2:00PM Water Cooler 6/13/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“America’s decision to abandon the TPP will be Canada’s gain. And Mexico’s. And Australia’s. And Peru’s. And Singapore’s. In fact, the U.S. stands to be the biggest loser if the 11 other countries that negotiated the deal move on without Washington, according to a new study released today by the Canada West Foundation, a Calgary-based think tank” [Politico]. “The study provides some of the first data giving countries a compelling reason to go ahead without the U.S. But it also acknowledges that a TPP 11 deal would not carry the same value without America’s economic weight behind it. A TPP 11 deal would increase exports 2.43 percent among participants, which is only 40 percent of the export increase that would have occurred with all 12 countries participating.”

“On the issue of trade, Chancellor Angela Merkel is not ready to give up on the Trump administration. During a meeting of business leaders on Tuesday, Ms. Merkel said Germany remains open to resuming negotiations with Washington on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP for short” [Handelsblatt].



“The sheer size and un­cer­tainty of this field un­der­scores just how wide open the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion is and how many dif­fer­ent dir­ec­tions the party could choose to go” [Charles Cook, Cook Poltical Report]. Worth reading for the conventional wisdom.

“Is Bernie Sanders, 75, Too Old for 2020? His Fiercest Fans Say No” [Yamiche Alcindor, New York Times]. “Persistence is extremely important,” Mr. Sanders said. “Yeah, you run and you lose. So what?”


GA-06: “Ossoff, a Democrat, and Handel, a Republican, are tied at 47%, with 6% of voters undecided, in metro Atlanta’s 6th congressional district race, a contest that has become a virtual must-win for both parties on June 20.” [11Alive].

Heatlh Care

“Republican leaders seem to think they will gain a tactical legislative advantage if they can negotiate a deal behind the scenes and then suddenly spring it on the full Senate. Those gains will quickly evaporate when voters learn what they have done” [Editorial Board, New York Times].

“The Senate’s three tools on health care: Sabotage, speed and secrecy” [Washington Post]. “Of course there’s a better way. Not long ago, Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Capito talked about finding solutions that would lead to more people covered, not fewer. That’s an approach that could bring many Democrats to the table. Given the Senate’s narrow margins, by voting no, the three of them or others have the power to change the course we’re on and put health-care reform on a path to long-term political stability. And McConnell himself might not even mind. Something short of 50 votes will preserve the Senate’s role as our deliberative body with the good judgment not to bow to the political winds, particularly when the country needs its checks and balances to work like never before.”

“John Kasich Backs Slow Medicaid Rollback, but With More Money” [John Kasich, New York Times]. “Ohio’s influential Republican governor, John R. Kasich, said on Monday that he could accept a gradual phaseout of the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but only if Congress provides states with more money than the House health care bill included and more flexibility to manage the health program for the poor. ‘I don’t have a problem with phasing down the enhanced federal payments,’ said Mr. Kasich, who is working with several other Republican governors from states that have expanded Medicaid. ‘But it can’t be done overnight, and it has to be done with the resources and the flexibility that are needed so people don’t get left behind. You just can’t be cutting off coverage for people.'” Sure you can! That’s what happened with de-institutionalization, didn’t it?

New Cold War

“Comey’s memos were not contemporaneous notes done in the ordinary course of business. These were exceptions to his standard operating procedure being created as part of a deliberate plan to generate self-serving material for him to use against the president. Their “revelations” should be accorded extreme skepticism rather than evidentiary weight. He did not inform his superiors after any of the meetings or memos, because, contrary to his testimony, he knew they would have immediately created more distance between him and the president, and that would have ended the game he was playing” [Mark Penn, The Hill]. One of the more entertaining features of the current zeitgeist is that people I heartily dislike keep coming up with perceptive, well-reasoned arguments.

“Amid Comey chaos, lessons from the history of America’s secret police” [DigiBoston]. Worth noting that the FBI wasn’t always iconic for liberals.

“Why Chris Ruddy floated the idea of firing Bob Mueller” [Chris Cillizza, CNN]. “My (educated) guess is that during his visit to the White House on Monday, Ruddy heard that Trump was considering firing Mueller. Ruddy thought, rightly, that doing so would be an absolutely terrible political move. Rather than calling the President to tell him that, Ruddy took to a medium where he knew Trump would listen: TV. We know from the 2016 campaign that Trump’s advisers and friends would use cable television appearances to send messages to Trump that he was simply not hearing in private conversations.”

“Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known” [Bloomberg].

“Special counsel team members donated to Dems, FEC records show” [CNN] .

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Opinion: 5 alternative plutocrats to run America better than Trump” [MarketWatch]. Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Diane Hendricks. Well….

“The 9th Circuit’s travel ban ruling declares the president’s Twitter feed is a legally binding stream of consciousness” [Slate]. But what if it’s self-contradictory, as bullshit often is?

“In recent months, leading Democrats from national chairman Tom Perez on down have been unleashing f-bombs, s-bombs and everything in between as they try to rally their party to ‘resist.’ And New York’s junior senator seems to be leading the charge” [New York Post]. This descent to the vernacular kinda, sorta worked in 2003-2006 for “foul-mouthed bloggers of the left,” as David Broder called them; profanity was a proof of authenticity, of boldness. I doubt that will work for Democrats today.

“Trump voters are more informed about the elites than are the elites about them. Trump voters see the elites on network and cable news and late-night talk shows. They encounter them in the dominant print media. And they take in the elite sensibility through feature films, and television sitcoms and dramas. In contrast, members of the so-called knowledge class seldom acquire more than a passing acquaintance with those in “flyover country,” their dismissive term for the approximately 2,600 of 3,100 counties—or 84 percent of the geographic United States— where Donald Trump bested Hillary Clinton. Knowledge of how the other half lives and thinks is one glaring hole of elite education” [RealClearPolitics]. “Defective political judgment, the [Brookings] authors recognize, also afflicts elites: ‘If anything, wealthier and better-educated voters are often more, rather than less, subject to partisanship, systematic bias, rationalization, and overconfidence in inaccurate beliefs,’ they write. The Brookings fellows nevertheless insist that career politicians, party officials, policy experts, and lawyers bring knowledge of institutional arrangements, complex trade-offs, and technical detail that are essential to good government.” The report: “More professionalism, less populism: How voting makes us stupid, and what to do about it” (PDF) [Brookings Institute].

UPDATE “Welcome to the era of the ‘bot’ as political boogeyman” [Philip Bump, WaPo]. “These stories, though, including the Daily News’s, tend to be embraced for the same reason that Superman’s monsters were so chilling: The threat is novel and not well understood. There’s another level here, too. Assuming that vocal Trump supporters on social media are not real people reinforces an important political effect as well.”

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, May 2017: “The small business optimism index remained unchanged in May at 104.5, reflecting the continuation of the very high level of optimism reached in the post-election months that pushed the index to the highest level in 12 years on expectations of tax cuts, health care reform and deregulation” [Econoday]. “NFIB reiterated that the surge in optimism by small business owners since the election is based on expectations of policy changes, especially tax reform involving tax cuts and simplification of the tax code, and that while they have welcomed proposals in this direction by the President and Congress, they impatiently await the passage of bills that would deliver these changes.” BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! The revolution’s gonna eat its own…

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), May 2017: “Producer prices are mixed showing no pressure overall, unchanged in May, but tangible pressure when excluding food and energy at a higher-than-expected increase of 0.3 percent” [Econoday]. “This report proved unusually strong in April but was followed by weak inflation readings at the consumer level. The methodology of this report, which measures margins, often makes it difficult to read, yet the service readings in this report do offer cover for Federal Reserve policy makers who appear set to hike their target rate this week.” And: “Mostly the data shows Producer Price data was treading water. In general, Goods inflation surge trend has moderated whilst services inflation is now on the high end of readings seen over the last year. This month’s inflation data was around expectations” [Econintersect]. And: “The data overall suggests companies are attempting to rebuild margins by not passing on any decreases in energy costs, but there is little overall evidence of a sustained increase in inflationary pressure at the wholesale level” [Economic Calendar].

Brexit: “The U.K. is emerging as a test case for whether globalized supply chains may be undercutting long-held assumptions about the impact of exchange rates on trade. Conventional wisdom holds that suddenly weaker currencies spur growth by making a country’s exports more competitive on the global stage. But nearly a year after the Brexit vote sent the British pound into free fall, U.K. businesses are finding that higher costs for overseas components and materials have erased much of that advantage” [Wall Street Journal]. NC readers will not be surprised; see this from 2016.

The Bezzle: “Your money can be stolen from your Uber account, and they’re refusing to return the full amount” [unlike kinds].

The Bezzle: “How Uber’s Chief Is Gaining Even More Clout in the Company” [New York Times]. Lots of delicious detail, including: “Mr. Kalanick is quietly amassing even more control than entrepreneurs typically enjoy at their start-ups. That is because Mr. Kalanick has been gaining voting rights power at Uber, a privately held ride-hailing company, through employee share sales. Uber staffers who sell even part of their stock back to the company under a repurchase program must give the voting rights associated with all of their shares to Mr. Kalanick, according to a copy of the buyback agreement obtained by The New York Times…. [E]ven if Mr. Kalanick were to take time off, his ability to influence Uber’s direction would appear to be secure. He and his allies hold a hefty number of what are known as ‘super-voting shares’ that give them 10 votes a share, or an outsize vote. The employee buyback agreement cements Mr. Kalanick’s control, giving him more sway on any matter put before all shareholders. Employees must ‘follow the ‘instructions of Travis Kalanick,’ according to the buyback agreement, ‘with respect to any and all matters’ that are submitted to a shareholder vote.”

UPDATE “Uber CEO to Take Leave, Diminished Role After Workplace Scandals” [Bloomberg]. But see above.

The Bezzle: “Tim Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on an Autonomous Car System” [Bloomberg].

The Fed: “Beneath the Uneasy Peace Between Donald Trump and Janet Yellen” [Wall Street Journal]. “Ms. Yellen’s reappointment isn’t an outcome many observers expect.” OTOH: “Since taking office, the president and his advisers haven’t publicly questioned the Fed’s actions—including its decision to raise short-term interest rates in March and signals it is likely to do so again at its meeting this week. This contrasts with the administration’s approach to other nonpartisan institutions such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Congressional Budget Office and the courts.”

Five Horsemen: “Alphabet and Amazon held up best in the Tech Wreck, while Apple and Facebook have underperformed SPY (the S&P 500 ETF) since Apr 26th” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Jun13

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 55, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jun 13 at 12:23pm. A hot summer like this should be greedier.

Dear Old Blighty

Fun stuff, but NSFW language:

Imperial Collapse Watch

“F-35 jets grounded indefinitely at US Air Force base because of problems with pilots’ oxygen supplies” [Reuters]. “Lockheed Martin said it still planned to demonstrate the advanced jet at the Paris Air Show this month. Air Force officials said F-35 air operations continued at other bases.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

‘Untangling the other dark web – of pervasive, inescapable, corporate surveillance” [Privacy News Online] (original report; PDF). “Moreover, it’s not just obvious things like which sites we visit that are captured. Other aspects include the timing and frequency of phone calls, GPS location, Web searches, how you fill in online forms, grammar, punctuation, and even whether you allow your phone battery to run down frequently. Since database storage capacities today are effectively infinite, everything we do can be stored in the hope that hidden among the apparently trivial details there are key signals about our views, wealth and buying intentions.”


UPDATE “A chemical replacement for a key ingredient in Teflon linked to cancer and other ailments has been found in the Cape Fear River and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) public water supply, which cannot filter it” [Star News]. “Larry Cahoon, a professor of biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, said the EPA considers GenX an ’emerging contaminant,’ meaning it is so new the agency does not yet have protocols to regulate it. ‘Personally, I find that really troubling,’ Cahoon said. ‘The company (Chemours) is being allowed to conduct a really big experiment on all us 250,000 guinea pigs, without knowing whether it’ll hurt us.'”


“After running for more than a decade on an expired state permit, the controversial White Mesa Uranium Mill in southeastern Utah is on the cusp getting a new operating license — and possibly a new job contract” [Salt Lake Tribune].

Class Warfare

“Affluent millennials are far more likely than rich seniors to think that money and power go hand in hand in a relationship. Indeed, two in three (66%) rich millennials — people ages 21-36 with more than $1 million in investable assets — who are married or living with a partner agree with the statement “whoever earns the most money has the most influence in the relationship.” That’s compared to just 37% of Gen Xers and 29% of boomers, according to a U.S. Trust study released Tuesday of more than 800 high-net-worth adults” [Moneyish]. I hate Millenial story hooks, indeed the whole category, but as a Zeitgeist watch item, this works for me (though I also wonder if there’s a difference between affluent, and non-affluent, millenials, so-called, in this regard.)

News of the Wired

UPDATE Sorry for the NSFW tweet, but this is a 2016 Jeep Cherokee upgrading its software:

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

And here’s today’s plant:

ChiGal writes: “Now I understand why a champagne drink would be called a mimosa: these are some fizzy flowers!”

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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. Jim Haygood

    Last month Diana Buttu published an NYT Op-Ed charging that a co-opted Palestinian Authority “[serves] as a subcontractor for the occupying Israeli military.” Today comes proof:

    Israel has approved a request by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to cut by roughly a third the electricity it provides to the Gaza Strip.

    Gaza already suffers from chronic power shortages, which affect businesses, household water supply, sewage treatment and hospital services. The daily residential supply of electricity fell from 12 hours to four hours this year after Abbas cut funding for power and the fuel to run Gaza’s lone power plant.

    The new cuts would reduce the daily electricity supply to between two and three hours. The approval by Israel follows an announcement by Abbas’ Western-backed Palestinian Authority in April that it was cutting back its purchase of power for Gaza by $12 million a month.


    ‘President’ Mahmoud Quisling Abbas [whose term expired eight years ago] is delivering on the notorious promise of Dov Weisglass, adviser to former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert: “The idea is to put the Palestinians Gazans on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

    1. Chris

      “The idea is to put the Palestinians Gazans on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

      A bit like the scientifically calibrated nutrition that the Todt organisation provided for its workers in the 1940s…

    2. ewmayer

      PM Ehud Olmert: “The Gazans Warsaw ghetto dwellers will thank us for helping them improve their health by losing weight!”

  2. Enquiring Mind

    F-35: what courageous elected or appointed official will propose effective solutions to the procurement racket? Or, is that system beyond hope, with all parties in it for what they can get and for avoidance of being thought, gasp, un-Patriotic?

    Millennial and relationship, two words destined to fill DSM-V prescriptions and psych couches for years. When power plays enter the equation, (and why would it equate to anything?), genuine human contacts suffer. Prior generations managed, with lower expectations and more realistic views.

      1. Cujo359

        Here are a couple of examples from Wikipedia about how high performance aircraft were developed and deployed back in the good old days:

        Over the lifetime of its USAF service, a total of 889 F-100 aircraft were destroyed in accidents, involving the deaths of 324 pilots. The deadliest year for F-100 accidents was 1958, with 116 aircraft destroyed, and 47 pilots killed.

        And here’s how an old Lockheed product did:

        The safety record of the F-104 Starfighter became high-profile news, especially in Germany, in the mid-1960s. The Federal German Republic initially ordered 700 (instead of the French Mirage), and later another 216, a total of 916 aircraft.

        The Class A mishap rate (write off) of the F-104 in USAF service was 26.7 accidents per 100,000 flight hours as of June 1977 … [T]he mishap rate for the North American F-100 Super Sabre was 16.25 accidents per 100,000 flight hours.

        Out of 2,300 or so F-100s produced, 324 managed to kill their pilots (14%). Of 916 Starfighters in German service, 116 killed their pilots (13%). Neither of these aircraft saw much combat, so I think it’s fair to compare them with a contemporary aircraft like the F-35.

        In contrast, so far the F-35 hasn’t had a fatal accident. Granted, that’s with far fewer aircraft produced (220), but it’s been operational for several years now. Either of those older aircraft would have killed at least a few pilots by now.

        That’s one of the reasons the development process is so slow and expensive – designs are reviewed, re-reviewed, and reviewed again to ensure that the products are as safe, maintainable, and effective as they can be. Then they’re tested in as many ways as the DoD’s test directorates can to ensure they perform as expected.

        It’s a maddeningly slow and expensive way to develop products, but I think it can claim to be a much safer one. Weapons systems are inherently dangerous things, and it takes a lot of engineering to make sure they’re only dangerous when they should be. The system certainly could be improved, and I think it needs to be, but calling it unsafe is an inaccurate criticism.

        Requisite disclosure: I worked for one of “DoD’s test directorates” for several years.

        1. a different chris

          > designs are reviewed, re-reviewed, and reviewed again to ensure that the products are as safe, maintainable,….

          And I’m cool with that…

          >and effective

          This thing will solve not one jot of the world’s problems, even if it was free it would be a waste of time…

          > as they can be

          Oh OK then. Zero is then acceptable.

        2. fajensen

          Weapons systems are inherently dangerous things, and it takes a lot of engineering to make sure they’re only dangerous when they should be.

          Honestly, this bureaucratic concern about detail just underscores that this thing is not needed at all, except as a milking cow for defence contractors and congress critters.

          When planes were needed in WWII, they cranked out prototypes and had production models flying within months. During the cold war, it took years, the process now takes decades. Entire careers right from university and until retirement can supposedly be lived out within the F35 programme, without delivering more than some half-assed, but gold-plated, prototypes and a mountain of paperwork?

          Can’t we use our combined talents and money better than building the worlds most expensive and (most perfectly qualified) lemon!?

          And in the end, if we really do need fighter planes again, engineers will turn mothballed F16’s (or Su-27’s) into drones, yet again in less than one year, and those robots will clean up any manned planes like the F-35. The ROHS-, REACH-certified, gender-neutral, ultra-safe, tried, tested, qualified, approved, life-cycle-analysed, logistics-compatible weapons of the last war will simply be generation-lapped by the barbaric newly evolved ones. Because nobody actually cares about any of that bumf when the baloon goes up and the threat is real, not imagined :)

    1. Plenue

      Speaking of the F-35:


      A couple notes about this. Most planes have an internal cannon. It’s the type of thing generally considered mandatory, basic equipment. It’s been that way since Vietnam, when the first F-4 Phantoms were deployed without a gun because the generals were confident that the newfangled missile technology had may such a weapon obsolete. It quickly became apparent that wasn’t remotely the case, as pilots missed or ran out of missiles and found themselves in dogfights with no gun.

      The F-35 still cannot fire its internal cannon; the software to do that is slated for 2019 at the earliest. Only the USAF version has this internal gun; the STOL and carrier versions don’t. They have to settle for this external gunpod. This type of equipment is usually for adding additional firepower. Having to use external storage space to give basic functionality like a cannon means the F-35 will be able to carry even fewer missiles or bombs than it was able to already. And both versions, internal and external, carry downright laughably paltry amounts of ammunition: less than four seconds of firing time on the gunpod version.

      Oh, and while the gunpod can actually fire, the pilot has no way of aiming it. None. Another piece of software that has yet to be written.

      1. fajensen

        Another piece of software that has yet to be written.

        …. Only after someone writes the software life-cycle management documentation and someone else writes the PLM repository for all the software components, which all has to be stored in the approved PBS, using approved names and references …. which about 3 “stakeholders” are still arguing about in a way that make healing the Shia/Sunni divide seem about solveable!

        The only hope is that, somewhere on the ground, pissed-off engineers simply short-circuit the process and write the damn thing, letting “God” sort out whatever the hell the proper naming and life-cycle will be. Except, that will NEVER, EVER, fly with D.O.D. procurement and Quality.

        Tools, Frameworks and especially Politics are the eternal scourge of all large projects.

  3. Carolinian

    If not already linked


    At one point Stone watches Dr. Strangelove with Putin

    After watching the movie with Stone, Putin reflects on its enduring message. “The thing is that since that time little has changed,” Putin says. “The only difference is that the modern weapon systems have become more sophisticated, more complex. But this idea of retaliatory weapons, and the inability to control such weapon systems still hold true to this day. It has become even more difficult, more dangerous.”

    Stone then gives Putin the movie’s DVD case, which Putin carries into an adjoining office before realizing that it is empty. He reemerges, holding the empty case with the quip, “Typical American gift.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps Nixon was not so paranoid about resisting the media, which has grown ever more powerful in the last 40 plus years, since Watergate.

        To the extent they are thought of as guarding the nation’s health, who will guard the guards, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

        This battle between Trump and the media is long overdue, I believe.

        Will we see a swing back by the media toward the middle? We will see.

        1. John

          The media is a privatized neoliberal corporate parasite. It has only one function…extracting money from the host. It is amoral and pragmatically political. It will say anything to make money.

        2. Huey Long

          To the extent they are thought of as guarding the nation’s health, who will guard the guards, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

          I nominate George Smiley.

      2. Annotherone

        We accidentally caught Stephen Colbert interviewing Oliver Stone last evening on a Late Show – I was disgusted by Colbert’s treatment of Stone – also disgusting was the audience (obviously coached and organised to jeer and boo). No doubt Colbert was under orders from his corporate bosses – though maybe that’s being too kind to him. Controlling the minds of the masses!

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Just watched that and it was awful, but also very clarifying. Colbert’s selling out just like Maddow did – she was actually pretty good on Air America a decade ago when she had a show with Daily Show creatrix Liz Winstead.

          Colbert and the audience just assume demonization of Putin is justified while being oblivious to the log (or forest might be more apt) in Uncle Sugar’s eye. Wonder how they would describe him if Russian domestic security forces routinely gunned down hundreds or thousands of Russian citizens every year. Some might consider that a sign of a very oppressive government….

          Frustrating to watch people fall for this villain du jour schtick every single time.

          1. Plenue

            I haven’t paid attention to Colbert since 2013, when he played a role in the attempt to resuscitate Kissinger’s public image (he later allowed Kissinger onto his show for a friendly interview). Oddly I can’t seem to find the full video itself, but here’s an ABC report on it:


            So he had already sold out before he even left Comedy Central.

            1. Baby Gerald

              Colbert became downright intolerable since the primary season when he did everything to belittle Sanders. His paycheck was talking and the bosses at CBS were happy to see him do everything to get Hillary elected.

              It’s no surprise that he has signed on fully to this Russiagate nonsense. If he were still at Comedy Central and it was 2008 and the Republicans claimed Obama won because of Russian influence, I wonder how Colbert would have handled it?

          2. Aumua

            Colbert is the most poignant example to me of the abandonment of reason, mass insanity, and general all around kneeling before satan that has gripped the so-called left seemingly completely. He was great in his day, when he was mocking really evil and stupid ideas and assumptions (of the right) under the guise of being a real sincere conservative. It was a stroke of genius, but now he’s just singing the same tone deaf song as everyone, all cleverness and subtlety gone. It falls so flat and just lies there dead, but still twitching.

            So sad, very unfortunate times.

            1. Dookie of Aquitaine

              I agree. Truly sad to see such a great talent and mind for satire, reduced to follow-the-leader, robotic fear-think.

              What happened to that great man who ripped Bush a new one at the Correspondent’s Dinner?

              RIP Steven

              1. Ian

                I gave up on that cadre a long time ago. The question it makes me ask though is what is the endgame they are, or were convinced of, as it strikes me as such a flagrant betrayel of what they once cultivated and represented. How and why and what for were they turned?

                1. FluffytheObeseCat

                  They – the cadre – really seem to believe in the reigning ideals of the coastal elite. They truly do not see anything off about their arch, excessive, ritualized demonization of Russsia and Putin. Not that Russia or Putin are worthy of great admiration mind you, but the constant, high volume scapegoating going on just now in the “liberal” precincts of our culture is just nuts.

                  Hillary Clinton was a rotten candidate, foisted on a grossly under-respected electorate. An electorate who knew The Donald was even worse, but who were so unenthused to vote for her that he squeaked out a win in the Rust Belt.

                  The fail is not just in Colbert of course. The left blogosphere has soiled itself badly over Clinton. I’ve stopped reading most political blogs and I used to read half a dozen regularly. I only watch John Oliver anymore, on Last Week Tonight. He toes the New York “creative” party line, but does it with a touch of humanity and grace.

                  The disdain for Sanders and his continuing ability to draw crowds is the weirdest, and the most telling. It’s disgusting, their damning with faint praise and their disregard for his appeal. Weird and disgusting, like the menu in some bizarro world Brooklyn bistro…. where all the “small plate” offerings look attractive and trendy, but taste like Arby’s.

              2. Montanamaven

                My rancher husband called Colbert out years ago when he first started “The Colbert Report”. He would leave the room with “I don’t like that guy”. So I watched him alone because it was the cool thing to do. But I stopped fairly soon after that and would only watch if one of my Democrat friends or relatives said “You just have to watch this.” But I finally had to admit I didn’t like him much.
                Last night after my husband talked about “The Putin Interviews”, I told him how awful Colbert had been to Stone. “He’s a mean guy. Never liked him.” I’m going to reprise these thoughts today in links if work allows me.
                My rancher husband was never political and didn’t vote when I met him. But he has made me over 20 years into the critical thinker I once was. What makes him that way? Well, he does have to deal with life and death issues sometimes on a weekly basis. He helps birth calves. He has machinery that could kill him. He has cows who “can take him”. A hail storm the other night had the herd running in terror all over the place. There is a common sense attitude because of the perspective of dealing with the life and death of animals. ”
                By the way, he liked the Putin interviews and specifically mentioned how shocked he was that John McCain laughed at Putin right in the front row of a speech he was giving in 2008. “What an a**hole.”

    1. Roger Smith

      I saw a preview of this on twitter recently. There is the analogous “President” of a country, driving himself, a body guard, and Oliver Stone down the highway. It was such a typical scene, no black limos, no cargo helicopters, no long walks and slow camera pans, just some dudes in traffic. I was wondering if Seinfeld was in the back.

    2. witters

      “Stone then gives Putin the movie’s DVD case, which Putin carries into an adjoining office before realizing that it is empty. He reemerges, holding the empty case with the quip, “Typical American gift.” ”

      That is funny!

  4. ProNewerDeal

    C0nManD0n may be even worse than 0bama, but I got to say it is pleasant to read NC/other newssites & not continuously stress about the 1 TPP, 2 the Grand Ripoff of SS/MC. C0nManD0n killed #1, & it appears he is not strongly interested in #2, at least relative to 0bama whose one of his main priorities was #2.

    Anyone feel similarly?

    1. allan

      it appears he is not strongly interested in #2

      That was then and this is now:

      Remember Trump’s Promise Not to Touch Social Security? It’s Gone Now
      [New York]

      Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said something of potentially very high significance that received no attention whatsoever. At a House subcommittee hearing, Mnuchin very casually walked away from Donald Trump’s long-standing promise never to touch Social Security benefits.

      The exchange occurred more than an hour into the sleepy hearing. Utah Republican Chris Stewart made a plea for cutting mandatory spending, including Social Security. Mnuchin replied, “The president has made clear that on Social Security, that’s not something he’s addressing now, but if Congress wants to review that, obviously that’s within your prerogative.” …

      Translation: I don’t want anything to happen to Fredo as long as my mother is alive.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You can take it that way, but that’s not what it means. Evidently, Congress can cut SS if it chooses to cut its own throat. The question is whether Trump would veto such a bill; that is not addressed, nor can Mnuchin commit his boss, either way. He’s actually being polite about Congress’s prerogatives.

        Furthermore, since voting to cut SS or Medicare would amount to announcing your retirement, Congress will find ways not to do that, no matter the rhetoric.

  5. dcblogger

    You don’t have to have a deep cultural understanding of anyone to realize that everyone needs shelter, employment, healthcare, and education. That is what Bernie gets. Bernie grew up on Brooklyn, was educated in Chicago, and has lived his adult life in Vermont. He connects well with the mid-west and Appalachia because he speaks to these concerns. We don’t need some anthropological analysis of flyover country, just some respect for ordinary human needs. But that would require throwing the kleptocracy under the bus.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Hard not to agree you! I lived in Vermont for just a little less than a year and most of the people I met there remain very special in my memory of all the many places I’ve had the privilege to live. And the people in Fort Wayne, Indiana … they also very pleasantly stand out in my memory. Vermont people … Midwest people are definitely different in some ways … but not so different in the end.

      Is Bernie too old to run for President though? I think that question very much depends on who he might pick for his Vice-President and who he favors for the rest of his staff and cabinet.

  6. Pat

    So I have two questions regarding those estimates for the 11 countries and the TPP:

    1.) if exports are rising in all those countries who is buying? Call me wild and crazy, but I don’t see how this can happen without at least one country importing more.

    2.) And if the amount of the export rise in those countries would have been 40% greater with the US as partner doesn’t that make clear that the TPP would have been a loser for the US IF the goal was export American goods and services manufactured or produced by American workers?

    Call me crazy but in this instance “America’s economic weight” would appear to be about American consumers. And since every major trade deal since NAFTA has increased our trade deficit, I’m not so sure forgoing the opportunity to do that again should be considered a loser for the majority of Americans.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      1. Exports or Net Exports? There is a difference.
      2. See 1.

      Not that I agree with the TPP (or even Obama’s vaunted Panama treaty).

      1. Pat

        Yes, there is. But at least one still has to be a NET loser. Every country cannot have an overall increase, even with that difference.

        1. Cujo359

          Sure they can. In a closed system, everyone could import more and export more. IOW, they just do more business with people in other countries.

          No, I don’t believe TPP is a good thing, but exports do not automatically mean someone loses. It just usually works out that way…

          1. a different chris

            Yes… and the beauty of it is that we burn more petrol shipping stuff around. We also get to put workers at each other’s throats.

            1. Cujo359

              There are advantages and disadvantages to trade, particularly as societies become dependent on it. There’s a lot to be said for a nation, particularly one as large as the US, having the means to grow its own food and produce enough power.

              OTOH, specialty items that are rare or hard to produce can be a good thing to trade – aircraft or spices, for instance.

              1. a different chris

                Interesting that Qatar is trying to grow it’s own food, don’t you think?

    2. GF


      It seems without the US in the deal, the countries would be exporting 40% less to the US than if the US were in the deal. So we loose either way – just less not being in the deal..

      1. Pat

        That was my reading as well. But hey, doesn’t mean that people won’t try to spin it differently.

  7. Jim A.

    “We know from the 2016 campaign that Trump’s advisers and friends would use cable television appearances to send messages to Trump that he was simply not hearing in private conversations.”
    –This has not been the only time when it has been pointed out that in this White House, sometimes the intended audience for leaks isn’t the public at large but the president himself. This is evidence of severely dysfunctional management.

  8. sleepy

    Medicaid phaseout–

    Doesn’t the ACA already have a 10 yr phaseout of the federal funding for those states that went with enhanced medicaid? If the plan began in 2014, the phaseout would be complete by 2024, the same time as the 7 yr. phaseout under some repub plans. So, what’s the difference, at least on that point?

    1. Pat

      Press emphasis. Very few were screaming from the roof tops that what the government giveth they were also planning on taking away. (Or sticking the states who did not want to pull medical care from the poor with an unfunded mandate.)

    2. marym

      Regular Medicaid and ACA expansion:

      Regular Medicaid

      The Medicaid program is jointly funded by the federal government and states. The federal government pays states for a specified percentage of program expenditures, called the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).

      FMAP varies by state based on criteria such as per capita income. The regular average state FMAP is 57%, but ranges from 50% in wealthier states up to 75% in states with lower per capita incomes (the maximum regular FMAP is 82 %).


      Coverage for the newly eligible adults will be fully funded by the federal government for three years, beginning in 2014, phasing down to 90% by 2020. Authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is extended through 2019 and funding is currently authorized through 2015. Additional federal funding for state Medicaid programs is also available for primary care, preventive care, community based long-term services and supports, and new demonstrations to improve quality and re-engineer delivery systems.


      The House bill would cap federal funding for the more than 74 million low-income children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities covered by Medicaid. It would also phase out enhanced federal funding for the 11 million adults newly eligible for Medicaid under the ACA Medicaid expansion.
      CBO’s report on the House bill estimates that federal spending for Medicaid would drop by $880 billion over the 2017-2026 period due to capped federal Medicaid funding and the termination of enhanced federal funding for the Medicaid expansion.

    3. marym

      Longer answer and links are in moderation if you care to check back later. Short answer: ACA expansion funding goes from 100% to 90% by 2020.

    4. HotFlash

      The House bill would cap federal funding for the more than 74 million low-income children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities covered by Medicaid. It would also phase out enhanced federal funding for the 11 million adults newly eligible for Medicaid under the ACA Medicaid expansion.

      Amazing. Hitler* killed them outright — eugenics, we called it, and it was a Bad Thing, at least after the war. But we make them die slowly and that’s OK, I guess.

      * M Godwin

  9. fresno dan

    “Comey’s memos were not contemporaneous notes done in the ordinary course of business. These were exceptions to his standard operating procedure being created as part of a deliberate plan to generate self-serving material for him to use against the president. Their “revelations” should be accorded extreme skepticism rather than evidentiary weight. He did not inform his superiors after any of the meetings or memos, because, contrary to his testimony, he knew they would have immediately created more distance between him and the president, and that would have ended the game he was playing” [Mark Penn, The Hill]. One of the more entertaining features of the current zeitgeist is that people I heartily dislike keep coming up with perceptive, well-reasoned arguments.
    Inside baseball thing here about the rules and regulations about official notes to the file. In FDA the rules on note taking are under 21 CFR (code of federal regulation) 10.70 and I am sure they would be the same for any other Federal agency OR even much more strict in the DoJ BECAUSE it is just common sense that the other person gets to see if what you have written is correct. Indeed, I have always thought the idea that FBI notes should be accorded some special deference because FBI note takers are better or more honest is JUST ABSURD. Sorry for the rant…

    21 CFR Sec. 10.70 Documentation of significant decisions in administrative file.
    (a) This section applies to every significant FDA decision on any matter under the laws administered by the Commissioner, whether it is raised formally, for example, by a petition or informally, for example, by correspondence.

    (b) FDA employees responsible for handling a matter are responsible for insuring the completeness of the administrative file relating to it. The file must contain:

    (1) Appropriate documentation of the basis for the decision, including relevant evaluations, reviews, memoranda, letters, opinions of consultants, minutes of meetings, and other pertinent written documents; and

    (2) The recommendations and decisions of individual employees, including supervisory personnel, responsible for handling the matter.

    (i) The recommendations and decisions are to reveal significant controversies or differences of opinion and their resolution.

    (ii) An agency employee working on a matter and, consistent with the prompt completion of other assignments, an agency employee who has worked on a matter may record individual views on that matter in a written memorandum, which is to be placed in the file.

    (c) A written document placed in an administrative file must:

    (1) Relate to the factual, scientific, legal or related issues under consideration;

    (2) Be dated and signed by the author;

    (3) Be directed to the file, to appropriate supervisory personnel, and to other appropriate employees, and show all persons to whom copies were sent;

    (4) Avoid defamatory language, intemperate remarks, undocumented charges, or irrelevant matters (e.g., personnel complaints);

    (5) If it records the views, analyses, recommendations, or decisions of an agency employee in addition to the author, be given to the other employees; and

    (6) Once completed (i.e., typed in final form, dated, and signed) not be altered or removed. Later additions to or revisions of the document must be made in a new document.

    (d) Memoranda or other documents that are prepared by agency employees and are not in the administrative file have no status or effect.

    (e) FDA employees working on a matter have access to the administrative file on that matter, as appropriate for the conduct of their work. FDA employees who have worked on a matter have access to the administrative file on that matter so long as attention to their assignments is not impeded. Reasonable restrictions may be placed upon access to assure proper cataloging and storage of documents, the availability of the file to others, and the completeness of the file for review.

    For example, I now HAVE IN MY HAND, a written list from Lambert saying he will send me 205 cases of beer, and good Russian beer, not Budweiser. I wrote it – it MUST be true!!!! SHOW ME THE BEER!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      If Comey had his memos notarized the day after they were written, would that make a difference?

      1. sid_finster

        No, notarization does not convert them into “contemporaneous notes done in the ordinary course of business.”

        1. Code Name D

          And even if they did. It would be a simple mater for them to retroactively notarize the material after the fact. Much as the banking industry has already been practicing for over a decade now. So it would still mean nothing.

    2. clarky90

      “One of the more entertaining features of the current zeitgeist is that people I heartily dislike keep coming up with perceptive, well-reasoned arguments”. (LS)

      People, on both sides of the political divide (The Overs and the Unders) are increasingly choosing the Red Pill.

      “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

      We are all on this Titanic together, and are suddenly realizing that ……….Even if the music is still playing….The Iceberg!..

    3. HotFlash

      Fresno D, thank you for this. Your knowledge of this arcania is only one of the reasons that we love you. OK, OK, it’s the tentacles — WARNING do not click on this if you are under 18 and/or find tentacles icky.

      1. fresno dan

        June 13, 2017 at 6:17 pm

        I can reveal now, that a poor communist from Fresno and a Maine man concluded and completely f*cked up the entire electoral college of the US…..why, a cynic might say this is preposterous…..but two men, 10 strong appendages between them, can do wondrous things….

      2. Oregoncharles

        Whew. That would be really, really uncomfortable, because octopi have BEAKS, not tongues. Some of them, like the Blue Ringed Octopus (quite small), are even dangerously poisonous.

        The Japanese apparently outdo us when it comes to kink.

        1. witters

          “the Blue Ringed Octopus (quite small), are even dangerously poisonous.”

          As a kid in Tasmania in the late 60s & early 70s me and my friends made money by looking into rock pools for these, picking them up by hand carefully (making them angry was a bad move), then putting them in bottles and taking them to the Port Authority Building (why there, I don’t know) and getting, I think, $2 each one (good money!). “For Purposes of Scientific Research”, we were told.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Have you been to a Kink/BDSM club recently?

          It’s filled with open minded workers just trying to make a buck.

          Prime BNC territory, baby!

  10. Vatch

    “Opinion: 5 alternative plutocrats to run America better than Trump” [MarketWatch]

    Jeez. Bezos? He treats his employees like throwaway trash, and he built his fortune on the equivalent of a massive subsidy, by avoiding the state sales taxes that his brick and mortar competitors have to charge their customers.

    Diane Hendricks? I wish I had my copy of Dark Money in front of me. She’s mentioned several times in that book, and is a prominent member of the Koch network of billionaire propagandists. Like the other billionaires on this Marketwatch list, she’s a taker, pure and simple.

    No thank you. I have a better idea: billionaires should not be allowed to exist. I’m not suggesting violence; I just think that any assets beyond $999,999,999 should be seized by the government for tax purposes. If nobody has a billion dollars, then billionaires wouldn’t exist.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      So, you wouldn’t advocate lining the national mall with guillotines and feeding the Forbes 1000 to the dastardly barbers?

    2. CD

      Great idea, taxing assets above a billion at 100%.

      I’m not so generous. I’d lower the threshold to 50 million. I’d also make it difficult to keep money in the family, like through inheritance.

      1. a different chris

        Seriously..especially the 50million part. it was only a couple of sunspots ago that you could count the number of billionaires on one hand, without the thumb & saving the middle finger to wave at them.

        We did OK IIRC.

    3. Carolinian

      Lambert is obviously just goading us with that link which could serve as an all day punching bag. Example

      I’ll start by mentioning some of the characteristics that most successful businesspeople possess, starting above all with character and integrity.

      And given the presence of Bezos on the list you can’t even say they best Trump in the sanity department. The man thinks tiny helicopters are going to revolutionize the delivery business.

      1. Vatch

        “[C]haracter and integrity”: yes, that’s quite a howler! Here’s another:

        “Is there anyone who doesn’t respect Gates?”

        Yes, there are quite a few of us who don’t respect him. We know how he depended on family connections to get his big IBM contract, how his company repeatedly copied the software of other companies, and how he used unethical licensing requirements to gain profits from the sales of PCs that didn’t even have the Microsoft operating system on them.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Amazon-Man: throws millions of Mom and Pop store owners on the street, treats his employees like dirt, then buys one of the nation’s (formerly) most-respected news organizations to run as his personal blog, shilling for more billionaire corporo-fascism. In the richest nation on Earth, where 50% of people can’t scrape $400 together without borrowing, with infant mortality higher than Bulgaria, and a “pay more to die sooner” healthcare system.

        Ah yes, such “character and integrity”.

      3. Aleric

        Then there’s his constant complaining about a shortage of software developers, alongside boasting about only hiring the top 5% of graduates – and firing half of them.

        Everything the Gates Foundation seems to me to be along a similar pattern – advocacy for school choice that screws over nearly all students – aid to the developing world that increases poverty. I can’t decide – so clueless that he can’t help being evil, or completely so Machiavellian that he pursues charity for the challenge of being able to turn it into a profit-center.

    4. a different chris

      I still wonder if Ms. Hendricks pushed her husband off the roof.

      Anyway, maybe this isn’t such a bad idea… like Game Of Thrones, the winner could kill off all the losers. Then we just need to take* one (1) person out.

      *not recommending murder on our part, we are better than that. But we could give the winner a King/Queen of US role and then just ignore them.

  11. Big River Bandido

    This particular face-palm sentence from the NY Post editorial gave me a WTF moment:

    The sad fact is that our culture has grown depressingly coarse.

    I don’t think the editors even recognized their own irony.

  12. Cujo359

    Re: News of the Wired, this makes me more determined than ever that I will never buy a new car, even if I become fabulously wealthy. Who has the time to wait 45 minutes for his car to upgrade and reboot itself?

    1. Massinissa

      Being fabulously wealthy actually makes it easier to not buy new cars. They can buy expensive vintage Chevrolets or whatever instead. Its us 99% who are going to be practically forced to use these newfangled contraptions at some point once older vehicles get priced out.

    2. Code Name D

      The more things change, the more they stay the same. Union member, “I’m on brake.” Uber auto driver, “I’m performing updates.”

    3. crittermom

      I’ve only owned older vehicles for many years now.
      My only current vehicle is my ’87 Jeep Cherokee I purchased new off the lot in ’86. (Sold my 2 even older vehicles when I lost my home)
      With 323,000 miles now on her she still runs great but gets half the gas mileage of newer ones, which admittedly is a downside.
      I’ve had NO major repairs required on her, however, & I still get offers to buy her from folks who owned one previously & regret selling them. (NOT for sale)

      She’d been having an overheating problem lately, but a new thermostat installed yesterday fixed that. ($12 part & $49 labor @ $70 hr)
      If I were feeling better I could’ve probably replaced that myself, which is another advantage of older vehicles.

      I curse the sensors when one goes out (CPS, TPS), but I remain extremely grateful she’s not all computerized like the newer ones. I don’t want to be dependent on some computer like the one described. No, thanks. What a nightmare!
      I can see the headlines now: “Major rush hour traffic jam on I-70 through Denver as 2 vehicles shut down for updates.”

      So sad to read that Jeep, like so many other things, has now been ‘improved’ (crapified), too.
      Hilarious tweet (especially the comments on that page), but in reality, not so funny.

    1. hemeantwell

      that great vid reminds me that I need to curse even more when I talk with people who agree with me about politics. Being reasonable is so fucking tiresome nowadays.

  13. ChrisAtRU

    Realignment & Legitimacy

    Wow … no compunction at all about promoting rule by plutocrats. #WhatATimeToBeAlive

    And of course, Zuck – #TheAmericanMacron – makes the list.


  14. Johnnygl

    Weird times. I’m home from work today on a personal matter and am flipping channels and all the regular broadcast channels have dropped their regular daytime programming to cover jeff sessions’ testimony in front of the senate intel committee. Amusingly, fox is NOT covering.

    This stuff really IS turning into a benghazi for all the non-fox channels.

    One clear lesson of trump’s election is that the propaganda is no longer even subtle or well-crafted. News media is all russia all the time because this stuff is SOOO important.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Also working at home. And I’m listening to our local community radio. Other than “Democracy Now” at noon, this station is news-free. Thank goodness!

    2. Edward E

      Has anyone ever looked into whether Att Gen Robert E Lee has or needs a driver? He might not be able to recall where he lives now.

  15. lyman alpha blob

    …metro Atlanta’s 6th congressional district race, a contest that has become a virtual must-win for both parties on June 20.

    Really? Anybody else sick of this ‘must win’ nonsense? Because it isn’t going to change the majority in Congress and outside of hardcore political junkies, my guess is nobody in the rest of the country really gives a rat’s ass.

    But if you’re a Beltway consultant-political-hanger-on type who likes the smell of their own farts, I’m sure it’s extremely meaningful.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its a must win for Team Blue given the resources poured into it. For Tom Perez, a loss where he poured money will effectively destroy his chairmanship. One strategy of the Third Way was to convince reliably GOP donors to donate to both sides to defang the left. If the 90’s Democrat Party isn’t a viable platform for winning or silencing the left or prevent a return to the old Democratic Party, what good are they? For the GOP, the question is what is the state of the GOP voter in the sense of how South Carolina went in the last primary. Remember it was Bush country where they love the military. Handel is nuts, but she fits in in Versailles. If Handel can’t bring in an element of the GOP, the other Republicans have a problem.

      1. voteforno6

        For Tom Perez, a loss where he poured money will effectively destroy his chairmanship.

        When has losing an election ever hurt any of them?

        1. John k

          Clinton losing did hurt that cabal, no matter they are shrieking about the Russians, which was teed up anyway.
          Ossoff losing also hurts the cabal, so I really hope he does lose.. otherwise the idea they can continue trashingprogressives gains traction…

    2. roxy

      Anybody else sick of this ‘must win’ nonsense?

      Absolutely, but seeing the democrats dump huge sums trying to win over republicans is amusing.

    3. david lamy

      I do not know whether Survey USA has any bias in their polling results but Ossoff seems to be matching the Chosen One (HRC) not only in rhetoric and strategy, but in bang for the buck (little) for money raised and spent for this campaign.

      If Ossoff does win, since he is basically a Republican in Acela class clothing, will the seat remain safe for him if he votes doggedly blue? Or will he always depend upon huuuuuge amounts of out of district cash to fund his re-election? Personally I suspect the latter. You really have to be invested big time in HRC to think this candidate is worth your money. That investment will depreciate and so will his ability to retain this seat.

      1. HotFlash

        will the seat remain safe for him if he votes doggedly blue?

        Votes doggedly blue? The question will not arise.

        1. david lamy

          I think Ossoff is destined to be a “Blue Dog Democrat”. I can now see depicting that as voting doggedly blue is perhaps too obscure! Perhaps too, “Blue Dog” has no remaining place in political parlance.

      2. a different chris

        Doesn’t matter. He will last two years, whether he votes for socialized health care or he votes for nuking Russia. The Rethugs will come up with some smooth-spoken white male and that will be that.

        One thing you have to give the Rs — they want actual Rs in the seats, they don’t care how far to the right you vote.

    4. Vatch

      I got my second email of the week on this topic from Daily Kos. The subject line is:


      Yes, I’m tired of it. And I resent the way that the Georgia election has gotten such preferential treatment from the national Democratic party in comparison to their extreme neglect for the Kansas election in April. The DNC cheated on behalf of Clinton versus Sanders, and they haven’t changed.

  16. voteforno6

    Re: Russian Hacking

    That’s an extremely weak story from Bloomberg. The article itself doesn’t actually refer to evidence on its own; rather, it comes from anonymous sources. Also, it keeps attributing the source of the hacks to Russia, without even attempting to provide evidence of that. The closest it gets is mentioning that investigators attributed them to certain IP addresses. That’s not all that convincing, as source IPs can be easily masked, which is one of the reasons why attribution is extremely difficult. There’s much less in the story than meets the eye, particularly when it comes to placing blame on Russia (assuming that these hacks in fact took place, of course).

    1. Cujo359

      That’s a maddening thing about this subject as it’s treated by most mainstream news – it’s called “Russian hacking” when, at best, it’s an assumption that Russians, or at least the Russian government, were involved. It’s become the identifier for this issue, IOW, it’s “Russian hacking”, not “hacking of DNC” or “attempted phishing of voting machine administrators”.

      If the FBI is investigating these incidents, then its possible there actually is evidence we’ll hear about eventually, but so far all we’ve see or heard is baseless assertions by the intel community.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      It looked more like identity theft than anything to do with elections. Look what was in the database mentioned. Name, address, date of birth, partial Social Security number.

    3. integer

      Unsurprisingly, none of these sorts of “articles” ever mention Wikileaks’ exposé of the CIA’s capacity to disguise their own hacking handiwork as the work of other nations either.

  17. Left in Wisconsin

    “Republican leaders seem to think they will gain a tactical legislative advantage if they can negotiate a deal behind the scenes and then suddenly spring it on the full Senate. Those gains will quickly evaporate when voters learn what they have done” [Editorial Board, New York Times].

    I don’t know if this is naiveté or stupidity or inside the bubble ignorance or worse. The DC Repubs are taking play after play out of the Scott Walker playbook. It is really too bad that no one inside the bubble has taken time in the last 6 years to suss out how it works.

    The flaw in the NYT logic is that voters will not soon, or ever, learn what they have done. At least beyond their own circumstances, which will be spun to suggest either 1) it’s their own damn fault or 2) the Dems ruined everything. There will be a big he-said-she-said argument about what the legislation does and everyone will leave believing what they already “knew” going in.

    And nothing will be “sprung” on the full Senate. The R’s will make sure they have the votes they need beforehand, or else they won’t bring it up for a vote.

  18. Angie Neer

    “A TPP 11 deal would increase exports 2.43 percent among participants…”

    Wow, 2.43%. That is some serious precision. I looked at the original study and didn’t see any discussion of uncertainty*, so I guess there is none.

    *Except that a few specific sub-statistics are said to be “subject to some uncertainty.” Which confirms that the rest are not subject to any uncertainty.

    1. a different chris

      God I spend half my professional career railing about “sig figs” to what few coworkers there are that can’t avoid my cube, but I’m so numbed by the innumeracy of economics that “2.43” slipped right by me. That is hilarious, stuff like that makes me wonder if they aren’t, or at least the legions of grad students underneath them, trying to send us “Please Stop Me Before I kill Again” type messages.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Yeah that is some weak sauce right there … a rounding error.

        Related thought – anyone else get the feeling this talk of a “TPP 11” or “minus one” deal is nothing but a psy-op, to keep a zombie from getting the double tap treatment?

        First of all, in order to get a “TPP minus the US” deal they’d have to go back to square one. The TPP itself is not a “joint and severable” contract in legal terms. Without ratification by nations representing something like 80% of the total GDP of the original 12, it goes to Davey Jones locker in early 2018. The eleven nations can’t just redact the term “United States” from the current version, or use white-out, and then say “voila!”

        They’d would have to go through the entire TPP trade negotiating process from scratch, including drafting a new agreement, having meetings, negotiations, etc. And they’d have to figure out what to do with ISDS and other elements of the agreement that were no doubt pushed by the US and are detrimental to the interests of their own voters.

        This smells like a rather pathetic attempt by DC grifters and lobbyists to try and get the Trump administration to reverse its’ decision to leave the pact before it dies for good in 2018.

        1. rfdawn

          America’s decision to abandon the TPP will be Canada’s gain. And Mexico’s. And Australia’s. And Peru’s. And Singapore’s. In fact, the U.S. stands to be the biggest loser

          Not sure about that. America may be better off preventing more open trade in goods and services with these countries. IP and ISDS were the big deal for US negotiators. If those provisions stay in the TPP-11, all that lawsuit goodness could still be available to US corporations via country subsidiaries. A particularly egregious case of jurisdiction-shopping did fail a while ago but that kind of action can only improve with practice.

  19. allan

    Senate rejects effort to block Saudi arms sale [The Hill]

    The Senate on Tuesday narrowly rejected an effort to block part of President Trump’s $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

    Senators voted 47-53 on advancing the resolution, falling short of the simple majority needed to move forward. GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.) Todd Young (Ind.) and Dean Heller (Nev.) voted with most Democrats to advance it.

    Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Mark Warner (Va.) voted against moving the measure.

    The motion faced an uphill climb in the Senate, despite growing concerns about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen’s civil war. …

    Objectively pro-genocide.

    1. David, by the lake

      The Democrats are suddenly against the Saudi war on Yemen? I must have missed that policy change memo. D.C. is fundamentally irredeemable.

      1. Donald

        It can now be blamed on Trump. If Clinton were in office the vote would have been what it was last fall, when about 27 ( iirc) voted against arming the Saudis.

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    @ ChrisFromGeorgia 7:00 PM — “This smells like a rather pathetic attempt by DC grifters and lobbyists to try and get the Trump administration to reverse its’ decision to leave the pact before it dies for good in 2018.”

    I hope you’re right about TPP being dead for good in 2018. I hope that dead means dead forever and … dead and never ever returning as some new three letter acronym.

    [I did hit “Reply” — honest I did!]

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      As a practical matter, the TPP is dead unless either 1. Trump changes his mind, gets impeached or otherwise replaced with someone else more amenable to the pact before the drop dead date next year; or 2. A brand new deal is negotiated, signed and ratified without the US.

      I strongly suspect that the latter is just “tawk.”

  21. Dean

    “Republican leaders seem to think they will gain a tactical legislative advantage if they can negotiate a deal behind the scenes and then suddenly spring it on the full Senate. Those gains will quickly evaporate when voters learn what they have done”

    -NYT Editorial

    “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it….”

    -Partial quote from Nancy Pelosi

    So healthcare is now relegated to backroom deals to gain tactical political advantage…

  22. different clue

    About that Canada West spin mill claiming the TPP 12 minus 1 will all be better off for being in it if they go ahead with it . . . than America will be for staying out of it . . .

    . . . That sounds like an interesting political-economic experiment. I hope it is run just exactly that way.
    Let the other 11 go into it, including the ISDS Korporate Kangaroo Kourts and all the other features, and let those anti-national features take hold and grow over 20 years, and see how well the majority of people in each TPP 11 country are doing.

    And see how the US is doing by contrast . . . not being under the Korporate Kangaroo Kourts or any of the other things.

  23. bwilli123

    The Democrat’s Road Not taken.
    ” At 10am on the final Saturday before the election, on a hot early summer day in New Addington, on the outskirts of Croydon, between 50 and 100 people of all ages and backgrounds were milling around on the grass, slapping on sunblock and Labour stickers and clutching red folders. They slowly assembled into groups of five to 10 and struck off into the streets. More arrived, made introductions, passed around more red folders and slowly assembled into new groups. Some were local members and supporters; others had received text messages sent out by the Corbyn-supporting organisation Momentum, asking if they would volunteer to go door-to-door to canvass voters, and pointing them to the address of a local hub full of clipboards, leaflets and stickers.”

    1. katiebird

      I am enthralled by this!! Thank you…. This is the kind of detail I like reading.

      But it was the seats that changed hands that really mattered. With the Labour machine fearing the worst – its internal polling was predicting a heavy defeat – it directed its resources towards a largely defensive campaign. That left it to organisations such as Momentum to go after Tory and Lib Dem seats with slender majorities – directing thousands of mostly young volunteers via text message to marginals such as Battersea, Derby North, Croydon Central, Sheffield Hallam, Crewe and Nantwich and Brighton Kemptown.

      One new tool that helped in this grassroots transformation of Labour’s ground game was mynearestmarginal.com – users would be given a list of their closest marginal seats, and detailed information of forthcoming canvassing and street stalls. (There was also a connected ride-share app, Momentum Carpool.) The website was briefly controversial, after some in the party claimed it was directing people away from key seats held by Labour MPs who had been “core group hostile” and critical of Corbyn. “Momentum appears to have given up on a series of Labour marginals across the north of England” ran a headline on ConservativeHome – but it was, Momentum said, simply a case of having not input all the data for all the constituencies before the launch, and, within a day or two, it was indeed sending activists to campaign for Corbyn critics such as Wes Streeting or Neil Coyle.

      1. katiebird

        More, sorry … this is a wonderful story:

        “I heard about people being overwhelmed in a few seats, after we sent out text messages directing volunteers,” says Beth Foster-Ogg, 20, Momentum’s membership organiser. “I got a call from Cambridge, from a local organiser saying: ‘You’ve sent me too many people! We’ve sent out all the boards and there’s still loads of people flooding in, we don’t know what to do.’ It happened in Leeds North West, too – they started the day, they had so many activists that they went: ‘Right, let’s scrap our whole strategy, we’re going to just print off the electoral register instead’ – and rather than focusing on likely Labour voters, which is what you would normally do, they knocked on all the doors on the electoral register – that’s unheard of.” The seat saw a 14% swing to Labour, overturning a Lib Dem majority of almost 3,000 and replacing it with a 4,000 Labour lead.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Assuming that vocal Trump supporters on social media are not real people reinforces an important political effect as well.”

    There are plenty of Dem-bots, too. They’re pervasive in, eg, the comments on Salon. Many actually sound like bots, parroting brief talking points rather than making arguments.

    Unfortunately, I suspect they’re actually people – though the more skillful ones may be paid PR shills. Certainly they sound like them.

  25. Oregoncharles

    ” But nearly a year after the Brexit vote sent the British pound into free fall, U.K. businesses are finding that higher costs for overseas components and materials have erased much of that advantage” [Wall Street Journal]. NC readers will not be surprised; see this from 2016.”

    Wouldn’t the effect be temporary? It’s because so much production has been outsourced, often in pieces. But if the foreign supplies are suddenly too expensive, there’s a strong motive to start producing those components domestically. That takes time, to build the new capacity. But it should be a transition effect.

    1. Yves Smith

      In a word, no. The UK post Brexit will be a small market with customs barriers. It won’t have the scale to justify the fixed costs of all sorts of manufacture, particularly of the industries at risk, transportation (auto and truck parts and assembly, airplane parts). There won’t be enough value added v. the hassle to include the UK in extended supply chains. The Japanese demanded assurances from May months ago regarding their manufacturing. It was a not-so-thinly-veiled shakedown: if there were no more open borders with the EU, they’d need subsidies not to relocate.

      And a related case: I said repeatedly that Airbus, which was originally owned by state actors in Europe (the UK refused to participate), would tell all its contractors to move operations to the Continent or they’d lose the Airbus business. A reader argued with me that Airbus has invested a lot in wing manufacture in the UK, that was really specialized tech and they’d never lose that. I pointed out that that facility wasn’t making wings for the newest planes and that Airbus could shift production over time

      Guess what? From Airbus three days ago:

      Airbus Chiefs have laid out a set of non-negotiable demands on Brexit, warning it may move production abroad if they are not met according to reports the Sunday Times.

      With German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Theresa May agreeing to begin Brexit talks in the “next couple of weeks” Airbus chief operating officer Fabrice Bregier has set out “minimum” demands on Brexit including the free movement of workers, trade tariffs and regulatory conditions the newspaper says.

      Bregier said any deal must allow the plane manufacturers staff from all over the world to enter Britain easily, ensure that parts are exempt from trade tariffs and ensure certain regulatory standards are maintained.

      Otherwise, he said, Britain would risk losing Airbus production in the future.

      For new productions, it’s very easy to have a new plant somewhere in the world. We would have plenty of offers to do that.

      We want to stay in the UK — provided the conditions to work in an integrated organisation are met

      The two sites have about 10,000 staff, Airbus claims it also supports around 100,000 UK supply chain jobs.

      The company has always warned Brexit may see a reduction in investment in the UK and while wing production for the best-selling A320 and A380 would remain at Broughton, Brégier warned the next generation of models could go to other countries.

      “For new productions, it’s very easy to have a new plant somewhere in the world. We would have plenty of offers to do that,” Bregier said, Germany has long coveted Britain’s wing manufacturing and would be likely to offer state support the report says.


      1. Oregoncharles

        Reminds me of the scams corps run to extract tax concessions from localities, in return for locating where the said corporations plan to anyway.

        That said, Brexit will certainly mean just that sort of rearrangements. I was proposing that British companies would find it in their interest to make the parts they need at home, assuming that the pound stays low. Foreign companies, OTOH, would have an incentive to move back home, themselves – unless the pound also makes British labor and real estate cheap. Will Airbus really pull out if the Brits work cheaper than the French, etc.?

        Years ago, Japanese interests funded a tea plantation in Molalla, Oregon, near Portland, using Japanese seed. My first thought was that the Japanese think we work cheaper than they do – which may be true. But it was really the cost of land. Molalla isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper than Japan.

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