Links 8/2/15

MH370: ”Plane seat” found washed up on Reunion Island three months ago Daily Telegraph

Jack Bogle Explains How the Index Fund Won With Investors CNN Money. The headline isn’t very interesting. This, from Vanguard Group founder Bogle on secondary markets, is:

Q: You’re concerned that the financial sector is too big. Why?

[BOGLE]: The job of finance is to provide capital to companies. We do it to the tune of $250 billion a year in IPOs and secondary offerings. What else do we do? We encourage investors to trade about $32 trillion a year. So the way I calculate it, 99% of what we do in this industry is people trading with one another, with a gain only to the middleman. It’s a waste of resources.

Why 99% of trading is pointless MarketWatch. Following up on Bogle:

It’s a lot of money, $32 trillion. Nearly double the entire U.S. economy moving from one pocket to another, with a toll-taker in the middle. Most people refer to them as “stock brokers,” but let’s call them what they are — toll-takers and rent-seekers.

Eesh, it’s like these Wall Street guys have Volume III of Das Kapital on their nightstands for bedtime reading. What’s the world coming to?

Goldman Sachs agrees $270m settlement with mortgage bond investors International Business Times. Cost of doing business.

Liar Loans Pop up in Canada’s Magnificent Housing Bubble Wolf Street

Who Really Benefits From Bailouts? Bloomberg

Lehman Brothers Once Again… Brad DeLong, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

The US in Recession? The World? Econbrowser. By Betteridge’s Law, no.

US wages grow at slowest rate since 1982 FT

Only a payrolls surprise could shake stalling market Reuters

Surveys in Crisis Carola Binder

Federalism Form and Function in the Detroit Bankruptcy SSRN. Of relevance to Puerto Rico.

Under the right conditions, we learn, a federal court can formally honor the explicit restrictions in the Bankruptcy Code while functionally exercising significant influence throughout a chapter 9 case. Some of the channels of influence operate beyond public view, including confidential mediation overseen by a powerful chief district judge and the court’s feasibility team.

What Is Wrong with the West’s Economies? NYRB

Ex-NZ financial service provider allegedly behind major international fraud boasted to investors of its NZ ‘licence’ & NZ regulatory oversight Interest (RS).

Special Branch raids deputy public prosecutor’s office at MACC for 1MDB documents Malaysian Insider

Leaked IAAF doping files reveal ‘extraordinary extent of cheating’ BBC


Bailout talks gain pace amid tensions Ekathimerini

Greece may seek up to 24 billion euros in first new aid tranche: paper Reuters

Greek stock market to reopen, with restrictions CNN Money

How olive oil explains Greece’s problems WaPo

Greece’s invisible economy Tribune-Review

Migrants ‘attacked’ at sea between Greece and Turkey AFP

Jeremy Corbyn: ‘This is the most open democratic election Labour has ever had’  Guardian. Interview.

Jeremy Corbyn interview: “I think we have to think in terms of the disillusioned who didn’t vote” New Statesman

Institute of Peace’s Hawkish Chairman Wants Ukraine to Send Russians Back in Body Bags The Intercept


Obama Administration SHOCKED That People Being Bombed By It Retaliate (Updated) Moon of Alabama

Enclaves swapped in landmark India-Bangladesh border deal BBC

In NYT’s Fictional Presentation, China Pioneered the “Collect It All” Strategy Emptywheel

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Yes, Racism Is Rooted in Economic Inequality Jacobin

Modern-day March on Washington begins with civil rights rally in Selma Reuters

Freedom Rider: Obama’s Africa Hypocrisy Black Agenda Report

Prince Edward County’s Long Shadow of Segregation The Atlantic. I’m sure the shadow is just as long in, say, Boston.

Suspend Your Decision About the Propriety of Devil-Worship and the Expediency of Conciliating the Devil, or: Born One-Hundred Ninety-Six Years Ago Today Blckdgrd

Authorities investigating after 47-year-old loses consciousness in Dallas County jail lobby, dies Dallas Morning News. “He came in saying, ‘Don’t be scared of me. I just need some help.’ They just tackled him as if he’d threatened their lives,’ [April Berryhill, who had come to the jail to submit a property release form,] said.”

Sources: Grand jury indicts Attorney General Ken Paxton WFAA


Top Clinton aide accused of receiving overpayments at State Department WaPo. Huma Abedin. Only $10K, chump change, but the knives are out, aren’t they?

Cables Show Hillary Clinton’s State Department Deeply Involved in Trans-Pacific Partnership International Business Times

Hillary Clinton got nearly $1.6 million from big banks in 2013 McClatchy

At a Glance: A look at Hillary Clinton’s medical background WaPo

Democrats add Donald Trump to list of serious Republican candidates Guardian

The case for Joe Biden to run for president Vox. James Clyburn associate [Rev. Joseph] Darby said a Biden candidacy “would play well” with South Carolina Democrats. Really? That seems odd.

Joe Biden in 2016: What Would Beau Do? MoDo, NYT

Election 2016: Jeb Bush Super PAC Donors Benefited From Bush’s Time As Florida Governor International Business Times

Conservative donor Koch urges end to ‘corporate cronyism’ AP. Wowsers. That’s really meta.

Class Warfare

Small Pool of Rich Donors Dominates Election Giving NYT. “Giving.” 

Million-Dollar Donations Fuel Super-PACs’ New Dominance Bloomberg

Why Conservatives Are So Desperate to Debunk One Hillary Clinton Chart David Dayen, Fiscal Times. Important, despite the clickbait headline.

Lunch with the FT: Mhairi Black  FT. Black’s maiden speech in the House of Commons.

Dentist who killed Cecil the lion was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee at his practice and settled out of court for $127,500 Daily Mail

Does Zimbabwe Really Need Trophy Hunting? New Yorker (furzy mouse).

Do Chinese People Lead More Nuanced Emotional Lives? Priceonomics. “The researchers hypothesize that if someone places a higher value on interdependence, they’ll also place a higher-premium on this kind of suffering-derived understanding.”

Trevor O’Brien, the Product Lead Running All Twitter Apps, Is Departing ReCode. Twitter, a wonderful platform cursed with stupid money and bad management.

Knowledge Map At The Washington Post (Rediscovery of HyperText) WaPo

Not the retiring type: meet the people still working in their 70s, 80s and 90s Guardian

Under the Surface update tells backstory of NY frack ban Findings statement denouement of environmental epic Shale Gas Review. The home rule movement.

The invisible network that keeps the world running The Verge. The romance of supply-chain infrastructure.

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. ProNewerDeal

    Re: “Joe The Biden” (c) McCain, if Biden runs, my guesstimate Biden is being Hellary’s “wigman”, working as a Shillary of H Clinton Corp to reduce enough of the non-Hellary vote from Sanders to increase Hillary’s likelihood of winning the D-Team primary.

    If Biden was really “in it to win it”, I’d say he would’ve announced earlier before or quickly after Hillary’s announcemnt, appeal to the 0bot army (“Organizing For America”, Orange Satan dailykos, and whichever other similar groups) for support as the closest candidate to 0bama as “0bama’s 3rd term”, and likewise hit up 0bama’s owners, er biggest campaign contributors for support.

    I’m interested in your thoughts, thanks in advance if anyone happens to reply. Cheers.

    1. Steven D.

      Dems must be getting nervous about Hillary for Biden to suddenly crop up. Seems a little panicky and a classic trial balloon.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Pretty much. Between the anti-Clinton element (hooray), youth with no nostalgia for the 90’s, and Hillary’s record, her perceived ceiling is dropping. Before the election, there were stories of Team Blue elites promising donors that Hillary would solve the Obama fatigue (yes, they are delusional. Team Blue fatigue is the problem for Team Blue elites. Bernie’s strength much like Corbyn in the UK is they are perceived as a Democrat and Labour Member respectively, not Team Blue/Blairite).

        My guess is traditional large Team Blue bundles want to know where Hillary’s crowds are and are smart enough to recognize Hillary and Gore have already lost. Republicans might be pro-business, but they will have no problem attacking a Democrat or any Democratic Party donor. It’s a tribal thing for them.

    2. craazyboy

      My biggest fear was that we’d quietly go into 2016 with a Clinton vs Bush ticket and nothing to look forward to but errant chard counting and election fraud. Not that I care about the country that much at this point, but I’m quite certain this would cause me to go into coma and I would spend the rest of my life wandering around drooling on myself and not knowing who, where or why I am. I may even develop something like Tourette’s syndrome where I blurt out sounds like “QE” and “ZIRP”, and gawd forbid, take up day trading because I think I’m fixing the economy.

      Don’t get me wrong – psychologically “Well Adjusted” as that may seem, I don’t want that to happen. So I welcome any disturbances in The Force and pinch myself to verify that Me is still here. This is why I like to see Trump winning polls on the R side. It cheers me up to see that no longer can you merely wave a Bible around or proclaim that Bush Blood runs in your veins and excite the R base into a voting frenzy.

      Of course, this may all be temporary, and one year from now we will be confronted with the reality that we MUST vote for either a Bush or a Clinton. In which case my consciousness will fold and the drooling begins. But I’m reminded of the old story where a prisoner facing execution made a bet with the King that he could teach a horse to talk in only one year. When asked why he would make a bet with such unfavorable terms, the prisoner pointed out the terms aren’t unfavorable – he has another year.

      P.S. Except Biden entering the race doesn’t really count. Reprogramming Obots to BoBots just doesn’t seem disruptive enough.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The GOP rank and file never liked 41. They liked Dubya because he was a drunk, black sheep who was the butt of every Team Blue tirade much like rank and file GOP voters. The GOP elite were reasonably certain Dubya could be controlled. The Reagan/Dubya voters searched high and low for a response to Mittens who was the GOP elite’s choice. Mittens needed the Mormon vote to win the Western states, but if Mittens wasnt Mormon, he would have been exposed as weak much earlier. Jeb is just a 41/Mittens candidate without a following.

        1. lordkoos

          Of course dubya could be controlled, that was the whole point, and I’m sure the bosses knew that from the start. Cheney was doing all the heavy lifting anyway, at least with foreign policy.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Yes, but immediate execution may be preferable to the kill-me-now boredom of same-old-same-old. Since “hope-and-change” probably wouldn’t work for 0bama’s ultimate Tonto sidekick and lifelong DP insider, maybe “Meet the new boss…”?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Boring? Jaded?

          We Aware People who follow this stuff, looking for detail and slickery and pseudo-substance to remind each other about, might be bored. Many more people, who ought, by rights and mythology, to be “citizens,” are just “turned off.” But where the real action of “The Economy” is, where the billions of opaque dollars flow, where the corruption is a river of death, the “Players” who Legally Own Everything since they Own The Lawmakers, who own the residue of Legitimacy conferred by generations of Getting To Vote, and that, with impoverishment and idiotic distractions are enough to keep the mopes in check, those Players are all in, 100% Invested and Involved.

          Every sneaky little Campaign Operative and Lobbyist and airtime sales person and Influence Peddler and Outright Purchase of Favorable Legislation and Regulation with that huge ROI, we Aware people know the cast of characters, is all in, and all the incentives that count push violently in that direction. That Circus and Side Show and Carnie Show on which we comment and seek the honor of Being Right in our sad, realistic projections and anticipations, with slim influence on the Outcomes of that Political Economy, is all that all of the rest of us are going to get, until the inevitable collapse that we who take our distractions in other more erudite forms seem generally to agree is not far off. That collapse from which the sh_ts who have been winding it all up for centuries, now, winding it all up and currently profiting so hugely from it all, turning Real Wealth and the residues of comity and popular energy and extractable materials into Growths and Funny Munny and Dilbit and Wonderful New Weapon Systems and other deadly technological “innovations without limits or wisdom, just Because We Can And May Be able To Make A Profit From The IPO or the Rents.”

          Those sh_ts will bail out, in that other sense. Either get to die in complete security and comfort, cared carefully for by people who can’t help their impulse to be kind and decent, die free from consequences and anxieties (other than what the Poor Really Rich “suffer” for their position), with their senses indulged and titillated to the max. So those sh_ts will depart from the burning Jumbo Jet, the one the rest of us bought tickets on or were dragged aboard by the Herd, they will leap from the exit doors with their Golden Parachute canopies fully inflated…

          Looks like the Organizing Principle might, after all, be something as simple as Ragnarøkkr,

            1. JTMcPhee

              Pithy observation. I wonder, did Balzac and his words occasion any redirection of the Arc of Oligarchy and Empire? Do the words of Chomsky, or Solzhenitsyn, or Krugman? Maybe Brooks and Krauthammer and Buckley and Gingrich and Rove…?

      3. apber

        The outcome has already been set; Bush squeaks by Clinton. To get there, there will be lots of threats (do you want to wind up like JFK?), illegal changing of rules (can’t let Ron Paul resonate),and of course ballot stuffing and rigging. The full fascist takeover by descendants of the Third Reich must not be stopped.

    3. Ed

      The Vice President is there to be able to fill in if the President dies or otherwise has to leave office. Biden’s role in the 2016 campaign is sort of similar. He is there in case the Hillary Clinton campaign implodes due to her health issues, ethics problems, or sheer lack of popularity.

      I think Biden has a big problem in that he has already run for president twice, and both campaigns went nowhere and were sort of embarrassments. That really should have ruled him out of consideration for the Vice President slot. It means that the Democratic establishment has too weak a backup for Hillary.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama was considering Kaine and Bayh. I was told about a week before the Biden announcement that it was definitely Kaine. Apparently, the people who were told didn’t react with enthusiasm, and the campaign decided that Kaine wasn’t a plus on the ticket. From what I heard, Obama thought Kaine could be his successor, and winning Virginia was important to Obama’s standing. He didn’t want to lose the sight of his most important primary victory. Kaine’s DNC stint and general abdication of his governor’s job put an end to that idea.

        Compared to Bayh (completely worthless. Even when I was a yellow dog Democrat I rooted for his GOP opponents) and Kaine, Biden was a much better pick.

      2. craazyboy

        “That really should have ruled him out of consideration for the Vice President slot”

        Well, not really. It means the DNC has one year to assassinate Obama. GWB in 2004 proved that an incumbent has a 100% chance of getting elected!

        1. optimader

          Hillary has been in the National political realm for what, like 26 years?
          What shred of positive content can she hang her hat on? She has one of those CVs enumerating positions held and dates, not a proud record of accomplishments made (kinda like papa Bush in that respect when he was in the running for POTUS).

          HRC has her systemic base and that it. Not enough to get elected IMO.
          Frankly, if HRC tomorrow provided the breakthrough for Free Limitless Energy passed through her lips from the gods, the cure for cancer and created life from dust bunnies, those that would not vote for her today wouldn’t vote for her next Nov. I think she is that polarizing.

          Combine the palpable, entrenched opinions about HRC with her being a potential health time bomb, any DNC operative outside of the Hillary bubble should be developing a twitching eye and a shaking foot.

          Besides… Hey you guys, isn’t it the Rs turn?

          1. H. Wit

            Hey you guys, isn’t it the Rs turn?

            Wouldn’t it be ironic and poetic justice if the Rs took on the banks? I mean, does a wise parasite kill its host? Or provoke a serious immune response? One that may possibly kill it?

            Of course the Rs, collectively, may not be that wise. That would be poetic justice too, thinking they can sow the wind by playing groups off each other and not reap a whirlwind that blows away their cynical plans.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Depending how tribal Republican X might be. This is a possibility. I wouldn’t be shocked of tomorrow a committee was announced to investigate Hillary Clinton donors.

              Palin and the Teabaggers were ultimately trashed by the right not because they were embarrassments, it’s the party of Reagan after all, but because they are loose cannons with a sense of right and wrong. We may not agree with it, but they might pursue the wring groups if they had power or a voice. Imagine a war on drugs conducted by a real anti-virus advocate. What would day traders without ADD prescriptions do?

              The GOP elite might love Goldman, but the rank and file know Goldman supported Obama.

              1. optimader

                but because they are loose cannons with a sense of right and wrong
                precisely, didn’t tow the party line discipline

                The GOP elite might love Goldman, but the rank and file know Goldman supported Obama
                ..and Obama supported the GOP elite

            2. Rostale

              I personally would rather see Sanders vs Bush and Bush win than HRC win. Given that large portions of the conservative base dislike TBTF banks nearly as much as they dislike “big government”, I could easily see them getting riled up on financial sector corruption, especially if the economy takes a downturn in 2016 (which looks likely). With HRC the campaign would be about her past, and Clinton vs Bush would have many voters staying home, which favors the right. Sanders, on the other hand, could create a wave that plays out increased democrat wins in house and senate, combine that with strong public support for a crackdown on the FIRE sector, and Bush might not have much choice in the matter. If it is Bush vs Clinton I doubt you would see much done, as it would be an issue neither side would wish to discuss.

              1. H. Wit

                “Given that large portions of the conservative base dislike TBTF banks nearly as much as they dislike “big government”” Rostale

                Exactly. What makes banks so dangerous is a combination of BOTH lack of regulation AND huge (often implicit) government subsidies.

                Some wish to keep the subsidies because they think they are necessary and therefore seek more regulation to compensate. But another approach is to eliminate the subsidies and thus prevent banks from becoming too dangerous in the first place.

                Of course banks are too dangerous NOW and reducing the danger will require thoughtful disarming.

    4. Doug Terpstra

      Congrats to you for reading the whole Vox piece. It lost me at this: “He may be the last remaining Democrat who really knows the art of the bipartisan deal.” the perfect 0bama protégé, to move the DP even further right. Yay!  Thus, the prospect of a Biden run inspires suicidal boredom. I’d much rather bathe in Phoenix’ nuclear sunshine without a sombrero and wait for ice to form on the scorched riverbed of the Salt “River”.

      Then again, that’s already the case for the 16 campaign. The only bright spot is Bernie’s rope-a-dope campaign to keep the yes-we-can hopium smokers in thrall in order to deliver essential lesser-of-2-weevils voters to Hillary in the end. It’s a more enjoyable waste of time.*

      Well, not the only bright spot: just between us, I’m secretly rooting for the Donald, Hillary’s other insurance policy. His popularity among the lunatic right fringe is a promising indicator of audience dissatisfaction in Democracy Theater (of the absurd). That and, after having lost so much hair, I’d have more time to study his coiffure for aspiration.

      Congrats to you, tho, for reading the entire Vox article.

      *If Sanders was serious he wouldn’t be running in the terminal Democratic Party. Jeff St Claire at Counterpunch has good take on Sanders’ role as Hillary’s stealth wingman.

      1. spooz

        Besides not wanting to be a “spoiler” candidate (consider that, just maybe, he actually thinks he can win), Bernie points out that running as a Democrat makes it easier to get on the ballot in all 50 states, get into the debates and be taken more seriously by the media.
        He has a point, if one looks at how these things played out during Nader’s 2000 campaign.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        The problem with easy cynicism is that while it rolls of the tongue easily, it’s sometimes not that easy to back up. This: “keep the yes-we-can hopium smokers in thrall” is a claim that Obama voters morphed into Sanders voters. First, it would be nice to know that’s actually true. Evidence? Second, even the lowliest worm can turn. If many Obama voters reacted to Obama’s betrayals by taking a loot at even a mild form of social democracy, is that so bad, really?

        Note that I don’t see signs of “Obama camps” training Sanders supporters into proselytizers. And I don’t see signs of the Sanders camp preparing scripts, like the Clinton camp is doing.

        Harder work, please.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Please read the link before launching easy authoritarian disdain. St. Clair’s analysis is not “easy cynicism”, but realism — critical skepticism. Post-Obama, I prefer not easy but hard cynicism to the maddening, gullible submissiveness of the impotent left. St. Clair:

          It is time for a little political realism: a realism that comes from understanding who Bernie Sanders is and the role he is now playing. Bernie has inherited the time-honored role of the Pretender, an essential character in Democratic Party stagecraft. There have been other mighty figures who have strutted and fretted their way across the primary season: Gene McCarthy and Shirley Chisholm, George McGovern and Jerry Brown, Cuomo and Jesse Jackson, Bill Bradley and Patricia Schroeder, Kucinich and, yes, even Barack Obama, the Pretender who became president.

          Yet, none of these insurgencies, dating back to McCarthy’s 1968 campaign, have ever moved the party even one micron to the left. Instead the DNC has lurched ever rightward, one election after the next. If nothing else, the Obama experience has demonstrated that the potency of the change agent dissolves almost instantly when dropped into the swells of the System.
          Bernie Sanders had a choice. He could have run as the outsider he claimed to be. He could have run as an independent. He could have run as a Socialist or a Green. He could have been a threat to the immiserating status quo. But he wilted. Either because Sanders really is at heart a Democrat or because he is a political coward who feared retribution, he chose to lend credence to a party that has brutalized nearly every progressive policy he claims to champion.

          Meanwhile, truly independent campaigns, the ones that forcefully challenge the neoliberal dogma and imperialistic militarism of the Democratic Party from the outside, are crushed, their candidates and supporters vilified and demonized. Go ask Ralph Nader.

          And more hardnosed realism from Paul Street, also on Counterpunch:

          Along with others on the “radical Left,” I have written and spoken a fair bit on what I dislike about the 2015 Sanders sensation. My topics have included:

          * The profound limits of Sanders’ progressivism when it comes to the Pentagon system, which eats up 57 percent of U.S. federal discretionary spending, accounts for nearly half of all military spending on Earth, and (by the way) carries the single largest institutional carbon footprint on the planet.

          * Sanders’ record of supporting Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s brazen U.S. militarism and imperialism in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East, and Ukraine and vis-a-vis Russia and China.

          * Sanders’ failure to acknowledge basic and fundamental budgetary, moral, and culturalcontradictions between the progressive domestic policy agenda he supports and the United States’ murderous and expensive global empire.

          * Sanders’ soul-chillingdefense of Israel’s repeated assaults on Palestinian children and other civilians in Gaza.

          * Sanders’ role in helping put fake-populist lipstickon the plutocratic pig that is the dismal dollar-drenched Democratic Party and the U.S. major party and elections system.

          * Sanders’ advance announcement that he will back the right-wing Democrat Hillary Clinton (the real meaning of his recurrent statement that he will “not be a spoiler”) in the general election – this without any hint that he might demand anything for “the middle [working?] class” in return for his support.

          * Sanders’ reluctance to criticize the corporatism (not to mention the imperialism) of the nation’s top Democrats (even John Edwards did that in 2007 and 2008) and his refusal to forthrightly call out the Clinton machine as a socio-pathological outrage.

          * Sanders’ obsession with the Supreme Court’s admittedly terrible 2010Citizens United decision – a fixation that omits how thoroughly capitalism had already incapacitated democracy in the U.S. long before that horrible ruling was handed down.

          * The duplicity and deception in Sanders’ claims to “fight the military industrial complex” (false) and to have been an “independent” politician for the last three decades (he’s been a de facto and damn near de jureDemocrat since at least 1990).

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            My goodness. What’s gotten into Counterpunch?

            First, on your narrow claim that Sanders voters are Obama voters, and smoked the same “hopium,” I asked for evidence. St Clair offers none; Paul Street offer none; you offer none. I presume if you had such evidence, you’d proffer it. Personally, I think it would be an interesting data point. Therefore, I stand by “easy cynicism.” Polemics are easy; evidence is hard.

            To move on to your change of ground:

            Second, on Street and his bill of particulars: I think you’ve got me confused with a Sanders supporter or endorser. (I mean, of course Sanders is lousy on the empire, though not as lousy as Hillary; he’s got an F-35 base in his backyard!) That said, I welcome anything that moves the discourse left, and I like seeing words like “single payer” and even “socialism” on CNN crawlers. If that’s the only change Sanders ends up accomplishing, I for one will be a not completely unhappy camper. I cover the mechanics of the Sanders campaign the same way I cover the other campaigns; it’s not my fault that the Sanders campaign has been tactically interesting and, so far, successful.

            Third, on St. Clair. I’ll address the one claim that Sanders should have run as a Green. That’s a terrible idea. First, the last thing the Greens need is a star candidate parachuting into their party; that was the real problem with Nader, and also with candidates like Roseanne Barr (much as I respect her as an artist). The Greens need to develop their own leadership organically. Second, Green state organization is wildly various. New York, with Howard Hawkins, is very good; my own state had no candidate for Governor, though it has a few good candidates at the local level, mostly in the south of the state. Nor do the Greens have nationwide ballot access. There is exactly one road to power for Sanders — or any other insurgent candidate — and for good or ill, that road lies through the Democratic party.

            1. sleepy

              There is exactly one road to power for Sanders — or any other insurgent candidate — and for good or ill, that road lies through the Democratic party.

              You may be right, and of course there is no way of knowing the future, but your statement to me sounds too close to the “we need more and better democrats” marketing slogan. I think many people have been hearing some version of that for close to 50 yrs.

              I think it’s just as realistic to predict that there will be little in the way of progressive change until there is no longer a 2 party system as exists now.

              Btw–I will support Sanders at the caucuses here in Iowa.

            2. Oregoncharles

              @Lambert: you’re making some rather conservative assumptions. Ross Perot, for instance, overcame the ballot access problem – essentially with money, but also because he was an authentic American hero (“self-made man”) and stirred up a strong bandwagon. The legal barriers fall before money and enthusiasm – a formula the Greens have not yet solved.

              That said: Bernie could not be nominated by the Green Party for the reasons St. Clair and Street (neither of them Greens, to my knowledge – and St. Claire lives in Oregon) lay out. He’s too neo-conservative. He actually defines the difference between neocon and neoliberal.

              I also happen to know he was asked in the past and refused.

              The reality remains that the Democratic Party is where leftish movements go to die – as Bernie is demonstrating (unless, of course, he pulls a McGovern and wins the nomination – of which there is no sign so far). It has been since 1972; and, in the literal case of RFK, since 1968. That’s a long time.

              Beware of self-fulfilling prophecies.

            3. Doug Terpstra

              I didn’t actually claim Sanders voters are Obama voters, nor did I peg you as a Sanders supporter, so your dismissive argument targets only your own inferences, while ignoring the obvious larger point. I don’t offer evidence for claims I haven’t made and don’t do unpaid assaigments in any case.

              My point is that the seduction dynamic looks very similar to the Obama bait/switch phenomenon: a cult savior, running in a corporate party, with an lousy voting record on Israel, militarism, bailouts, lobbyist legislation, and civil rights. Both Street and St Clair pegged Obama as pretender before 08, but the credulous Left just swooned like a serially abused spouse who never leaves, making exactly the same argument you just did for realpolitik pragmatism. I’m done with that.

          2. Lexington

            So all that is old is new again.

            I get an unsettling feeling of déjà vu when I read diatribes like of St. Clair and Street. In the period between the two world wars of the last century the American left – and this was when America had a genuinely viable leftist movement- tore itself apart by indulging in fratricidal disputes over what to outsiders appeared to be relatively minor doctrinal issues. Divided and impotent they got swept up and consigned to the dustbin of history by the anti communist hysteria that followed World War II.

            Now in the early 21st century the left has the makings of a genuine comeback on the American political scene, but no sooner are the first stirrings of life visible than the self appointed guardians of the The Cause are waxing apoplectic about how Sanders doesn’t pass their arbitrary ideological purity tests. Many on the left seem not to understand -or perhaps refuse to understand- that politics is rooted in pragmatism and compromise. Those who make a fetish of ideological purity consign themselves and their agenda to irrelevance.

            Sanders’ decision to run as a Democratic is the pragmatic choice. I personally do not think the party establishment will allow him to win the nomination under any circumstances, so in that sense it’s quixotic. On the other hand by running under the Democratic banner he forces the mainstream media to take notice of his campaign and positions himself as a clear alternative to the establishment candidate for Democratic voters. If he ran as an independent or on a third party ticket he would be dismissed out of hand as a fringe crank with no chance who can safely be ignored by the “serious” media (in other words, he would get the treatment third party candidates routinely get in the US).

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I think another problem with Street and St Clair’s ideas (and many others like them) is that they view parties as static, in a sort of equilibrium (An old codger like me has seen tremendous geographic and class recomposition in both parties, and my lifetime is not long in political terms (it’s a war, remember))?

              In fact, parties live, split, and die if they cannot adapt to crisis. Equilibria do not persist. The Whigs split over slavery. Some of them left politics, others joined the newly ascendant Republicans. Look what’s happening to Labour over in the UK.

              Sadly, the only road to power for Sanders runs through the Democratic party. That St. Clair, et al, are incensed at this is probably a good sign. Looking forward to Sanders going mano a mano with Biden on student loan debt, once Hillary gracefully leaves the race to spend more time with her family.

    5. sleepy

      It’s way early in the campaign season to make predictions. Candidates go up and candidates go down. Having said that . . . . . .

      I’ll make a premature prediction that Hillary will not make it. She will not be the nominee and she will drop out before that even becomes evident to most. Time and events have passed her by.

      Thus, Biden and whoever else can suck up to the power that Hillary stands for are chomping at the bit–Anybody But Sanders will be the rule, and coopting Sanders’ message in the most hypocritical and smarmy way will be the strategy.

      1. Ulysses

        “coopting Sanders’ message in the most hypocritical and smarmy way will be the strategy”

        Yep. Think Bono and Charles Koch on the same stage, pledging to “end corporate welfare as we know it,” and proposing to raise the national minimum wage– to eight bucks an hour within seven years!!

  2. allan

    “The case for Joe Biden to run for president … That seems odd.

    Wow, Lambert, your 2006 post on Biden is a masterpiece that needs to be distributed far and wide. For further insight into the great man, for anybody who hasn’t read it, Jeff Connaughton’s book The Payoff has a very unflattering portrait from close up.

    The truth is, the Dems have no bench. It’s Hillary or Bernie and that’s it.

    1. mad as hell.

      No, I think the bench just had a few more slats nailed on. Bernie is hitting a ceiling. Hill is beginging to make more people start to throw up.. Enter the Wizard of Wilmington. The credit card companies favorite senator. A man that has endured more tragedies than a Greek play. America’s favorite uncle. Our next president of the United States. Joseph Biden!

      What an American Story!
      Mainstream media “start your engines!”
      We are about to be RESCUED!

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I imagine half the Democrats in the Senate are seething. Imagine if a Senator with good hair had been as progressive as wacky old Bernie, anyone of them could be President with Hillary’s obvious weakness. Who cares about a board job if you can be President?

      Bernie is pulling 10000 people crowds with no celebrity endorsements when Team Blue rallies were being canceled due to weather on the eve of the 2014 election. Those partly sunny late October days might develop into a mostly cloudy day. Team Blue elites must be crazy.

      1. Ed

        There were a few Senators who could have pulled something like that off. Sherrod Brown and Al Franken come to mind.

        But I suspect the Sanders campaign was supposed to be a last hurrah for a 73 old man, and the response has taken Sanders himself by surprise.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Brown’s voice is too grating. It just is. Franken is too much of a Clinton fetishist (read his books) and didn’t stand with Sanders on the Bush/Obama tax cuts. Franken was too loyal to Team Blue to catch fire. He should have been calling for leadership reform after the disgraceful way he was treated in 2008 through the recount.

          We should have clip after clip of Franken trashing bankers, Obama appointees, Republicans, and so forth. We don’t. He may have been a liberal senator by team blue standards, but anti-establishment is the word of the election. Even Hillary supporters believe she has a secret personality just waiting to come out, and Franken never showed he was opposed to the status quo beyond what Harry Reid allowed.

          Franken is easily one of the top 5 smartest Senators. Bernie, Liz, Sherrod are there too, but Franken could have been a better Senator. I think he was too focused on not being a comedian when he joined the biggest clown show on Earth.

          1. ambrit

            Remember ‘Four Star Playhouse’?
            In Italy ‘they’ have the ‘Five Star Movement’.
            America! Now is the time for a Government with “More Stars than there are in Heaven!”
            Franken should take a junket to Italy and hang out with Grillo to watch a real Clown at work. It’s not easy to do comedy. The two could do brainstorming sessions and hammer out a workable Political Clown Caucus.
            With the functional equivalents of Incitatus now gracing our legislature, some mordant humour would be appropriate.

            1. Oregoncharles

              I still wonder what would have happened if we’d nominated Roseanne Barr. Trouble is, she’s just not the organizer you need to be for a 3rd party run. And she’s a loose cannon – that’s been her whole career.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Or Franken saw the Walker tide rolling in and hunkered down. After the national Democrats threw the locals under the bus on the recall, it’s hard to blame him. That said, you’d think he’d have enough cover to come out, now.

            1. ambrit

              Assuming your analysis to be correct, since Franken hasn’t come out of turtle mode yet, what does he see on the horizon that the rest of us do not? Also, “..enough cover to come out, now.” may not be true. Is there a war against any and all Populist Democrats being waged by the “Inside the Beltway” Democratic Party elites?
              That’s an interesting observation: Local Democrats versus the National Democrats. True, Locicrats aren’t the same as old tyme Dixiecrats, but the dynamics are similar.

            2. James Levy

              It’s hard to tell. You and Yves point out to us that when the Syriza guys got into the room with the Big Boys, they realized that anything rational was off the table pretty quickly and therefore substituted bluster and subterfuge and hope for any sane plan (because there wasn’t going to be a sane plan). Perhaps Franken has been in similar rooms and knows that the only thing that pushing too hard against the establishment can get him is ridicule and a big slap upside the head (or, if you want to go all Wellstone on us, death). I don’t know how these things work in practice. We have been led to believe by 200+ years of propaganda that death threats “just aren’t done” here in the good old US of A. I have no idea if they are, or how often, or if Franken is a sell-out, paranoid, or knows what he’s about. It’s just impossible for any of us to know at this remove.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I think I’m biased. I’ve always been a Franken fan. I’ve always wanted him to announce the Frankenium from the well of the Senate.

                He didn’t become a Senator because he is the son of “Senator Al Franken junior” or pursued the American version of the cursus honorum. He didn’t head up the college republicans (cough Hillary cough). Part of me thinks, Al is a fan. They aren’t bad Democrats. They are still Democrats. He’s proud of Minnesota and not having an official Democratic Party but helping to shape the national Democratic Party. As smart as Franken is and as decent he seems to be, I’m not certain he’s ready to fight against friendly faces. Bernie doesn’t identify as a Democrat as much as echo the Dean sentiment of the Democratic Party being the best vehicle for the change he wants to see which gives Bernie the ability to fight.

            1. flora

              And he had something to say – something that was more that poll-tested sound bites or half-measured trial balloons.

              1. lordkoos

                I think that’s what people like about Bernie — he doesn’t need researchers, pollsters and consultants to figure out what position to take.

            2. flora

              Thanks for the Jack Bogle interview. HIs remark here is interesting when thinking about PE:

              “Q: What are some things you would have done differently?
              A: I would have made it mandatory that we continue to disclose executive compensation. And maybe make the company’s financial statements more broadly available. I think openness is important if you’re a company like Vanguard because these people own not only your funds but the management company too. They’re entitled to any information they want. If it’s painful to disclose, well, that’s too bad.”

            3. NotTimothyGeithner

              I’d be higher on Brown as a candidate if he had won a tough Congressional seat, but he’s admitted it’s almost tailor made for him by chance. He moved from Ohio Secretary of State where built a great reputation to Congress.

              His book is great, but I don’t see the star power and rage against the machine element necessary to challenge Hillary. I didn’t think Bernie had the star power, but he does look great.

  3. vidimi

    couple of things:
    mexico’s mafia state claims another life, an intrepid journalist who worked tirelessly to expose the corruption

    mexico makes america’s police forces seem subdued.

    speaking of which, in los angeles, political cartoonist has been involved in a dispute against the LAPD and his former employer, the LA times. editor nick goldberg fired rall last week when the LAPD accused rall of lying about a jay-walking arrest more than a decade ago in which an officer handcuffed rall and threw his license into a gutter. goldberg didn’t even bother rall’s side of the story and, as expected, the LAPD are full of shit.

  4. edmondo

    We encourage investors to trade about $32 trillion a year. So the way I calculate it, 99% of what we do in this industry is people trading with one another, with a gain only to the middleman. It’s a waste of resources

    So when is Hillary – A Friend of the Workingman (registered trademark) – going to propose a Tobin tax on stock transactions? I didn’t so.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That 99% pointless trading comes from one source, and one source only.

      That one source is our belief that each of us is an exceptional trader. A belief your truly continue to work hard to rid of.

      It’s a belief the industry ‘wisely’ takes advantage of, and never fails to encourage in us.

  5. financial matters

    Francis Coppola has an interesting blog post.

    She talks about the role of central banks as lenders of last resort or perhaps more precisely what Perry Mehrling refers to as dealers of last resort. I think the power of the central banks combined with the vast array of fraudulently created financial products makes this a dangerous situation.

    As Ingham has pointed out “Eventually, the monetary policy regime in which control was placed in the hands of independent central banks was gradually adopted across the advanced economies.”

    He talks about the immediate post Bretton Woods time when labor achieved some victories but became a type of commodity with a labor standard somewhat replacing the gold standard. This led to increased prices and was a factor leading to inflation which resulted in high interest rates and wage suppression and the revenge of the rentiers and helped give this power to central banks.

    Only states can wrest this power back from central banks (which India is apparently doing) and restore the balance between labor, capital and finance.

    1. Ed

      Independent central banks have over the long term neither curbed inflation -look at how prices behaved pre Federal Reserve and post Federal Reserve- nor can it be said that they stopped financial panics, at best they made them less frequent and more damaging. They probably have helped with financing the government, their real purpose.

      So when we rebuild, independent central banks is probably one part of the old system that can be dispensed with.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        ‘Independent’ central banks have failed their goals.

        The goals are still there, in that future without those ‘independent’ central banks.

        What are those goals? One of them is ‘independence’ from states. That particular goal comes about due to the concern that a state* naturally wants to spend money (here, we don’t delude ourselves that that money is not spent on state interventions, military or otherwise, on behalf of the rich and power).

        Thus, the need to separate the creator of money from the spender of that new money.

        *a state can be a monarchy. In that case, a king or a queen wishes nothing better than to be able to spend as much as possible. And he/she spends in order to help you and me. Wink, wink.

      2. craazyboy

        “Independent central banks have over the long term neither curbed inflation -look at how prices behaved pre Federal Reserve and post Federal Reserve”

        I’m pretty sure you could empirically prove that the “natural rate of general inflation” was pretty close to zero for the 5000 years of recorded history prior to 1913. Probably even negative – because innovation and productivity – but post 1913, economists figured out how to channel these benefits away from the 99% to the 1%. Where they rightfully belong!

      3. H. Wit

        “… independent central banks …”

        How can they be said to be independent when central banks have the huge privilege, for instance, of being able to create legal tender for taxes, ie. government money aka fiat? If they want to be truly independent then logically their privileges should be removed too.

        Why, for example, can’t the Euro exist as a purely private currency with Eurozone countries going back to issuing their own fiat for the payment of taxes?

      4. James Levy

        Your “more damaging” comment can be challenged if you look at the 1873-77 depression, which was in every way as bad or worse than the 1929-39 crash. In fact, it didn’t end in 1877, but rippled through the global economy until about 1896.

        1. H. Wit

          Other huge implicit subsidies for banks in the US, even before the Federal Reserve was established or government deposit insurance, were:

          1) The lack of a Postal Savings Service for risk-free fiat storage and transactions leaving the poor option of physical cash as the only option to deposits in private banks.
          2) Expensive fiat, such as gold and silver coins and gold and silver certificates as if taxes alone were not sufficient to back fiat. This necessitated:
          3) Borrowing by the monetary sovereign (the US Treasury) at interest if it had insufficient gold or silver for deficit spending rather than just print new fiat (eg. US Notes aka Greenbacks as was done under Lincoln). This allowed the banks to exchange their dead assets of gold and silver for liquid, interest-paying bonds from the monetary sovereign.

          Can it really be argued that free banking existed in the US (and failed) as long as any of the above privileges existed? If that’s what you’re implying?

          1. craazyboy

            I’m not absolutely certain of my historical recollection is correct about this, but believe that back in 1873-77, the people alive then referred to the event as a “banking panic” or “financial panic”. Not a depression. If true, it’s a nuance that implies they were smarter than us – and recognized it was a case of Banksters acting badly again.

            Then, as NC likes to always point out, it was gold & silver currency days. But I’ll flesh that one out a little more. It was gold & silver fractional banking days. So when the leverage imploded, even if there was a Federal Reserve at that time, the Fed would have to hand over half of Ft. Knox to the Goldman Bank and the other half of Ft. Knox to the Sachs Bank. The rest of the banking system would still have failed. Or something like that.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s 2-step process.

      First, the people wrest the captured state back from banksters.

      Second, that newly liberated state wrest the power back from the central bank.

      Without the first, the second is merely cosmetic, as banksters and the central bank essentially are members in the same club.

  6. Jim Haygood

    A new ukase from Emperor Obama:

    President Obama will unveil on Monday a set of environmental regulations … [requiring] the nation’s existing power plants to cut emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, and raising to 28 percent from 22 percent the share of generating capacity that would come from [renewable] sources.

    Attorneys general from more than a dozen states are preparing legal challenges against the plan. “Once the E.P.A. finalizes this regulation, West Virginia will go to court, and we will challenge it,” Patrick Morrisey, the attorney general of West Virginia, said.

    “The worst part of this proposal is that it’s flatly illegal under the Clean Air Act and the Constitution, and we intend to challenge it vigorously.”

    What’s utterly remarkable is that nowhere in the lengthy NYT article is Obama’s claimed legal authority for issuing such a sweeping remake of the electric utility industry cited.

    Welcome to zombie democracy, where life-changing decisions (including new wars) are announced by the emperor, without the slightest input from the rubber-stamp parliament.

    KongressKlowns are on recess for five weeks, so they probably won’t even hear about Obama’s power play while jetting about on their junkets.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      The uncloseted cynic in me says Obama’s imperial decree is another mindfuck from the Jedi-Master. It gives him progressive green cred without a snowball’s chance of becoming functional law.

      1. Vatch

        Emissions reductions on this level are long overdue. Like you, I have trouble believing that Obama is sincere about this. But we might get lucky, and the reductions will actually be enforced. Probably not. I don’t actually know whether these reductions are legal or not; they definitely should be legal. The atmosphere should not be used as a toilet or a garbage dump.

    2. DJG

      I’d like to know why 2005 is the base year. I suspect it’s because it was high. So the standards are likely to be toothless. Something doesn’t pass the smell test here.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dallas county jail.

    A deputy restrained the man with handcuffs, “believing that he may be a threat to himself or others until they could calm the man down,” Reyna said in an email.

    April Berryhill, who had come to the jail to submit a property release form, said she saw one sheriff’s deputy with his knee on the man’s back and another one with a knee on the man’s throat.

    Berryhill said the man told the deputies he couldn’t breathe before they uncuffed him and lay him down on his back.

    Are there better (safer) ways of restraining people? It seems like technology can help here.

    1. Inverness

      According to the witness cited, this man didn’t need restraining, he needed assistance. He was seeking help. Apparently simply entering a police station makes you guilty. There’s often a presumption of guilt at work.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I got the same impression as you when I read that article, and I should have stated that.

        Then, the question came to me, that, if a legitimate need arises, are there safer ways to do their job?

        1. Inverness

          Valid question, to be sure. In New York City chokeholds were banned in 1993, but that still didn’t save Eric Garner.

      2. lordkoos

        Of course there are safer ways of restraining people. And there are safer strategies for dealing with touchy situations. However American police seem to enjoy ramping things up until they get to shoot someone and claim later that they had no choice.

        Cops in Europe seem to be able to defuse tense situations without someone ending up dead.

    2. afisher

      Note the “throw-away” / knee-jerk / CYA last comment – it is possible that the cops saw what may be narcotics in the truck of the man that they just killed. Blame the Truck. sigh.

  8. sd

    Koch is a bit late to the game by about 35 years. I wonder how much corporate welfare he collected during that time?

  9. jgordon

    Do Chinese People Lead More Nuanced Emotional Lives?

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Americans are the most heavily propagandized and marketed-to population that has ever existed. And most of the propaganda is squarely aimed at encouraging individualistic consumption (and presumably coincident happiness). This kind of incessant barrage of informational garbage certainly has a pernicious and deleterious affect on the population, which could result in not only individualist tendencies, but also the stunted and juvenile emotional life typified by Americans (and populations who’ve received similar treatments such as the Beijing group perhaps).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One can argue that, to live and believe in a system where individual profit-maximizing leads. first, to productivity/efficiency, and then to societal benefits as a whole is to live a very nuanced life.

  10. craazyboy

    “Obama’s claimed legal authority for issuing such a sweeping remake of the electric utility industry cited.”

    Um, coal plants built before the mid 1980s Clean Air reg’s were exempted from clean air regs. Back then, high sulfur emissions was what worried people*. The other little fact is that coal plants are designed and licensed for a 40 year operating life, and right now, one third of our coal generating capacity is over 40 years old and therefore theoretically worn out, obsolete, relics of an unenlightened past, and technically must be shut down. Except the industry has been requesting, and getting, operating licensing extended – and still getting exemptions from the 1980s regs – because it is impractical to upgrade ancient plants to 1980s levels of perfection.

    So really, if “Government Did Nothing” at this point, we would automatically avoid the Acid Rain Crisis.

    * I don’t know what our Founding Fathers were worried about. Probably just particulates. But Ben was working on the lightning-kite-key thing. That should help.

    1. Jim Haygood

      More from the NYT:

      Mr. Obama tried but failed to push through a cap-and-trade bill in his first term, and since then, the term has become politically toxic … as “cap and tax.”

      But … in many cases, the easiest and cheapest way for states to comply would be by adopting cap-and-trade systems.

      Some states may refuse to submit plans, and on Monday, the administration will also unveil a template for a plan to be imposed on such states.

      Where have we seen this movie before? Last month in Greece, when voters rejected a bailout, only to have a harsher bailout ‘imposed’ on them a week later.

      Kabuki democracy, comrades: some folks aren’t getting that it’s only show biz.

      1. craazyboy

        The idea that we can cap and trade global warming, or pollution in general, is quite moronic on it’s own merits.

        The other alternative, a “sin tax” on global warming, or pollution in general, is slightly better – but only because cap and trade is such a horrible idea, and would again siphon off real capital and resources away from actually attempting any solution to the problem and towards extractive finance*. Which is why neolibs like the idea so much. The only thing I would add to further enhance neo-lib Nirvana would be to go to a pharma drug based currency. Statins, purple pills, valium and Cialis should be declared legal tender in general, of course, but settling cap and trade accounts in pharma products would be a nice start. Plus pills seem to keep their value even if you avoid paying your taxes with them (sorry MMTers – couldn’t resist). That doesn’t matter much to hedge funds, since they are tax exempt anyway, but the 12% annual return on drug currency may still look attractive to a hedge fund manager.

        * there still isn’t a very good one – I don’t own any solar pom-poms. Plus 20% of generating capacity is nuclear – oops. Conservation is the least worst.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Not the retiring type.

    92 year old Ms. Miller drives 25 miles 3 days a week to her job at Glasgow, rain, snow or sleet, I guess.

    I hope I can still do that in my 80s.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Do what? Work so you can eat with a roof over your head, enduring the latest rounds of Austerity Bombing of the civilian population, wave after wave flying like Staffeln of HE and incendiary-loaded Ju-88s and V-weapons, out of BrusselsBerlin and the City and Whitehall?

      I know, admiration for folks like her, and the wish that you and I might be vigorous and able to Keep Calm And Carry On when full of years…

      1. Faye Carr

        Yep, and here’s the thing… yesterday was my 60th birthday and I don’t have enough monetary resources to live into much of my 70’s.

        At least without significant changes to our existing medical access methods. Reality smacked me around some during a recent health crisis.

        Can’t imagine I’m alone in realizing this.

        Finally, I’d still like to know… What Jobs?

    1. heresy101

      My agenda would be to force all hunters of endangered species (lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos, orangutans, sea turtles, etc) to fight at the super bowl and the winner would get to mount all his opponents heads on his wall:

      As for the police, they are nothing more than the 1%’s praetorian guard. So far in 2015, the “police” have murdered 662 citizens for the crimes of not having a front license plate, not signaling a left turn, asking for help in a police station and other heinous crimes.

      It is time to take guns away from the police as in Britain and have all that are not certified psychopaths learn real policing skills from the Scandinavians:

      1. Jay

        “As for the police, they are nothing more than the 1%’s praetorian guard”

        “It is time to take guns away from the police”

        Yves, Lambert – do you agree with the above?

        1. lambert strether

          Sorry, after “doesn’t fit your agenda” I don’t have confidence this is a good faith discussion.

          Do some work on the site instead of assigning us tasks.

          1. Jay

            And that’s why I argue that this site is click bait. Because you allow posts like heresy101 to go undisputed, and more reasonable arguments that go against your position are vehemently and illogically attacked.

            The Memphis incident shows why people should respect the police and the difficulty of their task. Getting hostile only exacerbates the confrontation. People should cooperate, and if they believe they were treated unfairly, deal with it later in the courts.

            And when a hostile person aggravates the situation, I have no problem when the police defends their safety. It’s clear that you and Yves do have a problem with it, and more Memphis-like deaths will be the result of that position.

            1. Vatch

              Hi Jay,

              Instead of saying “Yves, Lambert – do you agree with the above?” you could have said “NC readers – do you agree with the above?”. In that case, I doubt you would have elicited an irritated response from Lambert, because there would have been no hint that you were assigning a task.

          2. Jay

            When you are selective in which posts you go after, it’s pretty clear that you and Yves take no issue with statements like:

            “As for the police, they are nothing more than the 1%’s praetorian guard”

            “It is time to take guns away from the police”

            Naked Capitalism = Click bait.

            1. lambert strether

              You could have done the work you tried to assign, but chose not to.

              It’s a big Internet; I hope you find your happiness elsewhere.

              1. sd

                There’s an interesting article on the history of policing in the United States with references. The origin is mercantile.

                Dr. Gary Potter is a professor of online and on-campus courses for the EKU School of Justice Studies. His current research areas include transnational organized crime, human trafficking and the sex industry, and drug trafficking by teenagers in rural Kentucky.

    2. heresy101

      My agenda would be to force all hunters of endangered species (lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos, orangutans, sea turtles, etc) to fight at the super bowl and the winner would get to mount all his opponents heads on his wall:

      As for the police, they are nothing more than the 1%’s praetorian guard. So far in 2015, the “police” have murdered 662 citizens for the crimes of not having a front license plate, not signaling a left turn, asking for help in a police station as well as other heinous crimes.

      It is time to take guns away from the police as in Britain and have all that are not certified psychopaths learn real policing skills from the Scandinavians:

    3. Yves Smith

      You seem to assume we are omniscient. We aren’t. If you want us to be able to cover more sites (and if you read this site regularly, you will have noticed we just about never read CNN because it isn’t good on business and finance coverage), the Tip Jar is in the upper right.

    4. Vatch

      Okay, 67 police officers have been killed in the line of duty so far this year. The link shows 70, but 3 of those were 9/11 related deaths by disease, so the killing actually occurred 14 years ago. It just took a while to catch up to the victims.

      According to The Guardian newspaper, 678 people have been killed by police in the U.S. so far this year:

      And there’s this (search for “law enforcement” and “fishing” [separate searches]):

      All lives matter. It would be great if all kinds of killings were to stop.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe worth examining the statement about number of police officers “killed” per that link? Looks like 18 officers killed by gunfire from “hostiles,” numerous heart attacks, car wrecks and stuff. Produces a different quotient and image if the relationship is 18-20 killed by perps versus 678 (or maybe more?) killed by “legitimate shootings within department guidelines of resisting arrestees…”

    5. RalphR

      Do you not understand that police understand when they take the job that they are at high risk of death and injury? That’s why most jurisdictions allow them to retire in their 40s and 50s with good pensions. By contrast, the cop shootings that have created media outrage look to be abuses of their power. Or do you also approve of politicians breaking laws like taking bribes and siphoning money to their friends, because they can get away with it too?

      And do you expect the the national media, and NC following the national media, to commemorate every death in a high-risk profession?

      Here are some occupations with higher fatality rates than being a cop:

      Logging workers: 129.9
      Fishers and related fishing workers: 120.8
      Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: 54.3
      Roofers: 42.2
      Structural iron and steel workers: 37.0
      Refuse and recyclable material collectors: 32.3
      Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers: 24.3
      Electrical power-line installers and repairers: 23.9
      Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers: 22.8
      Construction laborers: 17.8
      Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 16.2
      Maintenance and repairs workers, general: 15.7

      And for good measure, some more that approach the allegedly terrifying risks of being a police officer:

      First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers: 14.7
      Grounds maintenance workers: 14.2
      Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers: 13.0

  12. Brindle

    re: Why Conservatives… Davis Dayen

    Yea , the title is kind of a mis-direct—but an excellent piece.
    The propaganda is that ultra-wealthy are reaping the rewards of their superior work ethic, and that the rest of us just need to grind away and maybe our opportunity will come—if we are smart enough to see it.
    The wealth inequality paradigm is one entirely made by human decisions—it is a human construct. There are no physical laws involved such as gravity, the speed of light etc—it can be changed.

    Great closing in Dayen’s piece:

    “The stock market is doing great, CEOs are doing great, the 1 percent is doing great,” Mishel said. “The reason why people have not benefited from growth is because of policy choices made on behalf of those with the most income, wealth and power. Government can be the vehicle to turn this around.”

  13. JEHR

    Re: Liar Loans Pop up in Canada’s Magnificent Housing Bubble Wolf Street

    Up here we say that we are ten years behind the U.S. in most things. Seems as though it may also be true for the housing bubble that Canada appears to be creating, including liar’s loans. Sometimes we learn our lesson and sometimes we just do what others are doing. I’m sure that Harper is very happy with anything that creates wealth for the corporations and banks so “Why should HE worry?” We don’t have Flaherty anymore to warn the banks and mortgage companies to behave. We just have Joe Oliver. Woe are we!

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Migrants ‘attacked’at sea between Greece and Turkey.

    It’s the triumph of neoliberalism and imperialism that as bad as Greece is, there are worse places that make Greece a destination.

    1. lambert strether

      What I wonder is who’s doing the attacking, and who’s funding it all. The story doesn’t make that clear.

  15. John Merryman

    As for the article on eastern versus western philosophy, when you have a winner takes all culture…..

    As for individualism, it does create autonomous individuals, but it also creates atomized societies, where people can be more readily replaceable, because they are not viewed as integrated parts of the whole.

    Life is going to have its ups and downs. A happy medium is another term for the big flatline on the heart monitor, but it doesn’t work to have it swinging too erratically or wildly either.

    It is said in the east that they view the past as being in front of the person, while the future is behind, because we see what is in front and know what is past, while the future and what is behind are unknown. Which is an accurate description of how we receive information. While in the west we view the future as in front and the past behind, because we are physically moving forward into the future and away from the past. Which only goes to show how profoundly differently people can perceive reality.

    Though raising this issue a bit ago, someone mentioned they thought of the future as to the right and the past as to the left, as presumably much of their experience was derived from reading.

    I’ve wondered if this different cultural foundation doesn’t trace back to the neolithic age, where rice farming had evolved in the east and so people felt more integrated into their context, while westerners were much more tribal, with hunting still a primary source of food, so thought of themselves as more in conflict with their context.

    1. Banana Breakfast

      Foraging/hunting was a major source of calories for Neolithic and Bronze Age populations in what’s now China, as well, and the absolute primacy of settled agriculture as a subsistence strategy came only thousands of years after initial domestication, and very unevenly across the span of the territory. That’s not much different than Europe, where domesticated flora and fauna spread from the Middle East and Africa early into some areas, like the Iberian Peninsula and south-eastern Europe, and were available to the rest of the continent but adopted only slowly and piecemeal. There’s no radical difference in subsistence that would account for a putatively opposite perspective on humanity’s relationship to nature or communities. As for “much more tribal”, I’m not sure how to approach that but certainly among the elite, aristocratic classes Chinese societies were extremely tribal/clannish from at least the beginning of written history.

      1. lordkoos

        In my experience with modern Chinese culture (my first wife was from Beijing, I visited the country twice for extended stays, etc) the majority of Chinese people care not a whit for people who happen to be outside of their family and relationship circle. They will treat others politely to their faces but otherwise its dog-eat-dog, so to speak. In the same way the Chinese seem to have little concept of the commons or public sphere. People litter everywhere, kill protected species for whatever imaginary medical benefit that will bring, and think nothing of taking a dishonest advantage of others in the course of doing business or getting ahead in general, whether it be school or work. Gaming the system in whatever way possible is perfectly OK. They are extremely pragmatic and practical — whatever it take to get it done, you do it. Of course this is a cultural generalization but I think these things are mostly true from my own observations, and I think non-Chinese Asians believe these things to be true as well. Once I was complaining to a Thai person that my stepdaughter was overly concerned with money, his reply was, “Of course, she’s Chinese!”

        1. John Merryman

          People are people.
          I do think though that if there was a wide understanding that money functions as a broad social contract and one which is usually designed to primarily benefit those managing it, there would be more of a move back to local mediums of exchange, amongst the localized “relationship circles” and this will incline them to take better care of their immediate commons, with hopefully overlapping circles, that would generate a broader sense of community.
          Given the current bubble of notational wealth is going to pop, what are the alternatives that don’t primarily involve guns and walls?

  16. Brindle


    I’ve found that local media often has a more unbiased take on the Bernie Sanders campaign than the big media orgs.. Here is one from Fort Wayne, Indiana a small city in the NW part of the state:

    —Howard said he has been a consistent Republican voter.

    “I am tired of the financial abuse. … Looking for something fresh and new to start out with,” he said.

    Trevino said she would sign up as a Sanders campaign volunteer. Howard said he might.—–Time-for-positive-revolution-7992462

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Local media are very important. If readers would forward any local media sightings to me using my Water Cooler contact form, I’d be grateful. Nothing bylined from Washington, please!

  17. allan

    File under GOP Clown Car Frontrunner and Class Warfare:

    Reuters: Donald Trump’s companies have sought visas to import at least 1,100 workers

    The temporary work visa program through which Trump’s companies have sought the greatest numbers of workers, H-2B, brings in mostly workers from Mexico. Mexicans made up more than 80 percent of the 104,993 admissions to the United States on H-2B visas in 2013. The Trump companies have sought at least 850 H-2B visa workers.

    This will have legs.

    1. craazyboy

      Egads! ‘Murican hotels, motels and casinos don’t have French Maids! Golf courses don’t hire Japanese gardeners! At least not more than one. Where did I put my smelling salts?!

      I think Trump will weather that one ok. He’ll probably “divert” the conversation to the reported 6 to 10 million “undocumented” Spanish speaking peoples that somehow turned up in the ‘Muricas.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      You don’t really get the mentality of the gop voter or team blue voter for that matter. It’s easy to dismiss as lies of the librul media. Hypocrisy over immigration policy hasn’t hurt the GOP with their does before.

  18. Uahsenaa

    re: Stalled Markets – a dramatic interpretation

    Mr. Market: Hey, why aren’t you people spending any of your left over income?
    We People: Because we don’t have any left over income.
    Mr. Market: (copping an austere tone) Tell ya what, if you just cut back a little on your expenses, then you’ll have some left over to spend!
    We People: …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s time to sell oneself as an indenture laborer, realizing some, or all, of one’s future wages in one present value lump sum amount.

      The cash is hard and real, though the contract for one’s indentured-ness is less formal – you don’t actually have to sign anything to indenture oneself with anyone (who might be called an employer), certainly with not the guy handing you that cash (the banker)* – though backed by the debtor prison term, if necessary.

      *with the lender, one signs to get cash, but one doesn’t sign with him/her to indenture oneself. In this separated, modern form, it’s easier for us to delude ourselves that we have not indentured ourselves.

  19. juliania

    Did or does Boston have the situation where all public schools were closed in order not to have to comply with desegregation? That was the long shadow described in the Atlantic article.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      No. However, I do remember that the original Red Line was built without a stop in Roxbury. And school desegration was not received with equanimity everywhere.

  20. ewmayer

    Q: What Is Wrong with the West’s Economies? NYRB
    A: The West’s Economists are what’s wrong with the West’s Economies.

    o Texas man injured as bullet ricochets off armadillo – BBC News

    LOL, serves him right. Not for nuthin’ did the Spaniards who first (at least amongst les Eurotrashes) explored the region name said critters “little armored one”.

    o Followup to a story Yves linked on 7/20:

    Hitchhiking Robot Lasts Just Two Weeks in US Because Humans Are Terrible

    American exceptionalism in action! To paraphrase Tony Bennett, ‘I left my head in Philadelphia…’. ‘Twould seem the dreaded nefariousness mentioned in the earlier article verily hath occurred, um, -eth.

    o WaPo version of the Bizarro-World-border-topology story:

    Say goodbye to the weirdest border dispute in the world – The Washington Post

    I’m surprised WaPo didn’t use the wacky political geography here to promote Amazon Global Drone Delivery™. ‘Do you live inside a tiny multiply-nested political enclave which makes it impossible to go more than a few feet from your front door? Amazon can help! Just sign up for our Global Prime™ Drone Delivery™ service (first 30 days are free!) and use your tablet or smartphone to let us bring the world to your door™.’

    [Aside: Suggestion for a possible retro-themed TV sitcom based on the business exploits of the AMZN founder: Leave It To Bezos. Perhaps some of our glibber (hey, it’s a word *now*) NC reader/writers can supply some sample dialog from said show, inspired by the famous near-namesake TV show.]

  21. DJG

    Phelps article on the weaknesses of European economies in NYRB: I was reminded repeatedly in this article how much the Anglo-American intellighentsia lives in an echo chamber. He starts with Rawls and Bentham but doesn’t produced comparable Contentinental philosophers with equal standing. There is no French equal to Bentham?

    The ill-spiced word salad continues:
    “Our prevailing political economy is blind to the very concept of inclusion; it does not map out any remedy for the deficiency. A monograph of mine and a conference volume I edited are among the few book-length studies of ways to remedy failure to include people generally in an economy in which they will have satisfying work.3”


    I won’t mention Gramsci, then.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’m reading Gramsci’s ‘Lettere dal Carcere’ (Letters from Prison) right now. Very interesting. The book itself looks like a series of scanned pages from an old book bound in a cheapish paper binding, but I was grateful even to find that. Italian language books aren’t easy to come by in the US, Powell’s in Portland, OR has around two shelves and that’s the most I’ve come across in one place here.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        In the original Italian….

        One of the ideas in Gramsci that I found interesting (and please correct me based on your reading) is that state and civil society are distinct only for the purposes of study, and are both aspects of the same ruling class (dread phrase, but I once got David Broder to use it, so whatever). This reminds me of Janine Wedel’s work on flexians and flex-nets.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          I’m at the point in the book now where he has been incarcerated for a year. There isn’t a lot of musing on politics or society yet, the narrative has focused on describing his experiences as a prisoner to friends and family and asking them to send specific books to him to read. The lists of books he requests are very interesting in themselves, and refer to a lot of very diverse material I am mostly unfamiliar with. Realizing his letters are no doubt being read, he seems to be avoiding explicitly addressing any political or social controversies within them. At least thus far. He keeps being moved from one facility to another, and his descriptions of this process dominate the letters.

  22. Ulysses

    “As flexians inhabit and shift among overlapping roles, they relax rules. They achieve their goals in part by finessing, circumventing, or rewriting both bureacracy’s rules of accountabilty and business’s codes of competition [if any], thus helping to create many of the choices and structural positions available to them.”

    Is there any significant difference between what Wedel calls flexians and what my grandmother would have called “movers and shakers?” Or what Thucydides would have called, even more simply, “powerful people?” I haven’t read Wedel so I’m not quite clear what her original contributions to the analysis of human power relations actually are.

  23. Phil

    “This confirms my very dim view of George Lakoff. His idea of the left as wanting government to be nurturing mommies was insulting and infantilizing, and any messaging coming out of that reading would play into the hands of the right (as in the left wants to keep people weak and dependent). Now we have Lakoff unable to distinguish the professional, as in Vichy, left from grass roots types. Or is he projecting the root cause of why his arguments failed onto his fellow travelers? As in nice nurturant types won’t engage in bloody fights when that’s what it takes to win?”

    I don’t agree with your reading of Lakoff. In his book “The Political Mind” he is simply reporting on how cognitive science based research can be used by the political class to manipulate opinion. He reports how the right has been able to use trigger words in language that appeals to the cognitive preferences of conservatives – and even liberals who hold conservative views in specific scenarios. His plea in “the Cognitive Mind” is that the left use this same technique to appeal to *conservatives* in their messaging, in a way that will trigger interest and agreement by conservatives.

    A simple example: Instead of unequivocally claiming that Universal Health care is a good thing, in and of itself – one would make the conservative economic argument that it’s the most economically efficient thing to do (whether or not that is true is beside the point for purpose of this discussion – it’s just an example).

    Another example: Instead of claiming that guns are evil, try to frame gun control within the mounting evidence of real costs to society, and how conservatives ALSO have to bear those costs.

    there is a lot more to Lakoff than I have written here, but in no way do I think that Lakoff is arguing for any “soft” meme for liberals. Lakoff is pragmatic; he is simply pointing out how our brains respond to certain memes, based on prior conditioning and preference – and, that the right has either been very canny in realizing this, and/or that its red meat messaging has an appeal that hooks conservatives based on the cognitive principles that Lakoff expounds in his writings.

  24. JohnB

    What do people think of HBO’s Vice documentary series? I just watched the one on Ukraine/Russia, called ‘Cold War 2.0’, and it was good – I’ve been reading NC and also Mark Ames coverage, so I have a few bones to pick with it (they tend to softball on their interviews, I’d like to see them be a bit more challenging) – but it did a decent job covering all sides.

    It seems like the kind of show the NC crowd would like, and I’d love to see people like Mark Ames, Glenn Greenwald (sorry to both for putting their names beside one another, ha ;)), Yves – and many other writers who’ve written or been linked here – interviewed/contributing to the show.

    Particularly, a lot of their reporting on warzones, reminds a bit of Pando/ex-NSFWCorp writers – just not as cutting – I think the styles of journalism could mesh well.

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