2:00PM Water Cooler 8/5/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“‘I think a lot of people who follow this closely enough but not at the granular level I follow it at would regard it as completely naive to even think that TPP is still politically alive,’ [New Zealand Ambassador Tim Groser] said” [Politico]. “‘I don’t think that is a correct statement, nor do I think some sunny optimistic thing that the day after the election all of this anti-trade gets washed out the window and we’re all fine and lovely and we move forward. I think it’s yet to be played out.'”

“[House Leader Rep. Paul] 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” [The Hill]. That doesn’t sound like principled opposition to me; it sounds like an invitation to start horse-trading. (Ryan is 66 points ahead of his anti-trade challenger, so while he could be tacking against trade out of an abundance of caution, it seems unlikely to me.)

“One of the EU’s most senior officials has warned that the bloc’s trade policy will be ‘close to death’ if it cannot ratify a landmark agreement with Canada” [Politico]. “In a frustrating blow to the Commission, the member countries last month wrested the approval process for the trade deal with Canada away from Brussels. The accord will now require approval in Europe’s 38 national and regional parliaments, raising the specter of delays and even vetoes in assemblies ranging from Wallonia to Romania.” So the Brits aren’t the only country unhappy with the EU….



Tulsi Gabbard: “‘Given the remaining choices, like Bernie Sanders, I will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton. Moving forward, as a veteran and someone who knows firsthand the cost of war, I am going to continue to push for an end to counterproductive interventionist wars and lead our country toward a path toward peace'” [Honolulu Star-Advertiser].

Our Famously Free Press

“Okay I finally watched the full clip with Trump and everyone is full of shit. First of all, he specifically says he’s talking about a situation in which ‘someone hits us with a nuke.’ This is basic MAD theory. it was america’s standard strategy for decades. He goes on to ask- quite rightly- ‘then why are we making them?” The entire premise of our nuclear arsenal still existing is that we’d respond to nukes with nukes. We wouldn’t have them otherwise. Note that he’s talking about a general situation where someone nukes us. Hillary has in the past specifically said that she’d nuke Iran in response to Iran nuking Israel. Trump’s comments are pretty reasonable and it shows how pathetic our media is that his comments have never been contextualized. P.S. I don’t trust Joe Scarborough’s account of anything” [Nathan Tankus, Facebook]. Fool me once, on what Trump said of Putin and Clinton’s mail. This is twice. Hermaneutic (“rule of thumb”) of suspicion: Believe nothing the press says Trump said without checking a transcript.

Lambert here: These are major issues. A Presidential candidate as the agent of a foreign power, and nuclear war. In both cases, the press and the political class just, well, made shit up, exactly as they did on WMDs for Bush’s Iraq War (though granted, the Bush administration helped, through its White House Iraq Group). The dreaded “some” might say “So what? Defeating Trump is more important than anything!” First, if you can’t defeat Trump without lying about him, do you really think you deserve the victory? More seriously, “the first taste is always free.” Does anybody really think that once the press and the political class have tasted blood in this way, that they’ll stop on November 8? Of course they won’t. And people on the left should be especially concerned, because both liberals and conservatives regard the left as the real enemy, and the same tactics will be applied to the left, especially “in time of war.” This shows why standing up independent left entities, beyond parties, is so very important and needs to be done immediately, election madness be damned.

“The intensity of the attack was worthy of far worse offenses but overkill was the point after all. Supposedly accomplished people like Obama law school mentor Laurence Tribe actually claimed that Trump had violated laws prohibiting private citizens from doing business with foreign government and added for rhetorical flourish that he may have committed treason. The charge of treason can only be made when one makes war against the United States or gives aid and comfort to an enemy. None of those qualifiers applied in this case. Truth is already a casualty and Hillary Clinton isn’t even in office” [Black Agenda Report].

UPDATE “Trump Taj Mahal owner to shut down struggling casino” [CBS]. If you want proof that liberals and the (currently) dominant faction of the Democrat Party really hate working people, look at how this story was not leveraged by Clinton’s bunker in Brooklyn. On a week where the Clinton campaign was fabricating and propagating outright lies about its opponent, it passed up the chance to truthfully highlight a Trump-branded business going belly-up, and to support the striking workers who were demanding the restoration of their health and retirement benefits (Local 54 of Unite-HERE). You’d think that would be a two-fer, but n-o-o-o-o-o-o.

The Voters

“Do I think Trump is a damaged candidate running a terrible campaign? Absolutely. Do I think that he has zero chance to win and has effectively lost the race in August? No” [Cook Report].

First, we have two of the most disliked and distrusted candidates running against each other in modern political history. That point can’t be understated. It creates much more fluidity and volatility than we’ve seen in our more “traditional” campaigns [T]hey are also challenging the traditional coalitions and alliances that we have come to know and understand.

Second, Clinton got a decent convention bump in the polls. Whether or not it sticks depends on three things: 1) Trump’s ability to keep the focus on her weaknesses and off of his. So far, he gets an “F” here; 2) things out of her control – how President Obama handles a potential terrorist attack, another Wikileaks dump with more serious allegations about her, or an expose on the Clinton Global Initiative that puts her in a bad light; 3) unforced errors. Clinton is obviously much more disciplined than her opponent, but she’s also shown some glaring lapses – whether it was her “dead broke” comment to Diane Sawyer or her most recent comments to Fox’s Chris Wallace about her “truthful” testimony to the FBI.

Third, the disconnect between the elite and the non-elite is bigger than ever… We are in August people. There is a long way to go until November.

Finally, the media’s attention span is unbelievably fickle. We are one natural disaster or plane crash away from the attention shifting from Trump’s troubles to non-stop, round-the-clock coverage of something else.

94 days is a long time in politics.

“I think this week marked a certain coming to terms with where the election is going. Politics is about trends and tendencies. The trends for Donald Trump are not good, and he tends not to change” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, “The Week They Decided He Was Crazy”]. “This is what became obvious, probably fatally so: Mr. Trump is not going to get serious about running for president. He does not have a second act, there are no hidden depths, there will be no ‘pivot.’ It is not that he is willful or stubborn, though he may be, it’s that he doesn’t have the skill set needed now—discretion, carefulness, generosity, judgment. There’s a clueless quality about him. It’s not that he doesn’t get advice; it’s that he can’t hear advice, can’t process it or turn it into action.”

I end with a new word, at least new to me. A friend called it to my attention. It speaks of the moment we’re in. It is ‘kakistocracy,’ from the Greek. It means government by the worst persons, by the least qualified or most unprincipled. We’re on our way there, aren’t we? We’re going to have to make our way through it together.

At this point, I trust Nooners more than any poll, even if she does speak from the heart, if any, of Reagan conservatism. Kakistrocracy is also the form of government that prevails in Kakania, which last denominated the Austro-Hungarian empire. Perhaps there’s some sort of parallel.

UPDATE “The political centre from which Clinton seeks to govern has been contracting for eight years. Recession, bailouts, declining living standards and a ruined infrastructure have destroyed the old “free market” governing consensus. Old electoral alliances are cracking up, and the new have yet to clearly form. A voting prediction model developed by political scientist Alan Abramowitz indicates that, were it not for Trump’s erratic messaging, these factors would be sufficient to give him a lead already.“ [Al Jazeera]. Or, as Gramsci puts it (from memory): “The old is dying, and the new is struggling to be born. In the interim, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

The Parties

“CNN hosting Green Party town hall” [CNN]. “The hour-long event will be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The event will broadcast live on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol and online via CNNgo.” Let’s see how they do!

Ajamu Baraka, Stein’s candidate for Veep: “The Sanders’ campaign, like the Obama phenomenon before it, does not offer a program or strategic direction for addressing the current crisis and contradictions of Western capitalist societies. Instead, it is an expression of the moral and political crisis of the Western radicalism” [A Voice from The Margins] (his blog). “This crisis – which is reflective of the loss of direction needed to inform, vision, and fashion a creative program for radical change – is even more acute in the U.S. than Western Europe. Yet, what unites both radical experiences is a tacit commitment to Eurocentrism and normalized white supremacy.” This tweet by Will Bunch is a natural reaction:

Unfair. But natural.

UPDATE After some throat-clearing and harrumping: “Those who don’t [support Trump] will have to start building a Republican Party in Exile. They will have to tell the country what they honestly think of Donald Trump. They will have to build a parallel campaign structure that will survive if Trump implodes, a structure of congressional and local candidates. They will have to jointly propose a clear manifesto — five or 10 policies the party in exile ardently supports” [David Brooks, New York Times]. So Brooks proposes an outright party split. I wonder what Moral Hazard thinks? Oh, and there’s this: “A guy who can raise $82 million mostly in small donations has a passionate niche following.” Niche?

UPDATE “During the primaries, my supporters and I began a political revolution to transform America. That revolution continues as Hillary Clinton seeks the White House. It will continue after the election. It will continue until we create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principle of economic, social, racial and environmental justice” [Bernie Sanders, Los Angeles Times]. “I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process, but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything. Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump.”

Swing States

“The majority of GOP [Republican insiders in key battleground states], 70 percent, said they want Trump to drop out of the race and be replaced by another Republican candidate — with many citing Trump’s drag on Republicans in down-ballot races. But those insiders still think it’s a long-shot Trump would actually end his campaign and be replaced by another GOP candidate” [Politico]. So the insiders are powerless [sheds tiny tear]. To be fair, they’re powerless to do anything but McGovern Trump, which is what they are trying to do.

“Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton is pausing ads in Virginia, a battleground state where Trump owns a winery. The decision reflects increasing confidence among Democrats that she will keep Virginia blue this fall, Politico writes. Her campaign’s new television ad buy begins next Tuesday and consists of Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania” [MarketWatch].

UPDATE “Wasserman Schultz denounces DNC email questioning Bernie Sanders’ faith” [Miami Herald]. Ha ha ha ha ha. When you’re explaining, you’re losing.

Squillionaires and Establishment Republicans for Clinton

“Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, hoping to take advantage of growing public unease with rival Donald Trump, is recruiting prominent Republicans in a bid to make GOP voters comfortable casting ballots for the Democratic nominee this November. [The effort] largely targets national-security experts and business leaders” [Wall Street Journal, “Clinton Camp Seeks to Win Over Republicans”]. “It is expected to culminate in a Republicans for Hillary group, whose members will endorse her candidacy.”

Lambert here: This is a DLC wet dream; the “responsible,” “moderate” leadership of both legacy parties collaborating in a blah blah blah. (Why, after all, was there so much agita when the Democrats rebranded RomneyCare as ObamaCare?) As so much else this year, this move by Clinton is wonderfully clarifying. How do you think “Republicans for Hillary” would vote on TPP? They’d be for it (after Clinton arranged a “conversation” to buy off the national unions). How about a Grand Bargain? You betcha, and the political class will applaud it to the very echo. How about a war? Putin’s already teed up as a hate figure; it remains only to discover the provocation, and there’s always some damned thing in the China Sea as a backup. That’s my picture of Clinton’s first 100 days, by the way. It would be nice to be wrong, because I’m not a “sharpen the contradictions” kinda guy. However, Clinton’s pivot to the right also opens opportunities for the left — 45% of the Democratic base, and, regardless of their vote, regarding Clinton’s primary win as illegitimate in terms of process — to drive the wedge between itself and neoliberals (liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans) even further into the Democrat Party than its already driven. I’m still long sandbags.

Paul Krugman, useful idiot:

Ending the, er, storm:

Which is, of course, what Clinton just did! I would be surprised if Krugman gets any sort of appointment in the administration at all. The world has passed his brand of doing economics by, and, more importantly, he’s just not useful any more. Who does he bring in that the Clinton’s do not already have? Sad.

“I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.” [Michael Morrell, New York Times]. Morrell, like Obama, is pro-torture. So that’s alright, then.

UPDATE The “endorse Hillary and be CIA Director” pieces seem to follow a script, down to OBL reference [EmptyWheel]. No doubt!

“Clinton’s campaign is quietly broadening its outreach to potential Republican converts, including donors, elected officials, and business and foreign policy leaders. The message is simple: Even if you have never before considered voting for a Democrat, and even if you don’t like Clinton, choosing her this year is a moral and patriotic imperative” [WaPo].

“In Ohio recently, Clinton urged Republicans ‘to pick country over party.’ She told several thousand at a union hall in Las Vegas on Thursday, ‘I want to be the president for all Americans. Democrats, Republicans independents. We’re going to pull America together again'” [ABC].

A handy chart of “where Republicans fall on the spectrum of Trump endorsements” [Los Angeles Times].

From a snarky report on the Republican convention: “Bush Sr’s ‘thousand points of light’ and Reagan’s ‘shining city on the hill’ having been sucked into a black hole… ” [London Review of Books]. See, Reagan- and Bush the Elder-type Republicans are the “new blood” Democrats really need. They won’t have any truck with “free stuff.” They’re grown-ups.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, July 2016: ” The economy really is picking up steam and today’s jobs report points to even greater strength from the consumer. Nonfarm payrolls surged a much stronger-than-expected 255,000 in July. The strength is underscored by a 5,000 upward revision to June which is now at 292,0000 and also to May, now at 24,000 for a 13,000 gain” [Econoday]. “Confirmation of strength is a rise in the participation rate, 1 tenth higher at 62.8 percent, which pulls up on the unemployment rate that however held at a low 4.9 percent. Wages further confirm the strength, with average hourly earnings up a sizable 0.3 percent and the year-on-year rate up 2 tenths to 2.6 percent. And for the first time since January, the workweek moved higher, up 1 tenth to 34.5 hours.” And: “Job gains in July were broad-based. Professional and business services—such as computer design and engineering services–health care, finance, food services, construction, manufacturing and government all added jobs” [Wall Street Journal, “Robust Jobs Report Eases Worry Over Economic Growth”].

But: “What matters here is this blew out all estimates. … And oddly that [payroll] gain was not even at the expense of the prior month. June’s exceptionally strong 287,000 nonfarm payrolls was revised higher to 292,000 and that makes the weak numbers from May look more like a rounding error. Another issue to consider here is that the PMI and ISM data released this weak was not at all pointing to a very strong number. Even ADP had us braced for a directional down number, well under 200,000” [24/7 Wall Street]. The government job gains of 38,000 skewed this number for July, but not enough to overlook the strength of this report.” And: “Much better than expected and prior month total payrolls were revised up some with private payrolls revised down. The headline unemployment rate was unchanged, while U6 unemployment, the broader measure, moved up a tenth to 9.7, indicating an unexpectedly large increase in the available labor force. More details later today. Also, year over year job growth is still decelerating, and, in my humble opinion, enormous ‘slack’ persists” [Mosler Economics]. And but: “While the household survey is mostly positive, there are some aspects that continue to suggest labor market weakness. The duration measures of unemployment all increased in July, with the average duration of unemployment spells rising from 27.7 weeks to 28.1 weeks and the median from 10.3 weeks to 11.6 weeks. These durations are more consistent with a recession than a strong labor market” [Dean Baker, CEPR]. “Similarly, the number of people involuntarily working part-time rose slightly to 5.94 million. This followed a sharp drop in June, but it is nonetheless quite high for a labor market with an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. One interesting note is that the least educated workers appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of recent job growth…. One positive item in this report is a sharp drop in black teen unemployment from 31.2 percent to 25.7 percent. These data are highly erratic, but the June level was a sharp reported rise from a low of 23.3 percent in February.”

International Trade, June 2016: “The trade gap widened sharply in June though details point to strength in demand, not weakness” [Econoday]. And: “Larger trade deficit than expected for June, lowering Q2 GDP calculations.” But: ” a relatively soft view of global trade. The unadjusted three month rolling average value of goods exports decelerated with the three month rolling averages in contraction., The unadjusted three month rolling average value imported goods accelerated with the rolling average in contraction IF oil is excluded. Many care about the trade balance which worsened” [Econintersect].

ECRI WLI Growth Index: “ECRI’s WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward was improved and remains in positive territory for the 19th week – after spending the previous 35 consecutive weeks in negative territory” [Econintersect].

UPDATE The Bezzle: “How the biggest companies in the S&P 500 use made-up earnings numbers” [MarketWatch]. “More companies are using made-up, unaudited numbers in earnings reports, making it harder for investors to draw a clear, consistent picture of the performance of the companies they own.” Yikes!

Shipping: “Amazon.com Inc. showed off its first Amazon-branded Boeing 767-300 cargo plane at an air show in Seattle. The company said that there are currently 11 planes in a dedicated fleet that will eventually total 40” [24/7 Wall Street]. “In June an analyst at Pacific Crest estimated that Amazon could save $440 million annually on shipping packages on its 40-plane fleet. He estimated a savings of $5.82 per package shipped…. The payload capacity of Amazon’s fleet will be approximately equal to 26% of UPS’s capacity and 17% of FedEx’s, according to Moody’s.”

Shipping: “Robotics developers, aware that direct human-machine interaction is inevitable, are creating robots with more humanlike characteristics than ever before. Within the next five to 10 years, a large number of ‘collaborative robots,’ or ‘cobots,’ will be scooting around DCs [Distribution Centers] without the markers, magnets, beacons, or tracks that guide the movements of traditional industrial robots. It will become second nature for workers to take a robot by the hand (or the wrist) and walk it through the repetitive and hazardous tasks the humans used to do” [DC Velocity]. “Given the trends in fulfillment, robots are only going to proliferate in the DC. As customers order more products online and demand faster deliveries, filling those orders will place more stress on supply chains. At the same time, about 90 percent of material handling relies on manual labor, and people can’t work exponentially faster. Rising labor costs and a shrinking labor pool, especially as the work force ages, only add to the challenges and the need for automated solutions such as cobots to meet them.”

Shipping: “The peak shipping season on the Pacific appears to be starting with a whimper, at least as far as ocean carriers are concerned. Reports from shipping industry observers show container ship operators have pulled significant capacity from the market, suggesting they’re uneasy waiting for an upturn in demand and are more focused on propping up pricing” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Growth in the Top North America twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) traffic has increased from 2013 through 2015. Growth during 2013 was below 2 percent, but both 2014 and 2015 have witnessed growth of 4.5 and 5 percent respectively. During the first two months of 2016, it appeared that this trend would continue; however, March through June has witnessed consistent declines” [James Sands, Seeking Alpha].

Shipping: “Overall intermodal traffic was down for the first time in second-quarter 2016 after 25 consecutive quarters of growth, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) reported yesterday” [Progressive Railroading]. “The seven highest-density trade corridors, which account for 63.4 percent of total intermodal volume, posted a collective 5.9 percent decrease year over year. Each corridor logged a loss.”

Shipping: “Week 30 of 2016 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) contracted according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. The 13 week rolling averages’ contraction continues to moderate – but the four and 52 week rolling averages continue to degrade” [Econintersect].

The Fed: “The labor market should remain strong as long as consumers maintain their robust spending pace. While this was a second consecutive strong jobs report, it will not be enough to move the needle for the Fed. For those policy makers in the ‘wait and see’ camp, poor GDP growth and weak inflation provide enough justification for waiting at least until December for the next rate hike” [MarketWatch]. And remember that consumer spending was utilities, health care, and gas. How much of that utilities spending was air con for the record-breaking heat?

“Half of the growth in business establishments from 2010-14 occurred in just 20 counties, according to the Economic Innovation Group, a research organisation. Pima County, where Tucson is located, was among those that lost businesses during the period” [Financial Times].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 84, Extreme Greed (previous close: 80, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 5 at 1:33pm. Jobs should have made Mr. Market happy.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice” [The Movement for Black Lives]. They have demands!

“A Radical Plan For An Economy That Makes Black Lives Matter” [In These Times]. Commentary on the Black Lives Matter policy document at the above link.

“[F]or many people in Missouri, especially the approximately 600,000 Republicans who expect to vote in the GOP primary Tuesday, the lesson of Ferguson is not that the police used too much force, it’s that it used too little” [Politico]. “Ferguson, to them, was an embarrassment: preventable chaos that tarnished the name of the otherwise orderly St. Louis suburbs. Those nightly images of lawlessness, in their eyes, were an indictment of the weak-kneed way Democratic Governor Jay Nixon let protesters and outside agitators run amok, looting without apparent consequence.”


Excellent trip report of a Corybn “Momentum” movement, with commentary [London Review of Books]. Must-read, especially since “Momentum” is a rough analog of “Our Revolution.”

Class Warfare

“[I]nequity is complex and intersectional, and communities (or individuals) rarely experience only one form of underinvestment or marginalization. For example, ‘rural’ is not necessarily a euphemism for ‘white.’ In Oregon, 23 percent of residents are people of color, and in five rural counties, more than 1 in 4 residents is Latino. Latino poverty rates are double the rate for whites; Latinos in rural communities are at risk of being doubly disadvantaged” [Nonprofit Quarterly]. “Treating rural communities as a separate category from communities of color can set up a false distinction, as they often overlap.”

“A backlash from alumni is an unexpected aftershock of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. Although fund-raisers are still gauging the extent of the effect on philanthropy, some colleges — particularly small, elite liberal arts institutions — have reported a decline in donations, accompanied by a laundry list of complaints” [New York Times].

News of the Wired

“What I learned after taking over my 13-year-old sister’s Snapchat for two weeks” [Business Insider]. That Snapchat brilliantly leverages teen social and status anxieties to create addiction. That’s what.

“Facebook puts friends above publishers in “News Feed Values” and ranking change” [Tech Crunch]. And people still use Faceborg as an organizing tool. Madness.

“Facebook’s new anti-clickbait algorithm buries bogus headlines” [Tech Crunch]. You won’t believe what this one algorithm does!”

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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 (pq):

Woodland violet Upstate NY

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. Carla

    If Tulsi Gabbard wants peace, she has only two choices: Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Of course electing either one of them would not guarantee peace by any means, since the foreign policy establishment runs, uhm, our foreign policy. But a vote for Hillary is a vote for war.

    Bernie did not want peace; he wanted to remain politically viable, hence his choice.

    1. Roger Smith

      Tulsi Gabbard: “I will support non-interventionism by voting for the queen of regime change and interventionism.”

      Yea… whatever.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        We don’t have a qualified candidate for President. And the justifications for voting for any of them are incommensurable. One can argue that voting for evil is wrong. One can argue that voting for volatility is right. And one can argue that voting against an erratic and unserious candidate is right.

        I really don’t care who wins as long as the winner is crippled and gridlock results. That is, the state of play after the election — the power relations between liberals, conservatives, and the left — are more important than the winning candidate. For reasons stated, I think the Democrats are ripe for being split. Policy-driven voters should welcome that.

        1. Roger Smith

          I agree about gridlock and there not being any good viable choices 100%. And people are left to fall where they may, I just wish they wouldn’t lie about the choice they are making, or in this case pointing out a specific action they want to fight against that is in clear contradiction to their “endorsement”.

          1. Roger Smith

            Sanders so far is the king of this. It is one thing to endorse, it is another to sit there and lie about “qualifications” and deliver brainless platitudes (we have enough of that already).

            I was about to donate to his organization (probably will), now I am worried that type of behavior/leadership will present a vulnerability in it that allows it to be shanghaied by those who want to tank it or change its course (for the worse).

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Then wait ’til the launch. I think everybody is tired and cranky, certainly me, and probably Sanders. If you check Water Cooler yesterday, however, you will see that Sanders explicitly says “Our Revolution” will support independents, and “Brand New Congress” will support both independents and Republicans (!!).

              I think capture is always a danger. But the answer is constant vigilance and an analytical preference for structure and incentives over leaders.

              1. Code Name D

                I saw yesterday. I am very much afraid Sanders will create another ready-to-be-captured org that will end up working for the establishment rather than challenging it. However, after following up with what you offered, I decided that nothing presented was really new and offered no real insight into Sanders intentions.

                I have no problem with “our revolution” supporting independents and Republicans. But this still begs the question, how will he separate good candidates from bad? As near as I can tell, this question isn’t even asked.

                  1. Code Name D

                    That’s only a start. One also need the ability to stand up to the establishment. And Sanders doesn’t do so hot here.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      To really stand up, I think polecat will agree, one would need platform shoes.

                1. different clue

                  Well, since Sanders is a left-wing kind-of-street-intellectual, and left wing intellectuals, however “street” they may be; are very proud of nuance and layering and etc. in their thinking; he won’t adopt a simple way to decide who to support and whom to oppose.

                  Sanders will probably try to construct some kind of grid with many little squares, each square being a particular thing or item or trend or tendency . . . so that prospective support-ees can be cumulatively grid-analysed by how they think on all different kinds of things and stuff. But there won’t be any dominant overarching One Big Single litmus test.

                  I would suggest One Big Single litmus test myself. I would suggest testing to see if someone is a Free Trade Treasonist or a Fair Trade Patriot. Senator Murray of Washington, for example, is a Free Trade Treasonist. She must be Nadered in her next election by any means necessary. Sessions is a Fair Trade Patriot. He must be supported in his next election by Any Means Necessary, because any “worthy opponent” the Decromats run against him will be a Free Trade Treasonist. But for all kinds of cultural legacy and “leftie wingie” reasons, the Sanders group will never ever support Sessions, despite the power Sessions has built up and accumulated by long patient tenure in the Senate, and despite the fact that Sessions would use that power to kill and destroy TPP etc. by any means necessary.

                  1. pretzelattack

                    i have 3 big litmus tests, position on the trade treaties, position on prosecuting financial criminals, and position on risking war with russia. trump’s an utter asshole, but he’s better than clinton on those 3 dimensions.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Not saying this will happen, but if you want somebody on the floor to speak against the war, then you need somebody on the floor. Ditto if you want somebody to filibuster against the war. It is what it is.

            Contradictions abound — you might even say they are drivers — and not all of them are contradictions of principle.

            I just finished a terrific biography of Talleyrand, who was a master of not actually lying. A married priest and a revolutionary who betrayed Napoleon and restored the Bourbons, and who saved France from being dismemembered at the Congress of Vienna (and who also had splendid ideas about reorganizing the French school system). Full of contradiction? Yes. Net wins for France? Yes. Let’s all try to raise our heads just a little from the horse race. There’s a more going on.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              Tulsi and Bernie would be re-elected without endorsing Hill. Maybe with more votes.

              1. Vatch

                Yes, but they would be marginalized by other Democrats in the Congress, and might get worse committee assignments.

                1. EndOfTheWorld

                  That’s OK. You have to be a chairman of a committee anyway to have any power and it’s just a little. The point is they have a voice, and a vote. They should have said the dems deserve a spanking for stealing the election from Bernie and I am not endorsing a criminal sociopath.

                  1. Spring Texan

                    No, it’s not OK, committee assignments matter a lot and Sanders may get a chair too. Stupid of them to make themselves more impotent, they are doing the right thing all things considered.

                    1. EndOfTheWorld

                      They have to put everybody on some committee, don’t they? Bernie would make his presence felt on any committee, as he did on the Veteran’s Affairs committee, not usually considered a plum job.

              2. MojaveWolf

                I wish both of them would do something different than what they are doing (and likewise Nina Turner) but I understand why Tulsi is doing it, at least, I can at least make understandable guesses re: Nina. Bernie, I’m just shaking my head in horror. Nonetheless, these people and Grayson and Finegold and Teachout & Flores & maybe Jayapal (a lot of people like her, Bernie liked her when she was still good, so even though her emails read to me like typical dem stuff, I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt till she proves otehrwise) are the best we’ve got, unless I’ve forgotten somebody, so I’m more up for begging and hoping than mentally tossing them into the ditch. All of those people xcept Teachout & Jayapal have already proven they have exceptional spine & courage & decisiveness for a politician, especially a (D)emocrat, so … I’m just gonna hope they all either have a plan or are playing what they think is the safest angle while waiting to come up with a plan/find an opening. They almost all already have elements within the party or in left journalism trying to marginalize them (they worked to defeat Flores in her primary already, doing their best to demonize Grayson as we speak, and good God, who cares who Tulsi used to date or what her Dad’s politics are or what her politics were as a teenager? I was either a libertarian or a Republican fundie most of my teen years, albeit a pro-choice environmentalist republican fundie), they know the landscape better than we do, etc. (and all that said, I’m still really disappointed, but some people have earned a bit of slack and trust, imo).

                But re: Gabbard: her overall policies are good, her environmental commitment is very very good, she has awesome charisma, her military experience makes it hard for the scumbuckets to pick on her too successfully and lends her gravitas, and best of all, she actually quit the DNC to endorse Bernie when it looked like his campaign was beaten and dead in the water; it looked like the combo of cheating and the media had successfully killed his campaign and she almost single handedly gave it new life. Two things she’s proven here:

                1 (imo the most important): This is who I want on my side in a fight. I’d trust her at my back in a fight even. That’s also exactly who I want fighting for me. Feingold, Sanders and Grayson are the only currently sitting politicians who have done anything remotely resembling this that I can think of. Hers is at least as good as feingold being the lone senator to vote against the patriot act.

                2. She didn’t just try to save the campaign, she actually did save it*. Yes I know it wasn’t just her, but without her, I think he was done then. Of the other people who would’ve tried, how many would’ve succeeded? She doesn’t just have the will to take on difficult causes based on personal conviction, she actually has the right combo of credentials and charisma to be able to pull it off.

                Also, I’d strongy recommend that if you send any emails or tweets her or Nina’s way, let them know you have their back too. They stuck their necks way, way way out there during this campaign season, so imnsho we owe them at least a little gratitude. They’re young, they’re smart, they’re charismatic, they’re good speakers, and they haven’t been absorbed into the generic political mindset. They’re not just the best we’ve got (along w/Teachout & Flores & Grayson & Feingold) but they’re a fairly promising future. Encouragement and appreciation for what they did is probably more likely to get them to do it again than joining our mutual enemies in telling them they suck.

        2. optimader

          I really don’t care who wins as long as the winner is crippled and gridlock results

          That’s a legitimate strategy that I have taken in the past. So who is the least gridlockable candidate? Thats the one to vote against..

          1. david s

            I have to think we are due for a big realignment of the parties soon.

            How long has it been since there was a big reshuffling of the voters?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              1932; 1860.

              Obama’s victory was to postpone that realignment. But if you think of Obama as a dam against the flooding river, all that achieved was a big build-up of water… So I’m still long sandbags. Especially if Clinton wins.

              1. John k

                1964… Johnson flipped the racist south from dem to party of Lincoln with long overdue civil rights laws, and turned the country, especially youth, from thinking gov had the answers to thinking gov is the problem, bringing about Reagan and neolib.
                Clinton wants to lead a neolib Conservative party that confronts Russia and China, which naturally attracts warmonger rep neocons… Trump has split the rep rank and file away from old time rep leaders, who used to control their base with fear (of Russia, terrorists, blacks, whatever), giving them only one path to retain power, the new dems.
                Trump needs to pick up Bernie’s stump speech, every bit would be applauded by rep base while bringing in some of the left, plus continue to attack Hillary on her copious vulnerabilities. MSM would of course become even more hysterical…

                  1. different clue

                    Lambert Strether,

                    I know the following comment will seem off-thread, but I would say the disorder coming will reach all the way down to food supply chains, money supply chains, fuel oil supply chains, firewood supply chains, supply chains of all kinds.

                    People who can’t survive the coming brute material economic turmoil won’t be able to help anyone else if they cannot even help themself physically survive. Given that, I hope you devote more posts to permaculture, non-permaculture gardening, Survivalism in Place, serious Preparation to Survive (as against Trendy Paranoid Prepperism) , etc.

                    1. different clue

                      This is an example of the worthy infosites which could be linked to in comment threads whenever a suitable opportunity post presents itself.

                1. Spring Texan

                  Trump can’t bring in people on the left no matter what he says because in reality he’s a CON MAN and whatever he says anyone is foolish to trust him or take it at face value.

              2. Oregoncharles

                Consider the number of people who responded, enthusiastically, to Bernie’s call for a “revolution” – political or otherwise. Big majorities, in the polls; enough to win the election.

                There’s a truly unmanageable amount of water behind that dam. I think we’re closer to a real collapse than we mostly realize – that’s why the Archdruid’s blog has its evil fascination.

                90 days to the election, you said? If we’re lucky, we’ll keep it political. As you said, the dam is most likely to burst AFTER the election.

                As far as gridlock: surely the deepest would be a real 4-way split, with no clear winner and some emerging-party members of Congress. Read the 12th Amendment; it’s an invitation to disaster. The wonder is that it hasn’t happened yet – though there were some exceptionally ugly elections early on.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            When someone is against me, I am against him/her, even when I offer my other cheek.

        3. Plenue

          Each new president does more with executive power than the previous one. We’ve reached the point where Obama can now wage any war he wants without consulting Congress (though he would still ‘welcome their input’).

          Forgive me if I’m not particularly moved by the idea that the next president will be cockblocked from doing anything of significance.

          1. jrs

            Yea never mind the contradictions we are supposed to accept before breakfast. Hillary will start nuclear war! Nuclear war I tell you! The President doesn’t have much power and will be gridlocked! Gridlocked I tell you! Well it can’t be both, either the President is not that powerful or they are.

            I don’t believe the scaremongering about nuclear war, but I also don’t believe that all that much that the powers that be want is gridlocked (TPP is bipartisan for instance). And the next President will drone and conventional bomb whomever they want.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Yeah I guess that 0bama’s cool *$1 Trillion With a T* in brand new spending on nukes is just for…um…remind me again? He is already the president who has built more nukes than any other in history.
              And don’t underestimate the level of *batshit crazy* that now exists, where actual outcomes no longer have any effect whatsoever on policy choices. And what could possibly satisfy her lust for power more than a nice little mushroom cloud?

            2. AnEducatedFool

              Clinton wants to enforce a no fly zone over Syria. Which will force US jets to fight Russian jets.

              NATO is positioning strategic bombers in Poland. Russia views these bombers as existential threats and will respond to any intrusion of their air space with nuclear weapons.

              If Clinton is elected the world will likely see a nuclear exchange.

              The global game of chess or checkers played by the US in the Middle East and East Asia are coming to an end. Our derange national security leaders only understand war and will only use force to achieve their goal.

              Our over reliance on the military is a natural consequence of neo-liberal economics that has sent our manufacturing base overseas or across the border.

        4. DJG

          Yes, Lambert, we don’t have a qualified candidate for president. The very astute Will Bunch seems to have figured out that Jill Stein, who spent the last week defending her grad-school seminar ideas about vaccinations and regulatory capture, doesn’t have much of an ear for politics. Now she wants as a vice-presidential candidate someone who is going to cause her more awkwardness. From Baraka’s defense of the current Syrian government:

          “This disarray and ineffectiveness is taking place right at the historical moment when in order to maintain its global hegemony, the colonial/capitalist West has decided to revert to what it does best – spread death and destruction. For those of us who understand our responsibility situated, as we are, at the center of this monstrosity called the U.S., we have to strip away the veneer of humanitarianism that hides the ugly inner logic of domination and we have to “struggle” – a term now passé for the hip post-modern nihilist left.”

          That is sure to do well among voters in Illinois and Iowa!

          Baraka’s also the kind of writer who capitalizes black and lowercases white in racial discussions. Yes, I am being unfair, and yes, you just can’t make up this stuff. Where is Sinclair Lewis when we need him?

          1. Spring Texan

            Yep it was a LOUSY VP pick at just the moment she needed to make a good one, sigh. Wish Rosanne Barr was making the pick! She has her feet on the ground.

            1. JCC

              Not only the VP pick, but she has no clue how to “ask for money”. I used to get around 1 to 3 emails a week when Bernie was running, I get about 5 or 6 a day from her, (I donated money to the Greens during Obama’s last election, so I’m on her list) and she always asks for much more.

              It’s very obnoxious.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              I don’t know if it was a lousy pick.

              It was an inconsistent pick. You can’t go chasing around after professional politicians, and then decide on a pick like she did when they turn you down. As I keep saying, the GP needs to grow its own candidates.

              I don’t think I would make a good VP pick either, because I have a blog that also would be very easy to mine. I mean, not if whoever picked me wanted to win.

            3. Lambert Strether Post author

              Adding, I think Roseanne was a great popular artist. That’s a great thing to be! That’s not the same thing as being a candidate for high office. There really is a skill set for that sort of thing (and we’ll see how that works out for Trump).

          2. different clue

            Phuqing trendy-poo intellectualoid marxist crap. Tell me again why I should vote for the head-tripping dilettante Stein and her Greenie Weenies.

            1. Skip Intro

              You vote Green so the dems see the vote that they might have had if they hadn’t thrown Bernie and the left under the bus, then backed up and driven over them a second time while wagging a crooked finger and shrieking ‘unity’!

              1. MojaveWolf

                This. And again, of the two candidates we can trust to actually oppose the TPP, she is less likely to change her mind. I think we can count on her peacenik tendencies more than Trump’s, too. Doesn’t deny climate change. Favors living wage. And so forth.

          3. AnEducatedFool

            I agree with his sentiments but the language that is used in academic settings has no place in politics or discussions with regular people. I have read Baraka for years and I never did it for pleasure.

            In my ill informed opinion, one of the great tragedies of the leftist intellectuals is that they have never considered how their discussions will be understood by regular people who desperately need a framework to understand this world. Instead the leftist intellectuals mainly took amongst themselves then are shocked when a neophyte drops a grenade in their discussions and demands to understand why they are the problem.

          4. MojaveWolf

            It also cost her my SO’s vote. I was unfamiliar with him and unaware of the “Berners are white supremacists” stuff but she had read him at CounterPunch and the day after directed me to an article of his at Black Agenda Report where he complained about the arrest of five black activists for “protesting incorrectly”. It was only upon further reading in the article that one discovers “protesting incorrectly” meant “firebombing businesses and burning them to the ground.” Later in the article he complained about another (I think, maybe was one of the five) activist arrested for interfering with firefighters, simply because he used his knife to cut open a fire hose.

            C’mon now. Even if you agree w/Baraka about the need for this particular protest, you can’t ask the cops not to arrest people for arson, and you can’t complain that someone got arrested for cutting open a firehose used for the fire.

            I’m STILL planning to vote for Stein, btw, but this dampered my enthusiasm A LOT. When I said in other comments I found elements of her/the Greens toxic, I specifically meant their support of a sort of identity politics I personally think is deeply counterproductive and more likely to impede finding a solution than to bring one about. This is the sort of thing I meant by that. (I do agree w/him the one sentence I can recall him mentioning was too harsh. Yeah she built bombs used to torch buildings, but she was 20 or something and weird as it sounds, she obviously meant well and this wasn’t malicious but a misguided effort to bring about positive change; 5 years seems more appropriate than 15)

            OTOH … in a way that I didn’t realize until yesterday, the pick makes sense. I’d finally gotten over my upset of Bernie’s endorsement enough to wear one of my Bernie shirts again (it’s a cool shirt, and worth wearing). Two 60+ hippie types saw it and told me they hoped I was voting for Hillary now.

            I told them no, I was voting for Stein. Unlike several other strangers I’ve had this conversation with, they at least knew who Stein was and that she was a Green candidate. OTOH, they were truly horrified (and both had supported Bernie in the primary).

            I will save most of that conversation for somewhere else, but relevant to the Baraka pick was one of the things they said to try sway me–“Jill Stein has only been elected once to any office ever and it was to a small 95% whitebread district. She doesn’t represent ALL of the community. Hillary does.” I was gobsmacked and insulted by the subtext here, but at least I had a handy response.

            “Do you know who Stein’s VP is?”

            Blank stares.

            “A Black Lives Matter Activist. A BLACK black lives matter activist. Who’s a regular contributor at an online magazine called Black Agenda Report.”

            Blank stares.

            Change of subject.

            According to my SO, who can stand paying attention to mainstream commentary slightly more than me and has a lot more HRC fans in her online circle than I do, this is a standard talking point from the Hillbots (one of many). Jill is (apparently unlike Hillary) white white white and therefore bad bad bad and lacks sympathy or understanding for minorities. This is not an effective line of attack with me and just makes me want to scream at people for being stupid and easily manipulated if they mean well and really believe it (as was the case w/the guys yesterday, tho I was calm and polite), and makes me want to beat people half to death if I think they are one of the ones deliberately propagating evil smears, but it apparently does work on some folk. So I can understand why she’d want to cover her flank on this issue. I don’t think that’s why Stein picked Baraka, mind you, I think she actually agrees with him and this is a principled stand on both their parts, however much I disagree with them. But it is, from one way of looking at it, the right sort of move to make from a calculated perspective, as well.

            I had no idea Stein had ever been elected to anything anywhere and don’t particularly care unless she did either an awful or superlative job at whatever it was (I suspect I would have already heard had either been the case), but out of curiosity, anyone know if Hillary fans had their facts right on that one thing?

            1. RudyM

              I didn’t vote for MicKinney some years back because of her VP pick. Clemente said something, I forget what exactly (and it probably was ambiguous), that sounded an awful lot like she wanted to let all prisoners of color out of prison. Also, frankly, I didn’t want a “hip-hop activist” for vice president.

        5. Benedict@Large

          One difference I don’t notice many pointing out between Clinton and the others is that Clinton has POWER. This lady can make the press swoon and go blind with two words. No one else in national politics even holds a candle to her on this.

          Now, we all know what she wants to do with this power, so if it’s gridlock against this goal, obviously she must be kept out of office.

          As for Trump going after entitlements, well who would let him? Even Boy Bush flopped on this, and he was marginably likeable by the time he tried. Also, Hillary’s ego will demand she keep up with Bill, which means a balanced budget in war time, which in turn guarantees she’s going after the major entitlements, even if she doesn’t know it now..

          So if gridlock is the goal, I don’t see the choice. Only one person up there can move Washington if she’s elected.

          1. pretzelattack

            heartily agree. are the republicans going to oppose her for red baiting and saber rattling with russia and china? granted, intellectual consistency is not their forte, but these have been core values of the republican party for 75 years or so. will they oppose tpp? will they demand that financial criminals be prosecuted, and that meaningful regulation of wall street is implemented? i’m not seeing gridlock here.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Hmm. Is there something wrong with being politically viable? If you want an inside/outside strategy, you need people who are just that. Neither Stein nor Johnson, by themselves, “guarantee” a thing, since by themselves they’re too weak. Remember how the marches before Iraq stopped the war? Oh, wait.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Now and then on seniors nights, I still tap my cane to that jaunty hit tune about Gabbard, Livin’ on Tulsi Time.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I hope she doesn’t pull an inside ‘colonel Stauffenberg’ job.

        Non-violence is the way to go.

        “Quit or resign, and migrate to America.”

        In our case, don’t vote for Clinton. (If you are not for her, if you are not with her, you are against her). Vote your conscience (including the option of voting against her). Opposition by peaceful means.

    3. Pat

      As others have said, we are faced with choices that mean no matter what we have a disaster as President in January of 2017. Stein or Johnson are not going to win. Trump and Clinton are clearly both unqualified and unfit for office. And being split enough to throw it to the House would get us a more traditional Republican just as bad as the current nominee just more acceptable to our ownership class.

      Faced with these everyone has to decide on their own who they think will be the least destructive, least problematic, least effective, least everything.

      What I would hope that Gabbard, and anyone relatively sane against regime change and military misadventure of the last years (and presumable going forward) will do going forward, regardless of who takes office in January, is to work to limit Presidential military powers, curb our national security state, and focus our priorities on domestic change rather than foreign change. She knows better, so the chance is there.

    4. HBE

      “‘Given the remaining choices, like Bernie Sanders, I will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton. Moving forward, as a veteran and someone who knows firsthand the cost of war, I am going to continue to push for an end to counterproductive interventionist wars and lead our country toward a path toward peace’”

      I really liked her, i had actually hoped she would have ended up being Bernie’s VP.

      I just don’t understand why she would do this, she had always seemed so dedicated in her push against intervention and war. (Mirroring Carla) the statement is such a massive contradiction “I am against war, so I will endorse the most virulent hawk since cheney”, WTF!?

      I know tribalism breeds irrationality, but come on, were her ideals not as strongly held as I was led to believe or has she really been that corrupted in the last few years.

      There was no need to endorse, hillary. This makes me feel like everyone who is even slightly left is a sheepdog. How can I facking support anyone on the left now, if they never honor the beliefs that drew me to them in the first place??? They just get discarded the instant even slight pressure is applied.

      I truly support your policies, you really speak to my beliefs. So when are you going to drop them. I’d like to know how long it will take for you to metaphorically spit in my face.

      1. hunkerdown

        Corporate loyalty. Remember, Boss Tweed didn’t care who won, just that he chose who we could vote for. I think it’s wise to call attention to Brad de Long, the Biden to Krugman’s Obama, and his pointed threats against the left every time we see another “Progressive” publicly interview for a promotion turn their other face to us.

      2. mcdee

        The old Wobbly leader Bill Haywood said ” The liberal is the guy who leaves the room when the fighting starts.” True then. True now.

    5. financial matters

      I like Jill Stein’s platform and understand why Bernie supporters would want to vote for her. I do think it will take votes away from Hillary so one also has to be of the point of view that Trump may be the lesser evil. I think this is not without merit but that it is a step too far for Bernie and Tulsi.

      Randy Wray and Ellen Brown also are sympathetic to Jill Stein.


      Wray calls into doubt that Hillary is the lesser of two evils

      “”She might be a warmonger (see below; if you want more evidence, watch her speech that goes just as far as the “sexed up” lies endorsed by Bush and Tony Blair.) who loves regime change and seeks advice from Kissinger (who oversaw a few regime changes, himself), but she’s not Trump. She supported her husband’s victory over welfare—finishing the Reagan Revolution—that threw millions of kids into poverty (many of whom are now spending their adult years in the Prison-Industrial Complex stoked by the Clinton criminalization of the underclass). But she’s not Trump because, according to Biden and Bill, she’s worked her whole life on behalf of women and children.””

      Can Jill Carry Bernies’ Baton

      Brown makes the point about voting for principles.

      “”As Stein quotes Alice Walker, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”””

      “”Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt””

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I would have a lot more confidence in Stein if she was an explicit MMT supporter (as opposed to an Ellen Brown reader, shall we say). Is she?

        Adding, just to repeat, my concerns with the GP is far less about the platform than over the issue of whether they have the organizational capability to run a real campaign, and/or whether they want power. If they don’t, and yet present themselves as if they did, they’re worse than useless. And it’s not like there’s no history there. In the eight years since the GFC, we’ve had capitol occupations, Occupy proper, a fracking movement, and BlackLivesMatter. And the GP has flatlined, incapable of connecting in any serious way any of those movements. That looks like incapacity to me. Of course, this election is so remarkably bad that perhaps an opportunity has come for them that they can indeed seize. We shall see.

        1. aletheia33

          a significant part of the bernie campaign was shouldered by grassroots work that arose in true grassroots fashion, spontaneously with people taking on all kinds of work they thought needed done, without asking permission. who knows, if this kind of activity gets transferred to stein,
          what could happen.

          that said, i fear a second round of disappointment for all the devastated bernie supporters who have jumped so quickly to stein. after such a second round, their youthful energy and commitment to left organizing may not revive a third time. OTOH, maybe these are self-selecting in being committed to electoral politics, and they would never have joined the broader left movement as such anyway.

          1. Arizona Slim

            The Bernie campaign started out as a grassroots effort. And then the campaign people moved in and exhorted us to phonebank, phonebank, and phonebank. Oh, and give money too.

            I couldn’t understand while all that enthusiasm from those big rallies was supposed to turn into a telemarketing and fundraising operation.

          2. Vatch

            Some of us are bit annoyed at being called white supremacists by the Green Vice Presidential candidate.

            1. tgs

              Indeed we are. Stein, who I have supported (financially) just lost my vote with that pick which showed me how totally clueless she is about her base. Leave identity politics to the Democrats. Good luck Jill with the radical African-American vote!

        2. mcdee

          Here in New Mexico the Greens planned to run candidates in 2 state representative races. They won’t be on the ballot because they party screwed up the paperwork and missed the filing deadline.

        3. kl

          I believe the platform is not only explicitly in favor of mmt (a green new deal and writing off student debt) but is actually also explicitly pro job guarantee and actually uses the term I think Pavlina Tcherneva came up with “employer of last resort”

          From the Stein website platform

          “Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Government would be the employer of last resort, and the unemployed would have an enforceable right to make government provide work. Create direct public employment, as the Works Progress Administration did, in public services and public works for those who can’t find private employment.”

          The Stein/GP platforms are definitely interesting to read.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘Kakistrocracy is also the form of government that prevails in Kakania.’

    Kakistrocracy decomposes into Cacastocracy, the form of government that prevails in Cacania, where disenfranchised people are ruled by elitist turds.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Pedant alert: there is no ‘c’ in Greek, just the kappa or ‘k’. So caca- is just the anglicized version of the Greek kaka- (from kakos, the opposite of kalos) and the two roots are essentially the same. Which is I think what you were getting at.

        I just had to jump to prove that my degree in classics didn’t turn out to be a complete waste ;)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              For example, these two sentences sound almost the same:

              1. Cacao is so good.

              2. Caca, o!!!, is so good.

    1. Vatch

      Kakistos was a particularly nasty vampire on an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. At first, Buffy thought his name was “Kissing Toast”, but Giles set her straight.

        1. Vatch

          That vampire got his name because he was considered by some to be the worst of the vampires, which of course, was a source of pride for himself and his followers. Kakistocracy is government by the worst, hence the similar wording. Buffy didn’t know any Greek, so when she first heard the name, her mind chose similar sounding English syllables.

  3. Carolinian

    Not complaining or anything but you do realize that we are here at NC so we don’t have to read Paul Krugman.

    And as B at Moon of Alabama says, if the coverage is this hysterical now what will it be like three months from now? The elites seem totally freaked out that the flyovers may rise up against them.

      1. Roger Smith

        Yes, as you said “useful idiot”. Recently, he is a good measure of where the lunacy stands at any given time.

        Thanks for your sacrifice!

          1. John k

            I used to see him as just another neolib economistalbeit with a bully pulpit, with the virtue that he could skewer right wing reps including bush.
            Now he’s gone over the edge, first against Bernie presumably because he hopes for a plum posting under Hillary, plus he sensed Bernie would break a lot of rice bowls among his deserving friends, maybe even showing neolib as a scam, though on some level he knew he was writing against his past liberal ideals.
            But now he can rant against a racist! Naturally, what little former restraint by him and other media re Bernie is gone, everything is game against he who dares to bring down the neolib neocon two party edifice.

            They will crucify him! Or is it the one where he regains his strength and brings down the temple? Tune in for the next thrilling installment…

      2. Pat

        And I thank you for it. But I do have to say that the last few years have made clear that when it comes to delusion and denial Paul has both in spades regarding the Democratic Party and its leadership. He obviously had to put on blinders and ear plugs and pound his calculator and models into smithereens just to get through the primaries. To admit now he was at best a useful fool, well…

        I’m sure this will just be one of many examples of Paul missing the obvious going forward.

        1. DarkMatters

          Why do you assume Paul is a useful idiot, rather than a moderately successful agent in the ongoing propaganda war? More and more, he has been saying things oddly inconsistent with his past persona, but the ones I remember most were his un-engagement with Steve Keen, and his strange denigration of Gerald Friedman’s analysis of Bernie’s economic plan as voodoo economics. His reactions were inexplicably off-key from an intellectual point of view, but with a strongly derogatory psychological impact. If it hops like a toad, and croaks like a toad, it probably belongs in the swamp. (No offense to toads intended).

          1. Pat

            I have given Krugman the benefit of the doubt because I see a lot of the same type of thing from friends who are still in denial about Obama and Clinton. I also see a passion and almost irrationality in the arguments of some, including Krugman, that makes me believe that they are fighting so hard because they are beginning to get that they have been conned big time.

            But you could be right.

            1. DarkMatters

              I recognize exactly what you say about your friends’ reactions, especially regarding the passion and irrationality. But their arguments seem to be reproductions of what they’ve heard on their “trusted sources’, and the tendency to repeat what these sources have said is noticable. When pressed, they fall back on talking points instead of basing rebuttals on stand-alone facts. I get the feeling that they’re trying to defend their respected authorities more than they are arguing a position they’ve arrive at themselves. So they react strongly to the cognitive dissonance.
              I hadn’t thought that Krugman is the kind of person that would place so much trust in any authority so as to be vulnerable to that sort of reaction. He could be caught trying to defend positions that he thought were true in the midst of a dawning realization that they’re not. But I’d have thought that he would think critically enough to allow himself the space to adjust his viewpoint. Or not: you could be right, too!
              Blog opportunity: krugmanonthecouch.org.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                The key difference is Krugman has demonstrated in the past he knows better.

                My sense Is his celebrity status is dependent on his column. Without it, he’s nothing. In 2009, Obama fever was pretty high and I think Krugthullu went all in instead of risking their wrath because how could Obama not succeed with the permanent Democratic majority in the making? Krugman is an economist.

                Over time, he lost readers as opposed to viewers. If Krugman started dropping truth bombs, would you read him again? The answer is no, since he went nuts, you’ve found other outlets. With Obama off the scene, his followers will scatter to the winds. How does Krugman keep his column? Access. A rotating column from economic professors around the country would be far more interesting than Krugthullu’s tirades.

              2. Skip Intro

                Look for the otherwise meaningless but evocative phrase ‘whip smart’ which seems to be a verbal tic from the hypnosis sessions. If you hear that you know the ‘reeducation’ is still holding firmly. Once they fall back on the inevitable ‘not Trump’ argument, the ‘Manchurian’ conditioning has probably been replaced with standard besieged cognitive dissonance.

          2. Spring Texan

            yes I’m done with Krugman no longer read him or pay any attention whatsoever. he can rot like David Brooks.

    1. different clue

      Well . . . it about Knowing the Enemy . . . which we need to do if we wish to survive in the Brainwar Battlespace which has been shaped for us to fight in.

  4. Vatch

    Ajamu Baraka looks like Keegan-Michael Key from Key and Peele. I suspect the comedians are going to have some fun with many of the things that Baraka has been saying.

  5. Roger Smith

    “We’re going to pull America together again…”

    **spits drink on computer**

    WHAT? Make America Great Again????

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The only way Alaska and the rest of the US can be together, I am afraid, is by making parts of Canada America.

      “Finally, together. One big happy family.”

      Puerto Rico doesn’t count.

      1. optimader

        Well, Canada is already part of America. Mission accomplished!..

        And lets not forget, we North Americans have bragging rights to the largest island in the world –that’s also a country to boot! (very beautiful dogs there, but give the chance they would eat your face ;o/ )

            1. optimader

              One day they will throw off the yoke of Danish tyranny! hahaha. Actually due to economic support they are probably in no great hurry..

              One of the world’s largest countries, ranking thirteenth in area, almost never appears in country lists of any sort and is often simply forgotten. That place is Greenland, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland is left off the list largely because it is not a sovereign state, but it does come close. In June of 2009, Greenland became a self-determining political unit with full authority over judicial affairs, internal security, and natural resources. Greenlandic (an Inuit or Eskimo language) is now the country’s sole official language, and Greenlanders are recognized internationally as a separate people. Denmark retains control over defense, foreign affairs, and finances, and it provides annual subsidies that amount to some US $11,000 per Greenlander (of whom there are a mere 57,000).

  6. Quentin

    Hillary Clinton is so full of shit: if Iran nukes Israel. Of course she knows that Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons and never will. The word Nukes is the macho equivalent of nuclear weapons and HRC just loves it, finds it titillating.

    1. rich

      It’s going around?
      New York Times Fails to Disclose Op-Ed Writer’s Ties to Hillary Clinton’s ‘Principal Gatekeeper’
      Michael Krieger |
      Today, everyone is talking about Michael Morell’s Op-Ed in the New York Times in which the former acting director of the CIA strongly endorses Hillary Clinton while calling Donald Trump “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

      At the end of the piece the New York Times informs readers that:

      Michael J. Morell was the acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013.

      That’s a pretty brief bio and leaves out some material information about what the man’s been up to since. For example, Mr. Morell is a Senior Counselor for D.C.-based international consulting firm, Beacon Global Strategies. So who runs Beacon Global Strategies?

      Well, one of its founders is a man named Philippe Reines. Here’s an excerpt from his bio:

      You’d think readers might want to know this, but the New York Times doesn’t appear interested in informing its readers. It’s more interested in shoving Hillary Clinton down everyone’s throats.

      The New York Times’ “oversight” is particularly egregious considering the fact that it was New York Times Magazine which went so far as to describe Reines as “Clinton’s principal gatekeeper” in a 2014 article.

      Not that this should surprise anyone. When it comes to politics, The New York Times is a pure and unabashed propaganda outlet. This was proven without a shadow of a doubt during the Democratic primary when the paper endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in an embarrassing article devoid of all logic or intellectual honesty.


      1. clarky90

        The KGB, the CIA and the New York Times (USA MSM) are all trying to prove they are the best at catching criminals. The Secretary General of the UN decides to set them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest, and each of them has to catch it. The KGB people go in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations, they conclude that the rabbit does not exist. The CIA goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and make no apologies: the rabbit had it coming. The New York Times (USA MSM) goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: “Okay! Okay! I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit! My mother is a rabbit and my father is a rabbit”

    2. Jagger

      The word Nukes is the macho equivalent of nuclear weapons and HRC just loves it, finds it titillating.

      Semi-listening to NPR a little earlier in which I think they had an Iranian-American guest state that the Iranian people wanted Hillary to win the election because Trump is a warmonger. Maybe I just misheard or maybe I am just in another episode of the Twilight Zone. Living in the twilight zone and all those parallel universes are starting to wear me out.

      1. HBE

        No, that is probably accurate. Our (US) greatest export is propaganda. What I find fascinating is how effective it is so many people view the US as this wonderful paradise.

        Anecdotal, but other than some Europeans (Swedes and Germans in particular), I have found much of the world even people from those countries under the thumb of US imperialism still view the “America” as great. Some quotes- “anyone can be successful”, “it’s so open”, “It’s not corrupt, in Nepal you have to pay bribes to everyone”, “there is so much more opportunity”.

        And while I have not talked to anyone from Iran personally, if you look at blog posts from Americans who have traveled there they view the US quite positively.

        There was a great post by a former marine turned world traveler I read a few years back, that went in depth on how everyone in Iran was so welcoming and the unanimous positive impression they had of the US (this could have been just, politeness but it seemed genuine).

        Unfortunately, thanks to google I can no longer find his blog, so this will have to do.


        1. Carolinian

          Most of the world wants to be friends with us including Russia strangely enough. But this is very bad news for the arms industry and the Atlantic Council so they are always eager to “go abroad seeking monsters to destroy.”

          And Trump did say that the Iran agreement was a bad deal and he might need to renegotiate so the Iranians could be justified in their fears although Obama and the Congress aren’t living up to the deal either. BTW Hillary’s Dem platform has Netanyahu chapter and verse on Iran including the claim that they want to destroy Israel.

  7. TalkingCargo

    Shipping: “Overall intermodal traffic was down for the first time in second-quarter 2016 after 25 consecutive quarters of growth, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) reported yesterday” – and –

    “Intermodal trailer volumes declined 28.6 percent, continuing a multiyear downward trend, while international shipments fell 9.3 percent…”

    So what’s the difference between “Overall intermodal traffic” and “Intermodal trailer volumes”? And how can overall traffic grow for 25 quarters while trailer volumes are in a multiyear downward trend? Couldn’t find the answer quickly so just asking if anyone knows.

    1. Vatch

      I’m just guessing: some intermodal traffic is purely domestic (truck to train to truck, etc.), and some is international (truck to ship to train to truck, etc.). So total intermodal traffic could change by a different amount from international intermodal traffic.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Thanks. I’m trying to puzzle this out from a non-finance angle. Apparently, we’re not moving “stuff.” How does a ginormous economy like ours avoid tanking if we’re not moving “stuff”? Stupid question? Readers?

        1. Eduardo Quince

          In theory at least, the economy could avoid tanking if the decrease in cargo traffic is attributable to a shift in consumption from goods to services or if shipments are increasing in value per unit of volume (i.e., cargo traffic is decreasing in volume terms but increasing in value terms).

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I understand the shift in consumption, but in order to have our hair cut (or done), we have to eat, buy fuel, take care of the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy, all of which involves “stuff.”

        2. hunkerdown

          Intangible “stuff” arguably requires less hydrocarbon fuel to move and so destroys demand for legacy modes of “stuff moving”. A 20-foot standard container might hold anywhere on the order of a few thousand to a few million USD worth of retail-packaged consumer goods, or several tens of millions of dollars worth of Windows installation CDs (to be packaged for retail domestically), or hundreds of millions of dollars worth of professional services as manifest in faxed or mailed paperwork or emailed code or data or documents. Or that pallet load of ten mil might come by way of lots of in-app purchases which, if not circumventing the truck entirely, leveraged fielded devices and the past trailers they rode in on.

          Which keeps the aspidistra flying until whoever’s off watch.

        3. John k

          Coal replaced by gas and solar, so a lot less coal is being shipped, plus a lot less fracked oil from north central, no pipelines there, Buffett railroads were making big bucks shipping hydrocarbons, part of why he supports hill.
          Best to just look at containers.

          1. Lambert Strether

            The rail figures I quote from Econointersect back out coal (and grain). They’re still down.

            Could be fracking, I guess…

            But that’s orthogonal to containers.

        4. RabidGandhi

          I’ve always wondered about this as a bellweather. Let’s say there was a change in the economy toward increased domestic/local production and consumption. You’d have vastly decreasing shipping numbers, but (ostensibly) higher employment, higher net median household wealth, and even higher nominal GDP (not to mention other externalities like say, saving the planet from climate change). All of this would be signs of a healthy economy, even though the shipping numbers tanked.

          Obviously, the US economy is, alas, not structured this way, so for the time being, shipping dying is a sign of recession.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            One responsibility of being the sole issuer of the global reserve currency is that we must buy from abroad (or give foreign aid to more than just a couple of countries).

            Furthermore, it has been of no interest to economists to know how much of the global reserve currency needs to be out there in the globe…so, we just keep running up more trade deficits (who knows, maybe there is too much already and we need to run trade surpluses…for a while – not permanently of course…unless we shirk our duties).

        5. F900fixr

          Which also brings us the question of how Amazon and the giant regional distribution hubs of the major retailers affect the numbers. Most stuff moves to the giant warehouses in containers (especially Chinese/Import stuff)

          With Amazon, it moves from the warehouse to the consumer’s door by airplanes and trailers.

          With retailers, it moves part of the way by trailers, and the rest of the way in the back of the customer’s car.

          The Amazon Way makes it looks like there is more shipping activity, even when the total count of products sold may be exactly the same.

          Curious to see if Amazon makes the attempt to take out FedEx with Amazon Air Cargo. Going to be interesting to see if Amazon can scrape up enough 1099s to make it work.

          At minimum, they are going to use it as leverage to get better shipping rates. Which usually means the regular retail customer will get dinged to maintain profit margins.

          1. different clue

            There may be situations in which someone has no choice except Amazon through which to buy something.

            But when choices still exist, people who have enough money to pay more to get it through Amazon-Free channels might consider going ahead and doing just that. Every dollar denied to Amazon may just slow down its march to Global Retail Monopolization just a little. Every dollar spent at a non-Amazon retailer keeps that retailer standing on the battlefield just a liittle longer.

            Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

            Economics is war, nothing else. And today economics is zero-sum war-of-extermination by the upper class aganst the lower. IF! the lower class decides to fight a war of economic extermination back against the upper class, then the lower class has a chance of survival at some level.

        6. Jim Haygood

          It’s hard to find recent data — the “weightless economy” seems to have been a turn-of-the-century buzzphrase — but this analysis from 2004 is indicative:

          Thirty-four years ago, in 1970, goods accounted for 43 percent of U.S. GDP, only slightly lower than the 46-percent share of services in GDP. But, by 2002 the share of goods in GDP decreased to 33 percent, while the share of services increased to 58 percent.

          Because freight transportation is more associated with goods than services, the decline in goods share of GDP contributed to a slower growth in freight transportation than GDP in the past few decades.

          Between 1970 and 2002, U.S. real GDP grew 167 percent [while] freight transportation grew only 73 percent. Consequently, the freight transportation intensity of the U.S. economy decreased from 0.59 ton-miles per dollar of GDP to 0.38 ton-miles per dollar of GDP.


          No doubt this trend has continued. Of the five tech giants that constitute the largest-cap companies on the planet, only Amazon ships stuff as a core business function. Apple’s stuff (iPhones) is small and light. Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook deliver the bulk of their services weightlessly over fiber optic cables.

        7. DarkMatters

          Doesn’t moving oil via petrodollars count? The world has to get our fiat currency to get their oil, so we print currency, kept in demand by its usefulness for paying drillers for a natural resource. The drillers in turn buy stock in corporations, which pay employees and contractors to produce goods like weapons and phones which the drillers buy back. Isn’t that why we destroyed Gold-African-Dinar Qadaffi? I’d hate to think that was all just for nothing.

  8. Eduardo Quince

    You won’t believe what this one algorithm does!

    Am I the only one who fell for this clickbait? (good one, Lambert ;)

  9. tongorad

    Does anybody really think that once the press and the political class have tasted blood in this way, that they’ll stop on November 8? Of course they won’t. And people on the left should be especially concerned, because both liberals and conservatives regard the left as the real enemy, and the same tactics will be applied to the left, especially “in time of war.”

    Excellent point. Look at was done to the Wobblies before/after/during WWI.

  10. Alex morfesis

    But soon enough, the flowers would bloom once again…in hiroshima…in nagasaki and in Chernobyl too…gaia sets everything straight and cleanses the earth of mankinds wanderings…

    the mighty empires of the maya, the kampuche, alexander and sheba too…long lost to the unending cycle of rebirth and reinvigoration that comes from the life giving radiation of that ball that rises in the east…

    These two shall pass…and life will continue beyond this unfortunate set of “choices” provided by the current generation of “$e£€¢tor$”

  11. fresno dan


    Rush knows all of this. But he also knows that if Trump goes sideways, grassroots conservatives will want to know why he seemed so sure that Trump was a strong, possibly revolutionary candidate when all of the RINOs and “globalists” kept claiming he’d be a bust as nominee. Answer: Well, in hindsight, the GOP was “in freefall” to begin with. You can’t lay a landslide on Trump. Lay it on a party that no one likes, even though … lots and lots and lots of people have voted for it over the past six years. What he’s really doing here to establish the “freefall” point is conflating the GOP’s public image, which really is terrible, with its electoral fortunes, which have been amazing. A party that no one likes can’t reasonably be expected to win, Rush is suggesting, even though the GOP’s been disproving that over and over again. The reality is that it can win because people vote for individual candidates, not parties.
    After you listen to Rush, listen to Hannity in the second clip. He’s begun to shift blame too as Trump’s numbers tank. His preferred scapegoat isn’t supposed electoral weakness by the party but treachery among the leadership: “If in 96 days Trump loses this election, I am pointing the finger directly at people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and John McCain and John Kasich and Ted Cruz — if he won’t endorse – and Jeb Bush and everybody else that made promises they’re not keeping.” Ryan, McConnell, and McCain have all endorsed Trump; Kasich and Cruz haven’t ruled it out to this day despite Trump and his team frequently taking nasty shots at them. The hard truth is that, with a few rare exceptions like Ben Sasse, the party gave Trump every opportunity after he clinched on May 4th to unite the GOP and prove that he’d be a disciplined challenger in the general election. (Ironically, Hannity himself nodded at that fact on last night’s show, urging Trump politely to, at long last, get on message and stay there.) But you know how this song goes by now. If a Republican fails, especially a Republican beloved by populists, his downfall must be the fault of establishment incompetence or backstabbing. If only Mitch McConnell had been a little more enthusiastic about Trump and spared him the scolding statements about fighting with Gold Star families, 20 million votes might have shifted on Election Day.

    If I had said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – on major issues, such as war, advancing the 1%, “free trade,” the ever expanding police state, the two parties are essentially identical – other than how the grift gets divided, it is hard to come up with a principled consistent logical statement of how the two parties REALLY differ on issues – they simply both support neo-liberalism. Trump is the only NOMINEE to ostensibly challenge some of those tenets (as Trump is so erratic, who knows how he will really proceed) which is the reason the establishment repubs don’t want to support him.
    Of course, if Sanders had been a more determined opponent, one wonders if he would have been the dem presidential nominee as well.

    I think what the “analysis” by Rush and Hannity prove is how profoundly divorced from reality opinion leaders in the repubs are. It really is the 1950’s with the repubs all the time – “a commie under every bed” replace with a “rino betraying us.” It really is all “red versus blue” and parrot phrases like “get tough on terrorism” with no deeper thinking than that. I think dems have their own techniques to deflect the base from reality, but are far more subtle and sophisticated at it and thus prevent themselves being cannibalized.

    How many repubs, like Mittens, will believe they will win? But I have a feeling this bunch will not be as magnanimous in defeat….
    It really is an amazing and bizarre thing, that the disenfranchised minorities are sold a campaign slogan that the country was always great*, while many white repubs now totally reject the “shining city on a hill” and “optimism” all the time with the (in my view correct) realization that the whole system is corrupt and fixed and run for the benefit of crony capitalists.

    Interesting times? Worst of times? We’re not in Kansas anymore…


      1. RabidGandhi

        It’s so good that it’s off limits to us thirdworlders:

        Visitors from your country are not permitted to browse this site.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Buddy of mine learnt to his regret that he should’ve used a proxy server with a U.S. node to log in and claim his continuing unemployment benefits.

          They detected his logins from Argentina and denied his benefits for those weeks. :-(

          Strangely enough, it’s okay to log in from Canada, though.

  12. Pat

    I finally read the email from the SSA about online access to accounts now requiring a text enabled cell phone. Call me dense, confused or just a conspiracy theorist but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.
    Executive Order?
    Texting a code to a cell phone is now a security measure?

    Am I missing something here, or is this just another way of making something more bureaucratic and less user friendly? Has anyone found anything out there that makes this seem less rube goldberg and sensible?

    1. crittermom

      Pat–Whoa! Seriously? And security is the reason given?

      Maybe it’s because those in govt are so far removed from those they are elected to represent they are clueless to the fact that there are still some of us who don’t have cell phones (uh, can’t afford one?), and clueless to the fact there are many places they still don’t provide coverage–so they don’t work! (Like where I currently live, as well as where I moved from)

      Maybe it’ll eliminate more jobs in some way (‘cutting costs’), or allow for outsourcing of them?
      I dunno.

      But for security? Really?
      I’m not buyin’ it.

      Hello? Govt? Can ya hear me now?
      Obviously not. I don’t have a cell phone.

      1. Pat

        And I quote (please note that text and data rates may apply thing):

        Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy as a my Social Security user. This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication.

        When you sign in at ssa.gov/myaccount with your username and password, we will ask you to add your text-enabled cell phone number. The purpose of providing your cell phone number is that, each time you log in to your account with your username and password, we will send you a one-time security code you must also enter to log in successfully to your account.

        Each time you sign into your account, you will complete two steps:

        Step 1: Enter your username and password.
        Step 2: Enter the security code we text to your cell phone (cell phone provider’s text message and data rates may apply).

        1. Pat

          I should note you can still call them, but it isn’t like that is always convenient or they couldn’t attach some security measure on that one.

          1. crittermom

            Not to mention, doing so usually requires a significant amount of your life on hold if calling. (I keep a hard line speakerphone plugged in for such times as when the electric goes out and cordless don’t work–and for when I need to call a govt office so that my hands are free to do other things while I’m on ‘terminal hold’).

            The fact that it may cost someone for texts, regarding a govt site, is outrageous.
            The fact it eliminates those of us who don’t have cell phones is IMO discrimination, actually, of those of us who are ‘poor’ (or RURAL).

            If these past years and idiotic decisions such as this new one from SSA were a play or movie I’d paid to attend, I’d be demanding my money back upon leaving. Bad, bad script. Poor writers.

            1. different clue

              I doubt it is a legacy SSA idea. It is probably imposed by Clintonite-Obamacrats by direct order to the SSA, or else thought up by Clintonite-Obamacrat Wall Street moles who have burrowed into the SSA.

              It could be made a campaign issue by a Party devoted to a genuine zero-sum vision of reversing these initiatives and “exterminating” the social class which thinks these initiatives up.

    2. fajensen

      The Security Measure being that once you have a cellphone linked to your identity, “they” can track you so much more effectively.

  13. fresno dan

    [Black Agenda Report].

    Wikileaks latest revelations of the Democrats’ corruption prove that the party is nothing but a neo-liberal marketing scheme meant to fool progressive voters. As with the Republicans, its goal is to aid and abet the dictates of the ruling classes. The contents and substance of the hacked emails had to be disappeared so as not to ruin the Democratic convention and its well-honed image of inclusion.
    His weaknesses as a candidate make Trump a perfect foil for Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democrats. His open bigotry allows them to point fingers and hide their own allegiance to mass incarceration, deportation and other racist ills. Hillary and Bill Clinton have done immeasurable harm to black people but have now been given a pass because Trump has no filter or political acumen and has run afoul of the Republican rulers.

    Much of the vitriol directed at Trump involves the charge that he is a fascist. It is the Democrats who have buy-in and a fund raising advantage from the monied classes. The Democrats work with the media to bury their wrong doing. The Democrats pledge to keep the war machine humming. Trump has certainly failed at living up to the fascist label.

    Is this just an outlier – an informed, critical view that is not at all reflective of the vast majority of the black community, or does it signal that people are becoming aware of the total propaganda that they are incessantly subjected to?

    1. JaaaaayCeeeee

      Seems to me that most people who vote still don’t want to think those nice people who come into their living rooms every day to tell them the news, the news papers including of record, the fancy non-partisan think tanks and their local, state and national representatives are mostly making their money by not being on their side, and are happy to be distracted from more than that half of us now near, if not in, poverty.

      More war, including generational and culture, hippie punching and internet army war will work against those who do admit we’re on the wrong track, until it doesn’t. Hopefully I get what Lambert is saying about supporting people like Bernie Sanders and others like him who have some power, solidarity that crosses the divide and conquer lines, and sticking to policy. I thought Bernie Sanders’ latimes op-ed today was very smart tactically toward the enemy beyond Trump.

    2. Oregoncharles

      BAR has always been like that. Yes, they’re an outlier (I wish they weren’t/) Cornell West jumping ship is more significant. Now if Smiley will do the same… But he seems to be avoiding politics these days. Pressure from PBS?

  14. crittermom

    It just happened.
    I just got my first political call, from a neighbor supporting Clinton. (Very first person I’ve actually spoken to who does)

    I expressed my surprise at that since the local private clubhouse this subdivision all frequents once a week has had an Obama doll hanging by a noose over the bar since I moved here 4 yrs ago.

    When she noted that I was a registered Demoncrat I told her that was only because I voted for Bernie and hadn’t had the opportunity (or money) to drive the hour to our county office to change to Independent.

    When she asked my reasons for hating Clinton so, I began to rattle ’em off.
    I told her I didn’t like Trump, either, & she admitted it was pathetic we only had the two choices.
    I told her I really didn’t want to vote for either one (like much of the country) so was still undecided.

    The conversation ended with her saying she’ll put me on the ‘do not call’ list.
    I agreed that was best.

    1. mcdee

      “A Kerensky victory would be a disaster for the Revolution. Therefore we must support Tsar Nicolas” V.I. Lenin 1917

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The highest I have ever tried is 3 dimensional chess or Go.

      That sounds like 11 dimensional.

    3. DarkMatters

      We should do what they say, even if, or especially because, their reasons make no sense.

  15. Skippy

    For the X files….

    On July 3, 2016, Shawn Lucas and filmmaker Ricardo Villaba served the DNC Services Corp. and Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz at DNC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., in the fraud class action suit against the Democrat Party on behalf of Bernie Sanders supporters.

    According to Snopes Lucas was found dead on his bathroom floor.

    We contacted Lucas’ employer on 4 August 2016 to ask whether there was any truth to the rumor. According to an individual with whom we spoke at that company, Shawn Lucas died on 2 August 2016. The audibly and understandably shaken employee stated that interest in the circumstances of Lucas’ death had prompted a number of phone calls and other queries, but the company had not yet ascertained any details about Lucas’ cause of death and were unable to confirm anything more than the fact he had passed away.

    An unconfirmed report holds that Lucas was found lying on the bathroom floor by his girlfriend when she returned home on the evening of 2 August 2016. Paramedics responding to her 911 call found no signs of life.

    This follows the death of 27 year-old Democratic staffer Seth Conrad Rich who was murdered in Washington DC on July 8. The killer or killers appear to have taken nothing from their victim, leaving behind his wallet, watch and phone.

    Shortly after the killing, Redditors and social media users were pursuing a “lead” saying that Rich was en route to the FBI the morning of his murder, apparently intending to speak to special agents about an “ongoing court case” possibly involving the Clinton family.

    1. Vatch

      Hmm. Maybe there really is something to the theories about the death of Vince Foster . . . .

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        A whole bunch of “Arkancides” before Bill and Hill made the big-time, but yeah the Vince Foster case was not a suicide, IMHO. That one guy they called the “confidential witness” is to this day telling his story.
        And now more Clintoon-related deaths. BTW, Trump has brought up the Vince Foster case but the press is not interested.

        1. pretzelattack

          that sounds like the clinton death list bs financed by richard mellon scaife. the clintons are grifters who have done a lot of damage, but i don’t think serial killing is part of their repertoire. war, now that is a different matter.

          1. aab

            You know, I used to think that. But now I wonder. The criminal and violent stuff they DEFINITELY do isn’t that far removed from having people whacked. That awful cut and bruise on Bernie’s cheek the second day of the convention was unnerving. Yes, I recognize that the primary way they would threaten him, Gabbard, Turner, etc., isn’t violent and wouldn’t leave a mark, and there should be no reason to beat an old man. But that clip of Hillary chortling about Qaddafi’s death haunts me. She seems to take true delight in killing and exerting domination over others.

            Watching the primary theft and media complicity in conjunction with the neocon embrace of all things Hillary doesn’t leave me with a warm, cozy feeling about the Clintons respecting ANY societal norms. Does anyone think Bill just flew on the Lolita Express for the conversation? That’s rape of a underage sex slave. That’s pretty bad, to us normal folks. And I believe the testimony of the women he raped and harassed earlier who said it was Hillary who personally threatened them. Then add what she did in Haiti just for profit, on top of the other countries she has trashed and had millions killed in. Honestly, doesn’t it start to seem more likely than not that they’d kill a couple of individuals standing in their way, if need be? Why wouldn’t they? They don’t let any other laws or morality stand in their way.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              Bill Clinton’s uncle was a gangster in Hot Springs. His mother was a semi-pro prostitute. Criminality runs in the family. There were indeed a lot of mysterious deaths in Arkansas, and it’s not surprising there are more people dropping dead around Hill and Bill now.

            2. pretzelattack

              cause they can just buy their way out of trouble. the clinton death list had more than 100 names, iirc. the clinton’s are death delegators, imo, like obama. or any given neocon.

    2. low integer

      There is a documentary called “The Clinton Files”, you should be able to find it on YouTube, covering Bill’s rise through Arkansas politics. There are many who speak on record about the Clinton’s nefarious deeds and I tend to believe them. Why would these people, with nothing to gain except exposing the truth, bother to lie?
      Also, as we now know all too well, the Clintons are accomplished liars.

  16. makedoanmend

    IRB and the ‘momentum’ movement.

    Momentum is only a part of the current Labour Party configuration, and not a very large one.

    But Momentum = Corbyn, and momentum is shite.

    It’s as if Corbyn doesn’t have to address Union affiliate issues and other power blocs within the Labour party. Naw, Corbyn is momentum, full stop. Anywho.

    The author performed a nice hatchette job using old tried and trusted methods. Momentum is just a buch of hippy’ish people who don’t like racism and wars. These people are not management types. How dare they have opinions. Where are their laptops, PR gurus and well crafted sound-bites? They don’t use the ‘modern’ cultural markers, so their messages must be somewhat, say we say, loony. Momentum = Corbyn = Bad.

    Image is everthing. It is the message. (Austerity and its affects are just natural and so we mustn’t question TINA. In fact, we don’t even need to address the natural order of things anymore. As long the masters of the universe have the correct Tailor and offshore bank accounts, why should the great unwashed intervene in nature’s natural order? Especially peace-nick hippies.)

    And of course, like that famous Leader D. Cameron of old, the author points out the non-managerial colours of Corbyn’s daily wardrobe. Definitely not leadership quality clothes and colours. Forget about the integrity of the man’s message, look at the colour of his cloth.

    Whether one likes or dislikes Corbyn’s outlook is material to the individual. One will have to judge the merits of Corbyn’s Labour Party Policies (not momentum’s) by their own standards. He will disturb the neoliberal order, including the LBR worldview.

    In conclusion we have:

    “Afterwards, I chatted to a young woman standing nearby, who was unaware the event had taken place. She was 16. Was there a groundswell of support for Corbyn among people her age? I asked. She didn’t think so. She thought his ‘heart was in the right place’ but she didn’t agree with his ‘pacifist views’. Her parents were lifelong Labour voters, and were very unhappy with him. She was angry about Brexit: she felt people in Nuneaton ‘didn’t think’. But she could imagine herself voting for the Tories in the future, and thought Theresa May was ‘the right person for the job’.

    This is a tacit that RTE (Radio Telefis Eire [Ireland]) often uses when it wants to finish off one of its neoliberal rants (covering as a news story) – especially if the story is about a possible strike. They scour the city of Dublin until they find someone to condemn the strike. Quite often it is a student that voices RTE conclusions for them.

    And they lived happily ever after.

    Many young people are well informed about issues but there is a problem. The problem is that the “young lady” has all the experience of a 16 year old. Ten years ago she could have gone to University and come out with no debt. Under May’s leadership, she’ll probably come out with £50k+. And she will probably find it hard to find a job to pay off the debt unless she has the proper connections. If she wants a full times job without a Uni degree, well good luck. (A stable job is just a long ago fantasy.) She is a second class citizen according the neo-liberal economics. She will not earn minumum wage, she is entitled to no or very little benefits. She will be fubared because she is young.

    It funny how the liberal elements of the neo-liberal ideology can find life’s inexperienced teenagers who find that Corbyn = Bad on the one hand and May, the proper Management type, = Good on the other hand. If only by implication.

    Why do these intrepid (in-depth) journalists often fail to find hard working mothers who’ve had to resort to profit-making soup kitchens (food banks) to interview?

    I suppose there must just be more 16 year old Tory leaning supporters in the increasing growing number of run down areas of the UK than food bank mums.

  17. witters

    Why is the Tom Crewe essay a ‘must read’? Is is the left-intellectual condescension? Is it the self-glorifying voyeurism? Is it the implicit endorsement of TINA? Is it to show how the LRB doing a Guardian? Pray tell.

  18. John Wright

    Re: the TPP

    The New York Times had a recent (July 27, 2016) “Trans-Pacific Parnership Trade Accord Explained” by Kevin Granville


    To show some of the pro-TPP bias this Times “explanation” has

    “Today, the United States and most developed countries have few tariffs, but some remain. The United
    States, for example, protects the domestic sugar market from lower-priced global suppliers and imposes
    tariffs on imported shoes, while Japan has steep surcharges on agricultural products including rice, beef
    and dairy. The pact is an effort to create a Pacific Rim free-trade zone.”

    A reader might be led to believe the TPP will remove the protection for the US sugar market.

    But that is NOT the case:

    Per http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-06/agriculture-tariffs-to-fall-under-tpp/6830138

    “TPP to cut agricultural tariffs across the board, but US sugar protections remain”

    That these protections remain is evidence of the considerable corporate influence on the drafting of the TPP.

    An example of misleading New York Times journalism in the service of the financial and corporate elite.

    Readers’ comments were not enabled.

  19. Mark Josh

    OK, let’s have some logic here. If I don’t live in a swing state, and I voted for Bernie, why would I vote for HRC? As a strategic maneuver to keep Trump out of office, I can see it if one targets swing states. But most voters in the country do not live in swing states, so why, precisely, do they need to vote for HRC?

  20. Mark John

    OK, let’s have some logic here. If I don’t live in a swing state, and I voted for Bernie, why would I vote for HRC? As a strategic maneuver to keep Trump out of office, I can see it if one targets swing states. But most voters in the country do not live in swing states, so why, precisely, do they need to vote for HRC?

    1. different clue

      And if HRC is THE one who should be kept out of office, for reasons of brute survival over the next 4 years, why should anyone other than Trump be voted for?

      The example of Billy Stark was invoked in these comments sometime in the past. Well . . . if the “Left” is really to bite and tear the throat out of the Greater Evil in order to make a point and remove an enemy, should the “Left” vote FOR Trump as a first step to exterminating the Clintonite Sh*tobamacratic Party from existence, and wiping it off the face of the earth?

      And if you don’t believe in exterminating your enemies and wiping them off the face of the earth, just what DO you believe in ANYway?

    2. EndOfTheWorld

      Mark John has a logical point there. If the outcome of your state’s election is not in doubt, then you can vote for the Green or Lib candidate if you want to slightly enhance their overall stature.
      In my case, I am in a swing state and I plan to cast my vote for Mr. Trump to keep Hill out of office. I plan also to vote the straight republican ticket in all races because if Hill does get elected I hope she is immediately impeached.
      BTW, she looks bad in her recent appearances. When she was debating Bernie she kept it together pretty well, but now I believe the many stressors are piling into her stroke-damaged brain and she’s near the breaking point.

  21. ChrisAtRU


    It’s really just testimony to how broken the process is – i.e. “capitulation to the previously opposed” – but as many have said, the revolution continues.

    Lest we forget: potential WikiLeaks revelations

    5% people … 5%

    I actually tried to make #PaulKrugmanIsTheLastCourtJesterOfTheNeoLiberalCrown a thing on Twitter … no, seriously … I did.
    With all the #MMT sentiment about increased deficits getting (good) press, I predicted long time ago that at some point the useful idiot will chime in and claim it all his own – “All Hail Cassiodorus Rex, Dragon Slayer!”). Thanks for taking one for the team. I missed his “storm”.

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