2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“In the latest sign of the difficult path to approval for TPP, more than 130 pork farmers from around the nation who made the case on the Hill for a lame-duck vote this week were met with a mostly tepid response from lawmakers:” [Politico].

“The latest WikiLeaks dump of documents related to the Trade in Services Agreement talks shows that countries are giving serious thought to how to resolve disputes that arise in the deal and that a disagreement on market access concessions is only deepening” [Politico].

“[Orrin Hatch] has been trying for a while to get TPP to require the same 12 years’ monopoly of drug safety data that the US provides for so-called ‘biologic drugs,’ in addition to the normal patent protection they enjoy. The final TPP text specifies eight years, and because of the fast track authority that he worked so hard to put in place, there is no way for Hatch to get the text changed now that it has been finalized. According to a report from Bloomberg, Hatch is apparently hoping that “binding side agreements” with the other TPP nations might do the trick” [TechDirt].”That’s really pretty extraordinary. After nearly eight years of tough negotiations, concessions were made and a final text agreed by all the countries involved. And now Hatch says it’s not good enough, that the US has some special right to ask for yet more, and that countries refusing to up their protection for biologics data to 12 years won’t be part of the TPP deal. Understandably, some in those nations at risk of being thrown out of TPP are unhappy about this threat.”



“The ‘new liberal economics’ is the key to understanding Hillary Clinton’s policies” [Mike Konczal, Vox]. Meet the new liberal economics. Same as the old liberal economics. Konczal: “The new liberal economics makes several claims: … .3. ‘Nudging’ the private market is not always the best way to deliver core goods and economic security. Deploying government services directly can be more effective. When come the part where Konczal praises Clinton for her support of the so-called “public option,” you’ll see the strength of that sneaky qualified “not always.” And where’s the mention of MMT? Oh, I forgot. This is for liberals. Not the left.

UPDATE “A year after topping the Republican tax-cut contest with a plan that would have removed nearly one-quarter of federal revenue, Donald Trump entered the final weeks of the general election campaign with a refined proposal. His plan is modest by comparison with the version he released last September, but it would still amount to a major reshuffling and reduction of the U.S. tax burden” [Wall Street Journal, “Trump Tax Plan: What’s Changed Since He First Outlined It Last Year?”]. “Mr. Trump’s new tax plan responds directly to some of the criticisms leveled at his plan over the past year and since he previewed changes in August.”

Zeitgeist Watch

UPDATE Had to invent a new category for this:

I wonder if there’s anything as… extraordinary in Clinton’s Brooklyn bunker?


“39 percent of registered voters think the Clinton Foundation manages the personal finances of the Clinton family, and 40 percent also think the foundation gives money to Democratic candidates. (It does neither of these things.)” [New York Times].

The Voters

“Trump must hold all 24 states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012 and add Ohio and Florida to the tally. A loss in Florida, Ohio or in increasingly competitive North Carolina – which Romney carried by just 2.2 percentage points over President Barack Obama – would hand Clinton the presidency”” [US News].

UPDATE “Why the Whole Trump-Clinton Election Could Probably Just Be Held in Pennsylvania” [New York Times]. This is a very interesting article, well worth a read. It caught my eye because Pennsylvania is also part of the shipping story, with new warehousing and infrastructure. So I’d be interested in what our Pennsylvania readers think. Another tidbit: “Voters in mid-September do not swing between Clinton and Trump (my colleagues and I have dubbed that The Mythical Swing Voter), but between undecided and/or third-party support and Clinton or Trump. So the larger that pool, the larger the potential swing.” And one more: “Voting is a major cost for many Americans with hourly wage jobs.” So I could have filed this under Class Warfare.

“The Republican establishment doesn’t trust Trump. But they need him, and are in the process of supplying the efficient field organization he’s never shown any interest in building” [Bloomberg]. ” The charge of racism, in particular, seems to hurt respectable white people’s feelings. And so Trump went to Flint… Trump’s visit—and much of his speech last night—was merely an extended exercise in virtue signaling aimed at reassuring Republican women and working-class whites that, as Omarosa Manigault, the Apprentice veteran who now serves as ‘senior advisor for African-American outreach,’ told the crowd, “my boss may not be politically correct,” but he is not a racist.”

“The Trump supporters who volunteered to write for Maclean’s this week are collegians and golden agers, whites and non-whites, retirees and working people. One studies bioterrorism; one teaches Grade 7. They hail from locales as variegated as Boynton Beach, Mayfield Heights, Wichita Falls, and Punxsutawney” [MacCleans]. MacCleans is Canada’s Time. Not sure how the volunteers were chosen (“(One of them is this writer’s first cousin.”)

UPDATE “Clinton and Trump’s demographic tug of war” (handy charts) [WaPo]. I knew before I looked at this they wouldn’t slice by income.

UPDATE “The Despair Election” [The American Conservative]. Quoting Michael Hanby, a Catholic philosopher: “hat we have in this election is fundamentally a contest between two forms of despair: Hillary represents despair in the form of cynicism and resignation, as evidenced by the fact that neither she, nor her surrogates, nor even her flacks in the press really pretend to believe in what she is selling. There is obvious cynicism within Trumpism as well; his supporters, on those rare occasions when he makes sense, seem to know that he is lying to them. But Trump represents despair in the form of anger and desperation, the willingness to embrace a strongman and a charlatan in the (false) hopes of regaining some kind of control over ‘the system’, whatever it is (which is a fascinating question, by the way.) Both are absolutely awful, indeed unthinkable, albeit in different ways, and yet this is what liberal order has come to.”

UPDATE “A Reuters survey found local governments in nearly a dozen, mostly Republican-dominated counties in Georgia have adopted plans to reduce the number of voting stations, citing cost savings and efficiency” [Reuters]. Don’t they always.

* * *

A Scott Adams roundup. Chronologically: “It turns out that Trump’s base personality is ‘winning.’ Everything else he does is designed to get that result. He needed to be loud and outrageous in the primaries, so he was. He needs to be presidential in this phase of the election cycle, so he is” [Scott Adams].

“Sometimes you need a ‘fake because’ to rationalize whatever you are doing. … When Clinton collapsed at the 9-11 site, that was enough to end her chances of winning. But adding the ‘fake because’ to her ‘deplorable’ comment will super-charge whatever was going to happen anyway” [Scott Adams].

“Checking My Predictions About Clinton’s Health” [Scott Adams].

“The Race for President is (Probably) Over” [Scott Adams]. “If humans were rational creatures, the time and place of Clinton’s ‘overheating’ wouldn’t matter at all. But when it comes to American psychology, there is no more powerful symbol of terrorism and fear than 9-11 . When a would-be Commander-in-Chief withers – literally – in front of our most emotional reminder of an attack on the homeland, we feel unsafe. And safety is our first priority.”

* * *

As soon as the race tightened, there was a rash of stories about Millenials [ugh] not voting for Clinton. And now various Democrat apparatchiks have started to browbeat them, apparently believing that’s the best strategy. Here’s one such: “Blame Millennials for President Trump” [Daily Beast]. I’m sure you’ve seen others.

UPDATE Other Democrat operatives are preparing the way to pin the blame on anybody but the Democrat establishment and the candidate it chose. Here, Kevin Drum squanders the good will on his balance sheet from his story on lead and crime: “Don’t Hate Millennials. Save It For Bernie Sanders” [Kevin Drum, Mother Jones].

I reserve most of my frustration for Bernie Sanders. He’s the one who convinced these folks that Clinton was in the pocket of Wall Street. She gave a speech to Goldman Sachs! He’s the one who convinced them she was a tool of wealthy elites. She’s raising money from rich people! He’s the one who convinced them she was a corporate shill. She supported the TPP! He’s the one who, when he finally endorsed her, did it so grudgingly that he sounded like a guy being held hostage. He’s the one who did next to nothing to get his supporters to stop booing her from the convention floor. He’s the one who promised he’d campaign his heart out to defeat Donald Trump, but has done hardly anything since—despite finding plenty of time to campaign against Debbie Wasserman Schultz and set up an anti-TPP movement.

There’s a reason that very young millennials are strongly anti-Clinton even though the same age group supported Obama energetically during his elections—and it’s not because their policy views are very different. A small part of it is probably just that Clinton is 68 years old (though Sanders was older). Part of it is probably that she isn’t the inspirational speaker Obama was. But most of it can be laid at the feet of Bernie Sanders. He convinced young voters that Hillary Clinton was a shifty, corrupt, lying shill who cared nothing for real progressive values—despite a literal lifetime of fighting for them. Sadly, that stuck.

In other words, these young (i.e., silly, unlike wise old farts like Drum) didn’t “do their own research.” And so apparently the demonic Sanders found it very easy to deceive them. Sad! Oh, and it’s also interesting to see liberal Drum explicitly legitimizing hate. Again, this election has been wonderfully clarifying.

Democrat Email Hairballs

Document analysis of Guccifer 2.0 here and here.

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, August 2016: “The CPI showed some life in August. The data suggest that price pressures are picking up slightly after stalling in July” [Econoday]. “The uptick in inflation is likely to be welcomed by Fed officials when they meet next Tuesday and Wednesday to deliberate on monetary policy.” And: “inflation has generally been moving up, and most of these measures are at or above the Fed’s target (Core PCE is still below)” [Calculated Risk]. And: “Interesting this month is a moderate spike in the year-over-year inflation rate lead by utilities and medical care. On the other hand, food for consumption at home, oil prices, and used cars prices moderated” [Econintersect]. And: “Medical costs jump in August by largest amount in 32 years, CPI shows” [MarketWatch].

Consumer Sentiment (preliminary), September 2016: Unchanged. “Steady and respectable” [Econoday]. “This reading hints at confidence in the jobs outlook.” And: “consumer sentiment is 5.1 percent above the average reading (arithmetic mean) and 6.4 percent above the geometric mean” [Econintersect]. But a noisy indicator.

Retail Sales: “Underlying retail sales effectively stalled in August, as the core figures failed to register a bounce back from their July decline. Today’s release tempers our consumer spending projections for a 3+% annual pace in Q3. It is important to note, however, that retail sales projections are heavily revised while a September bounce back remains in the cards given overall healthy consumer fundamentals” [TD Securities, Across the Curve]. “Continued momentum in household spending in an important component in the Federal Reserve’s growth narrative and the softening in Q3 is consistent with the theme of patience.”

Retail: “Consumers don’t appear to be holding up their end of the supply chain bargain. U.S. retail sales slipped in August, the first decline since March and a sign that spending at stores is running out of momentum heading into the fall. The latest report, which includes the period for back-to-school sales, suggests retailers will have little incentive to rush more goods into distribution channels after struggling to pare back inventories earlier this year” [Wall Street Journal]. “The bigger cloud over supply chain planners was that even the e-commerce boom quieted as the summer ended: sales for nonstore retailers, a category that includes online merchants such as Amazon com. Inc., fell 0.3% in August.” Yikes!

Shipping: “Faltering peak-season imports at the nation’s largest port complex suggest retailers remain cautious about consumer spending. California’s neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach saw inbound container volume slide 4.3% from the same month a year ago, WSJ Logistics Reports Erica E. Phillips writes, a steeper slide than anticipated in a generally lackluster run-up toward the holidays” [Wall Street Journal]. “The decline on the West Coast may not be the whole story: ports in Virginia and South Carolina reported healthy gains in their inbound shipments. That may signal a shift in supply chains to get goods closer to East Coast distribution centers. But overall volumes signal that inflated stocks remain a major concern for retailers. The ratio of inventories to sales slipped slightly over the summer but remain at levels last seen in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.” Yikes again.

Shipping: “Debt-ridden Hanjin Shipping Co. is working on a restructuring plan that calls for the drastic reduction of its fleet and returning the vast majority of the ships it charters to their owners, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter” [Wall Street Journal, “Hanjin Aims to Sell More Than Half Its Ships”]. “Selling the ships won’t be easy. The majority of Hanjin’s fleet are ‘Panamaxes’ that can carry fewer than 10,000 containers. Such vessels are fast becoming outdated in the wake of the widening of the Panama Canal earlier this year. That expansion allows ships moving 12,000 containers or more to pass through the isthmus.”

Shipping: “At least two dozen cases of non-payment of seafarers’ wages and/or vessel abandonment worldwide have been reported in the media in the last six months, but none of them have been listed on the voluntary International Labour Organisation database, research has indicated” [Lloyd’s List].

Rail: “Week 36 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. This week, most rolling averages’ were decelerating” [Econintersect]. “Under normal circumstances one should consider this recessionary as trucking tonnages are down also. This illustrates the dangers of using one one sector to gauge the economy – but it does say that a major dynamic change has occurred in the economy that has caused a significant decline in shipping volumes.”

Honey for the Bears: “The crisis in the global luxury-goods industry is deepening with two of the industry’s most trusted sources, announcing anticipated dips in profit. Hermès International abandoned a long-standing forecast and Richemont predicted a profit plunge that Chairman Johann Rupert deemed unacceptable. Richemont, the maker of Cartier jewelry, said first-half operating profit will probably decline about 45 percent and warned it may have to deepen cost cuts” [The Fashion Law]. Part of this is China. But are elites having a sad?

Honey for the Bears: “A campaign against extravagant spending and corruption in China has crimped demand for watches there. And in Europe terrorist attacks have cut the numbers of free-spending tourists who make up a big chunk of sales. Cartier has had three chief executives in the past half-decade as earnings growth at Richemont’s jewelry business flattened from rates exceeding 40 percent” [Bloomberg].

“Leak From Biggest U.S. Gasoline Pipe Sparks ‘Red Alert’ ” [Bloomberg]. “A leak in Alabama Sept. 9 shut the main gasoline pipeline delivering fuel from refineries along the Gulf Coast to 50 million Americans in states from Mississippi to New Jersey. Colonial Pipeline Co. said on Thursday it pushed back the estimate for a complete startup of its Line 1 to next week from this weekend, citing adverse weather conditions overnight that slowed the cleanup and repair.”

“Twitter in retweet” [The Economist]. “Twitter’s problems have continued despite Mr Dorsey’s ministrations. The biggest is that it has largely stopped growing. Its tally of monthly users, at around 313m, is barely rising. Americans who use the service via their smartphones spend around 2.8 minutes on it each day, which is around a third less than they did two years ago and far less than they spend on rival apps, such as Facebook and Snapchat. In the next quarter, revenues are expected to fall. Even though sales will probably increase for the full year, a quarterly drop is worrying for an internet company which is a household name and only ten years old.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 Fear (previous close: 41, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 16 at 11:57am. A week of fear…

Police State Watch

DOJ Inspector General says its OK for FBI agents to impersonate reporters (!) [AP],

Health Care

“medical out-of-pocket expenses dragged 11.2 million people into poverty in 2015, a potential symptom of the shift of moving employees and individuals into health plans that have higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance rates” [Modern Health Care].


“A stock-flow-fund ecological macroeconomic model” (PDF) [Science Direct (PhilU)]. This paper looks interesting, and is actually written in English. I’d be interested in reader reactions.

Guillotine Watch

Class Warfare

“The Mengs are just one of millions of families across the U.S. that are struggling to find affordable housing. The government has established several housing assistance programs to help them, but the vast majority of poor Americans don’t receive any housing aid. And the problem is getting worse: The share of poor families that devote more than half of their income to housing costs has risen by 10 percentage points since 1991” [FiveThirtyEight].

“A Rebounding Economy Remains Fragile for Many” [New York Times]. “While the economy finally is moving in the right direction, the real incomes of most American households still are smaller than in the late 1990s. And large swaths of the country — rural America, industrial centers in the Rust Belt and Appalachia — are lagging behind.” A classic case of the maxim: “When you hear ‘the economy,’ ask ‘Whose economy?’:

News of the Wired

“A new burst of garden-creation going on in and around Marrakech” [The Economist (JohnnyGL)]. A primer on Islamic gardening.

“So you think you can fake your own death?” [LinkedIn]. Handy tips! I love that this article is in LinkedIn…

“If a program is a series of instructions, then the null program is a series of zero instructions. The null program has some interesting properties, not the least of which being that it’s simultaneously written in many languages and many paradigms… ” [Esoteric Topics in Computer Programming].

* * *

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 (CR):


* * *

Readers, if you can, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. Knifecatcher

    In that first link, am I the only one who thinks that “pork farmers” and “lawmakers” are redundant? How do they tell which is which?

    My guess is the group who works with actual swine probably smells better…

    1. RepubAnon

      Is “pork farmer” another name for lobbyist? Lobbyists plant campaign donations, legislation blooms, lobbyists then harvest pork…

  2. optimader

    Guggenheim Museum invites visitors to use 18-karat solid gold toilet

    In Chicago the toilet seat and hardware would be gone in the first 30 minutes and the rest of it by opening time next day, along with a night watchman or two and a casterwheeled dolly from the back room….

    1. ambrit

      Sheesh! A solid anything metallic toilet is a bad idea if only due to condensation on the outside pooling on the floor around the “throne.” That’s a slip and fall hazard and won’t get approval from code for any public venue.
      I have installed solid gold sink and bath fixtures before. Only the bits that ‘show’ are gold. Gold’s too soft for valve bodies, which are usually brass anyway. Take my word for it, one is very careful and can’t wear anything metal on their person when working with gold. It scratches too easily. Strap wrenches are required to work on gold fittings, and you had better rosin up those gripping surfaces before going to work.
      The sink I put in, working for my dad, was in the entrance way bathroom of the North Miami apartment of a minor member of the House of Saud. The sink itself was free standing and carved in the shape of a tulip out of a block of Mexican Orange Onyx. The floor and walls were onyx as well. The first thing I did was run over to another job and borrow some clean painters canvas drop cloths. No uncovered onyx tiling did I allow.
      Nothing disappeared from that job, probably because of the bodyguards that always accompanied the owners and their Lebanese factotum. That was a strange job in all ways.
      The fixtures in the ‘regular’ bathrooms were everyday, ordinary chrome.

      1. Optimader

        I wasnt going to go there but i have to doubt any of the hardware is “solid gold” for all the reasons you state mix soft and code and leaks.
        As well im not sure one could achieve the internal cavity features as the good old porcelian variety are actually fabricated from several slipcast components and “glued” together with slip before firing.
        Maybe a lost foam investment casting? I dunno.

        In Anycase:

        I do know the the Clintons could take a real crack ( pun intended) at defending the terminology solid gold as merely characterizing the state of a uniform surface apperance or quality, while the underlying substance is, well… Basically any sht you can get away with.

        1. ambrit

          Awww… If it is too difficult for mere mortals, H Clinton can use some of those Demonic skills her Consort Bill mentions to, er, get the drops on the throne job.
          Being the Clintons, I would expect this to be a gold toned bidet. To wash the a–e that the coven members must osculate.

  3. diptherio

    Currently looking for null-programming work. I’ve got decades of experience. All languages available. I work cheap. Call me.

    1. hunkerdown

      Unfortunately, all the programs that could be written have been, but I wish you the best of luck. I understand monks are especially suited for the work.

    2. Uahsenaa

      I have always been a null programmer and yet also simultaneously never a null programmer.

      My degree (Comparative Literature), after all, is not unlike Quantum Null Programming.

  4. Jim Haygood

    DOJ Inspector General says its OK for FBI agents to impersonate reporters (!)

    … meaning that lying to a “reporter” is now a federal crime.

    Next time a journo asks you a question, invoke the Fifth. They don’t need no stinkin’ badges.

    1. optimader

      look for the brown shoes, and see if they blink incessantly when you tell them off the record move along

  5. Buttinsky

    The always piquant Jeffrey St. Clair has just about outdone himself with a review of the past week:


    Hard to do justice in just a few quotes. Nevertheless:

    David Cameron is leaving Parliament and is now on the prowl in rural Britain. Hide your pigs!
    . . .
    Imagine the possibilities for the new Clinton Special Edition of the board game Clue: Was it Putin in the Lincoln Bedroom with a dose of Polonium? Or Trump at The Plaza with a toxic puff of Melania’s Eau de Toilette?
    . . .
    Bubba gets caught up in another “bimbo dicking eruption” before election day, HRC will probably rush right to the Today Show studio to pronounce that it’s all part of “a vast Russian conspiracy.” A Russian sleeper agent? In Bill’s case, perhaps an entire sleeper cell.

    And here is me quoting St. Clair quoting Bertrand Russell:

    “Our ‘great democracies’ still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.”

    1. Robert Hahl

      Another good point by St. Clair:

      “Cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to date? $4.79 TRILLION. Interest payments on the cost of those wars by 2053? $7.3 TRILLION. (See new study “US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016: $4.79 Trillion and Counting Summary of Costs of the US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Homeland Security” by Brown University economist Neta C. Crawford.)”

      That money has to end up somewhere. Dow 36,000?

  6. ekstase

    “‘faking your own death.’ If you don’t file a police report or death certificate, making it look like you are deceased violates no law except perhaps that of good taste.”

    Then, in our current climate, it violates no law at all. It’s good to see that some areas are completely under control.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think faking one’s own birth or reincarnation is a lot harder.

      “I was a billionaire in my past life. I am here to reclaim my wealth (and my Dalai Lama-ship). I am me.”

  7. RabidGandhi

    Whilst reading Buttinky’s Counterpunch article, I came across this jewel from Patrick Cockburn that I somehow missed:

    ISIS Fighter Reveals Group’s Plan If Defeated in Syria

    Faraj says that the world powers underestimate its resilience because they do not understand the attractiveness of Isis and its ideology to those who find the status quo unacceptable. He says: “I, like my commanders and comrades, fight in reaction to the tyranny and injustice I had experienced before.”

    Interestingly, he finds Isis attractive not so much because of its extreme religious ideology but as an effective and well-organised vehicle for protest. He says: “Isis is the best solution to correct the wrongdoings of the authoritarian regimes in the region.”

    “When the Turkish army entered Jarabulus, I talked to my friends who were there. Actually, Isis didn’t leave Jarabulus; they just shaved off their beards.”

    Sounds like there are quite a few omelettes there that are not going to be unscrambled any time soon.

    1. Fiver

      Well, given ISIS was and is a proxy construct of the US and its regional allies the purpose of which is to remove Assad, shatter the ‘Shia Crescent’, enable the permanent re-entry of US forces into Iraq, set the stage for a showdown with Iran, and not least, to utterly destroy global sympathy with the struggles of Arabs and other Muslim peoples in fact the victims of utterly appalling US/Western aggression, it’s no wonder ‘they just shaved off their beards’ – that’s what they’ve been doing for several years now, switching back and forth between ‘ISIS’, al Nusra, several Al Qaedas and other terrorist fronts and so-called ‘moderates’ or ‘rebels’ or ‘Free Syrian Army’ groups depending on the ebb and flow of the war on the ground, the direction of the wind in various capitals, and, of course, how long the media can sustain any particular constellation of lies.

      1. RabidGandhi

        — The US laid fertile ground for ISIS by destroying civil society in Iraq and Syria.

        — The US indirectly feeds ISIS weapons through its ‘moderate rebels’, in addition to creating new recruits for ISIS with its bombing.

        — The US propitiates the continued existence of ISIS by undermining and blocking peace plans with Assad.

        Those are uncontrovertible facts. However, I do not think that means we can call ISIS a construct of the US, because to do so would rob the local populace of agency. Read the article and others by Cockburn (by far the best Western reporter in the mideast, because he maintains direct contact with sources like this ISIS fighter). Many people join ISIS not because they are US pawns, but rather because they are looking for an alternative to the chaos.

  8. Vatch

    “Don’t Hate Millennials. Save It For Bernie Sanders” [Kevin Drum, Mother Jones].

    Shouldn’t we blame Hillary Clinton for people’s perception that she is in the pocket of Wall Street, that she is tool of wealthy elites, that she is a corporate shill, and that she supports the TPP? Because she is in the pocket of Wall Street, she is tool of wealthy elites, she is a corporate shill, and she does support the TPP (few people really believe her recent claims to oppose it).

    1. curlydan

      Wow. Read that for a ride on the blame train. When are HRC and her buddies going to start offering something instead of pointing the finger at others?

      To date, we hear Bernie did it, Colin did it, Bush did it, Trump (or his baby-sized foundation) did it, Goldman Sachs offered it, or pneumonia caused it.

          1. uncle tungsten

            Pagliano definitely did it,
            The grand jury didn’t exist to do it,
            The FBI couldn’t do it though.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Hey, whatever works, it’s been working a treat for 8 years with 0bomba, the old “I was gonna do some really cool sh*t but those (fill in Others) just wouldn’t allow it”
        Kinda like Hilary and basic childcare, as Trump’s daughter pointed out she’s had 25 years to do something but she’s accomplished zip, zilch, and nada. Progressive feminist indeed.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Yes, but really, we should blame Clinton for trying to transform herself into the 2nd coming of GW Bush.

      She chased his voters, his donors, and his neo-con cabinet staff. No one wants to re-elect GW Bush, and Trump already stomped his brother this campaign.

    3. Scott

      One of the big reasons why Millennials such as myself are having such hard time supporting Clinton is the amount of hatred spewed by her and her supporters (like Drum) towards us during the primary. It turns out that people don’t like being called stupid, racist and sexist.

      1. Katharine

        > It turns out that people don’t like being called stupid, racist and sexist.

        People are funny that way.

        It’s sort of hard to see reasons to support Clinton, even if she had not been so astoundingly contemptuous. Ted Cruz was right (and that I could be saying this is a measure of just how weird this election is). Vote your conscience. God knows what that may mean, but I think it’s the best any of us can do and we’re all going to have to muddle through with our own consciences.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I had a very interesting chat with my millennial son yesterday, he’s very political and well-informed. His opening salvo was “your generation screwed everything up for us”. I countered with “my generation stopped a war, threw out a crook president, and completely changed the society…then we lost our way. But we stopped the war by giving a damn and heading out into the streets and getting our heads bashed in, whereas your crowd is too busy taking selfies”. Response: “well there aren’t any big issues that are worth getting out in the streets for”.
        My read: “there aren’t any issues that I perceive as awful or important enough to override my desire to see what’s happening next on Instagram”.
        So cluster-bombing children in Yemen and overthrowing democratically-elected leaders around the globe are just not a big deal when compared to pics of my friends making goofy faces with emojis.
        So there you have it. 20% turn-out for voters under 30.

        1. JohnnyGL

          The generational conflict stuff is just a dumb media creation. Differences within generations have always been far greater than differences between them. That narrative just gives the media something to talk about and gives Pete Peterson’s crew a way of arguing that Social Security involved “stealing” from one generation and giving it to the next.

          That said, in his defense 1) there was a draft in the 1960s and 2) getting arrested wasn’t a death sentence for future employment and also 3) unemployment was pretty low so if you got canned, you could always walk down the street and find another one.

          1. jrs

            #2 is probably pretty important. Criminal background checks everywhere. In fact in low wage jobs they are having employees PAY for their own criminal background checks AGAIN AND AGAIN for every job they apply to … all in order if they are actually lucky enough to get hired, to earn about minimum wage.

          2. HBE

            Speaking from my generation HAL is partially correct but so is GL, there is alot of self indulgence (certainly not unique to millennials, it just takes a different form than it did in the past, and is probably more conspicuous than past forms).

            GL is definitely right as well though, in the past you could have youthful indiscretions and challenge authority to a much greater extent without being unemployed for the rest of your life. With “good” jobs few and far between, very few are willing to directly confront anything and end up with a permanent loss of employability.

            Not to mention a highly militarized police force and zero anonymity.

        2. jrs

          yea well back then wars were actually broadcast on t.v. which tends to make people angry (plus people had a personal stake in the draft and well self-interest motivates people – hey it wasn’t all selfless if one is honest, not that I’m pro-draft, I’m definitely not). Yemen doesn’t get that kind of coverage.

          1. Paid Minion

            Let’s face it………the old people ALWAYS screw it up for the next generation. At least from the next generation’s perspective.

            It’s fun watching my daughters turn into me as they get older.

            I’ve noticed that almost all of the major news sites have reporters/commentators in their 20s/early 30s. Old guys in their 50’s? Few and far between. They seem to have a problem with “Preaching to the Millenial Choir”. Seems that the “can’t judge until you’ve worn the other person’s shoes” ideal doesn’t extend to old people.

            It’s a good thing that I’m starting to believe that 95% of the population is effed in the head, and that I don’t really give a rat’s ass one way or the other.

            My lawn sign = “Giant Meteorite, 2016……….Let’s just get it over with.”

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          Don’t discount the younger generations. Given the cost of emergency medical care — even with insurance — be glad your son doesn’t go out into the streets to risk getting his head bashed. I’m waiting for some young person with excellent computer skills to take less open but more effective action — something like Elliot Anderson might execute. More adventurous but less cerebral types could find many opportunities for physical security breaches with similar large scale effects. In any case watching the new Pinkertons in Dakota I’m not sure action in the streets will accomplish much aside from arrest and personal injury.

          For myself — like a swallow I will learn to fly.

          1. Carla

            ” I’m waiting for some young person with excellent computer skills to take less open but more effective action”

            Seems Edward Snowden did a pretty good job in that respect. And support for him isn’t exactly overwhelming.

            1. uncle tungsten

              The support seems sufficient for his existence. I would like it to be a better and freer existence for him for sure. The consequences of his actions and the actions of his collaborators and supporters are beginning to manifest and I believe will result in major transformations in the use of technology. In the not too distant future all mobile devices will be solidly encrypted because nothing will prevent the wide dissemination of stingray type interception equipment. I would be fairly confident that some unethical press CEO’s already have them in hand.

        4. Katharine

          Everything is screwed up but there aren’t any issues worth getting out in the streets for? There seems to be a slight disconnect there.

          But don’t overgeneralize. Your son is where he is, and this may be the year, or the five years, when you really can’t connect, but there are so many spectacular young people out there, including one who bears significant credit for stopping an incinerator near her school in the Curtis Bay area of south Baltimore, and a man a few years older who is running for mayor as a Green (poor chance perhaps but really interesting candidate). I’m not merely hopeful but sometimes excited about younger generation(s).

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Thanks All, he and I connect really well (I get what you mean though about the years when that’s hard), we’re just trading positions in our ongoing polemic on the state of the world and what, then, shall be done

        5. tommy strange

          Perhaps your son has also seem how ‘big’ demonstrations haven’t moved the democrats ONE inch in 20 years. Anyway, I’m old, and all the young people I meet, in radical circles, ex occupy, punk shows etc…are more educated and engaged and enraged then we were in the 80’s. Certainly a hundred times more educated about international stuff, better read, for example know the difference a big one, from the Zapatistas and Syriza…..so it depends on where you are and what circles I guess…..Anyway, your generation didn’t really stop a war with demonstrations. The largest ones happened in 67, 68…a million more people died until 1974. . Vietnam won, and the draft army was literally falling apart. That’s why we have drones today, and more ‘clients’ as in latin america to do the dirty work. Not trying to be nasty. But I don’t like old people, like me, lying to kids, that demonstrations change massive entrenched power systems. Only people revolting outside the ballot box, and withhold labor etc…does that…..

          1. Propertius

            Your chronology is off – probably because (in spite of proclaiming yourself “old”, you’re too young to recall the events clearly). The ’67 and ’68 protests were just the opening act.

            Moratorium Day was October 15, 1969, two months to the day after Woodstock. I remember it pretty well, seeing as I got suspended from high school for participating in local demonstrations. I still have a button somewhere. There were over a million protestors in DC that day.

            It was followed exactly a month later (November 15, 1969) by the New Mobe demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco. There were 500,000 demonstrators in DC alone.

            Demonstrations continued pretty much unabated all over the country in the following months, ramping up again after the Cambodian incursion (which turned my mother solidly against the war. I very clearly remember her saying: “He invaded a neutral country – just like Hitler” during Nixon’s speech – thereby anticipating Godwin’s law by a couple of decades).

            Kent State was May 4, 1970.

            This led to the National Student Strike, which involved an estimated 4 million demonstrators at high schools (yup, suspended again ;-) ) and universities across the country (and 100,000 hastily gathered demonstrators in DC). The Student Strike forced the complete shutdown of the University of California system. It was the only nationwide student strike in US history. It affected 450 campuses across the country.

            April, 1971 brought another 500,000 demonstrator protest to DC, at which a number of decorated veterans (including some guy named John Kerry) threw away their medals on the Capitol steps. This was immediately followed by the May Day protests (which lasted all week and required 10,000 Federal troops, including the 82nd Airborne, to disperse. 12,614 protestors were arrested (the largest mass arrest in US history) – including the 1146 arrested while trying to occupy the Capitol and shut down Congress.

            The Statue of Liberty was occupied in December. So was the Lincoln Memorial (briefly).

            The protests died down quite a bit after that (with a brief revival in response to Nixon’s resumption of bombing in ’72). I think there were a couple of reasons for this:

            1) A lot of the folks in the peace movement decided to redirect their energy into the McGovern campaign, and

            2) The rise of the Weathermen (in particular that slimy agent provocateur Bill Ayers) disenchanted a lot of people – how could one credibly oppose a war by indulging in indiscriminate (and lethal) violence? Putting on my chapeau de papier alu, I’d speculate that was part of the plan.

          2. uncle tungsten

            Demonstrations do change systems. They are the place where participants gain one mighty affirmation from their colleagues. If people attend for the first time their uncertainty is usually rapidly transformed to commitment. Sure people drift away from movements but their path has changed and they are affirmed and stronger in their beliefs.

            The state gazes on demonstrations in great discomfort because the people have seized the dialog and it is their own dialog. The state knows that those hundreds of thousands talk to more hundreds of thousands and so the state fears for its legitimacy and rigged system of compliance.

            The Bernie Sanders rallies seriously disturbed the ‘chosen one’ and her clan of fixers. There is no doubt in my mind that many attending the rallies were not convinced they could win against the odds but they came out and will be there again in 4 years. Building mass movements through demonstrations is the early stage of the tactics needed for change, the following tactics depend on the human terrain, the technological environment and weaknesses in the state’s mouthpieces and the blunders of the state. These are times of enormous criticality and opportunity.

            1. Ulysses

              “These are times of enormous criticality and opportunity.”

              Indeed! Those of us who care must never surrender to despair. Throughout history, remarkable numbers of people have managed to put aside self-centered concerns, and to struggle against injustice.

              Raise a glass to toast the 5 year anniversary of Occupy tonight!

        6. Otis B Driftwood

          This is one of the morbid ironies of then and now. Then, I watched the Viet Nam war unfold on television every night on the news with Walter Cronkite. The map of the DMZ and the raw film footage from the rice fields, the napalm and the chaos of broken bodies hustled off to helicopters.

          That was on my television every night when I was a kid during the VN war. It was on every American’s television. It was in your face and it was real and it was horrifying.

          Now, despite the terabytes of digitized data produced every day from all around the globe, no one sees the horrors of a drone strike inflicts on other human beings. That, to me, is a big difference.

          War is abstract now, but for the few who are directly involved. For the rest of us, it’s no more than a computer game.

      3. jgordon

        Amazing! Who could have imagined that you’d have that kind of a reaction? By the way, how did you feel about the “get over your butthurt and support Hillary because Trump” sort of comments?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          There’s a lot of that going around, the old “you should eat your thin gruel and be happy with it” bit. The elite must maintain a fine calculation however to determine precisely when the gruel gets so very thin that the bowl gets thrown back in their faces anyway. The orange-haired blowhard has been very tough to accept, but I think you have to take your clues where you can find them. Here are a few I’ve noticed:
          1. Bush era Republican neo-con war criminals falling over themselves to say “I’m with Her”. Hmm.

          2. Multi-billionaire carpetbaggers from Buffet to Cuban falling over themselves to say “I’m with Her”. Hmm.
          3. A ghoul-show of CIA spooks and Curtis LeMay types falling over themselves to say “I’m with Her”. Hmm.
          4. Goldman Friggin’ Sachs themselves, pausing from doing God’s work long enough to tell employees they may only contribute to Hilary’s campaign, not Donald’s. Hmm.

          With friends like that it’s easy for me to know who the enemy is.

      4. Otis B Driftwood

        True that, Scott. But you could also look at her record of policy failure, inveterate lying, corruption and corporate water-toting and bypass Drum altogether.

        BTW, anyone who isn’t on the HRC train will get similar treatment wherever we may happen to fall on the identity spectrum. So chin up. ;)

      5. Paula

        She called pretty much everyone an anti-semite in her AIPAC speech, stealing the last hope of me being able to vote to defeat Trump. And now it’s being backed up with attacks on the BDS folks. She’s also put me in a position that I have to point out all the lies they tell about stupid Trump. How do you have to lie, with the embarrassing help of most of the media, to discredit a guy like Trump?
        Have you seen the CNBC article about Colin Powell’s leaked emails? He’s disgusted with Trump, yes, but he has much worse things to say about the Clintons and how much they hate Obama. He’s also very upset that she compared her “illegal” emails to his unclassified stuff. Thinks it hurts his legacy. His WMD performance apparently not a problem. None of that is mentioned in any major media outlet story. Google ‘Clinton hates Obama Colin Powell email leak’. Ooh, and does the FLOTUS ever disdain them.

    4. cwaltz

      I’m not a millennial but I think people who choose not to vote for Clinton should totally own it when it comes to the “blame” of the election outcome. In my case I’m an Independent. As an Independent, the DNC said it didn’t need me to win during their primaries. I sure hope the DNC intends to “own” that.

      If Clinton loses they might want to look at themselves and their actions and perhaps next time not assume a minority group(Democratic loyalists) has the right to choose the candidate.

      1. Pat

        I’m not a millenial, but I am what the Party could consider a dependable Democratic voter. They were so sure that the appropriate boogeyman theory could get me to vote for a candidate I have followed, watched and don’t give a break because of political excuses the not even equal to the dog ate my homework, they decided they didn’t need to listen to me or any one like me who told them Hillary Clinton would never get my vote. Yeah, I think they knew that it wasn’t just Republicans who didn’t like Clinton, but that a large percentage of the voters they depend on to turn out for every election didn’t either. As has been noted all of sudden they are getting they need Independents AND Sanders supporters AND millenials because all that outreach to moderate Republicans isn’t quite doing it.

        Will they own that? Hell they cannot even own that they got hacked because their security was bad and they were warned about it, forget owning what was revealed as the result of one of those hacks. (You don’t think there is only Guccifer 2, do you?) Will they own that their own greed and corruption led them to nominate a person who was always going to have an uphill battle getting elected and was totally inadequate to win this particular election? I think there are better odds that I will win tonight’s Powerball. Nope they are going to blame the failure of their decisions on the very groups they alienated.

        1. tommy strange

          yep you’re both right…and that’s what they are doing now. I agree. one great thing about this election is how naked the liberal elites are of the ‘unwashed left of center masses’……which is actually the majority of the country…..if you look outside the dropping registration between the two parties.

          1. Mark John

            The Clintons thought they had checkmated progressive voters. That is how little they think of them, attempting to back them into a corner and make them yield.

      2. DarkMatters

        If Clinton loses:
        Indeed, in the long run, it is possible, though unlikely, to have an outcome where we might look about ourselves in despair. But we will always have the satisfaction of having prevented a worse alternative: mass killings and incompetently destructive geopolitical adventurism; the continuation of blatant sophistry of national scofflaws; ongoing high-level corruption on a billion-dollar scale; and the treasonously irresponsible policies accompanying these. It’s hard to imagine any evil rising quickly enough to surpass the threats she is posing.

    5. jrs

      Blame Obama for demoralizing everyone about ever voting Dem again. 8 years of neo-liberalism. If Hillary was nothing more or less than a carbon copy of the Obama administration that would be disastrous enough economically for large numbers of people (of course in foreign policy she will probably be worse).

      Blame the oligarchy. If the elites views become policy and the people’s do not, then Obama is just a case of that, and people expect the same from Hillary. Maybe it’s not possible to constantly sell people snake oil promises while doing the bidding of the elites indefinitely. But that is what our political system DOES by it’s very nature.

      But it’s all: the people lack faith! They won’t believe! Bernie at most convinced a few to believe, despite all evidence, for a few months.

  9. hemeantwell

    I wonder if there’s anything as… extraordinary in Clinton’s Brooklyn bunker?

    Not to say “fascism, ahoy!,” but that makes a lot of Hitler kitsch look restrained, stately. There’s something about the rising sun that uncorks the manic potential.

    1. ekstase

      That’s the kind of thing you hide when people come over, not take down to Headquarters and nail it on the wall.

    2. ambrit

      And who is that figure standing just offshore from New York with the Sun throwing their horrendous shadow all over the Empire State?
      To paraphrase someone or other; “No one ever lost an election underestimating the intelligence of the public.”

    3. polecat

      She’s probably laying big leathery eggs … or something …..

      god help anyone who gets within striking distance !

  10. flora

    re: The Despair Election
    ” Both are absolutely awful, indeed unthinkable, albeit in different ways, and yet this is what liberal neoliberal order has come to.”

    There, fixed it.

    1. DJG

      Yep. The critique by Hanby and Dreher runs only so far before it starts to eat its own tail. Dreher and Hanby are part of some kind of Catholic-nostalgic group. Sit around wooden tables and share home-made cheese. So technology is liberalism, and the crisis involves some kind of flight. Unfortunately, that kind of flight has often ended up in the arms of Falange-style Catholics and Opus Dei (the Scientologists of Roman Catholicism). I’m sure that the Franciscan Movement is too close to communism for them. So part of their despair is their own lack of imagination, political and religious. Sheesh.

  11. Jason Boxman

    Indeed, the Democrat freakout about millennials is hilarious. They’re trotting out Al Gore and the discredited notion that votes for Nader spoiled the election, rather than, say, a defective candidate.

    1. cwaltz

      It’s cute that they finally have figured out they need those “Independent” Sanders supporters.


    2. pretzelattack

      gore was also saddled with some clinton fatigue, i think. that’s why he wanted to distance himself from them. and don’t forget voter fraud in florida.

    3. Punta Pete

      Blame Nader, blame Gore, blame anyone, blame anything, but not Bill Clinton’s policies. To wit, WV a reliable blue state in most elections since FDR, turned Red in 2000 and has become Redder with each election. NAFTA & Most Favored Nation status for China absolutely decimated the state. WV’s 5 electoral votes would have given the election to Gore, but by 2000 the good folks in WV had figured out that the “New Democrats” were giving them the shaft. WV, never a rich state, ranked in the mid-30’s in most measures of socio-economic well-being prior to trade liberalization. Now it finds itself down in the toilet with perennial basket cases such as Missssippi and Arkansas. No wonder those ‘deplorable’ folks are voting for Trunp. (Aside: In some head-to-head poles during the early months of the campaign, Sanders was leading Trump in WV.)

      1. Pat

        That would have done it. Gore winning his home state of Tennessee would have done it. The 30,000 or so Democrats in Florida who voted for Bush staying home or voting for the Democratic nominee would have done it.

        There were numerous ways Gore might have won in a manner that left no question which have nothing to do with Nader. But for me the biggest thing that makes me go bull is that blaming Nader voters ignores the very real fact that those voters had every right to do so. It was up to Gore to convince them he was worthy of their vote. He failed. I liked Gore, but he failed. And what would have happened if they just stayed home, something the Democratic and Republican parties seem to be going for more and more? Oh wait Gore still loses. The more realistic villain in this if you don’t make it about Clinton fatigue and third way failure was the electoral college, but then you don’t get to shame people who didn’t do what you wanted.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I think the artist made a mistake. The toilet should be clogged and badly needing a gallon of lysol, a mop and a super plumber.

    2. flora

      He’s carved the hind quarters of a calf (golden calf?) into the back of the toilet. Where the floor holding bolts are, and should be covered with a simple caps, he’s carved calf hooves that extend as haunches up to the fresh water intake. So, anyone sitting on said toilet ??? Wry humor.

  12. Vatch

    I don’t believe that’s a solid gold toilet. I think it’s gold plated. A solid gold toilet would be astonishingly expensive.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I can’t imagine 200 proof gold surviving the sitting upon.

      Reminds me of Willy Ley explaining von Braun’s skills. While preparing to contest the denial of a requisition for a gold-plated assay tray, WvB interrupted him with ‘tell them it’s cheaper than solid gold.’ Sailed through

  13. Synoia

    Retail: “Consumers don’t appear to be holding up their end of the supply chain bargain.”

    Misses the point.

    Retail: “Employers don’t appear to be holding up their end of the wage and demand side of the bargain.”


  14. L

    UPDATE “Why the Whole Trump-Clinton Election Could Probably Just Be Held in Pennsylvania” [New York Times]. This is a very interesting article, well worth a read. It caught my eye because Pennsylvania is also part of the shipping story, with new warehousing and infrastructure. So I’d be interested in what our Pennsylvania readers think.

    I strongly suspect that will depend upon which Pennsylvania voter you ask. Pennsylvania is often cited as a model of the country as a whole with Philidelphia, on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and the south in between. In reality it is a good model in some ways but not that way.

    The Philidelphia area has the new shipping facilities and is poised to gain logistics jobs especially under any new trade deal with Europe.

    Pittsburgh has rusting steel factories, decaying infrastructure, industrial pollution that is scary, and is now serving as a testbed for driverless uber.

    And Central Pennsylvania has farming families that are unsure what will happen. Rural towns that have been transformed, and in some cases irretrievably polluted, by fracking. And factories that may or may not stay in business.

    Some percentage (say 1 or so) of those people have won in the new economy. Others such as the educated in Pittsburgh may be poised to take advantage of high speed rail to build a new tech hub, or they may be too late. And many others are simply shut out of real power or decisionmaking.

    I expect that Clinton will carry the cities and Trump will carry the rural areas. The deciding vote will lie in the suburbs which have swung both ways.

  15. temporal

    Drummed Out

    It is clear that Mother Jones should do the proper thing and rename their magazine. Pro-corporate shill articles about the evils of lefties, populist values and the goodness of political corruption are the polar opposite of everything Mary Jones wanted to see.

    Admittedly none of these possible titles have that ring but a least there would be less cognitive dissonance.

    Shills R US
    It’s Their Fault
    Lefty’s are Evil
    I Got Mine Go Find Your Own
    Clinton Foundation Pays Our Bill

    or stick with historical names

    Andrew Carnegie
    Barry Goldwater
    Ayn Rand (personal favorite choice)

    1. Uahsenaa

      Maybe Drum could write a letter to the ghost of Paul Jacobs telling him how important it was to support Lyndon Johnson.


      Though, I’d take Johnson any day over either the sitting Dem. president or the candidate currently on offer.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        i have always regarded the Johnson Presidency as tragedy. He brought us the Great Society at the same time he brought us the Vietnam War. I don’t believe he was an especially good man — but a complex man. His combination of vanity, egoism, political savvy and acumen as well as what I believe was a genuine desire to accomplish something “good” with his Presidency tied with his handling of the Vietnam War greatly saddens me with the memory of those times — times of great promise and of great loss.

        1. Propertius

          i have always regarded the Johnson Presidency as tragedy.

          Me too. Had he not gotten sucked into Vietnam, he might have tied with FDR as the most accomplished President of the 20th Century.

  16. ScottW

    Saw Snowden this morning. Highly recommend it. Tells a great story in a cogent way, beautifully shot and edited. Even people who hate Snowden should see the movie.

  17. Massinissa

    That article about Millenials is a real laugh.

    At the beginning, the author says about Clinton, “She is an abominable candidate, a wooden speaker, a cynical triangulator, and—to put it kindly—ethically challenged.”

    Then, he spends the rest of the article asking why Millenials don’t want to vote for her.

    I have no words.

    And the best part is the last line: “If Trump wins, we’ll get what we deserve”


    1. cwaltz

      No we won’t, because 42% of the population identifying as Independant, according to the corrupt duopoly aren’t even allowed to pick the primary candidates we get to choose from.

      Screw Kevin Drum and his elitist belief that after rigging the primaries that 42% of the population should be forced to choose his candidate or they deserve the other narcissist running.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Given the nature of our political system I always urge Independents to register as either Democrat of Republican. That way they can vote in the primary. There is no rule that binds a Democrat to vote Democrat or vice versa and nothing binds an Independent who registers with one party or the other. Until recent times I was a staunch Democrat. That didn’t stop me from registering as a Republican in an effort to block Bush the Elder as the Republican candidate [CIA + IranGate made me a little suspicious of the guy]. There is no percentage to registering as an Independent unless you like a lot of phone calls.

        1. Massinissa

          I’m registered as a Democrat and voted for Sanders, but it didn’t do any good. The primaries are more rigged than the general at this point.

          And hell, I don’t even like Sanders that much. Hes just less terrible than Hillary. The Republicans didn’t get any good choices either. So honestly I almost don’t see any point to the primaries because the choices are still basically pre-selected by the elites.

        2. jrs

          It makes sense in states with a closed primary. It makes little sense in an open primary state however as anyone can vote for anyone in the primaries in an open primary state (except if you suspect deliberate tossing of independent ballots … straight out vote tampering – and I can’t rule it out unfortunately).

        3. cwaltz

          There were plenty of people who did that only to mysteriously find their party affiliation had been changed to Independent in order to disenfranchise them

          Primaries should be open. Period. There should not be any requirement of Democratic or Republican fealty in order to be allowed to choose general election candidates, particularly when Independants are footing the bill for these little private soirees, not just party loyalists.

      2. tommy strange

        Yep, but realize that it’s a LOT MORE than 42% of the population. I wish people would think about this, when they think despairingly (as I do daily) of the potential for real systemic change….At the most, the people that vote for these two will ONLY make up one third of the population. The non voters that could actually vote will be around 60% to their 40%. Then, there is another ton of people too. Registered dems are only 29% of ‘voting age population’ now. FEC has stats that these liberal pundits are loathe to cite….for good reason…both parties are hated…You also don’t get reminded of turnout when the old Nader trope is trotted out…..60 to 70% of the voting age population didn’t vote for anyone…

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Correct. Sensible people are not dog-whistled by either side.

          I’m voting,so yeah, can’t claim sainthood.

  18. ScottW

    I am surprised Hillary’s first press conference since falling ill was not written about more extensively. It is very short, about 10 mins., and she is rote in her presentation, reading simple points from prepared notes. Her expression is the same throughout. In my opinion, she looks OK, but her presentation is frankly poor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FJ2mOcr7to

    She needs to up her game if she is going to hold her own against Donald in the debates.

    1. Pat

      Her sheer wonky knowledge of the issues will have her swiping him off her lapel like lint, didn’t you know!?!

      She was always going to lose against Trump in the debates. Did the public ever think she won a debate in either of her Presidential nomination campaigns? I can’t think of one. And frankly neither Obama or Sanders is as quick as Trump, when anything unexpected comes up. Yeah, we aren’t talking substance here, but from Kennedy/Nixon on public response has been as much about overall impression as the actual content. No amount of prep is going to get her over that finish line, she doesn’t have the skill set necessary.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        After 50+ years of presidential candidates pretending to be TV stars, a TV star is going to be president. Shocking.

        I’d prefer Shatner.

        1. RMO

          Too bad you can’t get him – he was born a little too far to the north. How about Nichelle Nichols with George Takei as V.P.?

  19. Pat

    Is anyone asking Kevin Drum, why blame Bernie Sanders when the Democratic Party tied one of their hands behind their back by overwhelming supporting the candidate that almost half of America already hated?

    When every poll showed that Clinton had barely fifty percent of America that didn’t dislike her at the start, when all the polls after Trump had pretty much cinched the nomination made it clear that Sanders was the stronger candidate, the only logical choice if you wanted a Democratic President was to nominate Sanders. Still the party elite, for reasons that had nothing to do with what was best for the country decided to game the system and nominate Clinton despite her flaws, her well noted campaign problems (as in she is terrible at it), and the fact that no matter how many times she reintroduces herself a huge percentage of people do not like her and largely do not trust her (and didn’t before Sanders even entered the race) and pretend she could wipe the floor with Trump.

    Clearly the only people to blame if Clinton loses, are the people who insisted that she was the only candidate from the beginning – the Clintons, their donors, the Democratic Party which they have corrupted so completely. This coupled with media idiots like Drum who either are paid to be oblivious and chose that life OR are so divorced from the reality of life for the majority of Americans they cannot comprehend why anyone could despise the status quo they would be willing to roll the dice with the unknown quantity.

    I might have tried taking it on, but there will be no convincing him (or the readers stupid enough to blame Sanders or the millenials). He cannot blame the candidate herself and her machine, because that would admit that the Empress not only has no clothes, is a physical wreck, and has more strings attached than a marionette is a fast route to oblivion in a dying industry even if he has already realized it.

    1. relstprof


      Sorry, but anyone with a memory will recall how Bill Clinton went out of office. Pardoning rich donors. We didn’t need Sanders to tell us how Hillary has maneuvered in similar fashion. We have eyes. And her numbers were like this before half the country knew who Sanders was. A joke of an article.

  20. ira

    ‘Hillary Clinton was a shifty, corrupt, lying shill who cared nothing for real progressive values…’

    I’d say he nailed it.

  21. timbers


    Scanning the MSM headlines. Hillary’s back form the almost dead and she’s fighting for us – BIRTHERISM. We all know that’s #1 among the issues Americans are most concerned about, right? And the corporate media is joining in full tilt. They know they have FINALLY been given a biscuit from Team Clinton for a policy free social identity issue they can both sink their teeth into and attack Trump. Looking at the headlines it seems it almost birtheristic to deny birtherism … if your name is Trump anyways.

    Who cares about sky rocketing healthcare costs? Who cares about jobs? Who cares about affordable education or the retirement crisis? Who needs policy?

    1. jgordon

      You may not like Trump, but you have to admit that he’s brilliant at manipulating people–voters, the media, the Hillary campaign–everyone:

      1) Tell press he’s going to give a major statement.

      2) First get a bunch of endorsements from decorated military veterans while the press is swarming around waiting for Trump to humiliate humiliate himself as a birther.

      3) Then finish with: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong again.”


  22. Pat

    “medical out-of-pocket expenses dragged 11.2 million people into poverty in 2015, a potential symptom of the shift of moving employees and individuals into health plans that have higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance rates”

    Gosh, remember when the President told us that ACA was going to end medical bankruptcy in America?
    It was always BS, but it cannot be repeated too much. Everything we were told about this piece of manure by the administration was a LIE.

    1. jawbone

      What could go wrong with the Big Insurers, Big PhRMA, Big Hosipital Chains dictating to the Congress what to put in/keep out of the ACA? Better known as the Profit Protection Plan….

  23. Knot Galt

    re: Why the Whole Trump-Clinton Election Could Probably Just Be Held in Pennsylvania

    This comment is completely ANECDOTAL. I visited my daughter who is going to College in Pittsburgh and I had the opportunity to cover the entire state sightseeing sans Philadelphia. Including Pittsburgh, I saw 90% Trump signs and maybe 2% HRC signs with the rest other political signage. And the HRC signs were in out of the way places like one where the house, in Gettysburg, was off a sidewalk following railroad tracks and the sign was in the side yard set back several feet off the sidewalk. Maybe the Bulls guarding the RR tracks will see the sign, and me.

    1. armchair

      Did a drive right up I-99 and Highway 15 (Central Pennsylvania), in August, and it was Trump support all the way. In New York we saw a Republican HQ in a weather beaten, two-story building, in a small city (Cortland?) where one of the upstairs windows was held open with an empty whiskey bottle. Had an African American shuttle driver in Pittsburgh who was very cagey about who he supported for president in this election, but he loved Obama. Even if he was a reliable Clinton voter, he didn’t want to let on.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Very hard to get an accurate poll when fewer and fewer people even have landlines, and the landline demographic is very skewed to start with anyway.

      1. armchair

        Last August was my first time in Wheeling WV, Pittsburgh, Central Pennsylvania and Upstate NY. I didn’t do any polling, but I saw a hell of a lot of Trump signs. I was travelling with fellow lefties, including the type of liberal that Thomas Frank might yell at, so every Trump sign was a gasp. I’ve heard it said that Trump has no ground game and that Clinton’s ground game is for real. Okay, where’s the evidence?

        My perception in Washington state is that the democrats do not want to associate with Clinton. Sanders did get over 70% in the caucus here, so most of the passion is directed down ticket. Washington is no battleground, but it is telling that local politicians don’t want her name alongside the Clinton name.

      2. cm

        Bingo. For some reason no one wants to talk about this, but the landline restriction (IMO) makes the polls completely useless.

  24. Uahsenaa

    Another statistic to accompany the Times article:

    “72% of all New York Times articles ask the wrong damn questions.”

    There ya go; free of charge.

    1. allan

      Looks like the MSM attacks on Gary Johnson (at net -11) and Jill Stein (-15) are working all too well.
      As the panic deepens, it’s only going to get worse.

  25. Buttinsky

    That Zeitgeist UPDATE.

    Well, at least it’s mostly just the U.S. depicted on the planet behind Trump. One worries that the version in Hillary’s bunker includes a sizable swath of the Ukraine, Central Asia and the Middle East.

  26. tinheart

    TL;DR version of Kevin Drum’s article: “And we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”

    Scooby-Dooby Doo!

  27. Left in Wisconsin

    “The ‘new liberal economics’ is the key to understanding Hillary Clinton’s policies” [Mike Konczal, Vox].

    Well, Konczal is one of the best of the liberal economists, so this is sad to see. On the other hand, he does seem to leave plenty of (hopefully reputation-saving) wiggle room:

    Of course, it remains to be seen how closely she will hew to this agenda if elected.

    And, maybe it’s just false hope on my part, but I detect a tone that is really arguing: “OK, there really is no new consensus about this – and certainly one can have no confidence HRC is really on board for any of this – but I would like to push the conversation more in this direction.” It’s mainstream liberal, not left. But much of it is perfectly good policy, and certainly it’s only recently that the Overton Window has shifted to make even this weak tea palatable to Big DC.

  28. Pavel

    Waiting to see if Obama spends as much time in his last few months trying to close Gitmo as much as he tries to get TPP passed. Just sayin’…

  29. hunkerdown

    Carl Beijer’s “Some points on Marx and ageism“. Here, it appears he’s challenging the claim that “generations don’t have agency” with a nice heaping dose of Cynicism, “historical cohorts allow[s] us to contemplate age dynamics associated with the material progress of history”, casting light on Marx’s observation that the bourgeoisie and their “innovative” preoccupations need some “ancient” (i.e. previous-generation) order against which their “innovation” may be seen in contrast. So, perhaps cohorts don’t have agency, so much as they have norms, identities (which group identities are necessarily distinguishing, lest they cease to identify), and tendencies, all shaped by their accumulated interests and lived experiences. To me, this quality relates to agency as weak AI relates to intelligence or the firm relates to the community: inferior constructions reified as (and/or by) games.

    (note to editor: moved from a misplaced reply)

    1. ekstase

      I have to say, whenever I see comments positing theories about whole “generations,” (a false construct,) being good or bad, a couple of things occur to me right away. One is that the huge differences in life experiences of people of different genders and races are thus swept under the rug. (On purpose? Who knows?) Two, it prevents appreciation of people who fought the good fight in whatever circumstances they were born into — those people thus just disappear from the narrative. And invariably the real point is, “I am good. I suffer. Others don’t.” And this last part is baloney and suggests a need for oh, maybe some counseling or something. Life is complicated. People are infinitely varied. Unfortunately, this is sometimes employed as a tactic for really less than honorable purposes.

      1. cm

        If your argument is correct (which I doubt) then the baby boomers should disclaim the hippie revolution, correct? Obviously they protested the war in Viet Nam (since they were eligible for the draft, until Nixon cagily exempted the upper class college students), but now that we have a volunteer army all wars are good?

  30. JohnnyGL

    “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 48% of Likely Democratic Voters believe Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary rival, should be their party’s nominee if health issues forced her out of the race. Twenty-two percent (22%) say Vice President Joe Biden should be the nominee, while only 14% opt for Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, the current Democratic vice presidential candidate. Nine percent (9%) of Democrats think it should be someone else. ”


  31. PhilU

    Ok, well I’m in the process of emailing the author of the ” stock-flow-fund ecological macroeconomic model” I’ll post a copy of it here as soon as I’m done typing it.

  32. Synoia

    If a program is a series of instructions, then the null program is a series of zero instructions. The null program has some interesting properties, not the least of which being that it’s simultaneously written in many languages and many paradigms

    IEFBR14 – a null program – and cannot be instantiated in a series – and there is no such thing as a zero instruction, the is a No Operation, NOP, which possibly could be, but in the Turing system there is always the next instruction…

    In testing a null program, how could one verify that it actually ran, when nothing is changed?

    1. cm

      Yeah, I don’t understand the purpose of promoting this article. Seems like a bunch of nonsense to this programmer.

  33. sd

    Florida sinkhole causes radioactive water to leak into aquifer

    The sinkhole – about 45ft (14m) in diameter – at Mosaic’s New Wales facility in the town of Mulberry was discovered by a company worker on 27 August.
    The sinkhole later caused the waste pond to drain, and the contaminated water has now seeped into the aquifer.

  34. Daryl

    > I love that this article is in LinkedIn…

    Probably because faking your own death is the only way to get off their email lists

  35. Paper Mac

    Re: “A stock-flow-fund ecological macroeconomic model” (PDF) [Science Direct (PhilU)]. This paper looks interesting, and is actually written in English. I’d be interested in reader reactions.

    Just skimmed the math, but their simulation results are prima facie absurd- 4 degrees of temperature rise by 2100 results in unemployment ticking up to 8%? I’m sorry folks, but this kind of thing is not a credible “baseline scenario”- as Kevin Anderson has warned, temperature increases of this magnitude are “incompatible with global civilisation”. The model claims to model the effects of climate change on the economy, but it seems clear from the simulation results that it fails the laugh test in this regard.

  36. Cry Shop

    ​TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced today that premiums for Florida individual major medical plans in compliance with the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will increase an average of 19% beginning January 1, 2017. Per federal guidelines, a total of 15 health insurance companies submitted rate filings for the Office’s review in May. These rate filings consisted of individual major medical plans to be sold both on and off the Exchange. Following the Office’s rate filing review, the approved rate changes on the Exchange range from a low of -6% to a high of 65%. This information can be located in the attached “Individual PPACA Market Monthly Premiums for Plan Year 2017” document.

    1. Cry Shop


      “Congress may not simply “commandee[r] the legislative processes of the States by directly compelling them to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program. …. We have always understood that even where Congress has the authority under the Constitution to pass laws requiring or prohibiting certain acts, it lacks the power directly to compel the States to require or prohibit those acts.”

      If Congress wants to regulate the business of insurance, it can do so. If Congress wants to establish a national risk adjustment program for insurers participating in the ACA, it can probably do so. If Congress wants to condition various subsidies such as advance premium tax credits on states running effective Risk Adjustment programs, it can probably do so. What it can not do, however, is to simply order the states to perform risk adjustment, particularly on terms dictated by the federal government.

  37. allan

    CalPERS in the news. Except this won’t exactly be news at NC:

    A Sour Surprise for Public Pensions: Two Sets of Books

    When one of the tiniest pension funds imaginable — for Citrus Pest Control District No. 2, serving just six people in California — decided last year to convert itself to a 401(k) plan, it seemed like a no-brainer.

    After all, the little fund held far more money than it needed, according to its official numbers from California’s renowned public pension system, Calpers.

    Except it really didn’t.

    In fact, it was significantly underfunded. Suddenly Calpers began demanding a payment of more than half a million dollars. …

    It turns out that Calpers, which managed the little pension plan, keeps two sets of books: the officially stated numbers, and another set that reflects the “market value” of the pensions that people have earned. The second number is not publicly disclosed. And it typically paints a much more troubling picture, according to people who follow the money. …

Comments are closed.