2:00PM Water Cooler 7/17/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


List of traitors in House and Senate, with phone numbers. Hat tip, reader Vatch. Be sure to visit them when they return to the district. If a traitor is mentioned in Water Cooler, their name is in bold. (A reader helpfully sent me an updated version with phone numbers which I will install shortly!)

ISDS: “Canada being sued for billions under NAFTA investor protections” [Toronto Star].

Malaysia: “U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told Malaysian lawmakers in a meeting this week the United States is ready to close a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal this month with almost all of the parties involved and warned that Malaysia will be “left behind” if it cannot agree to the terms, according to a source familiar with the meeting” [Inside Trade (Subscription only)]. Given that (1) Malaysia is convulsed by the 1MDB corruption scandal, and (2) that Malaysia’s bumiputra is nothing but an ethnically-based system of trade barriers, this could be hard for them. (And we deep-sixed that troublesome slavery matter for them, too! Along with the mass graves. Why, the ingratitude!)

WTO vs. TISA: “Moreover, under GATS, any non-TiSA WTO member can raise a dispute on the ground of its rights and obligations being impaired, and get a binding ruling via the DSU. Such a grievance could arise for a WTO member if it finds its own existing access to the services markets of the TiSA members reduced despite Article V clearly saying that any integration agreement, in respect of a non-member, “shall not … raise the overall level of barriers to trade in services within the respective sectors or subsectors compared to the level applicable prior to such an agreement” [The Wire]. Interesting, but nerdy (for me).



“Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has announced that he is teaming up with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to co-sponsor her bill that would reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act” [PoliticsUSA]. And that’s one of the issues Hillary Clinton has been hazy about. 

Allowing commercial banks to merge with investment banks and insurance companies in 1999 was a huge mistake. It precipitated the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world. It caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college. It substantially increased wealth and income inequality and it led to the enormous concentration of economic power in this country.

And it happened on Bill Clinton’s watch, so what about it?

The S.S. Clinton

“The Clinton campaign is managed by Robby Mook, who prides himself on being something of a skinflint. Campaign aides have been taking the bus between New York and Washington, D.C., rather than spring for the pricier Amtrak ticket” [Wall Street Journal]. But “skinflint” is relative:

Q2 campaign spending:

Sanders Clinton
Staff $112k $3.7m
Rent $40k $464k
Polling $0 $900k

For perspective, Clinton’s quarterly spending on staff is five times Bernie’s net worth ($737,000).

Republican Principled Insurgents

More on the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that shut down the “John Doe” investigation into Walker’s financing [Brennan Center for Justice]. Note that the Brennan Center isn’t into partisan fodder (check the board of directors):

“This ruling raises grave concerns about the fairness and impartiality of the court in this case,” said Matt Menendez, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice. “Based on publicly-available information, it is extraordinary that the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to explain how several the justices could, ethically and constitutionally, even rule on this case.”

In 2010, the Wisconsin Supreme Court specifically changed the state’s recusal rules in 2010 to exclude “campaign contributions” as a basis for judicial recusal. One of the targets of the investigation, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, helped draft the rule change.

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a group that tracks political spending, the four justices who ruled in the case received the following election support from the groups who won in today’s decision:

  • The Wisconsin Club for Growth reportedly spent $400,000 for Justice Annette Ziegler in 2007, $507,000 for Justice Michael Gableman in 2008, $520,000 for Justice David Prosser in 2011, and $350,000 for Justice Patience Roggensack in 2013.
  • The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spent an estimated $2.2 million for Justice Ziegler, $1.8 million for Justice Gableman, $1.1 million for Justice Prosser, and $500,000 for Justice Roggensack.
  • Citizens for a Strong America spent an estimated $985,000 in support of Justice Prosser.


“Scott Walker Push For Milwaukee Bucks Arena Subsidy Could Benefit His Fundraising Chief” [International Business Times]. Ka-ching.

Rand Paul: “In a June CNN poll of likely Republican voters and a July Quinnipiac poll of caucus-goers in Iowa, Paul clocked in at 12 or 13 percent support among men, but just 2 to 4 percent among women. No one else faces a gender gap that comes close” [National Journal].

Marco Rubio: Good long-form read on how Rubio exercised power in the Florida legislature [National Journal].

Republican Clown Car

“[W]e will cover [Trump’s] campaign as part of our Entertainment section” [HuffPo]. Ha. As I was saying….

Trump calls off bet with MSNBC’s O’Donnelll after O’Donnell apologizes [The Hill]. The beef? Trump’s actual wealth… 

The Hill

” Warren Pushes U.S. Regulators to Revisit Wall Street Swaps” [Bloomberg]. What could go wrong?

“Obama, Koch Brothers in Unlikely Alliance to Overhaul Criminal Justice” [Wall Street Journal].

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, June 2015:  “up an as-expected 0.3 percent in June, isn’t soaring but, as Federal Reserve policy makers are predicting, underlying pressures are beginning to inch higher” [Bloomberg]. Two-thirds of the gain tied to rise for owners’ equivalent rent in another indication of rising demand in the housing sector.”

Consumer Sentiment, July 2015: Softening below expectations [Bloomberg]. “[T]oday’s report suggests that the best for confidence may already have passed.”

Housing Starts, June 2015: “Strong demand for apartment units drove housing starts & permits data far beyond expectations, overshadowing less strength for the key single-family home category [Bloomberg]. And: “The increase is entirely a multi family story, and multi family dwellings are cheaper/smaller than single family” [Mosler Economics].

“Though new homes represent only a fraction of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to NAHB data” [AP].

Fed semiannual Monetary Policy Report: “Despite these increased market discussions, a variety of metrics of liquidity in the nominal Treasury market do not indicate notable deteriorations” [Business Insider].

“North Korea’s economy expanded by 1.0% in 2014. … That’s just better than the 0.9% growth recorded in the Eurozone last year” [Business Insider].

“Hedge fund manager Paul Singer said that China’s debt-fueled stock market crash may have larger implications than the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, echoing warnings from fellow billionaire money managers Bill Ackman and Jeffrey Gundlach” [Bloomberg].

“China has created what amounts to a state-run margin trader with $483 billion of firepower. … [T]he financing is up to 25 times bigger than the support fund started by Chinese brokerages earlier this month. That’s probably enough to restore confidence among China’s 90 million individual investors” [Bloomberg].

“Onion Explains: The Rise Of China” [The Onion].

“New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows a 10% appreciation in the U.S. dollar during one quarter will reduce GDP growth by half a percentage point over a year and the effects will linger into the following year” [Market News].

“Almost every economist reports having engaged in at least one practice considered unacceptable by peers. For example, one third of the participants admit to having cherry-picked results” [Economist]. Maximizing… 

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“[P]ractically every new surveillance technique American law enforcement tries out—whether it’s GPS tracking of vehicles, aerial surveillance with drones, or searching a cell phone taken from a suspect at the time of arrest—has first come to light in a drug case” [Wired]. Good long-form article.


“The annual State of the Climate report is out, and it’s ugly. Record heat, record sea levels, more hot days and fewer cool nights, surging cyclones, unprecedented pollution, and rapidly diminishing glaciers” [Bloomberg]. Check out the map: The only continential land mass that’s cooler than usual and a global power is Eastern United States. While the rest of the world can experience record heat, the polity with the most power to change things can only imagine it. It’s like Gaia is saying: “Go on. Be like that. But you’ll be s-o-r-r-y!”

“And, according to new research, fjords in West Greenland are much deeper than previously thought. That means the world’s sea levels could rise faster than anticipated, because those outlet glaciers are more exposed to warm water. The findings have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters” [WaPo].


“Greek bailout to hit ports, shipping” [joc.com (PT)]. Good explainer on how the Greek shipping industry is organized. One nugget:

Meanwhile, Greek shipowners, who control the world’s biggest fleet of some 4,200 ships totaling 324 million deadweight tons and worth around $112 billion, according to VesselsValue.com, an online ship valuation site, are bracing for sharply higher tax bills.

The industry also risks losing its tax exemption status, enshrined in the Greek constitution, that has ensured shipowners have remained in the country, employing nearly 200,000 seafarers and onshore staff, while their ships fly flags of convenience, led by Liberia and Panama, and their companies are registered in tax havens or listed on foreign stock markets, mostly in the U.S.

Greek shipowners had already pledged to voluntarily pay an extra 420 million euros in tonnage taxes over the next four years in a deal struck with the previous New Democracy government that was ousted by Syriza in January’s general election.

But there are fears that many shipping companies may now shift their operations to more tax friendly countries. Cyprus, 40 percent of whose fleet is Greek-owned, is seen as the most likely destination.

“Greece battles huge wildfires in Athens, Peloponnese” [AFP]. More good news….

The Bernanke blogs again: “Second, it’s time for the leaders of the euro zone to address the problem of large and sustained trade imbalances (either surpluses or deficits), which, in a fixed-exchange-rate system like the euro zone, impose significant costs and risks. For example, the Stability and Growth Pact, which imposes rules and penalties with the goal of limiting fiscal deficits, could be extended to reference trade imbalances as well. Simply recognizing officially that creditor as well as debtor countries have an obligation to adjust over time (through fiscal and structural measures, for example) would be an important step in the right direction” [Brookings Institution].

“In a note sent to clients Friday [Societe Generale’s Albert Edwards] says: “For me the biggest unforeseen impact of last weekend is that the Greek ‘agreement’ makes it far more likely that the UK will leave the EU after the 2017 referendum” [Business Insider].

Class Warfare

“The end of capitalism has begun” [Paul Mason, Guardian]. Oh?

“The Health Cost of Upward Mobility” [The Atlantic]. Seems that stress and intersectionality would be a fruitful area for research.

“Millennials Who Are Thriving Financially Have One Thing in Common” [The Atlantic]. At least they’re not confusing a demographic category with a political agent.

Millions of America’s young people are really struggling financially. Around 30 percent are living with their parents, and many others are coping with stagnant wages, underemployment, and sky-high rent.

And then there are those who are doing just great—owning a house, buying a car, and consistently putting money away for retirement.

These, however, are not your run-of-the-mill Millennials. Nope. These Millennials have something very special: rich parents.

I don’t see why poor people couldn’t have chosen better parents. What’s wrong with them?

“When I was reporting from France this spring, UberPOP drivers clearly knew they were working outside the law. To evade police, drivers sometimes asked paying passengers to sit in the front seat and pretend they were friends (you know, as if they were actually “sharing” a ride) [WaPo].

No company has the right to unilaterally exempt itself from public laws, even if it considers those laws to be kind of stupid. That’s not civil disobedience; that’s racketeering.

No, it’s Silicon Valley glibertarianism.

News of the Wired

“Red All Over: How a Tiny Bug Changed the Way We See the World” [Humanities].

“Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Ignore the Metrics” [Boing Boing].

“Tracking Compliance and Scope” [W3C Last Call Working Draft]. Scope: “Do Not Track is designed to provide users with a simple mechanism to express a preference to allow or limit online tracking.” Note the authors.

“Turkish Muslim televangelist tells rival: Oral sex is allowed in Islam” [Al Arabiya].

“Music piracy became to the early two-thousands what drug experimentation had been to the late nineteen-sixties: a generation-wide flouting of both social norms and the existing body of law, with little thought for consequences” [The New Yorker]. Good long-form on the rise and fall of Napster, and the relation of piracy to CD-pressing and industry consolidation.

Ellen Pao: “The trolls are winning.” [Boing Boing].

* * *

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


From Dimitri’s balcony in Athens…

NOTE: Please free to test the donation dropdown, where the amount you select should finally appear on the PayPal form! Thanks to kind reader DK, who fixed my code. (And if you have problems, please let me know using the contact link, so as not to clutter the thread.)

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And pay the plumber….


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Anon

    Re: Glass-Stegall

    So, if it were to pass, how fast would it take for it to be enacted? Would there be a grace period of some sort? I’m mentally trying to picture how it would play out. Also, between Sanders and Warren, this might have enough bite to chew through both House and Senate, if only because those whose seats are vulnerable want to be seen as “progressive”. (Whatever happened to being progressive, I will probably never know)

    1. Vince in MN

      Enacting it is one thing, enforcing would be another. Our regulatory agencies are notoriously and intentionally underfunded and understaffed.

    2. Vatch

      Here’s the text of the bill:


      (i) ORDERLY TERMINATION OF EXISTING AFFILIATIONS AND ACTIVITIES.—Any affiliation, common ownership or control, or activity of an insured depository institution with any securities entity, insurance company, swaps entity, or any other person, as of the date of enactment of the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2015, which is prohibited under subparagraph (A) shall be terminated as soon as is practicable, and in no event later than the end of the 5-year period beginning on that date of enactment.

      The bill also lists exceptions, but 5 years seems to be the main time limit. That should be plenty of time for the bankers to get their ducks in a row.

  2. twonine

    And it happened on Bill Clinton’s watch, so what about it?

    How about the Commodity Futures “Modernization” Act of 2000 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996? Do they get honorable mention in the Clinton hall of fame?

    1. edmondo

      It will be interesting to watch Hillary’s “populist” campaign run against everything that Bill did while in office.

      We got a “two-fer” alright. He signs it into law and she runs against it (until she takes the oath of office).

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      History does come down to individual people and critical moments, you could cite Winston Churchill in the late 1930’s, alone in the wilderness supporting the scientists who were working on radar, which helped win the Battle of Britain, which in turn, etc.
      Or you might point to that lovely couple Wendy and Phil Gramm and the Commod “Modernization” Act. Or the even lovelier couple: Mr. and Mrs. Philanderer and Cookie Baker from Arkansas.

      And since when is Obama/Koch an “unlikely alliance”?

  3. allan

    The speed of Wisconsin’s descent into banana republic status is truly amazing.
    It’ll be interesting to see how quickly top faculty flee UW-Madison (of course, to Walker that’s a feature, not a bug), but also how fast externally supported research (NIH, NSF, …) drops off – maybe not so hot for economic development.

    Since there seems to be no Democratic Clown Car category, file this under Former Republican Clown Car:

    Presidential hopeful Chafee, wife worth at least $38M

    Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee and his wife earned up to $4.4 million in income in 2014 and he and his wife had property and investments worth at least $38 million, according to a federal financial disclosure filed this week. … Chafee reported that his wife’s trust holds stakes of more than $1 million in several companies, including gold mining firms Goldcorp and Newmont Mining, energy company Kinder Morgan, telecommunications firms Infinera and Verizon Communications, technology firm Intel, online retailer Amazon and A.H. Belo, owner of The Dallas Morning News.

  4. craazyman

    politics and economics are getting too tedious for words. to hell with that shlt. It’s been years already! I can’t take another day of it. It’s as brainless now as it was 5 years ago. Nothing has changed and it never will change.

    Let’s just turn the whole web site over to photography and art. That’s a good foundation for eternal themes that last. The plant pics are a good start! Maybe work in some still lifes if dead plants are OK. I don’t mean to be maudlin, but sometimes people do take pictures of dead plants. Or paint them. Anyway. Dead animals are a little more senstive a topic. I don’t imagine any deer heads with antlers on the wall at NC World Headquarters but even a woman like Georgia OKeefe painted animal skulls. She must have been weird. I don’t think she shot one as much as just found it on the ground already dead.

    1. Clive

      I often think when reading the Internet, “You know Clive, this thing is okay as far as it goes, being the sum total of all human knowledge and understanding and all that, but what it could really do with is some more pictures of people’s cats. That, and maybe a website where people could upload videos of drunk people falling down in comical ways”. Speak to Yves and see if you can maybe persuade her to take the blog in that sort of direction. Talk about a glaring gap in the market…

      1. craazyman

        she won’t listen to anything I say. every time I send a story for links it never gets posted. the one about the 50 year old Dallas Cowboy cheerleader was amazing. The Yellowstone Bigfoot video was astonishing. There was that one about the flying black triangle saucer in Westchester — that was world class news. Nothing got posted. But God Forbid there’s some nonsense about Target 2 eurozone balances by somebody like Ms. Gillian Tett at FT and up it goes like a skirt in the wind! pooof. there it is as a link.

  5. Uahsenaa

    I read that Guardian piece this morning, and it’s beyond vomit worthy. It’s hard to know where to begin with it: the total lack of understanding of the nuts and bolts daily logistics of the world economy (finance in particular), the complete ignorance of the problem of infrastructure in IT and how much of a resource hog it really is, the stupid Marx anecdote, the dumb reading of Marx’s work, etc. What it all boils down to is the same ole same ole end of history crap Fukuyama was peddling after the fall of the Berlin Wall and which was reinvented for the disruption set in Barlow’s equally vacuous Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Sure, the end of liberalism or whatever. Unfortunately, it only takes a few years before we end up with neoliberalism.

    What never bothers to enter into the minds of those who wax rhapsodically over the coming “internet of things,” is that, if using the wifi receiver/transmitter on your laptop depletes the battery in a manner of a few hours, just imagine how much more strain there will be on the grid when every single appliance in your home has one.

    1. Clive

      Yes, I really can’t make up my mind about Mason. Sometimes he produces work of borderline genius, certainly things that I can agree with (not that they synonymous). Then you get some other stuff that, putting it nicely, makes you wonder what he’s on. That Guardian piece had elements of both in more or less equal measure. It did mean it was very interesting though.

      Like you say, did have a whiff of techno fix fixation about it. And crikey, I thought I could be a shoo-in for “most verbose thing to come out of England since Dickens was paid by the word” but he could knock spots off me any day of the week.

      Still, these days I’m glad to see anything even vaguely thought provoking in the MSM so credit due to the Guardian for running it.

    2. Roquentin

      You’re very right about that Guardian piece getting it way, way wrong. His reading of Marx is trash. Case in point, the below:

      Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. The coming wave of automation, currently stalled because our social infrastructure cannot bear the consequences, will hugely diminish the amount of work needed – not just to subsist but to provide a decent life for all.

      I’ve bolded this sentence because it runs directly contrary to Das Kapital. One of the major conclusions reached in arguably Marx’s central text, and one someone who had even a passing familiarity with it would know, was that there is no way to solve the problems of capitalism through technology. This observation was made in the English garment industry of the 19th century and is as accurate then as it was today. The problems of capitalism are based on social relations, not technology. This is why now, in an era of unprecedented technological capacity for production (compared to the 19th century), people are working longer hours than they did 50 years ago and society as a whole is more unequal than it has been for a very long time.

      Technology will not resolve the contradictions of capitalism on its own. Anyone even loosely familiar with Marx wouldn’t make such a case.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I seem to remember something about the social relations of production holding back the forces of production. Which now that I think of it translates neatly (or misreadingly/misleadingly) into Veblen’s distinction between business and industry, and how business sabotages industry).

      2. flora

        Yes. Technology does not solve social problems; people do. Mason seems to argue that technology will magically level the playing field. Technology alone usually amplifies social and power relation differences.

      3. knowbuddhau

        That’s right, technologies amplify intentions, they don’t rectify them, despite the assurances of snake oil salesmen throughout the ages. If any single technology could ever rectify anything to do with humanity, as opposed to simply solving narrowly defined practical problems, this one, this language we’re using, would’ve done so long ago.

        1. knowbuddhau

          Argh edit option always appears except when I want to edit. *anything to do with humanity for good, I should say.

          Hard fact is, there’s no magical techno solution to being human. Mason should watch more sci-fi.

    3. Jerry Denim

      More or less my thoughts. Nice to know I wasn’t alone. For a piece proclaiming the death of capitalism which on it’s face seemed critical of neoliberal economics, it was disturbing to see so many of Mason’s assumptions polluted by market fundamentalist dogma. I almost stopped reading after this one:

      “Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. That is because markets are based on scarcity while information is abundant”

      Markets are infallible, information is perfect and pure. Groundbreaking and totally clear eyed (snark). I guess optimism sells.

  6. flora

    re: Malaysia. They’re reluctant to sign on the dotted line?
    They probably learned something from the 1997 Asian financial crisis about trusting US financial good faith dealing and expertise.

  7. DJG

    Olives. An excellent antidote. The life-giving tree, whose wood burns hot and smokeless. Then there is the fruit to cure and eat, the oil to thrive on and rub on, and the sheer beauty of the tree and its leaves, the upper side green, the lower side silver.

    Some say that the olive tree is a gift of Athena. But I recently read that the olive tree is a gift of Poseidon, who was likely the husband of Demeter, when he wasn’t frolicking in the waves.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I love olives! What kind of soil, care, and climate do olive trees require? As climate changes, where might olives thrive where they could not before?

      1. Gio Bruno

        Olea europa is a long lived,slow growing, evergreen tree that prefers light, well-drained soils. It grows best in moderately warm (Mediterranean) climes with full sun (south facing slopes). Climate change may bring warmer climes, but in also may bring more agricultural pests.

      2. Oregoncharles

        They grow in the Oregon Willamette Valley, aside from the occasional severe freeze. There’s a commercial orchard near Salem – wonder how it fared winter before last (zero and below).

        Teas does well here, too. It’s a camellia. I drink homegrown about one day out of six.

      3. Faye Carr

        Here in Florida, olives are being developed as a cash crop replacement for the citrus we are losing to “greening” .

        There are several small holders establishing olive groves in various areas of the state to acess best location, soils, and climate. In anticipation of higher temps, base water salinity levels etc.

        Cultivars are being developed that can withstand our escalating but short term chill hours.

        Not to mention reduction of the cost of distance.

        I plan to add a small (3-5) tree experimental grove this fall

  8. DJG

    “In a June CNN poll of likely Republican voters and a July Quinnipiac poll of caucus-goers in Iowa, Paul clocked in at 12 or 13 percent support among men, but just 2 to 4 percent among women. No one else faces a gender gap that comes close”

    This reminds me that my sort-of loose definition of libertarians is white guys who don’t want to pay taxes.

    1. Ed

      Its white guys who don’t want to pay taxes and who want to legally be able to smoke pot, thank you very much.

  9. Ed S.

    RE: Reinstate Glass-Steagall

    One other change that occurred around the same time (mid-late 1990’s) in addition to repeal of Glass-Steagall and Commodities Modernization was the final change in corporate form of Investment Banks.

    I-banks had been organized as partnerships for generations. By 1999, the partnerships were all gone — with Goldman as the last, going public in 1999.

    A partnership – that has general partners with substantial “skin in the game” — is more risk averse than an I-banking corporation — where IBG:YBG + FUIGM really can rule the roost.

  10. fledermaus

    Two-thirds of the (CPI) gain tied to rise for owners’ equivalent rent in another indication of rising demand in the housing sector

    Looks like their cunning plan of hiding rising housing prices in OER is now backfiring on them as rents keep going up.

  11. jgordon

    With regards to the new Gaia section, there is something deeply fractured about trying to talk about economics and monetary policy without constantly referencing the real resources available in the world, the pollution, the ecological health, etc, at the same time, so I’m thrilled to see a new focus on that.

    With regards to that, and Greece, let’s consider indoor plumbing. The stuff we excrete makes for excellent fertilizer, and when properly composted and invested into a productive ecosystem it can indefinitely sustain many people while simultaneously adding to the ecological diversity and health of the environment. Yet despite the horrific deprivations the Greek people are suffering most still use indoor plumbing, diluting perfectly good drinking water with fecal matter and then conveying the resulting toxic mess out through a hidden pipe until it eventually ends up in an ocean or wherever sight unseen. Any kind of a real solution to the Greek suffering would involve correcting this misalignment of resources by eliminating most indoor plumbing, but this is not even on the radar of those few who are concerned for the Greek people.

    Hopefully as the cheap energy resources that allow for this kind of thoughtless activity continue to dwindle, a broader ecological awareness will take hold before too much of the population has to die off. In that respect I would tend to want to put “Gaia” always as the main topic while things like “Grexit” and “Class Warfare” and such would be indented subtopics of that. But that’s just me.

    1. Gio Bruno

      It’s that indoor plumbing (and intense energy use at the sewer plant) that allows for the density in cities without damaging public health. (See: Haiti and cholera epidemic.)

      Finding the appropriate balance of population and energy use in a sustainable environment is the challenge of the day.

  12. Oregoncharles

    ” the biggest unforeseen impact of last weekend is that the Greek ‘agreement’ makes it far more likely that the UK will leave the EU after the 2017 referendum””

    Yes. and what other countries?

    This was the gist of most of the “Grexit” links this morning.

  13. Tertium Squid

    Escaping the New Media Cargo Cult:

    with the understanding that finding and keeping our audience is just as much a part of the creative work as the writing itself

    But then you’re not selling your writing anymore, you’re selling yourself, the idea of yourself, the writer/celebrity who is Very Important and people pay attention to because that’s what they pay attention to. And then the “writing” part becomes somewhat superfluous.

    I thought this article was a nice bracket with yesterday’s link about ethicists not following their own advice, and the same questions should be asked of both, what are they for? Is ethics just logic puzzles for bored intellectuals? Is writing just a translucent pipeline full of words that speeds towards the charnel house of disposable culture?

    In both cases the authors bemoan how their craft doesn’t measure up to ideals, but in the end they shrug and say well a body’s got to get paid.

    This will not be going on forever, I promise you.

  14. Jay M

    I picked up my burner outfit at the trunk show this week. Very bespoke, steampunk, and the trend this year is to be a virgin. Yeah Mason, probably should veg out during the weird climate.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Man Who Broke the Music Business

    Understanding is the basis of enlightenment… or espionage. One of the things I’ve consistently found to be hilarious about the CIA is the fact that the operations spooks don’t consider the analysts to be real spies.

    “The leader of RNS went by the handle Kali. He was a master of surveillance and infiltration, the Karla of music piracy. It seemed that he spent hours each week researching the confusing web of corporate acquisitions and pressing agreements that determined where and when CDs would be manufactured. With this information, he built a network of moles who, in the next eight years, managed to burrow into the supply chains of every major music label. “This stuff had to be his life, because he knew about all the release dates,” Glover said.”

    It’s too bad for the US that a bunch of teenagers and 20-something internet pirates are probably better at so-called tradecraft than the CIA. Oh well. It’s just five more years until this country has a functional and first-rate foreign intelligence agency. /sarcasm

    1. redleg

      Not only are they better spies, but as an indie musician and songwriter they are dead right on music releases too. Free music is PR. While it’s nice to get money for music, it’s the publicity that makes honest to god fans who both pay and inspire the artist.

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