Links 10/4/15

The Amazing Inner Lives of Animals NYRB

Island boulders reveal ancient mega-tsunami Nature

Investors brace for stocks to fall again ahead of earnings Reuters

The credit bubble, the bears and the central bankers Gillian Tett, FT

USA Economic Outlook Appears Stable Econintersect

NY Fed Dudley: Long Way From Using Macropru Tools Successfully Market News

Wells Fargo’s Master Spin Job Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

UK banking’s sorry tale draws slowly to a close FT. “Other industries do not react to hard times by conning their client base.” Oh?

China to curb yuan speculation amid reform push: central bank Reuters

The future of cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and beyond Nature

The rise of mission-oriented state investment banks: the cases of Germany’s KfW and Brazil’s BNDES (PDF) SPRU Working Paper Series (Rob Parenteau).

Prison vs. Harvard in an Unlikely Debate Wall Street Journal. Actual, tournament-style debating!

Trade Traitors

Trans-Pacific Partnership talks at ‘take it or leave it’ stage CBC

TPP trade deadlock: Japan leans on US to break impasse Reuters. Huh? Who’s the hegemon, here, anyhow?

The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate

How the Transnational Pharmaceutical Industry Pursues its Interests Through International Trade and Investment Agreements: A Case Study of the Trans Pacific Partnership (PDF) SSRN


Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz Hit by Apparent U.S. Strike NBC

Kunduz Hospital Bombing Exposes U.S. Airstrike Hypocrisy Moon of Alabama

Obama warns Russia’s Putin of ‘quagmire’ in Syria Reuters

Russia’s goal in Syria: save Assad, secure key population centers McClatchy

Some Tips for the Long-Distance Traveller LRB. Handy diagram of route from Syria to Germany.

How They Failed to Block the Iran Deal NYRB


The U.S. Is Much More Violent Than Other Countries Wonkwire (Furzy Mouse).

The Oregon Sheriff’s Position on Gun Control Is More Radical Than We Think The Nation

How They Got Their Guns NYT


QUIZ: Can you match the huge polling plunge to the 2016 candidate? WaPo

How Bernie Sanders Almost Matched Hillary Clinton in Fundraising ABC

Insiders: Sanders needs big money Politico. And they know where to get some!

Carson’s life story finds an audience in the Trump show FT

Blurring facts, personal attacks reward GOP’s 2016 front-runners McClatchy

The Man Who Launched the GOP’s Civil War Politico

A Fiduciary Critic, Representing Whose Interest? Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Academic Medical Leaders as Directors of For-Profit Health Care Corporations: the Prevalence of This “New Species” of Conflict of Interest Documented in the BMJ Health Care Renewal

Deaths Draw Attention to Wall Street’s Grueling Pace NYT

Hospital Care Unaffected By Quality Payments, GAO Finds KHN

Class Warfare

Why is infant mortality higher in the US than in Europe? NBER

Gig Economy Is Piecework. But This Isn’t Dickens. Bloomberg

1099 as antitrust Interfluidity

Champ Ali in Camden Postcards from the End of America

What is the worst part about working at Google? Quora. This is interesting:

I worked there for 7 years, and it is truly an outstanding company. Everywhere you turn one person is more impressive than the next.

I used to joke with my colleagues that Larry & Sergey go out on their yachts – tie them together, sit back on the same recliners you’ll find on their jumbo jet, each on his own yacht/set of yachts, smoke cigars, and put up pictures of Googlers with little snippets like “was a GM at muti-national telecomm company, got a Harvard MBA and is now answering Orkut tickets.” and then they would erupt in laughter and clink their cigars & Scotch together in celebration. This, of course, is highly unlikely given neither of them would ever smoke a cigar or drink Scotch. Remainder is plausible.

Here’s something to ponder. The only meaningful organic products to come out of Google were Search and then AdSense. (Android – awesome, purchased. YouTube – awesome, purchased, etc. Larry and/or Sergey were obviously intimately involved in both. Maps – awesome, purchased. Google Plus is a flop for all non-Googlers globally, Chrome browser is great, but no direct monetization (indirectly protects search), the world has passed the Chrome OS by… etc. ) Fast forward 14 years, and the next big thing from Google, I bet, will be Google Glass, and guess who PMd it. Sergey Brin. Tiny number of wave creators, huge number of surfers.

Too many great people, doing work that just doesn’t matter, and they’re being paid off not to care in an explicit effort to starve the rest of the valley of extraordinary talent.

Thorstein Veblen would call this a case of business sabotaging industry.

Google takes bet on an Alpha future FT

Unicode: A story of corruption, connection, and smiling poo Medium

Web warriors unite for an F5 rebellion Bangkok Post Bangkok Post. Amazingly, it’s possible to execute a DDoS attack without programming, rather like what happened to the ObamaCare website on launch day, if a large number of users refresh or ping the same URL simultaneously. (F5 is the Refresh key, not the aircraft).

Retrotopia: A Change of Habit The Archdruid Report

America Was Built On Slavery And It Was Much Worse Than You Might Imagine Alternet

Antidote du jour (via Nayyer Reza at @planetepics):

links bouquet of horns

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Ditto

    Re: Politico corruption “experts”, Sanders and the need for fundraising from big money

    I’m happy to see Politico is now publishing satire. I always thought it would be a natural fit with the publisher”s biting (gritting?) reads.

  2. financial matters

    The rise of mission-oriented state investment banks: the cases of Germany’s KfW and Brazil’s BNDES (PDF) SPRU Working Paper Series (Rob Parenteau).

    by Mariana Mazzucato and Caetano C.R. Penna

    good to see these ideas getting more depth and traction including Mazzucato’s recent talk to the US Senate and her role as an advisor to Jeremy Corbyn.

    Senate Testimony

    Corbyn Advisor

    “”Finally, we must not shy away from guiding the direction of development toward a green economy. Beyond “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, fiscal stimulus should support transformational projects, such as those that led to advances in information and communication technology, biotech, and nanotech that were “chosen” by public policy working alongside businesses. Green development can be about much more than renewable energy; it can become a new direction for the entire economy.

    The British Labour Party, along with other progressive parties around the world, has a responsibility to change the discussion on economic policy. By doing so, it has the opportunity to shape the future.””

    1. Benedict@Large

      Mazzucato is neoliberalism with a happy face. The typical thing. Neoliberalism wasn’t wrong. It was just done wrong. If we do it right, all will be better. Same as Tsipris. Look what it got him. Milton Friedman is dead. You’d think he was still teaching Econ 101.

      1. financial matters

        I would say more like a mixed economy.

        She doesn’t go for the gains going to the few and the losses being shared by all.

        She thinks that if public agencies like DARPA and NIH provide a lot of tech and pharmaceutical basic research that the gains shouldn’t all to to Apple or drug companies.

        She thinks that government has the deep pockets and staying power for large long term projects rather than private equities’ focus on quick profits.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We need to un-capture what Apple, drug companies and others have captured.

          Right now, those deep pockets and staying power are very disconcerting.

          1. susan the other

            Private corporations as well as the developed world’s private banks operating for any poorer foreign sovereign as the funder of that country’s fiscal projects are looking for sustainable profits from interest more than green sustainability. Don’t kid me, please. The private banking world is starving for revenue. But, in terms of funding for green projects, it might be very counterproductive because the best thing under developed countries could do is avoid interest payments. Instead rich countries should recognize the fiat soverein currencies of the poor countries so they can self fund which will create green industries which are custom designed to be sustainable, and many more jobs because there is no debt service except to their own public sovereign banks – which then earn a nice domestic profit – and probably more inspiration and dedication by everyone, except the big miffed rich banksters. Gosh, what’s a rich bankster to do if people practice their own sovereignty?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              We are not even our own monetary sovereign.

              Our central bank just last month had to consider other countries and delayed raising rates. You could say China this last August decided that for us.

              Other pegging countries have had to follow our central bank.

      2. Yves Smith

        Huh? Go read her book The Entrepreneurial State. You could not be more wrong about her political views. She argues with tons of data that the state, and not private enterprise, has been the incubator and funder of pretty much every major technology wave in the US (for instance, all 12 of the major technologies in the iPhone came from government, not private R&D), and that the private sector in the US has been too greedy to retain technologies we developed and the US wanted to have manufactured here (LCD screens).

  3. Carolinian

    Re Politico/Roger Milliken. My former neighbor lived modestly in our middle class neighborhood and drove a Cadillac with a bumper sticker that said: “More people died at Chappaquiddick than at Three Mile Island.” While he gave generously to a local college he also insisted that all the professors get a subscription to National Review. William F. Buckley’s long running tv program, Firing Line, was produced by SC Educational Television. We are indeed New Right ground zero.

    But it should also be said that most of the mill owners were from the North and found fertile ground in the South because of its poverty more than anything else (poverty also played a role in racism of course–underclass competition). As the story points out Milliken et al were eventually hoisted on their own petard as the mills closed and other capitalists found even poorer workers to exploit. Not that the exploitation has stopped: we are headquarters for payday loan biggie Advance America. Predatory finance replaces predatory manufacturing.

    At any rate a great and informative link. Thanks.

    1. Ron

      Tea Party, hard core Conservatives etc have been a strong element in the Republican Party but the linkup with Southern Democrats provided the political path to Congress and gain outright power. It will be interesting to see how over time this relationship between Northern/Western Tea Party Conservatives melts with Southern Republicans as regionally they have little economic interest in common but share strong social ideals. Tea party members depend upon the Southern Bloc for political power but it will be interesting to see how far and to what extent the Southern Republican block will allow the Tea Party members to control the political agenda and define the Republican Party brand.

      1. Carolinian

        Well of course Milliken’s promotion of Goldwater was a melding of Southern and Western extreme conservatism. And more recently the tea party movement was in many ways an invention of the Kochs who,as the article says, were disciples of Milliken. Milliken was the original hard right Daddy Warbucks.

        People around here thought he was a nice enough guy. He was into trees and conservation, helped build up the community (while suing to avoid some property taxes). But it’s hard to forgive his promotion of the odious Buckley who was a racist even if Milliken wasn’t (at least that was the claim of Vidal as part of his legal tug of war with Buckley).

  4. Romancing the Loan

    Re: the Nation article.

    The right wing stuff about Jade Helm makes a lot more sense in this context. I am not sure Fox News quite understands what it’s been feeding these past 20 years.

  5. technique mixte

    The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate

    Just found this:

    Negotiators for the wide-ranging US-led free-trade agreements in Europe and Asia will soon abandon the exclusive pacts and return to the more inclusive format of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a senior adviser of Sweden’s National Board of Trade told Sputnik on Thursday.

    Read more:

  6. JEHR

    Re Wall Street’s Grueling Pace: So does making more money depend on working more hours? If so, maybe fewer dollars would make life much more enjoyable. I can’t help thinking that maximizing employees’ work hours would be considered “efficient” from the bank’s point of view.

  7. rich

    Alleged RBS victims cry foul as regulator appoints “toxic” consultants to probe their case

    By Ian Fraser.

    Businesspeople who claim to have been ruined by RBS’s Global Restructuring Group are refusing to co-operate with a firm hired by the Financial Conduct Authority to investigate the scandal, potentially derailing the probe into the bank’s so-called “vampire unit”.

    The RBS GRG Business Action Group – which represents the interests of 379 firms that allege they were harmed or destroyed by GRG’s behaviour – said “it is not appropriate that we are being asked to work with [Promontory]”.

    The group said it was concerned about the independence of the Washington-based consultancy, which was appointed as a “skilled person”, or third party investigators, for the FCA’s GRG probe in January 2014 alongside global accountancy firm Mazars. Their delayed report is due to be published in a matter of weeks.

    Promontory has been accused of skewing a regulatory probe by “whitewashing” alleged wrongdoing for a financial services client. In the summer it was found to have “sanitized” a report into sanctions-busting and money laundering by London-headquartered Standard Chartered.

    On 18 August Promontory entered an out-of-court settlement with the New York State Department of Financial Services. Under the deal’s terms, Promontory acknowledged failing adhere to the US regulator’s requirements for consultants in relation to its Standard Chartered work, paid a $15m fine, and agreed to a six-month ban on taking further financial regulation-related assignments for New York regulated banks.

    Speaking at the 33rd Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime in Cambridge last month, US lawyer Montgomery Rankin said Promontory is now a “radioactive” name in the US and expressed surprise the FCA wished to keep it on as a “skilled person” on outsourced probes.

    1. tegnost

      I see, so recalling the mortgage probe undertaken (pardon the pun) by Promontory, can we assume they are a cleaning service? If they were to classify themselves as such we could see a marked increase in the average wage of janitors.

  8. ProNewerDeal

    I give 0bama “1 prop” (not “props”, in the plural) for his comment on the latest gun mass-murder Do Jour in Oregon, that “guns kill more people annually than terrorist attacks”.

    An aside, do you think that 0bama was genuine in this “exasperated” comment on gun deaths exceed terrorism deaths, or was he just sociopathically acting? 0bama seemed genuine from the audio clip I heard of his speech. If acting, 0bama is a talented actor, & it is a shame he hadn’t chosen that harmless career back in the day & spared us from his harm.

    IIRC, the news clip noted that US annual gun deaths are ~33K, & the non-suicide portion of these gun deaths are ~10K.

    Similarly, IIRC the Harvard Public Health Profs’ study that lambert highlighted, noted that the pre-ACA status quo due to not having civilized CAN-style Medicare For All was ~60K annual deaths , the post-ACA status quo in 2024 is eventually “only” ~30K annual deaths.

    I hope 1 journalist who has “access” to 0bama would try competence for once, & ask 0bama, “0bama, do you regret killing Medicare For All, & even the lesser Medicare Buy-In Public Option, and thus being partially responsible for killing 30K USians annually, which is a similar number to the 33K gun deaths you correctly state is far worse than the trivial amount of annual terrorist deaths”?

    Any small chance this could happen? It seems some major sources of USian deaths are within the Overton Window & can be discussed, & others like the barbaric US health system are in the Zone of Unspeakable Deviance.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      He’s tired of making statements. Being President isn’t always fun. Despite the ongoing threats of gun violence has Obama spent time lobbying on the matter? This is a leader of the Democratic Party who couldn’t even force an expanded background check vote, not passage. He’s been burning the midnight oil for TPP. Americans are dying, and Obama who has vowed to defend us doesn’t do anything.

      Virginia Tech was in April 2007. He did nothing with Team Blue majorities. Until he acknowledges not a national complicity but his direct failure to his job, he is only speaking to shut up critics.

      1. optimader

        This is a leader of the Democratic Party who couldn’t even force an expanded background check vote
        Folks in this country need to have a conversation first, I guess that hasn’t happened yet?

    2. tongorad

      30K deaths vs 60K deaths… I doubt this figure even if or should I say especially since it comes from Harvard. Sitting here on the edge of what used to known as the middle class, I see most people self-rationing: weighing the costs and making tradeoffs between getting extorted for so-called health care and paying for other things in life. This new normal (“Attention Health Care shoppers!) is the neoliberal’s wet dream.
      And I have to believe that the grinding stress of this new normal has serious long-term health consequences that won’t be showing up in any Harvard study.

      As for Obama’s comments about guns, like any dullard, he can’t pass up an opportunity to appear serious.

      1. Steven D.

        Obama always seems to place high priority on appearing high minded and serious but I now think it’s just a smokescreen for his neoliberal agenda.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I brought up that death rate on a Democrat site (Salon) in the comments, and received pure vitriol in return. I figured that acknowledged the point. Owed that one to Lambert’s work, as he documented this some time ago.

  9. Ian

    US, Australia reportedly reach compromise on protection for biologic drugs in TPP talks, Japanese media reports – @Reuters

    1. Lambert Strether Post author


      UPDATE Globe and Mail (Last updated Sunday, Oct. 04, 2015 12:03PM EDT):

      We’ll know in a few hours whether 12 countries, including Canada, have agreed to create the world’s largest trade zone.

      Negotiators have extended talks in Atlanta yet again, with a series of all-night sessions pushing the meeting three days beyond its original schedule.

      Sources say there are now tentative plans for all ministers to come together for a plenary session — likely this afternoon.

      The chatter about a group meeting has fuelled the sense in Atlanta that an agreement is within reach to create the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would cover 40 per cent of the world economy. One insider says “it can only be a good sign.”

      Differences are being bridged on one major irritant, with the U.S. and Australia still working this morning to resolve a dispute over exclusivity rights for next-generation biologics medicines.

      As the story says, we’ll know soon. But I wouldn’t put it past whoever controls the scheduling to announce a plenary to drive a decision, rather than to reflect one already made, or even to prevent ministers from leaving for the airport.

      Fingers crossed. Those of you with voodoo dolls, get out your pins.

      * * *

      Best I can do on Reuters:


      More: Japanese economy minster says preparing news conference with expectation of announcing overall TPP deal later Sunday – @Reuters
      End of alert
      Oct 04, 2015, 04:09 PM GMT


      Japanese economy minister says says ‘major progress’ in remaining issues in TPP talks – @Reuters

      Again, we’ll see. Notice the Japanese are saying presser, and the Canadians are saying plenary, so the situation looks overly dynamic….

      [Next in series].

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      [Continuing on from here].

      Latest on TPP from Nikkei:

      “There was major progress over the outstanding issues of pharmaceuticals, dairy products and place-of-origin rules for automobiles,” Amari told reporters here on Sunday.

      If the nations reach a basic agreement, they are expected to sign the accord as early as the beginning of next year. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would take effect after it is ratified by each member nation.

      Dunno what “major progress” means, or what the difference between a “basic agreement” and an “accord” might be, what happened to the plenary, and whether a “basic agreement” means an “agreement in principle,” and what that means if it’s not unanimous (Malaysia’s minister already left).

      From the twitter:


      And (UPDATE, wrong tweet):

      [Next in series].

      1. allan

        Just leaked: A last minute addition the the draft will be that the oath for swearing in heads of state of the member states will be changed to

        “I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of [country of name ], and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Trans Pacific Partnership. So help me Goldman Sachs”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why can’t our public servants be lazier and take more Sundays off?

          I think they work too harder.

    3. low_integer

      Andrew Robb, Australia’s lying trade minister, dyed-in-the-wool Abbott supporter and neoliberal groveler, is a snivelling little pr!ck and I’m not surprised he’s selling us all out. Like all the LNP lie-squad, he is weak-minded, focused on his own career rather than Australia’s best interests, and acts like he is above the citizenry, a toxic combination. A total A-hole.
      On the biotech breakthrough.

      (Just had to vent a little.)

  10. Gareth

    Before I drive my car in the public streets I’m required to have liability insurance for the vehicle. Guns should be treated the same way. The more guns you own, the more insurance you are required to carry. If someone accidentally or intentionally shoots someone they must be in a position to cover medical costs, otherwise those costs will be socialized. Stop the free ride, let the invisible hand of the ‘free market’ sort the gun problem out. Pit the insurance companies against the NRA. In that scenario, I’ll take the insurance companies.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The ‘health’ insurance model is killing far more than the gun. Especially if you remove suicides from the gun numbers. And I would bet the insurance model is costing us all much much more money.

      I’ll take killing insurance co’s over the 2nd amendment (no matter how interpreted) any day. And socializing a fellow humans health needs no matter the reason any day as well.

  11. nycTerrierist

    re: The Amazing Inner Lives of Animals NYRB

    Highly recommended, profound piece:

    “Safina comes to an unfamiliar but empirically based conclusion: prior to the domestication of plants and the invention of writing, the differences between human societies and those of elephants, dogs, killer whales, and dolphins was a matter of degree, not kind. Why, he asks, has it taken us so long to understand this? Are our egos “threatened by the thought that other animals think and feel? Is it because acknowledging the mind of another makes it harder to abuse them?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Life is a continuum.

      That spray painted hand, with mouth chewed pigments, on a wall in some dark cave – there, we falsely believed we separated ourselves from that continuum. We have thought ever since we are exceptional, special, favored by something, evolutionary or what not…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the article:

      Yet impeccably documented anecdotes such as Herzing’s have a place in it, because they are the only means we have of comprehending the reactions of intelligent creatures like dolphins to rare and unusual circumstances. The alternative—to capture dolphins or chimpanzees and subject them to an array of human-devised tests in artificial circumstances—often results in nonsense.

      It’s a particular human defect, or trait, that we need narratives. We can’t just live with all those impeccably documented anecdotes.

      We have to ‘study’ (an act of aggression) them, and our aggressive acts often result in ‘nonsense.’

      Because the Scientific Method (but practiced, readers know we don’t exist in a vacuum, by fallible humans — always the case, till the end of the Human Experiment Folly).

      We can’t (and I am always reluctant to quote) simply just do what Rilke wrote;

      Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions… themselves

    3. miserablist

      What is it like to be an elephant? Cynthia Moss, who has lived with the elephants of Amboseli National Park in Kenya for four decades, sums them up as “intelligent, social, emotional, personable, imitative, respectful of ancestors, playful, self-aware, compassionate.” It all sounds impressively human…

      This gave me a good laugh. Okay, social, emotional, and imitative I’ll grant you. But self-aware and compassionate? Hahahaha. Respectful of ancestors? When it can be used for selfish ends or killing other sentients.

    4. trinity river

      Maybe it is the same problem Chris Columbus had with indigenous peoples and Africans. He was looking for money and saw what he was looking for.

  12. tegnost

    “Lowering transaction costs can even generate additional supply and demand. A transaction cost is a part of the price of a good or service, and often a quite substantial part. And when you lower the price, you make it possible for people to consume more, while suppliers supply more”
    Indeed, megan, lowering the transaction costs is what your glorious gig economy does, but you misplace the beneficiary if you believe that it’s the drivers of uber getting the dough, uber gets paid, then pays, the driver gets paid after uber takes its share of the lowered transaction cost. I like also the $25/hr meme because who wouldn’t want $25/hr? I’m sure megan would like a raise to $25/hr, but in my opinion she would not be worth the money because she commonly engages faulty logic, but that aside where does this number come from? I’ve not seen anywhere uber guaranteeing $25/hr to anyone and have read credible reports (as opposed to non credible unattributed accounts, such as megans.) that drivers make much less than that and I also did not hear megan mention one of the other ways which uber lowers IT’S OWN TRANSACTION COSTS by having drivers depreciate their own vehicles rather than uber taking any responsibility on that matter. So yes megan, the gig economy is good for you and your obviously overpaid friends and colleagues, and I think you would certainly have thrived in the victorian period, I can think of a few “gigs” serving the rich and famous, you know, popular activities women at the time would resort to to”make ends meet” as it were, that you would qualify for.

    1. afisher

      Amen! Megan should venture out to the North West where she can get a gig job in the spring when Ag is busy with cherry picking as she has a long history of including that process in all her opinion pieces. If she uses it in writing she obviously has experienced in the real process, when she is simultaneously outsourcing her child care responsibilites.

  13. Chris in Paris

    Lambert thanks so much for the link to Linh Dinh’s blog (Postcard from the End of America: Champ Ali in Camden). Brilliant writing from a real humanist.

  14. optimader

    RE: Russia’s goal in Syria: save Assad, secure key population centers

    Russia’s military intervention in Syria appears to be aimed at helping the government recover control of key population centers and ensure a role for President Bashar Assad in any peace process, undermining the U.S. demand that he give up power, according to U.S. officials and independent analysts.

    The apparent Russian strategy isn’t without grave risks, however. The air campaign launched by Russia this week ignited vows of vengeance by Syrian rebels and calls across the Islamic world for retribution that could suck Moscow deeper into the sectarian maelstrom convulsing the Middle East and trigger terrorism at home.

    And Putin’s novel strategy? A bombing campaign. The only losers are the Syrian people.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Uncharitably, the NYT highlights Barack ‘Kunduz Killa’ Obama’s Force for Global Goofs(TM):

    WASHINGTON — With alarming frequency in recent years, thousands of American-trained security forces in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have collapsed, stalled or defected, calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the United States on foreign military training programs, as well as a central tenet of the Obama administration’s approach to combating insurgencies.

    The setbacks have been most pronounced in three countries that present the administration with some of its biggest challenges. The Pentagon-trained army and police in Iraq’s Anbar Province, the heartland of the Islamic State militant group, have barely engaged its forces, while several thousand American-backed government forces and militiamen in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province were forced to retreat last week when attacked by several hundred Taliban fighters. And in Syria, a $500 million Defense Department program to train local rebels to fight the Islamic State has produced only a handful of soldiers.

    In a commencement speech at West Point in May 2014, President Obama put the training of foreign troops at the center of his strategy for combating militant groups that threaten American interests.

    From Peace Laureate hero to hospital-bombing zero.

      1. craazyman

        it could be 8 hours if you stop for beers and then see a strip club that’s open.

        C’mon, what is this, a joke?

        1. craazyboy

          You’d hope so. Otherwise the average IQ couldn’t be 100, and that is kinda shocking as it is.

          But look at the youtube “next up” list. There are a bunch of people stumped on the same question. They don’t even seem stoned!

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Academic industrial complex.

    Conflict of interest, new speicies…for profit health care corporations.

    Add that to all the older species, this time, not just those greedy administrators, but greedy professors as well.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      But at least the younger professors (from 90%) at least have repayment of their mortgage-sized PhD student loan debt to pay…administrators et al don’t even have that much raison d’etre.

      Maybe some professors could get together to start their own “worker-owner coop” college?

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Investors bracing…ahead of earnings.

    I think, and I am guessing here, that with the coming NIRP and lower earnings, those stocks with earning staying power will be favored, in the next phase of the bubble.

    Maybe we see our Nifty Fifty and index funds will lag.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “Island boulders reveal ancient mega-tsunami”

    Yeah, I saw that one. What it doesn’t mention is that there’s another Cape Verde volcano (or maybe the same one – can’t remember the name) ready and waiting to do the same thing.

    Would cause a devastating wave at New York. Cape Verde is off the NW coast of Africa.

  19. craazyman

    Am I the last guy in America to know Nikki Minaj got butt implants? Maybe. Evidently the big firm butt is considered a sex status thing. That’s kind of weird, as you’d think it’s a “I need to go to a health club and workout” type thing. That’s what I would have thought! Maybe if I was 25 I’d understand but I’m not, sorry. At any rate, things are strange these days. Anybody notice? It gets stranger and stranger. The things you’d think are obvious, people somehow ignore. And the things you ignore, somehow they get all the focus. Like whether somebody is a lesbian or a gay guy, or whether they “believe” in global warming. Or whether the world is flat or round. Or whether they can nod their head like a potato on a spring and make it look like it’s a real head attached to a real person in real life. Most people seem to accept the potato as the head. I don’t know. But Nikki Minaj’s butt looked a bit big to me, not that she’s not hot. She’s hot. But I wouldn’t have thought she’d put implants in there. But what do I know.

    1. craazyboy

      It’s just more evidence of what has been obvious to me for quite some time now. Space Aliens have secretly taken over the planet and are breeding humans to be their food supply. Of course they would try and convince us big butts are sexy. How else can you explain The Kardashians running for so many seasons?

      1. craazyman

        she has the same butt. I thought of that, afterward. After I read the HuffPo article on Nikki Minaj’s butt. I guess anything is possible. Even the Redskins won today! That puts me in a good mood. Ah, the nostalgia. Back when the Hoggs and Riggo dominated the NFL. Those were the days. Oh man, just the way the woods looked lit up in the yellow sun of the fall afternoon, going to New Yawk on the train on a Sunday night, going north in the late light into night on a train to New Yawk when the Redskins were winning like champs. Everything was amazing, the night rolled out to infinity with New Yawk lit like a jewel of light waiting with adventure at the end of time. The whole world was amazing and new. Actually, it still is! :-) But sometimes it’s hard to see.

      2. optimader

        How else can you explain The Kardashians running for so many seasons?
        How do you explain the same people voting for BHO a second time?

        Same explanation.
        Not to say it doesn’t square w/ an Alien mind control theory.

        We often look at people’s inexplicable behavior and do the assignment: “yep he/she over there must be an Alien”

    2. optimader

      Am I the last guy in America who doesn’t know/care who Nikki Minaj is?
      I’m guess’in not, I’ll do a quick survey,

      1. fresno dan

        I’m the last guy to know she had butt implants.
        I have to say I’m disillusioned by the news….that America’s last bastion of uncontested supremacy, the globe spanning, and globe indistinguishable, badonkadonk is contrived, ersatz, a chimera – brought to us by the same people who gave us, artificial, imitation, margarine

    3. neo-realist

      A woman at a high school reunion many years ago said that she didn’t drink beer because it made her butt too big. Just drink beer, why bother with the surgery?

    4. ProNewerDeal

      World-class athlete Serena Williams is an example of someone who definitely exercises, and has a big booty (45 inch?). There is much diversity in women’s body types, “pear” in the case of Serena, “apple”, “hourglass”, etc. Personal preference may vary, similar to how some may prefer brunettes or blondes, etc.

      Many of these Hollyweird “Ms. Potato Head” women like Nikki Minaj, Kim Kardashian, Iggy Azalea, etc “overdose” on the plastic surgery, fake breasts, fake hair, excessive makeup, etc. Fake butts I suppose are just an incremental fake step. The sad thing is that the attempt to look like someone else (a butt like Serena in this case) does not work, and they end up looking worse than started out as attractive women “organically”.

      Yves’ fellow New Yorker, Nas, has some lyrics (source: rapgenius website) in his song “What Goes Around” that addresses this topic:

      “…Thinkin’ a perm or bleachin’ cream
      Will make them better when they’re gorgeous
      White girls tanning, liposuction
      Fake titties are implanted, fake lips, that’s life destruction
      Light-skinned women, bi-racial, hateful toward themselves
      Denying even their blood
      I don’t judge Tiger Woods but I overstand the mental poison
      That’s even worser than drugs, yo it’s poison…”

  20. Lambert Strether Post author

    [Continuing on from here].

    Down to the wire on the TPP presser.

    We had this sort of chaos on Maui too….

    [Next in series.]

    1. Vatch

      While searching for current news on the TPP, I found this regarding ISDS and New Zealand:

      Prime Minister John Key on the TPP: “We’ve never ever been sued.”

      A little more searching revealed this:

      Uruguay, whose GDP of $53bn (£32bn) is dwarfed by Philip Morris’s annual revenues of $80bn, went ahead with its smoking curbs unbowed by the litigation, which has been dragging on since 2009 at a cost to the country of millions of dollars. Despite the lawsuit, it has gone further, banning cigarettes from being on show in shops.

      It started its crackdown on smoking in 2005, at a time when 40 per cent of adults smoked. Now, only 23 per cent of Uruguayans still have the habit. Among the young, where a third of all 12-17-year-olds smoked before, only 13 per cent do now. Such facts form a key part of the country’s response to Philip Morris’s suit.

      The Uruguayan case pre-dates the more famous but similar ISDS case brought by Philip Morris against Australia when the country banned logos on cigarette packets. The tobacco giant’s attack on Australia, which is ongoing, led New Zealand to U-turn on a decision to follow its bigger neighbour with plain packaging.

      So the reason that New Zealand hasn’t been sued is that they are too terrified to pass laws and regulations that might offend the big tobacco companies! The leaders of Uruguay have more backbone than the leaders of New Zealand.

        1. Vatch

          To be fair, Uruguay did get some money from Bloomberg. However, if New Zealand were to stand up to the tobacco lords and got sued, Mr. Bloomberg would quite possibly give them some money, too.

  21. allan

    Reuters: Two-tier drug patents!

    A dozen Pacific nations closed in on a sweeping free trade pact on Sunday in Atlanta after a breakthrough over how long a monopoly pharmaceutical companies should be given on new biotech drugs.

    The issue has pitted the United States, which has argued for longer protections, against Australia and five other delegations who say such measures would strain national healthcare budgets and keep life-saving medicines from patients who cannot afford them.

    The compromise would preserve Australia’s existing five-year protection period but would also offer flexibility on longer drug monopolies, potentially creating two tracks on future drug pricing within the trading bloc, a person close to the negotiations said.

    Because two-tier systems work so well. This is going to be more Rube Goldberg that the ACA.

  22. Lambert Strether Post author

    [Continuing on from here]

    (Moving forward in time.)

    Link to USTR presser (latest word is it will be at 6:00PM):



    An agreement in principle is not an agreement; many divorces begin with them.

    UPDATE Maybe not 6:00PM!

    But at least the venue is ready:

    Nap time for me! Talk amongst yourselves.

    [Next in series.]

  23. Lambert Strether Post author

    [Continuing on from here].

    UPDATE… Can’t find a working feed at 6:08PM….




    Crossed fingers….

    UPDATE Interesting if true:

    I can see why Froman would have to phone home about this; will be interesting to see if Obama will throw Big Pharma under the bus for TPP, when he cut a deal with them on ObamaCare.

    Seems to be:

    USTR site (6:49PM) “Delayed pending further notice. Please check back regularly for updates.”

    UPDATE 7:25PM

    UPDATE 8:12PM

    UPDATE 8:33PM

    UPDATE 9:06PM

    UPDATE 9:40PM Well, so much for that.

    UPDATE 9:40PM Monday morning, sure, but which time zone?

    UPDATE 10:12PM This person is on the ground in Atlanta, so…

    1. ambrit

      You could have a NSFW caption contest using that picture of the White Haired Man holding up his finger and thumb.
      “Ah ha! The round eyes’ “Jade Warriors” shriveled up to this small when we gave them the ultimatum!”

        1. ambrit

          Ah, those pesky Terran Humans. They all look the same. Now, those Zeta Reticulanii, on the other tentacle…

    2. Daryl

      > Japanese Minister Amari says he won’t stay pass midnight. Another Cinderella story? #TPP

      And at the end of that magical night in Atlanta, the Trans-Pacific Partnership turned back into a pumpkin.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And then we set the pumpkin on fire, and waited while it burnt to ashes, and then we ground the ashes into the dirt with our heels, and then we scattered the dirt to the four winds. And it was good.

      1. fresno dan

        The Bernanke also said:
        For one thing, he says that more corporate executives should have gone to jail for their misdeeds

        Church lady: How special…

    1. cwaltz

      And? Most of the people here disagree with Bernie on foreign policy. The idea that we should be arming the group that took credit for flying planes into the WTC is ignorant and short sighted.

      1. jrs

        And ….. I guess at a certain point it can be seen as fighting the fire while feeding the flames (that engulf the whole world). Chaos in Syria -> refugees across the whole world -> Europe is overwhelmed with refugees etc.. So maybe not so minor afterall. Not so easily compartmentalized into “agreement on domestic policy”, “disagreement on foreign policy”.

        But truthfully since I see changing this country through the presidency as having about a snowballs chance in climate change anyway, I can just accept that maybe Sanders does a little good by bringing up a few decent points etc.. Maybe he’ll give people enough of a taste of what they’ve been missing all their lives (a decently run country, run for the benefit of the people) that some day they’ll be some more real momentum to change things.

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