2:00PM Water Cooler 3/14/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, thanks for the fun, hyperliterate, and even more than usually excellent comments on Friday, when I was traveling.


“German small and medium-sized enterprises are calling for changes to the planned free trade agreement between the European Union and the USA (known as TTIP). A significant majority of companies surveyed currently expects the deal will have a negative impact on the German economy” [Euractiv].

“”Free Trade”: The Elites Are Selling It But The Public Is Longer Buying” [Dave Johnson, CAF]. “Elites say increasing trade is always good. But when you close a factory here, then open the factory ‘here’ and bring the same goods back to sell in the same outlets, you have ‘increased trade’ because those goods now cross a border. The differential between wages paid here and there goes into the pockets of the executives and shareholders. Those unemployed American workers add to wage pressures on the rest of us. Inequality increases.”



A tender moment reminiscing about the Iraq vote:

Kidding! It’s the Nancy Reagan funeral.

“Hillary Clinton’s Response To Honduran Coup Was Scrubbed From Her Paperback Memoirs” [HuffPo].

“The Democratic Party is, as some political scientists put it, a ‘coalition of social groups,’ ranging from Planned Parenthood to teachers’ unions, rather than an ideological monolith; there’s nothing comparable to the array of institutions that enforces purity on the other side” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. Actually, the ideology is neoliberalism, and Krugman himself is one of the enforcers.

“Between 2014 and 2015, average hourly nominal wages for private-sector workers grew 2.2 percent (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics), in line with the 2.0–2.2 percent trend over the previous six years. At that slow rate, this crucial measure illustrates just how far the economy remains from a full recovery, let alone full employment. The weakened labor market of the last seven years has put enormous downward pressure on wages” [Economic Policy Institute]. I’m filing this here rather than under class warfare, because it so clearly implies the classic election year question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” And “Are you better off than you were eight years ago?” I bet most voters would, at the very least, have to stop and think.


“Bank of America paid Clintons speaking fees, too – more than $1M worth” [Miami Herald]. “For their Goldman speeches, the Clintons have received more than $2 million combined. But the pair has also given talks to other banks, including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and UBS.” Don’t think “speaking fee.” Think “investment.” Ka-ching.

The Voters

“Why the Working Class?” [Jacobin]. The math. And the leverage.

“22) Modern GOP establishment increasingly comfortable being pure legislative party — just as Dem elites comfortable as presidential party. 23) GOP base — especially Trumpists — most definitely NOT comfortable being legislative party.” [@Billmon].

Trump Panic

“Trump’s Week of Errors, Exaggerations and Flat-out Falsehoods” [Politico]. In a truthy political environment that Politico did so much to create.

“[T]his is why Trump is something different and more dangerous in American life. He is a man with an evident appetite for suppressing dissent with violence” [Ezra Klein, Vox]. This is the man who orchestrated a 17-city coordinated paramilitary crackdown on Occupy! Oh, wait…

“What these [leftist] activists have responded to, and taken advantage of, is the hateful rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump since the first days of his campaign” [Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump’s Rhetoric and the Violence at His Campaign Events”]. The author, Doug Heye, “is a former communications director for the Republican National Committee and deputy chief of staff to then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor” and so he and Klein — unsurprisingly — are on the same wavelength.

“All three of Trump’s Republican opponents are now convinced (even if some are loath to concede it publicly) that the current front-runner is the only candidate in the field who still has the chance to win the 1,237 delegates that would ensure his nomination in Cleveland. But if Trump is unable in the remaining primaries and caucuses to line up the necessary delegates, the convention will be deadlocked on its first ballot and then have to vote again—and possibly again and again—until a majority emerges” [Bloomberg]. Another version [Politico].

Clinton pollster Joel Benenson: “‘What’s the evidence [for a Trump Presidential win]? The evidence of it, they’ve turned out a lot of people. I think he’s broken 50 percent in only one state, right? … If you look at the states that Democrats have won … in five out of the last six [presidential contests], it adds up to 257 electoral votes. It means you only need 13 more to get to 270 if we perform that way'” [Politico].

Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Florida

“Poll-Defying Pattern Predicts Sanders Victory” [HuffPo].

“The top quotes from the Democratic town hall in Ohio” [CNN].

“Clinton Won’t Meet Embattled Mayor Emanuel in Chicago Visit” [Bloomberg]. “The Berniebros send their regards” [@SKRollins].

The Trail

“Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has expanded his double-digit lead among millennials in the Democratic presidential race, but a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote poll finds a way for Hillary Clinton to solve her generation gap: Donald Trump” [USA Today]. And: “[A]mong millennials Clinton loses the strong advantage among African-American voters generally that has helped her sweep Southern contests. Whites support Sanders by 54%-37%. Blacks support him by a bit more, 56%-37%, and Hispanics by nearly as wide a margin, 53%-40%.”

“The shameful Bernie race smear: Hillary supporters have played a dirty, dangerous game” [Salon].

“Bernie wins Democrats abroad primary 70% to 30% (bigger margin than Obama in ’08)” [Daily Kos]. Not sure expats are any kind of bellwether, though.

“[I]f Hillary supporters want to claim the mantle of realism, they should start by accepting very real liabilities of their candidate” [Salon].

“Which Side Are You On, Hillary?” [New York Times]. Not a hard question to answer…

“If Hillary Clinton Isn’t Fit For The Job, Why Is She Running?” [Wendy Kaminer, WBUR]. “Hillary Clinton has won praise and sympathy for acknowledging the obvious: that she is not a ‘natural politician,’ like her husband or President Obama…. What riles me is not her appearance of routine dishonesty but Clinton’s audacity in taking on an incredibly consequential job — running for president — for which she is unqualified. I don’t doubt her qualifications for the presidency (although I worry about her tenuous commitment to civil liberty, along with her hawkish foreign policy). But knowing that she is not a “natural politician,” meaning not a skilled campaigner, Clinton should not have run. Had she stepped out of the race, other capable, electable Democrats (governors and senators) better at running and equally adept at governing, would likely have stepped in.”

UPDATE Clinton had what looked to me like an awful weekend: First, she threw the gays under the bus by saying that the Reagans initiated a “national conversation” on AIDS. Then, she equated the (putative) violence at Trump rallies with the Charleston shootings, and concluded by saying: “The families of those victims came together and melted hearts in the statehouse and the Confederate flag came down.” Well, one flag came down because of Bree Newsome, who Clinton airbrushed out. And I’d also dearly love to know who the outrage after Charleston got diverted into symbolic measures (granted, the symbols are super-ugly).

But even more amazing is that Clinton, in her interview with BlackLivesMatter activists in August 2015, Clinton said this: “Look I don’t believe you change hearts.” So which is it? Melting hearts, or not?

(Oh, and I say “looked to me like an awful weekend” because the alternative explanation for throwing gays and blacks under the bus is that she’s already tacking to the center. Gotta pick up those moderate Republicans!)

“What’s Wrong With Hillary?” [Politico]. “First, Hillary Clinton commands little trust among an electorate that is driven today by mistrust. Second, her public life—the posts she has held, the positions she has adopted (and jettisoned)—define her as a creature of the “establishment” at a time when voters regard the very idea with deep antipathy. And finally, however she wishes it were not so, however much she argues that she represents the future as America’s first prospective female president, Clinton still embodies the past, just as she did in 2008 when she lost to Barack Obama.”

Stats Watch

Nothing today, continuing last week’s light stats; the rest of the week is heavy. Friday is a Quadruple Witching, even if people who know about that sort of thing already know.

“Eurozone industrial output rises 2.1% on Ireland surge” [BBC]. I don’t get this at all. “Global contagion hits Ireland as manufacturing pace slows” [Irish Independent].

“The Maritime Silk Road Freight Index was launched on a trial basis by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange last July. The index takes January 2015 as its base point, and at that time it had a value of 100” [Bloomberg]. “The latest update, released on February 29, shows that the index has declined to 65.11 after falling 10.3 percent over the previous month alone.”

Shipping: “I know there was a port strike last year at this time so year-over-year analysis will likely be worthless in the periods January thru March this year. However, if one simply looks at the previous Januarys and Februarys since 2006 – imports indeed are at very high levels whilst exports are soft” [Econintersect].

“Delivery in a day is just too slow. At least, that seems to be the philosophy at Amazon, which in the last year has quietly built out a network of at least 58 Amazon Prime Now hubs in the US to fulfill one- and two-hour deliveries” [Bloomberg]. “The buildout of the Prime Now hubs goes toward the goal of getting goods to the market faster, but it’s also one cog in a larger strategy to create a lean, cost-efficient logistics network that rivals anything its competitors can offer. That’s an important step for Amazon, which loses billions of dollars getting goods to consumers.” So we should value Amazon like a shipping company? Albeit an excellent one?

“How We Learned (Almost) Everything That’s Wrong with U.S. Census Data” [Harvard Business Review]. “Sadly, the only way to learn which statistics are as reliable as GDP and which are as useless as reported e-commerce sales by general merchandise stores may be to give federal data collection and reporting a top-to-bottom overhaul.”

The bezzle: “Currently, profits as measured by standardized accounting principles are much lower than the profits executives are spouting to their investors. And it has billionaire investors and Wall Street strategists wrestling with the possibility that the much of the profit growth we’ve seen is actually just an illusion” [Yahoo Finance].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73, Greed (previous close: 75, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 73 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 14 at 1:53pm. Still puttering along in the mid-70s. It’s like Gramps put the Index on Cruise Control.


“That’s increased drugmakers’ interest in the human microbiome — the universe of roughly 100 trillion good and bad bacteria, fungi and viruses that live on and inside the body. Roche is already undertaking basic research in the field and plans to investigate the microbiome’s potential for cancer treatment, Chen said” [Bloomberg]. Great. Big Pharma IP in my gut biome. What could go wrong?

“New Report Says Science Can Estimate Influence of Climate Change on Some Types of Extreme Events” [National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine]. “More important, he said, is how extreme weather prediction can be used for risk assessment. “If we can help people understand how those risks are changing and why those risks are changing, that is a very powerful tool in a toolbox” for city managers, emergency planners and company owners, [David Titley, chair of the committee that conducted the study] said.” And the FIRE sector.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Matter of Black Lives” [The New Yorker]. I have to say this all seems rather far away from Ferguson.

Police State Watch

“There you have it. The ‘privacy; of cops and state employees means we don’t get to know the identity of a DA investigator who smashed a defense attorney’s head into a bench, then punched him up to 10 times (allegedly!).” [WaPo]. Madness in Orange County.


“Carsten Kengeter is on track to run Europe’s largest stock exchange. Three years ago, British prosecutors viewed him as a possible co-conspirator in the global interest-rate-rigging scandal” [MarketWatch]. So Kengeter is has the resumé, then?

Our Famously Free Press

“Breitbart journalists [sic] resign in protest after alleged assault by Trump campaign manager” [Yahoo]. “Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed.” Oh, the humanity!

Class Warfare

“Many scientific ‘truths’ are, in fact, false” [Quartz]. About “the reproducibility crisis.” Filing this under Class Warfare because of this tweet:

“American inequality didn’t just happen. It was created. Market forces played a role, but it was not market forces alone. In a sense, that should be obvious: economic laws are universal, but our growing inequality— especially the amounts seized by the upper 1 percent—is a distinctly American ‘achievement'”[Joseph Stiglitz, Evonomics].

Our political system has increasingly been working in ways that increase the inequality of outcomes and reduce equality of opportunity. This should not come as a surprise: we have a political system that gives inordinate power to those at the top, and they have used that power not only to limit the extent of redistribution but also to shape the rules of the game in their favor, and to extract from the public what can only be called large “gifts.” Economists have a name for these activities: they call them rent seeking, getting income not as a reward to creating wealth but by grabbing a larger share of the wealth that would otherwise have been produced without their effort. Those at the top have learned how to suck out money from the rest in ways that the rest are hardly aware of—that is their true innovation.

“The ongoing abuse of trust by office holders is not simply a series of isolated incidents; it is the manifestation of a deep and widespread rot. And people have had it. During the past 20 years, voter turnout has dropped in most western democracies, particularly among young people, who are looking for alternative ways to bring about social change” [Harvard Business Review]. When you’ve lost the Harvard Business Review… Recall that one of Crane Brinton’s indicators for a coming revolution is that people start talking about “revolution.”

“As an historic downturn grips the U.S. coal industry, Kentucky is considering ending state safety inspections of mines. A bill spawned by the state’s coal lobby and backed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin would leave inspections up to the federal government alone, effectively slashing the number of mandatory visits that underground mines in the Bluegrass State receive each year by more than half” [International Business Times].

News of the Wired

“Two mathematicians have found a strange pattern in prime numbers — showing that the numbers are not distributed as randomly as theorists often assume” [Nature]. “Prime numbers near to each other tend to avoid repeating their last digits, the mathematicians say: that is, a prime that ends in 1 is less likely to be followed by another ending in 1 than one might expect from a random sequence.”

“I stayed in a hotel with Android lightswitches and it was just as bad as you’d imagine” [Matthew Garrett]. “It’s basically as bad as it could be – once I’d figured out the gateway, I could access the control systems on every floor and query other rooms to figure out whether the lights were on or not, which strongly implies that I could control them as well.”

“Airbnb to Let Neighbors Give Feedback on Hosts, `Party Houses'” [Bloomberg]. Well after the fact, of course. Note that AirBnB’s valuation is, again, fractionally bezzle due to behavior that would elsewise be illegal or at least sanctionable.

And then there’s this:

Am I a bad person for thinking “Wow, I could really use that!”?

“Chicago man arrested for using cellphone jammer on train” [Fox]. My hero!

“RIP, Terry Pratchett” [Boing Boing]. One year and two days ago.

* * *

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


I know this is totally out of season, but isn’t this lovely?

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Kurt Sperry

    “This is the man who orchestrated a 17-city coordinated paramilitary crackdown on Occupy! Oh, wait…”


    The media have fueled the flames of Trump’s rise. He’s a yuuge celebrity and indeed in large measure their own media creation so they had little or no choice but to cover him. I think however once he started collecting state primary victories one after the next, the media heads must retrospectively regret having done so. Nobody in the “serious” or vetted mainstream media actually want or meant Trump to win, they were just milking the train wreck/freak show of his candidacy for cheap ratings. If it’s Hillary vs. Trump, as most expect, the media (except possibly Fox, which is essentially a GOP party organ and thus pretty much must, unless it wants to go completely rogue and blow up the party, support whomever the nominee is) will turn on Trump (with his own ample help) and it’ll probably backfire and help elect Trump. The media control inputs are getting almost perfectly out of phase with events now–thus, the palpable high discomfort.

    The Republican Party stands on the brink here, I don’t think that’s an overstatement. One could say the same about the Democrats, there the party’s very ideologically different past and future are intersecting and struggling for control right now. Either party–or both even–could be forced to undergo major reformations in the wake of this election cycle. When was the last Presidential race this interesting and fraught?

    1. Pavel

      Yeah, I’m trying hard to remember Obama, Clinton et al forcefully defending the peaceful Occupy protesters against the outrageous and blatant violence committed against them by the police. Remember the cops with their badges hidden, and the pepper spray?

      It’s hard to remember Obama and Clinton doing that because they basically stood by silently.

      (Not to mention the endless violence committed by those two in Mideast countries, but we know that doesn’t count.)

      Trump inciting a few fistfights at a political rally: OUTRAGE!
      Saudis using US fighters, ammo, and expertise to commit genocide in Yemen:

      (the final space intentionally left blank)

      I note of course the NY Times finally giving some coverage to the Saudis and Yemen (and US involvement) in today’s paper, but there has been absolute silence on the part of the candidates and the media.

      1. jrs

        Can we just say they are both scumbags? (and believe me I want to use much worse language) Or is that way too complex? Gotta take a side straight to heck or something.

        The mainstream commentators whatever. The actual protesters however may be the SAME ones that were in Occupy. Do you know who your REAL friends are? Well I’m gonna bet they are mostly ant-racist (might very well be anti-capitalist as well). Most real leftists anyone would even WANT on their side are anti-racist and so might very well protest a sleazy piece of garbage like Drumpf. In addition to protesting oh .. the capitalist system.

      2. Blink 180

        It’s hard to remember Obama and Clinton doing that because they basically stood by silently.

        The crackdown on OWS was coordinated at the federal level, in cooperation with the banks (!) and local police. They weren’t feckless bystanders, they were the prime movers in the crackdown.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The worst part about Occupy was watching them arrest longhaired 20-somethings for littering the park while just a block away there were billion-dollar thefts going completely unpunished

    2. TomD

      Fox is not a GOP party organ, they’re a right wing advocacy group. They have shown perfectly willing to blow up establishment, reasonable Republicans for the sake of pushing right wing politics.

      What should worry Ailes is that Trump is not especially right wing, or controllable.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      I won’t be surprised when a Trump whackjob with a gun kills someone for daring to disrespect his Messiah. It’s a long way til November, tempers are flaring already, and the country is loaded with armed whackjobs. And Trump hasn’t tried to calm anyone. He says it’s all Bernie’s fault.

      1. Code Name D

        Assuming Trump doesn’t get caught in the cross fire. But something tells me Trump rallies are one of the rare acceptations to the 2nd amendment.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Novelists and fiction writers have enough stuff for many books.

        8 Days in May or June or July.

        Mob ties.

        Rogue candidates.

        Time to pray for peace and democracy.

    4. different clue

      If its Trump vs. Clinton at the end of all this, and Trump destroys Clinton; then Trump will have destroyed or at least delayed two loathsome and filthy political dynasties. That would be a valuable achievement, though having a President Trump would be a heavy price to pay for it.

      And if Trump could so thoroughly destroy large parts of the MSM to the point where many MSM companies go into fire-sale liquidation, that would be a third lasting positive achievement.

  2. James Levy

    Taleb is going way too far in his tweet. I’m sure it will give comfort to every denier of Evolution, crackpot who thinks the moon landings were faked, and person who believes that climate change is a “hoax”. But it runs in the opposite direction of where we should be going: towards adult evaluations of evidence and away from believing whatever fairy story makes us feel good. The only way to defeat bad science is with good science, not with a throw-up-your-hands-and-ask-grandma philosophy. What we need to do is demand reliable evidence from these nabobs, not retreat into anything goes relativism.

    1. Synoia

      What we need to do is demand reliable evidence

      Better: Repeatable evidence, with the sources and tests fully disclosed.

      1. pretzelattack

        fortunately both evolution and climate science do have repeatable evidence, and the process is transparent outside paywall restrictions.

    2. NeqNeq

      I think you misunderstood Taleb’s post. He is saying that bad science has the same epistemic value as asking Granny. When that class of “science” is used to prop up paternalistic policies, the world is made a little worse….but currently policymakers dont give a shit because they can always say “but…but…thats what the scientific consensus said!!” when things go pear shaped.

    3. paul

      Taleb is a great admirer of David Cameron,who is keen on all activities 1-5 and has none of his skin in the austerity game

    4. Adam Eran

      Taleb’s remarks about resilience (online video I can’t locate now), and his affiliation with Kahneman (Thinking Fast And Slow) should be enough to cast at least a little doubt on this master of truthiness.

      Among other things he expressed the need for different types of currency (airline miles, not just dollars) for the sake of resilience, and said the fragility of the state is expressed by its “debt.” That last is just illegitimate, the first demonstrates, despite his employment on Wall St. anticipating Black Swans, he doesn’t know that bank notes from a variety of banks are the vast majority of what passes for currency in circulation.

      And since his managed fund is structured around anticipating Black Swans, he has a vested, financial interest in fear mongering.

      1. NeqNeq

        Out of curiosity, why would an “affiliation” (not sure what that means) with Khaneman be reason to doubt his arguments/premises?

      2. paul

        His pal david’s resilience strategies have much to commend them; be born rich,get a job with the aid of a word from the queen’s equerry and marry someone with a net ‘worth’ of 300 million great british pounds.
        Just like Taleb’s resilient taxi driver does in the bitcropper economy.

    5. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I think we’re going from “everything the nice government man says is true” to “nothing the evil government man says is true”. I think it’s completely healthy for us to test the edge of the envelope on the skepticism side before settling down to “adult evaluations of evidence”.
      Seems to me about 25% of tinfoil hat stuff is completely wacky…but that means 75% ends up being true. Most scientists would be pretty happy with that percentage.

    6. clinical wasteman

      Please excuse rare disagreement with you in this case James, but I must admit I was just about to post applause for Taleb (to whom I’m usually indifferent at best). Maybe the disagreement lies in whether you read this as criticism of science as such or of the (mis)application of science to social, historical life, and especially the supremely noxious Thaler/Sunnstein sort of misapplication. There may — I really don’t know, it’s too long since I lived in North America — also be a transatlantic difference in how urgent or plain psychically crushing a problem this seems, despite the provenance of those particular clowns. Of course both the theory and the practice have a long prehistory, but the use of that kind of personal Behaviour Modification as top-down class warfare (which is the part I’m surprised — maybe wrongly — that Taleb gets to) really seemed to take off under the post-1997 UK Labour governments (and somewhat under Australian/NZ Labo(u)r, Canadian Liberals and Brazilian PT) as substitution for the least pretense of social democratic welfarism. “Look how much we care for the helpless/hapless poor, by Improving them whether they like it or not!” I don’t see enough US MSM to know whether this is as true there as in the remarkable UK Guardian/Mail double act, but here at least, that sort of aggressive social behaviourism (and the accompanying upper-middle class lifestyle self-congratulation) just runs riot. I agree that quantitative scientific research isn’t to blame, but what happens again and again is a sort of grotesque parody of the Hegelian moment when the quantitative becomes qualitative. A qualitative, i.e. social, “take-away” is simply made up with reference to quantitative data that might have been interesting if considered with proper, headline-unfriendly caution. And when the “take-away” is duly taken away by parties with Police powers, the resulting “incentives” against “bad lifestyle choices” make the lives in question worse, generating more or the same sort of data… and so on.
      A proper polemic against institutional question-begging is long overdue, better still if written by someone like James L.

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      Taleb’s tweet is filed under “Class Warfare” for good reason. I deny that Taleb’s tweet is in any way anti-science; look at the context immediately above for the reproducibility crisis. You don’t have to be a denier of the scientific method to accept that scientific institutions are not immune to the general corruption.

      Think of it this way. There are very well-paid economists riding up and down the Acela from their tenured positions on the Charles to fancy hotels in DC — and their Business Class tickets are paid for by macroeconomic models that perform no better than, and possibly worse than, soothsaying.

      And if there’s a general crisis of reproducibility, that implies there’s a general crisis of credentialism, which plays a big role in how the 20% maintains their power. Now do you see why I filed the tweet where I did?

  3. GTF

    Stop saying we should value Amazon as a shipping company. I don’t go to UPS’s website to order anything, ever. There’s a difference.

    PS this is my favorite site on the internet, but you’re going to the well on that comment too much, and it’s not a good enough comment. Everyone knows Amazon is overvalued, I have a personal belief Bezos will never pay a dividend in his life (which would be hilarious and awesome). But Amazon clearly isn’t just a shipping company and the repetition of the line is old and worse it’s a content poor line.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “Stop saying we should value Amazon as a shipping company.”

      I didn’t start. You’re familiar with the difference between a question and a declarative statement?

      So we should value Amazon like a shipping company? Albeit an excellent one?

      The point is that Amazon’s business, as I’m sure we both agree, has a lot of components that wouldn’t have anywhere near Amazon’s valuation if they were spun off as separate firms. So why is Amazon valued as it is?

      If you want to supply a better riff, do feel free!

  4. Synoia

    Great. Big Pharma IP in my gut biome. What could go wrong?

    Have a shit, commit a crime! Stealing and Trafficking in Big Pharma’s property.

    What’s the next illegal activity? Coughing? (Spitting is already covered). Vomiting?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Hillary to miners: drop dead.

    West Virginia has been hard hit by a tighter coal regulations promoted by the Obama White House.

    Employment in the West Virginia coal industry peaked at 35,700 in the early stages of the U.S. economic recovery, but the number of jobs has sunk 36% in the past five years to an estimated 22,800 in January.

    In a town hall with voters last weekend, Hillary Clinton said: “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”


    Hiking WV’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 in two years was not such a brilliant move either, in terms of helping non-coal businesses pick up the slack.

    Momentum applies to states too: the rich get richer, while the poor go from bad to worse.

    In other news, the UMWA is not likely to endorse Hillary this year.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      And I will do all I can to help them go out of business. Their business is killing all of us with the pollution and Black Lung disease and mine disasters.

      “In December, for the first time in U.S. history, a CEO of a major company was convicted of a workplace safety crime. His name is Don Blankenship and he was once known as the “King of Coal.” The company he ran, Massey Energy, owned more than 40 mines in central Appalachia, including the Upper Big Branch mine, located in Montcoal, West Virginia, a state where coal is the dominant industry.

      In 2010, the Upper Big Branch Mine was the site of the worst mining disaster in the U.S. in 40 years — the kind of accident that isn’t supposed to happen anymore. It was just after 3 o’clock on April 5, when a massive explosion tore through miles of underground tunnels, killing 29 miners. Prosecutors accused Don Blankenship of ignoring mine safety laws and fostering a corporate mentality that allowed the disaster to occur.”


      When will you stop ridiculous accusations, such as Hillary wants coal miners to drop dead, when they actually do die every year just doing their job so people like us can have electricity? Do you think coal miners like their jobs? Do you think that the state of W Virginia should have an economic development plan to close down that industry entirely, saving people lives and get them working in solar panel factories or wind turbine factories or anything but the most dangerous and rapidly disappearing industry in the world. Did you know the Chinese are closing hundreds of coal mines and are planning on closing over 5,000 of the 10,000 coal mines they have. Why do you think coal is being displaced and abandoned. Do you do anything other read Oilprice or whatever for investment tips?

      1. Massinissa

        Yeah, um, when people use the phrase ‘drop dead’, they don’t actually mean they want them to die.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I don’t think there are 22,000 miners in West Virginia. The last figure I saw was IIRC 2-3,000. Almost all WV coal mining now is mountaintop removal – blasting and collecting, not really “mining.” It isn’t very labor intensive but it is incredibly destructive to an awesome natural environment.

      We should declare West Virginia a national park and hire all the state residents to maintain it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They always use work, in this case, mining work, as carrot to recruit new soldiers in the Nature-conquering GDP Army.

        The link is severed with Basic Income Guarantee.

        “I quit this GDP Army. Thanks to BIG, I won’t starve or lack health care.”

        1. Jim Haygood

          It starts with taking a cue from Orange County Cali, which renamed its airport for the larger-than-life cowboy hero John Wayne.

          Rebadging Charleston’s airport as John Denver International (Gateway to Country Roads) would work wonders for tourist arrivals.

          John was an honorary Appalachian American, you know.

          1. Gio Bruno

            John’s favorite state was Colorado. That’s how he found his stage name: John Denver. He was born in Roswell, NM, of all places. (Alien sightings and all.)

    3. reslez

      > Momentum applies to states too: the rich get richer, while the poor go from bad to worse.

      If all you can afford to pay your workers is $8.75 an hour the “momentum” question is how fast your employees are going to die of starvation and exposure. Because they certainly can’t afford housing, health care, or food on those wages. And those jobs are overwhelmingly part-time. The resources used by such businesses would probably be better allocated to more productive areas, not propped up by government subsidies that disguise what a canker they are on the economy.

    4. different clue

      The less coal burned, the less carbon skydumping. Of course, until we abolish Free Trade and restore Protectionism, there is not a damn thing we can do about the more coal burned in China and India in the present and especially in the future.

      And if we are going to kill coal company jobs as an act of deliberate policy, we should put the targeted coal miners on pension for the rest of their lives. And that could either be payed for out of taxes, or out of higher electricity rates earmarked for disemployed coal miner support.

  6. ambrit

    That Nancy Reagan funeral picture; “So, Nancy introduced you to the Dread Lord too! No, I don’t mean Joan!”

  7. Carolinian

    Re Hillary, Honduras, Hard Choices

    “A limited number of sections from the hardcover edition have been cut to accommodate a shorter length for this edition. Those sections remain available in the ebook edition,” it says.

    Presumably readers had been complaining about having to tote around such a heavy book. Also less text cuts down on eyestrain. Perfectly understandable.

    1. DakotabornKansan

      Hillary scrubs paperback memoirs [HuffPo]

      Clinton, controlling the present, scrubs details of Honduran right-wing coup from her paperback Hard Choices memoir, thus controlling the past. If she can control the past, decide what the “true history” was, she will control the future.

      Just as Orwell said: “If all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’”

      Ignorance is strength.

      1. Ulysses

        Freedom is Slavery, and War is Peace! I think we have discovered how the transnational kleptocracy was inspired to do what they’ve been doing for the last forty years :(

      1. Carolinian

        The interesting Brown piece is about Libya’s effort to create a currency union that would hurt French interests. The humanitarian intervention was more like oh the humanity of French businesses having less money.

        This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).

        In a “source comment,” the original declassified email adds:

        According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

        1 A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,

        2 Increase French influence in North Africa,

        3 Improve his internal political situation in France,

        4 Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,

        5 Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa

        Conspicuously absent is any mention of humanitarian concerns. The objectives are money, power and oil.[…]

        So do you think it would it be easier for the Obama administration to rally American support behind this “regime change” by explaining how the French wanted to steal Libya’s wealth and maintain French neocolonial influence over Africa – or would Americans respond better to propaganda themes about Gaddafi passing out Viagra to his troops so they could rape more women while his snipers targeted innocent children? Bingo!

        Also ka-ching.

      2. sumiDreamer

        People should take a very hard look at Osprey Global Solutions and it’s President, David Grange.

        I am of the mind that Sid, David and Hillary — that great lover of gold – worked a very nice cover story for looting and raiding ahead of time. You know, humanitarian concerns drove a VERY special ops situation – setting up “hospitals” hahaha

        People should really examine closely the contracts Osprey Global Solutions will have in Libya now.


        We came. We saw. We stole the gold …

        btw: #FreeGuciffer

  8. NeqNeq

    The working class has this power, for a simple reason — capitalists can only make their profits if workers show up to work every day, and if they refuse to play along, the profits dry up overnight. And if there is one thing that catches employers’ attention, it’s when the money stops flowing.

    I would add that labor is not the only way to impact the capitalists profits. The worker may also choose to purchase only those goods and services which are in the best interest of the working class (and therefore herself). If no goods that meet such criteria are available, then the working class should collaborate to bring them into existence. Such a task can be, in many cases, achieved without having to enter the formal markets, and, so, do not have to acquiesce to the rules laid out by the bankers, capital owners, and elites.

    Sadly, as evidenced by the response to Vegeholic (sp?) comment yesterday, many people (including workers) are loath to admit that they dont want to put forth any effort past voting and complaining on the internet.

    1. HotFlash

      Yea, and likewise verily. I do not understand why unions have not taken it upon themselves to own the means of production. The number of coops in North America is tiny. Rick Wolff calls coops and other worker-owned enterprises ‘democracy at work’ — I don’t agree that simple worker ownership will make for a workers’ paradise (soooooo easy to game democracy, as we have noticed) but it’s better than capitalism, esp with hedge fund and venture/vulture capitalist ownership. Simple idea, and very American and patriotic sounding, and could be made to work w/a little bit of good faith.

      Why should the serfs settle for striking for higher wages, when they could be their own bosses? I don’t get it.

      1. nowhere

        It would be interesting to see a Kick Starter campaign to raise enough cash to buy/build a worker owned factory.

        1. TomD

          You wouldn’t even have to buy it outright, but just get enough for a down payment.

          I expect suppliers and distributors would fuck them though. Can’t be allowing a change in power structures.

          1. HotFlash

            They can’t beat all of us, esp when “normal” companies are gettin’ out of the country. Suppliers need customers, no?

            1. nowhere

              I wonder if there is a critical mass of self-sustaining cooperatives that generate enough internal demand to satisfy local consumption.

      1. allan

        Perhaps DWS is actually a closet progressive, cleverly attempting to destroy the DNC from within by eliminating even a shred of pretense that it represents anything other than a corrupt oligarchy.

        1. HopeLB

          I used to believe the same thing about Jeff Immelt as head of GE, but in DWS’s case I believe it is more a case of the hubris of absolute power.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Likewise the Wisconsin Democratic Party has refused to sell VAN to a challenger to the outsourcers’ best D friend in Congress, Ron Kind. And can we please stop all that talk of revolution?

      1. Reify99

        Sent Myron a little money and WisDems a note saying the wind is changing. Get with it.
        Not using the R word.

  9. diptherio

    Am I a bad person for thinking “Wow, I could really use that!”?

    No, your router is a bad person. Mine too. {sighs} What to do? Is it even possible to by a good router (for a price that doesn’t require me to sell a kidney)?

    But my immediate thought was, “clever way to package another spy device, NSA!”…then my tinfoil hat fell off and I ordered one.

    1. hunkerdown

      A lot of cheap routers have cheap (non-hardware) random number generators. I could see cycling power used to exploit a freshly booted AP whose RNG might be a bit predictable at that point in time.

      Many routers with sufficient RAM/flash can accept custom firmwares such as Tomato (my recommendation) or OpenWRT, which will almost certainly improve stability and configurability (and remove vendor infrastructure dependencies like Cisco’s cloud or Belkin’s ping reflector). The WRT54GL ($70 MSRP) is a fine router, if slightly dated (“iconic”, in Linksys’ words). It runs Linux, can accept several easy-to-use custom firmware options, and has enough memory to host a few lightweight services. If you really feel like some DIY, don’t mind getting down and dirty with Linux system administration, and can tolerate a little instability, any of the single-board “pi” computers will accept a USB Ethernet interface or three in addition to the builtin.

      1. NeqNeq

        For those who are thinking about custom firmware, I suggest getting a router with such capability soon-ish or scour ebay. An FCC ruling recently went into effect which aims to prevent end users from fiddling with some aspects of the router.

        The fastest and cheapest way for manufacturers to get in compliance is to prevent the flashing of custom firmware, and this is exactly what suppliers are doing (so far).

      2. Mark Alexander

        I second the recommendation of the WRT54GL router. Mine has been running DD-WRT for years and has been super-reliable.

        It’s the closed-source DSL modem supplied by our local telephone monopoly that crashes regularly, forcing me to power-cycle it. It is a definite candidate for that ResetPlug.

        1. bob


          BUFFALO AirStation HighPower N600 Gigabit Simultaneous Dual Band DD-WRT Wireless Router


          Built with ddwrt standard. Great routers. Dual band, too. 2 AP’s, essentially*. We’re getting to the point where throughput on only one band is becoming an issue. Not enough room for all the bandwidth required.

          Easy to use out of the box, and yet very powerful for more technical people.

          It’s a step up from the dated at this point, and expensive linksys routers.

          *2 AP’s are 2 different wifi networks. They are bridged, but it doubles the throughput of the router to the internet.

          Also, if it can be plugged via Ethernet, plug it via Ethernet.

          I highly recommend Buffalo, and in particular, that model. You can spend more money, but you’re not going to get much more.

    2. TomD

      I work for a small ISP, in our experience, no there is no such thing as a good consumer router.

      Personally, I just bought this Trendnet, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BKFYLFO?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 and I’m happy with it so far.

      It’s not the fastest router in the world, but it manufacturer actually put out a DD-WRT firmware for it, which is nice. Seems reliable enough so far, but you should assume routers need to be replaced approximately every 2 years.

      1. bob

        The 2 year limit, i’d say, is normally about the life of the wall wart. Routers use some power.

        The Buffalo router I linked to above, or similar, has been rock solid. I have an older one that’s been in continuous heavy use for over 5 years.

        Check them out, not expensive, and much better quality and durability seem to be built in.

        In general though, yes. The consumer models that are sold and pushed are very high priced junk. They are the only name I can recommend, and even they have some very overpriced feature top heavy products.

        If you’re in a pinch at a store and NEED one, go cheap. The difference between the $50 model and the $200 model is not much, and not worth it,

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “The difference between the $50 model and the $200 model is not much, and not worth it”

          Since I was reading the comments from the present to the past, I nodded my head sagely at this point. Although I though you were talking about this kind of router:


    3. Schthub

      Actually, I already found one of these, in more expensive but useful form, years ago:


      I tell it to ping my internet gateway, then when it goes down for long enough, it’ll toggle the two sockets that power my modem & router. It has a web interface and does a whole bunch of stuff, has scripting, etc. Overkill but if you are technical I can recommend it. I’ve been running it for at least 5 years I think? 0 problems.

      But yeah, Internet of Shit is right – it’s ridiculous I have to do this. It’s the phone-company supplied modem I can’t reboot any other way than pulling the plug; my router is running one of the open source router packages. But if I’m toggling power I might as well do them both.

  10. diptherio

    Is it just me, or does March feel like it’s been dragging on forever? Hard to believe it’s only the 114th day of the month! **teeheehee**

    1. Tertium Squid

      Never mind reproducible research, what will happen to america’s youth if they go around thinking pi is 3.114…?

    1. different clue

      Well now Obama will gloat about having forced Putin to withdraw forces from Syria. Putin will endure Obama’s gloating as a price to be paid for having achieved the conditions for an R + 6 victory in Syria (whether partial or complete). Sic Semper Tyrannis is discussing all this on a very recent post.

    2. Darthbobber

      Sometimes Obama reminds me of Lord Palmerston. The absurd invective and belittling of the other party is its loudest even as the deals on our climbdown are being struck.

  11. Lee

    “[I]f Hillary supporters want to claim the mantle of realism, they should start by accepting very real liabilities of their candidate” [Salon].

    A great many of those liabilities were explored and excoriated by Daily Kos founder, Markos Moulitsas, in 2008. This is the same guy who has threatened to ban Clinton critics as of tomorrow, assuming it will then be time to unite behind her. Here is a review of his own critiques from 2008: http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/3/14/1500530/–Which-DailyKos-WhichMarkos

  12. Roquentin

    Re: Hillary’s Bad Weekend

    As I’m sure most people reading this know, Hillary’s phony leftist posturing will end a full 5 minutes after the primary is over when she pivots hard right to pick up all those “moderate” voters who generally vote GOP, but will be too disgusted with Trump to do so. Anyone who believed a word of this “Bernie pulling Hillary to the left” tripe will have a rude awakening in very short order.

    Maybe she’s really so arrogant as to be making this switch a little early. Maybe she believe her own bullshit and thinks the primary is already in the bag, so she can get an early start in painting herself as Republican-lite. Who knows?

    1. pat

      I know the Clinton supporters got good polling information about millenials recently, but I still say they are going to be in for a shock when she starts running to the right of Trump about Trade and regime change military adventures. A whole lot of people that they are expecting to hold their nose and vote for her are really going to join the Republicans who don’t like Trump and will crawl over ground glass to vote against her. Oh, and that a whole lot of those millenials are going to find something else to do in November because she does shift as we expect.

      I think they will soon find that presidential nominee is not going to win any Republican states, that the swing states are all in play except some important ones are likely go to Trump, and that even some Blue states are going to be much closer than expected.

      I don’t like it because Trump is slime, and is as much of a con as Obama was in 2008. He is also thin skinned and revenge oriented on top of that. Unfortunately, as disastrous as I think a President Trump would be, I truly believe there is no reason to think Clinton will be any better. Both are hideous possible Presidents.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Judging from the youth vote so far, young people won’t be shocked by Hillary’s future campaign appearances with the corpses of Nancy and Ronnie.

        As far as polling goes, Hillary and Clinton Inc hold anyone who isn’t in the club in contempt. They can’t hide it except through hiding. They are incapable of learning about voters because they despise them.

      2. NoOne

        Both are hideous possible Presidents.

        Precisely. However I am becoming more and more resigned to voting for the orange-haired guy in November purely on the theory that this country can survive 4 years of him but not 8 years of her.

        1. Massinissa

          I sort of agree with you. I would prefer Trump to beat Hillary, ABSOLUTELY.

          But Im not sure I can actually vote for him. I think I would feel too guilty about it. Im going to vote Jill Stein and keep my conscience clean. Anyway my state always votes Republican anyway.

          1. tegnost

            write in could win, indeed i consider sanders most electable and will write in if there’s no other option…but he can just win outright and that’s ok, too….plus major down ballot bonus’

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think the unknown factor is control of the Senate. Except for Sanders, it might not matter so much which party wins the Presidency, so long as the other party wins the Senate. Gridlock is far preferable to making things worse.

      3. different clue

        One hopes the youngers all come out and vote or at least vote against targetted downticket office seekers and also vote about various referrendal and initiative matters.

        1. tegnost

          the thing about youth turnout, i don’t know except anecdotally about other states but in washington it’s all mail in, very convenient for the settled less so for transient, but young people nowadays seem pretty settled (willing to be corrected on that) so voting changes will impact the votes, sometimes positively (numbers wise) sometimes negative (voter id etc…). I’m hanging my hat on sanders outperforming polls as a positive for him. (and me as an unintended consequence)

    2. ggm

      Funny thing about that. When my “moderate” GOP voting mother-in-law called this weekend she was in a panic because the media has her whipped into an absolute frenzy over Trump. She read off a list of headlines proclaiming Trump to be a dangerous psychopath and Hitler 2.0. She was in tears and said she is terrified of a Trump presidency. After a half an hour of trying to calm her down, my husband asked if she would vote for the Democrat instead. She said yes, if Bernie is the nominee she will vote (D) for the first time in decades. But she could never vote for Hillary.

      So a guy she is convinced could be the next coming of Hitler is still better than Hillary in her mind. What a world.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Statwatch – Eurozone and Ireland:

    The figures for Ireland are indeed somewhat weird. The consensus seems to be that it is the result of a combination of genuine growth and some ‘black swans’ connected to various tax changes. There is a superficial discussion of it in the Irish Times here:

    (the writer is very much an establishment commentator, so consider him a giver of ‘received views’.

    And a discussion in the mainstream Irisheconomy blog:


    As the commentators there note, Irelands GNP/GDP figures are notoriously unreliable because of the size of foreign sector and the various tax scams.

    It should be noted that the Irish economy is probably the most open economy in the world, so tends to act as something of an amplifier for global trends. But its also possible that it is just reflecting that the world economy is strong in sectors where the Irish economy is also strong – particular in traceable services and agriculture.

  14. hreik

    And then there’s this

    A pastor backing Donald Trump said at a rally in North Carolina Monday that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders “doesn’t believe in God” and needs to be “saved.”

    “Listen, Bernie gotta get saved, he gotta meet Jesus,” the South Carolina televangelist Mark Burns told audience members at Lenoir-Rhyne University as they waited on a Q&A session with Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “I don’t know, he’s got to have a coming to Jesus meeting.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is this chosen televangelist proposing?

      An invitation to a milk-and-honey soiree?

      “We will also be serving locusts.”

      1. Optimader

        Who has met Jesus in the past 1,984 years? Btw, jesus isnt god, Right?

        Not that it should be politically relevant, but has BSanders taken a postion on god(s)?
        Do they exist?
        Are they nice?
        Their thoughts on making some elbow room for DTrump?

        1. craazyboy

          If The Donald had a meetin’ with Jesus, we’d a heard ’bout it by now. He’s had at least one meeting with every other important person or god spawn. Even the Mafia and they’re Catholic!

          FYI, the Greeks and Romans most certainly thought the gods were not necessarily nice. ‘Course Bernie probably knows that already, fitting in the Old Testament/Hebrew niche. Assuming he takes all that seriously, of course.

    2. Massinissa

      I would be amused if Bernie was like, “You’re right! I SHOULD believe in God more!” and then proceeds to go to Synagogue every week.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s probably my narrow reading of the Constitution, but I am hoping that when politicking, everyone is an atheist or a separatist (when they politick).

  15. hreik

    And then there’s this:
    (CNN)A pastor backing Donald Trump said at a rally in North Carolina Monday that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders “doesn’t believe in God” and needs to be “saved.”

    “Listen, Bernie gotta get saved, he gotta meet Jesus,” the South Carolina televangelist Mark Burns told audience members at Lenoir-Rhyne University as they waited on a Q&A session with Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “I don’t know, he’s got to have a coming to Jesus meeting.”


      1. craazyboy

        I think the Second Coming is kinda a personal thing, but if pressed for an answer, I think it takes 2 hours nowadays.

  16. TedWa

    I am truly loving this takedown of Rahm Emmanuel by Bernie that I just got in an e-mail. He absolutely nails it. His grasp of the extent of the Wall St crimes is more than I expected :

    “The reality is that there wouldn’t be a budget shortfall if the city of Chicago had refused to pay Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America over $500 million for risky financial schemes that were marketed as a way to finance the public school system. This is a disaster for communities in Chicago, for communities of color and for the children of this city.

    Based on his disastrous record as mayor of the City of Chicago, I do not want Mayor Emanuel’s endorsement if I win the nomination. We do not want the support of people who are indebted to Wall Street and big money interests.”

  17. NoOne

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called upon “decent people everywhere” to denounce Donald Trump, saying he is becoming a “bigger, uglier threat every day.”

    Said Warren: “There’s no virtue in silence.”

    So sayeth the virtuous one who silently stood by without endorsing either candidate for president when her state held a primary.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      My distant history in political affairs taught me that the longer you hold out on endorsing anyone, the more flexibility you have and the better you can assist down the line.

      Tulsi Gabbard showed a lot of guts and integrity resigning her spot at the DNC to campaign for Sanders, but her position was different from Warren’s. In addition, Gabbard is an Iraq War vet for whom foreign policy is key.

      1. John

        Warren initiated a new consumer protection agency and focuses on corruption at Tbtf banks, exactly the same banks Bernie rails against in every speech, and exactly the same banks that paid tens of millions to the clintons for past and future b$ibes. Exactly how could the fit be better with Bernie or worse with Clinton?

  18. hreik

    trying to post about Drumpf’s SC pastor telling Bernie to get Jesus. Having trouble posting today. IF this posts I’ll post a link

  19. cwaltz

    Big Pharma has already reeked havoc with people’s gut biomes. It isn’t like treatments like Pepcid, Zantac, Tagamet, Prevacid, Axid and a whole host of other medications that people take to control their gut that can be purchased OTC don’t impact the gut and it’s balance.

  20. Plenue

    “Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed.”

    Oh, I think his legacy of being a colossal piece of human trash that regularly employed outright lies is perfectly safe.

  21. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Re: Gaia > Microbiome
    Yes, it does promise to be a big thing, but at present some daily kefir or yoghurt should cover your basic bases.
    From what I hear second-hand, this whole area of micro biome research actually promises to be a big deal.

    It should also work out well for sustainable ag farmers, Farmer’s Markets, and restaurants that serve fresh, well-seasoned veggies. So the more green leafs you eat, the less $$ Pharma is likely to suck out of you.
    I suppose that’s a decent tradeoff.

  22. ira

    Pardon the slight correction, Don’t think ‘speaking fee’, think investment ‘down payment.’
    With a down payment, the delivery of the purchased item is guaranteed by contract.

  23. pretzelattack

    the guardian actually ran an article about the hug, claiming it humanized her and was some kind of ideal to aspire to. they had to close down the comments. such tools.

  24. Qrys

    “Two mathematicians have found a strange pattern in prime numbers — showing that the numbers are not distributed as randomly as theorists often assume” [Nature]. “Prime numbers near to each other tend to avoid repeating their last digits, the mathematicians say: that is, a prime that ends in 1 is less likely to be followed by another ending in 1 than one might expect from a random sequence.”

    My very first thought is that these mathematicians have a Base-10 bias, since the numerals 0-9 are a human construct which is irrelevant to the true nature of prime numbers (calculations result the same way in binary or hexadecimal or Base-12). So I wonder if you look at prime numbers in a different base form, if you might not find any similar pattern… just one example linked below:


    1. Mark Alexander

      The article said that there exists a similar pattern with any divisor, so it’s not just a base-10 bias.

      1. Qrys

        Thanks! I didn’t catch that, as it was adjacent to a sentence that implied the opposite.

        “A prime’s last digit is its remainder when it is divided by 10. But the mathematicians found that the anti-sameness bias holds for any divisor. “

    2. HopeLB

      Wonderful! Love how you have gotten us to think outside of the constructs we usually take for granted. Reminds me of that study about how the language we use impacts our emotions/outlook.

  25. ewmayer

    “Great. Big Pharma IP in my gut biome. What could go wrong?” — Just think, by combining this research with the kind of miniaturization embodied in the “smart internet-connected rectal thermometer” described over in today’s Links, a pharma corp could actually discover a novel and useful microbe in your gut and patent it before you ever knew about it. Market efficiency there, my friends! Then they could turn around and sue you, the host of said microbe, under ISDS for patent infringement, requesting the court that you pay a hefty fine and undergo a course of personal-biome-nuking antibiosis … using heir incredibly expensive antibiotics, of course, and at your own expense. But hey, the cost of the drugs will help you reach your ACA-caused colossal insurance deductible for the year. Man, big-data-enhanced free-market capitalism is so awesome.

  26. ewmayer

    ‘heir’ –> ‘their’. I’m having a ‘bad heir’ day at the keyboard, it seems.

  27. Kim Kaufman

    Could have been Hill and W laughing ’bout how he stole the election from Gore. So many good times to reminisce about.

  28. For The Win

    Class warfare: “Volkswagen institutional investors file US$3.6 bln lawsuit”

    “The lawsuit, for damages of 3.256 billion euros (US$3.61 billion), was filed at a regional court in Braunschweig in VW’s home state of Lower Saxony on Monday and is being brought by 278 investors from all over the world, including German insurers and US pension fund Calpers, Reuters reported.”

    At first it seems insane — these stockholders are suing themselves — except what they are actually doing is suing the small shareholders, the ones who have the least leverage over the board of directors, for the failure of these very same institutional investors to do what they were suppose to do, insure a proper board of directors and chairman were running Volkswagen. At the very least these “institutional” investors should be only suing the board of directors as well as the chairman, but that would probably mean yet again they’d have to sue one of their own employees or best buddies, the ones they placed on the board (or I should say the two boards, German PLC’s have two separate boards of directors, in theory to stop management corruption – guess that worked well here).

    Anyway, I hope some smart lawyer steps up and puts a lawsuit against all of these institutional investors, and their directors, and I bet there is a lot more money to shake out of these trees than there is now left in Volkswagen’s share value.

    Anyway, I figure someone at NakedCapital could do a far better job running with this ball.

    1. Gio Bruno

      Well, it’s going to get uglier! A VW tech person who was fired for refusing to delete incriminating data regarding the emissions fraud, has just filed a Whistleblower lawsuit in Michigan. This VW thing could end up in criminal court!

      1. For The Win

        It’s a logic case, Lambert.

        The company is being sued, but the company is a fictional body corporate. Who are the ultimate bodies behind the corporation? The shareholders, granted, in theory their liability is limited to the value of the shares they purchased, and here’s the kicker. These institutional investors thus are suing all the investors who owned shares in VW, when they get paid, that outflow of money will effect the price of the shares for all the investors, but only these institutional investors (and their lawyer(s)) will gain the value of settlement. Also, most small, retail investors, don’t have size of holdings or the institutional where with to do things like order options/puts to protect themselves from the downside impact of the additional bad news that the institutional investors know they are about to release onto the value of VW shares. So yet again, in terms of money losses, the institutional investors are not suffering, perhaps even profiting from the bad news, now that they control it.

        It’s a non-virtuous feeding frenzy, all eventually at the cost of the Mum and Pop shareholders who didn’t have either the foresight or the courage to eat the loss on their retirement savings early on.

  29. Darthbobber

    The Krugman piece is, once again, unintentionally hilarious. Another segue from GOP and Trump-bashing to equating them with the Sanders menace. But this time, for variety, instead of equating the Sanders menace with the Trump menace, he equates it with the earlier GOP orthodoxy. And the spectacle of one of the Democrats’ ideological enforcers opining that the Dems lack such is really entertaining, especially in an article that is itself a textbook case of ideological enforcement.

    Apparently Henwood was also amused, and gives the bonus of resurrecting an old Krugman puff piece on Enron, from before it turned out that “mistakes were made.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      For his yeoman service to her campaign, Hillary may well name the world’s most feared economist — Krugthulhu — as Treasury Secretary.

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