2:00PM Water Cooler 6/9/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Vietnam’s National Assembly could ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership either in July or October with an eye toward ‘systematically — and occasionally slowly — moving toward implementation,’ U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius said Wednesday” [Politics]. “The process of implementing a plan to comply with the TPP’s labor obligations will take place in ‘partnership with us, with other TPP members and with the private sector,’ the ambassador added, ‘because the private sector has lots to gain from full implementation of all of the TPP commitments, and particularly the labor commitments.'” I’m told that nobody does “slow” like a Vietnamese bureaucrat. And the talk of “labor commitments” looks like it’s for domestic consumption.

“Is it technically possible to conclude TTIP in 2016?” [BorderLex]. Let’s hope Betteridge’s Law applies. “The US administration and key EU leaders are seeking to finalise negotiations of towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by the end of 2016. The main reason is the political calendar in the US, with the outgoing Obama administration wanting to wrap up at a time when nobody knows what kind of trade policy the US will adopt next year. But is it at all – technically – possible to conclude talks in 2016? A close look at the state of play of TTIP negotiations indicates it’s not the case – unless both sides significantly reduce the scope of the deal.”


Lambert here: Access journalism comes from the Republican as well as the Democrat establishment, that is, from the political class taken as a whole. There’s an awful lot of noise right now, and very little signal. Hence this section will have few links, and more commentary, than usual.

Our Famously Free Press

“Did the media overstep by crowning Clinton the nominee?” [Margaret Sullivan, WaPo]. Lambert here: I liked Sullivan‘s work, mostly, at the Times. Here, however, Sullivan in essence urges that AP called the race for Clinton on election eve as the result of institutional imperatives, so “Move along people, move along, there’s no story here.” Further, she urges that not making the call would have been “suppressing” the story, a la the Times suppressing James Risen’s story on Bush’s warrantless surveillance until after Bush was safely elected.

I don’t buy it. First, “solidly reported” or not, there’s no real story, let alone a scoop; that superdelegates overwhelmingly supported Clinton has been widely known for a year, and that a projected combination of pledged and unpledged delegates would probably clinch the election for Clinton has also been a widely known scenario. (The nomination, of course, is actually clinched when delegates actually vote, a process that the Democrat establishment oddly, or not, seems ready to dispense with). Second, executives and editors control the calendar, and in a routinized process like a delegate survey, setting the start point for the data gathering determines the end point for publication. Are we really to believe that the editor who assigned the story didn’t know the work product would be delivered on election eve? Or that an executive somehow missed the implications? Third, the margin was one. Yes, one. Finally, Sullivan sets up a straw man. Nobody is saying “suppress the story.” What I am saying is assign the story so that it’s not published on election eve! 38 countries ban pre-election polling for some number of days, including “Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Mexico, Norway, Poland and Venezuela. In France, election polls are banned on polling day and the day before.” The United States should follow these civilized countries and do the same.


“Why California looked close for Bernie Sanders, but wasn’t” [McClatchy]. The polls showed a dead heat between Sanders and Clinton; the results were Clinton by >10%. The article gives some explanations.

Lambert here: Of course, I support the world standard for voting: Hand-Marked, Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, Publicly Tabulated. That said, on the basis of very fragmentary information, my model of the Democrat primary voting process is state and local apparatchiks “working toward the Führer”*; what could be called (hat tip Shystee) an “emergent conspiracy,” emerging organically as “the party decided,” and not centrally controlled, as by a Bond villain or villainess. Sanders having been successfully other-ed as a non-Democrat, Democrat officialdom felt licensed to throw every small institutional obstacle in his way, opportunisticaly. From memory: Purging voter rolls of likely Sanders supporters, ballot gaming large and small, shrinking the number of polling places, long lines, no parking, deceptive signage, and so forth. As we know from Republican-run elections (Florida 2000; Ohio 2004) these small obstacles add up; election fraud the old-fashioned way. That’s not to say that Sanders would have won; it is to say that our election apparatus is irremediably corrupt and should be brought up to world standards by removing it entirely from partisan control and installing “national technical means of verification,” as the arms race negotiators would call it: Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted, in public. When we bring some Canadians down here to show us how to do Medicare for All, they could show us how to do this, too.

NOTE * Godwin’s Law eruption in 10, 9, 8 counting, 7….

The Trail

“The five days in 2008 that propelled Clinton to today” [E.J. Dionne, WaPo]. I’m actually sympathetic to this story, but consider this passage:

The Hillary Clinton who prevails and wins loyalists, I’d argue, brings together two aspects of the Methodist tradition in which she was raised and, by extension, two sides of the American character. She embodies the tensions and, sometimes, contradictions of what the theologian Michael Novak once described as the “communitarian individual.” Her individualistic side sees salvation as depending on determination, grit and a dedication to work, and more work. Her communal side (she wrote a book, after all, called “It Takes a Village”) runs through all her policy proposals, the values she lifts up (“all of us together” in 2008, “stronger together” now) and her attitude toward her friends. Those two instincts keep her going. “

So naturally I searched on “famous Methodists in fiction” and came up with Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry:

During his career, Gantry contributes to the downfall, physical injury, and even death of key people around him, including a sincere minister, Frank Shallard, who is plagued by doubt. Especially ironic are the way he champions love, an emotion he seems incapable of, in his sermons, preaches against ambition, when he himself is so patently ambitious, and organizes crusades against (mainly sexual) immorality, while he has difficulty resisting temptation in this direction himself (and indeed, normally gives in to temptation).

Replace financial corruption with sexual temptation in the above passage, and you’ve got a useful corrective to Dionne’s hagiography, with Clinton as the Methodist protagonist, not Gantry.

“At Burlington Airport, Vermonters Welcome Sanders Home” [Seven Days]. ” After landing at Burlington International Airport that evening, he bypassed a horde of reporters gathered outside the Heritage Aviation terminal and focused his attention instead on a group of supporters standing across the street. He shook hands and posed for photos, then declared, ‘Alright, go home. It’s cold!'” (And he’s right. It’s freezing up here, I’m guessing as a result of the Canadian oil sands Ft McMurray fires.)

“There Are More White Voters Than People Think. That’s Good News for Trump” [Nate Cohn, New York Times]. I wonder if Cohn identifies as white, or Jewish, and if the latter, whether he voted for the first Jewish Presidential candidate, or whether Cohn’s an antisemite? (New readers, should I have issued an irony alert here?)

“Donald Trump gave the speech Republicans desperately needed. It might have come too late” [WaPo]. With video, very much worth listening to; I’d be interested to hear what readers think.

Clinton Email Hairball

These are the long-form sources I’ve found most useful on Clinton’s email. Since it looks like that simmering scandal is about to have the lid blown off, one way or another, readers can familiarize themselves with the issues using them:

1. “Do I Really Need to Worry About Hillary’s Emails? Yes. She Will Be Indicted. (Full Form)” [Informed Vote]. A former policy debater takes up every possible argument from both sides with evidence. Impressive.

2. “The Clinton Email Scandal Timeline [Thompson Timeline]. This is not simply a graphical timeline, but a ginormous aggregation of links and quotes that you can navigate chronologically.

3. “Hillary Clinton’s Emails Now Might Finally Take Her Down” [LawNewz]. Shorter, but from the heart of the establishment. I would bet that every worker bee in Washington that has read this agrees with it. The implication is that if Clinton is elected, she will be impeached. And rightly.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of June 4, 2016: “The labor market is suddenly looking much better than it did as jobless claims data show across-the-board improvement. Initial claims fell 4,000 in the June 4 week to what is a very impressive and very low 264,000 level” [Econoday]. And the four-week rolling averages improved [Econintersect].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of June 5, 2016: Unchanged [Econoday]. ” This is the second straight solid showing for this reading which did dip at mid-May. Strength in consumer confidence measures reflects optimism in the jobs outlook.”

Wholesale Trade, April 2016: “Wholesales inventories rose a very sharp 0.6 percent in April in a result that will lift early estimates for second-quarter GDP. And the build (risking a double negative) is not unwanted as sales in the wholesale sector rose a very strong 1.0 percent. The mix actually points to a leaner level of inventories with the stock-to-sales ratio down to 1.35 from 1.36” [Econoday]. “This report, like jobless claims earlier today, is a surprise on the upside, contrasting with what has been a recent downside run of economic data.”

ETFs: “Fixed-income ETFs as a group have attracted roughly $8 out of every $10 headed into ETFs in 2016, raking in some $38 billion in fresh net assets so far this year. The rising popularity of bond ETFs has been largely linked to growing investor demand for ways to capture yield and to manage portfolio risk in the face of increased equity market volatility” [ETF.com].

Shipping: “Panama Canal Authority: 17 days until world trade upgrades” [Splash247]. “[T]alk of a rival Central American waterway has gone quiet. Beijing telecoms tycoon Wang Jing’s plans to build a canal through Nicaragua have cooled. Panama sends a team to Nicaragua regularly to check out what is happening on the ground. It seems Wang’s own financial problems, combined with fierce environmental opposition to the construction, have at least delayed any canal.”

The Bezzle: ” A mixed set of rules internationally and low fines in some countries mean that bribery often pays off for companies even when they get caught, inter-governmental think-tank, the OECD, said on Thursday” [Futures]. “Using cash-flow simulations, the OECD calculated that 23 countries’ maximum fines were not high enough to offset the financial return on investments in which bribery is involved…. However, higher fines alone would not be enough to deter bribery because regulations are often poorly enforced. The three countries with the most punitive fines, which were not identified in the report, had not successfully prosecuted any company for bribery.”

The Bezzle: “Why I have finally taken off the Apple Watch for the last time” [Guardian]. “smartwatches are a solution in search of a problem. A technology created, not to serve consumer demand, but to serve the need of device manufacturers to fill the revenue hole created by declining smartphone growth. You don’t need one, and neither do I. It just took me nine months of wearing it to realise.”

The Bezzle: “YCombinator, probably the most famous tech-company accelerator, is starting a pilot program to test the idea of universal basic income” [Bloomberg]. Because with BIG, everybody could afford to buy an Apple Watch! (Again, YCombinator is Patient Zero for Bezzle Buzzwords like “innovation,” “disruption,” “startup,” “founder,” and so on. Be sure to count the spoons when these guys leave the house.)

Political Risk: “[San Francisco’s] municipal officials are drafting an “economic resiliency plan” — one of the first of its kind in the U.S — to ensure the city of 865,000 can better withstand a financial earthquake akin to the one that roiled global markets in 2008 and left some U.S. cities on the verge of economic ruin” [Bloomberg]. Readers, can anybody send a link to the San Francisco plan?

Political Risk: “It’s clear that homeownership rates have declined for everyone during the past 10 years, not just for millennials” [Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta]. I’m filing this interesting link under politcal risk since — speculating freely — perhaps people are reluctant to get involved with the financial system, given that it’s rife with fraudsters and thieves. In fact, it’s hard to think of a society-wide system these days that people would willingly enter, at least without credentialed protection in the form of a lawyer or an accountant; this would certainly include the health care system, but also the law enforcement system, and large swaths of the educational system, at all levels.

“United Technologies Chief Executive Gregory Hayes estimated that 44% of the company’s 1,600 suppliers—including the 500 to 600 who supply parts and materials for the engines themselves—weren’t meeting the company’s on-time delivery and quality control targets. ‘Forty-four percent is the challenge,’ Mr. Hayes said” [Wall Street Journal, “Pratt Struggles With Supply Chain for Jet Engine”]. As an air traveler, Mr. Hayes’s timing problems don’t affect me, but his quality control issues very well might. At some point, there’s going to be a Constellation moment, when the MBAs end up shaving just a wee bit too much quality off the requirements, the specifications, the inspections, and the parts themselves….

“Starbucks has more customer money on cards than many banks have in deposits” [MarketWatch]. The easy joke being that Starbucks coffee is to coffee as GM cars are to cars….

“Market Income In 2013 For Households In The Top 1 Percent Was 188 Percent Higher Than It Was In 1979” [Econintersect].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78, Extreme Greed (previous close: 80, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 9 at 12:54pm. Oh noes! Down a point!

The Unsettlement

“Movement “Nuit Debout”: Is it just about France’s labor reforms?” [Defend Democracy Press].

Guillotine Watch

“Welcome to Larry Page’s Secret Flying-Car Factories” [Bloomberg]. “[B]etter materials, autonomous navigation systems, and other technical advances have convinced a growing body of smart, wealthy, and apparently serious people that within the next few years we’ll have a self-flying car that takes off and lands vertically—or at least a small, electric, mostly autonomous commuter plane.” Squillionaires with bright ideas… Philip K. Dick’s wonderful Game Players of Titan has flying cars as part of daily life in a future world, but that world is depopulated….

Class Warfare

“The Economist Magazine, Marxism and the Conventional Wisdom” [Philip Pilkington, Econintersect].

“But this latest survey is evidence that good old-fashioned jobs retain their allure. Not everybody wants to be independent, and the U.S. labor market is not being transformed wholesale overnight” [Bloomberg]. “Then again, with the job market now sputtering, independence could be back in fashion soon enough.” Maybe, some day, regulating “the economy” by throwing people out of work will be seen for the barbaric relic it is.

“Selfishness Is Learned” [Nautil.us]. “The researchers worked under the assumption that snap judgments reveal our intuitive impulses. Our intuition, apparently, is to cooperate with others. Selfish behavior comes from thinking too much, not too little.”

News of the Wired

“LISA Pathfinder Reports Record-Breaking Gravitational Wave Results” [Scientific American]. Surf’s up!

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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 (600px minimum, please). 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):


I couldn’t grow pansies this year, but love those rich colors…

Readers, I’m running out of plants! Whether your intentions are artistic and/or documentary and/or amusing, you know what to do…. I’ve liked the creativity of plant videos, fungi, stumps, triptyches, and so on, but if your tomatoes are doing well, send them along too!

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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. Lambert Strether Post author

      Excellent summary. And the statistical evidence neatly correlates — OK, confirms my priors — on the institutional focus (“the party decides”) I provided. In short form: Where Democrat election officials could get away with cheating, they cheated.

      Adding: E-voting could be part of this. The statistical evidence isn’t sufficient to prove that. For example, a state with no paper trail could have, might even be likely to have, a panoply of fraudulent methods. If digital manipulation of the vote is going on, it’s certainly a closely held secret. I’m tempermentally opposed to both mono-causal reasoning and technofetishism.

      Adding: Voting machines with a “paper trail” are useless in preventing fraud unless the paper is the actual ballot (since a manipulator would cause the printout for the voter to vary from the digital count). And if the printed ballot is the official ballot, why not simply hand mark it, and count it in public? So I would argue that the “paper trail” vs. “not paper trail” is a proxy for institutional factors, since in itself the paper trail makes no difference (except possibly psychologically to the election officials).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I would add it’s likely the GOP vote suppression efforts have been well under way, and without ACORN and a decline of other progressive groups, I would bet the rolls are a mess.

      2. BillyHillyGeek

        Paper, paper, paper ballots. That’s what we should be using, I agree with you for sure.

        I’m a geek and I love technology, but there are some things that should continue being done the old-school way.

        Also, our elections should be monitored independently, including the primaries. There is too much evidence out there for me to believe that our elections aren’t being rigged, by both “legal” and illegal means.

        1. Benedict@Large

          Solving the mess at our polls is easy. They just don’t want to do it.

          Look, we did all the work for years. Identifying the scope and nature of the problem. Developing various, mostly inexpensive solutions. But all we got back was static about the voters’ already shaken trust. But not to make it worse, or some crap like that.

          I heard that so many times, and it never really made sense. The Dems were simply getting POUNDED by doing nothing. So I had a thought. What if the Dems are in on it to What if they simply haven’t needed to pull their plug om anyone yet?

          And now we have Bernie. And our proof. Our votes can be rigged to favor both parties. Anytime their bosses make the call.

          1. hunkerdown

            If we can get instant results, then what do we need representatives for? Pacifiers?

          2. Colin

            Not so. Where I live (NL) paper ballots are used, and still the results are announced fairly quickly, as in a few hours after the polling stations close.

          3. HotFlash

            The ‘demand’ for instant results is largely coming from the media. Here in Canada we have results by 11, polls usually close at 8. Oh, and employers *must* give a half-day off for voting. There are lots and lots of easy ways to fix US voting.

            I do think that one of the US problems is that you guys vote for so many offices. We vote for our reps only (eg: mayor/city counsellor/schoolboard trustee at the local level, provincial MPP/MLA, Federal MP, all in separate elections) so our ballots are easily tabulated. All our judges, sheriffs, prosecutors, dogcatchers, etc are appointed. Our ballots are much easier to tabulate.

      3. Kim Kaufman

        The “paper trail” is being used as a soothing palliative: “Don’t worry, we can always do a recount if we have a paper trail.” Of course, they make doing recounts impossibly expensive and cumbersome for any but the very well-funded.

      4. Pavel

        This should be Bernie’s rallying cry — along with publicly-funded elections.

        Just watch any UK election with the counting of the paper ballots — efficient and transparent and with an audit trail. There may be occasional hijinks with lost bags of ballots, but nothing along the lines of Diebold machine machinations.

    2. RW Tucker

      Interesting stuff, using the 2008 election as a standard. From what I understand, that was a much more competitive election, too.

      1. jrs

        We do need to crowd fund them. Next time. Or push local government to fund them maybe. Don’t expect help from the corrupt Party system or the corrupt media.

  1. Brindle

    re: Trump WaPo speech

    Good move to focus on Clinton corruption–it’s one issue where all Hillary can do is obfuscate and stonewall. If Trump is smart he will make “trade deals” and Clinton corruption his main focus.

    1. cwaltz

      Trade deals and militarism are areas where he can pull from both the left and the right.

    2. Alex morfesis

      Well trump aint smart…if he was he would have used the abrupt kolotombo of political power in mexico where the ruling party got smacked in local elections as a way to say the mexican people are starting to take back their country from the corrupt one which is dumping the criminals into gamerica to save money…if trump were smart…or actually wanted to sit at that desk in the oval office…he would pivot that mexican people would rather be in mexico instead of having to run away from the corrupt and incompetent politicians south of the border…if he was smart…but he aint…

  2. curlydan

    There should be some punishment for Apple Watch users. I guess a public flogging (perhaps spanking?) is too harsh. Maybe they should be required to wear and charge nightly their snooty, useless Apple Watches for five years. Sometimes a tax on time is more effective than a tax on income.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Without my Apple Watch, I sit at the keyboard for hours and become so engrossed that I can sometimes forget to move. Literally.

      The device has been a godsend during two months of knee rehab — it prompts me with hourly reminders, so I do my exercises consistently, and at constant intervals. The results are incredibly encouraging; my physical therapist is as thrilled as I am. If he had a magic wand, all his patients would get some kind of wearable, because it makes a tremendous difference for healing an injury to get reminders to do the PT exercises multiple times through the day.

      But hey, if wearing an Apple Watch makes me snotty — so be it.
      As long as I can recuperate and heal with a complete range of motion, pain-free, I can easily bear your disdain.

        1. John k

          I know somebody that is similarly reminded to move periodically, no particular injury, but elderly in particular should not be immobile for hours at a time.

          1. Optimader

            I know somebody that is similarly reminded..

            I remind myself to move by drinking lots of water, still i forget sometimes :o/

        2. readerOfTeaLeaves

          Well, it would be nice if I were the only one with such a reason ;-)
          Stay healthy!

      1. low integer

        I have a Casio watch that I can set to beep every hour. The battery lasts for years or maybe even a decade, then I can replace it with another battery, though I do note that the battery in the Apple watch can be replaced, albeit with a little more effort than most “consumers” would prefer.

  3. TRV

    Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted, in public. When we bring some Canadians down here to show us how to do Medicare for All, they could show us how to do this, too.

    Satraps can sometimes be permitted to have paper ballot elections because the Hegemon can always overrule a satrap government if the proles get too uppity over there.

    The Hegemon’s government OTOH is too important to be left to the vagaries of democracy.

    1. montanamaven

      Montana is great. You walk up to the gals at the table and sign in with gal #1. Gal #2 checks the voter roll to see if you are on it. Gal #3 hands you two paper ballots; one Republican and One Democrat and a small blue folder. You are instructed to only mark one ballot and then put that in the small blue folder and put the non marked ballot on top of the blue folder. Then hand it to gal #3 who deposits them in two different bins. Of course there are only 3500 people in the county, so pretty easy. Sanders won 53% to 42%. In Margot Kidder’s county he won 60% to 37%. Let me add that neither of these counties are filled with “naive” young people who have no idea how the system works. Bunch of old DFHs and silly adults.

      1. Optimader

        Same deal where i live… In the local middle school.. Walk right in… Must color within the circles… Always a test for me, i ignored that lesson in kindergarten and then throughout life

        We do then feed the ballot into a bluebox that grabsit like an dollarbill eater and makes satisfying noises. Wether its actually reading the damn ballot? Who knows

    1. Jim Haygood

      Hillary — better than crashing into a ditch and getting impaled on a fencepost as your car explodes in a fireball. :-)

        1. polecat

          We’re gonna need a bigger ditch……how bout a canal?

          …at least the fireball will be quenched….

      1. Ruben

        This one is good too lol, but the one about the hyenas gnawing off the leg, so freaking funny.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Bring it. Once again, this election will have a wonderfully clarifying effect.

      Adding, I’m guessing that the meeting with Sanders included what diplomats call a full and frank exchange of views?

      1. flora

        Sanders won Wisconsin, so of course Hillary and Obama are going there to stump for Hillary. I recall they both went to Connecticut to stump for Lieberman after Lamont beat Lieberman in the Dem Senate primary.
        Russ Feingold is running for Senate in Wisconsin. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

        1. grayslady

          This is a much tighter race for Feingold than it should be. I predict that if he shows up with Obama and Hillary he’s toast.

          1. flora

            I kinda think Feingold isn’t the kind of Dem that H&O want to win. Campaign finance reform at all that.

      2. DG

        Well – Bernie came out and promised to keep fighting. So we know how that went!

        Also, am I the only one who noticed that:
        a) White House described “the meeting was held at Bernie’s request” and
        b) There wasn’t a joint press statement or a subsequent WH statement on the meeting?

        1. bdy

          Got an e-mail asking for another $27 this AM. Warmed my heart. Happy to throw good money after good . . .

      3. gonso

        You’re a hateful piece of work. Maybe Elizabeth Warren for VP and we’ll see how fast your people will push for impeachment. GWB lost 5 million emails and it wasn’t even a story. You’re another Tucker Carlson

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          As to the factual basis of your critique, my home blog covered the gwb43.com scandal heavily in 2007, so “wasn’t even a story” is false.

          For the rest of it, “your people”? Posting this as an object lesson of how the Clinton push for “unity” is working out on the ground.

          Readers, adding: The comment already violates moderation rules, but I left it up as an object lesson. Don’t respond in kind, otherwise we might as well be the The New York Times Kos comment section. Responding on policy is fine.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          What an ugly and stupid and uninformed comment. It’s a river in Egypt: as though your favored candidate just happened to misplace a few emails and everybody is just making too much of that. By supporting Hilary you are declaring:
          1. You are for the expansion of our current Permanent War policy;
          2. You are for the current free pass for all banking criminals;
          3. You are against single-payer health care in favor of bankrupting health plans designed for Big Insurance and Big Pharma;
          4. You are for even more “trade deals” that impoverish American workers and lower our standard of living.
          But oh, her Chanel suits! And besides, she’s a woman! So after 8 years of Bush Term 3 and 4 policies by someone elected because of their *dermis* we’ll now get Bush Term 5 and 6 policies by someone elected because of their *pubis*. And you can sleep at night?

        3. Waldenpond

          Thank you for this. Between Lambert pointing out that with Clinton->Nuland->Russia war-> depopulation->flying cars! :)

          and reminding me how much I really want a Goldwater girl and someone who was an R into her mid 40s to head the D ticket….

          The sore winners are really making me chuckle today. Oh, and I’m really having fun with the warmonger endorsements of Clinton.

        4. Sammy Maudlin


          [Ad Hominem attack]. [Argumentum ad Speculum/Hasty Generalization/Non Sequitur]. [Red Herring]. [Ad Hominem/False Moral Equivalency].

          Fixed it fer ya!

    3. Gareth

      Two war criminals on one stage, what could be better? Please don’t drone me bro!

    4. ChiGal

      And to think, I was once so optimistic about him that I had a fleeting pang of regret on reading the link that he didn’t surprise everyone by affirming who we (mistakenly) thought he was in the first place, and endorse Bernie.

      He could still do the right thing and give the old white guy with the balls a leg up! This is the saddest thing of all… to be in a position to do so much good and let personal legacy Trump the compelling needs of folks in the real world.

      He has never sunk lower, and Clinton Foundation will be his legacy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sanders still refuses to back up his own statement that Obama has been weak. That would have been a perfect opportunity to say he was wrong in that debate before S. Carolina.

        This much abuse and still hanging on.

    5. EmilianoZ

      At last! Now the serious business can start. Kiddies have stayed way past their bedtime. Time to let mama and papa do the real work.

      1. Pat

        Bwahhahahaha, That’s so clever.
        So you want a mommy or a daddy figure to be President. You sure know how to pick ’em, and have no one to blame but yourself.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Lame Duck, Go:

    President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee on Thursday, saying “I’m with her” in a video released shortly after he met with her primary-season rival Bernie Sanders.

    Obama congratulated Clinton for making history as the first-ever woman presidential nominee and said “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”

    Obama also said he would campaign with her. The Washington Post reported they would campaign together next week in Wisconsin.


    Kiss of death!

    Go, Barry, go. Watch gun sales pop in Wisconsin.

      1. inode_buddha

        Really, how droll… I’m still waiting for the trickle-down to take effect. Shamed to say I pulled for Reagan twice. That was the last time I believed in a pol as much as I believe in Bern…

      2. Optimader

        Campaigning on HRC installment a female potus candidate, breaking glass ceiling, its her turn blah blah blah…
        The DNC bubble seem to think it’s a campaign about HRC and cult of personality

        Its all about jobs stupid….

    1. nippersmom

      They even lie about her being the first woman presidential nominee. Both Cynthia McKinney and Jill Stein have been presidential nominees in recent presidential election cycles (2008 and 2012, respectively). She is also not yet actually the nominee, since the convention has not yet been held and the delegates have not voted. Are these people utterly incapable of opening their mouths without lying?

      She is, however, as I believe another commenter pointed out, the first “presumptive nominee” to be the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. Notice Barry didn’t tout that history-making event.

    2. Roger Smith


      Once again, she is is going to need all the help she can get, which runs counter to her “making it as a woman” and smashing ceilings argument. Apparently Obama has no clue that she is dead weight.

      1. ambrit

        Oh, he knows she’s damaged goods. That’s why he’s decided to help carry the weight. She’s his Legacy Guardian.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Are you sure he doesn’t have a clue? What would an active DoJ do to Obama’s legacy? Hillary won’t rally turnout, so there is a risk of the Democrats retaking Congress. Hillary protects his low bar legacy.

        1. DG

          Exactly – and of course they’ll be running into each other at Martha’s Vineyard every summer and the Bilderberg later on. Can’t have any awkwardness there…

    3. Chucky


      Given that Democratic “Reunification” is clearly going to consist of a full-blown auto da fe against the Sandersite Heresy, one would think that Team Clinton would not want to piss off potential Repub turncoat voters at all.

      Das Trumpf, here we come…

    4. Kokuanani

      Wasn’t it Wisconsin where Barry promised to put on his “walking shoes” and join a picket line?

      So that’s going to be happening? /s

        1. Pat

          Yeah, the Clintons were really out there rallying people and helping them to stand up for their rights. Not. So the people who did occupy the capital and marched and rallied and still lost did it with no help from either Obama or Clinton. But then when were either Obama or Clinton on the front lines of anything that really mattered? So sure there are going to be some Democratic voters who will hold their nose and vote for Clinton, some will even think it may avoid the US watching what little protections and rights people have be stripped away like their’s were. But there are going to be a few, maybe more than a few, who look around and decide that just like Obama and Clinton had better things to do then to help the people of Wisconsin, they have better things to do then to help Clinton. But maybe the people of Wisconsin are better than I am and more gullible.

      1. HotFlash

        Re Obama, it was in Spartansburg, SC in his 2007 campaign that he promised, “Understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you, as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that someone’s standing in their corner.”

        Wisconsin in 2011 was where he hugely did not do that.

    5. HotFlash

      Obama congratulated Clinton for making history as the first-ever woman presidential nominee and said “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”

      Indeed! She was a war criminal *before* taking office!

      1. Lambert Strether

        Very true. No on-the-job training! We can hit the ground bombing running!

      2. YY

        Probably not just first female but first real ex-felon as well, after pleading to a parking ticket of a national security/gov records offense in a must occur at a convenient time indictment.

  5. tony

    [Assange] said: “Google is directly engaged with Hillary Clinton’s campaign” and claimed the technology giant used the US State Department on a “a quid pro quo” basis.

    “Of course when she is in power… she is a problem for freedom of speech. We know what she is going to do. And she made the chart for the destruction of Libya, she was involved in the process of taking the Libyan armoury and sending it to Syria.”


    Google apparently supports Hillary, actively manipulating searches. A video from another source:


      1. DG

        The Obama administration has been very shrewd about courting Silicon Valley. Of course, they pretty much built that revolving door to the Valley as well!

        The Repubs definitely missed that boat.

  6. JohnnyGL

    Re: Plants

    Raspberries have taken over a chunk of my backyard. I’m surrounded by thorny deliciousness (or will be soon, when they ripen)!!!

    Giving passionfruit a shot here in zone 6. The vine looked very unhappy in April, but it’s perked up quite a bit and it growing pretty well now that it’s June. Hopefully, the flowers will come soon!

    1. ChrisPacific

      We used to have a raspberry vine when I was growing up. It mysteriously stopped fruiting once our Labrador puppy grew big enough to reach the berries.

    2. ChrisA

      Make sure you aren’t eating spotted wing drosophila larvae in your raspberries. Fruit fly that lays eggs in unripe fruit. These flies are the end of organic berries and to me it should be national news. I used to collect buckets of raspberries with zero effort or pestcides or anything required. Last year the fruit flies were so bad that I just ripped my bushes out and started an onion bed. Truly tragic, but at least I’ll have fresh onions. I really hope someone figures out a control method.

  7. lyman alpha blob

    This seems important. File under corruption? jackpot?

    Whistleblower: EPA Officials Covered Up Toxic Fracking Emissions for Years

    Specifically, wrote NC WARN in a press statement, “Dr. David Allen, then-head of EPA’s Science Advisory Board, has led an ongoing, three-year effort to cover up underreporting of the primary device, the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, and a second device used to measure gas releases from equipment across the natural gas industry. Allen is also on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been funded by the oil and gas industries for years.”

    “The EPA’s failure to order feasible reductions of methane leaks and venting has robbed humanity of crucial years to slow the climate crisis,” said Jim Warren, director of NC WARN. “The cover-up by Allen’s team has allowed the industry to dig in for years of delay in cutting emissions—at the worst possible time.”

    The cover-up was discovered by NC WARN, the group wrote in its complaint, when it became aware that the very inventor of the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, an engineer named Touché Howard, had been attempting to blow the whistle for years on the crucial instrument’s malfunctioning. The critical failure causes the instrument to under-report methane emissions “up to 100-fold,” the organization wrote.

  8. dcblogger

    Every trick of voter suppression that was used against Bernie will now be turned against Hillary. I just cannot believe how oblivious she has been.

    1. ambrit

      I don’t know about that. If the GOP nomenklatura are as anti Trump as media suggest, she could end up getting a lot of clandestine help from them. Thus, the Neolib GOP can rationalize by saying: “She may be a B—-. But she’s our B—-.”

      1. Steve C

        Hillary is the Establishment’s candidate. Will be interesting to see what state and local Republican pooh bahs do.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They are closer to the voters than Ryan. They aren’t going to revolt against Trump.

  9. hemeantwell

    The Hillary Clinton who prevails and wins loyalists, I’d argue, brings together two aspects of the Methodist tradition in which she was raised and, by extension, two sides of the American character. She embodies the tensions and, sometimes, contradictions of what the theologian Michael Novak once described as the “communitarian individual.” Her individualistic side sees salvation as depending on determination, grit and a dedication to work, and more work. Her communal side (she wrote a book, after all, called “It Takes a Village”) runs through all her policy proposals, the values she lifts up (“all of us together” in 2008, “stronger together” now) and her attitude toward her friends. Those two instincts keep her going.

    Bah, gussied up nonsense that strives to lend sincerity to an opportunist. The obvious criticism is that she is not spontaneously drawing on practices grounded in her own life, but themes that she knows will work to gain support. We can quibble, i.e. she is remembering what she needs to do to get down with the homies. But I think this is putting civic lipstick on a mask of manipulation. Her complaints about the pain of campaigning don’t stem from straining her sincere convictions, but having to deal with the hoi polloi and their convictions

  10. Max

    The implication is that if Clinton is elected, she will be impeached. And rightly.

    So shouldn’t Sanders then take the VP nomination if offered?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If she is impeached for actions prior to becoming President, there would be ample cause to impeach the VP too.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Because they can. They can easily say, “no one votes for VP in a sense. The crook picked the VP.”

    2. ambrit

      He is too out of step with the DNC to get that offer. Secretary of Labour perhaps.

      1. Webstir

        Neither and none of the above. He’s to valuable as a Senator and we need all of the liberal Senators we can get to retake the Senate. Not rocket science.

        1. Webstir

          And also, if the Dems retake the Senate, where does the threat of impeachment come from?

              1. Barmitt O'Bamney

                Unless the Supreme Court expands on Bush v. Gore and rules that either of the presumptive nominees pose irreparable harm to 320 million US citizens and declares a do-over of the party primaries, with none of the current nominees presumptive eligible for the next round, gridlock is our only hope.

                My right brain just can’t picture my hand pressing the touchscreen ballot box for Trump, not even under the gentle guidance of bath salts. On the other hand, my left brain keeps trying to tell my right brain that Trump would probably accomplish next to nothing if elected since both parties hate him, whereas Hillary Clinton would have at least her own party fully behind her on Capitol Hill. She would also enjoy the full backing of Wall Street, the mainstream corporate media, and the MIC. She would accomplish a great deal more than Donald Trump for sure – a great deal of evil. I should snort some angel dust, put my Viking helmet on and go vote for Trump. I KNOW all this intellectually, and yet… November 8th is not going to be an easy day.

                1. inode_buddha

                  I’m very much feeling the same, but just remember: The convention is still being contested. It aint over yet.

                2. jrs

                  A swing state I guess. If not stop sweating it and find a nice 3rd party candidate to vote for. Not of course that I have any problem at all with those in swing states voting 3rd party either. But if in a solid state it’s really really a no brainer.

          1. ambrit

            It’s the House that does impeachments. The Senate tries for the cause.
            Both Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were impeached by the House, but both survived trial by the Senate.
            So, H Clinton could be impeached, but not removed from office.

        2. Lambert Strether

          If the Democrats retake the Senate, assuming that Obama isn’t able to pass it in the lame duck, we get TPP for sure (and please don’t try to make me believe Clinton doesn’t support it).

          Surely losing our national sovereignty to the ISDS system outweighs the Supreme Court pick, even assuming for the same of the argument that matters?

          1. aab

            I have a very hard time imagining how the Democrats retake the Senate with Hillary appealing to Republicans to get elected. Those Republicans aren’t going to vote D down ticket, even if (and I think it’s a BIG if) they vote for her.

            Although it really does seem like this is all show, anyway. Obama’s been backing Clinton privately all along, according to Politico. Somehow him recording his endorsement WHILE CALIFORNIA WAS VOTING, and announcing it today and have Warren bark today as well is supposed to persuade Sanders supporters this was all on the up and up and it’s time to come home?

            I’m honestly a bit confused. The “Clinton’s about to be indicted, this is just a distraction” makes some kind of sense — about as much as the official version, which is to say, what? So it’s better for the President to self-present as dimwitted and dishonest?

            And one of Hillary’s PACs is using Act Blue to solicit Bernie people claiming to be a “progressive turnout” operation. Because now that there’s no actual progressive in the race, it’s super important to get Democrats to the polls. And also, give that wonderful progressive, Hillary Clinton, money. I realize there are low info Bernie voters who will fall for this. What I’m confused about it, why bother? If most states are riggable, you don’t need actual physical voters, and you don’t need money to run. She was willing to suppress Puerto Rico down to 8% of the expected turnout. So it’s not like they actually need a lot of bodies to show up. Is this just that she can’t resist the grift, or is this part of the deal with Comcast and Time Warner — fleece the rubes and turn that cash over to them? Can’t they just print them cash from the Treasury and be done with it?

            So does it really matter if the Democrats take the Senate or not? They had the majority in 2009, and miraculously found a way to deliver only corporate-friendly legislation.

            Even if Bill did talk Trump into running, I am increasingly relying on the idea that he’s not going to be willing to lay down for her in the ninth round. I’m seeing a lot of Berners starting to retweet actual pro-Trump stuff and — even though I am fully prepared to vote for the guy for what I consider strategically sound reasons — man, it is NOT FUN. Trump totally beat Clinton down in that stupid Twitter war today. Even Priebus zinged her. PRIEBUS.

            I have tried to avoid mythologizing Bernie, but man, it sure would be great if he actually COULD play eleventh dimensional chess.

      1. Edward

        Kaine actually can be half decent. He is better then the average Democrat. This may be an attempt to woo Sanders voters.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Governor Coal? Mountain top removal? His abdication as governor? Was it the tax cut for the rich? Cutting public school funds? Are you effing kidding? The guy practically danced on Emily Couric’s grave. Public-private partnerships?

          Was it when he was a prominent the supporter of Leiberman for America?

        2. aab

          I don’t mean to be rude, but either you have Kaine confused with someone else, or you don’t know much about the median Sanders voter.

          No, Kaine would not help. He’s being considered to help with Republicans, because he’s anti-choice. And he’s a reliable crony.

        3. Edward

          NotTimothyGeithner & aab

          I haven’t followed his record too closely. On the occasions when I contacted his office about something, probably concerning Palestine/GWOT or global warming. he surprised me while Sen. Warner waffled or took a bad (IMO) position. Looking at his wikipedia page I can see his record is mixed and have probably been hasty praising him. Anyway, all I can say is he was good a few times. As a VP candidate, he will probably be a captive of Washington.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            When he was auditioning for VP, he let the opportunity for a transportation reform bill go to rot instead of governing with his atrocious plan. His plan was so bad the Democrats in the legislature didn’t adopt a single part of it in the competing plans.

            Let’s not forget, his efforts on restoring voting rights. Kaine was so bad, Taliban Bob, the Republican governor who replaced him (Virginia has one term governors) decided to just let the bureaucracy make decisions on voting rights restoration instead of simply presenting recommendations to the governor to avoid another Kaine who decided his image could be tarnished by doing the right thing. Taliban Bob is more progressive than Tim Kaine. Let that sink in.

            Hey, on meaningless votes Kaine is great.

            1. Edward

              Oh well– you can’t win with these politicians, or maybe the problem is the system rather then individuals.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                The get away with poor behavior because the can count on people to be confused by politeness and not ask follow up questions. They hide behind folksy veneers and rely on voters being forgiving. It’s nice Kaine is worried about the environment, but did you once ask what his record was? No.

                Kaine is really nice in person. Sabato called the election between he and his GOP opponent as a contest between the two friendliest guys in the country. His opponent hosts tailgate parties at UVA football games and makes his own secret margaritas. They are great.

                Jim Gilmore and I talked for 30 minutes about UVA baseball randomly on grounds when we both happened to be there. He’s really friendly.

                George Allen was really friendly even though I was wearing a straw hat a day Democratic paraphernalia up until I asked him who was President when gas was $0.89 cents.

                They get away with it because individuals not systems confuse the two. I bet Hillary is lovely in person. Bill sounds like a creep. Obama is swell in person. I’ve been in a small room with the guy. Edwards was great. Warner is fantastic, and I’ve pretty much tackled the guy twice. The second time was his fault. Would I vote for him? No, but he didn’t have his security beat me or anything.

                1. Edward Qubain

                  I never said Kaine was nice. My opinion was based on his votes on some issues on which I contacted him.

                  1. aab

                    It’s okay, Edward. One of the advantages the corrupt have is that we don’t want to believe how bad they are, and we have lives to live. Who wants to spend a lot of time figuring out who Tim Kaine is?

                    I volunteered for and donated to Barack Obama in 2008. I knew he was further right than I preferred, but I was honestly shocked when he appointed Rahm as Chief of Staff, and things went south from there. As the magnitude of his deceit and corruption became apparent, I vowed to understand how this could happen, how the Democratic Party became so comprehensively corrupt, and what could possibly be done to fix things. It’s a process. As recently as a year ago, I was still reading sites like Lawyers, Guns and Money. I knew by then Scott Lemieux was an idiot, but I still respected guys like Erik Loomis. I knew the New York Times had a long history of serving as a propaganda organ for the government, but I was still surprised at the lengths it went to help Hillary win the primary.

                    The truth, right now, is painful. Bear in mind that looking at one’s voting record can be distortive, because most truly progressive bills aren’t allowed up for a vote. That’s how you get a conservative warmonger like Hillary Clinton with the ranking of “11th most liberal Senator.”

                    I think it’s great that Kaine and his office at least did some very basic constituency service that pleased you. Just don’t consider him progressive, honest or honorable. He’s not.

  11. aletheia33

    in the 2 1/2 minute clip on the wapo link of trump’s speech, the criticism i heard of obama’s record and the clinton machine were in accord with my opinion of them. i could repeat “i hate it when trump is right” i guess.

    at any rate, i am just now beginning to seriously consider what kinds of situations are likely to result from trump versus clinton and which presidency might lead to a stronger, sooner popular movement and in the better direction.

    also, i am reading thomas frank’s listen, liberal and am grappling with the concept of the 10%, the professional/”liberal”/merito-technocratic class who now define the meaning of “liberalism”, are not interested in adequately supporting the poor, sick, and elderly, have no problem with the global neoliberalization program, and constitute a powerful cohort of americans who are in complete denial about the pervasive corruption that exists in our society. i need to understand better the nature of the obstacle that they represent (and of course my friends and family are mostly among them).

    so many people are clueless about the extent to which the national media have been corrupted. but the sanders supporters and other emerging groups have grasped this fact. it is easy to say that social media and the internet can provide alternate sources of reliable information, like this blog, but not so easy for this to happen. people who write and report reliably also need $$ and time to live and to raise children. can they really be funded the same way sanders’s campaign has been?

    when disregard of the basic ethics of journalism has progressed so far as to produce a media event like the AP’s (and multiple other outlets’) straight-faced announcement of the next democratic nominee monday night, and the profession of journalism has almost universally sold its soul for diminishing crumbs that fall from the corporate table, largely as a result of citizens naively believing that they should be able to access all journalism for “free”, and the professional neoliberal 10% cannot see any problem here and in fact include “journalists” in their number…how does the rising movement work on this problem?

    i propose that nc send lambert strether to attend the people’s summit and report back to us on what he observes there. there is no other journalist whose report on it i would more wish to read.

    1. Webstir

      at any rate, i am just now beginning to seriously consider what kinds of situations are likely to result from trump versus clinton and which presidency might lead to a stronger, sooner popular movement and in the better


      No brainer … the situation that leads to a liberal on the Supreme Court. Seriously, why is this even up for question? Look at what the past 3 decades of a conservative court has rendered. If we (as liberals) would have rejected the Nader boondoggle Gore would have been elected. With Gore elected, we (1) don’t have citizens united, (2) don’t have corporations exerting first amendment religious rights, (3) don’t have the 15th amendment gutted, (4) etc etc etc terrible SCOTUS decision. Seriously, wake up people.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Nader Alert! Whooowhooowhoooo!

        Nader! Ooga Booga!

        Wow, Trump might win 50 states at this rate.

      2. hunkerdown

        Merrick Garland, and the strange, goofy shift in behavior from “hyuk they won’t even nominate a right-winger because Obama” to “NO RECESS until you nominate this guy”, which presumably will be followed by the usual whining and puling about those darn Republicans wouldn’t stop us making them hit themselves.

        Your faith-based SCOTUS talking point is completely and utterly invalidated, and you should frankly be ashamed of everything about you and your life for bringing it up.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          David Brock has pretty much put an end to the Supreme Court talking point.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think one reason that the Supreme Court argument appeals so much to the 10% that forms Clinton’s base is that, institutionally, the Court epitomizes credentialed “meritocracy”; every 10%er with power over some hapless prole, even with the best of motives, likes to think of themselves as a Justice.

        Unfortunately, for Democrats, Supreme Court justices have become a substitute for actually winning elections; see the Stupak Amendment and Executive Order 13535 for what Democrats actually do as opposed to what they say.

        As we all know, the Obama administration has been an institutional disaster at every level but the Presidency, and not just the Senate, but all the way down through the state level. Are you really suggesting that Supreme Court decisions are a substitute for electoral power?

        1. voteforno6

          By “credentialed” you mean “Ivy League.” I guess that’s the most important credential for those people. We might all be better off if we could just burn all the Ivies to the ground.

        2. Webstir

          Yes, it is unfortunate Lambert. But greater misfortune does exist in this world. For instance (1) Donald Trump being elected, and (2) anyone he might appoint to the SCOTUS. But, what the hell, let’s turn the clock alllllll the way back to the Lochner era. Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

          1. Lambert Strether

            Have you given consideration to being responsive to the point made? Or do you simply prefer to repeat your original point for what you consider emphasis?

            But wait I’m forgetting Obama’s current Supreme Court nominee, a Democrat, strong on overturning Citizens United… Oh, wait…

        3. jsn

          The real flaw in the “Supreme Court” argument for me is that none of the post coup (election 2000) constitutional changes I find most deplorable and terrifying have had no input from the courts: un-declared war; extrajudicial execution; rendition; torture; state drone terrorism; universal surveillance; abolition of white collar crime.

          When both parties do it, it becomes the law regardless of the courts and the courts seem to be just fine with that: to the extent they’ve been asked to look at these things, they endorse the status quo.

          We are a post constitutional nation now where might makes right and money makes might. The biggest risk will come when the mercenaries realize they have the real power: it took the mercenaries who served the Renaissance Italian City States about 50 years to displace the Princes for whom they nominally worked once Charles VIII showed them how, it is likely to be quicker this time.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Isn’t the real flaw that Hillary Clinton would be selecting the nominees?

      4. Yves Smith

        Greg Palast has shown that vote fraud cost Gore Florida. Jeb Bush hired the high bidder on the contract to scrub state voter roles of felons. The firm proceeded to scrub any black name that dimly resembled the name of a past felon. If you take the low end of the # of blacks that Palast identified as removed even thought they were permitted to vote, 90,000, and multiply it by the propensity of blacks to turn out (30%) and vote Democratic (90%) you get 24,300 votes, more than enough to push Gore over.

        Also, as Lambert has pointed out, something like 300,000 registered Democrats in Florida voted Republican in 2000. So it is correct, as NLK says, that Gore lost Florida.

        1. Webstir

          Et tu Yves? I didn’t respond Nader diatribe comments because I thought it was pretty clear what the real point of my comment was — making sure the greater of two evils is not elected. I’d love to flash forward in time and see the content of the links if it turned out Trump were elected after a poor Dem vote turnout and then proceeded to nominate 3 SCOTUS judges who proceeded to eviscerate everything that we stand for. Oh woe, the blaming and gnashing of teeth …

          1. jsn

            What is it we stand for that remains to be eviscerated? Outside the 10%, what do we stand for in your estimate, un-declared war; extrajudicial execution; rendition; torture; state drone terrorism; universal surveillance; abolition of white collar crime?

          2. pretzelattack

            many of us on this site consider clinton to be the greater of 2 evils. we disagree with you on that, and think that by being “pragmatic” you are getting in the way of solutions, not enabling them.

          3. flora

            Obama nominated Merrick Garland. Enough with the SCOTUS fear mongering.

            “Notably, the D.C. Circuit rejected the FEC’s attempt to distinguish Citizens United, which struck down an expenditure limit, from the SpeechNow case, which dealt with a contribution limit. In other words, the D.C. Circuit had an opportunity to accept the federal government’s narrowing analysis of Citizens United and it rejected that narrowing analysis. Among the judges who joined the D.C. Circuit’s opinion in SpeechNow.org v. FEC was Merrick Garland, who is now President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

            “Earlier today I wrote that Garland’s record in criminal justice and wartime government powers cases may “come as a disappointment to many progressives.” Garland’s vote in SpeechNow may also come as something of a disappointment to his would-be progressive supporters.”


            “In the area of criminal law, for example, Garland’s votes have frequently come down on the side of prosecutors and police. In 2010, when Garland was reported to be under consideration to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein observed that “Judge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendants’ appeals of their convictions.”

            “Likewise, Garland voted in support of the George W. Bush administration’s controversial war on terrorism policies in the Guantanamo detainee case Al Odah v. United States, in which Garland joined the majority opinion holding that enemy combatants held as detainees at the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay were not entitled to habeus corpus protections. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately overruled that decision, holding in the landmark case Boumediene v. Bush that Guantanamo detainees do enjoy habeus corpus rights.”


          4. Lambert Strether

            Greg Palast is a diatribe? Oh, OK.

            > Lesser evil

            First, the question is not which evil is lesser, but which evil is more effective. That could be Clinton. For example, Clinton’s a warmonger; she tipped Obama into going into Libya; that’s why people at places like Foreign Policy support her. Now, I’m not sure what moral calculus makes it possible to weigh another few thousand bodies against some Supreme Court picks; what I am sure is that such questions don’t enter the minds of the vendors of Democrat talking points.

            > Proceeded to eviscerate everything we stand for

            “We”? Who’s we? I think you’re assume the identity of liberals and the left. That’s open to question at the very least. As for what the Democrats “stand for”…. That’s hard to tell. I mean, other than collecting ginormous checks from Goldman, both on the personal and political level.

          5. different clue

            If a President Clinton causes a nuclear exchange with Russia; what difference, at that point, would the Supreme Court really make?

      5. Montanamaven

        The Democrats were in charge when they confirmed Alito and Roberts. The Democrats confirmed Clarence Thomas. The Democrats when they get a chance put in corporate judges (but sorta OK on social issues), but most of the court cases nobody hears about are corporate friendly. The social cases get publicity.
        And please stop with the inaccurate meme that Nader screwed it up for Gore. Gore didn’t win his own state. Wasn’t several news papers that discovered that if all the votes in Florida were recounted, Gore would have won Florida? The Supreme Court decided that election, not Nader’s insignificant votes.

      6. nippersmom

        Can’t we invoke some sort of Godwin’s law equivalent when idiots bring up the specious Nader argument?

        1. Edward

          What gripes me about the 2000 race is that Nader was kept out of the presidential debates. I think he had a chance of winning if he had been included. Anyway, fair or not, the outcome of that election was a disaster for the Greens. I think Gore/the Democrats wanted to destroy the Greens and tried to make sure they were blamed for the Bush victory.

      7. voteforno6

        Implied by the argument that Nader cost Gore the election, is that Gore was entitled to those votes. That’s par for the course for the Democrats – they don’t actually want to go out and work for votes. Instead, people should just blindly support them.

        1. Lambert Strether

          They do. Democrats think they own your vote. It’s a pervasive attitude, and very odd. It’s certainly not performance-based.

      8. Webstir

        Let’s just put it this way:


        I wholeheartedly agree with SEK’s take on the matter. Furthermore, if Trump wins and we get suck with another Scalia, or worse, I’ll be here to remind all of you “purists” of your folly. A little “falling in line” for our Dem candidates rather than “falling in love” with them would have gone a lot further in the past 3 decades than any amount of the poseur liberal dick measuring going on among many in this thread.

        1. Webstir

          PS –
          Like SEK, I both supported and caucused for Sanders. However, rational people know when not to cut their nose off to spite their face.

          ** Is that the sound of self mutilating knives I hear being sharpened?

          1. aab

            Please. Everybody else is doing an effective job of countering your nonsense, but I will add TPP.

            TPP. With TPP, we lose basic national sovereignty. The Supreme Court will be pretty irrelevant at that point.

            Moreover, as per others, Clinton is a warmonger, seeking counsel from a war criminal. The neocons are backing her over Trump because Trump isn’t as enthusiastic about making endless war. She is profoundly corrupt. She set up that server to facilitate selling arms to dictators while putting money in her and Bill’s pocket, and in doing so she exposed the names of CIA undercover assets, pending drone attacks, ALL her correspondence to our enemies and apparently probably every word she or anyone in her vicinity spoke to the Chinese, via her illicit Blackberry that the NSA TOLD HER could be turned into a listening device which is why she WAS NOT ALLOWED to use it. Oh, and she will cut Social Security. Even if Trump does all of these things, the Democratic Party would have to at least pretend to oppose him, so less evil would happen.

            AND, for bonus points, preventing Clinton’s ascension after she has eviscerated the state parties and sucked them dry of funds means the Democratic Party will be very weak. Goldman Sachs et al. won’t have any reason to fund Democratic candidates or Democratic lobbyists or Democratic think tanks if they control NO branch of government and very few states. They’ll still keep some show ponies around, like Schumer. But a weakened Democratic Party can either be taken over by progressives or beaten by a progressive new party. So a) Clinton is the greater evil and b) keeping her out of the Presidency is the greater good.

            I used to read LGM daily. They have been revealed as idiots and cowards by this election season. At least the courtiers at the New York Times and MSNBC get health insurance and better pay. The LGM front pagers are like sad street hookers compared to the savvier courtesans.

            The people self-mutilating are the suckers who think it’s “pragmatic” to vote for Hillary.

        2. El Guapo

          It is truly astonishing that you cretins have not yet gotten it through your thick skulls that nobody is going to be browbeaten or shamed in to voting for your war criminal candidate. All the hysterical whining from limousine liberal asswipes about the supreme court or The Nader Devil will amount to nothing.

          And if Clinton wins (she won’t) and after she bombs and invades Iran I’ll be there over lawyersgunsmoneyblog to remind you hillbots about the blood on your hands – and since it will be the blood of brown foreigners you racists won’t care one bit.

          1. Webstir

            “You Hillbots”
            Apparently you missed the part about the fact that both SEK and I were Sanders supporters. It’s called pragmatism. Get a grip El Guapo.

          2. jrs

            While I could easily be convinced a Ted Cruz nominee might be a theocratic I have no idea what a Trump nominee to the Supreme Court would even look like. Pro-life if that’s how he feels today, pro-choice if that’s how he feels today, though slightly more likely the former as he does have to ally with the Rs but I don’t know how serious they are about that at the Federal level. Pro-corporate, oh we’re getting that either way including with Hills.

        3. Lambert Strether

          > poseur liberal dick measuring

          I’m not a liberal. And as the old joke goes, “They’re nice boys, but they’re still thinking in terms of inches.”

          Smarter trolls, please.

        4. tony

          If Clinton wins and the nuclear brinkmanship with Russia goes wrong, I probably won’t be here to remind you. So better do it now.

        5. different clue

          If Trump wins and you come here to “remind us of our folly”, I will remind you that the only reason we are even here at all is because President Trump didn’t start the nuclear war with Russia that President Clinton would have started.

      9. Benedict@Large

        Oh! Oh! The Supreme Court.

        Liberal dogwhistle. You’ve had your fun, progressives. Time to fall in line. Same thing, every 4 years.


  12. Jim Haygood

    An obvious question:

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest insisted that President Obama’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton will not “sway” the ongoing FBI investigation into Clinton.

    The statement came after Obama released a video endorsing Clinton for president of the United States.

    Later this afternoon, according to the White House, Obama is meeting with the attorney general. The meeting is “closed press.”

    The topic of Obama’s closed door meeting with Lynch has not been made public.

    Earnest made the statement in response to questioning from Fox News’ James Rosen.


    DUH … meeting with the AG the same day he put his presidential credibility on the line for Hillary?

    You don’t need a PhD — or even a third brain cell — to figure out what’s going down here.

    Obviously, there’s a special “Justice Department Pre-Check” program for trusted transgressors. And you and I ain’t in it.

    *hurls lunch on his valuable rug*

    1. aletheia33

      clean up the rug, sell it, and fund lambert to go to chicago next week!

      –in case anyone skipped my post above:
      i propose that nc send lambert strether to attend the people’s summit and report back to us on what he observes there. there is no other journalist whose report on it i would more wish to read.

      1. Jim Haygood

        As of tomorrow, most likely, any FBI agents who were planning to walk the plank and leak the truth about the slow-walk investigation of Honest Hillary will have their marching orders.

        Maybe they’ll send it to Lambert’s mailbox.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Set a good example – don’t leak classified information yourselves, my dear FBI agents.

          Unless we get into one of those paradoxes where you must leak in order to expose someone who has leaked, but your cause is nobler.

        1. Pavel

          Ha ha, just watched “The Big Lebowski” yesterday for the Nth time, and of course the rug scenes are the best part.

          As for the hairball, Judicial Watch released the latest transcript and the most charitable interpretation is that the State Dept under Her Majesty Hillary couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery. This is the woman the Dems want to run the country?

          (Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released the deposition transcript of Karin Lang, director of executive secretariat staff and designated representative for the State Department. The Lang transcript is available here. Lang was designated by the State Department as its 30(b)(6) witness. A 30(b)(6) witness is assigned to provide the agency’s testimony on the Clinton email issue.

          Lang testified that key State Department federal recordkeeping officials did not know that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin were using non-state.gov email to conduct government business. She also testified that the State Department could not say whether Clinton or Abedin has turned over all emails in their possession that may be potentially responsive to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of the Information Act (FOIA) request. Lang also said that it would not be reasonable to search all 70,000 State Department email accounts in order to retrieve Clinton’s emails. (Clinton has suggested that the State Department would have many of her emails because she sent most of them to State Department employees on their government accounts.)

          Lang also signed, under the penalty of perjury, State Department answers to Judicial Watch’s written interrogatories about the Clinton email system and FOIA. The State Department acknowledged in its answers that it “has no method of identifying which State Department officials and employees had and/or used an account on clintonemail.com to conduct official government business.

          (My emphases.)

          Clinton Email Update: Judicial Watch Releases Clinton Email Deposition Testimony of Karin Lang, Director, Executive Secretariat Staff

          But… didn’t HRC state that “everybody knew she was using a private email server”?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think this completes (more or less) their encirclement of the Sixth Army (their way of seeing the world, I guess).

    3. redleg

      Despite the mess, does the carpet still fly? Surely the carpet flies just as sure as Clinton is a progressive liberal who plays fair and does god’s work.

  13. inode_buddha

    Just saw a headline (Chicago Tribune?) that Sanders lost because of his media echo chamber. The mind boggles at the level of projection required to run that.

      1. allan

        What happened? The Sanders campaign has become a classic example of the phenomenon of “group polarization,” arguably more so than any campaign in recent memory — even Donald Trump’s, which has greatly benefited from the same phenomenon.

        So sayeth a future Dem Supreme Court nominee and the spouse of a future Secretary of State.
        Just imagine the pillow talk in that household …

        1. JTMcPhee

          My favorite pillow-talk pair is James Carville and Mary Matalin. They covered the waterfront, pirating money from both “sides” and laughing all the way to the bank. Here’s an interesting site for those who want to beat themselves over the head some more over “wealth inequality:” http://www.getnetworth.com/tag/james-carville-mary-matalin-divorce/

          Wonder when the Grifters-In-Chief will finally split and divvy up the spoils? or is that a lifetime commitment of the “Lion In Winter” kind — “Tusk to tusk, through all eternity!” By the way, there’s a whole set of wonderfully apposite quotes from the movie at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063227/quotes (Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn, helping us serfs understand the greatness of greatness…)

          Prince John: A knife! He’s got a knife!

          Eleanor: Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It’s 1183 and we’re barbarians! How clear we make it. Oh, my piglets, we are the origins of war: not history’s forces, nor the times, nor justice, nor the lack of it, nor causes, nor religions, nor ideas, nor kinds of government, nor any other thing. We are the killers. We breed wars. We carry it like syphilis inside. Dead bodies rot in field and stream because the living ones are rotten. For the love of God, can’t we love one another just a little – that’s how peace begins. We have so much to love each other for. We have such possibilities, my children. We could change the world.

        1. inode_buddha

          Actually I need brain bleach after seeing how totally corrupt the MSM is…..

  14. Randy

    Any boost to HRC from Obama’s endorsement will be short-lived. Obama’s favorability was tanking, and only started rising once he receded from public view. His return to the public spotlight will tank his favorability again, and his campaigning with HRC will start to drag.

    On another point, it seems like a whimper — the way that Sanders’s campaign is winding down. All the record-breaking crowds and donations, and at the end of the day HRC has already made pronouncements that Sanders has not caused her to change or rethink even a single position of hers. And it looks like Sanders is on track to endorse HRC, unless the FBI recommends to indict as it should.

    At best, it looks like the Sanders campaign will have served a purpose similar to Occupy, which is to bring increased awareness to key issues. Even if not explicitly changing any policies or political personnel, there is certainly value in increasing awareness of the issues and encouraging the public to think of the positive ways government can interact and support the community.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m guessing Obama’s favorability rose as voters compared him to Clinton or Trump. Also, the economy was sputtering in the first quarter, and now seems to have righted itself. Also, cheap gas in the vacation season.

      I don’t think “awareness” is the point, or not the only point. I think organizational capacity is the point.

      1. Lee

        What to you does “organizational capacity” look like in the electoral sphere? You have previously posited a stand alone organization. Are you suggesting a 3rd party, a hostile takeover of the Democratic party, some combination of both?

        1. Lambert Strether

          Well, I’m in an armchair at 30,000 feet :-) And far away.

          I posit that Sanders voters are more organize-y than the norm (Occupy, capitol occupations, fracking, Our Walmart… all the efforts of the last 8 years).

          At some point, one would hope, this capacity would take institutional form. My thought has been a permanent organization, with the Sanders list, self-funded, that maintains and propagates the Sanders platform. Concrete material benefits, like Medicare for all. Not a million siloes for a squillion causes, but one institution with one platform. Not a party, but the superego of all the parties as it were. Not electoral, but doing endorsements. Solves the think tank problem, helps solve the media problem (which is huge, perhaps the biggest of all). “The Sanders Foundation,” max donation $27.00.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Instead of “more and better Democrats” how about “just better Democrats”?

          2. aletheia33

            i propose we fund lambert strether to attend the people’s summit 6/17-19 in chicago to observe and report back. i know of no one better equipped to give us the immediate information we need on this event, which will gather all the efforts of the last 8 years that he mentions.

            even if the summit is videoed and broadcast in real time, only a keen observer such as lambert on the ground can capture and give us the whole picture.


          3. aletheia33

            i propose we fund lambert strether to attend the people’s summit 6/17-19 in chicago to observe and report back.

            this gathering is the continuation of the occupy movement (a movement of movements) as it seeks to grow and pick up on the energy and organizational power of the sanders campaign. i know of no one better equipped than our lambert strether to give us the immediate information we need on this historic event, which will gather all the efforts of the last 8 years that he mentions.

            “portions” of the summit will be livestreamed, but only a keen observer, such as lambert, on the ground can capture and give us the whole picture. more important than what the speakers say will be what the attendees do and how they do it, and the only way to know that is to be there. and be the powerful bullshit detector that is lambert.


  15. Marbles

    “smartwatches are a solution in search of a problem.”

    That’s what they said about the iPad and Twitter.

    Technically i don’t use either, but both are tremendously popular. One even makes money…held off shore…

    1. Praedor

      Not an Apple fan (Those BASTARDS refuse to use standard hardware! MicroUSB connector you say? NO, we’ll use our own damn tiny connector that is incompatible!) BUT…I inherited my wife’s iPad recently and it does work well as a controller for my Parrot Drone. So, if you have a Parrot drone of some sort, an iPad is a solid choice.

      I got the drone in an emergency: old dog, lost somewhere in a huge wheat field behind my home around 8pm. He’s hard of hearing too so the wife and I are hoarse from yelling his name endlessly as we fumble around in the waist-high wheat. I search until midnight, even drive my truck through the field, stopping periodically to call his name. No findy. Next morning, search around again. Coyotes howling in the night, fearing he was found by them. Started expecting an injured or dead dog in the field. Ran off to BestBuy to snap-buy a drone with a camera built-in. Get it home, charge it up, barely learn how to operate it and send it off flying over the wheat field in hopes I’ll spot him, dead or alive. Wind kicks up, overwhelms the drone, it crashes, I lose it.

      Long story short, a friend posts his pic on facebook and later that day people are already reporting having seen him walking down the country road a mile behind my house. We race over there, hoarsely calling his name as we drive down the road. Friend pulls up behind and tells us she thinks they’ve located him…farmer found him 3 miles away standing in his field, put him into his shed and called it in. We raced to his farm and there was the old dude, sore feet, arthritic legs, but alive and happy to see us.

      Addendum: turns out the drone spits out its last known location in GPS coordinates. The NEXT day I installed a GPS waypoint app on my phone, entered the GPS coordinates and…there it was. Spent the next day testing it out and see it WILL do nicely for searching that same field (or other location) should the need arise.

    1. notabanker

      It’s so refreshing to see Presidential politicians actually act like High School Freshman, rather than just govern like one.

      1. Pavel

        Ha ha, I just read the twitter thread over at Zero Hedge and thought the same thing… just a few days into the “real campaign” and it has descended into high school insults between the two principals.

        But Hillary better watch her step, Trump isn’t playing around and doesn’t follow the usual DC etiquette:

        How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted? https://twitter.com/hillaryclinton/status/740973710593654784
        4:40 PM – 9 Jun 2016

        Those emails will be her undoing yet…

  16. YankeeFrank

    “I wonder if Cohn identifies as white, or Jewish, and if the latter, whether he voted for the first Jewish Presidential candidate, or whether Cohn’s an antisemite?”

    No, no, no. In this context its not “anti-semite”, its “self-hating Jew”. And the answer is… no. He didn’t vote for Sanders thus he’s a self-hating Jew. ;)

    1. Pavel

      Shouldn’t Madeleine Albright be warning us that “there is a special place in hell for Jews who don’t vote for the Jewish candidate”?

      1. YankeeFrank

        She would but she’s not qualified, no Jew blood. She’ll have to farm it out to her assistant, who rumor has it is a member of the tribe.

  17. Ranger Rick

    Fascinating to watch the million dollar troll machine at work in the NYT comments section. Line after line of nearly identical posts with the same theme and message.

  18. YankeeFrank

    Just got done listening to WNYC, had an interview with a guy names Phil Johnston, a Massachusetts Dem apparatchik on the convention rules committee. I guess since Hillary’s basically “clinched” it they can now admit that Sanders isn’t some wild-eyed communist and that, in fact, his favored policies are middle of the road Democrat fare, because that’s how this Johnston fellow spoke. The contrast with how the media and DNC have been framing Sanders for the past 6 months was quite jarring honestly. The interviewer, one of the main WNYC dudes, can’t remember which, seemed a bit taken aback as well, as if he was mentally readjusting out of ridiculous propaganda mode and back to reality mode, at least as regards wild-eyed commies who have caucused with the Dems for the past 3 decades.

    What’s so fascinating to me, and is still apparently unclear to the mainstream press, is that sans corporate payola Sanders’ policies would be central to any Dem candidate’s platform and would propel the Dems to electoral victory for at least the next decade in every race pretty much everywhere across the nation. The Dem party, in insisting on chasing all that corporate cash, has completely abandoned its roots. And now that Sanders has shown how popular their nominal ideas are, how soon will they abandon the money chase and start taking $27 donations from the people? I’m not holding my breath, though it may start as a trickle and then a flood. We’ll see.

      1. YankeeFrank

        No Lambert, didn’t you get the memo from the lawyersgunsandmoney blog guys — now that Obama said some words in favor of expanding social security the Dem party has rediscovered its true progressive roots! Happy days ARE here again!!

        1. pretzelattack

          the real obama has been unleashed. boy are the conservatives in trouble now.

        2. aab

          They did not actually say that.

          Wait — I can totally see Lemieux saying that, because he’s a dolt.

          But I thought we were supposed to laugh at Green Lanternism?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just your basic FDR policies.

      But we need another Roosevelt as well – Teddy, the trust buster.

      That will clear out corporate cash.

    2. flora

      There are now going to be all sorts of stories and reports aimed at making Sanders voters think the DNC didn’t really do what they did. That it was all a big mistake and they realize that now. And the media wasn’t complicit. See, the media will suddenly discover the “forgotten working class Americans.” Kumbahya. Just watch. I think in the world of confidence games it’s called “cooling the mark”, make him feel better, chill his anger, so he doesn’t go to the police. No doubt the DNC knows exactly what Sanders’ supporters think, and worked hard to crush that program. In this case, no, the DNC will not respect you in the morning.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Oh man, my facebook Bernie crew are going to really love that maneuver. And of course they’ll pull it off with about as much subtlety as everything else they do. I’m starting to suspect that nowadays politics and journalism are the careers wealthier families send their idiot children into the way they used to send ’em to join the clergy.

      2. nippersmom

        Clinton and the DNC certainly have ample experience gaslighting, but as usual, they fail to take into account who they are dealing with. Unlike their pet bluedogs, Sanders supporters are not reliant on the Party or the MSM for (mis)information. We do our own research, have our own sources, and will not be brainwashed into forgetting what we actually experienced. Motivated people will still be able to find video and contemporary accounts of events as they happened.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Even worse, a lot of us aren’t Democrats. So, DNC, good luck with trying to convince us of anything.

          1. Pavel

            Exactly. A lot of the Sanders supporters don’t give a shit about the Democrat Party, and would happily see it self-destruct.

            1. Edward

              Yeah, I keep thinking of a line Hunter Thompson wrote in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 about the Democratic Party self-destructing.

    3. jrs

      Only of course Sanders has proved decisively they are not middle of the road Dem fare, maybe Dem party circa 1960, but definitely not 2016. He has proved how every power of the establishment that exists will be brought to bear against social democracy even though social democracy itself is an unstable compromise with capitalism.

  19. marym

    Totally unscientific and self-selecting but the #FeelTheBern hashtag isn’t buying business as usual in the responses to Obama and expected Warren endorsements- some not surprised, others now disillusioned; awareness of uncounted California ballots; lots of tweets for independent/Green/write-in for Sanders; lots of references to real issues with Clinton (foundation, email, war, electoral process, etc.); pushback on calls to unite behind “our” candidate.

    If Sanders is paying attention to the reaction to Obama and Warren, and if he still thinks it worthwhile to promote the electoral process as a vehicle for change, he ought to step back from his slide toward the dark side of making it all about Trump.

    1. aab

      I have absolutely no idea what he’s going to do, and realize he’s probably under a great deal of pressure.

      But having been at his LA Coliseum speech, he struck me as really, really politically clever — like, more than I had realized before. Some of his framing was outright devious. In a good way. I can totally imagine his Trump push now as setting up his Independent run. “Poor Mrs. Clinton will lose to Trump, so I have to do my patriotic duty to the country and run third party.”

  20. Lee

    “I’m told that nobody does “slow” like a Vietnamese bureaucrat.”

    I’m not so sure about that. I’m embroiled in a 6 months long and counting dispute regarding my healthcare coverage that involves my former employer (a large financial institution); the plan administrator (another multinational monolith); Medicare; and a private insurance company, all with an ample supply of obtuse customer service representatives. No end in sight. I can only wonder at how many in my rather advanced age cohort are getting likewise screwed and have neither the requisite mental competence or the energy to run such Kafkaesque bureaucratic mazes.

  21. Jim Haygood

    Doubling down on the ‘beest:

    Of course, the possibility exists that Obama has some inside information that the Bureau is not going to recommend an indictment.

    Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, having met privately with the president, came out and gave a five-minute statement with the air of a man who has been threatened by the capo di tutti capi but has not entirely backed down. He pledged his support to the effort to stop Donald Trump from becoming president. He did not suspend his campaign for president, nor did he endorse Hillary Clinton for president.

    Imagine what would happen if, having refused to indict, someone at the FBI leaks all the evidence against Hillary Clinton. Obama is apparently gambling that he and Hillary can brazen it out. But the gambit buttresses the impression that the current president and his hand-picked successor are corrupt to the marrow. Enough voters may choose scary over evil when the time comes.


    “Scary vs. evil”: a new iteration in the long-running contest of “evil vs. stupid.”

    How low can we go?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Presumes, I think incorrectly if the writer adheres to the dichotomy, that the two are not actually one category. But that’s just my personal opinion.

  22. Fiver

    No more games – Obama has held a ‘Go Directly To Jail’ card with Clinton’s name on it for at least a year, and likely a good deal longer – as in when they discovered the source of some of the leaks the Admin came down so hard on others for in fact sat in his Cabinet. If he doesn’t use it, nobody else can, and it would be folly to dream of an impeachment from an essentially intact Republican Congress, who in tandem with what was for all intents and purposes Clinton’s Obama Admin ensured their mutual owners on Wall Street and among the wealthy have never done better – ever.

    If nothing of substance happens on the e-mail, watch for Trump to throw the election – as Yves and others have noted, the actual job of being President, irrespective of values or talent, doesn’t even remotely mesh with his style, his personality, his freedom from constraint. As Kingmaker, or rather, Queenmaker though, he can have anything he wants and still sound off to his heart’s content.

    1. Archie

      I don’t know about that. He can set his own agenda and work hours. Reagan did it and so did Shrub. And think about all the golf resorts he can consecrate around the world. Is there a better position to hold in the world than POTUS, if you are a supreme narcissist?

      1. Fiver

        But who will continue to love Trump as he needs to be loved when as Decider he either does the right thing for which he’ll receive zero credit, or the wrong thing, for which he’ll be pilloried? Indeed, with the entire elite corps arrayed against him, who could he possibly trust was going to give him good advice or the straight goods on any critical issue from the entire permanent apparatus of Government, i.e., the Executive Branch and/or Congress?

        1. Archie

          Well, I never watched “The Apprentice” (or any other of the reality type shows) but you would have had to live in a cave to not know that he loved saying “You’re Fired!” And that show was a ratings hit for years. Last fall I had a conversation with my plumber about Trump and we both wondered whether it was all a ruse and he was just running to inflate his brand. Kind of like what Ben Carson was all about.

          Lately I’ve been thinking he wants to win. Perhaps more importantly he does not want to lose to that woman! I think the mistake most of us make is to try envision Trump as statesman president. You know, like all the recent phonies who have occupied the office. But I think Trump will say and do what he wants to do and enjoys doing. He’ll leave all that mundane stuff to the “staff”.

        2. HotFlash

          Fiver, I have worked with (for) narcissists and they are the absolute easiest people to manipulate. Prez Trump will be *surrounded* with people who will ‘love him as he needs to be loved’, he will be shielded from all criticism, and the bestest line to use is, “Oh, that is a *fabulous* idea (your own idea, of course) you just had! You are a genius!”

          In fact, I expect a traffic jam of Grand Vizier wannabees who will make sure he goes golfing, or bicycle riding, or whatever his little heart desires every day.

          I mean, he’s never been president before, how is he supposed to know what it’s like?

  23. hemeantwell

    The Hillary Clinton who prevails and wins loyalists, I’d argue, brings together two aspects of the Methodist tradition in which she was raised and, by extension, two sides of the American character. She embodies the tensions and, sometimes, contradictions of what the theologian Michael Novak once described as the “communitarian individual.” Her individualistic side sees salvation as depending on determination, grit and a dedication to work, and more work. Her communal side (she wrote a book, after all, called “It Takes a Village”) runs through all her policy proposals, the values she lifts up (“all of us together” in 2008, “stronger together” now) and her attitude toward her friends. Those two instincts keep her going. “

    It seems an earlier comment I made re Dionne was too vituperative. Sorry.

    But I think that criticism of this is necessary. Most of us here have been characterizing Clinton as an opportunist, as untrustworthy, as artificial, and so on. I think this is accurate, and likely so does the more than 50% of the electorate who regards her unfavorably. This means that her behavior and beliefs as revealed to us are not spontaneous, that they are heavily filtered in light of strategic considerations. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she is a sociopath, without a capacity for genuine caring. I’m sure she loves her daughter, has genuine friends. But what Dionne is trying to do, as part of a makeover after the campaign that he wants to conclude, is to restore to her a degree of authenticity by composing a model of her personality made up of real down home cultural constitutents . This attempt, which I think is basically a kinda erudite written version of the Meet Our Candidate vids shown during conventions, completely ignores how all of these cultural influences are heavily strategically mediated when they find expression in her behavior.

    Dionne tries to reverse that process. To convert a drive to attain power into a search for salvation is, well, preposterous. And to talk about a person who serves as a political leader of neoliberalism as a “communitarian individual” is just misrepresentation on a Goebbelsian scale. It ratifies the squaring of the circle that political neoliberalism, with its market fundamentalism, tries to pull off when it claims any commitment to stable community frameworks. Dionne’s putting makeup on the mask really should not pass.

    1. flora

      ” To convert a drive to attain power into a search for salvation is, well, preposterous.


      Dionne is coming to Clinton.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Theranos, “… a company that once could boast of Henry Kissinger on its board of directors….”

      Irony is dead, I tell you. Dead, dead, dead!

    2. optimader

      As disinteresting as a docudrama fiction about EHolmes/Theranos may be, I’m thinking a docudrama fiction about EHolms/Theranos starring JLawrence is even less interesting.
      Maybe give her a bow and arrow for the Tuesday morning staff blood drawing?
      (File next to: Steve Jobs docudrama fiction starring some skinny guy)

  24. allan

    Mechanical Turk upends social sciences [Science, subscr. req. for full access]

    In May, 23,000 people voluntarily took part in thousands of social science experiments without ever visiting a lab. All they did was log on to Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), an online crowdsourcing service run by the Seattle, Washington–based company better known for its massive internet-based retail business. Those research subjects completed 230,000 tasks on their computers in 3.3 million minutes—more than 6 years of effort in total. The prodigious output demonstrates the popularity of an online platform that scientists had only begun to exploit 5 years ago. But the growing use of MTurk has raised concerns, as researchers discussed at the Association for Psychological Science meeting in Chicago, Illinois, last month. Some worry that they are becoming too dependent on a commercial platform. Others question whether the research volunteers are paid fairly and treated ethically. And looming over it all are questions about who these anonymous volunteers actually are, and concerns that they are less numerous and diverse than researchers hope.

    Worry-warts. I mean, it’s not as if Correct the Record and its inevitable offshoots would flood a website with anonymous trolls to … oh, never mind.

  25. Lambert Strether Post author

    Sanders does not endorse Clinton after meeting with Obama. I’ve helpfully highlighted the key word:

    Sanders has been under pressure to stand down and help unify the party after a long and contentious contest with Clinton for the nomination. One of Obama’s tasks will be to try to rally those who have backed Sanders behind Clinton’s candidacy…

    Sanders told reporters after his White House meeting he is looking forward to working with Clinton to defeat Trump in the fall.

    “Needless to say, I’m going to do everything in my power, and I’m going to work as hard as I can, to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States,” he told reporters, as his wife, Jane, stood behind him….

    Sanders said he still plans to compete in Tuesday’s final Democratic primary in the District, but he added that “in the near future” he hopes to meet with Clinton — who this week clinched the Democratic nomination — to talk about ways they can work together.

    His comments suggested that Sanders is preparing to exit the long and grueling presidential race so long as leading Democrats make a genuine effort to incorporate his policy ideas into their broader agenda.

    The hour-long meeting with Obama came on a busy day for Sanders in Washington, where he also met on Capitol Hill with Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); Reid has sought to play the role of peace broker at the end of a contentious nominating contest between Sanders and Clinton.

    “I’m not pushing him to do anything. I think he needs a little time to decide what he wants to do,” Reid told reporters, adding the has invited Sanders to speak to Senate Democrats next week and expects Sanders to campaign for his colleagues “I didn’t hear a single word about him trying to change the fact that she’s the nominee. I think he’s accepted that.”

    Schumer said Sanders is “not worn down. He’s not bitter. He’s not angry.” He added: “He wants to make sure that issues he’s pushed for have vitality.

    An afternoon meeting with Vice President Biden was also added to Sanders’s schedule for Thursday. The two are set to meet at the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory, said Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs.

    “He is seeking out the counsel of people he admires and respects,” Briggs said of Sanders.

    Increasingly, Sanders’s aim seems to be using the leverage that he and his millions of loyal followers [feh] now have to ensure that his campaign agenda — anchored around issues of income and wealth inequality — has a central place in the Democratic Party’s platform and general-election strategy.

    Following his meeting with Obama, Sanders ticked off several priorities, including: fighting childhood poverty, expanding Social Security benefits, reducing college debt, rebuilding the nation’s “crumbling” infrastructure and making corporations and wealthy individuals pay more in taxes [Not Medicare for All? Dunno whether that’s WaPo erasure or Clinton’s sticking point or Sanders backing off.]

    Sanders’s visit to Washington prompted reflections from many who know him, particularly on Capitol Hill. Speaking to reporters there, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), an Obama ally, said that “of course” Sanders will have leverage over the party’s direction and platform.

    “I remember when he first left. It was kind of everybody with a real smile and put their arm around him and said, ‘Good luck, Bernie. And then we watched as he put together an incredible campaign, not just in the fundraising but in the way that he lit up so many Democrats and even independents who came to his side. He became a force, a political force, and a positive one as far as I’m concerned. I think our party can learn from his candidacy and I think we’re going to count on him to bring us across the finish line with a victory in November.”

    If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

    NOTE Some people seem to be under the misapprehension that “working with Clinton to defeat Trump in the fall” means taking orders from the Clinton campaign staff. I don’t see why that has to be the case at all.

    1. inode_buddha

      Thank you from the heart for posting this, I needed it. (I remain very doubtful about Sanders being able to influence anything)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, it’s like doing Kremlinology, wading through that crap. We don’t know what Sanders will do. What we do know is that he has not immediately done what the political class would like him to do. And in any case the movement is larger than the man.

        1. inode_buddha

          True dat. *sigh* I guess I’m just frustrated.

          For me its not about the characters; nor is it about keeping the Repubs out of office. Instead, for me its about knocking the Establishment off its golden pedestal. Its about trust: Why should I believe that the Establishment is all of a sudden going to listen to the people?

          Maybe they aren’t going to. Instead, I wholly applaud and support Sander’s efforts to support downstream canidates.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The man needs to go to a quiet spot, contemplate his remaining years and the meaning of his life in public service, and then make his crowning and penultimate act: detonate a gigantic bomb under the convention Guy Fawkes style.
          “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” comes to mind but in a less ironic context.

    2. wbgonne

      NOTE Some people seem to be under the misapprehension that “working with Clinton to defeat Trump in the fall” means taking orders from the Clinton campaign staff. I don’t see why that has to be the case at all.

      Exactly. And one of those unforseen ways of “working with Clinton to defeat Trump in the fall” could mean Bernie running atop the Green Party and galvanizing a majority of the country around a populist, progressive, inclusive agenda while using Clinton to demonstrate that the Democrats were as corrupt as the Republicans and both were unworthy of support. People want Sanders’ policies and Sanders’ policies are populist, progressive, and inclusive. Clinton and Trump probably get just one element of that mix each. And both are horrid cartoon characters. The American people are (even more) ready for hope and change but we being stymied by the oligarchs. The saboteurs were subtle before, disguised, but more and more the masks slip.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Clearly, that’s not possible. Sanders can’t run on Ticket B and say he supports Ticket A.

        But Sanders can say (for example) “The best way I can support Secretary Clinton is by campaigning for single payer and against fracking in Colorado, and win those referendums!”

        Sure, it would drive the Clintonites nuts but so what? He would be right.

        1. wbgonne

          Unfortunately, I think your hypothetical of Sanders “working with Clinton to defeat Trump” is nearly as implausible as mine. The fact is that Sanders and Clinton have almost no common policies other than a disdain for Trump’s apparent racism. So it seems to me that, if Sanders does endorse and “work[] with Clinton to defeat Trump,” it will be as a partisan attack dog a la Elizabeth Warren, bashing Trump and ignoring Clinton’s policy positions. Which is just how the Democratic Establishment wants it.

        2. ahimsa

          Could someone more kowledgeable please explain the electoral college system a little?

          Question: Why can’t Sanders work with Clinton to defeat Trump by also competing for electoral votes?

          During his campaigning could he not make it explicit that any electoral votes he wins he would use to bargain for concrete demands?

          Isn’t that the ultimate leverage, to hold electoral votes in your pocket?

  26. Kurt Sperry

    ” I wonder if Cohn identifies as white, or Jewish, and if the latter, whether he voted for the first Jewish Presidential candidate, or whether Cohn’s an antisemite?”

    There’s a special place in hell for Jews who don’t…

  27. JTMcPhee

    Re flying cars (and other self-driving locomotion): Basic physics continues to apply, It’s the ∆V that kills you.

    All complex systems trend toward disorder. Murphy rules. Hackers will have their fun (like the people who drop cinder blocks or big rocks off Interstate overpasses, or lay logs across railroad tracks, or jigger elevators so the doors open on empty shafts). At least they have to master some bits of “code.”

    The possibilities for FUN are becoming endless, pretty much — like a kid with a CRISPR, or a 3-D printer (especially as the range of materials that can be deposited spreads to include metallic structures).

    A fave SciFi story is based in what can happen as extremely high-strength materials come into common circulation. A “wire” that is only a few molecules thick but is strong enough becomes the sharp edge of a Japanese katana, without the encumbering rest of the blade and scabbard. String it across any opening humans have to pass through, and hey! Transected corpses! Human salami! The ethical or fear-of-detection-and-enforcement-and-punishment constraints, as we are seeing with our (sic) political economy and the perversion of the myth of “democrat-cy” into the current Daley-ocratcy.

    Seems to me that a huuuge amount of social politeness and stability is based on mutual vulnerability. How much of that remains? The Clintons. The Panopticon. FIRE. Drone mechanics. Internet stalking. Identity theft. Monsanto-ization of food. Snipers. Public water supplies. The Grid. C’mon, folks — feel free to add to the list.

    Let us hear it, roundly, for the French, who are doing whatever they at least are doing.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ah, the French. Parkinson’s Law:

      We are all familiar with the basic difference between English and French parliamentary institutions; copied respectively by such other assemblies as derive from each. We all realize that this main difference has nothing to do with national temperament, but stems from their seating plans. The British, being brought up on team games, enter their House of Commons in the spirit of those who would rather be doing something else. If they cannot be playing golf or tennis, they can at least pretend that politics is a game with very similar rules. But for this device. Parliament would arouse even less interest than it does. So the British instinct is to form two opposing teams, with referee and linesmen, and let them debate until they exhaust themselves. The House of Commons is so arranged that the individual Member is practically compelled to take one side or the other before he knows what the arguments are, or even (in some cases) before he knows the subject of the dispute. His training from birth has been to play for his side, and this saves him from any undue mental effort. Sliding into a seat toward the end of a speech, he knows exactly how to take up the argument from the point it has reached. If the speaker is on his own side of the House he will say ‘Hear, hear!’ If he is on the opposite side he can safely say ‘Shame!’ or merely ‘Oh!’ At some later stage he may have time to ask his neighbour what the debate is supposed to be about. Strictly speaking, however, there is no need for him to do this. He knows enough in any case not to kick into his own goal. The men who sit opposite are entirely wrong and all their arguments are so much drivel. The men on his own side are statesmanlike, by contrast, and their speeches a singular blend of wisdom, eloquence, and moderation. Nor does it make the slightest difference whether he learned his politics at Harrow or in following the fortunes of Aston Villa. In either school he will have learned when to cheer and when to groan. But the British system depends entirely on its seating plan. If the benches did not face each other no one could tell truth from falsehood, wisdom from folly—unless indeed by listening to it all. But to listen to it all would be ridiculous, for half the speeches must of necessity be nonsense.

      In France the initial mistake was made of seating the representatives in a semicircle, all facing the chair. The resulting confusion could be imagined if it were not notorious. No real opposing teams could be formed and no one could tell (without listening) which argument was the more cogent. There was the further handicap of all the proceedings being in French—an example the United States wisely refused to follow. But the French system is bad enough even when the linguistic difficulty does not arise. Instead of having two sides, one in the right and the other in the wrong—so that the issue is clear from the outset—the French form a multitude of teams facing in all directions. With the field in such confusion, the game cannot even begin. Basically their representatives are of the Right or of the Left, according to where they sit. This is a perfectly sound scheme. The French have not gone to the extreme of seating people in alphabetical order. But the semicircular chamber allows of subtle distinctions between the various degrees of rightness and leftness. There is none of the clear-cut British distinction between rightness and wrongness. One deputy is described, politically, as to the left of Monsieur Untel but well to the right of Monsieur Quelquechose. What is anyone to make of that? What should we make of it even in English? What do they make of it themselves? The answer is, ‘Nothing.’

      1. Steve C

        We seat our legislatures in a semicircle, but we have locked in the two-party system, so we have mindless arguments, just like the British.

        1. dots

          For some reason, Paul Wellstone’s memory springs to mind today…

          “Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.”

          Paul Wellstone Iraq War Speech

          Paul Wellstone’s Legacy, 10 Years Later (Atlantic, 10/25/2012)

  28. Enquiring Mind

    Dionne’s Methodist theme could include a lead-in to college football season, given spring training and all. That would help tide over anxious readers after the anti-climax of the California primaries.

    Two of the more famous schools started by Methodists are SMU and USC. The first one got the NCAA death penalty for its program a few years back, and the second one had a law school that contributed many of Nixon’s staffers like Donald Seghretti, Mr. Rat-F’er.

    On a more serious note, Obama said the following about Killary in a video today:
    “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”

    Reading that made me want to retch. Our Commander-in-Chief, in a rare moment of candor may be recognizing his own lack of qualification to appear to be President. His statement should provide ample material for historians and comedians to dissect.

    1. Archie

      Hey, President Zero is just giving due credit to the Clinton syndicate. He’s still trying to figure out the best methods to achieving the greatest grift while Hillary has been at it since the great commodities trades over 30 years ago. It has now risen to historic levels and that is what makes her so “qualified”. (Also, he probably wants a big contribution from the CGI for his library.)

    2. Jim Haygood

      … and SMU (from which a member of my family graduated) got the George W. Bush presidential library. It recently added a second book to its collection:


      If it’d been me, I would have burnt my freaking diploma … while dropping my drawers and mooning them.

      1. pretzelattack

        several people from my high school class went to the “harvard of the south”. well, that’s what smu called itself back in the day.

        1. ambrit

          So did Tulane University. That’s why so many called Tulane and its’ ilk the “Poison Ivy League.”

      1. ambrit

        Anyone who boasts about being involved in murder deserves incarceration, or at the least, committal.

      1. Archie

        Ya know, I’m sitting here lmfao and it is a sobering realization indeed. What a fucking joke this country has become! Grifters to the left of me, Jokers to the right……

        What’s the average life span these days?

          1. Archie

            Retired but with working spouse. Probably in the upper 25-30%. Net worth maybe in the 150-250k range but no debt. A bit overweight but from a genealogy of 90+ 1st and 2nd generation imigrants.

  29. YY

    As per an earlier point, the indictment needs to happen just to kill the issue. If the matter does not die, then the zombie version, of what we all guess as pure corruption, will begin to be probed, not by the FBI but by leakers, hackers, HRC enemies, and the curious (if not a resurrected special prosecuter). The meaty stuff is all in the private part of her E-Mails which arguably the FBI can not use even if they accidentally see direct money flows from governments/corporations/individuals to the Clinton enterprise, as their investigation necessarily must be limited to the abstract issue of use of a private server for official business, security issues and destruction of records, and not the use of a private server for private (even criminal) purposes. So like a controlled demolition they need to make a very compact short and sweet explosion to get rid of the main issue that otherwise will continue to haunt. One would think that the Justice Dept has the ability to schedule and as well whittle down the indictment to close to a parking ticket. It needs to happen after convention and before the inauguration.

    So possibly not only the first female prez but the first ex-felon as well.

      1. ahimsa


        So she was “announced” the winner with still ~%40 of the ballots to be counted!

  30. sd

    The Thompson Timeline regarding the email hairball and the Clinton Foundation – wow. There’s absolutely no separation between Private/Personal/Business/Government. It just one big mash up.

    I would like to encourage everyone to take the time and read the long version.

  31. Skippy

    Elizabeth Warren declares herself ready to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate

    “Senator Elizabeth Warren has declared herself ready to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the US presidential election.

    The Massachusetts senator – popular among the progressive wing of the Democratic party – made the declaration shortly after endorsing Clinton, calling her “a fighter with guts” who would keep Donald Trump out the White House.

    In an interview on MSNBC, Warren was asked by Rachel Maddow: “If you were asked to be Secretary Clinton’s running mate, do you believe you could do it?”

    Her response was concise: “Yes, I do.”

    In another interview with the Boston Globe on Thursday, Warren endorsed Clinton as the party’s presidential nominee, saying: “I’m ready to jump in this fight and make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States and be sure that Donald Trump gets nowhere near the White House.”
    Obama endorses Clinton
    Read more

    According to the Globe she also praised Clinton’s primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, saying that he had run an “incredible campaign”.

    Speaking to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday evening, Warren said the Sanders campaign had been “powerfully important”.”


    Disheveled Marsupial… . … After all, it didn’t build itself; Count Rugen spent time on this, crafting the ultimate torture device for his own joy and curiosity. … Instead of fighting Westley himself, he leaves him to the Machine….

  32. dk

    Sanders having been successfully other-ed as a non-Democrat, Democrat officialdom felt licensed to throw every small institutional obstacle in his way, opportunisticaly.

    Small quibbles with wording/nuance:

    1) Sanders has been an outsider all along, and to good effect and achievement throughout his career; no additional “other”ing needed. He deliberately (and honesty) distanced himself from establishment (Dem) positions. Dems could show the “other” card instead of stating they didn’t want his policies, but that was what it boiled down to. I mean, should Charlie Crist have been taken seriously as a Dem just because he switched? He was just trying to blend in with the DINO crowd (and couldn’t even pull that off for very long). Bernie switched to Dem to get to a national audience, not to be embraced to the bosom of the party.

    2) Not “Democrat officialdom”, all officialdom period. Caucuses are run directly by the Dem (state) parties but primaries are administered by the states’ (and counties’) electeds and appointeds. Their party of origin is irrelevant; they had a shot at undermining a change candidate and the Dems signalled they’d look away. This may be a nuanced difference, but I think it matters when it comes to understanding the deterioration and undermining of the election system as a whole, which has been a bipartisan effort, and benefits the oligarchy as a whole. This is the level at which the two-party kayfabe operates; power is power, and the parties are two sides of the same street, not substantially different paths, to power.

  33. Jeff W

    Further, [Margaret Sullivan] urges that not making the call would have been “suppressing” the story, a la the Times suppressing James Risen’s story on Bush’s warrantless surveillance until after Bush was safely elected.

    There is a difference between the New York Times suppressing a story—the substance of which might have had a legitimate material effect on an election—for over a year and ensuring that the timing of a story—itself about the electoral process but pretty meaningless—does not occur at the exact moment, the eve of an election, so as to vitiate the process of that election.

    Had the Times published the wireless surveillance story earlier, it would have been serving the public interest. Publishing a story that was, in fact, false, the mere timing of which affected the events it was reporting on, with no compelling reason at all as to why the article had to be published then, is completely adverse to the public interest.

    The article was false—the headline read “Hillary Clinton Has Clinched Democratic Nomination, Survey Reports”—because it equated statements of support from superdelegates to votes—and clearly superdelegates could vote differently, when they do in July, based on a number of things, including the results of the election that was about to occur. (It was also, as lambert says, barely newsworthy, as everyone assumed that what it was reporting was likely the case.)

    The import of the article was to say “The election tomorrow is of no consequence” and thereby had the entirely foreseeable, if not actual, effect of suppressing the vote. That “meta” aspect of the story is what makes the story so damaging, in a way that the warrantless surveillance story is not—it’s not that people would be take that story into account in figuring out how to vote, as they would in the warrantless surveillance story; it’s that the story reported something material and misleading about how much their vote counted, that is, not in the slightest, thereby affecting whether they would vote at all. It corrupted the electoral process.

    It is ludicrous to imagine that anyone, at the AP or the New York Times, did not realize that, even without earlier reports that the media would call the race “over” before the close of the polls in California. In fact, it is completely plausible to think, given the pinpoint timing of the article, at the moment of maximal impact on the next day’s election, that, not only did they realize it, but they acted in order to bring that result about. The AP and the Times are guilty, not of journalistic negligence or recklessness, but intentional harm. Had they waited a week, until the last of the primary voting was over, that delay would have jeopardized absolutely no public interest, unlike the year-long delay of the warrantless surveillance story, and would have avoided the harm, if any, that the timing of the story, as published, did cause. I find it difficult to believe that Sullivan does not realize any of this.

  34. dots

    The strategic options are fairly limited for the Dictator’s Dilemma so tactics are standard no matter what the governance scaffolding looks like.

    To sustain their rule, dictators must discourage vicious power struggles within their ruling coalitions, the entry of outside rivals, and the formation of subversive coalitions. A common way in which dictators deter these threats is by manufacturing an image of invincibility. For example, dictators mobilize crowds to participate in ritualistic ceremonies, have walls and streets painted with the official party’s emblem, obtain huge turnout at the polls and win with crushing margins, etc. Dictators manufacture this image of strength to signal to potential elite opponents that they are indestructible and that there is no point in conspiring a palace coup or plotting a rebellion. Dictators also want to appear invincible in the eyes of their subjects because few individuals dissenting with impunity can bandwagon into general disobedience if the regime’s unpopularity and weakness becomes common knowledge. Mass protest and riots are hence not trivial events in the life of dictatorships, although most of the recent literature on authoritarian politics has paid scant attention to them.

    Citizen Loyalty, Mass Protest and Authoritarian Survival
    Magaloni & Wallace, Stanford University 2008

  35. gizzardboy

    “The implication is that if Clinton is elected, she will be impeached. And rightly.”

    Elizabeth Warren as VP would be insurance that she would not be impeached. Wall Street and the Establishment would do anything to see that she does not become President.

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