2:00PM Water Cooler 8/12/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Dealing with the plumber, readers. More in a bit. –lambert

TPP/TTIP/TISA

“The nationwide campaign surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership is showing no signs of letting up, with the deal’s critics beginning to ramp up efforts to speak out against the agreement and the administration reaching deeper into its lineup to get some of its lesser-known players out on the field” [Politico]. NOAA, for pity’s sake, in Seattle. But: “As part of the ongoing “Rock Against the TPP” tour, actress Evangeline Lilly will also host a teach-in and training session in Seattle, called ‘How to Fight the TPP.'”

“CLINTON RAMPS UP ANTI-TPP STANCE: Hillary Clinton delivered her clearest denunciation yet of the TPP on Thursday when she declared she would oppose it “now … after the election, and … as president.” [Politico]. Here’s the full quote, with the part Politico left out helpfully underlined:

[CLINTON: ] So my message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as President.

Congrats to Politico on the distraction double-flip: I thought the ellipses would have left out essential material, but they were legit; instead, Politico simply took the quote out of context — and in a way that supports Clinton — by omitting her lawyerly parsing. And our famously free press wonders why people don’t trust them.

“In spite of the opposition of much of the public, both presidential candidates, all of labor, almost all Democrats, all progressive-aligned consumer, human rights, environmental and other organizations and even the Tea Party right, what is happening here is that Wall Street, the multinational corporations, most Republicans and unfortunately President Obama are preparing to insult democracy by pushing to ratify TPP. This undermine’s Clinton’s credibility while campaigning for election, and if it passes it harms her ability to govern if she is elected” [Dave Johnson, CAF]. I disagree. As we say yesterday, 43% of Democrats supports TPP; I would bet the support in Clinton’s 10% base is much greater. Clinton will pay no penalty with constituences she cares about. True, that will “sharpen the contradictions” of our current and ongoing legitimacy crisis, but I doubt the bubble-dwellers in HillaryLand are even conscious of that.

“The False Economic Promise of Global Governance” [Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate]. “good economic policies – including openness – benefit the domestic economy first and foremost, and the price of bad economic policies is primarily paid domestically as well. Individual countries’ economic fortunes are determined largely by what happens at home rather than abroad. If economic openness is desirable, it is because such policies are in a country’s own self-interest – not because it helps others.” Note that pro-TPP Democrat cosmopolitan liberal goodthinkers deny this, because they don’t bear costs and do reap benefits. More centrally, it’s grimly fascination to watch the world careen toward global governance for capital — that’s what the ISDS system is, after all — while ignoring global governance for a truly global system: Climate.

2016

Corruption

“EXCLUSIVE: Joint FBI-US Attorney Probe Of Clinton Foundation Is Underway” [Daily Caller]. “Multiple FBI investigations are underway involving potential corruption charges against the Clinton Foundation, according to a former senior law enforcement official. The investigation centers on New York City where the Clinton Foundation has its main offices, according to the former official who has direct knowledge of the activities. The New York-based probe is being led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara’s prosecutorial aggressiveness has resulted in a large number of convictions of banks, hedge funds and Wall Street insiders.” Normally, I view the Daily Caller with great skepticism, based on past fabrications (then again, Judy Miller). That said, this one was vouched for on the Twitter by reporters I have respect for. And with Clinton owning both political establishments, it’s hard to see where else the (sadly) single source could turn. Interestingly, Bharara hasn’t issued a denail as of this writing, altough they declined comment. Here’s a rehash from LawNewz. So we’ll see how this plays out.

“Clinton team tells supporters to dismiss email questions as ‘more bark than bite’” [Yahoo News] (talking points for Brock trolls and reputable allies, if any, attached). Notice there are two issues with “her damned email.” (1) Clinton’s privatization of the server as such, with the associated security issues. (2) Corruption, enabled by the privatization: Clinton’s conflation of the private interests of the Clinton Foundation with the public actions of the State Department under Clinton’s leadership. The privatized server enables corruption by severing the evidentiary chain between private communications (said to be yoga lessons and Chelsea’s wedding, but, as we now know, more than that) and putatively public actions. The content of the 40 emails not turned over by Clinton, and now revealed by Judicial Watch, re-connects the links in the evidentiary chain. Of course, Clinton’s talking points are designed to obfuscate the distinction.

Policy

“The fourth ObamaCare signup period begins about one week before Election Day” [The Hill]. “The average premium increase next year is about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But some hikes are far higher.” And: “Like Obama, [Clinton] vowed to invest in advertising and in-person outreach to help more people enroll. Clinton would also increase ObamaCare subsidies so that customers spend no more than 8.5 percent of their income on premiums — down from 9.5 percent under current law.” So awesome. Combine a public relations campaign — more walking around money for the Democrat base in the creative class — plus slightly raising the health insurance company boot from our throats. That should set them in solid for the 2018 midterms.

UPDATE “Why the CIA Should Brief Trump” [The American Conservative]. Worth a readm and I’m filing this under policy because WaPo is quoted as saying that intelligence professionals regard Putin’s Russia as a “bitter foe.” Well, you go to war with bitter foes, and once you tune your ears to the war drums beating in this election, you’ll hear them everywhere.

The Voters

“Gallup’s explanation of support for Trump is intersectional leftism 101” [Carl Beijer]. “As Jeff Spross points out (and as I’ve insisted ad nauseum), ‘the argument that economic distress underlies Trump’s success was never that it’s the only thing that underlies it.’ The suggestion that leftists reduce all political questions to class is a tired anticommunist smear that has a long history in right-wing red-baiting rhetoric, and that no one who has ever actually bothered to talk to a Marxist actually believes. And effectively, insisting that leftists are overstating the role of economics when leftists merely insist that economics plays a role is a way of making the equally untenable argument that the economy doesn’t play any role at all…. Ironically, the one explanation that Rothwell’s analysis [for Gallup] excludes is the one that rules out economic anxiety as a cause of Trumpism. Race and class are both at work here, and the sooner liberals figure that out, the sooner they’ll stop being liberals.” No wonder Neera Tanden tried to get his guy fired.

“While we watch the debates and judge the candidates’ style, we tend to miss the serious content. Like Romney’s contempt for us, seen in his serial lies. That’s a long tradition in America, going back to Reagan’s first debate in the 1984 election. We not only ignored his signs of early Alzheimer’s, but elected him” [Fabius Maximus].

Swing States

“The Senate is up for grabs again in November, just two years after Republicans took control of the chamber for the first time since 2007. Making the task tougher for the GOP: Republicans are defending 24 seats, compared with 10 for the Democrats. And most of the roughly dozen Senate seats considered the most competitive are currently held by Republicans—many in states won by President Barack Obama” [Wall Street Journal, “Senate Races to Watch in 2016”] . “That gives Democrats a better shot at winning the minimum five net seats they need to wrest from Republicans to win back control. If Democrats keep the White House, they only need to pick up four seats, since the vice president can break a 50-50 tie in the Senate.” Ugh. I want gridlock.

Realignment

Lambert: This used to be “Squillionaires and Establishment Republicans for Clinton” but I think “realignment” is both more pointed and more correct.

“Democrats should recalibrate their primary message to appeal to aspirational voters across the middle of the political spectrum — independents, college-educated suburban moderates and a substantial slice of Republicans who can’t abide Trump. ” [CNN].

Clinton’s drive to assimilate the Republican establishment is so powerful it’s affecting down ballot races (complains the DNC):

“As Donald Trump struggles through a second week of self-inflicted stumbles, the Democratic nominee’s campaign has started to push into Republican territory by courting some of the party’s core supporters and expanding her campaign’s operations into traditionally red states” [AP].

UPDATE “Donors for Bush, Kasich and Christie Are Turning to Clinton More Than to Trump” [New York Times].

UPDATE Inside Baseball on the 50 “professionals” who signed the recent ant-Trump foreign policy letter [Bloomberg]. I hate it when Trump’s right, but these same “professionals,” over the last 15 years, have lost two major wars, set the Mediterranean littoral on fire, created a refugee crisis that’s destabilizing our largest military protectorate, and blown many thousands of far away brown people to pink mist (but that’s not racist, no siree. We have credentials). Why would anybody listen to them, unless they want to get snookered?

Stats Watch

Retail Sales, July 2016: “Consumers spent their money on vehicles in July but not on much else as retail sales came in unchanged” [Econoday]. “Supermarket sales fell in the month as did building materials. Sporting goods were especially weak as were restaurant sales, the latter a discretionary category that speaks to the month’s lack of non-vehicle punch. On the plus side once again are sales at nonstore retailers which, driven by ecommerce, jumped a sizable 1.3 percent for a second straight month and follows even larger gains in prior months.” But: “Retail sales were unchanged according to US Census headline data. Our analysis paints a fairly ugly picture of retail sales – and the sales were significantly under expectations” [Econintersect]. “The differences between the headlines and Econintersect are due to different approaches to seasonal adjustment (see caveats at the end of this post)…. Using employment as a gauge to check growth, employment in retail has been growing – but the rate of growth is slowing.” And: “Taken together, the July retail sales report indicate a weaker-than-expected handoff to Q3 consumer spending, leaving the pace of growth momentum in the second half of this year on a more downbeat note. However, the overall fundamental picture for the consumer remains bright, consistent with a solid rebound in subsequent months. But in any case, the report warrants the Fed to stick to their patient stance over the near-term as Committee members are likely to desire additional data on the resilience of the consumer later in the quarter” [TD Securities, Across the Curve].

Consumer Sentiment, August 2016: “Consumer sentiment is flat” [Econoday]. “The gain in expectations points to rising confidence in the jobs outlook but the decline in current conditions hints at a second month of slowing for consumer spending.” Or: “Inches up” [Econintersect].

Produced Prices Index Final Demand, July 2016: “The burst higher for producer prices proved brief” (below consensus) [Econoday]. “Minus signs fill the July tables with a 0.3 percent decline for services a special concern. The decline, in part reflecting weakness in apparel, ends three months of prior gains and hints at easing demand at the base of the economy. And goods are also down, 0.4 percent lower for the first decline since February. Wholesale prices of food, pulled down by lower corn prices, fell in the month as did prices for energy and construction as well as both cars and light trucks. Rounding out the bad news is a 0.5 percent monthly decline in finished goods prices.” And: “emains insignificantly in contraction. The intermediate processing continues to show a large deflation in the supply chain” [Econintersect].

Business Inventories, June 2016: “The mix pulls down the stock-to-sales ratio one notch to a lean 1.39. Leading a 0.5 percent rise in retail inventories are auto inventories” [Econoday].

Business Sales: “Econintersect’s analysis of final business sales data (retail plus wholesale plus manufacturing) shows unadjusted sales decelerated compared to the previous month – and the rolling averages declined. Inventories shrunk relative to the previous month but inventory-to-sales ratios remain at recessionary levels” [Econintersect].

Retail: “Brick-and-mortar retailers are making slow progress in their attempt to win consumers who increasingly are shopping online. Macy’s Inc. says it is closing 100 stores, shrinking its footprint by 14%, amid falling sales that have rendered some stores more valuable as real estate than as retail outlets” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Global container demand grew 2% year-over-year, but Maersk says the global container fleet grew 6% during the same period. Freight rates declined across all trades, by the most in North America and West Central Asia. Maersk says it still expects global demand for seaborne container transportation to grow just 1% to 3% this year” [WSJ]. Everybody’s building big ships and boats….

Shipping: “It’s August so, generally speaking, shipping markets are pretty dead right now. “Everybody’s on bloody holiday,” one beleagured broker (who isn’t) told me this week” [Splash 247].

The Bezzle: “25 words and phrases you’re using at work that your coworkers can’t stand” [Business Insider]. Happily, “innovation” is one of them.

The Bezzle: ” What’s Wrong with the Fashion Industry? Part IV” [The Fashion Law]. Interviews with fashion luminaries:

Robin Schulié [, brand manager & buying director at Maria Luisa:] Nobody gives a sh*t about Dior right now. LVMH doesn’t care that the clothes Raf Simons shows on the catwalk are uninteresting because the company will just continue making money with watered-down versions of old Galliano outfits and cocoon coats. It’s the same with Chanel. When you really start looking at the clothes, not even your granny would want to wear it. Then you stick the Chanel label on and suddenly everyone loves it.

The industry is so f*cked up now. It’s made up of people making clothes they don’t like for people who won’t buy them. It’s all a vast illusion. No big company makes money from clothes anymore; they make money from their accessories, their perfumes, their make-up lines. To me, that makes the whole industry a big failure. I mean, any other industry where the actual money comes, not from the product you purport to sell, but from a peripheral one, would surely be deemed a failed industry. As far as I’m concerned what we’re in now isn’t the ‘fashion industry’ – it’s more like the ‘illusion industry.’

Sounds like finance, no?

Political Risk: “Britain has taken over from Japan as the world’s wildest bond market, raising new questions about the distortions being caused by central banks” [Wall Strreet Journal, “The U.K. Is the New Engine of Bond-Market Distortion”]. “The race into gilts partly anticipated and was accelerated by the Bank of England’s resumption of bond purchases this week, part of a package of monetary easing designed to offset damage to the economy from June’s Brexit vote.” Across the Curve’s headline is the more pointed: “Irrational Exuberance in Gilt market.”

I’ll just leave this here:

“[CONFUSED PAUSE]”? Or “[APPRECIATIVE, REVERENT SILENCE]”?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 85 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 12 at 11:44am. Nobody wants to work any more….

Dear Old Blighty

“Labour’s ruling body has won its challenge against a High Court decision allowing new party members to vote in the upcoming leadership election” [Independent]. “The Court of Appeal’s ruling is a blow to Jeremy Corbyn’s battle to remain the Labour leader as the majority of those joining the party are expected to support him over rival Owen Smith.” So, Parlimentary Labor gets to throw out 100K Labour members retroactively. The DNC has nothing on these guys.

“The anger that commentators detect in the Corbyn movement, in my experience, is not a symptom of the fact that it has been infiltrated by bullies – but that its members feel as though the Labour coup is as much an attack on their right to participate in public discourse as it is on Corbyn” [Guardian]. Some day I’ve got to take that identitarian “bully” trope apart. It’s an infantile view of power relations.

“The basis for the assertion of [PLP candidate Owen] Smith’s greater electability, therefore, is not based on him possessing a better strategy for winning the next election but on his correspondence with a rigid image of being electable, an appearance and a set of gestures which are the (Barthes) ‘condensation of an ‘ineffable’ social whole, [which] constitutes an anti-intellectual weapon and tends to spirit away ‘politics’ (that is to say a body of problems and solutions) to the advantage of a ‘manner of being’, a socio-moral status.”‘[Medium]. “Smith’s appearance, his age, his fourth-rate Clinton, third-rate Blair, second-rate Cameron choppy hand gestures to emphasise a point, represent nothing more than a conformity with the socio-moral semblance of ‘electability’ which has nothing to do with the content of a serious election winning strategy.” There’s a lot of that going around…

Our Famously Free Press

“Gawker stands out as the Internet’s loudest and most adversarial independent news outlet in an era when the power of publishing extends to everybody, with few limits. The feeling that writers were taking on the topics nobody else wanted to touch—stuff readers would never see in stuffier, more traditional outlets—was the source of Gawker’s popularity and, ultimately, its undoing” [Los Angeles Times]. Thanks, Peter Thiel, for kicking down so hard.

Water

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver: “Everybody played a role in this disaster and need to be held accountable and responsible and get Flint citizens what we deserve. This is way too long. We should not be in year three and we cannot drink our water” [NPR].

Gaia

“Dogs really do seem to be especially skilled at picking up on what people are feeling; one study published earlier this year even suggests that dogs can recognize a person’s emotions by looking at his or her facial expressions. And, really, why shouldn’t they be able to do so? Humans and dogs have co-evolved over many thousands of years” [New York Magazine].

The 420

“The Next 14 States to Legalize Marijuana” [Wall Street 247]. “Historically, Maine has been among the states leading the campaign for marijuana reform.” Dirigo!

Guillotine Watch

UPDATE “The Secrets of François Catroux, the Über-Rich’s Favorite Interior Designer” [Vanity Fair]. “Given his career, it is surprising, really, that Catroux has not previously published a book.” Oh. So Vanity Fair is puffing his book. Nice. Billings falling off, then?

UPDATE “What Began With Pepper Spray at UC Davis Ends With a Golden Parachute” [The Atlantic]. “Chancellor Linda Katehi, who wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to minimize the incident, has been forced to resign. But the public will keep paying her lavishly.” First thing we do, let’s, er, fire all the administrators. More:

Katehi will continue to receive her salary of $424,360 plus retirement and health benefits, but she will not have to teach classes in her transition year, after which she plans to become a UC Davis engineering professor.

Social engineering?

Class Warfare

“Why do children become stunted?” [Harvard School of Public Heatlh]. I view education as a proxy for class, but to be fair, the study claims to control for wealth.

“The whole curious DeMint affair bespeaks the ongoing shift of power in Washington away from the people’s business—and toward the ideological donor class. Heritage’s new advocacy shop, Heritage Action, brings the organization the sort of power that Washington’s predominant think tanks never previously considered theirs to wield: that of enforcing conservative ideological orthodoxy among lawmakers. Instead of handing them conservative policy research to inform decision-making, it’s issuing scorecards that gauge lawmakers’ ideological fealty to pet conservative causes—and ensuring that these scores get circulated far and wide among the powerful donors behind the conservative movement” [The Baffler]. If “the left” could ever agree on a common set of demands, it could do exactly the same thing. No?

News of the Wired

“It’s Now OK to Take Your Dog Out to Dinner” [Bloomberg]. First kids. Now this.

“Speed up your social newsgathering with these Twitter search shortcuts” [First Draft News]. Handy!

“Hostess launches “Deep Fried Twinkies” as first frozen treat ” [AP].

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (nobody):

sunflower bee 2

Spectacular!

* * *

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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.

138 comments

  1. Sam Adams

    If everyone is responsible for poisoning the water in Flint then no one is able to be held responsible.

    1. Roger Smith

      Remember when Obama went there and drank the “public water”? He’s so cooool.

      Notice how it has constantly been about blame with very little reporting on any solutions (because their haven’t been any–and the primaries are over). At this point a new federally funded system might have already been on its way to completion. To bad its just poor losers that live there…

      An Mlive report from yesterday suggests the crisis might be reaching the “beginning of the end”

      Beginning of the end is exactly the right phrase…

        1. Pavel

          Vatch, thanks for the link. I just watched it and that doesn’t even qualify as a “sip” of water… A typically shameless Obama stunt. I’d have been impressed only if he drank the whole glass down in one go.

        2. Roger Smith

          Wow! No I never even considered it. I watched it but it never occurred to me to look at it like that. Well I am going to check out your link now.

          Update: okay that was not the video I saw. He did it during his… Airplane hanger speech (or wherever it was). I will try to find a link to that as well. He is casualed out to look working class.

  2. Jim Haygood

    This just in:

    “Of the [Clintons’] $1,042,000 in charitable cash contributions, exactly $1 million went to, you guessed it, the Clinton Family Foundation.”

    It takes a Harambe to trample a village.

    1. temporal

      That is sort of the way it’s done for most of the rich that make charitable contributions. Give presents to friends wait for other presents to return and pay less taxes. The Clintons apparently decided that honesty was the best policy and skipped all that trusting others to pass the dutchie.

      There seems to be a lot of rich people on the board as well as hanging around as employees at TCFF. That million won’t go far. Maybe they’ll pass on a couple of bucks to Haiti or send them some used furniture.

      1. Paid Minion

        Another example of “charitable donations”–

        A big chunk of the “Warbird Restoration” business.

        -Millionaire buys and restores WWII airplane. (The price of which has been driven into the millions of dollars by rich guys bidding against each other)
        -“Donates” airplane to “charitable/non-profit” organization, dedicated to “honoring the memory…………”
        -The guy that donates gets a tax writeoff, then flies it on the tax-deductible donations.

        Yeah, when the guy kicks the bucket, the airplane goes to the charity. But, being dead, and having received a 10-20 year tax writeoff, why does he care at that point?

        It would take twenty years to find and document all of the little scams for rich people that have been written into the tax code.

        Seems like the tax code gives out $100 of “incentives” for every $5 rich people spend.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If he spends 1 million on a 100% deductible donation, and is taxed at, say 60%, he still comes up $400,000 short.

          Might as well just pay the taxes (over 10 or 20 years, instead of forking the lump sum over on year 1).

          1. Jagger

            If you can’t beat them, join them. I think I will go out and buy a B-17 or maybe an old WWI battlecruiser if I can find one. Time to break open that old piggy bank.

            1. RMO

              Being an aviation nut I’ve noticed that many warbirds have gone WAY up in price over the last decade. They’ve never been cheap to own (even when they were available as surplus in large quantities the operating costs could be amazingly high) but now you have to be a multi-millionaire at least to buy something like a P-51. A lot of classic cars and sailing yachts have gone the same way. The extremely wealthy seem to have decided these things are desirable and the prices rocket into the stratosphere. I suppose I can consider myself fortunate that the type of flying that I love the most (soaring) is also one of the least expensive ways of getting off the ground. It’s also one of the few forms of flying that let one go wingtip-to-wingtip with eagles and hawks on a regular basis.

            2. fajensen

              Maybe the purchase of a carefully restored vintage Flakvierling 38 is more appropriate?

              If they are flying over your land … you could put some authenticity into the Squillionaire WWII flyboy experience ;-)

  3. dcblogger

    So, Parlimentary Labor gets to throw out 100K Labour members retroactively. The DNC has nothing on these guys.

    Versailles never welcomes the sans-coulottes.

  4. Foppe

    fwiw, on the topic of elite corruption/pay2play/hillary: When I recently tried to talk about this with someone who takes himself slightly too seriously, who sees his interests as aligned with the professional classes, self-identifying as a “pragmatist”, and who seems constitutionally unable to conceive of the notion that highly educated people could be as corrupt as they (often) are incompetent, I found that it was pretty much impossible to get him to even acknowledge that Hillary’s SoS/CF corruption was problematic, because “that’s always how it goes/what happens, we shouldn’t kid ourselves” and “at least we know about this” (apparently the fact that quite a bit of effort was being expended to make it harder for us to find out about this didn’t faze him either, perhaps because of ideas he harbors about how that’s necessary because “the masses wouldn’t understand” or whatnot). Utterly bizarre, this unwillingness to engage with the facts, because of beliefs someone holds about how not doing so is the pragmatic option, in someone who also identifies as a (hard) scientist.

      1. hunkerdown

        What kind of hard science? From personal experience, I know the electronics industry’s “white” staff tends toward right-wing authoritarian, from assemblers on up.

    1. Jim Haygood

      As someone said on another forum:

      “I hate the Clintons, but I have to give it to them.

      “They are so blatant about their corruption, it’s almost honest.”

    2. hemeantwell

      I’ve been reading around in some of the mid-20th c. lit on the psychology of fascism — “Prophets of Deceit,” “The Inability to Mourn” and others in the genre — and that sort of “realism” was thought of as a key component in bringing about acceptance of, and then sympathy with, fascism. Once corruption and related forms of power asymmetries are accepted, there’s not much left to maintain a principled critical standpoint. You’re just left with your own narrow self interest and an openness to appreciating the skill with which the game is played. Hitler was quite a politician and, wowzers, Mussolini sure had some chutzpah, that March on Rome was awesome!

      1. clarky90

        Stalin walked into Lenin’s office and asked, “Vladimir Ilyich, may I order to shoot a dozen communists?”
        “If the interests of the Party demand it, by all means,” Lenin answered.
        “Vladimir Ilyich, if necessary, may we shoot one hundred communists?”
        “If necessary, the answer is Yes.”
        “Vladimir Ilyich, may we, if need be, shoot one thousand Party members?”
        “If there is a real need, yes.”
        “Vladimir Ilyich, may we, if the situation demands, shoot one million of Party Members?”
        “Eh, Iosif Vissarionovich, now we’ll criticize you in a comradely way, and may even say to you that you exaggerate a little.”

        http://www.johndclare.net/Russ12_Jokes.htm

    3. Jeff Cavner

      I sympathize with you. I see this in the sciences also (in recent debates with these folks it’s always, ‘well some form of imperialism has always existed’), I work with ecologists and biodiversity modelers. Interestingly (an argument I have never been allowed to use because of the impassioned natures of these conversations) is that if you read the philosophy of science, and here I am thinking of a snippet from Quentin Meillassoux’s stuff on hyper contingency and the notion of constants in nature, that just because something has “always” been that way doesn’t make it not historically contingent. And that temporal absolutes from a human perspective framed this way is one of the hallmarks of ideology as opposed to empirical science.

  5. doug

    The dope article link goes to the last page. mmmmmm
    Just drop the ending off to get to beginning…

  6. allan

    Chinese Envoy Challenges Vancouver Home Tax as Fallout Spreads [Bloomberg]

    China’s top envoy in British Columbia challenged the Canadian province’s new 15 percent tax on foreign home buyers, questioning the justification behind the hastily imposed measure.

    “Why a 15 percent tax? Why now? Why this rate? What’s the purpose? Will it work?” Liu Fei, China’s consul general in Vancouver, said in an interview Thursday. …

    Liu’s comments come amid signs of the expanding fallout from the levy, which took effect on Aug. 2 just eight days after it was announced and threatened to slow or scuttle many deals. The measure was a response to growing public pressure in Canada’s third-largest city, where the benchmark detached home now costs C$1.58 million ($1.2 million) and anecdotes abound of offshore investors bidding up prices and then leaving homes empty.

    Liu said she has expressed qualms to some provincial ministers after receiving calls from distressed Chinese students locked in contracts to buy homes but unable to drum up the extra cash to pay the tax.

    Students. LMAO.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Everything looks fine in the rear-view mirror:

      Month over month, home prices rose 3.8 per cent in Victoria, 3.1 per cent in Toronto, 2.4 per cent in Hamilton and 2.3 per cent in Vancouver.

      The Vancouver region booked its 18th straight month of price gains, with the housing market breaking new records every month. The strong sustained growth pushed prices up 24.3 per cent in Vancouver from July last year.

      Prices have surged in Vancouver in July even as sales fell 19 per cent in the region from the same period last year.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/canadian-home-prices-rise-2-per-cent-in-july/article31385621/

      Two ways this could shake out: (1) Chinese buyers focus on Toronto instead, to dodge BC’s 15% tax; (2) In a ‘pin that pops the bubble” effect, house prices start falling nationwide.

      I vote for the latter. Canadian house prices aren’t supported by fundamentals. A swingeing too-late, too-large tax grab is just what the doctor ordered for provoking a stampede … out of property.

      1. cnchal

        No price is too high when paying with loot.

        As an old-style Leninist party in a modern world, the CCP is confronted by two major challenges: first, how to maintain “ideological discipline” among its almost 89 million members in a globalized world awash with money, international travel, electronically transmitted information, and heretical ideas. Second, how to cleanse itself of its chronic corruption, a blight that Xi has himself described as “a matter of life and death.”

        The primary reason the Party is so susceptible to graft is that while officials are poorly paid, they do control valuable national assets. So, for example, when property development deals come together involving real estate (all land belongs to the government) and banking (all the major banks also belong to the government), officials vetting the deals find themselves in tempting positions to supplement their paltry salaries by accepting bribes or covertly raking off a percentage of the action. Since success without corruption in China is almost a non sequitur, officials and businessmen (and heads of state-owned enterprises are both) are all easily touched by what Chinese call “original sin” (yuanzui), namely, some acquaintance with corruption.

        The more anti corruption pressure Jinping applies, the greater the flood of loot coming out of China. Canada is getting swamped.

      2. kgw

        After more than 20 years in my apartment over a garage, the aging owner sold the property (front house was a separate rental). Just received notice that the new landlord, a real estate professional, is raising my rent by 23%…As the “fundamentals” aren’t any better in SoCal, I also vote for the latter.
        (My late father-in-law described a professional as one who charges money for what they do)

      3. Kurt Sperry

        I suspect if the price gains in Vancouver/Lower Mainland RE were denominated in USD instead of CAD, they’d often look a *lot* smaller.

      4. Some Guy

        The market was slowing for a couple of months even before the tax came in.

        The Canadian government is so concerned that they are looking to vastly increase the number of Chinese students who come to Canada.

        “Minister of Immigration John McCallum landed in Beijing on Sunday for meetings with senior Chinese officials at the country’s Foreign Affairs and Public Security ministries. He has asked for approval to quickly open new visa application centres in five secondary Chinese cities: Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Jinan and Shenyang.”

        ““But we want to get it even bigger,” Mr. McCallum said in an interview in Beijing on Tuesday. The Liberal government wants “the highest growth we can of tourists coming to Canada, of qualified foreign students who want to study in Canada. If that’s a doubling [in numbers], that’s great,” he said. He described Chinese officials as “actively on board” with the idea.”

        “Mr. McCallum acknowledged that bringing in more students could further raise pressure on real estate prices, since one of the primary Chinese motivations for buying Canadian property is to house sons and daughters at university.

        “I don’t deny there is such a connection,” he said. But he downplayed its severity, saying many places outside Vancouver and Toronto are begging for more foreign students and immigrants, including Atlantic Canada.”

        Memo to John, slightly more plausible lies please!

  7. Roger Smith

    Dealing with the plumber, readers. More in a bit. –lambert

    As Lambert drags the body down into the dark, damp cellar… a loud thump with each slow step.

        1. Jagger

          As Lambert drags the body down into the dark, damp cellar… a loud thump with each slow step.

          Roger Smith=nom de plome for Steven King? Tuck in a supernatural element and Anna Kendrick and I would read it.

    1. clarky90

      In a prison, two inmates share their experience.
      “What did they arrest you for?” one of them asks. “Was it a political or common crime?”
      “Of course political. I’m a plumber. They summoned me to the district Party committee to fix the sewage pipes. I looked and said, ‘Hey, the entire system requires replacement.’ So, they gave me seven years.”

      http://www.johndclare.net/Russ12_Jokes.htm

      1. likbez

        I think you are over-fascinated by the analogies between the USSR nomenklatura mentality and the neoliberal USA elite mentality.

  8. jgordon

    About Hillary’s cute lawerly language–just to be clear, isn’t it neoliberal dogma that by definition all “trade deals” increase jobs and wages.

    In effect this statement can be accurately summed up as “I support the TPP.” I wonder–are a lot of people being taken in by this crap? Wouldn’t it be better to just outright lie? I mean it’s not like Trump has been letting this language go by unchallenged; he’ll be pretty merciless about it in the debates coming up.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If she is so far ahead, she should be able to risk embracing the deal openly and not have to borrow a page from Obama’s playbook about privately calming his supporters, back in 2008, about his public position on NAFTA.

    2. different clue

      The problem is, is Trump smart enough to understand that? Is he patient and disciplined enough to make that “parsing problem” a basic part of his message and keep discussing it?

      I know Trump is shrewd and cunning and educated about high-level money-grubbing and handing off his losses to others. But does he have any higher-order intelligence? Does he think longer and deeper and can he show that in any debates Hillary cannot avoid showing up for? Do they educate for that at Wharton?

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Joint FBI-US Attorney Probe Of Clinton Foundation

    This morning I saw an article saying that the DOJ has rebuffed the FBI request to investigate the Clinton Foundation. Quick search turns up a lot of articles – here’s one from the Washington Times:

    “The Obama administration rejected requests from three FBI field offices that wanted to open public corruption probes of the Clinton Foundation, according to a report that added to headaches for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

    Alerted by banks to suspicious transactions, the FBI wanted to investigate conflicts of interest involving foreign donors to the foundation while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. But the Justice Department put the kibosh on the it, CNN reported.”

    So now I’m confused – aren’t US Attorneys part of the DOJ? Can anyone shed some light on this?

    1. ggm

      My twitter is saying Bharara could claim jurisdiction and the probe is an end run around DOJ. It is all based on one anonymous source for now, grain of salt and so forth.

  10. lyman alpha blob

    Here’s one for class warfare – ifinally one for the good guys. That CEO who decided to pay all his employees $70K minimum last year didn’t drive his company into the ground but is in fact doing quite well:

    ” “When I made the announcement, I said I would just put my salary back where it was once the company’s profits had gone back to where they were,” Price said. “I expected us to take a big step backwards.”

    But that’s not what happened. Instead, sales skyrocketed after the announcement, and Gravity Payments continues to take on new clients at a rate it never had before. It reports nearly doubling profits in a year, from $3.5 million in 2014 to $6.5 million in 2015. So Price is re-evaluating the metrics, and still trying to decide what his income should look like.”

    It’s from Today and does seem to be a bit of a puff piece complete with family drama, but still encouraging.

  11. Paid Minion

    And we can recognize what dogs are thinking, by looking at their facial expressions.

    You can prove this, by looking at your dog when you get home, after finding out he crapped on the carpet.

    Which is why I like dogs better than cats. Dogs will at least act guilty when they screw up.

    A cat will crap on top of your head, then look like he has no idea why you are pizzed.

    1. OIFVet

      Bullcrap. Some time ago I was playing with one of my cats, when I happened to move the corner of the area rug. Something didn’t seem right, so I took a hard look. There was an old, dried out cat barf under the rug. I looked up to see my cat taking the slow walk of shame away from me, looking all guilty. So there!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would forgive the cat if it brings me a dead rat from the yard to please me.

        It’s their way of sharing the GDP.

        1. OIFVet

          Dead mice in our shoes, about once per quarter :) My cats care, and share. Just not with one another…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A cat requires more out of life.

      It’s always checking if your love is unconditional.

      “If you really, truly love me, you will not try to change me.”

  12. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Clinton’s drive to assimilate the Republican establishment

    IMNSHO this is the recipe for the gridlock you’re looking for Lambert and may even rid us of both Trump and Clinton. Not sure what the Dems were thinking they’d accomplish by targeting Repulicans to vote for Clinton. While some might hold there nose and pull the lever for her out of disgust for Trump, it certainly does not follow that they will also vote for down-ticket Dems. It seems asinine to me to expect that they would.

    More likely the result is a Clinton presidency backed by a Republican Congress. I’d say it would be great if they’d then impeach her but one has to be careful what one wishes for. I don’t see a Kaine presidency as much of an improvement and I suspect repubs would be more likely to cooperate with him than they would Clinton.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > what the Dems were thinking

      1) Ka-ching

      2) Bipartisanship, DLC style (Grand Bargain, TPP, war).

      3) Kick the left. Even though every day is kick the left day, some days are more delicious than others.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’ll just remark that American politics right now is like a deep-fried Twinkie.
        Disgusting and unhealthy? Check
        Gooey and slimy inside? Check
        Fried by too much heat? Check
        Full of airy, spongey cake with no substance? Check
        Zero nutritional content? Check

        1. Steve C

          If all those establishment Republicans are rejecting Trump and embracing Hillary, he can’t be so bad and she can’t be so good.

    2. different clue

      Why would this cause gridlock? Wouldn’t this cause Trade Agreements and Grand Bargains? The elite mainstreamers will get all those done first and then get around to Impeachment and stuff if they need to amuse themselves. But they will see to first things first . . . if its Clinton and a Republan Senate and House.

  13. OIFVet

    Hillary Clinton is all about selfless service… If Hillary Clinton becomes president, it will cost her millions:

    If Clinton is elected president in November, she’ll earn a salary of $400,000 but forgo any income from speeches (until she leaves office, anyway). That could cost the Clintons $10 million per year, based on the speech income Hillary Clinton averaged as a private citizen in 2013 and 2014. That’s $40 million during a four-year term.

    This is so inspiring! Let’s take up a collection fund for Hillary, call it the ‘Pantsuit Fund’. It’s the least we can do…

    PS No word on what portion of this “lost” income would be funneled into the Clinton Foundation instead…

    1. aab

      But the money paid to her openly after leaving the State Department was just a down payment for the presidency. So it’s really more like she got $20+ million spread out over eight years (or twelve, if you want to factor in the depressing possibility of a second term) plus her cumulative White House salary of $1.6 million (or again, $3.2 over eight presidential years). And all that money paid to Bill, Chelsea and her husband was ALSO a down payment on the presidency. How many millions was that?

      The violin I am playing for them all is sub-atomic in size.

      1. Skippy

        Bill did usher in the – pay to play – model imo like none before him.

        Disheveled Marsupial…. The layers of gate keepers to gain audience must have been commensurate to hot groupies servicing roadies and security staff… endless blow jobs and other sex acts committed in pursuit of entering the inner sanctum… where eternal bliss resides…

    2. different clue

      The income wouldn’t be foregone, only deferred. She would expect anywhere up to billions of dollars after leaving office if she got enough done for the OverClass while IN office.

      Merely delayed . . . not denied.

      Watch how much money Obama harvests in the years ahead. That will be the template.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    And one more RE: 25 words and phrases

    What, no ‘leverage’?!? Next person I hear say that in my office without having a clue what it means is going to be flung from the top of the building on a trebuchet.

    1. reslez

      Francis Urquhart: [commenting on the party conference speakers] Michael Samuels – environment. “Intelligent”, “sensitive”, “caring” – all in the same sentence, I bet you.
      Michael Samuels: …That doesn’t mean a return to subsistence farming. What it does mean is sensitive exploitation of natural resources, intelligent self-interest to motivate long-term gains in a caring capitalist concept.
      Francis Urquhart: Told you.

      House of Cards (1990)

      When GWB came out with “compassionate conservative” this was on my mind. But they had a pretty good handle on happy garbage-speak back in the early 90s too….

    2. armchair

      25 words and phrases is not enough. Some additions.

      Streamlining
      Stakeholders
      The come to Jesus talk/moment
      We’re going to eat a plate of dicks on this one [maybe that’s just my workplace]

      I’m genuinely surprised that streamlining and stakeholder didn’t make it. BTW, streams are a mess and stakeholders are vampire killers.

  15. tegnost

    “….recalibrate their primary message to appeal to aspirational voters across the middle of the political spectrum — independents, college-educated suburban moderates and a substantial slice of Republicans who can’t abide Trump”
    recalibrate? yeesh, who were they appealing to before now?
    dems can…”offer anxious voters a hopeful counterpoint to Trump’s fearful narrative — a positive plan for parlaying our country’s strengths in technological innovation and entrepreneurship into stronger economic growth that works for all Americans.”
    Hope is not a plan. Don’t you remember pulling that one on us a couple of cycles ago?
    next…”But it doesn’t speak to the aspirations of middle-class voters who now mostly work in offices, use digital technology to boost their productivity, and understand that their jobs depend both on keeping their skills up to date and on their companies’ ability to succeed in global competition.”
    this describes an ever decreasing slice of the electorate, but does manage to include the word aspirations, which is kind of an airy word, an insubstantial kind of hopey thing
    “however, the party’s candidates can’t sound like Sanders.”
    no, the left must be kicked.
    “According to a Progressive Policy Institute survey, the swing voters who hold the balance of power in key battleground states aren’t particularly angry and don’t see the economy as rigged against them. They give priority to growth over fairness and are more inclined to help U.S. businesses succeed than punish them. While worried about jobs going overseas, they see trade on balance as good for America. And they don’t have much confidence in the federal government, which they believe fails to reward people who work hard and play by the rules.”
    the traditional republican base.
    “They need a plan to attack today’s popular discontents at their root — by breaking our economy out of a slow-growth trap that’s been holding down wages.”
    traditional republican thinking
    “Although it’s easier to blame trade or Wall Street or the 1 percent, slumping productivity growth is the real culprit behind the meager gains in wages and living standards Americans have experienced since 2000”
    sure thing will, wasn’t it a couple paragraphs back where you were referencing everyone’s increased productivity in their office? Wages have not kept up with productivity for many years including the past 8 with a democrat pushing the same agenda you are
    “major public and private investments in modern infrastructure”
    oh here we go, the ka’ching
    “a strong push for advanced materials and 3D printing to keep America in the vanguard of advanced manufacturing;”
    um…too much there, but briefly, think of the raw materials you’re going to have to have piled up in the garage to match the panoply of alloys metals plastics paper glue and all the rest of it so your 3d printer will do all the thing this offhanded comment is suggesting
    “a strategy for digitizing the physical economy and accelerating the “Internet of Things”;”
    again, but this aspires to even greater ridiculousness
    “pro-growth tax reform (including bringing business taxes down to globally competitive levels)”
    republican, or really in this case globalist comparative advantage
    “systematic lowering of regulatory barriers to innovation and startups”
    republican, oh and look it closes with a sop to the losers, isn’t that nice
    “a robust system of career and technical education to equip workers without college degrees with skills and credentials valued by employers”
    valued by employers, yes employers have no reason or incentive to train or keep workers, besides robots self driving trucks etc, how did this aspirationalist message leave that part out?…but this robust system can and likely will load these people up with non dischargable debt, so there’s that
    Short version
    democrats should be more republican
    Sorry for the length, but it was a gift that wouldn’t stop giving…

    1. redleg

      Remember that aspiration also means sucking something into your lung that’s not supposed to be sucked into a lung.

      I think the talk of aspiration is much closer to reality using this meaning.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Same thing happened here in Tucson about a decade ago.

      University of Arizona men’s basketball team was on a roll in the NCAA tournament. Locally, plans were being made for the post-championship victory parade.

      The UA got bounced out during the Elite 8 round.

      Oops. No Tucson victory parade.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Ouch, tough loss for our girls. It seems the Manaus effect is alive and well. I remember this was a trend during the 2014 WC, too.

      “There, the U.S., for all its depth, had the distinct disadvantage of having played its last game in the tropics of Manaus, meaning they had dealt with a great deal more heat and travel than their opponents.”

      Ahhh…Manaus, because a city that doesn’t have a road connection or a professional soccer (or any other sports) team to play in it STILL needs a massive stadium that cost a couple hundred million dollars in a country with an unequally distributed per capita income of $15K/per head per year.

      Readers of Charles Mann’s 1491 will lament the number of edible fruit trees that were probably cut down to build the city.

      1. JTMcPhee

        They are “our girls” why, again? ignoring the condescending “girls,” what is with the frickin’ jingoism? How stupid can “we” be? Is sharing enthusiasm and fanboyism over soccer “girls” and Phelps and those “babes” in the beach-volleyball soft-pron outfits what is left of the common myths of “America?”

        1. Optimader

          Havent watched any olympics this year but love the girls beach volleyball
          Go Girls!
          Why again shouldnt there be national teams? Missed that memo?

          1. JTMcPhee

            We have several: Army, Navy, Air Farce, Marines, I was going to add CIA and NSA but the spooks don’t even make a pretext of national adherence any more…

  16. none

    If “the left” could ever agree on a common set of demands, it could do exactly the same thing. No?

    If there was one demand at the top of the list, it would be opposition to the Iraq war. But they nominated a supporter, or at least went along with the nomination (except for not enough of them to matter).

    1. jgordon

      I have sinking feeling of horror even contemplating that someone as bloodthirsty as Hillary actually has a shot of being president. That the “left” are the ones who let things get this far is incredibly ironic. Or not. Maybe they’ve always been bloodthirsty warmonger hungry for chaos and destruction in their hearts.

      1. zapster

        And again, everyone is just pretending that the monumental election fraud that just occurred is completely irrelevant. I’m mystified as to why. To me, it’s a national catastrophe that a party can simply suspend democracy completely, flip machine counts, deregister or reregister hundreds of thousands of Bernie voters (and yes, it was very specifically Bernie voters), subtract votes during the count and add them to Clinton in real time–and everyone accepts this as entirely legitimate? Doesn’t the complete cancellation of democracy by a dynastic family bother anyone??? Why even vote?

      1. dcblogger

        You’re confusing the left with Democrats. One of the clarifying things about this year is how clear it is that’s not true.

        so good, it had to be repeated

    2. aab

      Today’s reminder that the Democratic Party (which, as Lambert points out below, is NOT the same as “the left”) did not nominate an Iraq War supporter through any kind of democratic process. There is ample evidence that a solid majority of those identifying as or tending to generally vote Democratic (not quite the same as party registration, but in less openly corrupt and weird times, that was how polling defined D voters) rejected Hillary Clinton as a candidate, but were prevented from knowing about her opponent, being able to vote in the primary, or having their completed ballot counted as they had marked it.

    3. Steve C

      Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. We need real full employment with strong workforce participation. And the left is the only force that could actually accomplish it in terms of policy. If the left ever gained power and kept the focus on jobs, they could never be dislodged. With a strong economy, they’d be invincible.

      This was what FDR did until 1937 and the Democrats won big in 1934 and 1936. Obama’s indifference to full employment was the big signal that he was and is a worthless tool.

      1. Steve C

        And viz the Carl Beijer link, anyone who thinks Trump isn’t primarily a phenomenon of the economic implosion of the white working class is fooling themselves or trying to fool you.

      2. ian

        Really? Did you follow Hillary’s promises versus subsequent reality in upstate NY while she was a senator?

  17. Plenue

    “over the last 15 years, have lost two major wars, set the Mediterranean littoral on fire, created a refugee crisis that’s destabilizing our largest military protectorate, and blown many thousands of far away brown people to pink mist (but that’s not racist, no siree. We have credentials).”

    Serious men in suits, sitting around a table, having serious conversations: who do we bomb today? How much ‘collateral damage’ do the PR guys deem is acceptable?

    At no point will the idea that not bombing is a genuine option come up. Nor will the fact that (for some strange reason) people don’t like being bombed and we’re actually making more enemies than we’re eliminating. I’m reminded of the South Park episode where the leaders of the Vatican have a meeting about how they can cover up raping children in the future. Simply not raping children never occurs to them as a choice.

  18. gonzomarx

    I have just come back from my local Labour party meeting to choose who the constituency party will back in the leadership election via the pub. (it’s now a symbolic vote)
    My tuppence worth from a northern labour heartland town, the local leadership and MP all for Smith, the crowd was middle aged or older with a sprinkling of younger people.
    The speakers for Smith (professionals, councillors, MP, activists) were all about electability, Corbyn is a good man but not a leader and remember the early 80s, the Corbyn side (long time members, working people) were all about policy change and people power.
    Result 71 for Smith and 42 for Corbyn.

    My big take is this isn’t about the next election, although that’s part of it. This is about who controls the party machinery when the boundary changes happen in 2018, shaping the party and party officials vs party members.

    Labour leadership court of appeal ruling
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/12/labour-leadership-court-of-appeal-ruling-nec-membership

      1. Buffalo Cyclist

        Actually, Labour makes the DNC appear squeaky clean. Labour’s contempt for its own voters is breathtaking.

      1. gonzomarx

        but Corbyn supporters swept the recent NEC elections so the future if he wins will be interesting and more desperate acts from the labour right (if that’s possible)

    1. dk

      In the colonies states, we have gerrymandering redistricting coming up in 2020. That process is controlled by State legislatures.

    2. paul

      Constituency Labour Party nominations:
      234 for Corbyn (85%)
      41 for Smith (15%)

      I don’t think honest Owen is as electable as he thinks, even within his own party.
      The appeal ruling will just make his defeat slightly less humiliating.
      Expect 4 years of press briefings against Corbyn to follow.

    3. paul

      If its any help, the SNP routed the red tories without any help (indeed active hindrance) from the establishment or the media.

  19. Mark John

    My question is why should a progressive vote for Hillary Clinton?

    If a progressive wants to show the strength of her movement and also the number of folks who represent her values, a progressive would vote for Stein.

    Perhaps it could be argued that if a certain progressive lives in a swing state, she should consider voting for Clinton to prevent Trump from taking office, but that is no most progressive voters.

    But, in general, a progressive voting for a candidate such as Clinton who is so actively courting big money and establishment Republicans. . .that would dilute and weaken the progressive presence in my view.

    1. Roger Smith

      Unplug your brain and then ask yourself the question again. Suddenly the skies are clear and… Red!

      Also you might notice digital displays flashing “kill ’em, kill ’em all”. That’s a feature not a bug).

  20. Daryl

    > “It’s Now OK to Take Your Dog Out to Dinner” [Bloomberg]. First kids. Now this.

    I’d rather eat next to a table of dogs than kids.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Given that choice, I’d prefer to stay home.

      Why? Because I don’t think that dogs belong in restaurants. The only exception I’ll make is for properly trained service dogs. Which excludes those dogs for which the owner bought a vest from one of those online stores that sell certifications to anybody.

      As for children, it depends. One of the best restaurant meals I ever had was with a couple of adult friends and the two children of one of them. Before we ordered, the kids shook hands with me and the other friend. That happened while Mom was introducing them.

        1. cwaltz

          Even if children are delightful, it’s sometimes not exactly great to have to share a restaurant with them. I love children however, there is nothing worse than leaving your kids at home for a date night only to find yourself seated next to a table with children particularly if you intend to carry on an adult conversation.

          You then get to edit yourself because there are children at the next table.

          I do sometimes wish restaurants kept two areas of a restaurant, one for people who are dining with children and one for those who are simply dining with adults.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Bernie’s endorsement should have been tied to the release of those speeches. After all, he made quite a big deal about those speeches during his campaign appearances.

        1. Pavel

          They got to Bernie somehow.

          Cf the scene in Godfather II where the mobster sees his Sicilian relative sitting in the back of the room and changes his story.

    2. ian

      I was both surprised, and not surprised that 90-some percent of her charitable donations went to the Clinton Foundation.
      Talk about hiding in plain sight.

  21. Kim Kaufman

    Two good stories on Democracy Now today:

    Did Companies & Countries Buy State Dept. Access by Donating to Clinton Foundation?

    http://www.democracynow.org/2016/8/12/did_companies_countries_buy_state_dept

    (Now that Bernie is out of the way, Amy can point out some of the problems with Hillary)

    “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart”: NYT Mag Examines Region Since 2003 U.S. Invasion

    http://www.democracynow.org/2016/8/12/fractured_lands_how_the_arab_world

    1. allan

      Fractured Lands in the NYT Magazine: this is getting the full MSM `serious journalism’ treatment.

      Strangely, in 40,000 words it mentions Saudi Arabia essentially once,
      Bahrain once, in the phrase, `an arc across the Arab world from Mauritania to Bahrain’,
      and Qatar not at all.

      So the three MENA countries most responsible for supporting extremism in their own neighborhood
      (and underwriting it elsewhere as well) are left off the hook.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        He stated in the beginning that he’s only dealing with six countries and Saudi Arabia wasn’t one of them. I started to read it but didn’t get very far.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s very good. We’re getting a lot of stories like this, including from our own #SlayTheSmaugs. At some point, I’d like to aggregate them.

      Readers, do you know of any other field reports from Philly?

  22. Jay M

    My dog finally took me out to dinner. I didn’t even know he had a Visa card. Apparently he has been making a forch walking young males in Precita Park. No better way to pick up, yah know. Anyway, his favorite place serves vintage canned food, he reccomended the Skippy brand that had a cute doggy on the label. I’ve got to say eating dog food out of a vintage red plastic dog dish that says “Mutt” on it is revelatory. I have a new respect for toilet bowl water as well. My dog licked my face off before we returned to the street.

  23. Synapsid

    Can someone tell me which countries make up West Central Asia? (From Stats–shipping).

    That’s a new one to me.

    1. abynormal

      had to ck that out too…” Although definitions, names, and borders can vary, generally the regions of Asia include West Asia (which is part of the Middle East), the Caucasus (sometimes also considered as part of the Middle East), Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia (also called the Indian Subcontinent), and Southeast Asia. West Asia is sometimes referred to as the Middle East, with is actually a misnomer since the cultural region we define as the Middle East often included countries outside of Asia, such as Egypt in Africa and Cyprus in Europe. West Asia specifically includes the countries within the region of Asia bordered by the Mediterranean and Red Seas to the West and the Persian Gulf, the Gulfs of Aden and Oman, and the Arabian Sea to the South.

      Countries within West Asia include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Just northeast of Turkey lies the Caucasus, a mountainous region wedged between the Black Sea to the West and the Caspian Sea to the East. The Caucasus includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and parts of Russia. Central Asia is located just north of Iran and Afghanistan and south of Russia, consisting of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. East Asia defines the region between Central Asia, Russia, and the Pacific Ocean roughly up to the beginning of the Tropic of Cancer.”…and i’m still confused.

  24. Pat

    I really, really hate the continued conflation between insurance and health care. In the imaginary world of pop financial budget advice, they largely tell you that your health care should run between 6 to 8 percent of your income. We have a law that says you have to pay 9.5% of your income toward insurance that comes with a physical and some prenatal healthcare, for everything else you have to pay out between an average of slightly less than 10% of American Median Income. There is then the copay or co insurance on top of that, something that runs another 10% or so. That’s almost 30% of income or more, especially since depending on your age and region, and making a little too much money there is no cap on that premium as percentage of income (except as a get out of the fine for refusing to waste your money on crap with only a little hassle).

    You want to friggin’ fix ACA so that it works as well as the most expensive version of European universal health care, Hillary, then you make everyone, yes everyone, eligible for subsidies if the premiums go above 8% of their income. You make sure that the highest deductible ends where most of them have been beginning, and max out of pocket is mid three figures, not four and certainly not five, so that the most people are paying is about 14% of their income. You make all, yes all, basic insurance plans have the same coverage (and you expand the hell out of that bronze level coverage) with limited categories for region and age (3 total there) AND you make all of them non profit, and require all insurance companies to offer them. That’s right the insurance companies don’t get to profit on them in any manner. Basic insurance is the cost of doing business for them, for profits they can then offer the ACA equivalent of Medicare supplemental plans. IOW you really do the expensive Swiss plan, which for all the market based plan manure you hear about it, the health market is not in any way free market it is regulated up the wazoo, up to and including real price controls on providers.

    But since no one in a Clinton administration is going to be doing this all this talk is, is just that talk. And pretty slim talk at that. So they get another year or two and increase the subsidies for the limited numbers who get them meanwhile everyone above a more realistic poverty rate is paying full freight on overpriced craptastic offerings and looking at paying upwards of 30% of their income on a yearly basis if they have a major health issue.

  25. Jim Haygood

    The Ghost of Seth Rich strikes:

    After disappearing for a couple of weeks, the hacker “Guccifer 2.0” returned late this afternoon to provide a new headache for Democrats.

    In a post to his WordPress blog, the vandal–who previously provided nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee e-mails to Wikileaks–uploaded an Excel file that includes the cell phone numbers and private e-mail addresses of nearly every Democratic member of the House of Representatives.

    The Excel file also includes similar contact information for hundreds of congressional staff members (chiefs of staff, press secretaries, legislative directors, schedulers) and campaign personnel.

    In announcing the leak of the document, “Guccifer 2.0” reported that the spreadsheet was stolen during a hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “As you see I wasn’t wasting my time! It was even easier than in the case of the DNC breach,” the hacker wrote.

    http://thesmokinggun.com/buster/democratic-national-committee/guccifer-dccc-hack-645891

    Bryan Pagliano could have stopped this outrage.

  26. RMO

    I have trouble believing that the GOP elite and pundit’s horror regarding Trump is really about what he says or what policies he proposes. These are the same people who embraced Palin (and many other conspicuously terrible candidates) after all. I suspect their real problem with him is that he got the nomination without having to successfully pass through their approval process. They simply become apoplectic at the prospect of the great unwashed succeeding in getting the candidate they want rather than the one that’s the overlord’s choice. Same thing probably goes for Sanders and Corbyn. Sure they really do hate some of their policy positions (fuzzy as they are in Trump’s case) but that would seem like it would be of lesser concern to them than anything which would reduce the power they’ve had to decide who the voters get to choose from.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Historically, the GOP takes care of its candidates and small operators. GOP donors bought Palin’s book and helped her get a dumb TV show. Heck, they even let Ollie North run for Senate in 1994. It’s not just North and Palin who wind up on on the payroll but little Republicans too and challengers. Walking away from work for a year isn’t easy to bet on a job where the incumbents win 95% of the time. Part of the reason there are so many Republican strategists on TV is they don’t don’t have to get real jobs. The party pays them. Conversely, the Democrats have the same dodos from the Clinton administration to repeat stuff they heard on “The West Wing.”

      Trump isn’t paying these people.

  27. PhilU

    on Scoring:

    If “the left” could ever agree on a common set of demands, it could do exactly the same thing. No?

    Brand New Congress is working on something similar to this. I don’t know if they intend on making it public or not though.

  28. clinical wasteman

    BULLYING: (1.) Workplace. Cuts conflict over time and money down to schoolyard scale. If one schoolchild ‘bullies’ another the injury is real but the two are formal equals under the same coercive structure. Neither owns the other’s means of survival. Apply the metaphor to boss and worker, then, and the stakes of the conflict evaporate, or rather stay in the hands that always held them. The cry of ‘management bullying’ reduces wholesale ownership to bad personal behaviour, something to be corrected by the schoolteacher or the next authority up. A plea for Help that counts as the surrender (usually by proxy) of the managed.
    (2.) As extracurricular lesson. Actual schoolyard violence is ‘bullying’ when the perpetrator fits the profile for Multi-Agency Intervention better than the target. In the opposite case, counsellors and Restorative Justice practitioners may declare the ordeal a lesson in Life Skills for the injured party. A salutary warning that s/he must either curb a too-sharp tongue or be unemployable as well as regularly beaten up in years to come.

    From the many more than 25 “words and phrases” at: http://www.wealthofnegations.org/

  29. NeqNeq

    Does Lambert also work for Gawker/Kinja Media? It seems odd that he is pushing the corporate (Nick Denton) and investor (Bezos– who bought into 37signal who designed Kinja software) PR campaign blaming Theil. Theil payed for Hogan’s lawyers, but, AFAIK, it was the courts decision on both the guilt of Gawker in violating privacy law and the monetary compensation it owed for that violation.

    Even if you think posting the personal sex tapes of consenting adults (and then making snarky and demeaning comments about the contents of the video) is not a violation of privacy rights, your beef should be with the judge or laws.

    Deflecting blame to the pocketbook which enabled the lawsuit seems to imply that either 1) Hogan should not have been allowed to contest the perceived breech OR 2) a character assassination on Theil is the main focus.

    I don’t think Lambert promotes the idea that it is somehow (ethically, politically, or morally) wrong for a person to contest a corporations airing & commenting on sexual interactions between consenting adults. At least without the consent of all parties. They may not win the case (depending on a host of contextual factors), but surely it acceptable for them to try.

    Bezos’s comments in Business Weekly about how Theil was ‘going to get burned’ (with simultaneously running op eds in WaPo about how Theil is a baddy) suggests some are going for option 2. Is Lambert doing the same? Or is there some redeeming nuance which I missed?

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Theil payed [sic] for Hogan’s lawyers

      Not kicking down? Oh, OK.

      As for your initial question, no.

      1. NeqNeq

        Maybe we have different understandings of ‘kicking down’?

        To make sure we are on the same page: your problem is that Theil, who has gobs of money, paid the legal fees for someone (with a legally legitimate claim in the eyes of the court) who was financially unwilling/unable to enter into a potentially protracted fight with a multimillion dollar media group. If Hogan had paid the lawyers, even though the court ruled the same way, you would not have an issue.

        So, its kicking down because Theil has more money than Gawker/Kinja/Denton. Theil, therefore, has the power here.

        Is that correct?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Thiel is an oligarch. Denton is not. Thiel had the power to squash Denton like a bug, and did. I deprecate such behavior. Your mileage may vary, and apparently does. Thanks for your retraction on my being paid by Denton/Kinja/Gawker. Oh, wait…

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