THEY KNOW WHAT YOU WANT: Some serious thoughts on the giant trade deal!


Part 4—What Krugman has said:
How well do you understand the issues which underlie the debate about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership?

We don’t understand those issues very well. In part, that’s because we spend time every night watching The One True Liberal Channel.

Consider what we’ve been told on the Maddow Show, the channel’s increasingly embarrassing flagship program.

In early May, we were told that “labor and Democrats and people on the left and people in the center are opposed to that trade deal in considerable numbers.” We were told that this big trade deal, which the president favors, might “kill off huge swaths of working-class and middle-class American jobs.”

Six weeks later, we were told that the bill “is a big deal in terms of policy.” We were told it “would affect 40 percent of the world’s economy,” although we weren't told how.

It almost sounds like a bill of that type would be a very big deal. But we’ve heard little more about this bill on the Maddow Show.

Maddow mugs and clowns and plays the fool pretty much every night. She wastes astonishing amounts of time with her pointless profiles of the various Republican presidential candidates, many of whom are simply running vanity campaigns, and with her silly obsession with the earth-shattering projected effects of the first Republican debate, which will take place on August 6, with the vast majority of voters failing to watch.

For whatever reason, Maddow is currently running one of the dumbest programs in cable news history. The trade bill, which might kill huge swaths of jobs, rarely intrudes on the mix.

Tomorrow, we’ll review the fleeting ways Maddow has dealt with this topic. But it’s hard to avoid an obvious thought—Rachel Maddow and her owners simply don’t seem to care a whole lot about the working-class people who, according to her infrequent ten-second alerts, might be losing those huge swaths of jobs.

Maddow likes to clown and mug and cavort and play while telling you, “Watch this apace.” She likes to bang on her toy xylophone and play videotape of herself.

Her show has become a rolling disgrace, a simple burlesque. It’s astounding to think that we liberals accept it. And of course, the trade deal isn’t the only economic issue our silly, multimillionaire host skips merrily past.

Rachel discusses issues of interest to folk of her class. Other folk are out of luck.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the embarrassing way Maddow has dealt with the TPP since her stirring statement on May 7 concerning that huge swath of jobs. Basically, she has tended to return to the topic, though only briefly, when the topic can be used to pleasure us in our tribal instincts, thus making us feel good inside.

That said, why does Obama support the deal while Elizabeth Warren does not? Why has Obama criticized Warren in direct, even impolite terms about her stance on the bill?

Viewers don’t have the slightest idea, and Our Own Peter Pan doesn’t care. A few weeks ago, in a bout of frustration, we decided to take a look at what Paul Krugman has said.

It isn’t that Krugman is always right. Presumably, no one is.

It isn’t that Krugman has to be right about trade. For all we know, it’s his blind spot.

That said, Krugman doesn’t bang on toy xylophones while the apparent intern Nick is forced to stage a sad parade behind him. On Wednesday nights, he doesn’t play tape of the jokes he told at Tuesday afternoon’s staff meetings, while Nick and the rest of the staff were forced to sit there and laugh.

Krugman has been the liberal world’s MVP for quite a few years now. He’s a serious person with serious concerns; he isn’t a cable news clown. For those reasons, we decided to search his views about the proposed trade deal, which Maddow uses as an excuse to send us to bed feeling good.

What did we find when we staged our search? Let’s start in 2013.

In December of that year, Krugman did a blog post about the TPP. He stated the view he seems to have held ever since that time:

The proposed trade bill isn’t that big a deal, Krugman said in his post:
KRUGMAN (12/12/13): I’ve been getting a fair bit of correspondence wondering why I haven’t written about the negotiations for a Trans Pacific Partnership, which many of my correspondents and commenters regard as something both immense and sinister.

The answer is that I’ve been having a hard time figuring out why this deal is especially important.

The usual rhetoric—from supporters and opponents alike—stresses the size of the economies involved: hundreds of millions of people! 40 percent of global output!
But that tells you nothing much. After all, the Iceland-China free trade agreement created a free trade zone with 1.36 billion people!!! But only 300,000 of those people live in Iceland, and nobody considers the agreement a big deal.

The big talk about TPP isn’t that silly. But my starting point for things like this is that most conventional barriers to trade—tariffs, import quotas, and so on—are already quite low, so that it’s hard to get big effects out of lowering them still further.


OK, I don’t want to be too dismissive. But so far, I haven't seen anything to justify the hype, positive or negative.
Uh-oh! Two years ago, Krugman rolled his eyes at the one “fact” Maddow has managed to offer. 40 percent of global output!

He moved ahead to his “starting point for things like this”—the claim that trade barriers are already quite low, so a deal of this type is unlikely to have big major effects.

We don’t know if that view is correct. We do know that Maddow doesn’t seem to care enough to stop joking long enough to ask Krugman about that view—or to ask someone else with expertise, if Krugman has stopped doing comedy shows.

Krugman hasn’t written about the TPP much, but he hasn’t limited himself to blog posts. On February 2014, he wrote a full column about it.

We don’t know if Krugman was right that day, but no toy xylophones were involved.

Krugman started by saying that he wouldn’t care if the whole darn thing just faded away in the face of bipartisan skepticism. According to what Krugman wrote that day, “t's far from clear that the T.P.P. is a good idea.”

Headline included:

KRUGMAN (2/28/14): No Big Deal

Everyone knows that the Obama administration’s domestic economic agenda is stalled in the face of scorched-earth opposition from Republicans. And that’s a bad thing: The U.S. economy would be in much better shape if Obama administration proposals like the American Jobs Act had become law.

It’s less well known that the administration’s international economic agenda is also stalled, for very different reasons. In particular, the centerpiece of that agenda—the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or T.P.P.—doesn’t seem to be making much progress, thanks to a combination of negotiating difficulties abroad and bipartisan skepticism at home.

And you know what? That’s O.K. It's far from clear that the T.P.P. is a good idea.
It’s even less clear that it’s something on which President Obama should be spending political capital. I am in general a free trader, but I’ll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away.
Later in the column, Krugman offered a more detailed analysis of the potential pros and cons. In this passage, he says that arguments from both sides are hugely overblown:
KRUGMAN: There's a lot of hype about T.P.P., from both supporters and opponents. Supporters like to talk about the fact that the countries at the negotiating table comprise around 40 percent of the world economy, which they imply means that the agreement would be hugely significant. But trade among these players is already fairly free, so the T.P.P. wouldn't make that much difference.

Meanwhile, opponents portray the T.P.P. as a huge plot, suggesting that it would destroy national sovereignty and transfer all the power to corporations. This, too, is hugely overblown. Corporate interests would get somewhat more ability to seek legal recourse against government actions, but, no, the Obama administration isn't secretly bargaining away democracy.
What the T.P.P. would do, Krugman went on to say, “is increase the ability of certain corporations to assert control over intellectual property.”

“The corporations benefiting from enhanced control over intellectual property would often be American,” he said. “But this doesn't mean that the T.P.P. is in our national interest.”

Krugman speculated about Obama’s reasons for spending political capital on the deal. In closing, he said this: “If the big trade deal comes to nothing, as seems likely, it will be, well, no big deal.”

By now, it looks like the big trade deal actually may come to something. In March, Krugman offered another blog post on the topic, including these excerpts:
KRUGMAN (3/11/15): Not to keep you in suspense, I’m thumbs down. I don’t think the proposal is likely to be the terrible, worker-destroying pact some progressives assert, but it doesn’t look like a good thing either for the world or for the United States, and you have to wonder why the Obama administration, in particular, would consider devoting any political capital to getting this through.


So, about the deal. The first thing you need to know is that almost everyone exaggerates the importance of trade policy. In part, I believe, this reflects globaloney: talking about international trade sounds glamorous and forward-thinking, so everyone wants to make that the centerpiece of their remarks. (The same thing happens to an even greater extent when international money issues like the dollar's role as a reserve currency crop up.)

Which brings me to my last point: Why, exactly, should the Obama administration spend any political capital—alienating labor, disillusioning progressive activists—over such a deal?
Both sides are overstating, Krugman once again said. In that, he included the sky-is-falling, lost-jobs brigade to whom Maddow later alluded.

Again, he wondered why Obama is alienating allies over such an underwhelming deal.

We have no idea if Krugman’s views are correct. We’d love to see him interviewed about these issues, especially about that huge swath of jobs which Maddow mentioned once.

On the brighter side, Krugman wasn’t wasting our time and insulting our intelligence when he wrote that column and those posts. He wasn’t wasting our time with ruminations about Candidate Bush’s alleged bird calls and related sound effects.

Maddow is a different bird, a bird of an increasingly embarrassing feather. Tomorrow, we’ll show you the way she has clowned and pleasured us with this topic, which she says is important.

It’s embarrassing to see what Maddow’s show has become. It’s a scandal that we the liberals are prepared to accept this big dumb barrel of undisguised corporate nonsense.

Tomorrow: Fun with the TPP


  1. Shorter Somerby

    I didn't know jack shit about TPP or cover it until I wanted to attack Rachel Maddow on the issue. So I looked for Krugman columns to cut and paste. He's a stinking professor but the liberal MVP.

    But before I get to Krugman let me repeat exactly what I have already written about Maddow wasting your time. It will only take me 503 words. But it is worth repeating. I have some new insulting names for her.

    Then I'll paste part of Krugman's first column on the issue of TPP. The whole thing was 474 words. He doesn't waste time. He says it's no big deal.

    1. Tomorrow: More, much more on the Liberal Scandal that is TRMS and TPP. Watch this cyberspace.

    2. So, your whole premise is that Bob dislikes Rachel Maddow, so he started up a blog to discuss the media so that he could use it as a platform to attack Rachel. That seems somewhat unlikely to me.

    3. Somerby doesn't cover issues -- he covers the mainstream press.

      His question about why Obama is expending political capital on this treaty is interesting. It might be because Obama owes some of those financial interests, so this is payback. He perhaps has no use for the political capital, being a lame duck with only a short time left in office and no chance of passing domestic initiatives. He isn't going to be running for anything again, so he can afford to piss off his progressive base. Hillary has thoroughly dissociated herself from him (by resigning after her first term as Sec or State), so he cannot damage her by pleasing his corporate sponsors. However, he will need their good will to fund his speaking engagements and consulting gigs after he leaves office. So Obama's actions made plenty of sense in the context of his personal interests, if not the interests of the American people. I think he picked a fight with Warren to strength Hillary's chances.

    4. @ 1:28 I do not think @ High Noon advanced any premise at all. I think it was merely a Cliff's Notes version of Bob Somerby's piece for the harried cyberspace surfer.

    5. Why do trolls not understand that there are: (1) good and bad professors, (2) good and bad journalists or cable news reporters, (3) good people who are professors or journalists who sometimes do bad things, including a bad job at a specific point in time or on a particular topic, (4) shades of goodness or badness with respect to a particular activity or topic, (5) changes over time in the performance of various professors or journalists. That means Somerby is not going to be consistent in his criticisms or even in how he writes his own posts -- being a human being with the same variability as those he observes.

    6. Trolls don't even understand why a human like Somerby can call Trump sub-human when attacking Maddow but piss on Bruni for mentioning Christie likes him.

    7. Trolls are almost as dumb as liberals. But you know, they are not lazy.

    8. @2:42 -- if this all gets too complicated for you, there is always the Cartoon Network.

  2. This seems like the Clinton hating progressives favorite whipping boy NAFTA all over again. Said progressives have by and large, if not completely, committed to going a lot easier on Obama. And that's mostly
    a good thing.
    Did all the horrible things NAFTA was supposed to do, like Clinton's Welfare reform, really happen? It's hard to say. We simply are not well informed on these issues and the effort is not really made to inform us. Or me anyway.
    Another of such issues is Defense Spending. Rachael Maddow wrote a serious book on this issue a few years back. It was an imperfect book, it seemed to me. But it was a serious book that might have gotten some worthwhile dialogue going. But the book was largely ignored. Bob, who seems to be obsessed with Rachael Maddow, never seems to have even read it. Bob never comments of Defense Spending or mentions that it is barely covered in the press.
    Sometimes it seems he like to blow out a candle and curse the darkness.

    1. Bob just doesn't care about defense spending. Liberals like Bob would rather jump off the Starlight Bridge in Ho Chi Minh City than discuss defense spending.

    2. This is not a blog about defense spending. It is not even a blog about news. It is a blog critical of how the news is presented to you. If you want the news or discussion of the news, you are in the wrong place.

    3. I agree @ 1:24. That is why for my news and discussion of the news, "we spend time every night watching The One True Liberal Channel." Just like Bob.

    4. Somerby doesn't review books here. He occasionally uses them as a rhetorical device (e.g., books about MLK or by Harper Lee). If he did review books (like Jon Stewart does) and then ignored Maddow, you could claim he did something wrong, but short of that you are still complaining that he doesn't write about what you think he should write about.

      Maddow is acknowledged to be smart and well-educated but she doesn't use her expertise on her show and she seems to have abandoned a career as a policy analyst or government or foreign service worker for journalism, right from the beginning. If she wanted to drum up more interest in defense spending issues, she has no better platform than her own cable show, and yet she doesn't use it. How then can you fault Somerby?

      I have very mixed feelings about defense spending myself. I see it as a giant works/jobs project, a massive stimulus to the economy, expressed in terms acceptable to conservatives (because framed as crucial defense) but giving jobs and high wages, stimulating technical training, infusing cash into communities, etc., all across the country. Many forms of scientific research are funded by defense spending (especially with the cuts to NIH and NSF funding), so the military obliquely benefits basic research in a wide variety of areas (including psychology, medicine, computer science, engineering, agriculture). It may be an inefficient way to stimulate the economy, but it is an end-run around conservative austerity that benefits everyone, as long as there isn't an actual war. What is Maddow's take on that?

    5. "Somerby doesn't review books here."

      Believe it or not you can bet your Polish Miracle a truer comment was never made.

    6. Way to turn this thread around and hit the nail on its pointy little head.

    7. Jon Stewart quit because his book review section was being cut short for promos featuring authors.

    8. As I THINK some back me up here, these are very lame defensives of Bob. Actually Bob has often taken time reviewing books, and the reactions to books, at length. It is a blog about political writing, so one would assume Bob would be interested in the way Defense spending is discussed in the press just as he is interested in how trade deals are discussed.
      So, if Rachel Maddow writes a book about Defense Spending you would assume that Bob's Rachael Maddow obsession would extend into that book.
      But they don't. The terrible fashion in which these things are covered (HOW did Laura Logan get a pass and end up covering Afghanistan without a peep from ANYONE?) would fall under the beat of this blog in a any fair assessment, and so would trade agreements.
      I agree, it's strange we are told so little about this and have to turn to Krugman. But Bob is like an aging rock critic still making lame jokes about James Taylor. How is this situation all Rachel Maddow fault, and if it is, how does Bob get off ignoring her when She does worthwhile work?

    9. Name the last book Somerby reviewed or seriously discussed here.

    10. Do you want the one he first reviewed positively and then wrote several posts attacking? Nixonland. I think he reviewed several other books within the revised review of that book.

      Or do you want the one where he invented a victory for American students over Polish kids in test scores? The latter one lasted for more posts than anyone can count.

      "Little regard for our own: In Amanda Ripley’s new book, The Smartest Kids in the World, the author visits American exchange students in Korea, Finland and Poland.

      At the end of Chapter 1, Ripley defines the nature of her pursuit. In the following passage, she refers to average scores on the PISA, the set of international tests around which she chooses to structure her book.........Ripley sounds a bit like Thoreau explaining why he went to the woods. Thoreau produced an interesting book; Ripley has done so too." 10/9/13

      Somerby reviews more books than he produces attentive fans.

    11. Thank you for answering my question. Do you really think the Ripley discussion was about the book or was it about how she handled education statistics?

    12. Also, just of the top of my head: He certainly discussed both "Fools for Scandal" and "The Hunting of The President" at length. Bernie Goldberg's book. Chris Hay's book. He also will talk about his and other people's reaction to a movie from time to time. So your point was incorrect, based on a false premise.

    13. Greg's Flawed Thought ProcessJuly 10, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      Somerby has discussed books. He has mentioned books.

      Therefore his failure to discuss the one I want him to is a very big omission.

  3. Critical Voices on TPP

    "None of us understands the TPP, and no one is making the slightest attempt to explain the relevant issues."

    B. Somerby
    Blogger/Ex Comic

    "For some reason, we don’t need to hear about that silly trade bill!"
    B. Somerby
    Blogger/Ex Comic

    Friend, how much do you know and understand about the TPP—about the so-called Trans Pacific Partnership?....For ourselves, we’d say, “Not much.”

    B. Somerby
    Blogger/Ex Comic

    Friend, how well do you understand the disputes and disagreements about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership?...For ourselves, we know very little about international trade."

    B. Somerby
    Blogger/Ex Comic

    "How well do you understand the issues which underlie the debate about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership? We don’t understand those issues very well."

    B. Somerby
    Blogger/Ex Comic

    "About 10,700,000 results (0.25 seconds)"
    Search Engine

    1. You obviously miss the point. Krugman has obviously spent a great deal of time finding out about the TPP and has made some attempt to inform people about it, even though he himself does not think it is very important. Ms Maddow, on the other hand, apparently knows nothing about TPP and has made no attempt to inform her audience about it, even though she claims it is very, very important. She deserves criticism.

    2. Let me see if I get the point @1:19.

      After 10 days and five posts on the topic, Somerby still doesn't understand the issues about the TPP very well.

    3. @1:35 -- you have summarized @1:10's position, not @1:19's. @1:19 says that @1:10 is missing Somerby's point. @1:10, who never states his own views directly (too shy?), presents a bunch of excerpts that all show Somerby saying he doesn't understand TPP very well. I don't see any problem with Somerby's repeated remark and @1:10 doesn't explain why he wasted our time with his series of quotes.

    4. I don't think Somerby is an ex-comic. If someone retires without leaving the field for another occupation, they are a retired comic, strictly speaking.

    5. Ah, but 1:10 also closes with showing how easy it is in this Information Age to obtain information about the TPP. That is, if one actually cared to know and knew how to use a search engine.

      Or unless one wants to pretend, for the sake of advancing his own narrative, that such information is non existent, since Maddow doesn't talk about enough to suit Somerby.

      As if she could do anything that suits Somerby.

    6. You can't know everything @ 1:35. Somerby admits he doesn't know. He even admits he doesn't know if Krugman is right, Besides recognizing a fishy story about say, squishy footballs, and knowing logical things, like it is no big deal if Christie and Trump are friends (he practically owns Atlantic City after all) Somerby is up front about only being an expert in journalism and all things related to good journalistic practices.

    7. What's all this about Somerby being an ex-commie. Except for one cheap shot about Joan Walsh going to a piss poor state U. in Joe McCarthy's home state, I'd say he has been pretty good at calling a Maoist a Stalinist when he sees their sorry young Sandanista assets poking out at Salon.

    8. I think @ 1:10's closing point was to show you can find about 10.7 million results in a quarter of a second that prove Somerby is full of shit in the first point he highlighted. I have no idea if he is correct. I would love to see him interviewed.

    9. Why did he call us "friend" for a while then change his tone?

    10. I think 2:01 was saying we should call Somerby a comic blogger not a blogging commie.

    11. Good summary and excellent discussion guys.

    12. How Trolls ReasonJuly 10, 2015 at 11:55 AM

      There are a zillion google hits on TPP.

      Ergo it's well-covered in the media.

  4. Who's down with TPP?
    Well, you know me!

  5. Lack of alarm over climate change is significantly less stupid than belief in astrology. Not only is it anti-science but it's stupid. Right in the touchy feely irrational wheelhouse of progressives though.

    The 7 groups most likely to believe in astrology

    1. Conservative Democrats

    In the 2012 General Social Survey, 56.9 percent of conservative Democrats believe that astrology is very or sort of scientific, while only 43.1 percent believe that it is not scientific at all. This support for astrology is the highest among 15 overlapping political groups.

    2. Moderate Democrats

    The political group that is second most likely to believe in astrology is moderate Democrats. A majority of them — 52.0 percent — think that astrology is at least sort of scientific.

    3. Democrats (overall)

    Although liberal Democrats are insignificantly less likely than average to believe in astrology (43.5 percent), the difference is not enough to offset the beliefs of moderate and conservative Democrats. Thus, Democrats overall are in the third position, with nearly half (49.1 percent) believing in astrology.

    4. Moderate Independents

    Fully 48.9 percent of moderate Independents believe in astrology.

    5. Liberal Independents

    6. Moderates (overall)

    7. Independents (overall)

    About 48 percent of the independents (48.1 percent), moderates (48.2 percent), and liberal independents (48.3 percent) believe that astrology is at least sort of scientific.

    1. Perhaps a little off topic, don't you think?

    2. Not really. For all Somerby keeps confessing he doesn't know about TPP and international trade, it might as well be astrology to me.

    3. What percentages of conservatives believe in astrology?

    4. 1:58 please. Why do you insist on alienating and otherizing those with different views based on how they worship or who their beloved ancestors fought for in an unfortunate regional conflict? Are you a decent human?

    5. I can't believe @ 1:14 landed one right in the touchy feely irrational wheelhouse of progressives and there was no substantive response.

      Damn Bob for the lack of moderation. And damn liberals for the scandal that we are prepared to accept this big dumb barrel of undisguised rightwing nonsense.

    6. did anon 1:14 take his own poll to come up with these numbers?

    7. The Washington Post reported the statistics on the huge proportion of Democrats gullible enough to believe in astrology.

  6. One thing's for sure, B. Somerby is in the tank for Hillary "There Is No Alternative" Clinton and the neo-liberal juggernaut that's wrecking this country. We've waited all this time and this is the summary of the TPP we get?

    First off, it's a trade deal being negotiated in secret, the public doesn't know what's in it besides what's leaked- and neither does Krugman. Second, it will be under a newly minted Fast Track regime, when presented to Congress there can be no amendments and it can not be filibustered. Third, Krugman's view of the thing has evolved since 2013. Fourth, both suggesting it's about lowering trade barriers or suggesting low trade barriers have all ready been established is a complete "look over here" misdirection. The Agreement is about further distorting the free market by further empowering Intellectual Property rights and about removing from purportedly democratically controlled legislatures and executives the right to regulate the products sold in their own home market or even the right to make negative claims about those products and turning that control over to what, no doubt will be, the revolving door, corporate lackeys on international trade review boards.

    We got it Somerby, the TPP does not significantly reduce trade barriers, but that's just it, nobody who has been following this issue is up in arms about its potential to reduce tariffs.

    1. And yet he keeps saying he likes Sanders a lot.

    2. Kernel or Kandidate Sanders?

    3. CMike seems hell bent on handing us another decade or two of Reaganesque defeat.

    4. Neo liberal Juggernaut? Thanks, I haven't heard that one since Christopher Hitchens was telling us to find a good Republican and vote for him, and that the Supreme Court didn't really matter. Say hello to the other idiots at "Counterpunch!"

    5. Shorter Greg:

      Whose side are you on son, don't you love your party?... Then how about getting with the program. Why don't you jump on the team and come in for the big win?

    6. Sanders is a nice old guy saying some good things but he cannot win. That isn't the fault of Greg or Hillary or anyone except Sanders. Vote for whoever you want. Sanders has no more chance than Trump. You can throw your vote away or support the party but Sanders will not be the nominee. Not because Hillary is inevitable -- because Sanders is unelectable. For God's sake, he said he will raise taxes. He cannot say that and win. And that's just one problem with his candidacy.

    7. 12:41 AM,

      So your point is that if you don't vote for the winner in an election you threw your vote away? That's one approach to good citizenship, I guess.

    8. Voting for a minority candidate who has no chance of winning is throwing your vote away, in my opinion. You can do it as some sort of personal expression or protest, but it doesn't affect the outcome of the election, so it is a wasted vote. There are still people who vote Peace and Freedom or Green every election. Feel free to join them. But advocating for those candidates does take votes away from the Democratic party and can affect the outcome of the general election. So do so only if you don't care about whether Democrats beat Republicans. And if you don't care about that, I seriously doubt whether you understand what is best for this country. That is my point.

    9. Just who are you to be lecturing other people about wasting their vote?

      I have voted for president since 1972, and each time -- with the exception of 1976 -- there have been significant differences between the Democratic and Republican nominees. So I don't subscribe to the "Tweedledee/Tweedledum" argument.

      I will also recognize that there will never be a candidate of either major party who will perfectly line up with my ideology, and that campaigning and governing are two different skillsets. So I do subscribe to the "perfect is often the enemy of the good" theory, while rejecting the "lesser of two evils" or "evil of two lessers" philosophy.

      At the same time, however, I can see how a fellow citizen could not, in good conscience, vote for either of the two major party candidates either because both candidates are so far removed from their own ideology -- be it "liberal" or "conservative" -- or perhaps in protest of a two-party system that's been absolutely corrupted by big money, especially since the Citizens United decision.

      I will not begrudge them that decision, or look down my nose at them and say they are wasting their vote, even if I disagree with their choice.

    10. "So your point is that if you don't vote for the winner in an election you threw your vote away?"


      You won't be able to vote for Sanders "in the election" -- BECAUSE SANDERS WON'T BE IN THE ELECTION!

      Meanwhile, he's in the race (which he will lose) for the Democratic nomination. It's possible he'll debate Clinton at some point during that process. It's possible that could result in Clinton making some concessions to her left flank.

      As someone who regards himself as progressive, I welcome that possibility.

      But finally, yes, to a virtual certainty ("inevitably," if you like), Clinton will be the Democratic candidate.

      Your choice won't be between Clinton and Sanders.

      Your choice won't be between Sanders and some GOP horrorshow candidate.

      Your choice WILL BE: Clinton, GOP horrorshow, or sit on your thumb.

      Depending on the state in which you reside, that choice may make a difference to actual human beings.

      If your vote can make a difference and you withhold it because you dislike Clinton's "arrogance," her "presumptuousness," or because she's not free enough of "evil" for you -- well, then you're helping elect the GOP horrorshow.

      Bully for you, pretend moralist.

    11. July 10 @ 10:29 AM - this!

    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. If Clinton is going to be the nominee then what does it matter who anyone votes for in the primary? She will, by a long shot, have the most money throughout the primary season so what by your logic Haptic will anyone's vote matter? Yet there's all this upset about Sanders' candidacy- in the primary.

      As to your:

      You won't be able to vote for Sanders "in the election" -- BECAUSE SANDERS WON'T BE IN THE ELECTION!


      (By the way, if Sanders can be dismissed as a nice old guy 12:41 AM- don't look too close at your own destiny, she has something in common with him and, in that particular sense, is a dead ringer for Ronald Reagan.)

    14. Wow! That's some crystal ball you have, Haptic, to be able to predict this far out with such certainty who the nominee will be.

      I guess we could as President Muskie to back you up on that. Or President Giuliani. Or even President Hillary. All were considered locks for the nomination a year and a half out.

  7. Sad but true, Bob. Sad but true.

  8. Sanders has so far made very little traction with non-white Democrats.

    1. And for better and probably worse, he won't. You might as well try to get Black people into Unitarian Church.

  9. The only people who think TV News is supposed to be actual news are people who work in TV News and Bob Somersby.

    The press blows, and I love me a Daily Howler, but getting worked up about Maddow is like complaining that Mary Hart and John Tesh weren't getting to the meat of the news. They all have the exact same job as far as America is concerned.

  10. "We don’t know if [Krugman's view on TPP is] is correct."

    I'm pretty sure you are bing facetious here, but it's almost impossible that he is wrong on this question.

    Sure, one can't say with certainty that he is correct, but since International Trade is his specialty, and he literally wrote the (text) book on International Trade, I'd tend to agree with his view.

    Oh, and he also won a Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in International Trade.

    1. He has no more influence over the press than Bob does. That is according to Bob, who literally wrote six chapters of a book about the press on his own website.

    2. When exactly did Paul Krugman write "the book" on international trade, before his 2008 "Trade and Wages, Reconsidered" or after [LINK]?

      After all the insults over the years, here was William Greider getting some over due payback in his "Why Was Paul Krugman So Wrong? [LINK] :

      [QUOTE] ...Of course it is unfair to blame Paul Krugman personally. He was perhaps the most influential economist with his flair for condescending put-downs of dissenters, but Krugman was merely representative of the standard beliefs widely shared by his profession and embedded in government policies.

      ...Krugman’s over-confident answers to his own questions proved to be mostly wrong, as subsequent events made clear. So was the textbook theory in many instances. His most egregious error was perhaps the assertion that wages always rise with an economy’s rising productivity. Certainly that had been the American experience for many years, but Krugman did not seem to grasp that globalization liberated American businesses from sustaining that relationship.

      ...Krugman, nevertheless, stuck with standard theory. “One last assertion that may bother some readers is that wages automatically rise with productivity,” he wrote. “Is this realistic? Yes. Economic history offers no example of a country that experienced long-term productivity growth without a roughly equal rise in real wages.”

      Actually, as Krugman was writing this, US industrial wages were already diverging from the old pattern, no longer keeping up with the curve of rising productivity. US hourly wages have essentially been flat or falling in real terms since the early 1970s when Japanese imports started to penetrate US markets. American industrial wages had once led the world.

      * * *

      By 2007, the facts were so visible and overwhelming, Krugman and other economists were compelled to alter their conclusions. “Fears that low-wage competition is driving down US wages have a real basis in both theory and fact,” he now announced in his Times column. It seems that organized labor was right, after all. “So there is a dark side to globalization,” Krugman wrote. But this time he had only a sheepish response to his own question. “What’s the answer? I don’t think there is one, as long as the discussion is restricted to trade policy.”

      Krugman’s pronouncements may have reflected the American hubris then common among US elites and the obvious condescension toward poorer nations rising rapidly in the global firmament. “The Myth of Asia’s Miracle,” Krugman famously declared in Foreign Affairs, the establishment journal. Fears about Japan and the “Asian tigers” reminded Krugman of the post-Sputnik hysteria during the Cold War when US leaders suddenly thought the Soviet economy was overtaking the American powerhouse....
      [END QUOTE]

      Turns out the dueling victim Alexander Hamilton and the linguist Noam Chomsky had the better share of the right of this whole trade issue all along.

    3. Someone (thomas carlyle I think) once called economics the 'dismal science.' I agree with that, except for the science part.