2:00PM Water Cooler 11/16/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente



“Congressional Resolution Reinstates ‘French’ Fries, ‘French’ Toast” [Duffel Blog].

“This War Will Destabilize The Entire Mideast Region And Set Off A Global Shockwave Of Anti-Americanism vs. No It Won’t” [The Onion]. 2003.


“Money paid by 1MDB to the US company DuSable Capital Management, tasked with lobbying US Government support for its Kedah solar panel project, found its way into the the 2013/14 election campaigns of at least 7 Democrat candidates, according to official filings” [Sarawak Report (RS)]. “DuSable is headed by Frank White, who was President Obama’s chief fundraiser during his  own election campaign in 2012 and known as a Democrat Party stalwart.So far, the only registered client has turned out to be 1MDB and the Government of Malaysia. This raises possible questions over indirect funding to American election campaigns by Malaysia in expectation of gaining influence, although it is not illegal for US registered companies to support candidates…. Fund managers say this appears to confirm that the entire joint venture investment was yet again a merely paper exercise by 1MDB, which Sarawak Report has already exposed for earlier channelling US$1.83 billion into a non-existent venture with the company PetroSaudi.” (For “1MDB takes Manhattan”, see here. For a review of the bidding on the IMDB scandal, see the Wall Street Journal, “Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal: Political Intrigue, Billions Missing and International Scrutiny.”) The Sarawak Report concludes: “[A]lthough their dreams of private equity may have fallen through after just one year, President Obama’s political friends can console themselves with a fine profit for their sparse consultancy work on a project that never took off for 1MDB and their lobbying work as a foreign agent for the Government of Malaysia.” And what did the Obama Presidential Library get? Nothing. The Clinton Foundation? Nada. What’s wrong with these people? And a “solar panel project” should cause a log of winger knees to jerk. Ka-ching.

The Debates

“Disappointing debate ratings spark Democratic campaign complaints” [Politico]. DNC: Mission accomplished!

“I’d say it’s a win for Hillary Clinton – not because she necessarily did better than Sanders but because she’s now ahead and I did not see anything happen that looks likely to change that dynamic” [Talking Points Memo].

“1 winner and 3 losers from the Democratic debate” [Vox]. Guess who?

“Hillary Clinton Botches Wall Street Questions” [Editorial, New York Times].

“Hillary Clinton’s debate performance leaves trail of fodder for political adversaries” [Chicago Tribune]. Clinton didn’t handle stress well. 

“[T]his debate will come and go without leaving a lasting effect on either the nomination or the general election, and there’s no dishonor in saying so” [Honest Graft].

The Trail

“Paris Attacks Could Bolster Hillary Clinton’s Support, Focus Group Indicates” [New York Times].

“Clinton’s Wall Street Donors Say More Than 9/11 Built Their Bond” [Bloomberg]. So what was it? The cookies?

“Wall Street loved Hillary Clinton before 9/11, too” [WaPo].

“As Campaign Crumbles, Christie Hit with Epic BridgeGate Docu Dump” [Talking Points Memo].

“Ripped From Hillary’s Emails: French Plot to Overthrow Gaddafi and Help Itself to Libya’s Oil” [Foreign Policy in Focus].

Stats Watch

Empire State Manufacturing Survey, November 2015: “Negatives are beginning to run in Empire State with the index at minus 10.74 in November, right in line with the prior four readings and well below the Econoday consensus for minus 5.0o” [Econoday]. With unfilled orders down and the workweek down, it’s no surprise that employment is down, at minus 7.27 for a third straight loss and the weakest streak since late 2009. … Manufacturers are keeping their inventories down while delivery times, reflecting the weakness in shipments, are speeding up.” But, although it remains in contraction: “As this index is very noisy, it is hard to understand what these massive moves up or down mean – however this regional manufacturing survey is normally one of the more pessimistic” [Econintersect].

Retail: “Americans have more money in their wallets these days as wages grow, gas prices fall and inflation remains stagnant. But the share of their income available for retail spending is steadily dwindling, with a smaller percentage of discretionary dollars going to, say, clothing and food and a bigger percentage going to healthcare, education and the like” [Bloomberg].

“Overall, the median one-day loss (half are bigger, half are smaller) for the S&P 500 was 2.1% following terror attacks in the U.S. and Europe, as well as other market shocks dating back to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor” [USA Today]. Hmm.

“Debt Market Distortions Go Global as Nothing Makes Sense Anymore” [Bloomberg]. “It’s hard to overstate how illogical it is when swap spreads are inverted. That’s because it suggests that governments are less creditworthy than the very financial institutions they bailed out during the credit crisis just seven years ago.” Unless the powers that be envision a Snow Crash scenario.

China: “Hong Kong-listed China Shanshui Cement Group filed for liquidation after the close of trading on Tuesday in Asia. Thursday, the company failed to make payments on 2 billion yuan of domestic obligations, the largest-ever corporate default in China’s bond market. Cross-default provisions and covenant violations hit $500 million of bonds due 2020” [Forbes]. Oopsie.

Honey for the Bears: PPI-FD: “More deflation news. Nothing good here, and of course sales = income, so lower sales = lower incomes”; Retail Sales: “the boost to prior months from car sales looks like it’s fading”; Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales: “Looks to me like the excess inventory situation has gone from bad to worse, as sales continue to lag output” [Mosler Economics]. 

The Fed: “The data in the week ahead is unlikely to shake investors’ confidence that the Fed will raise interest rates next month” [Brown Brothers Harriman, Across the Curve].

“Printing Money” [The New Yorker]. “A radical solution to the current economic malaise.” Several mentions of MMT… 

“The study concluded that there is no correlation between customers’ happiness and an airline’s commercial success. In other words, airlines can do all they want to pamper travellers—provide friendlier service, roomier seats, more movie options, better food, greater punctuality—and none of it is likely to lead to higher profits” [The Economist, “Treating flyers well is bad for airlines’ business”].

“Jobs [are now] outsourced not to India but to rural America” [Daily Beast (MR)]. “General Electric and General Motors are leaders in the trend to repatriate IT jobs, principally from India. The company’s corporate clients are happy to contract out IT work to rural America. There are no time-zone challenges or language issues, and they get the same low costs as if they were offshoring.” 

“Rising prosperity for the few means undue hardship for the many. That is the economy’s underlying problem and it won’t be solved until policymakers face up to it” [Teresa Tritch, New York Times, “The Real Problem With the Economy”]. Tritch is the Editorial Page Editor of the Times.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 (-1); Neutral [CNN]. Last week: 68 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). The needle slams back toward Fear. 

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Killing of man who allegedly pointed a replica firearm at officers in California is 1,000th entry in Guardian database tracking police killings this year” [Guardian]. An order of magnitude more than Paris, one might add.

“Report: Video Of Chicago Police Shooting ‘Shocks Conscience'” [CBS].

“This City Is Fining Black Residents For Having Weeds In Their Gardens” [HuffPo]. St Louis Country. Naturally.

Police State Watch

“Driven to hospital, Virginia man tased, shackled and dies in police custody” [MSNBC]. Oopsie.

“The Most Militarized Universities in America: A VICE News Investigation” [Vice]. There’s a top 100 list: #1 is the University of America; interestingly, #3 is sleaze merchant University of Phoenix.  “[O]f the top 100 ranked liberal arts colleges in America, none appear on our list of the nation’s 100 most militarized institutions.” Well, somebody’s got to handle the ideology… 

Health Care

“Consumer” Anne Cornwell: “When they said affordable, I thought they really meant affordable” [New York Times, “Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless”]. Of course, this isn’t new to NC readers.

“Kentucky counties with highest Medicaid rates backed Matt Bevin, who plans to cut Medicaid” [Lexington Herald-Leader]. “‘I’m just a die-hard Republican,’ she said.” Apparently so.

At Transylvania University, political scientist Andrea Malji said she has crunched state data and found a “99 percent confidence level” between the counties’ Medicaid enrollment levels and their gubernatorial choices. The larger the Medicaid numbers, the more likely they were to back Bevin, she said. The lower the Medicaid numbers, the more likely they were to favor the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Jack Conway.


“Thirteen Presidential Appointees (ten Obama, three Bush) are embroiled in a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal being probed by the US Department of Justice and four Inspector Generals. The appointees oversee the federal government’s $3billion a year ‘AbilityOne’ program which is meant to pay for the employment of more than 50,000 disabled people–the largest such program in the United States” [WikiLeaks]. More from the Telegraph and the International Business Times: “The recordings appear to provide evidence of fraud within the administrations of George Bush and Barack Obama, with appointees to both presidents allegedly misappropriating funds in a government programme called AbilityOne.” So it’s bipartisan!

“In the past five years, public universities pumped more than $10.3 billion in mandatory student fees and other subsidies into their sports programs” [Chronicle of Higher Education, “The $10-Billion Sports Tab”]. “The average athletic subsidy that these colleges and their students have paid to their athletic departments increased 16 percent during that time. Student fees, which accounted for nearly half of all subsidies, increased by 10 percent.” Ka-ching. Fire all the administrators, and gut the sports programs. Return universities to teaching and research.

“For TFA is it worse to be a charter critic or a Tea Party member?” [Gary Rubenstein].

Class Warfare

“Workplace systems that look more like the ‘gig’ economy of contractors are coming to traditional, full-time employers, and many workers seem to love it” [Wall Street Journal, “Companies Borrow Uber’s Best Ideas”]. Uber’s “best idea” is entering a market by breaking the law. That’s why it has the valuation it has.

News of the Wired

“‘Shrinking bull’s-eye’ algorithm speeds up complex modeling from days to hours” [MIT News].

“Is Hello Barbie every parent’s worst nightmare?” [The Kernel]. “Now imagine that that doll was not only recording every one of your most intimate conversations and curious questions but learning how to respond to you.”

“Since March, after abandoning a much-criticized plan to move the bulk of its research collection to New Jersey, the library has been working instead to create a high-tech space underground for the 2.5 million research works long held in its original stacks” [New York Times, “Beneath New York Public Library, Shelving Its Past for High-Tech Research Stacks”]. This is actually very good news.

“The messy reality of science revealed by the long hunt for a missing planet” [Ars Technica].

“Humans are not unitary individuals but superorganisms. A very large number of different human and non-human individuals are all incessantly struggling inside us for control” [BBC]. No we aren’t. MR SUBLIMINAL Yes we are!

I might have to change my attitude about football:

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Donna M):


An orange Orange flower.

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter has come, I need to buy fuel, and I need to keep my server up, too.


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Jess

    Regarding the article about the NY Library planning to build a high-tech archive for research and reference materials underground: With sea level rise, not sure building anything underground is such a good idea in the greater metro NYC area.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Anything so the bad guys don’t win.

      That means making sure the markets go up today. And it helps the Empire State index is deeply negative and ports are not too busy.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Why do I have sick feeling that the defense contractor behemoths were leading today’s rally?

        1. John Merryman

          Maybe it was the picture of Obama and Putin. World War 3 has been put off for a few more months.
          The odd man out would seem to be the House of Saud. What are the odds the powers that be decide they really are more trouble than they are worth and find a way to pull the magic carpet?

        2. Jim Haygood

          Because that’s what happened. There’s an ETF for that — ITA (iShares U.S. Aerospace and Defense). It rose 2.41% today vs. a 1.49% gain in the S&P 500 index.

          Back in WW I, when folks was more plain spoken and less trusting in government, these stocks were called ‘war babies.’ Editorial cartoons mocked their picking of our pockets.

          Now, of course, they receive the utmost respect, as the suppliers of our heroes.

        3. Jim Haygood

          Here is a lovely example of a Lamestream Media advertorial (written by Stratfor) pimping a new Northrop Grumman long-range bomber.


          Cynical commenters rip this muscle-flexing, Tom Swiftian ad copy to shreds.

          Larry Riley

          This new bomber is intended to continue to drive this country into bankruptcy as is the rest of the black hole known as the military budget. It is doing its job well.

          Oh, my! What was that old expression from the Vietnam era … credibility gap. Folks don’t take long to figure out when silver-tongued war babies are picking they pockets.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Folks, some of them, figure out the War Baby succubi eating their livers. But do any of them have any way of dematerializing the succubi?

            I thought not…

            1. Carlos

              Well Putins drones could clearly see a convoy of oil trucks several kilometres long. Does make you wonder what the Pentagon is paying all that money for.

  2. jsn

    ‘I’m just a die-hard Republican,’ she said.” Apparently so.
    But doing all I can to make it easier!

  3. optimader

    “Hillary Clinton’s debate performance leaves trail of fodder for political adversaries” [Chicago Tribune]. Clinton didn’t handle stress well.

    didn’t –>doesn’t ?
    If I recall correctly, she threw a lamp at POTUS Bill. What if she actually crowned him and took him out? POTUS Al and likely a very different Alt. Universe going forward.

    As mad as I’ve ever been at someone, I’ve never thrown a heavy object at them ( or a light one for that matter).

  4. jsn

    NYPL’s “high-tech space underground” promises to employ dozens of troglodytes to find the little trollies full of books when they go astray if the history of roll out of new highly complex systems has anything to teach us.

  5. curlydan

    I’ll nominate Rutgers as being the biggest jerk athletic department. Of athletic departments with over $50M in revenue, they are subsidized most by fees: $77M in revenue from $36M in student subsidies.

    James Madison, though, should be in the hall of shame as well. $44M in athletic revenue and $36M in student subsidies!

  6. cm

    “A Texas jury’s recent decision to award over $5 million in damages and fees for the fraudulent foreclosure of a single home suggests that the big banks could have been on the hook for as much as $32 trillion — before the Justice Department and state attorneys general settled for $25 billion, or less than on tenth of a penny on the dollar.”


  7. Jim Haygood

    It’s heady days, as a re-energized neocon chorus strikes up the band, and the Lamestream Media dutifully broadcasts the familiar tune.

    Here is Richard Haass, president of the CFR, advocating the hokey-oldey hit parade of boots on the ground, regime change, and MOAR homeland security:


    Hillary Clinton, speaking at the CFR on July 15, 2009: “We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.”


  8. troutcor

    Loved the line in the retail story about how sales stink. This, our intrepid reporter tells us, is that while inflation is falling, consumers have fewer dollars because costs are rising.
    Mainstream reporters have drunk so deeply of the Bernanke/Yellen/Krugman Kool-aid that the can’t see the ridiculous contradiction embedded in that one sentence.
    Even liberals these days – “heroes” of the middle class – can’t see the obvious fact that while cheap goods we don’t need (and wages) are falling, the expensive important stuff like health insurance and university education, are through the roof.
    This is the true cost of limousine liberalism.

    1. LifelongLib

      We make people compete for access to what ought to be freely available public goods. That sounds rather conservative to me. The sort of liberalism that existed in the 1960s (much less an actual Left) is almost extinct nowadays and can’t be blamed for our current situation.

    2. fresno dan

      You beat me to it. Maybe the writers get bonuses for non sequiturs?
      But what is ostensibly a financial site – the lack of sophistication with regard to nominal versus real wages, the lack of discussion that not all quintiles are treated equally, etcetera makes the whole thing a joke – – hmmm, maybe that is why the writer put in such a non sequitur – to keep a shred of self respect…


      “Retail: “Americans have more money in their wallets these days as wages grow, gas prices fall and inflation remains stagnant. But the share of their income available for retail spending is steadily dwindling, with a smaller percentage of discretionary dollars going to, say, clothing and food and a bigger percentage going to healthcare, education and the like” [Bloomberg].”

      Mish said it best, “deflation in what you don’t need, inflation in what you do need”

  9. dcblogger

    I seem to recall that not so long ago a Saudi royal was booted from France because of some criminal activity and responded with a hinted threat. Google searches have not turned it up, does anyone else remember the same incident?

      1. dcblogger

        they story I remember was definitely a male offender, and it definitely contained a specific threat. but perhaps my memory is off. and it involved france.

  10. Pat

    Call me wild and crazy, but I’ll wait before declaring myself wrong and the political commentary regulars right. From what I know about the last few debates (the one Democratic and the several Republicans) the first thing to go is the instant analysis of how the candidates did from focus groups and the second thing to go is the credibility of those analysts as in every case what the regulars think and what the public think is NOT the same thing. (The instant focus groups made that clear immediately, getting rid of them gives them time to rewrite the story, although that hasn’t worked out so well over at Fox.)

    I’m pretty damn sure that Hillary came in dead last. And the probable winner of the evening overall was the owner of the twitter account who so nicely sliced and diced her.

  11. Benedict@Large

    Re: “Printing Money

    The article is garbage. Cassidy finds some right winger who tosses around some poorly constructed ideas from MMT as if they were his own, and not stuff that’s been around for several decades. Not one single MMTer is consulted in the process (Cassidy is a half educated monetarist) as Cassidy brushes MMT off simply because Paul Krugman can’t understand it.

    1. Carlos

      Yess…. They deliberately misrepresent MMT so they can bang on about the Weimar Republic and haughtily laud the superiority of their failing, dismal non-science.

  12. Daryl

    > There’s a top 100 list: #1 is the University of America; interestingly, #3 is sleaze merchant University of Phoenix.

    As someone who looked into online schooling, part of the reason is that brick and mortar universities have been very slow to offer equivalents to traditional degrees to people who move around a lot and need to complete a degree remotely. There are increasingly some good options, but ten years ago, scummy for-profit schools were the ones heavily advertising this, and so they obtained and have held onto a lot of market share. The easy solution is to cut them off from military and civillian student financial aid.

  13. Massinissa

    Also about Hello Barbie, its very expensive for a Barbie (75$, which is about 60$ more than normal), and you cant even change its boring clothes for another Barbies clothes. Electronics are built into the belt so you cant remove the belt and, I cant remember if it was the pants or the shirt but I think it was the shirt.
    The clothes are really boring too. Just pants, a casual jacket and a stupid T-Shirt with Hello Hello Hello printed on it.

    And those things are in addition to all the bigger problems listed in the article.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Some years back there was talk that Mattel was going to introduce a version called Divorcee Barbie for the price of $249.95. The price was justified by the fact that it came with Ken’s house, Ken’s car and Ken’s boat.

  14. DJG

    Foreign Policy in Focus: It is Bernard-Henri Lévy. Let’s spell the names of those war criminals correctly. Ahhh, pauvre BHL, the banality of evil among pseudointellectuals.

  15. JerryDenim

    Kentucky, Medicare, Bevin:

    “We’re a small, traditional, tight-knit community, and there are certain ways we do things”

    Like being ignorant, religious bigots that like to vote for state politicians aligned against our own very personal financial interests in exchange for lip service to federal issues that don’t really affect us like gay marriage, foreign policy, and school prayer, over which state politicians have zero-control.

    Amazing. The skyrocketing death rates for uneducated whites in the wake of massive American de-industrialization goes along way towards explaining why these people are angry, religious and gun crazy, but why are they so keen to vote against what’s clearly in their own best interests??? I mean I kinda get it, but I don’t. In this example it’s not like Bevin pulled a Obama and duped his constituency by promising one thing and delivered another, he promised to cut Medicaid and the people who depended on it voted for him.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      R voters voting against personal economic interest, ala Thomas Frank “What’s The Matter With Kansas” nonfiction book.

      B Sanders is pro Medicare For All, $15 Min Wage, free public university tuition; H Clinton & the Rs are anti. I hypothesize that H Clinton voters are as bad as the Rs in voting against economic interest.

      1. JerryDenim

        Also “Deer Hunting with Jesus” by Joe Bageant. I was born and raised in SE North Carolina farm country so yeah, I know those people, and yeah I kind of get it, but no, I still don’t get it. There’s this magical information machine called the internet and great blogs like Naked Capitalism. Even for the darkest corners of the backwoods America ignorance is a choice in 2015.

        Hillary just as bad as the R’s… Amen, but you’re preaching to the choir. I could have told you that in 1999.

    2. LifelongLib

      There’s no necessary connection between social and economic progressivism. My guess is that a party that cold-bloodedly ditched the social issues but supported economic reform (e.g. like the old southern populists did) would probably do quite well in a lot of places. Not a course that Democrats or Republicans (or I) would want to take but the numbers certainly point that way.

      1. Daryl

        I am sort of thinking we might be nearing (in a few decades) the end of the present incarnation of the two party system. If I were as well-read as most commenters on here, I’d remember this, but I had to look it up:

        “A man is born gentle and weak; at his death he is hard and stiff. All things, including the grass and trees, are soft and pliable in life; dry and brittle in death. Stiffness is thus a companion of death; flexibility a companion of life. An army that cannot yield will be defeated. A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind. The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail.” – Lao-Tzu

      2. hunkerdown

        Of course neither party would do that. Neither party desires economic reform. Remember Huey Long? Leftists get killed in the US as a matter of unspoken national policy.

        1. Massinissa

          And even Huey Long, for all he did in Lousiana, couldn’t get any of his bills passed in the senate.

          Another senator said to him, “You couldn’t get God’s law passed in this senate”.

    3. hunkerdown

      Which option on the ballot allowed them to reliably vote for outcomes in their favor, again? Without something to vote for[1], their priorities would tend toward preserving what weak sauce of security they’ve got in rural nationalism and its totems, and certainly would not tend toward welcoming hostile, self-interested crusaders from outside, much less deferring to them.

      [1] no, a competing secular church does not constitute as much — as I’ve written before, the Democratic Party tends to loosely emulate the Catholic Church in many of its aspects. Protestants and unaffiliateds have no use for someone else’s Magisterium.

    4. Jagger

      Like being ignorant, religious bigots….but why are they so keen to vote against what’s clearly in their own best interests???

      Because the Democratic party considers them “ignorant, religious bigots” and they know it. Would you vote for a party so openly hostile and contemptuous of your class and values? Especially when the only real difference between the two parties is cultural issues? No, better to vote for someone who pays lip service to your values than vote for someone who is actively antagonistic. They may not be quite as stupid as you stated.

        1. Ulysses

          Bageant was one of our most important writers! Deer Hunting with Jesus should be required reading for anyone who hopes to understand ‘Murica.

  16. ProNewerDeal

    Lambert & fellow commenters,

    Do you know about the likelihood of this CO state Medicare For All 2016 Referendum passing? Is there reason for me to be hopeful about this effort, even if I am in one of the other 49 states? In other words is this The Real Deal TM?

  17. Steve H.

    … Shrinking Bulls Eye.

    I want to be excited, but…

    It’s a method, ratcheting back and forth between the staid model and the new technique. Sort of a hop-skip. However, by skipping it may confound general factors with local elements.

    More specifically, ‘Econned’ delves into the Lipsey-Lancaster theorum, which seems applicable here. Shotgunning ‘hundreds of unknown parameters’ looking for a global solution is very likely to smear out local maxima and minima. It chooses areas to ignore by the grain size of the data. You can get a very good map of a plateau while missing a very deep hole between it and you.

  18. timbers


    Some pretty incredible stuff at ICH regarding Putin supplying satellite evidence showing Team Obama & Co (including G20 members) implicitly supporting “the folks” who just attacked Paris (ISIS & whatever they all themselves). Apparently Obama must have been pissed and humiliated as the next day he bombed the miles long of ISIS trucks syphoning oil to fund their terrorism…as if Obama JUST learned of it.




  19. JustAnObserver

    Good points. I’d also like to see some kind of stability analysis. Are there starting points where the new algorithm either fails to converge or converges much more slowly then the “typical” points.

  20. Foy

    From Huffpo article “City fining black residents for weeds in their gardens”:
    “Pagedale’s city code allows residents to be ticketed for having mismatched curtains, walking on the left-hand side of a crosswalk, wearing pants below the waist, holes in window screens, and having a barbecue in front of a house. The city has even ticketed residents for things that aren’t illegal, such as having a small crack in a front walk, chipping paint on a building foundation, or an unpainted wood fence, according to the complaint.”

    I know I shouldn’t be surprised but this has just left me flabbered. This is basically a city enshrining legalised theft against its citizens and the poorest at that. The end is nigh if this sort of stuff is happening. This really is society breaking down. I’ve known it’s been breaking down for a while after reading NC for the last 8 years but man, this taking it to another level. Just when I think something can’t be topped, TPTB outdo themselves again. How much more of the bottom of the barrel can be scraped?

    1. Vince in MN

      Read up on the history of Nazi Germany, especially the pre-war years. Hitler, et. al. were the originators of social engineering on a mass scale. The Germans were, admittedly, direct, brutish in their aims. Comparatively, elites here, since WWII are much more subtle and sophisticated. It has been learned that slow and steady is the much better course.

    2. LifelongLib

      Rules about the appearance of the property are commonplace in condos and planned communities, but are usually enacted and enforced by a homeowners’ association. People presumably know what they’re buying into when they move there. Very surprised to read of a municipality with rules like that.

    3. Massinissa

      “wearing pants below the waist”

      They may as well just come out and say that they want to put a tax on black people. I mean come on, I find it distasteful too but since when has anything except nudity been punishable by fines?

  21. Plenue

    >“Most Americans will find an option that costs less than $75 a month,” President Obama said.

    Even if that were true, I don’t appreciate you forcing me to spend my money on a private product, you duplicitous sack of crap.

    1. Massinissa

      There are indeed options that cost less than 75 a month…. But what he doesn’t tell you is that then you need to pay hundreds of dollars just for a damn checkup, much less medicines or surgeries.

  22. ewmayer

    Re. “Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless” — my sister just e-mailed me this:

    I just got notified that my obamacare bronze insurance cost is getting raised again Jan1 from 770 to 885/month (6K deductible per person except for the single preventative care visit which you still have a copay of $60 on). What a bunch of crooks, fed up with this whole thing, that’s just for me and the 2 kids. [Her hubby is a Navy vet, so has coverage via that route.]

    I had a really bad fall last weekend and severely injured my left thumb, seemed like it might be badly sprained or even broken in some places (still can’t use it to even hold a zipper and can’t bend it). Was afraid to go in to have it seen as I can’t afford a few thousand dollars worth of out of pocket bills. so I’m paying all that monthly premium and for what? Can’t even go see a doctor when I really need to go. I hate this healthcare situation, just getting worse and worse. My insurance was a little over $500 2 years ago, same crappy policy, that’s almost a 100% increase in 2 years, should be against the law, don’t see where the “affordability” of the equation is coming into play. if I didn’t have kids and weren’t on title for a house so they could take it from us, I would just do what you’re doing.

    “What I’m doing” = uninsured and paying cash-for-service, most of which – ~$1000 in a normal ‘quiet’ year – is for Rxs, plus ~$200 for dental checkups and ~$100 for yearly doctor visit. Millions of us doing it that way here in the greatest country on Earth™.

    (I told sis to look into a basic $10-at-the-local-pharmacy self-care thumb splint for the next several weeks, as it’s most likely a bad sprain, and a ligament tear, while likely needing surgery, wouldn’t be made significantly worse by self-treating via a splint for that time. Same kind of injury that has many NFL players walking around with heavily taped hands at this point in the season.)

    But it feels good to know that as long as our exceptionally broken for-profit medical-industrial system keeps getting more fraud-riddle and wealth-extractive, the terrorists don;t win, or something. Having excused her Wall Street owned-by-ship that way, perhaps Hillary will make that point w.r.to healthcare in the next debate.

    1. tegnost

      the oligarchs need us all to pitch in to pay for their cadillac plans… a bunch of welfare queens…. peace to you a healthy diet, exercise and luck you’ll be able to stay out of their claws for a little longer, really we all just need to run out the clock.
      On a side note, when you’re injured…the “we know everything” technological world would give anything to be able to recreate your body’s ability to self heal but you have to do it, and some things can’t be beaten so just go down fighting

  23. Darthbobber

    “Americans have more money in their wallets these days as wages grow, gas prices fall and inflation remains stagnant. But the share of their income available for retail spending is steadily dwindling, with a smaller percentage of discretionary dollars going to, say, clothing and food and a bigger percentage going to healthcare, education and the like”

    Oh, please. Leaving aside the fact that there’s “Americans” and then there’s “Americans”, and they by no means form one big happy meaningful aggregate for these generalizations, how does healthcare come to be “discretionary” by any sensible definition? Of course, food and clothing are also only “discretionary” above a certain base level. Does that even need to be said? Of course your core inflation is likely to be lower once you’ve programmatically decided to exclude a big chunk of the most consistently rising things from its measure. But this then becomes utterly useless as an analytical, as opposed to propagandistic, tool.

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