Links 10/17/15

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Koko the Gorilla Gently Plays With a Box of Kittens For Her Birthday Yahoo (furzy mouse). To be clear, she plays with the kittens, not the box, and the kittens seem to like her.

Uzbek farmers told to glue cotton back on bushes for official visit Guardian (reslic). From Count Potemkin’s playbook.

Wanted: 2,300 people to dance like the walking dead at Halloween zombie part Japan Today (furzy mouse)

Meson f0(1710) could be so-called “glueball” particle made purely of nuclear force GizMag (furzy mouse)

Our Vanishing Flowers New York Times :-(

Al Gore’s Green-Technology Investment Strategy and the Fight Against Climate Change Atlantic

Bolivia: People’s Climate Summit demands social change to save life GreenLeft (Sid S)

US puts a plug on Arctic oil exploration Financial Times. The howling is overdone. As OilPrice pointed out, when Shell canceled its plans because the economics did not work, that meant Arctic drilling was over. The US is just getting in front of a mob and trying to pretend it’s a parade. And in a new layer of headfakery, the oil industry, which was not going to go forward, is pretending it was done a dirty.

U.S. lawsuits build against Monsanto over alleged Roundup cancer link Reuters (furzy mouse)

Automating big-data analysis: System that replaces human intuition with algorithms outperforms 615 of 906 human teams. MIT Technology Review (David L)

Facebook wants you to spend all your time on Facebook Washington Post. Furzy mouse: “Help me, Obi Wan.” The idea of FB as a walled garden is hardly news, but some of FB’s ruses might not be familiar to you.


Chinese general says will never recklessly resort to force in South China Sea Reuters. Furzy mouse: “Watch their actions, not their words.”

The Japan Syndrome Comes to China Jeffrey Sachs, Project Syndicate

Now China is starting to tell us ugly things about the rest of the world Business Insider

Canada’s Election Matters More Than You Think Bloomberg (resilc)

‘There is no money’: cash-strapped Cuba is forced to cut vital imports Guardian (resilc)


Listen to this week’s War Nerd Wednesday podcast, with Gary Brecher and Mark Ames Pando (Gabriel U). This is unlocked for a brief while, so catch it while you can, and if you like it, please subscribe! It’s a separate project from Pando, although Pando helps out by promoting it.

Doctors Without Borders: US Tank Forced Its Way Into Afghan Hospital Destroyed in Airstrike, Possibly Damaging Evidence ReaderSupportedNews (furzy mouse)

Isis gunman kills five in Saudi Arabia before being shot dead by police Guardian (resilc)

Vladimir Putin condemns US for refusing to share Syria terror targets Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Bargaining With the Devil: Germany Bribes Turkey With Aid Package, EU Sidelines Highly Critical Report on Turkey’s Free Speech Record Michael Shedlock

Will Iran’s Alliance with Russia Strengthen its hand in Mideast? Juan Cole

Watch the Doc That Helped Crack Open the Lockerbie Case Frontline

Refugee Crisis

Hungary closes border with Croatia BBC

Germany ready to give Greece financial aid to tackle refugee crisis Guardian

Interior Department curbs future Arctic offshore drilling Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

One Story Shows Just How Insane U.S. Drone Policy Is George Washington

Police State Watch

Florida Sheriff Furious Obama Took His Military Tank Away Alternet. An important policy shift, but there is still a lot of materiel out there.

NYPD has some scary-sounding x-ray vans – and it’s refusing to talk about them BCR (furzy mouse)

Cops Pepper Spray Crowd of School Kids Protesting a Cop Caught on Film Body Slamming Child Free Thought Project


Majority say Clinton won debate The Hill. Note this is based on one online survey. Online surveys are notoriously unreliable due to sample bias. We need to see new poll numbers (as in conducted on a comparable basis to earlier polls) to see if anything changed in Clinton v. Sanders numbers. But that won’t reflect just the debate but will also include any impact of all of the pundit “Clinton won” messaging. Both sides have a strong incentive and means to game surveys like this, which is why of the preliminary results so far, I’d trust well-selected focus groups the most and ignore everything else.

Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders’ Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You Alternet

We Are Already Months Into the Biden Campaign New York Magazine (resilc)

Spending Spree on Groundwork Is Clinton’s Bet on the Future New York Times. Lead story on the front page. Clearly meant to say: “Hillary is a winner because she can raise enough to buy her way into the White House.” But notice the “cash hungry juggernaut” presented as as plus. Yet with all this spending on infrastructure, she’s been falling in the polls, getting higher disapproval ratings, and locals in battleground states say they don’t see any signs on lawns for her. And she raised way less in the last quarter than the one before that. Not sayin’ she might not pull this off, but there are a lot of visible holes in this thesis.

Seth MacFarlane’s Intro for Bernie is Incredible Ring of Fire (furzy mouse)

Trump criticizes George W. Bush over 9/11, Jeb Bush hits back Reuters

Rand Paul: The rise and fall of Silicon Valley’s Republican dream candidate Mark Ames, Pando (Gabriel U). Briefly unlocked at Pando. Be sure to read it sooner rather than later.

Ben Carson Suddenly Doesn’t Think Popeye’s Called The Police After “Robbery” Daily Kos

Forget the debate: Two simple reasons a Republican will likely win in 2016 Reuters

Trade Traitors

RESIST TPP AND THE GLOBAL CORPORATE AGENDA SUNDAY CALL MoveOn. The fact that MoveOn (barely progressive) is on this is a tell that this deal is deeply unpopular and therefore vulnerable.

There’s No Way to Avoid Default Without Raising the Debt Limit, Treasury Says WSJ Economics

Spotlight shines, stage right, on U.S. House Freedom Caucus Reuters. EM: “A wealthy white landowners’ caucus – welcome back to the 1780s!”

10-mile stretch of vehicles stuck on State Route 58 in Tehachapi KABC (furzy mosue)

Families Outraged After Illinois Fails to Pay Out $288 Million in Lottery Winnings Inside Edition

Mark Cuban unleashes on high-frequency trading Yahoo (furzy mouse)

SEC reveals hedge fund managers’ failings Financial Times. Quelle surprise! Hedgies are ripping off their clients too!

Not Just Manufacturing: Strong Warning Services About to Stall Michael Shedlock

Class Warfare

What Could Raising Taxes on the 1% Do? Surprising Amounts New York Times. Over the fold on the front page.

Retirees’ Futures Hinge on Candidates’ Plans for Social Security New York Times

Female trader sues Deutsche Bank Financial Times. More salacious than usual due to Libor scandal link.

The Richest Politicians in the U.S. Yahoo (furzy mouse)

Wealth therapy tackles woes of the rich: ‘It’s really isolating to have lots of money’ Guardian. (reslic). But not taxing enough to resort to the obvious expedient of giving most of it away.

Populism and Patrimonialism John Quiggin, Crooked Timber. Important.

Antidote du jour. @planetpics via Lambert: “How to organize your cats“:

how to organize your cats links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Uncle Bruno

    Online poll samples are good quality these days. It’s a non-probability sample, but from a big panel (3 million) so I wouldn’t dismiss the findings. The problem with the debate question is the screener, which included people who watched the debate OR followed coverage.

    Well, of course the majority of respondents did not watch the debate live but followed coverage of it in the news. Then, they asked “From what you have heard and read, who do you think won or did the best job in the Democratic debate?”

    So, this poll is a very good study of the effectiveness of Clinton’s post-debate PR blitz, and totally consistent with focus group findings. They didn’t run the data this way, but it looks like if you watched the debate, you’re more likely to say Sanders won. If you followed coverage of the debate, you’d think Clinton won.

    1. Ron

      If Clinton had not projected a positive image the media would have jumped all over her and most likely her run for President would have been in deep trouble. The reality is that she looked good and was able to project a positive image.
      Whether Bernie won or lost on issues doesn’t have much meaning in modern TV debates as the feedback on Clinton was positive relative to her performance.

        1. Ron

          Pleasing to the TV viewer, Kennedy Vs Nixon notable for how striking Kennedy appeared vs Nixon and how TV ready Kennedy visually appeared vs Nixon.
          Marshall McLuhan work “The Medium is the Message” discusses in detail how technology in this case TV images transforms the so called debate. If you were in the audience your perception of the event might be very different then if you had watched on TV.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            Post debate polls at the time showed that people who had watched them on TV thought Kennedy had won but those who listened on the radio said Nixon came out ahead.

      1. jgordon

        …the feedback on Clinton was positive relative to her performance.

        Whose feedback were you looking at? The only people who universally agree that Clinton came out ahead in the debate are rich media pundits. Everyone else, not so much.

        1. Ron

          Watched the debate for maybe 10 minutes and noticed immediately that Clinton was able to project a favorable image. The fact that you don’t appreciate that facet of the coverage is meaningless and if she had not been able to project such a positive image her run would for President would be over.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Have you managed to miss that her disapproval ratings have been rising as her campaign goes along, and are now higher than her approval ratings? And that she raised vastly less money in the last quarter than the one before that, also the reverse of the trajectory you need for a successful Presidential bid? The poll evidence shows that many, arguably most, people do not react to Clinton the way you do.

            1. Ron

              She is clearly the front runner in all the National polls, the media after the debate has been positive as to her performance. It has nothing to do with how I think of Clinton nor does it indicate how I would vote rather its clear she did a good job in the debate and secured positive news as a result.

              1. bob

                Every single focus group of “normal people” they did on TV said that Bernie “won”. The pundits didn’t like that. They, and you apparently, ended up writing their own narrative- “she did a good job”, hoping for a clinton foundation fellowship.

                Just another on a long list of people who think they can will into reality what they want, with what they say.

                1. Ron

                  So what if Bernie won the debate this is not a High School or college debate tournament, media matters and Clinton was well prepared and gets a hat tip. Perception of the event and its participants by the media is what carries the day. Its not about scoring debate points but presenting and projecting a national image. This is basic 101 since the first Kennedy Nixon debate.

                  1. bob

                    Wow, you must be paid well. Or are hoping to be. Keep fucking that chicken!

                    My point was in response to your assertion that clinton was the front runner. She is not, by any definition, and she should fall further now.

                    You claim her “preparedness” as a reason for her “win”. This is not how reality works, or as you so eloquently put it, “this isn’t high school…”

                    The onus is on you to prove otherwise.

                    ” she did a good job in the debate and secured positive news as a result.”

                    That’s how the media works? She “secures” positive news by being prepared for a debate? That’s all it takes?

                    Yanno, this isn’t high school….

                  2. Jagger

                    Perception of the event and its participants by the media is what carries the day. Its not about scoring debate points but presenting and projecting a national image.

                    Media perception… or the media using their own criteria to select a candidate of their preference while ignoring actual evaluation of the viewership?

                    And the mainstream media stating a candidate won when everyone else disagrees is a form of the big lie. Say someone won and anyone not there will believe it. And if you were there, who are you going to believe? Your lying eyes or the mainstream media?

                    Media is a power player. They are using their power for their advantage rather than just giving you the facts and you decide. Nothing altruistic or idealistic about the mainstream media.

          2. abynormal

            Rob Dhal’n, where you here. Next time don’t be a stranger…we don’t bite.

            After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
            The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
            The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
            And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

            The Feet, mechanical, go round –
            Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
            A Wooden way
            Regardless grown,
            A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

            This is the Hour of Lead –
            Remembered, if outlived,
            As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
            First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –
            E. Dickinson

    2. Bob Richard

      Related to including people who noticed press coverage but didn’t watch the debate itself, the pollsters should ask people whether they think press coverage after the debate was fair or biased. And, if biased, toward whom.

      Oh, wait, pollsters are (mostly) hired by media organizations. Guess they might not want to hear the answers.

        1. craazyboy

          They’ve always told us that it’s sooo hard finding the wealth. Better to make taxes regressive!

          But seriously, the big money would be in collecting back taxes owed on tax avoidance and the associated fines and interest. Fines can be really big bucks.

          But we still could use top marginal income* taxes above 100% and then we would make some progress on CEO pay.

          * anything fungible w/ dollar income s/b counted as income, of course.

          1. inode_buddha

            I’ve been saying for *years* now that we need to bring back the 1986 tax reforms on a permanent basis. Perhaps it could be done in exchange for dropping the corporation tax altogether. I think the capital gains rates should be much higher than the tax on wages but I would settle for parity.

            Imagine such a scenario combined with Sanders’ ideas. One would actually be able to have an economy and pay for things!

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Keith, only taxing income will make sure the existing billionaires are grandfathered in by solidifying their previous gains, and that they will face no new competition at the top going forward.

          Taxing wealth, on the other hand, can make up for the dereliction of duty by those in charge in the past.

  2. Ulysses

    My friend Steve Ahlquist has done some good reporting on the pepper spray/body slam incident in Pawtucket, that is discussed in the Alternet piece linked above:

    “Some students want school resource officer Jared Boudreault removed from the school and fired from the Pawtucket Police Department for his actions. But more than that, they want police entirely out of schools. Instead of policing and suppression, some students say they want respect and the help of adults who are able to de-escalate situations.”

    1. Ed

      The problem with that idea is that some schools in this country are more or less run by criminal gangs, just like the prisons. This is why debates on fixing the schools go nowhere. For the worst schools in the country, what they have is more of a law enforcement problem than a pedagogical problem.

        1. JTMcPhee

          There are some tough schools, but maybe the criminal gangs Ed was offering are the ones who run the “charter school de-democratization serf-generation rackets…”

    2. optimader

      Let see, that would be Stage 3 going on Stage 4.
      Fire him now and hire Koko the Gorilla
      The Process of Violentization
      Stage 3 Violent Performances: The subject continues to act out violently and they feel that they get inner confidence by acting like this and that in turn builds their self-esteem. With their actions being executed, they feel like they get a knack for it and they incorporate it into their daily activity. In this stage they feel most comfortable with what they are doing and do not feel like they are doing anything wrong.

  3. New Deal democrat

    Good catch on the Reuters article about Presidential approval ratings and “third terms.” In particular, if the economy were the sole determinant, Humphrey in 1968 and Gore in 2000 should have won in landslides.

    Of course, the data set is really limited since by definition it can be no more often than every other election.

    Going back to the beginning of the Republic, if my memory serves correctly, here’s the list of elections where a political party was seeking a “third term.”

    Jefferson (Yes, 2 x Madison, 2 x Monroe)
    Jackson (Yes, 1 x VanBuren)
    Lincoln (Yes, 2 x Grant, 1 x Hayes, 1 x Garfield)
    (I think Grant, who was very popular, could be listed in his own right)
    McKinley? (Yes, 1 x TR, 1 x Taft)
    Teddy Roosevelt (Yes, 1 x Taft)
    Wilson (No, Harding)
    Coolidge (Yes, 1 x Hoover)
    FDR (Yes, 4 x, 1 x Truman)
    Eisenhower (No, JFK)
    JFK-Johnson (No, Nixon)
    Nixon (No, Carter)
    Reagan (Yes, 1 x GHW Bush)
    Clinton (No, GW Bush)
    GW Bush (No, Obama)

    Interesting that all but 1 of the “No”s are in the modern, post-WW2 era). Since 1952, the incumbent party has only won 1 “third term,” in 1988.

    1. fresno dan

      I note that Gore won the popular vote. Still, the Gore result shows something intriguing – maybe there was such economic success (I will forego my contention that the obsession with wall street was ultimately harmful) that the electorate could focus on more trivial matters. Or Gore and his team just weren’t very good at the intricacies of the electoral college (remember all the hokum about how brilliant at electioneering politics Clinton was, and Obama cleaned their clocks in 2008?)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Most people became poorer. Its the tricky wealth inequality issue. Yes, much of the middle middle class moved to the upper middle class, but much of the 90’s economy was population growth and a tech bubble/y2k hiring phenomenon that had just come to an abrupt end.

        Al was too focused around the status quo and being a cypher rather than campaigning on how to make the “roaring” economy work for everyone. Rural small towns were devastated by trade deals championed by Clinton and Gore. The GOP at least had the sense to blame someone instead of yelling at people for believing their lying eyes. Team Blue still has the same problem.

        1. trinity river

          Remember, Al Gore, had been busy privatizing government through his “Reinventing Government” work.

    2. Ed

      I’ve done this exercise.

      I’ve looked at each election that happened eight years, two presidential elections, after a party first gained control of the White House. Since states started tracking popular votes, there are nineteen elections that meets that criteria (1836, 1844, 1848, 1860, 1868, 1876, 1892, 1896, 1904, 1920, 1928, 1940, 1960, 1968, 1976, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2008).

      Out of this list, it turns out that whenever a party takes over control of the White House, eight years later its popular vote margin will drop, compared to both the election where it takes over the White House, and the election four years later. It doesn’t seem to matter much whether it retains control of the White House in the second election (by the way usually it does). This happens in sixteen out of the nineteen instances.

      The exceptions are 1892, 1896, and 1904. The first two were an unusual situation where Cleveland won in 1884 by a very narrow margin, gaining control of the White House for the Democrats for the first time since the Civil War. In 1888, he increased is margin, but lost the Electoral College vote. In 1892 voters confirmed what they were trying to do in 1888, though Cleveland got his lowest popular vote percentage of the three elections -there was a third party challenge. The Republicans then took back control in 1896, winning the popular vote for the first time since 1880. This somewhat unusual situation produced two of the outliers. The third is Theodore Roosevelt’s win in 1904. On the whole the rule is fairly robust.

      Electoral coalitions will start crumbling no later than six years in, though once the eight year mark is cleared they can be patched together to some extent.

      Since presidents were term limited, control of the White House has changed hands every eight years like clockwork, except for the Democrats being evicted in 1980 and the Republicans getting three terms of control after than instead of the usual two. Against that, control has changed reliably four times. After 1968, the non-presidential party usually gets at least one House of Congress, there has been unified control in only twelve years of this period.

      1. fresno dan

        Thanks for that.
        So your theory is that there is enough “play” in the coalitions that in 8 years enough members will feel wronged or ignored to defect to the other party?

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘the data set is really limited since by definition it can be no more often than every other election’

      Thus the novelty of the Clark/Young analysis, which extended the sample size to more than 450 elections from 35 countries.

      With rare exceptions, deprived by term limits of the ability to re-elect the incumbent, electorates would rather punt on another party.

      Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of Hillary’s ‘cash-hungry juggernaut’ is that it will suck a lot of money out of her supporters and produce no return on their rent-seeking investment.

    4. TedWa

      What isn’t considered in their analysis is that Obama is the 3rd and 4th term of Bush, meaning by rights a new deal democrat should win the next election. Obama is a poor republican and a worse democrat – RINO.

      1. ProNewerDeal


        I’d also say that 0bama Reagan V is the 8th & 9th term of Reagan, (B Clinton was the 4th & 5th Reagan terms)

        1. Jason

          So, we haven’t actually had a Democrat in the White House since Carter? That seems right to me. But in that case, who wins the next election between the likely candidates Moderate Republican Hillary Clinton and her far-right Extremist Republican opponent? (And if trump actually gets the nomination, does that make him the pre-50s Democrat?)

    5. Oregoncharles

      My personal take on the recent elections is that the legacy parties have a little arrangement: they take turns in the Presidency, two full terms at a time. Since Clinton.

      Granted, this is a conspiracy theory. I submit that they’re in an excellent position to form a conspiracy. And I introduce in evidence most of the recent campaigns. For instance, Gore and Kerry visibly (I was watching closely, since I DID have a dog in those fights) threw away the election. (Granted Gore nearly failed.) Similarly, so did Romney in 2012; OTOH, McCain’s nomination was a consolation prize, and he expressed his feelings about it by choosing Palin as VP candidate.

      By this theory, as well as the stats from the article, next year’s Democratic nomination is another consolation prize. By chance (?), both the main candidates are quite elderly and have long political records. Granted, the DP has no reason to give Bernie a consolation prize – but throwing a bone to their Left might make sense. You know, for sheepdog purposes (I already debated with Lambert about this; in my opinion, intent doesn’t matter; effects do.)

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That presupposes that “the parties” operate in a top-down manner, as opposed to are ridden by factions that are jockeying for control, each of which has its own agenda and timetable.

        1. Massinissa

          Isnt it a mix of both your models though?

          Limited control at the top, with numerous competing factions in the middle with a considerable amount of power that is primarily used in limited possible ways?

        2. Oregoncharles

          I’m an outsider, so can’t prove it, but I think the top-down control is much greater than we’d like to think, at least when it comes to Presidential elections. It’s the only way I can see to explain some of those elections. There’s a theory that the apparatchiks care far more about their control than about winning elections. Makes sense – that’s what fills their rice bowl.

          I agree with Massinissa that it’s some of each. In fact, I see no contradiction between your alternatives. Both can be true.

          One of the most striking things about the Democratic Party is the radical disjunct between the policy wishes of the membership and the actual policies carried out or even campaigned on. There appears to be a firewall between the membership and the real power. I have no idea just what it is, though it doubtless consists mostly of money (surprise, surprise). Sure would be a good story if someone can figure it out, though.

          Of course, that disjunct, in both parties, is the reason this campaign season is dominated by two insurgent candidates. They may actually both win – though again, I suspect the PTB in each party will cheat, if necessary, to prevent that.

          1. hidflect

            “There’s a theory that the apparatchiks care far more about their control than about winning elections. ”

            The iron law of institutions, usually attributed to political blogger Jonathan Schwartz, states:[1]
            “”The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

            He was originally describing Nancy Pelosi’s unwillingness to consult with Iraq War protestors in 2007 — and more generally, Democrats’ failure to embrace disaffected leftist voters, as it would affect their power within the party, and in turn, the party’s standing among the overall electorate. (This leaves aside the question of whether there would be enough disaffected voters for this to pay off, and whether it would alienate enough current voters to nullify any gains.)

            John Milton said much the same (through his character, Lucifer):
            “”It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.

      2. Sammy Maudlin

        Don’t forget Bob “Brooklyn Dodgers” Dole. Another consolation/retirement prize campaign that seemed to completely fall apart via the candidate’s own doing.

  4. timbers

    “One Story Shows Just How Insane U.S. Drone Policy Is – George Washington”

    Obama should stick to bombing hospitals and doctors. He might kill fewer children and innocents that way.

    1. hidflect

      Oh, hey. Alabama Shakes. I rarely listen to any band or artist in the last 10 years but they are definitely one of them.

  5. fresno dan

    The latest data show a worsening situation for the 31 percent of workers making less than $15,000 per year, nearly all of whom work part time or seasonally. Their numbers shrank by more than 613,000, to 48.8 million people. Their average annual gross pay slipped by almost a buck a week, to $6,211.

    Having fewer low-paid workers would be good news if it meant people moved up. The next category is jobs paying $15,000 to $30,000, most of which are full time. Sadly, the data show that workers in that category increased by only 209,000, offsetting about a third of the loss of lower-paid jobs. Its not likely many leaped into higher categories in one year.

    Moving to the top half of earners, those making more than $30,000, the number of jobs in that group grew last year, but nearly all the growth was in jobs paying more than $50,000. In addition, average top half wages fell, in most categories by about 1.5 percent after adjusting for inflation. (This can occur when workers move up from the top of one category to the lowest level of the next category.) In fact, the only average increases in pay, adjusted for inflation, were for jobs paying $1 million to $50 million.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We are brainwashed, sorry, educated to root for groaf, because one’s job, that’s like the sword of Damocle’s hanging over one’s survival, is tied to groaf.

        One’s Pavlovian reaction is to cheer for the GDP to grow, so one may hopefully keep one’s job or find a job.

        Income Guarantee, to some needed extent, can mitigate against that.

        “Who care? I will still have income even if we don’t cut down more trees in the manufacturing sector, or even if we don’t need more bookkeeping in the service sector to keep track of fallen trees.”

        Thus, we severe the Gordian knot that tie GDP/groaf to survival.

  6. Brindle

    re: Trump, 9/11, Bush….

    Trump’s words seem fairly mild, but for the media and politicians 9/11 has become something akin to a mystical religious event. Trump state the obvious that 9/11 happened on Bush’ watch—why is that a big deal?

    —–“When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump told Bloomberg Television.

    When interviewer Stephanie Ruhle told Trump, “Hold on, you can’t blame George Bush for that”, Trump refused to back down.

    “He was president, okay? Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign,” Trump said of the twin towers that were brought down by Islamist militants in hijacked planes.—-

    1. Ed

      Trump can get criticized for saying “reign” instead of “administration”. That is the gaffe there. Its actually very telling, plus that this part of the comment passed unnoticed.

      Otherwise, the idea that the President is responsible for the actions of the federal bureaucracy during his administration should not be controversial.

  7. fresno dan

    Trump criticizes George W. Bush over 9/11, Jeb Bush hits back Reuters

    “When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump told Bloomberg Television.

    When interviewer Stephanie Ruhle told Trump, “Hold on, you can’t blame George Bush for that”, Trump refused to back down.

    “He was president, okay? Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign,” Trump said of the twin towers that were brought down by Islamist militants in hijacked planes.

    First of all, who decreed “Hold on, you can’t blame George Bush for that” is outside the realm of polite conversation? I can accede to the idea that in the immediate aftermath, such an examination would not occur. But plenty of time has passed, and indeed too much time, to ask whether in fact Bush did a good job as far as national security.

    All I can say is – You go Trump! And my fondness for Trump – all those serious people who don’t like him – riddle me this: What national democrat has vigorously challenged the cliche that “Bush kept us safe???”
    Its time we have some one willing to f*rt at the thanksgiving table…

    When you talk about Political Correctness, no body can beat the republicans, with bizarre formulations (he kept us safe!??!?!?!) that are such non sequiturs, and divorced from reality, it must be a really sophisticated psychological design to very effectively impede thinking.

    This is really the fish or cut bait moment for Trump – the politically correct cliches of the republicans that can be burst with reality if only a republican candidate dared speak them, such as
    1. republicans are for balanced budgets….when they never even SUBMIT balanced budgets. (being able to constantly raise issues that none of the establishment ever intends to bring to fruition is a cynical ploy that harms representative government, and its time republicans acknowledge that they never really intend to pursue such a policy)
    1.a. republicans care about the deficit.
    2. Lower revenues without reducing spending (or increasing defense spending, but without paying for it).
    3. Are for small government …when Bush expanded Medicare part D, the biggest increase in the program since its inception. No Child Left Behind. The expansion of the security state. etcetera, etcetera.
    4. Republicans are best at national security – is anybody seriously asserting that we “won” in either Iraq or Afghanistan? Or that either conflict was efficiently or effectively prosecuted by Bush???

    The republicans are the ones who most use the cliche of “ready on day one” – how can anyone say that Bush did not have PLENTY of time to become familiar with the most serious national security threats by the time of 9/11? (by republicans logic, he should have known prior to being sworn in).

    And in my view, Bush’s expansion of government, while not firing or prosecuting ANY government officials in the wake of 9/11, shows his utter contempt for good governance. No one was held to account because some familiarity with what their job functions were is necessary to do that. And it would cause hard feeling in his red “tribe”

    1. Ed

      Bush received warnings of an impending terrorist attack, and he has been criticized for not acting on them, but (unless there is something highly classified somewhere that we in the public don’t know about), they seem to have been the sort of “the stock market can crash ANY MOMENT” type warnings you hear all the time from gold bugs. There was no way they could be acted on. They did schedule a big anti-hijacking drill in September.

      More of an issue should be made with why the nineteen were let into this country, apparently many of them didn’t have valid visas, were allowed to train at flight schools with links to the national security state, etc. The federal bureaucracy does have some control with how strictly it enforces immigration laws. This doesn’t seem to have been much of a priority for Bush or his administration.

      1. Brindle

        Bush’s cozy relationship with the Saudi Arabia royalty (gangsters) was one of the factors that allowed 9/11 to happen.

      2. myshkin

        Thomas Drake former senior executive at the NSA and whistle blower contends otherwise. There was plenty of actionable information that was purposefully ignored. The Real News has a convincing series of interviews with him. Also recall Richard Clarke’s comments about the obtuseness of Wolfowitz and Rice to Clarke’s warnings as Tenet was “running around with his hair on fire.”

        He believes the neo-cons were at the least criminally negligent, intelligence input knew something was coming. Whatever terror act that ensued would be used to justify the various invasions, repression domestic and foreign that followed.

        1. TedWa

          If true, to me, and I think in a court of law, allowing it to happen is almost the same as being a co-conspirator.

        2. hidflect

          And Jeb! has hired Wolfowitz back onto the team. This isn’t history rhyming, this is plagiarism.

  8. rich

    Wall Street banksters won’t let Bernie go too far, but what about people?

    Abby Martin hosted a live analysis of the recent Democratic Party debate. She was joined by politician Jill P. Carter, who represents Maryland’s 41st legislative district of Baltimore City; Jared Ball, assistant professor of communication studies at Morgan State University; Kamau K. Franklin, Southern Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee; Bhaskar Sunkara, the founding editor and publisher of Jacobin Magazine; and journalist Sarah Jaffe, who co-hosts Dissent magazine’s “Belabored” podcast.

    It was an interesting discussion, but perhaps the most substantial conclusion came at the end by Franklin, saying that:

    “One of the direct answers on why Bernie Sanders won’t get elected, is because Wall Street would not let him get elected. […] In the current structure that we do have, of this two party system, he is not electable because the rich bankers and so forth, media apparatuses, will not allow him to go any further. They will demonize him … it will feel like Hillary Clinton is the only possibility.”

    An interesting point at the beginning of the discussion is that, indeed, the questions in the debate targeted Sanders, forcing him to ‘play by the rules’ of the establishment. For example, Clinton clearly declared that she is faithful to the ‘mainstream rationalism’, saying that she is a Capitalist without doubt.

    So actually, in the American reality, no one could get elected in case that he/she would dare to defy Capitalism, or, ever the neocon pro-war policies attached to the US military-corporate-industrial-banking complex.

  9. Furzy Mouse

    From fellow Dem Len on why Repugs may NOT win:

    I beg to differ, because:
    1. The Republican Party is in total Disintegration Mode and this is not likely to improve between now and the election
    2. The Tea Party, especially in the House, will control the primaries and thus the candidates who survive into the general election and that group tops out at about 20% of the electorate
    3. The Republican Party has managed to piss off the growing Latinos in the U.S. and the blacks as well. Romney got less than 27% of the latino vote and less than 1% of the black vote. Unless the Republican state legislatures manage to block, dilute or in other ways restrict the minority vote in their states, their candidate is unlikely to match, let alone exceed those numbers
    4. The only way the Democrats can lose in 2016 is if their voters STAY HOME
    5. Most of the Senate seats up for reelection are, by a wide margin, held by Republicans and the Dems have strong candidates contesting those seats and are favored to win back their majority, making the presidential vote in those states higher than otherwise.
    6. Unless and until a poll of Obamacare signups in the past two years shows an unexpected trend, those Americans WITHOUT insurance prior to ACA will vote Democratic.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In case you have not noticed voters have been staying home. Unless Team Blue remakes itself into the Democratic Party, non-voters will remain non-voters. Fear is a terrible motivator, and those who are motivated by fear have a home in the GOP.

      1. meeps

        Some of us didn’t stay home; we defected from the two party deriliction, although very little attention goes to ‘other party’ candidates before or after elections. Recent polls indicate that 50% of voters do not identify with red or blue. Of the remaining 50%, 29% identify as Republican, 21% as Democrat. When that first 50% vote their conscience instead of their fear and the other 50% see through the subterfuge and vote accordingly, organic life might have a limited future on this planet. Some defectors (on the left and possibly some libertarians) will consider voting for Bernie. If Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, however, the Democrats are sorely mistaken if they think the outliers will waste a vote on Hillary or Biden. The data is in. Both corporate parties have been serving turds as truffles since the 80’s. No more, thank you.

    2. ambrit

      If Clinton is the Dem candidate, I can see a lot of the more leftist Democratic Party voters staying home out of disgust.
      If Sanders is obviously kneecapped by the DNC, there will be a definite “a plague on both your houses” non voting cadre.
      The Dems might pick up Senate seats this round, but what sort of “Democrats” will they be? If the DNC runs true to form, a plethora of Republican Lite candidates could spark a “I may as well vote for the real Republican” backlash.
      As knowledge of how crappy the ACA really is spreads, the Dems face a backlash on that front.
      The electorate is much more diverse than in years gone by. The Tea Party has managed to do what the Birchers failed to do way back when; pull the Republican Party in their direction. One of the “hidden genius” strategies the Kochs and their fellow travelers managed to implement was the removal of large chunks of money from out of the hands of the central party apparats’ control. In essence, this achievement has de-facto split the Party.
      I believe the Democrats can win if they let Sanders run a true Populist campaign. If the Party elites would only get out of the Beltway Bubble and spend time on the ground in “flyover country,” they would find a nation completely different from what they had heretofore believed.
      I can always dream, can I not?

      1. nippersdad

        “If Clinton is the Dem candidate, I can see a lot of the more leftist Democratic Party voters staying home out of disgust.” Here is another unscientific poll, but one which gets right to your point:

        Forty eight percent, down 2 percent since the last one, indicated that their votes for Sanders were not fungible. That is pretty indicative of the zeitgeist I am seeing as well.

        1. ambrit

          Interesting. A skewed population, but an impressive disparity none-the-less. I wonder if the website can filter for multiple votes? If that’s really three million discrete persons, it’s impressive. That would be one percent of the entire nations’ population.
          Considering all the speculation about H Clintons’ health, the Vice Presidential candidate takes on extra importance. Who succeeds Clinton if she has to bow out will tell the tale. No mention, even in ‘Fantasy Politics’ forums, of Sanders for Veep is damning.
          Sanders might come to his senses eventually, and do a ‘Bull Moose Party’ a la Teddy Roosevelt.
          Lambert, interested in being Director of Communications for the “Grouchy Bear Party?”
          (Does Maine have a Mascot Mammal?)

          1. different clue

            Sanders has already said he won’t oppose Clinton if Clinton wins the D nomination. Is that supposed to be evidence of Sanders being “out of his senses”?

            I suspect Sanders is pre-shaping the battlespace for any successors he and/or his movement may produce for waging a longer war after he is out of politics. By pre-promising not to undermine Clinton if she wins the D-nom, he is pre-daring her to do any less if he wins the nomination.
            What Sanders’ supporters choose to do if Clinton wins is their own personal bussiness. If Sanders himself does not mount a Third Party challenge, he will have kept his promise not to undermine a Candidate Clinton.

            Meanwhile, hopefully the Sanders Movement will have become a longer-lived deeper-rooted New Deal Revival movement, which can think in terms of attacking its opponents within the DParty just as the Tea People attack their opponents within the RParty. Perhaps being able to conquer and purge/disinfect/decontaminate their opponents from Their Newly-Conquered Democratic Party at some future time.

      2. Vatch

        If Clinton is the Dem candidate, I can see a lot of the more leftist Democratic Party voters staying home out of disgust.

        If she’s the candidate, I hope the leftists don’t stay home, but come to the polls and vote for third party candidates.

        1. Massinissa

          Yeah, im gonna vote green again, but I dont think it does anything important. I did it in 2012 too.

          Im wasting my vote if I dont vote and im wasting my vote if I do vote. Im afraid I dont see the difference, but im ready to vote Green anyway.

          Maybe it will at least make me feel better.

        2. meeps

          Correctomundo, Vatch. Jill Stein offered a Green New Deal Plan in the 2012 election. HRC and others are using Stein’s language and watered-down parts of her New Deal this time around. They tout these as their own ideas and they’re getting away with it! Many voters would like to see the first woman POTUS and it’s tragic that Jill Stein goes unrecognized for advancing a really forward thinking agenda ages ago. If HRC is the nominee, leftists will likely grant your wish.

        3. cwaltz

          That’s my strategy. If the Democratic Party does not give me a candidate worth believing in or voting for then I’ll find another party. I’d rather lose knowing my vote went towards a candidate I believe in then “win” with one I think will make things worse.

    3. fresno dan

      I’m not following you:
      You quote dem Len who says the republicans may not win, and than you give a bunch of reasons that ….republicans may not win.

      Is your argument republicans CANNOT win, or did you misquote fellow dem Len who said republicans MAY win?

    4. ex-PFC Chuck

      “4. The only way the Democrats can lose in 2016 is if their voters STAY HOME”

      And that’s exactly what they’ll do. The only question is will enough of them vote with their butts by sitting on them. Since the days of FDR the people who voted Democratic did so primarily because they perceived that the party was serving their economic interests. With every passing day more of them are awakening to the perfidy of the Beltway Dems and come the first Tuesday in November of even numbered years are saying, “Why bother?”

      1. Massinissa

        How many americans stayed home in 2012? Wasnt it like half?

        Not all of them are leftists by any means, but its still a sign that people are fed up with both parties and dont see the difference between them, on either side of the spectrum.

    5. Massinissa

      If Clinton is nominee im voting Green like I did in 2012. Same with Webb or O’Malley, actually.

      So im basically preparing to vote Green.

  10. fresno dan

    Antidote du jour. @planetpics via Lambert: “How to organize your cats“:

    I was thinking the caption would be: Christmas morning, after the wrapping is off…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Who has these cats? Are they drugged? My two cats are litter mates, and they tolerate each other at best.

      1. Jess

        My littermates, a boy and a girl, are now 3-1/2 and they get along great. They don’t sleep together like they did as kittens but they play, lay down next to each other on the couch, sit on the cabinet and look out the window together.

        Are your littermates by any chance both male or both female?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I note there are some yellow cats, but no red cats or green cats.

        Ever since the invention of the internal combustion engine and the arrival of the traffic light, we have been brainwashed ever so subtly (like any good propaganda campaign), to embrace green, fear yellow and loathe red.

        Eventually, one day, and this is purely my own speculation at this juncture, we will only feel secure with green haired people, but be uneasy with yellow haired people and be extremely paranoid about redheads.

    2. flora

      Little boxes on the carpet
      Little boxes filled with kitty cats
      Little boxes on the carpet
      Snug cat beds, for all the same.

      There’s a tabby cat
      and a tortoise cat
      and a spotted cat
      and a yellow cat

      Little boxes on the carpet
      Snug cat beds, for all the same.

    1. fresno dan

      It took me a moment to realize those aren’t real live cats…(I mean, they are not real cats – right?)

  11. Jim Haygood

    ‘From 2007 to 2014, the renminbi appreciated by 32% in real, trade-weighted terms; by May 2015 (the most recent month of the reported index), its total appreciation had reached 40%. The renminbi remains highly overvalued, despite August’s modest 3% nominal depreciation against the soaring US dollar.’ — Jeffrey Sachs

    Try telling that to Chuck Schumer, who screams ‘currency manipulation’ every time China tweaks the RMB’s dirty float against the dollar.

    As a New York lawyer, Schumer’s understanding of economics extends only to the arithmetic ability to count hundred-dollar bills in paper bags.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe we have to prostrate before China for not taking more jobs over here, seeing that they have not permitted the Yuan fall to its natural exchange value.

      Handing over South China Sea islands can be considered a grateful gesture (sarcasm).

    2. craazyboy

      Well, we need to revisit the absolute definition of currency valuation. If you are the #2 largest global economy, and you have a large bilateral trade surplus with the #1 global reserve currency country – what do you call that? In the ideal floating currency case, trade would be balanced when relative currency valuations make it so.

      ‘Course it gets hard to do floating currencies right when there are more than 2 countries in the world. That’s what import duties were for, but the smart people got rid of those.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘In the ideal floating currency case, trade would be balanced when relative currency valuations make it so.’

        That’s one side of the story. But the mirror of the trade balance is the capital account.

        When emerging markets are booming, rich-country capital pours in and drives their currencies higher. But when boom turns to bust, capital flees and their currencies collapse. Michael Pettis described this process in The Volatility Machine.

        Now China is in the ‘fleeing capital’ phase, partly driven by Chinese wanting to get their capital out of a financially repressed economy before an expected devaluation. China is propping up the RMB by selling US Treasuries — a kind of ‘reverse QE’ that’s not sustainable in the long run, no matter how brutally Chuck Schumer beats the Chinese with his man purse.

  12. TedWa

    Re: Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders’ Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You
    Very cool. Thanks for that link !

    To me only the winner of a debate can afford to be as gracious as Bernie was in rejecting Clintons e-mail problems as a debatable issue.

  13. fresno dan

    I thought this was spoof:
    “Before attempting to shed some light on America’s mental condition, let’s open with a pop quiz question: What is the top-selling prescription drug in the US? Nope, it’s not Viagra, not Prozac, forget the Percocet. If you don’t know, take a peek in the medicine cabinet because there’s a high chance it’s lurking in there, right behind that purple people eater. Yes, you got it. The top-selling drug in the Land of the Free and Disturbed is an antipsychotic, happily named Abilify.

    Once again: The top-selling drug in America is an antipsychotic. Now some might say that’s mental.”

    But “Abilify” is a real drug….wow

    1. abynormal

      My dad thinks I paid for all this with catering jobs.
      Never underestimate the power of denial.

      Ricky Fitts/American Beauty

      I need the thing that happens when your brain shuts off and your heart turns on.
      Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘My dad thinks I paid for all this with catering jobs.’

        Please don’t tell my mom I’m in finance. She thinks I work in a brothel.

    2. Sammy Maudlin

      This further bolsters my assumption that a solid 50% of the people I deal with on a daily basis are completely whacked out on something.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Big data analysis…system that replaces human intuition by algorithms outperform many human teams.

    I think, and this is just my intuition, that it takes good intuition to put together many teams of (good intuition) humans.

    If you don’t know how or what intuition is, you can get many human teams, but not many of them will have good intuition. Quantity is not going to help, if you don’t know what you are doing (it’s not a sample size issue).

    Perhaps we had been lucky that the surveillance state did not know how to hire good people.

    But now, they have the algorithms.

    Still, they could have been even more thoroughly successful with really intuitive human agents.

    Hopefully, this intuition of mine can be helpful to them.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Germany ready to help Greece to tackle refugee crisis.

    Am I being too cynical to think that the upward mobility elevator is full temporary? We may not need as many new VW vehicles for this cycle.

    Besides, we have plenty of Greeks in reserve for the next cycle, even though not as many showed up this time and we had to supplement with more distance, entry level upward-mobility supplicants.

  16. rich

    Lawsuit accuses two men of conspiring with Manhattan developer to launder money through pricey real estate

    The suit represents a rare specific legal allegation of money laundering through U.S. real estate.

    Foreign buyers in recent years have flooded into major markets like Manhattan, particularly attracted to high-end condominiums, as they seek stable, long-term investments, property analysts say.

    But with few disclosure requirements in the U.S. for real-estate transactions—wealthy buyers often preserve their anonymity by making purchases using limited liability companies—money-laundering experts warn the area is ripe for abuse by those looking to park ill-gotten gains.

    Because the use of corporate structures to buy real estate has become commonplace, including by legitimate buyers who want to protect their privacy or other assets from liability, a sale to an LLC doesn’t necessarily raise red flags.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      if it so bad, they can ‘give it away, give it away, give it away now’, word to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Koko the gorilla.

    I think, if I recall correctly and if she is the same one, she picked her mate (younger than her, smart girl) from among many videotaped Romeo apes.

    Naturally, years later, where we are today, the question is if there is an adult gorilla dating website for married gorillas.

  18. ProNewerDeal

    Can you opine on Jeb/Rubio/ReThugz ‘consensus’ new ‘ACA replacement’ policy? IIRC, it will be
    1 the typical right-wing coupon/subsidy to purchase private insurance, ala private school voucher
    2 removes the ACA’s Individual Mandate
    3 BUT allows for refusal to insure due to preexisting condition, if a person was uninsured prior to requesting insurance purchase

    Wouldn’t this R policy be a Hidden Individual Mandate? Because any person, even a proverbial super healthy ex-Olympic athlete with excellent nutrition & exercise habits, whose ancestors all lived to 90+ years old, has a risk of developing a ‘preexisting condition’ like cancer before 65/Medicare eligibility age, a US adult will be ‘compelled’ to purchase & maintain continuous coverage, in order to remain eligible AFTER they potentially develop a preexisting condition like cancer. This trend would worse if a Grand Ripoff increases the Medicare eligibility age to 70+.

    Given the income insecurity USians face (word to Jacob Hacker’s “Great Risk Shift” book), even to ‘worthy real Americans’ like PhD biologist & literal genius Douglas Prasher underemployed as a auto dealer taxi driver making $8.50/hr, many USians would lapse health insurance coverage for at least some 1+ year periods, & a portion of this faction would subsequently be killed when they are refused health insurance later on. I would guesstimate that the Harvard Public Health Profs’ post-ACA estimate of 30K deaths in 2022 due to not being able to afford health care, relative to CAN-style Medicare For All, would revert back to at least the pre-ACA 60K USian deaths.

    IIRC an NC article noted how health insurance industry is further oligopolizing in recent post-ACA years, with 3 companies dominating the majority of the market. It seems unlikely that the owned Rs & right-wing/0bama/HClinton Ds will invoke Sherman Antitrust and break up this health insurance oligopoly, OR allow Medicare For All or Veterans Affairs For All Buy-In Public Option to compete with the oligopoly. Ditto for state-level well funded nonprofit cooperative insurer, or state-level single payer, which in retrospect seems to be 0bama ‘vaporware’ that 0bama subsequently killed off. It also seems unlikely that these rightwing R/D Uniparty will appoint ‘regulators’ that would do ANY REGULATION/ANYTHING if this oligopoly openly colluded to REFUSE to sell health insurance to any cancer-serious preexisting condition patient/’customer’.

    The impression that I get (word to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) is that this Jeb/Rs plan is even worse and more savage than 0bama’s ACA. What do yall think?

  19. ekstase

    That list of Bernie’s accomplishments, (“Bernie Gets It Done”) makes a good point. It’s getting harder to discount him.

    1. Massinissa

      If he was a ‘sheepdog’ like some people claimed a few months ago, wouldnt the media, you know, show him on tv once in awhile? Like ever?

      I think the focused campaign against him is at least proof of limited veracity.

      Im still skeptical of him, but much less so than before. Whatever the truth behind whether hes genuine, the media at least regard him as a legitimate threat.

  20. Lambert Strether

    Eric Schmidt of Google funds Groundworks. But I can’t imagine that the Clinton II administration would ever smooth away tiresome regulatory obstacles for Google at some future date just because Schmidt funded a key service provider for their campaign.

  21. Kim Kaufman

    “RESIST TPP AND THE GLOBAL CORPORATE AGENDA SUNDAY CALL MoveOn. The fact that MoveOn (barely progressive) is on this is a tell that this deal is deeply unpopular and therefore vulnerable.”

    MoveOn doesn’t seem to be “on” this or involved in any way – maybe someone used their petition service. This is a Progressive Dems of America and Action Network partnership. These Sunday calls have been going on for a couple of years now. That’s how long and hard this organizing against the TPP has been working on this. MoveOn itself doesn’t seem to be anything more than a petition facilitator and hasn’t been for a couple of years.

  22. carping demon

    “Hillary is a winner because she can raise enough to buy her way into the White House.”

    How else has anybody gotten into the white house?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is ignoring the fact that she raised a ton less in the most recent quarter than the quarter before that, a terrible trajectory, and that Hillary’s fundraising and apparatus are very costly. It’s believed that a huge % of the money she raised last quarter was spent on raising said money and overhears, while virtually all of the money Bernie raised is $ he can use later on ads and other stuff.

  23. Sammy Maudlin

    10-mile stretch of vehicles stuck on State Route 58 in Tehachapi

    I sure hope this mess didn’t prevent anyone who’s Willin’ from getting to Tonopah.

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