Links 1/25/16

That bizarre-looking star just got a lot weirder — and yes, it could be aliens Business Insider

Problems Found at Theranos Lab WSJ. And another facet of the bezzle comes s-l-o-o-o-o-w-l-y into view…

Unicorns point out financing flaws to unwary and unwise FT

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Confirms Key Executive Departures Re/code

Time to Say Goodbye to Long Bull Market? WSJ

US slowdown is now a headache for the Fed Gavyn Davies, FT

The low tricks of high finance: how greedy bankers, weak politicians and timid journalists could cause a new crash Spectator. Michael Lewis interview.

China’s banking stress looms like Banquo’s Ghost in Davos Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Emerging markets’ stressed debt reaches record levels FT

Gold Is Back in Fashion After a $15 Trillion Global Selloff Bloomberg

Deutsche CEO predicts cash will be gone in a decade Reuters

Complex supply chains spell trouble for companies trying to manage risk FT

Potential Saudi Aramco IPO Won’t Include Reserves WSJ


12 months since Saudi King Salman acceded to the throne AFP

Royal Pains: Two Princes Vie for Power in Saudi Arabia, Make a Mess NBC

U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels NYT

Another Arab Spring is coming to Egypt Al Jazeera. Evidence a bit thin. But military juntas around the world will be paying close attention.

Syria: The Battlefield Negotiations Now Favor The Syrian Government Moon of Alabama

Iran, Airbus strike deal for 8 A-380, 16 A-3a50 jets CNBC

What Donald Rumsfeld Knew We Didn’t Know About Iraq Politico

Jeremy Corbyn: All Calais migrants should be given chance to come to Britain Telegraph

Bryant: Nazareth professor to stand trial for protesting drones Democrat and Chronicle and Anti-drone protester begins jail sentence for violating order of protection WRVO


The Seven Stages of Establishment Backlash: Corbyn/Sanders Edition The Intercept

Bile, Bullshit, and Bernie Corey Robin, Jacobin (DG).

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Battle for Party’s Future NYT

The Democrats Stumble Toward 50 Shades of Socialism Joe Klein, Time

Sanders and the Theory of Change: Radical Politics for Grown-Ups HuffPo. Remember Jedediah Purdy?

Paul Krugman on the “Happy Dreams” of Bernie Sanders LA Progressive

‘Hillary, can you excite us?’: The trouble with Clinton and young women Guardian

Clinton’s Firewall in South Carolina is Melting Away… Corey Robin (MR). Headline a little overdrawn, but the CBS poll shows black voters moving from 78/19/2/1 Clinton/Sanders/O’Malley/Undecided to 55/18/2/26 (!). So Sanders may have an opening.

Byron York: GOP fear and loathing in New Hampshire Washington Examiner

Ted Rall: Donald Trump Is Right — About These Six Things A New Domain

The Trump paradox: A rough guide for the Left Left Flank. Interesting.

Behind Donald Trump’s Attack Strategy WSJ

It’s Official, Folks: We Have A “Draft Bloomberg” Effort Buzzfeed

Unraveling the Relation of Race and Class in American Politics (PDF) Adolph Reed, Political Power and Social Theory (2002), pp. 2-10. For those who came in late, Reed called his shot on Obama famously early, in 1996 (!).

Race to Nowhere Jacobin (and more Adolph Reed).

Bernie Sanders and the Liberal Imagination Ta-Nahesi Coates, The Atlantic. On reparations (and more Adolph Reed).

The Sánchez Insurgency Philadelphia Magazine

Flint Water

Gov. Snyder lied: Flint water switch was not about saving money, records show Motor City Muckraker

The Contempt That Poisoned Flint’s Water The New Yorker

America’s lead poisoning problem isn’t just in Flint. It’s everywhere. Vox

Class Warfare

The servants making $150,000 a year BBC. No, not neoliberal economics professors, silly! Butlers!

Why Robots Mean Interest Rates Could Go Even Lower In The Future Bloomberg

Chicago Public Schools Bankruptcy? Credit Slips

New study sheds light on what happens to women who are denied abortions Ars Technica (CL).

America Is Still Losing at Skyscrapers New York Magazine

Retrotopia: Learning Lessons The Archdruid Report. Latest of the series.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

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. Mark Alexander

      The VHC web site was definitely broken for me recently, due to a change of circumstances (retirement). The people on the phone have been helpful, but one of them verified that the system was indeed broken, and she had to file some kind of manual request to get my mess straightened out. I’m afraid to try it again to see if it really is fixed.

      I wouldn’t say this is feature. More like a libertarian nightmare where you spend countless hours each month wading through bureaucracies and information-free web sites trying to do something that should be simple.

        1. Titus Pullo

          Because the delusion (really faith) of the efficiency and rationality of markets is the guiding principle behind Obamacare. That’s a core libertarian principle, as far as I can tell. It’s also an animating principle of neo-liberalism.

          1. MLS

            Nowhere in my understanding of “Libertarian” views do they include heavy-handed government involvement in the distribution or pricing of a good or service.

            Saying that the efficiency of free markets is a core principle of Obamacare is one thing, but in reality there is very little free market about it.

            1. Skippy

              “Free Markets” is a Bernays social propaganda meme for the unwashed….

              “It starts just after the end of World War Two, when America’s industrial and financial giants, fattened up from war profits, established a new lobbying front group called the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) that focused on promoting a new pro-business ideology—which it called “libertarianism”— to supplement other business lobbying groups which focused on specific policies and legislation.

              The FEE is generally regarded as “the first libertarian think-tank” as Reason’s Brian Doherty calls it in his book “Radicals For Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement” (2007). As the Buchanan Committee discovered, the Foundation for Economic Education was the best-funded conservative lobbying outfit ever known up to that time, sponsored by a Who’s Who of US industry in 1946.

              A partial list of FEE’s original donors in its first four years includes: The Big Three auto makers GM, Chrysler and Ford; top oil majors including Gulf Oil, Standard Oil, and Sun Oil; major steel producers US Steel, National Steel, Republic Steel; major retailers including Montgomery Ward, Marshall Field and Sears; chemicals majors Monsanto and DuPont; and other Fortune 500 corporations including General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Eli Lilly, BF Goodrich, ConEd, and more.

              The FEE was set up by a longtime US Chamber of Commerce executive named Leonard Read, together with Donaldson Brown, a director in the National Association of Manufacturers lobby group and board member at DuPont and General Motors.

              That is how libertarianism started: As an arm of big business lobbying.”

              Skippy… a better word for libertarian is corporatism, which can all be put under the ideological paradigm of neoliberalism…. some just don’t seem to grok the Flexian tool user problem…

            2. Legendary Bigfoot

              au contraire mon frère. the fact of the matter is that libertarianism simply assumes things into existence and then out of existence as if by magic. Libertarianism is the ultimate expression of Calvinball. When you need government to enforce contracts, it is spirited into existence at no cost and with no precursor and no legacy. When you need someone to create and enforce currency it appears with a wave of the hand and no central authority, enforcement, etc.

              Magical thinking run rampant in seeming adults.

                1. MLS

                  I’m not here to defend or define Libertarianism, although I still don’t see how Mark Alexander’s comment is in any way accurate or relevant (notwithstanding Skippy’s history and Bigfoot’s assumptions). My larger point is that Obamacare has almost nothing to do with free markets, as currently constructed or operated.

                  If you insist on labeling it be my guest, but the points stands.

                  1. Skippy

                    Hand waving rhetoric is not a historical back drop nor an evidence based methodology by which to ascertain the pertinent facts, about how how socio-economic-political narratives are spun.

                    Free Markets is a trope, undefined vacuous meme which can and does only exist in quasi religious belief[s.

                    Just the matter of Laws establishing – proceeding the formation of markets invalidates the concept of “free”.

                    As such your entire premise is founded on a preception which does not square with reality.

                    “ObamaCare is, of course, a neoliberal “market-based” “solution.” ObamaCare’s intellectual foundations were expressed most clearly in layperson’s language by none other than the greatest orator of our time, Obama, himself (2013):

                    If you don’t have health insurance, then starting on October 1st, private plans will actually compete for your business, and you’ll be able to comparison-shop online.There will be a marketplace online, just like you’d buy a flat-screen TV or plane tickets or anything else you’re doing online, and you’ll be able to buy an insurance package that fits your budget and is right for you.

                    Let’s leave aside the possibility that private plans are phishing for your business, by exploiting informational asymmetries, rather than “competing” for it. Obama gives an operational definition of a functioning market that assumes two things: (1) That health insurance, as a product, is like flat-screen TVs, and (2) as when buying flat-screen TVs, people will comparison shop for health insurance, and that will drive health insurers to compete to satisfy them. As it turns out, scholars have been studying both assumptions, and both assumptions are false. “The dog won’t eat the dog food,” as marketers say. This will be a short post; we’ve already seen that the first assumption is false — only 20%-ers who have their insurance purchased for them by an institution could be so foolish as to make it — and a new study shows that the second assumption is false, as well.”


                    Skippy…. NC is not a place to exhibit ignorance or engage in equivocation.

                    1. MLS

                      Just because I have a different view than you does not mean I am “exhibiting ignorance”. I have read many of your comments over time and do not usually find you to be that intolerant. Color me surprised in this particular case.

                      Free markets is not a trope, it can be quite easily described by some of the following characteristics:

                      – two parties engaging in a transaction out of their own free will, without coercion
                      – clear pricing
                      – freedom of choice
                      – competition
                      – limited government involvement in the decision-making process

                      Obamacare has none of these qualities (and to be fair, neither did the broken health care system before it).

                      That there are few (if any) cases where all of these criteria are satisfied does not mean “free markets” is simply a vacuous, meaningless statement. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, after all.

                      Further, I agree with your points (1) and (2) above, but that only further proves my point – Obamacare is not based on free market principles.

  1. Savonarola

    Is that piece by Jill Abramson what we’ve come to in this country with “feminism?” I admit to an “all things being equal, vote for the woman” bias. But in the case of Hillary Clinton, all things could not be further from “equal.”

      1. Titus Pullo

        Do you really think that’s funny?

        Regardless of who Hillary Clinton is, her campaign so far has shown how ingrained the culture of misogyny is in the USA.

        Feminism is a philosophical school with competing ideologies, some of them troubling ‘handmaidens’ to the narratives of power that inform the worldview of someone like Clinton and many of her most ardent supporters.

        You could talk about any of that, any of the many facets of sexual relations, power, and dynamics between men and women, and instead you choose to make a puerile joke I would have heard in the back of the class when I was in the 4th grade.

        It’s not funny, and it’s not helpful. It just reflects (rightly or wrongly) your personal level of obdurateness regarding a long-term historical issue that is soaked in misery and blood (ie the rape and murder of women for being women).

        1. edmondo

          Regardless of who Hillary Clinton is, her campaign so far has shown how ingrained the culture of misogyny is in the USA.

          Bullshit! It shows that she can’t polish a turd any better in 2016 than she did in 2008. She has spent the last 16 months running on her reproductive parts when all anyone older than poor Lena Dunham sees is her history of Wall Street hugging, war-mongering. I’ve been called a racist because I dared point out that Obama is a sellout. To be called a misogynist because she is also a sellout really doesn’t bother me. Yawn, it’s going to be a long ten months.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            That’s non-responsive, as surely you must know.

            1) Yes, the Obots used charges of racism to make cheap political shots. That doesn’t mean that there’s no racism.

            2) You are being called out, and correctly, not because you called Clinton a sellout, but because you made a stupid and sexist joke about bodily organs. I don’t want to moderate for that stuff, so straighten up and fly right.

            * * *

            Just to clarify, there are plenty of people who would never vote for Haley or Palin, or Clinton, but would vote for Warren. I trust that doesn’t make them misogynists, any more than not voting for Obama made one, by definition, a racist.

            1. edmondo

              And this is coming from the guy who was counting the racial makeups and genders of supporters in Sander’s/Clinton’s closing ads yesterday?

              1. Yves Smith

                One more like that and you get banned. If you had bothered to read the post carefully, Lambert made the tally because Clinton attack dog David Brock called the ad racist.

        2. hunkerdown

          How are you discriminating any whole-system measure of misogyny due to the Clinton campaign from a whole-system measure of anti-paternalism? If she’s an aristocrat, what does her gender or sex matter to whether she ought to be hoisted or not?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Empowerment” that goes beyond the chromosomes may be a bit too much for miss hill to handle.

      She and her lady friends may have overshot.

    2. harry

      Forgive the odd question but I don’t suppose this is the same Savonarola who invests in emerging market debt?

  2. allan

    Behold Ta-Nehisi Coates, purity troll:

    Last week I critiqued Bernie Sanders for dismissing reparations specifically, and for offering up a series of moderate anti-racist solutions, in general. Some felt it was unfair to single out Sanders given that, on reparations, Sanders’s chief opponent Hillary Clinton holds the same position. This argument proposes that we abandon the convention of judging our candidates by their chosen name:

    “Youth unemployment for African American kids is 51 percent. We have more people in jail than any other country. So yes, count me as a radical. I want to invest in jobs and education for our young people rather than jails and incarceration. ”

    When a candidate points to high unemployment among black youth, as well as high incarceration rates, and then dubs himself a radical, it seems prudent to ask what radical anti-racist policies that candidate actually embraces. Hillary Clinton has no interest in being labeled radical, left-wing, or even liberal. Thus announcing that Clinton doesn’t support reparations is akin to announcing that Ted Cruz doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose. The position is certainly wrong. But it is hardly a surprise, and doesn’t run counter to the candidate’s chosen name.

    [emphasis added] Now it might be that when speaking at Goldman Sachs, `Hillary Clinton has no interest in being labeled radical, left-wing, or even liberal.’ But when speaking to prospective voters, Clinton, her campaign and her validators in politics and the media certainly do refer to her as a liberal. A pragmatic liberal.

    Coates seems to exist in his own dreamspace, divorced from reality. Which is tragic, given who he wants to help.

    1. cwaltz

      My observation is that there are well meaning people who are very much divorced from the reality of the people they wish to help.

      It reminds me of the argument that poor people are poor because they have bad habits. It’s a half truth. Poor people do indeed have bad habits, then again so do many of those well off. The real difference isn’t that they have bad habits. The real difference is they lack the resources the well off do that act as a safety net when we make mistakes or the universe isn’t kind to us. It’s kind of hard to dig yourself out when you lack a shovel like the other guy.

    2. fosforos

      Speaking of “own name.” It was Frau Clinton (the pseudo-feminist) who threw her own name into the garbage can in order to “stand by her [worthless] man” in order to get him elected governor of a two-bit benighted backwater state.

    3. jrs

      Yes Hillary wants to be seen as a liberal and much more RELEVANT here than being seen as “radical” or “left wing” she wants to be seen as good on race relations.

      But you know an essay like this would be more credible if it came with a call to vote for whoever does meet their purity claims or even to abstain from voting for president altogether out of pure principle. I have no idea of Jill Stein’s position on reparations, but maybe a call to vote for Jill Stein. Otherwise it just seems insincere, which of course it is.

  3. craazyboy

    “Why Robots Mean Interest Rates Could Go Even Lower In The Future Bloomberg”

    Artificial_Intelligence_Econ_Bot uses Phillips Curve to predict lower inflation leads to higher unemployment – and lower interest rates!

    Ah! It’s all clear now. hahaha.

    1. griffen

      Please hold and the next available T-1000 will be with you shortly. Your wait time is estimated at 5 minutes, or whatever.

  4. DDF

    Bloomberg Nation is to serve as “a call to action to the tech community at large,” which he said can elect the next president “on the basis of the skill set, the connections, and the know-how to get it to happen.” So Trump without popular appeal? Bloomberg made all his money on Wall Street, how is this going to appeal to the anti-establishment voters?

    1. Steven D.

      Maybe he means the tech community has the technical means to steal the election by rigging the voting machines and it’s their moral duty to do so in the name of centrism, which all right-thinking people support, or at least the only people whose opinions should count support it.

    2. sleepy

      Right. If Bloomberg thinks the nation is thirsting for another Wall St. billionaire to come to the rescue, he is as out of touch as that Davos guy who, gosh golly, just couldn’t understand why most folks didn’t think things were just fine.

    3. Titus Pullo

      Bloomberg won’t ever be elected President because he is ridiculously short for a man (reported to be 5’6″ but that’s probably with lifts). My knowledge is purely anecdotal, but it comes from a short, African-American woman who had a meeting (activist type stuff) with Bloomberg on private jet, while he was shoeless. She commented on his socks and his height in relaying her story, the kind of embellishments that are hard to forget.

      I’ve always been taken with the notion, ala Kundera, that one’s gestures are the basis of character — the wolfish smile, the cold shoulder, so on and so on.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wealth inequality and physical inequality.

        Should tall people be taxed for having inherited that good fortune, when we finally do something about wealth inequality?

        The man smiles self-satisfactorily and says: “I’m smart because my parents are smart. And we in the society look up to people who are rich because they are smart. To get rich because of one’s IQ is admirable. If you are not smart enough, tough luck. Sure, sometimes you have to work hard. So do some who inherited money but work hard to keep it. Though not too many are like that. But the fact remains, to a true genius, nothing is too hard. And if you don’t have to work too hard to succeed, because you’re such a genius, you are admired even more.”

        Thus, we have been indoctrinated (by smart people) regarding IQ inequality.

  5. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re Deutsche CEO predicts cash will be gone in a decade

    Cash I think in ten years time probably won’t (exist). There is no need for it, it is terribly inefficient and expensive — chief executive of Deutsche Bank

    The big next stress is that the financial system is going to be hacked for one or two days — CEO of Paypal

    Um. Okey dokey, then.

    1. GlobalMisanthrope

      I should have said: Everybody who hasn’t needs to stop and read Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale right now.

      …a theocratic coup via staged Islamist terrorism, cash as contraband, financial records used to implement and control a caste system, falling birth rates amid environmental degradation…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In “Voyage Home,” money is gone in the 23rd century.

      Perhaps we can speed it up and bypass the cash-less stage and head straight towards to money-less phase.

    3. Benedict@Large

      When cash is “gone in a decade”, banks will collect a fee every single time money is exchanged.

      1. Gaianne

        “banks will collect a fee every single time money is exchanged.”

        And also when it isn’t. After all, the little ones and zeros will be continuously under the banks tender care.


    4. perpetualWAR

      I gave up my credit cards, debit cards completely. I’m completely a cash person now. I suggest that every NC person does likewise.

      F*ck these assholes.

      1. cwaltz

        Most places(including the federal government) require you to get direct deposit. Buying a house was an exercise in how much a cash society confuses our government though. Part of our down payment savings was savings that I had put away month to month. It required me to explain the concept of savings to them. Apparently although they tell us we should always have some cash available for emergencies or that we should save a little at a time they really don’t believe we’ll do as they say.

      2. Clive

        Good for you !

        For some — a very few — transactions, a wire transfer is unavoidable due to the amount where the quantity of cash would be impractical. And, alas, sometimes there isn’t an easy alternative (my small donations to Lambert’s and the Naked Capitalism’s fundraisers require the dreaded PayPal because I can’t raise a US dollar check without paying an even worse fee at “my” end, if I sent a sterling cheque then Lamber or Yves would get gouged for negotiating it at “their” end so I just have to put up with PayPal’s profiteering as the least-worst option).

        But I am determinedly trying to wean myself off cards by keeping cash in my wallet. As you imply, it’s “use it or loose it”.

        1. perpetualWAR

          You wouldn’t believe the stupid things banks say when you want cash.

          “Can we get you a cashier’s check?”
          “Umm, we don’t have that kind of cash on hand.”
          “Why do you need cash?”

          I answer all of these questions:
          “Can we get you a cashier’s check?” My answer: “No, I don’t think we’re communicating correctly. I asked for cash.”
          “Umm, we don’t have that kind of cash on hand.” My answer: “That’s not my problem. The money is available in my account and I will sit here until you bring the proper amount that I am asking for. So, you’d better get on the phone and get a delivery made.”
          “Why do you need cash?” My answer: “Why would you ask me a question like that? Is there a problem with your bank that you cannot provide me what is mine? If so, I’m certain that I can find another institution that can do business the way I like to do business. It is your choice.”

          Of course, I always get the cash I need. I’ve had to wait a bit, but I don’t mind. As they say, cash is king. I just found out how much cash is king when I got literally about $8K off the price of a used car. How did I pay? All cash, of course.

          1. ambrit

            Lucky you about the car purchase. New car dealers are incentivized to do financing since that is a major profit centre for the auto companies. I’ve never had a new auto, but I have a friend who works for a dealership. He says to deal with Fleet Sales for the best price.

    5. Barmitt O'Bamney

      What he meant to say instead was “in a cashless society, the money system will be FULLY privatized* so that we, the financial parasite class, will be taking a cut of every single transaction on planet Earth, no matter how small and no mattter where it may be.”

      * That is to say, even more privatized than it is already: with the power of money creation given exclusively into private hands for private aims, and with everyone’s buying power (past labor) subject to rejiggering -without recourse or a moment’s notice- to benefit the financial class, whensoever their gambling schemes shall demand it. That was a good start, but the plan for permanent bankster supremacy has evolved far beyond that now.

  6. john

    Have you heard Wal Mart will be closing all it’s non-Super Center locations?

    Might be huge.

    CNN says it’s a sale.

    1. Kokuanani

      Big story in the DC area is how WalMart agreed to build stores in the areas that have few or no supermarkets as part of a deal to get to build in the richer areas, and as a way of getting around DC’s higher minimum wage. Now WM has announced that the stores in poor areas won’t get built/are being closed as part of their “down-sizing.” But hey, the stores in the richer areas: a-okay!!

      Local officials are quite PO’d, and I expect some retaliation.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        Food deserts.

        Now WalMart deserts. The poor can take hour-long bus to go to the nearest WalMart.

        1. cwaltz

          Walmart is kind of idiotic. If I were them I’d gamble on improving the area instead of continuing to oversaturate themselves in other market areas(as I’ve seen.) The frustrating part is they’ve got enough economic power they could make a real difference in real neighborhoods. Instead they’ll show us commercials about how benign they are while cutting off entire communities from a store where they can shop. *shakes head* Because- profit!

      2. polecat

        Local officials are f#ckin retarded for making deals w/ W-mart in the first place! But for unicorns & skittles…………

      3. jrs

        Yes Walmart DOES NOT seem to be actually reducing it’s stores. News stories seem to be that they are closing some stores and soon plan to open others (we will see if this happens). While this may make some pure business sense, as some locations perform better than others of course, it smells fishy, like they might be gaming something.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If true, I’d imagine the “unemployment” rate to head way south as all those former walmart workers take out student loans and set about bettering themselves with a corinthian college “education.”

      1. vidimi

        a lot of them will be elderly, so they can just eat shit and die. because markets. rule number 2, no pun intended.

      2. jrs

        As if any other college education would be any better when there are no jobs. But many Walmart workers are probably on to the scam that is private colleges. So they’ll waste dough and time at the state university and unless they are young, still might not get hired.

    3. Oregoncharles

      They JUST built an “Express” store in my town. They’re actually going to close it? (It’s in a bad location, too close to another, better supermarket, and not on the street.)

  7. craazyboy

    “CNN says it’s a sale.”

    Lots of luck with that. Around here they are next to supermarkets. Then, my Walmart Super Center has one Walmart Batman Center 2 miles away and another 3 miles away.

    Even higher density are our WalGreenArrow stores. In between there are the Evil CVS price fixer stores.

    And don’t get me going about our Office_Depot_To_The_Office_Max_Stapled_Together stores.

      1. Carla

        Walgreen’s and CVS are battling it out all over my town.

        And Walgreen’s is now selling Medicare Part “D” Prescription Drug insurance “coverage” to “seniors.” Lambert, take note: more Medicare crapification.

  8. GlobalMisanthrope

    Note that Unraveling the Relation of Race and Class in American Politics was co-authored by the brilliant feminist-socialist thinker Ellen Meiksins Wood who recently died and was eulogized/excerpted at Jacobin.

    A taste:

    “Civil society” has given private property and its possessors a command over people and their daily lives, a power accountable to no one, which many an old tyrannical state would have envied. Those activities and experiences which fall outside the immediate command structure of the capitalist enterprise, or outside the political power of capital, are regulated by the dictates of the market, the necessities of competition and profitability.

  9. nobody

    I do remember Jedediah Purdy. He’s the one who, in Being America, described Al Gore as “a loquacious polymath given to speculation.”

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: New study sheds light on what happens to women who are denied abortions Ars Technica (CL).

    Who could have known that women who are forced to reproduce in complete deference to the “morality” and political aspirations of (mostly) men, who neither know their circumstances nor care to, should “often have difficulty making and achieving aspirational plans for the future.”

    Henry Hyde has been dead for years and he still reaches out from the grave, grabs women who have the temerity to need federal help with “healthcare” around the neck and commands them to give birth.

    I mean, what’s the point?

  11. Bas

    My understanding of the “rising tide” thinking is that you give all the money and tax breaks to business so they will (teehee) pay higher wages and give good employee benefits. Instead, what Coates is describing below sounds like giving the money directly to the worker without the business having much say in the matter.

    Sanders’s basic approach is to ameliorate the effects of racism through broad, mostly class-based policies—doubling the minimum wage, offering single-payer health-care, delivering free higher education. This is the same “A rising tide lifts all boats” thinking that has dominated Democratic anti-racist policy for a generation.

    Then he goes on to call this thinking a “welfare state”. Does he want government to obliterate racism? Or do what it can to help everyone to have a decent standard of living? IMO, it is ridiculous for Coates to expect government to stop people from hating each other.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Sanders’ proposals are based on the theory that, at least for economic purposes, “race” is a disguise for “class.”

      There’s a lot that doesn’t cover, but it seems like a good starting point.

      One it doesn’t cover: BLM and police violence. HOWEVER, I insist that police violence and impunity is a much bigger problem than just killing black people. Blacks are disproportionately targeted, but the underlying problem is the impunity. Get rid of that, everybody’s better off. Except the violent cops, of course.

  12. ptuomov

    Here’s a link for you:

    Replicating Private Equity with Value Investing, Homemade Leverage, and Hold-to-Maturity Accounting

    Erik Stafford
    Harvard Business School – Finance Unit

    December 20, 2015

    Private equity funds tend to select relatively small firms with low EBITDA multiples. Publicly traded equities with these characteristics have high risk-adjusted returns after controlling for common factors typically associated with value stocks. Hold-to-maturity accounting of portfolio net asset value eliminates the majority of measured risk. A passive portfolio of small, low EBITDA multiple stocks with modest amounts of leverage and hold-to-maturity accounting of net asset value produces an unconditional return distribution that is highly consistent with that of the pre-fee aggregate private equity index. The passive replicating strategy represents an economically large improvement in risk- and liquidity-adjusted returns over direct allocations to private equity funds, which charge average fees of 6% per year.

    Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

    Keywords: Private Equity; Value Investing; Endowments; Investment Management; Asset Pricing

    JEL Classification: G11,G23

    1. divadab

      Thanks for the link. More confirmation that buy and hold based on basic value stock selection analysis is a winning strategy – that doesn’t require paying fees to people who in the long run do no better (except for their own bank accounts!).

      Sorry, no cite, but insurance company pooled funds also do better than mutual funds – less churn.

  13. Vatch

    12 months since Saudi King Salman acceded to the throne

    Salman Rushdie? Now that would be an interesting king! Separation of mosque and state in Saudi Arabia…. even less likely than some of the situations in the new Star Wars movie.

  14. Brooklin Bridge

    The Trump paradox: A rough guide for the Left

    A very good read. Interesting also that a number of the central ideas expressed in the article were expressed here in comments about a week ago. I wish I remembered the name of the post or the handle of the commentor, (actually it may have been a few commentors), but s/he / they accurately expressed among other things that many of Trumps stated goals are economically to the left of HIllary. Also pointed out that much of Trumps flamboyant success comes from a complete contempt (their word) for the establishment.

    That latter point is key, both the article and the NC commentators captured the most important aspect of this; namely that a growing number of people of all political stripes are converging within the confines of their ideologies – but also pushing the limits of those. In other words as long as they have a certain amount of ideological cover to do so, people want a surprisingly similar set of outcomes and are (not) surprisingly aware of just how broken the system is.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I should add that the article is particularly well written and builds it’s thesis more thoroughly and with more detail than the corresponding comments as one would expect (not to detract from the latter).

      1. Ottawan

        Still not as amusing as Conrad Black’s take on Trump. Good piece, tho. It’s hard to top the loquacious lord.

    2. theinhibitor

      “…people want a surprisingly similar set of outcomes and are (not) surprisingly aware of just how broken the system is.”

      That’s just it though: people ARE aware of how broken the system is. They’ve seen the failings of Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and have realized that if the American elite are for a candidate, and if a candidate’s offers are too ‘politically correct’ to be true, then they are a sham.

      For most, Obama’s tenure was during the worst period of their lives: lay-offs, housing bubble, negative equity, foreclosure (some illegal) and the general raping of the middle class. Many who thought that they would be either enjoying retirement or opening a business found that it is much harder to live your life as you see fit. Rather, the only way seems to increasingly be working at a billion-dollar corp.

      This has resulted in a polarization of America. It’s a kinda ‘fuck-off’ to the politically wealthy and connected. Its almost like America is saying, “You want to install another Obama/Bush 2.0? F*ck you Im going to vote for Sanders or Trump”.

      Boarding a plane, I started talking to a 20 yr old mechanic and a 40 yr old Northrop Grumman engineer. We all had almost identical views on the widening gap of inequality, the self-serving nature of the managerial class, the proliferation of ‘rent’ and other financial instruments (first with the GI’s after the war, and the invention of the mortgage, then to everything – cars, software, etc). During the conversation, the 40 yr old mentioned he had randomly been talking to a skateboarder down in Cali who also had the same views. So never underestimate the ability of people to see through bullshit. Especially when they realize that the government is a racket.

      1. James Levy

        The question for me is, will people start to understand that the system is not only faulty and corrupt, but that it will almost certainly fail? What keeps a lot of people I’ve known from going from the point of seeing the current system as awful to imagining anything different is their incapacity to imagine that the system as-is will very likely collapse within 10-20 years. It’s a “better the devil you know” mentality that assumes a continuity that I think is ephemeral. All that is “solid” if very likely to melt into air, but given the human predilection for projecting continuity and the constant drumbeat of fear sounded from every establishment mouthpiece insisting that change is dangerous and likely to fail, it will take a long time for most people to proceed from “this system sucks” to “let’s fundamentally change the system.”

        1. Jagger

          What keeps a lot of people I’ve known from going from the point of seeing the current system as awful to imagining anything different is their incapacity to imagine that the system as-is will very likely collapse within 10-20 years.

          I don’t know about everyone else but I certainly wonder. Although 10-20 years seems too soon a timeframe unless there is some catastrophic world wide financial failure or another world war which puts immense pressure on the system.

        2. fresno dan

          I think your on to a big part of it.
          The “serious” people don’t really know. They didn’t know in Vietnam, they didn’t know in Iraq. They didn’t know how Wall street really works, other than collecting the payoffs and doing what they want. If the establishment is as smart as it says, than why have wages declined for near 50 years???? OR WAS THAT THE PLAN??????

          I have no doubt that electing Sanders/Trump could be a disaster….but I also have no doubt that electing Clinton/repub WILL be a disaster.

          1. Carla

            It was the plan.

            And unlike Jagger, I think the 10-20 year timeframe-to-collapse is much too long. Hope I’m wrong, as (selfishly) I’d rather be gone.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Flat-Earth politics vs. Not-Flat-Earth politics.

      In Not-Flat-Earth politics, you go right to get to the left and you go left to get the right.

  15. Kokuanani

    I don’t normally refer to Politico for quotable material, but this from the item on what Rumsfeld “didn’t know” is worth it;

    The rationale for the invasion has long since been discredited, but the JCS report, now declassified, which a former Bush administration official forwarded in December, nevertheless has implications for both sides in the 2016 presidential race, in particular the GOP candidates who are relying for foreign policy advice on some of the architects of the war, and the Democratic front-runner, who once again is coming under fire from her primary opponent for supporting the invasion.

    Even more interesting [and I hope it gets wider coverage in naming names]:

    Then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, whose military assistant was on the short list of people copied on the JCS report, is one of Jeb Bush’s foreign policy experts. Other supporters of the war, though they do not appear to have been aware of the JCS report, are involved in the various advisory roles in the 2016 campaign. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is advising Ted Cruz; and Elliott Abrams and William Kristol are supporting Marco Rubio, whom Reuters reported is also briefed regularly by former Cheney adviser Eric Edelman.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Can’t imagine what value an article like this provides at this point, except that it intimates that with the “establishment” republicans and their advisors you’ll just get more of the same. There is a bit of clinton, “vindication” here, though:

      “For Clinton, then the junior senator from New York and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the new evidence of early doubts raises a different question: How might her vote have changed if she and other lawmakers had known of the report’s existence? Would she have taken it into account?”

      By the same token, it SHOULD provide a lens through which to view the incessant drum-beating about a “nuclear” Iran.

      PS. I think the 165,000 dead Iraqis number is missing a few zeros.

      1. sleepy

        I don’t think Clinton deserves a break on this issue at all. The fact is that the intelligence on the wmd’s was viewed as sketchy at the time, and this was brought up over and over during Senate debates.

        But imho, I think it’s irrelevant. For Clinton it wouldn’t have mattered one way or the other. Her only consideration was a political calculation which ultimately backfired.

          1. divadab

            Who doesn’t have WMD’s? Really – I want to know why Iraq needs to be singled out. Other than to appease the Saudi’s and the Israeli’s and the Turks, all of whom regarded Iraq as a mortal enemy.

        1. Dana

          The fact that the intelligence was viewed as sketchy or worse at the time, was brought up over and over during Hillary’s own speech preceding her vote.

          She gave a stirring peroration explaining all the reasons why a vote for the war would be a grave mistake. And concluded it by saying that that’s why she was voting for it. My jaw, quite literally, dropped. I was no fan of hers at the time, not after she colluded with the insurance companies to kill health care reform as First Lady. But her vote was so incongruent with the speech she gave that I was completely stunned.

          Nope, she doesn’t deserve the slightest break.

        2. DanB

          Scott Ritter has written, if memory serves me, that the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, knew there were no functional WMDs in Iraq during most or all of the 1990s. Whatever Hillary’s qualms about the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I am convinced it was about political positioning, not a search for the truth upon which to base a policy, i.e., her vote.

          1. vidimi

            the clinton/blair emails recently released by the clinton library also revealed that clinton knew that a war in iraq was imminent while still president. he warned blair that he may be out of office by then, but that it was a real risk for blair.

      2. fresno dan

        I agree.
        One could suppose that the report could make people understand the unreliability of intelligence reports and have far less faith in their own assessments.
        But it seems what with the Libya fiasco that Hillary just doubled down.
        And the repubs putting forth the idea that we can figure out who is an ally in Syria is so …idiotic, bizarre, contradictory that a new word or description has to be invented for it.
        Never the less, the article does serve to remind us that those who most went on about how worldly and sophisticated they were, were in fact pretty simple and naive AND unwilling to face reality.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Let us not forget that there were 14 million people around the globe protesting the impending attack on Iraq. The elites try to act like it was nigh on impossible to have made that call correctly, but those 14 million certainly did, and most of them with far less “evidence”. It was possible to get it right.

  16. Inverness

    Why Hillary doesn’t excite young women. We need Lena Dunham to Hillsplain for us: she claims that calling Clinton too establishment or stiff is something “that is never thrown at male politicians. It’s unfair in the deepest sense.”

    It makes my blood boil when feminist language is perverted to serve TBTB. I can just imagine the field day Yves or Lambert would have, deconstructing her arguments. I clearly recall male candidates like Gore and Dole being called dull, old, stiff, pedantic…would she call that gendered? Is all criticism thrown at Clinton gendered? Because I really cannot think of less gendered terms than “establishment,” and “stiff.”

    Clinton is trying to have it all ways — you can support the wars that kill grandmas and sit on the board of Walmart, yet still be the woman power candidate, just because you’re a woman.

    Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention to what a celebrity with little to no political insight has to say. However, she has clearly been recruited by Clinton to make Hillary palatable to millennials. Remember those “Bernie Bros” articles in Salon? Note to the Hilbots: young women aren’t buying it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t think Hillary excites anyone. Bill was an awful President who was fortunate to enjoy the 90’s tech boom, but he left the Democratic Party in disarray and was generally a crummy President. To justify Bill, Democratic voters said terrible stuff and made bizarre rationalizations. Hillary is an opportunity to prove they were right all along for excusing Bill.

      Younger people simply don’t have this problem. If token feminism was so important, the GOP would run lunatic sorority types in every race, or Governor Ann Richards would have held on against 43. The women Senate candidates Hillary stumped for in 2014 would have done better.

      1. flora

        ” he [Bill Clinton] left the Democratic Party in disarray…”

        Let’s see, Clinton was a Third Way dem. The Third Way is funded by the likes of the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Round table, various hedge fund managers, ATT, Human, etc. Basically a lot of the same funders the GOP has. Dems are still running Third Way dems for office – including Hillary. I’m pretty sure young women vote the economy, just like young men.

        As far as Bill leaving the Dem party in disarray:
        In the past several years the Dems have lost over 900 state legislative seats, 12 governorships, and 12 (?) senate seats.

        1. James Levy

          The problem is the hopeless muddle in the minds of those in charge between what is good for a several hundred lawyers, pollsters, campaign advisors, think tank directors, and safe-seat Congresscritters and what is needed to hold together a party and keep winning elections. To Hilary Clinton the entire Democratic Party is maybe 5000 people–high elected officials, staffers, lawyers, lobbyists, and key donors. Everyone else is an abstraction she hasn’t had meaningful contact with for decades, if ever. Hilary is a prep school/Wellesley/Yale product. I’m not knocking her feminism, but what her acolytes fail to grasp is that it is an upper class, abstract feminism of the most bourgeois Betty Freidan/Feminine Mystique variety. It’s “why should educated women be denied opportunities and forced to raise puking rugrats when they could be out Changing the World” feminism, not “how do we help poor women live lives of security and dignity and enjoy real choices about how they want to live and raise a family if they choose” feminism. The difference defines why so many upper class and academic feminists fail to have any influence over most women today.

            1. ekstase

              There was a horrific backlash against feminism in the 80’s that is still going on. This permits people with corporate allegiances to feign a wish for women to be equal. I don’t think it’s quite right to say that 60’s and 70’s feminist writers caused this. I think they came out of whatever life experiences they had, and they freed a whole lot of women who did not want to live in the 1950’s. I agree that there is a widespread misunderstanding of what feminism really means, or else anyone would be embarassed to say they’re not one.

              1. James Levy

                The question in my mind is, “who does the various strains of feminism help?” I have nothing against Hilary Rodham keeping her name and her job and running for any office she wants to. But that’s like opening the door to wealthy Jews getting into Harvard. It only goes so far. The old discrimination was ugly and stupid but removing it for the privileged few and leaving everyone else out in the cold doesn’t make me warm inside. It doesn’t really address most people’s needs. It is deeply class-bound and class-prejudicial. And I would argue that this blind spot is very much in evidence when one sees how Hilary Clinton talks and acts.That is exactly what I was complaining about above.

      2. Arizona Slim

        Clinton certainly did benefit from the tech boom. Oh, did he ever.

        The Clinton-fest started with the commercialization of the Internet in the early 1990s, continued through the August 1995 introduction of Windows 95 (Microsoft’s gift to PC manufacturers everywhere, as this release drove a lot of computer sales), and it culminated with that non-event called Y2K. Oh, did this country have to spend big to avoid the ravages of that one.

        Clinton is living proof of that old adage: It’s better to be lucky than good.

    2. Dave

      “Female, pale and stale”

      Trump v Clinton = President Trump

      Trump v Sanders = President Sanders

      Bloomberg v Biden = Americans stay home on election day.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Bloomberg’s constituency is too small. Even his rise to become mayor of New York required a confluence of events including old fashioned race baiting. He was elected as the Republican nominee two months after 9/11 with Guiliani’s backing. Without 9/11, Bloomberg would have just been one of the many loathsome rich individuals who thought they could buy an election.

          1. polecat

            Just read Jim Kunstlers’ post concerning Hehr Bloomies’ possible hat toss……… Jim Has Lost It !!!………

            1. James Levy

              Kunstler has become a racial and ethnic circle the wagons intellect. He sees dark days ahead and thinks blacks are rather stupid and loathsome and that Jews better stick together or the goys will go for them again. He doesn’t even conceal these prejudices any more. His opinion of Arabs is that they are sub-human and the more the Israelis kill the better. His opinion of cops killing blacks is that it’s all black’s fault for wearing goofy pants and acting menacing. It’s really sad, but when you adopt the ethics of the lifeboat and you are sure there are too many of us and that the only way for you to get on board is to form up with people who look and think like you and form a phalanx against everyone else, you wind up thinking like Kunstler.

              1. polecat

                I’m forming a lifeboat,of sorts , for myself and my family.Having said that, I always try to look at a person’s actions are vs what they say…….I’ve agreed w/ many things Kunstler, but he can be an A #1 royal hypocrite, and his latest post just confirms it for me………

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Don’t under-estimate billionaires.

            That is, don’t make the fight easy for them.

            No landslides until the fat lady sings.

  17. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Thanks for the Moon of Alabama link. It seems that the success of the Assad/Russian forces has reached a point where they will likely secure most of the western part of the country soon.

    Notice the uptick in bellicose rhetoric from Biden/Ash Carter over the weekend. Seems to be somehow related, overcompensating for something, perhaps?

    I also noticed Mitch McConnell basically went nuclear on his own peeps by bypassing a committee to bring a new AUMF directly to a vote. One has to hope that Rand Paul and a few others gum up the works here with a filibuster.

    1. Plenue

      The constant cries of ‘negotiation!’ from the West are basically the same thing as someone screaming for time-out after picking a fight and starting to lose. It’s clear that the plans to destroy the Syrian government have failed, so now Washington is desperately attempting to salvage as much territory for their proxy factions as possible. But Russia has no reason to allow that, and every reason not to. They came in with a clear plan and that plan is working. Not only will they secure the west of the country, but the western half is by far the most difficult portion. The east is largely empty desert. The rebels have mostly had their backs broken and ISIS doesn’t actually care all that much about Syria. Given that ISIS is also being pushed back in Iraq I expect them at some point to give up on the Syria side-show and transform forces back to the Iraq front.

      A quite search of Google News shows that our media outlets are still claiming Syria is some kind of quagmire for Russia and that Putin risks losing. I guess literally anyone can be a middle-east correspondent; no knowledge of battle-lines or Arabic required.

  18. Uahsenaa

    I want to like what Coates has to say, but his dismissiveness towards issues of economic justice is especially galling, given his own class privilege. It’s been said by numerous people, among them Glen Ford, Reed (above), and bell hooks that all of these systems of oppression are interconnected. Moreover, economic oppression has been the PRIMARY means by which racial oppression manifests itself. You take that away and you take away one of the primary tools elites use to bully people of color. Putting these matters more in the hands of the government is actually a good thing, since government institutions have much stricter non-discrimination guidelines that they must adhere to.

    And I hasten to remind Mr. Coates that it is people, men and women, of color, not just blacks. Sure, we tend to frame questions of race in the US in black/white terms, but there are many more pieces to the puzzle. Additionally, it’s not an “rising tides” argument, because it never propounds for one party to benefit overwhelmingly while another benefits slightly. In fact, just the opposite is the case. If people of color are disproportionately in poverty or out of work or unable to get loans or whatever metric you want to use, then they also disproportionately benefit when those modes of oppression are remedied, assuming, of course, you don’t get something like FDR’s compromise with Southern Democrats during enactment of the New Deal. Yet, even with those initial racist restrictions, getting the programs on the books meant that blacks did eventually benefit from them.

    You have to look no further than Clinton’s own counterargument against the “free tuition” plan to see how mean-spirited this really is. She says, “I don’t want you to have to pay for rich kids to go to college,” which is disingenuous on its face. Rich kids go to college either way. It’s only by leveling the economic playing field that the poor can as well.

  19. dk

    I’ve been following Ta-Nahesi Coates’ recent columns and arguments the rejecting reparations for African-Americans is a profound betrayal of African-Americans in the current circumstances of a pervasive racial discrimination of which they are the most significant subjects.

    My question is, what is the expected aftermath of reparations? Would a one time payment compensate African-Americans in some complete way? I would think not, especially when it would only have minor impact on their credit scores (the reason behind Coates’ observation that “black families making $100,000 a year tend to live in the same kind of neighborhoods as white families making $30,000 a year”).

    Should reparation be a one-time payment and a substantial credit score increase? Would this somehow inhibit lenders and financial establishments from further racist discrimination?

    Systemic behaviors manifest racial discrimination, poverty and disenfranchisement are only the consequences. I don’t see how measures which do not address these behaviors have any great effective value in the longer term. Some structure of reparations may well be a component of a solution addressing the systemic aspects, but outside of that context, they strike me as a disconnected moral imperative with no substantial consequence.

    I’d go further to say that material reparations (absent systemic change) only play into and perpetuate the existing systemic patterns; commercial and financial vehicles would quickly be mounted to strip recipients of their reparation benefit; because that is what the system does, so why feed it? At least one should not do so carelessly or naively. Is peerage among the 0.1% the goal, or what?

    If I were an African-American (I am not, but actually I want this anyway), I would seek to distance myself from the existing economic institution, and engage in a separate one. This would of course require, at the very least, sovereignty, real, material and political; no easy feat in a world without unoccupied frontiers (something or species hasn’t had for a long time). Alternatively, one could (as I attempt to) foster alternative economic interactions and bonds, to develop my own community outside of existing institutional mechanisms. Reparations could fit into such a larger strategy.

    But absent a larger vision or context, Coates’ arguments strike me as hollow, in the petit bourgeois way that Reed describes (in the third link… thank you for the Reed links! This guy rocks!). Granted, I have no warmingly satisfying approach to offer in alternative; nor do I advocate doing nothing at all, the status quo is dismal. But Coates’ has not (to me) made a case that reparations would actually address the specific points that he himself raises.

    And just to be clear that this is not a Bernie defense, I think that Sanders’ platform, while I find it appealing on the surface, lacks a great deal of detail on implementation. Clinton’s programs may be exercises in wheel-spinning and defensive posturing, but at least she’s got some wheel schematics to show (I just don’t like ’em). I like Bernie’s vision of the US a lot, but getting there will be a very rough ride, given the damage that has been done by decades of (largely right-wing inspired, but also generally haphazard) erosion of governmental operation, infrastructure, and social fabric. So in the overall context of implementation, I find Coates and Sanders to be distressingly similar, if at odds on their specifics.

  20. Goyo Marquez

    Is it really possible that the Flynt water crisis was just a way of doing for Flynt what Katrina did for NOLA, i.e. drive away the poor black people?

    1. sleepy

      Although anything that drives away poor black people is a bonus for some, I don’t think Flint, as opposed to New Orleans, is much of a prime gentrification market. I have no doubt my forecast abilities to catch trends is way off, but I don’t see Flint as some nascent hipster tourist magnet.

      I think most of Michigan’s powerful would rather see Flint just disappear from the face of the earth.

    2. Carla

      The point of the article is that Synder’s strategy was to destroy the public Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. so that it could be privatized. The prize is Detroit. Flint was just collateral damage.

      And if you think Detroit is not a prize, then why has Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans bought up the downtown dirt-cheap (after the City was driven into bankruptcy)?

      Take a look at Detroit’s location. There’s one big thing between the elite playgrounds of the east and west coasts: 1/5 of the world’s fresh surface water, in the form of the Great Lakes. It’s the oil of the 21st century.

      Snyder, Gilbert and company intend to sell that water to the highest bidder. It will no longer be a public good, but a private commodity. And they’re cornering the market.

  21. bwilli123
    The continuing de-industrilzation of the USA. This time courtesy of the GFC.

    …”Though GM may never become a fully Chinese company on paper, it will continue to integrate with and be eclipsed by its erstwhile Chinese protege. Having relied on the guanxi of a Chinese partner while in a position of desperation, GM could be repaying the favor forever.”

  22. SCAT

    In the US, reparations is a magic word that party apparatchiks use to start internecine fights. So naturally fatuous apple-polisher Ta-Nehesi Coates has to earn his genius grant by baiting Sanders with the word.

    Now, if Coates knew his ass from his elbow, he would know that reparations are just one instance of applicable human rights including remedies under ICERD Article 6 and Special Measures under ICERD Article 2 clause 2.

    And what we need is not merely reparations but to force the state to comply with the supreme law of the land.

    But no. Coates is a typical provincial goober, even in gay Paree. All he can do is follow the party line: WHAT ABOUT REPARATIONS, WHAT ABOUT REPARATIONS, trying to undercut social-justice reforms with loaded terms used to connote parochial special pleading.

  23. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re Bernie Sanders and the Liberal Imagination

    Ugh. Terrible. I like a lot of what Coates does but this piece sounds like a tantrum. He’s not only wrong (Adolph Reed says it all. Thanks for all that reading!) but his is an incredibly irresponsible position to be taking in this particular presidential race. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that besides identity politics’ being, yes, actually divisive, white supremacy and race relations are not things that a president can fix, period.

    Besides, one of the biggest problems created by Obama was the demoralizing effect of his making promises he didn’t keep. Why on the heels of him and that would one recommend a candidate make promises he can’t keep? Reparations as a platform plank? Lunacy.

    Plus I detest his cynical, “this time I thought it would be different, sigh,” trope.

    I hope somebody big produces a rebuttal.

    1. vidimi

      hmmm. i thought coates’ piece was well thought out and erudite. he’s not giving clinton a pass, but expected more from bernie. i think his assessment was mostly correct.

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        Coates is a talented writer, but what looks like erudition in him can turn out to be superficial at times and this is one of them. You really should click through and read the Adolph Reed pieces (as well as the companion pieces to Unraveling the Relation of Race and Class in American Politics).

        I think Coates is being used redemptively by the Atlantic for its neoliberal sins and, thereby, probably unwittingly, occupying exactly the space that Reed lambasts in “What are the drums saying, Booker?”.

        And I maintain that the President can’t fix the divisions in society, so it’s pointless to demand that he try. The most he can do is remove some policy obstacles and cross his fingers that we do the rest. Sanders is trying to revive democracy. Taking a stand for unfulfillable goals at this moment would be a great way to sink it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I am of two minds on this. I have to say Coates hooked me with his piece on, of all things, the Quiet Car, which was wonderful. And now he’s on my list of writers to check.

          It seems to me that there are two levels in the discussion (at least). And I’m not at all an expert in the issue, so this will probably come out wrong. However:

          1) At the policy level, how to reparations work, how much do they cost, etc. Suppose reparations cost what the Iraq War cost, and “solved America’s race problem” (which is worse than painful; it’s lethal). Would that be worth it? I’d say sure, why not? Suppose the cost wasn’t the Iraq War trillions, but a couple of carrier groups. That’s a no-brainer. (I’m putting aside the “What about everybody else?” issue.)

          2) On the strategic level, Coates (as I understand it) believes that race and class are “distinct” and not, as Ted Nelson would say, “deeply intertwingled.” I disagree that they are distinct, which is why I called Reed for backup, and therefore I wonder if the policy would backfire. (A cartoon example: if the reparations, after the financial flows play out, result in a few new black squillionaires at the tippy top of the power curve, and rapidly progressing immiseration for rest, would “America’s race problem be solved”? Possible answers: 1) Sure, we wrote the check, now STFU; 2) Of course not, because most are suffering as before. I realize that serious proposals would have taken this possibility into account, for good or ill; I’m raising it to urge that race and class are intertwingled, not as a critique of a particular proposal.)

          Of course, a significant portion of the Democratic Party, and the Black Misleadership Class, deeply believes that race and class are distinct, and further that class is “off the table.”

          1. GlobalMisanthrope

            You make good points, there. I, too, am a fan of his writing. And I would be in favor of a national dialogue about reparations.

            But I’m against Coates’ using it as some kind of litmus test. If Sanders were really a radical, he suggests, he’d be for reparations. Baloney! First of all, radicalism doesn’t belong to the Left. Cruz is arguably the most radical candidate in the race. Second, it sounds a little too straw-man-y for my liking. I think it’s pretty obvious that Sanders has adopted the “radical” descriptor as a tactic against those who have been using it to try to discredit him. Plus one has to admit that doing anything truly for the greater good is a radical approach in this climate.

            And, anyway, “they all suck on reparations” contributes nothing except a dangerous distraction from the differences between the candidates, which are very real.

            I’m throwing this one in the bin and hoping he comes to his senses.

          2. Oregoncharles

            I think the arguments for reparations are really arguments for corrective policies – special treatment, basically. If you actually try to pay reparations, you run into ugly tangles like “who’s black?” That gets into really ugly racism real quickly. And that’s even before the “now what” questions.

            Nor does it end there. You know who has a REALLY good case for reparations? Native Americans. We owe them the whole d..n country and everything in it. They ARE receiving payments (and dealing with “who’s an Indian?”), and a fat lot of good it’s doing. It has to be done differently: with land and resources that they control under some sort of trust arrangement. Or so I think – but I’m not Native American. Or African-American. But the Native plight is a strong argument against financial reparations as a solution.

            The basic case for treating the problem as fundamentally one of class is that you can address it with policies that benefit a LOT of people and can be ongoing – policies that are badly needed anyway.

          3. jrs

            Probably instead of reparations (even though I agree they are morally justified) you need specific long term investments in black communities. But Sanders will accomplish the same thing with his economic policies? I’m not convinced he will. Which policy? See healthcare solves one problem but it doesn’t do it, free college education doesn’t do it, etc.. It’s not enough. Which policies of Sanders are enough for this? We need the war on poverty only many multiples of that.

          4. vidimi

            i said this in another thread this week, but it depends on what you mean by ‘reparations’. a one-off cash payment would do nothing to make institutional racism go away so would be naively silly. but one could institute programs that aim to undoe the disadvantage american blacks inherit by virtue of who they are, and that would be a stellar idea. of course, there’s always a risk that even the best-intentioned programs can have awful, un-intended consequences, but nobody is saying this has to be rushed. also, a good place to start is to make sure any profit motive is stripped before any such program is in place.

            i do agree with GM about the disingenuity of using reparations as a litmus test, but that is another matter.

        2. fresno dan

          I think the success of civil rights and anti poverty programs in the 50’s and 60’s were due predominately to high employment and a rising standard of living – it seem obvious to me that when people’s living standards are rising that it is a lot easier to marshal support for programs that benefit someone other than your self (i would like to thing enlightened self interest would make people support reducing poverty – but hell, it doesn’t seem effective at even reducing the ongoing decimation of the middle class)
          I think inequality and stagnant wages have to be addressed before it will be possible to institute new meaningful programs to deal with black economic injustice.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Coates fails to understand that racism is a weapon created by the elites to harm BOTH blacks and whites. That makes it a class problem (as Sanders wishes to address it) as well as a race problem. Sanders at least has defined his problem and laid out the early components of his proposed solution. Coates simply uses the word reparations, and walks away. Does he actually expect Sanders to define “reparations” also?

      1. vidimi

        i thought coates made a solid argument that racism exists even within a class; that is, even if you control for class.

        1. cwaltz

          So does sexism. There’s definitely an argument that women are more affected by poverty than men. Is Coates suggesting we provide women with reparations for all the years they’ve been treated(and some would argue continue to be treated) like second class citizens.

          The reality is any large problem is going to have subsets of problems.

      2. flora

        Coates should read up on MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign. It embraced all people and attacked economic injustice. King was assassinated right before the Poor People’s March on Washington D.C was to take place.

        From wilipedia’s “Poor People’s Campaign” entry.

        “The Poor People’s Campaign was motivated by a desire for economic justice: the idea that all people should have what they need to live. King and the SCLC shifted their focus to these issues after observing that gains in civil rights had not improved the material conditions of life for many African Americans. The Poor People’s Campaign was a multiracial effort—including African-Americans, whites, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Native Americans—aimed at alleviating poverty regardless of race. “

  24. Jim Haygood

    FT’s article on the ‘US slowdown’ mocks the egotism of the Yellenites, now painted into a corner of their own making:

    How will the FOMC react to recent turbulence when it meets this week? It is too early for them to admit the December rate rise was a mistake. They will probably stick to their “moderate expansion” language until the labour market slows.

    The FOMC probably views the January meeting as a holding operation, in which they will try to buy some time for their fundamental view on the economy to be proven right.

    But the markets have already moved on. Based on recent data, they no longer expect another US rate increase until September at the earliest. For now, the US economy does not support further monetary tightening.

    ‘Markets have moved on’ … so the wrongfooted PhD fortune tellers revert to a low profile as they whistle past the graveyard. I sense a moderate expansion in the Farce.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Fed can’t do it alone.

      All monetary sovereigns must coordinate and synchronize their bazookas.

      That’s the interconnected village we live in today.

      1. Jim Haygood

        By choice, the Fed is alone in tightening while the rest of world eases.

        If all central banks tightened together, we could put this planet’s lights out and revert to the Cro-Magnon age.

        Got pelts?

          1. craazyboy

            This the first “tightening” I’ve ever seen where my bank interest went from a quarter percent all the way to a quarter percent.

            As far as a “strong” dollar goes, yeah, I guess that would happen if you get currency flight from every continent in the world right now.

    2. susan the other

      ellen brown post about a vote on Dec. 5 – that congress has passed a bill to fund infrastructure by taking a cut of the interest the fed gives the banks on their reserves: it seemed timely and a justification (to the fed) to support the banks in another way, by raising the interest rate to compensate for this loss… there was no sane reason to do it otherwise

      1. polecat

        well…i kinda think it’s too late to change direction……..this train is going over the tressel, and into the gulch, regardless of what CONgress does, or who becomes POTUS!!!

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    In Zen, there is a saying: the chick must peck from inside and the hen from outside.

    Team work. You need help and at the same time, you can do it too (the dignity of knowing you can contribute, you are as good as others).

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Gold back in fashion.

    Among indoctrinated equity shares (promoted by the smartest and most respected rich people today), indoctrinated fiat currency (backed by an omnipotent regime until the next caesar) and indoctrinated gold (agency unknown, especially for atheists…some time in the past, agnostic cave men took a liking to it), their relatively popularity flows and ebbs.

  27. grayslady

    Somewhat surprised by no NC coverage of the Bernie Sanders nationwide marches this weekend. I say only “somewhat” surprised, because, other than a few local news outlets, the only non-local articles I could find were on US Uncut and Thirty-five cities and thousands of marchers on a cold January weekend, but almost no coverage.

    As a lifelong Illinois resident, I was especially amazed to see over 1000 people march through the financial district for any candidate. Chicago area residents do.not.march.for.politicians. They march for single issue causes–gay rights, higher wages, teachers’ union support–but not for politicians. When I saw the report on rt, I then went to check on local events at Bernie’s website. A month ago, there were no events scheduled in my immediate area; now, there are dozens–even in that enclave of the uber-wealthy, Lake Forest! I also noticed, in the video from the Chicago march, the incredible mix of people: young, old, black, white, latino. This is not just a 20’s-something movement. I noticed a similar mix of young and old at Bernie’s weekend campaign address in Decorah, Iowa.

    I haven’t seen anything like this politically since the equal rights marches of the 60’s and 70’s.

    1. polecat

      yes…….ok plebs……….how would you like your helping of Sh!t,……creamy or chunk style????

    2. craazyboy

      Shouldn’t it have said, `Even the liberal Peterson Institute … ‘

      That would sound better. Pete doesn’t work at that one, so they may even get away with it. He just made a “philanthropic” donation to pay for the building and get it named after him. Dunno how they fund the researchers salaries, however. I guess they might sell girl scout cookies?

  28. alex morfesis

    No Reparations for slavery…sadly the argument for slavery reparations is not only a bad legal concept…it is based on bad data…most black folk are much better off than if they had been left alone on the other side of the atlantic…so a financial compensation for slavery is a non starter…most black folk did not get “brought over” kunta kintay style with some guys with irish accents doing a reverse planet of the apes and throwing nets over humans…most were sold off by muslims for refusing to convert to islam…when the pope started handing out the “asciento” the muslims sorta smirked…oh you want to pay us for these here “non believers” we were going to kill off anyway…ok…i guess we will just “have to” take your money…


    If we are talking about the systematic economic war against black folk since 1865 and the continued economic warfare waged by many who are direct decendants of those who refused to allow black folks reasonable opportunities for success…then yes…

    But that is not “reparations”…that is compensation for “tortuous interference”…a viable legal argument based on facts not myth…

    A simple solution is the issuance of $100,000 in US 10 yr treasuries for each person in america who is at least half black…no money for those who once had a “black” grandma…or make believe black folks(remember…ronnie rayguns “welfare queen” was actually a white woman living on the south side of chicago)

    1.5 trillion in US Treasuries…and done…yes there will be some who will piss it away…but we don’t hear that argument when someone ends up in a wheelchair due to a collision with a truck…black folks got hit by an economic 18 wheeler…

    1.5 trillion in treasuries should do the trick…

      1. polecat

        Right…….Everybody today,whose ancestors were aggrieved years or centuries ago is deserved reparations……….ok……. Half of my genome is IRISH……….not to mention the german side……Where’s MY reparations!!!!!! This is the thing that bothers me: everyone’s looking for THEIR minute piece of pie to call their own, but forgetting that the whole pie has already been gobbled-up by entities of power and influence,….and thus the current crop of sjw groups aren’t looking for inclusion, they’re looking for retribution & vengence!

        1. alex morfesis

          buckingham is on the other side of the pond…unless somehow you are going to suggest the potato famine was caused by american imperialism…as to german repa-what ??? german ?? remember, the BIS is a german invention and despite the myth, Truman did not rescind the order to have it dissolved…haroompff…german repa…

          mexicans in chicago marched from little village north to the site of the home where MLK stayed one MLK day back in the 90’s and openly acknowledged that 90% of the rights they have were paid for by black blood…they also marched in front of the south african consulate during the last days of apartheid…

          were some other groups brought into america in chains that I am not aware of ? Every ethnic group who came to america had some form of bottom of the ladder scenario…how does that equate to being brought over in chains ??

            1. polecat

              It wasn’t just africans who were brought across the seas in shackles, and indenture was a fact of life for many who were, for all tenths and purposes, slaves….. Do I think that the blacks had a raw deal being forced against their will, and shipped to the states?….Absolutely!….but you can’t look at that in isolation with respect to others, of race or class, who were also aggrieved! Incidentally, if one is interested, one might read Robert Hughes’ ‘The Fatal Shore’ (Australian colonization) for some idea of what I’m trying to convey.

              1. alex morfesis

                george washington did not cross the delaware river to get to adelaide…
                now if you get out at the st james station then go towards big ben, take a left at abington which becomes whitehall then there is a little street…you can’t miss it…all types of security…turn left maybe about 100 meters or so…knock on the door on the right…if you picked the wrong one…I am sure someone will point you to number 10…

                look I know the crown and british nobility still consider this little concept of american revolution and voting as such a rather interesting concept, considering how often the graduates of the universities of the crown end up in the white house, but one should take up the matters of the british crown and its actions against its current or former subjects directly with the folks with the funny way of speaking american…

          1. cwaltz

            Other Americans were not brought to this country in chains, however a good portion of its population did start out in indentured servitude.


            You’ll notice an indentured servant received no wages and was just provided with subsistence, could have activities such as marriage restricted, could have their contract transferred to another company, and could be sent to prison if they tried to run away.

            Make no mistake I think slavery was awful and it pains me that AAs were treated horribly(and as property no less). However, they were not the only group to ever have to suffer here and pretenses to pretend they were are only going to hurt efforts to create real equality.

            1. Yves Smith

              Indentured servitude is more complicated than you think. First, it was time-limited. You were not an indentured servant for life. People became indentured servants for one of two reasons: either they owed someone and they had to work it off, OR they became indentured to pay someone to make an expenditure on their behalf. I have a minimum of 7 and perhaps as many as 11 ancestors who came over on the Mayflower. None were Purtians, BTW, all were “sinners”. Some were the ship’s crew, some were people who signed up go come over with the Pilgrims and had enough money to pay the passage, others became indentured servants as the means of payment (separately you have to wonder who was gullible or desperate enough to sign up to go on a long voyage with a bunch of religious extremists…). I’m not saying it was virtuous, but it was not slavery.

              1. ambrit

                Considering the death rate of the Mayflower ‘colonists’ during the winter of 1620-21, you come from strong stock.

        2. jrs

          No blacks history of systematic discrimination continues into the 20th century and 21st century in a way that Irish people’s doesn’t. It’s not comparable. And yes Irish faced discrimination, but not recently. If you understand the dozens of ways blacks have been discriminated against it’s not comparable. Nor would hispanic discrimination or chinese discrimination or jewish discrimination etc. be comparable even though it existed and exists to some extent. Of course I do think the native american case is comparable.

    1. cwaltz

      You hit on the problem.

      Black people were not allowed reasonable opportunities for success.

      However, handing people a wad of cash without resolving the inequities that stems from the systemic problem is not going to resolve the opportunity problem. It is just going to cause resentment and if it fails its going to leave AAs worse off then they were to begin with.

      Personally I would like to see some of that money poured into improving communities where there is a predominant AA population. Base it on the grant program that was offered to Appalachians. It worked fairly well here in the Appalachians where poor whites reside. we went from more than one in three in poverty to around one in five(around the national average.)

      More here:

      1. alex morfesis

        i might agree but historically almost none of the “funds” and “contracts” end up in the hands of actual locals…many nimbeez point to gross dollars spent “towards” many AA communities since LBJ’s declaration of war on the poor…but almost none of that money ended up in the hands of folks who actually lived there…mostly “4:59 run to the volvo” and back to the suburbs “community” organizations…or grocery stores not run by locals…it’s better to let black folks figure out what to do with the funding then to “help them” be “responsible”…black folks will do fine as long as people stop doing a “lucy” and pull back the ball every time…

        1. cwaltz

          Historically? Are you suggesting there have already been attempts at programs like the one that the Appalachian region has?

          Business is an important part of the equation, it provides opportunity for individuals(and no it doesn’t necessarily have to be run by a local to benefit the community) by the way. Although if you had taken time to go to the link I provided you would notice that the grants largely go to state, local agencies, non profits and government entities. Additionally you’ll notice that the ARC actually STUDIES what is and isn’t working when it comes to addressing the unique circumstances of a region. It doesn’t just hand over the money and go good luck. The program goes back a ways and it focuses it’s efforts and gives priority to the hardest hit regions first.

          1. alex morfesis

            hopefully I did not come across as sounding against the ARC…let me give you an example of the mis-leadership class that is often described but would be the classic HN’s as malcolm X might have put it…

            while working on the “empowerment zone” concept, HUD came to Chicago and insisted there was too much discussion and too much bickering and that New York City was way ahead of the curve…which seemed odd since much of the EZ had come out of the bronzeville project itself and how could New York and Congressman Charlie “ola santo domingo” Rangel be anywhere near ahead…so I got on a plane and found there was no such nothing…no organizations…no meetings…just that nice Black ‘merikan Dominican Carlito Rangel converting HUD section 8 certificates that were to have finally gone to a waiting list of black folks and magically started handing them out to people who did not even have a green card…but “tu sabes, porque se necisita a dejar todos a tener un oportunidad”…so that today, historical Harlem is now santo domingo north…further…funds were to have been available to create high risk funds for business start ups, but good ole charlie decided that those funds were better used to expand day care and the hell with helping start small black business…(how are those tobacco company friends of yours doing for you there charlie…???)…to try to appease me(or try to shut me up), a chunk of funding was handed off to a small non profit in north manhattan my sister was working at…it was the largest pool of money at that time(a pittance in my book) for high risk lending via CRA and despite the fact she almost fumbled it, it worked…although she and I did not see eye to eye as good ole charlie wanted most of the funds to go to the heights and not back to harlem…charlie presided over the demise and devastation of harlem…period end of story…carlito is quite pleased with himself…I am sure…I am sure the Webb Family in North Carolina made sure the program you describe worked for the folks who live there…but the reality in Black America is that there is zero attempt on anything from its mis-leadership class other than to fill the pockets of the HNIC…and his or her (mostly his) friends…tax dollars may go to a bank account in an AA zip code or census tract but it gets shipped out to others…

            my experience tells me that the nation would be best served by handing out helicopter money and hope for the best, then to have an over analyzed, over supervised war on poor black folk crew making sure nothing works…

  29. Oregoncharles

    “That bizarre-looking star just got a lot weirder — and yes, it could be aliens”

    If there is indeed an alien civilization capable of building a Dyson structure, we might NOT want to get their attention. The difference in capability would be so great they might well regard our planet as raw material.

    1. Kulantan

      they might well regard our planet as raw material

      That seems unlikely. Hypotheically, with a Dyson capable civilizations they’re unlikely to care about the world outside their system because of how huge the living/computation space of a Dyson structure would be and how achingly boring/low bandwidth space is. Why colonise when you have as much living room as a whole galaxy of Sols with Earth equivalent populations? Why colonise when you can’t even have an intelligible conversation with the colony?

      Even if they were going to colonise, why bother with the random planet beaming primes at them rather than just going for the optimal network configuration of “nearest first”.

      Sure there is some risk, but the theoretical rewards are also astronomical (pun intended).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Unless they find humans adorable like we humans cats.

        “Gotta to have that human as my birthday gift, mommy.”

        Hope it’s not too late we shut down SETI now.

        1. Kulantan

          That is unrealistic. Why get physical humans when they can have images sent to them. I’m hoping to trade my “keyboard human” gif for the secret to nano-robotics.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is nothing on Earth a society capable of building a Dyson sphere couldn’t produce on random asteroids. Short of the aliens being Daleks, we will likely be fine.

      Much like Sagan pointed out, it would be like climbing a mountain to stomp on an ant hill. It’s not worth the effort.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Humans have done a lot of that – to each other. Just consider the British in India, or the Dutch in Indonesia.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Not to stomp an ant hill. Again, it was to grab useful resources which were harder to procure at home. There aren’t oil wells in Manhattan. All of our useful resources to a space faring society, exist in far greater varieties in the asteroid belts, and they wouldn’t even have to deal with the extra pain of gravity when it came to manufacturing.

          There was a joke on Star Trek about worthless “gold.” There is so much gold floating around in space, going to a planet for it is mind boggling. Copper, uranium, etc, it’s all up there. Don’t get me started on V.

  30. Jim Haygood

    Linked NYMag article “America is Still Losing At Skyscrapers” is a twofer, combining traditional MSM economic illiteracy with the contrarian implications of the Time cover indicator.

    Obviously the author has never heard of the “skyscraper curse,” in which tall buildings are topped out just as recession begins. Typically, the easy money which spawned the construction boom runs out over the same period as the planning-design-construction cycle.

    Twelve of this year’s top 20 tallest buildings are in China. China is doomed. Whereas the U.S., with only one building in the top twenty, may squeak through unscathed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In China, the money in construction is made when the foundation is being dug.

      A few desirable antiques a few layers of soil down, and you make your money back 10 folds.

      Of course, you have to be choosy about the cities. Former capitals are good choices…Kaifeng, Xian, Loyang, Beijing, Manchuria, mountain caves in Hubei province…

    2. Clive

      My favourite is Yokohama’s “Landmark Tower”. Not sure exactly when it topped out, but it must have been just before or just after The Mother of All Real Estate Apocalypses. I always stay at the hotel there, just to soak up the Fin de siècle vibe.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does it have a view of the ‘elephant trunk’ in the bay?

        I have an old black and white copy (Zerox, I think) of the old Yokohama harbor, as it was just after Adm. Perry’s ship, and the elephant trunk pier was already there.

  31. fresno dan

    The low tricks of high finance: how greedy bankers, weak politicians and timid journalists could cause a new crash Spectator. Michael Lewis interview.

    Lewis broadens his critique to the media as a whole. ‘We are underserved by critical, knowledge-able financial journalists who don’t have any fear whatsoever of what their subjects think of them.’ He winces as he speaks, as if pained by his own words.

    Uh, this is gonna sound like NAKED unadulterated sycophancy, but yeah, that is why NC is read first, most intensely, and carefully, and why WSJ gets a glance….

    We are underserved by critical, knowledge-able financial journalists – and its easy to conclude that it wan’t an accident.

    1. perpetualWAR

      I just sent this article to all the members of the financial services committee in WA State. They are not weak, but BOUGHT. And they all will face the populace when the next massive crash hits, which we know it will.

    2. perpetualWAR

      BTW, I would not call the politicians “weak.” I would call them complicit and collusive.

      “Foaming the runways” is not a weak comment, but collusive.

      1. polecat

        speaking of Wa. State…….our little community is in an uproar over a city council that repeatedly snubs its constituency over issues of import (currently, whether to continue a fluoridation contract for another decade over the objections of the public.) Looks like a petition may be forthcoming to change the type of governmental structure of our fair city( Port Angeles) I will definitely sign such a petition should it materialize!

  32. kevinearick

    funny, all those robots and no jump in productivity…

    Reorganization vs. Ignorant Entrails Mythology

    When they bumped their heads on the ceiling, Neanderthals moved to North America and blew up their industry back home, accelerated it here until they bumped their heads again, and with nowhere to go, they replaced industry with all they had left, the RE ponzi. That’s empire, and you were expecting?

    Humanity largely tunes itself out of the future, only doing the right thing after trying everything else, with the distillant leaping forward in quantum intervals, at a frequency you may expect. Science, religion and government are all mythologies, but of them social science is the most seductive, because it provides the greatest short-term relief from the most long-term symptoms, with the greatest variety of drugs. Any mythology can easily find fault with the others.

    In any case, the investigator measures the population, beginning with false assumptions, ignores the input of the investigator as an effect on the output, and conveniently confirms the false assumptions. Those false assumptions tune out most of the data, and any learning done is by accident and usually discarded as an outlier. The current meter thus is placed in parallel and grown to measure less and less current in the line.

    Relatively open as a result, the planet simply diverts resources away from the closed human bandwidth. Not to be deterred, humanity doubles and triples down until the business cycle becomes a calamity, flushing the so-aggregated DNA down the toilet. In the interim, humanity floats with currency, calling its preoccupation with consumption economics, measuring natural resource liquidation as GDP, and issuing money as debt to ensure more of the same.

    Each peer group scoffs at the one preceding it, and blames non-conforming individuals in their own midst for their outcomes. Legacy flushes the middle class with its artificial business cycle, until legacy itself is flushed in the final act. With a Bell Curve identifying and moving the leading edge of the distribution to the back for propulsion, ultimately turning the entire system upside down, the professions have a slightly more stable system, but with the same result.

    To the extent labor begins swimming against the current from the back of any channel in the distribution, discounting access to money for others, economic mobility is generated. At frequency, young people simply leave the distribution behind, subjecting it to its own fascism, creating a gap, a discontinuity in History, which you may also expect. Depending upon development and channels, a rope may or may not be reattached.

    Net, you have an elevator bay with a counterweight stack, hashed into channels for regeneration in each hoistway. The dressing, the US Constitution in this iteration, is the last to be applied, not the first. A massive store of natural resources was the battery, not the constitution, and only a majority of Americans, as derivatives of government, and its vassals elsewhere, bred on the $dollar believe otherwise.

    Whether it’s a car, an elevator, or an organization, it’s all practical mechanics; you have a motor and a battery in a relatively closed system, subject to external P & T. You have an arbitrary algorithm for the dress, hidden in a proprietary computer or not, a ladder digram of parallel and series relays, and a wiring diagram. What you do with them is up to you.

    Life begins with work, not an Orwellian job, and you have to go to where the work is. The empire offers you a false start A and a multiple false choice end B, so you choose C, where you can acquire the skills necessary to develop your talent, whereupon B becomes wherever you are and wherever you go. Despite every effort, empire has never replaced marriage for obvious reasons, or you wouldn’t be here, and your only real choice for feedback is your spouse, a voltage meter.

    Fathers appear harsh relative to empire drug dealers because they will not hesitate to challenge your assumptions, and kick you off the ant hill, with a subconscious looking for the opportunity. If you want a pat on the butt and a pep talk, go to mom, who has a subconscious looking for the opportunity. Yes, my wife was and is a cheerleader, hiding prodigious intelligence with optimism and procrastination, “everybody gets do-overs.”

    Don’t treat mom poorly and expect a happy outcome, because dad will let you jump right off that bridge with everyone else. That’s life. Knowledge is the illusion, and mom and dad aren’t always going to be there; that’s why you have two feet, two hands and a brain.

    Don’t waste your time doing empire drugs. The empire convicts itself; with two points on a line, you may rest assured that you will see the third. Government is always the majority paying themselves in natural resources and debt to find someone else to do the work.

    False prophets, chauvinists and feminists hiding in the guise of marriage, are a dime a dozen and about as useful, tools for building an actuarial ponzi for empire, with children as bricks, failing of its own dead weight every time, at the gap. Everything affects everything, surprise, unless you choose not to look, and get blown up with the rest. As you can see all across the Internet, prosecuting the majority for its collusion in ignorance, individually or otherwise, is a waste of time.

    The problem with all market strategies is that you are betting on the herd to lose, in a game of last fascist standing, instead of investing in yourself and your family. Of course the global thought leaders running this sh-fest have a big plan; the streets are littered with people who have the plan for your life and are eager to tell you the news, because they have no life of their own. Why would you study data, and be its prisoner, when you can make the data, and why would others want to select the data for you?

    As far as the cause and effect of misery goes, computers are far closer to the cause and guns are far closer to the effect, and any five-yr-old can get a computer. If the 99% were really the victim, they could easily solve the problem by using cash instead of credit; eliminating anonymous cash is about eliminating privacy, for the sake of government. The needle is not the hay.

    Unless you are part of the ‘it takes a community to raise other people’s children’ crowd, why would you care which ‘community builder,’ its predator, devalues next? California Flu; get your immunizations right here folks. Just step right into that MASH tent, with German plumbing.

  33. emptyfull

    I’m on SSI now (the $870/month poverty disability program), thanks to a brutal muscle disease and a long stint in grad school where I didn’t get to pay into regular social security despite almost constantly working as a teaching assistant. I thought I could make it as an academic, but my body and marriage just collapsed under the strain. And yet I’m lucky. Unlike so many others with my level of disability, I have a good family to fall back on for much needed support. My children did get Christmas gifts this year.

    This video reduced me to tears:

    1. vidimi

      sorry to hear about the recent turbulence in your life but pleased to know you have good family support.

  34. perpetualWAR

    The low tricks of high finance: how greedy bankers, weak politicians and timid journalists could cause a new crash

    I am dealing with this issue RIGHT NOW. Weak politicians totally and utterly bought by the financial institutions. My response will be swift. These assholes cannot continue this charade.

    The next crash is coming and will be so big that no one can look away.

  35. BEast

    To what does the NC commentariat ascribe the elite push for getting rid of cash? Is it because:

    a) The big banks and credit card companies want to tack more fees onto everything we do?

    b) The big banks want to have all our money in their accounts, to facilitate negative interest rates and/or bail-ins to cover their gambling losses in the next crash?

    c) The surveillance state wants to be able to monitor everything everyone buys?

    d) The government wants to be able to freeze the assets of or payments to anyone they don’t like/anyone under suspicion for anything? (a la The Handmaid’s Tale, but more likely to be Muslims or Iranians or whistleblowers/leakers/media organizations than women)


    e) All of the above?

Comments are closed.