2:00PM Water Cooler 4/26/2016

By Lambert Strether of .

TPP/TTiP/TISA

“FOIA reveals [UK] government’s assessment of TTIP’s corporate courts – lots of risks and no benefit” [].

Andrea Montanino, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program: “TTIP cannot be an argument during the electoral campaign because it is too sensitive” [. Very Serious People indeed!

More Very Serious People: “The occasional effort of a largely discredited political establishment across the Atlantic to do policies that are rational and forward-looking – to which I personally include TTIP – just can’t withstand the force of popular anger” [].

Yet More Very Serious People: “The Washington Post Says Doctors Without Borders Is Silly to Worry About the Impact of the TPP on Drug Prices” [Dean Baker, ]. Council on Foreign Relations doing its little bit for the cause!

And Almost The Ultimately Serious Person: ” “I think that we have to do a better job… to counteract voices that are distorting the reality of trade agreements,” Penny Pritzker told CNBC at a leading trade fair in Hannover, Germany” []. ” The 13th round of TTIP discussions are being held in New York from this Thursday.” Hmm…

And The Ultimately Serious Person: “‘It is indisputable that [trade] has made our economy stronger,’ [Obama] said. “It has made sure that our businesses are the most competitive in the world” [].

Once more: “President Obama this week said the prospects for congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be best after the election season ends, signaling that the White House still believes it can successfully navigate political headwinds and push the trade agreement through Congress this year” [] (scroll to the bottom).

2016

Voters

“Since the 1980s, if not earlier, the story of the Democratic Party has been a reasonably successful attempt to take or maintain control over the presidency at any costs—combined with a complete failure to articulate a compelling, long-term vision, or to build lasting networks and institutions that provide the infrastructure for political change. We bet everything on the political skills of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, and then we act surprised when they end up following moderate Republican policies” [James Kwok, ].

“Obama’s 107-Year-Old Dance Partner Unable To Obtain Photo ID” []. Great photo op. So why the heck doesn’t the Democrat Party have a program to help this woman get an ID?

PA, MD, CT, RI primaries

“Watch Philadelphia and the Delaware and Chester counties around it. Mr. Obama won all those places in 2008, but poll numbers and Mrs. Clinton’s strength in those kinds of communities in 2016 suggest those should be strong areas for her.” As in New York [, “What to Look For in Tuesday’s East Coast Primaries”]. “Watch establishment bastions like Montgomery County (in Pennsylvania AND in Maryland), Fairfield County in Connecticut and Providence County in Rhode Island. If Mr. Trump wins in those places, we may have seen a significant change in this race.”

“As always, the drama on the Democratic side is limited by those boring proportional delegate-allocation rules, which means Hillary Clinton isn’t going to officially nail down the nomination until (probably) June 7, and Bernie Sanders won’t be able to deny her the nomination until June, either. But by all accounts, March 26 should be a pretty good day for the front-runner” []. “Maryland and Pennsylvania are holding down-ballot primaries as well. There are red-hot Democratic Senate primaries in both states, with representatives Chris van Hollen and Donna Edwards battling for the nomination to succeed Barbara Mikulski in Maryland, and former representative Joe Sestak trying to fend off White House–backed Katie McGinty for the chance to face Republican senator Pat Toomey.”

Money

“Teachout tops among NY congressional candidates in 2016 fundraising” []. $530,732 / 10,657 = $49.80. I think Teachout is terrific, but I’d also like to see Sanders-level averages become a norm.

“Pro-Israel Billionaire Haim Saban Drops $100,000 Against Donna Edwards in Maryland Senate Race” [].

Corruption

“Trump and Clinton share Delaware tax ‘loophole’ address with 285,000 firms” []. Gee, that’s odd. Or not.

New York

“The Clinton coalition in New York City offers a concentrated expression of the Democratic Party’s status quo: affluent, largely white, and highly motivated professional-class voters, joining forces with a largely nonwhite and significantly less enthusiastic working-class bloc” []. In other words, class counts, and “The Obama Coalition,” as a concept, is a steaming load of crap.

The Trail

“Sanders supporters knew Clinton was angry at them for voting for Bernie — they could tell by her comment saying that she ‘feels sorry for’ young voters too misinformed to vote for her; or by Bill Clinton saying that Sanders voters are so unsophisticated that they just want to ‘shoot every third banker on Wall Street’; or by David Plouffe (a Clinton ally) saying that every person who donates money to Sanders is being taken in by an obvious ‘fraud’; or by the unnamed Clinton staffer so certain she or he was speaking in a tone and manner consistent with the view of the Clinton campaign that she or he told Politico that the Clinton campaign ‘kicked Bernie’s ass’ in New York and that Sanders can ‘go fuck himself'” []. “But who knew that, with almost twenty primaries and caucuses left, and more than 1,400 delegates left to be awarded, Clinton would start vetting potential Vice Presidential picks in full view of an electorate she says she’s still working hard to win over?” Nice rant.

“[W]hen pressed about whether he would encourage his young supporters to back Clinton, the senator said the primary responsibility will be on Clinton, not him, to convince people that ‘she is the kind of president this country needs to represent working people’” []. Hmm.

Paths to a Sanders victory: “Path #1: Clinton’s health fails in a very big and very public way” []. And then the email hairball, the Clinton Foundation hairball, and the Goldman speeches. Events, dear Boy. Events. That and Sanders pulling even in the national polls.

“The conservative media’s obsession with Hillary Clinton’s coughing” []. It’s out there, as we used to say…

“Bernie Sanders floats Elizabeth Warren as possible VP” []. Not sure the headline is accurate, however. What Sanders said: “I’m not going to commit … you have to look at the best candidates you can. But I think, as you know, there are people in life today, Elizabeth Warren, I think, has been a real champion in standing up for working families, taking on Wall Street.”

“Lena Dunham: Why I Chose Hillary Clinton” [].

“The Other Progressive Challengers Taking On the Democratic Establishment” []. This is a good roundup.

“Donald Trump is bristling at efforts to implement a more conventional presidential campaign strategy, and has expressed misgivings about the political guru behind them, Paul Manafort, for overstepping his bounds, multiple sources close to the campaign tell POLITICO” []. Remember, in kayfabe, everybody is part of the show!

“Despite all the noise from both sides of the debate, when you run the numbers, it turns out that Donald Trump could win the nomination on the first ballot precisely because of the GOP’s delegate rules. Ted Cruz also benefits, but not until later ballots. The losers? John Kasich and all the other candidates, and their supporters” [].

“Donald Trump has reached 50 percent support from Republicans and Republican-leaners nationally for the first time since the beginning of the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll in late December” []. “This milestone is significant as the 2016 primary heads into its final few weeks of contests, as there has been intense speculation that Trump’s support has a ceiling”

Stats Watch

Durable Goods Orders: “The factory sector posted a respectable March with orders for durable goods up 0.8 percent which follows a revised downswing of 3.1 percent in February and a very solid 4.3 percent gain in January” []. “March reflects a big gain for defense goods which helped offset a downward swing for commercial aircraft. A negative in the report is a 3.0 percent decline for motor vehicle orders reflecting weakness at the retail level.” Capex: “Core capital goods orders were flat in March, also a disappointment after the 2.7% drop in February (revised from -2.5%). This aggregate is down 2.4% vs year-ago, but that only scratches the surface of the malaise in business investment. ” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, ]. Caveat: “Durable goods is not a good economic forecasting tool as it contains too many false warnings of economic contraction” [].

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, April 2016: “Advance indications are mixed for the April manufacturing sector but the Richmond Fed is pointing to strength” []. “The factory sector in March was mixed, evidenced by today’s durable goods report. But the outlook for April is still open with this report and Empire State showing strength but not the Dallas Fed nor the national PMI flash.” And: “Of the four regional Federal Reserve surveys released to date, all but one are in expansion” [].

PMI Services Flash, April 2015: “The services PMI came in showing soft growth as expected” []. “Uncertainty over the economy and also the presidential election are cited as negatives. The service sector is still sluggish and needs to pick up steam to help offset weakness in the factory sector.”

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, February 2016: “Appreciation in home prices may not be moderating but it is far from spectacular” []. “Housing prices at least are showing stability if not acceleration but are probably not strong enough to pull new sellers into the housing market nor perhaps, as far as household wealth and spending are concerned, strong enough to offset weak wage gains.” How in the world would home prices “offset” wage gains? Unless my house in an ATM — remember that one? — I can’t pay the bills with it! And: “The way to understand the dynamics of home prices is to watch the direction of the rate of change. Here home price growth generally appears to be stabilizing (rate of growth not rising or falling)” [].

Consumer Confidence, April 2016: “A big drop in jobs-hard-to-get, which hints at strength for April’s employment report, headlines an otherwise soft consumer confidence report for April” []. “Weakness in the report is centered in the expectations component which fell 4.3 points to 79.3. This is near February’s 79.9 and the lowest score since November 2013. [Here,] there’s outright pessimism with 17.2 percent seeing fewer jobs ahead vs only 12.2 percent seeing more ahead.” It will be interesting to see if and how that pessimism plays out in this election year. Alternatively: “With real labor income gains likely to stay solid, I remain upbeat about the prospects for consumer expenditures: [Amherst Pierpont Securities, ]. And: “There is little question, however, that poor consumer sentiment corresponds to poor economic performance. Econintersect believes that consumer sentiment is mostly a coincident or lagging economic indicator” [].

State Street Investor Confidence Index, April 2016: “Investor sentiment eased but is still over 100, at 109.1 in April to indicate demand for risk relative to safety” []. “Risk taking has been centered among North American institutional investors.”

Commodities: “The death toll in the Pemex petrochemical plant explosion has risen to 32 after the discovery of four more bodies in the wreckage of the Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo (PMV) facility” [].

Banks: “$10 router blamed in Bangladesh bank hack” [].

Corruption: “Mitsubishi Motors has said it has used fuel consumption tests that broke Japanese rules for the past 25 years” [].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 71, Greed (previous close: 70, Greed) []. One week ago: 74 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 25 at 11:49am. Still dithering around. Come on!

Gaia

“The Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday rejected a proposed 124-mile natural gas pipeline that would have stretched through four counties in New York” []. Excellent.

The 420

“Experts say listing cannabis among the world’s deadliest drugs ignores decades of scientific and medical data. But attempts to delist it have met with decades of bureaucratic inertia and political distortion” []. I had no idea the Marihuana Tax Act (of 1937) was a New Deal reform.

Dear Old Blighty

“Democratic control is the main reason why our NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world — saving more lives per pound spent than any country in the past 30 years apart from Ireland, according to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine” []. “And that’s in spite of the NHS being subjected to neoliberal dogma over that period — the madcap “internal market” introduced by the Tories in 1990, New Labour’s contracting-out calamities and, since the study’s publication, outright privatisation under the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.”

The Jackpot

“Leak worsens in massive Hanford tank holding nuclear waste” [].

“Shifting weather patterns — milder winters, wetter springs and storms that are more frequent and more severe — are increasingly changing the landscape for scientists who study flora and fauna in the field” [].

Class Warfare

“The China Shock: Learning from Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade” [ (PDF; )]. From MIT, NBER, CEPR:

China’s emergence as a great economic power has induced an epochal shift in patterns of world trade. Simultaneously, it has challenged much of the received empirical wisdom about how labor markets adjust to trade shocks. Alongside the heralded consumer benefits of expanded trade are substantial adjustment costs and distributional consequences. These impacts are most visible in the local labor markets in which the industries exposed to foreign competition are concentrated. Adjustment in local labor markets is remarkably slow, with wages and labor-force participation rates remaining depressed and unemployment rates remaining elevated for at least a full decade after the China trade shock commences. Exposed workers experience greater job churning and reduced lifetime income. At the national level, employment has fallen in U.S. industries more exposed to import competition, as expected, but offsetting employment gains in other industries have yet to materialize.

But can you see the “local labor market” from the Acela? And more to the point, can the “local labor market” write anybody a fat check for a speech?

“[Simon DeDeo, a complexity scientist at Indiana University[ and Indiana University undergraduate Bradi Heaberlin decided to examine the emergence of social hierarchy and online behavioral norms among the editors of Wikipedia” using the 15 years of data []. “One of their most striking findings is that, even on Wikipedia, the so-called “Iron Law of Oligarchy”—a.k.a. rule by an elite few—holds sway…. “You start with a decentralized democratic system, but over time you get the emergence of a leadership class with privileged access to information and social networks,” DeDeo explained.”

News of the Wired

“When Facebook and Google finally destroy the competition, a new age of feudalism will arrive” [Evgeny Morozov, ]. “Izabella Kaminska, one of Alphaville’s lead writers, even thinks that we are facing the Gosplan 2.0 – a Soviet-like system of technocratic elites who, flush with cash from desperate investors, allocate money as they see fit based on purely subjective criteria, favouring some groups over others, and using proceeds from their advertising business to fund exotic “moonshot” projects of dubious civic significance.”

“[B]ehind the technology display here in Austin was something as formidable as the technology but far less noticed: Google is mounting a lobbying and public-relations campaign across America to win acceptance for ‘autonomous vehicles,’ as they’re formally known, and to shape the rules of the driverless road” []. Nothing in the article about highway infrastructure at all. Maybe that will all be done selectively, as with Internet access. Yes, I understand the potential advantages in terms of highway deaths, but I don’t trust today’s Silicon Valley to create a future that’s anything other than dystopian, so an antidote to the technological triumphalism so evident in coverage of this story.

“No technology will automate away more jobs — or drive more economic efficiency — than the driverless truck” []. “The demonstration in Europe shows that driverless trucking is right around the corner. The primary remaining barriers are regulatory. We still need to create on- and off-ramps so human drivers can bring trucks to the freeways where highway autopilot can take over. We may also need dedicated lanes as slow-moving driverless trucks could be a hazard for drivers. These are big projects that can only be done with the active support of government.” In other words, as above, massive infrastructural investment. Of course, as an MMTer, I know that Federal taxes don’t fund spending. But are we sure this is the best way to invest real resources? Why? Is anybody even asking the question?

“As networked computers disappear into our bodies, working their way into hearing aids, pacemakers, and prostheses, information security has never been more urgent — or personal. A networked body needs its computers to work well, and fail even better” [].

“Facial recognition service becomes a weapon against Russian porn actresses” []. And anybody else, right?

“The first rule of pricing is: you do not talk about pricing” []. Interesting long read. But: “Responding to price is hard-wired into our brains.” Really?

“For years culinary detectives have been on the chili pepper’s trail, trying to figure out how a New World import became so firmly rooted in Sichuan, a landlocked province on the southwestern frontier of China.” []. “The bite and the burn of the red chili pepper is a reminder of how the peasants of southwestern China, at the mercy of historical and economic forces, crafted culinary masterpieces from the basic instinct for survival. Out of poverty and war and the currents of globalization they fashioned fire for their palates, and ours.”

* * *

Readers, I still need to fix my fershuggeneh form! Hopefully noting that fact publicly will serve a lash and a spur to my endeavors. (Meanwhile, thanks to readers, who already have my email address, who sent in images of plants!)

See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Chet F):

big_dipper

“Long exposure photos taken at night by the light of the moon and snow reflection.” Missed this one, so even though it’s wintry, here it is. The Big Dipper (with trees).

* * *

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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.

142 comments

  1. nycTerrierist

    ““[W}hen pressed about whether he would encourage his young supporters to back Clinton, the senator said the primary responsibility will be on Clinton, not him, to convince people that ‘she is the kind of president this country needs to represent working people'”

    The perfect answer, imo.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes. I liked it very much. I’d love to see something like Sanders saying “This is only a personal decision” and then asking the (newly-formed in June) Working People’s Party what they think….

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Yes, Working People’s – why do the focus group consultants think it is only families that matter? And uncompensated is still work.

        “Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today. To get through this thing called life.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If you are talking about caregivers and stay at home parents, I completely agree.

          What is work?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Touche.

              Though, if learning is work, then, loafing around here is work too.

              “Free adult-education, life long learning.”

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I heard about , founded in Philly (!!) in 1828 (!!!) in an email thread. Very advanced platform, still relevant today, though of course it wouldn’t be only men.

          It would be fun to refound it in Philly during the Dem Convention*, but I can’t find any information about a historical plaque or site.

          The movement of which the WMP was a part only lasted about 10 years, however. .

          * Personally, I’m dubious about a party. I’ve been advocating an issues-based standalone organization independent of parties; I think it would last longer.

          1. katiebird

            I don’t trust the motives of party leaders and loyalists. As more and more of us formerly die-hard Dems drift over to independent voting status, the nature of elections must change (how?). The Dems will soon be the Supreme Court Party — since that’s the best the can offer. How long will independents fall for that? It seems like a puny plan to me. …. But what replaces political parties? Our entire election system is controlled by party leadership and the rules of the two private clubs. How can independent voters gain control of the system? Can we replace Private Clubs with open elections?

            1. Patrick ONeil

              See the above link (Gizmodo) on the data from the complexity researcher. This oligarchy tendency is inevitable for any party, so I’m with you. I’m dubious over an actual party. It would start out well but very quickly devolve into an Establishment intent on protecting their privilege and wealth.

      2. inode_buddha

        Working People’s Party… could begin by drafting and circulating a “Declaration of Independents” (see prev comment by grayslady) for everyone to sign. I suppose I could do the eloquence (I am often called upon as a motivational speaker) but I have no idea what is actually involved re starting a party or anything online. Would love to have this all ready to go and gift-wrapped for Bernie when the time is right.

        1. nippersdad

          There is an effort afoot on the Bernie Sanders face book page that is dedicated to doing just that; The Progressive Party, and the logo is a little bird.

          I have already signed up; it might be something you would want to look into also. They are doing a fifty state project; looking for volunteers with specific skill sets. Unfortunately, my only skill set was an appreciation for the idea and the little bird.

          Greyslady’s idea is very good and might be a something to take over there and work with them on. They sound very enthusiastic and it might be fun.

            1. nippersdad

              I am having problems figuring out how to do links on Ubuntu, so here is their web address:

          1. Roger Smith

            Do you have a link?

            The finch (bird) (and the associated occurrence) is the exact unifying image I would like to see for a new party.

            1. nippersdad

              I thought it was wonderful too! Every day at dawn my half hour of Zen is watching the birds at the bird ers……anyway, web address is above.

              I think a new Party would be a great thing. I simply cannot imagine having a Party full of people who would represent me/us after all of these years of having to vote for specimens you wouldn’t want on your lawn. I hope it takes off.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Things thought impossible last year are happening before our eyes.

                Will we see a Twenty-Seven-Dollar Party?

                1. Montanamaven

                  I like the bird. But do not like “progressive “. It started over a hundred years ago as a middle class reform group. Never was a working people’s party. And still isn’t . (The Peoples Party partially failed because they couldn’t quite unite urban and farm workers. The Rainbow Coaltion came the closest to that, but then Jesse abandoned it. ). I am wary of a “progressive “party. Could it be the Pied Piper? And progress ain’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway.

          2. inode_buddha

            Hrm, now I’m a bit confused. Found several sanders things on FB, and also a few progressive things. I *think* I joined his main site

      3. hunkerdown

        Hunh. That’s the second I’ve heard of the Working People’s Party. The first was a signature gatherer to get them on the Michigan ballot working a Secretary of State office (you bet I signed).

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Isn’t “working people” a term that categorizes, diminishes, and isolates? The connotation is “people who work with their hands”, versus all the rest of us who also “work”. So who doesn’t “work”? Oh, look, it’s the rentier elite.
          Every time Bernie talks about “working families” it sounds like a dog whistle for “fast food workers, ditch diggers, and factory employees on the wrong side of globalization”. How can we better characterize “working” so it’s seen as a broader category, meaning everybody, versus parasitic fat cats clipping coupons, outsourcing jobs, slumlording, and stashing money abroad?

          1. ekstase

            That’s a good point. The terms “working” and “middle” class are pretty weird when you think about it. If you use them together, what does it suggest? That working people are on the bottom? Or that once someone attains “middle class-ness” they no longer work as much? They’re both euphemisms designed to cover up so much stuff. There used to be a, perhaps always mythical, concept that there was a smooth ride from the working class to whatever rung someone wanted to attain. No more. Now we get speeches designed to get people to identify with one strata of society and not question why there is this unfair hierarchy. All heirarchy is bad for us. We should not just accept it, no matter what pretty words they paste on it.
            “Working People” sounds better. Or “Everybody.” Or how about “Everybody Nice,” or “Everybody Fair”? Worth a shot.

          2. inode_buddha

            Well, the Brits have Labour. Maybe there should be an American Labour party. And have it for the same freakin reasons 200 yrs later bacause ppl are too damn thick and ordinary to learn from history… Oh, wait! that wasn’t supposed to happen to us! We’re exceptional!

          3. hunkerdown

            Arguably, those who would resist identification with working people, i.e. those who have a problem getting their hands dirty, i.e. those who are more interested in power than freedom, are of negative use to a populist, egalitarian movement. What do we want with a class whose interests and spittle-saturated adulation of their “betters” were enabling factors for all the s–t we’re in right now? The Democratic Party has its litmus tests — either believe that gender is a personal choice that dictates public behavior, or be a rich businessperson. No reason not to have one that’s more directly related to the work the new Party would be undertaking. Toward an enlightened (small e, please) benevolent dictatorship of the proletariat!

          4. different clue

            How about . . . Lower Class Majority Party. The name would be a kind of a dare to people to admit the truth about their actual money-class and power-status in this country.

            Or if that is too controversial, how about New Deal Revival Party. Get people thinking about what the New Deal was, why we needed it, and why we need to get it back.

          5. Lambert Strether Post author

            “Isn’t “working people” a term that categorizes, diminishes, and isolates? ”

            Only if you think that 80% of the American people are isolated. And a category that embraces 80% of the voters would seem a reasonable one to seek to persuade of their common interests.

      4. Roger Smith

        I hope that a new mainstream third party adopts a more broadly inclusive name when it gets there.

    2. jo6pac

      Great another 3rd party, has anyone heard split and divide. I need a dozen or so 3rd parties so I can still control elections says the .01%. Everyone wants to have their own little parties.

      A little music for your new party soon to be stolen from you.

      1. nippersmom

        What exactly is it you are concerned we are going to “split and divide”? Neither of the two existing major parties represents us. Are we supposed to just sit in a corner and shut up?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is anyone inspired to run for local offices with small donors?

          That will be a key sign going forward.

          “All for naught (shocked, shocked), or the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

          Is it one and only God, or many gods?

        2. jo6pac

          For nippersmom

          That isn’t what I meant, I’m all for third party and I do vote Green. If there are many 3rd parties that just takes away the votes and allows this madness to continue.

          Please do not go to the corner and I know you won’t. If you’re doing phones or anything for bernie now maybe before show time help the 3rd party of your choice.

          1. nippersmom

            For jo6pac

            I understand what you’re saying. It would be good to consolidate our efforts, so to speak. I’ve voted Green in the past and will again if Bernie is not on the ballot one way or another in November. Unfortunately, the problem with most of the third parties (including the Greens) is that they are so disorganized. There is no down-ticket activity by them in my state, and from what I hear that is the case in many places. I’d like to see the movement that Sanders has coalesced around him formalize itself into a coherent party with an actual organized core, rather than just splinter and drift. I think this United Progressive Party has the potential to do that.

            1. FunknJunk

              Well, everyone COULD support WOLF-PAC to get money out of politics … by constitutional amendment. Already won votes in 4 states I think. “Led” by Cenk of the Young Turks…

            2. jo6pac

              For nippersmom

              I hear you but just imagine if the Greens had bernie money and people helping them.

              It’s not impossible the pirate party has a lot of miss steps mostly in Germany.

              Funknjunk Yes, but I do believe it will be easier to take down the criminals parties from outside the so-called system. My thought anyway and what do I know?

              I dropping out to enjoy some cheap red whine and dinner see everyone tomorrow?

              Thanks NC

              1. MtnLife

                The best local option.

                “We are the nation’s most successful third party, electing more state legislators than all others combined. We fight for our core principles of social justice and economic equity. We accept no corporate donations, so are free of the big money influence that dominates the other two parties. We run strategically, win elections, and legislate change. “

          2. different clue

            Let a hundred Third Parties bloom.
            Let a thousand schools of thought contend.

            The various Third Parties will winnow eachother out of existence through a Darwinian process of mortal political combat. The membership from exterminated parties will migrate to not-yet-exterminated parties. Which Third Party(s) will emerge victorious?
            Let Darwin decide.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        It will be interesting to see what happens at .

        It’s not just a problem of a new party. It’s also a problem of the press, which is generally vile, but has been even moreso this election. (And both a new party and a self-funding press would have to go through the payments system, so there’s that, too… And then of course if FaceBook eats the world, that’s a problem too.)

    3. ChrisPacific

      The amusing thing is that he has already answered this question, many times. I guess the fact that people keep asking means that they don’t like the answer.

  2. Gareth

    Trump starts in on Clinton and makes Bernie look like a pussy cat:

    ‘Donald Trump said Tuesday that Hillary Clinton is playing the “woman card” to try to get elected president.

    “I call her ‘crooked Hillary‘ because she’s crooked, and the only thing she’s got is the woman card. That’s all she’s got … it’s a weak card in her hands,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning.

    He said that Clinton is using her gender to pander to the electorate, and that the “woman card” just “may be enough” for her.

    “I’d love to see a woman president, but she’s the wrong person. She’s a disaster,” Trump said.”

    Trump knows just where to hit her. We’ll see how her popularity rating stands after six months of this.

    1. Roger Smith

      The best part is that she cannot turn around and defend his criticism by playing the gender double standard card because then he is right.

      1. FunknJunk

        Also can’t really attack him for misogynistic, sexist comments (unless they’re absofrikkinlutely blatant) b/c her minions pushed the Bernie Bro meme. When you lie about that stuff, it tends to blunt the argument…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      After what Trump has said previously about women, he’s finally acceptable for once.

      And this may mislead people to believe his earlier claims…that’s the risk.

      1. Massinissa

        Modern people have very very short attention spans. Most of them wont even remember his earlier claims.

    3. JohnnyGL

      In line with Gaius Publius’ post earlier….the sooner he does the dirty work for Bernie, the better it is for his, now admittedly slim, chances.

      If Trump gets a clean sweep today, Clinton could still be stuck fighting a primary campaign with Bernie racking up more wins in May.

    4. EndOfTheWorld

      The Donald vs. The Hill—I will actually watch that debate. Maybe. Bernie’s whole thing was–all issues, all the time. Courtesy taken to the extreme. Well, OK, then, if you want to lose. The Donald? He hates issues. His campaign pitch is don’t worry about the issues—just elect me and I’ll take care of everything—you’ll see. Insults—that’s more his style. He’s got a whole lot of stuff to use on Hill, and he will use it very well. She may walk off the debate stage in disgust.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Trump: I don’t know how you make that sausage (and I don’t want to look), but it is delicious.

        As a famous sushi chef would say, “Trust me,” or the Omakase menu.

        Get the right chef and you don’t have to look.

        That’s his message…my guess, so, don’t shoot this messenger.

    5. jgordon

      I knew this was coming, and I was seriously looking forward to it. Bernie couldn’t/wouldn’t go there (I would have gotten on board with Bernie if he weren’t so suspiciously timid here), but I don’t see Trump having any qualms whatsoever about ripping into Crooked Hillary. This is going to be fun.

      Also–Bernie supporters–there is a very good chance that Crooked Hillary will be prosecuted as soon as Trump gets into office so you might even want to thinking about supporting him. You’re not going to get that kind of satisfaction from anyone else. Sure, Trump might be a crook. But at least he’s his own crook.

  3. Anon

    Re: Super Tuesday (part 3? 4?)

    I’ve spoken with some acquaintances and they’re voting for Bernie, but beyond that, I don’t have a feel for it. If it’s a clean sweep by Hillary, the important thing will be to make sure that they don’t end up demoralized (imho, a far severe offense than not voting), but I’m at a loss on how to get them there. Any suggestions?

    1. hreik

      I was disheartened after NY. But today is a different day and I got to vote for Birdie here in CT. I have hope again. Let them feel demoralized for 5 days…. then back up and phone-bank, canvass, work etc. Ain’t over till it’s over.

  4. curlydan

    “But by all accounts, March 26 should be a pretty good day for the front-runner” [New York Magazine].

    Unfortunately, April 26 should be a pretty good day, too… New York Mag outsourced its editors?

  5. Left in Wisconsin

    We still need to create on- and off-ramps so human drivers can bring trucks to the freeways where highway autopilot can take over.

    Something to look forward to: one growth sector will be jobs that involve loitering at freeway exit ramps waiting to ferry (otherwise) driverless trucks to their destination. Just-in-time and all that. Hope they compensate for waiting time. What will the waiting areas be like? Indoors? Free coffee?

    1. Synoia

      The first breakdown or accident in the Autonomous Truck lanes will be interesting to behold.

      Not to mention the odd spiked strip which happens to accidentally fall in-front of a truck.

      One could disrupt the whole system with a few boxes of nails.

        1. tegnost

          then just like with humans we could have robots saying “I’m confused, I don’t know where to turn…”

          1. different clue

            If the spray paint is good enough, the autonomous truck will go wherever the spray paint leads.

    1. TK421

      Warren is too old to run for president after the next one’s term, so she would be a poor choice to me.

  6. Nick

    Well let’s hear it for Penny Pritzker for taking a stand with the people and counteracting the voices – like that of her boss – that are distorting the reality of trade agreements!
    Oh wait, did she mean…

    1. rich

      Former Economic Hitman John Perkins
      “U.S. Is Desperate To Keep Britain
      In The EU, To Bring In TTIP!”

      Penny, for your thoughts.

      1. jgordon

        My thought then: Perkins seems like a really good guy who’s done a lot of very evil things in his life. Here’s a good interview of Perkins:

  7. Carolinian

    Speaking of Dunham Trump says her coming move to Canada a motivator.

    At least he didn’t call her fat like he did Rosie.

  8. Jess

    Hey, Lambert, a weekend project: Why don’t you finally fix your “fershuggeneh form”?

    Just a suggestion.

    1. tegnost

      Maybe just cut back on links one day and find time to take a hike or something on the “weekend” (which is when lambert’s big posts come out), I think the site and authors all deserve an election year bonus…

    1. diptherio

      Because she played an AIDS activist in a movie, I think, or maybe it was an LGBT rights activist…didn’t see it, obviously.

      To be fair, I haven’t seen anybody around these parts asking why we should care what Susan Sarandon thinks about politics, but then she’s endorsing Bernie…Celebrities are citizens just like anyone else and have a right to express their opinions. We can disagree with her stances, but bringing up her career as a reason for dismissing them is not logical, at all.

      1. cwaltz

        Then you haven’t been paying attention to the comments because I’m pretty sure I said the same thing about her that I said about Dunham.

        They have a right to an opinion like everyone else, I’m not sure why it should be considered newsworthy. As far as her career goes her six figure income pretty much means I don’t see having much in common with her or believe that she has the same concerns and problems as an average American and I’d say the same thing about Buffet and the other egotistical people who seem to think their opinion should have weight.

          1. cwaltz

            It’s kind of my point though. How much does Lena Dunham believe she has in common with the poor schlep that works at the jiffy mart or has to punch in everyday to pay for their mortgage? Hollywood believes their own hype- playing the average person in a made for TV drama is not the same thing as BEING an average person. They exist in world most of us can only pretend to imagine once they start collecting large incomes per project. Of course, most of her problems are going to be different then mine, her lifestyle is different then mine.

            I don’t mean to pick on just Hollywood either. Warren Buffet can also shut his piehole on who I should vote for.

    2. RP

      or about anything in particular because…?

      Navel-gazing no-talent special snowflake of wealthy NY parents.

      Of COURSE she supports Clinton. It’s what rich people who think voting for a Neoliberal Hawk with the fig leaf of the correct social positions of the moment (just in time on gay marriage & $15 min wage, that was close!) to seem “Progressive”.

      I will bet anyone, anywhere: any stakes you want – that President H signs TPP. I’d bet my firstborn son.

      1. marym

        Don’t know about Lena Dunham in particular, but supports the TPP

        “The U.S. entertainment industry is joining in a last-ditch push to sway wavering Democratic lawmakers to back President Obama’s pro-trade agenda, as his hard-fought Pacific Rim trade deal heads to an uncertain end game.

        Hollywood and the music industry see the potential for lucrative enhanced-copyright protections in the 12-nation trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

        1. Pat

          Of course corporate Hollywood does, it pushes the ridiculous copyright and patent rules that have twisted the American copyright system out of all recognition of what it was intended. And their lobbyists have spent years and millions on millions pushing increased digital rights management successfully. Just remember this is the same group of people who didn’t learn that shutting down Napster was more harmful to them than it was to the file sharers. And have doubled down on that strategy over and over.

          But Hollywood is not monolithic. A whole lot of the people who work in the film and entertainment industry know that all this does is insure the people at the top remain winners but that actual American production will not have any protections. And that those same people will move production anywhere cheap they can, leaving 90% of the people who have made a living doing this struggling to continue to do so.

    3. cwaltz

      Hollywood is almost as arrogant as Wall Street. You know because we can never have enough editorializing on why the really rich support their status quo choice. *rolls eyes*

      1. Roger Smith

        “There is too much money in politics. By the way I’m hosting a multimillion dollar fundraiser next week for politics *smile*”

  9. Waldenpond

    I had to run over to @larrywebsite to check the PA numbers. Still has Bernie strong in Os areas. So I am hopeful. I was expecting a 10 pt loss but if he sinks it Os areas it’ll be a shellacking. Sanders own numbers had them at best getting 49% of vote/delegates today.

    Rail shipping seems to be expanding even when oil pipelines get defeated. sigh.

    420… marijuana is getting corporatized not legalized. Land use favors the wealthy, restrictions limit personal growing.

      1. cwaltz

        Unless, of course, you’re the child of a parent numbing themselves then it just enhances the suffering.

  10. Working Class Human

    Daily reminder to heed that Lena Dunham had a New York Times reporter COVER her vegan party at the age of 16 surely because she’s anything other than insanely privileged! Surely this party was newsworthy…

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Lena Dunham in Time

    She claims she’s not supporting Clinton based on her gender and then enumerates one gender-related reason after another.

    I had starting typing my comment before finishing the article thinking she was a high-schooler as the picture looked like it was from a gym and she looked very young. I was wondering why Time would publish something more suited to a high school newspaper and I was feeling bad about picking on a kid for a poor argument but then I see she’s 30! She ought to know better and Time ought to be publishing articles written for those above a 3rd grade reading level.

    Mike Judge had it wrong portraying the Idiocracy 500 years in the future – it’s already here. Can the jackpot be far behind?

    1. winstonsmith

      You’re not kidding.

      I have no plans to blindly follow my uterus to the nearest polling station.

      So once and for all — for everyone who asks me online, for the waitress who took me aside after serving me an omelet and said, “I’m so confused about what to do in this election” — here’s why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.

      I’m with Hillary because of her commitment to women’s reproductive health and rights.

      1. Anne

        Well, up to 24 weeks or so she does; after that, she’s willing to restrict those rights as long as there are exceptions for the life/health of the mother.

        I wish there had been some debate about this issue, but I suspect it would be a replay of the Sanders/Clinton debate on fracking and trade: she gives a long-winded lecture that leaves you realizing she’s always going to be sitting on the fence testing the direction of the wind, and Bernie’s just going to tell you where he stands: for the right to choose, against fracking, against the TPP.

        She’s like that person we all know who you never, ever ask, “how are you?” because even though all you want or need is “I’m fine, how are you?” you are going to get a dissertation on every minute detail of her life, and at the end, you not only don’t care how she is, you don’t even know how she is.

        Word salad. with extra-oily dressing.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Thank you for offering a response to the article based on the actual content and policy discussion. I’m glad we got at least one.

          I think my fundamental disagreement with Dunham is the relative importance we place on issues. If Bernie doesn’t devote a lot of discussion to women’s reproductive health and rights, it’s because Americans are having their country systematically stolen from them. That, for me, is the fundamental issue in this election. For me, it’s enough that Bernie is on the right side of women’s issues without making it a centerpiece of his campaign. However doing something about inequality is non-negotiable, and HRC will do precisely nothing in that department that’s different from what has come before (and God help us if there is another GFC on her watch).

          As you point out, there are some credibility issues with HRC as well, but even if everything that Dunham says about her was true, I still wouldn’t support her.

      2. Synoia

        I have no plans to blindly follow my uterus to the nearest polling station.

        Nor do I. Even if it is firmly implanted in my Wife.

      3. jgordon

        Well that’s nice and all–the only problem is that this is Hillary you’re relying on to defend your rights. I bet Republicans already have huge donations lined up ready for the Clinton Foundation, enough so that they can “persuade” HRC to “evolve” on any issue they care to have her evolve on, including those precious reproductive rights.

        Actually that’ll probably be for the best. You don’t seem to be disillusioned enough yet. This will be a good experience for you, if she wins.

          1. jgordon

            Well I mean, of course they’d be circumspect about it. And what do you mean it won’t come from the Republicans? If the Republican elites really got a hair up their rear enough to actually care about reproductive rights, they’d find a way to funnel that money to the Clinton Foundation.

            Actually I just had a thought. The same way Obama legitimized war and general civil rights abuses for the Democrats, Hillary is probably the ultimate Trojan horse to destroy what’s left of the rights for women in America. And now that I’ve thought of it, I’m utterly convinced that that’s what will happen; it just fits too perfectly with the MO of these people. A bit of circuitous money from the social-right side of the isle to grease the gears of the Clinton machine, and before you know it abortions will be de facto outlawed everywhere.

            Yep, I can already see in my mind’s eye the sort of Grand Deal Hillary will be “forced” into taking by those bad nasty Republicans (who had coincidentally just generously donated to a certain foundation). It was “unavoidable” because they were going to “shut down America” or something. Ah it’s almost worth wanting to see Hillary win, just to see the look on the faces of these poor, deluded women’s rights supporters when Hillary finally finds a convenient chance to back stab them.

    2. nycTerrierist

      When Hellbots try (and fail) to come up with one good reason to vote
      for her, Idiocracy always comes to mind:

      she’s got electrolytes!

    3. jrs

      Certainly NO economic reasons … greedy rich person doesn’t care about economics of the 99s pretty much. When we build the guillotines ..

    4. ScottW

      “I’m with Hillary,” otherwise we will end up with a President beholden to special interests whose foreign policy is admired by the neocons. Only Hillary can get money out of politics, stop our endless wars and push Israel to a two-state solution. She is also hated by the Koch.

      That’s why “I’m with Her.”

      And pundits wonder why Sanders’ supporters have no interest in Hillary’s candidacy. And Sanders’s supporters wonder how Hillary’s supporters can be so stupid. As a side note, isn’t “I’m with Her” too much like “I’m with Stupid”?

      1. nippersdad

        Besides being really creepy, it is a ripoff of O’s second Presidential “Are you with him?/Be with him” campaign slogans.

        I didn’t like it then, I like it less now.

      2. Roger Smith

        I’ve been likening it to “I’m With Stupid” for months as well. It makes more sense.

  12. diptherio

    Re: Driverless trucks

    You know, I was just thinking this morning that our major problem in this country is that there are just too darned many job available! Glad to see Google is working on the problem. [/sarc]

    You know what would make trucking safer? Higher wages and shorter hours for truck drivers, an end to just-in-time delivery, and strict oversight of trucking companies…of course, that wouldn’t solve our “too many jobs” problem…

  13. Lemmy See

    Re the Clinton Delaware shell company story. A popular Daily Kos diarist posted a link to the Guardian story earlier today, merely saying that it “was bad optics for Clinton.” Commenters vehemently defended Clinton and savaged the diarist to the point that she said she was deleting her account. The misplaced loyalty some Clinton supporters display would be funny, if Clinton wasn’t rotten to the core and within range of the nomination.

    1. afisher

      Bernie supporters have been driven off DKos – now on Reddit (Kossacks for Sanders) or caucus99.com

  14. Jim Haygood

    Front-month June crude set a new high for 2016, closing at $44.04 a barrel. Chart:

    Broader commodity indexes also are near their highs of the year.

  15. polecat

    Can’t wait to see all those unemployed freight drivers start doing some serious ‘madmax’ fancy didoes beyond the onramps….in their non-robotic beaters !!! :(‘

  16. lena

    “Lena Dunham: Why I Chose Hillary Clinton”

    Because, just like her, we are better than you. I am little better at feigning common, but then, I am an actress. She’s Aristocracy, and here’s my chance at a shot.

  17. allan

    New York City policymakers and affordable housing advocates have criticised Airbnb following a report the company released claiming it benefits “predominantly black” neighbourhoods.

    Critics call the company’s release of this information a “duplicitous” and “disingenuous” PR push, a smokescreen to obscure how Airbnb is actually “ravaging” black neighbourhoods in New York City by taking rental units off the market – which contributes to raised rents amid a significant housing crisis.

    Why a company, whose business model is based on the evasion of local ordinances,
    is allowed to stay in business is beyond comprehension. Or not.

  18. Synoia

    This milestone is significant as the 2016 primary heads into its final few weeks of contests, as there has been intense speculation that Trump’s support has a ceiling

    It most certainly does have a ceiling. President Trump sounds like a ceiling.

  19. John k

    Bernie supports today what he always has, I.e. Genuine. These policies are suddenly resonating and increasingly popular because the economy sucks, people are beginning to think ‘socialism’ is not a bad word. We’re in a new era, neoliberalism has become the dinosaur.
    Trump is increasingly supporting progressive policies not necessarily because they are what the country needs but because they are suddenly popular… He is a populist.

    Hillary, knowing what is best, or at least best for her and her sponsors, is in this new era the anti-populist. After the primaries she will dash right, chasing Reagan dems she has been fantasising about; she will be the new Reagan.
    But blue collar workers have been devastated by the new economy. They are voting with their feet, moving to trump. 68k PA voters just changed from dem to rep so they can vote for trump.
    the dem party is certainly not democratic, and the press, which have become Corp shills, no longer independent. Dems critically needs a candidate attractive to independents that can channel underclass anger, they’re desperately clinging to a corrupt warmonger to hold on to the status quo.

    But trump has captured the press because ratings. He will be after Bernie’s supporters that she takes for granted, and he already has a lock on reagans dems… Imo he will pivot to a kinder, gentler candidate. Racism will decline, any d anyway in the swing states it’s mostly a white contest. Plus being against war is now very popular.
    Think about it… What policy is she advocating that is popular? Saying I’ll do what big O did except more wars won’t cut it outside the deepest blue states.
    Now imagine the economy declines, and bill’s comment about how bad the past eight years have been really resonates.
    Dinosaurs always support the status quo, and are convinced the rest of us can’t live without them. They can be swept away in an instant.

  20. John Merryman

    As for efficiency, it would seem that the most efficient state is the lowest possible energy state. Think of those two black holes that joined, because the combination is more efficient and released the wave of energy across the universe.
    Wherever you look, efficiency is doing more with less. In fact the most efficient state is complete equilibrium. Aka, the flatline.
    Life, on the other hand, is about energy, constantly pushing up and out, even when order, structure and control are pushing down and in.
    It’s nice to have some order and structure to life, but keep it in perspective.
    Youth pushes up, while age pushes down. Youth always wins, but by that time, they are old.
    Think of it as life’s challenge.

  21. cyclist

    On the question of Hillary’s health: When Clare Booth Luce asked LBJ why he accepted the VP spot in the Kennedy campaign, he replied “Clare, I looked it up. One out of every four presidents has died in office. I’m a gambling man, darlin’, and this is the one chance I got.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The odds are much, much higher for Supreme Court justices.

      “Yes, put me down as a vice-justice.”

      There are nine of us. We form the vice-squad.

  22. reslez

    “The first rule of pricing is: you do not talk about pricing”

    Responding to price is hard-wired into our brains.
    It’s not a conscious decision, but an animal response to a pricing signal.

    Give me a freaking break. Pricing signals have nothing to do with animal responses, whatever economists may fantasize about. Markets and prices are products of human imagination. They are not real in the way sunlight and rainclouds and gravity and food are real. Maybe the author enters a tizzy over crappy Ikea products but that’s because he’s been steeped in capitalist drivel since toddlerhood.

  23. Sissy

    Suburban Philly greetings! Saw lots of Bernie buttons and stickers in Center City Philly (work) and a sizable contingent of young ‘uns at my Montco polling place. Fingers crossed!

    Race to watch is the PA Senate: TPTB still holding grudge against Sestak for having the temerity to defeat Arlen in the 2010 primary; lost in a very close race to Toomey even with Tea Party tsunami.

  24. afisher

    Buried in a Bloomberg article is a site that was new to me:

    A searchable database the shows subsidies by State / Corp / $$$$, etc.

    Now when information about a company building a plant, etc – there is a possible way to determine how much that it is going to cost the taxpayer.

    1. dots

      Niftiness.

      I decided to test it out by pairing it with a post from Senator Sanders Facebook page from December 2011 which is a graphic from Mother Jones of the merging of the “final four” banks: Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.

      Type in Citigroup and you get a nice little list (with links to data sets from the Federal Reserve) of 74 state and federal subsidies totaling $450,385,344. Then you have 728 awards for loans/bailouts totaling $2,591,415,050,066. Then hop over to the Influence Explorer and see that Citigroup has spent $44.2 M in lobbying and contributions. No effective tax rate data available there for Citi or Wells Fargo, though JP Morgan Chase has an effective rate of 25%. Corporate background given on the “Rap Sheet”. All-in-all, works well.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Beautiful picture of the Big Dipper.

    “To be paid to star-gaze, now, that’s a great job.”

  26. rich

    Accounting News Roundup: Offshore Cash Stash and New York Times’ Non-GAAP Accounting | 04.26.16

    Offshore profits

    One of the things that people don’t like about the US tax system is that it taxes income earned in foreign markets. It’s one of the few countries that does that, so US multinational companies like to park their money offshore to shield it from the IRS. You might think that stashing money abroad would require a feat of bureaucratic strength, but it’s actually pretty easy:

    All those companies have to do is say the money is “indefinitely reinvested” abroad. Using that phrase allows them to avoid deducting U.S. taxes on those funds from their overall earnings. That can save them billions of dollars, fattening their bottom line.

    What counts as reinvestment? “It’s fair to say the bar is very low,” said Michael Minihan, a principal at Dallas-based tax consulting firm Ryan LLC.

    It’s kinda like coming up with an excuse for not going to someone’s dinner party: “Oh, sorry, can’t make it. We have plans.”

    “Oh, really? What plans?”

    “Just plans. Plans we’ve had for awhile.”

    I’m not really kidding:

    Under U.S. accounting rules, companies have to persuade their auditors that they are justified in designating foreign earnings as permanently reinvested. But the evidence doesn’t have to be ironclad. It can include plans for new overseas factories, prospective acquisition sprees, or restrictions in loan agreements that prevent them from transferring money to the U.S.

  27. Carolinian

    Not sure if this Tom Dispatch has been linked but it is good.

    The problem, I suspect, is that what first catches the eye is the phrase “Make America Great” and then, of course, the exclamation point, while the single most important word in the slogan, historically speaking, is barely noted: “again.”

    With that “again,” Donald Trump crossed a line in American politics that, until his escalator moment, represented a kind of psychological taboo for politicians of any stripe, of either party, including presidents and potential candidates for that position. He is the first American leader or potential leader of recent times not to feel the need or obligation to insist that the United States, the “sole” superpower of Planet Earth, is an “exceptional” nation, an “indispensable” country, or even in an unqualified sense a “great” one. His claim is the opposite. That, at present, America is anything but exceptional, indispensable, or great, though he alone could make it “great again.” In that claim lies a curiosity that, in a court of law, might be considered an admission of guilt. Yes, it says, if one man is allowed to enter the White House in January 2017, this could be a different country, but — and in this lies the originality of the slogan — it is not great now, and in that admission-that-hasn’t-been-seen-as-an-admission lies something new on the American landscape.

    Meanwhile

    “Obama has talked more about American exceptionalism than Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush combined: a search on UC Santa Barbara’s exhaustive presidential records library finds that no president from 1981 to today uttered the phrase ‘American exceptionalism’ except Obama. As U.S. News‘ Robert Schlesinger wrote, ‘American exceptionalism’ is not a traditional part of presidential vocabulary. According to Schlesinger’s search of public records, Obama is the only president in 82 years to use the term.”

    One suspects that Obama likes the exceptionalism idea because it means that he, as the person running the US, is super duper exceptional. Obie and the Donald could have a narcissism cage match.

    But Englehardt does put his finger on why some see a glimmer of hope in Trump’s direction even if the man is a boob. Clearly Trump’s ego is big enough that he doesn’t have to defensively embrace the indispensable nation nonsense. This is certainly more than we can hope for from the plodding and wonkish HIllary. She has all too much to prove.

    1. tegnost

      I thought that was illegal, or is it just a “gentleman’s agreement” between news outlets?
      Anyway, more of the same “give up now, you have been assimilated, resistance is futile”

  28. rich

    What to do when your insurance won’t pay for a procedure? Call the ‘Insurance Warrior’

    April 25, 2016

    Her name is passed from one desperate family to another like an amulet.

    In phone conversations and online chat rooms, she’s mentioned at moments when the devout might call on a patron saint. A baby born with a deformed skull? “Call Laurie.” An impossibly expensive cancer treatment? “Call Laurie.”

    Laurie Todd isn’t a doctor, or a lawyer, or a hospital chaplain. She’s a 66-year-old former massage therapist. Most of the time, she sounds cheerful and efficient. But if someone tries to pull the wool over her eyes, her voice gets low and a little bit threatening. “Do you know what I do for a living?” she asks. “I’m known as the Insurance Warrior.”

    The military metaphor is apt. When a health insurance company refuses to pay for a medical procedure, Todd goes to battle on behalf of the patient from her apartment outside Seattle.
    She researches the scientific evidence behind the treatment. She parses the fine print of insurance policies. She scours the internet for the home phone numbers of the company’s top executives, and she coaches her clients on when to call and what to say.

    Her strategy seems to be working: By her own count, she has won 165 of the 169 cases she’s fought.

    1. Anne

      Proof – as if we needed any – that we are being held hostage by an industry that all to often does not provide a pathway to care, but acts as a barrier to it. And we pay them thousands and thousands of dollars for the opportunity to be told “no” when we actually need to collect on our investment.

      It’s immoral that we need “Insurance Warriors” to advocate for us to get what we’ve paid so much for.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “She has won 165 of the 169 cases she’s fought”

      I wonder how many spots the decimal point would have to be move to the right to get the health insurance companies’ unwelcome attention. 1,650? 16,500?

  29. TedWa

    I just watched Bernie speak in W Virginia and it was the best speech I’ve heard yet. He put a lot of emotion into his words and they resonated. He also said that NY has 3,000,000 voters that could not vote because of their voting rules, but that in a general election those 3,000,000 people will be able to vote ! To great cheers from the 6,000 person crowd. Wonderful, he’s kicking into gear, I just hope it’s not too late. He’s who we need for President, no question about it.

    1. uncle tungsten

      Thanks for that reference. Bernie just made it mighty clear he is going to run all the way to November. Whatever the Democrat convention decides, if they go with Killary then he will run independent. He has come out fighting and that is mighty good to see.

  30. Cry Shop

    Hanford: POTUS Obama is funding the development of a upgrade 180 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, which are neutron bombs in all but the official name in order to skirt treaty limitations. This will require renewed production and handling of super enriched plutonium.

    Not to worry, he’ll just defund basic research in every clean energy solution, and delay fixing Hanford so the DOE can pay for this outside the Pentagon budget.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Obomba’s plan of record calls for an additional *$500 B* of additional spending on nukes over the next 10 years.
      This includes his pet project, the mini-nuke that, according to its promoters, “makes their use very thinkable”.
      And he stores the B-61 tactical nukes at that lovely, secure place called Incirlik airbase in Turkey, home of black ops, drones for weddings in Afghanistan, and Cold War provocations like shooting down a Russian fighter jet.
      But I’m sure Hilary Antoinette can outdo even these paltry attempts to frighten the whole world and set the stage for the next global conflagration. I’m sure her pals at Boeing, Raytheon, and Monsanto will be thrilled.

  31. Gwai Mui

    Can’t help but notice people thinking hard about electoral contingencies, meticulously weighing various voting stratagems that all end up with us getting screwed. If Sanders does in fact get crushed to make way for CIA commissar Clinton (domestic drug comprador branch), you could vote for (and endorse) some variant of your officially-mandated shit sandwich. But you could also do something that isn’t dismal or humiliating.

    What if everybody got together and agreed on comprehensive criteria that can assess every policy of every candidate? What if people baked those criteria in at the local level, and reinforced them with coordinated international pressure?

    There’s more to civil society than electoral politics.

  32. uncle tungsten

    Friends of that once was a President person who has a handy foundation and is always interested in property deals perhaps?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ugh. The United States is becoming a safe haven for every crook in the Third World, like hair clogging a drain. That doesn’t bode well for domestic politics.

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