2:00PM Water Cooler 6/2/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“More and more the word is getting out that President Obama, along with the giant multinational corporations and Wall Street, will launch a push in Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the “lame duck” legislative session following the election” [Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future]. “President Obama should put a stop to this talk right now. It hands Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a powerful issue to use against – and embarrass – Hillary Clinton, should she become the Democratic nominee.” If Obama, in fact, cares about embarassing Clinton.


The Voters

“Pew’s wage-depressed list hints at the Clinton vs. Trump campaign battlefields this fall. Two cities in Ohio are on the top 10 list, along with three in Michigan, including Flint. Austin, Texas, an oasis of progressive politics in an otherwise conservative state and a city that added more than 300,000 jobs since 2000, saw a 3.6 percent drop in average real weekly wages over a decade and a half” [RealClearPolitics]. Introducing a series called “Middle Class Angst,” conveniently conflating credentialed professionals with wage workers.

“Donald Trump and the Idea of the Rust Belt” [The New Yorker]. “The conviction that the heartland provided a moral counterweight to coastal excess and cynicism was until recently alive… In the Trump campaign the Midwest has lost its specificity and become a floating metaphor. Its meaning is that everyone is vulnerable. The story that is told is about the certainty of loss.” *** cough *** Case-Deaton study *** cough *** It’s cute to watch the New Yorker try this sort of story, isn’t it? Maybe they should send Adam Gopnik to Flint or Ferguson, next. What say, Hendryk?

“I’ve examined all the presidential general election polling since 2000 — which is 2,056 polls in all. These data tell a very different story, however. The polls aren’t “broken” after all.” [The Monkey Cage, WaPo].

UPDATE “[T]his election season has not been kind to the predictive power of the liberal-moderate-conservative typology beloved by pollsters” [Jacobin]. “through constant excoriation, Sanders has formulated what Achen and Bartels would call an identity around which his supporters cohere: they are not the billionaire class. They stand against it. Of course, when coupled with the social-democratic remedies Sanders pushes, this is just old-fashioned class politics — the idiom of any viable left project. But that’s the point.” Important take-down of identity politics ‘splaining of the Sanders campaign.

UPDATE “‘Speaking at Union County College, Bill Clinton said “white, non-college-educated Americans” who are widely seen as a core part of Trump’s base ‘need to be brought along to the future'” [Yahoo News]. No class war there!

UPDATE “Native Americans move to frontlines in battle over voting rights” [Reuters].

“Meet David French: the random dude off the street that Bill Kristol decided will save America from Trump [Vox]. Kristol is truly pathetic.

“[Trump delegate David] Riden told Mother Jones in an interview that US leaders who violate the Constitution may have to be done away with: “The polite word is ‘eliminated,'” he said. “The harsh word is ‘killed.'” [Mother Jones].

“‘The Bullet Box’ Is an Option If the Ballot Box Fails, Says Gun-Rights Advocate” [New York Magazine].

Our Famously Free Press

“The Lazy Pundit’s Guide to Which Candidate’s Lies You Shouldn’t Care About” [FAIR]. Thomas Friedman. Of course.

By avoiding press conferences, Clinton is “playing to her strengths” [New York Magazine].

The Trail

“Bernie Sanders Fights On: The Rolling Stone Interview” [Rolling Stone]. Missed this one.

[SANDERS:] Here’s what the common denominator is: To the media’s great shock and to the pundits’ great shock, there are millions of Americans who are very, very angry. And they’re angry because they’re working longer hours for lower wages. They’re angry because they’re working two and three jobs. They’re worried about the future of their children – getting decent jobs and getting homes. And then they look at the leadership of the Democratic Party and the leadership of the Republican Party and they don’t see people addressing – or even paying attention to – their needs. And Trump comes along and starts to blame Mexicans or Muslims or women for the problems facing society. The people are seeing that someone at least is speaking to their anger. And that’s unfortunate. That’s a very ugly approach. But that’s why he’s succeeding.

We are also addressing the anger of the American people. [But] in a constructive way. And that is to say: We’ve got to bring people together. Do the exact opposite of Trump, who is trying to divide us up. To look at the real causes for why the middle class is declining, and develop public policy that addresses the needs of working families.

“Don’t rule it out: Bernie Sanders (slightly) leaves door open for Green Party run with Jill Stein” [Salon]. Yeah, but Kevin Zeese. Anyhow, Sanders was asked if he’d take up Stein’s offer. “[His] response left open the door to running as a Green. He could have easily rejected the offer of a Sanders-Stein ticket, instead he said: “Right now, our goal is to win the Democratic nomination.”

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign message keeps evolving” [WaPo]. “So far Clinton has cycled through a half-dozen official and unofficial slogans and themes. She launched her presidential campaign talking about ‘four fights’ for America (though the exact nature of the fights, and their order, shifted) [see here]. The Clinton campaign’s placards have a different take and say ‘Fighting for us.”” Perpetually fighting for, never winning. Anyhow, there seem to be many people suddenly anxious to help….

Advice for Clinton: “Anti-capitalism, anti-finance, anti-trade and so forth work well for Bernie Sanders because he believes it. You can’t plausibly pretend to be a warrior for social justice, champion of managed trade or would-be scourge of Wall Street. Nothing in your record of policy-making, legislation, fund-raising or speaking engagements supports such a posture” [Clive Crook, Bloomberg]. “Emphasizing competent centrism helps with another key element of your winning strategy.”

Advice for Clinton: “One of [Clinton’s] original campaign slogans — amid many subsequent efforts — was ‘Fighting for You.’ The implied subject of that sentence is ‘I”” [MarketWatch]. “Donald Trump’s slogan, by contrast, is “Make America Great Again.” The implied subject is ‘you,’ and it is an empowering slogan that addresses the frustrations of many Americans and offers a solution at the same time… The response of many voters to Trump’s empowering slogan has been, “Count me in.” … Bernie Sanders’s slogan, “A future to believe in,” is also empowering because again it is “you,” the voter, doing the believing.”

UPDATE Advice for Clinton: “Hillary Clinton Has a Shouting Problem” [Kevin Drum, Mother Jones]. And so another Clinton campaign smear bites the dust, given that Drum’s quoting a friend’s daughters.

“Clinton’s campaign hopes that there are many more national-­security-minded Republicans and independents who would vote for her, even grudgingly, rather than see Trump win the White House. Those voters are an important part of the audience for her case that she is fit to be commander in chief and that Trump is not” [WaPo]. Well, sure. Clinton voted for the Iraq War. Former Bush voters should appreciate that.

UPDATE “Hillary Clinton vs. Herself” [Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine]. An extremely sad long-form piece. There is nothing contradictory about a charming and intelligent, even empathetic, Hillary Clinton, effective on the trail in small groups, and a network of corruption. In fact, the two could reinforce each other.

“Why I think Bernie Sanders will drop out and endorse Hillary Clinton soon” [Matt Yglesias, Vox]. As long as Sanders doesn’t give his list to the DNC. If he does [threatening voice], I’m voting for Trump. Götterdämmerung: Why wait?

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton was in a broadly similar position to Sanders — hopelessly behind in the delegate race but vowing to fight to the convention — and she backed down when the voting was done.

One crucial difference, however, was that Clinton’s “the superdelegates will swing it my way” theory of the race made a baseline level of sense for her that it doesn’t for Sanders.

No. The crucial difference between Clinton 2008 and Sandes 2016 is — I would argue, time will tell — Sanders voters. Sanders voters are experienced at organizing and are self-organizing, since they include activists from movements that sprang up only after 2008; hence, they will not share the sad fate of the PUMAs. That’s why the Sanders list (which the establishment commentariat pointedly does not talk about) is one of the biggest issues in the game; it preserves the Sanders electorate’s power as an independent actor.

“More Berners to Philly than Pope Francis pilgrims?” [Philadelphia Inquirer (Paul Tioxin)]. “Sanders has promised(?), suggested(?), threatened(?) that the convention will be “messy” if he’s shut out. What does that mean? In the committees? On the convention floor? On Broad Street? (Spoiler alert: It does not mean physical violence.)” Speaking of self-organizing….

“Party leaders in Washington had so written off the idea of retaking the majority that a “Majority Project” launched last fall was aimed at elections in 2022 — after the next round of congressional redistricting. Trump’s rise to presumptive GOP nominee sparked a scramble in recent months to recruit Democratic candidates, even in some Republican-leaning districts” [WaPo]. The key word there is “scrambled.”

Volatility voters: “Why Trump voters are not “complete idiots”” [Medium]. “As any trader will tell you, if you are stuck lower, you want volatility, uncertainty. No matter how it comes. Put another way. Your downside is flat, your upside isn’t. Break the system.” Important!

“Newly released documents in a lawsuit against Trump University cite several former employees of the school as saying the university didn’t live up to what it promised” [Wall Street Journal, “Ex-Employees Criticize Trump University, Calling It ‘Scheme’ and ‘Total Lie'”]. Won’t matter to volatility voters; if anything, it will reinforce their convictions.

“Exclusive: Trump’s 3,500 lawsuits unprecedented for a presidential nominee” [USA Today]. Ditto.

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, May 2016: “The May employment report isn’t expected to be very strong but it may not prove, in contrast to expectations, to be any weaker than April, at least based on ADP’s estimate for private payrolls which comes in at 173,000 vs ADP’s revised 166,000 for April” [Econoday]. Curb your enthusisasm….

Challenger Job-Cut Report, May 2016: “Layoff announcements during May, in contrast to April, were very low” Econoday]. “This report in April was consistent with that month’s soft employment report from the government and today’s report, perhaps, hints at strength for May.”

Jobless Claims, week of May 28. 2016: “The last look at jobless claims heading into tomorrow’s employment report is somewhat favorable, pointing perhaps to only slightly less strength in the labor market” [Econoday].

Gallup Good Jobs Rate, May 2016: “up slightly” [Econoday]. “The workforce participation was 67.3 percent in May, matching the percentage for April” (this is a survey).

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of May 29, 2016: “The consumer comfort index had been depressed the last several reports but not in the May 29 week as it surged from 42.0 to 43.2 for the best reading since April” [Econoday]. “Today’s results, together with upbeat chain-store reports, hint at another solid month for retail sales.”

ETFs: “Investors poured just $2.1 billion into U.S.-listed ETFs in May, putting year-to-date ETF net creations at only $49 billion, about half of May 2015’s net inflows of $84 billion.” [ETF.com]. Still looking for ETF sources; this one, frankly, reads like it hired some of its breathless-with-excitement writers from Bitcoin. But you go to read with the writers you have…

Oil: “Saudi Aramco Seen Increasing July Oil Premium for Asia Customers” [Mosler Economics]. “The higher prices likely indicate a change in policy from that of putting downward pressure on prices to a more neutral stance.”

Shipping: “The official opening of the expanded canal will take place in just over three weeks” [Splash247]. “It has not been without its travails – leaking locks, collapsed walls and extraordinary budget overruns – but Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the consortium expanding the Panama Canal, said yesterday the project is now ready to accept vessels.”

Shipping: “U.S. railroads reported a 6.8 percent decrease in carload and intermodal traffic last month compared with May 2015, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced yesterday” [Progressive Railroading]. “”Most economists think the economy has picked up in the second quarter from the dismal 0.8 percent growth in the first quarter, but so far railroads aren’t seeing much of it,” said John Gray, AAR’s senior vice president of policy and economics.” Although the stats don’t include Memorial Day, unlike 2015’s.

Shipping: “Top 22 North America TEU [Twenty-foot Equivalent container] traffic slowdown continued during April, East Coast TEU traffic has overtaken the West Coast by percentage performance from last month.” reversing trends” [Seeking Alpha].

Shipping: “A Scandinavian courier company, PostNord AB, and supermarket chain, ICA AB, are testing the new service with about 20 households in the Swedish capital, promising that messengers will remove their shoes and unpack online deliveries, even when customers are away.” [Wall Street Journal, “Delivery Service Brings Groceries to Your Fridge When You’re Away”]. “The pioneering service hinges on a new add-on lock, which customers must install on their doors and which messengers can open with their smartphones. Made by Swedish startup Glue AB, the lock allows residents to decide remotely when to allow access to their homes.” What could go wrong? [reading onward]. Ah, a “startup.” So, by default, it’s a scam.

The Bezzle: “Machine Learning: The High-Interest Credit Card of Technical Debt” [Google].

The Bezzle, Internet of Things Edition:

“Singapore set to lead the world with driverless taxis, with help from MIT” [The Drum]. “The startup nuTonomy Inc — based in Cambridge, Mass and Singapore — has revealed that it raised $16m to continue work on its autonomous vehicle technology.” Ah, another startup. That’s going to “continue work.” To be fair, the infrastructure of a wealthy and tiny city-state like Silicon Valley Singapore may be able to support such a thing.

“An audit report published on Thursday suggests that debt-laden Puerto Rico may be able to void some of its borrowing because politicians exceeded constitutional debt limits and their own authority” [MarketWatch]. “The report, shared with MarketWatch, states that some of Puerto Rico’s debt may have been issued illegally, allowing the government to potentially declare the bonds invalid and courts to then decide that creditors’ claims are unenforceable [!!!].”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 77, Extreme Greed (previous close: 78, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 74 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 2 at 11:45am. Edging higher….

Health Care

“Unpaid, stressed, and confused: patients are the health care system’s free labor” [Sarak Kliff, Vox]. “What I didn’t understand was the burden patients face in managing the health care system: a massive web of doctors, insurers, pharmacies, and other siloed actors that seem intent on not talking with one another. That unenviable task gets left to the patient, the secret glue that holds the system together. For me, this feels like a part-time job where the pay is lousy, the hours inconvenient, and the stakes incredibly high.” Kliff has done really good work on health care, so I don’t want to trash her; but it seems she’s learning what every NC commenter who’s had to cope with ObamaCare has already known for years. Of course, Kliff’s solution is technical: Better interchange of medical records through EHR. Not on her radar screen, sadly, is the institutional simplication that single payer would bring. So in fact there two reasons to file this under class warfare, aren’t there?

Our Famously Free Press

“How To Herd your Critics into Fake Communities and Waste their Time (Part 3)” [Consent Factory].


“When the River Rises” [Texas Monthly]. “For years he had been asking local politicians and federal and state agencies to install more gauges on the river, to tell him how much water was coming into Wimberley. But still there were no gauges upstream. Instead Czichos relied on a network of old-timers—local ranchers and property owners—to tell him what was coming. Today they had been calling his cell phone one after another, their voices urgent. The river was crawling up their tree trunks, cresting over bridges, rising higher than they had ever seen.”

“‘This Doesn’t Have a Name’: A Molecule of Water Can Exist in Six Places at Once, Researchers Find” [Vice]. This is really cool. From Oak Ridge National Laboratories:

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of water molecules confined in hexagonal ultra-small channels – 5 angstrom across – of the mineral beryl. An angstrom is 1/10-billionth of a meter, and individual atoms are typically about 1 angstrom in diameter.>

“At low temperatures, this tunneling water exhibits quantum motion through the separating potential walls, which is forbidden in the classical world,” said lead author Alexander Kolesnikov of ORNL’s Chemical and Engineering Materials Division. “This means that the oxygen and hydrogen atoms of the water molecule are ‘delocalized’ and therefore simultaneously present in all six symmetrically equivalent positions in the channel at the same time. It’s one of those phenomena that only occur in quantum mechanics and has no parallel in our everyday experience.”>

The existence of the tunneling state of water shown in ORNL’s study should help scientists better describe the thermodynamic properties and behavior of water in highly confined environments such as water diffusion and transport in the channels of cell membranes, in carbon nanotubes and along grain boundaries and at mineral interfaces in a host of geological environments.

“Transport in the channels of cell membranes” doesn’t sound all that removed from the classical world to me: Some of those cells could be in my body!

Class Warfare

“If wages and incomes are rising, why are people so angry about the economy?” [Jared Bernstein, WaPo]. (If you think about it, Betteridge’s Law provides the answer volatility-voters would give.) “So I think I get why some people are unsatisfied with the economy and beyond. Growth hasn’t reached all corners by a long shot, and policymakers have too often been at best unresponsive to that reality and at worst, just plain awful. You can go one of two directions with that insight. You can turn to a demagogue who exploits this disconnect without any coherent plans to do anything about it. Or you can get to work on the policy agenda that works to preserve what’s been going well and addresses what’s hurting us. I choose ‘b.'” Or you could reject the demagogue, reject the policy agenda, and muddle through, apres-moi-style, trusting the political class that created the problem to solve it.

“Swiss voters will decide in a referendum on June 5 whether to introduce a “basic income”. In proposed reforms to the social welfare system, all residents would be entitled to a guaranteed income of SFr30,000 ($30,275) a year from the state — unconditionally” [John Kay]. “Back in the real world, there are two ways to assess household needs for welfare. Contingent benefits target causes of poverty — old age, unemployment, disability, large or broken families. But it is costly and inappropriate to subsidise Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch and the Queen just because they are elderly. Income-related benefits address poverty more directly but diminish incentives to work. Social welfare systems everywhere make use of both types of information — contingent and income-related — to balance cost and effectiveness. That is why they are, inevitably, complex.” And the complexity is a jobs program for people like John Kay!

“The Sharing Economy Can Transform Economic Development” [Economic Monitor]. Innovative ideas needed: “Some of these ideas are taking shape—for example, a proposal by two economists to create a category of worker who receives limited benefits such as health insurance contributions or payroll taxes, but it is not entitled to a minimum wage or unemployment insurance.” Cool!!!!!

News of the Wired

“[W]hile we need lots and lots of people with humanities and social science backgrounds, in today’s increasingly anti-intellectual climate, majoring in philosophy is becoming a risk that fewer and fewer people can afford to take. It’s also becoming an option that fewer and fewer people have to begin with, as schools from Queen’s University to CUNY make it harder and harder to study in fields that can’t attract their own corporate donors” [Baseline Scenario]. “This is what happens when you have a poor job market for new graduates, a social safety net in tatters, crumbling financial support for public higher education, an arms race in corporate fundraising by elite private schools, and a general takeover of the intellectual culture by corporate CEOs. Studying French literature will become one more luxury good reserved for the elite.”

“2,000-year-old handwritten documents found in London mud” [AP]. Written on wood!

“I invented ‘virtue signalling’. Now it’s taking over the world” [Spectator]. From 2015, but a useful concept, especially on the Twitter of today.

“Sittuyin retains some of the full-blooded flamboyance from the days when kings used it to plot real battles in which elephants were a fearsome weapon — “Sitt” in Burmese means “war”” [Agence France Presse]. “”Diversity is wealth. If these games can be preserved they must be preserved,” [said chess historian Jean-Louis Cazaux]. Speaking of the humanities…


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


Apparently, readers liked Kurt Sperry’s plant-y video yesterday. I had expressed a personal desire for “whole systems” images of plants, hopefully beautiful, but it hadn’t occurred to me that appealing to multiple senses would be a way to do this.

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


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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. hunkerdown

      It’s just Photoshop topiary. “Rather be known for their art than their deception” like every other bourgie.

  1. Jim Haygood

    STEM grads cry, “Why do they hate us?

    Return on invested capital at Alphabet has fallen over the past decade from over 20% to less than 14%. Arguably the moat around the core search business has gotten stronger during that time, not weaker. So why the degradation in returns? Call it the “engineer’s discount.”

    When engineers make all of the key product decisions, returns suffer.


    Even if this appalling claim is true, the “engineer’s discount” on tech companies pales into insignificance compared to the “lawyer’s discount” on governments.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When I think of the engineer’s discount, I see things like those user’s manuals that come with your gadgets and the programming language Fortran I used to use before.

    2. low integer

      I expect most good engineers are predisposed to creating feedback loops that promote stability, whether they are working with businesses, buses, or buildings. I imagine doing things like taking on debt to do stock buybacks to juice share prices would be seen as the equivalent of removing load bearing structural elements from a building.
      That said, I have spent time around many undergraduate engineers who are generally perform quite poorly once they are outside of their (often narrow) wheelhouse, so no doubt some businesses have been poorly managed by young and over confident engineers who have somehow found themselves steering the ship.
      In any case, I agree with hunkerdown about the tinyurl links. It is nice to know where a link will take one before making the decision to click.

  2. grayslady

    Shorter Matt Yglesias: Surrender Dorothy (cue skywriting by the Wicked Witch of the West’s monkey brigade).

    1. Bev

      Galaxy Quest: Jason Nesmith: Never give up. Never surrender.

      Palast has a new investigation below:
      If the media do not correct this illegality of misinformation before the election, then Bernie should create an ad specifically to address and remedy this situation with voters taking to the polls the specific law in writing allowing them to vote on real ballots, not provisional ballots.

      Also, the person who misinformed the Orange County poll workers, needs to be arrested now, publicly and asked who told him or her to illegally say that.


      Placebo Ballots: Stealing California From Bernie Using an Old GOP Vote-Snatching Trick
      By Greg Palast and Dennis J Bernstein, Reader Supported News
      01 June 16
      The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Election Crimes Bulletin

      Alert! California poll workers have been told to give all independent voters “provisional” ballots if they want to vote in Democratic Party. That’s illegal – and will insure that Sanders voters’ ballots end up in the garbage, uncounted.

      A special bulletin for California voters. And for the rest of you, how this same trickery – shifting voters to provisional ballots which are rarely counted – can steal the White House and Congress for the GOP in November.

      Here’s the 411. If you’re registered as an independent voter in California, you have the right to vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary. Just ask for the ballot. But look out! Reports out of Orange County are that some poll workers have been told to give “No Party Preference” (NPP), independent voters, PROVISIONAL ballots as opposed to regular ballots.

      Voter, BEWARE! Do NOT accept a PROVISIONAL BALLOT! They’re really “Placebo Ballots” – they give you the satisfaction of feeling like you’ve voted, without the inconvenience of anyone actually having to count them!

      And for our readers in the other 49 states: You can bet that the GOP will be shunting voters to these placebo provisional ballots in November. In the last election, over two MILLION voters, overwhelmingly voters of color, were shifted to these rarely-counted ballots. That’s how you steal elections.

      No, I’m not promoting Bernie, nor Ernie, nor anyone. I’m promoting democracy. Let’s make sure your vote counts. Read on (or listen in) while Dennis Bernstein and I take you through that ugly sausage factory calling the American voting system….

      1. craazyboy

        Shouldn’t everyone bring a banana to the polling place of their choice? Ya know…get in the banana republic mood…

        I just thought of that because I’m sitting here eating a banana split for desert. yummy. No other reason.

      2. sd

        This information is not accurate.

        If you are registered as NPP and Vote by Mail, and you did not request a Democratic Party primary ballot, and have already received a Vote by Mail NPP ballot, you must bring the NPP ballot with you to vote in person. At the polling place, exchange the NPP ballot for the Democratic Party ballot.

        If you do not have the NPP ballot, you will be issued a provisional ballot so as to guarantee you do not vote twice.

  3. Tom

    What, no Clinton hairball?
    To temporarily fill the gap, I’ll throw out this item:

    I somehow missed the fact that the same Inspector Generals’ office that issued the recent report on the email policies at the State Department also initiated another, separate Clinton investigation late last year.
    The subject? From this article in the Washington Post:

    “the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state.”

    I am curious about whether anyone has heard anything about this. I only had a few spare minutes to try to find more recent mentions, but nothing so far. But still. Isn’t the email flap really just the appetizer? The real something burger on the menu has to be the Clinton Foundation.

      1. Bill Smith

        The DOJ has kept this much quieter than the email thing. Maybe because they are running the entire thing. No SOS IG or FOIA suits.

        Just that Ortel (sp) guy other than them?

      2. teri

        They are doing a RICO investigation into the Foundation for this stuff. I can go find a link in my email, where I saved an article on it, but for now, try a google search.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      And here’s another one: Hillary Clinton’s Former IT Staffer to Plead the Fifth in Court Deposition in Email Lawsuit (one of the Judicial Watch ones):

      Bryan Pagliano, the former U.S. State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights at a June 6 deposition in D.C. District Court, his lawyers say.


      The State Department said early last month it could not locate the majority of Pagliano’s emails from the time he served as Clinton’s senior information technology staffer during her tenure as U.S. secretary of state.

      That’s odd. I wonder where they are?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Occam’s razor: Pagliano wiped his emails, because they included messages from Hillary about the private server.

        Similarly, Hillary wiped 30,000 of her “personal” messages, including her end of exchanges with Bryan Pagliano about the server.

        Seamless … until the FBI got hold of the Datto cloud backups that no one realized existed.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          On Datto, we’re assuming that (though granted, it’s a reasonable assumption). Of course, the NSA and the KGB probably have had it all since before the beginning, and probably the Chinese, but we can hardly ask them, now can we?

          (Although there’s an exotic exculpatory theory I’ve never heard put forward, which is that the whole set up was a way to put what LeCarré would call chicken feed before the foreign services…)

      2. Knifecatcher

        Apparently Pagliano is more afraid of the Clintons than of the federal government. And for good reason, methinks.

    1. hunkerdown

      They have finally decided that they ARE an evangelical church. Well, alright then.

  4. shinola

    Re: Medium article, “Why Trump voters are not complete idiots”
    From the “teaser” sentences provided with the link, this part pretty much says it all:

    “Put another way. Your downside is flat, your upside isn’t. Break the system.”

    Or put another way: “I’m mad as hell and I not gonna take it any more”
    (Those of us of a certain age will recognize that quote & know where it came from)

    The Trump candidacy is entirely negative; a “throw the bums out – no more business as usual” response.
    I find it totally understandable (no diagrams needed). I’m actually enjoying watching this big ol’ middle finger salute to The Establishment. Who would’ve thought that this would occur on the R side of the divide?

    Now if there is a way that Bernie can get past Clinton, then perhaps we can have an election that really provides some hope for change.

    1. Jason

      Vote for the NYC billionaire landlord with the Goldman Sach’s guy running his campaign finances and the neo-con foreign policy team, that’ll show ’em how mad you are!

      1. edmondo

        Or we could vote for the crooked NY multi-millionaire warmonger with the Goldman Sachs puppet strings and the true neo-con foreign policy and see how that turns out!

        Ain’t democracy great?

        1. shinola

          Trump is the equivalent of a suicide bomber in the middle of the Republican party and I am eager to watch him blow it up. Collateral damage be damned.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Trump drug’s side effects are fearful, and millions will probably take chances with Hillary.

          2. Kurt Sperry

            Except he’ll be a damp squib as one, and end up being a generic Republican with Tourette’s. He doesn’t give enough sh*ts about policy to have any real effect in the end, he’s just in it for the shock, the laughs and the ego strokes. The only thing useful I see coming from Trump is we’ll get a headcount on the old school George Wallace, unapologetic racist demographic, which is completely his base.

            1. aab

              That’s not true. That’s corporate media aka Clintonland messaging.

              I’m not saying Trump doesn’t have racist supporters, or that he’s not racist, or that he didn’t launch his campaign with racist rhetorical fireworks. All those things are true. But Clinton is racist, has used sorority girl racist rhetoric, advocated racist policies, and has racist supporters. There are racists in America. That’s not news. People in power use racism to maintain their power. That is also not news.

              Get outside the corporate media bubble, and you will find lots of evidence that many people backed Trump because of some combination of: he was the only change agent they heard about, they are small business owners who recognize that the servants of global corporations are hurting them, they just want to firebomb the ruling class because they despair of change being possible. Many of those people are actually people of color. Many are former Obama voters.

              Demonizing Trump and his voters is playing Clinton’s game. He would probably be a terrible president. He certainly wouldn’t be my preferred choice. But he’s not worse than Clinton. He’s not some paradigm-crushing new evil. His rise does not, in fact, rely on racists or racism. He used it for fuel, just as Clinton used her pretended support for black people as fuel.

  5. lindaj

    What’s with the dismissive “Yeah but Kevin Zeese” comment on the Jill Stein/Sanders article. Or is that just directed at the Green Party in general? Either way, cheap shot. Guess I’ll have to consider the source.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Consider away. Stein partisan, no?

      Adding, please don’t double post. If both appear it makes the blog look bad. It also creates work for the moderators. Finally, you’re training the spam software to think you’re a spammer, since that’s what spammers do.

      1. edmondo

        So there really is one! I had no idea they actually existed. What is the Green’s mascot, a unicorn?

        1. lindaj

          Lambert, your “posting” button was greyed out. That’s why my message posted twice.

          To both you and edmondo: being snotty does not mean you are smart.

    2. EGrise

      If I may offer my $0.02, lindaj, I don’t think the “Yeah but Kevin Zeese” comment was meant to be dismissive; rather, I think it means that a solid Green member (one who holds many points of agreement with Bernie, like Mr. Zeese) would be a much better choice for a running mate than an outsider from a rival party.

      Sort of like, say, a Democratic president nominating a Republican to the Supreme Court. Might be better, as LBJ used to say, to dance with the ones that brung ya.

  6. Clive

    Re: “The Bezzle, Internet of Things Edition”

    Adam, I feel your pain. Actually, I feel the cold. An unseasonable drop in temperature meant the heat should have kicked in on Tuesday morning when I got up. But — silly me — I’d left my iPad at my mother-in-law’s at the weekend and the Nest Learning Thermostat (TM) had started using it to calculate my presence data. So, the thermostat thought I wasn’t at home and switched to Auto Away mode (no heat triggered unless the space temperature dropped to 50 degrees or thereabouts).

    I’ll have to pay a bit more of the Tax on Time to untether the thermostat from the iPad.

    I really should just rip the thing out and put in a £20 “dumb” thermostat. But I like complaining about it too much. And it gives me first hand experience of the IoT ‘bezzel and how it is pulled.

  7. steelhead23

    Lambert – thanks for the link to that Salon article. I was mistaken that I was the only rube who dared dream such things. Sanders-Stein for the Ninety-nine! Cheers.

    1. jo6pac

      No thanks on the bernie-Stein ticket. It could only bring the down fall of the Green platform.

        1. habenicht

          In your opinion, what is currently lacking but required to make the green party a “serious” national party?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I can only speak from my direct experience with the Green Party in Maine, which fielded a reasonably successful gubernatorial candidate a couple of election cycles ago. And I don’t know what it would take to set up a new political party (absent an issue like slavery and a standalone abolitionist movement).

            At the ground level, then:

            1) Avoid endless rehashes of Ralph Nader and his role in the election 2000 (and IMNSHO, “Yeah, we did it. Now here’s what you do if you don’t want it to happen again” would be infinitely more effective against Dems than “It wasn’t us, honest!”)

            2) If the national office manages to put together a logo and trade dress for the Green Party, use it, instead of arguing about it.

            3) Just because a volunteer has been doing something forever doesn’t make them good at what they do (see #2).

            4) If a Democratic Socialist runs for office, push your platform and show why yours is better instead of endlessly wailing that “Democrats suck!” In addition, set up tables at Sanders rallies and recruit.

            Obviously, these are details, not big picture. I concluded that the Maine Greens were a dysfunctional non-profit (and I have had experience with them). No dysfunctional non-profit I worked at was fixable. It’s likely that Howie Hawkins’ Greens are different, since he manages to run a competent race. But that doesn’t make them a national party. If Hawkins gets into the House or the Senate, that might make things different.

            1. cwaltz

              Personally, I don’t understand what the downside of “owning” Naderism is.

              It would make the point that you “own” political power and as a result have the ability to impact elections whether or not you “win” per se.

              The answer to the schmucks who blame Nader(or Sanders for that matter) for the loss of their candidate is to say field a better candidate next time. It’s not the electorate’s job to adapt to the candidate. It’s the candidate’s job to adapt to the electorate they are supposed to be elected to represent. You want the hippies votes, don’t punch them, adopt parts of your platform to appeal to them. It’s really not that complex.

            2. Faye Carr

              My experience with the Florida Greens was similar. Too much argument about process and insisting on consensus while events and elections whizzed on by.

              Further muddled by rehashing, finger pointing, and self-righteous congratulation over every single issue. Frustrating enough to abandon the Greens entirely.

              One can almost believe bottom-up organizing was promoted in the alternative media to hinder those left/progressive movements. Or prevent real leadership from emerging.

    2. edmondo

      I’m pretty sure that Bernie cannot run for president under the GP label since he already ran as a Democrat.

      Look up “Sore Loser’s Law” – any state that has one would disallow the submission of Bernie on the party ticket. He could however run as her VP and then succeed her in office if she promised to resign after the election.

    3. neo-realist

      I’d be totally cheerful about it if the candidacy resulted in the Greens, with the help of the Sanders movement, becoming a serious national party that actively runs candidates at the state and local level. However, if it seeks to become nothing more than a symbolic middle finger to the duopoly without a follow-up of a serious national political movement as is par the course for a Green Party White House bid, then such an idea should be banished to the dust bin.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in Tucson, our local Greens seem more like a club than an organization that’s interested in running candidates and getting them elected.

  8. Propertius

    As long as Sanders doesn’t give his list to the DNC.

    If you gave through ActBlue, rest assured that they’ve got your data anyway,

    1. Roger Smith

      Can you circumvent ActBlue? I donated a few times prior to his campaign shift to ActBlue but once they did I assumed all of the online donations were now handled that way.

      1. grayslady

        You can’t circumvent ActBlue for Bernie donations, but you can tell them to remove you from their list. When I started receiving unsolicited emails from them, I asked to be unsubscribed and told them I wasn’t a Democrat. Haven’t heard from them since.

  9. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re effort to pass the TPP during the lame duck legislative session following the election depends upon …”If Obama, in fact, cares about embarrassing Clinton.”

    Hmmm… Embarrassing Hillary, or the ‘Obama legacy’ and related income stream?… which will it be? (Assuming Clinton is in fact the Dems’ nominee) … eerie meenie miney mo…

    To me the better question is what Obama will do on this issue if Sanders wins the Dem nomination, which is appearing increasingly likely.

    1. scott2

      I believe that the TPP/TPIP was the reason the Obama was hatched in the first place. Obamacare was a test case, and he passed that. Nothing else matters to the elite than those two trade deals.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Not sure how this embarrasses Clinton. She can continue to say she’s opposed (sort of) but of course if she’s our next president, then it’s a done deal and there’s nothing she can do about it. Precedent, allies, fairness, etc. Everybody wins!

  10. Jim Haygood

    Hillary does San Diego:

    Clinton derided [Trump], promising she would do a better job keeping the United States safe and standing in front of a backdrop of 19 large U.S. flags, an unusual abundance even by the standards of presidential campaign events.


    Take a look at the photo at the bottom of the article. Extreme, fetishistic flag displays are a Nuremberg rally trope.

    It’ll be much the same scene when President Hillary announces martial law … except she’ll be flanked by a couple of generals in mirrored sunglasses, with a bunch of black-clad guys toting machine guns in the background.

    1. Pat

      A ROOM of supporters?!?!? She appeared on that stage with that many flags in a ROOM? That back drop would a little overwhelming in a gym, stadium or concert hall, but in a room even as large as a good sized a banquet room it is ridiculous

      1. Jim Haygood

        From the transcript of Hillary’s San Diego speech:

        I believe with all my heart that America is an exceptional country.

        We need to stick with our allies.

        America’s network of allies is part of what makes us exceptional. And our allies deliver for us every day.

        Our armed forces fight terrorists together; our diplomats work side by side. Allies provide staging areas for our military, so we can respond quickly to events on the other side of the world.

        We need to take out ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria by intensifying the air campaign and stepping up our support for Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground.


        Pure War Party dogma: more bombing; more cash for mythical “moderate rebels.”

        Are we ready for 8 years of “Blood and Guts” Hillary, as the Permanent War escalates and the coffins get stacked higher at Dover AFB?

        I am ready to puke.

        1. craazyboy

          Commander-in-Chief Hillary did say [last week?] President Bill would be in charge of America’s Economy.

          So there’s that.

          Not that we couldn’t organize some cottage industry around the country with the little folk making ISIS piñatas.

        2. nippersdad

          Well, she got at least one thing right. Our allies do deliver for her every day.

          Impressive usage of third person pronouns, and she hasn’t even had her Imperial coronation ceremony yet. She must be getting in some practice for her big event. She forgot herself with the initial use of the first person pronoun, but luckily it doesn’t matter yet if she makes a few mistakes in front of the serfs.

        3. Archie

          But, but, but…. The Clinton Foundation! She’s reaching for that 10 bagger in money laundering before she retires. She has grandkids to think of now, fergawdsake!

        4. polecat

          There won’t be any coffins………

          ….maybe obliterated and charred cities perhaps”

          Just keep on sticking that shiv into Ivan’s side…Hellary & Co. !!

        5. EGrise

          Reading that transcript, Umberto E. would probably check off “The Cult of Tradition”, “The Cult of Action for Action’s Sake”, “Spread of Propaganda”, and possibly “Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy” and “Obsession with a Plot”.

          I would tally the score to compare Trump and Clinton, but at the moment I’m just too depressed.

      2. just me in san diego

        Wait, where was this ROOM? (and why wasn’t I invited?)

        I don’t see location other than “San Diego” in any of these big stories: Reuters, Time and Huffington Post (“HILL FIRES MISSILES” top banner now)

        I KNOW she fires missiles, that’s why I’m looking forward to voting for Bernie next week.

        …. double checking … skimming down to the bottom of the Reuters article … O. M. G. they report a TYPO in a Trump tweet …

        “Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton!” ran one posting during the speech, which included a typo. “Reading poorly from the telepromter! She doesn’t even look presidential!”

        They can’t tell me where she’s speeching other than it’s that room in San Diego with 19 flags, but they CAN tell me that Donald Can’t Type Presidentially. This is spectacularly pathetic. 19 flags in an undisclosed location and a typo: Now vote.

        1. Roger Smith

          Maybe it’s a bar–The Ninteen Flags!

          Or it could be a Where’s Waldo type of game. Hint: she is by the 19 flags!

          1. just me in san diego

            And I was wondering what the head count was today at 19 Flags, and what was the price of admission. How big is that room?

            1. Roger Smith

              After I saw the wait time was 16 hours and a full background check I said SCREW THAT!

              All the while those suits and sycophants with their fast passes, cutting ahead of everyone… Let ’em wait like everyone else!

    2. hunkerdown

      San Diego is hard right and deep in military pork. She’s loathsome but she’s got the coin of the realm.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Yes. Whereas in Berkeley and San Francisco, Hillary probably will have 19 rainbow-striped flags emblazoned with the peace sign behind her on the stage.

        1. pretzelattack

          “i really wanted to come to the haight for the summer of love but alas i was too busy being president of the young republicans at wellesley”

  11. fresno dan

    UPDATE “‘Speaking at Union County College, Bill Clinton said “white, non-college-educated Americans” who are widely seen as a core part of Trump’s base ‘need to be brought along to the future’” [Yahoo News]. No class war there!

    “We all need to recognize that white, non-college-educated Americans have seen great drops in their income, have seen great increases in their unemployment rate, have seen drops in their life expectancy, and they need to be brought along to the future. But they can’t live under the illusion that you can reclaim a past which is just that — past. This country is always about the future,” Clinton said.

    Its always funny (no its not) what ISN’T asked or brought up for some candidates and not for others. Sanders and Trump are attacked for non specifics. Apparently, it never occurs to the MSM to ask how “they” were brought along to the future in the Bill Clinton administration, or what the dems have been doing in the 8 years of the Obama administration to bring “them” along (OH!!! TPP will bring along…) or what Hillary will SPECIFICALLY do to bring “them” along…

    But they can’t live under the illusion that you can reclaim a past which is just that — past. This country is always about the future,” Clinton said. (((“reclaim a past” – – euphemism for high union wages – can’t have that in the future…)))
    Whatcha gotta understand that a person on an assembly line making tens of thousands of dollars annually actually MAKING SOMETHING hinders the ability the financiers to gamble – – uh, I mean speculate, — er, I mean invest in the future – – and than be bailed out by government, thereby giving something to do and enriching the fraud enablers, – – uh, I mean the legal, regulatory, government overseers who didn’t actually oversee anything effectively.

    1. edmondo

      Perhaps the future Bill envisions for this “poor, white trash” is giving speeches. I know that he once helped a destitute woman from Arkansas become quite a speechmaker. She went from “being broke” when she left government housing in 2001 to becoming a multimillionaire on the fast track to becoming quite a powerhouse in the world.

      Just think how many of these “poors” would be able to turn their hard scrabble existence around, avoid foreclosure and send their kids to college by earning $225,000 an hour giving speeches! Trust me, this has happened in this country – but I am not allowed to name names.

      1. fresno dan

        I could give speeches!!! I am verbose, and with the internet I can find ginormous words all the time!!!
        Now…I just need the telephone number of Hillary’s agent…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The minimum speech wage is $225,000 an hour.

        There is no pension though. You have to set up your own foundation for that.

    2. Cry Shop

      “white, non-college-educated Americans” who are widely seen as a core part of Trump’s base ‘need to be brought along to the future’” in chains.

    3. Roger Smith

      Hey Bill, the thing about “the future” is that it is just that, the future–always on the way, but never actually here.

      Decisions are made in the PRESENT Willy, and your neoliberal pals have no idea what the times, the present if you will, call for.

  12. fresno dan

    “Meet David French: the random dude off the street that Bill Kristol decided will save America from Trump [Vox]. Kristol is truly pathetic.

    I am not gonna claim some great prescience…but:

    fresno dan
    June 1, 2016 at 10:34 am
    I saw the Post’ article on the true conservative “replacement” for Trump


    You know, for people who do nothing but kowtow to the 1%, its hard to believe they could be so inept – and its hard to believe that they could actually find somebody who makes Trump look good in comparison
    Now, don’t get me wrong – French is much more honest, brave, and sincere than Trump (which isn’t saying anything). But read his “deal” with his wife when he went to Iraq, and I would say French probably shares more with ISIS thinking on the PLACE OF WOMEN in society than 99.9% of Americans….I am surprised he didn’t make her wear a chastity belt (maybe he did???)

    Sooooo….is Krystal working for Trump undercover??? – cause he can’t POSSIBLY be that stupid – quantum mechanics tells us the universe would collapse if so much stupid was concentrated in such a small space…
    Again, if Trump forces repubs and conservatives to TRULY state unambiguously what they REALLY, REALLY, SINCERELY believe….he will have done more for this country than any actual president since Roosevelt.
    Never ask people what they really believe – because its horrifying….

    You know, as of June 2, 2016 – it is still unclear to me whether French is in FACT a DECLARED candidate for the presidency of the US. As a practical matter, seems impossible he could get listed on enough state ballets to have any effect whatsoever – i.e., he makes Nader look like Perot….
    I think Mr. French, when he starts getting a taste of what the average American thinks of his positions, instead of the rare, insular, hothouse environment of the National Review, e.g.,
    As a few on “conservative” sites have already brought up, how exactly does a lawyer in the rear echelon get a bronze star? If French gets “swift boated” I may very well explode from Schadenfreude

    1. Anon

      Re: Clinton E-mail Hairball/Tar Baby

      I saw an image floating around of one of the e-mail chains floating around and one thing I didn’t hear about or hasn’t gotten much notice is the fact that there were other users of the server, aside from her. Is that a dead end or perhaps is it a quiet play?

      If I was Huma, I’d have a contingency plan in place because as sure as the sun rose this morning, she will probably get thrown under the bus in some capacity.

    2. ProNewerDeal

      I am surprised Kristol could not get ANYONE with some name ID. Heck, why not pick Carly Fiorina or 1 of the other 16 R failures? Were they insufficiently extreme neocon for Kristol AND such a candidate didn’t want to “be labeled a Nader 2000”? Someone like Fiorina does not seem to have a political future “career” she is risking anyways – it seems she only is interesting in running for big offices like President or Senator & gets routinely sonned (or daughtered?). It’s not as if someone like Fiorina is worried about running for CA State Senator or some such.

      Heck, Kristol would prolly be better running himself, than French, despite Kristol being continuously wrong on any “hot take” like the Iraq War or Trump’s campaign. Perhaps Kristol has a “skeleton” such as a gay affair, or he is a Panama papers tax cheat; that precludes Kristol from “pulling a Cheney” & running himself?

  13. Left in Wisconsin

    “Donald Trump and the Idea of the Rust Belt” [The New Yorker].

    And yet in Michigan—in most of the Midwest, really—the economy is doing O.K.


    Certain places that used to be central to the global economy now are not. You wouldn’t say the Midwest is thriving, exactly. But neither is it in collapse. The region has not actually rusted.

    Um, hello?

    Contrast with:

    Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Transportation data released last year showed the condition of Wisconsin’s roads among the nation’s worst. ..Gottlieb [WI Transportation Sec’y] said he expects to prioritize upkeep of bridges and “backbone” roads such as U.S. interstates and highways. But he acknowledged that will come at the expense of maintaining other highways.

    “That non-backbone system, which is about 90 percent of the state highway system, is going to continue to deteriorate in condition,” Gottlieb said.

    Transportation secretary: No major tax, fee hikes planned; project delays coming

  14. JTMcPhee

    About Obama and the “trade deals,” please let us be clear that the “trade deals” are supposed to be part not only of his legacy, but the major part of his deal with the traders, the deal that is going to pay him the big bucks once he has shot the rest of us in the arse. “Going against Hillary” in this area is pure kayfabe over true motives.

    I’m sure our bloggers know that looking for and reporting to us wiser heads the many tidbits from the various little sources and interest groups that are coming up with little tidbits of reasons not to “like” TPPTTIPTISA, etc., for their own little parochial reasons and with or without stated nods to the enormous power grab and global effects on sovereignty that these scams will complete, is satisfying — feels like a ground swell, right?

    But remember how this coup is going to be run, just the way it has been so far: the Trade Representative and his minions, and a host of lawyers and lobbyists and corporate rulers and “stakeholders” including a lot of slimy ministers of various nations and THEIR cadres of lobbyists and special friends, are very, very busy right now, full time, full court press, lining up the manifestations of “democracy theater,” whereby the boughtandpaidfor elected representatives will, via a nice set of Best Bernaysian theatrics, reluctantly conclude on behalf of all the rest of us that, after very careful consideration, on balance, even if very narrow, the cost-benefit analysis ineluctably favors signing the doddgam deal. Reluctantly, in full awareness that “the deal is not perfect” but it is the best there is, just like good old Catch-22, and the ACA… And this is the way Milo Minderbinder went about his climb to power.

    I don’t recall Heller having any advice for how to defeat M&M Enterprises, in fact his later work is even more pessimistic than “Catch-22.”

    “Jump, Yossarian! Yossarian jumped. The knife came down, missing him by inches.” and all by himself, he paddled off to Sweden. “The others will just have to take care of themselves.”

    If the rest of us can’t organize, we won’t even have the option of paddling off to Sweden.

    Look in your wallets and savings accounts and investments and safe deposit boxes and 401ks and public water supplies and refrigerators and pantries and Social Security “trust funds,” and you will soon start finding the little chits from Milo telling you how he just had to take all your stuff, because it was for the good of the Syndicate, and reminding you that “everybody has a share…” So eat your chocolate-covered cotton balls, and STFU… The Syndicate has a “reasonable expectation of profit” they are entitled to, even if it makes you sick. And don’t be going on sick call, and don’t be expecting anything in your pay envelope or the fee-generating payroll debit card account that your “wages” get credited to these days…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Since those “little sources and interest groups” are the antidote to democracy theatre, perhaps the “wiser heads” [snort] would do well to pay attention to them. I’m not a fan of armchair cynicism.

  15. ProNewerDeal

    fw https://youtu.be/t-EGPp-ZhpE pundit Kyle Kulinski 7 min clip “0bama Claims To Support Expanding Social Security”

    Do yall have a take on this story (forgive me if this has been covered in prior newslinks)?

    Does this mean that 0bama’s Grand Ripoff (“Grand Bargain”) of Social Insurance is dead, even in the Nov – Dec 2016 Lame Duck period?

    I suppose if 0bama is busy trying to “jam TPP down our throats” (as per theocratic right-wing nut lingo), he will not be able to simultaneously re-flip-flop to trying to slash SS + Medicare.?

    1. aab

      Why not? Wouldn’t one way to get TPP passed be to offer recalcitrant Republicans Social Security cuts as an amuse-bouche?

      The only thing truly significant about Obama’s pro-Social Security words is that he recognizes that it is his job to herd progressives to Hillary, and his personal hopey-changey charms will not be sufficient to do the job.

    2. Pat

      If there is a way to get a twofer why wouldn’t he? And it isn’t as if the Grand Ripoff hasn’t been one of their major focuses. Until TPP and Fast Track I don’t think I had seen expand more time and capital trying to get something passed since ACA.

      To tell you the truth, I’m so paranoid where Obama is concerned his even mentioning Social Security scares the crap out of me, as he has often given some kind of great sounding speech or comment and within days his administration announces something or other that is the exact opposite of what that comment seems. It has happened largely in the climate/ecology area, but my first memory of it was his giving a couple of how Americans’ access to healthcare had just improved just before his HHS allowed a whole of administrative stuff to be counted as medical for the Medical/Loss ratio AND made that ratio far too friendly for insurance companies.

      Just think his speech in Japan and his administration advancing the plans to increase the nuclear arsenal.

      1. craazyboy

        The only way I can explain it is he’s really Dr. Obama and Mr. Hyde. But sometimes the Mr. Hyde persona goes first – notably with the GFC where Mr. Hyde made some angry words at the banksters, then a cool calm Dr. Obama invited the CEOs over to the White House for a nice dinner and they seemed to make up and become great friends. As far as I could tell, even Mr. Holder must have been there too. I have a vague recollection of Mr. Hyde making sharp words in the general direction of Israel as well, but that only lasted a press release or two.


  16. Synoia

    This means that the oxygen and hydrogen atoms of the water molecule are ‘delocalized’ and therefore simultaneously present in all six symmetrically equivalent positions in the channel at the same time

    It’s called Clintonium. It is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time, and impossible to pin down.

    1. nowhere

      It’s much more etherial than “11-Dimensional Chess”™. Some say there are cats involved, but that depends on the meaning of the word cats.

  17. ProNewerDeal

    btw does the TPP possibly jeopardize/crapify the functional civilized healthcare system in the subset of non-USA TPP nations that are civilized nations, such as Canada’s Medicare system?

    Could USian United “Health” Corp sue say the Ontario Provincial Gov’t under TPP, saying Ontario’s Medicare “restricts our potential future profits”?

    I still say some lawmaker should push a law requiring that any employer can be sued by an employee for a layoff or hours reduction, because it “harms potential future profits”. Hey what is good for Corporate Fake Persons is good for Biological Actual Persons, correct? Expose the absurdity of this “restricts our potential future profits” nonsense Corp Welfare.

  18. ChrisPacific

    If they could prove that quantum tunneling of water plays a role in small scale biological processes, that would be pretty damn cool.

    1. JustAnObserver

      This made me think of an argument made by Roger Penrose (Mathematical Physicist @ Oxford) against computational AI (we’re all just a bunch of neurons acting like – classical – logic gates) to the effect that there are structures in the brain so small that quantum delocalization and entanglement effects should begin to play a role.

      The things he was talking about are called dendrites and extend out from neurons in branching networks and can become extremely fine.

  19. robnume

    Wonder what Bill Clinton meant when he said that white non-college educated people need to be “made to come around to the future?” Re-education camps ala Cultural Revolution of 1966?

    1. Cry Shop

      I think he means there are not enough minorities to keep the for profit courts, prisons and parole systems growing in the future.

    2. petal

      Beaten into submission until they meekly and unquestioningly eat their sh-tburger and be happy with it, more like.

  20. karma fubar

    I would propose that the story about the superpositionality of water atoms in very specific circumstances is *strange* enough that it should have been entered in the “Jackpot” category as opposed to the “Water” category

  21. ewmayer

    o Re. A Molecule of Water Can Exist in Six Places at Once — Very cool. A good room-temperature analogy here may be the delocalized electrons in a Benzene ring and similar structures. But delocalized whole atoms, that is indeed “wow!”

    o Re. 2,000-year-old handwritten documents found in London mud — “Seek ye the Castle Arrggghhhh…” [Or don’t – ’tis a silly place.]

  22. Jay M

    The sharing economy meets the internet of things:
    So, woke up this morning greeting the sunrise and feeling like visiting the john
    Seems the apartment had installed a new iJohn with an attractive flat screen interface that intuitively guided the user to accomplishing their tasks. The service was off line.
    It seemed like daybreak was a peak period so optional pricing was the order of the day for service. Bids were taken and executed over a micro-regional queue of users, market at its finest.
    I took a dump in the garden and went to work.

  23. Jim Haygood

    Something new in the Bolivarian Workers Paradise — BEER!

    Polar Breweries, maker of the country’s best-known beer brands, shut down production at its four plants in April, blaming a barley shortage.

    But with bars and off licences running dry, Polar said it had reached a deal for a $35 million loan from Spanish bank BBVA, putting up its shares in an investment fund as collateral.

    The cash will enable the company to buy barley, hops and steel sheets for cans – enough to resume production next month and get through the rest of 2016, it said.

    Some 10,000 workers at Polar’s four breweries had been out of work since they suspended production.

    Venezuela’s import-dependent economy is set to contract eight percent this year, with inflation of 700 per cent, the International Monetary Fund forecasts.


    Ten thousand workers get their jobs back — no thanks to the Bus Driver in Chief and his useless clowngov.

  24. Dick Burkhart

    The New York magazine article about Hillary got one thing right: there’s a civil war going on. But the author diagnosed this as a war over identity politics instead of the new reality – class warfare.

  25. teri

    About that May jobs report: only 38,000 jobs created in May. And April revised downward (not that anyone is surprised by that). Worst report in over 5 years, and that’s after they cooked the books to a charred roast as best they could.

    It’s all due to the Verizon strike (those vagrants were counted as unemployed since they got no paychecks, although not one article explains what, exactly, that has to do with the number of “new jobs created”; unemployment numbers and jobs created being two different things, obviously), the changeable weather (it was too hot or too cold, too dry or too wet, again), and too many people looking for jobs. Because, expounds one “expert”, if you have too many people looking for jobs, you obviously don’t need to hire as many (make of that whatever you can).


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