crashing. Iran exports will soon be exceeding 2.0 million barrels of oil a day and the Iranians, after suffering under sanctions, won’t want to give that up” [Futures].

Shipping: “Seven kinds of counterparty: part two” [Splash247]. “We should start this section by examining the paradox built into every period time charter – the shipowner tries to fix his ship at a rate higher than he expects the market to sustain for the duration of the charter, to someone who is both willing and able to pay that rate despite taking losses on it. It follows that the owners’ ideal time charterer is wealthy and stupid. Everyday experience, however, tells us that “A fool and his money are soon parted”, so such charterers, if they exist at all, will soon be out of business. Nonetheless, all owners persist in looking for this unicorn.” Such a fun series!

Shipping: “The Port of Hamburg’s container traffic shrank by 3.4 percent in the first quarter, a significant improvement on the 9 percent decline in 2015, indicating the market has touched bottom.” [Journal of Commerce]. “Europe’s third-largest container port handled 2.2 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the first three months of the year, a 78,000-TEU reduction on the same period in 2015 that was almost entirely due to lower traffic with China and Russia, which also impacted last year’s volume.”

Shipping: “Legislation would require Amtrak to spend [Northeast Corridor (NEC)] profits on the corridor” [Progressive Railroading]. Lambert editorializez: The “deal” with Amtrak has always been that the NEC subsidizes a national rail system. But Acela riders don’t like it when the ride gets a little rough, so they exercise their class interests against the heartland (on a thoroughly bipartisan basis).

Shipping: “The report from credit ratings agency Moody’s estimates that Amazon’s 40 Boeing 767 freighters will give the e-commerce firm a fleet with an aggregate payload capacity equal to roughly one fifth of that of FedEx and one fourth of that of UPS” [Air Cargo News]. And the headline: “Amazon’s freighter deal expected to have minimal impact on UPS and FedEx margins.” So that’s alright, then.

UPDATE Retail: “A recent study by Forrester Research says that because consumers under 25 are strapped with debt, they aren’t buying as much as older generations” [Business Insider]. I can think of various ways a debt jubilee will happen, operationally if not explicitly, and all of them are unsettling.

UPDATE The Bezzle: “It doesn’t matter whether a company’s burn rate is $10K per month or $10 million per month, companies die when their burn rates are greater than investor enthusiasm. Burn rate is a bet on the potential of a business. That bet, re-evaluated at each round of funding, is based on the belief of venture capitalists that multiples of value will be created with the money they invest in a company. Unfortunately for founders, enthusiasm can be fickle while burn rates are stubborn. The two can easily get out of sync” [Tech Crunch]. In other words, Silicon Valley is a phishing equilibrium. (“Founders” is in the same class as “innovative,” “disruptive,” and “start-up.” Count the spoons when whoever uses one of those words leaves your house.)

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62, Greed (previous close: 54, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 74 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 24 at 12:15pm. Greedheads poking shy little heads out of their shells….

Dear Old Blighty

“Jeremy Corbyn preparing to call for Tony Blair to be investigated for war crimes” [Telegraph]. High time. Maybe Blair could call Bush as a character witness?


“If a massive solar storm struck the Earth today, it could wipe out our technology and hurl us back to the dark ages. Lucky for us, events like this are quite rare. But four billion years ago, extreme space weather was probably the norm. And rather than bringing the apocalypse, it might have kickstarted life” [Gizmodo].

“Shell CEO warns too-fast shift to renewables could imperil dividends” [Seeking Alpha].

The Unsettlement

“Strikes hit French terminals” [Splash247]. Oil terminals.

UPDATE “Queues at French Gas Stations as Strike Disrupts Supplies” [ABC]. If the French workers are being clever about working the whole (extended and very fragile) supply chain, that’s big news.


UPDATE “Moore Stephens’ Hong Kong firm won a victory in a New York federal appeals court on a case that could have a far-reaching impact on class-action lawsuits involving audit reports” [Accounting Today]. “‘Audit reports, labeled ‘opinions’ and involving considerable subjective judgment, are statements of opinion subject to the Omnicare standard for Section 11 claims,’ said the Second Circuit in its ruling last Friday. ‘There is no evidence that Moore Stephens did not believe its ‘clean audit opinions’ for Puda’s 2009 or 2010 financial statements. Nor is there evidence that Moore Stephens omitted material facts about the basis for its audit reports. Plaintiffs-appellants cannot sustain their Section 11 claim.'” Hmm…

UPDATE “Google’s Paris offices were the target of a dramatic dawn raid by French authorities this morning (May 24). As many as 100 tax officials gathered at 5am to enter the chic building on Rue de Londres, near the Place de l’Opera” [Quartz].

Class Warfare

“Between them they’ve lost billions [and laid off thousands], and yet senior management at China’s top two lines have decided to reward themselves with massive pay increases, Splash can reveal, in the latest embarrassing setback to hit gaff prone Cosco and China Shipping.” [Splash247]. The workers and peasants aren’t going to like that a whole lot.

“But a VICE investigation has found extensive evidence of North Koreans working in conditions of forced labor in Poland, with their wages funding the DPRK regime” [VICE]. I thought the EU was against slavery?

“THE HIDDEN WORKFORCE EXPANDING TESLA’S FACTORY” [San Jose Mercury News]. “The automaker’s urgent upgrade of its Fremont facility benefited from cheap, imported workers, but did the companies involved flout visa and labor laws?” That you just read is the subhead (or deck). I think Betteridge’s Law is inverted for subheads. Readers?

News of the Wired

“Coming soon: express even more in 140 characters” [Twitter]. More spam! But more creative content as well. Twitter is uniquely sociable, for good or ill.

“Another Whistleblower — One Who Tried To Protect Other Whistleblowers — Says The ‘Official Channels’ Are Worthless” [TechDirt].

“TSA’s Head Of Security ‘Removed’ From Office, Says House Panel” [NPR]. That boondoggle AL Gore’s Vice Presidential choice put into place is sure working out well, isn’t it?

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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 (Portia):


This image includes an animal, which normally I do not encourage (animals are for links), but I include it here because it exemplifies the sort of plant photography I would like to be able to do, a permaculture-y type of photography that sets plants in the context of whole, dynamic systems.

* * *
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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. nycTerrierist

    Thrilled to hear about brother Cornel West — not one to waste a bully pulpit.
    He will educate $hill’s AA supporters.
    A satisfying spectacle, even if they don’t heed his wisdom…

    1. Pavel

      I’m as cynical as they come, including about Sanders, but I have to say I’m impressed with that list — especially the “Palestinian activist”. Well done, Bernie!

      Sanders names Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Bill McKibben, Native American activist Deborah Parker, and Palestinan activist James Zogby to the DNC Platform Drafting Committee

      Separately re the campaign, I suggest all NCers take the time to read Dilbert’s creator Scott Adams on Trump v Clinton… interesting stuff. I found it at Zero Hedge so I’ll give them the link, but you’ll find it on his own blog:

      Hillary Clinton rolled out a new campaign slogan this weekend: “We’re stronger together.” And by new slogan, I mean it is the same as a recent Estee Lauder ad campaign slogan. But Trump borrowed from Reagan with his “Make America Great Again” slogan, so let’s score it a tie in terms of originality.

      Now let’s see how the slogans compare in terms of persuasion. I’ll start with Trump’s slogan first, then look at Clinton’s new offering.

      Read the rest at ‘Dilbert’ Creator On The Battle Of The Campaign Slogans.

      I never really got into the Dilbert comics but Scott Adams does in fact have some interesting analyses.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Impressive indeed…one wonders if it would have gotten people even more excited had it been revealed at the start of the campaign.

      2. flora

        Heh. “Stronger Together” sounds like one of those 70’s ads that tried to convert the various political movements’ slogans into product sales by suggesting all anyone needed for real social change was a better deodorant or zestier cola.

        1. inode_buddha

          “You call it corn. We call it maize. We knew all about the goodness of corn before america was america. Mazola tastes light and fresh….”

        1. Cry Shop

          She probably picked that slogan up subliminally from the condoms she found in Bill’s coat pocket while digging for his keys. The Thai government hands out condoms with slogans on them to tourist visiting Bangkok. Bill flew there several times on private jets, including a Saudi one. Not sure if he did so with Epstein flying perv palace.

        1. ChiGal

          Thank you.

          And the Dilbert analysis seems skewed to the male perspective, kinda limited ;-)

          1. jrs

            Well Trump’s slogan alienates all those groups for whom the good old days were not all that good to begin with, like blacks, but they weren’t going to vote for Trump anyway. But it’s hardly without a target for disagreement.

            I’m selling a hat: “America: it was never all that great to begin with”. It costs $40.

    2. Bev

      More Thrilling news…



      Bernie Sanders Requests Kentucky Primary Recount
      “The point is transparency,” Sanders’ aide Larry Cohen said on CNN.

      WASHINGTON, May 24 (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has requested a recount in the close Kentucky presidential primary against front-runner Hillary Clinton, state election officials said on Tuesday.

      The recanvass will take place at all 120 county boards of election on Thursday, according to the Kentucky secretary of state.

      “The point is transparency,” Sanders’ aide Larry Cohen said on CNN.

      Thank you Bernie Sanders!

      Thank you Richard Charnin with your Lee Camp meme of #ExitPollGate

      Thank you Bev Harris catching that code to fractionalize voters on those voting machines:

      Thank you Greg Palast catching everything else:

      Thank you to all you voting rights activists, democracy activists!
      Such good news!

Op Eds 5/21/2016 at 21:03:43

      Sanders Scolded For Calling Attention To Rigged Primary
By Kevin Gosztola
Reprinted from shadowproof.com by Kevin Gosztola

      But the story is not that Sanders supporters are unruly because Sanders has whipped them into a frenzy over “allegations” of a rigged primary process. It is not that they lack education about the process. Sanders supporters understand very well how the process works and what kind of candidate is supposed to make it to the end. Real and actual evidence of a rigged primary is what fuels such discontent.


      Cheers to activism: https://www.breakingthroughpower.org/


      Fifty years ago the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed sparked a serious awakening in our society that launched initiatives and organizations that have dramatically improved our personal health and safety, in the home, workplace, marketplace and the environment..

      To celebrate this milestone, and to reflect and renew our civic spirit and resolve we are convening an unprecedented gathering of public interest organizers, advocates, experts, and concerned citizens for four days at historic Constitution Hall in Washington DC.


      10000 singing Beethoven – Ode an die Freude _ Ode to Joy

        1. Bev

          Thanks you to too Yves and Lambert. If history is changed with Sanders, you all will have been an important part.

        2. Bev

          Lambert, is Zogby is same as the Zogby of the polling company? If so, he may also be on the DNC Committee to check on polling, exit polling, unadjusted exit polling. He may be familiar with #ExitPollGate.

          What do you think?

            1. Bev

              James is brother to John Zogby. So, my guess is that they talk to each other about many things, including unadjusted exit polls, perhaps.

              John Zogby (born 1948) founder of the “Zogby Poll” and the Zogby companies, is an American public opinion pollster, author, and public speaker. His polling incorporates both phone-based polling and interactive, Internet-based polling. As of October 2014, Zogby is a Senior Analyst with Zogby Analytics.

              Early years

              Zogby grew up in Utica, New York, the son of Lebanese Catholic immigrants. His brother, James Zogby, is the founder of the Arab American Institute, and is also an independent pollster and Senior Analyst with Zogby Analytics.

              Zogby received a Bachelor’s degree in history from Le Moyne College in 1970 and a Master’s degree in history from Syracuse University in 1973.[1] He taught history and political science for 24 years. A trustee of Le Moyne College, Zogby received the Alumni Award in June, 2000. In 2005, he was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from State University of New York and the Graduate School of Union University. In 2009, Zogby received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the College of St. Rose.[2] In 2008 he was awarded the Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellows Award from the University of California Irvine.[3]

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not saying she is going to do it, but it will be churlish of Hillary to ask for a re-match of the Vegas fight.

      2. RUKidding

        I’m happy to see this, too, but on other blogs, a lot of Clinton supporters are up in arms and calling Sanders “childish” for doing this. I see nothing childish at all about it. It’s called politics. It’s called how elections happen. Deal with it.

        I think Sanders is responding to his constituents in the 99%, which, frankly, I find refreshing.

      3. Rhondda

        Rock on, Bernie!
        Love it that he acts.
        Kickass choices for the platform committee and concern for a just electoral system.

        It’s like my poetry instructor used to say: “Show it, don’t tell it.”
        I am feeling the Bern today.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘David Cameron narrowly avoided the parliamentary defeat of his Queen’s speech this week.’

    Paul Ryan won’t be so fortunate after Hillary is coronated.

    He’ll be lucky to keep his head.

  3. Carla

    Re: Sanders’ DNC platform committee picks: I am most pleased of all with Cornel West and Keith Ellison.

    Ellison was one of the 5 original co-sponsors on “H.J.Res.48 – Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only” introduced in the 114th Congress by Richard Nolan in April 2015.

    HJR-48 just gained 3 more co-sponsors a couple of weeks ago, including Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9) — YAY!

  4. diptherio

    Here’s another piece from Las Indias, whose blockchain article you linked to last week. This one addresses Yanis V’s calls for a basic income:


    1. cyclist

      In the last week or so our local NPR radio has had at least a few segments where someone was expounding on how basic income guarantee might be a good thing. Unfortunately, the angle was usually libertarian, with one guy saying $10k a year ought to do it, unless you made something huuge like $30k, then some of it could be clawed back. Of course, we wouldn’t need all those pesky government welfare programs if everyone had all this cash.

      1. diptherio

        Our welfare programs are broken as $#*t. Personally, I think a BI would be better. And the “means tested” programs that make you prove your poor before you can get help are degrading to those who have to make use of them. I prefer a relatively small BI combined with a Job Guarantee and solid disability support, or a relatively high BI with an associated highly progressive tax to take it back from people we think don’t need it. The first one option is more to my taste, but I’d settle for the second one.

        1. Carla

          I suggest the BI would have to be in cash, or in an account deposit that can be readily withdrawn in cash, no questions asked, just like Social Security. Otherwise, if it’s a card-type product like SNAP, not only will Chase most likely get the contract and skim off huge fees, but Big Brother will dictate what it can and can’t be used to purchase.

        2. cyclist

          Oh, I agree that current programs are terrible. But the mainstream/NPR spin on BI has a disturbing silicon valley/libertarian tone that isn’t what you are suggesting. I can see it now: “It is the fault of your poor choices that you can’t live on $10k/yr., so don’t come begging for handouts…”

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Basic income should be tied to the need to inject money into the economy.

          When we need to inject new money, usually people also need higher basic income (so they can stimulate the economy).

          The two are invariably inseparable

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          Especially when you combine $10K with dystopian future that abolishes cash, and requires you to spend digital money from your digital account on products that are digitally tracked. Not that I’m foily.

  5. Jim Haygood

    0zero ups the ante:

    Not since Mr. Obama ordered Navy SEALs to hunt down Osama bin Laden in May 2011 has he authorized a military incursion in Pakistan as audacious as [his drone assassination of Mansour]. The White House did not inform the Pakistanis in advance of the operation.

    By using the military’s Joint Special Operations Command rather than the C.I.A. to carry out the attack, the United States denied Pakistan the fig leaf of a covert operation.

    Mr. Obama offered no apology for the decision to strike Mullah Mansour in Pakistani territory, saying it was a simple case of self-defense.

    “He is an individual who as head of the Taliban was specifically targeting U.S. personnel and troops inside of Afghanistan who are there as part of the mission I have set to maintain a counterterrorism platform and provide assistance,” Mr. Obama said during a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. Killing Mullah Mansour, Mr. Obama said, sent a message that “we’re going to protect our people.”


    Translation: “He threatened our illegal occupation troops, so we committed an illegal act of war against a neighboring country.”

    Assassinating an alleged combatant who had left the battle front and was retreating into another country hardly squares with “self defense” … just as shooting a fleeing burglar in the back fails to qualify as self defense under our common law.

    Bushobama: 16 years is enough.

    1. different clue

      Pakistan’s ISI was sheltering and protecting this individual just as it was sheltering and protecting bin Laden. If we had told them in advance, they would have warned the targeted individuals and also sheltered and protected them harder and deeper. That doesn’t address the question of right-or-wrong, but it explains why our gov would not pre-warn the Taliban-sheltering-and-protecting-and-arming-and-training Pakistani Army government and especially its ISI.

      1. pretzelattack

        from what sy hersh reported, high figures in the pakistani isi were cooperating with us all the way on bin ladin. so if we trusted them enough with bin ladin, why not this guy?

        1. Jess

          I may be wrong, but wasn’t it just one high-ranking ISI official who turned in Bin Laden for the reward? I have the impression that the rest of the ISI either was pro-Bin Laden or willing to look the other way.

          1. pretzelattack

            i think it required a bunch to look the other way while a helicopter crashed in the city. a couple of the higher rank guys aren’t there anymore.

      2. Jagger

        it explains why our gov would not pre-warn the Taliban-sheltering-and-protecting-and-arming-and-training Pakistani Army government and especially its ISI.

        What a coincidence! Sounds like exactly what we are doing in Syria by sponsoring the rebels!! Of course, Syria is incapable of striking back with drones at their tormenter. If they could, I wonder who would be the targets?

    2. shinola

      So, if a honcho from one of those “murderous drug cartels” in Mexico fled north across the border into the USA, it would be perfectly justifiable for Mexico to send a drone into US territory to assassinate him.

      I’m just sure no one in the US would have any complaints.

      1. Roger Smith

        Only we can indiscriminately kill brown people, duh! Rules are for everyone else.

    3. neo-realist

      just as shooting a fleeing burglar in the back fails to qualify as self defense under our common law.

      Isn’t this “stand your ground” in the red states if the suspected burglar is a person of color?

  6. Steve H.

    – I think Betteridge’s Law is inverted for subheads.

    I have noticed it doesn’t always apply for questions under the header. Have been trying to tease out the scansion.

    1. Synoia

      It is probabilistic. I suspect it may depend on the questioner (or editor) of the headline.

      Or if it comes from a Murdoch publication.

  7. kj1313

    I already detested the establishment but after the Bruenig incident I despise them. They need to be thrown out of power.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sleeping spider, wake unto me; starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee.

  8. cyclist

    Regarding Amazon’s air fleet competing with FedEx and UPS:
    Has anyone noticed a huge number of white panel vans, either with a cheap, little (magnetic?) Amazon logo stuck on the side or in some cases, similar vans leased from Enterprise, making deliveries around your neighborhood? Here in NE NJ (NYC suburbs) I’ve noticed many of these, usually being driven by frantic guys acting like they are being tracked.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In any collision between a self-driving delivery truck and a human driven vehicle, the latter is always at fault, because machines don’t make mistakes like humans.

      1. Synoia

        Until two self-driving trucks collide, at which point software maker (1), sues software maker (2).

    2. Roger Smith

      For awhile here in Michigan Amazon was using some hodgepodge service that was just random people driving their sedans around with boxes stuffed in the trunk. It has been about a year since I have seen that.

    3. pretzelattack

      i read that Fed Ex hires independent contractors as drivers–makes them wear the uniform and everything but they claim they are contractors–i imagine this is the same scam. that way they foist the fica taxes onto the employee, and maybe expenses for maintaining the vehicle. the sharing economy.

      1. crittermom

        I live in rural NM & the FedEx is handled by a private contractor in their own trucks that say FedEx.
        Lately, however, they dump it on the PO using SmartPost in a major hub, who finishes the delivery.

    1. Synoia

      I’m thinking blackout, tin foil lined curtains, to keep spying eyes away.

      Bought from a private 3rd party, just like a mile server.

      The setup has to include a Rack for Bill, to keep him under control (that is deliberately ambiguous).

    1. jrs

      “Because, you see, there is no working class in the blue cities. All those lattés are made, the rooms cleaned, the garbage collected, the children cared for, the buildings built, the marble countertops wiped, and the Louis Quinze gold taps in the bathroom polished by little elves. Or subhumans hired on TaskRabbit.”

      maybe not but a decent part of it many places is probably done by illegals who can’t vote (maid service, child care, construction – yea pretty heavily so I’d say in those industries). The lattes and garbage collection (because it’s city) less so.

      this was not-meant to be a subcomment

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I think the neo-con chickens may come home to roost in Latin America, and not in a pretty way. We subvert the middle and left, put in guys who want US hedge funders to soak up the spoils, but what happens when the society completely stops functioning? Normally American “regime change” leads to chaos, which then means boots on the ground. On the plus side, it’s a shorter trip to Latin America for troops, and they can find more grunts who speak Spanish than Arabic. On the minus side, no bid contracts to Fedex to ship bottled water palettes from Seattle to Baghdad would have a shorter trip, and presumably less manna to squeeze from the chump US taxpayer.
      Venezuela definitely, Brazil now probably, and Argentina not far behind, my friends there say the society has bifurcated more than ever, with 1% doing fabulously, 2-15% losing ground, and 80% verging on starvation.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Swingeing price hikes in the Bolivarian Workers Paradise:

    Caracas (AFP) – Venezuelans on Tuesday woke up to discover that the government-controlled price of corn flour — used to make corn patty arepas, a staple of local cuisine — has risen 900 percent.

    The socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro had kept the price of corn flour frozen for 15 months at 19 bolivares a kilogram.

    But late Monday the government’s Superintendent of Fair Prices increased the price to 190 bolivares a kilo, or $19 at the government rate used for imports such as medicine and scarce food.

    Flour is one of the most scarce food basics, and the Venezuelan Association of Corn Flour Industrialists has been asking for a price increase, arguing that the low government-set price does not cover the cost of production.

    The Superintendent also said that the price of chicken would rise, up 13 times from 65 bolivares a kilo to 850 bolivares.

    The price of chicken had also been frozen since February 2015.


    That Econ 101 annoyance — “below-market prices create shortages” — just won’t leave poor Maduro alone.

    At the black market rate of 1,050 bolivares per dollar, the new price of corn flour is about 8 cents a pound. And it’ll still be in shortage.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I like that, the “Superintendent of Fair Prices”.
      Let’s give Janet Yellen that title, for she’s the superintendent of the most important price of all.

  10. paulmeli

    ” …because consumers under 25 are strapped with debt, they aren’t buying as much as older generations”

    Student loan debt is functionally equivalent to a tax. Debt service on student loans held by the government reduces spending and destroys money, same as income taxes.

    Another example of eating our seed corn.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They (those under 25) bought already (they bought ‘education’), when they incurred that debt.

      Free college education is not the same as student debt relief.

      Without having to pay for that (tuition), there will be money to spend on, to buy, other things.

      1. paulmeli

        “Free college education is not the same as student debt relief.”

        It is functionally the same.

        In both cases (free education vs student debt relief) there is/was spending in the cycle the education is/was received.

        In both cases there is a net add to the money supply as a result of the spending that is not reversed in the future.

        In both cases there is more potential spending in the future. I say potential because the student may choose the save the money rather than spend it.

        Payments to the government are equivalent to a tax…they remove dollars from the non-government…reducing both spending and savings.

        Just as an income tax does.

        This makes no sense because the government doesn’t “need ” the money (but it thinks it does) any more than it “needs” to run a balanced budget or a surplus.

      2. Praedor

        Bill Clinton recently explained to these youngsters that their student debt is an “investment”, like a mortgage.

        Funny, I thought loan debt, regardless of nature, was A DEBT. A drag on spending.

        1. Sammy Maudlin

          Oh, c’mon sure it’s an investment! An investment where the return is impossible to determine, the financial risk to the student is immense, and unlike a mortgage, there is no asset to liquidate if the investment goes south.

          This sounds like the the type of investment that every young person in America needs to make in order to ensure the future prosperity of our country!

          1. RMO

            I dearly wish I could figure out a good way to render in text the William B. Williams laugh as an appreciation of your comment and the wonderful name you’ve chosen!

    2. Sammy Maudlin

      Student loan debt is functionally equivalent to a tax.

      Bang. To me, this is the elephant in the American economy’s living room.

      Student loan debt is a giant swath of money in this country that nets out as a loss to private citizens and a gain to the federal government. But, for some reason is not referred to as a tax. Yes the money that is “lent” ends up in the hands of colleges (for the most part) and businesses. There is some economic stimulation there.

      At what expense, though? Let’s say theoretically the federal government lent $1,000 every year in student loans at 5% interest. The $1,000 gets circulated in the economy. The problem is that ultimately, the $1,000 plus interest goes back into the federal coffers. A net negative effect on the economy.

      Obviously, I’m oversimplifying things but I think the principle holds up.

      1. paulmeli

        It’s worse than that.

        When you earn income you only pay a fraction of it in income tax (say 20% including SS). When you get income in the form of a student loan, you are paying back 100% of the principal (as a tax) and when you add on the interest it could be as high as 200% over the life of the loan.

        It’s a punitive tax.

  11. reslez

    After raising $300k for Tim Canova over the weekend, Bernie keeps on adding to the momentum. Today he sent out an email endorsing 8 candidates for state legislatures.

    Justin Bamberg, state rep from SC running for re-election
    David Bowen, running for second term for WI state legislature
    Clara Hart, running for SD state house
    Terry Alexander, SC state rep
    Carol Ammons, running for re-election to IL state legislature
    Chris Pearson, running for VT state senate after 4 terms in the VT house
    Jane Kim, running for CA state senate
    Joe Salazar, state rep from CO

    This is exactly what we need to see to build a Left that matters in politics. Very happy to lend my support.

    1. nippersmom

      Bernie is asking for donations that will be split with the “down-ticket” candidates he is endorsing. Unlike Hillary’s “Victory Fund”, I expect these candidates to actually see their share of the donations.

      1. Vatch

        At the convention, it will be interesting to see how Hillary’s embezzlement of down-ticket funds will affect the super delegates. A lot of them are officeholders up for re-election this fall, and probably are depending on actually getting that money. Others are state party officials, and they will want to finance their perks with their state organization’s share of that money.

        1. carycat

          don’t worry, the good soldiers will get their cut after they have voted her highness in. no soup for those who didn’t get the memo.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A good start.

      Eventually, a new party even.

      “No more fatal attraction to you.”

      Ideally, candidates can raise $27 contributions on their own. Not that he is one, but decentralized power is a strong defense against possible Caudillos.

    3. Emma

      Kudos to Bernie Sanders.
      Another great example of the necessary action required to deal with the duplicity and corruption of US politics and a passive MSM. In place of the back-and-forth bicker-banter between Trump and Clinton, Bernie Sanders simply focuses on the future and what’s in the peoples’ best interests.

      You can’t have a real democracy if you persist on being imperialist and continually impose a false choice upon your own people. It’s a false choice that Americans think they need to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both are represented as two different standards in a game, but in reality, they’re not. It’s simply more of the same double standards with more of the same doughroller(s).

      With this latest round of endorsements and funding “of the people, for the people and by the people”, Bernie Sanders, yet again, not only aims to protect the “sound and uninfected Part of the Herd” (‘The Oxfordshire Contest’, 1753), but in doing so, offers a viable democratic alternative. Sanders opts to not play as is expected. It’s like the movie War Games where a computer is programed to start nuclear war, only, the computer stops itself, saying “Interesting game. The only way to win is not to play.”

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Guilty plea could indicate either cooperation for further investigation or a cover-up couldn’t it?

        2. redleg

          And a leak pointed out that Governor McAuliffe of The Clinton foundation is under investigation too, apparently for campaign contribution issues. Someone leaked that for a reason.

  12. Nick

    If Blair is charged with war crimes and the general election is between Trump and Sanders, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the candidates being asked if Bush should be charged with war crimes too during a townhall event or the like. The establishment would have a conniption fit. But I suspect it would find very strong support among the population.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Thank goodness our Manchurian Candidate and Nancy Pelosi took impeachment (and war crimes) off the table for Senor Boosh.
      And not a minute too soon! As the precedent would apply quite neatly to the current crop of war criminals in the White House.

    1. reslez

      Her modus operandi when answering such questions seems to be to laugh in astonishment and stare at you like your a blithering idiot for daring to ask. Is corruption is something only Rs do? I don’t get it.

      Her communication techniques are designed for people who already like her. There are increasingly few of those people around. “And I say this as a person who caucused for her in 2008.” (Hillbots have taught me adding such a statement to any comment makes it instantly believable… although in my case it happens to be factual.)

      1. katiebird

        Ha! I wish it worked for me. I had to block a PUMA person yeaterday when she refused to believe that MATH argument meant nothing to me. How can someone with PUMA in their username use the MATH argument? (I caucused for her too in 2008)

  13. Andrew

    “Talk of winding down the terror wars has been dropped from the Obama administration’s message. Instead, the administration has been pouring thousands of new troops back into the Middle East, and his aides were looking for a new vocabulary to describe a strategy that more closely resembled the approach of the previous decade”

    “A new vocabulary”… just one word will do – quagmire.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Obama’s new title: Viceroy of Vietghanistan.

      Look on his works, ye mighty … and snicker.

  14. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    LOL Brazil support for the new coup leaders is at 2%.

    Even Hilary Antoinette looks sure to be annointed with at least a double-digit percentage of the population who have cast a ballot in her favor…though we shall see.

  15. Jeff W

    I choke on that word “progressive,” because I remember how self-identified “progressives” deep-sixed single payer in 2009-2010.

    My attitude is that people who call themselves “progressive”—and hem and haw at the word “liberal”—have to meet some burden of proof that they’re either. (It’s a bit like countries with words “democratic republic”—funny how that works—in their name.)

      1. EmilianoZ

        The big 0 is the traveling salesman of the oligarchy. The dreary lonesome job. Whatever clintonesque fortune he’s gonna make once he’s out of office it’s gonna be hard-earned.

      2. Synoia

        My wife is Vietnamese, and I’m assured by her and our Vietnamese friends that the Vietnamese are as honest as the day is long, and their morality as pure as the driven snow, especially those in positions of power in Vietnam.

  16. Christopher Fay

    Taiwan isn’t invited to the DDP, it’s the nation no other nation can recognize. But due to Taiwan’s dependence on trade, government officials are normally quite interested in joining organizations that involve trade. Tsai, and Taiwan, also normally would not be interested in giving up sovereignty

    1. Cry Shop

      The DDP(Democratic Progressive Party) is Tsai’s party, the trade agreement is TPP (Trans-Pacific (Trade) Partnership)

      Taipei, May 22 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday urged the United States to support Taiwan’s bid for the U.S.-led trade bloc Trans-Pacific Partnership.

      Tsai said Taiwan and the United States have close trade relations, noting that Taiwan was the ninth largest trade partner of the United States last year and that the U.S. has again surpassed Japan to become Taiwan’s second biggest trade partner.

      Ma’s KMT took it’s marching orders from the CCP on TPP, and that’s why Taiwan was very quiet til now. http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/30524.html

  17. Cry Shop

    Class Warfare – Cosco executives go Wall Street China Style

    Cosco leadership pay is a very tiny, tiny sliver of the huge transfer of the nations wealth to a connected few. Disappointed that Cnchal was the only reader who picked up that my 21 May comment was a clear message that the problems in China’s renewable energy markets isn’t the technology but corruption. One layperson was particularly rabid about defend solar unnecessarily that unfortunately a few white knights, kindly I must say, responded to show expertise and the whole discussion got moved off the point.

    It’s always the poor who step on landmines, even figurative ones, and it’s the rich who profit from their being laid. All that money being sucked out of China is because a lot of those figurative landmines are starting to become armed and the people who laid them are getting out while the going is still good.

    Or from Cryshop‘s comment yesterday.

    . . . One of those problems they “intend” to solve later is the huge environmental damage inflicted, particularly by rare-earth extraction, metal refining and semi-conductor assembly. The old truth that a mistake costs 1 dollar to fix at the design stage for every 1000 it costs to fix it only the assembly line doesn’t reflect the scale up of costs to fix what’s been done to the environment, which is something like 10×7 power (if not much higher). . .

    Different type of land mine, but a similar effect on a vastly larger scale.


    I’d like to here thank Cnchal for applying the landmine metaphor. I wish people would learn from Cnchal and read a bit more carefully before they act upon their passions….

  18. allan

    Peter Thiel Is Said to Bankroll Hulk Hogan’s Suit Against Gawker [DealBook]

    So, noted glibertarian Thiel is against young people going to college because disruption,
    but is in favor of lawsuits to intimidate the press, which require lawyers, who require college. Got it.

    Browsing in Waterstones in Bloomsbury recently, I was horrified by the inclusion in that otherwise excellent bookstore of a shelf on `New Thinking’, featuring books by Thiel, Sheryl Sandberg, Elon Musk and all the other Silicon Valley triumphalists. On second thought, perhaps when labeling this cr*p as `New Thinking’,
    Waterstones was cheekily referring to Orwell’s Newspeak. Or at least it would be nice to think so.

    1. different clue

      One could re-label it ever so slightly as . . . “Newthink”.

      Or did Orwell coin that word in his book? If so, why not pay Orwell some respect and say “newthink”?

  19. Kim Kaufman

    ““Since he clinched the Republican nomination two weeks ago, Trump has been the object of even more unfavorable press than he was before… So how can Trump be pulling even with Hillary Clinton?…”

    From Harper’s link this morning on “Marine Le Pen’s campaign to make France great again”: “Pattern: when the left won’t protect people from neoliberalism, they turn to reactionaries in hopes they’ll do it.”

  20. dk

    “A recent study by Forrester Research says that because consumers under 25 are strapped with debt, they aren’t buying as much as older generations”

    Ironic, since food, toy, and other industries have been grooming that generation for decades, to stimulate their propensity to buy. Doesn’t work so good if you gut the economy they’re entering.

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