2:00PM Water Cooler 6/27/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


TPP: “A trade agreement should also encourage competition in areas like pharmaceuticals, instead of discouraging generic equivalents for high-priced brand-name drugs, and would ensure that the United States can ban products that do not meet U.S. safety or labor standards, [Lori] Wallach says” [Campaign for America’s Future].


From the twitter:


So there you have it.


“But in McCutcheon, Roberts reinforced a limited definition of political corruption, defining it very much like bribery. To prove corruption, one must essential prove a quid pro quo — that money led to some specific act of corruption. The tight definition of corruption is important, because preventing corruption — or the appearance of corruption — is the only legitimate reason the court has said justifies contribution limits” [Center for Public Integrity]. I suppose that if money is speech, the First Amendment says “make no law” restricting it. Sadly, liberals, in order to protect Clinton, now accept this argument, so campaign reform is off the table.

“Of the 1,400 people who donated to Mitt Romney super PAC in 2012, only 29 gave to Donald Trump’s campaign” [USA Today].


“[Rajiv Fernando, a] major Democratic donor [and bundler] personally lobbied then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office for a seat on a sensitive government intelligence board, telling one of her closest aides that if appointed he would make Clinton ‘look good'” [McClatchy]. I can’t understand why Fernanando would have felt that was an effective approach, but whatever. “As a member of the board, Fernando was to advise Clinton on nuclear weapons.” The new, small, easy-to-use ones?

“Supreme Court Vacates Ex-Virginia Governor’s Graft Conviction” [New York Times]. “”Setting up a meeting, calling another public official or hosting an event does not, standing alone, qualify as an ‘official act,’ ” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the court.” Wowsers.

Our Famously Free Press

This is about Brexit, but applies generally:

The Voters

“Liberal Elites Hate the Left” [Common Dreams]. “‘The elite freeze-out of Bernie Sanders,’ writes Matt Karp, ‘is without parallel in modern party history.'” Yep. The liberals would make their peace with Trump, who is a neoliberal like they are. Never, ever with Sanders, who is not.

“Why I hate the S word” [Chris Arnade, Medium]. “Calling someone dumb is intended as a statement of your superiority and a declaration of their inferiority. It is also intended to remind them of their place.” And liberals do it all the time. That’s why they won the House in 2010, 2012, and 2014, along with the Senate in 2014, and all those governorships. Oh, wait…

The Trail

“PAC Backing Hillary Clinton to Run $10.5 Million in Ads in Pennsylvania” [New York Times]. I would take every poll with a dose of salts, since we’ve seen they’re not reliable, and they’re open to manipulation; I think it’s better to watch campaign body language. If Clinton is doing so great, then Pennsylvania should not be in play.

“Democrats: Guns sit-in just a taste of guerrilla tactics to come” [Politics]. The median net worth for Democrat House members is $929,000 (Republicans are $884,000). That these powerful millionaires are appropriating the “guerilla tactics” of the powerless makes me want to vomit. And speaking of vomit–

“Everyone calm down: The “no fly, no buy” bill was designed to embarrass Republicans, not to pass — and it’s working” [Amanda Marcotte, Salon]. So the sit-ins were a stunt; good to know.

“Gary Johnson and Bill Weld used an hour of prime-time television to burnish their establishment credentials” [The American Conservative]. That was fast.

“Elizabeth Warren tears into Trump at VP try-out calling him a ‘goofy’ guy who ‘wants it all for himself’ – ‘He will crush you into the dirt to get whatever he wants'” [Daily Mail]. I think Clinton needs to stop toying with Warren and make up her mind. No doubt she’s hoping to get Trump to respond in kind, and I suppose we’ll see if Manafort can restrain him. Why not just mention that Warren’s from Harvard? That should do it.

“Unintended Consequences” [Corey Robin (MR)]. “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to stay as they are.” Wait, did I get that right?

Stats Watch

Dallas Fed Mfg Survey, June 2016: “Dallas manufacturing conditions remain extremely weak” [Econoday].

International Trade in Goods, May 2016: “Goods exports were soft in May while at the same goods imports rose, making for a widening in the nation’s goods gap to $60.6 billion from April’s $57.5 billion” [Econoday]. “[L]ike the export side, capital goods imports were weak hinting at contraction in business investment.”

PMI Services Flash, June 2016: “Service sector activity remains slow, little changed” [Econoday]. “New orders are picking up but remain soft while job creation is slowing for a third straight month. Confidence in the year-ahead outlook continues to moderate.”

“Goldman Is Gloomy on Prospect of Major CapEx Rebound Post-Brexit” [Bloomberg]. FWIW.

“At the moment, corporate America is sitting on an enormous cash hoard. Many companies have been using the money in an epic share-buying spree — one that has increased in intensity even as earnings have declined” [New York Times]. Really? Can I have some?

“Why This $3 Billion Tech Startup Is Still Searching for a CEO” [Bloomberg]. “DocuSign identified that person early this year and invited reporters to a press briefing introducing the new CEO. Shortly before the announcement in March, DocuSign canceled the event, saying the person had backed out at the last minute after receiving an offer from ‘another company with unlimited resources.'”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 38, Greed (previous close: 44, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 27 at 12:59pm. Mr. Market’s Brexit-induced mood swings hard toward the fear pole; the hangover from the 19th hole must be terrible!

Health Care

“The duel between documentation and doctoring is being won by the wrong side” [KevinMD]. Doctor battles crapified voice mail hell system that is designed to protect the hospital from liability (that’s the “documentation” part) rather than deliver patient care (“doctoring”). Certainly a strange notion of doctoring!

“As health care costs continue to rise, attention has turned to a tiny number of expensive patients like Meade, called super-utilizers” [Miami Herald]. The next moral panic, no doubt. When will “super rent-seekers” go under the knife?

“The 6 things you need to know to understand the Allina nurses strike” [Minnesota Post].

“Microsoft scientists have demonstrated that by analyzing large samples of search engine queries they may in some cases be able to identify internet users who are suffering from pancreatic cancer, even before they have received a diagnosis of the disease” [New York Times]. What could go wrong?


“At least 24 people are dead and an untold number are missing after historic floods washed through West Virginia” [CBS].

“The deal [pending before Congress] has been nearly 80 years in the making. If approved, it will be the largest Indian water rights settlement in history, involving literally thousands of parties and hundreds of millions of federal dollars. And it will give the Gila River Indians a huge tap into the massive Central Arizona Project, which funnels water from the Colorado River into the heart of Arizona” [High Country News]. “If the Gila River Indian Community scores this huge victory, it will put the Pima and Maricopa people in a position of tremendous power — and at the center of more than a little controversy. Critics complain that the deal will put vast amounts of precious Colorado River water — literally the lifeblood of the Southwest — in the hands of a tiny minority of ‘Indian water czars.'” Good. I think if we gave control over the Penobscot to the Penobscots, everybody would be better off, including the river itself.

Guillotine Watch

“What’s it like to ride a glass slide 1,000 feet above L.A.? We tried it out” [Los Angeles Times]. I’m filing this under “Guillotine Watch,” because the slide is at the U.S. Bank building in downtown L.A.; I see it as conditioning “consumers” to take stupid risks (rather like extreme sports).

“[A] recent tasting reveals that the soufflé is still a work in progress. First, the cognac flavor can overwhelm the caviar. And in an effort to preserve the texture of the roe, Farnabe bakes the soufflé for just two and a half minutes—enough to muddle the caviar and not enough to yield an appropriately airy soufflé texture throughout. Setting the whole thing aflame only exacerbates texture issues, leaving the soufflé exterior firmer than the rest of it. All together, the soufflé isn’t better than the sum of its (very refined) parts” [Bloomberg]. Of a soufflé, but true for much else in the moment, no?

Class Warfare

“Nuit Debout: Middle Class Protests in Neoliberal France” [London School of Economics]. Important!

“[R]ural inequality seems to come in two forms. One, which I’ll call ‘home-grown’ inequality, is where the local industries create large income disparities. The other, which I’ll call ‘flown-in’ inequality, is where rich people who made their income elsewhere take up residence” (with maps) [WaPo].

“I started applying for jobs in private prisons because I wanted to see the inner workings of an industry that holds 131,000 of the nation’s 1.6 million prisoners. As a journalist, it’s nearly impossible to get an unconstrained look inside our penal system” [Mother Jones].

News of the Wired

“After many false dawns, AI has made extraordinary progress in the past few years, thanks to a versatile technique called “deep learning”. Given enough data, large (or “deep”) neural networks, modelled on the brain’s architecture, can be trained to do all kinds of things. They power Google’s search engine, Facebook’s automatic photo tagging, Apple’s voice assistant, Amazon’s shopping recommendations and Tesla’s self-driving cars” [The Economist]. But Google’s search is increasingly crapified, Facebook’s photo tagging is pretty poor, Siri is lousy, and how hard are shopping recommendations really? (Is it learning, or just data). And Tesla’s self-driving cars are vaporware! We might also consider the learning environment for the AIs: Profit-making.

“Building digital trust: The role of data ethics in the digital age” [Accenture]. “Accenture Labs launched a research collaboration with leading thinkers on data ethics to help provide guidelines for security executives and data practitioners and enable development of robust ethical controls throughout data supply chains.” Oh. “Leading thinkers.”

In Memoriam Bernie Worrell:

Prescient lyrics, too. 1984, when the neo-liberal dispensation had been tightening its grip for a decade or so.

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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 (G&RC)


This is a photo of G&RC’s garden, but it made me laugh because of the noble dog!

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 again readers for last week’s rapid and successful Water Cooler Mini-Fundraiser. Checks are arriving in the mail. I’m still writing thank you notes! Yours will arrive!

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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. JohnnyGL

      Ouch, that’s pretty devastating. And well written to appeal to Sanders supporters.

      The war is very much ON for Sanders’ supporters. Trump wants them (or at least wants them to dump Clinton), while Clinton abuses them at every opportunity.

      Will this show up in the polls?

  1. abynormal

    S&P just downgraded UK from AAA to AA …suspiciously, right after the president of the European parliament said this “The British have violated the rules. It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate”.


    The downgrade reflects our view that the “leave” result in the U.K.’s referendum on the country’s EU membership (“Brexit”) will weaken the predictability, stability, and effectiveness of policymaking in the U.K. and affect its economy, GDP growth, and fiscal and external balances. We have revised our view of the U.K.’s institutional assessment and we no longer consider it to be a strength in our assessment of the U.K.’s key rating factors. The downgrade also reflects what we consider enhanced risks of a marked deterioration of external financing conditions in light of the U.K.’s extremely elevated level of gross external financing requirements (as a share of current account receipts and usable reserves). The Brexit result could lead to a deterioration of the U.K.’s economic performance, including its large financial services sector, which is a major contributor to employment and public receipts. The result could also trigger a constitutional crisis if it leads to a second referendum on Scottish independence from the U.K.

    We believe that the lack of clarity on these key issues will hurt confidence, investment, GDP growth, and public finances in the U.K., and put at risk important external financing sources vital to the financing of the U.K.’s large current account deficits (in absolute terms, the second-largest globally behind the U.S.). This includes the wholesale financing of the U.K.’s commercial banks, about half of which is denominated in foreign currency.

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em all around

    1. Jim Haygood

      I’ve been trying to independently confirm that incendiary quote from the president of the EU parliament, Martin Schulz. But so far, no luck.

      ZH’s source is a third party tweet, which seems in turn to be an English translation from an Italian tweeter named Giovanni Zibordi, who misspelled Schulz’s name as “Schultz” in writing:

      Schultz: “gli inglesi hanno violato le regole. Non è la filosofia UE che la folla possa decidere del suo destino”

      Credible? Not at this point. Unfortunately the Z site has a nasty habit of posting unsubstantiated info, often with no source given at all.

      1. abynormal

        i had Merkel on bloomberg playing but had to tend to someone and left the room a couple times…We Must Get This Quote Verified.

        watched your SAN today…also MS and the other banks…Brutal

      2. abynormal

        okay i’m looking but this thing is traveling the globe pretty quick…a Schultz PR should raise its pointed head shortly

    2. JustAnObserver

      First Martin Schulz blames Brexit on internal feuding in the Tory party (probably accurate) and now he makes the (as yet unconfirmed) quote above. Even if the 2nd one was never said (or “I misspoke” :-)) we’re in “A lie can be halfway ’round the world before the truth gets its boots on” territory. Its both a glaring statement about the present nature of the EU and absolutely incendiary given the current situation. I can just imagine the headline tomorrow from the Sun, not famous for its fact checking etiquette.

      Irrespective of anything and even if he’s completely innocent Mr Schulz needs to be sent on a very long, EU financed, vacation somewhere remote … the Attacama desert comes to mind … since he’s considered the goto source for Euroarrogance at its crudest.

  2. PeonInChief

    I suspect that Neera Tanden gets her health insurance and NYT sub through her employer.

  3. Ranger Rick

    I could buy “flown-in” inequality as standard-of-living arbitrage up to a point (see Denver); but once home prices break the million-dollar mark (see Vancouver) it starts smelling like capital flight, or a real estate investment scam.

    Interesting to see you’re experimenting with FFmpeg. WebM/VP9? HTTP-DASH streaming using the JW player or HTML5 video? GNU MediaGoblin frontend? The rabbit hole can get pretty deep.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > experimenting with FFmpeg

      At one point, I just used it in the shell to convert from one video format to another. That was many machines ago, but I’d like to do it again.

  4. voteforno6

    Re: Neera Tanden

    So, someone who “works” at a think tank is upset by freeloaders. I’m trying to think of a way to properly articulate my feelings on this, but all I can come up with is nonsensical vocalizations.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Neera Tanden is not a freeloader. She is worth every penny to the people she works for.

  5. ambrit

    Gadzooks! The Twit box of Neera Tanden has the dreaded three parentheses on each side of the name! I thought that she was a Hindu! (More exclamation marks available on request.)

    1. Rhondda

      I have seen the parentheses trismegistus on the internet tubules here and there and mildly wondered, but I hadn’t searched for what it means until I saw your post. Wow. That’s all I can say, just — wow.

  6. Carolinian

    Arizona water….all about heritage or all about money?

    The Gila River tribes hit another sticking point on an issue that is one of the most controversial — but lucrative — parts of most modern Indian water settlements: provisions that permit tribes to lease at least some of their water to other users. Under the proposed settlement, the Gila River Indian Community can lease about 41,000 acre-feet of its water to cities, and it has the option to lease upwards of 100,000 acre-feet in the future. [..]

    Zarbin and others argue that water should just be given to the cities, rather than allotted to Indians and leased to cities at cutthroat prices. “In my mind,” Zarbin says, “it’s unjust enrichment. Why should anybody in an arid state be given more water than they need so they can turn around and lease it?”

    Meanwhile the Navajo want to build a cable car down into the Grand Canyon (not in the National Park) and virtually all of the many Western tribes seem to own casinos which are not exactly a public good. Growing water sucking cash crops like cotton in the 120 degree desert is a dubious proposition all by itself.

    The native Americans deserve better than they’ve gotten but whether they deserve to join the hoard of Western welfare ranchers (no water at all without vast public works projects) at the expense of the environment is another question.

    1. different clue

      Well . . . legally speaking . . . whose water is it? In terms of International Indian Treaties? Who’s ever water it is, International Indian Treaty legally speaking . . . gets the final say on the use and disposition of that water. International Treaty Law speakingwise, that is.

    2. Tertium Squid

      While the Pima-Maricopas run casinos, there’s loads of tribes in the west that want nothing to do with casino gambling. I remember a restaurant on the Hopi reservation that had a timeline on its wall that included the day they told casino operators to get lost.

    3. JTMcPhee

      The ordinary people who are part of Indian tribes suffer in many cases from parasitic misleadership classes too. One report is even kind of ironically humorous:
      Through interviews, analysis of bank records, and other investigative techniques, we were able to identify a lot of assets that were fraudulently given to Merida,” Youngblood said. “There was an excessive waste of the tribe’s money because of a few people’s greed.” And as the investigation went on, Youngblood realized that he, too, was a victim.

      “I understood what all that money could have been used for—maybe to help with my children’s education or the educational needs of other members’ children or many other worthy tribal causes,” he said. “So much good could have been done with that money.”

      He added that “a lot of honest companies got squeezed out” because they didn’t pay to play, “and those companies’ employees have families that live here in Southeastern Oklahoma, and they were robbed of an opportunity to have gainful employment because of these individuals.”

      Youngblood believes this investigation should send a message—“not only here in the Choctaw Nation but for all the tribes in the region: If you’re going to do work for the Indians, it better be honest and done fairly. If not, we will find you and we will prosecute you.” https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/april/public-corruption-in-indian-country/public-corruption-in-indian-country

      Yep, the FBI can do it, if they want to…

    4. Stuart Levy

      Note that that Gila River water settlement article dates back to 2004. OK, what happened since then?

      The settlement was indeed passed. Gila River Farms is a lively concern, about to branch into high density olive farming as of last year.

      Meanwhile, the Arizona Navajo attempt to realize their water rights has “failed”, while Navajos in Utah did come to an 81,000 acre-foot/yr settlement with little controversy, says this SL Tribune article from a few months back.

      1. Procopius

        Olive farming is not too crazy. That’s why it thrived in North Africa after the climate changed to drier conditions (starting back around 3-400 BC). It requires very little water.

  7. Jon H

    I have long been too naive in the views of not Clinton herself but her supporters. I have an uncle who describes himself as a “mainstream Democrat”. He is viewed as the leftist of our family but we live on opposite sides of the country so I do not talk to him too often. I was recently visiting and we go to talking and I literally could not believe the things he was saying. Among his points were:
    – Hillary’s Wall Street speeches are no big deal because everyone does it, they did not know and she did not know she would be running for president, she makes a lot more money from her books and they would offer anyone including Sanders himself to speak to them.
    – Class and power should not be discussed at all in her campaign
    – Appealing to Sanders supporters should not be pursued. He is a loser and needs to get on board immediately to defeat Trump.
    – The Sanders thing was no big deal. Him coming out of nowhere and winning 22 states was irrelevant. He see’s Hillary and Bernie as already agreeing on pretty much everything so Sanders was basically Hillary with a male face.
    – The $15 minimum wage will “never happen” and if it did would cause a depression in states like Alabama.
    – Her AIPAC speech is of no concern at all. Bernie gave the same speech too. (Although of course he was not at AIPAC and had the nerve to actually recognize Palestinians as people.)

    To be fair, I guess not every Hillary supporter is like this but the effect of this Democrat vs Republican tribalism among many other things, has totally distorted any vision of a progressive politics. Thanks Yves and Lambert for this great forum. I’m clicking on the hat now.

    1. aletheia33

      “everyone does it” is a refrain i’ve often heard re any suggestion of $$ influence re hillary clinton.
      the fact that bernie sanders doesn’t do it and never has done it, when pointed out, just goes to show his useless outsiderness.

      it’s relatively easy to not see what you don’t want to see.
      the stupidification of a ruling class (and yes that term asserts inferiority/unfitness to govern) is a good sign of weakening in an empire.
      anyone with eyes to see can read the signs, as bin laden so presciently did.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        But everybody doesn’t do it. That’s the significance of the Sanders funding model, which the entire political class is resolutely shutting their eyes to.

        In other words:

        1) They don’t want campaign finance to change

        2) They enjoy the process of selling themselves to the highest bidder; jou·is·sance….

      2. Procopius

        I don’t think “everyone does it,” but I do think whatever she said in those speeches was meaningless. She certainly didn’t say that she was going to support their bonuses, although that’s surely what she really got paid for. She could have recited “Mary had a little lamb,” and it would have been good. The speeches were just an excuse to give her money without revealing what the quid pro quo is.

  8. RW Tucker

    The S word article resonates with me.

    I think it’s in no small part exacerbated by the “comedic news” shows, like the Daily Show and whatever other spinoffs around the dial. Humor has its place and these shows have their place. But the departure of Colbert and Stewart almost simultaneously tells you that they saw problems: after years of doing what they were doing, the republic was no better off for it.

    We know the axiom: every joke is at someone’s expense. To me, when a person consumes news as comedy, every story now has a butt. Someone or some issue is always the punchline. Belittling, poking fun at, or demeaning becomes a nightly exercise. Sure, that’s fine in small doses (newspaper comics or pithy editorials, anyone?) But when it’s the primary way in which news is consumed, I don’t think it’s a good sign for the body politic.

    Jon Stewart famously took down Crossfire (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFQFB5YpDZE), saying “Why do we have to fight?” and pillorying them for engaging in discussion where the two sides, at the end, were still friends. But truly, that was one of the last shows where the two [artificially constructed] sides sat down across the table from one another. Now Stewart’s scions go around bemoaning the lack of bipartisanship.

    Somehow, now, all political action by anyone disagreeing with you, and I’m not going to focus on the left or right, because it’s everyone, is scoff worthy. Anyone who disagrees is an idiot, or, in another turn we’ve had lately, lacks perspective because of their in-group (white, not white, gendered/not, or, lately, someone from the UK or a dirty American like myself, etc).

    I’m not too optimistic about our ability to deal with each other as citizens anymore.

    1. Schnormal

      Yes! I’ve had it up to here for forever with the S-word. Arnade could have taken it much further — people who overuse it are flaunting not only their supposed good education, but their privileged option to remain willfully blind to the perspectives of others.

      The S word should have been called out LONG ago, even before cable tv combined it with the F word (Funny) and weaponized it as our national rhetorical default.

      No one knows how to have a normal conversation anymore; everyone just rehashes lines from the Jon Oliver show. Sure he’s funny. The 10,000 jackasses who imitate him, not so much. This is why I no longer leave the house.

      Back in the day, a substitute teacher came in to teach our 6th grade class. I guess a bunch of us were using the S word, and she just asked us, “When you call someone stupid, what are you really saying?” No one said anything. “You’re saying ‘I’m smart.'” And the way she grinned and patted herself on the chest made us see how insufferable it was. I don’t remember much about school, but I’ll be forever grateful to that lady.

      1. Carolinian

        I loved John Oliver on the Daily Show but his HBO show punches too many predictable liberal buttons. Inviting the audience to agree with you is a bit needy.

        As for the S word, some who are fondest of it can be rather S themselves. As the Down South Baptists like to say, “judge not that ye be not judged.”

        1. Schnormal

          Yes the formula is getting tiresome — “Today’s dirt + pissy delivery + obscure celebrity reference = comedy mudbrick.”

          Maybe I just need to lighten up. I think I’ll take the dog for a walk, go find the ice cream truck. Ooh I hope he has a chipwich.

      2. jrs

        It’s too easy to throw out the baby of actually having any standards for evaluating things with the bathwater. Some opinions are better informed than others period. And that’s the baby that needs to be preserved. The bathwater is assuming because one holds a misinformed viewpoint (and who doesn’t on at least something) that it indicates something about one’s intellectual capacity (if such a thing could even be measured). It doesn’t. I’m not sure ANYONE is actually stupid. But as for how informed people are about politics, politics is an acquired taste, since the system we live in actively dis-empowers people anyway, why should we assume everyone has developed a taste for it and become extremely informed about it?

        And of course those with a privileged background will have a head start in being informed about MANY things (but they might also have a class interest in NOT seeing a lot of things … I mean they’ll have basic class bias as well). I think that’s fairly self-evident.

        The correct attitude to knowledge is to share it. If you actually are more informed about a topic than most, it’s not cause for pride but to try to raise their understanding some (ok people may or may not have the background for knowledge about some highly technical matter, but other things are more accessible).

        1. Gaylord

          If the baby is hideously deformed, then the bath surely won’t fix it; so yes — throw it out and conceive a new one. What’s the matter? …”informed” people have no imagination?

        2. Schnormal

          jrs I appreciate what you’re saying, and I agree — sorry, I didn’t mean everyone should gladly suffer fools or encourage flat-earthers.

          I was thinking more of the general conversational stance many people have adopted of just waiting for an opportunity to crack wise and dismiss someone. All this cleverness has become downright oppressive. Maybe I’m just getting old and unfunny, but I don’t need to be constantly entertained, especially when it sounds more like behavior policing.

          I see many friends and coworkers who have taken to following a much more conformist script than I ever thought mature adults could put up with. People have become impatient with unmediated ideas and unforgiving of transgressors. This is of course due to the influence of social media, which serves up more bite-sized stories than anyone can digest, along with the reactions that used to vanish under people’s breath.

    2. ekstase

      Maybe we should take a day where all of us just assume that everything we think is completely wrong. I bet things would get real quiet and peaceful for a whole day.

        1. aletheia33

          in fact advaita vedanta and other practices of nonduality teach the recognition and shedding of all assumptions, even of one’s own and anything else’s existence. and things do get real quiet and peaceful.

  9. John Parks

    ” I suppose that if money is speech, the First Amendment says “make no law” restricting it”

    Then I would like to exercise my right to free speech, unamended by any laws, when paying my taxes. I would like to earmark my monetized speech to go only to education, universal healthcare, and infrastructure. None of my taxes should to go for anything related to the Defense Department, the intelligence agencies or their adjuncts (e.g. NED, USAID)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In that case, making people pay taxes (directing money towards a specific place) is like making them repeat official speeches or narratives (directing speeches towards specific ends).

      And in such a free society (money is speech), taxation would be illegal.

      Also, taxation = money destruction and thus taxation = speech banning

  10. Tom Stone

    Docusign is very popular with my clients due to the ease they can perform signings.
    And corporations like it too because keeping paper records for years is burdensome and expensive.
    What could possibly go wrong?
    I’d really rather not find out.
    And I advise all of my clients to keep a blue ink original of every document involved in a Real Estate Transaction.
    It’s usually your biggest investment and there’s no need to add an unquantifiable risk.
    If your agent gives you any flak because it’s less convenient remind them that they are an agent, not a principal.

    1. Alex morfesis

      A little group called MISMO is going the tell you to go schaeuble that idea…they are moving to create standards without any public discussion…

      well not with the “human carbon based breathing” public anyhow…

      No collusion involved…we are just “$etting $tandards”…& with scotus doing its Wallets United ruling today with the virginia governor and his unofficial duties gifts…

      well let us all practice together…

      Hail Ming…

      or as my calabrese friends will probably shout…

      hail mingkiatz…

      Now if I can just find the turn off switch to the Nitron Ray…

  11. Qrys

    “What’s it like to ride a glass slide 1,000 feet above L.A.? We tried it out” [Los Angeles Times]. I’m filing this under “Guillotine Watch,” because the slide is at the U.S. Bank building in downtown L.A.; I see it as conditioning “consumers” to take stupid risks (rather like extreme sports).

    I’ve seen it, but won’t try it.

    To my mind this is an adjunct to the “Skyscraper Index”, another signal of an imminent market crash – turning the tallest office building downtown into a pseudo-attraction like the Stratosphere in LV is just absurd…

    on the other hand, when I worked downtown post-9/11, this building was routinely the main focus of the “terrorism drills” (they’d have several massive helicopters hovering over it at a time), so perhaps this also demonstrates a waning concern over terrorism, if they’re opening up the building to publicity stunts like this… this would’ve been impossible back in 2003…

    1. polecat

      Here’s a thought…….Remove a section of that slide….and then ‘allow the banksters..uh.. I meant financial representatives….1st shot at the thrils…..

      1st one down gets an all-expense-paid trip to hell…..

      and then the 2nd..and then the 3rd.. and then th…….

  12. Chauncey Gardiner

    Lambert, thanks for the linked retrospective to Bennie Worrell’s work and the piece from the Talking Heads. His intro to their “Once in a Lifetime” from the clip of their 1983 LA concert is memorable for me.

  13. Anne

    The people Clinton is choosing to surround herself with is one of the reasons she comes across as such a phony.

    I’m beginning to think the only difference between Neera Tanden and Rahm Emmanuel is that she still has all her fingers.

    1. optimader

      I imagine the kids/neighbor learned some new words/vernacular expressions the day Rahm put his hand in a running snowblower. If I were an uncharitable person, I’d say too bad it wasn’t a loose necktie, but I’m not so I won’t say that.

      1. Pirmann Bubba

        Exactly. Elizabeth Warren, and soon, Bernie Sanders. He’s just one half-step away from putting on his I’m With Her button and stepping to the stage at the Democrat Convention to offer his endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

        You forget that these folks are, first and foremost, politicians. Hell, before Bernie and Liddy Warren, John McCain and Sarah Palin were the “mavericks du jour”. Career politicians masquerading as revolutionaries. How do we always miss it?

        Bernie really disappoints me though. You would think that no-one would be better positioned to be a true revolutionary figure than a 74 year old senator with big ideas and nothing really to lose. I mean, it’s not like he has his whole career ahead of him and needs to kowtow to the establishment in order to advance. He could throw two fingers up and ride into the sunset, but he’s inexplicably will not. Finishing second and endorsing the party establishment candidate does not make you revolutionary. It makes you Marco Rubio.

  14. allan

    Bezzle makes it into the Gray Lady:

    Bad Behavior Is Exposed as the Shale-Oil Market Shrinks [NYT]

    A legal case against the self-described Frack Master is a sure sign that the so-called bezzle in the shale-oil industry is shrinking.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission says the entrepreneur Chris Faulkner inflated his shale companies’ prospects to attract cash, then blew $80 million of investors’ money on questionable expenses like escort services.

  15. Alex morfesis

    Will the queen call in Nicola and ask her to form a Unity govt with a timeout for 30 months on brexit & a mandate to creat job$, job$, job$$$…

    arguing that the U.K. had to ask 3 times to join, and with a basic split populous, that before making any “hasty” adjustments, the country needs to focus on the real problems of economic balance and reasonable opportunities for the great many as against the fortunate few…

    1. Pookah Harvey

      I made through 19 min before getting physically ill. Can anybody beat that?
      Elizabeth, just what in the hell are you doing?

      1. sd

        I made it to 30 minutes. One thing I noticed, there’s lost of talk of better jobs, better pay, but I’m not hearing cold hard details about how to achieve any of it. Like the high cost of a college education, no mention of details. Or low taxes for the 1% but no details about how to correct that.

        1. aab

          Perhaps they’re attempting to summon the Policy Fairy come join her cousin the Confidence Fairy.

          1. aab

            She’s also super accomplished. And highly intelligent. And has worked diligently for women and children all her life.

            I don’t need to put a snark tag on this, right?

  16. Ian

    Just to let you know, when I attempt to link relevant NC articles on my FB on the popular pages they get deleted by who ever is deciding these things on FB, consistently. I have gotten around it by excluding your site and using the end bit of the link with clarification. Anyone else finding this? This is happening on Robert Reichs, Storm is Coming and a few other pages. FB is actively purging.

    1. savedbyirony

      This is somewhat related but i heard from multiple friends today that when they tried to post and share Jessie William’s comments from yesterday’s Bet Awards (he received an award for his humanitarian efforts), they were removed from FB. For anyone who hasn’t heard his five minute speech, it’s very powerful, frank and to the point about police brutality and black citizens.

  17. Quentin

    Teera Nanden brackets her name three times to let you know she’s a card-carrying Neo-Neo-Liberal: a lady of money, power and social standing. Her Mistress’s projected wars on Syria, Iran and I don’t know where else will need the backing of the NYT’s, no wonder she supports the firewall, since the peasants can’t pay for access and will not be informed enough to raise objections to all the future warmongering of the next Democratic administration (if there is one). Only she doesn’t know that no one goes to the NYT for information—well, sometimes, but not so often—that’s how up she is on things, though she does seem to Twitter an awful lot. And the nasty bit about health insurance is like some kind of lobbyist’s wet dream. We’ll just leave that one for what it’s worth: I am in thrall to health insurance companies, doctors and medical specialists and the pharmaceutical industry, you way, I can afford to meet their demands (and if you can’t, tough luck). I know she brackets her name three times to emphasize her commitment to identity politics of a particular strain.

    1. Patricia

      And yet, like other Hillary cronies at the close of the Dem platform meetings, she droned on about how she was poor she was when young and her mother used all the social programs….

      Putz all the way through.

    2. different clue

      Oh? Is that why? Its not a visible humor-riff on the bright young AntiJewites’ use of the ((( ))) to show who is a ((( secret Jew ))) in need of outing?

      1. Carolinian

        Is that what it’s all about?

        Apparently the elites have convinced themselves that the internet is a raving horde of anti-semites and therefore they are justified in ignoring it and not learning anything that isn’t in the (fully paid subsciption to) NYT or Wapo. The result, as Yves says, is that they learn nothing and forget nothing with emphasis on the former. If the printing press had just been invented they would still be reading scrolls.

        The elites like their info curated by polite, like minded people.

  18. JerseyJeffersonian

    Okay, so I was Googling up the full text of the Sellout Warren post at Donald Trump’s campaign website, so I typed in the first bit of the post, including the reference to the Democrat Party. When the search results appeared, this little query was at the top:

    Did you mean: As Clinton tries to salvage support among the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, Senator Elizabeth…

    I use a direct quote from the post, and sententious Google looks down its nose and suggests, although not in so many words, that I am, uh, Stoopid for using that formulation.

    Thumb in the pan at Google, I guess, as direct quotes in searches now get flagged when they offer offense to the owners political sensitivities. Now that really and truly is stoopid, not to mention arrogant and condescending.

    1. Ranger Rick

      Google’s autocorrect on Android phones automatically capitalizes certain trademarked names to protect them from dilution. It’s not just your search bar input they mess with.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Perhaps “the google” would have thought you less stoopid had you used terms like “goofy,” “money-grubber,” “nasty man” and “thin-skinned.” All of these, according to the pom pom section at msnbs, were used to “stir up the crowd” by the “attack dogs” at the clinton/warren rally.

      As a decades-long, card-carrying member of the XX chromosome club, I despair.

      The “historic” elevation of a female to the candidacy for president of the united states has turned, remorselessly, into the mean girls table in the high school cafeteria.

      To paraphrase Kevin Bacon in A Few Good Men, is there a discussion of a pertinent issue anywhere in our future?

      And to paraphrase Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal, only a woman (or two) can completely destroy the credibility american women have spent a lifetime building.

  19. tony

    I never get called stupid. Liberals do keep calling me crazy, mentally ill, detached from reality and occasionally a berniebro as a response to cited criticism of Hillary.

  20. afisher

    Miami Herald article on healthcare costs. The hate spewed in the comments was shocking. The GOP mantra appears accurate: people who can’t carry their own weight really need to die.

    1. RMO

      And judging by the Neera Tanden quote some Democrats feel the same way. Worthy of Ayn Rand that quote. I think she belongs in an undersea city in the Atlantic screaming “PARASITE!!!” at people.

    2. hunkerdown

      Your employer’s presumptive Chief of Staff didn’t say the same thing five years ago on Twitter?

      You need to apologize for your lack of self-awareness.

  21. different clue

    I read/saw the Neera Tanden Twittershot before beginning my shift of work at 1530hr today. Now I am on break and circled back to see it again and I find it “missing”. I click on the orange clickable link to it and it is a big blue screenfield with the words : Sorry! That page doesn’t exist.”

    It’s almost as though somebody told Tanden just how ugly and revealing that Twittershot really was. And she is trying to retro-erase it from existence. Down the Memory Hole for real.

    Is anyone here computer-skilled enough to retrieve an image of that Twittershot from the Memory Hole and repost it here in all its glory? Otherwise that lying Clintonite sack of sh*t liar Tanden can pretend it never existed. And get away with it.

    1. different clue

      But the question remains. . . can that tweet be recovered and preserved? Did someone who recieved it still have a copy of it in their tweet storage?

      That tweet could be weaponised and disseminated for viralization. But that can’t happen if the tweet can’t be recovered , preserved and reproduced.

  22. fresno dan


    Employment is at levels not seen since modern records began in the early 1970s. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created every year and most of them are full time. The jobless rate is half the European average. According to the Bank of England, wage settlements should be getting more generous as employers compete for a shrinking pool of workers.

    In fact, the opposite is happening. Despite a higher percentage of the population working than ever before, the annual rate of growth in earnings is falling not rising. Clearly, workers are not in such short supply as the Bank of England imagines.
    There are, though, three other possible explanations, which may be acting singly or collectively to keep earnings low. The first is that the supply of labour is increasing both as a result of population growth and immigration.

    The availability of work means Britain is acting as a jobs magnet for citizens of other EU countries. Between the final quarter of 2015 and the final quarter of 2016, the number of people working in Britain rose by 532,000. Almost half that increase – 254,000 – was accounted for by non-UK nationals. There was a 215,000 increase in employment for workers from other EU countries. Employers don’t need to raise pay if they can employ young willing workers from eastern Europe at the going rate.

    The second explanation is that the jobs being created by the economy tend to be ones that don’t pay all that well: shop workers, hotel staff, cleaners. This, according to the Bank, is affecting the growth rate of earnings.
    Governments of both left and right have repeatedly claimed to be creating an economy awash with challenging, highly remunerated jobs. Instead, Britain specialises in low-wage, low-skill, low-productivity jobs. That’s why earnings growth is so poor.

    We emphasize here in the US our “choice” between the parties – each party bitches incessantly about the other although on most issues, they agree far more than they disagree (trade, foreign affairs, bailing out banks). Sure, there are disagreements, e.g., repubs want a repub Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Treasury, and Dems want a dem Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Treasury – but for the most part, they agree in making the less well off even less well off, and the rich richer…

    And of course, we live in a Pravda like world that if you think there is something wrong with what’s going on, you must be INSANE…and a racist….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those cheap Eastern European immigrants.

      Here, the problem is not racial, though some may make it an issue of ethnicity (unless the claim – by you know who – is that the Slavs belong to a different race than the native race – but what is that race though), making it a more straightforward (though not completely) immigration issue.

  23. RUKidding

    Neo-Nazi protests met by anti-fascist protestors…. turns to violence. Both sides claim that the PD did nothing to intervene in the violence. Rocks and bottles hurled and appears that 8 people were stabbed. A loaded gun was found later on the CA State capital grounds.

    Unfortunate. I live part-time in Sacramento, and these protests were well-known in advance. It doesn’t sound like the PD did a very good job handling it. I don’t condone the violence, no matter who did what, but I have concern that we’ll see more coming along.

    With one presumptive Presidential candidate openly encouraging his voters to be violent towards those with whom they disagree, this is a logical outcome. Not good.

    1. aab

      Clinton has used pervasive propaganda to more subtly “otherize” her opponent and his supporters to achieve the same end. A wealthy, white, elderly male Clinton delegate at the New York State Convention publicly DURING THE MEETING ITSELF, caned a young women of color Bernie delegate and told her to sit down. Yes, caned. Hit her with a cane. Twice. Nothing was done. A male Clinton supporter physically assaulted a female Bernie supporter at an Atlanta hotel and was arrested. Another Clinton supporter elbowed a young female of color in the face when she tried to ask Clinton a question at a public event.

      As a Bernie supporter I regularly see extremely violent threats come across the Twitter transom against Bernie and his voters by Clinton supporters. Only Clinton supporters.

      Both presumptive major party presidential candidates are instigating violence in different ways. Only one of them has stolen an election so far.

  24. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    I’ve had discussions with Neera. She’s Hillary on the twitter: in your face and lying. Unlike Hillary, she knows how to use the internet (barely).

    Burble burble

  25. bob

    I’m becoming confused by the fear/greed report – “Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 38, Greed (previous close: 44, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 27 at 12:59pm.”

    Surely if 0 is fear and 100 greed, then going from 44 (Fear) to 38 should be greater fear, not greed, no? Perhaps the template you use to report needs to be updated from the all greed all the time of a week or two ago?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m dyslexic! That said:

      Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 38, Greed (previous close: 44, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 27 at 12:59pm. Mr. Market’s Brexit-induced mood swings hard toward the fear pole; the hangover from the 19th hole must be terrible!

      Fear 0 < 38 < 44 < 62 Greed 100. I don't see where the error is.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. “Leading thinkers” — Thay tend to prefer “thought leaders”. I prefer the German “Gedankenführer”.

  27. edmondo

    “But in McCutcheon, Roberts reinforced a limited definition of political corruption, defining it very much like bribery. To prove corruption, one must essential prove a quid pro quo — that money led to some specific act of corruption.

    “[Rajiv Fernando, a] major Democratic donor [and bundler] personally lobbied then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office for a seat on a sensitive government intelligence board…

    So a bundler asking for and getting a job is not corruption? Because Hillary would have appointed me (a non-bundler) had I asked for the job first?

  28. Brian

    Tanden deleted the tweet Lambert spotlighted here but there are plenty of image grabs of said tweet if one types “Tanden tired of freeloaders” into the Google search box and presses enter.
    Now, if the google search algorithms start blackboxing those images, then we’ll know exactly just how much sandpaper Tanden is using to scuff up Clinton’s baseballs the night before she takes the mound.

    1. aab

      I just used the Google machine about an hour ago and could find no image grabs of the tweet. I think I looked through the first two pages of the results. I could find text from articles that referenced the tweet, but not the actual tweet itself.

      As Corey Robin has proved, she is quite capable of now asserting that she never said any such thing.

      If you’ve got a link to any actual image grab, maybe paste it here for safekeeping? Better yet, an actual file?

  29. different clue

    Well . . . the Neera Tanden Twitter feed is still linkable-to as such. One wonders if a brute force search going back into the past would find that damning tweet still there. Someone with their own personal computer ( as opposed to a workplace computer on break) might spend the time to see if that tweet is still there or if it has been deleted. If it is still there, is there a way to copy it in such a way that Tanden can’t reach out and retro-delete it from other storage-places and methods?

    Because that damning tweet really is damning and is highly weaponizable.

    Here is the Tanden Tweet feed. https://twitter.com/neeratanden

    1. hunkerdown

      I’m sure you read the piece on the Fritz papyrus. The same principles apply: there are plenty of copies and screenshots of the tweet in question; but which ones are a vast wing conspiracy?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        This is interesting because we see digital evidence in the act of being altered. I can testify that I personally saw the tweet on my Twitter feed last night, sent myself a link to it in mail, and then embedded the HTML code in Water Cooler. Shortly thereafter, the link disappeared. But the screen dumps have the right content and timestamp. Further, I got the tweet from a retweet, so there’s additional testimony. So there’s a chain of evidence that authenticates it.

    2. hunkerdown

      The big long number at the end of the link to the tweet is its unique identifier, which is the only ID amenable to brute-forcing in this instance. Once it has been marked deleted, you as a mortal have no chance of getting it through the public interface. It may or may not still live in the database for archival or graph-connectedness purposes since actually removing data is sometimes more trouble than it’s worth.

      As Lambert points out, we got a bit lucky this time in that she was widely retweeted and screencapped. Remember, there’s a war against “Save as…” going on, and despite the starving artist poster children, this is more likely why.

  30. Otis B Driftwood

    Popped over to the HuffPo article on Clinton/Warren. The “I’m with her” crowd is euphoric about Warren joining their candidate on the campaign trail. Totally baffling to me that anyone would believe Hillary has suffered a progressive epiphany. Did any of these people see what happened with the Dem platform? Sheesh, it might as well be the GOP platform.

    Rather what is truly dumbfounding is Warren leaping like a Bolshoi ballerina aboard the good ship neoliberal. Ah, well. So it goes.

  31. Chromex

    Re:”Life During wartime” the lyrics were all the more prescient for being written and released long before 1984, when the concert was filed. The song was originally on “Fear of Music”. a 1979 release, so they were probably written in 1977-8, the dawn age of neoliberalism

  32. JM

    It’s times like these I wish I was on Twitter…so perhaps someone else could relay the message?

    It would be greatly appreciated if someone could ask Neera Tanden why she is SO OVER freeloaders in health care services but not SO MUCH OVER with freeloaders who, through pollution, do not pay the full social cost of their emissions? I know, it probably will fly over her head, considering the ignorant conflation of a merit good (health care) and a club good (newspaper).

    See that’s the thing with Clinton…she and the people she surrounds herself with are just so…underwhelming. But I would seriously be thrilled if someone would ask her why she gets so worked up about some “freeloaders” and not others.

  33. DarkMatters

    Uncanny: I wonder how many in East Ukraine are singing “Life During Wartime” right now (with or without a few changes in city names).

  34. vidimi

    re AI

    if it was so good, you would think they would include it in their advertising service as that’s their cash cow. instead, i get ads for flights and hotels i have just booked.

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