2:00PM Water Cooler 6/22/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, a little scheduling blip. I’ll add a bit more shortly. –lambert


“OBAMA NEVER GONNA GIVE TPP UP” [Politico]. “Treasury Secretary Jack Lew used an appearance at the SelectUSA summit in Washington to urge lawmakers to approve both TPP and President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Export-Import Bank’s board of directors. Lew told the audience of international delegates and investors that Obama is firmly committed to TPP and ‘is intent on seeing it approved as soon as possible this year.'” Jack, any progress on that “draft statement of administrative action”?



“Democrats on Wednesday staged a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives over a lack of gun laws following the Orlando massacre” [MarketWatch]. Given that the Senate bill the Dems were pushing was, in gun control terms, a Band-Aid, and would have enabled FBI “watch lists” to be used that had no due process protection at all, I’m less than enthused. Still, all the kidz these days are doing sit-ins, so here we are. And John Lewis played the leading role! And oddly, or not, at the same time as a Trump speech….

UPDATE “Hillary Clinton’s Likely Pentagon Chief Already Advocating for More Bombing and Intervention” [The Intercept]. Where gun control really really needs to happen…

UPDATE Over to you, MMTers:

(Big fail by Sanders campaign — and possibly, movement — in not injecting MMT into the mainstream.)

UPDATE And while you’re at it:

Is there no champion to slay this zombie?

“DNC Platform Committee Members Offended By Key Single-Payer Healthcare Advocate” [ShadowProof]. No doubt.

The Voters

“The decisive factor in Hillary Clinton’s victory over Bernie Sanders was her rock-solid support from upscale liberals voting primarily on culture-war issues. White Democrats, in other words, largely voted along class lines” [The American Conservative]. And this is fun:

It may be extremely sobering that Hillary Clinton’s only challenger for the Democratic nomination was both a lifelong independent and a representative of the aging Jewish cohort that is perhaps the last surviving segment of voters with a serious attachment to the class-solidarity appeal of the New Deal Democrats. But it is at least as revealing that only such a man as Bernie Sanders could have rallied the economically hard-pressed youth of America behind a future they could believe in, just as it is now clear that only a human wrecking ball such as Donald Trump could have finally dislodged and buried the rotting corpse of the historic conservative movement.

And this:

Many longstanding assumptions about the future of American politics are likely to be exploded over the next several months. Polls have been showing Clinton and Trump running about evenly among millennials, and Nate Cohn of the New York Times has laid out data undermining the assumption of a declining white electorate. Meanwhile, a millennial supermajority that rejects its politically correct mouthpieces, not unlike the boomer supermajority that rejected the New Left, is coming into view.

To be sure, that majority is firmly committed to social and economic policies that are far closer to those of Bernie Sanders than to those of Ronald Reagan. But it is precisely because the liberal culture-war catechism is so totally losing resonance with them—not to mention the slaying of the Reagan policy paradigm by Trump—that the liberal pundit class is invoking that catechism with increasing hysteria. This election will do much to determine how the millennial majority ultimately takes shape.


Trump to CBS’s Norah O’Donnell: “I don’t want to devote the rest of my life to raising money from people. All of the money [Clinton] is raising is blood money” (interview) [CBS]. UPDATE Expanded quotes from the same interview: “[TRUMP:] And you know when she raises this money, every time she raises this money, she is making deals. They’re saying, ‘Can I be the ambassador to this? Can I do that? Make sure my business is being taken care of.’ I mean, give me a break. All of the money she is raising is blood money.” He added: “Look, she is getting tremendous amounts from Wall Street. She is going to take care of Wall Street.” [Business Insider].

“Trump’s wealth has indeed appeared to complicate and even hamper his fundraising efforts. As he asks for financial support from wealthy donors, Trump has continued to suggest he could independently bankroll his general election operations — leaving many donors to wonder why they need to invest in his campaign” [RealClearPolitics]. “‘If need be, there could be unlimited ‘cash on hand,’ as I would put up my own money, as I have already done through the primaries, spending over $50 million,’ Trump said in a statement Tuesday.” And then: “‘There is no reason why Trump cannot replicate the Sanders model,’ said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former senior adviser to Mitt Romney. ‘That needs to be Trump’s focus — not the skeptical donors on Wall Street, but the millions of ordinary folks who want to see him win.'”

UPDATE “New Super-PAC Launches for Donors Who Won’t Back Trump But Loathe Clinton” [Bloomberg]. Squillionaire Robert Mercer, and orchestrated by Ivanka.

The Trail

Trump speech “On the Stakes of the Election” (as prepared, not a transcript) [Politico]. Delivered from the Trump SoHo Hotel — Trump really ought to launder his billing through a foundation — and carried on FOX (so all is forgiven?). Scorps complain the room is too hot, and that the mike picked up Trump inhaling before he delivers a line; points off for sloppy advance work. Here’s a live blog from the Guardian (interspersed with other material). My hot take on reading the speech is that it wasn’t focused solely on the “Crooked Hillary,” and her crookedness, and should have been. Trump put a big bet on Clinton Cash. For example:

The book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, documents how Bill and Hillary used the State Department to enrich their family at America’s expense.

She gets rich making you poor.

Here is a quote from the book: “At the center of US policy toward China was Hillary Clinton…at this critical time for US-china relations, Bill Clinton gave a number of speeches that were underwritten by the Chinese government and its supporters.”

These funds were paid to the Clinton bank account while Hillary was negotiating with China on behalf of the United States.

She sold out our workers, and our country, for Beijing.

Hillary Clinton has also been the biggest promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will ship millions more of our jobs overseas – and give up Congressional power to an international foreign commission.

Now, because I have pointed out why it would be such a disastrous deal, she is pretending that she is against it. She has even deleted this record of total support from her book – deletion is something she is very good at — (at least 30,000 emails are missing.)

Clinton Cash was a New York Times best-seller, and it will be interesting to see if its sales spike again. And despite having been turned into a movie by Breitbart, the book also generated stories in Wapo and the Times, and behavior changes by the Clinton Foundation (see WikiPedia here). So despite the efforts of Clintonites to frame the book as CT, there’s clearly more to it than that. Trump mentions nothing that seemed Guccifer 2.0 derived, and it will be interesting to see if vetted Guccifer documents reinforce Clinton Cash. I would bet they do. And as usual, much of what Trump says has the merit of being (broadly) true: His comment on the TPP, for example. Kudos for reviving Clinton’s ridiculous Bosnian sniper fire story!

UPDATE Report from Trump rally (1): “A journalist went to a Donald Trump rally yesterday and came back shocked. Here are his tweets” [Political Scrapbook].

UPDATE Report from Trump rally (2): “I went to a Trump rally, and it was nothing like what I expected” [Business Insider]. The two reports are wildly at variance. This is is from @GSelevator, whose jokes I laughed at a lot more when he was anonymous.

Trump edits the jokes for his Comedy Central roast” [New York Times]. “The only constructive edits Mr. Trump did give the writers, according to Mr. Joyce, were in service of making himself look better, richer, even larger than life. One joke’s premise was that Donald Trump lived in a 150,000-square-foot marble penthouse orbiting the earth. ‘He crossed out ‘150,000’ and he put ‘300,000,” Mr. Joyce said. ‘He needed people to know that his fictitious space station was bigger.'” Well, it’s a two-fer: 300,000 has five syllables and the first syllable can be stressed; 150,000 has seven, and I dunno where the stress falls; somewhere in the middle. So in this tiny instance, Trump was canny.

“The plan that Clinton began to execute this week is a 20-year strategy to create a new vision for America. To fulfill it, she is dispatching staff to all 50 states and is working to identify and organize supporters in each one” [Howard Dean, CNN]. “There are a lot of reasons why adopting a 50-state strategy is both the right thing and the smart thing for Clinton to do. For one, voters deserve it. When candidates write off entire states or regions for being too blue or too red, they also write off the people who call those places home.” Of course, Dean invented and executed the 50-state strategy, which worked in 2006, when the Democrats took back the House and the Senate, right before Nancy Pelosi took impeaching Bush off the table, and the Democrats threw Dean and his strategy under the bus, handed control of strategy to lizards like Steve israel, and set about turning themselves into Republicans in the form of Blue Dogs, initiating a decade of #FAIL. But come back, Ho-Ho! All is forgiven!

UPDATE “Sanders’ New York delegates say they were denied vote for state chairman” [New York Post]. “Sanders delegate Moumit ­Ahmed of Jamaica, Queens, even filed a police complaint after a Hillary Clinton delegate, an elderly, bearded man with a cane, hit her from behind, she said. When she confronted him, he allegedly hit her with his cane again.” It’s worth noting that for all the pearl-clutching by liberals about “ZOMG!!!! violence,” the only instances of violence where an arrest took place (Wendell Pierce) or a complaint was filed (this case) involved Clinton supporters assaulting Sanders supporters.

UPDATE “A June 14th Bloomberg Politics national poll of likely voters in November’s election found that barely half of those who favored Sanders — 55 percent — plan to vote for Clinton. Instead, 22 percent say they’ll vote for Trump, while 18 percent favor Libertarian Gary Johnson” [Bloomberg]. So, unity? And a Clinton supporter striking a Sanders supporter with his cane is all over my Twitter feed; if that goes viral, it’s not a good look.

UPDATE Extended play version of “Who would you rather have a beer with?” in Ohio from Quinnipiac:


UPDATE “CrowdStrike and Fidelis say all evidence for intrusions at DNC points to Russian-backed groups” [Information Week]. Fidelis Cybersecurity agrees. “Phil Burdette, senior security researcher at the Counter Threat Unit at SecureWorks, says it is possible that a lone wolf was able to breach the DNC, as Guccifer 2.0 has claimed. However, it is also feasible that Guccifer 2.0’s claims are a misinformation campaign to divert attention away from Russia’s role in the attacks, Burdette says.” Good roundup of the competing reports.

UPDATE “The hackers in fact sought data from at least 4,000 individuals associated with U.S. politics — party aides, advisers, lawyers and foundations — for about seven months through mid-May, according to another person familiar with the investigations” [Bloomberg]. That doesn’t seem like much, but remember there are 20K people involved in what the BLS classifies “political organizations industry,” in peak election years.

UPDATE Best Freudian subhead typo ever: “Hacker ‘Guccifer 2.0’ released his biggest cash of Democratic National Committee documents today” [Daily Mail].

As for the DNC data, most of Tuesday’s ‘Guccifer 2.0’ document dump was a garden-variety mixture of the kinds of materials seasoned election operatives would expect to find on a political party’s network.

Included are copies of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s tax returns and Federal Election Commission financial disclosures, speaking engagement contracts for the former secretary of state, travel records and inventories of speeches.

Most of the files consist of endless summaries of news articles, categorized for easy access during a rapid-response fight. …

The DNC religiously tracked news stories covering apparent conflicts of interest in Clinton’s diplomatic office, including foundation donations coming from governments and moneyed interests in Germany, Bahrain, Venezuela and Canada [and not Saudi Arabia?].

The party was also aware, according to its dossier, that the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a project of the foundation, ‘did not disclose donors or submit foreign donations for State Department review’ during Clinton’s time in office.

The project, the DNC noted, was ‘bound by a disclosure agreement with the Obama administration’ at the time.

UPDATE I could only find one mention of Jeremy Brinster, flagged yesterday by alert NC readers as the author of a DNC-held spreadsheet of Clinton Foundation donors: from Breitbart. Maybe it’s just me, but I could use a little less reporting on the views of duelling security firms, and a little more like “Jeremy, did you create this? How? And why? Who else read it?” And so on for everything else juicy.

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of June 17, 2016: “Despite another fall in rates, the purchase index is not pointing to acceleration for home sales” [Econoday].

FHFA House Price Index, April 2016: “Breaking a string of strong housing data, the FHFA house price index rose a much lower-than-expected 0.2 percent in April for the lowest reading since June last year. The result, however, does follow outsized strength in March which is now revised upward to plus 0.8 percent” [Econoday].

Existing Home Sales, May 2016: “The housing sector may not be on fire but it is showing strength. Existing home sales rose 1.8 percent in May to an annualized 5.530 million which, though only modestly above recent readings, is still the best rate of the cycle, since back in February 2007” [Econonday]. “The year-on-year rate, in line with a long run of flat sales, is soft at only plus 4.5 percent.”

Supply Chain: “Sean Monahan of A.T. Kearney, an author of the report for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, says he expects the inventory growth rate to scale back to roughly match broader economic growth…. That’s a deep change from past practice, where stocks generally grew 5% or better each year, well ahead of gross domestic product. The greater caution comes amid greater uncertainty about demand” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “FedEx’s economy service continued to display some aggressive pricing suggesting that regular/standard/economy LTL services may be under some pressure” [James Sands, Seeking Alpha]. LTL: Less than truckload, the small box to my house, not the trailer to the big box store.

Shipping: “[B]oth truckload operators [Werner and Covenant] pointed to faltering demand, rising costs and plummeting rates in a tough spot market. The falling prices may be the biggest concern for investors: the biggest trucking companies had appeared to be somewhat isolated from the biggest gyrations in the daily marketplace. The new warnings suggest the country’s largest truckers now are growing more exposed to a buyer’s market” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Late last year, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that a project to raise the Bayonne Bridge, an 83-year-old arch that spans the channel between Bayonne, N.J., and New York’s Staten Island, would be delayed until the end of 2017 because of engineering miscalculations [!!] and construction work slowed by inclement weather” [Wall Street Journal, “As Expanded Panama Canal Prepares to Open, New York Isn’t Ready “]. “Until the project is completed, larger ships passing through the Panama Canal will be unable to visit the three largest terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey, located beyond the bridge in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J.” Being bearish, I hope hysteresis and corruption don’t mean we can’t complete infrastructure projects successfully even if we fund them.

Banking: “Many consumers either don’t believe that the mobile banking channel is safe or they don’t understand the security features that are part of the mobile technology… A decrease of only two percentage points (42 percent in 2015 compared to a high of 44 percent in 2014) in those who believe their personal information is ‘somewhat unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe’ doesn’t signify much advancement in the safety education efforts for these folks” [Retail Payments Risk Forum, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta]. “On a positive note,” and completely without irony, consumers are using passwords more frequently and protecting their phones against malware, and “recognizing the need for improved authentication.” Next stop, biometrics!

Fodder for the Bulls: “Currently CAB [Chemical Activity Barometer] has increased over the last three months, and this suggests an increase in Industrial Production over the next year” [Calculated Risk].

Honey for the Bears: “IMF downgrades outlook for US economy” [US News]. “The International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for the U.S. economy this year and said America should raise the minimum wage to help the poor, offer paid maternity leave to encourage more women to work and overhaul the corporate tax system to boost productivity.”

Honey for the Bears: “The next recession is already here—and there isn’t much the Fed can do” [CNBC]. Charts of “Dr. Copper,” Baltic Dry Index, Spread between 2- and 10-year Treasury notes, Industrial production, U.S. nonfarm payrolls. Of course, the author has a book….

The Fed: “Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said the chances of recession this year are ‘quite low'” [Wall Street Journal, “Yellen: Recession Unlikely, but Long-Run Growth Could Be Slow”]. “‘The U.S. economy is doing well,’ she said Tuesday, kicking off two days of testimony to Congress on the economic outlook and monetary policy. ‘My expectation is that the U.S. economy will continue to grow.’ ‘We cannot rule out the possibility expressed by some prominent economists [***cough*** Larry Summers ***cough***] that slow productivity growth seen in recent years will continue into the future,’ she said.” And: “Democrats prodded the Fed leader to foster more diversity among the directors and presidents of the 12 regional Fed banks.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64, Greed (previous close: 66, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 22 at 11:54am. Calm before the storm…

Class Warfare


Conventional economic theory posits that more “flexible” labor markets—where it is easier to hire and fire workers—facilitate matches between employers and individuals who want to work. Yet despite having among the most flexible labor markets in the OECD—with low levels of labor market regulation and employment protections, a low minimum cost of labor, and low rates of collective bargaining coverage—the United States has one of the lowest prime-age male labor force participation rates of OECD member countries.


“[A] growing body of evidence suggests the economic expansion since the 2007-2009 financial crisis has enriched a much larger swath of the upper middle class, and that a deeper income divide is developing between that top quarter or so of the population and everyone else” [Wall Street Journal, “Not Just the 1%: The Upper Middle Class Is Larger and Richer Than Ever”]. “Mr. Rose’s new paper is part of a broader body of research reappraising and seeking to measure the upper middle class. This reappraisal does not fit comfortably in the left or the right’s political narratives. While it underscores the growth of American economic inequality, it undermines the idea of lower and upper-middle class voters being in the same boat. It suggests that the majority of Americans have indeed struggled but that a large minority has thrived.” This is the new Urban Institute study from Stephen Rose. The “not in the same boat” takeaway is similar to Thomas Frank’s in Listen, Liberal — that is, these guys got a lifeboat — but Frank focuses on a 10% “professional” class, and Rose on a more vaguely defined 30% “upper middle class.”

“The Trump takeaway is that no one really knows. Let your willingness and need to take risk be your guide in setting your asset allocation. If you don’t have time to recover from a plunge, take risk off the table” [ETF]. This is investment advice. Now consider what working people can do to “recover from a plunge” and “take risk off the table.”

News of the Wired

“New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity” (although the work is not yet published) [Quanta]. “The [lithoautotrophs] microbes’ apparent ability to ingest electrons — known as direct electron transfer — is particularly intriguing because it seems to defy the basic rules of biophysics.” I’m imagining a dystopian science fiction novel involving computer chips, here…

“Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey” [Smithsonian]. OK, 2013. But neat!

“I bought some awful WiFi lightbulbs a few months ago. The short version: they introduced terrible vulnerabilities on your network, they violated the GPL and they were also just bad at being lightbulbs. Since then I’ve bought some other Internet of Things devices, and since people seem to have a bizarre level of fascination with figuring out just what kind of fractal of poor design choices these things frequently embody, I thought I’d oblige” [Matthew Garrett]. And oblige Garrett does. From the first comment: “We have hardware solutions installed here. This consists of a special device on each electric socket called an ‘on/off switch’.”

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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 (ChiGal):


Readers, if you want to send me some videos of plants in whole systems (bees and blossoms, for example, or running streams) — I can use them to practice with FFmpeg and hopefully post them. Because of download times, they’ll have to be measured in seconds, rather than minutes. Thank you!

Adding, thank you readers for last week’s rapid and successful Water Cooler Mini-Fundraiser. I’m still writing thank you notes!

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Readers, if you enjoyed what you read today, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your regular support.


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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. L

    The Guardian has a good article on Universal Basic Income today.

    Among other things the article points out the, glaringly obvious, self-interest behind its support among Silicon Valley types. It also points out that, at the end of the day, it represents yet another way to undermine the traditional safety net and to give apparent support without actually solving the underlying problems.

    1. diptherio

      Well, back in the day in jolly ol’ England, it was the richies who were adamantly opposed to this sort of thing (i.e. opposed to the Speenhamland laws), even though it seems like they probably didn’t hurt and maybe even helped the poor a little. As Trump has shown, even total d-bags can support the right policies sometimes. Let’s not fall into the guilt-by-association trap.

      And while the long-term plan of the SV Vultures is to get rid of all other social programs in favor of UBI, there’s no reason why the rest of us have to go along with that. UBI should be an addittion, not a substitute.

      And much of their argument (in the Guardian) stems from not understanding macroeconomics, in the same way that everyone doesn’t:

      Third, the version of UBI backed by Silicon Valley – and others who lean libertarian and conservative – is a regressive redistribution. With UBI gaining popularity it is not hard to find people making “the case for free money”, as the New Yorker recently put it. Of course, the money is not free. It has to come from somewhere, but where?

      The answer, of course, is from the same place the Federal Reserve got $2 Trillion + to buy financial assets from the banks in 2008. Direct funding of a UBI should become the way we inject money into the economy, not the Fed buying assets from banks.

      1. Roger Smith

        Exactly. If it is applied Neoliberally, UBI would be a failure, and an excuse to say “see it doesn’t work!”. The reality would be that it did not work because they used it as an excuse to cut whatever other social programs existed outside of it.

        1. diptherio

          I know, I know. However, I came across some recent scholarship that tended to refute the arguments against the system that have been made since it’s inception and which are largely the same ones that Yves points to. I can’t find the link right now, but the thesis was basically, Speenhamland got a bad rap and and there isn’t anything particular in the records to support the claims that it lowered wages or encouraged vagabondage, or any of the other unintended consequences that it’s blamed with.

            1. grizziz

              Here is a PDFreviewing the Mincome experiment in Manitoba between 1975 and 1979 showing positive results:
              The Town with No Poverty


              MINCOME, a Canadian Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) field experiment ran in the province of
              Manitoba between 1974 and 1979, and ended with no final report and no analysis of data from
              the saturation site. This essay uses a quasi-experimental design and routinely collected health
              administration data to revisit outcomes for the saturation site. We found a significant reduction
              in hospitalization, especially for admissions related to mental health and to accidents and
              injuries, relative to the matched comparison group. Physician contacts for mental health
              diagnoses fell relative to the comparison group. A greater proportion of high school students
              continued on to grade 12. We found no increase in fertility, no increase in family dissolution rates
              and no improvement in birth outcomes. Our results document the value of health administration
              data for historical analysis, and demonstrate that a relatively modest GAI can improve
              population health suggesting the possibility of health system savings.

              1. RabidGandhi

                The problem with Speenhamland (at least according to my recollection of Polanyi) was that unlike the Manitoba experiment, the UBI came without a social safety net. (i.e., imagine the Manitoba experiment without health care, w/o the Child Tax Benefit, etc.) As Diptherio noted above, “UBI should be an addition, not a substitute.”

                Yet by way of contrast, there was a must read in Monday’s links from MIT Technology Review that said

                The project is an experiment in what’s known as a “basic income”—or, when the money is given to entire populations, as a “universal basic income.” At its core, it’s a means for a government to alleviate poverty, replacing the myriad bureaucracy-bound safety-net policies in industrialized countries that struggle, with mixed results, to get money into the hands of those who most need it. (Bold mine)

                I.e., the SV proposals floating about now, are just like their Nixon/Friedman predecessors, aiming at destroying social safety nets: an Ayn Randian appropriation of a solid left wing policy proposal.

                Therefore, everyone here proposing a BIG/UBI should be very careful to specify that a guaranteed income must be in addition to other social programmes (eg, SNAP, Universal Medicare, ideally a Jobs Guarantee); not to replace them.

                Lastly, just for those who don’t make it to the paper, the Block/Sommers study basically argued that the evidence Polanyi used was flawed because it came from oligarchical critics who wanted the Speenhamland experiment to fail anyways, thus confirmation bias.

          1. tegnost

            How about a more fragmented system that centers on an expanded NEA, coop investment leading to a more robust commons like the ejidos in baja where greater land scale allows food foresting,etc…Then there’s national park maintenance, power grid maintenance, urban landscaping, utility supply, and allow people more avenues to be involved in and benefit from the commons? Also bring back welfare so the people who can’t care for themselves -for whatever reason- get a basic income, so that the basic income develops a floor but is not the only option because there are many options.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I remain puzzled by leftists who don’t prioritize the workplace, and yet are all in for a program that is in the end designed to support (and control) consumption, and nothing else.

          1. Skippy

            [I’m] puzzled by Libertarian Marxism or any Libertarian bolt on to some other ism or ology….

            “yet are all in for a program that is in the end designed to support (and control) consumption, and nothing else.”

            I could say the same of the positive money ™ AMI camp… so many fighting the figments of other peoples hyper active imaginations from antiquity [debt] as the end all be all of things and creator of all things bad, albeit have not even bothered to look at a calendar.

            Disheveled Marsupial… some times I get the feeling that all the tropes and memes will [are] going red super giant and then will collapse…

            PS. on a lighter note grab a beer and get this stuck in ya…. NSW Blues vs QLD Maroons 2015 State Of Origin game 2 Replay


  2. diptherio

    “…direct electron transfer — is particularly intriguing because it seems to defy the basic rules of biophysics.”

    Reality doesn’t particularly feel the need to abide by the “rules” that our ways of understanding have led us to believe in. Assuming this is really going on, it’s not defying any rules but rather highlighting the fact that science is simply a grid that we lay over the chaos of reality to assist in our making sense of it. But we forget all to easily that “order” and “rules” exist only in our grids, not in reality, and our grids are always approximations (and fuzzy ones at that).

  3. craazyboy

    I just did a google search on today’s Trump speech – so you don’t have to.

    Actually, it doesn’t come up on a google search -only press releases telling us a bit about it. Trump said “lying Hillary”….

    So for grins I did a DuckDuckGo search – and voila! Time Mag has the recorded speech in total, along with the transcript. But I don’t know for how long. They could get taken over by Univision any minute now.


    1. craazyboy

      oopsie. Posted too soon in my excitement. The video is just cuts totaling 4 minutes. The total time display showed over an hour on the video player, so I thought I had the whole thing. The transcript appears complete, because he said goodby at the end, but I can’t guarantee that’s unedited either.

      Oh well. Off to youtube for another try.

          1. EmilianoZ

            He sometimes says the strangest things. At around 18 mn, he says that Israel has been badly mistreated by the US. ???

          2. JohnnyGL

            spur of the moment live-blog of my watching Trump’s recorded speech :)

            I’m no Trump fan, but listening to the first 15 minutes….pretty impressive. NAFTA, China, TPP, de-industrialization, Clintons getting rich.

            None of the juvenile, bone-headed sounding stuff from his post-Orlando speech where he banged on about immigration.

            “{as sec of state} she spread death and destruction everywhere she touched” ~16-17th minute.

            18-19th min – “support for violent regime change in Syria led to bloody civil war”

            more broadly, he’s painting her as a big ISIS-enabler

            22nd minute – moaning about the syrian refugees being let in, but only briefly. I feel like this is a missed opportunity for him to suggest “we should aid these victims of HRC’s awful policy of ‘regime change’ “.

            I’m cutting off after minute 23.

            1. Carolinian

              Limited internet here so only able to read the Politico transcript version below. He still has plenty of rightwinger hair on fire bilge about the middle east. This hasn’t changed much since one of his first speeches at a pre-primary conclave here in SC. Which is to say we’re still waiting on that pivot.

              Trump should forget pretending to be an expert–Hillary’s specialty–and play up the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington angle which IMHO will get him elected without fail. Admittedly the Donald morphing into Jimmy Stewart will be a tall order but playing the outsider taking on entrenched corruption could (we hope) have the virtue of being true. In any case better speech writing needed. Maybe Nooners will sign on.

              The Newshour tonight ignored all the specifics and turned it into a he said/she said.

            2. James Levy

              Regime change led to bloody civil war in Syria: lie, the war was already happening when Clinton tried to turn it into a regime change and made it all much worse. Typically of Trump, he lies one minute then tells a powerful truth the next.

              1. JohnnyGL

                The war was underway, yes, but it got much bloodier and much more fluid/less stable by 2015 such that Putin felt he had to get involved much more directly to prevent a complete collapse of the Syrian government.

                When the CIA started handing out TOW missiles (I’m not clear on when they started doing it), it was pretty devastating to the Syrian army. In 2014-2015, Assad had to pull back from big chunks of the country and just defend Latakia port, Damascus, and the string of cities closer to the Mediterranean coast.

                I haven’t seen anything detailing who made the call in DC to step things up in the Syrian civil war, but I want to make the point that the facts on the ground were very different by 2014 – early 2015 than they were in 2012.

                I swear some of these CIA guys want to recreate the supposed “glory days” of the use of TOWs and Stingers against the Russians like they did in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It’s not working out the same way and they need to just give it up. They can’t have EVERY country in the region!

              2. Carolinian

                Check out Moon of Alabama post on how then ambassador Robert Ford encouraged the Syrian protestors to be violent–posted a couple of days ago. Syrian slaughter has USG fingerprints all over it although there were plenty of internal factors as well. Regime change was always the plan.

          3. JaaaaayCeeeee

            Donald Trump was reasonable and somewhat truth telling, in the first half of his speech on why you shouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. But in the second half, Trump was so pathetic on immigrants, economics, and the police state. He insures his truths less likely to ever get heard.

            Trump blamed Clinton for Benghazi and claimed Clinton wants open borders to bring in hundreds of thousands more immigrants who believe in oppressing women and gays. Trump said immigration will only bring more terrorists like the hundreds he claims have already convicted for terrorism here. Trump blames HRC for making Americans poorer with open immigration, for wanting to impoverish more with more immigration and with blanket amnesty.

            Trump promises that stopping immigration, repealing Obamacare, repealing environmental protections and increasing military spending will bring factories and jobs back and rebuild wages and inner cities (which are failing because of Clinton and Democrats abuse).

            I’m amazed at how well the second half of Trump’s speech derails any good points in the first half, to benefit the status quo.

        1. Aumua

          Wow. Doesn’t change my opinion that Trump is the Devil himself, but hell yeah! It’s all the stuff we wished Bernie would have said about Clinton, all together in a slam dunk package. You just gotta like that part, at least. Just keep your skeptical mind up for the rest of it, because.. it’s twisty, and slippery.

        2. low integer

          Thanks. I’m thinking Trump is well aware that there’s never been a better deal to be had on etching one’s name into the history books.

          1. Aumua

            Yeah I find it really hard to swallow the “I’m doing this to give back to this great country” line. Wow, you know.. my frickin hero.

    1. jrs

      Although he is the Republican front runner of course (and nominee – well who knows, there are still those who would like him overruled at the R convention), are people aware of the fact Trump uses human shields to shield himself? You don’t have to believe me, but I have actually seen them, he has like 10 human body guards guarding the windows on the SUVS he is driven in this campaign season. They stand on the outside of the vehicle (doesn’t even seem safe from a traffic perspective to me). It may be for show but Trump totally has the Latin American strongman thing down with all the optics! Meanwhile Bernie’s guards are discrete, I know I’ve seen them too.

      But Bernie bad for having standard Secret Service protection blah blah blah.

      By the way I’d still like to see all the ballots counted in California. And AP, oh yea talk about having less credibility that toilet paper. AP: you F-ed with the democratic process (such as it is in this banana republic) don’t expect anyone to take you seriously now!

      1. JohnnyGL

        They’re still paying attention….that means they’re still afraid of Sanders and his supporters! :)

        1) Trump’s finding his voice again with a good speech ripping her to shreds.
        2) I’m sure he’ll have an effect and her polls will drop some.
        3) Bernie pulls upset in CA. HRC drops some more in polls.
        4) Wikileaks drops email evidence bombs on Clinton, FBI leaks and confirms evidence, but, of course, FBI sits on its doesn’t recommend that the DOJ pursue the case.
        5) Clinton plunges in polls.
        6) Super delegates realize she’s toxic and drop her at convention.

        America gets its first President that doesn’t suck in a generation. I love a happy ending!!!

        1. Pavel

          Not sure we need to wait for Wikileaks. This just in from AP of all places:

          WASHINGTON (AP) — State Department staffers wrestled for weeks in December 2010 over a serious technical problem that affected emails from then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s home email server, causing them to temporarily disable security features on the government’s own systems, according to emails released Wednesday.

          The emails were released under court order Wednesday to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch, which has sued the State Department over access to public records related to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s service as the nation’s top diplomat between 2009 and 2013.

          The emails, reviewed by The Associated Press, show that State Department technical staff disabled software on their systems intended to block phishing emails that could deliver dangerous viruses. They were trying urgently to resolve delivery problems with emails sent from Clinton’s private server.

          “This should trump all other activities,” a senior technical official, Ken LaVolpe, told IT employees in a Dec. 17, 2010, email. Another senior State Department official, Thomas W. Lawrence, wrote days later in an email that deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin personally was asking for an update about the repairs. Abedin and Clinton, who both used Clinton’s private server, had complained that emails each sent to State Department employees were not being reliably received.

          After technical staffers turned off some security features, Lawrence cautioned in an email, “We view this as a Band-Aid and fear it’s not 100 percent fully effective.”

          Emails: State Dept. scrambled on trouble on Clinton’s server

          This is how The Hill reported it: Report: Security features disabled on Clinton’s private server in 2010

          How much more damning evidence does one need? And weren’t we told that “nobody knew that HRC was running her own server?”

          Pop Quiz: Is Hillary & Co…

          Why the fsck should this woman be voted for dogcatcher let alone POTUS?

  4. Jim Haygood

    From the CBNC link under “Honey for the Bears” heading:

    “The definition of recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

    Total B.S. Here is the second question on the NBER’s FAQ page:

    Q: Why doesn’t the committee accept the two-quarter definition?

    A: The committee’s procedure for identifying turning points differs from the two-quarter rule in a number of ways.


    Every time you think CNBC just can’t get any worse, they set a new low in journalistic malpractice.

    1. optimader

      CNBC/NSNBC.. I homepaged them last week to get a flavor. woooaaa take Slate and make it even more lame

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, I tried to pick out the highlights, not the lowlights. (And alas did not get to the inverted yield links I had accumulated, but are we sure that our current new normal hasn’t invalidated the heuristic?)

      What did you think of the charts, and the thesis of the article?

    3. optimader

      BTW..Doesn’t NBER usually make the call abt a year after the recession was obvious?

      1. Jim Haygood

        For the five recessions beginning with the one in 1980, on average NBER announced the beginning of recession eight months after it started.

        NBER sifts through the evidence to time recession onset and exit to the month. They are not an early warning service.

        That’s why more timely models have been developed, sacrificing some accuracy for promptness.

        1. optimader

          No doubt you are correct Jim. My sense has been the guy polishing shoes at Union Station is at least as accurate as the NBER and way more timely.

  5. Isolato

    The divergence between economic classes in America received a tremendous boost from the Bush Tax Cuts (something that apparently will never be undone). At that time I was a self-employed photographer. I paid approximately 30% in income tax. 14% in FICA taxes and many small state taxes here in WA that brought my rate, in total, to about 48% of my gross income. I retired to live on my investment income, my rate dropped to about 10-15% on those profits, I was relieved of FICA taxes, and through charitable donations, HSA donations and other such tricks (some worthy!) I lowered my taxable income last year to $1800. Nice trick for a guy who lives in a waterfront home w/two cars, two boats, another house.

    I’m not trying to show off. What I’m saying is that we have baked self-perpetuating income inequality into our tax structure. Why in the world would we tax “unearned income” (that’s what it is called!) at a fraction of the rate that people who actually labor for a living pay? Why is it exempt from FICA tax? Well, those are, of course, rhetorical questions. It is because money is speech (at least paid tv advertising speech) in this country.

    This isn’t even a noble tradition. Prior to the BTCs capital gains were taxed at the same rate as earned income. Let’s work on getting back to that.

      1. Isolato

        yes, I see that, perhaps I’m remembering that when my own income tax rate was lower capital gains taxes were higher! But…the point being that we have taken a higher percentage of the return on capital in the past and that a chief mechanism for increasing income inequality is to favor the return on capital over that on labor. It is more like Capital beating Labor with a bat.

      2. inode_buddha

        What about the 1986 tax reform when they harmonized the rates? (I think we should bring that back, among other things)

    1. Pat

      I’m even willing to let there be a tiered system and/or a couple of get out of the same rate, but we must get back to that overall. For instance maybe double the national poverty rate is taxed at a lower marginal rate so retirees don’t take a total hit, but everything above that is taxed at the earned income rate. IOW, it doesn’t allow investing to be a job that isn’t taxed like one anymore. But then I also believe that savings account interest shouldn’t be taxed for the first couple of thousand dollars in interest earned annually either. Think of it as encouraging saving and ‘local’ investment but once again not creating a two tiered system for the have and have nots.

      And we must get a financial transaction tax through.

      1. Steve C

        BHO: But that’s not bipartisan.

        Conveniently, bipartisan is great for billionaires.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Will the sun rise in the east tomorrow? It’s their JOB, man!

      Already saw some tendentious “fact checking” in the Saddam’s WMDs paper. That would be the paper that endorsed Killary Cakewalk on Jan. 31st.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The msm, and here I’m referring to msnbs, has decided to “fact check” the speech, and the “fact” it has decided to “check” is Trump’s claim that clinton was “asleep” when the 3 a.m. call came from Benghazi.

      The verdict? 1000 “Pinocchios.”

      The attack occurred at 9 p.m. EST, not 3 a.m., and she’s already made it clear that she was “working at home” that day.

      Sheesh. What more evidence do you need? He’s such a liar, and a “thin-skinned” one at that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The open cheerleading by the press, and what I feel is a significant crapification of Google News’ search function, make it really hard to “do my own research,” as one presidential candidate recommended I do.

        1. inode_buddha

          There is always the possibility of “google-bombing” but you would need a fairly large scale (several hundred paricipants daily) co-ordinated effort to make it workable on an issue such as this. (I mean as an “underground resistance” method) I have seen google bombing used *very* effectively on niche issues in the tech sector. Enough to completely change discourses, outcomes, and wipe companies off the map.

          1. different clue

            That is something that self-organizing groups of Sanders supporters could learn how to do.

            And what if self-organizing groups of Trump supporters separately and on their own learned how to do the very same thing?

      2. Vatch

        I’m confused. Isn’t 3 AM in Libya the same as 9 PM the previous day in the U.S. Eastern Time Zone? I’m not defending Trump or disagreeing with you; I’m just trying to figure out what was said. Also, I couldn’t find a reference to anyone being asleep in the speech transcript that Craazyboy provided, but as he pointed out, that might not be the complete transcript.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          There’s the prepared version, and the as-delivered version, and Trump improvises. (I didn’t see mention of a teleprompter for this one, but I might have missed it.)

        2. craazyboy

          That transcript was severely abridged too.

          The full live speech vid is now up above here. He did say Hillary was asleep at 3:00 AM. I just don’t know why he said that? Of course Hillary was asleep at 3:00 AM. Everyone is supposed to be.

          So maybe we’ll get critical press followup and Trump will clarify? We can only hope.

          1. Pat

            I’m sure it was meant as a play on those ads from 2008 about who do you want answering the phone at 3 am when disaster strikes. And once again, I’m betting that the MSM is going to turn out to be wrong about what is important to the American public and that this won’t be the thing that turns them off the speech.

            1. craazyboy

              Oh. I see. I guess I just flunked a political trivia question.

              Yeah, towards the end we get the Trump Vision For America – as campaigning presidents are wont to do. So I’ll guess we’ll have to apply whatever personal BS filters we’ve developed over the years.

              1. Pat

                Hey, I don’t care if she is asleep, awake or a vegetable – I don’t consider her fit to take the calls period, so I’m the wrong person to ask.

                For me the real question is ‘do you consider her response to the news that Benghazi was under attack to be adequate? Did she do everything she could to get help to HER staff in that compound?’ about that night. And probably ‘did she or her top staff ignore real security concerns for Benghazi prior to the attack?’ Was she able to process the information she was given and competently choose the best possible course of action to protect or save the State employees in that facility?

                1. optimader

                  – I don’t consider her fit to take the calls period,
                  and that’s the crux of the matter.
                  Regarding Benghazi, it was a “consulate”, then was degraded to being referred to as a “mission” by the terminally nuanced BHO.
                  We had an Ambassador doing a shady weapons deal with I presume even shadier characters, a SoS “information management officer” and two CIA operatives killed. Then IIRC 10 others injured who were straight-up CIA.

                  My understanding is the “mission” was a location to coordinate illicit Libyan weapons and jihadists cum”freedomfighters”

                  I have no sentimentality over the dysfunctional USG State Dept, but It has never been demonstrated to my satisfaction that HRC or were in charge of what was going down here, and we will probably never know.

                  1. Pat

                    Actually I consider the idea that she had little or no control over this to be yet another reason why she is unfit to be in a position where she is supposed to be the one who is making “hard choices”. That was still her consulate (and calling it a mission after the fact does not change its status at the time) and it was still her Ambassador under attack, the reason for the attack aside. What was her response? What did it show of her concern, her recognition of the urgency and her problem solving capacity in or out of the box?

                    But heck, if you want her to be an unaware stooge for the CIA and incapable of even keeping up the front of doing her job when things go Fubar, so be it. Even that reading means she is still unfit for any position of responsibility.

                    1. optimader

                      Yes, well thank you for those insights.
                      BTW it was her boss that tagged it as a Mission.

        3. jrs

          If we had a decent candidate for President wouldn’t the case they would be making is that the war in Libya was wrong (or at least a mistake) period. But let’s pretend that quibbling about Benghazi is the same thing as actual making that case or something. Because I don’t know … everything is hopeless except shooting up on the sweet fresh hopium of the season.

          1. optimader

            But let’s pretend that quibbling about Benghazi is the same thing as actual making that case or something
            It’s still not clear to me who’s wheelhouse this was in, other than ultimately BHOs. AS far as I have read, the “consulate” was a CIA front.. The “ambassador” was doing a weapons deal. Who’s budget was the operation and site being run through, State, CIA or Black?
            Shit happens

            1. redleg

              Perhaps the black, and that was referred to in the emails Her Majesty had appear on her impenetrable homebrew server. That would be inconvenient.

            2. ran

              Exactly. Why should anyone give a shit if some CIA goons got whacked? All too rare justice as I see it. And whatever happened there Killary isn’t fit to run a lemonade stand, much less the country.

        4. Anon

          Scott Adams tweeted out this one and having the opportunity to watch it streamed over Youtube (from the link that craazyboy gave, no less), this should be pretty accurate; there was a bit of an ad-lib at the beginning, but it runs pretty well.

          Politico Speech Transcript

        5. Vatrch

          Thanks for your replies. Trump and Clinton deserve each other, but the rest of us don’t deserve to suffer along with them.

        6. m

          Watch the hearings with Trey Gowdy. There were multiple statements/questions about embassy calling for security & calls blown off. Huma on the other hand got through to Clinton cause the people needed milk. Attack going on demands made for assistance and Clinton was sleeping.

      3. Carolinian

        The quote I was most thinking about is this one

        “All of the money [Clinton] is raising is blood money”

        Trump takes the sneering over his low cash on hand and turns it back on the giggling press by stating what we all know (including them). Big donors are buying a piece of you. The truth can supersede even their cynicism. A candidate who stands up and says uncomfortable truths about our dysfunctional society is probably the elites’ worst nightmare. There was a time when this sort of thing would be considered unpatriotic and bad politics (Hill is still fighting that battle with her “always been great” line) but I think Americans are increasingly sick of all the lies.

      4. TK421

        Hillary has already admitted to being “asleep” when it came to planning for a post-Khaddafi nation.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          She’s lucky to be always asleep..

          Sleep deprivation is among the big problems Americans face.

    3. wbgonne

      I read Trump’s speech and he rails righteously about TPP and Clinton Foundation corruption. Good luck finding coverage of that in the Corporate Media. IMO, Trump is being sabotaged by a combination of the Corporate Media and the corrupt political establishment, just as they tried to do with Sanders. Trump is being turned into a non-serious person who should be ignored on policy by serious people.

      The oligarchs and their media and political marionettes hate Trump for core economic issues, especially opposing TPP and defending Social Security. Do we really think the Republicans are bothered by Trump’s nativism? Of course not. That’s their bread and butter. It is Trump’s economic populism that makes the Establishment so angry and eager to dismiss him (and his policies). This is same as what they did to Sanders (note Trump’s call to Sanders’ supporters in his speech). The GOP Establishment types like Paul Ryan want TPP and they want to cut Social Security. That’s why they undermine Trump. They’d rather have Clinton as president because she will get things done. … for them.

      The question is whether Trump can overcome this cabal as he did during the primary. I think it will be quite difficult.

      1. Carolinian

        Of course they can’t ignore Trump the way they ignored Sanders. Otherwise what would they talk about for the next five months? To have a horse race you have to have two horses. But that doesn’t mean he will get the sort of wall to wall coverage he got in the primaries.

        Worth remembering that Sanders got giant crowds despite the MSM. They don’t have the power they once had.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks to the practice they had with Sanders, they will be even better at ignoring persons they want to ignore.

          “Practice makes perfect.”

          Here perfect is not the enemy.

        2. wbgonne

          Sure, but I think the general election dynamics are different and less favorable for Trump. In fact, IMO, Trump has already been demonized and I’m not sure he can recover. Trump will get press coverage but it will be sneering and dismissive by almost everyone, and his own party won’t defend him either. The Corporate Media does not have the power it once did, that’s for sure, but it may have enough (when working with the corrupt political duopoly) to turn Trump into a dangerous clown and elect Clinton.

          The combined power of the Corporate Media and the Democratic Establishment prevented Sanders from becoming the nominee. The GOP couldn’t stop Trump from taking the nomination but — working with the Corporate Media — they may well be capable of sabotaging his general election campaign.

          We’ll see.

          1. Carolinian

            Well one could point out that practically every single prediction the political press has made about Trump’s demise has so far turned out to be wrong. Personally I think this election is Trump’s to win or Trump’s to lose. The press isn’t immune to public opinion and will change their tune if they see him pulling ahead. Worth remembering that a year ago columnists in the Wash Post were dismissing Hillary’s chances and making fun of her book sales. She has a ton of baggage. The truth is they are both highly improbable candidates.

          2. wbgonne

            And thinking further about your remarks, it is important to consider the identity of the people running the Corporate Media, By and large, they are the same people who control the political duopoly. They are Clinton Democrats. Or Ryan Republicans, which is essentially the same thing on economic issues, but differentiated on social identity issues on which the CM generally sides with the (neoliberal) Democrats, not the (conservative) Republicans. So the CM heavily tilts neoliberal Democrat from the outset. The CM may have thought it amusing to see Trump thrashing the GOP candidates in the primary, but now that the general election and Big Money are at stake, Trump has to go.

            Let’s face it: Trump makes it easy for them to disparage him when he repeatedly acts the fool. And does Trump seriously think he’s going to get many Sanders supporters when he denies global warming and wants even more drilling and fracking than Obama and Clinton? He is delusional if so. But where else is he going to turn when even the GOP won’t support him? I think Trump is in big trouble.

          3. jgordon

            All the serious people and media apparatchiks have gotten it wrong about Trump since the first day of his campaign. There’s no reason for that to change anytime soon.

        3. Carolinian

          Here’s the practically content free NYT story on the speech


          And here’s the inevitable pooh poohing


          Interestingly this bit is ignored by the “fact checker.”

          Mr. Trump laid out six bullet points from the book to argue that Mrs. Clinton is the “most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.” He accused her of taking millions of dollars from foreign regimes that support Shariah law and abuse women.

          Guess when you can’t say anything nice about HRC say nothing. But at least they did put up a story in a fairly timely manner.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Bryan Pagliano takes Da Fifth … 125X:

    Hillary Clinton IT specialist Bryan Pagliano invoked the Fifth more than 125 times during a 90-minute, closed-door deposition Wednesday with Judicial Watch, a source with the group told Fox News.

    The official said Pagliano was working off an index card and read the same crafted statement each time.

    “It was a sad day for government transparency,” the Judicial Watch official said, adding they asked all their questions and Pagliano invoked the Fifth Amendment right not to answer them.

    The next Clinton aide to testify is Huma Abedin.


    Hell, it’s been a sad century for government transparency.

    Pagliano’s non-cooperation was expected. But having done this fruitless drill, Judicial Watch is now better placed to petition the court for an order to depose the criminal mastermind herself.

    1. Roger Smith

      Can’t she just do the same thing? This is pleading the fifth notion is rubbish to me. How can the courts function if witnesses are not accountable to testify? And if it incriminates them… so be it, they were the ones who took part in it, or let them risk perjury. Further, not talking means there is something they do not want to say. I don’t understand the logic here.

      1. bdy

        FWIW footage if Hill in Armani repeating ad nauseam, “I plead the fifth amendment on the grounds that I might incriminate myself,” would make a hell of an ad.

      2. Heliopause

        Sure, she could do the same thing, as every American has the fundamental right to not be compelled to incriminate oneself. But in her case there is the huge complication of her running for President, and while pleading the Fifth can’t be read as an implicit admission of guilt for criminal prosecution purposes, for a politician the optics would be very, very bad. So my guess is that if HRC were compelled to give a deposition and genuinely felt herself at risk of criminal prosecution from one of the questions she would choose to finesse the question or just outright lie rather than invoke her Fifth Amendment right. Of course this is speculative at this point and we’re getting way ahead of ourselves, but a “definition of is is” moment would be hilarious.

        1. redleg

          That’s a civil case. I’m not a lawyer, but doesn’t the 5th as an admission of guilt prohibition only apply to criminal cases? Meaning it can be presumed to be an admission in a civil case?

      3. sleepy

        Until and if the 5th amendment is repealed, that’s the way it works under our legal system.

      4. Alex morfesis

        The constitution is still not officially and publicly torn up…no one is required to answer any questions presented…although technically one can try to have fun being evasive by responding with gibberish or start acting as though the question was about sports or a movie…but jurists usually frown on the answering things not asked gambit…but if one is fighting in the court of public opinion with a prosecutor looking to become senator, the second gambit is good so that they cannot impose the “guilt by taking the fifth” public lynching…and if cornered by some journalist about the gibberish questions…

        “I answered…he asked stupid questions, I gave him back more stupid answers…the govt can not make you answer as ‘they wish’…”

    2. voteforno6

      Maybe they could ask her why a political appointee (Pagliano) was assigned to IT staff at State. That is an extremely unusual arrangement.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Lt. Daniel Kaffee: “I want the truth.”

        Col. Nathan R. Jessep: “You can’t handle the truth.”

        A Few Good Men

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Matthew Garrett and the IoT

    Is this guy actually just trying to turn on a light?

    1. JustAnObserver

      You need to read that article with your handy Brit Irony Interpreter firmly in place.

  8. dcblogger

    re Clinton Cash, there have been so many phony scandals concerning the Clintons that now that a real one has come along people may not pay any attention.

    1. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

      What exactly are these “phony” scandals?

      I’m not being snarky, I’d really like a list.

        1. Wj

          Not saying anything one way or the other here, but I would encourage you to read the court- required appendix to the official report coming out of Ken Starr’s office. It was a very “odd” investigation is all I will conclude…

    2. different clue

      It reminds me of something Nixon said in the Nixon Frost interviews. “I gave my enemies a sword and they used it with relish.”

      The Clintons could say the inverse-obverse. “Our enemies gave us a shield and we use it with relish.”

      I hope to see the Clintons backed into such a corner to where they have to effectively say:
      ” People wonder if their Clintons are a crook. Well . . .we’re NOT a crook! We’ve . . . WORKED for everything we have!”

  9. DrBob

    “‘There is no reason why Trump cannot replicate the Sanders model,’ said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former senior adviser to Mitt Romney.”

    No reason…except that we learned just yesterday that a lot of Trump’s “campaign spending” is just a loan to himself — funneled directly into the family business. Even if I were one of the “millions of ordinary folks who want to see him win”, I doubt that I’d be too enthused to hear that my campaign donation was just being added to Trump’s revenue stream at Mar-a-Lago (or one of his other country clubs).

  10. ChrisFromGeorgia

    A lot of cybersecurity firms are basically adjuncts of the US government. So their claims that the hack of the DNC’s servers originated in Russia must be taken with a serious grain of salt.

    If they have evidence they should publish in peer reviewed journals. Of course they won’t, because “national security.”

  11. different clue

    If someone can be legally “compelled to testify” , the next step would be to legally “torture” them into testifying the way the legal enforcement authorities want.

  12. Pat

    Regarding the Ohio poll results shown in the tweet, funny how the MSM who were so concerned with the accurate state of the race between Hillary and Bernie that they HAD to include the Super Delegate counts whenever they were talking about the race are now ignoring that the Presidential election is not a national election but once again that is done state by state because of the electoral college. Being neck and neck in Ohio is NOT good for Clinton. Just as being neck in neck in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, etc would not be good for Clinton. She isn’t behind in all those states, and did open up a lead in Florida recently, but it matters where she leads and where she doesn’t and yes, even by how much.
    One thing about that Ohio poll, apparently that is one state where including the third party candidates in the survey hurts Trump more than Clinton. Many of the others seem to have them taking support from both candidates pretty equally. Oh, and the Libertarians appear to have a lock on getting more than 5% of the vote.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      H Clinton & Trump are so horrid, that 5%+ feel compelled to #FeelTheJohnson ?!

      IMHO Green’s Jill Stein should be doing better in the polls than the Libertarian’s Johnson – Stein’s policies are very similar to Sanders, except better on war (anti-war Stein). Stein should be able to exceed Johnson merely by obtaining a portion of the Sanders voters.

      1. Pat

        Johnson gets 8% while Stein gets 3% in Ohio. And while I wish it were different, I’m not so sure that is off when it comes to what would appeal to Ohio voters. People have bought the kool aid about big government because the people running for so long have not wanted a working one when it came to the common good (both parties).

      2. Waldenpond

        Hmm… I would have thought Stein would pull more than Johnson. My guess was Sanders was staying in to prevent his voters from going to Stein and there wouldn’t be an increase in a ground game for Stein until after the D convention.

        1. different clue

          Sanders could probably care less about “his” votes specifically not going to Stein. Given his steady hard work in politics, he may view Stein and the Greens as preening dilettantes and basically politico-frivolous people. He would probably not have given them a second thought. Or even a first one.

          The reason he stays in the race is because he thinks the Democratic Party can be reconquered and decontaminated over time IF enough millions of people get inspired to try and remain devoted to the several decades of work it would require. He sees the Democratic Party as possessing many valuable fortresses, ammunition dumps, and various other weapons, positions and supply caches of political warfare. He wants to see a “Newer Deal Coalition” take all those political warfighting assets away from the current possessors.
          That’s my take on what motivates Sanders to stay in the race.

          1. tgs

            I have supported Bernie all along. I admire his toughness and persistence. But, I see that his left wing critics are, unfortunately, probably correct.

            Giving his supporters the idea that the Democratic party can be ‘reformed’ is delusional. Democratic Socialists have been working for that since at least Michael Harrington in the 60’s. And look where we are today.

            In short, Bernie is ‘sheep herding’.

            I will vote for Jill Stein.

            1. tgs

              I would like to add that those left African-American intellectuals who claim that Trump represents the rise of of ‘white supremacy’ are also ‘sheep herding’.

              People of color who get that message are not going to look up their local chapter of the Trotskist Second International. They are going to vote for Clinton.

  13. Steve C

    Sad that so many Bernie supporters supporting Gary Johnson. Libertarians must have a higher profile than the Greens’ Jill Stein.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Can someone explain to me why the Greens can never make any headway? I know there’s media black outs, but are they really badly organized?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Green party is a nice little start up for Sanders to take over and grow.

        You have to think like a venture capitalist or a venture socialist in this case.

      2. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

        Combination of many things including not the best organization, but I will also add that it’s hard to create a nationwide party with the “Green” moniker and its associated environmental connotations, when many people are not directly worried as much about the environment, like when food on the table today trumps global warming tomorrow.

        I’ve been thinking a lot lately that if the Green Party renamed itself something with the word “Labor” in it, coupled with a massive information campaign that that could be a starting point.

        No matter what, the future of any 2nd or 3rd party (there is only 1 party with 2 wings at the moment) movement in this country is going to be economically based populism, whether that comes from the right or left is yet to be determined.

        1. Kokuanani

          I wonder if the “Peace & Freedom Party” tag from the ’60s is still available?

            1. Int

              From what I have heard the greens had been trying to get Sanders to work with them for some time. Apparently they can’t even get a phone call returned from sanders. He won’t be doing anything that jeopardizes the chances for dem’s winning the election.

              1. tegnost

                if that were true he would have endorsed hillary, which he has not done. Bernie is almost certainly filled with positive feelings from his unexpected resonance. He’s old enough that having an indelibly positive impact may be enough. The Green Party is being handed a chance to improve itself at the expense of the DNC/GOP circus act.

              2. aab

                I don’t think he cares about the Dems. I’m not sure he believes Trump is the greater evil. I do think he’s trying to figure out how to grow the leftist movement with all the institutional and messaging traps. Today was one.

                Working Families is expanding to California. Anybody want to share thoughts about it?

          1. Archie

            How about the Symbionese Liberation Party. Or maybe the Weather Underground Party. Are they too leftist sounding?

            1. optimader

              Symbionese Liberation Party
              I lived a block away from Emily Harris(nee Schwartz).She got in the wrong posse at Berkley.

        2. jrs

          global warming tomorrow, wow I want some of what you are smoking legalized. While food today might still be a somewhat bigger worry (partly because it just is but partly because what people have been conditioned to see and not see), people are dying in heatwaves and having to evacuate their homes due to global warming influenced forest fires today.

          It is too late to stop, but mitigation, and having plans on how human beings will survive without dying in heatwaves, yes maybe even this summer, is pretty important.

          1. different clue

            The trick is to be ready with a plan and a narrative . . . for when so many tens of thousands of people are dying quite specifically and undeniably of heat waves that all the massed millions who see them and/or know them can no longer deny that the Global is Warming. When that happens, they will be ready to hear your plan and your narrative.
            But if you don’t have one when the golden Mass Heat Stroke moment arrives, someone else will step in with other goals, plans and narratives instead.

      3. Arizona Slim

        Yes, they are badly organized. Other NC posters have labeled the Green Party as a dysfunctional nonprofit that no sane politician should go near.

    1. edmondo

      Fast Eddie would make an excellent Attorney General in the Clinton Cabinet. You can smell the sleaze emenating from every pore of his corrupt body.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Ah yes. Ed Rendell. I still remember election 2000:

        [Rendell] told Chris Matthews of MSNBC late Tuesday that Gore should “act now and concede,” an opinion that carried special weight given Rendell’s role for the last 15 months as general chairman of the Democratic National Committee.


        As the first major Democratic official to call on Gore to quit – indeed, as titular head of a Democratic Party working feverishly to elect Gore – Rendell and his remark drove the story. MSNBC ran a crawl at the bottom of the screen repeating his call.

        Of course, sixteen years is a long time to harbor a grudge.

        1. Pat

          No it isn’t. That is a blink of the eye in my family.

          And in this case, it really is just more evidence what a useless piece of manure Rendell is.

        2. edmondo

          Don’t forget earlier this year when Rendell said he would have to support Mike Bloomberg over Bernie if Sanders won the Democrat’s nomination.

  14. Plenue

    “Big fail by Sanders campaign — and possibly, movement — in not injecting MMT into the mainstream.”

    I think this may ultimately go down as the biggest missed opportunity from his campaign. Just hammering that concept into the public psyche would have done a lot of good in the long term.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When that was mentioned back in March/April, the respond was, it would be hard to explain to the voters.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I agree it’s a bad lesson to teach during a campaign….the media would thoroughly enjoy talking about a “economically irresponsible and reckless socialist”. After all, they did it anyway.

        But now that we’re moving towards movement-building mode, it should be pushed more.

    2. Fool

      I would have liked to see MMT too — as I would have liked to see Sanders go after the emails, Clinton Foundation, etc.. But at the end of the day I think Sanders wanted his political revolution — which is/was about more than this election — to be in very simple, moral terms. (There is a moral argument to make for MMT, to be sure, only it’s not a simple one, and it’s far from being digestible for mass appeal at this point.)

      I’m optimistic (galvanized!) about the influence of Sanders’s “revolution” going forward because I think the issues he pushed were not only morally just and intellectually sound, but were also able to gain mass traction (#incrementalism :p). Going forward, free public higher education and universal health care are on the table — which is what the People want. This is significant. And as these issues remain in the political spotlight (hopefully), it just may occur to one of the establishmentarian economists that the government can afford to spend a lot more on these programs than they would have us believe…

  15. Alex morfesis

    Bayonne bridge and the magic “change order”…infrustrucktcha…big…no yuuugge govt contracts…now dont tell anyone, but magically, almost all govt conversion…I mean infrastructure contracts never stick to the announced bid…they always “$omehow” have some “miscalculation…and the paperwork that would have penalized the contractor from missing phase completion deadlines is tossed out the window and because it is mid project, there have to be premium prices paid…all the rules are designed to keep pesky uninitiated and unapproved competition from actually being able to compete…

    Magic change orders…robosigning for govt contracts…tada…

    1. redleg

      Specifications miss things, and are often too detailed to be flexible. With any construction project there are things, sometimes nasty surprises, that were unknown prior to the start of the project. These are remedied by change order (add-on or deduct- they go both ways) or by canceling the contract.

      While contracts can and are the vehicle for looting, based on my experience most change orders are legit.

      1. Rick Cass

        The change order is a time honored way to collect the profit that the losing bidders were looking for. Many change orders are fraud.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will we ever see a candidate travel on a solar powered plane?

      “My clean, sustainable campaign.”

  16. ekstase

    About the microbes that live by ingesting electrons. This seems eerily familiar and true, based on many episodes of “Star Trek” and “Dr. Who.”
    Also, there is this:

    “Some 7,200 miles above Earth, an invisible shield cloaking our planet is helping to protect us from damaging, super-fast “killer” electrons, scientists have found.”

    Draw your own conclusions.

  17. Sandwichman


    Conventional economic theory posits that more “flexible” labor markets—where it is easier to hire and fire workers—facilitate matches between employers and individuals who want to work. Yet despite having among the most flexible labor markets in the OECD—with low levels of labor market regulation and employment protections, a low minimum cost of labor, and low rates of collective bargaining coverage—the United States has one of the lowest prime-age male labor force participation rates of OECD member countries.


    I have a long piece on this at Econospeak: The Iatrogenic and Incoherent “Theory” of Flexibility

    Although it has indeed become conventional, the ‘flexible’ labor markets mantra is not a theory. It is dogma. An article of faith. The theory behind the nostrum of flexible labor markets is Milton Friedman’s natural rate theory of unemployment, which, as Jamie Galbraith pointed out twenty years ago, was constructed by adding expectations to the empirical Philips Curve observation of a relationship between unemployment and inflation:

    The Phillips curve had always been a purely empirical relation, patched into IS-LM Keynesianism to relieve that model’s lack of a theory of inflation. Friedman supplied no theory for a short-run Phillips curve, yet he affirmed that such a relation would “always” exist. And Friedman’s argument depends on it. If the Phillips relation fails empirically— that is, if levels of unemployment do not in fact predict the rate of inflation in the short run—then the construct of the natural rate of unemployment also loses meaning.

    Galbraith’s evisceration of the natural rate theory and NAIRU is incisive, persuasive and accessible. Read it.

    At the other end of the flexibility spectrum, intellectually, is Layard, Nickell and Jackman’s Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market. In their influential textbook, Layard et al. grafted the dubious NAIRU concept onto the archaic lump-of-labor fallacy claim to create their own chimera hybrid, the LUMP-OF-OUTPUT FALLACY.

    Galbraith’s “Time to Ditch NAIRU” has 293 citations on Google Scholar. Layard et al’s “Unemployment” has 5824.

    To appreciate the pretzel logic of Layard et al., one has to first understand that the old fallacy claim is essentially an inversion of the “supply creates its own demand” nutshell known as Say’s Law. Jamie’s dad, John Kenneth Galbraith, had argued back in 1975 that Say’s Law had “sank without trace” after Keynes had shown that interest “was not the price people were paid to save… [but] what was paid to overcome their liquidity preference” and thus a fall in interest rates might encourage cash hoarding rather than investment, resulting in a shortfall of purchasing power.

    So, at one end of their graft Layard et al. were resuscitating the old canard that Keynes had supposedly “brought to an end.” At the other end of the graft was Friedman’s tweaking of an atheoretical empirical observation — the Philips Curve — that was “patched into IS-LM Keynesianism to relieve that model’s lack of a theory of inflation. (James Tobin once elegantly described the Phillips curve as a set of empirical observations in search of theory, like Pirandello characters in search of a plot.)” And let’s not even get started with IS-LMist fundamentalism.

    Churchill’s “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” quip about the Soviet Union has nothing on Layard et al.’s antithetical and anachronistic graft on a tweak of an atheoretical patch on an unsatisfactory “attempt to reduce the General Theory to a system of equilibrium,” as Joan Robinson described IS-LM “Keynesianism”:

    Whenever equilibrium theory is breached, economists rush like bees whose comb has been broken to patch up the damage. J. R. Hicks was one of the first, with his IS-LM, to try to reduce the General Theory to a system of equilibrium. This had a wide success and has distorted teaching for many generations of students. Hicks used to be fond of quoting a letter from Keynes which, because of its friendly tone, seemed to approve of IS-LM, but it contained a clear objection to a system that leaves out expectations of the future from the inducement to invest.

    And by “expectations,” Keynes clearly had in mind uncertainty, not honeycomb equilibrium.

    So that’s the tangled ‘theory’ behind ‘flexible’ labor market policy prescriptions. A regurgitated dog’s breakfast of contradiction and amnesia. Layard et al.’s lump-of-output fallacy flexibility chimera thus resembles a sort of a theoretical ouroboros chicken-snake swallowing its own entrails:

    To many people, shorter working hours and early retirement appear to be common-sense solutions for unemployment. But they are not, because they are not based on any coherent theory of what determines unemployment. The only theory behind them is the lump-of-output theory: output is a given. In this section we have shown that output is unlikely to remain constant.

    This is simply FALSE. Shorter working hours is based on the same theory as full employment fiscal policy: Keynes’s theory. But don’t take my word for it. In an April 1945 letter to T.S. Eliot, Keynes wrote:

    The full employment policy by means of investment is only one particular application of an intellectual theorem. You can produce the result just as well by consuming more or working less. Personally I regard the investment policy as first aid. In U.S. it almost certainly will not do the trick. Less work is the ultimate solution.

    1. craazyboy


      haha. In spite of the USofA doing everything correctly, results are still subpar. Economists will continue to study this matter.

      1. Vatch

        The “Princess Bride” has something to say to The White House about this:

        You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

          1. craazyboy

            It also means if the USofA misplaces an industry somewhere(oopsie!) you can go back to college and then embark on a new career. But you don’t get any younger, so don’t make a policy of it.

  18. Fool

    The DNC religiously tracked news stories covering apparent conflicts of interest in Clinton’s diplomatic office, including foundation donations coming from governments and moneyed interests in Germany, Bahrain, Venezuela and Canada [and not Saudi Arabia?].

    Yeah this is bizarre; at the very least the DNC needs new researchers. The most problematic donations to the Clinton Foundation — and by “problematic” I mean suggestive of having influenced the State Dept during Clinton’s tenure — came from individuals with business and/or national interests in Ukraine, the Arabian Peninsula, and Colombia (obviously others too, but these are among the most glaring conflicts of interests, each relating to donations of at least 8 figures).

    Regarding the other hack on the Clinton Foundation, I’m skeptical of it coming from Russia (as Bloomberg claims). If it’s not damning enough to warrant an indictment, then it would be more valuable to the Russians as a threat that could be leveraged against Clinton once she’s already in office. Plus, why leak it the day before Trump’s headline-dominating speech? Putin’s too smart for this.

  19. AJ

    RE: “I have to say today that Democrats fought very hard for single-payer and public option. Now close to 20 million have healthcare now as a result of the Affordable Care Act. That’s a big deal,” Lee added.

    Neoliberals love to conflate health-insurance with health-care. Like somehow if you have the one you can get the other. If only it worked this way for car-insurance. If Progressive would just lower their rates maybe I could afford to buy that new Tesla (ha!). A true focus on health-care would be on how to get it to the most people as possible–thus single-payer.

    1. Pat

      Considering that the first part of that statement is such obvious bull hockey that conflating the two things is probably secondary. None of them want to admit that single payer is the only answer, AND that ACA is beginning to look like the snowball rolling down the alp as it becomes worse and worse.

      1. Int

        Not to even mention the fact that the folks advocating single payer were completely locked out of the meetings leading up to aca.

      1. polecat

        WHAT A FUCKING SLEAZE BALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. perpetualWAR

      Now one has to wonder…..if Corzine endorses Warren, is Warren really all that *tough* on Wall Street in the back rooms?

    2. perpetualWAR

      Also….”friend and supporter of Clinton”…..
      why is it Clinton is always friends with crooks? #CrookClinton isn’t a hashtag for nuttin’.

  20. Kurt Sperry

    “(Big fail by Sanders campaign — and possibly, movement — in not injecting MMT into the mainstream.)”

    Try explaining MMT to your aunt in 90 seconds and then let me know how that goes. He had enough on his plate not to add that one into his campaign mix.

    Until somebody comes along bright enough to explain MMT to Aunt Gertie over a still warm cup of coffee and she gets it, probably best not to make that a battlefront.

    1. craazyboy

      We’ll have to wait for someone to explain it to the MMT people, but in the mean time I thought we could put secret decoder rings in breakfast cereal that would decode MMT bumper sticker slogans to everyday words, concepts and actions. Then the 1 minute debate question might work.

      But I still think all the double entry bookkeeping would be a tad boring for TV. Besides, a Republican might ask what government accounting program they are using. Quicken for Economists?

    2. grayslady

      Totally agree. It isn’t just Aunt Gertie, by the way. Most of the propaganda press members don’t understand the concept either, and that just leads to angry recriminations rather than admitting to a lack of knowledge on the subject.

      1. Pat

        I don’t know that it entirely works, but one thing I do is pointing out that one of the big reasons that the Federal Budget is not like a home budget is that the Federal government has a great many tools it can use denied to most families. First and foremost is that the families cannot print their own money to pay the bills. Or state what it is worth, but the US Government has been doing that almost a century. That for practically seven years of the Bush administration the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq didn’t contribute to the budget deficit because the government just printed the money to pay for them and didn’t bother to add it to the ledger sheets. It didn’t increase inflation and it didn’t cause the Government to fail by just creating billions of dollars every year that didn’t exist before. The only reason there is not enough money for things at home is not the ability to pay for them, but the lack of will to spend money on the people and not on businesses that are major campaign donors.

        MMT is much larger and more nuanced than that, but it opens the door.

        1. craazyboy

          They didn’t do that. They don’t do that. Bush handled the Iraq War “off budget”. That means the cost didn’t show up in the annual Federal projected budget and therefore did not add to the annual projected deficit. But the Treasury did ultimately sell treasury bonds to finance the war – the Fed does not print up some bucks and send them to the Pentagon. It is in the national debt figure.

          We are paying interest on the Iraq War and when the treasuries come due, the treasury will sell some new treasuries to pay off the old.

          There is no such thing as a free War. At least not yet.

          I wish MMTers would stop making this stuff up.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Can’t we divert these lost souls into tinkering with perpetual motion machines in their garages?

            Free energy is the functional equivalent of free money! :-)

            1. craazyboy

              The Fed does have Mainframe Money Technology – so free money is a real possibility. You don’t even need to buy a tree first for the old fashioned printing press. Just that they don’t do it that way, yet, then next we’d need to be concerned about where they point the free money.

  21. Anne

    Can someone please explain to me why, if “party unity” is the goal, it is still necessary to keep punching, trivializing, demeaning, slamming and insulting Sanders and anyone who even remotely seems to have an affinity for his ideas? Am I supposed to take heart from understanding how a so-called “loser” continues to threaten the throne and the promised coronation?

    Am I the only one who finds the general cluelessness of the Clinton supporters to be infinitely irritating?

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just having one of those cranky days where I reflexively find the phrase, “Fk you, a$$hole” on the tip of my tongue.

    I am massively irritated by Elizabeth Warren, who could not possibly suck up to Clinton and the party elites more; I thought Clinton had cornered the market on naked ambition, but Warren is threatening to overtake her any minute now. Does she not understand that to be part of a Clinton administration means her fight against Wall Street and consumer fraudsters would come to an ignominious end? Does she understand that in short order, she’s going to find she just didn’t understand the poor misbegotten banksters, and would soon be charged with being their best friend?

    I know I’m rambling now – sorry – but is there any chance Trump’s charges – whether accurate or not – are going to force Clinton to stick closer to the semi-progressive positions Sanders pushed her to support? You know, if he keeps saying she’s in favor of the TPP, does that mean she can’t agree with him and has to oppose it? I mean, how does she fight Trump without putting a knife in the back of the president who did her the solid of endorsing her?

    Ugh. Work is a bitch-and-a-half, I hate these politicians who really don’t give a rat’s ass about anything other than their own interests, and I have no idea what we’re having for dinner. I’m in the kind of mood that always made my dad say I should just go out in the garden and eat worms. Well, I guess that could be dinner.

      1. different clue

        Brent Scowcroft was important in the Bush Elder Administration. He is considered one of the “realists” along with people like James Baker and so forth. If he supports Clinton I guess she is not too “neo-conned up” for his taste.

    1. aab

      Hillary only enjoy domination. When she says “unity” she means “submission.”

      You are not the only one irritated.

      Nothing anyone can say or do will push Hillary to the left beyond EXTREMELY vague verbiage like “love.” We stop her or we get her. There is no adjustment on her part.

      I hate those “I don’t know what to do about dinner” days. I made a huge batch of veggie packed macaroni salad, which goes with just about anything. It’s helping.

  22. Vatch

    It’s interesting about the wildly differing impressions of two different Trump rallies. Is this the Rashomon effect, or were the rallies in Texas and North Carolina really as different as night and day? Does anyone know of two different people’s impressions of the same Trump rally?

    1. JCC

      Maybe it wasn’t a difference between two different Trump Rallies but a difference between NC and TX. That was my immediate though, anyway.

      The economy of TX is in much better shape than that of NC, and I suspect the social “education” is somewhat different, too.

  23. allan

    The DSCC: no worse friend, no better enemy.
    Check out the former GOPer they are anointing to run for the Senate from Florida:

    The Making of Patrick Murphy [CBS 4 Miami]

    Last year, shortly after announcing his desire to replace Marco Rubio, Murphy once again touted his experience as a CPA saying: “One of the biggest problems we have in our country is our debt [not an MMT fan, huh?], is unemployment, you need to understand numbers to do that. I believe I bring that experience to the table. Having a small business background, understanding the issues, the problems small businesses are dealing with on a day to day basis, I think I bring that experience to the table.”

    Portraying himself as an experienced CPA and small business owner has always been critical to the political persona created for his campaigns. They conveyed a sense of seriousness and stability which he otherwise lacked.

    A CBS4 News investigation into Murphy’s history as both a CPA and a self-described small business owner, however, shows Murphy has in some cases exaggerated his experience and in other instances made claims that were misleading or outright false.

    For instance, he has never worked a day in his life as a Certified Public Accountant.

    And he was never a small business owner.

    Oh, that’s right, let the perfect be the enemy of the good, why don’t you.

    With Rubio jumping back into the race, make this one `lean R’ (at best).

  24. B1whois

    Help! Can someone translate this for me from the American Conservative artile:

    Unless Trump loses in a landslide, which looks increasingly unlikely, there is no going back to the old order for the Republicans, in which case they could still thwart the emerging Democratic majority of the past decade.

    My question : which case is indicated by “in which case”?

    {Insert rant} Whether it is alternative media or msm, I really wish there was more concern for clarity of ideas. If writers could just look at each sentence, and ask themselves, “Is this clear?”
    Short simple sentences are VERY preferable to long, run on sentences that embrace multiple themes and ideas. Remember that fabulous list of 6 reasons Hillary is going to lose (or some such) that was hundreds of twisted phrases long? Meanings and intent where swirled around like ice cream in that journalistic “piece”.

    Reading modern media feels like playing twister, but with words. Sometimes I have to just give up, the contortions are just too great. Am I supposed to just play along that this kind of writing is ok? Will I reveal myself as underachieving if I complain that I could not follow the author’s train of thought? Honestly, I am too tired to contemplate such. {end rant}

    Publishers/writers at this site excepted of course along with the commentariat, recognizing that obtuse missives here are generally of the poetic variety. (Btw, I am actually paid for producing clear written language as a civil engineer who writes and edits specifications for bridge construction project contracts. Sometimes modern media production drives me a little crazy, lo siento.)


  25. kimsarah

    Wow, real ballsy of the Democrats to stage a sit-in — not after the Connecticut or Charleston massacres or whenever Barry pointed out at each of the funerals why nothing was being done about gun violence — but right before the Hillary convention. Missing in action, then raised from the dead, those establishment Dems.

  26. ProNewerDeal

    fw politicalcompass dot org / uselection2016

    A UK Prof & journalist run this site, & plot politicians from several major OECD nation elections on a 2D political spectrum.

    This graph contains 4 candidates: the 2 uniparty candidates, & the 2 largest 3rd party candidates, Green J Stein, & Libertarian G Johnson. It turns out that at least per this measure, H Clinton & Trump are the closest to each other out of any possible pair of these 4 candidates.

    Unfortunately, it seems the site has deleted its prior 2016 Primary page. IIRC Sanders @ (-2, 0) on the chart was very similar to Stein (-2.5, -2).

    So much for H Clinton’s propaganda “whatever differences between Sanders & H Clinton is trivial compared to the difference between us & the evil Trump”.

    AT BEST, the Prof. Chomsky’s take MIGHT hold that the even marginally Lesser Evil is relevant given the huge power of the President office. Of course this would hold if H Clinton is indeed the Less Effective Evil than Trump; AFAICT this is probable but possibly unknowable or at least a educated guess.

    If you want a laugh, forward this to your Hillbot voter/apologist friend.

  27. affinis

    re: Trump rallies – “The two reports are wildly at variance.”

    I went to a Trump rally as a protester, smuggling in signs. It was in Janesville, WI (an economically depressed small WI city). What I saw was sort of a hybrid of the two reports. Waited outside in a long line, almost half the day, and spoke to many attendees (before silently unveiling protest signs inside the rally), so got a pretty good sense of the crowd. Almost everyone was white, but there were a few people of color. There were Confederate flags, but not a lot of them. The average attendee was blue collar (but at the wealthier end) or a small business owner. There were a lot of casual racist comments (by many of the attendees I spoke to). There were vendors yelling “Hillary Sucks But Not Like Monica” and references to Hillary as a “bitch”. Person seated next to me said it was the first time he was excited about a candidate since JFK. I grew up in white rural poverty in a conservative area, so the culture was pretty familiar to me. There was some violence at the rally – one protester got sprayed with pepperspray.

  28. JTFaraday

    “But it is precisely because the liberal culture-war catechism is so totally losing resonance with them”

    No, this is wrong.

    On the liberal-left leaning side of the ledger I think the millennial generation, on the whole, takes “the liberal culture-war catechism” AS A GIVEN and strident baby boom resentment of said catechism will alienate them. Of the millennial generation, however, many (not all) young women and even more young black people fear those who take it FOR GRANTED.

    This is not a small distinction. I have been observing this distinction– and its disintegrating effects on the left– for at least 20 years.

    Yes, Sanders, a liberal Jew, reached these young people and Sanders takes “the catechism” as given/ for granted.

    Sanders is not dripping with resentment.

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