2:00PM Water Cooler 4/20/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“President Donald Trump will sign an executive order today directing the Commerce Department to investigate whether steel imports into the U.S. should be blocked on national security grounds, an administration official told POLITICO” [Politico]. “A Section 232 investigation requires the Commerce secretary to report to the president within 270 days whether a certain product is being imported in sufficient quantities or under such circumstances that it threatens to impair national security. The president then has another 90 days to decide whether to “adjust” imports or take some other non-trade related action. … The measure gives the president broad discretion to define national security, and he would not have to show that domestic producers have been materially injured by the imports as is the case in countervailing duty and anti-dumping investigations, [Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics] said.”

“TiSA and state-owned enterprises” (PDF) [The Transnational Institute]. “Uruguay’s withdrawal demonstrates that it is possible to break free from the TiSA process. There were no reprisals or negative impacts. On the contrary, the country has gained the sovereignty it needs to continue trying to build an autonomous national development model without betraying its values and political history.”

Paul Ryan: “In that same vein, the United States will work closely with our EU friends and chart a path forward on TTIP [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] negotiations” [Guardian].


Trump Transition

“The White House, under internal pressure to show legislative achievements ahead of the 100-day mark, is gearing up for a government shutdown fight to secure money for a border wall, more immigration enforcement officers and a bigger military, according to White House and congressional sources familiar with the plan” [Politico]. “It is a risky gambit. With almost uniform Democratic opposition to nearly all of the Trump administration’s spending proposals, the fight could lead to a government shutdown next Friday — the day government spending expires, and right before the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. Officials could also strike a one-week compromise, giving them more time for a broader agreement.”

“Trump needs a dose of ‘manly virtues'” [David Ignatius, WaPo]. Let the trolling begin!

2016 Post Mortem

Clinton campaign staffers are responding to Shattered by tweeting happy images from the campaign:

My guess is that the people in the Libyan slave markets that started up after we overthrew Qaddafi are “taking more crap” than Clinton ever did. And Clinton tipped the balance in the Obama administration for war in Libya. Whatever, Nick.


“Sanders-Backing Socialist Wins Big In Georgia City Council Race” [HuffPo]. For the “Georgia’s conservative, so what do you expect?” crowd, a candidate who actually won….

MT: “Democratic officials make no apology for their decision to stay away from the Kansas race, where their nominee lost by less than seven percentage points in a Wichita-based district that Mr. Trump carried by 27 points in November. They say their money has been better spent helping Mr. Ossoff” [New York Times]. Oh, come off it. Ossoff had $8 million dollars, and the Dems couldn’t find Thompson $20K for a mailer. And: “Democratic officials, contributors and activists in Montana, which Mr. Sanders carried in the presidential primary, are clearly agitated over their Washington-based party. They say the top-down leadership never misses an opportunity to play it safe” [New York Times]. It’s the other way round: Screwing Sanders is gambling; he’s the most popular active politician in America. Supporting Sanders candidates would be playing it safe.

GA-06: “Sanders: I don’t know if Ossoff is a progressive” [The Hill].

That’s OK. His supporters don’t either.

And I like Atkins. If the Dems were backing Ossoff (Clinton) and Thompson (Sanders) and Quist (Sanders) full force, I’d have no problem. But they aren’t, are they?

GA-06: “Nevertheless, it’s not just Democratic spin to say that a remarkable political transformation is happening in Georgia’s 6th District: an affluent, highly educated suburb of Atlanta. Nearly overnight, progressive organizing has become the center of social life for thousands of previously disengaged people in the area” [Slate]. Well, I like to see people involved. That said, what does “progressive” mean, exactly? Are the affluent professional liberal women of Cobb County for #MedicareForAll? #FightFor15? Free college (for real)? How about a Post Office Bank?

GA-06: “Several of the takeaways I wrote about last Wednesday after the unexpectedly close special election in Wichita, Kan., are now doubly true: This will make GOP recruiting harder. Some House Republicans might become scared about being vulnerable and change their behavior. Congressional Democrats are going to become less likely to bail out House GOP leadership on tough votes. Democratic campaign committees will face more pressure than ever from the left flank to spend money in red districts, even if there’s no realistic path to victory” [WaPo].

Realignment and Legitimacy

Perez looks like he’s sucking a lemon:

And Perez then proceeds to emit a high-pitched stream of bafflegab. The DNC may think they’re using Sanders, but it looks to me like Sanders is getting the better of the deal.

“Mr. Sanders told a Maine crowd Monday night that ‘our job is to radically transform the Democratic Party.’ He put the onus on Mr. Perez and other party leaders to adopt his aggressive power-to-the-people worldview” [Wall Street Journal]. “‘It can’t be just symbolic, it has got to be real,’ Mr. Sanders said. ‘It has got to be that those ideas are allowed to become the dominant theme of the Democratic Party, and that’s the choice that Democrats are going to have to make.'”

“The Party is moving to the left, but it has not adopted the Sanders campaign’s agenda” [The New Yorker]. Um. Onward: “[A] savvy Democrat [like Ossoff] could position himself both as the face of the national resistance and a defender of the center of American life. They must have noticed how a liberal Democrat, running in a historically conservative district, could become a campaign’s main character.”

“In Louisville, Perez & Bernie Call On Southern Democrats to Embrace Organized Labor” [Payday Report]. More like this, please.

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, March 2017: “March’s softness in the labor market wasn’t enough after all to hold back the index of leading economic indicators which came in at a March gain of 0.4 percent to beat Econoday’s high forecast” [Econoday], “The LEI has been very solid and continues to point ahead to rising economic strength,”

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, April 2017: “Activity has been so strong in the Philly Fed region, as it was in Monday’s Empire State report, that delivery times are spiking” [Econoday]. “Dislocations indicated by delivery times can obscure the meaning of some readings, especially inventories which are up sharply to 17.8 and a 44-year high. The giant build is likely a mix of intended stocking of raw materials in anticipation of strong production ahead but also a piling up of finished goods that are waiting to be delivered. Philly was the first of the advance reports to catch fire and though government data out of Washington have yet to show anywhere near the strength of this or other regional reports, the slowing in delivery times is tangible enough evidence of unusual factory acceleration underway, at least in the Northeast.” And but: “There is continuing significant strength in this survey from new orders even with the decline. Note that last month, Federal Reserve data shows manufacturing declined and the regional fed surveys all said manufacturing improved” [Econintersect].

Jobless Claims, week of April 15, 2017: [V]ery low consistent with uninterrupted strength in the labor market” [Econoday]. And: “This was at the consensus forecast” [Calculated Risk].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 16, 2016: “[R]emains very strong” [Econoday]. “Strength in confidence readings ultimately points to strength in the jobs outlook.”

Beige Book: “According to survey, the economy overall expanded in the period until the end of March with Districts equally split between modest and moderate growth in the period” [Economic Calendar]. “Manufacturing also continued to expand at a modest pace, although growth in freight shipments had slowed slightly.”

Beige Book: “[The Beige Book] took a downbeat view of industrial business: ‘worker shortages and increased labor costs’ were restraining growth in sectors including transport, manufacturing and construction” [Wall Street Journal]. “That fits with a report from J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. this week that its labor costs rose in the first quarter even as freight demand remained tepid. The Fed sees competition for labor growing across the country, particularly for low-skilled jobs, and that wages are rising. That’s a troubling trend for shipping providers that may now find themselves vying for workers even as business remains relatively flat. The Fed cited one unnamed nationwide freight hauler that says demand is ‘ho-hum’ and that recent improvements in manufacturing indicators weren’t pushing freight toward trucks.”

Real Estate: “Foreign money has been a key ingredient in propping up home values in many cities across the United States. There is no doubt about this. If you look at places like Irvine, many new home communities are being sold largely to investors from China. This also applies to house mania happy San Francisco. Yet even if you question your own sanity regarding California crap shack prices, things may look affordable to certain people abroad. The amount of investment flowing in from China into the United States is amazing. A large part flows into real estate. This is how you get lower homeownership rates and also a drop in mortgage application volume yet somehow, you see home prices surging on low inventory. In a global market money can flow in and out of systems easily” (charts) [Dr. Housing Bubble].

Rail: “The coal business that dragged down U.S. railroads is lifting up CSX Corp…. Revenue rose 9.5% from a year before to $2.87 billion, fueled in part by a 3% rise in coal shipments, much of which was primed for export” [Wall Street Journal]. “Revenue for the coal business soared 31%, a sign of more urgent demand that helped CSX generate a 28% gain in revenue per unit. That strong yield is the result of pricing discipline and restrained capacity that CSX and other railroads imposed during a steep downturn in coal demand. CSX is also getting more competitive with trucks under new chief Hunter Harrison. The carrier’s intermodal volume edged up just 1%, but revenue for that truck-rail business rose 7%, another signal that the railroad is gaining pricing leverage.”

Marketing: “In a landmark bout of activity, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has announced that it is, in fact, watching celebrities, athletes, and other influencers on Instagram. According to a statement from the government agency, after reviewing Instagram posts by celebrities and influencers, its staff has sent out more than 90 letters reminding influencers and marketers that they must clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships when promoting or endorsing products through social media” [The Fashion Law].

The Bezzle: “Cybersecurity Startup Tanium Exposed California Hospital’s Network in Demos Without Permission” [Wall Street Journal]. “Andreessen Horowitz, which poured around $150 million into the company in 2014 and 2015, declined to comment. Tanium is the latest highflying tech startup to be discovered pushing the envelope to speed growth, in a Silicon Valley environment where aggressive tactics often are seen as essential to success.”

The Bezzle: “Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze” [Bloomberg]. “One of the most lavishly funded gadget startups in Silicon Valley last year was Juicero Inc. It makes a juice machine. The product was an unlikely pick for top technology investors, but they were drawn to the idea of an internet-connected device that transforms single-serving packets of chopped fruits and vegetables into a refreshing and healthy beverage…. But after the product hit the market, some investors were surprised to discover a much cheaper alternative: You can squeeze the Juicero bags with your bare hands.”

Co-ops: “Legislation unveiled to streamline creation of worker cooperatives” [RI Future (DB)]. “Senator Donna Nesselbush (Democrat, District 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) and Representative Robert Craven (Democrat, District 32, North Kingstown) have introduced bills that will allow worker owned cooperatives to be started in Rhode Island. House Bill 6001, and Senate Bill 676 will allow organizations of working people to start cooperatively owned business. Current law makes it very difficult to form worker cooperatives, as it involves a lot of legal work, but the new law seeks to streamline that process.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 30, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Apr 20 at 11:50am.

The 420

“Sixty-one percent of Americans think marijuana use should be legal, a five-point increase from last year and the highest percentage ever recorded in this poll. Eighty-eight percent favor medical marijuana use” [CBS].

“The unofficial marijuana holiday on April 20 (4/20) has been the single best day for legal marijuana sales since, well, recreational marijuana sales first became legal in Colorado. And this year is expected to show the biggest increase ever, with sales rising by 20%? [247 Wall Street].

“With roughly 600,000 Americans facing pot charges every year, this year’s landscape is very much a mixed big for backers of marijuana legalization” [McClatchy]. “They had unprecedented success at the polls in 2016, with voters in eight of nine states supporting initiatives to expand access to the drug. But the domestic industry remains under a cloud amid worries that President Donald Trump’s administration may soon move to shut down the state operations by enforcing the federal ban against the drug. The legal limbo is expected to last at least until July 27, the deadline set by Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a Justice Department task force to review U.S. marijuana policies.”

“According to High Times magazine, the idea to honor marijuana on April 20 started in 1990, when a group of Deadheads in Oakland, Calif., sent out flyers inviting people to meet and smoke “420” at 4:20 p.m. on 4/20 — the earliest known record of celebrating pot on that day” [Yahoo News].

Health Care

Health care under neoliberalism:

“The deal, brokered between House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), would allow states to get waivers eliminating the so-called community rating provision ― the rule that prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. In order to obtain the waiver, states would have to participate in a federal high-risk pool or establish their own, and satisfy some other conditions” [HuffPo]. “In exchange for that conservative concession, the amendment would reinstate the Essential Health Benefits that were already taken out of the bill ― though, again, states could waive those provisions as well if they were able to show that doing so would lower premiums, increase the number of people insured, or ‘advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.'”

“Trump Shifts Back to Health Care” [Wall Street Journal]. “Mr. Trump’s revived push to fulfill a core campaign promise appears to be driven by three developments: First, a renewed confidence that he can still win enough votes to pass a bill; second, a belief that he needs the health-care savings to help pay for the tax bill and hit his economic growth promises; and third, a recognition that the tax-code overhaul isn’t near ready.”

“Here’s How to Break the GOP Logjam on Health Care” [The American Conservative]. Not “on the table” anywhere! Explained in layperson’s terms:

In a simpler and more idealistic time of my life—2011—I heard tell of a rather odd program in Arizona. Legislators there had seemingly figured out a way to overcome political resistance to school vouchers. Instead of the government providing the money, the private sector would donate it.

Except these weren’t really … donations, per se. In exchange for funding the vouchers, the contributors got tax credits in the exact amounts of the sums they’d provided—in effect, a full reimbursement by the government. The entire “donation” mechanism was a sham, a shell game designed to disguise what was really happening. Its sole purpose was to launder public subsidies into something that looked like private charity, so as to skirt political opposition to the subsidies.

I think the conservative love affair with tax credits has gone far enough. Perhaps even too far. “Why can’t my right hand give my left hand money? — My right hand can put it into my left hand. My right hand can write a deed of gift and my left hand a receipt. — But the further practical consequences would not be those of a gift. When the left hand has taken the money from the right, etc., we shall ask: ‘Well, and what of it?'”– Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations #268.

“Stricter chargemaster regulations needed to rein in healthcare costs” [Modern Healthcare]. “‘The problem of surprise bills from the chargemaster is even more pernicious,’ said Barak Richman, a law professor at Duke University School of Law. ‘It’s almost akin to stealing, stealing for the purpose of obtaining leverage for subsequent negotiations….’ ‘A hospital cannot operate in a break-even environment, they have to make money,’ [Joe Fifer, president and CEO of the Healthcare Financial Management Association] said. ‘That comes from the cost shift into the commercial payer environment, where some contracts are tied to a percentage of the chargemaster.'” Do we have any chargemaster geeks in the commentariat?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“The Department of Homeland Security is currently examining procedures to investigate travelers to the United States. In a congressional hearing, Secretary Kelly said they’re even considering forcing some travelers to provide their passwords to social media accounts as a condition to enter” [ACLU petition]. This is a terrible idea. Other countries will ask the same of us!

“Bose headphones spy on listeners: lawsuit” [Reuters (DK)].

Guillotine Watch

“How a California Anesthesiologist Became One of America’s Largest Antiquities Looters” [Men’s Journal]. Primitive accumulation….

Class Warfare

“Workers at Tesla’s Fremont, California electric car factory have filed a unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), accusing the company of illegal surveillance, coercion, intimidation and prevention of worker communications. The employees, who have been attempting to organize the approximately 7,000 workers at the plant through the United Auto Workers, claim that Tesla violated multiple sections of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the right to unionize” [Capital and Main].

“Case and Deaton have a theory for why mortality has risen for less-educated whites. For all the debate over whether college is worthwhile, high school graduates who go straight into the workforce have higher unemployment, weaker wage growth, and less chance of marrying than their predecessors and educated peers. Community supports have broken down, and as disadvantage snowballs, premature deaths rise” [Bloomberg]. Medicalization and criminalization don’t help with despair…

News of the Wired

“Its location a mystery for centuries, huge Indian city may have been found in Kansas” [McClatchy]. “Etzanoa has remained a mystery for 400 years. Archaeologists could not find it. Historians thought reports of a permanent settlement with 20,000 Native Americans in it were exaggerated. But here in Arkansas City, at the confluence of the Walnut and Arkansas Rivers, Blakeslee, an anthropologist and archaeologist at Wichita State University, has found evidence of a massive town stretching across thousands of acres of bluffs and rich bottomland along two rivers. What clinched it was the discovery, by a high school kid, of a half-inch iron cannon ball. He even found a still-functional water shrine, depicting communication with the spirit world, carved into a limestone boulder in Tami and Greg Norwood’s backyard.”

* * *

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 (MH):

These are the blooms that produce the small fuzzy seeds strung into magambo beads! Aloha!

* * *

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, 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.


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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. fresno dan

    The Bezzle: “Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze” [Bloomberg]. “One of the most lavishly funded gadget startups in Silicon Valley last year was Juicero Inc. It makes a juice machine. The product was an unlikely pick for top technology investors, but they were drawn to the idea of an internet-connected device that transforms single-serving packets of chopped fruits and vegetables into a refreshing and healthy beverage…. But after the product hit the market, some investors were surprised to discover a much cheaper alternative: You can squeeze the Juicero bags with your bare hands.”

    I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair. and I wasn’t drinking…yet. REALLY

    1. Arizona Slim

      My vintage yard sale blender (from the 1960s, I think) would be laughing even harder. That is, if blenders could laugh.

    2. JustAnObserver

      An idea: Surely anyone who can sell an idea like this to the VCs has got what it takes to sell single payer to the Freedom Caucus.

    3. ian

      I went to their website out of curiosity – I’ve never seen anything so dumb in my life. This is like a flashback to the height of the tech bubble in the 90’s.
      For half the cost, I bought a decent masticating juicer (omega 8005) and just use whatever looks good in the produce section. The kids enjoy it as it puts on quite a show of chewing and squashing whatever you put in it.

    4. Kurtismayfield

      So basically it’s an internet connected device that squeezes out prepackaged juices… Can it do toddler food as well?

      #1. The HBO show Silicon Valley better have a field day with this one.
      #2. I am going to laugh my butt off then someone remakes American Psycho for this generation of IT multimillionaires. I’ll pick Musk because of his jawline.
      Scene #1.Musk kills someone, then gets an Uber driver to pick him up. Has driver help him put body into trunk.
      Scene #2. Musk puts a victims head into a Juicero, realizes that it won’t work without the proprietary juice bags.
      Scene #3. Musk tries to get away from the police using a Tesla.. runs out if charge in less than it’s advertised range.

      1. paul

        Scene 1a: Surge pricing invoked as the victim’s fitbit indicates a clear infringement of Uber’s hailing policy.
        Musk innovatively uses his mobile smartphone to personally cut a deal with T Kalanick involving some mars colony real estate.
        Musk fails to tip driver.


    Janno Lieber to replace Dr. H at New York MTA

    Mr. Lieber, 55, led Silverstein Properties’ effort to rebuild the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11 attacks. Before joining the firm in 2003, he served in the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch and as an acting assistant secretary of the Transportation Department under President Bill Clinton.

    I’m sure he’ll do a splendid job making sure donors to Cuomo get plum contracts.

  3. justanotherprogressive

    I’m about 25% through “Shattered”. Somehow, showing Hillary posing with little children right now seems to be awfully self-serving and seems to reinforce what I’ve read about her in that book rather than deflecting………do they never learn?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Say what you will about Obama, but he looked like he was having the time of his life whenever he was around children.

            1. Marina Bart

              There’s a great scene in Colony (an awesomely political TV show) where the vicious sadist who gleefully works for the aliens who have conquered humankind is revealed to be a sweet and caring Dad to his young daughter. It’s a scene with no narrative purpose; but it’s a wonderful touch in a show that grapples in a nuanced way with moral choices and the use of violence in both state control and insurgent revolution.

              1. ChrisPacific

                “There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.”

                (Terry Pratchett – one of his more memorable lines)

    1. fresno dan

      April 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Location, location, location – in a nut house for anyone who would buy that. I guess you could have friends over (one at a time) and enjoy that 1/2 million dollar CA weather…

      1. Anon

        Yes. And how big is the lot? A quarter acre in Beverly Glen is likely a half Mil. The property is likely a knock-down; as it may not meet current building code requirements.

      2. Anonymous

        The traffic congestion in Bev Glen is horrendous. It’s one narrow lane each way, and a major south-north canyon corridor between the San Fernando Valley and LA proper. During rush hour, it’s gridlock both directions. That said, it’s very pretty, rustic, wooded, charming.

    2. giantsquid

      Well, it’s not quite a half-million dollar house. It sold for $335,000 last October.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Even if it goes to a million dollars, it will take one million homes @ $1 million each, that is, one million million-dollar houses to equal in value to what Amazon will be worth (according to Marketwatch today’s “How Amazon will become the first $trillion stock.”).

  4. fresno dan


    The government’s message is clear: Marijuana and the psychoactive compound within it ― tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC ― poses a severe hazard to your health. To get a better sense of just how dangerous these substances are, The Huffington Post set out to compile a list of every person who has ever died solely as the result of a marijuana overdose.

    Here’s what we found:
    There are no recorded instances of anyone dying from a fatal dose of marijuana alone.

    Ah ha! “Alone” but how many have died from the cumulative effects of the “munchies” – how many orange corpses from fritos, cheetos , and doritos have there been after toking and being over come by an insatiable urge for salty snackies????

    1. LT

      The government’s message is clear:
      Even over the counter drugs that can kill you are good to go.
      If it’s not killing you dweebs, then “more studies need to be done.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s like claiming no recorded instances of anyone dying from a fatal dose of debt alone.

      “No, no, no. It was also his bad marriage…and unemployment. Yeah, that’s right. Not debt alone.”

      Debt is alright. Go ahead, take some…or some more.

      1. Marina Bart

        So apparently, money is a gateway drug.

        Can we put it on the Schedule I list and get it banned?

    3. Marina Bart

      I believe there’s fairly robust research (to the degree one is allowed to use the scientific method with marijuana) that “the munchies” is a myth. I don’t remember all the evidence and reasoning, but basically, as far as anyone can tell, regular users of pot tend to be leaner. I think the idea is that “munchies” may happen if you sporadically use pot, but the effect goes away with routine consumption, and marijuana appears to impact the metabolism in positive ways, including tamping down metabolic syndrome.

      But as with all the other semi-miraculous claims about pot — like how it can cure cancer and significantly reduce long-term damage from concussions — it sure would be nice if the government would stop pretending it’s Satan’s herb so more rigorous trials could happen.

      “More rigorous trials” would also require less corruption around scientific research generally, of course. Sigh.

        1. Marina Bart

          Even if there are some individuals who consume pot every single day for over six months and still have a problem with the munchies (as opposed to, you know, having regular meals and snacks), that would not, by itself, prove that the munchies are not a myth, since the myth holds that all pot users get the munchies as a general symptom of consumption.

          If you’d like to arrange a field study with an adequate number of participants, perhaps members of the commentariat here be able to assist you with your work. You’d need to factor in THC/CBD levels, Sativa vs. Indica, etc. I believe I have heard such terms bandied about…

          (Did I just manage to be snarky and overbearing at the same time? That’s not an accomplishment I ever aspired to.)

            1. pretzelattack

              “increasing sensitivity to smells and tastes” yep, that sounds right. seem to be a number of links to other studies, too. i didn’t follow them, i’m satisfied to continue to enjoy eating a bit more when i smoke, but i’m not surprised that such a widely shared experience
              (across mulitiple generations!) has some scientific basis.

          1. pretzelattack

            how did we move to “the munchies are not a myth” to
            individuals who consume pot every single day for over six months for whom the munchies are a problem?” you missed some steps, there. why are you assuming that the munchies are a problem or that they are confined to people who smoke heavily? or that people who like snacks after they smoke are fat? and when did we discover that the “myth” holds that all individuals get the munchies as a general symptom of consumption. is there some central myth definer somewhere? you managed to shoehorn a bunch of assumptions in there.

            all it means to me, based on my experience, is people getting together and smoking are more likely to enjoy tasty foods a bit more.

            1. Marina Bart

              Holy moly, this turned into a big deal that I did not intend.

              I’m always interested when commonly held beliefs turn out to be based on nothing — or the opposite, like the science that suggests the “5 second rule” actually has a basis in fact; that surprised me.

              I had to do a lot of independent medical research to manage my migraine problem that developed a few years ago, and then continued to read medical literature more than I had before. So I found the studies suggesting that the body reacts to pot differently if consumed sporadically rather than routinely interesting, and the potential treatment of metabolic syndrome interesting, and all the rest. As a football fan absolutely horrified by how the people who play it are treated, the possibility of marijuana protecting the brain from concussion damage fascinated me. I wasn’t intending to shame anyone for doing anything or being anything.

              There are possibly a dozen pot dispensaries in my neighborhood. It’s close to being fully destigmatized here. I haven’t experienced or noticed many of the stoner myths being played out in daily life the way you might expect in a community with such broad usage. So when I came across those studies, I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Which is why I shared it here.

      1. pretzelattack

        and while we’re at it, why do you think scientific research is generally corrupt? you seem to be generalizing well beyond research on weed, which has been heavily politicised for a long time, if i understand you correctly.

        1. Marina Bart

          I don’t think you do understand me correctly. I already replied above trying to explain why I find studies that contradict commonly held beliefs interesting. The problem with scientific research has been addressed here, I believe. I think Lambert has posted not just links but original pieces discussing the problems going on with corporate corruption of scientific research, scientific publishing, replicating results, etc.

          I’m fully aware weed research has been politicized. I think I acknowledged as much in my initial comment. Just to be clear, I’m in favor of legalizing marijuana and protecting people’s right to grow it themselves. I think it’s the most benign recreational drug out there, and has a great many potential health and medical benefits. But we can’t really know about that last bit unless or until the government changes how it treats marijuana, and also addresses its broader corruption problem.

  5. hreik

    Huge sh*tshow over at DKos over Sanders’ remark that he didn’t know if Osoff is a progressive. Lol

      1. hreik

        lol. I kinda think so. I have no idea what happened over there. It’s a shell of it’s former self.

  6. Ivy

    Pot shops have lines out the door (just saw that this morning, perhaps some miraculous 4-20 offerings?), and armed guards since cash-only businesses. Once upon a time, companies had lines of job applicants out the door, and no armed guards.

    I suppose it is a matter of time before the criminals just walk up to the pot buyer lines and jack the stoners when the guard is on break.

    1. GregL

      For those of us who are forced to use medical MJ I would like to point out that a gram is the size of a normal thumb and if it has a THC content of 26% or above can run $15. My experience is that it is enough for a half a day of pain reduction. Over the course of a year it will set you back 5500.00 due to taxes etc. As usual the Dems go for the low hanging fruit to fund, whatever.

    1. Jim Haygood

      With roughly 600,000 Americans facing pot charges every year” … while half of US states offer legal access to the very same substance as a medical remedy … the cognitive dissonance has escalated way beyond the skull explosion point.

      The Jihad on [Some] Drugs is insane. Persecuting people for possessing forbidden plants is as medieval as breaking them on the rack for advocating heliocentrism.

      Unfortunately after alcohol prohibition ended, the idled federal bureaucracy which enforced it had to reinvent themselves as narcotics jihadists, who now kick down doors in their Isis-style black garb. Who will deliver us from these violent predators?

      1. cocomaan

        I also try to remember that the origins of income taxes are in alcohol prohibition, levied because the feds weren’t going to be making any money off booze anymore once they started to infringe on people’s god-given right to kick back and get wasted.

        1. Arizona Slim

          One of my Tucson friends is the co-owner of a craft brewery. He told me that the feds make so much money from alcohol taxes that there was a toll-free hotline for businesses like his. Just in case they had any questions. And, according to him, it was a well run hotline.

          1. bob

            You can buy E85 “ethanol” gas for about what regular gasoline goes for, $2.50 a gallon today, if you can find it.

            E85 is 85% ethanol, 15% gasoline. 85% of that gallon is 200 proof (100% abv) booze.

            Try to buying half strength 100 proof “booze” for anywhere near $2.50 a gallon.

            It’s also why they added the gasoline. You can’t drink gasoline.

            1. different clue

              Alcohol is water soluble. Gasoline is water INsoluble. If you shook a bunch of E85 and water together, you’d get a water-alcohol solution NOT MIXED with the gasoline, which would separate. I believe it would be lighter than water-alcohol and would float on the water-alcohol.

              The only problem would be if enough molecules of gasoline remained behind in the water-alcohol so as to make it poisonous and taste bad/ smell bad. If so, I don’t know how you would get those last few gasoline molecules out of the water-alcohol.

              1. bob

                ” If so, I don’t know how you would get those last few gasoline molecules out of the water-alcohol.”

                That could explain itself.

                What else could you mix with ethanol with better results- no one dares drink it.

                “gasoline” also isn’t one thing, it’s many many different hydrocarbons.

                1. different clue

                  Good point. I was never all that great at chemistry. So if some of the hydrocarbons in gasoline are water soluble, they would dissolve right into the water-alcohol.

                  It would be simpler to ferment one’s own carbohydrate source and make one’s own alcohol, then. And be satisfied with having it dilute.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s also hard to ignore that the “founders” and “innovators” who “kick-started” the marijuana industry are mostly in jail, while pleated khaki pants-types eagerly cash in.

        1. pretzelattack

          market discipline! i’ve seen a few pot shops with “no shirt, no shoes, no service” signs.

        2. Tyronius

          Boy have you got this right. I’m a hard working innovator in this space, doing engineering work- but I’m still being prosecuted- persecuted?- for the heinous ‘crime’ of growing a totally harmless plant in a legal state. The contradictions make one’s head spin.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Awwww. I want it to come to AZ so we can boo Tom Perez.

      I mean, come on. This is Arizona! Are we going to let Maine out-boo us?

      1. Marina Bart

        Please, please go boo Tom Perez, if he shows up.

        Bernie training citizens to think about economics in political terms and politics in economic terms: priceless.

        Citizens chasing hench Tom Perez off the “unity” tour with relentless booing: also priceless, IMO.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I sure will!

          After all, I spent much of my youth outside of Philadelphia. Let’s just say that the City of Brotherly Love has no equal when it comes to booing.

    2. steelhead23

      As regards the question Perez chose to “bafflegab,” the answer is obvious. Identifying the source or cause of the people’s anger gives it focus and purpose. Identifying our foes and their hurtful policies galvanizes anger, the same anger that fueled Mr. Trump’s ascendancy, into action. Perez should not have shied away from that answer. And yes, that enemy is our leadership class, mostly wealthy folks (Vulcans), but also their minions (Gentlemen like Obama).

      1. different cue

        The Vulcans and the Minions are the people Perez works for. Sanders can just keep putting Perez on and onner and more onner the spot. And Perez can just make his true self plain and plainer and plainerer. Sanders is doing good work.

        It becomes up to others to carry the work forward.

  7. allan

    AG Sessions says he’s ‘amazed’ a judge ‘on an island in the Pacific’ can block Trump’s immigration order [CNN]

    … “We’ve got cases moving in the very, very liberal Ninth Circuit, who, they’ve been hostile to the order,” Sessions said. “We won a case in Virginia recently that was a nicely-written order that just demolished, I thought, all the arguments that some of the other people have been making. We are confident that the President will prevail on appeal and particularly in the Supreme Court, if not the Ninth Circuit. So this is a huge matter. I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.” …

    Definitely off to a good start in the race to overtake A. Mitchell Palmer and John Mitchell.

  8. Code Name D

    This will make GOP recruiting harder. Some House Republicans might become scared about being vulnerable and change their behavior.

    I must disagree here. 1st, lossing office dosn’t mean much when you have lucrative lobeist deals waiting for you.

    Republicans (unlike Democrats) are consantly recruting potechal canidates, even to the point of leacturing and training highschool students for political activism. Including but not limited to running for office.

    Republicans are also modivated. For them, this is a battle between good and evil. They are ready to lay down their livs for the cause if need be, political actvism or running for office is rather cheep when it comes to saving the world from the liberal menice.

    Dems need to stop pretending that Republicans will just wither away and dissapear.

    1. Marina Bart

      There are so many potential Republican candidates, some of them end up running as Democrats.

      That’s completely and utterly a function of healthy market forces, I’m sure.

    2. flora

      +1. Interesting that Bill Clinton’s formula for winning was “strong and wrong vs. right and weak”, where he assumed people would vote first for the strong candidate no matter what. * The DCCC abandoning the KS-04 race – not helping Thompson in the final week push back hard against the GOP assault – looks like an attempt to make Thompson look weak and increase the chances he would lose. That whole “keeping powder dry” bit is a calculated presentation of weakness. The neoliberal Clinton wing of the party always keeps its powder dry when a progressive Dem candidate or progressive policies are on offer.


  9. John k

    Other countries will ask the same of us.
    But, but… they can’t. We’re exceptional. We get to destroy countries! Whenever we want! Syria now, NK next, after them Russia. Nobody’s too big or too small.
    Don’t get sassy, or you could be next.

  10. Linda

    Sorry, I think this is sub only. (Generously excerpting.) Thought it was interesting. More jobs than they have people and homes available.

    Housing Crunch Threatens Reno’s Tech Boom
    The supply of houses and apartments is strapped amid a permitting bottleneck as firms pour in

    RENO, Nev.—When a development company here acquired in 2015 a ranch once owned by a casino magnate, managing partner Chip Bowlby thought homes could be quickly built on the land to help meet the demands of a historic jobs boom.

    During the 2007-2009 recession, Reno was a poster child for the risks of overbuilding. Now, Nevada’s second-largest city is facing what many local business officials call a looming housing crisis after enticing Tesla Motors Inc. and scores of other technology companies to open manufacturing facilities here in recent years.

    The labor market is so tight that economists say Reno needs to count on workers moving in to fill many of the new jobs. Reno’s unemployment rate was 4.6% in February. The nationwide average that month was 4.7%.

    Since 2012, about 30,000 jobs have been created in the Reno metro area, according to the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, with another 30,000 expected by the end of the decade. Those figures don’t include the Google deal, whose projected job numbers haven’t yet been disclosed.

    In that same period, building permits have been issued for about 8,600 single-family homes and apartments in Washoe County, which includes most of the greater Reno-Sparks metropolitan area of a half-million people. The yearly average of 2,500 now is half the average during Reno’s last boom in the early 2000s.

    The imbalance between supply and demand has driven the median price of an existing single-family home to $320,000 as of February, more than double from $145,500 in the same month in 2012, according to the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors.

    1. jrs

      that wallstreet bull again, it is fearsome, yea even the good times (bull markets/recovery) are fearsome. In bad times the ordinary person fears unemployment and having no income, in good times ever rising rent and looming homelessness if it keeps going up.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Although Reno is in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada and gets only 7.5 inches of rain a year, it rains (and snows) a lot on the ridge to the city’s west, where Lake Tahoe is located.

        Truckee, California gets 29 inches of rain a year. Reno taps reservoirs on the Truckee River when needed, along with groundwater. Reserves are higher than usual, according to the water authority.


        1. Anon

          The constriction on housing will likely be effluent water not potable water. The Truckee River flowing through Reno-Sparks terminates in Pyramid Lake (Sovereign Lands) and effluent discharge into the river will likely need to be tertiary treated. (A costly, time consuming effort.)

  11. Jim Haygood

    Tainted music:

    Audio giant Bose has been spying on customers that use its wireless headphones by using an app that tracks the music, podcasts and other audio they listen to, a lawsuit charged.

    Bose, in turn, has been violating customers’ privacy rights by selling their info without permission, according to the federal suit filed Tuesday in Chicago.

    The complaint filed by Kyle Zak seeks an injunction to stop Bose’s “wholesale disregard” for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

    Christopher Dore, a partner at Edelson PC, said customers do not see the Bose app’s user service and privacy agreements when signing up, and the privacy agreement says nothing about data collection.


    Yet another tech company selling out its customers to profit from their psychographic profiles.

    Bose lost me a quarter century ago, when a car I owned was recalled because its Bose sound system could cause a fire.

    Now I shun Bose like rat poison. “No highs or lows; must be a Bose!”

  12. Jim A

    “…gearing up for a government shutdown fight…”
    No surprise for anybody with even a passing knowledge of Trumps business negotiations.

  13. JohnnyGL

    Thanks for the Perez-Sanders interview clip. The awkwardness had me laughing out loud and showing to people around the office.

    For all of the impatient critics on the left of Sanders (and I generally agree with many on principle, but not on tactics) Bernie has slowly, but surely been gaining the upper-hand over the DNC and the party elite. He’s continuing to build political capital, improve his popularity and is inspiring constituents to make trouble with their reps all over the country. Meanwhile, Dem elites keep scoring own-goals and looking ridiculous.

    This comment from PlutoniumKun sticks in my mind. It’s still accurate…http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/americas-forgotten-man-what-next-for-bernie-sanders-americas-most-popular-politician.html#comment-2726085

    My opinion of Sanders has bobbed up and down over the last year or two. I cringed at his Syria statements. But I loved his campaign. He’s really making headway for the long game, though.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      Patience is for evolution. Impatience? Revolution.

      Was there a typo in 2016?

      1. JohnnyGL

        I’m thinking of those who advocated…

        1) Bernie running for Prez in 2016 as an independent or Green

        2) Those who’ve constantly advised him to leave the Dems for dead and start a new party.

        I suspect Bernie would argue those kind of tactical disputes miss the point. Either of those moves could easily flop. What Bernie himself wants to see if people “rising up, getting involved, getting organized” as he’s said repeatedly, and making demands from their elected representatives. Party loyalty and affiliation doesn’t really mean that much.

        I’ve wavered back and forth about what the RIGHT move is, but Bernie seems to be mostly on target.

        1. Marina Bart

          I’m with you. I haven’t been happy with everything Bernie has said and everything he has done. But I do try to bear in mind that he is a talented and experienced pol, which I am not, and he has a lot more information about and experience dealing with the treacherous Democrats and generalized governmental corruption. And he keeps doing the single most important thing, which is instead of encouraging people to “leave it to me,” he’s going everywhere saying “It’s on you, all of you, individually and collectively. Us, not me.” No more eleventy dimensional chess, no more “I got this.”

          I have no expectation that he will be president at this point. But Benjamin Franklin also was not president, and yet his ideas and institutions still contribute to our society today in powerful and positive ways, and he made it both into the history books and onto the currency.

          1. Cujo359

            I haven’t been happy with everything Bernie has said and everything he has done.

            Nor I. His stated views on fiscal policy and foreign policy are both weak. Still, he wants to head the country in the right direction, and has at least some chance of doing so. That’s a rare combination in a politician these days.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Trump is trying to do infrastructure. His proposal calls for public-private partnership.

              What will Sanders do? All public with money coming from where?

              1. MMT? He doesn’t talk about that. He hasn’t countered Trump with Trump’s own ‘a country can’t go bankrupt…”

              2. Take money from ‘Assad Must Go’ budget?

              1. Cujo359

                If you go by his public statements, Sanders uses the same silly language as virtually every other Democrat, which is he talks about “fiscal responsibility”, as if it meant what almost every politician in DC says it means these days.

                This surprises me a little, since Prof. Stephanie Kelton used to be one of his economic advisers, and she’s a prominent MMT advocate. Maybe he just thinks it’s too difficult to combat the mythology that’s grown up around balanced federal budgets.

                In any case, that’s why I wrote that Sanders is weak on fiscal policy.

                Oddly, the only two candidates for President who ever said anything sensible about federal deficits last year were Jill Stein and Donald Trump – the only two who had no reason to toe the DC line on this issue.

          2. johnnygl

            Two additional points.

            1) if bernie was starting a new party, he’d be stuck wrestling with the details of getting a bureaucracy up and running so it can compete and get on the ballot.

            He’s much more useful doing what he’s doing right now: campaigning like its 2016 and getting people fired up.

            2) he won’t be president in 2020, and prob won’t run, but his endorsement will be crucial and he can probably pick the next dem with his popularity running this high.

            1. Marina Bart

              I agree that Bernie is more useful out talking to people than trying to set up a third party, but his endorsement is only going to be crucial to a Berniecrat, whether they’re running inside or outside the Democratic Party.

              If the Democrats are able to keep Nina Turner, Tulsi Gabbard or any newer Berniecrat from running unhindered in the Democratic primaries, and the Democratic field is just Booker, Harris, Cuomo, O’Malley and the like, Bernie shouldn’t endorse any of them, and I don’t think his opinion would matter in any case.

              1. Biph

                Someone will run on Bernie’s platform the key is that it’s just one. The left needs to rally around a single candidate while the corporate Dems fight among themselves. Big wins in IA, NH, SC and NV while it’s more than a 2 person race will make it very hard to stop the momentum of the winning candidate. If there is more than one person running on the Bernie platform then the math gets harder. My pick right now is Gabbard, but I’m open to others.

              2. JohnnyGL


                First off, Dems have to let some kind of Berniecrat through to run in the primaries for 2020. After all, they need those voters as has been proven last fall. So, there’ll be at least one candidate, and probably only one. That’s the one Bernie will endorse. They need to placate the Bernie voters at least a little (but not enough to give them a position of power, like say, DNC chair!)

                Dem leaders can see these articles just like you and me.

                Sanders is MILES ahead of every other politician. At this point, Dems need Bernie almost as much as vice versa. This is why Perez has to play along while Bernie does what he always does.

                If Turner or Gabbard run, with Bernie’s endorsement, either of those two would blow past a field with Booker, Harris, Cuomo and O’Malley. I’m not convinced that anyone actually likes any of the latter bunch. And no one is going to convincingly argue that voters have to suck it up and pick one of those corporate Dems, either.

                I do think people might be overlooking the long term benefits of HRC losing. Corporate Dems can’t control their base with threats of “vote for us or else you’ll get the Repubs!” We all know they can’t deliver on those promises, anymore.

                The political landscape looks very different than it did last fall. One year ago, there were no videos of Pelosi and Di Fi facing rough questions from constituents. DNC chairs didn’t get publicly booed at party events.

                1. Marina Bart

                  I agree with a lot of this, especially that the landscape looks really different now.

                  But I do not think the Dems will be smart enough to let a progressive into the race on purpose. They are really, really dumb. They are bad at politics. Look at what’s going on with the Unity tour. Everything bad that has happened from the establishment POV (cheering Bernie, having to confiscate pro-Bernie signs in the crowd, booing Perez, Perez getting brutally negative press for his expletive laden, pro-status quo/ruling class, word salad responses delivered by someone with no presence, charisma or personal appeal) is 100% predictable. Much of it was unavoidable, once they decided to do this tour with Bernie at all. They were kind of stuck sending Perez out there as the party leader, even though he’s just a behind-the-scenes hench. But they could have at least hired someone to write him a coherent speech. They didn’t even do that.

                  That means NO ONE in Democratic leadership understands that Tom Perez is a boob.

                  I think they will take away the opposite lesson from the one you propose. I believe they will do everything they can to seal the primaries up so tight Tulsi will struggle to slip a fingernail into the process. They are not going to run the risk of having an uproar in the primaries again. Remember, they are CONVINCED the problem is that mean Bernie said mean things about saintly Hillary that stupid children believed because they are stupid children. It’s an article of faith for them, like the virgin birth.They’ll run some young Trojan Horse like Deray as the distraction.

                  1. lambert strether

                    > they could have at least hired someone to write him a coherent speech

                    They probably think his speeches are coherent.

                    > They’ll run some young Trojan Horse like Deray as the distraction.

                    Oh gawd. That’s such a vile picture. I wonder which Dem pol took Deray aside and whispered to him “My boy, your place is in national politics.” I wish I could unsee it…

                    1. Marina Bart

                      They probably think his speeches are coherent.

                      That’s certainly possible. They’re astoundingly incompetent at communications, among their many incompetencies. They’re demonstrably not people who enjoy thinking. But if I had to bet, I’d bet it’s a bigger failure — I suspect having installed him to make sure the consultants keep getting their contracts and the little people never find out where the money has been going these last eight years, his handlers and owners are done. I don’t think they care. I don’t think there’s anyone with political competence left in party leadership who cares enough about the actual party to care about what Perez is doing about this tour, Bernie or the left. As long as he funnels money and celebrity stooges to Ossoff as well as to the consultants, and blocks people like Thompson and Quist, he’s good, as far as they’re concerned.

                      I’m so glad you put that great Deray pown tweet in today’s Water Cooler. What a dreadful person he is.

                  2. Biph

                    I agree with you about the Trojan Horse, I just don’t think it will happen in the primaries. The energy and momentum is with the Left, if Bernie endorses early that’s pretty much ballgame as that person would get the lions share of Bernie supporters and the small donors that come with them. The Trojan Horse would happen in the GE where Bloomberg or another similar “moderate” Billionaire will try to make it a 3 person race.

                    1. Marina Bart

                      Bloomberg would have lost this year. The next one win lose next time. Neoliberalism is unpopular. That’s why nobody loves the current Ds. Peeling off neoliberal sucker 10%ers wouldn’t flip a single state. So it’s not just that Bloomberg and his ilk wouldn’t win, they wouldn’t even flip the race to the Republican candidate, if the choices are remotely like this past year. I’m having trouble constructing any scenario where someone like that could flip any state away from the leftist running as a D, other than maybe Connecticut — but even that seems unlikely (meaning, the “Bloomberg” in the race would probably be irrelevant, that the state would go D or R due to other factors).

                      I’d like your forecast to be true. I’m just not sure the structural and institutional party levers wouldn’t stop it, if the corporatists still have their hands on them. That’s why I think it’s best to work on crushing the corporatist D candidates from now through 2018. We need to tent the house and fumigate before the termites eat through the foundation.

                  3. JohnnyGL

                    “I think they will take away the opposite lesson from the one you propose. I believe they will do everything they can to seal the primaries up so tight Tulsi will struggle to slip a fingernail into the process. They are not going to run the risk of having an uproar in the primaries again.”

                    — I think these precise sorts of actions will actually PROVOKE rather than prevent the uproar of which you speak.

                    I think the more likely scenario is they let through a Berniecrat, run plenty of corp dems on that person’s coattails and try to sandbag the candidate in the general election, — a la McGovern. Then, if that candidate still wins in spite of their underhanded tactics, they’ll use their position in Congress to grind down the candidate’s agenda.

                    Now, these tactics can be countered by broad-based, organized, active, angry voters pressuring their reps. This, of course, is exactly why Bernie is still campaigning like it’s 2016. The goal is to get a fired up voting base that cannot easily be sidetracked, mislead or contained. Corporate Dems are, of course, still trying to figure out how to do just that. They seem out of ideas at the moment as they keep repeating “Trump is bad, let’s unify!”.

                    The longer they’re out of ideas and confused, the better our chances to grab the steering wheel!

                    1. Marina Bart

                      What you’re proposing would be the tactically smarter choice for them in some ways.

                      That’s why I don’t think they’ll do it. I won’t be shocked if they strip Tulsi of her party membership between now and 2020, calling her a tool of Putin.

                      They only care about the presidency. They want it. They’re not going to willingly hand the nomination to a Berniecrat. First, they’ll do their best to keep all possible Berniecrats out of the primaries. And we know they can do a lot.

                      I’m not hammering on this stuff to be negative. Your forecast is quite possible. So is Biph’s. I just worry that people aren’t quite getting how powerful are the forces arrayed against us. We aren’t going to get a just outcome simply by doing the normal things. Perhaps the elite system has decayed enough that the next four years will be one long replay of the Unity tour, leading to a triumphant revival of democracy. That’s possible, too.

                      But I think it would be wiser to prepare for a hard fought battle, and do everything we can, every day, in every way, to weaken the corporate Democrats’ hold over the party. The more we can do that, the more likely we are to get a peaceful and positive outcome.

                2. different clue

                  I know if the Inner Party Dems drop another clinton apple in my food bowl, I will fling it back in their face all over again.

              3. lambert strether

                I like Nina Turner a lot. Having listened to her speak, I’m concerned she’s insufficiently seasoned, especially on policy (which is what’s so great about Sanders’ branding). It’s the left version of the Democrat weak bench problem.

        2. Cujo359

          There’s no doubt that right now, Sanders’ continued association with the Democratic Party is giving him a bigger megaphone than he’d have otherwise. As you note, he is making good use of it. Whether that works out to be better for the country remains to be seen, but I think (and hope) that his combination of integrity and optimism will get Dem voters to reconsider where their party is taking them.

          1. different cue

            He’s knocking a hole in the wall. It is up to others to make it bigger and run swarming through.

            He is helping establish a little beachhead. It is up to others to secure that beachhead, bring millions of troops into it, break out of it, and begin invading and conquering the Democratic Party, and purging and disinfecting all the Clintonites and Obamazoids out of it.

            The Democratic Party is deeply and thoroughly clintaminated. It will have to be declintaminated before it is safe for human habitation.

            1. Marina Bart

              The Democratic Party is deeply and thoroughly clintaminated. It will have to be declintaminated before it is safe for human habitation.


              1. different clue

                Thank you for the kind words. Feel free to use it and spread it around.
                Perhaps the word-cluster “clintaminate/ clintaminated/ clintamination” can be viralized, weaponised, disseminated, adapted to carry meme-payloads, etc.

                Maybe a cromulent new word will enter the language. It is how we embiggen the vocabulary.

        3. lambert strether

          One of the nice things about Sanders is that he’s always on message. It follows that his choice of platform for broadcasting that message is very important.

          I’m using “broadcasting” deliberately (as opposed to choosing smaller platforms, which would be the equivalent of “narrowcasting” to the already persuaded).

    2. Cujo359

      I haven’t seen enough of Perez to know if that’s his way of looking uncomfortable or not. What he said, though, is quite clearly that he thinks the Democratic Party is the We Don’t Like Donald Trump Party. We already don’t like Trump, and he won anyway. Clearly, more is required.

    3. Jeff W

      The awkwardness had me laughing out loud…

      Me, too.

      One thing that impresses me about Sen. Sanders is that, almost always, he knows when to keep quiet and not belabor the painfully obvious. He stands there, impassive, sphinx-like, knowing Tom Perez is looking ridiculous—he doesn’t have to say a word.

      It’s a testament to the establishment Democrats’ boundless cluelessness that they could not anticipate who would be viewed more favorably in a side-by-side comparison—Sanders or any of them, including Tom Perez.

      1. JohnnyGL

        “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon

        On some level, he certainly knows Perez is scoring an own-goal.

        But I think on another level he quite literally doesn’t care what Perez says/does. He’s Bernie and he’s focused and he’s on message and he sees it’s working. He sees that he’s now far and away the most liked politician in the country and he’s going to keep doing what’s working until it doesn’t work anymore. That, right there, is the simple genius of the guy.

    4. Liberal Mole

      Just imagine how many people would be in the crowd if Bernie WASN’T there. It would be worse than Hillary’s pitiful gatherings. The DNC are as greedy as they are stupid. I imagine they thought they could get their paws on all those little Bernie donors out of this tour, and instead Bernie is exhorting the crowds to take over their local D parties, and repeating his stump speeches to vociferous agreement.

      1. lambert strether

        > they thought they could get their paws on all those little Bernie donors out of this tour, and instead Bernie is exhorting the crowds to take over their local D parties, and repeating his stump speeches to vociferous agreement


        I hope some kind soul leaks the DNC’s 2017 email. I’d love to read it….

  14. David

    Newsflash in the last few minutes: shooting on the Champs Élysées,with casualties among both police and attackers.

  15. ewmayer

    o Re. Juicero: But what if I want my every juice choice to be auto-shared virally with my millions of avid followers? Yeah, I didn’t *think* so, Mr. smartypants manual-squeeze Luddite.

    o Re. 420: Not sure what, if anything, to make of the unfortunate coincidence mit dem Geburtstag des Führers.

  16. Anon

    The chargemaster is just the name for the billing database. Input data from individual contracts …. procedure code, procedure, hospital (within a network), department, patient, insurer (or self pay), billing percent, billing dollar amount, days allowed per billing code procedure etc.

  17. Altandmain

    Apparently in NY, there have been election irregularities during the Democratic Primary there in 2016. 120,000 voters were purged.


    Meanwhile, on Jimmy Dore, there is a fight between the left vs Clinton feminists:


    Identity politics taken to extremes.

    More Russia madness:


    Meanwhile the Bernie vs Democrats fight continues:


    1. different cue

      I suggest a true name for Clinton feminists.

      Goldman-Sachs feminists.

      And their ceiling is the Tiffany Glass Ceiling.

      1. Altandmain

        Yeah that would be a fair assessment – Goldman Sachs Feminism.

        Unsurprising Goldman Sachs plays the part:

        I’ll leave this:

        Class differences among women are an all but taboo subject. But scholars such as Leslie McCall have found that economic inequality among women is just as large, and has been growing just as fast, as economic inequality among men.This economic divide among women has created one of the most significant fault lines in contemporary feminism. That’s because professional-class women, who have reaped a disproportionate share of feminism’s gains, have dominated the feminist movement, and the social distance between them and their less privileged sisters is wide and growing wider. In the decades since the dawn of the second wave, educated women gained access to high-status jobs, but working-class women experienced declining wages and (because of the rise of divorce and single parenthood among the working class) shouldered an increasingly heavy burden of care. Yet mainstream feminist groups and pundits have consistently stressed the social and cultural issues that are most important to affluent women, while marginalizing the economic concerns of the female masses.

        The class divisions between women came to a head in the 2016 election, when Big Feminism failed women, big-time. Mainstream feminists sold women a bill of goods, arguing that the election of a woman president would improve the lot of women as a class. Echoing Sheryl Sandberg’s dubious thesis, they claimed that leadership by women will as a matter of course produce gains for all women—though actually, the social science evidence for this claim is mixed at best. There was also a lot of talk about how having a woman president would “normalize” female power.

        But if you’re a woman living paycheck to paycheck and worried sick over the ever-diminishing economic prospects for you and your children, you’re unlikely to be heavily invested in whether some lady centimillionaire will shatter the ultimate glass ceiling. Exacerbating the problem is that Clinton, the person whom feminists blithely assumed that working-class women would deeply identify with (because after all, didn’t they?) was such a painfully flawed candidate. In addition to a political record littered with betrayals of women, people of color, labor, and other key constituencies, she showed arrogance and terrible judgment by giving the Wall Street speeches and setting up her own State Department e-mail server. That was gross political malpractice.

        The sad part is the Goldman Sachs feminists still haven’t admitted how badly they screwed up.

        1. lambert strether

          It’s almost like being able to give a speech to Goldman Sachs is some kinda class marker…

          I bet I’d find a similar split in the black vote, expressed in lowered turnout….

  18. Jim Haygood

    Today both the Nasdaq Composite index (> 3,000 stocks) and the Nasdaq 100 glamour stock index (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet) closed at record highs.

    The institutional-fave S&P 500 large cap index remains about 1.7 percent below its March 1st record high. As has been the case ever since, the Fear & Greed Index (34 on a scale of 100 today) is way out of sync with a market whose cult favorites are still setting fresh records.

    Bubble III, comrades: après elle, le Déluge.

  19. David

    Two policemen dead and two wounded. They were traffic policemen so probably not wearing body amour. The attacker opened fire with an automatic weapon on a stationary traffic police car. He was then shot dead but it’s not clear by who. The attacker was known to the French domestic intelligence services, but his identity has not yet been revealed. Everybody has been concerned for some time that something like this would happen during the Presidential campaign.

    1. HBE


      This seems to guarantee Le Pen makes it to the second round, and boost Fillion.

      Does this absolutely remove Melenchon from the equation (him being the least vocal on the terrorism front)?

  20. HeadShaker

    Ugh… That Tom Perez portion of the Bernie video is unwatchable. As that brilliant political strategist (<— snark) Sarah Palin once said: "How's that hopey changey stuff working out for ya?" And, I bought it (the aforementioned H/C stuff) the first time around.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Don’t you hate it when Sarah Palin is right? (About the H/C rhetoric vs. the reality that many Americans were forced to deal with.)

    2. Harold

      Hope but not change, in the case of the corporate / financial DNC. Just as “fighting” but not fighting for anything.

  21. X-treme Regression to the Mean

    Atkins! Forgot about him. Way back when Digby’s commenters stopped fellating their appointed Dem heroes, Atkins swanned in there, giving these hilariously obtuse pep talks and got his head handed to him. Using the mad communications and leadership skilz on his poignant cyber-CV, he ‘controlled the conversation’ by shutting comments down. Atkins is just the man we need to guide the Democratic Party into the crusty sock of history. A world-class wanker. As the blue Jared Kushner, Atkins’ dim-witted hackery is the ultimate test of his Daddy’s money and clout.

    1. different cue

      He didn’t swan in there on his own.

      Digby brought him in there to serve her own agenda. He was HER little henchman.

      I was among the ghosted and the retro-censored and then among the banned.

      Digby finally solved the problem by abolishing comments and wiping out all her archives and comments.

      Digby revealed herself to be a Clintonite Obamacrat in the end.

      1. lambert strether

        Yes, he’s an orthodoxy enforcer.

        Yeah, I remember being lectured by Digby on how great the public option was, and how I should read Hacker’s book, back in the day. That was when the public option was going to be like Medicare for All, except not actually for all, and cover 50 million people….

    2. Marina Bart

      And I like Atkins. If the Dems were backing Ossoff (Clinton) and Thompson (Sanders) and Quist (Sanders) full force, I’d have no problem. But they aren’t, are they?

      I like to joke that I’m Lambert’s self-appointed padawan. I don’t know if this means I’m headed to a volcano planet, but I stopped liking the Atkins boys years ago. And even if through some miracle the Ds properly and equitably backed Thompson and Quist in addition to Ossoff, I would still have a problem with backing Ossoff. He’s literally everything terrible about neoliberal Democrats. I cannot construct a rationale for the party giving him a single penny that isn’t destructive and negative.

      I may need to scurry back to Twitter and bathe in @ActualFlatticus still being at least tactically to my left. I’m not sure what to make of that.

    3. lambert strether

      Atkins wants to be right on policy (which I like) and be a Democrat loyalist (not so much). He can’t be both. Not even in California.

      1. Marina Bart

        If you’re an professional Democrat in California, you’re a neoliberal, with rare (and treasured) exceptions.

        We don’t have better elected or professional Democrats in California than elsewhere. The difference is that the institutional legacy that I gather is primarily thanks to Pat Brown hasn’t yet been completely destroyed, so certain kinds of protections and benefits distribution keep chugging along, sluggishly, but that’s still better than, say, Mississippi — sort of like how Amtrak trains in most of the country are too slow, under-maintained, and stripped of amenities, but they’ll still get you to your destination eventually — which is better than no Amtrak at all.

        I think that, combined with needing farm workers and some other structural incentives for California’s elite to keep the flow of impoverished workers able to work, explains what may look from afar like progressive government, but really isn’t. The Democratic-identifying citizens of California are to the left of the state party, but until now, that hasn’t helped very much, except to maybe anchor the Overton Window for the state a bit further to the left than the national window, constraining our neoliberal Democrats somewhat.

        Don’t get me wrong — I am grateful for what remains of California’s left wing legacy. But we are a horribly unequal state, with terrible problems that our apparently permanent, one party, Democratic government tries very hard to avoid addressing. And they are getting worse.

  22. LT

    Re: MT…NY Times

    When Democratic Party officials say they are playing it safe, they are talking about the safety of lining their pockets with big donor money.

    They go after the smaller donors through fear. That’s what Maxine Waters and others bellyaching about “Trump and Russians” and “impeachment” is about. Fundraising off fear…same as Republicans.
    They don’t call it a duopoly for nothing!

    1. makedoanmend

      “…June marks the end of May…”

      Can’t say I’m very happy with Corbyn’s role as Labour leader to date.

      However, he was coherent and had a coherent theme; had distinct messages; and showed some steel in his pronouncements. Hmm…..

      Can he turn vilification (including from Blairites) into something positive for Labour?

      Can’t really expect a Labour victory, but a much better than expected performance might bring forth a few bodies that can lead Labour from the thatcherite wilderness of the Blairshites into the light of day. If Corbyn can deliver this, he will have done a good job of work for the people of the UK.

  23. Kurtismayfield

    Clinton campaign staffers are responding to Shattered by tweeting happy images from the campaign:

    So they found a picture with her and three lily white kids and this means she was “working hard for us”? They couldn’t find one with an African American at least?

    Oh and I went down the rabbit hole of Nick Merill’s Twitter. You should read the number of tweets about how the media was in the tank for Trump. No that is not a typo.. The coronated one’s supporters really think the press was against them.

      1. Marina Bart

        Solid word play.

        However, wouldn’t the more appropriate metal be Adamantium? Being both fictional and indestructible seems to fit our current establishment Democrats and the bowls they so fiercely cling to.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      This is why I think the uneasy moment Hayes orchestrated was not designed to make Perez look awkward, but rather to convey the following: “See? The chair of the DNC doesn’t agree with crazy lefty Bernie!”

      … thereby soothing certain folks.

      I wish Bernie would stop appearing on MSNBSeeYaLataSuckas. Chris Hayes plays the good cop now, but never forget, he is the guy that tried to get Tad Devine to concede that the current quid pro quo of campaign finance was not corrupt – and that subsequently it was unfathomable to suggest that HRC was corrupt. Maddow is the bad cop, effectively blaming Bernie and his followers for succumbing to Russian propaganda.

      The #PaidToLose posse will be hard to shake, but not impossible. It’s a long-ish game … onward.

      PS: I’m seeking help for my intense dislike for Chris Hayes … kinda.

      1. different clue

        That may be what Chris Hays WANTed people to see. But he cannot guarantee that that is what everybody in the TV audience SAW. There ARE people who can SEE for themSELVES. But they won’t have the chance unless Bernie and Perez are matched up on TV over and over and over again.

        It is worth the risk.

      1. Marina Bart

        They keep trying to seed, weed and mow us into a uniform lawn, and yet the riotous variety of nature keeps taking root.

        What plant are you, Lambert? I’d like to be heather or a violet.

  24. alex morfesis

    Guillotine wrist slap first nation artifacts…ha…at least he got slapped with something because he was not an “official” archaeologist…when working with the crazy marine arch(treasure hunter) group here in Tarpon Springs, was reviewing the rules and laws in Honduras…pre junta rules…and, well…there were obviously two sets of rules…the approved museum carney archaeologists got to “oopsies” make mistakes, others were shot on site…example, near Copan…for some reason, it seems the official area map was reduced for a few years…thus purportedly making it not quite illegal to have found something or need a permit to go looking…but if you thought you found something, one was required to immediately inform the folks handling those matters for Honduras…except in this case, a certain new york college with the name of a well known toothpaste…well…it took them three years of digging into an area that had tombs and other antiquities…without a permit…and wouldn’t you know it…they just really were not sure if it had anything to do with copan…since it was now officially outside…but they were issued a back dated permit once “they were sure”…

    most museums in major cities have 5 to 10 times more items then available space or budget to ever build and display…but they have swell private showings for the important donors who are not required to have white gloves and no one seems too worried about any drinks spilling on the antiquities…

    but gotta keep the little museums from getting their hands on anything…not that it has anything to do with tourism, auctioneers, and hotel groups…na….

    a years worth of income as financial penalty and a small vacation at klub fed…

    equity and justice…that’s the ticket…

  25. Tertium Squid

    The fact that Perez cannot even dump on billionaires *insincerely* is pretty expressive of money’s influence in politics right now.

  26. different clue

    Somewhat upthread I suggest the word “clintaminated” to describe what has been done to the Democratic Party. It has been clintaminated. It will have to be declintaminated before it is fit for human use.

    Here is an absolutely clear and absolute textbook picture-perfect example of what I mean by “clintaminated”.

    Here is a Democratic Party email which the democrats sent to me. It invokes the name and sacred legacy and holy icon of Clinton to get us to answer a survey and sign up for something and send money. Read it and retch. Or gag.


    1. Liberal Mole

      Har! Wait till you get the robocall from Obama! Only I don’t know what he says, because I always hang up on the fraud.

  27. Oregoncharles

    “, the fight could lead to a government shutdown next Friday”

    Time to break out the $trillion platinum coin. With Trump’s face on it!

    Seriously, the whole furor is just silly.

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