2:00PM Water Cooler 4/5/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Trump is expected be accompanied in Florida [for his meeting with Xi] by a team of Cabinet officers and senior White House officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon, senior adviser Jared Kushner, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster” [Politico]. I don’t think I’d agree much about anything with anybody on that list, but it’s interesting because there don’t seem to be any of the usual Republican players on it (unless you count Priebus). And except for Bannon (see below) I don’t see any crazypants people on it, or at least no more crazypants than The Blob as a whole. No John Bolton! No Madeline Albright! The missing figure, of course, is Trump’s James Baker equivalent, as Nooners keeps pointing out.

“AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka took a less positive view of the direction the administration is taking on NAFTA, calling the draft letter [see here] ‘very, very timid.’ ‘NAFTA will be the real test, and despite the president having called it the worst trade deal in history, it appears that the Trump administration could leave its most oppressive pieces in place,’ he said in a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday” [Politico].

“The guidance released just before this year’s H-1B filing period got underway suggested companies wanting to sponsor H-1B workers as computer programmers would be subject to more scrutiny, especially if those jobs are promised low wages. It was a relatively small step, one the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services insists is simply reiterating an existing policy. But it sends the message, according to immigration attorneys, that application reviewers can — and should — weed out visa applications for jobs that are lower-level, lower-paying and do not meet the bar of the specialized technical jobs H-1B visas are meant for” [Axios]. Another damp squib, and very good news for the wage-fixing cartel in Silicon Valley.


New Cold War

UPDATE “Graham: Rice Has History of ‘Political Manipulation’ of Nat’l Security Informatio share this” [Fox News]. I’m linking to this because Lindsay Graham is both an Establishment figure and an opportunist, so if he’s swinging toward Trump on this, it’s an interesting indicator. I mean, Graham’s not getting all huffy about process, or the patriots who work in our national security apparatus, or anything like that.

Trump Transition

UPDATE “Window closing for Republican stealth assault on U.S. regulations” [Reuters]. Last Friday was the deadline for introducing any new [Congressional Review Act] resolutions on regulations enacted by Obama’s administration. Now Republicans must complete voting on resolutions already in the legislative pipeline by mid-May.

“President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing chief strategist Stephen Bannon from a key committee and restoring the roles of top intelligence and defense officials, according to a person familiar with the decision and a notice published in the Federal Register” [Bloomberg]. “The realignment increases the influence of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, whose public stances were sometimes at odds of those of Bannon. In addition to gaining greater control over the NSC, McMaster will have the Homeland Security Council under his authority.” McMcaster being the guy The Blob wanted, rather than Flynn.

“Senate Republicans are preparing to abolish the final vestige of power that the minority has to block Supreme Court nominations through a filibuster. Many senators in both parties now worry that the final and biggest domino — the power to filibuster legislation — will be next” [New York Times]. Well, if the Republicans get rid of it, at least the Democrats won’t be able to whine about it any more.

“Gorsuch merits confirmation: Our view” [USA Today]. “Overall, Gorsuch is about the best choice the country can expect from this president; in fact, the nomination was one of the least objectionable things Trump has done since taking office.”

“Neil Gorsuch’s 11th-hour plagiarism scare” [WaPo]. Two words: Joe Biden.

UPDATE “Many of us were wrong, myself included, about Donald Trump. We saw in the jut-jawed, brow-furrowed Mussolini-like posturing, in the blatant narcissism, in the reckless disregard for truth, the anger and incitement to hatred, the declamations that he would fix everything single-handedly on Day One of his presidency, his disdain for democracy and hints that he would lock up his opponents — we saw in all of these things incipient fascism” [Todd Gitlin, Moyers and Company]. “And then, last Friday, with the demise of the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare and replace it with… well, with a massive tax giveaway to the rich, we discovered — I discovered — that I was fearing the wrong thing. It’s not Trump’s ability to marshal the forces of repression that should terrify us. It’s his inability to marshal forces to conduct even the most basic governance.” Gitlin’s pivot is a fine example, amazingly enough, of the schema outlined by Scott Adams here.


“In fact, if you look back at the last four midterm elections where the party in the White House lost control of one or both houses of Congress, you see that they share the following traits in common: the president has approval ratings among his own partisans under 85 percent and approval ratings among independents in the 30’s or low 40s” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “We’ve got a long way to go before the 2018 midterms. But, the current situation of Republican-infighting, a lack of legislative accomplishments and a President determined to keep stoking political divisions is a very dangerous path for the GOP. The good news for Trump: Compared to the last three presidents in their first term, he has about half as many “vulnerable” House members of his own party to worry about. The bad news: if Trump’s numbers continue to look this bad, it helps Democrats recruiting efforts to challenge these incumbents and more. In fact, Trump’s numbers now look more like those of a president who is about to be hit by a wave election that wipes his party out of power in the House, than one who is going to be able to ride a wave of success. This should worry Trump, not just because it means he loses legislative leverage for his agenda, but it means that Democrats now get subpoena power. If you think the Russia/Trump stories are bad for the administration now, just imagine what they’ll look like with Democrats in charge of the oversight committees. I’m guessing the Perez/DNC/Clintonite theory of the case is like this; and if there’s going to be a wave election in 2018, they want the Ossoffs of this world running, not the Quists.

“Historically, Price’s affluent, suburban Atlanta district has been solidly Republican. However, Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the district by only 1.5 percentage points in 2016 — well below the usual Republican performance — giving Democrats hope that Ossoff could win the April 18 special election” [Politifact]. In other words, as I keep saying, the DNC is doubling down on Clinton’s 2016 strategy. No smelly proles! (The link also includes lengthy discussion of how Ossoff, mildly inflated his resume, primarily interesting because it shows how difficult it is to get Democrats to tell the truth about one of their own.)

UPDATE “I’m definitely not the right person to run to defeat [President Trump] in 2020. Right now, the answer is no,” Clinton said on CBS’s ‘This Morning.’ ‘But I think we all need to be asking ourselves that question periodically,’ the former first daughter added” [The Hill]. That’s not a Sherman Statement. In fact, it’s the opposite of a Sherman Statement.

UPDATE “Against Chelsea Clinton” [Matt Bruenig, Jacobin]. “Rumors are that Chelsea Clinton is gearing up to run for office. This is troubling news insofar as it might keep the Clinton machine and its hangers-on in politics. It also seems like a questionable idea insofar as Clinton is a nepotist legacy case whose whole career to this point has been hopping from one dodgy patronage job to another, not exactly the ideal image for the Democratic Party.” Oh, Matt. Neera’s gonna get you fired again!


“Since her stunning election loss, Clinton has been taking the time to figure out what she wants to do next. ‘She’s taking a look at her life and wants to try some different things,’ said one ally who has spoken to Clinton in recent weeks. ‘She’s not tying herself to something that’s always been an option. She wants to figure out what she wants to do'” [The Hill]. “One thing the former presidential nominee wants to do is figure out how she can best use her voice for the benefit of the Democratic Party, sources say.” Oddly, or not, retiring from public life isn’t an option.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The DCCC has $6.6 million cash on hand, and three races it could spend it on. Seems it’s bothering with all of one: Jon Ossoff’s in Georgia” [Wonkette]. “But it wouldn’t break the DCCC to give money — ANY MONEY — to Rob Quist, or James Thompson in Kansas (running to fill new CIA chief Mike Pompeo’s House seat in KS 04). Thompson’s election is April 11, and his state Dems wouldn’t even give him $20,000 for mailers.” Quist endorsed Sanders; Thompson says Sanders inspired him to run. Is it possible — follow me closely here — that the DCCC hates Sanders and wants any candidate associated with him to lose? (Not that the dog-in-the-manger DCCC has done such a great job of winning itself.)

UPDATE And speaking of suburbanites:

Yes, that seems odd.

“Montana filed three tax liens to collect about $15,000 in back taxes against the Democrat running for the state’s only congressional seat, which the political newcomer blamed on health problems that nearly led to his financial ruin…. The liens against Quist and his wife, Bonni, were issued in 2015 and cover the 2007, 2011 and 2012 tax years, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. He settled the debt with the Department of Revenue last May” [AP]. “But some rank-and-file party members said they knew little about Quist, and some prominent Democrats have privately groused that Quist had not been properly vetted.” Good, so far as I’m concerned; Quist knows what real life is like. And that “privately groused” line does make me wonder — completely without evidence, I admit — who it was who fed AP those documents.

UPDATE “McCaskill to Sanders backers: ‘I need you. I want you'” [The Hill]. This isn’t hard. Endorse #MedicareForAll.

“Perez unveils new DNC communications shop” [The Hill]. And just guess who’s running it! “Xochitl Hinojosa, a top adviser to Perez both during his time at the Labor Department and during his bid for the DNC spot, will serve as the DNC communications director. Adrienne Watson will shift over to the spot of new deputy communications director. Both she and Hinojosa worked together on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Before that, Watson worked for the pro-Clinton super PAC ‘Ready for Hillary.’ In her new role, she’ll continue work on the party’s anti-Trump ‘war room.'” Nothing like rewarding success, eh? And speaking of the War Room, I’ve been wondering for some time who the War Room actually funds. There seem to be curiously few details in the press. And juxtaposing–

UPDATE “By the numbers: How activists organized to save Obamacare” [Yahoo News]. Anti-AHCA call numbers and who made them. And then there’s this on Indivisible: “‘We don’t track number of calls made, but I can tell you that our 5,800 groups around the country made a huge impact in the fight to save the ACA,’ Indivisible’s Sarah Dohl told Yahoo News. ‘The ACA was a major theme during the February recess where us and some of our partners estimate over 100,000 people took part in nearly 300 nationwide events.’ The group’s congressional district-level ACA data was accessed more than 75,000 times online, and its ‘Save the ACA’ toolkit was accessed about 25,000 times.” To me, this demonstrates Indivisible’s mysterious (?) ability to get enormously good press without a lot of hard data. You could drive a truck through that “some of our partners” qualifier.

“Pepsi debuted a new protest commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. Everyone hates it” [Sacramento Bee]. “The video features a protest of young people and people of color in the streets, that is joined by a cello player, then a by a Muslim photographer and finally by Jenner, a model who sheds a blonde wig and wipes away her lipstick. The protesters eventually come into contact with a line of policemen. Jenner hands one of the police a can of Pepsi, who opens it and takes a drink, much to the delight of the protesters.” There’s a lot of this going around:

Stats Watch

Yesterday’s as well as today’s.

ADP Employment Report, March 2017: Greatly exceeds consensus [Econoday]. “Details in the ADP report include a strong 49,000 gain for construction and a 30,000 increase for manufacturing. Professional & business services are another strong positive, up 57,000.” And: “The data continues to suggest a strong labour market and there will be expectations that the Federal Reserve will push for another interest rate hike at the June meeting” [Economic Calendar]. And but: “This report is very good with growth in almost every sector” [Econintersect]. “ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth.”

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, March 2017: “46 percent of employees said their company was hiring, up from 44 percent in February. Meanwhile, the percentage who said their company was letting workers go held steady at 9 percent” [Econoday].

Purchasing Managers’ Services Index, March 2017: “New orders are at their slowest growth rate in a full year and service providers were keeping busy working down backlogs which are at a 9-month low. Employment growth is at a 5-month low. Despite the slowing in activity, wages and input costs are on the rise as are selling prices though only modestly” Econoday]. “This report points to a quarter-end fizzle for the bulk of the economy.” And: “Markit purchasing managers index survey shows trumped up expectations continue to fade” [Mosler Economics].

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, March 2017: “Employment growth slowed abruptly in the month” [Econoday]. “The big gain for export orders is a reminder that foreign demand for U.S. services is very strong in what is a major contrast with soft demand for U.S. goods. But the overall slowing centered in employment makes this report an unwelcome signal of weakness going into Friday’s jobs data.” And: “This suggests slower expansion in March than in February” [Calculated Risk]. And: “Both [PMI and ISM services indexes] are down – but both are in expansion. Just one more piece of data showing a slowing of the consumer segment of the economy” [Econintersect]. And: “Given that both the ISM and PMI reports slowed, there is likely to be some speculation that the services sector overall is slowing, although the data still suggests solid growth and more evidence of a significant deterioration will be needed to cause a major shift in sentiment” [Economic Calendar].

International Trade, February 2017: “In favorable news for first-quarter GDP, the nation’s trade gap hit Econoday’s low estimate in February at $43.6 billion and reflects a 1.8 percent drop in imports but only a 0.2 percent gain for exports” [Econoday]. “For GDP these data are very positive and help offset not only January’s large trade deficit but also what’s evolving as a weak quarter for domestic consumer spending. For cross-border trade, this report is not upbeat, showing less demand for goods and services both here and abroad.” And but: “The trade deficit was a bit less than expected, all due to lower imports. The question is whether this means there were more domestic purchases, whether this is an indicator of lower aggregate demand” [Mosler Economics].

Gallup US Economic Condidence Index, March 2017: “March economic confidence index (ECI) averaged plus 9 for the third month of 2017. Weekly readings of the index, however, show that confidence was strongest in early March after massive gains in the Dow in February. More recent index readings in March have been slightly positive, but are much lower than the high scores from early March” [Econoday]. “As Gallup has previously noted, the 2016 election dramatically affected economic confidence, with Republicans becoming largely positive in their views of the economy and Democrats becoming negative.”

Factory Orders, February 2017: “Factory orders may not be showing the same kind of strength that the ISM and Philly Fed are pointing to but they are solid, hitting Econoday’s February consensus at a 1.0 percent gain” [Econoday]. “But there are cracks that perhaps betray the strength and one is a second weak month for core capital goods (nondefense ex-aircraft) where orders fell 0.1 percent after managing only a 0.2 percent gain in January. Yet given strength of prior orders, shipments of core capital goods — which are an input into first-quarter GDP — rose a very solid 1.0 percent to help offset January’s disappointing 0.4 percent decline…. morning’s trade report poses further questions especially for capital goods exports which have been stubbornly flat. Still, on a total basis, factory orders are showing the directional lift that advance anecdotal reports have been signaling with rare strength.”

Motor Vehicle Sales, March 2017: “Big drop, and in line with collapsing bank loan reports” [Mosler Economics].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of March 31, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages rose a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in the March 31 week, but refinancing activity continued to decline” [Econoday].

Commericial Real Estate: “Despite dire reports of store closures in major brands across the country, the overall retail real estate statistics recorded very little change in the quarter as the neighborhood and community shopping center vacancy rate held steady at 9.9%, unchanged from year-end 2016 as well as from the first quarter of 2016. The average national asking rent increased 0.3% in the first quarter while effective rents, which net out landlord concessions, increased 0.4%”[Calculated Risk]. Hmm.

Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “As delinquencies on loans rise, some ratings firms are walking back their grades on bonds tied to properties like shopping malls and office towers, just a few years after assigning them” [Bloomberg]. “The reversals underscore how forces that brought trouble to financial markets before are still percolating through Wall Street today. No one sees the dangers as being nearly as grave as they were during the home mortgage bust. But the same ratings business model used during that period still prevails — meaning that the banks that put together debt securities still pay for the credit grades, and they can shop around for the firm that will give them the highest ratings under the loosest criteria.” Well, nobody went to jail the last time, so why would the business model change? Reputational risk? [snort]

Retail: “Payless has filed for bankruptcy and will immediately close 400 stores” [Business Insider]. “Additional store closures are likely. The company said it planned to ‘work to aggressively manage the remaining’ stores through additional closures — beyond the initial 400 — or modified lease terms. Payless has 4,400 stores in 30 countries and employs nearly 22,000 people.”

Shipping: “What do the markings on a container mean?” [Shipping & Freight Resource]. This is really neat (for shipping container geeks anyhow). “Weight” is “heavily contested”!

Shipping: “The intense battle between US west and east coast ports for Asian imports is being won on the Atlantic seaboard, despite ocean freight rates, according to Drewry” [The Loadstar]. “The shift in momentum from the second half of 2016, following the opening of the enlarged Panama Canal, has continued apace, said the consultant. Drewry said that according to Piers data, which only records US traffic, January and February volumes from Asia to the US east coast were up by 4%, year-on-year, to 760,000 teu, with Gulf port throughput leaping by 32% to 82,000 teu during the period. This compares with a 9% throughput drop in the two months, to 1.5m teu, for US west coast ports.”

Shipping: “Container lines this week succeeded in imposing rate increases across most routes covered by the composite Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), which recorded a jump of 9.4%” [The Loadstar]. So, consolidation and sending the excess capacity stupid money built to the shipbreakers did the trick?

Political Risk: “Dimon Warns ‘Something Is Wrong’ With the U.S.” [Bloomberg]. Like Dimon still walking the streets, but never mind that. From Dimon’s shareholders letter: “It is understandable why so many are angry at the leaders of America’s institutions, including businesses, schools and governments. This can understandably lead to disenchantment with trade, globalization and even our free enterprise system, which for so many people seems not to have worked.'” Seems? Average life expectancy declines — average, mind you, and it seems there’s a problem?

Rapture Index: Unchanged [Rapture Ready]: Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 48, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 34 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 5 at 1:43pm.

Health Care

It’s really useless trying to follow health care politics in the mainstream press because they’re hopelessly contaminated by either fearmongering or triumphalism (and propaganda in either case). I like Health Affairs a lot, and if they aren’t full-throated single payer advocates, at least they don’t make sh*t up, and they keep a level tone. Plus, they’re genuine subject matter experts, as opposed to Voxoids.

“CBO Provides A Roadmap For Improving AHCA” [Health Affairs].

“ACA Round-Up: Negotiations To Revive AHCA, Alexander-Corker Bill, And Risk Adjustment” [Health Affairs].

Class Warfare

“True cost of Philippines gold-mining: Poverty-stricken workers risk health for precious metal” (photo essay) [International Business Times]. “Artisanal mining.”

News of the Wired

“Living a Lie: We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others” [Scientific American].

“Grammarians rejoice in the $10 million comma” [The Conversation]. Damn straight!

* * *

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 (PM):

Love the skunk cabbage, and also love the last of the snow (look at that horrid rotting crust of it, top right. One of mud season’s most dislikable features).

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. Roger Smith

    What is up with the Quist AP article? Every website I go to that was linking the report has taken it down.

      1. dcblogger

        regarding Quist and Thompson, where is Sanders? Where is Our Revolution? Where is Justice Democrats? Where is Brand New Congress? these are the organizations that should be making the DCCC irrelevant. That is why you should give to candidates and not groups.

        1. Marina Bart

          I completely agree with you about this. This is exactly the kind of test these organizations need to pass, if the left is to continue support them with money and energy.

          Any NCers on the ground in either state should ask them.

    1. diptherio

      Somebody reminded them that Quist is the only Dem running and it’s either him or the billionaire Republican…

  2. oho

    Seems like everyone (in the Western media) is beating war drums over the Syrian chemical weapons release.

    Moscow says that the airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons cache.

    Obviously all sides have an incentive to lie.

    All I can say is I hope we don’t repeat NYT 2002/Iraq.


    (Yes it’s the Daily Mail—-but can’t find any other mainstream outlet that addresses the Russian narrative)

    1. Byron the Light Bulb

      War drums? US, Russia, UK, Germany, France, Jordan, and Turkey all have personnel, in-country, waging unconventional warfare of one sort or another in Syria. The war drums, more like war oeuvre-of-industrial-music-pioneer-cacophony have been thumping for quite some time.

      But speaking of propaganda, can a nation-state actually lie about something whose true nature is incomprehensible? If the media were passing stories of actual werewolves in epaulets roaming Syria, one should still feel shame on behalf of the human race.

    2. Detroit Dan

      The Moscow story is more plausible to me. The Syrian government is winning and would have little incentive to use chemical weapons at this point. The rebels are desparate, and fanatic in many cases.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats the key point I think – its hard to see any motive whatever for the Russians or Assad to use chemical weapons now. on the contrary, its in their interest to keep things ‘clean’ as they sweep up the last major rebel strongholds with as little fuss as possible. If they did it, I suspect its most likely a rogue decision by a local commander, or a straightforward error.

        I’m not sure the notion of the sarin having escaped from a bombed facility makes much sense either though – without active dispersal I doubt it would have killed so many children, that looks more like a deliberate attack, sarin doesn’t disperse well without some active mechanical aid.

        So I think the only reasonable conclusions on current evidence is that its a rogue Syrian Army unit responsible, or a deliberate false flag attack. But of course thats not how the media are reporting it.

    3. different clue

      The obvious way to solve it would be to get some samples of leftover gas traces and analyze them. See if they match the chemical purity fingerprints and profiles for the official Syrian Government Sarin that all got dumped. Or see if they don’t. See if they show traces of contaminants indicating a quick-and-dirty kitchen-quality basement-lab product.

      The CLEJ scum should not object to UN experts coming in for taking samples if they are confident it was not their own gas.

      1. craazyboy

        It came out in 2014 that Al Nusra had captured a guv chemical weapons facility. Maybe it’s been destroyed by now, or maybe it’s been moved or maybe the rebels have stockpiled gas.

        Too many maybes. I like the Occam’s Razor – if you won already, you don’t need it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Of course, sarin and most chemical weapons can easily be produced by state actors. The Saudis could easily produce and deliver high grade chemical weapons especially ones that have been produced for over eighty years.

          Has “fog of war” left the lexicon? Or do people really believe in made up concepts such as honor? It’s a war. War is the greatest of mankind’s sins. If you don’t want these sins to be unleashed, don’t support a war, not even “smart wars.”

        2. zapster

          The 2014 sarin was traced to materials from Turkey and manufactured locally. Since then, rebel manufacturing sites have been found repeatedly. And it looks as tho this is a hoax. The UN can’t get to it to confirm, and the photos look highly staged–including white helmets handling supposed sarin victims with bare hands. That would be instant death. It looks like this is a fake to influence the big UN meeting.

    4. Gareth

      Former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford: Those calling for intervention in Syria are likes “dogs returning to their own vomit”.


      I made the mistake of briefly turning on public radio in Wisconsin only to immediately hear that the chemical attack was carried out by the “pro-Russian, pro-Iranian murderous Assad regime”. Now that’s some finely balanced reporting! Note to self: Do not donate to pledge drive again this year.

      1. Marina Bart

        The hubs still listens to NPR in the car during his commute, and he came home again tonight foaming at the mouth at how distorted and far right NPR coverage is. Whatever show he was listening to gave Larry Kudlow a long, lingering French kiss of a story, as the sole “economic expert” allowed to opine.

    5. tgs

      The UN has not even started its fact finding. In fact, it has not yet established that a chemical attack occurred.

      According to the most recent media reports, a chemical attack might have caused the deaths of at least 70 civilians, and possibly injured more than 200.


      Yet our media and most of our elected officials long for confrontation. They have been softening up the American public for years for taking down the Assad government. That it will create a far greater disaster and kill far more people than the alleged chemical attack matters not one bit. Russia reaffirmed its support of Assad today. And so there is that. The possibility of a nuclear confrontation.

      This is extraordinarily reckless. And Trump has indicated, as has Haley at the UN they we will act – security council and evidence be damned.

      1. Ptolemy Philopater

        Nikki Haley is already stating that if the UN does not act then state actors will have to act unilaterally. This is no doubt a Turkish false flag operation. Assad must go. Turkey needs its men in Damascus to counter the U.S. supported Kurds in the east. From Damascus the Turks can better stave off a Kurdish Autonomous region that Assad is likely to grant to keep Syria in tact.

        The idiots in Washington are falling for it of course. Likewise they believe it is better to confront Moscow in Syria first than in the Donbas. Washington DC and the Saudi’s realize that it is either total victory now, or War Crimes Tribunals in the future. We are at a cross roads of history.

        The Saudi’s own DC & the Intelligence Services therein, and those corrupt politicians will murder and maim any number of innocents to protect their nest eggs, spider’s nest.

        Trumpenstien’s popularity is at an all time low. Trumpenstien needs a war to pull his cajones out of the fire, nothing like war to distract the masses. Will it work again, or will people make it clear to Congress that they will not countenance another horrendous and wasteful war as they did the last time Red Lines were being pulled out of thin air in 2013.

    6. SpringTexan

      Oh, it’s Assad. There’s no doubt if you are paying attention. It makes me sick that there is all this Russia! stuff about the election which they probably didn’t do and even if Russia had some role which I doubt it amounted to NOTHING, but they really have helped Syria bomb hospitals and all other sorts of horrible stuff and we don’t ever talk about that when we talk about Putin and Russia, the REAL stuff.

      Good video: https://www.facebook.com/TheSyriaCampaign/videos/1348214155270594/ “Politicians are holding their noses and ignoring Assad’s gas attacks in Syria. Tell them to wake up and smell the war crimes.”

      What we do about it is harder but this sort of thing is no surprise and no worse than other things Assad and Russia have done — which is what we should be talking about about Russia, not interfering-with-the-election nonsense.

      Shows a total lack of proportion and no sense of reality.

      What to DO at this late date is a much harder question, but admitting refugees to the country and funding aid for them is one obvious thing. And talking about the obvious instead of about stupid fictions. And not acting as though Assad is in any way acceptable instead of unspeakable.

      1. witters

        Did you really say “stupid fictions”? You did!

        I had a PG student from the ME (family in Lebanon & Syria, arabic speaker, neither Shia nor Sunni) who did a lot of field-work interviews with all kinds of people in Syria. The overwhelming message from pretty much all of them? Keep the jihadi crazies away from us!

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        There’s no doubt?

        Saudi Arabia. Sarin is well within their means to produce and deliver, and as they have supported the most vile people on the planet (Al Qaeda and the neocons), why would you out this past them? They have motive and means. They run supplies already.

      3. different clue

        Sometimes life gives us bad choices. The GAJ ( Global Axis of Jihad) and the CLEJ ( Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadis) are worse and more beastly than Assad. They also want something more purely evil . . . . which is to enslave or exterminate all the Christians, Shia, Alawis, and even Secular Civilized Sunnis in Syria.

        The way to bring peace to Syria is to support Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and the legitimate government of Syria itself in exterminating the rebellion from existence: totally, finalistically and comprehensively. Once every Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadi anywhere within the borders of Syria has been so totally killed so that there are no more CLEJs left to pursue their CLEJ rebellion . . . and no CLEJs left for the GAJ ( Global Axis of Jihad) to support; then peace will return to Syria.

      4. zapster

        Except that it’s turning out that hospitals that were reported bombed–weren’t. In areas that have been taken back, international reporters have toured these supposedly destroyed hospitals and they’re perfectly whole and undamaged. We’re being fed complete bs.

      5. Oregoncharles

        One report said people heard a bomb go off. Those can be delivered on the ground, too, but if it was from the air, it was either Assad or the Russians – or, conceivably, the US. Or, hmmm, Israel, but they usually get an air defense response. The Syrians would loudly proclaim Israeli involvement.

      6. vidimi

        it could be assad. it could be someone else. the trouble is, we just don’t know and neither do the media reporting on the story.

        there’s no doubt that assad and russia have committed atrocities in syria, but so have many others. it’s possible that assad feels he can prosecute the war with impunity; it’s also possible someone else committed the attack to distract from the atrocious US bombing of civilian facilities that left over 200 dead.

      7. Ptolemy Philopater

        Ah, welcome to the Hasbara. The motives of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in destroying Syria are well known. Israel wants to dismember Syria to cut off Iranian support for Hezbollah, the only effective counter to Israeli aggression in the region and it does not want to give up the Golan Heights in any comprehensive peace settlement. A dismembered Syria would allow an easier way to permanently annex the Golan Heights than would a newly resurgent Bathist Syria. Will Russia hang tough? Does Washington really believe it can win in a confrontation with Russia? Is the fix in? The Ukraine for Syria? Your guess is as good as mine.

  3. FreeMarketApologist

    “She’s taking a look at her life and wants to try some different things” (re Hillary’s next Big Thing)

    Article mostly about how she probably won’t return to the Clinton Foundation, thus the lipsticking of that pig begins.

    If she really wanted to try something different, she could start by staying completely out of the public eye. Tend to the back yard garden for a while… say, the next 30 years.

    1. Altandmain

      To be honest, I would not be surprised if she is secretly thinking about trying again in 2020 on the gamble that people will be stick of Trump … or grooming her daughter to someday run.

    2. DJG

      Given that 30,000 or so of the e-mail messages on the Hard Drive of Contention on the Privateskiy Serverskiy (you have to be Russian to known what I’m referring to) were about yoga, or so she says, she should start her own school of yoga.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe the next thing is to audition for Glenn Close role in the upcoming Hollywood remake of Fatal Attraction.

        “She appeared to be everything I’d ever dreamed of when we first met.”

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      She’s done. Money flowed into the Clinton Foundation on the promise she would be President. If she goes to Clinton Foundation and doesn’t raise money with her natural charisma, it would be a little obvious what had transpired.

      As far as Chelsea, her mom won the Senate seat by 10 points against a guy too extreme for Peter King. Chelsea isn’t a star. She doesn’t even show up for phony jobs. If she gets to Congress, she might set absentee records.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        Chelsea is cornered. Mom and Dad are supposedly has-beens in politics. Her husband lost his hedge fund money with staggering losses. What else could she do?

        1. Doug

          Hi up on the gag-o-meter dial: The February 26, 2017 New York Times Review of Books has, right there on the cover, the following: “7 Chelsea Clinton The former first daughter on what a president should read”.

          Hmmm. Five living former Presidents, some very capable former Secretaries of State, undoubtedly some others with understanding and experience. But the NYT goes for Chelsea? Its not owned by Barry Diller, is it?

          1. different clue

            No. Its owned by the Corporate Fascist Pig Establishment. And the CFPE still wants another Clinton back into power somewhere as an inspiration to all the millions of Clintonite scum from Sea to Shining Sea who live to worship and support the Wall Street Democrat Hamilton Project program.

            1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

              Thank you for your hyperbole. The “Great Middle” of the debate wants us to think oh- so- reasonably that polite conversation is the right way to decide which war to fight and who should die today because a billionaire pharma guy doesnt have the yacht he really wants. Awaken people by getting mad and loud and outrageous.

  4. Pookah Harvey

    I think that Quist has a better chance of winning than Ossoff. Quist is running against Republican Gianforte.

    From High Country News

    Republican Greg Gianforte is a highly successful businessman in the tech industry who is proud of his business acumen and his fiscal and social conservatism. His sole brush with the electorate came in 2016, when he challenged Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock for the governor’s mansion.

    Gianforte, who lives in Bozeman, anted up millions of his own dollars for that campaign and still lost to Bullock by four percentage points. One loss may not mean much; after all, Abraham Lincoln lost a lot of races before he was elected president. But Gianforte’s loss occurred on an Election Day where the same voters went for Donald Trump by 21 points over Hillary Clinton.

    One might think that the kind of conservative, jobs-oriented voter who liked billionaire-businessman Trump would go for billionaire-businessman Gianforte. Instead, thousands of Montana Trump supporters dumped Gianforte for a down-ballot Democrat. In 2016, Trump’s coattails and Gianforte’s pocketbook both fell short.

    Why the loss:

    In his (Gianforte ) last campaign, it came to light that he had sued the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks over public-fishing access to the Gallatin River near his Bozeman estate. This was a political disaster for Gianforte, because it reinforced the narrative that he failed to understand how crucial access to the outdoors is to the rank-and-file Montanan.

    The issue wasn’t the river. The issue was freedom. That became the eights-and-aces hand that killed Gianforte’s campaign for the governor’s job. It’s still two months until the election, and Gianforte may have cards he isn’t showing. However, he can’t undo the past. The Gallatin River narrative is still out there, fresh in the public’s mind, should Quist chose to exploit it.

    1. diptherio

      …he failed to understand how crucial access to the outdoors is to the rank-and-file Montanan.

      Never thought of myself as a “rank-and-file Montanan” before. Seems like an odd term, like we’re all a political party or a military unit or something. The sentiment is correct, however. Public access to public lands is of super high importance to everyone who doesn’t own their own stretch of blue-ribbon trout stream.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Same in Idaho. Some Texas billionaires bought a bunch of land owned by a logging company. It previously had been open for hunting. The Texas boys closed off access which didn’t fly well. Scared our Republicans to death.

        After that report, Idaho Republican Congressman Mike Simpson cited the Wilks’ purchase as an example of what would happen if the federal government sold off its public lands, like former presidential candidate Ted Cruz had proposed.

        “All of a sudden, they denied access,” Simpson said of the Wilks brothers. “All of a sudden, people couldn’t access their favorite fishing hole or hunting ground

        Pretty much a 180 from previous Republican actions.

    2. Vatch

      From the Public Lands portion of the Quist campaign website:

      Rob is a lifelong outdoorsman who opposes any attempts to transfer Montana’s public lands to private hands. He believes public lands are our state’s single greatest asset, and must be protected for future generations.

      1. Marina Bart

        Please, please somebody give him a little dough and attention before it’s too late. If the DNC hates him, he’s:

        – Doing something right;
        – Going to stir up the hornet’s nest if he wins, just because he won — that puts more pressure on the DNC over its incompetence and corruption. And he’s got to be better than Ossoff.

        1. Vatch

          The Montana election is on May 25, so there’s still plenty of time for Quist.

          But the Kansas election is less than a week away, on April 11. James Thompson is another Democratic candidate who has been ignored by the establishment Democrats. This election is in the very heart of the Kochtopus, so an upset victory by Mr. Thompson would be great. Here’s his web site:


          Here’s an endorsement of Thompson by Our Revolution:


          1. Marina Bart

            I’m replying to lift your comment back into the Recent list.

            We have to break the War & Money hegemony in government. If you’re out there, and you can help Thompson in Kansas, please do. He has five more days.

    1. doug

      I am pretty sure it is only Hitlery that wants(ed) war from reading this blog. So don’t worry…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Imagine if there was a credible difference between the candidates or the Democrats focused on turnout the base instead of trying to win “moderate suburban republicans” who voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

        Or you might have listened and bothered to canvass or register voters. The 50,000 voters who disappeared from Detroit between 2004 and 2016 is flat out embarrassing.

      2. nippersdad

        I, on the other hand, thought that it was clear prior to the election that the general opinions expressed were that with Trump wars of choice were a potential problem, whereas with Clinton they were a certainty. That Trump is realizing his potential for warmongering does not alter the fact that Clinton already had.

      3. sid_finster

        I don’t recall reading that.

        Rather, with Trump, war was a crapshoot.

        With HRC, war is baked in the cake.

        1. RUKidding

          Agree. We all figured there was SLIM chance that Trump might actually turn out not to be a complete WarMongering clusterf*ck. But with Clinton we knew that she was going in as a complete WarMongering clusterf*ck.

          Speaking only for myself, I figured it wouldn’t take much to cross Trump’s palm with lotsa “silver” to get into War Profiteering 101 and beyond.

          Too bad. Trump DID say he was opposed to the ME WAR, Inc., but I agree that anyone who believes campaign promises is a mug.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Trump said he was opposed to regime change wars more or less. He says a lot of things. He did promise to escalate conflict with ISIS and Al Qaeda. A common criticism of our efforts to destabilize Assad was resources weren’t being directed towards Al Qaeda in Yemen which was being ignored by the Saudis who are fighting the real government of Yemen.

            There have been reports and claims of U.S. soldiers being irritated they were supporting Al Qaeda allies in Syria while ISIS and Al Qaeda were running convoys.

            Washington didn’t like what Trump was selling, but there are many Americans who opposed regime change in Syria, learned from Libya and Iraq, and still want to wipe out Al Qaeda style outfits, which they as separate, without occupations.

      4. different clue

        You should have been reading this blog more carefully, then. Hitlery wanted specifically to support the neoNazi coup regime in Kiev, overthrow the Assad government in Syria, and intensify Cold War 2.0 with Russia. And run high risks of H-bomb war with Russia along the way.

        Those wars and goals seemed most dangerous to ME at the time of MY voting. I admit to being surprised and disappointed that Trump has adopted the Hitlery Imperative as regards Yemen. I was hoping for more straight-up non-interventionism.

        1. Aumua

          This is why voting against a candidate / voting for the lesser of two evils / voting out of fear / 11ty dimensional chess voting etc.. is the wrong way to go. It has about as much chance of backfiring as succeeding, and it sends the wrong message. It says we can be coerced into playing their game on their playing field with their rules, and picking from two choices who represent nothing we actually believe in.

          1. different clue

            If voting aGAINST a candidate can contribute to the deSTRUCtion of that candidate, and that candidate is a source of contamination as long as that candidate is permitted to survive in politics, then voting aGAINST that candidate can begin a decontamination and disinfection process.

            We have made a start on driving the Clintons out of politics. If we can destroy Chelsea’s career in politics every time she tries to get it started, then we are preventing a new metastasis of malignant Clintonoma from getting started. And if we can move from there to exterminating every single Clintonite from out of politics and public life, then we will have an uncontaminated staging space on which we can do things.

            I think I helped send the message I wanted to send by voting FOR Trump aGAINST Clinton. That message is: I hate the Clintons and their ism. I want to exterminate their presence from our politics. And by breaking the Clinton candidacy this time, we have front-fired to our advantage by weakening the Clintons enough that further disinfection campaigns against them will free up more liberated brainspace from their filthy presence.

            1. Aumua

              Seems like it remains to be seen what process Trump’s election actually represents. Of course, when I said “voting out of fear” I was giving many voters the benefit of the doubt. What a certain class of people did was evidently more like “voting out of spite/hatred/revenge”.

              Regardless, it sure looks like the PTB are just going ahead with their plans apace, any way they can, and they really don’t give a f*** who the president is. They would have liked Clinton, but whatever. They’ll take Donald Trump if that’s all they can get, for now.

          2. Marina Bart

            Cernovich and other big alt-right Trump supporters were on Twitter today reminding Trump that he promised to dial back the war, they know this stuff is phony, and they will be disappointed in him if he gives in like this.

            Trump’s base doesn’t want this. Its independent media figures are being very vocal about it. I don’t know how much good this will do, but the media and her base would be caressing Hillary and preparing her sainthood petition if she was doing it.

            I didn’t vote for Trump, I voted for Bernie. But I still believe my conclusion a year ago was the correct one: better Trump than Clinton.

          3. wilroncanada

            I think voting against a candidate is the most common reason for voting among the “independent” voters, as well as the most common reason for a citizen switching parties. Not just in the US, but in all so-called democracies, and not just in this 2016 election, but in all elections.

            One of the ways the US is going to change is that the number of “independents” is approaching, or has reached 50%. That should leave an opening for a greater number of “independent” candidates to run with a chance of winning. An increasing number of independents could eventually constitute a balance of power.

            Of course, there is still the money spent by the two heritage parties which will try to buy elections away from independents, but it might have a much lesser effect in congressional districts than in the other two branches.

  5. Tom

    Clinton spokeperson about Hillary’s plans:

    She’s not tying herself to something that’s always been an option.

    What does that even mean?

  6. Goyo Marquez

    “We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others”
    Isn’t that like the first law of sales? Or is that, “Coffee is for closers!”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One training exercise is to self-deceive in order to deceive deception-detection devices.

    2. different clue

      You have to pull the wool over your own eyes before you can pull it over someone else’s.

  7. DJG

    Wowsers. Deray, Claire McCaskill, Chelsea Woman of Destiny, and Lindsay Weathervane Graham all in one Water Cooler. Anyone have a house on the island of Rhodes for rent? With malfunctioning wi-fi? (Anything to get away from the sheer illiteracy of “us and some of our partners”!)

    About all I can say about McCaskill is that after the overt red-baiting of Bernie Sanders, she should also be thinking about retirement. Maybe she and Hillary can start that yoga studio together. What I’m wondering, though, is how much the DSCC will throw at her campaign on the grounds that she’s a distinguished woman senator and necessary to keep that suburban coalition going. And Missouri is a red state that she so carefully represents (shouldn’t be “red,” but that’s what the Democrats have turned it into).

    1. IDontKnow

      Yep, IMHO, it would take a lot more that single payer for that witch to get relief.

      Start with debt relief for student loans or a WPA with a minimum wage requirement that would allow paying off debt and decent living standard.
      Next, Congressional move to kill off corporations are human too, maybe with laws that make the corporate shield a lot less strong, at least for directors and majority stockholders.
      Maybe then I’ll start to believe pigs can fly.

    1. MtnLife

      I think you are attributing the look of one bone structure to another. Melania looks beautiful how she is. She has a very Eastern European bone structure which tends toward thinner bodies. She wouldn’t look as nice carrying as much weight as the boxer who clearly has a much larger bone structure and looks beautiful just the way she is. Both of them look healthy.

      1. Portia

        Eastern European bone structure??? WTF is that. I am Eastern European, and that “model” look comes from not doing any manual labor whatsoever, and eating very little.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Unless they’re trying to get into a lower weight class, boxers have an interest in being as heavy as possible. Preferably, but not necessarily, with muscle. I gather this woman is a heavyweight. A runner would look very different – and possibly eat even more. Female distance runners sometimes stop ovulating because their body fat is so low, even though they’re intensely fit.

      Of course, women naturally carry more fat at a given level of fitness than men, and I think have generally more tendency to gain when food is readily available. Consequently, they do better during either starvation or extreme cold. The survivors of the Donner Party were disproportionately women. And most of the distinctive physical features are fat deposits. Biologically, females are literally more important than males.

      Melania was a model and is now a trophy wife, so I imagine she watches her weight very carefully indeed.

    3. Massinissa

      Ive seen anorexic women. And Melania isn’t anorexic.

      As long as a woman is not anorexic or close to it, she is (probably) carrying ‘enough weight’ to be healthy.

  8. nippersdad

    The Dimon letter looks like a good candidate for Lambert’s colored pencil treatment. Even my fuzzy, less-than-layman’s understanding of the subjects he covered left me feeling like it must have been written in an alternative universe. Who knew, for example, that JP Morgan had no need for government assistance after a financial collapse that he admits having no responsibility for having created?

    He was right about one thing, though; we are right to lack confidence in the American elites he here so ineptly represents.

    1. Iowan X

      I know it’s wrong to ask our proprietors to do work (even if you’ve been to the Tip Jar–and I wish I could do more to support this site).

      A Lambert color-code job on a 41 page letter is too much to ask. But if Lambert can find the letter and finds some of it risible–that’s something I’m gonna read for sure.

    2. bob

      I’m not sure that anyone can out-do Dimon in pure, unmitigated gall.

      He’s an outlier, even among the assholes he’d call his peers.

  9. Benedict@Large

    You’re correct about the mess that healthcare reporting has become, but of course it was the last time around also. The difference this time isn’t that there are three sides (GOP, left-Dem, and right-Dem), but that two, not one, of them (GOP and right-Dem) are acting as dishonest brokers.

    So what is a dishonest broker here? It’s a side that is only interested in solving their lobbying problems, and not in a real healthcare solution. OK, maybe the right-Dems weren’t completely honest the first go around, but I think they at least thought they could do both the first time around. This time, they’re not even trying to fake it.

    But imagine that; 1947, wasn’t it? And still this government (and this one alone) is paralyzed when it comes to one of the more basic needs of its citizens.

    And they’re not doing very well on food or housing either.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Basic needs.

      So basic they are not free.

      “But this not-basic service is free!!!”

      1. Musicismath

        Meritocratic liberals aren’t interested in serving people’s basic needs unless they “deserve” it. We’ve got to be clear about what we’re dealing with here: visceral anti-egalitarians whose only interests lie in constructing schemas for rationing services and deciding who misses out because they fail the meritocrats’ self-established moral criteria. The eternal separation of the clean from the unclean.

    2. Jeff W

      The difference this time isn’t that there are three sides (GOP, left-Dem, and right-Dem), but that two, not one, of them (GOP and right-Dem) are acting as dishonest brokers.

      And most of the public now knows it, which is a big difference from last time.

      The GOP, astonishingly to its credit, highlighted a lot of the deficiencies of Obamacare (e.g., the odious Rick Santorum was in some clip pointing out that the Democrats had done a great job conflating “health insurance” with “health care”), while somehow coming up with their own plan that solved none of those problems and made the situation far worse. (If that doesn’t expose their role as brokers dishonest to the core, I don’t know what does.) I doubt they could have been more effective at discrediting themselves, the right-Dems and both their ideas on health care if they had been trying. And, meanwhile, while those ideas are lying in a kind of smouldering heap off on stage right, Sen. Sanders is on national TV, saying, “Hey, not less than 50 miles away, there is a health care system that is cheaper, covers everyone, and works.” It’s a bit of a “perfect storm,” if you ask me, at least in terms of public perception.

  10. MikeW_CA

    Scott Adams says “There was literally no other path to the middle.” That’s wrong, of course. Obamacare is already at the middle. Doing nothing at all is the easiest and best path to “the middle”. The real question is whether “the middle” is where we want to end up.

    1. Marina Bart

      There is no middle. The ACA was corporate, so it was the center if and only if you envision a black hole that sucks things into it to be destroyed, not a line with a balancing point.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Hillary is a great candidate.”

      “Bernie is a tool of Wall Street.”

      Is it really much of a leap to make a claim extolling Hillary’s battle tested super duper experience and then say something outright bizarre?

      I do recall a Clinton campaign tactic was to compare Bernie to a landlord. Now connecting Sanders to Wall Street. Whitehouse might be a mark in this case, but it’s obvious where I am going with this. Sanderstein might not play as well with religious blacks.

      1. nippersdad

        No, I suppose it really isn’t much of a leap at this point. Support for Hillary (and some of his myriad other betrayals of his professed base) could at least be rationalized at some level, though. He just managed to blow all of the credibility built up over the years in one big blast here, to no purpose, whatsoever.

    2. Dwight

      Sheldon Whitehouse recently came out with a book on the corporate capture and infiltration of American politics. Okay as far as it went, but nothing on health insurance and just a brief mention of the power of pharmaceutical companies. He should but obviously won’t support Medicare for All.

    3. Jen

      Can one be a tool of Wall Street and Putin’s lap poodle simultaneously? These people have lost their minds.

  11. Kronos

    On the tyranny to incompetent pivot. Yeah, that’s evident. However, it is a bit misleading. The reason people yelled about tyranny and authoritarianism was so that people would pay attention and do what they could to prevent tyranny. Trump’s words matter. If he thinks he can shoot from the hip and say tyrannical stuff and people will just assume he doesn’t mean it then that would have been problematic. What would happen if the next politician comes along and really is bent on tyranny but tells us to get over it because words don’t matter? In fact, the more I think about it the stupider Adams is sounding. We sat through all that anti_obama tyranny crap for 8 years. You think folks are a little embarrassed that they voted for Trump and now they need excuses to keep up appearances. Now Trump is yelling about red lines in Syria. WTF!? Are these just words? Remember, the right made an industry of critiquing Obama’s red line statement. The logical conclusion of Trump’s statements today is that now we go to direct war with Syria and potentially Russia. And just so Trump can get a dig in at Obama and look like he is tough or something. That’s messed up. Obama screwed up the red line thing but for good reasons. Trump is screwing up the red line thing for political reasons and because he is an idiot. Why is Adams and NK defending this?

  12. Dwight

    Gary Johnson got 3.1-4.4% in Cobb, Fulton, and Dekalb Counties, part of each which form the Sixth Congressional District. I don’t know Johnson’s total for the Sixth District, but putting it at 3%, I would add at least 2% to Trump’s total, if the 1.5% Trump victory over Clinton is to be used as a gauge of Ossof’s chances in the District. With lower, older, and more conservative turn-out in a mid-term, and a traditional Republican congressional candidate, I can’t see Ossof winning.

    Since Ossof is against Medicare for All and for the bogus Russia justification for Democratic Party failure, I find it hard to care if he wins. He should do something useful with his campaign by supporting single-payer, which many Republicans support and which many of the people in his district desperately need. Who knows, he might actually run a close race if he did, even if only by increasing Democratic turnout rather than converting Republicans. Otherwise, I predict another of the consistent 67-33% Democratic losses in that district.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The framing of Trump as worse than Super Hitler or “OMG Putin” instead of a traditional Republican will also make Republicans who are just as awful as Trump seem more palatable. The outrage machine won’t be as effective as Team Blue elites expect or hope.

    2. nippersdad

      Agreed. The Sixth is pretty much a foregone conclusion. If history is any guide, the more stereotypical Rush Limbaugh candidate there is in Atlanta’s Northern ‘burbs the more likely they are to vote for him/her. Regardless what he runs on, though, I think they would view him as being every bit as much of a Quisling as the Left does.

  13. PKMKII

    Regarding Trump-as-incompetent meme: The band Laibach once said, in response to accusations of being fascist, “We are as much fascists as Hitler was a painter.” I feel a similar dynamic is going on with Trump.

    1. LifelongLib

      Well, Hitler THOUGHT he was a painter. The world would have been better off if that art school had thought so too…

      1. witters

        Hitler was a painter. You can be a bad or medicore painter. (Just as you are a thinker, even if you think badly or in a mediocre way.)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hitler was a wonderful painter. He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon. Two coats.

  14. optiamder

    RE: Pepsi Ad
    Muslim Photographer w/ tight teeshirt and jiggly tits.. -the Hollywoodie version

    what a fail …

    1. Marina Bart

      To be fair, you can be “Muslim” and not a religious conservative. Two famous Instamodels (who are even friends with Jenner, I believe) do lots of sexy modeling with plenty of nudity. They also talk openly about practicing their religion.

      All of the major religions have a ideological spectrum.

      1. Optimader

        “…sexy modeling..nudity…”
        Dont get me wrong I am all for more nudity and less war and social strife. So these models, they wear Hijabs as a religious piety counterpoint?

        Hopefully they get stoned with nothing more than pingpong balls. Better yet a hookah

        The synthetic reality foisted by the LA crowd…Interesting times

        1. Marina Bart

          No. Bella and Gigi Hadid do not wear hijabs. They’re not hypocrites like that. I believe their father is a wealthy real estate guy, but I don’t know much about them.

          My point was that there are lots and lots of people who are Muslim but who are not conservative, just like there are Catholic and Episcopalian leftists, and plenty of mainline Protestant leftists. Corey Robin, a proponent of BDS, is a practicing Jew.

  15. Jeff W

    What, in anyone’s mind, makes Chelsea Clinton someone who should even be considered as a possible candidate? Her own possible merits—or lack thereof—aside, in a (putative) democracy, shouldn’t the default position be against assuming hereditary succession? What is this—North Korea?

    1. different clue

      Its American royalty. Its the Clinton Restoration. She is the living vessel and new hope for the House of Clinton.

      1. Marina Bart

        Susan Bordo apparently compares Hillary to Anne Boleyn in her ridiculous book. Like, she views them as peers.

        Which would make Chelsea…

  16. Eureka Springs

    “McCaskill to Sanders backers: ‘I need you. I want you’” [The Hill]. This isn’t hard. Endorse #MedicareForAll.

    IIRC, McCaskill and or her husband are in the nursing home biz big time. I wonder just what single H.R. 676 payer would do to their income?

  17. JustAnObserver

    Just what the BLEEP is Deray Mckesson doing jamming Wells BLEEPing Fargo in our collective faces. Black Lives Matter as a product endorsement opportunity ?

    The needle on my – recently recalibrated upwards – disgust-o-meter just flew off.

    1. perpetualWAR

      He learned well from Jesse and Al. Throw your brothers under the bus while you take the cash.

    1. nippersdad

      Reading down the article, it says that Dan Broulliette, from the Bush Admin., was confirmed to supply the nuclear expertise that Perry lacks as Energy Secretary…so, who is he going to be the bespectacled spokes-puppet for on the NSC?

  18. jrs

    Let’s just call it blackmail, neoliberal blackmail. Thanks Rahm.


    “Under the proposal, all Chicago Public School students starting with this year’s freshman class would have to show an acceptance letter to a four-year university, a community college, a trade school or apprenticeship, an internship, or a branch of the armed services in order to receive their high school diploma”

    Of course there are ways to game it, get accepted to community college and drop out for instance. And the smart young people who really aren’t interested will, but how many people are smart in any way at that age?

    As for the rest young people will be pushed deeply in directions that may or may not be good for them. *Maybe* college is good for them depending on the person and the debt etc., but internships are often pure exploitation (low or non-paid), trade schools are often for profit colleges (whose education leaves much to be desired but whose main problem is the ECONOMY DOESN’T ACTUALLY NEED SO MANY F-IN CREDENTIALS), and the armed serves hardly even need comment on, on the destruction that does to enlistees and the world.

    F U and the F’in system you rode in on. Living wage for EVERY employment NOW.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      As per usual, there are “loopholes.”

      The plan would allow students in special circumstances to waive the requirement. Undocumented immigrants, English language learners and currently incarcerated students would be able to apply for a waiver with Chicago Public Schools.

      What a toxic, pathetic place america has become.

      1. Optimader

        Hes sees the y on y wall of uneducated HS grads being dumped into the chicago unemployable labor pool and wants to defer the reality.

          1. Optimader

            I think he is looking forward 4-8 years and wants to advance his political career.

            That wont happen as a failed Mayor. Illinois is taking the revenue pipe https://mishtalk.com/2017/04/04/illinois-revenue-freefall/
            And as revenue fails so will funding of city social welfare programs. His proscriptions right or wrong, i think he thinks this is a path to stovepipe people into becoming useful members of society.

            i also think he hopes this will encourage kids with 14 -15 ACT scores (half) to join the Military and leave Chicago, but I just dont see the MIL taking the HS grad cohort that are funtionally illiterate and cant count change?


    2. tejanojim

      The Archdruid talks about how in late stage Rome, there were laws that forced a man to take on his father’s occupation, which was required because economic conditions had deteriorated to the point where people could no longer make a living at many jobs. I thought about the health care mandate in that context, and now this.

      1. Disturbed Voter

        History always repeats, if you wait long enough. Feudalism started before the fall of Rome, not afterward. Emperor Diocletian, 1700 years ago, did President Ford one better “Whip Inflation Now” by legalizing the execution of people who overcharged (even to avoid bankruptcy). As one recent Pol said, “Rent in Rome is too damn high!”.

  19. Darthbobber

    On the Todd Gitlin piece: Combining “marshalling the forces of repression” with flagrant ncompetence and inability to get anything tangible done was actually a key characteristic of the Duce’s regime.

    eg, after years of cheerleading a forthcoming war and blathering on about the glorious role Italy was to play, when the day came that he was stuck with the actual war it had to be fought largely with weapons left over from the First World War, fewer men could be mobilized than for the previous war due to shortages of a host of necessities, and their best “tank” was a heavy armored car.

    So the general lack of effectiveness at actually governing would not distinguish Trump from Mussolini.

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