2:00PM Water Cooler 8/4/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The key [to preventing TPP from coming to a vote in the lame duck] is to get House Democrats on record before the election as opposing TPP, and then getting them to lobby the 28 Democrats who supported the “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to oppose a vote after the election. These 28 are: Terri Sewell (AL-07); Susan Davis (CA-53); Sam Farr (CA-20); Jim Costa (CA-16); Ami Bera (CA-07); Scott Peters (CA-52); Jared Polis (CO-02); James Himes (CT-04); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23); Mike Quigley (IL-05); John Delaney (MD-06); Brad Ashford (NE-02); Gregory Meeks (NY-05); Kathleen Rice (NY-04); Earl Blumenauer (OR-03); Kurt Schrader (OR-05); Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01); Jim Cooper (TN-05); Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15); Eddie Johnson (TX-30); Henry Cuellar (TX-28); Beto O’Rourke (TX-16); Gerald Connolly (VA-11); Donald Beyer (VA-08); Rick Larsen (WA-02); Suzan DelBene (WA-01); Derek Kilmer (WA-06); Ron Kind (WI-03)” [Dave Johnson, CAF]. “Hillary Clinton could help kill TPP by demanding the President Obama withdraw TPP from any possibility of consideration in the ‘lame duck’ session of Congress.” It’s certainly odd that she hasn’t.

“[A]ll 26 of the 28 pro-TPA House Democrats who have so far undergone primary contests have been successful” [Politico]. “The final two remaining are Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, for whom voters will go to the polls next week, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, whose contest is at the end of the month.”

“”Look, people said TPA was dead six times,’ [Jason Miller, deputy director of the National Economic Council] said. ‘And we got it passed. We got it passed with a bipartisan group, a majority of Republicans, but a bipartisan group, and that is the group that we are focused on getting TPP over the finish line'” [Politico]. “The White House official also urged the advisory group not to worry too much about the anti-TPP rhetoric coming out of the Democratic and Republican party conventions. ‘The conventions are conventions,’ Miller said. ‘So they’re doing their thing.'” Pesky voters!

“Environmental, consumer, faith, senior, family farm, LGBTQ, Internet freedom, small business, human rights, online activism, and other organizations have made stopping the TPP a major priority because it would undermine decades of their policy achievements and foreclose future progress by requiring signatory countries to conform domestic laws to hundreds of pages of non-trade rules promoted by the corporate interests involved in negotiations” (pdf) [Eyes on Trade]. That list is the glory and tragedy of today’s left.



UPDATE “Clinton’s campaign has such strong persuasion going right now that she is successfully equating her actual misdeeds of the past with Trump’s imaginary mental issues and imaginary future misdeeds” [Scott Adams]. This is a Rovian strategy: Assault the enemy’s strength. You’ve got to admire the effrontery: The candidate who didn’t raise a voice against the Iraq War and tipped the administration in favor of war with Libya (which we’re now bombing again) paints their opponent as a lunatic warmonger.

The Money

“Fueled by Small Donations, Donald Trump Makes Up Major Financial Ground” [New York Times]. Wait, wait. I thought the Trump campaign was imploding? Is it possible that the narrative has simply been ginned up by the (deeply threatened) Democrat and Republican establishments, working within the (deeply threatened) political class? That would be huge! Caveat that these are not FEC figures; nevertheless, this is Nick Confessore’s beat, so I’d expect him to get it right. More: “Donald J. Trump all but erased his enormous fund-raising disadvantage against Hillary Clinton in the span of just two months… [The new figures] they suggest that Mr. Trump has the potential to be the first Republican nominee whose campaign could be financed chiefly by grass-roots supporters pitching in $10 or $25 apiece, echoing the success of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primary… ” And this is important: “Mr. Trump was able to ramp up quickly in part through a digital operation set up by the R.N.C. since that campaign. Even before Mr. Trump was the nominee, the party built out its email list and tested ways of targeting small donors.” Wait, wait. I thought the narrative was that Trump and the RNC were at each other’s throats? (Oddly, or not, Trump didn’t mention the prospect of these figures on his hilarious interview with WaPo’s Philip Rucker.)

Best headline: “Donald Trump Implodes His Way To Strongest Fundraising Month Yet” [HuffPo]. “Trump will match small donations up to $2 million, his team said.” Smart.

Money in the bank: “Clinton still has significantly more money in the bank than Trump; her campaign has $58 million on hand, compared to Trump’s $37 million. However, this is a big improvement for Trump over just a couple of months ago. At the start of June, Trump had only around $1.3 million on hand, compared to Clinton’s $42 million” [NPR]. And the air war: “Trump’s stronger fundraising could help even out the massive advertising gap between the two candidates. Thus far, Clinton’s camp has aired $68 million in ads, compared to Trump’s $6 million, NBC News reported on Tuesday. Even more staggering, Clinton had reserved $98 million in TV ad time, compared to Trump’s $817,000, NBC also reported.” Clinton is ahead. And so she should be. But 95 days is a long time in politics.

“California entrepreneur Reid Hoffman [a cofounder of LinkedIn and PayPal] has purchased $220,000 worth of television, radio and online advertising in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne, according to a disclosure filed Thursday with the Secretary of State’s Office” [Seven Days]. “Throughout his campaign, Dunne has railed against the influence of big money in politics. At a Wednesday press conference, he framed himself as up against the “establishment.” In March, he returned all of his corporate contributions and called on his opponents to do the same. At the same time, he has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from out-of-state donors and held fundraisers in New York City and Washington, D.C.”

The Voters

“Think about it: While Bernie was the oldest candidate running for president, in heart, soul, vigor, and vision he is by far the youngest. He won the majority of voters under 45 years old and a stunning 71 percent of under-30 voters. In the under-30 demographic, Bernie even won decisively among women, including African Americans and Latinas. He also dominated among independents who voted Democratic. There’s the future” [Defend Democracy]. Numbers like these should really put paid to the identitarian narrative pushed by the Democrat establishment that kitchen table issues can’t appeal across their beloved identity silos. But that zombie narrative just won’t die. (UPDATE I love this sentence, because its so totally TNR: “There was a time when Democrats were skittish about confronting the white working class over race.” Apparently, a policy of benign neglect that’s permitted an AIDS-level epidemic with half-a-million excess deaths isn’t “confronting.” Fine. If you ever want to see real hate, confront a liberal goodthinker with the working class. Speculating freely: If those same liberal goodthinkers, when they were a lot younger, hadn’t insisted on Michael Dukakis instead of Jesse Jackson, a lot of those lives might have been saved. But “they work every day.” So, no.)

Two takes, first the conventional one: “The bottom line is that Clinton is up in the polls now. Will it last? Second convention bounces tend to fade; it did for the Republicans in 2004 and 2008 (even before the Lehman Brothers collapse); it did for the Democrats in 1996. Overall, since 1968 the in-party has tended to run behind its showing even two weeks out from the convention, but this is not a hard, fast rule. In this regard, Clinton’s lead of about four-to-five points should probably make Democrats nervous” [RealClearPolitics]. The Trump-centric take: “With that said, the model does not include an express variable for a candidate who says the sorts of things that Trump says. It also does not include an express variable for a candidate with the sort of baggage that Clinton has. And it certainly does not include a variable for the probability that Wikileaks will post the contents of Clinton’s hard drive, or Clinton foundation emails, to the Internet immediately before a debate, or a week before Election Day.” Concluding: “While it certainly feels as though the Trump campaign is approaching a precipice, in reality that probably still lies a bit down the road. With that said, however, a precipice probably is what awaits him on his current path.”

“In this frantic rush for ‘unity,’ the DNC is trying to silence dissent and critical thought about where we are now and how we got here” [Counterpunch]. Not just the DNC, but the political class and liberal goodthinkers everywhere. Remember, that to liberals, just as to conservatives, the left is the real enemy. More: “But behind the Democratic Convention’s Hollywood stars, its sea of red, white and blue balloons and US flags, and the ‘USA’ chants designed to drown out the ‘No More War’ chants of the Sanders supporters, there was a notable dissent in the crowd, which is reflective of a larger and growing movement against corporate-controlled politics in this country and around the world. Rather than calling it ‘disruption,’ as so many news pundits have this week, I prefer to call it ‘democracy.'” Notice, once more, the pro-war Democrat dogwhistling.

The Parties

UPDATE I want to underline my belief — which is part of the reason for my shift away from horserace coverage — that the emergence of truly independent left entities (and I’m not saying “party” here very deliberately) is far more important than the Presidential race in the long and short term. In the short term, when the (neoliberal) conservatives and (neoliberal) liberals get their party alignment issues sorted, they’ll turn on their common enemy, so the left had better have some institutional firepower, no matter how newly organized. (This will be true even in my preferred election scenario, in which either winner is crippled, and gridlock continues.) In the longer term, the left is where all the creative ideas in political economy are coming from, the neoliberal consensus having reached its final flowering, after which decay quickly ensues.)

“In a church meeting hall in Northwest Washington, leaning toward each other in metal folding chairs and talking loudly over cheese pizza, a small group of Bernie Sanders supporters gathered on Tuesday to answer an urgent question: What happens next?” [The Atlantic]. Atmospheric piece, not too condescending. (Personally, I’ve never understood why the Sanders operation never seriously organized D.C.; a revolution needs its sans culottes, after all, and it’s certainly helpful when they’re in the capital.)

“[W[e believe that the Bernie Sanders campaign proved that grassroots money and effort can be greater than that of billionaire backed opponents if it is properly focused and utilized. So we think this massive change is possible if we take the same model and apply it to congressional races. Our plan is to recruit and run 400+ candidates as a single, unified, presidential-style campaign” [Brand New Congress]. I see the goals through June marked “done.” I don’t see the goal in July marked “done,” including “60,000 total supporters,” and “10,000 total individual donors.”

“Since launching in April, the group has amassed an email list of 20,000” [Roll Call]. “Over the past two and a half months they have also raised more than $85,000, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission report for the Brand New Congress political action committee. Roughly 90 percent of the funds came from small donations. ”

“[Brand New Congress] is a true bipartisan effort. They’re planning to run Democrats in blue districts, Republicans in solid red ones, and independents wherever that makes sense” [Jim Hightower, Sky Valley News]. “But wait — how can they get Republican candidates to run on progressive values? By recognizing that true populism is neither a right nor left theory, but a top vs. bottom reality that even middle-class and lower-income Republicans can relate to.”

“First, let me say that switching gears to Congress and the 2018 midterms is a smart way to continue Sanders’s fight and channel supporters’ passion and frustration into actual electoral change. To quote President Obama this week: “Don’t boo, vote.” It’s not uncommon for failed (and successful) presidential campaigns to shift to transition from getting their guy or girl elected into a broader mission of supporting candidates they agree with. [Howard] Dean for America became Democracy for America. Obama for America became Organizing for Action, and so on. Sanders’s campaign itself may even do this” [WaPo]. The “reporter” seems to believe that DFA and OFA magically disappeared. In fact, Rahm and Tim Kaine killed DFA, and Obama killed OFA.

“‘Our Revolution,’ [Sanders] writes, aims to bring ‘millions’ of working and young people into the political system; recruit and support the ‘next generation of progressive leaders’ running for office, from school board to U.S. Senate; and educate the public about ‘the most pressing issues confronting our nation’ that he says the ‘corporate media’ fails to emphasize” [USA Today]. “The Vermont senator plans to officially launch the organization later this month with a live-streamed event, similar to his launch of a massive volunteer effort for his presidential campaign last year, said Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs.” Sanders is not waiting ’til after the election; that’s very good. Note also: “‘If you have some strong independents who would like to run, it would be my inclination to support them,’ [Sanders] said.”

“To nurture the grassroots, Our Revolution will pursue a 50-state strategy, beginning with a challenge to the Democratic Party leadership in many of the states that Bernie carried in the primaries and caucuses. Democratic establishment be warned: Expect Sanders’ supporters to run in party precinct elections from Vermont to Hawaii” [In These Times]. “Since its founding 40 years ago, In These Times has advocated an inside/outside strategy vis-à-vis electoral politics. On the outside, we raise Cain, agitate, and describe the contours of a just and more democratic future. On the inside, we promote meaningful change within the existing dominant institutions. The inside game inevitably involves joining forces with people with whom we do not always agree. The alternative to pursuing such a strategy is to cede control of the public sphere to the rich and the powerful.” The counter-argument is that this strategy has failed for 40 years. To which the rebuttal is that its time has come, just like Sanders said the same thing for 40 years, and his time came.

“Pramila Jayapal, one of the standard-bearers for Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution movement, won a decisive victory in the primary race for Washington’s 7th Congressional District Tuesday night and will advance to the November general election” [Common Dreams].

“Amazingly, 37 ‘Berniecrats’ ran for office in Washington during the primary election. This information comes from the website berniecrats.net, where folks are keeping track of this new movement of activist politicians” [Capitol Hill Times]. Here is a national list of Berniecrats.

“The poll showed that Wasserman Schultz leads 46-38 percent with 16 percent undecided. Her lead narrows after the pollster provided positive and negative information about the candidates, but the press release from Canova’s campaign didn’t reveal the information provided to voters” [Miami Herald]. “This was the first poll released in the race so far. There have been no public polls and Wasserman Schultz’s campaign hasn’t commented about polling.”

” Wasserman Schultz troubles help produce fundraising bonanza for challenger Tim Canova” [Orlando Sun-Sentinel].

Swing States

Colorado: “”There are a couple things that would make any supporter of Hillary feel confident; one is that a significant part of the Republican Party in Colorado is a family values party, and they’ve always had some difficulty accepting Donald Trump as the party’s candidate,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “That’s been exaggerated because one of the other key parts of the Republican identity in Colorado is our very close relationship with the military,” he said, referring to Trump’s recent scrap with the parents of a soldier killed in 2004. “In the last week or two, some of Mr. Trump’s comments have been deeply troubling to many people who, before, would never consider not voting for the Republican candidate” [Politico]. Anybody who saw General John Allen beating the war drums before Clinton’s acceptance speech at the convention knows this dog-whistling for what it is. Meanwhile, Larry Sabato moves Colorado to Likely Democrat from Leans Democrat [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball].

UPDATE Pennsylvania: “Hillary Clinton has opened up an 11-point lead over Donald Trump among likely voters in Pennsylvania, according to a new Franklin and Marshall College poll” [The Hill]. “Clinton has 49 percent support among likely voters, and Trump has 38 percent. Clinton is supported by 78 percent of registered Democrats, and Trump is supported by 69 percent of registered Republicans.” The article doesn’t say where the Republican defections are coming from, but I’d speculate women from the 10% in the Philadelphia burbs, aided perhaps by Lysistratic Nonaction. Kidding!

Squillionaires and Establishment Republicans for Clinton

I really shouldn’t go here, but just for fun: Billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman. More Republican establishment figures. What could give a Sanders voter more confidence in Clinton’s good faith?

Stats Watch

Challenger Job-Cut Report, Ju;y 2016: “A renewed surge of cuts in the energy sector drove Challenger’s lay-off count to 45,346 in July, up from a 34,000 average in the prior two months but in line with the prior trend” [Econoday]. “This report won’t be changing expectations for tomorrow’s employment report but it does raise the question whether the oil patch, instead of stabilizing, will continue to erode. ”

Jobless Claims, July 30, 2016: “Initial jobless claims edged higher the last two weeks of July but remain near record lows” [Econoday]. And: Rolling averages improve [Econintersect]. “After the energy sector, the computer industry has seen the next highest number of job cut announcements this year.”

Gallup Good Jobs Rate, July 2016: Improved [Econoday]. “The measure of underemployment in July was 12.7 percent, down from 13.6 percent in June and also the lowest Gallup has recorded since 2010. July’s rate also marks the fifth straight month of declining underemployment from February’s rate of 14.7 percent. ”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, July 31: “Steady and firm” [Econoday]. “Firm levels of consumer confidence point to optimism for the jobs outlook.”

Factory Orders, June 2016: “[1]Anecdotal reports on the factory sector have shown isolated strength that actual government data have yet to show. [2] Factory orders fell a sizable 1.5 percent in June” [Econoday]. (Note the sentence order, which I have helpfully annotated.) “A major negative in the report is a 0.8 percent drop in total unfilled orders where contraction is a negative for factory employment. Total shipments are a positive, up 0.7 percent in a gain that may not be repeated should orders stay weak. A plus is that inventories edged lower, pulling down the inventory-to-shipment ratio to 1.35 from 1.36.” And: “US Census says manufacturing new orders declined. Our analysis agrees. The rolling averages declined” [Econintersect]. Uber for Walmart greeters!

Shipping: “The slump in the market for new trucks is getting deeper. Orders for heavy-duty trucks plunged to their lowest level in more than six years in July, tumbling 56% to a net of about 10,400 new Class 8 vehicles” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Business down, prices up: For LTL carriers, oligopolies are a good thing” [DC Velocity]. “Unlike the much-larger truckload industry that operates relatively straightforward point-to-point services, an LTL network is more complex and resource-intensive, with a phalanx of terminals and lanes with specific origin and end points. LTL carriers must recoup the significant costs of terminal networks to handle their flows of breakbulk traffic. In addition, LTL driver wages are significantly higher than the wages of the typical truckload driver. Faced with high capital expenditures, LTL carriers can ill afford price wars that will compress their bottom lines. What the truckload industry does have that LTL doesn’t—regrettably for truckload carriers—is extreme fragmentation.”

Shipping: “Demand for air freight rose 4.3 percent in June, the fastest rate for 14 months, according to the International Air Transport Association” [Reuters]. “IATA cautioned against reading too much into June’s performance, given the prolonged downturn in cargo markets, which has forced air cargo companies to cut back fleets and seek new products and partnerships.” And: “The June data marks the 16th consecutive month the Middle East region reported the fastest growth in freight traffic, and reflects the region’s growing prominence on the world’s air commerce stage. According to estimates from Dutch freight forwarding and logistics giant Ceva Logistics, Middle Eastern airlines account for 45 percent of the lower-hold, or “belly” space, in passenger aircraft ordered by the world’s top 15 carriers” [DC Velocity].

Shipping: “It might be said that greater consolidation of shipowning, which is becoming evident, will have a calming effect on the shipping cycle. This I take leave to doubt. There is no part of our industry more consolidated, and possessed of more computing power, than the liner shipping business – and there is no part of our industry which has knocked the props out of its support mechanisms, and gone on to overtonnage itself, more furiously than liner shipping” [Splash 247]. This is the third part of a really fun series (parts one and two), which makes clear that many, many of these stories could also be filed under “Political Risk.” In honor of part two, I post a trailer that explains the allusion in the headline to the British comedy classic Cold Comfort Farm (which has uncomfortable similarities to Game of Thrones, now that I think about it):

“Something nasty in the woodshed….” Words to live by in 2016!

The Bezzle: “‘When all of that’s lumped together, (it) can be confusing. And then they would think Tesla’s a money-losing company but, well, not really. Not if you’re growing at like 100% a year,’ Musk said” [MarketWatch]. We’re losing money on every unit. Let’s make more!

The Bezzle: Chart from Cato:

Political Risk: “Using algorithms to predict the currency’s direction, the index funds choose when to “hedge,” buying contracts that fix their exchange rate and protecting investors’ winnings if a foreign currency falls” [ETF.com]. “But their predictive models—reset only once a month—may have been caught short by Britain’s June 23 “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, which was followed by an immediate sharp decline in the pound and rally in the yen.”

Political Risk: “The fact that yields on top-quality government bonds around the world are at record lows tells us that there is an acute shortage of safe assets – a shortage which is doing terrible damage to people’s ability to save for retirement, among other things. The obvious solution to this is for governments to simply create more such assets by borrowing ” [Stumbling and Mumbling]. Fixed it for ya.

Political Risk: “That would suggest that the relative price of manufactures properly measured today is not 40% but 12% of its immediate post-World War II level, and that the right ‘real’ share graph sees not a constant ‘real’ share of manufactured goods in output, but rather a tripling of the share” [Brad DeLong, Washington Center for Equitable Growth] (in response to this Yglesias article). And: “This has implications for the ‘true’ rate of economic growth–an aggregate-scale underestimate of 0.3%/year from this channel alone…” Well and good, but a cynical (or realistic voter) might raise some concerns: (1) This doesn’t mean we’re going to jigger the numbers again, does it? (2) Hasn’t this “mistake” been going on for rather a long time? If so, (3) this piece falls into the genre that might be called “Only Those Smart People Who Broke It Can Fix It.” The master of the genre is, of course, Larry Summers, but it’s a crowded field.

Political Risk: Look at the last bullet point (from Macquarie Research, which looks like a tentacle of Macquarie Group, the largest Australian investment bank.

So now would be a good time to buy gold.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 80, Extreme Greed (previous close: 81, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 82 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 4 at 11:42am. Random twitching?

Our Famously Free Press

“Microsoft Keeps Dossiers on Journalists and Sent Us One By Accident” [Gizmodo].

Class Warfare

“The number of jobs that people ages 16 to 19 secured in May — the start of the summer hiring surge — was just 156,000, down 14% from last year, according to an analysis of government data by career outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas released this week. And last year, the number of teens who got summer jobs was nearly 11% lower than the year prior… One big reason for the decline? Teens are choosing not to work. “Teens are not pursuing traditional summer jobs like they used to,” says Challenger. Instead, many of them are volunteering, enrolling in educational programs or doing other things that may pad their college applications, he explains.” [MarketWatch]. Sasha Obama got one, however. On Martha’s Vineyard. So we’ve got the aspirational aspect covered.

“Economists have long expected an aging population to hamper growth for the simple reason that it means a smaller labor force. But new research has identified a potentially more powerful impact: Rapid retirements deprive companies of critical experience and knowledge, which undermines productivity across the entire economy” [Wall Street Journal, “For Economy, Aging Population Poses Double Whammy”]. What crap. Workers are fungible and expendible human resources (“warm bodies”), to be screwed as hard as they can be on the job, after which they should train their successors, be fired, and have their pensions looted. Since when did the communists take over the Wall Street Journal?

“From a capitalist perspective, Trump is a hardworking — if obnoxious — businessman: he inherited money from his father and made it grow. From a socialist point of view, however, he got his wealth by very different means: theft” [Jacobin]. Outright theft, as opposed to mere exploitation.

News of the Wired

A review of Stiglitz’s new book, “The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe” [Nature].

“British woman held after being seen reading book about Syria on plane” [Guardian]. Pretty soon it’s going to be reading any book. “We’ll give you any books you need to read when you’re boarding the plane.”

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


At the Chihuly Glass and Gardens in Seattle, WA.

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

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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. Vatch

    “[A]ll 26 of the 28 pro-TPA House Democrats who have so far undergone primary contests have been successful” [Politico]. “The final two remaining are Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, for whom voters will go to the polls next week, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, whose contest is at the end of the month.”

    Crud. Here’s the web site for Tim Canova, who is opposing Wasserman Schultz. Floridians, please pay attention:


    And here’s the web site for Myron Buchholz, who’s opposing Ron Kind. Wisconsin residents, this one is for you:


    1. Kurt Sperry

      I voted against my pro-TPA rep in the primary, but the votes counted so far make it a landslide for the incumbent. I briefly got my hopes up that the Bernie voters would step up after we easily won the state primary. Ouch. Wrong.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Hopefully, reading. Since I’ve moved away from the D.O.O.M. (Democrat Oppo and Outrage Machine) talking points, responding takes a little more time..

      Adding, to be fair, I missed the deadline yesterday!

  2. TarheelDem

    The difference between a warmonger and a lunatic warmonger apparently is, as John Noonan wrote, “consistency”.

  3. Bev


    Election Justice USA Retweeted
    Harry Tiebout ‏@HarryTiebout Aug 2
    @Elect_Justice CNN lying with numbers. Excluding 18-34 There’s much more wrong with this poll. #ElectionFraud

    @JoeNBC the new CNN polls HAVE NO ONE UNDER 35 YEARS OLD!!
    That is not journalism- THAT(‘s) LYING TO AMERICA

    via: Lee Camp: Redacted Tonight

    Democracy Lost: A Report on the fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries
    by Election Justice USA



    2016 Preliminary Election Model: Stein vs.Clinton vs. Trump vs. Johnson
    Richard Charnin

    The 2016 Election Model indicates that Green Party candidate Jill Stein can win a fraud-free election, based on a) recent Party-ID surveys and b) primary exit poll vote shares of Independents and Democrats.


    Charlie Grapski DNC Convention Legal Considerations
    Podcast submitted By Rob Kall

    The Institute for American Democracy & Election Integrity

    1. Vatch

      Jill Stein can win a fraud-free election

      But people keep telling me that I’ll waste my vote if I vote for her!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Following along with his good friend, Republican Robert Kagan (married, in good bipartisan power couple fashion, to Victoria Nuland, rumored to be inline for Clinton’s Secretary of State, but I don’t think so. Not even Clinton could be that crazy).

      1. Carolinian

        Nuland is a Democrat? Boy they let anybody in.

        I only ask because she’s supposed to be a Bush holdover but maybe worked for the Clintons before that?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Nuland started out with Bill Clinton, then moved on to Dick Cheney. She certainly is nimble!

          I can’t find a link that makes her party affiliation explicit. Foreign Policy:

          Because of her marriage to Kagan, most Europeans believe she’s a Republican, but her hawkish approach to Russia isn’t entirely unique within the Obama administration.

          But FP does not then go on to clarify. I assumed she was a Democrat because of the Clinton connection. My bad!

          1. Carla

            FP professionals don’t need no stinkin’ party affiliations. They are the other half of the “Double Government” that most voters have never heard of. You know, the half that makes sure foreign policy is consistent from one administration (and party) to the next. Works great!

          2. John k

            You start out wherever your opportunity lies. Once established you can follow your heart.
            Where does her heart lead her when Cheney leaves office? Drum roll…
            Why, it’s Hillary!

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            It’s probably bias, but my sense is Republicans love to parade anyone who is Jewish or not white in front of cameras who can say, “im a Republican” without drooling or dying a little on the inside. Since Nuland is Jewish, the GOP would have her on their book tour if she was suspected Republican especially given the GOP obsession with winning Florida Jewish retirees.

            If Nuland was a Republican, we would know.

          4. Optimader

            True neocons are politically agnostic, they gravitate to whatever host they feel will advance their agenda. Party affiliation is irrelevant.
            Paging Scoop Jackson from the ether…

      2. voteforno6

        “Not even Clinton could be that crazy.”

        Well, I don’t think competence is the primary quality that Clinton seeks in her underlings. So, why couldn’t it be Nuland?

      3. DarkMatters

        Lambert: Love to hear your reasoning on this. Given Nuland’s performance as Assistant Secretary of State, notably in the Ukraine, I myself can’t imagine a Secretary of State better suited to carrying out HC’s agenda. Shamelessly imperialistic, foul-mouthed, indiscreet and contemptuous of security and allies alike. Sounds like someone HC could go for. Really.

  4. Steve H.

    – That list is the glory and tragedy of today’s left.

    Anti-War? Hellowooo…

    And I was working in my garden, thank you very much. It’s cool and thundery, but not raining.

  5. Ahwatukeelover

    I plan on flying in mid fall. I also plan to take several EXTREMELY controversial books with middle eastern terror groups in the titles. We will see if middle aged white female atheists traveling with their white middle aged greying spouses will get hauled in front to the various security services or if they can read whatever they want with impunity….
    I urge all people to do the same. Overwhelm security over and over and over again and this nonsense will stop. …. I hope….

    1. Jim Haygood

      If you really want to mess with their minds, wear a T-shirt that says in Arabic, “I support law enforcement.”

    2. fresno dan

      I imagine Fahrenheit 451 will get you waterboarded, and “1984” will get you renditioned….

    3. neo-realist

      Middle aged white people have nothing to worry about short of them acting crazy or being handicapped which may require tazer shocks for proper cooperation. It’s POC, particularly those with third world/middle eastern sounding names, that have to be wary of homeland security/customs in any airport anywhere.

  6. Clive

    “I saw something nasty in the woodshed.
    “Sure you did. But did it see you, baby?”

    One of the best movie lines ever!

    Cold Comfort Farm — well worth watching for dialogue like that aplenty. And Joanna Lumley too! What more could you ask for?

  7. Vatch

    I really shouldn’t go here, but just for fun: Billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman. More Republican establishment figures. What could give a Sanders voter more confidence in Clinton’s good faith?

    Aw, shucks! He only has about $1.4 billion. That’s not even enough to earn him a place on the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans! Maybe he hopes that Clinton will make things more profitable for his kind.

  8. alex morfesis

    is it possible trump is pulling a page out of the glory days of the bill walsh/joe montana 49ers playbook…the only thing that counts is the last 5 minutes…??

    he is the nominee…$hillary is spending all types of money to stay ahead and hope that she can pull off another conversion and coronation by running in front of the crowd and calling it a parade…

    fool some of the people most of the time, but make sure you fool enough on one day every four years…

    the day before the election day is all that counts…

    and hope that enough people are discouraged from realizing they could make a difference if they spent more than one day every four years on this pesky little concept known as freedom…

    so if he holds his gunpowder dry and stored until the middle of october, he will dominate the eyeballs and she will be stuck looking at him passing her by…

    10 weeks till bastogne…

    1. mad as hell.

      Clinton and her democratic entourage are going need a “bigger” kitchen sink to throw at Trump.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I doubt it’s his strategy, but Team Blue will fall into this trap.

      The real issue is the at the latest mid October registration dead line. In an election, where people are tuned out because of off putting candidates and yellow dog Dems are watching cable news to laugh at Trump instead of registering voters, one day people will wake up with poor registration numbers. There will be reports of people trying to find polling places and having id’s for the wrong addresses because they were never updated. Guess how they would get updated in the past, people would basically find them and drive it home that everyone needed to check. It is a constant effort which cannot be turned on by money with a month to go. ACORN and the 50 state DNC did this. It doesn’t cost very much, but it does take time and bodies to do it. Hillary was holding events without any attempts at registration and the other gotv concerns such as finding people who need rides to the polls or can give rides to the polls.

      On top of this are the various obstacles to voting we’ve recently seen in the primary process.

      Now that I think about it, does Trump know this? He might. The whole reason he GOP works to restrict voting is because they know a sane Democratic party would clean their clocks, even a really bad Democratic Party should win. Can Democratic Party vanity and incompetence cause hem to take their eye off the ball? It could. The GOP knows the Democrats should win. It’s why they whine about Democrats promising “freestuff”. People simply prefer generic Democratic nostalgia policy.

      The other Issue Is with the focus on convincing Republicans to dump Trump that likely means those same Republican voters will vote GOP down ticket which could be the difference between winning the Senate.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I find the “Trump can still win” lines are wearing pretty thin, we’ll continue to be told it’s still competitive so ad spend and viewership stays up.
        I think Americans had their chance to try something a little different (Bernie) and they blew it, time to assume the position for Bush term 5. I still recall fondly the time when Bush’s policies were roundly condemned as stupid, illegal, foolish, and counterproductive.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel



            Btw, the only reason I watched the Clinton DNC speech was to listen to the sweet, sweet protestors chanting.

        1. Ian

          I don’t think you can consider the blatant fraud of a primary the American populace blowing it. Every and all stops, even beyond what was already done, would have been pulled to stop Sanders as he represents much of what is being attempted to be dismantled on the World stage among the Developed Nations. I don’t believe he ever stood a realistic chance, regardless of how close he got.

        2. aab

          I guess this is my daily reminder that Americans didn’t “blow it.” They nominated Bernie Sanders. The nomination was then stolen from him by a criminal conspiracy at the top of our government.

          I realize that phrased as such, it sounds like a crank conspiracy theory. Too bad. That’s what happened.

          1. tgs

            Far from being a crank ‘conspiracy theory’, I believe that there is considerable empirical evidence that the theory of a stolen primary is true.

            The Australian philosopher, Charles Pigden writes:

            A conspiracy theory is a theory which explains some event or
            events as due in part to a conspiracy, that is, to a secret plan to
            influence events by partly secret means.

            b) Every historically and politically literate person employs the
            strategy of sometimes believing (and sometimes being prepared to
            believe) conspiracy theories.

            c) It is not irrational to employ a belief-forming strategy that every
            historically and politically literate person employs.

            d) It is not irrational to employ the strategy of sometimes believing
            (and sometimes being prepared to believe) conspiracy theories.

            In short, no conspiracy theory is ever wrong because is posits a conspiracy – after all, human history is rife with them.

    3. Heliopause

      Once the current Clinton “bounce” settles down a bit I think this is structurally still a Clinton+4 race, and I still think, leaving aside external factors, it will stay that way to the end. There’s not much Trump can do except try not to say too many things that the MSM can seize upon (difficult for him, to be sure, half of what he says is genuinely stupid and the other half is deliberately misrepresented by the MSM). If he stays within striking distance and Wikileaks unleashes a bomb then who knows, but absent that I don’t think he stands much of a chance. I mean, aside from his obvious deficits as a human being there is the 100% uniformity of elite media’s opposition to him, and those are a couple of high hurdles.

      1. Pavel

        I’m old enough (alas) to remember Jimmy Carter’s victory over Ronald Reagan thanks to his 20 point lead a few months prior to the election. Just sayin’…

        Back to reality: I remember watching the Carter vs Reagan debates thinking, how could anyone vote for that old fool? We know enough did. And Carter didn’t have Hillary’s unfavorables.

        That $80 million take by Trump must have the Dems panicking a bit, that’s for sure. The real wild card as noted is if WikiLeaks really do have the goods on Hillary. We’ll see…

        1. Heliopause

          More recent elections have tended not to have poll swings that big, and Trump is no Reagan in terms of PR sense. Not saying it’s impossible, but Trump’s got a big uphill climb.

  9. Roger Smith

    Re: “…figures on his hilarious interview with WaPo’s Philip Rucker.”

    Did anyone notice how even the transcript was written with bias? Hey constantly add in Trump’s “Uh”s and make it seem like he trails off in between questions.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Those fundraising figures for Trump are pretty remarkable (especially as it is likely to be from the type of people who think he is richer than he is). I suspect that just like what happened with Sanders, the sheer viciousness of establishment attacks will encourage more giving. In which case, Clintons aggressive strategy could backfire in an unintended way. I suspect they are feeding the monster.

  11. Paul Tioxon


    “AARP, the non-profit seniors organization that exists to promote the financial security, pensions and healthcare of those over 50, is secretly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization whose bills have acted against the interests of ordinary Americans, including retirees and their families.

    The Center for Media and Democracy has learned that AARP has recently joined ALEC, and that it is a named sponsor of the ALEC annual meeting taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 27-29, 2016.

    AARP isn’t exactly hiding its new financial relationship with ALEC, at least to ALEC legislators. Its logo appears in the conference brochure (see below) and attendees at the conference were each provided with an AARP branded portable USB power pack as they registered for the event.

    ALEC exists to help its corporate funders advance their lobbying agenda through pushing bills that ALEC peddles as national “model” legislation. As CMD has documented in numerous ways, ALEC is a pay-to-play operation.

    Since CMD launched ALECexposed in 2011, more than 100 corporations have quit the group, with many echoing Eric Schmidt of Google who told NPR as his company quit ALEC: “I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we’re trying to not do that in the future.”


    Below is a petition to AARP from Social Security Works demanding an end to funding and ties to ALEC.


    For more on ALEC, the premier Neo-Liberal think tank for developing pre-written legislation for adoption by State, Local and yes, Federal legislators:


    ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy’s ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

    1. Carla

      Paul Tioxin, thank you very much for this info. I have sent it far and wide. Many people I know have their Medicare Supplement or Advantage coverage through AARP and will be shocked to know what snakes in the grass they are. Alas, I am not shocked.

      1. jo6pac

        If you or friends live in Calif. or AZ. you buy SCAN supplement for Medicare. It’s cheaper and covers everything they do. I’ll be using for the first time in a week or so.

    2. beth

      The petition requires you to contribute through ActBlue in order for your name to be added to the petition. I will not contribute to anything that requires me to contribute through ActBlue. Twice my contribution was misallocated. I do not trust them.

      And why does my voice only count if I can contribute?

    3. nippersmom

      I instinctively knew I wanted nothing to do with AARP when they (repeatedly) solicited my membership. Now I have confirmation my instincts were correct.

  12. JohnnyGL

    Re: the Scott Adams quote “UPDATE “Clinton’s campaign has such strong persuasion going right now that she is successfully equating her actual misdeeds of the past with Trump’s imaginary mental issues and imaginary future misdeeds”

    It’s really something, isn’t it? We’re seeing that on Russia, too. There’s no documented financial ties of Trump to Putin/Russia that I’m aware of, though there’s plenty of speculation that they exist. In fact the only candidate with actual transactions linked to nefarious Russian oligarchs is…..you guessed it….


    Oh, and just for fun, here’s politifact running interference. “We rate Trump’s claim Mostly False.”

    It’s worth reading the politifact article if only to enjoy the Comey-doesn’t-recommend-indictment level of twisting around to justify the ‘mostly false’ claim.

  13. afisher

    Well, to say that I am shocked is a bit of an understatement, especially from a site that deals with “numbers”. Apparently, that is no longer necessary. We no longer have to wait for the FEC to paste the actual information about campaign donations, nope, there is a guy at the NYT who is now supposed to “know”.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Do consider reading the post.

      “Caveat that these are not FEC figures; nevertheless, this is Nick Confessore’s beat, so I’d expect him to get it right. “

  14. Goyo Marquez

    Re Scott Adams and who’s the war monger..

    It’s not just Rovian, it’s that each party has a basic reputation, or brand as the internet marketers like to say. The Democrat’s brand is peacenik, and the Republican brand is national security. It’s almost impossible to change someone’s brand. So it’s impossible to get traction with factual attacks on Mrs. Dr. Strangelove as being the real danger when it comes to nuclear war, or when it comes to being the mother of death. Even people who hate neoconservatives are planning on voting for Clinton.

    1. Pat

      Also they have the mistaken notion that Clinton is the sane one.

      I’ve had numerous conversations with people pointing out the prodding and outright attacks on Russian that are part and parcel of both Clinton’s camp and yes, the Obama administration. Noting that starting a war with Russia is NOT a winning strategy. The response: “that’s crazy! No one wants a war with Russia except Trump.” And when I point out that Trump is actually championing policies that would avoid war with Russia unlike the Democrats, they get even more dismissive and ignore the facts on the ground.

      Forget making them understand that Clinton’s terms, advice and decisions as SoS have been a major factor in the destabilization of Europe and even contributed a bit to Brexit. They cannot wrap their head around the idea that a war mongering regime change hawk is’ the current Democratic nominee for President and will bring more of the same competence and ability that was frankly disastrous as SoS to that role if elected.

      Some of it is identity, some of it is tribalism, and some of it is flat out denial.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        You know you’re a true war-monger when the Pentagon brass all the way up to Gates has to tell you your batshit ideas are a bridge too far…like they had to do with Hilary on Libya and Syria. JFK resisted Curtis LeMay’s pleading to drop the bomb in 1962…but this time around maybe we’ll need a military coup a la Turkey so we can have less war.
        Either that or just rename the State Department the Department of Conflict Assurance and just go full Sparta on the world…a society designed entirely around war making and proud of it.Think of the branding possibilities, tanks plastered with Microsoft and Fedex logos, cruise missiles sponsored by Carl’s Junior. Call a spade a spade already.

      2. Carolinian

        Yes what they’re selling at the Fearmonger’s Shop (ht G. Keillor–Clinton supporter) is the notion that Trump is so bad that he might turn into Hillary Clinton–indeed scary. The media are nowhere more dangerous than on foreign policy because Americans basically know nothing about the rest of the world and will believe anything they’re told. Whereas when it comes to domestic matters they know better and can see through HRC’s bs. Perhaps this explains the bellicosity of Hillary’s Dem convention and the obsession with Putin as far away boogie man. Persuasion indeed–of the worst kind.

  15. DJG

    Lambert, Lambert, Lambert: Cold Comfort Farm, the funniest book in the English language, is somehow how like Game of Thrones? Admittedly, I haven’t bothered with Game of Thrones, which seems like Tolkien writhing with a burst appendix, but I gather Thrones has no sukebind. What of the sukebind?

    1. Praedor

      You are missing out. I too ignored Game of Thrones until recently when numerous shows ended or went on hiatus. I started watching and became hooked very quickly. I actually like it more than Tolkien.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t a TV and probably wouldn’t get HBO if I did, so all I can do is read about the recaps the following day (WaPo’s Alyssa Rosenberg is very good).

        The GoT books are like Tolkien in that both authors are brilliant travel writers, although of imaginary worlds; the landscape of Tolkien is as real to me as the country I grew up in. Since I didn’t read GoT growing up, I don’t have the same intense feeling for Martin’s world, but it’s still very real to me. GoT is unlike Tolkien — at least so far — in that the redemptive aspect is completely missing; the stiff, fake, exalted style that so disfigures the Return of the King between the fall of Sauron and the crowning of Aragorn, and the Scouring of the Shire is missing. There’s not a lot of redemption going on in GoT, although it is true that some characters (Jaime, especially) win through to a gritty sort of empathy and don’t act as badly as they might, especially given their terrible incentives.*

        GoT also, being about family values/dynastic politics, the acquisition and retention of power, the terrible abuse of women, and climate change (“winter is coming”) is also much more relevant to contemporary issues than LOTR. Here’s a review from the LRB.

        * There’s also a strong “no good deed goes unpunished” theme. Often, characters acting from the best of motives create catastrophic consequences for themselves and others.

  16. Jim

    Lambert quotes a recent article by a staff writer for In These Times which states: “Since the founding 40 years ago In These Time has advocated an inside/outside strategy vis a vis electoral politics. On the outside, we raise Cain, agitate and describe the contents of a more just and a more democratic future. On the inside we promote meaningful change with the existing dominant institutions. The inside game inevitably involves joining forces with people with whom we do not always agree. The alternative to pursuing such a strategy is to cede control of the public sphere to the rich and powerful.”

    Lambert then goes on to say that the counter-argument is that this strategy has failed for 40 years. To which the rebuttal is that the time has come, just like Sanders said the same thing for 40 years and his time came.

    James Weinstein, John Judis and Martin Sklar (all prominent New Left individuals in the 1960/1970s) were key founders of In These Times which back then billed itself as an independent socialist weekly that was trying to create a more rational left alternative to the Weather Underground and the Black Panther party.
    This paper and its founders collectively endorsed the strategy of attempting to build a more openly socialist movement that might eventually take on the existing party machines. Weinstein, in particular, was supportive of the idea running candidates on an explicitly socialist platform.

    But why should this outside/inside strategy be attempted once again in the Democratic party? What is left of that party are primarily upper middle-class identify politics professionals (of all sorts) linked to Wall Street and Silicon Valley who despise the young Saunders radicals as well as anyone who is broadly working class.

    Where the serious action could be is in the Republican party where a significant portion of Trump supporters represent the constituency the Sanders people supposedly want to directly reach and influence.

    The Donald is running to the left of Hillary on foreign policy, trade, and possibly health care and fiscal policy which gives Sanders activists an opening. Who knows what type of innovative politics might result from the beginnings of honest conversation and dialogue between young Sanders supporters and Trump supporters.

    Traditional Republican solutions to our contemporary financial/economic/political/cultural crisis are as outmoded as traditional Democratic party solutions–but the genuine energy for reform and openness to radical change may, in 2016, originate with grass-roots republican sentiment.

    Is it time for the middle-american proletariat to unite with Bernie Sanders supporters and to consider the Republican party as the appropriate populist vehicle for taking on our entire, corrupt managerial political class?

  17. dk

    I’ve never understood why the Sanders operation never seriously organized D.C.

    D.C. completely careerist. Until some small but critical mass of incumbent Congresspeople and/or top tier administration staff are clearly and explicitly aligned with the Sanders movement, nobody will feel they can afford to take them seriously. And especially since the movement is in effect (not just in principle) very clearly anti-establishment, without a power foot hold, they’d get laughed out of town.

    There is some undercurrent of Sanders support/sympathy to be found in D.C. But they really can’t afford to do much more than talk about it in quiet corners.

    Politics is the main gig, and loyalty is the coin of the realm. If you’re going to do political volunteer work, why isn’t it for your boss or your boss’s party?

    On the flipside, if/when the movement can seat 5-10 self-identified and vocal Sanders people, there may be a lot of competition to get on their staffs. The under 30 Sanders voters are the future, these folks know that.

    1. neo-realist

      The under 30 Sanders voters are the future, these folks know that.

      If that demographic gets serious about voting in the down ticket races, their politics can be the future.

    2. Katharine

      Washington, D.C. has a poverty rate of nearly 18% and a median household income of <$72,000 (censusreporter.org). "Completely careerist" is plainly overlooking quite a lot of reality.

      I must admit it gets under my skin more because it reminds me of a man on a subway train years ago, at a stop where hundreds of people were getting on and off, remarking to his friend that the subway would be all right if it didn't stop at all these places nobody goes to. That dismissal of hundreds of people as nobody still rankles.

  18. ewmayer

    Now that the worst of the radioactive fallout resulting from the Trump v Khan brouhaha has settled, here is my take on the likely effects on The Donald’s electoral prospects:

    Basically, Trump blew it big-time, and cost himself any chance at the presidency. He waded recklessly into the trap brilliantly set for him by the Team D strategists, and revealed himself to be precisely the bigoted egomaniacal intemperate buffoon the Dems have been trying so hard to paint him as, all in one go. And there was a fairly-obvious way out of the trap – just use the same kind of verbal jiu-jitsu we know he is both capable and fond of, as in his nomination acceptance speech where he deftly turned Hillary’s “I’m with her” slogan against her. “I grieve for the Khan family’s loss, and at the same time am sorry that their son had to die not in a just cause, but in an illegal war of invasion and occupation, a war Hillary Clinton supported, and the same kind of disastrous neocon warmongering she pursued so ardently as Secretary of State, targeting much of the Muslim world the Khan family came from”. Something like that. Remember, his remarks to George Stephanopoulos were not off-the-cuff – he had time to consider them, maybe – by golly – consult with his chief campaign strategists?

    In my opinion, barring any massive new revelations of crookery on the part of Hillary – and even that likely would not suffice, since at this point anything short of Hillary personally ordering a genocide is highly unlikely to lead to the flunkies at FBI/DOJ actually doing their jobs or 0bama actually remembering the “uphold the law” bit of his Oath of Office – I am resigned to the prospect of a dismal Hillary presidency. Four years of that horrid voice and evil cackle on the radio and TV almost every day, like some kind of infernal crow perched on my shoulder, caw-caw-cawing into my ear.

    My only hope is that enough evidence of criminality has already been unearthed that she will be rendered relatively ineffective in her zeal to pursue the neocon program of warmongering-for-fun-and-profit and the same whoring-for-Wall-Street which has already so enriched her and her similarly-crooked-but-better-at-faking-populism husband.

    Sorry to be such a downer, y’all – but that is my considered take. Fates, please prove me wrong!

    1. Anon

      Considering how adept she’s been at avoiding press conferences, you might be blessed/fortunate enough to only hear that cackling voice only during SotU speeches, if that.

    2. AnEducatedFool

      We have 3 more months to go.

      This entire Trump-Khan feud is a way to cover up the DNC story. Wikileaks will release more documents. We can only hope that Trump is put on lock down by his family during that week.

      I do not think it hurt Trump with his supporters though. Many of them are aware of the fact that Khan worked for the Clinton Foundation via his law firm. One of his surrogates was trying to get that fact out on CNN and he was put down for attacking gold star families. Of course Hillary can lie to families about the deaths of their sons but Trump can not say anything about a man who is clearly using the death of his son as a means to score political points.

      I think this was exemplified when Trump supporters booed a mother of a serving soldier. Pence had to calm down the crowd. 33% of the electorate wants Hillary’s head on a platter. I do not think that they will accept her as President. How that manifests is anyone’s guess.

      In the end I think it depends on the debates. I think Trump will eviscerate her on stage especially during her discussions on inclusiveness and identity politics.

        1. AnEducatedFool

          You linked to it yesterday in the Moon of Alabama post. At least the comment section flushed it out. Jackrabbit posted links but they are behind a paywall. He is a solid contributor on that site. I typically read both of your blogs.


          Khan and Clinton Foundation will pull up Clinton Cash and Breitbart news. I am not a fan of using them as sources.


          The information in this article looks legitimate.

        2. JCC

          Breibart is pushing the news (and a lot of web sites are picking it up and blasting it out) that Khan worked for Hogan Hartson Law Firm which has ties, through merging with Lovells Law Firm in the UK, now Hogan Lovells, to Saudi Arabia and the Clinton Foundation and assists in doing Clinton’s taxes.

          Jeffery Immelt’s (CEO of GE and a big Clinton donor) brother, Jeffrey Immelt is CEO of Hogan Lovells.

          The problem with the tie-in, according to Snopes.com, is that Khan left the firm 3 years before they merged with Lovells and their CF/Saudi work, but the death of his son was well known within the Hogan Hartson Law Firm before Khan left.

          So, despite Breitbart’s claims, the way it looks to me is that the only thing that can possibly be said is that someone at Hogan Lovells passed on Khan’s name and situation to the Clinton Campaign and they took advantage of his ability to speak in front of a crowd, which he was obviously more than willing to do.


          But I’m sure Breitbart will get a lot of mileage out of this one.

    3. cnchal

      When you ask a narcissist to talk about suffering, they can’t help but talk about their own.

      Trump could have set the establishment’s hair on fire instead of his own with your well chosen words. That he didn’t, when it was right in front of him is a testament to how debilitating narcissistic personality disorder is.

      1. Aumua

        Yeah, but really it’s kind of hard to ratchet down from basically.. “We need to ban muslims” to the kind of language ewmayer is suggesting. This battle was already lost, and Trumps gaffes will continue to haunt him. It’s almost like, the only thing he can do is double down at this point.

  19. Anon

    Here’s something that I wrote on Facebook. I find that reading articles from sites like this and practicing writing really came in handy with how effortless putting this together was, especially since it was more or less off the cuff. That said, I’d love to get some thoughts/critiques on this; if no one else will hold my feet to the fire, then I know that NC will!

    While waiting to transfer files at work, I think it’s time to clear the air a little. Recently, I was asked what my political affiliation was, considering that I hold both sides to a higher standard or give the impression that I’m a bit too hard on our current two-party system. Let me clarify and questions can be asked in the comments.

    For the moment, I am a Democrat, which at one point was kind of a beacon of pride, but after years of failed policies or the constant “fight for x”, x being whatever policy would make things better for people but never winning anything, I’ve become disappointed with Democrats as a whole.

    “But Anon,” you say, “you can’t win all of the time, compromises and bipartisanship are part of the process!” Which is fine, I fully understand that. It is an entirely different thing to concede everything for bipartisanship, which (among other things) caused Obama to have a crappy first term. Being informed readers, I’m sure that you’ll want examples of when they fought for x and didn’t win – I’ll have to give two since this file transfer is almost done.

    The first example is healthcare. The original plan was to implement a healthcare system similar to Canada and a number of other countries (we’ll speak to the effectiveness of said systems later). What became a clear cut goal got watered down to the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare. As a result of this watering down, even after it is fully implemented – yes, you’re reading that right, six years in and the law has not been fully enacted – we still won’t have universal healthcare since something to the tune of 12 million people won’t have it either due to circumstance or being too wealthy to qualify for the subsidy. By too rich, I mean any person making 60k or more. Not exceedingly rich, but such is life.

    I can hear the objections now, that it wasn’t favorable as it was and it needed Republican support, but the thing is, for about four months, they had a supermajority, let alone that whole “we have to pass the law so that you can see what’s in it” or the fact that relatively few people had read it prior to passing it or that it was modeled after a Republican-led method created by Mitt Romney and tested out in the state of Massachusetts.

    But enough about that, let’s talk about the 2nd thing. VoterID. The gist of this is that in order to vote, people need an ID under the “threat” of voter fraud, which has been prosecuted all of 5 times and at least three of those were human error, but anyway. When you hear Democrats talk about making sure that voting is accessible, do you see a countrywide registration push to get the vote out and register people in the face of this adversity?

    This, and many other things have caused me to become disillusioned with Democrats and the false promises of “progress”. It’s almost as if just by pandering to marginalized groups, they can just simply “fight for x” or pretend to, knowing full well that it has no chance of passing so they can say “well, we tried”, like we see with Obama pushing for all of these bold ideas despite dealing with a R-controlled House and Senate. As some folks with flimsy arguments are known to say, it’s 2016 and I won’t let fear of the other side keep me where there’s no hope of getting anything done.

    As always, I welcome discussion and debate and will answer questions pertaining to this.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The original plan was to implement a healthcare system similar to Canada

      Not sure where you’re getting that from. At least from 2008 on, although Conyers in the House (HR676) and Sanders in the Senate (SB703) had single payer bills, Obama’s faction, then controlling the Democrat Party, was wholly in favor of the sort of market-based, neoliberal solution that became ObamaCare. Their original plan, at least, was “never, ever” single payer.

  20. ewmayer

    o FBI took months to warn Democrats of suspected Russian role in hack: sources | Reuters

    Can’t really blame the FBI here – they were probably understaffed due to the ongoing investigation of Hillary’s privatized SoS e-mail server.

    o Buffett rebukes Trump, questions his business skill | Reuters

    The biggest single individual beneficiary of the GFC-era Government bailouts of the financial sector, the one whose every equity position is guaranteed to rise sharply merely on his announcement of having taken a position, speaks about ‘business skill’!

    1. AnEducatedFool

      Reuters sidesteps the obvious answer as to why the FBI never told the DNC that the Russians were hacking an organ of the state….the Russians had nothing to do with the hack.

  21. allan

    Horrible POS [Piece of a Site called vox.com] singing the praises of incrementalism.

    Do you want to stop Donald Trump from rounding up Mexicans into camps? Try this: Encourage your idealistic, third-party-voting progressive and libertarian friends to drop their fantasies of an ideal, radically revised political and economic order and fight instead to protect what we’ve got. It’s the prudent thing to do, and it’s the principled move.

    In a profound and persuasive new book, The Tyranny of the Ideal: Justice in a Diverse Society, the political philosopher Gerald Gaus shows that visions of political perfection are bound to lead us astray. …

    Ditching our utopias for an appreciation of what Gaus, following Karl Popper, calls an “Open Society” of liberal pluralism, mutual accommodation, and incremental democratic reform brings clarity and gravity to this election season’s big choice. …

    Gravity bombs, that is.

  22. Synoia

    In new news, the ban on cross species gene splicing is lifted:

    Please meet you new Presidential candidate:

    Future President Clump.

  23. Carolinian

    Apologies if this has already been linked, but here’s Dayen saying that a lame duck TPP is unlikely and the reason is that Trump and Sanders have focused press and public attention on the issue.


    Whatever happens with the election, if TPP goes down perhaps grateful progressives will send Trump a thank you card.

    Also: talking about TurkStream. Could this be a body blow to neocon strategic plans?


  24. Pavel

    Interesting piece in The Intercept on Paul Ryan’s primary opponent, Paul Nehlen. I confess I hadn’t been following this at all. Is it remotely possible that Ryan will lose in a primary???

    In many ways, Nehlen is evidence that Trump’s messaging has found its footing in down-ticket Republican races.

    “Paul Ryan is the most…pro-Wall Street, anti-worker Member of either party of Congress,” Nehlen shouted during a rally outside Ryan’s palatial home in Janesville, Wisc., this summer.

    By contrast, a vote for Nehlen was a vote for someone who would “never sit in a board room with Goldman Sachs executives. It’s a vote for every person who never got to go out for a steak dinner with lobbyists for the Chamber of Commerce,” he said.

    Like Trump, Nehlen rails against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement that would expand corporate rights at the expense of affordable medicines and environmental protections. In June, Nehlen said that the TPP alone was enough reason to run against Ryan, saying it would cause the “fundamental undoing of America.”

    And like Trump, Nehlen has made anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments a cornerstone of his campaign. He is running ads filmed on the U.S.-Mexico border, complaining that the border is porous and “isn’t going to stop ISIS,” thanks to inaction from Ryan.

    One area where Nehlen breaks from Trump is in his critique of the surveillance state. On his website’s issues page, Nehlen criticizes Ryan for backing legislation that expands the federal government’s ability to detain citizens without due process and warrantless surveillance.

    Nehlen’s website includes detailed criticisms of Ryan’s closeness with the pharmaceutical lobby and the Koch Brothers – not something you’d see in a traditional Republican campaign.

    All of these critiques of Ryan are part of a populist theme: Ryan works for a moneyed and secretive elite that is eager to use cheap labor and international agreements to undercut American workers – not the average American. It’s a message that is rooted in at least some truth. In October, for instance, Ryan brought on a chief of staff who made big bucks on K Street and who pushed for the TPP on behalf of his client, the Ford Motor Company.

    I have to say I like the anti-TPP and anti-surveillance parts. And Ryan is a weasel of the first order. What a treat it would be to see him lose!

    Bonus quote from the Comments section:

    Aren’t things like opposition to the TPP, cozying up to Wall Street, and opposition to unconstitutional and otherwise unduly intrusive surveillance things the Democrats are supposed to be complaining about? Oh that’s right, the Democrats are now on the wrong side of those issues. So vote for Clinton, ignore the Green party, and watch while this country turns into something like either Nazi Germany or fascist Italy.

    –Donald Trump’s Tiff With Paul Ryan Symbolizes Growing Divisions in the GOP Over Corporate Power

    1. Pavel

      Speak of the devil, as it were… I just found this over at The Hill. Good news if Ryan is feeling the heat on TPP:

      House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday said an expansive Asia-Pacific trade deal won’t get a vote in Congress this year because there isn’t enough support.

      Ryan said there is no point in bringing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in the lame-duck session after the November elections because he doesn’t see how the Obama administration can build enough support for the controversial agreement by year’s end.

      “As long as we don’t have the votes, I see no point in bringing up an agreement only to defeat it,” Ryan said in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio.
      “I have my own problems with TPP, it is not ready, the president has to renegotiate some critical components of it,” he said.

      Ryan said the Obama administration negotiated a TPP agreement that “cost them dozens of votes in Congress,” adding that right now the votes are not there. The Wisconsin Republican said Obama needs to fix the agreement if the administration wants to have any chance of passing the trade deal.

      But he said he doubts that could happen this year.

      “The sands are burning through the hourglass pretty fast, I don’t see how they’ll ever get the votes for it,” Ryan said.

      –Ryan: TPP doesn’t have support for House vote this year

      1. hunkerdown

        Sounds like someone will manufacture falsehoods to win a primary, as they do. Here’s hoping Wisconsin drums him out like Cantor.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s not the same as outright opposing it. I read a lot of this as dealmaking. Isn’t Ryan really saying he has a high price? (While simultaneously trying to ward off his opponent.)

    2. Jess

      Everybody was shocked when Eric Cantor got his ass whupped two years ago. Why not the same with Ryan? Be hilarious if turnout for Trump carried along enough voters to oust Ryan. A twofer!

  25. Plenue

    “From a capitalist perspective, Trump is a hardworking — if obnoxious — businessman: he inherited money from his father and made it grow.”

    He’s a crappy businessman and actually lost money. Bill Black maintains that if Trump had just invested all his inherited wealth in Vanguard stocks and then did literally nothing else for the rest of his life he would have more money than he has now.

    1. Bob

      He inherited over a billion dollars? To grow a a few billion in a Vanguard fund he would have needed to inherit more than a hundred million,

    2. optimader

      If only I had put the money I spent to buy the odd copy of Byte Magazine into MS stock instead.
      For fun I would like to see Bill Blacks math on that, I think Trump probably doesn’t have to worry about the wolf at he door.

    3. sid_finster

      If I knew what stock funds to buy thirty years ago, I could be richer than croesus.

      Of course, Hillary claimed to have lost money in Whitewater. How anyone could lose money on real estate in the 1970s and still be proclaimed an economic genius is a mystery.

  26. allan

    Antitrust Lawyer Who Handled Tech Collusion Case to Join Private Firm [Dealbook]

    James J. Tierney, the government antitrust lawyer who oversaw the complaint accusing six major Silicon Valley companies of colluding not to recruit competitors’ employees, is leaving the federal job to join the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. …

    In the no-poaching case, the government accused Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit and Pixar Animation of entering into agreements that blocked the recruiting of each other’s employees. …

    The companies did not admit legal wrongdoing when they signed the settlement, which disallowed practices like the ban on cold calling and which was effective for five years.

    Mr. Tierney, who has been the [DOJ] networks and technology section head since 2006, will join Orrick’s office in Washington as a partner with an antitrust practice, starting on Aug. 22. Founded in San Francisco, Orrick specializes in technology, energy and infrastructure law.

    No quid pro quo in sight.

  27. Chauncey Gardiner

    According to news reports, foreign central banks have for some time been buying large amounts of stocks of U.S. corporations, as well as companies domiciled in their respective nations. Although I have not seen any reports that the Federal Reserve has purchased US equities directly, I question to what extent foreign central banks are being used as opaque conduits by the Fed to support U.S. and global corporate stock prices?

    If this is in fact occurring, what is the economic basis for providing such support for stock prices? Has this policy ever been publicly discussed by the Fed with members of Congress?

    And to what extent are the politically unpopular TPP, TTIP and TiSA agreements that cede substantive national powers to large transnational corporations being driven by the interests of central banks as their stock purchases presumably comprise at least a portion of the assets that underlie their respective “money”/currencies?

  28. optimader

    But that zombie narrative just won’t die.
    Who got their shorts in a bunch when I used the term HRC Zombie Vote a few weeks ago?

  29. allan

    Citigroup beats $800 million appeal by onetime billionaire [Reuters]

    A federal appeals court rejected a one-time Florida billionaire’s bid to revive his $800 million lawsuit accusing Citigroup Inc (C.N) of fraudulently hiding its exposure to subprime and other toxic mortgages, inducing him to hold on to shares he otherwise would have sold.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Friday said Citigroup and former officials, including two chief executives Charles Prince and Vikram Pandit, were not liable to trusts and corporate entities overseen by Arthur Williams and his wife.

    Illustrating why the correct form of the Madoff Rule is not, `If you rip off somebody, make sure they’re not rich’,
    but rather,
    `If you rip off somebody, make sure that either you’re richer than they are, or have presidential cufflinks’.

  30. Jeff N

    Thank you for the “Cold Comfort Farm” recommendation, just got the DVD at my local library and really enjoyed it!

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