Links 5/16/16

Do no harm to life on Mars? Ethical limits of Prime Directive EarthSky (Furzy Mouse).

RBS considers radical overhaul to embattled Williams & Glyn project Telegraph (Richard Smith). Smith comments: “I really like the idea of systems so unintelligible that no-one can work out how to clone them. Especially since those unintelligible systems are the live business critical systems of RBS.” It’s crapification all the way down…

Goldman Sachs emerges as growing natural gas player FT

Global PE firms find sweet spot in Japan’s food sector Reuters

Private equity faces China challenge in key mining assets FT

How Pa. hires money managers for pension funds Philadelphia Inquirer (JS).

Amazon to Expand Private-Label Offerings—From Food to Diapers WSJ

Microsoft director, former Amazon director charged in prostitution sting KIRO (Chuck L).

Google faces record-breaking fine for web search monopoly abuse Telegraph

Facebook Investigating Trending Topics Censorship Controversy Information Week. In the “Government” section; and in fact Facebook (and Twitter) are governing; they’re ginormous monopolies maintaining a public space. Are they suited for it?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to WaPo (CL).

Hidden Microphones Exposed As Part of Government Surveillance Program In The Bay Area CBS SFBayArea

General Hayden’s Offensive Charlie Savage, NYRB

Needed: More Snowdens – Ex-intel analyst USA Today


Bill Clinton Would Be ‘In Charge of Revitalizing the Economy,’ Hillary Clinton Says ABC. Help me.

Bill Clinton Disputes Accuracy of Report That His Foundation Enriched Friends ABC

This is one weak nominee: Hillary Clinton’s problem isn’t Bernie Sanders. It’s Hillary Clinton Salon

Even supporters agree: Clinton has weaknesses as a candidate. What can she do? WaPo. “She’s horrible at running, but she’s fantastic at governing.”

Bernie or Bust will save us: The foul stench of “lesser evilism” has made our politics useless Salon. The clickbait-y headline doesn’t do justice to the article.

Nevada Democratic Convention: The Videos You Need to See Heavy

The Rise of Political Clickbait 11: Nevada Democratic Convention YouTube. Clips. Note that the rules permitted a standing division after a close voice vote, but the chair did not avail themselves of that option.

Hillary Clinton Holds $100,000-a-Head Fundraisers WSJ. Ka-ching.


Industry spending to beat a pharmaceutical initiative could set a new standard for ‘drug money’ LA Times

The Reason Why Dozens of Lobbyists Will Be Democratic Presidential Delegates ABC

Donald Trump supporters are not the bigots the left likes to demonise Guardian (!).

Trump Is Now Running to the Left of Sanders on Federal Debt Bloomberg. “Modern Money Theory.”

Donald Trump Wouldn’t Have Had the Ready Cash to Self-Finance Entire Campaign — Analysis WSJ

Hedge funds back Trump in expectation of pragmatic shift in tone FT

Where Republican donors stand on Donald Trump The Hill

Refugee Wrangling: Merkel’s Deal with Turkey in Danger of Collapse Der Spiegel

A Sewer Is Open In Florida And Endless Dark Money Is Flowing Out Of It, Corrupting Politics Down with Tyranny

Reality check: protests grow as gap widens between reality and the ‘Africa rising’ storyline Mail and Guardian

Brazil’s biggest economic problem is confidence: finance minister Reuters

The Feel of Bespoke Suits n+1. Not sure about this one. Something wrong with “why we can have nice things”?

Venezuela crisis: Maduro threatens seizure of closed factories BBC

Class Warfare

From belief to resentment in Indiana WaPo (Re Silc). Must-read.

Aberdeen: the Granite City in crisis Telegraph

The Privilege of Buying 36 Rolls of Toilet Paper at Once The Atlantic. It’s expensive to be poor.

Squatters See a New Frontier in the Empty Homes of Las Vegas NYT and The Squat Eschaton

Bay Area public housing complex overrun with squatters Reveal

Surprise: Beyoncé’s Ivy Park Collection is Being Made in Sweatshops The Fashion Law

America’s Most Common Drug Ingredient Could Be Making You Less Empathetic Gizmodo (Re Silc; original).

​’​Sick​ and​ asphyxiating​’​​ – why we live in an age of anxiety Guardian

Times Square ‘free hug guy’ accused in other attacks WABC

Corporate Inequality Is the Defining Fact of Business Today HBR

The basic income is a dangerous idea that gives the state power to control every penny that citizens spend Independent

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Victoria

    Re: the basic income piece in the Independent. I found this rather incoherent, because it seems to be based on the premise that dependency on “the state” is inherently worse than… everything, mainly because you might be told to stop eating junk food. Is being dependent on crappy minimum wage jobs any better for people? And has funneling money to banks (which is how money supply is topped up today) made them dependent on the state? I think it’s actually put them in charge of the state, personally.

    1. diptherio

      It’s a real “Chicken Little” piece. He assumes that the state will impose spending restrictions on UBI like they do on SNAP purchases…for no particular reason. He also seems to assume that a UBI will replace minimum wage laws, which I’ve never heard anybody claim before.

      This guy is mainly repeating the criticisms of the old British Speenhamland system of poor relief, which detractors claim actually injured the poor. However, that turns out to not really be the case and the people who made those claims in the past were definitely not unbiased sources. Unfortunately, many people buy into the line that giving people money is somehow doing them harm.

      The UBI isn’t a cure-all, and it would undoubtedly have unintentional consequences. But grinding poverty is a much worse problem, and an actually-existing one, which is why I support a UBI, a job guarantee, and anything else that will actually, practically, help people feel financially secure — not rich; secure.

      1. local to oakland

        If I remember correctly, the old cash aid welfare system had some flaws and some bad incentives. It was clearly better than nothing, but once in, the risks of trying to get off it and failing were higher than they should have been. Enough higher risk, to discourage attempts to start small businesses or even discourage finding work that wasn’t under the table. Having to divest assets, having a hard income cap, having the presence of a working spouse be a disqualifier, all made the welfare system hard to live with and both expensive and punitive in the way it was administered.

        I hope that this basic income guarantee and other such policy proposals are carefully designed not to become similar ‘Hotel California’ style traps for those who participate.

        1. jrs

          Sounds possibly less brutal than a job guarantee issued by the plutocracy.

          Yes they are proposals that are not like that, but I have my doubt they would ever be implemented short of revolution either. The powers that be don’t like to lose power.

          1. Skippy

            I think the difference is… one is akin to a subsidy aka walmartification and the other deals with a labour “market” vs. NAIRU, but concede to your point about power.

    2. Carla

      Isn’t the real problem the move to eliminate cash?

      Social Security recipients receive benefits in the form of an electronic entry in their bank accounts. They can then withdraw cash to make purchases in relative private. That is, as long as we still have cash. Of course, we don’t trust SNAP (food stamp) recipients to spend wisely or “correctly” so their “money” is accessible only electronically, may be used only for certain government-approved items, and is completely trackable.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can they make government spending completely trackable, and only on people-approved items?

    3. nihil obstet

      For the damage that government payments do to you, ask any recipient of Social Security. They’ll tell you all about THE HORROR!!!

  2. RabidGandhi

    Lots of fun packed into that little Reuters note on Brasil:

    — According to Reuters, Temer is a “centrist” while Rousseff is a “leftist”, whereas on planet Earth, Rousseff’s PT is backed by the majority of Brasilians, while Temer has less than 2% electoral support.

    — According to Reuters, the new Gov’t is “scrambling to identify economic reforms” whereas on planet Earth, Temer et co. have been planning on governing for months, with Temer himself caught on tape in March rehearsing his inauguration speech.

    — Reuters says Temer’s objectives are to reduce unemployment, cut public spending and “reform” the pension system. Yeah, let me know how that works out on planet Earth.

    — According to Reuters, Temer says he “will not interfere with corruption probes”, whereas on planet Earth, the day after Temer assumed office investigations into major figures such as Aécio Neves (loser in the last election vs. Rousseff) were for some reason immediately halted.

    The fact is this whole debacle was carefully planned with the goals of papering over rampant corruption, re-instituting Washington Consensus austerity, and implementing policies that this group of cronies had failed to get Brasilians to accept in 4 consecutive elections. Thus Reuters is being fully duplicitous by pretending this is a matter of the Temer administration “considering”, “pondering”, or “scrambling” to do anything, when it is in fact a well-laid plan to introduce the same tired-out script.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      The TYT report also mentioned Goldman Sachs in on the “bloodless” coup.

      Here’s their chance to hack into that pesky BRICs bank!

    2. Alejandro

      “O democracy, democracy! Wherefore art thou?”

      File under WTF…and when the abstractions make their landing, few make the connections…different ruse, but same rules; 1-because markets AND 2-GO DIE!

  3. Roger Smith

    Bill Clinton Would Be ‘In Charge of Revitalizing the Economy,’ Hillary Clinton Says

    I had to stop here today… I just can’t.

    “I’ve told my husband he’s got to come out of retirement and be in charge of this because you know he’s got more ideas a minute than anybody I know…”

    Seriously? They really must live in a closet if she truly thinks this. This madness has to end. These people are destructive tyrants. I am so tired of hearing this anti-Sanders nonsense about how he shouldn’t be competing and distracting from the “obvious” winner when it is these sycophantic Clintonite fools that will be responsible for the lose-lose 2016 general election.

    Otters… Otters… Otters… Otters….

    1. david s

      Bill Clinton must be the luckiest President in US history.

      Come into office right at the tail end of a recession, have a major technological revolution (bubble) occur during your term, sign a bunch of neoliberal, Wall St friendly bills, and have all the crap caused by those bills come home to roost only after you leave office.

      1. Roger Smith

        Funny (or maddening) enough I was watching a talk between Thomas Frank and Paul Krugman earlier today from 2015. In it Krugman says that Obama failure to handle the economic recession was not to bad because there was not as much that he really could have done. He then attributed the greater success of FDR’s financial crisis handling to a market already on the ups when he took office (whereas Obama started earlier in this model). The big difference though, regardless of starting point, is that FDR actually tried and did stuff. He has tangible work clocked using his team to break these banks up and fix problems. Obama…not so much.

        I bet Krugman ignores this “economy was already on the ups naturally” idea when it comes to Clinton. At least I can see him easily going that way.

          1. Roger Smith

            They each have a solo dialogue before a joint discussion and then Q&A with the crowd. It comes up during Krugman’s prepared notes. I have not got around to watching the rest yet to see if it pops back up during either of the following segments.

            I will follow up once I finish it.


          2. Roger Smith

            Just hitting the question portion and had to bring this up. At about an hour in Krugman sates that there is a rule at the NYT that columnists cannot “endorse, or tell you how to vote in an election.” What happened here?

            He goes to question the union crushing strategy of “what is American’s social democratic party, which is the Democrats…”

            “I guess, you know, when someone says it out loud for real… Is it hot in here?!” Whose dole is he on now?

            Frank never responds to the Obama talk.

      2. fresno dan

        The squillionaires haved vacuumed up ALL the money in the world – there is still work for Bill to do for his Friends of Bill…..

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        And to be succeeded by Shrub and Barry. If Obama was a good President, Democrats in Congress would be draping themselves in Obama trappings and clamoring for the chance to email his anointed successor.

      4. Adam Eran

        I’d put him right up there with Reagan, who was faced with record high petroleum prices (peaked in ’82), until Alaska’s North Slope came online, temporarily halting that climb. Virtually every other policy he tried failed, except, of course, increasing the deficit (for which he got an average business cycle recovery with lower-than-average capital investment, called “Morning in America”)

      5. Arizona Slim

        Clinton benefited from three developments that he had little or nothing to do with:

        1. The commercialization of the Internet. Sold a lot of hardware and software. Also gave rise to a lot of businesses, some of which are still around.
        2. The introduction of Windows 95, which also sold a lot of hardware and software.
        3. Massive spending to avoid the much-ballyhooed consequences of Y2K. We spent our way out of this one.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hillary’s new economic plan is to ask her husband. When one tells a lie long enough, one starts to believe it. Hillary and her gang have been pushing the BernieBro garbage for so long, they are trying to appeal to Bernie supporters by promising to put a man in charge.

        1. Roger Smith

          This is astounding to me. Her economic policy is now: “Bill Clinton”. Have they ever done anything in their lives that did not involve skirting legality? Even this campaign is, to me, borderline unconstitutional. Past presidents should not be allowed to campaign for anyone, period. Now we might have a First Lady who was a former president, and further still, that is responsible for economic plans. When does it end. Is she actually running?

        2. Brindle

          The whole BernieBros thing is almost entirely made up by the Clinton camp. The actual identity of these online sexist-foul mouthed supposed Sanders supporters is unknown. Likely is a Nixonian dirty tricks type of operation.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I know it’s made up. We’ve just seen the Clinton camp come full circle. Many necessary for a victory, Democratic voters despise Bill Clinton. Hillary won’t run against her husband and the DLC. Opposition to Hillary grows over this. Hillary calls opposition sexist to keep information from less informed voters and to muddy the waters. Hillary and her gang start to believe their lie. When they need to address the unity problem, they try to appease the regions of sexist and boy crazy Democrats under the age of 40 in 21st century America. Then they put Bill forward as a solution to the non-existent sexist problem to appease the sexists and boy crazy types. The cycle starts again.

            I definitely would have voted for Hillary over Obama if she rejected Bill’s politics.

      2. cwaltz

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that instead of the proverbial “chicken in every pot” that Hillary could tell everyone that Bill is promising “a hooker in every bedroom.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      Has “Bill” ever worked a single day of his life in a for-profit enterprise? What does he know about the economy, other than how to milk it with speech fees and a charity scam?

      The Clintons’ mentality is entirely based on “working the system.” For instance, Hillary’s brother Tony Rodham toured China, selling $500,000 stakes in GreenTech to qualify investors for U.S. green cards.

      Green Tech isn’t adding any value, nor is it selling any cars from its ghost plant. It’s just a visa-mill scheme to convert the government’s immigration authority into private gain, with fat commissions for middlemen like Hillary’s venal little brother.

      In early 2001, in connection with the pardons scandal, Hillary’s other brother Hugh Rodham received around $400,000 for legal services for gaining a presidential pardon of businessman Glenn Braswell who had been convicted of fraud, and a sentence commutation for drug trafficker Carlos Vignali.

      Hillary, Hugh, and Tony: the “fixers three.” They don’t call her “Hillary Ten Percent” for nothing.

      1. RabidGandhi

        How does working for for-profit enterprise qualify one to be president or understand anything about the economy?

        That said, Bill (scare quotes not necessary) fails miserably on the merits.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Let me let the late George McGovern answer:

          In 1988, I invested most of my earnings from the lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut’s Stratford Inn — complete with an experienced manager and staff.

          In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn’s 43-year leasehold.

          I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

          “One-size-fits-all” rules for business ignore the reality of the marketplace. Setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels — e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales — takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.

          McGovern wrote this 20 years before Obamacare (Hillarycare 2.0).

          Grifters do not invest. They skim the returns of those who do.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Classic D Flexian. McGovern gets rich off preaching his milquetoast anti-war message, uses the loot to become a rentier, and that suddenly makes him more “sensitive” to the needs of the monied classes.

            True it’s just one anecdote, but it sounds like a brilliant argument for keeping for-profit rent seekers far away from public office.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              From Investopedia (hopefully reliable):

              Rent-seeking is the use of a company, organization or individual’s resources to obtain economic gain from others without reciprocating any benefits to society through wealth creation.

              Not sure if acquiring a leasehold on an inn is rent-seeking. Maybe the landowner was.

              He had a manager and staff on his payroll. Without knowing the details, one can not be sure if he did not reciprocate any benefits to society through wealth creation.

              1. Optinader

                Bashing McGovern as a parasite because he ran a business?
                Uncalled for… And he made valid points in the quoted piece.

                Yes i think it makes great sense for a POTUS to have actually participated in the private sector.

            2. JE

              Agreed, rent seekers should be kept as far away from public office as possible. So much so, perhaps its time to disqualify humans from public office too.

              Such a great opportunity to automate! Forget about self-driving cars and coffee kiosk animatronics. Time for humans to put robots in change (this goes for the church, too). Who or what else offers a higher probability of altruistic service?

              I know, I know, Skynet this and Skynet that – maybe just fear-mongering propaganda from some forward-thinking, rent-seeking human!

      2. RP

        Their grifting, infuence-peddling, and money laundering have by all appearances been VERY profitable

    3. grayslady

      Mr. NAFTA in charge of economic recovery? Every Midwestern state voter will swing to Trump. Hillary has learned nothing in this campaign. Nothing.

      1. Roger Smith

        I don’t know why people threw such a fit, Clinton is NOT qualified to be president. She proves constantly and historically that she lacks the basic comprehension needed to have good judgement.

  4. cnchal

    Surprise: Beyoncé’s Ivy Park Collection is Being Made in Sweatshops The Fashion Law

    Surprise? The Fashion Law should look up the definition of surprise in the dictionary.

    Bill Clinton Would Be ‘In Charge of Revitalizing the Economy,’ Hillary Clinton Says

    Surprise! Bill Clinton convinces Beyoncé to move production to the USA and pay garment workers $25.00 per hour.

  5. sleepy

    Some interesting points on the usually irrelevant MSNBC news show this morning regarding the NYTimes story on Trump and women.

    After noting that the woman featured in the article has basically refuted it, one pundit stated that all the story did was now give carte blanche to Trump to go after Bubba for sexual irregularities both “past and present”.

    Another chimed in “present”? Yes, said another, “Jeffrey Epstein, and his associations with Bill, which has been simmering with the press for awhile.”

    These are all folks who are generally considered the epitome of Beltway media–Halperin, Scarborough, Brzenski, etc.

    My take on this election–Hillary is the emperor with no clothes. Once a crack appears in her inevitability I think things spiral downward quickly.

    1. fresno dan

      IMHO, if Sanders had been a lot more at the beginning of the campaign like he is running now, we would DEFINITELY have Sanders versus Trump NOW. And Sanders never ever should have said “People don’t care about Hillary’s damn emails” – – Sanders should have said ‘there is a process for resolving concerns that have been raised, and I believe these concerns are valid and should be addressed through the legal processes we have.’ There is nothing mean spirited about that, nor some kind of repub character assassination.

      People are leaving the two party restaurant for better fare elsewhere…

      If this Epstein breaks out of cable into the MSM, Hillary is toast.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I disagree. Sanders’ main problem is he is just a Senator of a random, small, state to the average voter who is never on the nightly news. The former first lady is the front to runner to be President because America likes celebrities. Why does Sanders matter to an electorate where 80% can barely pass a citizenship test? Hillary pushed that “have seen Sanders” message for a reason. The msm message is that Hillary and Sanders have the same views. Their records which are ignored by the same media are radically different. This is the key issue. Is Sanders another Obama or is he genuine?

        Hillary’s incompetence will take care of itself, and the truth is she is winning the people who voted for her in 2008 just at a lower rate. If after 25 years of seeing Hillary Clinton on the national stage leads one to vote for her twice, the email issue won’t matter.

        1. sleepy

          While there’s no doubt Clinton has her hard core supporters, I don’t think that holds true for most. There may be a dozen reasons why she leads in delegates, but I think a big chunk of that is simply that most rank and file dems view her as a given, inevitable, that she’s put in her time, and she’s just the “natural” , serious nominee–just like Bob Dole in 96.

          I think that if there is any stench of criminality coming from the official investigation, her support among the DNC honchos goes away. There’s some reason Biden has gotten more media visibility recently. Her core supporters among the rank and file won’t make any difference. They’ll stick with her to the end. But few others.

        2. RabidGandhi

          Sanders main problem is that he’s offering something substantively different from what our beneficent overlords want… and worse, he will not be budged (unlike Trump). This means he will be shunned and maligned by the MSM. It’s not so much “America” that loves celebrities as it is the MSM. It is in their purposes to turn elections into beauty pageants, and most people have thus tuned out of politics because they rightly understand that it has nothing to do with their daily struggles for subsistence. Sanders is offering a chance to discuss issues that will actually affect most people’s lives– not Terry Schiavo or transgender bathrooms– but issues like how will I make ends meet. Thus his greatest challenge is to get people who otherwise tune out to tune in, despite the conniving against him from the MSM.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How many people at the time of the French Revolution or American Revolution could pass a citizenship test or any test?

          What people know instinctively is whether or not they are likely to pass a survival test in real life.

          If Sanders is stuck on whether voters can pass a citizenship test, or other educational, intellectual metrics, Trump will get all the voters who will relate to Trump’s candidacy emotionally, either through fear of survival or hope of a new world order.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m not being literal, but Sanders for the most part was non existent for the average consumer of the evening news and local newspaper. As far as the American Revolution goes, those delegates in Philadelphia didn’t come up with the idea of independence on their own. They had plenty of Independence or Don’t come back messages being delivered everyday. The female population of New England was probably more literate than the male aristocracy of Western Europe.

            Even in early 1776, Washington, Jefferson with his red hair, Franklin, and Patrick Henry were widely known celebrities. John Dickinson cat fished newspapers posing as a farmer from the Pennsylvania frontier.

            Sanders and anyone outside of a few names are complete unknowns. This is a fundamental obstacle.

    2. Jim Haygood

      “Hillary Clinton Plans to Pin Down Donald Trump on Policy,” says a Bloomberg headline.

      Exactly what you’d expect from a lifelong policy wonk. And exactly wrong as a strategy.

      Because it happens to be her area of expertise, policy is Hillary’s choice with which to box the ears of an electorate who knows less about policy than Trump.

      Whereas like any skilled propagandist, Trump goes for the crowd’s emotions. If he’s a little hazy on the details, few will notice.

      Ultimately policy is B-O-R-I-N-G. If I encounter Hillary caw-caw-cawing about policy in her fingernails-on-a-blackboard crow’s squawk, the mute button gets hit instantly before the gag reflex activates.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        Hey Jim, with all due respect, let’s leave our intelligent crows out of the tawdry business! They sound more like FDR!

      2. ChrisPacific

        The issue is that policy as Clinton imagines it amounts to taking an already insanely complicated system and making it even more complicated. She thinks she can fix any problem by tinkering with the system on a piecemeal basis. But what if the system IS the problem? (Spoiler alert: it is).

        That’s what Trump will hit her with and policy won’t be the answer, unless she intends to throw out vast swathes of it and replace it with something simpler.

        “Sorry you are having trouble feeding your family, but you’ll be pleased to hear help is on the way in the form of additional tax rebates for those in financial distress provided that you meet the following 37 simple requirements. If it sounds confusing, don’t worry – just have your accountant look into it and he’ll ensure you receive everything you are entitled to.”

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    “She’s horrible at running, but she’s fantastic at governing.”

    Governing for whom? The 1%, of course.

    1. Roger Smith

      Further, what does that even mean? Why should she get special concessions to be in office?

      The simple truth is that she is horrible.

      1. James Levy

        No more horrible than Dubya, and he got elected twice (well, maybe–appointed at least).

        As for what it means, I would have to use Exhibit A as Bernie: he doesn’t run all that well. Trump runs very well, and he’s basically an unprincipled kaleidoscope who will stick his name on anything in an attempt to rip anyone he possibly can off.

        My best guess is that Clinton will be a terrible President. She’ll come into office in the manner of the aristocrats coming back to France after Napoleon’s ouster: she will have learned nothing and forgotten nothing since last she domiciled in the White House. And her appeal viz. Bill exactly confirms my earlier argument: Clinton is trying to angle for nostalgia for the 1990s, while Trump’s gambit is he’ll bring back the 50s, when white guys owned and ran everything and we didn’t have to hear from any pesky broads or colored people. Both appeals are complete shams, but millions are buying it, and one of these sociopaths is almost certainly going to be running the Executive Branch come next January 20th.

        1. cwaltz

          My best guess is Hillary is not going to be President.

          His base is excited to turn out for him, excited enough that the GOP went ahead and said, “fine, he’s the nominee” grudgingly.

          Her base? Well, let’s see at the last convention in Nevada it was so bad her elite following had to essentially break the rules to give her the win causing not only Sanders supporters to get pissed off but some of her own supporters to question the system. No Bueno.

  7. RabidGandhi

    The infuriating part about the WaPo surveillance article (“Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to”) + comments, is that there is no discussion whatsoever of NSA, Snowden, GCHQ…. The whole issue gets diverted into a red herring hunt for hackers and debate on Mac vs. Windows 10, etc.

    Meanwhile, OU’s John Penny came out with a telling study on how the realisation that the state is monitoring everything has a chilling effect on what people are willing to put in electronic form.

    The telling part of all this is the way the WaPo glides over the actual effects of surveillance and how its commentariat slurps up the narrative. Obviously their concerns are not NSA surveillance but rather hackers and data leaks, because NSA is just going after the impoverished brown people bad guys, not them.

    Snowden has said repeatedly that his greatest fear was that his revelations would be ignored. Articles like this are doing their best to ensure his fears are realised.

    1. Pavel

      Well the fact that data-mining (and probably data-sharing) Amazon happens to be the WaPo owner’s main business interest will have nothing to do with their coverage of internet privacy and security issues, will it?

    2. Rhondda

      “The whole issue gets diverted into a red herring hunt for hackers and debate on Mac vs. Windows 10, etc.”

      I had the same reaction. It struck me that this glossing over and twisting combo was not accidental, but the purpose of the article…and in fact, most of the “comments”.

  8. HBE

    I think the (almost) most disturbing part of the information news story on Facebook filtering the news feed. Is the fact that nearly half the nation (in all age groups) gets much of their information on political and policy implications from social media.

    You cannot learn the full ramifications of your potential choices from what amounts to an average of a 155 word snippet of a shared article most don’t fully read.

    Low information voters indee

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In all age groups.

      Even excited young voters (50%) are low information, is that the implication?

      1. HBE

        I am a young voter (23), and unfortunately, yes many in my age group are. Not all but I would say ~40% is correct.

        1. jrs

          Most people’s understanding of how the political system really works is acquired slowly over time, sometimes by trying out various worldviews until it’s obvious they are wrong and so on, so for the young at least it’s understandable. The old and low information, I don’t know what their excuse is! But I think sometimes the old are just arguing their privilege.

          The thing is we really need things like papers and magazines but if they are just owned by the same few corporations it’s pretty hopeless as well. Then there is little respite in that direction either! And political blogging’s prime seems past as well (it was very good, while it lasted – a few sites like this are not enough).

    1. Enquiring Mind

      How that bloviating Limbaugh escaped serving jail time escapes me. He should have been the poster child for education about drug abuse.

    2. jrs

      Acetaminophen can also reduce social phobic feelings (feelings of social shame really). So some peoples emotional pain receptors are already on overdrive, the pain is set off too easily, “highly sensitive people”.

      Btw I don’t think oxys have acetaminophen. Some opiates do, but one of the advantages of oxys as far as doing less damage to the body is they don’t (it’s often the acetaminophen not the opiates that do the real long term physical damage for some opiate addicts).

      1. cwaltz

        A lot of the opiates used to carry acetaminophen (Percocet, Tylenol 3) and then what they found is that the Tylenol was destroying livers(when being utilized with other preparations with Tylenol) so they started making the medications without it.

  9. baboo the wankerer

    “The basic income is a dangerous idea that gives the state power to control every penny that citizens spend”

    Such total b.s.
    Right now we’re under full control of corporate powers; powers which got us all mood-binging on that shit that’s killing our health in the first place.

    If states had worked to protect citizens, those malignent ‘faux’ wouldn’t have been able to shove such trash down our throats to begin with. Basic income in a state that protects its citizens from essentially toxic products through market regulation instead of end-point taxation, is a great idea.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Basic income is a dangerous idea because it might remind the people that in themselves the sovereignty of the nation rests, that newly created money belongs to them.

    2. jrs

      Yea the government could do this, I suppose but it doesn’t mean it will. The same argument could be made for national healthcare. If the government paid for everyone’s healthcare it would have reason to pass a sugar or soda or twinkie tax, so it could spend less on diabetes treatment or something. Well I suppose so, but … the two don’t necessarily go together. A UK paper wouldn’t be brain dead enough to make that argument about national healthcare of course, they just don’t realize it’s an EQUALY STUPID argument when applied to a basic income. It makes no more sense than it does applied to national healthcare.

      Yea we live in a corporate dictatorship, everyone knows it.

  10. petal

    Dartmouth poll has HC barely edging Trump in NH, but Sanders would beat Trump by 20 points. They also polled the Hassan-Ayotte Senate matchup.

    The great bari sax player Joe Temperley passed away last week. There is a video on youtube of him playing Single Petal of a Rose on bass clarinet (with the talented Aaron Diehl on piano). I believe it was his last performance and he was battling pneumonia at the time. It’s incredibly beautiful.

    Garden mostly went in this weekend but it feels too early(zone 4b). Have a lovely day today, friends.

      1. petal

        Nuts my bad-it wasn’t his last performance. Sorry. The vid is from 2012. Definitely having a case of the Mondays.

      2. diptherio

        He’s jammin’ with Dolphy right now.

        Why don’t more people play bass clarinets? Gawd they sound cool — like a soulful goose…thanks for the link.

        1. petal

          He made me want to pick a bass clarinet up again. I had hated it back in the day(out of the range of clarinets I had learned to play).

      1. Light a Candle

        wow that is a very sad development.

        Ticks seem to be exploding on birds too. :-(

  11. Pavel

    Not on expert on these things (not remotely!) but all the MSM and Dems who are criticising Trump’s suggestion that a “default” on US national debt might be in order (by re-negotiation or otherwise)… remember it was their favourite economic guru Saint Paul Krugman who once — seriously! — suggested the US Treasury mint a one trillion dollar platinum coin to get rid of some of the debt.

    I believe it was Ron Paul (who has a fetish about the debt as you know) who points out that the debt is automatically “defaulting” due to inflation and in particular the various Fed QE actions. If I had US 1 trillion 10 years ago how much is that worth in real terms today?

    1. fresno dan

      What is funny (no its not) is that the US can spend trillions on Iraq and put it “off the books” – this by the party that goes on and on…and on, about balancing the budget (but than even Dick Cheney said deficits don’t matter) – EXCEPT for WAR and TAX CUTS.

      On the other hand, “liberals” like Krugman who very much wanted the Iraq war on the books, is completely inconsistent on the issue, sometimes disparaging anyone who wants book balancing, but other times saying single payer healthcare (and free college!) is too EXPENSIVE.

      The truth is our GOVERNMENT thinks there is unlimited financial capability for war, and none whatsoever for stopping the immiseration of the 99%. The problem is the economic gobblygook endlessly rehashed as a diversion – and the lack of discussion of our political policies – WE CAN AFFORD WHAT WE WANT TO AFFORD

      Oh, and according to the BLS you have lost about 18% of your purchasing power. On the other hand, if you had invested it in a low cost index fund, supposedly you would be up over 80%….

      And if you just put it in long term treasuries, your 1 trillion dollar return of 2% more or less should give you walking around money of …hmmmmm, so many, many zeros, but I think 20 billion a year. If you clip coupons, insulate, AND DON”T GET ILL, you should be able to squeak by….

      1. Jim Haygood

        With a trillion-dollar platinum coin, Dan, we can invade Iran and have change to spare!

        Oops … busted the sarc meter.

        1. fresno dan

          Hopefully, they will make collectors editions – I can go to the bank and get an uncirculated trillion $ mint coin, and in that way, collectors will pay me 1.3 trillion dollars for it in a couple of decades….
          now, all I need is for the FED to spot me the money for this “investment”

      2. Alejandro

        The late Tony Benn once said something to the effect that “if we can find money for death, then we can find money for life”…same source but diametric priorities…and how and who decides?

    2. diptherio

      remember it was their favourite economic guru Saint Paul Krugman who once — seriously! — suggested the US Treasury mint a one trillion dollar platinum coin to get rid of some of the debt.

      Really? I find that hard to believe, given Kruggie’s disdain from MMT. If you’ve got a link to him actually saying that, I’d love to see it.

      1. Pavel

        hey diptherio! From 7th Jan 2013:

        Should President Obama be willing to print a $1 trillion platinum coin if Republicans try to force America into default? Yes, absolutely. He will, after all, be faced with a choice between two alternatives: one that’s silly but benign, the other that’s equally silly but both vile and disastrous. The decision should be obvious.

        For those new to this, here’s the story. First of all, we have the weird and destructive institution of the debt ceiling; this lets Congress approve tax and spending bills that imply a large budget deficit — tax and spending bills the president is legally required to implement — and then lets Congress refuse to grant the president authority to borrow, preventing him from carrying out his legal duties and provoking a possibly catastrophic default.

        And Republicans are openly threatening to use that potential for catastrophe to blackmail the president into implementing policies they can’t pass through normal constitutional processes.

        Enter the platinum coin. There’s a legal loophole allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination the secretary chooses. Yes, it was intended to allow commemorative collector’s items — but that’s not what the letter of the law says. And by minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling — while doing no economic harm at all.

        So why not?

        It’s easy to make sententious remarks to the effect that we shouldn’t look for gimmicks, we should sit down like serious people and deal with our problems realistically. That may sound reasonable — if you’ve been living in a cave for the past four years.Given the realities of our political situation, and in particular the mixture of ruthlessness and craziness that now characterizes House Republicans, it’s just ridiculous — far more ridiculous than the notion of the coin.

        So if the 14th amendment solution — simply declaring that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional — isn’t workable, go with the coin.

        Paul Krugman: Be Ready To Mint That Coin

        1. David

          Krugman gets his best stuff from Atrios. Atrios came out as pro-coin, but of course the idea originated on mmt oriented blogs.

        2. diptherio

          Wow. Thanks. That one’s a keeper for when Bernie actually tries to do it and Paul throws a fit about inflation or something [meaning Paul Krugman, not Ron Paul]….you know it’s gonna happen :-)

        1. polecat

          Mint a Huuuge platinum sarcophagus says I …….. and throw into it the corrupt scoundrels & pols, from up high, ……. close and secure that weighty lid, and be done with all those slimy squid !

          polecat’s limerick of the day

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A warmonger knows how to use that platinum coin.

          He or she will exchange that platinum coin for plutonium bombs.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Trump (correctly) followed up, saying that the US, being the issuer of a fiat currency, need never default on its bonds. As for Paul’s claim that debt is an automatic default, someone should point out to him that we’ve invented something called math, which allows us to handle this and many other problems.

      Please note that the $1 trillion coin has nothing to do with Krugman (other than that he mentioned it), and that it is a perfectly sound idea.

      1. Pavel

        Please see the Krugman quote I just added above.

        As for Ron Paul, I believe he claims there is a “gradual default” on the debt currently due to inflation and the Fed’s “money printing”.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A billionaire with lots of cash can dispute a $50 credit card bill and refuse to pay.

        He/She will be in default.

        The government, if it wants, can always default.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Where to put Trump’s MMT?

      Is he a Manchurian candidate? A Trojan horse? To turn the nomination over someone else?

      Is it just another random uttering?

      1. James Levy

        Trump. as a rich guy, has been able to play “I’ll pay what I want when I want and all contracts are open to renegotiation” his entire adult life. Remember, he’s a multiple bankrupt who got to walk away from business failures and use his name and celebrity to bail himself out (my guess is many of his investors were not so lucky). So Trump thinks he can bring this approach with him to the White House. I think he will be as stubborn in this as Obama was in thinking he could work those Republicans rubes and get them to go “bipartisan” with him on his Center-Right Grand Bargains. They are both basically one trick ponies and arrogant as hell. My guess is the results will be disaster, but like with Clinton it’s only a guess. Either could turn out to be a bit better or catastrophically worse than we imagine.

  12. jfleni

    Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to.

    Why not stop! Besides being swindled in large and small ways, repulsive and intrusive ads from “giigle” and a hundred other places, it’s impossible to actually view what you want without a million tricks played on you first.

    It’s comercial TV on steroids. A pox on that! Concentrate on sites you know are good and ignore the rest!

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Do no harm on Mars.

    Too late for that on Earth?

    Because we should also do no harm here. For example, no synthetic human genome, until we are 100% certain.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Republic of Mars – the next tax haven?

        That was another idea mentioned here a while back.

  14. dots

    The Guardian this morning – April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs

    The latest figures smashed the previous record for April by the largest margin ever recorded.

    It makes three months in a row that the monthly record has been broken by the largest margin ever, and seven months in a row that are at least 1C above the 1951-80 mean for that month. When the string of record-smashing months started in February, scientists began talking about a “climate emergency”.

    1. James Levy

      Don’t worry, Donald Trump has assured us that Climate Change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to destroy our industry. We have nothing to worry about and should happily vote for him “Because Hillary.”

      1. Waldenpond

        Don’t worry, Clinton has assured us that Climate Change is a real phenomenon caused by burning fossil fuel. We have nothing to worry about, it’s simply a business opportunity!, and should happily vote for her ‘Because Trump.’

    2. perpetualWAR

      Lilacs bloomed one month early in Seattle.
      One. Month. Early. I have never experienced a spring like we are having in the PNW. It has seemed like mid-summer weather here when it should be overcast and drizzling.

  15. Roger Smith

    I started re-reading Carlin and his Brain Droppings preface is appropriate.

    “I’m happy to tell you there is very little in this world that I believe in. Listening to the comedians who comment on political, social, and cultural issues, I notice most of their material reflects an underlying belief that somehow things were better once and that with just a little effort we could set them right again. They’re looking for solutions, and rooting for particular results…

    I don’t feel so confined. I frankly don’t give a fuck how it all turns out in this country—or anywhere else, for that matter. I think the human game was up a long time ago (when the high priests and traders took over), and now we’re just playing out the string. And that is, of course, precisely what I find so amusing: the slow circling of the drain by a once promising species, and the sappy, ever-more-desperate belief in this country that there is actually some sort of “American Dream, “ which has merely been misplaced.”

    As easy as I think it would be to start tackling problems and live in a good place if everyone got their pathetic shit together, I am thinking he is closer to the likely final truth.

  16. Brooklin Bridge

    Bernie or Bust will save us: The foul stench of “lesser evilism” has made our politics useless -Salon

    A good article. I haven’t taken the time to read the others, but the comments to this one are almost pure Hillary-bots. Interesting to speculate how many are paid and how many just delusional or paid AND delusional, but regardless, it’s not very encouraging.

    1. ambrit

      Someone days ago mentioned “…one or two Marquee Names paid well…” and an army of unpaid volunteer meritocrats just happy to be ‘part of something historic.”‘
      This is where the lure of being “one of the in group” will blind otherwise rational people to how badly they are being exploited. Say what you will, exploiting people is one of Bill and Hillaries main strengths.
      On another ‘exploitational’ subject; if Huma works for Hillary, and if there is any basis to the insinuations of a Sapphic relationship between the two, wouldn’t that throw Hillary into the same category as Bill is in his relationship with Monica? Two more Pod People have arisen.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        It gets a little confusing, doesn’t it. Since Huma would be working ‘for’ Hillary the relationship (if hanky-panky involved) could well be considered exploitative though I imagine HIllary would work it so that she would be the exploiteeeee (get it? Hillaryeee) and Huma would end up the exploitooooor or maybe the exploitaaaaa?

        Is Anthony Weiner a lawyer? He might be more on top of this.

        1. ambrit

          If Weiner is “on top of this,” that suggests he is a Patriarchal figure and would steer way clear of the Lilith twins.
          I’ll leave the ‘intimate’ details of Washingtons’ latest purported “power couple,” to the Psycho Historians. (Krugthulu said that he originally wanted to be a Psychohistorian after reading Asimovs’ Foundation books.

  17. PQS

    From the article in Wapo on Indiana:
    “Fast food and hedge funds. That’s where we’re headed.”

    Studs Terkel couldn’t have said it better.

    While I love these portraits of America, just once I’d like some intrepid reporter interview the so-called decision makers for these factory closings. Have them explain how a profitable enterprise just needs even more money. And for what?

    1. Pavel

      Wait until much if not most of the “fast food” is ordered, prepared, and delivered via robots and computers… just sayin’… Tough times ahead for the non-skilled workforce.

      1. Waldenpond

        Tough times ahead for the non-skilled…

        I can’t think of any jobs that couldn’t be automated. Plumbing is installed to be easily relined by machine or done with quick connects any low skilled worker can do. Engineering the venting used to be important but there are now one way air vents. Electrical can be done the same way… rerun through pvc tubes with quick connects and done. The legal system is easily replaceable with a large database, medical staff with skype and pill dispenser. Plant, tend, harvest crops remotely now. Test and treat water remotely with drones. 3d printing for designing clothes etc replaces artists, writers are being replaced.

        Anyone think of any?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Professional basketball players will be difficult for robots to replace.

          It will be hard for the human mind to digest.

          “Yes, he can make 3s from the other side of the court. That’s because he’s a robot.”

          1. Waldenpond

            My guess is people would rather be the players in a virtual game. I read that it’s not recommended for under 13 and to limit play because it’s addicting.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          Giving a bath or wiping the butt of someone who can’t do it themself. Helping an elderly person with their grocery shopping. Real teaching. Real child care.

          Now of course a technophile could argue that any of these could (at some point) be automated. But only in form, not in actual substance or content. So it depends what the real question is. It is possibly true that all these jobs “could” be automated. But not the substantive “work” that the people working those jobs actually do.

      2. cwaltz

        It’s not going to happen. The reality is multiple SKILL robots are cost prohibitive and rare.

        Oh and there is no such thing as a “non skilled workforce.”

        If you prepare food then you need education on hygiene and food handling,be able to memorize a menu and make the food uniformly. If you work a front counter you need to be good at holding your tongue when some idiot gets in your face because his sandwich was made wrong. You need to be able to clean up after gross people who apparently never learned how to eat without making a mess and stock the items that these same people will need.

        The job may not require a college degree but to call it “non skilled” is ridiculous and actually seems to suggest that you don’t realize that if food is not cooked or handled properly that one can and does get sick.

        1. polecat

          Yeah …that’s just MBA bullshit squared !!

          ……force the HR or Admin types to do ANY type of useful labor (skilled or not), and see what happens……..I bet most would fail……

        2. Ulysses

          “The job may not require a college degree but to call it “non skilled” is ridiculous”

          Very well said!!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            No skilled or low skilled.

            Low information.

            Low IQ.

            These are all low blows.

    2. RabidGandhi

      The guy being laid off had to withdraw from his 401k (+penalties, natch) to get braces for his daughter. They can’t afford a photographer from the exorbitant wedding industry. And now one daughter says going to PUBLIC university doesn’t look possible.

      Stronger antidotes please.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Just commenting on this made me even angrier. Having to choose between my privatised shyte retirement or FRIGGIN BRACES for my daughter. FFS

    3. flora

      The one thing the reporter got wrong: ” an ideological crisis was spreading across Middle America as it continued its long fall into dependency”

      The middle class isn’t falling, it’s being pushed.

      1. Rhondda

        And why “fall into dependency”? Such an odd way to characterize the situation. First, as if it’s 100% binary: independent vs dependent. Second, why the word “dependency”? Why not “fall into poverty and despair”? God forbid anyone should need or (gasp) expect help. From their community. From their government.

        Frikkin WAPO. Does every article get run past some ideo-propaganda editor? Feels like it. Probably automated, too. Highlighting problematic keywords and constructions and suggestion approved replacements.

        Gah. Such a pile of shit “news” these days. I agree with others who say “stronger antidotes, please!”

    4. Cry Shop

      Interesting how the reporter caught an exchange which reflected how class warfare has turned the working class against the no-longer working class.

      “In came 14-year-old Ashley, holding a payment notice for a school field trip. “Are we going to become one of those families with a voucher?” she asked.”

      I could just see that 14 year old hanging with the gang who looked down on the kids using “vouchers”. One of Bill Clinton’s big achievements, to get public support for shrinking welfare was to use all sorts of high viability vouchers so that those on it could be isolated from the commons.

      and the old man, bless him for being a hard worker, but it’s not hard to see how his thinking isn’t far removed, that those who don’t have jobs deserve the state they are in.

      “But Setser remained a believer in what he called the “basic guarantees” of the working class.”

      His type sees his fellow citizens as the half whose throats he’d cut with only a nod from Jay Gould. Only there’s no more throats to be cut in the USA, the throats are down in Mexico where he can’t reach, so he’s reaching for Trump, thinking he’ll cut the throats. Makes me almost glad to see this guy’s heading into his 3rd marriage with impending divorce already written on the wall, too bad for the kids.

      1. jrs

        He doesn’t seem like a bad guy. Though if he’s always worked 12 hour days I could see that straining his marriages (and the night shift too). If even the good old days require 12 hour days to earn a living wage, how good are they really?

        basic guarantees of the working class = historical ignorance. But those “good schools” (better than in Chicago) that he sends his kids to … do they teach real working class history? If not, then how good are they really?

        1. Cry Shop

          A “fiancee” who has to have her $1000 photos while the “fiance” keeps dropping every heavier hints that it’s no longer appropriate is probably more critical than a 12 hour day; less time for contact actually might be one of the things holding them together. They are about to get a lot of face time.

          They both exhibit signs of near zero empathy and a considered focus on their own world view, this backed up by their marriage records. Those who lack empathy also usually lack the communication tools (to solicit empathy and to work through difficult issues). They (probably) were not born this way, but rather were raised this way.

          The idea that if one throws up walls, leans on management, installs a local minimum wage is going to solve these problems over the long run is a hoot. Capitalism will always find a way to exploit what technology has to offer, and Picketty is stated the obvious, it will accumulate in fewer and fewer hands. The only way a minimum wage will really help is if it’s a world-wide UBI, otherwise it’s just applying a tourniquet to a nearly severed limb, just buying a bit of time while gangrene sets. The man turns to inhuman Trump to solve his problems, rather than his fellow humans in Mexico, China, etc.

          “[Money] can’t create sympathy between rich and poor…Because sympathy – common feeling – the sense of fraternity – can spring only from like experiences, like hopes, like fears. And money cannot buy these.”

  18. Jim Haygood

    Crude earl, comrades: it’s at another fresh high for the year, $47.50/barrel.

    Think fifty dollah …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Where else to put zero interest money?

      Why, into crude futures, of course. More money for oil companies and frackers.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela goes “full Nevada Democratic convention”:

    Venezuela’s Vice-President Aristobulo Isturiz has ruled out the possibility of a recall referendum being held against President Nicolas Maduro.

    “Maduro won’t be ousted by a referendum because there will be no referendum,” Mr Isturiz said.
    Two weeks ago, opposition politicians began the process by handing in a petition signed by 1.85 million people.

    But Mr Isturiz said the opposition had “acted too late, had done it wrong and had committed fraud”.
    The opposition have previously warned the referendum may be hard to push through, as they alleged that the National Electoral Council (CNE) is staffed by government loyalists.

    Unfortunately, short circuiting the democratic process in a country where people are desperate and hungry leads to an obvious destination: la violencia.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do you think they are in a national emergency?

      Should someone get on one knee to avoid declaring martial law?

    2. RabidGandhi

      Isturiz is Maduro’s #2 man. What he says doesn’t go beyond strum und drang rhetoric. It’s what the CNE does that matters, and they have said they will proceed with the signature review process. They may be staffed with Chavistas, but they have been very transparent with elections in the past, with Venezuela consistently holding elections that are upheld for their fairness (eg., the Carter Centre), and as evidenced in the last elections.

      Not sure why you changed the topic to Brasil:

      Unfortunately, short circuiting the democratic process in a country where people are desperate and hungry leads to an obvious destination: la violencia.

      but I am afraid I agree.

      1. Jim Haygood

        When impeachment by an elected legislature is stipulated in the constitution (as it is both in Brazil and the U.S.), the exercise of that process is not undemocratic — even if the elected legislators themselves are corrupt, and acting out of improper partisan motives.

        On paper, Venezuela’s constitutional process of recalling a president by popular vote is even more democratic than in the U.S. and Brazil. I hope you are correct that the electoral commission will complete its review of the recall petition on June 2nd.

        Venezuela does have a tradition of fair elections. That’s why the incendiary comments from Maduro’s veep, discounting the electoral commission’s review in advance, are disturbing.

        1. RabidGandhi

          The removal of Rousseff was constitutional but it was not democratic. The two are not always aligned.

          Also, just to nitpick, I did not say that the Venezuela CNE would complete its review, I merely reported that they said they will. Hearsay, really.

  20. participant-observer-observed

    Regarding election clickbait, NV Sanders delegates were warning people on social media to keep copies of their convention floor footage, because uploaded videos were disappearing from YouTube.

    Meanwhile, report from Alaska primary is that they are trying to follow Maine & do away with the super delegates!


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If it’s for the next election cycle, they have plenty of time to do it.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        The Alaskan initiative sounds lame: unlike Maine, which acted to abolish the SDs at the state party level, Alaska merely aims to file a resolution to demand end of super delegates at the DNC convention.

        I doubt DWS et al would even give air time to such a weak appeal, unless they were looking for emperor’s clothes to pretend to be interested.

        Still, the motion got reported in the press, so we can still be grateful for small achievements!

  21. Cry Shop

    Is Gawker using Acetaminophen, or Ass-cetaminophen?
    Like this comment on the Gawker Media report (right after a comment about how horribly badly structured the study was if the Gawker report got the basic facts right — reported as different in other sources).

    Dude this is Gawker Media, no need for your well-written, thoughtful, fact based, contrarian reasoning around here. Go. Shoo. Scram. ;)

  22. cm

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

    Please get the word out to Washington State Democratic voters who support Bernie Sanders!

    1. crittermom

      And just when my blood pressure was beginning to normalize after reading articles about the NV primary, I’m now made aware of more probable corruption to come from the Dem party. Grrrrrrrr!
      Time for another cup of cocoa to calm me down…

    2. Jen

      I checked out the Washington state subreddit for Sanders. Here’s what they have to say: “Washington State holds a caucus in addition to the State-run presidential primary, however the Washington State Democratic Party only uses the results of the caucus to allocate delegates to the National Convention. ” Apparently the primary is required by law but the results aren’t used. Nebraska also had a primary in addition to a caucus. Clinton “won” the primary but that did not change the delegate count. If reddit isn’t going defcon1 on this, I wouldn’t be too concerned, but send in your ballot any way to support Bernie.

      And….our primary system is insane.

  23. crittermom

    From belief to resentment in Indiana
    Excellent story about what is happening in homes nationwide but as I read the comments following it…*heavy sigh*…one commenter went off on a rant yet had her facts mixed up regarding what she was ranting about. (It was the father planning for HIS wedding, not his daughters).
    Other commenters then blindly followed suit.

    The story is a great true depiction of what’s happened in this country in two ways:

    First, the plight this family faces after ‘staying in line’ & continuing to believe the American Dream is still alive & well.

    Second (& sadly), it’s also a great example of how many run blindly down a path created by their own interpretation of (mis)information, judging by the comments to the well-written story. (Which is also perhaps the only reason I can think of for anyone supporting Hillary who is not part of the 1%).

    I was disturbed to read in the article of factory workers losing their jobs, supporting Trump.
    While Trump may have told them he was opposed to their jobs going to Mexico, how can those workers believe that a candidate who undoubtedly left the rallies there to board his private aircraft (be it jet or helicopter), can even truly relate to their plight?
    For me, it has similarities (but admittedly not identical to), Hellary saying she will come down on big banks while continuing to take millions from them.
    I guess I can only attribute their support by saying they are obviously Republicans who would never vote Democratic.
    I think they fail to see the bigger picture, however, in that those same workers who will soon be unemployed will also lose any medical benefits they would have afterward if Trump is elected & overturns the ACA.
    If Trump wins I believe they may then be sorry they didn’t pick Bernie. *heavy sigh*…

    Of course, they won’t be the only ones in a state of despair should that happen!

  24. RabidGandhi

    Crittermom, this quote from the article says the opposite of what you’re saying.

    “We’re getting to the point where there aren’t really any good options left,” he said. “The system is broken. Maybe its [sic] time to blow it up and start from scratch, like Trump’s been saying.”

    Krystal rolled her eyes at him. “Come on. You’re a Democrat.”

    “I was. But that was before we started turning into a weak country,” he said. “Pretty soon there won’t be anything left. We’ll all be flipping burgers.”

    Very telling indeed. Setser is on to the fact that the two parties have conspired to crapify his life, and he sees Trump as the one most likely to blow up the corrupt system they foisted on him. But his fiancée doesn’t get this, and appeals to Team Red v Team Blue tribalism instead.

    Bruce Dixon of BAR has said how many blacks vote for HRC out of a justified desperate fear for survival. This article shows that the same is true for many Trump voters.

    1. cwaltz

      Actually I think it says the opposite of Trump voters. They literally feel they have little left to lose if the blow it up and start from scratch. They aren’t fearful. They’re the opposite. They’re hopeful.

      1. RabidGandhi

        “Fear for survival” meaning that both cohorts see an existential threat and are voting HRC/Trump in response to that threat. As the Guardian article in today’s links shows, Trump supporters are often mischaracterised in the media as being most closely associated with his xenophobic statements, but what most seems to attract people to Trump, as in the case at hand, is anger with the current political system and fear that if they don’t do something drastic it will only get tragically worse.

        The media do not want to acknowledge this because doing so would lend credence to the valid claims voiced by people like Setser, so instead it’s easier to paint them as racist yokels.

      2. Jason

        I can see how Trump as a sort of Republican Obama makes sense. Selling vague hope to the masses, only to sell them out once he’s in power. It would be the classic establishment “two party” bait and switch, again. Just even more extreme.

    2. Jason

      I can understand why people want to blow up the corrupt system. What I cannot understand is why so many of them are willing to believe that Trump is the person to do it.

      He’s a pathological liar.
      He’s historically been in bed with establishment politicians.
      He keeps recruiting insiders for his campaign.
      He’s both a member of the inherited super-rich, and has zero history of giving a damn about anyone but himself.

      I cannot believe Trump will “tear down” or “blow up” anything. At most, he’ll slap on a coat of gold paint and let it rot while gutting it for profit.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I agree, there is no reason to see Trump as a saviour; at best he’s an unknown wildcard with a miserable but limited track record. But take Bruce Dixon’s point about black voters sensing an existential threat from Republicans and voting HRC, even though HRC is guaranteed to make their lives worse. Many Trump voters are supporting him because they rightly see HRC or any other such status quo pol as an existential threat, and that is totally valid.

        Secondly, if Sanders does not get the nomination, the only real choice that will be on the ballot will be Clinton or Trump (yes voting Green is a reasonable option for future ballot access, but Jill Stein is not going to win). Therefore, the question being asked voters is not whom they want to be president, but rather which they would prefer: a knife in the kneecaps or a fork in thigh. I see no reason to criticise them for saying “I hate a fork in the thigh” by saying “why do you think a knife in the kneecaps is so great?”

        1. James Levy

          OK, you made a valid lesser of two evils argument, which I can understand.

          What bugs me is that plenty of people around here excoriated anyone who made the same argument viz. Obama and Romney, and said they would NEVER take the less of two evils again (the lesser or two evils, they said, was still evil) and have now turned around and, without a whiff of apology, said, sure, less of two evils, here I go. And when you point this out, they yell at you about how lousy Clinton is, changing the subject completely.

          1. Massinissa

            Im a daily reader and Im not sure I see what youre talking about. Im pretty sure more people here are going to vote third party than Trump or Clinton (who is less popular even than Trump here).

            Some of the regulars here support Trump (Haygood I think, and a few others), and most of the Clinton supporters are more irregular readers/one time commenters, but to my knowledge most of the regulars say theyre voting third party/Jill Stein or not voting.

            EDIT: By ‘around here’, did you mean NakedCapitalism, or where you live? I assumed NC but now Im not sure.

          2. jrs

            I could intellectually understand anyone taking either side of the lesser of two evils on Obama versus Romney (personally I was more sympathetic to Romney as being the LOTE. Obama’s has been a bad President). Though I liked neither and voted Stein. At the same time Hillary or Trump could be the LOTE, probably Hillary is less evil but it’s hard to be certain. But I like neither and unless Bernie is the nominee will likely vote Stein in the general.

          3. RabidGandhi

            As far as I can see every election is lesserevilism to a degree. Even voting for Sanders you are voting for someone who supported Israeli colonialism, Iraq war funding, drones… but he is obviously leaps and bounds less evil than the other 2 candidates.

            And I totally agree about the double standard you have been decrying here on a regular basis. Yet personally what I would like to hear from you is whether you agree that HRC is no less evil than Trump–in contrast to the media portrayal of him being totally nuts while she is somehow normal, or less nuts because expelling all Muslims is whacko, but destroying whole countries is normal. I think that is where the tension here is. A lot of commenters here are reacting against that media conventional wisdom, whereas from your comments I have been unable to judge whether you think ‘yeah sure HRC is really bad but Trump is totally bonkers’.

            1. James Levy

              The other day I mentioned that Trump isn’t Hitler and doesn’t talk like Hitler. I don’t think he’s bonkers, either. I do think he’s running as a Republican for a reason, and that Republicans are anathema to me. I also don’t trust wealthy real estate speculators and media whores, and he’s both.

      2. optimader

        He’s a pathological liar.
        Don’t know that, or is he just a NYC RE wheeler dealer?

        He’s historically been in bed with establishment politicians.
        A requirement for his line of work, so not too much of a differentiation.

        He keeps recruiting insiders for his campaign
        Yes, well that sucks, but again not a big differentiation

        He’s both a member of the inherited super-rich, and has zero history of giving a damn about anyone but himself.

        I don’t think his parents would be considered amongst the superrich? Wealthy indeed, but Super rich? link.

        In any case FDR’s family was in their day amongst the Super Rich so that in and of itself maybe is not so important?

        –zero history….
        probably also overstated? link

        I cannot believe Trump will “tear down” or “blow up” anything. At most, he’ll slap on a coat of gold paint and let it rot while gutting it for profit.

        None of us know that.
        We do know he hasn’t participated in killing large numbers of people with apparently little reflection on alternatives.

        A case of the Devil you know or the apparent AH that may or may not be the Devil

        HRC has a far more terrible history of bad decisions, that’s not to say T.Rump just hasn’t had the chance?

        1. Ulysses

          “In any case FDR’s family was in their day amongst the Super Rich so that in and of itself maybe is not so important?”

          FDR was the kind of rich that could dare to be a class traitor, after many generations sitting atop the heap. Trump’s money simply isn’t old enough to make it likely that he would feel some sort of noblesse oblige.

          The comparisons of Donald Trump to FDR on this site are more than a bit disconcerting. There’s a reason that there doesn’t exist any modern day Louis McHenry Howe to sing Mr. Trump’s praises!

          1. optimader

            FDR was the kind of rich that could dare to be a class traitor, after many generations sitting atop the heap
            How many intergenerational transfers of wealth have to occur before someone can recognize a strong economy and healthy society require a robust middleclass.
            Not saying Trump even has that wisdom, but the notion you posit seems rather arbitrary.

  25. JustAnObserver

    Nice piece of the famed British irony spotted in the wild (Guardian article on Trump supporters):

    “ …in keeping with one of the most baffling failings of political journalism across the globe, too few people think of speaking to the voters themselves.”

    Add this to the recent analysis showing that Trump primary voter’s incomes are above median and one can see why the Clinton campaign + its bots & shills are showing signs of panic.

    o Black Swan #1: Trump. Esp. the fact that he feels no need to court the evangelical rapture vote.

    o Black Swan #2: Its no longer enough to say `Yah, Boo, he’s a raving socialist who wants your money’ to derail the Sanders campaign.

    o Black Swan #3 (?): The return of the Lolita Express.

    On the first one I think its at least arguable that Trump has got where he is without playing the Southern Strategy game, or at least he’s only playing it selectively, using those parts that resonate outside the narrow confines of the traditional “South”.

  26. optimader

    Crittermom, can those workers believe that a candidate who undoubtedly left the rallies there to board his private aircraft (be it jet or helicopter), can even truly relate to their plight?

    I’m not interested in taking an advocacy position for Trump, but I offer a couple hypotheticals framed with history.

    FDR, who many will concede made real effort/did well to improve the lot of the poor and indigent in this Country really had no personal experience that could frame his directly relating to anyones’s plight –other than perhaps his empathy for people with physical disabilities and other health related challenges such as he lived with..

    Whatever his motivations, I believe FDR did recognize the unsustainability of a Democratic Republic going forward with dramatic economic polarity. In his day, even much of the “Middle Class” was pretty damn poor by todays standards with essentially no safety net other than mostly religious charities and relatives.

    So fast forward to a guy like Trump.

    He has to be no wiser than wanting to preserve his deal to understand the continuous aggregation of wealth using financialization tools, legal and extralegal, and the stripping of (real) productive capacity that supports a middle class is simply not sustainable.

    Stated another way, a person with qualities which may strike you as personally objectionable and unappealing does not necessarily mean that persons assessments of what are root cause fundamental problems is wrong.

    So reeling this back in to Trump, he has said some crazy stuff, he has said some sensible stuff, and he has played the MSM like a fiddle, all of which has gotten him to where he is.
    Going forward into a general election we will have to se if on balance what is emphasized and what is cast aside.

    Invoking the services of guys like CChristie and RGiuliane is some where between not encouraging and terrible……but then considering HRC and Bubba as the alternative?
    cannot happen cannot happen

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      “the stripping of (real) productive capacity that supports a middle class is simply not sustainable.”

      There is little in Trump’s history to support the idea that he sees anyone’s ‘pain’. Except possibly one thing. He is extensively exposed to the decline in middle class disposable wealth via his casinos and hotels, vacation condos, etc. His take may have decreased enough over the past decade to let him know he stands to lose big as the middle class dies.

      20 years ago, a guy like the one profiled in the WaPo might have been a little too average to vacation at a Trump property, in addition to yearly trips to some local lake resort. But, his immediate supervisor, or that guy’s supervisor might have. And the Everyman from Indiana might well have made it to Atlantic City at least once. Now? No way.

      As far as I know, Trump doesn’t sell much luxury to those who know what it is. Except at maybe 2-3 locales in Manhattan, he makes bank by selling his name to 3rd parties, who sell ersatz ‘luxury’ to schlubs from small towns in Indiana who are just 1-2 steps above working class. And, now…… many such managerial schlubs can’t even afford Trump’s plastic fantastic in Cancun anymore. They’re spending the summer break at a small lake in Indiana and the real working stiff isn’t getting a vacation at all.

    2. Ulysses

      I heartily concur with those who won’t concede that HRC is any lesser of an evil than Donald Trump. Yet to act as if he’s a FDR in the rough, who hasn’t yet had a chance to display sympathy for working people is outrageous. Trump has dealt with working people for decades, and for decades he has chosen to screw them over. Ask people who currently work at his properties. Ask the undocumented Polish construction workers that he stiffed out of their pay, or the Chinese workers in sweatshops who make his line of clothing.

      Someone who golfs with Bill Clinton, Mike Bloomberg, and Rudy Giuliani isn’t an “outsider” who wants to shake up the establishment. No, Trump is a cynical con-man, playing all of us discontented Americans for suckers.

      1. optimader

        Yet to act as if he’s a FDR in the rough,
        You miss my point if you think I am characterizing Trump as FDR in the rough.

        My comment was merely challenging the hypothetical notion that being wealthy and having the wisdom to understand the value of stewarding a robust middle class are necessarily mutually exclusive. Not saying Trump has that wisdom.

        Trump’s historic behavior is indeed a legitimate criteria to evaluate him. Same as HRC. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander..

  27. John

    MMT can’t be Bernie’s fight. At some point, it will enter the discourse, but it’s too early. We already have to fight enough skepticism as it is against “socialism” and so we can’t afford (pun unintended) to tell people that we’ll fund it by just racking up the deficits indefinitely. It will undermine our credibility, and we don’t want to tie a very winnable argument (on “socialism”) to one that we’re not quite ready to win yet (MMT). You don’t have to believe in MMT to be a social democrat, and I would say that at this point, it’s more important to convince people of the latter. Once we’ve actually convinced people it’s a worthwhile idea to redistribute our nation’s wealth, then we can start to try and convince them that we actually don’t need to worry about paying for any of it.

    1. jrs

      It also doesn’t help that it’s not how almost all social democratic models actually fund themselves entirely. People do know that they pay higher taxes in Europe than most of the U.S.. They have VATS and so on. So you can’t even point to Denmark or something as an example of the kind of society you would like to see. Even if all the taxes did was keep a cap on upper incomes, this is absolutely necessary.

      Now most of the welfare states in Europe do most certainly believe that what they get is worth the higher taxes generally. But they are different societies that believe in funding the social good and that it is worth it to pay taxes for a good society.

  28. hemeantwell

    From belief to resentment in Indiana WaPo (Re Silc). Must-read.

    Ok, but I was, and by now should not have been, surprised to see that there is no mention of Sanders in the article. Is this “objective” journalism, or lazy journalism, or lazy and Bezosified journalism? Even if the worker has settled on Trump, isn’t it of some interest why he believes a plutocrat has the remedy instead of a socialist?

    1. jrs

      They’d have to be aware of various parts of Bernie’s platform and it’s not the free college (might help their kid although I think they could probably go to college now, just with some debt and a state school of course – but are they even aware those options exist?). But nah it’s job programs in the platform that would sell.

      Trump is promising things no one is likely to deliver of course like replacing all jobs that have left (whereas a government jobs creation program is more far more likely to actually work). They should ask about Bernie.

Comments are closed.