2:00PM Water Cooler 9/30/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, the repair shop made the electrical shorts in my Mac’s keyboard go away, and now I have a real computer again ZOMG!!!! Albeit with a Bluetooth keyboard, for now, since Apple is taking forever to ship the replacement keys. Probably Jony Ives is buffing them, or something.


“Progress was made in just ended Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks here by chief negotiators from the 12 member countries, [Japan’s] TPP minister Akira Amari said Tuesday” [Japan Times]. ” With the aim of striking a broad agreement, the 12 TPP countries, including Japan and the United States, will hold the ministerial meeting for two days through Thursday. According to a source with access to the negotiations, the ministerial session may be extended through Friday. ‘In order not to let the TPP negotiations drift about for another year or more, we want to make it the last ministerial session,’ Amari said.” Hmm. The USTR lets things “drift about”?

Dairy: “U.S. DAIRY FEARS HOLDING UP TPP DEAL, SOURCES SAY: A fear by U.S. dairy producers of competition from New Zealand is proving to be among the final challenges to wrapping up the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, Pro Trade’s Doug Palmer reports from Atlanta” [Politico]. That’s the headine. But the deeper you go into the story, the deeper into the weeds you get. “After four days of negotiations there, trade ministers are scheduled to arrive today to try to resolve the toughest issues. Several snags remain, including the U.S. dairy industry demand that any reductions in U.S. trade barriers be offset with a nearly equal opportunity to sell U.S. cheese, butter, powder and other dairy products to other countries in the proposed 12-nation pact.” NC readers who read the Levin memo at NC yesterday are better informed than the Politico writer; it’s not all auto, dairy, and pharma.

Japan: “As elections loom, the U.S., Canada and Japan find themselves lacking the political will to make compromises during negotiations. In Japan, members of the dominant Liberal Democratic Party with ties to agriculture are particularly leery of the agreement” [Nikkei Asian Review].

Japan: “Full details of tariff elimination under the TPP will not be made available until an agreement is reached. But one of the sources has heard 20 years or longer are among the longest grace periods suggested by some TPP partners in their bilateral talks” [Japan Times]. 20 years? Hardly a deal at all, in trade terms; which makes it clear that TPP isn’t really about trade at all, doesn’t it?

Japan: “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden agreed Tuesday … that their negotiating teams for the Trans-Pacific Partnership would work closely together ‘with the goal of resolving the limited number of outstanding issues at the upcoming ministers meeting in Atlanta,’ according to the White House.” [Japan Times].

Canada: “An agreement in principle could be announced as early as Friday” [CTV]. So Harper will have something to campaign on…

Canada: “There were rumours circulating Tuesday that chief negotiators working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal had reached an agreement-in-principle (AIP). Would that be like the AIP that Canada announced with Europe, the one which has spent years in the ‘final polishing and legal drafting’ phase?” [iPolitics]. “Will there be a deal this week? Not likely — at least, not one that could be sent to Congress. What that does to the Harper government’s plans to champion a deal in the waning days of the election campaign is anyone’s guess.”

Canada: “How badly do Stephen Harper’s Conservatives want Canada to be part of this week’s anticipated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal? We’re about to find out, less than three weeks before the election” [CBC]. “A handful of ridings could swing into the loss column for the Conservatives, particularly in Ontario, over [dairy and auto] concessions. But other voters the Tories target may embrace the deal.”

New Zealand: “[Prime Minister John] Key reiterated that he felt a deal could be done this week, and that the window for doing a deal was starting to close” at a meeting of the Asia Society in New York [TVNZ].

Australia: “The US government is caught between a rock and a hard place because of the promises it made to persuade the US Congress to give up its right to amend the TPP and allow only a yes/no vote. Promises of stronger monopoly rights on medicines and copyright cannot be delivered to the pharmaceutical and media industries without substantial concessions on agricultural market access, which in turn cannot be delivered because of pressures from agribusiness” [Sidney Morning Herald].



“Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a Vatican spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. Ms. Davis and her husband were in Washington anyway to receive an award from the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, in recognition of her stand against same-sex marriage” [New York Times]. Pope Francis: “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right.” Fair enough, but somehow, when Davis (represented by the Liberty Counsel) makes it onto wingnut talk radio and the rubber chicken circuit (ka-ching), I don’t think that topic will figure largely in the discussion.


The Voters

“Looking at the presidential race right now, I see clearly four different types of GOP primary voters and caucus-goers. True Believers, who “have already picked a candidate and are sticking to him come hell or high water.” Buckley Voters, so called because they tend to follow the ‘Buckley Rule; and support the most conservative candidate they see as plausibly winning the presidency.” Center-right governing conservatives, who live in blue states or those who serve in state or local party or government organizations. Uniques, who “are in this election to support a candidate for a unique reason or because of that candidate’s specific platform” [Hugh Hewitt, Politico].


“2016 pres­id­en­tial con­tenders are in­creas­ingly cri­ti­ciz­ing the out­sized in­flu­ence of money in polit­ics—in some cases tak­ing aim at the very donors that can­did­ates may need to win the White House” [National Journal].

“‘Donors are demanding a lot these days, man, and they want answers and they want results, and a lot of them hit the panic button a lot,’ said Theresa Kostrzewa, a Republican lobbyist and donor based in North Carolina, who is supporting former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida. ‘This is a new day. Donors consider a contribution like, Well, wait, I just invested in you. Now I need to have my say; you need to answer to me‘” [New York Times]. So much cleaner to “invest” in entities like the Clinton Foundation, eh? 

The Trail

“In an analysis last week, media watcher Andrew Tyndall discovered that network newscasts had devoted only eight minutes to the Sanders campaign, despite it being arguably the most surprising political story of 2016. That was as much as they had devoted to Mitt Romney’s brief flirtation with a third presidential bid” [WaPo]. “Most frustrating for Sanders reporters is that he is polling better than almost anyone running for president, and the fact is usually buried in stories about how Vice President Biden, who may run, polls a little better nationally.” Sanders needs somebody to feed “fresh quotes” to the hungry little scorps.

“[Outkast rapper] Big Boi’s backing of Sanders follows the Senator’s adoption of a wide-ranging racial justice platform, prompted by widely publicized campaign disruptions by the Black Lives Matter movement in August” [In These Times].

“As the real estate and reality-­show tycoon sees things, this is all win-win for him. Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal wrote something to this effect recently, Trump told me, explaining that even if he loses, ‘‘he goes back to being Donald Trump, but even bigger'” [New York Times, “Donald Trump Is Not Going Anywhere”]. Yep. As I’ve been saying, if Trump gets another TV show out of this, he nets out positive. Why would he stop?

“Morning Plum: Jeb Bush raises the ghost of Mitt ‘free stuff’ Romney” [WaPo].

“State Dept. due to release latest batch of Clinton emails” [Reuters].

UPDATE “Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have long believed in a unified-field theory about their opponents — one that she memorably dubbed a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy.’ And they have their own theory of the moment it all began.'” [WaPo]. “The former president, who is about to take a more visible role in his wife’s presidential campaign, told the tale again in a broadcast over the weekend in which he described getting a menacing phone call from inside the George H.W. Bush White House.”

Bill Clinton’s framing is fascinating. First, anybody who lived through that time remembers the slow-moving, media-fuelled, conservative coup — and I don’t think that’s too strong a word — that began with Clinton’s election in 1992, wound its way through the impeachment saga, and culminated with Scalia’s decision in Bush v. Gore, in which the Republican candidate, Bush, was selected. Second, Clinton (“the explainer”) frames the story in the crudest CT terms possible: As starting with an evil-doing central authority picking up the phone. Again, anybody who lived through that time and followed the detail will also remember the anti-Clinton forces operated a lot more like an opportunistic wolf pack, along the lines of “working toward der Fuhrer,” than a conspiracy as such. So Clinton simultaneously figures a factional adversary (Bush), while proffering a highly over-simplified view of elite conflict (and why would he do that?).

The Hill

“Senate passes bill to avert government shutdown, sends to House” [Reuters].

“Lawmaker Says Gowdy Will Not Run for Re-Election” [Washington Examiner]. He’s going to figure out how to explain Benghazi, then leave.

“The tug-of-war within the Republican Party that helped end Rep. John Boehner’s career is likely to intensify this year both on Capitol Hill and in the tumultuous GOP presidential race” [Wall Street Journal, “GOP Discontent That Helped Sink John Boehner Isn’t Easing Up”]. 


“Seven killed, dozens injured as seventeen sites in Guangxi’s Liucheng hit with killer mail bombs” [South China Morning Post].

The blasts were triggered by explosive devices hidden in express delivery packages, police said.

There were at least 17 blasts, media reports said, with targets of attack including the Dapu township government office, supermarkets, malls, a hospital, prison, bus terminal, an animal husbandry staff dormitory and a centre for infectious disease and prevention.

Explosions also occurred in other areas around Liuzhou, the media said, citing the city’s public security department.

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, September 2015: “ADP’s call for Friday’s September employment report is on the high side but only slightly, at 200,000 for private payroll growth vs Econoday expectations for 190,000. ADP’s call for August, an initial 190,000 now revised to 186,000, proved much stronger than the initial government total of 140,000” [Econoday]. The hot hand? But: “There is now a known disconnect between BLS and ADP on the breakdown of jobs growth between small, medium and large business – as the graphs below illustrate. Basically the BLS sees large business as the employment driver, while ADP sees small and medium size business as the employment driver” [Econintersect].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of September 25: “After surging in the prior week following the FOMC’s decision against a rate hike, mortgage activity fell back in the September 25 week” [Econoday].

Chicago PMI, September 2015: Slight contraction [Econoday]. “New orders are below 50 as are backlog orders, the latter for an 8th straight month. Chicago-area businesses can’t rely on backlogs as much to keep up production which is also under 50 and at a 6-year low. Contraction in prices is deepening.” And: “this indicator is quite volatile and historically it tends to exaggerate the movements in national manufacturing sector activity. Nevertheless, its disappointing showing is consistent with the sluggish performance in other regional PMIs” [Across the Curve].

The Fed: “New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley said the U.S. central does not intend “at this time” to do asset sales from its balance sheet of financial assets accrued during quantitative easing efforts to heal the financial crisis” [Market News].

“Natural Experiment Sheds Light on the Market Effects of Herding” [Liberty Street] (original paper). Interestingly, the article is about pension fund managers. And where you have herds, you have predators. Eh? And speaking of predators…

“The Federal government has two decades of evidence that the integrity of Nasdaq as a stock market has been repeatedly compromised. Yet it does nothing material to rein in the abuses” [Wall Street on Parade]. “The excesses leading up to the crash of 2000-2002 and the crash of 2008-2009 resulted from a highly orchestrated wealth transfer machine on Wall Street that was allowed to operate with impunity from the Federal regulators.”

Fear & Greed Index, September 30, 2015: 19 (-6 [!!]); Extreme Fear [CNN]. Last week: 30 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Good). Glencore?

Papal Visit Indicator [Mosler Economics].


“Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Tuesday that companies must be more open about their ‘climate change footprint’ to avoid abrupt changes in asset prices that could destabilise markets” [CBC]. “The speed at which assets such as coal, oil and gas reserves are re-priced to reflect the impact of climate change is vital to reduce potentially ‘huge’ financial risks to British insurers and other investors, he said. ‘Risks to financial stability will be minimised if the transition begins early and follows a predictable path,’ Carney told a Lloyd’s of London insurance market event.'” Hmmm. Long Glencore, or short?

World coffee demand is growing at a time when climate change may render some countries “totally unsuitable for production”, Andrea Illy warns [Agrimoney]. Drink up!

“Facing increasing criticism over safety and the environmental impacts of climbing on Mount Everest, Nepalese tourism officials have banned novice climbers from the world’s tallest peak and are considering additional limits” [CNN]. “‘We must maintain the glory of Everest climbing,’ Mohan Krishna Sapkota, joint secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, said Tuesday. ‘Everest climbing is a matter of adventure and competence, not a matter of luxury.'” Filing this under Gaia, taking the perspective that Everest climbing, as currently practiced, defiles the mountain (whose name is contested). Of course, anybody who’s read the terrifying and depressing, and beautifully written, Into Thin Air will see why I could have filed this under Class Warfare, as a metaphor for what a steeply unequal society does to its elites (and everybody else). As Jonathan M. Tisch recently observed, “The air gets very thin at the top.” And that’s if you don’t mind climbing past frozen garbage, frozen coproliths, and frozen corpses.

Our Famously Free Press

“[R]esearch has shown that bloggers put in 100-hour workweeks, almost 2.5 times the standard amount of 40 hours a week” [Hype Beast]. This post treats of fashion bloggers, but the numbers and the dynamics seem about right.

Police State

“Chicago Police Turn Off Dashcam During Abusive Traffic Stop After Learning Driver is Police Investigator” [Photography Is Not a Crime].

“Man accused of stealing $5 in snacks died in jail as he waited for space at mental hospital” [WaPo].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“After emancipation, many freedpeople used newspaper advertisements to try to contact their family members” [Slate]. Like “Missed Connections” ads in the weeklies. Except not.


“Brookings Institution Under Fire For Wall Street Shilling” [Shadowproof]. Elizabeth Warren takes a scalp.

Guillotine Watch

“Anger At ‘Bed Under Stairs’ To Rent In London” [Sky News]. £500 a month!

Class Warfare

“[Special Ed] took its first major deep cut over the summer eliminating 500 positions at CPS. More cuts announced late Friday mean approximately 160 schools would lose special education teachers, while 184 would lose aides” [Mike Klonsky]. Of course, we all know how Rahm feels about the “f****** retarded.” So there you are!

Mountaintop mine owner Don Blankenship on trial in West Virginia for an “accident” that killed 29 [Mother Jones]. Thing is, the last crash killed a lot of people, too. I mean, they don’t call it “class warfare” for nothing.

News of the Wired

“Nova Scotia man breaks into Kamloops home, feeds cats, watches TV, takes a shower” [Global News].

“Self-Driving Cars Could Save 300,000 Lives Per Decade in America” [The Atlantic]. Maybe so. I’d be a lot more enthusiastic if I didn’t think that the car manufacturers wouldn’t rent me the car, instead of selling it, and that opening the window would cost me a nickel, turning on the radio a dime, adjusting the seat a quarter, and that if I didn’t keep up the payments, the engine wouldn’t start, and then the nice Apple (or Google (or Tesla)) agent would come and tow it away, making it hard to get to my job rotting the vegetables at Walmart, forty-five minutes away by car.

* * *

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 (Pat), from Wenatchee, WA:

Pear Tree Wenatchee WA

That’s a happy pear tree!

Readers, I’d also be interested in any projects you did this summer (now that the time to put the garden to bed is approaching)….

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter is coming, I need to fix my laptop, and I need to keep my server up, too.


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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. Jim Haygood

    Teamsters fail to fall in line:

    The Teamsters union is withholding an endorsement for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, further eroding Clinton’s support from Big Labor.

    The Teamsters union’s general executive board voted unanimously Tuesday, 26-0, to hold off on endorsing Clinton at its meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. Fox News reports that the vote was meant as “an intentional snub” of Clinton for backing away from her previous support for the job-creating Keystone pipeline.


    Twenty-six to nothin’ … one wonders how they really felt.

    1. Jess

      I also saw a story on this which said that the union, or at least some of its members — might want to endorse Trump. Not sure of the accuracy of the report, or if this was planted as a trial balloon, but poses interesting possibilities.

      1. cwaltz

        If it’s true it will continue their legacy of always backing horrible choices.

        Yes, by all means let’s back the guy who doesn’t believe there should be a minimum wage so we can “compete” with China. *bangs head on desk*

      2. jrs

        Shouldn’t they at least try to get a (admittedly unenforceable) promise or something out of Trump for the endorsement. Naive me, I imagine it being a promise that actually benefits labor, but it will probably just be Keystone.

        1. cwaltz

          I went into moderation limbo but I think it’s beyond ridiculous to endorse a guy who essentially says there should be no minimum wage so we can compete with China. Labor leaders should be ashamed of themselves if this is true.

    2. Vatch

      This is rather disturbing. If the reason for the non-endorsement really was Hillary Clinton’s rejection of Keystone, then my opinion of her must rise.

    3. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Ah that famed “jobs creating” pipeline.

      Other than lobbyists, what permanent jobs would it really create? And isn’t the whole thing somewhat moot now with crude around $46/bbl (and expensive to extract heavy tar sands oil more like $20?)

      I mean, whose going to pay to pump a commodity worth less than the cost of extraction? Will they “make it up on volume?”

      Pretty weak sauce, teamsters, if true.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The sources are Fox news and Breibart. They aren’t exactly noted for their journalism. Did the nurses association endorse Sanders over Clinton’s opinion on Keystone after falling oil prices killed the project for the next two years?

        It’s likely more complicated, and plenty of union types won’t talk to FoxNews reporters.

        1. ChrisFromGeorgia

          The sources are Fox news and Breibart

          Which is why I wrote “if true.”

          Trying to frame the whole kerfluffle on Hillary’s XL pipeline stand does smell an awful lot like an attempt to manage/distort the narrative, not real journalism.

        2. Pepsi

          It’s not a lie. They support the construction of the pipeline for that short term ‘job creation.’

    4. Gerard Pierce

      This report on the Teamsters is as close to insanity as we get in today’s politics. Can the Teamsters actuall be foolish enough to believe that the Keystone Pipeline is a good thing considering that it probably creates less than 1000 jobs for less than one year and has the possibility of destroying some major aquifers.

      Of course Keystone is probably just an excuse for some kind of blackmail, either on a specific issue or a general request to Hillary: “let’s make a deal – what have you got to offer”.

      Bottom line — the current Teamsters Union is one of the unions that should go away and be replaced by a real union. Kind of like Hillary should go away and be replaced by someone who is on our side.

    5. Paul Tioxon

      Breitbart is not a good source for union insight. Why they don’t like Hillary may have more to do with TTP, than the paltry number of pipeline jobs, which are dwarfed by solar power. In Cali, the mammoth Ivanpah Concentrated Solar Plant is a job gravy train for the Teamsters.


      In Philly, the IBEW, the electricians, are also behind solar due to major job growth. The Teamsters are even installing solar panels on top of a union hall. Hillary’s 500,000,000 solar panel policy is a union gift. TPP opposition is the more likely source of a united front with Trumka to stem the further hollowing out of the middle class due to job exporting and union suppression.

  2. Jess

    Re: Rahm shutting down Special Ed in Chi schools: I’m afraid Rahmbo has a nasty little surprise coming. Under Porter v. Manhattan Beach School District, the federal district court held, and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, that public school districts are required to provide an equal education to all students regardless of their disabilities. In the Porter case a severely disabled child who requires constant care was costing the school district north of $100K a year to educate. The district balked. Parents went to court. Parents won $6.7 mil plus the district has to spend whatever it takes until the kid is out of high school.

    Am betting it won’t be long before one or more parents in the Chitown school district march into court and start roasting Rahmie over the judicial fire pit.

    1. cwaltz

      I wonder if anyone in the GOP party considers that when they run around insisting that every woman must give birth no matter what the circumstances. Someone should tell them to double the Education Department budget if they intend on making sure every fetus, regardless of deformities, gets to be born.

      1. reslez

        Assuming facts not in evidence — that conservatives want the poor or disabled to be educated at public expense. Educating potential servants and laborers to make them useful is one thing — from a conservative POV the state should bear the expense for it. The rest of the population are useless eaters.

      2. Beans

        This is a pretty disturbing point of view. Conflating a disdain for all things GOP and the fiscal benefits of aborting babies that deviate from the ideal is pretty dark.
        One thing that everyone yammering for special Ed spending always forget is that government mandated spending often ends up benefitting the wealthy at the expense of the recipients. One would hope that isn’t the case in Chicago this time.

        1. cwaltz

          Well, as a woman, what disturbs me is the idea people could force someone to go through a pregnancy regardless of the well being of the fetus and then compound it by then whining about having to care for” other people’s children” through taxes(and in the case of special needs children the care extends beyond the first eighteen years.) These just so happen to be two thing the GOP party loves to attempt to legislate and do regularly I’m basing my opinion on their actions. If it’s a disturbing viewpoint perhaps you should speak to THEM.

  3. TarheelDem

    Sanders flying under the media radar is an encouraging prospect for democracy. Especially as he gets the involvement of millions (45 million would be a good final number by next November, btw) in funding his campaign. Now who will set up the Congressional coattails; DWS certainly won’t.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      If Sanders were to do well in spite of being overtly snubbed by the big media, that would mean the power of those media is quickly waning wouldn’t it? Hoo boy. If so, that’s huge. Your average American schlub is in fact pretty left wing and anti-corporate on many economic issues, even if they probably wouldn’t identify themselves in those terms. Trump obviously knows this, and Bernie’s message is tailored exactly to that.

      1. optimader

        AS well, I think it has been a HUGE miscalculation by media offering up the theatrics minutia of Trump like it was TrumpCam whenever he opens his yap. Contrast other R candidates who payed top dollar for their media impressions to be drowned out in all the free Trump bandwidth noise.

        With Trump on a role, media now have to try and crush him in favor of cash paying campaigns.
        Media will have created their own disincentive for candidate media buys.

      2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

        Certainly I’m hoping he’ll do what Corbyn did.

        But we must remember the corporate Democrats have put up enormous barriers in the rules to prevent that.

        They’d rather lose elections than control of the (D) corporate gravy train.

  4. Carolinian

    Gowdy: that is a scoop. While I’m not a Gowdy fan, perhaps he should be praised for not wanting to be in Congress (if the story pans out). By contrast our Lindsey is a Washington creature. He’ll no doubt become a lobbyist if we can ever get him to quit.

  5. Gareth

    My city gets more well deserved bad publicity:

    Juvenile injustice: Wisconsin’s perverted racial arrest rate | Fusion

    In Madison, black kids are eight times as likely as white kids to be arrested, according to FBI and Census data.

    In a city where whites outnumber blacks more than 11 to 1, Madison made over 1000 arrests of black children between the ages of 10 and 17 in 2013. It’s unclear how many kids may have been arrested more than once, but only 3,247 black children of that age live in the city, according to the Census

    1. cwaltz

      Garteth, it could be worse. Your town could be filled with idiots who insist they have a constitutional right to wear the Confederate flag in public schools and are spending their time picketing because of it(I don’t think that most of them appreciate the irony of placing an American flag next to the confederate flag when the reality is that the American flag represents the country that essentially kicked their backsides.)

      1. Jim Haygood

        By that logic, we should all be wearing Vietnamese flags, since they in turn kicked our backsides.

        Ho ho ho Chi Minh …

        1. cwaltz

          I was not aware I was living in Vietnam.

          If the Confederacy had succeeded there would be no American flag here in the Southern states. That fact eludes the MENSA squad that insists it was about states rights and pride in heritage(Uh yeah, and if you read the secession papers of everywhere from Texas to South Carolina it’s made abundantly clear which particular right it was about, slavery. Forgive me if I don’t think you should be proud of the fact that you threw a hissy fit because the Northern states didn’t want to return your “property”(human beings by the way) and really didn’t care to support your right to own another human being. Boo frickin’ hoo.

        2. JTMcPhee

          When one kicks oneself in the ass and falls down a well- lit stairwell on the way to trying to force everyone on the block to say “Uncle,” that a little guy in black pajamas or jungle fatigues steps up and rolls the big bad drunk for his wallet does not constitute an ass-kicking.

          “Trillions for ‘defense,’ but not one cent for decency…”

          1. cwaltz

            If I were Vietnamese I guess I could see the comparison(I wonder if there is a big demand in South Vietnam for the old South Vietnam Flag on clothing. Oh wait, there isn’t ,because if you wear it there it’s considered TREASON) Since the Vietnam war was essentially about asserting ourselves into someone else’s civil war I really don’t understand why I’d be wearing their flag. Then again, I’d hardly compare telling someone they can’t wear a flag that represents years of oppression to a portion of the population who ALSO pay taxes on taxpayer owned land (but hey knock yourself out if you want to proclaim yourself a racist on your own property) with North Korea’s position that you can’t wear it at all. Then again, the Southern states seem to be experts at victimhood. It’s so unfair that you won’t let me own black people. It’s unconscionable that you say we can’t discriminate against gay folks if we want. I do declare it’s giving me the vapors that womenfolk might have access to body autonomy. I pine for the good ol days where civil rights were solely the property of rich white heterosexual Christian men. If wars were fought on whining, they totally would have taken it all.

  6. NotTimothyGeithner

    The CNN coverage is absolutely hysterical. My guess is the defense contractors are terrified there will be videos of cheap, Russian weapons outperforming American wunderweapons in real time conditions at every arms bizarre.

  7. rich

    they keep jamming her down everyone’s throat….

    Rank-and-File Teachers Object As Nation’s Biggest Union Weighs Early Clinton Endorsement

    Mirroring similar rifts within other unions, National Education Association members prepare to protest Sanders snub

    However, it has spurred outright protest from many of the organization’s rank-and-file members who argue that a primary endorsement excludes the majority’s input, particularly those who support Senator Bernie Sanders for the nomination.

    NEA members supporting Sanders “are already planning a grassroots campaign in opposition to the what they expect will be a Clinton nod,” Politico reports:

    In a letter to members, five educators from Wisconsin, Vermont, Massachusetts and Montana write: “More than 30,000 NEA members have shown support for Sen. Bernie Sanders to be our next president through his campaign website or various social media sites,” and cite Sanders’ opposition to charter schools, support for collective bargaining rights and free tuition at public higher education institutions.

    “An early endorsement for Clinton would be based only on advocacy by national and state leaders without membership input,” the letter states. “Like it or not, this is our time to mobilize against an endorsement next week not to moan about it.” Members are being encouraged to write to their state association protesting the early endorsement.

    Not unlike the groundswell of excitement the campaign is experiencing nationally, NEA members have voiced their fervent support for the more progressive candidate’s policies and positions. As EdWeek reported following the union’s summer meeting, “by far the loudest delegate cheer went to Bernie Sanders, when the names of the three Democratic candidates interviewed by NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia were announced.”

    Further, despite the fact that he’s now polling ahead of the presumed nominee in key battleground states, the Sanders campaign revealed to Politico that the progressive candidate was not given equal consideration by NEA leadership.

    “There was recently a phone interview that was arranged for Secretary Clinton with their board of directors,” said a Sanders campaign official. “That was never offered to us.”


    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Clinton Inc spent more time resting rather than bullying endorsements or trying to rig the primary calendar in 2008, they would be way ahead.

      1. Jim Haygood

        It would be really sweet if the NEA does make an early endorsement of Clinton, followed by James Comey of the FBI recommending her prosecution. Then we can all contribute to Clinton Defense Fund II. I certainly will mail in my nickel again.

  8. Bill Smith

    “Self-Driving Cars Could Save 300,000 Lives Per Decade in America”

    You forgot to mention that the government will be deciding when the cars will be allowed to go. For instance, the cars have a lot of trouble in the snow because everything looks different – the lanes are covered with snow, etc. In very early discussions between industry and government the simple solution was to turn them off in those circumstances.

    1. cwaltz

      Personally, I’m a fan of snow days. We’d have to do something to make sure those at the bottom were given personal days to cover income lost from having to drive in the snow but I’m totally on board if it would save lives(and yes driving in the snow IS dangerous.)

      1. optimader

        and yes driving in the snow IS dangerous

        No, idiots driving in snow are dangerous. They are the same idiots who are dangerous driving in rain, at night , in the fog and on a bright sunny day.

        1. Ian

          So if the cars during the worst conditions won’t be active and people are already conditioned to be driven instead of drive, what will happen when they suddenly have to remember how to drive during these conditions?

          1. jo6pac

            Pick a sic-fi film for this. I don’t even like driving in the rain and have never driven in Midwest/eastcoast weather. There is no reason to drive in this weather, there is always a break.

          2. cwaltz

            I was under the impression the cars would be disabled. I’m pretty sure that means you aren’t driving anywhere. At least that seems to be the case when car dealerships disable the vehicles remotely.

            The only people on the road when conditions are dangerous ought to be people who are emergency vehicle operators(who are trained for their jobs) or the people who are responsible for clearing roadways or restoring power.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Anybody ever ask what about those other vehicles, you know, buses? Or are we all navel-deep in the black snow of Tech-Love? I guess the argument is that individual automotive transport is a God-given Right, the huge costs for the roads and bridges and such infrastructure are truly “sunk,” and shee-it, cars make a Statement, as in, I want to get to the end of the habitable planet in c9mfort and style…

              1. cwaltz

                I’ve been on board money for the public transit route for years (Hint: I don’t drive.)

                I’d be good with buses being “smart” too if it will save lives. Heck, I’m particularly on board with starting with the huge trucks that seem to cause a lot of problems along I-81. My son had one of those things almost pull off his car door and the truck didn’t even bother to stop. The cop opined that he probably didn’t even notice his rig was dragging a vehicle. If you can’t tell you are dragging a car then you have no place on the road with cars.

              1. cwaltz

                It’s not preposterous when I end up having to cover your health care costs after you end up in an accident because you were too stupid to stay inside during hazardous road conditions.

    2. optimader

      Turning them off.
      that will work pretty good in Maine, North Dakota, Alaska Wisconsin, NY ect ect ect …..

    3. optimader

      Ok , I read the article, I hate innumerate BS like this.

      Editor: Hey, bump up our imaginary mortality number by framing it as per decade in the Title rather than per year as in the article! If it bleeds it leads!

      So gee wiz, how about a link to the Research? Was it performed by an unbiased 3rd party…. like Google!?

      …Researchers estimate that driverless cars could, by midcentury, reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent. Which means that, using the number of fatalities in 2013 as a baseline, self-driving cars could save 29,447 lives a year. In the United States alone, that’s nearly 300,000 fatalities prevented over the course of a decade, and 1.5 million lives saved in a half-century. For context: Anti-smoking efforts saved 8 million lives in the United States over a 50-year period….
      Soooo, For context on average (8MM lives /50years) is only ~160,000lives/year on average and even that is a factor of 6 times the life saving potential than the “Researchers” speculative number related for avoided driving fatalities!

      According to the CDC we still have 480,000 tobacco (cigarette only) related deaths per year, Other than secondhand smoke victims my “Researchers” speculate most of the 480,000 deaths per year must be attributable a population that cant read, because at this point, why else would someone smoke ciggs??

      Hellbells, Car related deaths: 30k/yr vs Tobacco (cigarette only) related deaths: 480k/yr We can all agree any death before one’s time is tragic, but actuarially, were talking about something like 6% here –car related deaths are comparatively paltry in the context of avoidable deaths attributed to ciggs.

      Based on the strength of this research, my own “Researchers” advocate taking just a fraction of the fantastic resources that would be required to implement a fanciful driverless cars scheme and allocate it at redoubling a root cause reduction effort of the drivers (no pun intended) of tobacco (cigarette) related deaths. Seems to be a no brainer.

      In any case, if one considers the annual reduction of vehicle fatalities, our present strategy seems dramatically efficacious over the last 40 or so years. Why gamble with success? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

      So anyway, how would that predicted 90% reduction in fatalities be achieved?? Reduce the number vehicles by 90%, the privileged 10% drive and the rest walk because the public transportation in this country is pathetic??
      Seems like the rest of the driverless car implementation costs could be more fruitful allocated toward:
      •Heart disease: 611,105
      •Cancer: 584,881
      •Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
      •Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
      •Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
      •Alzheimer’s disease: 84,767
      •Diabetes: 75,578
      •Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
      •Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
      •Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149

      Well, I am maybe just too critical an observer because we know this driverless car propaganda BS is all just about saving lives, right?

      1. cwaltz

        They’ve actually done things to curb the smoking related death numbers and from what I’ve seen they’ve been successful in pulling the number of smokers down.

        Why in the world wouldn’t they do the same thing with vehicle accidents if they could?

        More money should go into public transportation, particularly when you consider the cost to the planet that everyone have their own personal vehicles. However, that has very little to do with the a vehicle being disabled during a snowstorm to prevent accidents(and let me make it clear I’m on board with them being disabled if they are human driven) which I would completely support if it saves lives.

        1. Optimader

          And “they’ve” done things to dramatically reduce vehicular accident deaths.
          So if the proposition of making an investment to reduce deaths, would you direct finite resources at a mortality pool of 30,000 deaths or 480,000?
          Do you really think the objective of driveless cars is mortality reduction??
          With the objective of “safety” does it seem reasonable to shut down the cars that are in a developing snowstorm in chicago rush hour traffic in january?

          The whole concept is absurd. Proposing enhanced safety as a rationale is even more absurd!

          1. cwaltz

            I’d direct finite resources at 30,000 (which I’d still consider a heck of a lot of lives)and yes I do think that driverless cars are an attempt at mortality reduction.

            I would assume that if there was a snowstorm that first responders would be available to help advise and secure commuters caught in a snowstorm(heck, I’m pretty sure most places already do this.) Would it cost more in terms of resources? Probably. However, I’m okay with that if it prevents unnecessary loss of life.

            Then again, I’d be on board with putting breathalayzers in cars if it prevented death from drunk driving. so your level of absurd and mine might differ.

            1. Optimader

              I shouldnt say absurd, i will say unrealistic.
              Youve never driven in a Midwest winter have you?

              Your notion of “first responders advising and securing” some thousands of Chicago(or Boston or NY for that matter) commuters muddling through yet another snowstorm after their cars are disabled for their “safety and security” at least gave me a chuckle. I might start watching the evening news again for that show.

              In Chicago at least, I think your proposal will as a minimum inadvertently bump up handgun deaths during snowstorms!

              1. cwaltz

                I’m a native born New Yawker(although the suburbs instead of the city, Baldwin, NY in the house) We got plenty of snow. My natural dad was a backhoe operator for LILCO and he’d have to go out after snowstorms to help restore power probably every year when I was under 12.

                Snowstorms don’t usually occur out of nowhere and schools and town services seem to do just fine with shutting down when weather conditions become bad. I really don’t see how it would become that much harder for private business to do the same. Will they want to? Probably not. Should they be required to? I lean towards yes.

                I have been to the Chicago region by the way. Corps school in the Navy was in Great Lakes. I had absolutely no idea you all were so violent. No wonder they keep trying for such strict gun control laws there if the idea of playing in the snow instead of driving through it makes you want to reach for a handgun. ;)

    4. subgenius

      I have yet to see 100% reliable software, or hardware for that matter.

      Whose liability when a catastrophic failure occurs??

      1. cwaltz

        I suspect we’d end up with some sort of fund like the kind you have for uninsured motorist accidents or hit and runs.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Autonomously piloted vehicles needn’t be anything close to perfect to be a huge improvement over the status quo, the competition being so poor. The arguments against these seem uncomfortably close to extreme Second Amendment arguments, “It’s not about the tens of thousands of annual preventable deaths and serious injuries, it’s about free-dumb!” Can I get a ‘cold dead hands off the steering wheel’? Anyone?

        1. optimader

          Can I get a ‘cold dead hands off the steering wheel’? Anyone?
          Absolutely! Waving vibrant, warm hand.
          You are buying into some pretty optimistic (and unsubstantiated) assumptions on the efficacy of autonomous cars to lower preventable deaths for what I’m guessing is a fantastic implementation cost to any significant degree in the real world. Will we have autonomous motorcycles as well?

          1. optimader

            BTW, I think you might be conflating automated and autonomous ? Elements of the former exist right now

      1. optimader

        The autonomous cars will be equipped with an emergency jet pack in the trunk, for your safety, after you’re stranded on a snowy winter night in Bangor when the unsafe driving condition algorithm shuts the vehicle down.

        1. cwaltz

          How many stranded vehicles do you think there are in Bangor with non self driving cars?


          At least with this system you’d be disabling the car before it dumps several inches of snow on the ground, instead of having people getting stuck because they thought they could drive in the snow.

          You might even prevent something like this, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/02/25/interstate-95-crash-maine/23989051/

          You’ll note that it was a winter storm warning when this happened and the cause of the crash was cited as “weather conditions.”

          1. optimader

            Ahhh! Cars will be disabled preemptively based on weather forecasts! And these will be rolling perimeters that lockdown vehicles based on weather forecasts?

            Whats not to love with this plan

  9. grayslady

    Chicago Police dashcam turned off: Another case of being arrested for Driving While Black. Curious how none of the reporters for the propaganda press wanted to mention that Roberts is a black man. Not only is Roberts suing the city, he was declared “not guilty” for the DUI offense. Chicago Police had better be walking on tiptoe at this point.

  10. allan

    TPP: U.S. business groups oppose exceptions in Pacific trade pact

    U.S. business groups have voiced their opposition to blocking specific products, like tobacco, from rules letting foreign companies sue governments over damage to investments as Pacific trade ministers gather to finalize an ambitious trade deal. …

    “As you all enter the potentially final hours of negotiation, we ask all of the TPP governments to reject the exclusion of products from the coverage of the TPP and its enforcement mechanism,” said the letter from the American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and other business groups.

    “Such exclusions are unnecessary and would be highly damaging to the international rules based trading system and the prospects for the TPP,” said the letter, which Reuters saw.

    This from the promoters of domestic `tort reform’. Beautiful.

  11. Oregoncharles

    “Bill Clinton’s framing” –

    From my point of view (It was Clinton that drove me out of the Democratic Party and to the Greens), it was odd that the Right would be so vitriolic about an essentially right-wing president. I see two main reasons:

    First, he was poaching their ideas and, what really matters, funders. Unforgivable.

    Second, he lacked legitimacy. He was elected with only 38% of the vote, thanks to Ross Perot, a former Republican. That’s the way our system works, but not really the way it’s SUPPOSED to work. It certainly doesn’t confer legitimacy. Ironically, I guess, the way he governed – as a triangulator – reflected that. Which only made them madder.

    1. Bridget

      The Huffpo column must have been written before today’s news that Hillary’s not-so-private server was phished on numerous occasions by Russian hackers. Jebus, when will these people learn to stop digging.

  12. JerryDenim

    “Conservative Coup”? Jezus Louwhezus. How do conservatives out-conservative a guy like Clinton anyway? He balanced the budget (ran surpluses) declared war on welfare, signed NAFTA, threw open the doors to China out-sourcing, and deregulated everything Bush 1/Regan were either too prudent or simply didn’t have the stones to do. Gore lost because he sucked and his boss/predecessor sucked. End of story. Give that tired old troupe a rest. The US Supreme Court was a picture of impartiality and propriety compared to the Democratic partisan antics in Florida, especially the all-Democrat Florida Supreme court. Bush was a comedic tragedy but not a coup unfortunately. Americans chose him, twice, as hard as that is believe. An inconvenient truth as Gore might say.

  13. MikeNY

    Re the Pope and Kim Davis.

    No, this is not conscientious objection. No one is killing anyone else. No bullets are flying. No one seeking a marriage license from Ms Davis is inflicting harm on anyone else. Kim Davis (apparently with the Pope’s blessing?) is putting same-sex love on the same plane as killing another human being. That is at best blind and sophistic; it is more likely arrant bigotry. That Francis agreed to meet with her is very disappointing, and underscores the RC church’s pig-headedness on human sexuality. Eppur si muove.

    1. cwaltz

      The part that shows me that Francis isn’t far from his predecessors is that he took the time to meet with her but absolutely no time to meet with the group that represented gay Americans.

      Someone should remind him that biblical marriage changed during the course of the Bible. Can he positively be certain God didn’t look down see an overpopulated planet with children starving, neglected and abused and decide that maybe coupling up same sex individuals could mitigate some of the problems and make people THINK before undertaking procreation(while simultaneously not force people to be alone while stuck here in a place that quite frankly ain’t easy.) God’s changed things up before, it’s kind of arrogant to think He just stopped thinking on the subject 1500 or so odd years ago.

    2. lambert strether

      I agree that Davis’s cause is repugnant.

      As I understand civil disobedience, it’s break the (unjust) law, and pay the penalty, as in the Civil Rights era.

      What Davis wants to do is break the law, pay no penalty, and keep her job (rather like the Muslim airline attendant who didn’t want to server liquor). If she doesn’t want to do her job, the attendant, and Davis, should stop doing it, and leave. Ditto the pharmaicists who don’t want to supply legal medication. Of course, Davis wants to put her particular One True Religion above the civil power, which is why the Pope supports her.

      So I support civil disobedieance, but not as Francis and Davis would wish, as I understand, to reinterpret the concept.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Davis is different than the airline attendant. The airline has the ability to alter her job without hardship.

      2. MikeNY

        Yes, and those touting Kim Davis as a Rosa Parks seem to miss the crucial difference that Parks broke the law to protest inequality, in order to gain a right under the law that others already enjoyed. Kim Davis breaks the law in order to deny a right to others that she already possesses (and has availed herself of multiple times).

        Christian charity, indeed.

    3. JerryDenim

      By the Pope’s standards George Wallace would have been a conscientious objector as well. I’m a bit surprised by what I thought was an enlightened and media savy Pope eagerly jumping down into the same pig pen of bigotry with second-rate demagogues like Huckabee and Cruz. Definite misstep for a pontiff waging a war for hearts and minds which have turned against Christianity precisely because of small-minded and cold-hearted people like Kim Davis that literally wrap themselves in the flag of Christianity.

  14. OIFVet

    0bamacare is great! /sarc. It’s an enormous time drain. Just got an 0Care notice for my mother’s coverage. Apparently they STILL have a data verification issue concerning her citizenship and threaten subsidy recovery. Mind, I submitted the copies of the US passport and Naturalization Certificate BOTH electronically AND through the mail last December. How much more ridiculous can this BS get?! As I type this I have been on the phone with 0Care marketplace for 40 minutes and no one can get to the bottom if this, except to suggest that I mail copies, AGAIN. Thanks 0bama!

  15. Bridget

    I completely agree with you on the Davis case. Because her authority to issue marriage licenses derives entirely from the state, it is the state, not her conscience, that dictates if, when, where, and how, she issues those licenses.

    The only justifiable wiggle room I have heard floated being the factor of “accommodation”. If her county is empowered to legally issue licenses without her name or stamp through, for example, her deputies or possibly through the offices of a clerk of another county, then that is an accommodation of a sort that preserves her conscience, her job, and the right of gay people to marry. My understanding is that they have attempted to so accommodate her and she is still trying to gnarl up the works. If that’s the case, she needs to get a different job.

    She could, for example, enter into private business baking wedding cakes, taking wedding photographs, or arranging flowers for weddings….. in which case I would support her position if she wished to decline to participate in a gay marriage.

  16. Jim Haygood

    China blinks:

    China’s foreign-exchange regulator put a new annual cap on overseas cash withdrawals using China UnionPay Co. bank cards, a UnionPay official said on Tuesday. Under the new rules, UnionPay cardholders can withdraw up to 50,000 yuan ($7,854) overseas during the last three months of this year, and the amount will be capped at 100,000 yuan for all of next year, the official said.

    The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, said earlier this month that its foreign-exchange reserves fell by $93.9 billion, the biggest monthly drop ever.


    This is likely to severely cramp the style of overseas Chinese who bought costly houses in the U.S., assuming they could keep pulling funds out of China with their credit cards. $7,854 won’t even pay the property taxes and utilities on some of those castles.

    The larger picture is some real desperation on the part of China. No one ever thought China would be subject to the same capital flight crises that affect other developing economies about once a decade. Now the wolf’s at the door, and they’re barring it closed. Somebody’s gonna get hurt.

  17. Bridget

    “[R]esearch has shown that bloggers put in 100-hour workweeks, almost 2.5 times the standard amount of 40 hours a week”

    Ahem. At the risk of yet another Lamert Lambasting…..may I point out that Uber is possibly more remunerative?

    1. Yves Smith

      It isn’t. Just about no one who does the math on being an Uber driver factors in the depreciation of the car that the driver provides. Moreover, drivers seem to be making false representations to Uber and passengers about their insurance coverage. Consumer auto insurance policies do not cover liability to passengers for acting as a commercial driver.

  18. Oregoncharles

    2016 – From the Chomsky interview that Gaius Publius has been writing about:

    “Suppose that Sanders won, which is pretty unlikely in a system of bought elections. He would be alone: he doesn’t have congressional representatives, he doesn’t have governors, he doesn’t have support in the bureaucracy, he doesn’t have state legislators; and standing alone in this system, he couldn’t do very much. A real political alternative would be across the board, not just a figure in the White House.”

    That’s a very important point about this election. Chomsky’s point is very astute, especially for a supposed anarchist. In fact, it’s a little odd that there is no movement around Sanders’ campaign to also replace Congress. More than just odd: it’s sinister. It points to one of the problems with running in a legacy party. Another party would be recruiting all the Congressional candidates it can.

    If Sanders supporters want to make a real impact, they should be working on primary challenges to conservaDems in Congress, too. I’ll be working on 3rd-party challenges, FWIW.

  19. Colonel Boggs

    Why does the MSM continue to refer to the Brookings Institution as “liberal” or “left-leaning”? IMHO it is solidly neoliberal in its economic analysis. Just ask in’.

    1. Yves Smith

      It was liberal way back in the 1960s. One of the pet tricks of neoliberals is to invade or even take over established liberal brand names, like Demos in the UK, and use them to pump out neoliberal position papers and speeches, so as to make the public think the center of political gravity is well to the right of where it actually lies.

    2. skippy

      Ha! Had the same conversation not hours ago, after someone linked an article for THEHILL.COM

      Top Bookings economist forced out over biz-backed study

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren questioned research funded by the business community


      Tho I would not call the Brooking Institute a lefty operation as the author from the hill does…. from masaccio digs.


      Skippy…. funnily or not the hill.com link has been scrub in the last few hours…. snorty…

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