2:00PM Water Cooler 8/6/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



“Former Rep. Ron Paul said in two recent interviews that he supports the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it ‘to the benefit of world peace’.” [The Hill].

Trump on Fed policy: “From a business standpoint, ‘I like low interest rates,’ Trump said. Yet he added that ‘from the country’s standpoint, I’m just not sure it’s a very good thing, because I really do believe we’re creating a bubble’ [HuffPo]. Trump’s Fed Chair fave: Volcker.

Obama is beginning to sound like a climate change leader. When will he act like one? [Naomi Klein, Democracy Now].

The Republican Debates

“Bush [described Trump as ‘a buffoon,’ ‘clown’ and ‘@sshole'” [Politico]. Boy, that’s the mother of all money quotes, isn’t it? My understanding is that in Southern honor culture, “@sshole” is a very bad word indeed, a fighting word. I don’t know about Queens. (Best euphemism: “Glass bowl.”)

For some reason, there’s a plethora of Republican debate drinking games. A random selection of excuses to hoist one:

  • “3. A candidate says, ‘This president…'” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. If you want to get hammered…
  • “6. Mike Huckabee has gone from the nice pastor you used to like when you were a kid to the creepily religious guy” [Fox Sports]. Unexpectedly sharp!
  • “[Trump] pulls out his phone to tweet one of his own zingers during the debate” [New York Post] That would be awesome!
  • “Every time candidates interrupt each other, pass your drink to the person to the left” [Buzzfeed]

Quotes from a Democratic apparatchik’s rolodex [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. The vile Celinda Lake:

“The number one challenge for Democrats will be whether they pull ahead on the economy,” Lake adds. “Democrats will look for who can really communicate the sense that he can create jobs — who can communicate an economic message in a general election, particularly to blue collar America.”

Like Obama’s Democrats are so good at that.


Unknown truck driver wins nomination for Mississippi governor over Democratic regular [The State].

Criminal Indictments

“Three Ron Paul 2012 Staffers Charged with Bribing Iowa Official” [Iowa Public Radio]. In a perfectly “rights-respecting manner,” no doubt. And #awkward, since one of them, Jesse Benton, is a Rand Paul confidante.


Rules of campaign cash (handy chart) [Bloomberg]. Yet another absurdly complex and obfuscatory system. 

Our Nation’s Capital

Obama ad man Mark Putnam goes to work for AIPAC [WaPo].

“The IRS severely mismanaged the applications of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status, a long-awaited and bipartisan Senate report said Wednesday” [The Hill]. But the two parties can’t agree on whether it was intentional or not.

“[O]pponents [of the Iran deal] need to basically run the table, getting all but one of those 14 Senators” remaining undecided [WaPo].

Stats Watch

“Traders have never been more convinced of a September rate hike by the Federal Reserve” (chart shows a smidge over 50% believers, at last) [Bloomberg].

“It is too late for OPEC to stop the shale revolution. The cartel faces the prospect of surging US output whenever oil prices rise” [Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph].

Chain Store Sales, July 2015: “Amid what is described as consumer apathy, July was a weak month for chain stores which are reporting lower rates of year-on-year sales growth compared to June” [Bloomberg].

Challenger Job Cut Report, July 2015: “A major Army cutback made for an outsized 105,696 layoff count in July” [Bloomberg].

Jobless Claims, week of August 1, 2015: “Companies may not be hiring but jobless claims are very low. Continuing claims are also very low” [Bloomberg]. “All the readings in this report are at or near historic lows or multi-year lows.”

Gallup US Payroll to Population, July 2015: “Unchanged from the previous month, and the highest rate Gallup has measured for any July since tracking began in 2010.” [Bloomberg].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of August 2, 2015: “Consumer confidence readings continue to move lower” [Bloomberg]. “[T]he second lowest reading since November and largely reflects concerns over personal finances.”

“Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Thursday that the likely timing of the first Bank Rate increase from the current record low level is drawing closer” [Market News].

“Super Thursday has arrived at the Bank of England. Here’s what policymakers on Threadneedle Street think about growth, jobs, and most importantly, interest rates” [Telegraph]. Ha ha. Speaking of jobs: “Unemployment is expected to fall much more slowly in the coming months than policymakers were expecting just three months ago.” Most awesome recovery ever.

“The Amazon founder and CEO sold more than 1 million shares of his company this week, raking in about $532 million along the way” [Business Insider]. Remodelling his bathrooms with Louis Quinze taps?


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 this week. If a traitor is mentioned in Water Cooler, their name is in bold.

Canada: “To trade negotiators and legacy-seeking politicians, the failure to finalize the world’s biggest trade deal in Hawaii last weekend was a frustrating setback. To Canadian voters, it was welcome pause” [Toronto Star]. “Pause,” eh?

WikiLeaks: “May 11, 2015 consolidated text of Intellectual Property Chapter for TPP” [KEI Online]. Reaction from the Association of Research Librarians. “10 countries unequivocally support mandatory criminal penalties for altering or removing ‘rights management information’ (RMI) like a digital watermark, or the name of a song and the artist who recorded it” [Vice]. 

New Zealand: “Papers were filed in the High Court in Wellington today seeking an urgent judicial review of Trade Minister Tim Groser’s blanket refusal to release any documents sought in a comprehensive Official Information Act request made by University of Auckland law Professor Jane Kelsey in January this year” [Scoop].

Australia: ISDS applies under bilateral agreeements, too: “The NSW government has the final responsibility for approving a mining lease [for the the Shenhua Watermark coal mine on the Liverpool Plains]. Should community opposition result in this being refused or postponed after the China FTA comes into force, Shenhua could launch a case under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions of the China FTA [Sidney Morning Herald].

Australia: ” It’s that fact that gives the lie to the claim that ISDS cannot force a government to change its laws. While that’s true in theory, in practice governments are very likely to choose capitulation as the cheaper and easier option, recognizing that the whole process is biased against them. After all, unlike companies, a government can never win an ISDS case: the best it can hope for is not to lose” [Techdirt].

Health Care

“About 1.8 million households that got financial help for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law now have issues with their tax returns that could jeopardize their subsidies next year” [Business Insider]. Well, what’s one more screwup among so many, and it’s only the poors anyhow.

“Untangling The Many Deductibles Of Health Insurance” [NPR]. Helpful hints for rats caught in the maze.

“A decades old Medicare rule requiring a three-day hospital stay before patients can transfer to skilled nursing facilities may needlessly prolong hospitalizations” [Reuters]. “There really aren’t many benefits to staying beyond medical necessity,” [David Grabowski, a health policy researcher at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Neither alternative is great, but Grabowski’s confidence that medical necessity will be the grounds for retaining or changing the rule is touching.

“Cerner teamed up with defense technology contractor Leidos, Accenture Federal Services and Intermountain Healthcare in its winning bid for the $4.3 billion, 10-year defense contract” to modernize 16 million military health records [McClatchy]. Interestingly, they build a working model of the system first.

“By buying Humana for about $35 billion, Aetna gains 14.2 million medical customers, including 3.2 million in the private health plans for the elderly known as Medicare Advantage. Aetna has said it expects the deal to close in the second half of next year” [Bloomberg].

Dear Old Blighty 

“I admit it: PM Corbyn is a long shot right now – but only four weeks ago bookies were giving 100-1 against him even becoming the candidate. Now it’s 7-4 on. Things can change, and quickly. I think we should have some faith and give it a try” [Brian Eno, Guardian]. Let’s just hope Corbyn doesn’t burn Eno’s daughter the way Obama burned first-time voters in 2008.

[FT Alphaville, “Corbyn’s “People’s QE” could actually be a decent idea”].

The existing monetary policy tools also have the unseemly property of appearing to work mainly by making the rich richer and hoping that some of the extra wealth gets spent. Even if it’s true that the rest of society benefits from this, because otherwise they’d be unemployed, this is trickle-down monetary policy. The Bank of England admitted that “in practice, the benefits from these wealth effects will accrue to those households holding most financial assets”.

Cutting out the middle men is the most obvious way to improve the transmission of central banker desires into economic reality. If policymakers want people to spend, they shouldn’t try to juice share and home prices, or fiddle about with borrowing costs at the margin, but actually give people money.

But policy makers don’t want people to spend. Otherwise, they would be making policy that caused that to happen. They don’t want too many people, or the wrong sort of people, to have jobs, either. At some point we really do need to stop listening to what they say, and watching what they do. I do like “unseemly property of appearing”, however.

“Yet Donald Trump, 69, and Jeremy Corbyn, 66, have more in common than meets the eye. Straight-talking populist insurgents, both are tapping into frustration on either side of the Atlantic with the prevailing orthodoxy of bland centrist politics.” [Reuters]. Carefully airbrushing Sanders out of the picture.

“What’s been going on within Labour reminds me of what went on within the Democratic Party under Reagan and again for a while under Bush: many leading figures in the party fell into what Josh Marshall used to call the ‘cringe’, basically accepting the right’s worldview but trying to win office by being a bit milder” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. “[F]or a while”?!?!?

“[Corbyn] said that the UK would be safer from terrorist threats ‘by not being part of US foreign policy at every step’. He explained his foreign policy as Labour leader would be focused on dealing with issues of inequality and environmental crises” [Middle East Eye].

Police State

“Training Officers to Shoot First, and He Will Answer Questions Later” [New York Times]. Must read on William J. Lewinski, expert witness in police shootings, trainer, researcher, and purveyor of his very own self-licking ice cream cone.

“A city-council committee in Cincinnati has voted to bar the University of Cincinnati Police Department (UCPD) from patrolling city streets” [Business Insider]. After they whacked Samuel Dubose, who was unarmed, in one of those “routine traffic stops” we keep hearing so much about lately.

“A group of armed bounty hunters surrounded the home of Phoenix’s police chief Tuesday night, and one of them was arrested after a flawed search for a fugitive ended in a confrontation with the city’s top cop, police said” [Los Angeles Times]. Oopsie. Good thing nobody got shot.

“A psychological firm paid to evaluate troubled Baltimore police, including a lieutenant charged in the killing of Freddie Gray, is under investigation by the city and has been put on probation by the state police for cutting corners in its mental health screenings of officers” [AP].

“Drone Drops Drugs Over OH Prison Yard, Sparks Brawl” [WBAL]. In daylight (!).

Our Famously Free Press

“A group of 17 investors recently raised $2 million to buy and revamp” Tiger Beat. Mike Allen will edit [New York Times]. Kidding! Interestingly, British great The Daily Mail is an investor.

New word: “Optionality” [Columbia Journalism Review]. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Apparently, it’s something managers and executives wish to retain.


“An unfolding political scandal in Malaysia is starting to reverberate far from Kuala Lumpur to the downtown New York headquarters of Goldman Sachs. State fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is at the centre of allegations of graft and mismanagement. The furore has prompted renewed scrutiny of hefty fees the Wall Street bank led by Lloyd Blankfein earned selling bonds for 1MDB. The affair threatens to expose a blind spot in Goldman’s processes for vetting sensitive deals” [Reuters].  That’s “lucrative ‘blind spot’.” Fixed it for ya.

Class Warfare

“Privately-educated graduates in top jobs blag their way to higher salaries [ £4,500 more] because they are more assertive than their state school colleagues, a report has found” [Telegraph]. ” Researchers said the difference can be explained partly by the importance of soft skills, like articulacy and assertiveness among privately-educated graduates.” What’s “soft” about skills like that?

“Wal-Mart employees are calling [raising the minimum wage] unfair to senior workers who got no increase and now make the same or close to what newer, less experienced colleagues earn…. ‘It is pitting people against each other,’ said Charmaine Givens-Thomas, a 10-year veteran who makes $12 an hour at a store near Chicago and belongs to OUR Walmart, a union-backed group that has lobbied for better working conditions. ‘It hurts morale when people feel like they aren’t being appreciated. I hear people every day talking about looking for other jobs and wanting to remove themselves from Wal-Mart and a job that will make them feel like that.’ Some workers also said they suspect their hours are being cut and annual raises reduced to cover the cost of the wage increase for newer workers” [Bloomberg]. Pitting workers against each other isn’t a bug. It’s a feature.

“The Ideas That Won’t Beat LinkedIn (& Some Which Might) [Hunter Walk]. A venture capitalist’s blog. Fascinating for the world view, the language, and the explicit formulation of an invidual’s “graph” as an asset.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“The US did in fact do something terrible, even evil to North Korea, and while that act does not explain, much less forgive, North Korea’s many abuses since, it is not totally irrelevant either. That act was this: In the early 1950s, during the Korean War, the US dropped more bombs on North Korea than it had dropped in the entire Pacific theater during World War II. This carpet bombing, which included 32,000 tons of napalm, often deliberately targeted civilian as well as military targets, devastating the country far beyond what was necessary to fight the war. Whole cities were destroyed, with many thousands of innocent civilians killed and many more left homeless and hungry” [Vox].

News of the Wired

“[T]here’s a new candidate for the elusive title of ‘language universal’ according to a paper in this week’s issue of PNAS. All languages, the authors say, self-organise in such a way that related concepts stay as close together as possible within a sentence, making it easier to piece together the overall meaning” [Ars Technica].

“Just as smartphones drove the rise of emoji, mobile devices are propelling GIFs into a more widespread form of instant visual-messaging” [New York Times]. A whole new language?

“Shirley Jackson and Me” [The Toast]. A copy editor speaks!

“A Preliminary Review of Influential Works in Data-Driven Discovery” [Archiv.org].

The Londinium Tube Map [Londonist].

“Ultimate Frisbee, the game that filmmakers are probably contractually obligated to show during movies set on college campuses, was recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee this weekend” [New York Magazine].

“Hayao Miyazaki: Japan’s political shift drew me out of retirement” [South China Morning Post]. Abe’s militarization, which under TPP Obama traded for…. Nothing, as it turns out

“Two new reports on the prevalence of unhealthy sleep behaviors and self-reported sleep-related difficulties among U.S. adults provide further evidence that insufficient sleep is an important public health concern” [CDC].

* * *

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:


Moar pollinators! A better shot of yesterday’s sunflower, with a busy bee oblivious to the approaching storm I didn’t wait around for!

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


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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. Bunk McNulty

    It grieves me that all you Naked Capitalists are still too busy to be copy-edited, but thanks anyway for Benjamin Dreyer’s piece.

  2. allan

    Our man in Havana Melbourne:

    All Australian mobile phones at risk of foreign hacking, says US intelligence committee head Devin Nunes

    Australians have been warned that all mobile phone and email communications are constantly vulnerable to being hacked by “foreign adversaries”. …

    And asked to make comparisons between the activities of “foreign adversaries” and the US, following revelations by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Mr Nunes said Mr Snowden had “endangered the lives of American operatives and Australian operatives”.

    “It should have raised questions for everyone when Snowden fled first to the Chicoms and second to the Russians,” he said. “These are the guys who are conducting cyber attacks all over the world and utilising cyber attacks for economic espionage.”

    Projection much? And Chicoms???

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Wait a minute. Why, if the PRC is the communist, cyberterrorist hotbed alleged, do we bend over backwards to expand out trade relations with them? Shouldn’t we be using sanctions like with Iran or NK? How stupid do they think we are?

  3. hemeantwell

    Re Celinda Lake, I knew of her at Michigan in the early 80s. She had already achieved some notoriety for helping to organize “expectation adjustment” focus groups that would ascertain how to best acclimate UAW workers to loss of their jobs and subsequent retraining for whatever.

    1. wbgonne

      It would seem that “expectation adustment” is the precursor to the “new normal.”

      Now you have no viable prospects for decent-paying work and little hope of improving your economic status. See? Just like we told you. Don’t you feel better that we adjusted your expectations?

  4. George Phillies

    “…Rand Paul Confidant” Mr. Benton is Ron Paul’s grandson-in-law, and Randal Paul’s nephew-in-law.

    1. Vatch

      I just learned something! I always thought that Rand Paul wasn’t a Randal or a Randall, but just Rand, because he was named for Ayn Rand. I guess I was wrong.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Not really an insurgent, like McGovern or, now, Sanders.

        Anyway, I hadn’t seen that admitted by an insider before.

    1. Ed

      The “important faction” that Obama represents is not African-Americans, as the article claims, but the Chicago political machine and Chicago based donors.

      Hilary Clinton is actually from Chicago, unlike Obama, but she chose to run for a New York Senate seat because it became vacant as her husband was leaving office. If she had just waited until 2004, she could have run for the Illinois Senate seat, which was held by a Republican who didn’t run for re-election. The Illinois Democrats would be less accepting of carpetbaggers than New York Democrats, but then Clinton wouldn’t really have been a carpetbagger as she grew up in Illinois. Probably Obama wouldn’t have run in the primary, and would have re-oriented his political career for a later run for Mayor of Chicago. Hilary Clinton would then have become the Democratic nominee in 2008 without problems.

      The Chicago machine is much more cohesive than the New York machine, which in terms of influence more than makes up for the smaller size of the city. They were allied to the Clintons until they found their own guy.

    2. TedWa

      “The question will be put to voters, far more forcefully than it is now: Is Bernie the man on whom you want to bet Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat?”

      YES INDEED ! Can we trust Clinton after Obama’s disappointing appointments all down the line? I personally have a feeling Ginsberg is hanging in there because she doesn’t want Obama to pick her replacement – she’s knows what he’s really like. That’s JMO

  5. Brindle

    2016/ Sanders

    The Bernie Sanders Sunday rally moves to a 20,000 capacity venue. The more that the DC/Beltway/NYC press ignore him the bigger the crowds get.

    —“Moving the venue was critical. They’ve had to do this almost everywhere so far, it’s unreal. [Sanders] drew 10,000 in Portland, Maine! I wouldn’t be surprised if we doubled that and see 20,000 cheering supporters show up on Sunday,” said local Sanders volunteer Casey Houlihan.—


  6. Oregoncharles

    ““Former Rep. Ron Paul …”
    Libertarians are generally anti-war and anti-imperial.

  7. craazyboy

    In Brooklyn, “@sshole” can be a fighting word, or a term of endearment. But I don’t know about Queens either. Everything I know about Queens came from watching Archie Bunker in the 70s. But Brooklyn had John Travolta, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci. They really understood the use of language.

    But I just think it’s funny that politicians whom have spent their entire careers sucking up to the money crowd for campaign donations get all bent out of shape when they actually have to run against a multi-billionaire whom can afford to run for president on his own checkbook. hahahahaha

    Not to say that isn’t still a problem.

  8. Oregoncharles

    ” Carefully airbrushing Sanders out of the picture.”

    To Be Fair: the comparison of Trump and Corbyn is surprising and interesting, the comparison of Sanders and Corbyn is obvious.

    Corbyn is doing far better than Sanders, who is gaining but not really in contention yet. Trump, OTOH is the frontrunner and seriously likely to be nominated. Which would make for a very entertaining campaign, that being about what it’s good for.

  9. Jim Haygood

    The Guardian lifts the lid on Rahm Emanuel’s Homan Square concentration camp for black folks:

    At least 3,500 Americans have been detained inside a Chicago police warehouse described by some of its arrestees as a secretive interrogation facility, newly uncovered records reveal.

    Documents indicate the detainees are a group of disproportionately minority citizens, many accused of low-level drug crimes, faced with incriminating themselves before their arrests appeared in a booking system by which their families and attorneys might find them.

    More than 82% of the Homan Square arrests thus far disclosed – or 2,974 arrests – are of black people, while 8.5% are of white people. Over two-thirds of the arrests at Homan Square thus far revealed – at least 2,522 – occurred under the tenure of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


    Nixon and Agnew explicitly designed their War on Drugs to target minorities … and it’s workin’ great!

  10. Tertium Squid


    “A GIF packages your message for you, so you don’t have to figure out how to express yourself”

    Imagine a culture communicating entirely through greeting cards, that’s where we are now.

      1. Tertium Squid

        What’s next? I think Orwell envisioned it:

        For the messages that it was occasionally necessary to send, there were printed postcards with long lists of phrases, and you struck out the ones that were inapplicable.

        Or Mad Libs maybe.

  11. Jeff W

    Re: “optionality”


    In fact, substitute “option” for “optionality,” and the sentence really doesn’t change.

    “Optionality” is what Bryan A. Garner might call a “needless variant”: “two or more forms of the same word without nuance or differentiation.”

    Wow, that is dopey. It’s like saying “solvability” is a “needless variant” of “solutions”—it obviously isn’t. You may know an equation is solvable but not know the solutions.

    Change the word “optionality” to “options” in the first sentence from the Times Q&A “There ought to be alternative options that can be successful for us, and the key is to have strategic optionality” and the meaning changes. (That people might be using “optionality” when they mean “options” is their problem, not the word’s.)

    You can have “optionality” in, say, a healthcare system and yet none of the options are ones that most people qualify for or can avail themselves of. If “optionality” is a selling point, it is being deployed strategically.

        1. craazyboy

          Those psych guy really know their stuff!

          Just read the CBS debate summary. It’s the same list of questions they’ve been using for 30 or 40 years now. As far as I could discern, all 10 candidates are pretty much in agreement on everything.

          Trump traded a few jabs with Paul, and Paul seemed like an idiot. Other than that Trump was pretty boring, and didn’t say much different that the usual party line.

          Social Security came up briefly, and it was the only issue that there was some clear cut disagreement. Huckabee was clearly for it, Christie clearly against – and gave the dire warning that SS would bankrupt the country! Whoa, that sounds serious. I need my pills to calm down now. hahahaha. I don’t really need pills. The other 8 candidates abstained from comment.

          Most of the candidates are pro-life, so that sounds good. Unless that means they are against women’s rights. That would be bad.

          Huckabee is against transgender sex changes, especially if the military pays for it. Yikes, learned sumthin new.

          It was a summary from CBS, so maybe it was edited to remove all the content. But the weird part was usually only 2 candidates made a comment on each question. So by my math we need 5 more debates just to finish the first one, and the questions are 30 years old anyway.

          I am very sure Lambert can do this better than I can.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I watched a couple of minutes. They seemed shrill and boring, but my belief about Trump not having the discipline for the race looks like it will all right. I did see Christie accuse Paul of putting us at risk.

  12. Ed S.


    RE: Medicare rule on skilled nursing requiring a 3 day stay.

    The rules are actually more complex than indicated by the article. Medicare requires admission to the hospital and the admission must actually be 3 days + the day of dismissal.

    Also, Medicare isn’t particularly generous w/r/t skilled nursing: it pays 20 days at full cost and the next 80 days an allowance of $148/day (which was roughly half of the skilled nursing fee a relative paid 3 years ago). After the 80 days — no additional Medicare benefit.

    And the “skilled” nursing facility may simply be an RN + 2 CNA’s watching over 20 + patients. Need more help? Go hire your own assistant. $500/day for “skilled” nursing isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

  13. optimader

    “@sshole” is a very bad word indeed, a fighting word. I don’t know about Queens. (Best euphemism: “Glass bowl.”)

    In the old days we had a dept secretary from the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago that treated it as a perfectly natural vernacular term of endearment, back when that was allowed in office environments ( terms of endearment that is, not swearing). But she expressed herself way more cleverly than Jeb.

  14. dcblogger

    “The number one challenge for Democrats will be whether they pull ahead on the economy,” Lake adds. “Democrats will look for who can really communicate the sense that he can create jobs — who can communicate an economic message in a general election, particularly to blue collar America.”

    so Celinda Lake believes that the next president will be a man? :)

  15. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    “TPP is Dead” says The Economist, would never have happened if people like you and I hadn’t labored to shine some light into some very despicable, dark and corrupted corners. The Fifth Estate lives on! Thank you NC.
    The paradigm has shifted completely from the “representative democracy” fictions we grew up with to outright The People versus their Governments. Sad but true, all over the world. One glimmer of light was David Cameron standing down his Syria bomb-fest because the Parliament spoke, can we replace the US Congress with a Parliament?

    1. wbgonne

      I hope so but I wouldn’t count any chickens yet. Not by a long shot.

      Regarding Lambert’s other TPP cite, it is curious indeed that there seems to be no provision within ISDS for defendant nations to win even if they prevail. What about attorneys’ fees and litigation fees, which will be astronomical? What about penalties for abusive ISDS claims made, for instance, by a huge transnational corporation against some small, economically weak country? That these safeguard devices are not included is telling.

      1. David

        The state is the defendant, by definition. The state wins by prevailing.

        Most of the treaties contain provisions for the arbitration panel to redistribute costs. For the Tobacco plain packaging arbitration, the treaty states;

        Each Contracting Party shall bear the costs of the arbitrator appointed by it. The other costs of the tribunal shall be shared equally by the Contracting Parties including any expenses incurred by the President or Vice-President or Member of the International Court of Justice in implementing the procedures in paragraph 2(b) of this Article. The tribunal may decide, however, that a higher proportion of costs shall be borne by one of the Contracting Parties.

        The WTO has provisions in it’s latest treaties regarding “least-developed country Members”

        If nullification or impairment is found to result from a measure taken by a least-developed country Member, complaining parties shall exercise due restraint in asking for compensation or seeking authorization to suspend the application of concessions or other obligations pursuant to these procedures.

        There is also a WTO dispute settlement panel brought by Ukraine, Honduras, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, and Cuba in relation to Australia’s plain packaging tobacco measure. To date, over 40 nations (a record) have joined this dispute as third parties.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’d feel more comfortable if corporate losers had to bear courts costs. And maybe compensate the state for “lost revenues.” You know, to avoid “frivolous lawsuits.

          1. wbgonne

            Absolutely right. The purpose of the system is to guarantee corporate profits and nothing else. That’s why it is a one-way street. The state wins nothing if it prevails. It merely maintains the status quo minus wasted resources from defending itself. And there is no disincentive for rich corporations to bully distressed nations.

            1. JTMcPhee

              There is, or more accurately was, a whole body of jurisprudence regarding sanctions against parties and attorneys under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (which like all other “law” is steadily under pressure to protect property interests and abusive litigants — re-drafting is done by Silk Stocking Lawyers). Rule 11 provides limited sanctions for a few (used to be more) abuses:

              Rule 11 – Signing Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Representations to the Court; Sanctions

              (a) Signature. Every pleading, written motion, and other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s name—or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented. The paper must state the signer’s address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Unless a rule or statute specifically states otherwise, a pleading need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit. The court must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission is promptly corrected after being called to the attorney’s or party’s attention.

              (b) Representations to the Court. By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

              (1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;

              (2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

              (3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

              (4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.

              ( c ) Sanctions.

              (1) In General. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee.

              (2) Motion for Sanctions. A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates Rule 11(b). The motion must be served under Rule 5, but it must not be filed or be presented to the court if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets. If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred for the motion.

              (3) On the Court’s Initiative. On its own, the court may order an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why conduct specifically described in the order has not violated Rule 11(b).

              (4) Nature of a Sanction. A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. The sanction may include nonmonetary directives; an order to pay a penalty into court; or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the reasonable attorney’s fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation.

              (5) Limitations on Monetary Sanctions. The court must not impose a monetary sanction:

              (A) against a represented party for violating Rule 11(b)(2); or

              (B) on its own, unless it issued the show-cause order under Rule 11(c)(3) before voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party that is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.

              (6) Requirements for an Order. An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.

              (d) Inapplicability to Discovery. This rule does not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions under Rules 26 through 37. The “would WE lie to you?” rule, and the cases make clear that yes indeedy we would… https://www.federalrulesofcivilprocedure.org/frcp/title-iii-pleadings-and-motions/rule-11-signing-pleadings-motions-and-other-papers-representations-to-the-court-sanctions/

              Rule 37 provides a (very) few more: https://www.federalrulesofcivilprocedure.org/frcp/title-v-disclosures-and-discovery/rule-37-failure-to-make-disclosures-or-to-cooperate-in-discovery-sanctions/

              Not even that stuff in the various “agreements…” And it’s not that free-floating resort to “foreign law” is even anything new in the Imperial courts (other than maybe in those states that bar the recognition or application of “Sharia Law…”):

              Rule 44.1 – Determining Foreign Law

              A party who intends to raise an issue about a foreign country’s law must give notice by a pleading or other writing. In determining foreign law, the court may consider any relevant material or source, including testimony, whether or not submitted by a party or admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. The court’s determination must be treated as a ruling on a question of law.
              (As added Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966; amended Nov. 20, 1972, eff. July 1, 1975; Mar. 2, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; Apr. 30, 2007, eff. Dec. 1, 2007.)

              So what, in this world, is “legal,” and “legitimate” any more? Red of tooth and claw…

        2. wbgonne

          Thank you for that response. I have scanned the linked material but don’t have the time for more than that right now. Perhaps later. In the meantime, however, is one question that perhaps you can answer. You write:

          There is also a WTO dispute settlement panel brought by Ukraine, Honduras, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, and Cuba in relation to Australia’s plain packaging tobacco measure. To date, over 40 nations (a record) have joined this dispute as third parties.

          Why are these nations joining the dispute? It my was understanding, which you confirmed above, that the state is always the defendant. Are these states joining Australia’s defense?

          1. David

            It’s a different panel/process. This one is through the WTO processes. The Philip Morris/Aus panel is going through a specific treaty-ISDS process, which addresses investor to state issues. The WTO panels address state to state issues to more generic trade treaties (GATT, TBT, etc.). This is why I mentioned it. It seemed strange to me that countries like Ukraine, Honduras, etc. would have a concern regarding Tobacco packaging. Also, there are 5 different WTO dispute panels for, what appears to be, the same issue.

            Whereas the individual panels under treaty-ISDS are not used to set precedent, the decisions by WTO panels may have a longer life. I’m still learning about these issues.

            No, Australia is alone on this one. It’s their law and they will need to show how it complies with the WTO trade agreements.

          2. JTMcPhee

            It seems those other “countries,” or the parts of their political economies that have the power to act in commerce and trade situations, are concerned that the Ozzies are impinging on those “countries'” homeboy corporations’ sales of tobacco products, hence suing Oz (and having their costs of suit paid for by… wait for it… the Tobacco Monster…)

            Here’s detail:

            World Trade Organization panel to hear oral arguments on Australia tobacco plain packaging case from June 1-5, 2015
            Monday 01 June 2015

            Today a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel will begin to hear oral arguments in claims that Australia’s tobacco plain packaging infringes WTO agreements. The hearing will take place at WTO in Geneva from 1st to 5th June 2015.

            The outcome of this case is being watched worldwide by governments, health organizations and tobacco companies alike given the crucial nature of plain packaging as a tobacco control measure. Fiercely opposed by the tobacco industry, plain packaging is recommended by guidelines under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the international tobacco control treaty.

            Under plain packaging, health warnings would remain as would product names in a standard size and font, but tobacco company colours, logos and graphics on packages would be banned. The brand portion of package have the same colour (e.g. drab brown) for all brands. Tobacco packages would no longer be mini-billboards promoting tobacco.

            Plain packaging was implemented in Australia in 2012, has been adopted in Ireland and the United Kingdom for implementation on 20 May 2016, and is under formal consideration in France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey and South Africa. [1] In France, a plain packaging bill has been approved by the National Assembly and is now before the French Senate.

            There are five complainants that have each brought a claim to WTO: Ukraine, Honduras, Indonesia, Cuba and Dominican Republic. These five cases will be heard together next week. Tobacco companies have admitted to paying legal costs for three of the complainants: British American Tobacco for Ukraine and Honduras, and Philip Morris International for the Dominican Republic. [2] At WTO, only governments can initiate proceedings, which is why the tobacco industry is paying legal costs of certain countries.

            There are 36 Third Parties that are participating in the proceeding, more than in any previous WTO case. The Third Parties, which are entitled to present their perspective, are: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Ecuador, Egypt, European Union, Guatemala, India, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Malawi, Malaysia, Moldova, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

            This, for those who like a little human context, and a nice frame around the futility and stupidity, where tobacco consumption has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the top killer in the world. But “freedumb,” and “markets…”

            1. wbgonne

              Thanks for that info.

              Sovereign nations acting as collection agents for tobacco companies and suing another country for public health laws.

              This is insanity.

        3. wbgonne

          OK, I’ve had a chance to look through the materials you linked. Thanks again for the edifying response. That said, I think there are some dubious propositions about.

          The state is the defendant, by definition.

          Yes, that is one of the problems. This is a one-way ratchet system that serves only corporate interests. Why, just as examples, can’t the state utilize ISDS (which term I use to cover all these transnational dispute systems) to recover damages from corporations for environmental degradation or health costs?

          The state wins by prevailing.

          A Pyrrhic victory is ever there was one. If the state “wins” it gets nothing but the status quo and it loses what it costs to defend itself.

          The tribunal may decide, however, that a higher proportion of costs shall be borne by one of the Contracting Parties.

          Cold comfort. There is no provision for punishing abusive abusive claimants. It is up the panel entirely.

          If nullification or impairment is found to result from a measure taken by a least-developed country Member, complaining parties shall exercise due restraint in asking for compensation or seeking authorization to suspend the application of concessions or other obligations pursuant to these procedures

          Or else what? Without some teeth, this is nothing but a suggestion.

          More to the point, this entire system reeks of corporate world rule.

          From what I can see, all the international trade dispute systems appear to operate on the standard arbitration model: 3 arbitrators, one picked by each side and the third “neutral.” So only the “neutral” arbitrator really matters and those arbitrators appear to be drawn from a pre-approved list. I have done arbitrations in the past, not many, but enough to know that the “neutral” arbitrators seldom are, not least because they understand that their continued inclusion on the pre-approved list depends upon the arbitration results. In a system design solely to protect corporate profits, the “right” result means awarding damages to corporations. The arbitration panels are unaccountable and unreviewable. They meet in secret and there is no appeal.

          There is a sickness in this world today. It is selfishness and greed gussied up as neoliberal theory and promises of market-based deliverance. This entire ISDS regime is wrong at its core. It surrenders political sovereignty to transnational corporate profiteering. Notwithstanding the neoliberal propaganda, this is neither workable nor sustainable. And the Australian tobacco packaging action demonstrates why. People yield their personal sovereignty to the state and enter into civil society only because the state promises to act in the people’s best interests. When the state takes that yielded power and surrenders it to transnational corporations the people have effectively been robbed of their personal freedom. With that, the fundamental basis for civil society collapses. And as people around the world increasingly see the pernicious effects of these abominable betrayals by their states the people will revolt.

  16. jrs

    The tax mess with Obamacare is a perfect storm. If you ever need to talk to the IRS they are at this point near completely unreachable due to IRS budget cuts. The IRS is so non-functioning at this point that you better hope your taxes are as simple as possible! It’s completely a Kafka world where we’re of course expected to file taxes but can’t even communicate with our own taxing authority if anything goes wrong.

    But unless you can get a job with some kind of employer provided insurance (even if they put most of the costs on employees) or can afford plans outside of ACA subsidies … your stuck with tax filing, and they added a new form! There are 10 billion tax forms already and they thought it was a good idea to add a new form instead of maybe a line on the 1040A (no hope of this stuff being a 1040EZ probably).

    And the fact that it’s the poor makes it even more impossible. I’m quite sure the form is accounted for pretty easily probably by a check box in TurboTax, TaxCut or any number of programs, but if your poor do you have money to throw at buying those programs? Most of the tax preparers use similar programs but that’s money as well. I mean they make policies for the poor that ASSUME middle class money and lifestyle. The middle class is used to going to a tax preparer or buying a tax program which is well within a middle class budget and having it handle the complexities of a near impossible tax code (unless the complexities are extreme and then it’s CPA time). But the poor, not so much so.

  17. Jack

    Re: Miyazaki. Oh please. His now-not-so-final filme was all about waxing poetic about the designer of the Zero, while very carefully failing to focus on what his creation was actually used for. The film equates Japanese militarists with bullies, which is fine as far as it goes, but then excuses its protagonist building death-machines for those same bullies. The sole portrayal of the war is the typical self-indulgent Japanese tradition of showing Tokyo reduced to rubble.

    “Oh, woe is us! War is so terrible, look what happened to Japan!”

    Miyazaki and his tip-toeing around the subject is both a product of, and contributes to, the cultural amnesia Japan has about their actions in WW2. Hell, they don’t even tend to think of it as part of WW2; the whole ‘allied with the Nazis’ thing is an inconvenient factoid. For them it was ‘the Pacific War’. And that amnesia leads, in a direct line, to today and what amounts to a fascist resurgence under Abe and his minions. I’m not saying the country needed to be brow-beaten to the extent Germany was, but starting with the American occupation under MacArthur and the lackluster Tokyo War Crimes Trials the United States was overly willing to indulge the Japanese proclivity to shrug and point to the destruction wrought on Japan as proof of some sort of karmic balance, all while attempting to offload responsibility onto the militarists (and to a much lesser extent) corporate zaibatsu. Not that that prevented many of those same militarists from quietly reentering politics after a couple decades…

    Shikata ga nai my foot.

    1. alex morfesis

      when do we forget and move on

      not forgive…just forget…I am as guilty as the next person in finding it difficult to look across a table and see the progeny of darkness and not want to reach across and insure the future does not suffer from the past for my current inactions…but it would be a long list of reach overs for all the darkness I have come across in my travels…

      but are the Japanese a military threat and can they be…?? The Japanese had the disruptions in China which they had a small window to take advantage of, and it failed…although the Morgenthau plan was ignored after ww2, germany is a shell of itself militarily and so is nijon…

      the world might be sliding backwards a bit…but it is a much better place than it was 70 years ago…unless you were an unrepentant evil person…then life has gotten more complicated and your darkness has to live in the shadows…or behind “convenient results”…

      besides, up until the anti-comintern treaties pushed by ribbentrop, the germans were supplying Chiang Kai Shek…

      poor chiang…he is now lost totally to history…his museum shut down and then in limbo and the statutes of fearless leader bundled up…his body stuck in a box for no one to see in all his glory…one day we take the mainland…one day…meanwhile, one of the three soong sisters sits in a new york cemetery…poor little rich girl…

      life is fluid and complicated…chiang was pissed off JFK shut down any thoughts of retaking the mainland in 1962 and JFK was not too keen on the Generals friend Li Mi and the associates he left behind in what has been called the golden triangle…project national glory was a sore point until Chiang took his last breath…

      history is messy…it is easy to look at an old map and do like vladimir mcduck and ask the UN to hand over the north pole (and the moon and saturn too…) and find a reason to fight…

      me…i am an optimistic cynic…

      or a teddy roosevelt and Ike republican…but they don’t make those anymore…so I will probably go change my party affiliation soon and get annoyed with the greens for a while…

      anyway…not wanting to get too far from the original issue(who me ?)…

      let us learn to give peas a chance…(and maybe a few carrots too)

      1. JTMcPhee

        Different kinds of forgetting. Armenians and Turks. Iranians and the US Empire. Korean “comfort women.” It’s useful to remember the events and behaviors and motivations, if the goal is to do different and better. Amnesia is not generally healthy, but the passing by that is supposed to accompany “grace” might well be.

        Humans are apparently incapable of bonobo behavior… We still have the canine fangs…

  18. sleepy

    Wonderful pic. The pattern of the flower reminds me of some sort of parabolic/math/progression I dimly remember from high school trig–something like that, with apologies to the more math literate readers! Coneflowers have the same pattern.

    Could that be a honeybee? I haven’t seen one in years, even in my front yard which I plowed up and planted in native Iowa wildflowers a few years ago. Plenty of bumblebees, rabbits, and other little critters though.

    When I was growing up in the South, every kid knew not to run barefoot through a yard with white clover. It was thick with honeybees and a sting was certain. I guess not so much anymore.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I meant to mention that. Indeed it is a honeybee, and I was surprised, since there are not many this year. Lots and lots of big fat bumblees, but very few honeybees.

  19. ewmayer

    @Jack: I quit watching Grave of the Fireflies halfway through for similar reasons – the maudlin hypocrisy embodied by the film was simply too great for my gag reflex. Here Wikipedia:

    [Miyazaki’s] father was director of Miyazaki Airplane, which made rudders for A6M Zero fighter planes during World War II.[7] During the war, when Miyazaki was only three years old, the family evacuated to Utsunomiya and later to Kanuma in Tochigi Prefecture where the Miyazaki Airplane factory was located.[a] Miyazaki has said that his family was affluent and could live comfortably during the war because of his father and uncle’s profitable work in the war industry but he has also noted that experiencing the night time firebombing raids on Utsunomiya, as a 4-and-a-half year old, in July 1945, left a lasting impression on him. During his May 22, 1988 lecture at the film festival in Nagoya he retold the account of his family’s hasty retreat from the burning town, without providing a ride to other people in need of transportation, and he recalled how the fires had coloured the night sky as he looked back towards the city after they had fled to a safer distance.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, that’s dispiriting. I loved My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away and Ponyo, so that’s what I reacted to. Now Miyazaki seems rather like Wagner. Great music, but the subtext… I dunno, though; he was a child during the war?

      1. Jack

        Miyazaki is a genius, full stop, and all of his stuff well worth watching, including the film at issue here. I don’t wish to portray him as some kind of revisionist or ultranationalist, because he most definitely isn’t. But when touching on the subject of WW2 he fell right into the same rut as pretty much every other Japanese fiction writer. The Wind Rises, the movie about the designer of the Zero, was the equivalent of making a biopic about Porsche and never mentioning the whole “designed tanks for the Nazis” part, or at least glossing over or even trying to excuse it (Miyazaki claims that his initial interest in making the movie was a quote supposedly uttered by the engineer in question to the effect of “I just wanted to make planes”. He would have much rather made civilian aircraft, but the military were the ones offering the contract so *shrug*. Miyazaki seems to think the whole thing is beautiful and tragic…).

        Though oddly I didn’t find Grave of the Fireflies to be self-indulgent at all. It’s being told entirely from the perspective of civilian kids, who are literally blameless in the entire affair. It presented an uncompromising portrayal of how war actually impacts real, innocent people. It can certainly be read as Japanese self-pity, but the reality is that the firebombings did happen, were allied warcrimes in and of themselves, and did kill hundreds of thousands of civilians. There’s really nothing overtly political about that movie, it boils down to a survival story of two innocents caught up in a war they had nothing to do with one way or another.

        Also related is the Barefoot Gen comic, which was written by a guy who was a boy in Hiroshima when it was nuked. The story is semi-autobiographical and covers the dropping of the bomb, the aftermath and all the way through the post-war years. It has a couple of anime movie adaptations, the first of which features an absolutely horrifying sequence of the attack itself. I don’t consider this self-indulgent either, since it never tries to excuse or whitewash what led to the devastation of Japan. It’s simply about real things that happened and how people tried to pick up the pieces afterwards.

        I will say that however irritating or even offensive the self-pitying nature of Japanese pacifism may be (“War is terrible and we reject it because of what happened to US”. I’m sure this pisses off the Chinese and Koreans to no end) I have no reason to doubt it’s genuine. Abe and his blatant push for militarization is opposed by 80% of the population, apparently, and drawing massive protest crowds. So Japan is a nation that has two generations worth of hatred of war embedded into the culture. Would that the rest of the world emulated them in that.

        1. optimader

          the equivalent of making a biopic about Porsche and never mentioning the whole “designed tanks for the Nazis” part, or at least glossing over or even trying to excuse it
          Whenever I hear F. Porsche mentioned, I usually like to point out that he was a thief working under the protection of AHitler. The edifice of Porsche AG was built on a stolen foundation. This makes for the occasionally interesting discussion w/ some people that don’t know this history. What the Nazi’s didn’t steal was later “assigned” to the frmr SU.

          from Wikipedia…. (Tatra 97)
          This is politely written for Porsche aficionados. Resemblance to KdF-Wagen / Volkswagen Beetle[edit]

          Both the streamlined design and the technical specifications, especially the air-cooled flat-four engine mounted in the back, give the T97 a striking resemblance to the KdF-Wagen of Volkswagen, which later became the Beetle. It is believed that Porsche used Tatra’s designs since he was under huge pressure to design the Volkswagen quickly and cheaply.[2] According to the books Tatra – The Legacy of Hans Ledwinka and Car Wars, Adolf Hitler said of the Tatra ‘this is the car for my roads’.[2][3] Ferdinand Porsche later admitted ‘to have looked over Ledwinka’s shoulders’ while designing the Volkswagen.[2][4]
          Tatra sued Porsche for damages, and Porsche was willing to settle. However, Hitler canceled this, saying he ‘would settle the matter.’ [5] When Czechoslovakia was invaded by the Nazis, the production of the T97 was immediately halted, and the lawsuit dropped. After the war, Tatra reopened the lawsuit against Volkswagen. In 1967, the matter was settled when Volkswagen paid Tatra 3,000,000 Deutsche Mark in compensation.[6]

  20. Lambert Strether Post author

    I’ll know better in the morning when the press tells me what I think, but from the twitter, Jebbie was curiously silent. Maybe Trump’s “glass bowl” comment spooked him?

  21. ewmayer

    @Lambert: Re. Miyazaki, are you feeling “Dispirited Away?”

    I should clarify: I also enjoyed most of Miyazaki’s other anime films (OK, Porco Rosso, not so much) – it was just this particular one with its self-indulgently wallowing (IMO) portrayal of the horrors faced by the Japanese populace that rang false to me. It’s not that the horrors weren’t real; rather that a privileged child of the elites as HM was should not in later adult life make capital out of the pretense that he feels the pain of those left behind in the wake of the family limo, as it were.

    Perhaps I’m being unfair, but there it is. I feel similarly about the phoniness shown by that recently-in-the-news “self-identifying as African-American” NAACP gal. It’s OK to say you feel solidarity with black folks, just please don’t pretend you *are* one.

    1. Jack

      Grave of the Fireflies wasn’t directed by Miyazaki though. It was helmed by Isao Takahata, Miyazaki’s joined-at-the-hip producer.

      I think the real problem with that movie isn’t the film itself, it’s that there’s no corresponding tale of Chinese or Korean (or any number of smaller nations) suffering. And I don’t just mean as in a famous film. No nation wants to be reminded of the terrible things they’ve done (how many films has Hollywood made about the suffering of Vietnamese civilians?). But as far as I can tell there’s one giant gap in Japanese popular culture that stretches from about 1920 to 1954 or so. There’s virtually nothing there, and what there is is usually very conspicuous in what it chooses to not touch on.

  22. vidimi

    “The Amazon founder and CEO sold more than 1 million shares of his company this week, raking in about $532 million along the way”

    not to worry. amazon will buy them back and give them back to him

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