2:00PM Water Cooler 7/5/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, I’m sorry that all the usual sections aren’t populated quite as they should be. I found myself writing mini-posts on the events of the weekend, and the clock just ran out. –Lambert


“Speaking of the G-20, this will be former Senate Finance Committee aide Everett Eisenstatt’s debut in his new role as White House ‘sherpa’ for big international meetings. Some of his pals in the international trade sector, under the heading of the World Economic Forum, have prepared a brief and a letter for all 20 nations’ negotiators. Their topline advice? ‘Depart from global trade cooperation at your peril.’ Gulp. Sounds pretty serious” [Politico]. “Pals.”

“Impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on high-fructose corn syrup supply in Canada: a natural experiment using synthetic control methods” [Canadian Medical Association Journal]. “NAFTA was strongly associated with a marked rise in HFCS supply and likely consumption in Canada. Our study provides evidence that even a seemingly modest change to product tariffs in free trade agreements can substantially alter population-wide dietary behaviour and exposure to risk factors.”

“NAFTA opened the Mexican market to U.S. corn producers who were subsidized by the U.S. government.” [CNN]. “That led to a boom in U.S. corn exports to Mexico — and a bust in Mexican farming jobs like Benancio’s. In the first decade of NAFTA, U.S. corn exports to Mexico quadrupled while Mexican corn prices fell 66%, according to Tufts University professor Tim A. Wise, a trade expert.” And of course: “[T]he more significant story may be how genetically modified corn from the U.S. is threatening the integrity of maize cultivars that have been grown for thousands of years. Essentially, subsidized U.S. corn sold on international markets is making locally grown corn economically unsustainable.”

The global market is subverting Mexican maize, which functions as a commons – the interplay of community, ecosystem and crop over thousands of years.” [On the Commons (2010)].


Health Care

“So, do Hill Re­pub­lic­ans be­tray all of those prom­ises to their base to re­peal and re­place Obama­care, or do they pass something that people will hate even more? That’s what you call a di­lemma” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. That’s the dilemma. It has always been the dilemma: Whether to replace a bad Republican plan (ObamaCare) with a worse one (AHCA; BCRA). There’s a lot on Cook’s narrative of 2009-2010 that I disagree with, but this: “Simply put, on health care, con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The fact that the ini­tial plan from Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell’s (a pretty smart guy) had at least four Re­pub­lic­ans (Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ron John­son) who thought it didn’t go far enough in elim­in­at­ing Obama­care, and at least five (Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Shel­ley Moore Capito, Dean Heller, and Rob Port­man) that wor­ried it went too far showed that this was a mat­ter of split­ting the baby. If I were a Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an, I would sup­port the bill, know­ing that it would prob­ably fail any­way, then tell my base that ‘I tried,’ then move quickly on to oth­er is­sues. …This is le­gis­la­tion that would be bet­ter handled next year, in a back room, with prag­mat­ic House and Sen­ate mem­bers from both parties try­ing to fig­ure out what is work­ing, what isn’t work­ing, and how to make it work bet­ter.” But “know­ing that it would prob­ably fail” is handwaving. The BCRA is poised on a knife-edge; but which Republican is going to be the one to tip it either way? That Republican is going to have to decide between party loyalty in their district and perceived public benefit to voters in their district. And the Republicans, feral, ruthless, and effective as they are, haven’t ended up controlling all three branches of government and taking 1000 seats away from Democrats by being squishy on party loyalty. (Oh, and Cook agrees with The Donald, who originally said to kick the can down the road, presumably so the Republicans could get on with what they see as the real business of government: Handing out tax breaks to cronies. And so it goes.)

Sanders on #MedicareForAll:

OK. That was followed by this tweet, which I read and nearly stroked out:

Prompting this reaction from Yglesias:

“And she was right.” Ouch.

Lambert here: What Yglesias ignores, conveniently, is that Clinton used the so-called public option as a way to prevent single payer and silence single payer advocates, exactly as career “progressives” did in 2009. Sanders urges that the so-called public option be the path toward #MedicareForAll. That said, “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas,” Yglesias being one such flea, as are public option advocates generally. And I’ll need to see actual legislation from Sanders to see how direct and forceful his path toward #MedicareForAll is, because you can be sure liberals and conservatives will fight it every step of the way, turning the public option, yet gain, into a bait and switch operation. (Charitably, Sanders could be doing what it takes to get a Senator to co-sponsor his bill. Somebody’s got to make the sausage, and I’d rather, at this point, it was Sanders than anyone else. Still, since the bill won’t pass, why compromise now?)

This feeds into my general sense that single payer advocates — perhaps the left generally — don’t have such an easy time with success, not having experienced it. After years, decades of organizing, Medicare for All is now on the national agenda. We’re talking about implementation details at this point, and naturally the waonkosphere is doing everything it can to divert the discussion into the weeds, delay matters, and save the health insurance “industry” because markets. Then again, (1) where is the full-throated statement from single payer advocates, Sanders among them, that #MedicareForAll will nuke the most hated industry in the country? It’s gonna happen, so why not embrace it? And (2) where is the sound-byte on how those jobs will be replaced? Yes, I know this argument is almost always made in bad faith by people (like Obama) who otherwise show no concern for the working class whatever, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be answered. And yes, I know denying people health care for a salary deserves moral opprobium; but a party that seeks — or, if reconfigured, would seek — to put direct universal material benefits, especially for the working class, at the heart of its appeal, shouldn’t be just throwing workers out of work. And yes, I know that HR676 provides for retraining, but in other circumstances the left would be the first to say that retraining is problematic, as indeed it is.

And while we’re at it, the fight on SB562 isn’t going all that well either. (Perhaps there’s a reason the odious Nancy Pelosi said it was best to try at the state level. Eh?) Leaving aside the ins and outs of California fiscal policy, the bill is stalled. Whatever temporary political advantage there may be to firing up the base by epater-ing the California Democrat establishment, that pales before the loss of not having a serious policy proposal in place. One of the reasons that Corbyn won (at least the Labour leadership) was that voters read the Labour Manifesto and said, “Yeah, I can vote for that!” And that is when the polls began to turn. Would voters have done that if the Manifesto was full of blank spaces and handwaving? No. Well, that’s how SB562 was. And it doesn’t matter if “It’s not f-a-a-i-r!” that the Democrat Establishment didn’t work to improve the bill; that’s just whining. Liberals do that. The left should not. And this is before we get to the question of whether a state that is not a currency issuer should even be passing such a bill. We need full-throated advocacy for MMT as well, something that Sanders, sadly, did not provide. Again, this is a matter of the shift from policy advocacy to implementation proposals. You can win the battle on the first, and lose the battle on the second. McClellan, in the Peninsular Campaign, had the church towers of Richmond in sight, and his troops could hear the bells ringing. Where, oh where, is the U.S. Grant of the left?

New Cold War

“Podesta: ‘It’s on the FBI’ That DNC Servers Weren’t Turned Over” [FOX]. “The head of the failed campaign called the FBI’s approach to the DNC Russia hack ‘fairly casual’ and ‘lackadaisical.’ ‘If anything, it’s on the FBI that didn’t come forward and really inform the DNC about what was going on until long after,’ Podesta stated.” So, the matter was of vital national importance to prevent a Russian “puppet” from becoming President, but not vital enough for the DNC to have some intern put the servers into the truck of an Uber, drive them over to the FBI building, and drop them off (after backing them up, of course). Alrighty, then. A little exaggerated for vividness, but you see what I mean.

“Investigators explore if Russia colluded with pro-Trump sites during US election” [Guardian]. If a few websites propagating Russia Today clips on Facebook could take down the Clinton juggernaut, then Democratic strategists and consultants who jammed $1.4 billion down the toilet of the Clinton campaign and then flushed have a lot to answer for.

Stats Watch

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, June 2017: “June’s job creation index was plus 36, just shy of the record-high plus 37 recorded in May. . Regionally, the South led in job creation, while the East continued to be last” [Econoday]. “In June, 45 percent of employees said their company was hiring, about matching the 46 percent in May. The percentage who said their company was letting workers go held steady at 9 percent. Forty-one percent of workers said their employer was not changing the size of its workforce.”

Factory Orders, May 2017: “Forecasters thought factory orders would get a lift from nondurables but they didn’t as total orders fell” [Econoday]. “But there are positives in today’s report and they include a small lift for core capital goods orders (nondefense ex-aircraft) which, boosted by a jump in mining equipment, rose…. But manufacturing activity, as described in last week’s PMI manufacturing report, is no better than subdued… There are bright spots in this report which overall, however, is consistent with a sector that is struggling to find momentum.”

Motor Vehicle Sales: “Also decelerating in line with deceleration of bank auto lending. One by one the data releases seem to be confirming the last 6 month’s rapid deceleration of bank lending” [Mosler Economics].

Construction: “[Spending] decelerating in line with the deceleration in real estate related bank lending” [Mosler Economics].

Construction: “Early in 2013 lumber prices came close to the housing bubble highs – and prices are once again near the bubble highs” [Calculated Risk]. Although lumber does fluctuate seasonally.

Fiscal (Federal): “In its latest monthly report, the Congressional Budget Office said the federal government’s tax income is running 3 percent below projections over the previous eight months, which works out to a shortfall of as much as $70 billion” [Washington Times]. “The CBO said the chief cause is smaller than expected individual and corporate tax receipts.”

Fiscal (States): “As of July 5, 42 states have enacted full-year budgets for fiscal 2018” [National Association of State Budget Officers]. “As of July 5, 42 states have enacted full-year budgets for fiscal 2018. In 5 states, the legislature has yet to finalize the budget (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin). In Oregon most agency spending bills have been approved while in Massachusetts, the governor signed a temporary spending bill. Rhode Island and Wisconsin have statutory continued budget authority in place until a new budget is enacted. In 2 states, the fiscal 2018 budget is awaiting the governor’s signature or veto (Michigan and Pennsylvania); Michigan’s fiscal year begins October 1. In 1 state, the legislature is considering overriding the governor’s veto of the budget (Illinois).”

Fiscal (States): “While states have mostly recovered since the 2007-2009 recession, their revenue growth has not always kept pace with the national economy. In some states without full budgets, including Connecticut and Pennsylvania, lower-than-anticipated income tax collections exacerbated budget gaps and led to disputes over how to close them” [CNBC].

Fiscal (States): “The [New Jersey] stalemate stems from the Horizon proposal: Christie wants lawmakers to pass a bill requiring the insurer to develop a plan for allocating its ‘excess’ surplus to help pay for drug treatment and other care of the poor and uninsured. But Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D., Hudson), has refused to consider that bill, which he has called a “Christie tax” on Horizon’s 3.8 million policyholders. As a result, Prieto couldn’t get enough Democratic votes to pass the budget — because Christie had pledged to line-item Democratic-backed spending if lawmakers didn’t pass the Horizon bill” [Philadelphia Inequirer].

Fiscal (States): Chris Christie’s beach outing:

Forgive my counter-suggestibility here — NJ residents please chime in — but it looks to me like Christie was at least trying to look like he was clawing back some profits from Big Pharma. It also looks to me like all the snark and derision about the beach photo didn’t mean squat as far as the budget deal went, and might also have been Christie’s Trumpian-style gigantic upraised middle finger to his detractors (and perhaps Christie’s sign-off from the national stage. It’s hard to imagine him running for President again; they will write “Defenestrated by Jared Kushner” on Christie’s tombstone).

Shipping: “New Panama Canal Boosts Ship Sizes” [Port Technology]. “Most interesting of all was the average 5.9 daily vessel transits (of which containerships accounted for about 51%) – far above the original forecast of two to three daily transits expected in the first year.”

Rail: “Railroads adding more cars to trains in effort to trim costs, raising some concerns about safety” [Omaha World-Herald]. “[John Risch, national legislative director for the Sheet Metal, Air and Rail Transportation union, or SMART] said all the talk and statistics are one thing, and what his union members see on the ground is another: trains of up to three miles long, sometimes with hazardous materials, such as chlorine or ammonia. This year, the SMART union sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration asking for an investigation and an order ending ‘excessive train length.’ The letter cited what the union said was higher likelihood of mechanical failure, difficulty maintaining brake pressure when a trains exceed three miles and communications problems.” It’s all about the operating ratio in rail…

The Bezzle: “Export documents are taking a role in a federal probe of Caterpillar Inc. Federal investigators believe the heavy-equipment manufacturer failed to submit numerous required export filings in recent years, the WSJ’s Andrew Tangel and Aruna Viswanatha report, potentially as part of an effort to avoid paying taxes. It’s the latest inquiry centered on Caterpillar’s management of its international supply chain as the company handled sales and replacement-parts distribution overseas. Investigators are finding discrepancies between Cat’s filings through the U.S. Automated Export System and documents seized from the company” [Wall Street Journal]. Out of curiosity… Are there any heavy machinery geeks out there who can say if Caterpillar’s newest lines are being crapified? I remember driving through Peoria as a child, and seeing miles of tractor parts in Caterpillar’s iconic yellow. But they have brutal relations with their workers, and this “latest inquiry” reminds me of the crooks in Silicon Valley. So maybe the bad business practices have corroded product quality?

The Bezzle: “If the dawning of the Age of the Woke VC feels a little bit late in coming and, at this point, a bit self-serving, it’s also ridiculously vague. So I have a suggestion: Rather than grandstanding about decency, Silicon Valley venture capitalists might try something of substance—such as, for instance, doing something about the industry’s culture of secrecy. In particular, tech companies should stop abusing nondisparagement and nondisclosure agreements.” [Bloomberg]. “These clauses are common in Silicon Valley. They are not supposed to apply in cases where an employee is acting as a whistleblower, but in practice that is exactly what they do.”

The Bezzle: “China’s Vision for a Straddling Bus Dissolves in Scandal and Arrests” [New York Times]. “‘The truth is the bus was a fake science investment scam, with no scientific innovation,’ a Beijing News op-ed said on Monday. ‘The test was nothing more than a trick to attract investors.’… A New York Times reporter who visited Huaying Kailai’s office in September saw walls lined with photographs of the owner, Bai Zhiming, with celebrities, entrepreneurs and local officials. A half-dozen investors stopped by over an hour. Some left with gifts and grocery bags full of cash.” Classy!

Honey for the Bears: “The slowdown in the auto industry is only getting deeper, putting a cloud over U.S. industrial demand” [Wall Street Journal]. “Adding to the troubling trend are significant reductions in deliveries to car-rental companies, long the Motor City’s biggest customers, suggesting that auto makers are girding for a longer-term retrenchment. Auto makers traditionally have used lower-margin sales to rental companies to keep factories rolling even as dealership traffic slowed, but now it looks like they want to clear unsold inventory from dealer lots before they take another look at factories. That’s already evident in shipping networks, with U.S. railroad shipments of motor vehicles and auto parts down 4.9% in the first five months of the year.”

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on drought. “Drought is burning up crops in the Upper Midwest” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 47, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jun 30 at 12:50pm.

Crapification Watch

Readers, please feel free to contact me with other examples of crapification, digital or otherwise, using the contact information below. –lambert

Google’s new misdesign of the news page. The “View Full Coverage” link:

The entire screen for four links? Really, Google?? Really??? Could Google actually be so impoverished or indifferent that they didn’t bother to do usability testing for laptops? Or could it be that my screen real estate [sniff] simply doesn’t mean anything to a ginormous monopoly? Maybe if Google were broken up, the News functionality could become standalone, and a smaller, nimbler, more focused company wouldn’t suck do badly. Heck, maybe the search would improve. It needs improving.

Dear Old Blighty

Episode 116 (podcast) [Chapo Trap House]. I have Chapo Trap House in heavy rotation, and I really enjoy it. Boy howdy, do they skewer the phonies! (They seem to have cut back on the scatology, sometimes taken to be a sign of authenticity or transgressiveness, which I found distracting.)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Devastation of Black Wall Street” [JSTOR]. The Tulsa “race riot” of 1921.

Guillotine Watch

“NASA Revives Plan to Put Nuclear Reactors on Mars” [NBC]. Elon might need them?

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allegic to PayPal, and (d) 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 (TH):

TH writes: “Mandevilla hybrid ‘Madinia (TM) Deep Red’ at Roger’s Gardens (nursery), Newport Beach, CA”

NOTE Readers, if you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. Thank you!

UPDATE Now that that the 2017 Water Cooler fundraiser post is launched, I can say that directions for sending a check will include a request to send me a parallel email so I can thank you. I was not able to thank all you sent me checks this year, because I was unable to connect physical mail identities to online identities. Apologies!

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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. dcblogger

    Given decades of FBI witch hunts against Democrats generally and Hillary in particular, the Democrats would have been insane to have handed over their servers and in effect invite a data-dive. The thing to do is invite a trusted third party to search the drives and hand them over and evidence of Russian hacking to the FBI. Washington DC has several firms that specialize in exactly this sort of data recovery.

    1. optimader

      If one was intent of hunting actual witch’s, Hillary would be an easy place to start.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          What if the unpaid DNC intern was an Uber driver? They could have picked up a fare and reimbursed the DNC for the time the intern could have been blamed for Dems losing elections.

    2. fred

      “Democrats would have been insane to have handed over their servers and in effect invite a data-dive”

      You mean Obama couldn’t be trusted or just Comey and his “professionals”?

    3. nippersmom

      I’m getting tired of the war criminal and blatant opportunist Clinton being painted as a victim of any kind, including of so-called “witch hunts”.

      1. dcblogger

        you don’t have to like Hillary to recognize the entire Whitewater investigation was a witch hunt.

    4. sid_finster

      I don’t recall FBI witch hunts. I recall a lot of investigations by private parties.

      Anyway, what’s to stop the FBI from getting a search warrant?

      1. Procopius

        The fact that they didn’t have any probable cause was probably what stopped them from getting a search warrant. Was the DNC supposed to be the victim or the perpetrator? Is it common to get a search warrant on the victim to pursue an investigation? I could imagine it might be in the case of espionage. It does seem very weird to me that they didn’t turn the drives over to the FBI after Crowdstrike’s report said the intrusion was done by the Russians, but then we aren’t at war with the Russians. If the Israelis hacked, say, National Review Online, would that be considered espionage? I’m not a lawyer.

  2. mitzimuffin

    I’m a Jersey Girl. Christie closed the beaches on 1 of the 3 weekends in the year that tourists spend big on, and when small businesses, life guards, restaurants (and tipped staff) earn their money. This was a swollen middle finger to the taxpayers of this state. Then he vacationed privately on the beach w/family and friends because “they had planned this for months,” just like everyone else who plans to get away for the 4th! What a POS, and his wife, Pat, as well. But that is only hubris on their selfish parts. They cost people a big part of their livelihood for the year. That is the real crime. The rest is just Christie being his bully self.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      The trappings of office…christie is never going to make enough money in private practice to enjoy a private beach in such a public place…perhaps he never had any interest or intention on signing the budget…maybe he wanted the beach to himself…his ratings are as close to zero as a breathing carbon based life form can obtain…his days of living off the commonweal are done..this was his last bite at the apple…

      1. kurtismayfield

        Part of the deal for a politician in the US is the post bribe. Christie will do just fine by being on a few boards/think tanks. If he doesn’t, even for one as tainted as Christie, the next Governor might take notice.

    2. RUKidding

      Used to live on the East Coast and remember well my friends who worked at the Jersey shore for summer vacation. My first thought was how Corpus Christie just cost a lot of people a huge amount in lost wages, lost income, lost money.

      Then again, hate to point out the obvious, but NJ citizens voted in this crook (not the the crooked politicians in most other states are any much better).

      Yeah, a huge I got MIIIIIINE, EFF YOU!!! from Christie to the citizens of NJ.

        1. Edward E

          I was wondering where that tidal wave came from while in South Carolina, he must have jumped in, belly flops. Actually I could only stand on the shore of my favorite swimming hole this year and watch a huge gator cruising around in the high water. Brush growing up everywhere.

          Trucks are moving, companies are hiring with huge bonus offerings. They’re trying to move as much freight as possible before the E-LOG Mandate kicking in this December. Not sure how much of a drop of capacity the new regulations will cause. New warehouses here, there and everywhere.

    3. Huey Long

      I’m an ex-Jersey guy who packed up and moved to NYC a few years ago. Christie’s middle finger wagging at the rest of us is nothing new, and is in fact endearing to a fair amount of folks in the Garden State. I think there’s a fair amount of Jersey people that wish they could be him and get away with his crap.

      Here’s a list of what parks/beaches were closed:


      Not to defend Christie, but the shutdown only affected one ocean beach. Even if one had planned a getaway to the shore, they could have easily ponied up a few dollars for beach badges and hit the beach at nearby Seaside Park or Seaside Heights. In short, I don’t think the shore took too much of an economic hit.

      I think the rural southern and western parts of the state were impacted far more by the weekend parks closures than the beaches were. The shore towns all have their own beaches; the rural towns don’t have their own state parks.

      As for Christie, he should have either gone to one of the above mentioned nearby beaches or changed his plans and hit up the beach front National Guard base located in Sea Girt, NJ (http://www.njarmyguard.com/rsp/). He would have looked like much less of a jerk, but it appears that Gov. Christie doesn’t care about optics at all at this point. Hopefully the blob punishes him with no board memberships and a crappy think tank job after he’s out of office.

      On a side note, Kim Guadagno isn’t carrying Christie’s water on this one; she describes the photos of him on the beach as “beyond words.” (http://observer.com/2017/07/guadagno-christie-beach-pics-beyond-words/). Also, kudos to whoever leaked Christie’s itinerary to the Star Ledger so they could get a plane in the air and snap the damning photos that got Christie in hot water.

  3. Alex Morfesis

    $hillary productions presents: the con-ducers…what if hillary didn’t actually want to win…but simply wanted to cash out the clinton foundation “futures” with no intention of delivering by actually being in office…none of that silly ethics and disclosure and “responsibility” of being elected…

    A simple multi billion dollar scam…just need to create the delusion of intent and then find some cheap excuse to bail out…clintons canadian buddy with ties to russian uranium deal…

    No…did not put on too tight triple layer shiny hat…

    the ultimate graft…

    not quite “honest” graft…

    but she certainly had no great “feel” for the election…upon reflection, instead of being lackluster due to an expected coronation, mayhaps she was just in it to spread the billion dollars in campaign money around to her friends and associates…

    A grifters gotta grift…and other than some minor noise about his misogyny…did she actually run a campaign…a slow motion pan of atlantic city and trumps failures there would have toasted his campaign…
    she never really went after him…

    And with podesta sticking to the russian puppet meme…

    A grifters gotta grift…

    1. optimader

      what if hillary didn’t actually want to win
      Just as easily one can speculate Trump also didn’t want to win. So, how could she loose to someone who didn’t even want to win, let alone such a polarizing figure as DTrump?

      I believe HRC would have sacrificed Chelsea’s first born in a satanic ritual if it ensured her winning.

      All roads lead back to if she is so brilliant and effective, how could she have possibly lost to Trump even with all the speculation about “Russian hacking”, which everyone who buys into seem to concede at this point in time, doesn’t involve any voting irregularities or inaccurate information?

      Puzzle me that any HRC supporter.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Lucifer has much better quality dna to choose from…handing over the grandkid would have not
        gotten her too far down the river styx for a meetup…might not even have been enough to trade pn some darkweb to get bitcoin for an ubrrr ride to nabola

      2. Art Eclectic

        Brilliant and effective is useless in a country that is so politically polarized that any warm body with either an R or D behind their name is guaranteed 45% of vote. At the national level, the fight is over a small group of people in a handful of states. As it happened, Trump’s team crunched down and figured out how to sell their candidate to those voters who were feeling disenfranchised and forgotten. It was a different kind of hope and change. I don’t feel at all bad for the white nationalists and Hillary haters who are going to end up shafted by the Trump administration, but I do feel sorry for those people who thought Trump was actually going to change things that the Real Owners do not want changed.

        1. Huey Long

          but I do feel sorry for those people who thought Trump was actually going to change things that the Real Owners do not want changed.

          …And for the third time today, I’m going to quote Quigley:

          “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966.)

          Art, I feel sorry for them too! There are legions, and legions of NPR listeners and Fox News viewers raging on and on about the evils of the other side who don’t get that we have one war party with 2 wings called the GOP and the Dems.

          1. Art Eclectic

            Honestly, I have a tin-foil-hat theory that the news stories questioning Trump’s health and the questionable financial dealings are planted by the elite cabal that really runs the country for the purpose of taking down Trump if he upsets the apple cart too much. So far, it appears pretty easy to distract him from making any moves that aren’t useful in at least the short term.

            Bannon making noises about raising taxes on the rich is likely to make him the victim of a terrible accident, which will almost certainly be blamed on out-of-control lefties and also set off an alt-right holy war. This of course, will be the distraction for a major theft occurring and Naomi Klein will be saying “I told you so”.

        2. optimader

          I’d be willing to give Brilliant and effective a try. Hasn’t been on the ballot in a while.

      3. Louis Fyne

        HRC and Dems are too enraptured by their own hagiography.

        Will jeff Clinton won in no small part due to Ross Perot. The Clinton economic boom was thanks in large part to easy Fed money from Alan Greenspan, needed to clean up the messes made in Mexican debt, the Asian 1997 panic and LTCM.

        Al Gore/Lieberman didn’t lose in 2000 because they were lame campaigners with a tepid platform who couldn’t even win Gore’s nominal home state of TN. Or the swing states of Ohio or MO. And Gore didn’t lose votes in Florida because Bill Clinton couldn’t keep his zipper up to get oral from a subordinate.

        Gore lost because of hanging chads!

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “Gore lost because of hanging chads!”

          This was a major issue with the recount. The chads could get caught in the machines, leaving a clearly removed hole and then a hanging chad.

          The recount people were tasked with determining if the hanging chad represented a machine error or a ballot with two votes which wouldn’t count. In theory, the machine shouldn’t knock out the chad very much at all, but of course the ballots were shuffled around, as the ballot boxes are moved loosening the chads even more. The elderly voters who are over represented in Florida and elections in general suffer various maladies such as arthritis and often found the mechanical machines to be difficult to use and weren’t able to cleanly remove the chad. You would have two hanging chads on each ballot.

          Basically, the Republicans were doing everything they could to win and throw out Gore votes and keep Shrub votes while the Dems under Warren Christopher were waxing about America’s place as an example to the rest of the world and enjoying their moments in the sun. It was James Baker playing for keeps versus the equivalent of an MSNBCNews host. Stopping the recount was important because it was so close, deciding the fate of the hanging chads could swing that election.

          Much like Trump, George W. Bush had no business winning that election except for Bill’s successor was so awful and ran such a disastrous campaign. He executed a mentally handicapped man and laughed about it. The hanging chads were an issue. Even now, elite Dems ignore the hanging chads because it does demonstrate their incompetence when its so much easier to blame the all powerful Ralph Nader.


          Shrub is so “dignified.” Hes an artiste now! Put a beret on his head! As to why Dems thought Republicans would care about Trump mocking the handicap, many Democrats are ignoramuses who live in a fantasy land, or they didn’t care having worshipped Bill Clinton who suspended his campaign in 1992 to make sure justice was done and approve the execution of a mentally handicapped individual.

          Going back to the hanging chads, the whole episode is symbolic of the whole campaign. One side is not fit for that stage as Gore’s Congressional and Senate seats were gifted to him by nostalgia, and the other side was simply vile willing to do what ever it takes to win.

          1. Procopius

            I would say Gore lost because the press “went on a hunt.” They do that. It’s like a shark feeding frenzy. Not always, but sometimes a little blood in the water attracts more and more sharks, they come from miles away to join in. On top of that, of course, the NYT particularly, but all the press in general, love(d) running scandal stories about the Clintons. Benghazi was absurd. A spokesman for the State Department made a premature public statement based on preliminary thinking based on lack of reports from the field, and it got blown up into an attempt to cover up treason. “But her emails …”

        2. Arizona Slim

          Point of history: The groundwork for the Clinton economic boom was laid by:

          1. The commercialization of the Internet. Signed into law by GHW Bush in 1991.
          2. The introduction of Windows 95. At the time, it was considered to be a major step forward. And it sold a lot of new computers.
          3. Y2K. A lot of money spent on avoiding that one. A big spend that was, for the most part, successful.

          Bill was a very lucky man. Very lucky.

      4. Montanamaven

        I’m with you. Hilary has money. But She wants the trappings. The throne (Oval office). And the power of life and death. IMHO, Bill just wanted the money.

        1. Art Eclectic

          I would argue that what Bill wanted was the babes and what Hillary wanted was legacy. It’s one thing to go down in the history books as somebody’s wife. It’s another to earn the office on her own. A lot of women would like the opportunity to earn it on their own and not be the wife who tagged along her husband’s success.

    2. Ian

      I think more then money, Hillary loves power and the accolades that come along with it. Being the first female president going into a new cold, potentially hot war with Russia (largely by US dictate) on the cusp of ecological and economic catastrophe with the ability to pick a large portion of the winners and losers (us) is a role that she genuinely lusted for.

    3. Altandmain

      From the leaked emails, we know Clinton wanted to win.

      Colin Powell noted that Hillary Clinton couldn’t accept that she lost to Obama in 2008. I wonder what she must feel losing to Trump.

      I’m quite amused thinking about it. She got what she deserved … to be denied what she coveted the most.

  4. optimader

    C C on the beach..

    The guy in the pic left and behind reminds me of the Sopranos episode w/ the goomba parasite sitting at the construction site in a lawnchair reading the racing form.

    I would not want to be CC’s bicycle…

      1. Toske

        Indeed, but then, most of us financially support acts of comparable, and often worse, barbarism toward animals by buying factory farmed animal products. I wish I were exaggerating in the slightest.

      2. dcrane

        I remember when I was first driving around NZ with my Kiwi wife and we saw a possum on the road in front of us. Was a bit startled when she told me to aim for it! These folks from Aotearoa can be ruthless when it comes to invasive species.

        But anyway, how barbaric is drowning compared to other deaths? A knock on the head can go wrong and become worse than drowning, which probably leads to loss of consciousness in less than a minute. The 1080 poison widely used in the preserves is almost surely more painful. Fundamentally, this is a massive pest species in NZ and killing them is necessary. I agree that it’s an odd note to have the drowning as some sort of attraction at a school fair, though.

        1. Carl

          Saw a tv news story while in NZ on similar stuff, engaging school kids to kill rats in Tasmania, as a public service. Island people have to be really conscious of organisms (“pests”) from off-island that can devastate their ecology.

    1. clinical wasteman

      Sorry, I get it now, Chomsky and possum-drowning aren’t supposed to be secretly related.
      I’d better not look at that Guardian article in case I accidentally see a comments heap steaming with bilious ignorance about Aotearoa in particular and the South Pacific in general. But … sure, the pedagogical part and especially the school fair “fun” context in the possum-drowning story are grotesque and oddly pointless (almost no-one ever sees a baby possum, and an adult one would probably drown you first). But, but…
      it’s not quite an outbreak of wanton cruelty worthy of Guardian readers’ frothing punishment-lust either. Through no “fault” of their own (when the Anglo-Ethics-Lab starts sorting Innocent animals from Guilty ones, we’ll truly all be doomed), those possums have never ceased to wreak total havoc on the islands’ ecosystem — which still includes a lot of “virgin” forest, much of it under Iwi* stewardship — since their accidental introduction from Australia 100+ years ago (sorry no link because internet connection barely working here). So every one of those “babies” was already slated for death by poison, shooting, dog or — most likely — car at the first opportunity. Which is by no means to say they do all die like that: they’re such formidable breeders, escapers, fighters and outright goaders of other species — as well as being exterminators of indigenous species and entire habitats — that their numbers never really even fall by that much, however many inter-species mercenaries are set on them. As far as walking, climbing, leaping, cackling, howling disease-grenades go, they’re quite impressive and even sort of sympathetic animals, but the ecological case for hounding them — so to speak — seems to be generally agreed. And aside from the doubt mentioned above (i.e. where would you get baby possums and how would you survive the attempt if the adults were also around?) sentimental sympathy for baby animals over adult ones is an extra-sorry niche even for the Guardian demographic.
      Or to put it another way, NZ’s last dozen or so governments have created enough parasite-ridden deserts in the form of speculative real estate development without allowing an allied species to open a second front.

      (*Iwi: largest historical political/social unit in Maoritanga, eg. Ngapuhi, Tainui, Tuhoe, Ngai Tahu etc.)

  5. B1whois

    Lambert, the NAFTA agreement, Mexico, corn article contains a duplicated second comment. I’d be interested to know what the second comment was originally intended to contain.

    1. jeremy Grimm

      I don’t know what comment Lambert intended — but I would add the crapification of tortillas to the impacts of NAFTA. The American subsidized masa is horrible and makes horrible tortillas.

      1. different clue

        Are the “what-few” Mexicans who still remain aspiringly-middle-class prepared to taste the difference and pay more for gourmet boutique genuine mexi-corn masa tortillas? Might a relict stub of Mexican corn agriculture survive that way until a critical tipping point massload of people in Mexico and America can force and compel their governments to repeal and abolish NAFTA?

    1. Matt

      Huh? Are you under the impression he was denied treatment because it’s too costly?

  6. a_s

    Christie seems to be going after Horizon as a target of convenience. They are a not-for-profit and have limitations placed on them by the state that other companies do not have. For example, there are administrative cost percentage limits, above which Horizon has to refund money to policyholders, They are also the “insurer of last resort”. They are a much better deal for exchange plans than the Blue Cross in New York (Empire Blue). Still a 500-lb. gorilla, however, given their market share.

    The semi-conspiratorial view is that a surplus raid would trigger higher Horizon policy premiums that might give other companies more space to run – like, for example, the Kushner-associated Oscar which is trying to get back into the NJ market right now. Who knows whether Christie is trying to ingratiate himself with the White House at this point or not? It could indeed be a populist or faux-populist stand on Christie’s part, but doing right by NJ constituents has not been exactly his strong suit.

  7. rn

    I usually skip the “Stats watch”, which i can get elsewhere. If you want to save your time and effort, I think you may first try to figure out which section are of the least interest to the readers.

    1. clinical wasteman

      There’s a clue in the plural part if the name: it’s “readers“, and we don’t boil down to a statistical “average” like a Focus Group or an algorithmic Everywo/man. What looks like a tangent or a niche to one reader is probably a Panamax shipping lane for another. And yeah, we “could” all get statistics elsewhere, but think of the publications we’d have to plough through to find a couple of hundred words’ worth of interesting ones, assuming we could even manage to crawl under the paywalls. Count me into the Margin For Error, but I’d much rather read the WSJ and the Telegraph as excerpted and glossed by Lambert than bathe in the prolix drool of the “real thing”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t think anybody else aggregates The Bezzle, either. In retrospect, that was a signal that something was rotten in the state of Uber (later amply demonstrated by Hubert Horan).

        1. Procopius

          I agree. The Stats Watch is an important resource for me. I didn’t even know most of them existed until Lambert started aggregating them. Now it’s a must-read part of the Water Cooler. I also make sure to never pass an item marked “the bezzle.” I’m retired, so I’ve got lots of hours in a day to look for information. Most people don’t have time. This was what newspapers and news shows used to be for before they became frivolous entertainment.

    2. grayslady

      I like the Stats Watch. By skimming the key indicators, I can get a better idea of the U.S. and global economy than I can by reading most newspaper articles.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Please don’t get rid of or change the Stat’s Watch. I really enjoy reading them, even when I have time to read other sites. But on those days I don’t, Stat’s Watch keeps me up to speed about what is happening in that world…..

  8. flora

    Medicaid cuts. No one talks about the effect this would have on public k-12 schools. All public schools are required to provide for special education needs for students enrolled, including remedial classes, therapies, and attendants. Schools can (mostly) afford to do this because they can draw on Medicaid funds for these programs. Cut Medicaid funding and you cut a large part of special education funding in public schools; schools that will still still be required to provide for the enrolled special needs students. Then the choices will be: raise state taxes to make up the difference; reduce the number of special needs students allowed to enroll in school; or let the k-12 schools carry an even larger, unreimbursed, financial burden, further harming public education.

    Soundbites are easy. Do our politicians know how things really work?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Do our politicians know how things really work?”

      No. I was 22ish and was at a briefing on the state budget for legislators and their staff (its a part time legislature so its just one person unless the elected is loaded and hires their own person), but it occurred to me only three people out of the 24 electeds from both houses at that meeting had any concept of how the Commonwealth raises and spends money or how certain thresh holds have to be met to receive funds from the Federal government.

      Bernie Sanders has held positions in the Senate which are considered plum positions for anyone. Given he isn’t a threat to caucus with the GOP, he doesn’t need special attention, but he receives high profile assignments on the budget and veterans committees. Why? Because those committees are expected to produce. The other Senators simply have no interest in how government works. If the Democratic Party was completely rotten, the Independent Senator from Vermont would have no business even being on the budget committee as every Senator would be begging for that committee spot. Veterans Affairs? Are you kidding? What politician doesn’t want to wrap themselves in the flag? It comes back to hard work and knowing how things work.

      1. different clue

        @Timothy Geithner, when you wrote above . . . ” if the Democratic Party was completely rotten” . . . did you mean to write . . . “if the Democratic Party was not completely rotten” . . . ?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Has he ever been under threat of losing those assignments (that no Democrats have begged to be on)? I thought that was one of the reasons he had to compromise?

        And it is still mysterious why he was not, then was but is not now (though he might be in 2020) a Democrat.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          He said exactly why he ran as a Democrat during an interview last year. Namely, that if he had run as an independent, no one from the MSM would have paid any attention to him.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            But why not stay as a Democrat then?

            Or is he saying to those planning on primary challenges to run, instead, as Independents, and then, caucus with Democrats (his model)?

            And sadly, the MSM did not pay any (positive) attention to him, even then.

            Going forward, maybe he can run for the White House as an Independent, regardless of any MSM attention, since it has not proven to be net positive.

          2. Oregoncharles

            And there is the little matter of ballot access.

            OTOH, the Democratic Party was bound and determined, and willing to cheat wholesale, not to nominate him, even if the polls were very, very clear that he was the better candidate.

          3. Procopius

            Moreover, he would have had high barriers to getting on the ballot in most states, which have erected defenses against others than the established parties entering into the “market.”

  9. blkwhiskey

    Re: Dirty Jerzee

    The shutdown/Horizon BCBS issue revolved around the pork roll-flavored transactional politics and bullying that dominate this state.

    Christie was trying to toss a bone to George Norcross (southern NJ Dem powerbroker and insurance magnate [also, brother to Rep. Donald Norcross]) by weakening Horizon. The Norcross family owns a controlling stake in a competing health insurance provider called AmeriHeatlh that did pretty poorly this year. Also, Norcross (through elected proxies) tried to run a quiet coup against Prieto for the speakership this year, which failed.

    Coincidently, Horizion is a major donor to Assembly Speaker Prieto’s northern NJ factions and is a major part of the Hudson County donor base. Christie and Norcross thought that by going big (with the shutdown) the public would be on board.

    Looks like the gambit failed.

  10. JerseyJeffersonian

    Sorry, a bit off-thread, but a note to Pat K in California to check for a response to your comment in July 3rd Links regarding online tea resources. As tea lover, often stiffed at brick and mortar stores through lack of representation of tea blenders’ lines, I hope that this can be excused.

    1. Pat K California

      Thanks, JJ. I caught the response an hour or so ago. And, boy, was I glad I checked. Really appreciated the links you provided!

    1. Vatch

      I hate the new Google News. Is there a way to select a search time span in the new interface? Previously, there were several search options, but I can’t find any options now.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        They seem to be scattered randomly about. Look for three vertical dots which gives you a dropdown. On some pages.

        It’s just awful. I wish there were a better alternative (that is free).

      2. Procopius

        I don’t think I’ve ever consciously accessed Google News (I wouldn’t have trusted them even if I had known about them). It’s lots of years since I looked for it, but I understood there was no way to direct a Google search to a particular time span. I thought that was strange. Still do.

    2. Oregoncharles

      To Be Fair: I check it every day, but see no difference; but then, I don’t try to search it or anything like that.

    3. dcrane

      Google News is now badly crapified. I used to be able to scan large numbers of headlines on a given topic, with many of them drawn from small- to medium-sized and/or world publications I would otherwise not know about. Now it’s far fewer links, and more them from a few major media sources.

      This just makes the Links section of NC even more valuable to me.

    4. Michael

      I quit using it a few days ago. Wrote them a WTF letter on their contact us page.
      Reminds me of a windows update more clicks to go anywhere and less available choices at a glance.

      1. dcrane

        I’ve tried to make the point by going to Google and searching for Yahoo News…(not that they stand out…)

      2. Kris

        I also left feedback (twice) and was amazed at the volume and level of negative intensity in the feedback about the new format. Was (naively) expecting they’d respond by offering an option to revert to “classic” view or some such, but no….

  11. hemeantwell

    Re Lambert’s concern that Medicare for All proposals need to pay attention to resulting insurance industry unemployment, Conyers’ National Health Care Act has contained some provisions

    Establishes a program to assist individuals whose jobs are eliminated (such as within insurance companies) by the simplified single-payer administrative process.

    I looked at one version of the bill

    and found this

    (e)First priority in retraining and job placement; 2 years of unemployment benefits
    The Program shall provide that clerical, administrative, and billing personnel in insurance companies, doctors offices, hospitals, nursing facilities, and other facilities whose jobs are eliminated due to reduced administration—

    (1)should have first priority in retraining and job placement in the new system; and
    (2)shall be eligible to receive 2 years of unemployment benefits.

    1. different clue

      Also, a provision that if Medicare For All causes a need to hire more adjusters, fraud-hunters, utilization-analysts, etc. than what Medicare currently employees . . . that those new hires come from the shutted-down Insurance Companies first.

    2. marym

      Link to current version of HR 676 (115th Congress) Section 303e:

      The salary compensation is two years transition pay up to $100K per year, plus retention of their right to any federal or state unemployment benefits. Also, they’d of course have healthcare.

      There was also a study – I’m transitioning laptops, so don’t have the link – that showed a net gain of some large number of jobs across all sectors.

      I do agree that this is easy to say, and requires more in specific planning, but there are at least some specifics in the bill as to what kinds of regional services will be required for the new system and how the jobs will be filled.

      There should also be some analysis of the actual workforce – e.g. how many people are close to retirement, what’s the typical attrition rate, what’s the status of automation or off-shoring that would already be contributing to job loss.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      As I wrote:

      And yes, I know that HR676 provides for retraining, but in other circumstances the left would be the first to say that retraining is problematic, as indeed it is.

      Of course, the real answer here is a Jobs Guarantee.

    1. DJG

      Thanks, dcblogger: When it comes to mediocrity, it sure is hard to make up stuff this truly execrable, as a few of the counter-tweets noted. And the graphic design, which likely cost them a gazillion, is amazing, too.

      That slogan makes Jon Ossoff look exciting.

      And I was fully aware from reading Naked Capitalism that the Dems had no intention of winning the 2016 elections: It was just a matter of getting Hillary through the Glass Ceiling. The rest didn’t matter to them.

      1. different clue

        the Tiffany Glass Ceiling. That’s the glass ceiling that the Goldman-Sachs Feminists care about.

    2. Michael

      For those who don’t want to click, the slogan is “seriously, have you seen the other guys?

      I applaud Democrats for an honest slogan that very succinctly identifies the only actual point in the Dems favor.”

  12. NotTimothyGeithner


    Just when you thought the Dems couldn’t do worse than “Im with her” and “love Trumps hate,” the DNC rolls out these gems. It sounds like these are real.

    As someone noted in the comment thread, “she persisted, we resisted” doesn’t make sense because it sounds like the Dems are resisting Elizabeth Warren.

    1. IowanX

      Actually “She persisted, we resisted” sounds like the best summary of the Clinton campaign so far!

    2. Lynne

      Not only that, but don’t you just love the way they have to use a cute curly font for “she persisted”? Because vaginas mean no forceful fonts, you know.

  13. Yves Smith

    We are not omniscient, we have limited resources and are not a substitute for wire services, and we are a finance and economics website, not a political site. In fact, we’ve been publishing more on politics that we really should given our focus.

    1. Huey Long


      I think you meant to post this as a reply to a comment.

      At any rate, I love the articles, twice daily news digests, and the commenteriat here is fantastic. I learn a lot here, and I think the political coverage here is very appropriate in a post-citizens united world where financiers, corporations, and plutocrats are able to buy politicians and set the policy agenda via ALEC.

      After all, economics started out as “political economy.” Thanks for all you and your team do here, and I look forward to continuing to read, learn, and comment here at NC.

      Truly yours,

      The Kingfish

      1. Lee

        Many times ditto. I always describe this site as a one dealing with issues of political-economy.

      2. flora

        +1. There’s an essay by Elisabeth Mitchell in this July/Aug issue of Smithsonian Magazine titled “America’s Dimming Stars”. It opens with “Our nation has always depended on public intellectuals to guide us. How come we no longer see the light?”
        It closes with “This moment of deep ideological division will likely see the return, right when we need them, of the thinkers and talkers who can bridge the emotional divide. But this time they will likely be holding online forums and stirring up podcasts.”

        Online forums? Made me think of something…..

    2. Oregoncharles

      I think you discovered that the two (politics, finance) are inextricably intertwined. In any case, it’s a great site; don’t worry about complaints unless it’s something you want to fix.

  14. Altandmain

    Is America past the point of non-return?

    Naomi Klein: This Is How Democrats Can Win Back Congress and the White House

    Progressives Explain Why Centrist Tech Billionaires Won’t Save the Democrats

    1. Huey Long


      If Morris Berman and Carroll Quigley are to be believed, America’s been past the point of no return since at least WWII and likely earlier. I for one found Tragedy and Hope to be quite the enlightening yet depressing read.

      1. Procopius

        I recommend (if you haven’t already read it) William Appleman Williams’s “Empire as a Way of Life.” As you say, depressing.

    2. kareninca

      “Pincus, the co-founder of Zynga, signaled that the WTF platform will be “pro-social [and] pro-planet, but also pro-business and pro-economy.”

      “I’m fearful the Democratic Party is already moving too far to the left,” Pincus said. “I want to push the Democratic Party to be more in touch with mainstream America, and on some issues, that’s more left, and on some issues it might be more right.””

      I had to look at this a couple of times to see that WTF stands for “Win the Future”. Not, well, what everyone already thinks WTF stands for. It is like they are trying to be cute but it is actually insulting. You know, a lot of mainstream Americans – his supposed target – don’t really like foul language; they would not vote for a “WTF” platform. What imbecile came up with that name? Someone who can’t even imagine humans not being amused by empty vulgarity on the part of politicians.

      1. Procopius

        Maybe somebody whose first language is not English (Russian? Ukrainian? Hebrew?)? Or maybe somebody who was home-schooled? Or maybe somebody who attended a very expensive, exclusive preparatory school and is not very familiar with current culture? Or maybe somebody who’s kind of immature and not thoughtful? I mean, usually the phrase, “The Democrat Party has moved left,” comes from the tinfoil hat brigade. People who think MSNBC is liberal.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This could be a clever way to explain why the DNC doesn’t pay its interns.

      If other companies hired these creative minds:

      Ford: Not all of our cars explode.
      Halliburton: Look if those soldiers didn’t use the showers, they wouldn’t have been electrocuted!
      GE: We bring good things to live, just not in the rivers we poisoned.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Krupp: “We both made shells for the Nazis, but ours worked.”

        There really is a Simpsons quote for every occasion.

        1. Procopius

          Is that an internet tradition/rule yet? I mean, like Rule 34. Sadly, I am not aware of all internet traditions.

    2. WeakenedSquire

      Health Care For All Of Us
      Save the Middle Class
      Good Jobs Now

      It’s not hard to come up with better slogans. But then the candidates would actually have to have priorities other than self-enrichment.

      1. jrs

        Save the Middle and the Working Class.

        (really and the unemployed etc.. but it’s a political slogan not a statement of moral principles, so it will suffice)

        1. different clue

          Or maybe one could word that . . . Save the Middle Class and Below.

          Thereby daring the Middle Class to identify with the Classes Below instead of with the Classes Above. Those who take the dare might advance a New Deal Revival politics.

  15. Oregoncharles

    ” And yes, I know that HR676 provides for retraining, but in other circumstances the left would be the first to say that retraining is problematic, as indeed it is.”

    The circumstances are that the program itself would release a great deal of new demand. In fact, one of the problems it poses would be finding enough medical personnel to meet the need. (Speaking personally, my wife and I just didn’t go to the doctor, barring immediate need, for a couple of decades, until we got Medicare.) So retraining people in the insurance industry to meet that need isn’t bs. Some of them are even doctors.

    Creating a LOT more medical school positions would be a good investment, too. There’s an artificial scarcity as it is. It takes up to 4 months to see certain specialists here, in a prosperous, well-doctored town.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I was disagreeing with “problematic.” I saw the point somewhere, but no, it isn’t being made systematically.

        I think I’ll bring that up with the local single payer campaign – I have connections (2 of the main people are Greens and good friends.)

  16. MtnLife

    As far as I know Cat hasn’t started crapification of their lines…. yet. An acquaintance of mine runs an excavation company and just got a new one. I’m not sure how long that will remain the case as the glut of used equipment in fairly good condition seems to be growing larger – all ranges but more so in the low to mid range. Larger stuff doesn’t seem to be quite as heavily impacted as most of those end up with larger, more stable companies.

    1. Huey Long


      Cat’s high and medium speed diesels and generator sets are still top notch, although I wish they still made their 6.25 bore diesels. Those things could take a beating, routinely went thousands of hours over their overhaul limit, and almost every fastener on there took a 9/16″ wrench.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Sadly, there’s a boycott against them because their equipment is used for Israeli house demolitions.

      1. Octopii

        To be clear, Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses. I support the boycott, and I do not forget Rachel Corrie.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    We do not need to throw 22 million off health insurance. We need Medicare-for-all, and I will introduce that as soon as this debate is over.

    Does it make any difference to him that having health insurance is not the same as getting health care, for those 22 million people, and many of us?

    1. meeps

      “We do not need to throw 22 million off health insurance. We need Medicare-for-all, and I will introduce that as soon as this debate is over.”

      MLTPB @ 5:29 pm: “Does it make any difference to him that having health insurance is not the same as getting health care, for those 22 million people, and many of us?”

      You have a point. And notice how the concern of late for those 22 million who could lose insurance directs attention away from the 27 to 28.5 million people still uninsured in 2016. I guess THAT human toll doesn’t figure into this debate. Not intere$ting enough to include, I guess.

      I’m equally annoyed by the Medicare buy-in at 55. Clinton campaigned on it and she lost. Bernie said he’d endorse her run, not her policy. Someone is having a hard time with what the meaning of all is…

      1. jrs

        maybe it’s how Bernie would govern afterall (in an alternate history where he won) Well cynics would not be surprised I guess. It’s still a great deal better than what we’ve got now in the White House though, so it’s to be preferred.

      2. Darn

        Bernie says in that tweet to lower the Medicare age. That is not the same thing as buy-in at 55, because lowering the age implies Medicare is compulsory. Buy-in would be optional.

        I don’t think Bernie has a hard time with what “all” means since the age change is for the interim. It would be a good way of challenging Dems over whether they REALLY want to “build upon the ACA” or not.

  18. Summer

    “Speaking of the G-20, this will be former Senate Finance Committee aide Everett Eisenstatt’s debut in his new role as White House ‘sherpa’ for big international meetings. Some of his pals in the international trade sector, under the heading of the World Economic Forum, have prepared a brief and a letter for all 20 nations’ negotiators. Their topline advice? ‘Depart from global trade cooperation at your peril.’ Gulp. Sounds pretty serious” [Politico]. “Pals.”

    So clarifying. Globalism is protecting the interests of the elite of each country, any other type of “protectionism” (that helps out workers) is derided by the bizarre “populist” label – meant to be dismissive of any other argument for the concern for others.

    1. Huey Long

      The elites of the world have been operating a protection racket for themselves on our dime for a long, long time. Check out these quotes from Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope:

      “The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, p. 324. 1966.)

      “There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies…but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, p. 950. 1964.)

      “The Council on Foreign Relations is the American branch of a society which originated in England [and] believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established.” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, A History of the World in Our Time, p. 951. 1966.)

      These facts have been known since at least the 1960’s and probably even earlier amongst those of us that read really long and heady history books. They’ve been suppressed in the major media outlets to keep the proles in the dark and to keep the ‘conspiracy theorist’ label alive to defame anybody who questions the historical narrative taught at the K-12 level.

  19. Benedict@Large

    Regarding the second Sanders tweet above:

    In the short-term, to improve the Affordable Care Act, we should have a public option in 50 states and lower the Medicare age to 55.

    I think a lot of people out there, including some of us, view this as a betrayal of single payer by Sanders. That is a possibility, but I wonder if another explanation works better?

    Right now Sanders (and us) face the Clinton crowd as opponents to our efforts to improve our healthcare legislation. What is Sanders is using this as a sort of trap against those forces. What if he means this to say to them, “Well, you supported this much last year. This was YOUR policy them. So why isn’t it now? Why have YOU changed.”

    Sanders seems to be just trying to get Hillary to repeat what she supported last year. Isn’t that a mush better resolution to the TrumpCare mess then what seems to be on the main table right now?

    1. Benedict@Large

      I’m not sure. Maybe this is what Lambert is actually trying to say in his follow-on link above. I just think it would be a positive movement right now if we could that the Alt-Dems and generally neuter their opposition to US every time we try to move on this subject. And I’m hoping this is what Bernie has in mid.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        As I said:

        Sanders urges that the so-called public option be the path toward #MedicareForAll…. I’ll need to see actual legislation from Sanders to see how direct and forceful his path toward #MedicareForAll is

        Adding: I meant to say, and forgot to say, that lowering the Medicare eligibility age is not only a good thing, it’s a surefire political winner. What Sanders should do, IMNSHO, is lower the eligibility age every year by five years until it reaches zero, as Teddy Kennedy proposed. And forget about the so-called public option magic sparkle pony, which empowers all the wrong people.

        1. marym

          I agree that incrementally lowering the Medicare eligibility age is preferable to inventing a public option or a Medicare buy-in. I’m not sure if it’s workable, given all the privatization within Medicare – Medicare Advantage, Medigap supplements, Medicaid managed care for dual eligibles, and prescription drug insurance. All this also varies by state.

          Is it realistic that insurance companies will participate in this type of phased transition, or will they just want out? Not saying the latter as if it’s a bad thing, of course.

          1. HotFlash

            Surely it could be arranged that no self-respecting, profit-oriented insurance company would want to provide insurance? Set conditions : No co-pays, no pre-existings, no exceptions and no excuses. Coverage from birth, no caps, and includes mental health and preventative. Payment for services first, arguments after.

            The insurance co’s seem already to be leaving the field in droves. Seems like a trend that could be encouraged with a few requirements?

  20. Biph

    If the public option is allowing people to simply buy into Medicare I’m for it. I like the idea of letting individuals simply buy into Medicare and maybe every year allow bigger and bigger businesses to do the same, It wouldn’t be immediate single payer, but would allow for single payer to be the end game after 5-10 years.
    I try not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This was the compromise from 2007. Its well past time for results. Given the popularity for Medicare for All, there is no need for Democratic kowtowing that gets no where.

      “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” was the ACA refrain, and well, that worked out splendidly for HMOS, Big Pharma, and Insurers. Oh, the GOP too! They made out like bandits!

      The worst part is this: this all happened in the last ten years.

      Lets not forget, “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater!” There is another DNC slogan.

      1. Procopius

        It seems to me Democratic opposition to Medicare for All is simply their default purpose in life, prevent left-leaning candidates from getting elected. Much more important than winning the states back.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I try not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.*

      There are two problems with thinking of the so-called public option as a waystation on the way single payer after 5-10 years (!!).

      1) The so-called public option has always been used to suppress or prevent single payer (see the link provided). There is simply no reason to believe that its advocates in the political class are acting in good faith, and won’t run the same play again. I can see the talking points now: “Let’s give the public option a chance, and then we can see if we really need Medicare for All.” Then, in five years, it’s Lucy and the Football time again!

      2) Putting a direct material benefit from the state at the same level as private schemes is a terrible, terrible precedent. Presumably, the so-called public option would be sold on the Exchanges, along with all the private plans. OK, having done that, is there a principled reason not to do the same thing with retirement? Have a “Golden Years Exchange,” and mix in Social Security with all the 401(k) scamming? Wall Street would drool! Is that what you want? What anyone wants?

      NOTE * On a global scale, single payer is a pragmatic centrist compromise (“the good”). Genuine socialized medicine, a la Britain’s NHS, is probably a better and cheaper solution (“the perfect”) but it’s not, well, “politically feasible.” We have a hard enough battle to fight as it is.

      1. Jess

        “Genuine socialized medicine, a la Britain’s NHS, is probably a better and cheaper solution (“the perfect”) but it’s not, well, “politically feasible.”

        I disagree. The ability to select your own doctors, go to the same labs/clinics/hospitals, is a huge selling point of single-payer as opposed to single-provider. In fact, I often have to correct friends who decry single payer as “socialized medicine” in which the government decides who gets what care, when, and from whom. The idea of keeping everything the same except eliminating all the premiums, deductibles, co-pays, authorizations (esp. for referrals to specialists or procedures) is a huge debate point.

        1. JustAnObserver

          Isn’t single payer akin to how the Swiss – those icons of red clawed socialism – do it ?

          I say akin since IIRC there are multiple providers of insurance but the government mandated rules/constraints under which they operate imply they are all basically “the same” up to a certain level ?

          Anyone here on NC actually used the Swiss system ?

          1. Carla

            Single-payer in the sense that it is used in the U.S., which is based on the Canadian model, is that the Government is the Single Payer. All of the healthcare services Paid For are privately provided. I believe the Swiss have a heavily regulated market in which non-profit insurance companies are the payers.

            The main thing, really, is that we have to make it so that people would NEVER say in public that some people are more deserving of health care than others. They can think it all they want, but it is not socially acceptable to say it. Ever.

            Then, as Mandos says, all we have to figure out is the mechanism to pay for it. That’s the easy part.

            Getting this society to admit that leaving anyone — ANY ONE — out of healthcare is utterly unacceptable — that’s the hard part.

            Here is Mandos’ excellent blog post on this:

          2. Oregoncharles

            I gather the Swiss system is one of the most expensive. Direct government payment saves money and provides a way to regulate the overall cost.

        2. Darn

          You do get to choose your own doctor (GP) in the NHS, though referrals to specialists usually have to be made through them. As for hospitals, under HR 676 the hospitals would be rationalised by organising their capital budgets on a regional basis to avoid too little capacity in some hospitals or areas and too much in others. So single payer would not mean “if you like your hospital you can keep it”.

  21. Jbird

    Ah healthcare reform, or perhaps the attempts at its deform by not only Congress, but also California’s state legislature is something to watch. It makes me think far too many with authority, regardless of whatever political party they belong too, don’t give a good God damn about.

    I depend on Medi-Cal for maintaining my often wonky health, and I lost a loved one in part to pre-Obamacare BS, and millions of people suffer from either lack of care, or from impoverishment from paying for what they get; all this and the powers that be seem to see this as a game with their more wealthy friends being more worthy of attention then the majority of Americans who are under threat.

    It is amusing to read about the political antics of the political/business/financial/social elites dancing around the issue of providing and paying for our medical needs. I find such politics funny, and that is one of the reasons political economy is my major.

    It is one big circus. Just add popcorn and a beer.

    But everytime I see the mentally ill on the street while walking, or think of my wife’s death, it is no longer funny. This nerd goes from being amused to wanting to do some personal explaining to them. It is not good for my health.

    While hoping that some reformer, somewhere, somehow prevent all that, I do know that I am angry enough as visions of tumbrels cheers me up. Unfortunately, I also like history.

    People may not even agree on what exactly are our country’s problems, and certainly not on the solutions, but most can agree on most of the targets. The problems with our medical system is a good example. I wonder if the various players realize just how much fire they are playing with for such cruelty, and corruption, is a common complaint across their inferiors’ political spectrum.

    Oh well, all this does make my classes much more interesting, and relevant, to my fellow students as well as to me.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      “I wonder if the various players realize just how much fire they are playing with for such cruelty,”

      They aren’t playing with fire; that is the problem. Trump is the biggest ‘scare’ they are ever likely to receive, and he has appointed a cast of plutocrats to run his administration in his name. Just like at hundreds of properties across the globe with the golden letters “Trump” over the revolving doors, he is not doing the work. Munchkin and Pruitt and Price are.

      Most Americans blame themselves for their medical debts and bankruptcies. They are unaware of how much better off their peers are in every other developed nation. Or they haven’t taken a hit yet, and carefully avoid thinking about the possibility.

      The little esquires of K Street and their billionaire lords aren’t playing with any fire at all.

    2. lorijab

      I hope you don’t mind, but I’m in Sacramento and I’m marking this as my personal reminder why, as gross as the legislative spectacle is, I need to continue to get my butt over to the state capitol whenever the nurses call. I am so sorry about the loss of your wife.

  22. allan

    naturally the waonkosphere

    Best portmanteau evah.

    To file under The Bezzle: the NYC subway seems to be plastered with ads
    for a disruptive innovation startup that’s new to me:
    Otherwise known as home delivery of wine and liquor.

    1. Huey Long

      I’ve seen those ads too and don’t get the point as NYC is absolutely soaked with alcohol; a beer run for me entails a 5 minute round trip walk to the bodega.

      Philly and Salt Lake City however, could totally benefit from such a service.

      Also, Alan:

      Is it just me or are the subway cars of NYC always plastered with all kinds of bezzle worthy start-up ads? My favorite ones these days are the “boss face” ads for Justworks (http://www.campaignlive.com/article/bosses-face-to-face-harsh-reality-running-business-justworks-spots/1432687), primarily because I have a crush on the brunette with the prematurely graying hair, although the Casper ads are a close second because for some reason I can’t stop laughing at them (https://www.subtraction.com/2016/04/19/startup-ad-campaigns-in-the-nyc-subway/).

      1. Art Eclectic

        Couldn’t have happened to a better bunch of hypocrites. It usually happens that the louder the bible thumping the more it’s to cover the sound out the grift.

    1. Optimader

      The more fantastic speculation about MH17 here has apparently subsided?
      Occam’s Razor is deployed..

  23. bob

    Elon might need them?

    It would fit hit pro-active recycling style. Recycle shit you built and call yourself, and your customers, caring.

    Now, he gets to lobby to launch reactors at mars, so that when (BIG GOD DAMN FUCKING IF), he gets there he can claim the moral high ground and claim to be recycling NASA’s wastefulness.

    Can’t we cut this loop short tomorrow, in the name of austerity? Launch just Elon at Mars. He could probably fit well in a “recycled” ICBM.

    Why do you want more ICBM’s on earth Elon? Bite the bullet, take the ride.

  24. Kris

    “Google’s new misdesign of the news page”

    The re-design is so jaw-droppingly bad that it succeeded in doing what I thought was impossible: I no longer look at google news to see what the mainstream headlines are. In fact, it inspired me to give up MSM news aggregators entirely. It has already saved me many hours of misspent time.

  25. Pat

    Call me wild and crazy, but I object more to Sanders first tweet than I do to the second. Largely because it reminds me of Obama’s negotiation strategy.

    The time to bring up Medicare for All is during the debate NOT after. And not only because no one will be paying attention after policy is set for the time being. If you consider the positions in the second tweet to be the stop gap final position, you better be demanding more than that. And if you don’t consider Medicare buy in to be the answer, you don’t want the real answer to be ignored period.

      1. Pat

        I know it sounds like that. But what I am really saying is that series of tweets is smoke and mirrors/bait and switch deflection. Logically they do not follow.
        Sanders may prove me wrong. He has before when I have doubted his strategy. But this one seems to be too much about saving the status quo, rather than really fighting the good fight for real health care to me. (Medicare buy in strips out a large portion of insurance company expensive problem customers.)

    1. Darn

      Lemme suggest he says “introduce” to mean a bill, whereas by “bring up” do you not mean promote the idea of Medicare-for-all? He is not waiting to promote it, because he is mentioning it right now in that tweet and at rallies. He also seems to be answering the recent question of “where is your single payer bill?” since Conyers has got so many cosponsors for his bill in the House. Answer: after BCRA is defeated.

      I think the Medicare-at-55 suggestion may be useful to get Dems in Congress to show their cards. If they say universal healthcare can only be done in baby steps then can they refuse to sign on to this baby step? If not, why believe they are interested in UHC at all? The base will be angry. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  26. Cujo359

    Then again, (1) where is the full-throated statement from single payer advocates, Sanders among them, that #MedicareForAll will nuke the most hated industry in the country? It’s gonna happen, so why not embrace it? And (2) where is the sound-byte on how those jobs will be replaced? Yes, I know this argument is almost always made in bad faith by people (like Obama) who otherwise show no concern for the working class whatever, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be answered. And yes, I know denying people health care for a salary deserves moral opprobium; but a party that seeks — or, if reconfigured, would seek — to put direct universal material benefits, especially for the working class, at the heart of its appeal, shouldn’t be just throwing workers out of work. And yes, I know that HR676 provides for retraining, but in other circumstances the left would be the first to say that retraining is problematic, as indeed it is.

    Any politician I vote for has to support two things:

    – truly universal health care
    – a full employment economy

    While I leave the details up to the politicians, I won’t accept plans that clearly won’t work, like subsidized for-profit health insurance, or giving the rich more tax breaks.

    For progressives, these should be a minimum. Don’t accept anything less.

Comments are closed.