2:00PM Water Cooler 5/3/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, sorry for the posting hiccup! A mere moment of inattention, and then… Disaster!


“Europe, beware. The leaked TTIP text confirms that the United States is trying to export its failed regulatory model. If the United States succeeds in its project, Big Business will gain enormous power to block, slow, undermine and repeal European regulations” [Public Citizen]. “Taken in their entirety, the U.S. Regulatory Cooperation proposals are affirmatively hostile to the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle counsels taking protective action in the face of uncertainty. The U.S. cost-benefit standards, demands for consideration of alternative regulatory approaches, and expansive analytic requirements also counsel for inaction in the face of uncertainty. Moreover, U.S.-style cost-benefit analysis places a premium on industry-provided cost estimates while effectively discounting benefits from action to prevent possible harm.”

“Negotiating TTIP” [Cecilia Malmström, European Commission]. “I am simply not in the business of lowering standards. I have a clear negotiating mandate for the negotiations given to the Commission by 28 EU governments, that clearly spells out what a successful agreement has to look like, and what our non-negotiable red lines are.” Strong words from a military protectorate.

“‘Malmström may well promise not to undermine environmental and consumer protection, but the evidence tells a different story. In several areas the US proposes to lower EU standards, but there are no EU proposals in the leaked consolidated documents to counter this,’ [Greenpeace’s EU director Jorgo Riss] said in a statement” [Euractiv].

“The fact that the most useful information about TTIP has come, not from the leaked texts of the chapters themselves, but from the State of Play document [also part of the Greenpeace leak], is very telling. It shows that much more is required to reform these closed trade agreements than simply releasing the text. Access to the draft texts alone, while the negotiations themselves remain closed and opaque, is worth very little. Only through inside access to the negotiations themselves is their broader context revealed” [EFF].



“Many consumers will see large rate increases for the first time Nov. 1 — a week before they go to the polls” [Politico]. “There’s a growing realization the financial penalty for failing to obtain coverage is an insufficient cudgel to persuade younger Americans to enroll. The fee for 2016 is $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher. Just 28 percent of HealthCare.gov customers for 2016 were between the ages of 18 and 34, significantly below the 35 percent threshold typically considered necessary for a balanced marketplace.” The beatings will continue until morale improves.

UPDATE And then there’s this:

Indiana Primary

UPDATE “Going into Tuesday’s primary, Clinton leads Sanders by 4 percentage points, 50 percent to 46 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. The poll’s margin of error was 4.6 percentage points. As in past contests, Clinton leads with those 45 and older, while Sanders is ahead among younger voters” [NBC].

UPDATE “After weeks of personal attacks from Donald Trump, including fresh insinuations that his father was associated with Lee Harvey Oswald, Cruz boiled over Tuesday” [CNN]. “‘He is proud of being a serial philanderer … he describes his own battles with venereal diseases as his own personal Vietnam,’ Cruz said, citing a decades-old Trump appearance on ‘The Howard Stern Show.'”

UPDATE “‘I’ve lost three factory jobs in the last 10 years, to go to China or go to Mexico or go to somewhere out of the country. We’re losing our jobs to everybody else. We need ’em back. I think [Trump] can do it,” [Matt] Coy said.” [NPR]. “Manufacturing plays a bigger part in the economy of Indiana than it does in any other state, and as Indiana residents head to the polls Tuesday, the slow erosion of the state’s factory jobs is expected to weigh heavily on the minds of a lot of voters.”

UPDATE “Today, vast swaths of the state’s Republican electorate, from Indianapolis to West Lafayette, have retreated from the culture wars. And like the 50s-era diner itself, Cruz’s dogged socially conservative message seems anachronistic—and perhaps a little tin-eared—to these fiscally conservative, socially liberal Republicans, the kind Cruz has to win over in the state’s crucial, populous and well-heeled “doughnut” counties surrounding Indianapolis (if you remove Marion County, the remaining surrounding counties form a doughnut-shaped ring) in order to have a shot at beating Donald Trump in the primary on Tuesday” [Politico]. Hmm.


“Former President Bill Clinton accepted more than $2.5 million in speaking fees from 13 major corporations and trade associations that lobbied the U.S. State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, an International Business Times investigation has found. The fees were paid directly to the former president, and not directed to his philanthropic foundation” [International Business Times]. “Many of the companies that paid Bill Clinton for these speeches — a roster of global giants that includes Microsoft, Oracle and Dell — engaged him within the same three-month period in which they were also lobbying the State Department in pursuit of their policy aims, federal disclosure documents show. Several companies received millions of dollars in State Department contracts while Hillary Clinton led the institution.” Ka-ching.

The Voters

UPDATE “Is Hillary Stealing the Nomination? Will Bernie Birth a Long-Term Movement?” [Reader Supported News]. “If we thought we had definitive evidence that the Clinton campaign was stealing the nomination from the Sanders campaign, we’d say so in direct, explicit and unmistakable phrases. imply put: we do NOT at this point believe they rise to the level of provable theft, as we are certain was the case in 2000 and 2004.” That’s where I am on this. That’s not the same as saying that our voting system isn’t completely hosed; it clearly is. (I suppose the idea of a phishing equilibrium could apply here, but that’s not the same as, say, a whistleblower.)

“There Is A Hole In Bernie Sanders’ Strategy For Winning The Nomination” [Sam Stein, HuffPo]. As I understand Stein’s summary, Sanders, in his speech at the National Press Club, didn’t argue the superdelegates should reflect voter totals in all states, but in his landslide states. While I think this is an argument that nobody will remember in a week, and Sanders clearly can fight to the last delegate if he wants, exactly as Clinton did in 2008, I don’t think much of the argument; it’s uncomfortably reminiscent of Gore, in Florida 2000, only suing to count votes in counties he was likely to win; too clever by half.

“[Kevin] Drum’s case. His real problem with Sanders is that his ambitious ideas are teaching a generation to think that quick, sweeping change is possible, which is bad because the way politics works is Abandon Hope, All Ye You Enter Here” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “Stripped to its essentials, Sanders’ campaign is following the political tradition of FDR and Lyndon Johnson: trying to convince people of the merits of left-wing policy and demanding candidates who champion that vision. He’s trying to ensure that the next Democratic majority will aim much higher than ObamaCare.” Exactly. And it’s one thing to disagree with the Sander’s “theory of change.” And quite another to paint Clintonian exMincrementalism as the only ethical stance!

UPDATE “Emotional unemployed W.Va. coal worker confronts Hillary Clinton over comment about putting coal ‘out of business'” [WaPo]. Clinton really does not improvise well. There are two videos, one of the protesters being held back by a rope line, the second of Clinton in a small-group setting. It’s interesting to watch the second one with the sound down.

UPDATE “This ideological disintegration [of the Republican Party] has been years in the making. I believe one fundamental cause is that after winning the allegiance of millions of “Reagan Democrats” — mostly white, blue-collar, and Southern or rural — the party stubbornly declined to take their economic interests into account” [WaPo]. “But most working-class Republicans are, get ready for it, working-class…. What adjustments did the GOP establishment make for these voters? None.” Just like the Democrats!

UPDATE Fifty-seven percent of Democrats said Sanders should stay in the race until the [Democratic Convention], according to an NBC News-Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday [The Hill].

Stats Watch

Motor Vehicle Sales, April 2016: “The Big Three are out and North American-made vehicle sales for April are running a little higher than March” [Econoday]. These are preliminary figures and do not include foreign sales.

Gallup US ECI, April 2016: “Americans’ confidence in the economy retreated in April, with Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index averaging minus 14 for the month, down from minus 10 in March” [Econoday]. “Since March 2015, Americans have been more upbeat about the current state of the economy than about the direction in which it is headed.” It’s like the entire country has turned into Maine, whose state motto might as well be “We’ll pay for this.” For a lovely summer, with winter, and so forth.

“U.K. manufacturing unexpectedly shrank for the first time in three years in April, dealing a shock blow to the economy after growth slowed in the first quarter” [Bloomberg].

“Three Signs Signaling Apple’s Losing Streak” [People’s Daily]. People’s Daily?!

Offshore: “So much money is flowing into tax shelters that companies may have booked more profits in Bermuda than in China, the second-largest economy in the world,” according to a UN report [MarketWatch].

Finance: “The massive year over year increase in Freddie Mac’s derivative losses suggest that there is more here than meets the eye. It also raises the question as to whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Freddie and Fannie’s official Federal conservator and supervisor, is on top of what’s embedded in these derivative contracts” [Wall Street on Parade]. Bezzle, bezzle, who’s got the bezzle…

Finance: “Valeant, SunEdison…the S&P 500?” Yikes [Wall Street Journal, “The Hazards of Financial Engineering”]. “Financial engineering has built vast financial edifices, but all too often there is little of substance providing support. The latest Wall Street constructs to crumble are familiar names, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and SunEdison Inc. Both relied on financial engineering to satisfy shareholders desperate for two items scarce in today’s weak economy: growth, offered by Valeant, and income, supplied by SunEdison’s so-called yieldcos. … According to David Kostin, a strategist at Goldman Sachs, the debt and equity of the median U.S. nonfinancial company is worth 11 times operating cash flow, higher than in 2007 and higher than at the peak of the dot-com bubble.”

Finance: “In less than seven days, hedge funds have been subject to a three-pronged attack by some of the biggest names in finance” [Bloomberg].

Housing: “The Conference Board data and Pointon’s breakdown show, however, that it isn’t just that supply can’t keep up with simple demand. Supply can’t keep up with a historically massive amount of demand” [Business Insider]. “”The latest Ellie Mae data showed that the average FICO score for successful applications rose in March to 722, and that will be preventing many households from qualifying for a mortgage,” wrote Pointon. This could mean that some of the historically high intention to buy a home may just be wishful thinking. Demand, however, is certainly higher and that’s making the housing market’s pricing problem even worse.”

Fiscal Policy: “For countries where nominal interest rates are at or near zero, fiscal stimulus should be a no-brainer” [Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate, “Rescue Helicopters for Stranded Economies”]. “Success in rebooting the economy will depend on ensuring that the extra cash goes into the hands of those who are constrained in their spending by low incomes and a lack of collateral assets. And, as with governments engaged in fiscal stimulus, the key to a positive outcome will be to rule out even a smidgeon of fear that repayment obligations will become onerous in any way.” And Sanders is the guy selling unicorns?

The Fed: “The United States could see two further interest rate rises this year but uncertainties abound including the impact on the U.S. economy should Britain vote to leave the European Union, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said on Tuesday” [Future].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64, Greed (previous close: 69, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 71 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 3 at 1:09pm. A weak retreat. Come on!


“It profits [the American Geophysical Union] nothing to give its soul for the whole world … but for a $35k student breakfast, Margaret?” [Think Progress]. (“Margaret” is AGU President Margaret Leinen.) Yes, AGU taking money from Exxon is a little like the American Cancer Society taking money from RJ Reynolds. Reader timotheus comments:

This is another example of the blithe dismissal of ethical concerns in a once prestigious professional association, an apt but also a rather amazing demonstration of comfort with open immorality for a pittance.

Health Care

“A More Detailed Understanding Of Factors Associated With Hospital Profitability” [Health Affairs]. “Forty-five percent of hospitals were profitable, with 2.5 percent earning more than $2,475 per adjusted discharge. The ten most profitable hospitals, seven of which were nonprofit, each earned more than $163 million in total profits from patient care services. Hospitals with for-profit status, higher markups, system affiliation, or regional power, as well as those located in states with price regulation, tended to be more profitable than other hospitals. Hospitals that treated a higher proportion of Medicare patients, had higher expenditures per adjusted discharge, were located in counties with a high proportion of uninsured patients, or were located in states with a dominant insurer or greater health maintenance organization (HMO) penetration had lower profitability than hospitals that did not have these characteristics.”

The Jackpot

“The medieval Silk Road brought a wealth of goods, spices, and new ideas from China and Central Asia to Europe. In 1346, the trade also likely carried the deadly bubonic plague that killed as many as half of all Europeans within 7 years, in what is known as the Black Death” [Science Magazine].

Class Warfare

“Workers losing Indiana factory jobs deserve to be more than political pawns” [MarketWatch]. Since when did the MarketWatch people join the Communist Party?

News of the Wired

“Gas Delivery Startups Want to Fill Up Your Car Anywhere. Is That Allowed?” (“Uber for gasoline”) [Bloomberg]. “Filld, an 18-month-old startup with thousands of customers in Silicon Valley, plans to start service in San Francisco on Monday, deploying three delivery trucks at 1 p.m. “You can never ask for permission because no one will give it,” said Chris Aubuchon, the chief executive officer at Filld.” And there you really do have the startup business model, eh? “Filld, WeFuel, Yoshi, Purple and Booster Fuels have started operating in a few cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia. But officials in some of those cities say that driving around in a pickup truck with hundreds of gallons of gasoline might not be safe.” No duh! Why don’t we sell gas out of glass bottles by the side of the road, like we see in Cambodia or Laos?

“I hated spending three days without computers. And I feel no deep shame about this” [New Yorker]. “I didn’t miss Twitter’s little heart-shaped icons. I missed learning about new things.”

“Least Resistance: How Desire Paths Can Lead to Better Design” [99% Invisible].

“After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight” [New York Times]. “Most people who have tried to lose weight know how hard it is to keep the weight off, but many blame themselves when the pounds come back. But what obesity research has consistently shown is that dieters are at the mercy of their own bodies, which muster hormones and an altered metabolic rate to pull them back to their old weights.”

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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 (Kokuanani):


Nice to come out of the house in the morning with a mug of coffee and look at that!

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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. Roger Smith

    Lambert I think something went wrong X|

    No links, nice picture still though.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Tea should not be too strong, so as not to overwhelm the perfumed air gifted by the flowers.

      “Nature is bountiful, even an Iris flower can be home to a small mammal.”

      And, this as well:

      “If home is everywhere, one can not be homeless.”

      Ah, those halcyon days…long before some smart human guy came up with the idea of debt.

      “You can borrow my scratching of your ape back, but you have to pay me back by scratching my chimp back.”

      Legend has it that it was the Alpha Male who kept a tally of who owed what to whom.

      1. JIm

        All of the naive realists in the NC commetariat should take a careful look at the Daniel Hoffman interview mentioned in the first citation listed by Merryman immediately above.

        Hoffman talks about what he calls conscious realism or objective reality as just different points of view. He argues that “It’s conscious agents all the way down.”

        He then is asked the big question “If it’s conscious agents all the way down, all first-person points of view, what happens to science? Science has always been a third-person description of the world?

        Hoffman responds: “The ideas that what we’re doing is measuring publicly accessible object, the idea that objectivity results from the fact that you and I can measure the same object in the exact same situation and get the same results–its very clear from quantum mechanics that that idea has to go. Physics tells us that there are no public physical objects.”

        If Hoffman is correct–the fundamental ontological assumptions of 80% of the NC commetariat may require revision.

        As Hoffman argues, you have your headache, your moon, your apple and assume that they are similar to mine. That’s an assumption that could be false, but that’s the source of my communication, and that’s the best we can do in terms of public physical objects and objective science.”

        “Look, quantum mechanics is telling us that we have to question the very notions of physical things sitting in space.”

        “We’re born physicalists. This is a reallly, really hard one to let go of.”

        1. jgordon

          Well you can say all that and think about it–but you won’t really understand it until you enter an altered state of consciousness and then start thinking about life and other things like science and economics in that state. Certain species of mushrooms or cacti are the best for this. By the way I’m being serious.

          1. Indrid Cold

            DMT. It works like a charm. I never understood why science has such a hard time with the idea of consciousness, to the point of explaining it away as a meaningless epiphenomenon. The mechanistic part of science is very useful, but reducing every phenomenon to physical states is a dead end ultimately.

            1. JTMcPhee

              “A Mushroom Cloud,” perhaps? Going for that Dead End thing? 18,000-plus nuclear weapons, global overheating, no potable water, DEBT, lots of really smart consciousnessless humans pursuing the advent and hoping to “get credit” as midwives of the Singularity, or maybe Gray Goo if the nanotechnology guys and gals get there first? And Wait! There’s So Much More! As Seen On TV!

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I know what sushi tastes like.

          And I have always wondered if it tastes exactly the same to others. Do they get the exact same results? And how can I know that?

          If they say it is delicious, is it the same deliciousness as my deliciousness? Are there infinite shades of deliciousness when we have only one word for it? Is the problem that we have to think with words – words have not one-to-one correspondence with what they are used for describing, much less whether they objectively exist or not?

          1. Synoia

            Look, quantum mechanics is telling us that we have to question the very notions of physical things sitting in space

            We do not interact at the quantum mechanical level.

            And my wife will never believe that I was in Bed Asleep and Drinking at the pub at the same time, and if she looked in the bedroom, then she had influenced my whereabouts.

          2. craazyman

            maybe while you’re eating sushi, sushi is eating you in another dimension.

            like when Donald Pleasence was absorbed head first by a huge white blood cell in FANTASTIC VOYAGE.

            just some food for thought . . . no pun intended . . . bwwahahahahhahahahah

          3. craazyboy

            It’s known that people have different quantities of taste buds, so things do taste different to different people. There are even “professional tasters” whom have a very large number of taste buds. The Truth is in the tongue of the beholder.

            Personally, I think physicists invented quantum theory so they could go to wife swapping parties and tell the wife not to believe her lying eyes.

        3. John Merryman

          We spent a million years learning how to smack stones together and make spears. Now our highest technology is smacking infinitely small particles together and seeing that happens. Maybe the problem is our presumption of physics as objects, rather than waves. As it is, physics tells us reality is 99.99 empty space, with these really small particles bouncing around.
          Yet if they considered it as waves, then things like “spooky action at a distance” would make sense, because you would be measuring the same wave, but it wouldn’t be physics, it would be holographics.

        4. diptherio

          I read and even partially understood Robert A. Wilson, Tim Leary and Alfred Korzybski quite some time ago, and so am unsurprised by these developments. “Reality tunnels” is my preferred way to talk about it.

        5. craazyman

          the moon is a hoax. It’s actually a laser projection on an orbiting football field sized disk

          there wasn’t even a so-called moon until 1971 and the Apollo program.

          why isn’t there any picture of the moon in paintings until the 20th century? There was never a Greek statue of the moon and Michaelangelo never painted a moon. There was a reference to the moon in Plato’s dialogues but that might have been swamp gas that he thought was a moon.

          It’s hard to tell what’s what. Even for physicists. Don’t you think if they looked forever for sub atomic particles they’d find an infinite number? Of course they would. But that won’t stop them. They always think the next one is the last one. hahahahahahaha. They crack me up more than Ali G on Youtube.

        6. dots

          We have an abundance of cottonwood seeds swirling around the countryside here. When the wind blows with just enough force, they appear to race each other quite competitively across the pavement. If you watch, you see smaller ones speeding ahead until suddenly the winds shift and swirl. This causes them to slow, take a turn and then come to a sudden stop. Meanwhile, some larger globs of white fluff will charge ahead darting around their smaller rivals, as if to avoid a collision. This series of cottonwood contests is, to scale, as skillfully executed as any sailing regatta and about as entertaining as chasing dust bunnies across wood flooring.

          Are these seeds alive? They contain life. But what awareness do we have of what that life means except in terms of how they are similar to, or different from, our own. It’s all otherness.

          1. John Merryman

            Electrostatic. What our brains run on. Don’t ask if they are aware, ask if we are not just dust bunnies floating in a sea of awareness and concentrate it, like little shocks.

            1. dots


              Animated is as good a word as any for movement. The narrative (meaning) is primarily a product of primed neural pathways.

        7. Lambert Strether Post author

          “Physics tells us that there are no public physical objects”

          I see the logic, but how then does evolution work? How exactly does an organism display adaptive behavior to non-things not sitting in non-space? (“I refute it thus” — Dr. Samuel Johnson, kicking a rock).

          1. Jim

            In the above interview Hoffman answers that question in the following way:

            “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a comparative advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for the more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately.”

            “That sounds very plausible (but I think it is utterly false.)”

            “It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it is about the fitness function–mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction…an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is tuned to fitness.”

            “Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding the stuff that we don’t need to know. Well that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all the time figuring it out, the tiger would eat you.”

            Trying to summarize, he says,” I have space X of experiences, a space G of acitons and an algorithm D that lets me choose a new action given my experiences. Then I posited a W for the world, which is also a probability space. Somehow the world affects my perceptions, so there’s a perception map from P from the world to my experiences and when I act I change the world. That’s the entire structure. Six elements.”

            “Here’s the striking thing about that. I can pull the W out of the model and stick a conscious agent in its place and get a circuit of conscious agents. In fact you have whole networks of arbitrary complexity. And thats the world.”

            From a political perspective I would call this the quantum theory of democracy–or how can there be anything but a first-person reality.

        8. kgw

          Looking at a dead man at a funeral service, you see that there is no one there…The Great Clod (or whatever…) did not notice his coming, nor did it notice his going. He was actually never here.

    1. salvo

      strange, regarding Mr. Hoffman’s theory, it may sound plausible, but on the other hand, if the construction of reality is only evolutionarily motivated by the need to survive, why do I perceive that text and that theory at all and don’t just ignore them? In what kind fits their being there my instinct to survive? May it be due to the fact, that the construction of reality is not just an evolutionary process to but also a social one?

  2. jrs

    Oh those Obamacare hikes are sure going to hurt Democrats when people go to the polls and have only ACA champions to vote for on the Dem side. Too bad they don’t have a Presidential candidate that wants single payer to lead their party. Oh if only there was such a thing to be found to help the poor beleaguered Democrats.

    1. Pat

      Well, we now know the November surprise. What will October bring? Only one more way that Clinton is NOT the logical choice for a party that wants a victory in November. Not that Trump is either.

      I realize that this election is following new rules, and the traditional actions and responses have not lead to their usual success, but at the rate things are going and the many ways this will be a dirty, nasty, slimy little battle has a small part of me wondering if when people go to the polls they will be unable to hold their nose and vote for X, and thus go screw this and vote for anyone else on the ballot. Green, Libertarian, or The Rent’s Too Damn High Party – anything but the scum seeking bottom feeders who appear to be destined to be the major party nominees.

      Mind you, I’m also wondering if there is not some scenario cooking where we get Biden on the third or fourth ballot at the convention as well. Frankly it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the backroom plan B if Clinton starts facing the scrutiny she has not gotten so far regarding the numerous questionable – legally and judgment wise – choices made by her and her campaign, not to mention more about her health. But not that premium increase problem, that little November surprise really screws him almost more than it does Clinton.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Isn’t it time the Dems started a draft Clooney movement ? All that super expensive rubber chicken has to be good for something. We even have the video of Sanders supporters were showering him with $$$.

        Memo to DWS and the DNC: What are you waiting for ?

      2. HotFlash

        As I asked on today’s Links post, does HRC still have a security clearance, and if so, why?

        Surely it is someone’s, or some-agency’s, job to authorize *and revoke* security clearances according to a set procedure? Presumable, she would have lost her SecState clearance when she left — and by the way, wasn’t that abrupt?

        So how would a President function without a security clearance? And who issues the President’s security clearance?

        1. craazyboy

          I imagine they could rewire the Red Button with an LED that lights up so that Hillary will be alerted when to push it.

  3. ProNewerDeal

    Good afternoon MuricNam!

    Recall this is Murica, it ain’t Denmark or Canada, the “Exceptional” (Crappy) Murican social safety net is thin & riddled with gaping holes. Much job insecurity, even PhDs face a risk of Type 1 Underemployment. Much health care access & catastrophic cost insecurity, even with those who are extorted by “health insurance” oligopolist. The new President in Jan 2017 is unlikely to be Sanders, & thus is likely to either persist or worsen these insecurities.

    BTW, given these insecurities, I feel like cursing at the smug dbag Professor(!) on the IRA-type fin svcs ad, implying that the ONLY risk is in “outliving your money”, & “we are all living longer” (a lie per NC articles on middle age white death rate worsening, etc). Perhaps this douche MIGHT actually be able to assume that, if he is a tenured Prof (job for life, without pay cuts) with good health insurance. The vast majority of us lack such guarantees.

    I’ve heard it said that nutrition, exercise, & stress reduction are pro-health. Given the insecurities I mentioned, stress reduction is perhaps a Sisyphean task. Perhaps seeking a romantic/life partner who is earnest, easy to get along with, & generally acknowledges this Murican reality; might aid in this stress reduction – or at least not increase it. Many 99%ers still have the option of eating vegetables & exercising, although both require the scarce resource of time.

    Make sure to stack a significant portion of your incoming Tubmans in your Insecurity Fund. Paraphrasing Wu-Tang: “Tubmans Rule Everything Around Me – TREAM! Get the money, dollar dollar bill, yall!”

    That’s all I got as advice for individuals in the Barbaric “Land of the Free” Murica. If I missed anything, pls reply to this comment, perhaps I can learn something from the Wise NC Crowd. The Wisdom of Crowds concept is highly relevant in the NC comments section!

    Cheers & have a good one!

    1. Jolie

      There is substantial research showing that inequality itself is fundamentally stressful. These studies have been conducted among humans and other primates (which strengthens the results), and have found that blood pressure and other biomarkers for stress increase with larger levels of inequality. As you might expect, those at the top of the hierarchy are unaffected; but stress increases the further down you go on the hierarchy.

    2. Jolie

      I wonder if a legal theory could be argued vis a vis the 14th Amendment, that any legislation which leads to large levels of inequality is inherently unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause, as evidenced by the large body of scientific and medical research regarding the negative health effects of inequality? This may sound like wishful thinking, but a similar argument was used by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education that ended “separate but equal” segregation in education. Of course, that would require the Supreme Court to not be comprised of corporate liaisons, which is admittedly a tall order given the people that so-called liberals nominate to be justices.

      1. HopeLB

        Brilliant! And look how far the kids fighting Climate Change have gotten. Maybe, you should crowd fund it on the SanderforPres reddit?

  4. jo6pac

    Why don’t sell gas out of glass bottles by the side of the road, like we see in Cambodia or Laos?

    Now if they had a rag hang off the top this might be a best seller.

    1. Roger Smith

      Slap some logos on the rag, license special collector’s bottles…

      It’s innovation!

    2. Roger Smith

      Print some logos on the rags, license some special edition bottles…BAM!

      Innovation! Someone call Bezos and Uber. I need investors.

      1. HotFlash

        Print some logos on the rags, license some special edition bottles…BAM!

        Wouldn’t that be BOOM!?

    3. JoeK

      I’ll address the original question rather than the Molotov-oriented variant.

      Roadside stands with a few bottles of gasoline in them aren’t in any way as close to dangerous as pickup trucks driving around with gawd knows how much inflammable fuel on board. That truly sounds like a recipe for disaster. Multi-vehicle collision with one of those involved? Anyone involved is likely to be (burnt) toast.
      I travel around SE Asia a lot (I’m there right now :-)) and despite the general hell-for-leather driving style have never seen a gas stand involved.

  5. Gaylord

    Summary of comments about “Trade” Agreements: They are a fascist coups attempt, part of an long-range plan involving NATO and the Western banking cartel.

    1. Minnie Mouse

      “Trade” agreements are all about empowering a cartel of multinational corporations to tell countries what kind of laws, if any, they are “allowed” to pass under the rules of “free trade”, or what existing laws need to be changed or repealed to comply with the corrupt unelected cartel. Real democracy and sovereignty, right?

  6. ScottW

    I know a couple of young adults who are leaving jobs with health insurance benefits, taking a couple of months off, and then going back to college (where health insurance is mandatory). So what happens to the one who is leaving New York and will got to school in PA, but may spend a few months in Mass.? How do you meet the obligation of having health insurance for the two months in Mass.? You need a primary doctor and there is no way to get established in 2 months–only to leave for another state.

    Did I mention each gets the pleasure of paying about $300/mo., if they can even find the worthless insurance? Finally, getting policies for a couple of months, and then moving, leaves the recipient screwed with deductibles and copays they will never meet. What a mess. What a Country!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Funny how America, which used to pride itself on the mobility of its populace, adopted health legislation which assumes that everyone stays put for a year at a time.

      Max Baucus, whose aide Liz Fowler drafted this reeking p.o.s. legislation, wisely headed to China, where he gets fully portable health coverage courtesy of the U.S. government.

      From 2003-08, Baucus received $3,973,485 from the health sector, including $852,813 from pharmaceutical companies, $851,141 from health professionals, $784,185 from the insurance industry and $465,750 from HMOs/health services, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

      As the old joke punchline goes, we’ve established what Max is. Now it’s just a question of price.

      1. flora

        As long as you’re listing Dems who have cashed in on the Health Care ™ gravy train, don’t forget Tom Daschle, Billy Tauzin, or Joe Lieberman, among others. Why, it’s almost like they gave up Union money in exchange for Pharma and Insurance payola.

      2. different clue

        Max Baucus is a multimillionaire. I doubt he went to China “for the USgov healthcare”. I believe the Baucus families is one of the great neo-feudal land-master/money-master families of Montana. Am i wrong about that?

      3. JTMcPhee

        “America” is neither an agent nor a “thing,” except in the Narrative. “America” doesn’t pride itself on anything — not a thing that could even think about doing so.

    2. jgordon

      I suppose it depends on the university, but I think health insurance is really only mandatory if you live on campus. And what kind of a numbskull would do that? For the money you save on premiums alone you could be living in a nice apartment out in town.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        For many (most?) colleges and universities, proof of insurance (including mental health coverage!) is mandatory to avoid paying the university health charge, regardless of where you reside.

  7. Tertium Squid

    The Useless Agony of Going Offline

    I missed learning about new things….So many questions went unanswered during those seventy-two hours—so many curiosities cast aside and forgotten without being pursued.

    Yeah, but how many of those pointless curiosities did you go and look up once you were back online? I’m guessing the answer is close to zero. He doesn’t miss thinking new things, he misses having the hive mind do his thinking for him.

    Whenever I’m away from the internet for a day or two, it usually only takes 20 minutes or so to get “caught up”. So in a whole day the entire internet only generates 20 minutes worth of useful content.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We used to dump waste into the ocean or bury in the ground.

      Out of sight, out of mind.

      And the brain assumes the world is big enough to absorb our waste.

      Similarly, we assume our brain is big enough to absorb all the toxic information we stuff in there through our sensory organs.

      No, the brain can’t absorb all that toxic waste.

      We have to dump the bad stuff.

      Empty our brain.

      Throw the junk out.

      One way to do that is by off-loading them onto the world wide web, like we throw trash into the ocean.

      1. Gilby

        As an academic, I think about this all the time. Consider the depth of the Jewish and Christian exegetical traditions and their attendant intellectual and artistic cultures. The insight gleaned from just a few texts, read again and again, made ceaselessly contemporaneous with the present into which they are received, as opposed to a facile fascination with encyclopedic coverage that can only be superficial, simplified, and always dated–commodified, in other words.

        The relationship between the means of production under capitalism and the so-called logic of specialization in the human sciences is, I have come to believe, tighter than we are usually taught to think.

      2. Bunk McNulty

        Many years ago, I attended a conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School on recycling and waste disposal, because I was paid to be there. I don’t remember much about it, except this line from one of the speakers: “We talk about throwing things away. There is no longer any such thing as ‘away’.”

        1. different clue

          I remember seeing a PSA on mainstream TV several decades ago on just that theme. ” When you throw something ‘away’, where is ‘away’?”

          I also remember just one time a PSA-type spot running on mainstream TV showing two bald tires. ” One of these tires got 50,000 miles more than the other one. Without advertising, who could tell?”

      3. JTMcPhee

        ‘We” don’t “used to” dump Schmutz in the oceans or “used to” bury or dump or inject or spread schmutz on the land. “We” are doing it, to the millions of tons of varying toxicity and persistence and bioavailability and bioaccumulation, every moment of every day, and it’s not even slowing down…

        1. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

          JTM: And the more numerous we become, the greater the burden.
          Someday, somehow, somewhere, by someone, this existential dilemma
          must be addressed.

  8. Thebell

    Areas with “one dominant insurer” have less profits(rents) but somehow single payer couldn’t work at all…

  9. gonzomarx

    Leicester City’s title triumph: the inside story of an extraordinary season

    5000-1 outsiders win Premier League (a stirring in the zeitgeist?)

    The Silk Road

    New documentary
    In the first episode of his series tracing the story of the most famous trade route in history, Dr Sam Willis starts in Venice and explores how its Renaissance architecture and art has been shaped by the east and by thousands of exchanges along the Silk Road.

    TTIP has been kicked into the long grass … for a very long time

    How Britain funds the ‘propaganda war’ against Isis in Syria

    ‘It’s ugly and dangerous’: the inside story of the battle to be London mayor
    Zac Goldsmith has been using disgusting dog whistle tactics to try and win this.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Re Leicester: To draw a (maybe stretched) Sanders/Clinton parallel Leicester City has spent less on players in the entire 132 years of its existence than Manchester United did in just the last 2 seasons.

      1. nobody

        “The refreshing thing about this particularly story is that it just goes against every thing – the established norms and the conventional wisdom… It just shatters everything that everybody has established. So it just an exciting opportunity to learn… it is just a fantastic case study…”


  10. PNW_WarriorWoman

    My friend in Lafayette, IN reported this on his FB page today:

    “Went to vote, pushed Bernie, Hillary comes up. Pushed Bernie, machine squawks. Push clear
    Same thing… third try pushed below the box, went through…I think. Probably not. Wish I had video of it.”

    1. jo6pac

      Thanks, would like to say I’m shocked but that would be lying. That’s interesting as covered here the other day was exit polls showing the opposite of the end result. I guess we now why. Were is Jimmy Carter when we need him here in the New Amerika.

  11. Gareth

    Hillary to out-of-work coal miner: “What I said was totally out of context from what I meant”. Huh?
    I love the way her voice slips into a bit of a drawl as she talks. Why shucks she might have growed up in the holler right up the road. Who says she can’t seem authentic?


    1. Qrys

      While I too find Hillary’s tendency for dialect mimicry unnerving at times – it’s not so unusual a habit, especially in the public sphere, and most especially when you’re trying to garner favorability with an audience.

      Bloomberg took a look at her shifting idiolect(s) in 2015:

  12. Jess

    One of Yves favorite politicians/s, former NY Assemblyman Chair Sheldon Silver, gets 12 years in prison plus a $1.5 mil fine for corruption conviction. Plus he’s supposed to repay $5 mil in illicit income.

    1. Pavel

      That’s Obama’s famous Rule of Law™ in action. But note it only applies to certain corrupt politicians (and very few of those), and not the Wall Street Banksters who rule us all.

  13. Pavel

    Speaking of the Grey Lady (as I did yesterday)… cry me a river:

    The New York Times Company reported a $14 million net loss for the first quarter of 2016 as it continued to grapple with how to offset falling revenue in print advertising. Digital subscriptions remained a bright spot for the company, showing robust growth.

    In its earnings release on Tuesday, the company said it added 67,000 net digital-only subscriptions in the quarter, the most in a quarter since the end of 2012. The Times now has roughly 1.2 million digital-only subscriptions for its news products. Including its crossword product subscriptions, which accounted for about $2 million in revenue in the first quarter, the company counts close to 1.4 million digital-only subscriptions. By the end of the year, it expects to have more than 1.5 million digital-only subscriptions.

    “This was a very strong quarter for our digital subscription business,” Mark Thompson, the company’s chief executive, said in an earnings call with investors. “The rate at which we are adding subscriptions is continuing to accelerate.”

    New York Times Co. Reports Loss as Digital Subscriber Base Grows

    Here is a fascinating article (via Hacker News) reporting on the rather sleazy tricks the Boston Glob(e) uses to snare digital subscribers. I shouldn’t be surprised if the NYT uses similar tricks. I recommend the whole article with screenshots. The gist is that it is a bait-and-switch on the price, and subscribers can only cancel a subscription by a painful telephone call experience:

    Yes, the real price isn’t the $0.99 per week in the banner ad, or even the $3.99 per week in fine print on the purchase page. It’s $6.93 per week, almost twice as much as the purchase page rate, and seven times as much as the banner. Since this price only kicks in after a year, it’s almost impossible for average users to notice, unless they carefully check each and every bank statement.

    If they do find out and try to cancel, they’ll discover this catch, which isn’t stated or even implied during signup:

    Screenshot from 2016-04-24 19-09-44.png

    A Boston Globe reader can subscribe online. If they have a question, they can ask over email, or through a convenient live chat service. But if they want to stop paying, they have to call and ask on the phone, no doubt after a long hold time and mandatory sales pitches. There’s no plausible reason for this, other than forcing people to pay when they’d rather cancel the service.

    In the short term, these dishonest tricks raise revenue for newspapers that use them. But in the longer term, they do even more damage, by giving the whole industry a reputation for bad business practices. Cable companies can get away with it because of government-granted monopolies; newspapers won’t be able to.

    Dark Patterns by the Boston Globe

    Of course, no such bait-and-switch here at NC, one of the finest news sources in the world :)

    1. JustAnObserver

      Just when we thought we’d got to max marketing gibberish we get *crossword products*

      By the Blessed Lineker’s holy Y-fronts (*) can we just f**king STOP THIS %$#!!?

      (*) Obligatory Leicester City reference

    2. fresno dan

      More and more, the differentiation between commerce and grifting is getting more and more nebulous….
      I too have noticed most businesses will not straight forwardly represent the price of their products.

  14. readerOfTeaLeaves

    As I understand Stein’s summary, Sanders, in his speech at the National Press Club, didn’t argue the superdelegates should reflect voter totals in all states, but in his landslide states. While I think this is an argument that nobody will remember in a week, and Sanders clearly can fight to the last delegate if he wants, exactly as Clinton did in 2008, I don’t think much of the argument;

    I respectfully disagree, Lambert.
    I’m in Washington state, where you had to be motivated enough to get to your precinct caucus, then legislative caucuses. You had to feel strongly enough to devote an entire Saturday morning and afternoon to caucusing.

    Bernie Sanders won this state by over 72%, in addition to raising millions from this state. The turnout was phenomenal: there were so many people at my precinct caucus that it was delayed for 40 minutes, and people were walking over a mile to get there — IOW, those are incredibly motivated voters.

    The entire state is not ‘lefty’ even though we are the Left Coast. Even conservative areas went for Bernie.

    There is no way on this or any other planet that the Bernie supporters that I’ve met are going to cut Sen Maria Cantwell, or Sen Patty Murray, or anyone else slack for playing by the same old, same old shitty rules that cave to Big Money and produce gridlock. If I’m listening astutely, the libertarian-conservative folks over in Yakima and Spokane are equally fed up.

    If all the Wa super delegates walk off the plank for Hillary, all the money and energy that Bernie conjured, due to his years of consistency, will probably tell the DNC and the Dems, “Nice knowing you. We’ll call you if we need you.” Followed by: delete, delete, delete. If the DNC tries to phone them, they’ll initiate Call Blocking. I honestly think the depth of contempt is that bad.

    There won’t be much patience for super delegates who want to take us back to 1992, or 1996, or 2000. Or 2008.

    The kind of passion that I’ve seen does not roll over and give up simply because the Powers That Be have decided to anoint Hillary. Those super delegates who overrule the will of the people are going to demolish their credibility with a lot of very smart, very well educated, very financially generous people. That’s political idiocy.

    1. flora

      This year it’s pure power politics with brass knuckles. The DNC is determined to show voters who is in charge, who has the power. Eff the voters.

    2. marym

      It’s not clear from Stein’s excerpt, but what Sanders said was more substantive. He said super delegates had made their decisions before it was clear whether he would be a strong candidate; said just as he was asking them to consider the primary/caucus results in states that he’d won by large margins, he assumed super delegates in states Clinton won would similarly consider that; and he also asked that all super delegates consider who would be the strongest candidate against the Republicans.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Ah. That’s a good argument; it’s a function of how the primary system is rigged against insurgents, a variant of the early voting argument. Thank you.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not sure how that addresses my point, which appears after the semi-colon where you cut off my quote.

      Unless it’s the “forgotten in a week” part, where I’d suggest what people will remember is their own experience of agency, not Sanders’ remark.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Sorry to confuse.

        But I actually agree with you — people remember their own experiences. They’re not going to ‘forget in a week’ that they were having to walk for blocks and blocks and blocks, and that was after they finally nabbed an illegal parking spot. They also aren’t going to forget the energy, or seeing a whole set of gym bleachers weighed down by Sanders supporters (old, young, blond hair, pink hair, no tattoos, tattooed, etc). The Hillary side of the gym had about 1/4 as many people as the Sanders side. And no visible tattoos.

        I think people will remember tag lines like ‘$27 dollars’, but not the details — although, I confess myself amazed at how much these younger voters have researched issues of importance to them. Including student debt.

        People will, however, remember that there are now political alternatives that were not discussed, and therefore ‘not thinkable’ before the Sanders campaign.

        If the DNC and super delegates shut down the Sanderistas, it will die of self-inflicted wounds. (I fully expect that’s how things will play out. Meanwhile, Hillary continues to withhold Goldman Sachs speeches and emails of concern to the FBI. Any functioning party would have told her that’s too much weight to be dragging around.)

  15. ChrisPacific

    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. (George Bernard Shaw)

    Drum (and the Democratic Party) should write that on the back of their hand and look at it every time they feel the incrementalist urge.

  16. fresno dan

    UPDATE “After weeks of personal attacks from Donald Trump, including fresh insinuations that his father was associated with Lee Harvey Oswald, Cruz boiled over Tuesday” [CNN]. “‘He is proud of being a serial philanderer … he describes his own battles with venereal diseases as his own personal Vietnam,’ Cruz said, citing a decades-old Trump appearance on ‘The Howard Stern Show.’”

    Lucifer in the flesh, AKA meat Beezelbub, AKA corporeal Devil, AKA Protoplasm Satan gets all angry about….lyin’ LOL!!!!
    This from the party that disingenuously could never quite figure out if Obama was a US citizen, whether global warming is happening, that Dubbya kept us safe, as well as all those weapons of mass destruction, that if they couldn’t be found in Iraq, must be somewhere else over there….
    The party that has a profound desire to screw anyone worth less than 10 million, and goes through endless contortions pretending that they don’t, have finally seen their complete contempt for any candidate constrained by reality finally result in the logical conclusion: Trump.

    Is there a party that deserves Trump more than the party who got him? And is there a candidate ever in history who deserved to be eviscerated by Trump more than Cruz???

    We have a political system that presents us with 2 political parties:
    A – bad, terrible, abysmal, appalling, unconscionable, despicable, depraved, and disgusting
    B – worse

    If we can end the repub party, maybe, maybe we can replace it with something not as horrid….

    1. flora

      ” And is there a candidate ever in history who deserved to be eviscerated by Trump more than Cruz???”

      Well, yes.

      1. cwaltz

        Don’t worry it’s going to be her turn next.

        I wonder if Trump will say, “I came, I saw, you lost.”

      2. jgordon

        Every time I listen to a Trump speech he says some new truth that floors me. There’s stuff that so obvious and no one can say it. But then Trump goes and says it in front of millions of people. For example:

        -The TPP is a disaster and it needs to be stopped.
        -The neocons are incompetent losers.
        -Politicians are bought and paid for.
        -Hillary is crooked. And she has bad judgement (originally per Sanders).

        If nothing else Trump is shining a light into a lot of dark places that Hillary and the other establishment players would prefer to keep out of sight. If not for Trump probably most Americans would still be clueless about TPP. And TPP is going to be front and center in any kind of a contest between Trump and Crooked Hillary.

    2. phred

      “The country is depending on Indiana,” he warned on Tuesday. “If Indiana does not act, this country could well plunge into the abyss … We are not a proud, boastful, self-centered, mean spirited, hateful, bullying nation.”
      Just wanted to concur with your astonishment at the hubris of any Republican for complaining about lies, but for me the above quote really takes the cake. It would be an absurdity coming from any Republican member of Congress, but from Cruz?!?!? Holy smokes, buddy, know thyself…

  17. Daryl

    > “I hated spending three days without computers. And I feel no deep shame about this” [New Yorker]. “I didn’t miss Twitter’s little heart-shaped icons. I missed learning about new things.”

    Funny to state it like that, because I miss the internet that wasn’t a firehose of crap designed to manipulate you into viewing some tiny slice of it.

    1. cwaltz

      There side of the aisle has always had an easier time with the base getting their way.

      Wish our side had more people willing to go to the mat against our oligarchy.

    2. jrs

      do we even know who has the most votes on the Dem side so far? Yes Hillary will say it is her. But then are caucus states even being included in the count?

    1. phred

      Thanks for the link. Did you happen to notice that NBC projects 56 delegates for the winner and 58 for the not-winner? The MSM, can’t live with them… and can’t seem to make them go away…

      1. Elliot

        Yep. And the Guardian article on how “shocking” it was that Sanders won was roundly lambasted in the comments.. but the tone of the Hillary commenters has gotten increasingly nasty. They are out and out lying, some of them, as well as the standard “he should quit”.

        It’s going to be an ugly, bizarre summer. I may have to take up drinking.

  18. Carolinian

    Trump “cruises” to victory while Sanders upsets Hillary. This may be the point where she goes gulp.

    1. cwaltz

      Apparently Indiana didn’t get the memo that Hillary is the nominee whether voters like it or not.

      1. pretzelattack

        yes!! make them fight for everything, all the way to the convention and beyond.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Sanders called the winner in Indiana. He has a 6-point margin with 73% of precincts reporting.

    Hillary won only the southern Ohio River counties, plus Gary in the northwest corner.

    Bern, baby, Bern.

      1. cwaltz

        What i learned is that a candidate can win a primary and be declared a loser by media meatheads like MSNBC and VOX while the candidate who lost is declared the big winner.

        Dear mainstream media,

        You’re trying too hard and this is why people no longer pay attention to you.

        Sincerely yours

        Someone who watches HGTV and Food Network now because if I want to watch fake at least I can get some cooking and decorating tips.

  20. allan

    United Airlines pays $37 million to ex-CEO who quit amid a corruption investigation

    Despite resigning amid a federal corruption probe, the former chief executive of United Airlines is receiving nearly $37 million in compensation, including a car, free flights and lifetime parking privileges at two major airports. …

    Smisek and two other United employees stepped down in September in the face of a federal investigation into allegations that the airline was trading favors with the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

    United was accused of operating a money-losing flight to the airport nearest the weekend home of the port authority’s chairman in exchange for improvements the carrier wanted at Newark Liberty International Airport.

    Stage 4 capitalism.

    1. TedWa

      Seriously, now being indicted is being a hero deserving the keys to the city and everything else. Honesty is vilified and corruption regaled and honored as a high moral attribute. Just sickening. There is way too much money floating around in the 1% circles and you know it when this crap happens. They flaunt it because they know that no one is going to do anything about it.

  21. ewmayer

    Bwa ha ha … just saw on the local n00z that a day after his running mate literally fell flat on her face, Ted Cruz did so metaphorically, suspending his campaign after getting crushed by The Donald in Indiana. Anyone familiar with Fiorina’s business career could tell him that is in fact the essence of “the Carly magic”. :)

  22. Cry Shop

    Here are two films produced, probably by some bit of internal corruption at a high costs, by the FBI warning about not selling US interest. Yet, that’s exactly what Hill-Billy (look at her brothers too) and the Bush family have been doing, yet the FBI does nothing because the whole organ is occupied by Flexians.



    The FBI has surpassed the role of the ICAC in Hong Kong, which is to stop the corruption at the bottom and middle so that there is more for the Flexians to steal at the top.

  23. Dugh

    ACA turd:

    Today our county was asked to vote for an increase in property taxes to cover the ambulance district’s budget shortfall. Because of 0bama Care, the ambulance district is now running a $1.8 million annual revenue shortfall, 20% of its yearly budget. The shortfall is the result of a 300% increase in users on Medicaid due to 0bama Care. Medicaid only reimburses at a rate of 7% of the total cost of services. Lovely

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s a great datapoint, and it makes me think this is happening nationally. Can you tell me your state and country?

      Readers, anyone else with the same experience?

      1. Cry Shop


        The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has created a national ambulance fee schedule in an attempt to standardize billing across the spectrum of insurance status. Over the past five years, many states have adopted it. However, since the national fee schedule does not cover the actual cost of the services provided, EMS services are subsidized by local taxpayers. A number of communities bill the uninsured for the EMS services they use, but it is difficult to collect. The only alternative may be local tax increases.

          1. Cry Shop

            or the water & sewage fee, etc. A sad tale from an old classmate.

            Pritchard, AL; which several times claimed the title of murder capital (per capita) of the USA, is in a form of receivership. Neither the fire department nor the ambulances from neighboring Mobile (delegated by the courts to take over the bankrupted city’s EMS) will roll into that city without at least two police car escort, all of which gets tagged on to the EMS bill. As part of the receivership, the water and sewage services were sold off, and the money from the sale set aside to be burned through providing EMS etc. (What happens when this fund is emptied is not discussed). The privatized service tried to extract it’s fees from the landlords (who are local versions of Trumps father), but the landlords got relief from the (corrupt) courts and the reciever that made the renters responsible for some of the most expensive water and shit in the USA.

            The jails are now being filled with bankrupt adults who can’t make these payments, who are loaded up with more debt and because they are charged a maintenance cost for being jailed (disguised as a daily fine), and then eventually discharged to keep sending in money to the system. Neither of us can see how this system can possibly keep working, I expect any day to hear that transport ships will be sending these people off to some Nuvo Terra (Antarctica?) sold in exchange for their debts to slave penal colonies modeled on US Federal Penitentiaries.

      2. Dugh

        Eagle County, CO. Passed tonight by 24 votes.

        From local paper:

        “Eagle County Health Service District faced a $1.8 million annual operating deficit because, under Obamacare, the federal government pays 7 cents for every dollar it costs the local ambulance district to transport a Medicaid patient. Changes in Medicaid enrollment pushed up the number of Medicaid patients the district transports by 300 percent, according to district data…..’This was imposed on us from outside,’ said Dan Smith, ambulance district board member”

          1. Dugh

            That was down in the front range. Local anti-fracking initiatives just got shot down by the courts.

    2. paintedjaguar

      I’m betting that the “actual cost of services” is vastly overinflated. Seven years ago in Seattle I took a non-emergency 15-minute ambulance ride with no medical services provided en route from my home to a local hospital (it’s a long story, but I was on my feet and in no distress). That trip resulted in a $3,000 dollar charge.

      7% ($210) sounds reasonable to me. Maybe a little generous. The solution to this “problem” seems obvious — ambulance/EMS should be a public service, not a for-profit business as is the case nearly everywhere these days.

      1. craazyboy

        If we are illegally parked here, we get charged $210 by the private towing “service”. Sounds about right for an ambulance ride.

        Where’s Uber when you need them? Paramedics don’t make that much.

  24. jjmacjohnson

    “I hated spending three days without computers. And I feel no deep shame about this”

    Read a newspaper.

Comments are closed.