Links 12/17/15

Cancer studies clash over mechanisms of malignancy Nature

Another View: Private equity investments pay off for CalPERS  Henry Jones, Sacramento Bee. Stale talking points comprehensively debunked by Yves back in September.

Accounting industry and SEC hobble America’s audit watchdog Reuters

Meet the Lobbyists and Big Money Interests Pushing to End the Oil Exports Ban DeSmogBlog

Cheap gas spurs SUV sales and puts U.S. climate goals at risk Reuters

Even if the global warming scare were a hoax, we would still need it The Telegraph

Freight Shipments Hammered by Inventory Glut, Weak Demand Wolf Street

Brazil stripped of investment grade rating as crisis deepens Reuters

Nations work best when they work together, in Europe and beyond George Soros, FT


As Expected Tim Duy’s Fed Watch

Era ends at Fed with 1st rate hike since 2006. What next? McClatchy

Fed raises rates in historic move FT

Asia Welcomes Fed Move as Policy Makers Warn of Outflow Risks Bloomberg

What Should the Fed Do and Have Done? Larry Summers. “It is an anachronism to believe that zero rates are only appropriate in pathological economies.” I think it’s fascinating we even have a category called “pathological economies.”

Budget Bill

Congress sleds through spending, tax bills with something for everyone McClatchy

Text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act,  2016 (PDF) House of Representatives. Very alert readers found an Easter egg, writing “IMF quota, governance change to increase Chinese ownership of IMF buried in the omnibus”:

It’s not even included in the section by section. See pp 1459-1465. I believe this is the key language, though I’m no IMF expert:


The United States Governor of the Fund may accept the amendments to the Articles of Agreement of the 24 Fund as proposed in resolution 66–2 of the Board of Governors of the Fund.

Congress snuck a surveillance bill into the federal budget last night The Verge. Another Easter egg: Working Thread, Cybersecurity Act emptywheel

The Paul Ryan Compromise Salon. Who knows what else is in there…

I For One Welcome Our New Monopolist Overlords

Facebook partners with Uber to let you hail rides from Messenger Daily Dot

Remaking Dow and DuPont for the Activist Shareholders NYT. “in today’s markets, financial engineering prevails and only activist shareholders matter.”

Big Brother is born. And we find out 15 years too late to stop him The Register

Homan Square Detainees Testify To Abuse At County Hearing Chicagoist. It was good to see Chuy all over this. Oh, wait… 


Obama: The Fairy-Tale President? Foreign Policy in Focus

US Not Sure Who It’s Fighting In Middle East, Bombs Israel ‘Just To Be Sure’ Duffelblog

US-backed Syrian rebel group on verge of collapse Stars and Stripes (YY). Oh? Which one?

US-Russia plan to squeeze Isis finances FT

Anxious parents send children back to L.A. schools as safety concerns linger Los Angeles Times. All it takes is one hoax email. The terrorists really have won, haven’t they? 

San Bernardino Shooters Didn’t Post Publicly About Jihad on Facebook, FBI Says New York Magazine

How Muslim headscarves became a fashion empire BBC

Refugee Crisis

LO: OM FLYKTINGAR INTEGRERAS KAN SVERIGE FÅ EN SUPEREKONOMI Dagens Industrie. Reader AR provides a translation and commentary:

In an interview on Wednesday, the head of Sweden’s main trade union, LO, stated that “if we can manage to integrate the refugees properly, Sweden can have a super-economy within a few years time with a growth of 4-5%. It is a considerable investment but in a few years time the majority of the 170.000 (refugees arriving in 2015) should have found work.

 Background: Unemployment among people born in Sweden is 3%, which is full employment. Meanwhile growth is currently 3,5% and projected to be 3% in the coming years.

Exactly as the Somali refugees helped rejuvenate downtown Lewiston, Maine.

The fiscal impact of refugees in Sweden

Spain’s Ohio Reveals Anxious Nation as Old Certainties Fade Bloomberg. Turns out “old certainties” are a thirty-year two-party duopoly…. 


Beijing Probes Architects of Stock-Market Rescue WSJ

Will China’s Censorship Spread? WSJ

Why are Chinese fishermen destroying coral reefs in the South China Sea? BBC. On the one hand, I’m sad for the coral. On the other, there seems to be a subtext…

Imperial Collapse Watch

Air Force Offers $125K Critical Skills Bonus to Drone Pilots

ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech Eric Posner, Slate

Africa: The Next Defense Market Opportunity? Defense Industry

Guillotine Watch

Ex-MIT dean and son to serve prison time for hedge fund scam AP. Can’t these managerial types content themselves with paying themselves exorbitant salaries and screwing over the adjuncts? O tempora! O mores!

“At that point, my clothes accidentally fell off” (YouTube) Little Britain (TheDarmardar). A better excuse than that Saudi squillionaire Ehsan Abdulaziz gave…

Class Warfare

America’s permanent, ubiquitous tent-cities Boing Boing

UK household spending falling yet corporate profitability at record levels Bill Mitchell

As jobs-for-life fade, mobility key as workers face a survival reality check Japan Times

It’s a Trap: Emperor Palpatine’s Poison Pill (PDF) Zachary Feinstein (PP).

Avoiding the Trap of Shallow Narratives Another Word for It

Antidote du jour (@planetepics):

links foxes

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. Carla

    Lambert: I think it’s fascinating we even have a category called “pathological economies.”

    Carla: Just what do you think we’re living in?

    Yes, I know that isn’t what Summers meant, but nevertheless, he coined the phrase. And the psychological phenomenon of “projection” kinda ‘splains the rest, don’t it?

    1. Steven D.

      Kinda like Larry’s saying, “you shoulda let me be Fed Chair. You’d a liked me better than Janet.” He shoulda not been such a tool his whole career.

    2. fresno dan

      pathological economies
      Kinda of like Mark Twains’, “Suppose you have an idiot and suppose you have a congressmen….but I repeat myself”

  2. Peter Schitt

    On Saudi accidental penis slip into vagina:
    “During the trial, Judge Martin Griffiths permitted the rare step of allowing 20 minutes of Abdulaziz’s evidence to be heard in private.”
    That’s a bit fishy, isn’t?

      1. Jason

        I suspect the proper verb is counted.

        Perhaps it took so long because the judge insisted on small bills?

  3. RabidGandhi

    Re: “Spain’s Ohio Reveals Anxious Nation as Old Certainties Fade” Bloomberg

    I was in Spain twice this year, once in January and once in July-October. The difference between the political climate in January and July could not be more night and day. In January, there was a palpable anger at the ruling PP/PSOE duopoly, and Podemos seemed to be channeling that anger toward rejection of austerity and real change. Well after the Syriza debacle, in which Podemos showed 0 solidarity and backed off from its radical anti-austerity, Podemos did indeed channel the indignation: right into the gutter. By July, there were little to no protests in the streets, no one seemed engaged in politics, and a climate of resignation was predominant. (high five Merkel!)

    Thus I do not share the Bloomberg article’s awe at the tectonic changes in Spain’s political landscape. Podemos and Ciudadnos have just become lite-versions of the 2 larger parties, with any grassroots movements quickly neutralised.

    Europe is depressing.

  4. jgordon

    From the Moon of Alabama: NYT Burned Again By Granting Anonymity To “Officials”

    Whether actual or not, it certainly appears that there is an agenda at work in the New York Times to increase government power and control by any means necessary. They’re even willing to purvey anonymous lies from government officials without any fact checking or verification–if that’s what is needed. I think that there should be disclaimer added whenever NYT is linked to that these guys are shady and untrustworthy characters–and that their opinion and even “news” articles are to be taken with a large helping of salt.

    1. fresno dan

      If the reporters are so unsophisticated not to see that agendas are being advanced, oxes being gored, etcetera, they have no right to be reporters. At some point, the Times becomes a co-conspirator in the dissemination of propaganda.

      1. RabidGandhi

        A survey of back issues would suggest that your “at some point” occurred on approximately 18 September 1851, give or take a few days.

      2. drb48

        At some point, the Times becomes a co-conspirator in the dissemination of propaganda.

        Pretty sure that point was passed a long time ago – during the Judith Miller fiasco.

        1. RabidGandhi

          …Or when they led the cheerleading for the attack on Nicaragua in the 80s. Or when they published multiple beat sweeteners and glowing editorials praising Suharto in 1965. Or when they stoked the hysteria for the Spanish-American war in 1898…

          Read Upton Sinclair’s Brass Check (cited here on several occasions). It debunks the idea that the MSM’s whoring ways are somehow new.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Now the NYT has got a little brother for the ‘dissemination of propaganda’:

          The billionaire casino magnate and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson is behind the mysterious purchase of The Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million, his family confirmed in a statement Thursday.

          Mr. Adelson founded Israel Hayom, a free newspaper, in 2007 as a way to support Benjamin Netanyahu and promote a right-wing political agenda. He also bought Makor Rishon, an Israeli religious paper, in 2014.

    1. cyclist

      Shkrelli’s lawyer, one Evan Greebel, was also arrested. His bio, from his firm’s (Kaye Scholer) website, has this zinger: The Financial Times recognized Evan as a “US Innovative Lawyer.”

      1. Vatch

        Didn’t Han Solo shoot him in the cantina? No, I guess that was Greedo, which would be a good nickname for Martin Shkreli!

    2. RUKidding

      Ripped off the rich. Can’t have that!! Book ‘im, Dano!

      OTOH: gouging kids and seriously ill people? Why what a great guy you are! You learned your lessons well, my son. Good job! Keep up the good work.

      Hope he gets the full Maddoff. Probably get a tap on his privileged, entitled white wrist.

  5. No one

    I am not registered with your website (and I will never do so) but I am an avid follower. The TPP coverage has been excellent, and today, I’m sure, will be the same. Some of your readers may wish to hear what the wise campaigner Lori Wallach has to say regarding tomorrow’s (fateful) vote. She was interviewed last night by Pacifica’s Ian Masters:

    It’s the third segment. It turns out that the actual food we Americans find in the supermarket is no different from the politcal rhetoric the politicians try to stuff down our throats.

    1. TedWa

      Instead of “Let them eat cake” it’s “Let them eat technology”, the GMO kind. No real difference there I can see

    2. alex morfesis

      Ve haft vaze oft finding you. You kannotz xhyde from us…we are every vare unt knowvare…we are anomalous…

      Mom…the grilledcheese is cold again…and can ya crank the heat a bit…its cold down here.

      Oops…forgot to hit mute…

    3. participant-observer-observed

      You haven’t been listening to Ed Snowdon, apparently.

      You are registered, but by the NSA’s minions in your ISP, unprotected sliding doors in your web browser and OS, etc!

      Yves and Lambert will need a mega funding upgrade before they take on such task, but it would be interesting to learn what the best market would be for data mining of NC readers!

      1. Daryl

        > Yves and Lambert will need a mega funding upgrade before they take on such task, but it would be interesting to learn what the best market would be for data mining of NC readers!

        Sell em directly to the House Committee on Un-American Activities I reckon. Not going to name names, but I’ve seen some people make comments critical of the American government on here!

      2. ekstase

        “It’s clear now that this bill was never intended to prevent cyber attacks,”

        But–How is that possible?!

    1. Vatch

      Disgusting. Why do the leaders of Congress think they can get away with junk like this? One major reason is the low turnout of voters in U.S. elections. The Congressional tools of the oligarchs know that there probably won’t be enough people voting against the incumbents, so they do whatever their ultra rich masters demand. When people refuse to vote it is not an act of protest; it’s an endorsement of the status quo.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Call them and let them know you’re done with voting for them if they pass this monstrosity. If your rep is a GOP one, mention Trump. If they’re a Dem, mention Sanders.

        It’s about all we can do.

        1. Vatch

          I’m aware of the Gilens and Page study about the irrelevance of public opinion to legislative behavior. One reason for this phenomenon is that voter turnout in elections is so low. That’s not the only reason (money is a huge factor), but I think it’s significant. Starting in 1904, the voter turnout in U.S. Presidential elections has always been lower than 70%. On a few occasions it has been under 50%. In the off year elections, the turnout is usually even lower. Remember when the turnout in Ferguson, MO, rose to a resoundingly high 29%, and some people though that was a success?

        2. jrs

          yea doesn’t the incumbents winning also have a lot to do with hopelessly gerrymandered districts at least for the House. You’d need a whole movement not to reelect incumbents that overrode all party loyalty to win there when that is the case. A few disgruntled people is not going to overthrow a very gerrymandered district. Though one could try primary challenges as a strategy there.

          Sure though nothing wrong with contacting congress.

      2. RUKidding

        Why do the leaders of Congress think they can get away with junk like this?

        You mostly already answered your question, but really? No one – or nearly no one – is paying attention to this. Why not? Well one reason is that most citizens are all too eager to be rapturously enthralled by what’s called the GOP primary campaign. IMO, it’s no “accident” that that sh*t show is coming down in the exact way that it is. Mindless distraction for mindless citizens.

        JMHO, of course. But ask just about anyone you know about work visas. They’re eyes’ll glaze over, and they’ll change the subject. Guaranteed.

      1. ambrit

        Let us start referring to H2-B ‘workers’ as “Cyborgs.”
        This practice is traditional Owner versus Worker behaviour. (Really, I am being overly harsh on small time ‘owners.’ Anyone know of a resource that breaks down H2-B using companies by volume of use of H2-B, and company size? [I know it is an assignment. Sorry.])

    2. Salamander

      I love how the congressional aid defends his boss… “He promised no new major legislation, not that he would’t touch any programs…”

      So of course, DREAM act, turning immigrants into fully enfranchised citizens? No way! But trippling the number that we can import for temporary low wage exploitation, without their families, before sending them back where they came from? America, fook ya!

  6. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re “‘Anxious parents send children back to L.A. schools as safety concerns linger’ Los Angeles Times. All it takes is one hoax email. The terrorists really have won, haven’t they?”

    I commented on this yesterday and was very mildly admonished for sounding naïve. I was being rhetorical, I swear. But this really has been troubling me. It seems huge.

    When the general public becomes redundant to the ambitions of the elites, they are reassured to see that we can be made, on the scale of 3M+ people, to do as we’re told by simply saying, “Boo!”

    Last winter our local school district here in Texas closed all schools because temperatures were near freezing and there was a tiny chance of some precipitation. Local media were discouraging drivers from getting on the road and recommending that workers take off early if they could. It was complete madness and everyone was buying into it. I was looking outside and at the radar on the Internet and scratching my head. As it turned out, it was a partly cloudy day with a predawn low of 33 and a high near 50.

    So we were told to go shopping, but now with credit maxed and wages and workforce minimized, we’re told that it’s too dangerous to go outside. Do I sound hysterical?

    1. fresno dan

      You know that “land of the free and home of the brave” is merely branding, and as with all advertising, bears no relation to reality….

    2. jrs

      Well I’d see closing the schools as a better safe than sorry decision, I guess. Did they consult law enforcement on what should be done? Then it’s rational to take their advice at that point, even if it means closing schools. Perhaps work out a long term plan on what should be done in those situations.

      Most kids are probably like it’s a gift from the gods of course, like a snow day, only in L.A.

  7. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re Budget Bill

    Here’s the link to the Lori Wallach interview by Ian Masters.

    Meat provenance labeling prohibited, evisceration of campaign finance, oil export…

    This is a 15-minute must listen.

    1. Jim Haygood

      If I recall correctly, amendments to bills once could be challenged based on ‘germaneness.’ It meant that budget bills had to stick to the budget; highway bills to highways; defense bills to defense, etc.

      Now major policy legislation is slipped into unrelated “must pass” bills at 3 am, without any parliamentary niceties such as committee hearings, floor debate, and other anachronisms of our former constitutional democracy.

      In his recent quarterly commentary, Jeremy Grantham included a chart showing that public support or opposition to U.S. legislation had zero relation to its probability of passage.

      That’s why I’d no more write to a KongressKlown than to the cocker spaniel down the street. In both cases, the creature in question is neither interested in my opinion nor likely to read it.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Nations work best when they work together – Soros.

    That’s called cooperation.

    What about workers?

    Workers work best when they work together – cooperation, or when they work against each other – competition?

    “Cooperation at the top, competition at the bottom.”

    1. Steve H.

      – Cooperation at the top, competition at the bottom.

      Nice. As an elite prescription, though, it only works in the short-term. Dow/DuPont makes me think that what looks like cooperation from below may actually be more like this:

    2. Jef

      Darwin wrote about this. He,and Krapotkin both wrote about the fact that no species survives without cooperation. The dog eat dog thing, which Darwin never said, is what people use to rationalize their misdeeds.

    3. Christopher Fay

      Soros wants nations to work together to free Ukraine for the plutocrats. He nation worked together with Neocon Queen Victoria Nutland when we spent only $5 billion throwing the coup

  9. Vatch

    ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

    When I saw this link, I hoped that the author was being ironic. No such luck; he really wants new laws that limit people’s access to information. The potential for abuse of such laws is enormous. Start by prohibiting access to web sites that glorify Daesh (ISIL), and eventually there will be laws that prohibit access to websites that oppose “free” trade agreements or which expose toxins in our food.

    I have a better idea: let’s aggressively oppose superstitious miracle-based religion. Dave Hume and Carl Sagan taught us that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Let’s push back against the fanatics. If the magic in Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings is fictional, then magic elsewhere is probably fictional, too.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Plus ça change…

      ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

      Al Qaeda Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

      The red threat Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

      The danger of Nazism Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

      Hate speech and Kiddie Pr0n Give Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

      The War on Christmas Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

      ….etc ad infinitum

    2. Brook

      Vatch, were you able to read the comments to that article? I just get a message, “loading” and nothing happens. I’d be curious as to what kind of readers that wretched site/publication has.

      Eric Posner has got to be one toxic dude. His wikipedia page has clearly been sanitized:

  10. fresno dan

    ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech Eric Posner, Slate

    The power of the internet. All these blank blank ‘slates” (irony alert – “Slate” is pretty blank) that are whipped into becoming Jihadis merely because of internet surfing.

    “Consider Ali Amin, the subject of a recent article in the New York Times. Lonely and bored, the 17-year-old Virginia resident discovered ISIS online, was gradually drawn into its messianic world, eventually exchanged messages with other supporters and members, and then provided some modest logistical support to ISIS supporters (instructing them how to transfer funds secretly and driving an ISIS recruit to the airport). He was convicted of the crime of material support of terrorism and sentenced to 11 years in prison. Amin did not start out as a jihadi; he was made into one.”

    A seventeen year old “knows” how to transfer funds “secretly.” hmmmm…my BS detector goes off. And the logic escapes me of keeping ISIS sympathizers in the US, where one would think that their inability to fight on the front lines means that they will fight (i.e., terrorist attack) here in the US. What about all that nonsense about fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here?

    The other problem I have is this idea that all these “blank” slates become Jihadis because they merely see this stuff. By that logic, wouldn’t the NYT article linked be a Jihadi recruitment tool, as it provides extensive background on ISIS? The NYT references a former Air Force member, (“a former Air Force mechanic in his late 40s from New Jersey”). As a former air force member, am I to be prevented from accessing the ISIS internet magazine, if I want to see what ISIS says for myself??? Am I in danger of becoming a Jihadi (I don’t know – do they have a pastafarian sect???)

    So, acknowledging Godwins law, the little mustachioed guy wrote a book, “Mein Kamph”
    Is it so dangerous that it should not be on the internet? Not sold? (yes, I am aware that it is outlawed in Germany)
    How many people will read Mein Kamph and think it has pretty good ideas?
    Say you want to make the argument that Trump shares a bunch of ideas with the little mustachioed guy – if Mein Kampt could never be read, how would one prove such a contention?

    How does anybody get interested in any idea?
    After exposure to an idea, how does one decide that one is interested in the idea or not?
    How does one decide that an idea is worth dying for?

    Going back to Mein Kampf, to the extent that it was successful, WHY was it successful? Germans are BAD people??? (than, but not now…cause they’re our allies now….)
    Dare I broach the subject that the Germans were wronged after WWI (I use Keynes as my defense for the proposition). I argue NOT that this justified the policy prescriptions of Mein Kampf, but as a window into a perilous situation. I would argue the fact that the allies refusal to understand the German point of view led to WWII.
    We can argue that our enemies are merely insane, stupid, or brain damaged. I think ISIS is in fact wrong and a danger, but not knowing how or WHY they recruit is like refusing to study botany and walking through a field full of poison ivy. And giving up a window that enables us to know what motivates the recruits is….negative intelligence. It diminishes our ability to succeed.

    The US tries to have it both ways – ISIS is a vanishingly small number of fanatics whose ideas are rejected by the overwhelming mass of Muslims.
    On the other hand, its ideas are so powerful and compelling, that apparently seeing them turns one into a mindless automon bent on world domination. I’m sorry, but the ideas of ISIS are already out there. If there ideas are so powerful, we’re already doomed. If these ideas have been rejected by the overwhelming number of Muslims, than they can be rejected here, and we don’t need to sacrifice our rights.
    When ideas are outlawed, only Outlaws will have ideas

    1. Ignim Brites

      Actually, the idea of the caliphate is very powerful and this guarantees that it will become the cause celebre of our time if Western/Russian elites remain wedded to the policy of destroying it.

  11. Steve H.

    Pass the Popcorn:

    Here is a 27-second video from the Republican debates worth a view:

    There are words coming out of Trumps mouth, but he is still listening well enough to respond with timing. Eight seconds in, he counterpunches perfectly, despite having made the signal very noisy for the audience. When we speak, our auditory system damps down, so that it is not overwhelmed by bone conduction. What Trump does there is much more skillful than it seems.

    Bush is not weak in the sense that matters to the status quo. He would paint with pink mist as well as any past President. But Trump is making it seem that Jeb has a thin skin, ten seconds in Jeb is genuinely angry for a moment, again later in the video. He can’t look at Trump and stay loose, and Trump knows it.

    Strategically, Trump has identified Jeb as the only real threat. All Jeb has to do is get to the convention and split the opposition. That’s what W did to win the Texas governorship. Superdelegates and Daddy’s rolodex would take care of the rest. MMA fighters will knock someone senseless, then hammerfist them as they’re on their back. It’s not because they’re mean (well…), it’s to get the ref to charge in and end it.

    Trumps ‘capacity for independent action’ is unlike any candidate I can remember. Only Perot comes close. Of course Trump would sell favors. But he’s obliquely using TINA as leverage, by pointing out that so would all the other suitors. Sanders seems the only candidate to credibly provide an alternative on the point.

    Finally, a quote from Trump’s philosophical ancestor:

    Politics and government are certainly among the most important of practical human interests.

    – P.T. Barnum

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      There’s an implicit assumption in your argument that Bush will have won a substantial number of delegates (not anywhere near a majority but enough to form a block, say 20-30% of the total, that could command some power in a horse-trading scenario.)

      Based on latest polling data, that doesn’t seem too likely (4% support for the Jebster.)

      1. Steve H.

        You’re right about the assumption. Over 17% of the Republican delegates are unpledged. If Trump is genuinely disruptive, that 17 plus the current 4 push the block to 21% by today’s numbers. Jeb doesn’t need to take all Trumps numbers, he just needs half of them to go to other candidates.

        This was a talking point in 2008, but in hindsight Obama was clearly not a disruptive candidate.

        1. ChrisFromGeorgia

          Good point … a fractured convention where Trump, Rubio and Cruz all control around 20-25% and the rest are unpledged might allow such a scenario.

          I would have to think though that essentially holding a coronation of a fifth place candidate would essentially hand the White House to Hillary and also result in huge losses in the House and Senate for the party.

          I’m not ruling out such a “full Seppuku” scenario and it would be fun to watch in a twisted way. It might lead to the full scale implosion of the GOP and birth a real third party alternative.

          1. different clue

            I should imagine that in that scenario the Republican Inner Party would try to broker a Rubio/Bush ticket. Rubio as the dynamic young President and Jebbie as the wise old Vice President and adviser . . . . a sort of Cheney to Rubio’s Junior.

            And Rubio would go for it in hopes of turning Jebbie into a sort of LBJ to Rubio’s Kennedy or a sort of Humphrey to Rubio’s LBJ.

    2. jrs

      I saw it as a F-ist pushing the toughness and strength theme. I mean when you sound the exact notes, and act like a F-ist from schoolbooks, don’t be surprised when people call you one. When your Charlie Chaplin in the Great Dictator it’s not subtle what is being imitated. And Trump is that blunt. Now I don’t disagree that most of them are good on turning people into pink mist (Rand might be least likely to, so the best choice). And most definitely Bush with his dreadful family would likely make a lot of pink mist. But we’re going to elect someone as much as running as a F-ist now with Trump? Really?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      That YouTube really is amazing. Thanks!

      I like that “capacity for independent action” point; clearly, Sanders has it, too; that’s what his funding model does for him.* Why is it in quotes?

      That little bit at the end where Jebbie looks around — “See! I scored a point!” — is priceless. All those hundreds of millions, and look at him.

      * And what Clinton’s funding model most definitely does not do.

      1. Steve H.

        The ‘capacity’ quote is a breadcrumb. If someone searches on it, they find out about Col. John Boyd. Ye of Naked Capitalism seem to have a spirit very much like his. Hard-ass reformer, not shy to pick a fight, and you better pay attention to someone who’s usually right. Robert Coram has a fine biography.

        I agree about Sanders also keeping his autonomy. If he and Trump wore the corporate decals, like racing drivers, Sanders would have none and Trump would have one. Both have an extra dimension beyond that. While Sanders has been shoved behind the curtain by the MSM (see Time magazine), Trump has a brilliance at 21st century media that makes him unignorable. Les Moonves is literally cheerleeding, even Murdoch had to back off.

        Sanders also has an extra dimension. It’s a very long track record on social issues. He’s the only electable candidate in coherence with the 12-point platform. And despite concerns I have on his military spending record, there is at least the possibility he might have taken Sun Tzu’s Chapter 2 to heart.

  12. tegnost

    earl 34.86, copper 2.02
    low demand
    more of the same (or is it worse now) on the budget bill sneaking favors in, leaving people out (unless you’re H1-B, then have we got a job for you)

    1. jrs

      H*2*-B from that article. Now STEM field workers might shake in their shoes (and rationally so) at the thought of more H*1*-B’s, as they work very hard to keep up their skills and marketability etc. to maintain their middle class lives, just to see it all sold down the river by the politicos, in the ultimate futility that comes with being screwed by much larger forces.

      But the H2-B people are properly precariate class, they are people who are currently often getting ruthlessly screwed without end by the system (although there is some money in some of those jobs – waiter or bartending if your lucky – the elite must hate that anyone without advanced education survives at all), and it’s now policy to make their lives even more precarious. It’s sickening.

      While there is a lot of MYSTIFICATION around H1-Bs, that there is a mysterious shortage of STEM workers and their mysterious skills etc., with H2-Bs you can’t even mystify, people know very well what these blue collar jobs are, and that this is pure screwage.

  13. fresno dan

    “At that point, my clothes accidentally fell off” (YouTube) Little Britain (TheDarmardar). A better excuse than that Saudi squillionaire Ehsan Abdulaziz gave…

    OK, pretty good, but I will succintify it for you:
    At that point, I entered the cubicle (i.e., the restroom toilet area behind the barriers) to discuss Republican policy with the young man….which consists of, as with all repub policy, a hard ass f*cking

  14. TarheelDem

    Summers on “pathological economies” is “non-normative” normative thinking (TINA) taken to its logical conclusion.

  15. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    “The terrorists really have won, haven’t they?”

    “ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech Eric Posner, Slate”

    I’d say that the answer is a fairly definitive “yes” to the question.

    1. ambrit

      The best part is that no one (in the MSM) I have seen has yet asked the big question; Who exactly are the “terrorists?”
      “The terrorists really have won, haven’t they?”
      I would answer, YES, in big block letters.

      1. different clue

        Well . . . with a little help from Government.

        And of course real terrorists could phone in enough fake threats to where all such threats are disregarded. Then phone in a threat to have it disregarded, and then carry it out.

  16. allan

    IMF chief Lagarde to stand trial in France

    IMF chief Christine Lagarde is to stand trial in France for alleged negligence over a €400m (£291m; $434m) payment to a businessman in 2008.

    She was finance minister in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government at the time of the compensation award to Bernard Tapie for the sale of a firm.

    Mr Tapie supported Mr Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election. …

    1. Raj

      The question becomes, does she become the managing director of the IMF if she doesn’t make that negligent payment?

  17. James Levy

    Am I losing it, or are these links getting more depressing by the day?

    Today’s bright spot for me is that they have to offer bribes to drone pilots to keep at least some of them killing. This is a really positive development. It says that despite tons of indoctrination, some Americans will still say “no thanks” to killing people with impunity. I’d be curious if those who refuse to continue to do it do so out of a sense that it is immoral, dishonorable, or just plain stupid and counterproductive.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘some Americans will still say “no thanks” to killing people with impunity’

      Thus this real-life Stanford experiment, to help identify and screen out those burdened with the pathological notion of a ‘conscience’ from law enforcement and military service.

    2. JTFaraday

      I think we reached whole new levels of awfulness over the summer of 2014, when it seemed like we were increasingly hit on all sides, and we’ve been on the same trajectory (or set of trajectories) ever since.

  18. Daryl

    > ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech

    Ah, good thing the authors of the constitution foresaw this exact scenario. You can see it if you read the First Amendment very closely:

    > Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; unless some really scary shit goes down, in which case then it’s okay.

    This clown is a professor of law at University of Chicago. Was ruining economics not enough for those guys?

    1. Propertius

      I guess the question is whether a grey hoodie is an adequate substitute for Lambert’s “orange jumpsuit”.

    2. night-Train

      Apparently, when one is being a huge dick and in the process, committing crimes, it is unwise to call unnecessary attention to one’s self.

  19. participant-observer-observed

    FYI c/o Ars

    “Pre-crime arrives in the UK with a crowdsourced watch list

    You can now be ushered out of a shop even if you haven’t done anything wrong yet.”

  20. Jim Haygood

    Macri pulls the trigger:

    BUENOS AIRES—Argentina’s peso lost nearly a third of its value against the U.S. dollar Thursday, a day after the new government of President Mauricio Macri announced it was lifting currency controls to attract investors and kick-start the economy.

    Within minutes of trading, the peso weakened to 13.9 per dollar from 9.8 the previous day, its biggest one-day slide in decades.

    What will become of the AFIP dogs, the noble labradors and retrievers who sniff around the airport and Buquebus terminals for smuggled dollars?

    1. RabidGandhi

      The limit for leaving or entering the country with undeclared funds has been and still is USD 10,000. Same as in the US and most countries I know of. In Macri’s defence (!) the new administration has not (yet) made overt cash smuggling legal.

      So while today’s new policy will certainly lead to increased unemployment (40% devaluation thus far today), the AFIP dogs’ jobs are safe for the time being.

      1. Jim Haygood

        From Bubblear:

        Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay announced that Argentina’s foreign currency reserves are expecting “an influx of between 15 and 20 billion dollars.”

        Prat-Gay’s forecast could be too low. Slashed export tariffs coupled with a fair exchange rate for repatriating sales proceeds certainly will boost exports and forex reserves.

        FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is more of a wild card. Argentina has a nasty rep for expropriating foreigners. But hope springs eternal, especially among Italians and Spaniards who imagine that Argentina’s culture resembles theirs.

        1. RabidGandhi

          USD $8b in new external debt. (3b in a curency swap w/ China & 5b+ in a “bridge loan” from a syndicate of kindhearted banks). $8.5b from crop exports. Plus whatever loose change Sturzenegger can find under the cushions in the BCRA lobby sofa.

          Of course that’s just the assets. Liabilities include: $9b less revenue due to the lifting of export withholdings, the $12b that Griesa says is owed to vulture funds (which Macri said previously he would pay in full), $2.2b in bond payments embargoed by Griesa. And the real killer: all the dollars that will fly out of the BCRA (offshore?) now that capital restrictions are lifted.

          But do not fret comrades! Prat Gay has promised that the confidence fairy shall soon come and whisk our liabilities away with a revolución productiva! 30 day fixed deposit interest rates are at 33%, so take your dollars out of the mattress and put them in Argentine banks! We’ll have so many dollars we’ll forget about not having jobs.

  21. susan the other

    ode to the antidote

    Tracking the Wild Fox

    The rounded, well defined paw, two distinct front pads,
    short clear prints – not like the smaller track of a raccoon with their long fingers
    and nails so dextrous and delicate; not like a dog with all its toes and fingers
    splayed out in a mindless, happy trot. No.
    The fox track is tighter than the dog, sturdy, perfectly proportioned
    and always placed without a smear along blue steeps of snow
    and white pines in ancient stands – tall twins and triplets
    and between aspens overreaching, striving for the sun.
    Carefully around scrub oak and underbrush, searching,
    logical, even paced, intentional –
    How unwild the tracks of wild animals.

  22. Carl

    Eric Posner, Is This is what the boys that stormed Normandy Beach fought for, a country so steeped in paranoia, that they would allow people like you to throttle our civil rights?

    We should have stayed home.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech Eric Posner, Slate — Memo to Posner: There are already longstanding limits on speech of the “yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater and incitement-to-violence variety.” Just as there are already longstanding laws barring most high-finance fraud-as-business-model activities, including HFT market manipulations. We don’t need “fresh, new post-constitutional laws” and secret courts to interpret and enforce them, nor elitist-douchebag pundits like yourself to advise in such efforts.

  24. nothing but the truth

    summers. the champion of the washington consensus – where third world economies ravaged bycollapse were told to spike interest rates and cut spending and raise taxes (so his team ,could pick assets for pennies on the dollar) ….. yes that summers, who works for hedge funds which are long the bond market …. thinks the US economy cannot handle 25 basis points interest rate.

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