Links 11/8/15

Intergalactic gathering: Costumed sci-fi fans and geeks from across the galaxy descend on Polish city for annual fantasy festival Daily Mail

Sainthood price-tag leaks stir Vatican fury FT

Real Estate Shell Companies Scheme to Defraud Owners Out of Their Homes NYT

‘99 Homes’ Director Ramin Bahrani on How the Foreclosure Crisis Is a Modern ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ Bill Moyers

China October Exports Fall 3.6%; Imports Fall 16% Bloomberg

Payrolls Mosler Economics

Greg Ip: Still Not Enough Good News on Wages WSJ

Ed Lazear: This is the real unemployment rate WaPo

We could have an economic boom this winter — if the Fed doesn’t screw it up Vox

Fed Gov Brainard: US Financial Tightening Already Happening Market News

Rewriting Monetary Policy 101: What’s the Fed’s Preferred Post-Crisis Approach to Raising Interest Rates? (PDF) Journal of Economic Perspectives

Risks and rewards of tech’s Next Big Thing FT

Square’s Lower IPO Valuation Casts Shadow Over Startups Bloomberg. Startup Theranos had ginormous gobs of “valuation,” too, FWIW.

Justice Department Doesn’t Deliver on Promise to Attack Monopolies WSJ. ZOMG!!!!!!

The Uberization of Money WSJ

Uber Starts Speaking Washington’s Language Bloomberg. Glibertarians turn statist as soon as they want their own rents protected.


Investigators rule out technical failure in Metrojet crash FT. 

WaPo Peddles Crackpot Idea – Fears Russia Will Steal It Moon of Alabama

Activists say Islamic State group releases 37 Syrian Christians abducted in February Star Tribune

‘Look for Hospitals as Targets’ The Nation

Putin Associate Found Dead in DC Hotel ABC. Founder of Russia Today.

Jeremy Corbyn will NOT be forced to kneel in front of the Queen as he joins the Privy Council (but IS likely to have to kiss her hand) Daily Mail 

Health Care

Insurance misdeeds: Blue Cross Blue Shield’s policy, devastating cost to family KRQE. A lovely example of an in- vs. out-of-network billing scam. 

A View From the Losing Side of Health Care HuffPo. Vivid, and readers here will identify with every line of it. Unfortunately, the author sets their sights too low, wishing only for the so-called “public option,” not single payer. Yet another case of how incredibly destructive the career “progressive” propagation of that talking point has been.

Amid criticism, NY eyes probe of Health Republic WGRZ (allan)

Why New Antibiotics Never Come to Market Vice

Keystone XL Wasn’t About Jobs Or The Climate — It Was All Politics FiveThirtyEight

It’s Pretty Obvious Not Enough Is Being Done Ahead of the Paris Climate Talks Vice


Winthrop a winner at Democratic forum The Herald

Clinton Talks Past Sanders, O’Malley at Democratic Forum US News

As Iowa debate approaches, Clinton seems inevitable again Des Moines Register

Clinton joins Democratic rivals in backing change to marijuana classification WaPo. WaPo’s bias is showing here; reclassifying marijuana to Schedule 2 permits federally sponsored research, period. Clinton’s proposal is a pissant, trivial tweak compared to “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition” which Sanders backs. What next from Clinton? School uniforms? And yet another indication that Clinton’s move left was purest kayfabe, now that the inevitability drums have begun once again to beat.

The Hillary Clinton Doctrine Foreign Policy. Long read, good for context. Clinton sure is hawkish, isn’t she?

Carson’s Westmoreland story doesn’t match records Detroit News

Elections in Burma: fine for now, but that may change in the coming days Asian Correspondent

Digit Tests and the Peculiar Election Dynamics of Turkey’s November Elections Erik Meyersson

Hurt at home The Yale Herald (via Internet Archive). “And I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”

Group of black Missouri players boycott football team in protest of university system president SB Nation

Class Warfare

Why Childcare Workers Are So Poor, Even Though Childcare Costs So Much The Atlantic

Economic Policy Splits Democrats Wall Street Journal. Whinging from Third Way.

Chile admits Pablo Neruda might have been murdered by Pinochet regime  Guardian

Watch People in Other Industries React Hilariously to Being Asked for Free Spec Work Ad Week

Leaked Comcast Doc Admits: Data Caps Have Nothing To Do With Congestion Consumerist

Alphabet’s Stratospheric Loon Balloons to Start Serving Internet to Indonesia Technology Review

Declining E-Book Sales Hit Home Publishers Weekly

Lib at Large: Preserving the Grateful Dead’s ‘Bear’ priceless music archive Marin Independent Journal

Retrotopia: Inflows and Outputs The Archdruid Report 

Antidote du jour:

links elephants

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. Furzy Mouse

    Moon of Alabama is off the wall suggesting that WaPo is “peddling” the idea that the CIA caused the tragedy over the Sinai. In fact, it is the opposite: WaPo points out the generally accepted notion that Russia and Egypt are fully prepared to lie about this crash, in order to save face…even blame the CIA…

    1. sleepy

      Misreads like that by b have happened before. Though he’s fluent in English, I wonder if there are some linguistic nuances that he misses.

    2. optimader

      My guess is that there is satellite spectrographic imaging data out the ass in that geography right now that confirm an explosion –right down to the explosives infrared signature, explosion duration, intensity, explosive velocity and indirectly the quantity.
      From this information it may well be possible totease out the source of the explosive ( homebrew, commercial, military) thereby getting a clue who is involved.

      I’d also guess the resolution is available to triangulate the engine exhaust signatures to a physical location of the rupture of the fuselage. If this is the case, presumably whomever has the details is not in a hurry to share them beyond confirming what happened.
      I’d further speculate the Russians and the Egyptians understand all this and realize it is not practical to misrepresent the circumstances of the crash.
      One thing that is safe to say, this will make it incrementally more of a hassle to fly commercially in the future it will be an opportunity for the Michael Chertoff’s of the world to suck more security kabuki theater blood from the host traveling public host.

    3. Tom Allen

      Moon of Alabama is pointing out that there’s no evidence of a bomb at all. Just whispers and leaks from the US and UK governments, which the Post accepts uncritically.

      Here’s the concluding paragraph of the Post editorial:

      The state media controlled by Messrs. Putin and Sissi have a nasty habit of blaming all disasters on the United States, no matter how far-fetched the theory required. So we won’t be surprised if Russians and Egyptians are told the CIA is somehow responsible for the tragedy in the Sinai. Those seeking a more rational conclusion must consider this somber point: The Egyptian and Russian regimes are far less adept at fighting terrorism than they are at lying.

      Considering the WaPo’s record and its subservience toward the White House in the past decades, this is an exceptionally rich piece of projection on the part of its editors.

    4. Daryl

      I don’t doubt that they might lie, but really, it’s not like this is hard to verify.

      Frontpage of Pravda: “FBI will help Russia investigate the crash”

  2. fresno dan

    Ed Lazear: This is the real unemployment rate WaPo

    The other measure, which is generally preferred by many who study labor markets, is the employment rate, which is defined as the proportion of the working-age population (that is, 16 and above) that has a job. The employment rate is the bottom line because it measures the number actually working compared to the number who could work. But to the extent that failure to actively seek work is voluntary — for example, reflecting retirement or school attendance — taking that into account as the unemployment rate seems relevant to assessing the strength of the labor market. So which is right — the unemployment rate or the employment rate?
    Correcting for hiring and demographics makes September’s rate of 59.2 equivalent to a pre-2009 rate of 61.4 percent, meaning we still have a 2 percentage point deficit when compared with the earlier peak. This amounts to about 4.8 million jobs. Put differently, the number employed has grown almost 13 million jobs since the employment trough in February 2010. But it would have to have grown by 17.5 million to make up for the recession and keep pace with growing population.

    This is one of those things where perversely, a two party system provides incentive to ignore the unemployment rate. For republicans, high unemployment does nothing to support their tax reduction arguments, and for democrats….well, after 8 years it would seem to be hard to make the argument that one is actually effective at lowering unemployment if this is the best one can do in 8 years…

    Also, with the diminishment of unions over the years, it is apparent that high employment has no moneyed advocates, which means high employment has NO advocates.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      I wish that economist/article author Lazear would have stated which of the EXISTING employment-related indices is the least-inaccurate. I like to follow an employment index over time, not just read his magic unpublished index Nov 2015 current value.

      Do yall have a take on which is the least-inaccurate, monthly-updated employment index, that is publicly available at a site like research dot stlouisfed dot org?

      research dot stlouisfed dot org fred2 series LREM25MAUSM156N

      My amateur take is to follow the 25-54 yr old men employment rate, monthly seasonally unadjusted, on the grounds that:

      1 it has a long history going back to 1955

      2 through the entire era of 1955 to now, afaict the the social attitude of large if not majority portion of USians that an unemployed man in this age range is a loser with few exceptions (possible exceptions include if in graduate/professional school, a paperwork-certified-officially disabled US military veteran with a horrible injury such as an amputated leg, such as the Lt. Dan character in the Forest Gump movie, etc), and should be working at any & all times, and are moochers not deserving of US social insurance, which itself is worst/near-worst social insurance in general out of the rich OECD nations.

      3 women, at least in the earlier decades of this era, were discriminated out of working many occupations.

      4 women, throughout this era and afaict indeed human history, take the primary parenting responsibility, at least from a time-consuming basis. IIRC an NC article noted how at least since the 2008 GFC, some low wage and parent workers, have quit jobs due to total costs of childcare/transportation/etc can eat a significant or total portion of a low wage.

      5 I guesstimate that using seasonally Unadjusted is superior to the seasonally adjusted, on the guesstimate that having read how prior Exec branches (going back to Kennedy iirc) have malignly Enron-style crapfied/matherbated the unemployment rate number, that similar crapification MIGHT occur in the employment rate adjusted seasonality “algorithm”. However, this is just my guess, I would be open to using the adjusted figure if my guesstimate is unsound.

      Anyways if this employment index is decent/least inaccurate, it is “currently” at 84.2%, this most recent “current” value is the 2015-Mar value. This is down from the last pre-GFC recession 2007-Nov value 87.7%, up from the first post-GFC recession 2009-Jul 81.7%, up from the 2007-now “bottom” low of 2010-Feb 79.5%, up slightly from the year-ago 2014-Mar 83.0%.

      For historical reference, this current 84.2% is worse than 2001 Clinton/Bush43 recession bottom 2003-Jan 84.6%, the 1990 Bush41 recession bottom 1992-Feb 85.3%, and all other recessions going back to 1955 with one exception: it is slightly less bad the 1981 Reagan recession bottom of 1983-Feb 83.9%

      Absurdly, some of the old recession bottom values are ~90%, which are higher than the last pre-GFC recession 2007-Nov value 87.7%!

      It appears over these decades the labor market has been semi-automated, & crapified. Afaict eventually, whether now or in 2040, a reduction in the “full-time” workweek to 32 or less hours, a federal job guarantee doing necessary tasks like physical infrastructure repair or rooftop solar insulation, or a Basic Income Guarantee aka Social Security For All; will be required to keep enough working-age people paid enough to afford to live, and actually afford to purchase a few of the items the private business sector is selling.

      1. fresno dan

        I think that’s an insightful analysis.
        There just aren’t a lot of principled people who aren’t taking troughs and peaks and “enhanced interrogating” the data to make it say what they want.

        I think that the male participation rate is the most profound happening in the economy

        Its been going on for decades so it spares us the partisan baloney that does more to obfuscate than elucidate. If you believe that a job, in addition to the all important aspect of providing income, also provides purpose and friends to one’s life, this is a phenomenon that is truly disturbing.

        And yet it is not worth discussing in our political dynamic…

      1. tegnost

        I like these guys and I want a new deal, but as yves will tell you precious metals….maybe not…so dean wins this cage match… usa fender guitars all the way! (ok, slow learner)

  3. fresno dan

    The Hillary Clinton Doctrine Foreign Policy. Long read, good for context. Clinton sure is hawkish, isn’t she?

    Everybody is hawkish. It is one of those things that people of a certain age (me) grew up in a very unusual time in which there were strong anti war feelings, and believed that was the default setting, when in fact the normal setting is all war all the time.

    With a volunteer force and high tech weapons, there really doesn’t appear to me ANY countervailing view against all intervention all the time – the fact that it appears counterproductive and doesn’t work doesn’t seem to be an argument against it in US politics… Its our pretend politics where we act as if there are great disagreements between dems and repubs.
    Repubs – drop thousands of bombs!
    Dems – drop hundreds of bombs….strategically

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Right, or,

      Repubs – drop thousands of bombs (daily)
      Dems – drop hundreds of bombs (hourly)

      Yea Dems!!!

    2. nothing but the truth

      bad behaviour will continue till it encounter negative consequences.

      ie till the US faces consequences of losing a war on its soil.

      ie till the end of the “exhorbitant privilege”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        With the Atlantic to the East, the Pacific to the West, Canada to the North, and Mexico to the South, the US losing a war on its soil is not likely to happen (modulo civil war).

        Which is why I focus on aircraft carriers.

        1. nothing but the truth

          the power of the US is an amplification of the dollar.

          once the world moves from the dollar, “store of value” money laundering will end and so will endless international zirp financing of the wars.

      2. Ignim Brites

        Seems like a Sharm-El-Sheikh scenario might spark a re-evaluation of the US interventionist policy. Trouble is, aside from Rand Paul, there is no one who is, even remotely, anti-interventionist.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Everyone is hawkish until you ask whether they would rather spend money dropping bombs or on just about anything else. Unless of course you single out the people who are major holders of the debt and equity of our weapons manufacturers. Who also own the media, use it to portray the US military as the best sports team in history. There was no brief blip of time when humans turned pacifist. There was a brief blip of time when humans became aware of all the bullshit they were being fed.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I have a simpler view, there were two important differences when we stopped the war in Vietnam: 1.) we knew the difference between right and wrong; and 2.) we gave a damn about our fellow man.
        I think #2 is easier to understand: today we live in an entirely self-absorbed age. I think it started with the “self-actualization” that (we) hippies espoused, we were told it’s OK to reject collective norms of how you should lead your life. In the 80’s this took a further personal, inward, financial turn, “greed is good”. In the 90’s we had a president getting blown under his desk, lying about it, with a wife who seemed not to care very much. The 00’s gave us technology built to promote, enable and enshrine narcissism (“social” media). The 00’s also saw a hurt America telling the world “we are going to lash out, indiscriminately and illegally, no matter who gets hurt, and without regard for our own or any international laws”. So today we have a complete free-for-all, and an evisceration of the very idea of the collective good, either national or international. It’s every man for himself, and every nation for himself, we spy on and backstab and subvert friend and enemy alike and everyone knows it. Everything is corrupt.

        As far as #1 goes, the culture has become so war-oriented and conflict and violence and war-obsessed it’s no wonder it’s the default way people think you should address all problems. Whatever happened to the legions chanting “Peace Now”? The very idea seems like a naive and quaint echo of a bygone age.

        I will always live in that age. Perhaps future historians will remember us, like we remember the Stoics or the Luddites or something, a last flash of collectivism and love for one’s fellow man before the world got down in earnest to the serious business of WW III.

    4. tongorad

      I teach high school in a military town (San Antonio) and the covert and overt propaganda being fed to students on a daily basis is disgusting. As you said, it wasn’t so long ago that we had an anti-war movement.

    5. Jim Haygood

      Repubs – drop thousands of bombs …on orphanages
      Dems – drop thousands of bombs….on hospitals

    6. Jim Haygood

      Hillary — drop thousands of bombs … on elementary schools

      Isn’t that what ‘no child left behind’ means?

      1. hunkerdown

        No Child’s Behind Left, much to the chagrin of the British aristocracy. If Jacko were still around would we be seeing his bleached face on TV with a tear rolling down it?

    7. JTMcPhee

      Even with constant indoctrination, it appears the all volunteer military is still, er, ” unreliable.” The Troops or quite a number of them tend to notice the futility of Counterinsurgency and undeclared wars of aggression and multiple deployments to go re-take (what a telling verb) the same terrain over and over. They also tend, eventually, to note the gulf between our Grand National Mythologies and the realities of “War as a Racket,” and some of them even succumb to motions of conscience. And those modern Sepoys our ass Generals and foreign policy genii have tried to make, in Notagainistan and elsewhere, don’t seem to be clear on the Mission either, and even less dedicated to what the Chain of Command says is the Critical Element for this week…

  4. Ulysses

    The urgency of defeating TPP is already apparent to many of us here at NC. This reaction of Chris H. to the release of the text helps put this in perspective:

    “If there is no sustained popular uprising to prevent the passage of the TPP in Congress this spring we will be shackled by corporate power. Wages will decline. Working conditions will deteriorate. Unemployment will rise. Our few remaining rights will be revoked. The assault on the ecosystem will be accelerated. Banks and global speculation will be beyond oversight or control. Food safety standards and regulations will be jettisoned. Public services ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to the post office and public education will be abolished or dramatically slashed and taken over by for-profit corporations. Prices for basic commodities, including pharmaceuticals, will skyrocket. Social assistance programs will be drastically scaled back or terminated. And countries that have public health care systems, such as Canada and Australia, that are in the agreement will probably see their public health systems collapse under corporate assault. Corporations will be empowered to hold a wide variety of patents, including over plants and animals, turning basic necessities and the natural world into marketable products. And, just to make sure corporations extract every pound of flesh, any public law interpreted by corporations as impeding projected profit, even a law designed to protect the environment or consumers, will be subject to challenge in an entity called the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) section. The ISDS, bolstered and expanded under the TPP, will see corporations paid massive sums in compensation from offending governments for impeding their “right” to further swell their bank accounts. Corporate profit effectively will replace the common good.”

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      In combination with a cashless society; ahhh, the smell of e-napalm in our morning of dystopia!!!

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Until I looked that one up, I thought it was a reaction to Pepsi. Actually, not far from it.

    2. ProNewerDeal

      I wonder if the damage of the environment related to TPP, is worse than than the combination of environmental benefits from the few modest minor 0bama pro-environment policies, such as denying the Keystone XL CAN-US pipeline, & iirc raising the fuel economy of future new cars from 25 to 50 miles per gallon by some future year?

      It reminds me of a thought I had with the TPP’s extension of pharma monopolies, both in the time dimenstion, and the patentable substance dimension with biologics pharma; will kill more USians, than Harvard Public Health Prof’s estimated reduction of US deaths by ~30K, from the pre-ACA ~60K USian deaths, to the eventual “only” 30K post-ACA annual USian deaths by 2022.

      0bama’s policies appear to be Even Worse than the Worst Eva TM Bush43. Sadly, it is not clear to me that H Clinton, or any of the ReThug Pres candidates won’t be as bad or Even Worse than 0bama. At least Sanders & J Stein seem genuinely Actually Good, with empirically proven and human social democratic policies, and far superior to any of the aforementioned USian-hating Monsters, although political scientists specialized in horseracology have estimated their likelihood of becoming President in 2017-Jan at either slim or infinitesimal, respectively.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      One of the things I really dislike about Hedges is the way he sets everybody up for failure. He writes: “If there is no sustained popular uprising to prevent the passage of the TPP in Congress this spring“. So if nothing happens this spring then we’re doomed, I tell you, doomed?

      The first is highly likely — I don’t see Hedges himself organizing any such thing in two or three months, and if that were going to happen, it would already have happened, with Occupy. The only popular movements on the horizon that I see are the various permutations of #BlackLivesMatter, and the Sanders campaign. It’s a stretch to think either movement — should the Sanders campaign actually turn into one — would morph into an anti-TPP movement. Maybe I’m missing something!!

      The second is, I think, likely. But you know not the day nor the hour. Hedges, as a former preacher, should know the folly of making apocalyptic predictions.

      1. DJG

        Yes, but if you read Hedges as a kind of prophet (he being a former preacher, something that I am rather immune to), you can see the argument (not always logical) and the cadences (wonderfully Presbyterian, I suppose). That is Hedges’ great value, which recalls Rev. Wright and the God Damn America speeches.

        Also, his observation that Occupy Wall Street was remarkable for demanding that an amoral government enforce the law is worth the loose arguments. It may be that instead of doom, we should rely on this second observation: We must have a law-abiding state.

        As to popular uprisings, no, he won’t be organizing them.

      2. Brindle

        “It’s a stretch to think either movement — should the Sanders campaign actually turn into one — would morph into an anti-TPP movement.”—As far as the Sanders campaign I think if he was serious about his”revolution” he would have gone after Clinton on the corruption issue—whether the Clinton Foundation influence racket or her abuse of office with the emails. I hope I am wrong but Clinton appears to be on a glide path and Sanders will not play Chicago rules as laid out in The Untouchables.

      3. Oregoncharles

        ” should the Sanders campaign actually turn into one” (a movement).

        Legacy party campaigns are a substitute for popular movements and a way of blocking them. Case in point, the Kerry/Obama campaigns and the peace movement.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I don’t see the Kerry/Obama campaigns, the Sanders campaign, and the peace movement as being commensurate at all.

          The peace movement was, IIRC, a genuinely popular movement. In what sense was it a party campaign?

          The Kerry campaign was a straightforward and utterly conventional party campaign, perhaps only slightly more cowardly than usual (some excuse for Florida 2000; no excuse for Ohio 2004).

          “Obama for America,” at the grass roots, considered itself a movement, but it was shut down and betrayed by the Democratic party apparatus and Obama personally.

          In what way are these three movements commensurate?

          Meanwhile, the Sanders campaign is different in one key respect: It driven by small donors. Obama’s campaign was marketed that way, but that was false. With Sanders, it’s true. That means Sanders has a source of funding, that is, a power base, that is independent of the party apparatus. That’s not commensurate with the Kerry campaign either, nor commensurate with the peace movement (which so for as I know, had no single “list” of donors).

          Another way of saying this is that if Sanders wants to do this, he’s far better positioned than any other force on the map right now. Sad, but true!

      4. Optimader

        …as a former preacher, should know the folly of making apocalyptic predictions…
        He still is a preacher, different pulpit, different flavor of fire and brimstone.
        it seems to me preachers are the first degree offenders in the apocalyptic prediction club. Tithes or clicks its all the same. I find hedges tiresome.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Preaching doom has been first rate click bait since at least papyrus and probably even earlier. People are drawn to the drama like ants to a spilled Coca-Cola.

      5. Will

        Lambert – What else do you dislike about Hedges? I have learned a lot from his work and am interested in your perspective.

    4. Paul Tioxon

      The TPP as international law and US Government policy will have to compete with the upcoming UN Climate conference, COP21 in Paris this Dec 7-8 2015.

      “The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation. The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995 and significant meetings since then have included COP3 where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, COP11 where the Montreal Action Plan was produced, COP15 in Copenhagen where an agreement to success Kyoto Protocol was unfortunately not realised and COP17 in Durban where the Green Climate Fund was created.

      In 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.”

      If a major economy takes the lead, warming could be limited to 2°C.

      10/26/2015 – Though most countries around the globe agree that warming must be limited to 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the raft of climate risks, they clash about who should do what to reach this target. Hence the issue of allocating greenhouse-gas emissions reductions will be key for the outcome of the world climate summit COP21 in Paris. Scientists now found what amount of emissions reductions it takes for a major economy to lead out of the climate gridlock. They conclude that effectively limiting climate change is possible if a major economy acts as a forerunner, while other nations follow – and, importantly, by doing so they do not have to agree on common criteria for fairness.

      “If either the European Union or the US would pioneer and set a benchmark for climate action by others, the negotiation logjam about fair burden sharing could be broken,“ lead author Malte Meinshausen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Melbourne says. “Our analysis shows that they would have to roughly double their current domestic 2030 emissions reductions targets – which would certainly require substantial efforts. Yet it seems to be one of the few options to stay on track for eventually limiting warming below 2°C and fend off a drastic increase of weather extremes and sea-level rise.“

      This is THE major geopolitical gathering for humanity to deal with the catastrophic crisis of not only long standing deadly air and water pollution but also the consequences from climate change, including the rising temperature of the planet, melting polar ice and sea levels rising, agricultural failure, destruction of potable water for populations and massive refugee movements from decimated areas and concomitant civil society breakdown of the existing social order. As bad as the TPP is, governments will have goals to reach to prevent many of these crises which may bring one set of policies in direct conflict with one another necessitating a hierarchy of policies, much along the lines of using national security as an absolute standard, superceding all other considerations, including trade pacts. How this will done, who will pick and choose the winners may not be cut and dry with conflicting claims of corporate interests for profits and market share throws a lot of doubt on to TPP as a critical equal to carbon emission reductions.

      As a finance site, the emphasis at COP21 on finance is not to be underestimated. The anti-coal coalition includes pressure on banks to stop financing coal power plants, coal mines and companies. The pressure to commit capital investment in solar, wind and hydro power and the seeming willing of banks such as Goldman Sachs to entertain these initiatives is can provide a new outlet for capital in a massive global wave on investment that can absorb so much of the surplus profits simply not put to use to create jobs or manufacturing plant and equipment. Mines, and oil and gas drilling rigs simply will not be as large a market as the sustainable market for energy. To finance and profit from a plantetary push to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy will provide an outlet for capital not seen before. Right now, there simply are not enough plant and equipment to meet even a fraction of the need to replace fossils fuels. The build out preceding the installation will be the first phase of massive investment followed by the installation and maintenance of the Green Grid. That is, if there is enough agreement come December. I urge you all to put aside presidential prognostication for a few weeks and investigate COP21 and urge elected reps in DC to support the maximum effort to keep the carbon emissions below the levels needed to prevent the 2 degree rise in temperature that will spell disaster.

      In the wake of the Keystone XL pipeline finally being unveiled as a rejected project just 4 weeks before the Paris conference should explain just what utility this insignificant item has left in it, in any measure at all. As a public display of showing the lack of investment in a dirty tar sand conduit across the US from a very good friend and trading partner, the US has an optic that speaks for itself. I have repeatedly said this was foot dragging on an epic scale for something that was not going to happen. It is politically safe for Obama to announce on the day of a positive jobs report that made that argument useless, at time when gas prices are low and a moot point in that the rail roads can transport anything including tight crude. The only reason in the press conference to kill the deal is for environmental reasons, reasons that will be repeated ad nauseum in Paris. All WH correspondent reporting indicates that not only Hillary but also Obama were not politically invested in the project ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. Just how unimportant is shown by the delaying which showed there was no urgency by the WH or much of anyone else that had some traction with the WH. The Dems just did not care. But for the sake of having some flag to fly in Paris, it may have just disappeared from the public’s attention completely, left for the next administration to waste precious time and energy on dealing with it all.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        The ISDS mechanism will trump any agreements on climate change. Companies projecting significant losses in body bag sales, for instance, will gain a steady stream of revenue from any countries trying to save humanity.

  5. savedbyirony

    The FT article on the cost of buying a Sainthood in the Roman Catholic church is behind a paywall for me but that is old, old news. Well before Francis became Pope, catholics new this went on, and he spoke about it and trying to reform the process very early on in his Papacy. (Similar in a way I suppose to his attempts to get the price tag and curia’s money stream out of the annulment process.) For a different take on what has the Curia all up in angst and anger, people here might be interested in this article from “The Tablet”. For example, Peter’s Pence is a BIG money getter from the little people in the pews and not only has it been missused in this fashion but in the past those funds have been diverted to pay for the sexual abuse cases and coverups. Also, as regards the opulent apartments and their prelate inhabitants, as an aside FIY past Grand Inquisitor Cardinal Levada was instrumental in bringing on the attacks against the US Religious Sisters and their leadership council, the LCWR, which was such an abusive crime against the sisters and botch-up for the Ol’Boys club and clericism.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Similar to Big Government, Big Religion is a spiritual sovereign.

      And to stimulate more demand for salvation, it will dispense more saints so that more saintliness will trickle down to the flock.

      The little people CANNOT handle the Divine (nor free money), and thus the need for sacerdotalism.

      But if you have not money for sainthood, perhaps you can look to the Nobel Peace committee to have the vision to see your future peaceful greatness. Stay optimistic.

  6. nothing but the truth

    i know the childcare sector well.

    parents dont want to pay, regularly leaving upaid balances and jumping centers. Govt keeps foisting more and more pointless “training” while raising minimum wages and stagnant payments. raising prices is practically impossible given parents are unable to pay current rates – meaning margins are perpetually under pressure – meaning quality declines as good employees leave to join rich people centers who can pay – like the economy is general we are all trying to become “custom luxury solutions providers” if you are in the right neighbourhood. The rest are having to cut corners.

    insurance and other expenses skyrocket not least because parents are perpetually on the lookout for any minor incident to get free money from the “injury lawyer”.

    my prediction is that eventually out of the tony white neighbourhoods childcare centers will have to close and only family daycares will survive, because standards are more lax there and most payments are in cash.

    this is eventually what will happen to the non-govt linked economy at large – move to cash mode – this is the real reason behind the low labour participation rate – these people are working off the books.

    basically these are all symptoms of a society in tension because the standard of living is becoming hard to sustain. it will have to decline except for the Govt + FIRE+ Healthcare + defense (govt pampered sectors).

    1. tegnost

      Thanks for your insight regarding the child care sector. I would like to see a comparison if one could be found of the number of people working systeme D, My experience is that demand is low, thus pay is low, and a lot of those who did this leading up to the GFC are simply not working, relying on other things or people, or moving. I’m sure Seattle’s low unemployment is a factor of you can’t be there without money.

      1. nothing but the truth

        what is systeme D?

        in childcare the business model is set by the govt. extreme regulation (and sometimes blackmail and false complaints in lieu of that by customers and employees), and a middle class that wants the service that it cannot afford.

        no business can do well if its customers cannot afford the service. that is the case because the floor of labour costs are set by the govt, and you have to have that many people due to the legal ratios required.

        the problem here is straightforward. the govt does not pay enough for poor peoples kids and keeps raising minimum wage and insurance requirements keep rising in price.

        what you are seeing here is a living standard being squeezed down. thank bernanke and trillions he gifted to his future employers for that. as property prices increase, the share of revenue going to mortgage, insurance and food/utilities is rising – employers hire ghetto folk when the good ones leave to work in white people centers.

      2. nothing but the truth

        this is anecdotal – but i do not see that many people out of work. they are not making as much as they want, but i do find idle folk looking for work.

        imo a lot of people are working off the books to avoid fica and workers comp overheads.

        1. neo-realist

          Yep–a lot of people that have had to settle for the gruel positions. Those or nothing. Particularly when you’re middle aged, its a bit of a challenge to find better.

        2. tegnost

          I think that fica and workers comp are reasons why employers hire undocumented workers, to most cash workers those two items are likely the last thing on their minds

          1. abynormal

            to most cash workers those two items are likely the last thing on their minds…surely you jest! the resent speed into history has left US with no choice BUT to worry about fica, healthcare & workers representation …the only choice left is to die from the STRESS.

            be full of care tegnost, People who arrive early aren’t worth waiting for.

            1. tegnost

              I’m sure I will ponder that one unsuccessfully for weeks, but being careful I think I can sort of do that.

  7. John Zelnicker

    “reclassifying marijuana to Schedule 1 permits federally sponsored research”

    Small correction, Lambert. That should be Schedule 2.

    And, it’s a really pitiful move by Clinton. Now she can say she would do “something”, without really changing much. While having federal money available for research would be great, there is already a bunch of cannabis research going on around the world. There are, also, other federal laws that would need to be changed to actually legalize cannabis on the federal level, for instance, banking laws that prevent the cannabis industry from accessing the financial system.

    It’s time for wholesale change, not little baby steps.

      1. cwaltz

        Schedule 1 is experimental. If she is proposing schedule 2 then what she is proposing is making medical marijuana legal for physicians to dispense but highly regulated due to ability to abuse. Other schedule 2 medications include morphine, Ritalin, or oxycodone.

        In my opinion, it’s not a baby step, it’s pretty big for the government to finally recognize that there are valid medical applications for marijuana and allow physicians to utilize it for treatment.

        Drugs like Tylenol 3 were at one time a Schedule 2 but eventually moved down to Schedule 3.

        The only thing that makes this a little weird is that so many want this to be recreational, not just for medical use. Personally, I think that further testing is warranted. We’re still learning about how the cannaboid receptors in the brain and along the spine work.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          From the story:

          Clinton said that she supports removing marijuana from a list of schedule 1 drugs, a classification that prevents federally-sponsored research into its effects. As a schedule 1 drug, marijuana is classified among the most dangerous drugs that the federal Drug Enforcement Agency regulates.

          “We haven’t done research, why? Because it’s considered a schedule 1 drug,” Clinton said during a town hall meeting at Claflin University in South Carolina on Saturday. “I’d like to move it from schedule 1 to schedule 2.”

          If you accept the Overton Window as is, then Clinton proposing Schedule 2 is pretty big. If you don’t, then it’s not big at all. It’s not big with respect to medical marijuana, which many states, including the great state of Maine, already permit. It’s minuscule by comparison to no longer making possession a Federal crime, as Sanders proposes.

          In other words, Clinton’s proposal is pretty big for ClintonWorld, but not big if you take the proposals of other actually running candidates, and actually proposed legislation, into account. (More solipism, in other words.)

          Of course, the tendentious WaPo headline implies that Clinton and Sanders are more or less agreed, and both in the Overton Window of acceptable discourse, when in fact they are not.

          1. different clue

            De-scheduling cannabis altogether would be pretty big. Basing on the reason that it was bogusly scheduled to begin with based on Anslinger’s lie machine would also be pretty big.

          2. cwaltz

            My specialty in the military was pharmacy. I was at a military pharmacy. If there was indeed no acceptable medical use for schedule one medication then we wouldn’t have had any on hand- we did. As a matter of fact, one of the schedule one medications we dispensed was Marinol, a synthetic version of THC, used to increase appetite in AIDS patients(since it was ingested the release of the drug was incredibly hard to predict.)

            From where I’m sitting for the government finally admitting there are medical applications for marijuana is fairly big. As far as decriminalizing I’m not unhappy with not sending people who may need help to jail however, I still think recreational marijuana may be a mistake. Not everyone’s brain is the same and I think a portion of the population will have problems with it in the same way a portion of the population has problems with alcohol. As the child of an alcoholic and someone who was mentally ill, I’m not a huge fan of creating more dysfunction for kids(and yes, I’m pretty convinced there will be people who will self medicate rather than get the help they need.)

            1. John Zelnicker

              “As a matter of fact, one of the schedule one medications we dispensed was Marinol, a synthetic version of THC”

              One correction. Marinol is listed as a Schedule III controlled substance.

              It’s my understanding that no one AT ALL is allowed to have Schedule I drugs. They are not made legally and cannot be prescribed since part of the Schedule I definition is that the listed drugs have no medicinal uses, as well as having a high risk of being abused.

              1. Yves Smith

                Yes having Schedule 1 drugs is a fast track to a felony conviction.

                I know of one sort of exception: gamma hydrobuterol. It was legal until maybe 15 year ago. Widely used in the bodybuilding/elite sports community because it gave you extremely high quality sleep and greatly increased the growth hormone spike you normally get right after you fall asleep (due to the quality of the sleep). Not patentable, apparently not hard to make, occurs naturally in miniscule quantities in beef.

                It was a threat to the Big Pharma sleeping pills. So they demonized it as a date rape drug (if you mix a tiny bit with alcohol, you can apparently knock someone out. But that is also true of pretty much any barbituate you put in a drink).

                My endocrinologist was outraged when GHB was made illegal. He said there was no justification, the only people who were ever hurt by were people who were subjected to aggressive efforts to rouse them (during the first four hours of sleep with GHM you are seriously out).

                And anything that is a Schedule 1 drug is illegal to consume in any quantity, so you are breaking the law when you have a burger!

                But GHB is available as a very high priced drug, supposedly for narcolepsy. Go figure.

                1. John Zelnicker

                  The hypocrisy of putting a drug with acceptable medical uses in a category defined as those without any such uses is amazing but not surprising. I assume some Big Pharma company has some kind of patent on the GHB used medicinally just in case the scheduling is not enough of a barrier to competition.

            2. Oregoncharles

              It’s been around, and used, for a long time. There’s no lethal dose, so it isn’t actually a toxin. And it’s a remarkably mild drug compared with, eg, alcohol, or even tobacco – both of which kill people regularly.

              Yes, a lot of people are self-medicating with it; a lot of people medicine has no help for.

        2. John Zelnicker

          @cwaltz – Schedule I is not experimental, it’s an absolute prohibition. That’s why almost no research is being done on cannabis in the US. And it’s why Clinton’s move is not unimportant. I just see it as more of the Clintonian triangulation.

          And, we have 5,000 years of human experience with cannabis. We have an endocannabinoid system throughout our bodies prepared to lock on to THC and other cannabinoids. We even produce similar compounds in our bodies. How much more research do we actually need as far as safety goes? The research needs to be focused on finding out what diseases and conditions will respond favorable to cannabis therapy.

        3. Optimader

          Not like there isnt a few centuries of field work already done. Oh… You mean the federal grant money teet. Got it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think it’s ridiculous, especially when you consider that debate teams from traditionally black universities are stomping the circuit over the last few years and have been national champions. (I believe the members of the prison debate team that stomped Harvard were also black, though I’ve never been able to find a video of it.)

      1. abynormal

        “Our program is successful because we operate on a genuinely human level.”
        Their first debate victory came last year, when they defeated the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

        i’ll be joyfully lost in this list

      2. Chris Geary

        I don’t know why everyone seems to be overlooking the root cause of all this hoopla: Minority students’ experiences at the institution.

    2. Daryl

      Personally, I’m glad someone is finally standing up for appropriate Halloween wear. Won’t somebody think of the ghouls, vampires, and ghosts? Halloween is like a Redskins game on Thanksgiving for the differently alive among us.

  8. DJG

    I was wondering when the controversy about the two books about church corruption would break out of the Italian media. Here is one article from Fatto Quotidiano. There are plenty more if you read Italian:

    Nuzzi writes for Corriere della Sera, I believe. Chiarelettere, the publisher, is a muck-raking publishing house that has also published books by the top editors at Fatto Quotidiano (Gomez and Travaglio). That’s a bit of due diligence. Chiarelettere has a reputation for accuracy.

    Favorite charge so far? That Bertone, former or current Vatican Secretary of State, lives in a 700 square meter apartment. That’s 7,000 square feet. I’m trying to figure out where he found a big-box store in Roma for his digs.

    1. DJG

      Hmmm. One of the leakers of documents is from Opus Dei. Mixed motives indeed, considering that Opus Dei is still yearning for the good old days of Francisco Franco.

      And for a virtual tour of Cardinal Bertone’s little apartment, there’s a link at Repubblica today. Amazingly, he claims to have paid for the renovations himself. With what? Secular priests don’t have a vow of poverty (unlike monastics), but still…

  9. ProNewerDeal

    The Congressional Progressive Caucus wiki page notes the caucus has 68 US House Reps + Sen. Sanders.

    However, only 2 of these 68 have endorsed Sanders, K Ellison & R Grijalva

    Why do you think most of these Reps have either not endorsed anyone, or endorsed H Clinton? For example, Rep. A Grayson & Sen. E Warren (not in the CPC but good skilled advocate on consumer financial protections) are outspoken on good policies that appear similar to Sanders’ policies, but have not endorsed anyone. Do you think H Clinton/B Clinton, or the Party hacks/Execs like Debbie Wasserman-Schutz are privately threatening Reps who endorse Sanders with a primary challenge in their next Congressional election, or other such “stick” punishments? If so, this would be another example of the “Democratic” party being authoritarian & anti-democratic.

    1. nigelk

      The older I get, the more I’m reminded of an old friend that left the country years ago:

      Professional Republicans have no brains, Professional Democrats have no spines, and most American citizens have neither one

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s because most American citizens’ brains are too pre-occupied with finding food for survival.

        And too mentally drained after work to even cook a home made cheese and macaroni dinner.

        And their spines are broken from too many mammoth hunts. Two hours commune just to haul the dead beast home everyday will do that to you. Not to mention the damage to Nature, as your flatulent self releases ever more carbon into the atmosphere on that journey back to the cave.

    2. 3.14e-9

      I was shocked that my congressman, Jim McDermott, endorsed Hillary. He was one of the original members of the CPC. Likewise, Senator Patty Murray, who historically has leaned prorgressive, was an early endorser. I was talking to a friend about this last week, a union guy who on and off has been an insider in local and state politics. He said McDermott has been ready to retire for some time and likely is fishing for a job. I’ve figured that was true for Murray, who no doubt would get a top job if Clinton were elected. You could be right about the duplicitous DWS, but there may be both carrots and sticks here.

      1. neo-realist

        Patty Murray by and large is an establishment democrat, a de-facto lobbyist for Boeing, and a TPP supporter.

        1. 3.14e-9

          Her work on behalf of the TPP has pissed off a lot of her constituents — enough that many are threatening not to vote for her again, and she’s up for re-election in 2016. Maybe she’s counting on a political appointment and doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ what the voters think. It’s too bad, because she has been good on many issues in the past. If I had to guess, I’d say the smell of power has been wafting under her nose for the past couple of years.

    3. different clue

      They are not prepared to organize to resist and reject re-enslavement and obedience -enforcement by the Pelosi Clintonite Shitobamacrat party leadership.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Corbyn not kneeling in front of the Queen.

    Some 200 plus years ago, British legate Macartney similarly refused to prostrate in front of Qianglong.

    We all know what happened to that empire.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    We could have an economic boon this winter – if the Fed doesn’t screw it up.

    No, we don’t need that kind (that is, the current kind) of economic boon. The current system is defined from the perspective of those in the 0.01%. For example, system efficiency, inflation, unemployment – all measured for the benefits of the rich humans.

    A life-centric economic system, or a Nature-centric economic system, will allow us to enjoy a smaller GDP (as currently measure) that is better distributed among all and less taxing on Nature.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Justice department…attacking monopolies…doesn’t deliver.

    The government itself is a monopoly.

    The justice department should not have the monopoly of attacking monopolies, if it doesn’t do the job.

    Let someone else in as well.

    The same with its monopoly on going after banksters.

    Let’s have some competition.

  13. financial matters

    Rewriting Monetary Policy 101: What’s the Fed’s Preferred Post-Crisis Approach to Raising Interest Rates? (PDF) Journal of Economic Perspectives

    Essentially what this article is saying is that since the Fed’s balance sheet is so large it has to use reverse repo via the money markets in order to raise interest rates.

    But it’s worried that by offering this safe asset of treasuries at a fixed interest rate to money market funds it will undermine the money market participation in tri-party repo and that this may destabilize the system.

    Are they serious?

    They don’t think money market participation in derivative contracts and junk bonds is not the part that is destabilizing?

  14. different clue

    Since the mainstream civil rights organizations have zero interest in preventing the property scamming of cognitively-challenged black property owners in NYC or elsewhere . . . perhaps Black Lives Matter will step up and create a co-equal free-standing Black Homes Matter organization? To surveil these neighborhoods for any and all such scamulous approaches? And perhaps do private and quiet leg-breaking and tire-iron tooth-removals against people attempting such scams against black homeowners or apartment owners?

    1. Emma

      ps. It’s worth a read because I suspect Mr Summers, despite talking nice about “global prosperity”, has in reality, no wish for a select group of current forces to be derailed by ‘populist’ trade protectionists seeking to protect US jobs. His purpose with such an article is likely preemptive in that he’s warning us from not inhibiting Chinas’ growth because……here’s the scare…….they might attack us otherwise!

  15. edmondo

    Ahhhh, the Sheepdog barks:

    “Yes, we do agree on a number of issues, and by the way, on her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day.”

    — Sen. Bernie Sanders, quoted by the Huffington Post

    1. different clue

      Well . . . when Sanders says things like that he certainly raises the “sheepdog” fear in the minds of some. Perhaps he feels he has to say it pre-emptively in order to be able to gain support from Clinton in case HE wins the nomination?

      If he actually believes it, then he is mistaken. Trump would be a better candidate and a better President than Clinton would. If that’s what it comes down to.

  16. Chris Williams

    Completely off topic and links, but I want to further Massimissa’s comments about how I spend too much time here and it’s becoming my only reliable source of news in the world. For that, thank you,.

    Re comments from others about linux.

    I’ve been pretty disappointed about my laptop, a three year old asus zenbook, core i5 and all that. Worked brill for a while with Windows 7, but has been running like a skunk for quite a while.

    Took the dive today, with a usb, a trip to the bios, making sure I’d copied what was important and forgetting about all that shit software I bought or downloaded, with all its attendant crap. Created a bootable usb with a Linux Mint 64 bit iso file and away we went.

    From 3 gig spare to 70 gig now free or so on a 128 gig solid state drive. All my pics, videos and docs, excel too, restored and usable using Libre and other installed progams, part of the 10 gig or thereabouts download pack.

    So quick, I can’t believe it. No longer throttling back feeds or closing apps to stream video etc. Supposedly better able to handle viruses etc. We will see.

    I’ll let all know if this is long term better

Comments are closed.