2:00PM Water Cooler 3/29/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


The Voters

“Why Voters Will Stay Angry” [Bloomberg]. I’m linking to this in the hopes that Bloomberg Himself will step in and get the web site’s designers under control. What a horrid page layout!

The Trail

NBC Poll: “National support for Clinton now stands at 49 percent down from 53 percent last week. Sanders support is at 43 percent up slightly from 41 percent last week” [CNBC]. And Trump leads establishment candidate Cruz (!) by 20 points (!!) [CNBC].

“Obama’s neutrality is a polite scam. His “private” chat came before voters in 29 states even had their say. Presidents never let appointees make endorsements, but three Obama cabinet secretaries — Agriculture’s Tom Vilsack, HUD’s Julian Castro and Labor’s Thomas Perez — backed Clinton early, thus shepherding whole economic sectors into her camp. At Obama’s DNC, ethically challenged Debbie Wasserman Schultz brazenly violates party rules by daily rigging the game for Clinton” [Salon]. I don’t think it’s correct call DWS “ethically challenged.” She’s met her challenges — and surpassed them!

“Coming off of his big wins in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington, the burden will be on Bernie Sanders to continue his momentum with a big win in Wisconsin. If we’re looking at the state as a sort of “second-half New Hampshire,” Sanders needs a New Hampshire-style double-digit win. With delegates split proportionally between the two candidates, a small victory doesn’t push Sanders closer to closing the gap with Clinton or bolster his argument about his ability to chip in her lead” [NBC]. Ah, the expectations game…

New York: “Now, in advance of the New York’s April 19 presidential primary, operatives for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are closely studying Teachout’s longshot campaign. ‘They’re very worried about a Zephyr Teachout situation,’ said one Clinton ally close to the campaign. ‘The left is very mobilized. In New York [for Clinton] it’s not just about winning. They have to win 65 to 35′” [Politico].

California: “Clinton leads Sanders 45 percent to 37 percent, but that’s down from the 16-point advantage she had in the same poll in September” [McClatchy]. “[Clinton] leads Sanders among Latinos, 52 percent to 37 percent.”

“Some women don’t care that Clinton would be first female president” [McClatchy].

“Trump aide charged with misdemeanor battery vs. ex-Breitbart reporter” [Palm Beach Post].

Linguist: “When Mr. Trump gives a speech, viewers notice his distinctive idiolectal use of discourse markers, which also give the impression that he is having an intimate conversation with the individual voters rather than giving a prepared speech to a mass audience” [New York Magazine].

“Donald Trump leads the Republican race by spending the fewest votes for each delegate — and Hillary Clinton leads the Democrats by spending the most” [WaPo].

Kasich pulls ads in Wisconsin, to place new ads in East Coast states like Pennsylvania [USA Today]. Between Philly and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is not “East Coast.”

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays (from yesterday): “Remember the hype when spending came out at up .5 last month- hard evidence the economy was heading north? Well, it just got revised away to a recession like .1, and PCE down to only a 1% year over year increase, and no one is saying anything, with the core CPE gain down to .1 vs last month’s .3 which was deemed evidence of a return to inflation. Not mention the .1 drop in wages and salaries after all the hype about the return of ‘wage inflation'” [Mosler Economics]. Honey for the bears….

Case-Shiller HPI, January 2016: “Month-to-month gains in home prices have been solid since the third quarter, based on Case-Shiller data where the 20-city adjusted index rose 0.8 percent in January for the fourth straight gain near or at a monthly 1.0 percent. The year-on-year index, however, has been stuck at plus 5.7 percent for the last three months” [Econoday]. “The breadth of strength is very convincing with all 20 cities showing both monthly and year-on-year gains going all the way back to September.”

Consumer Confidence, March 2016: “Lack of wage gains and the exaggerated political climate have yet to dent consumer spirits as consumer confidence is holding firm” [Econoday]. “A negative in the March data is the closely watched jobs-hard-to-get subcomponent which isn’t pointing to strength for Friday’s employment report.”

State Street Investor Confidence Index, March 2016: “delayed at source” as of this writing [Econoday].

The Fed: “Fed Chair Yellen delivers a luncheon speech to the New York Economic Club today. The luncheon begins at 11:30 but the actual start of her speech is set at 12:20. Her speech is entitled “Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy” so there’s not much chance that the speech fails to move the needle on the policy outlook” [Amherst Pierpont, Across the Curve]. Ah, the needle

The Fed, headline: “The Fed may not be able to save financial stocks” [CNBC]. Which part of the dual mandate is that?

The Fed: “Add the Fed’s inflation target (2 percent) to the pace of labor productivity growth (about 1 percent these days) and you get a non-inflationary wage target of about 3 percent” [Washington Center for Equitable Growth]. “But that assumes you want to keep the labor share of income constant. If we want labor to reclaim some of the income it lost during the recession, then wage growth should stay above the 3 percent target for some time.”

Shipping: “Genoa: There are three main factors for the present crisis in some shipping segments according to Premuda’s president, Alcide Ezio Rosina: the emerging role of China in the shipbuilding industry, excess of credit from banks until 2008 and private equity’s liquidity hitting the market in the last few years” [Splash247].

“Profits have risen in most rich countries over the past ten years but the increase has been biggest for American firms. Coupled with an increasing concentration of ownership, this means the fruits of economic growth are being hoarded” [The Economist, “Too much of a good thing”]. “This is probably part of the reason that two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, have come to believe that the economy ‘unfairly favours powerful interests’, according to polling by Pew, a research outfit. It means that when Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Democratic contenders for president, say that the economy is ‘rigged’, they have a point.” The subhead: “Profits are too high. America needs a giant dose of competition.” Or redistribution.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65, Greed (previous close: 64, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 29 at 12:23pm.


“In an assessment released by the United States Geological Survey, experts said the chance of a destructive temblor in the next year is as great in parts of north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas — where oil-and-gas operations have set off man-made quakes for about five years — as it is in the shakiest parts of quake-prone California” [New York Times]. Sanders won Oklahoma. I’d love to see if counties that are heavy on earthquakes correlate to Sanders voters.

“[I]nduced seismicity is such a novel issue regulators are struggling to figure out how to reduce the number of manmade quakes. States like Kansas have made some progress, but induced earthquakes are not considered in building-code maps, and nearly 8 million people live in areas that are vulnerable to that kind of activity, according to the agency’s 2016 forecast” [Christian Science Monitor]. “Induced seismicity.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“The study, published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, studied the effects of subtle reminders of mass surveillance on its subjects. The majority of participants reacted by suppressing opinions that they perceived to be in the minority” [WaPo].

Police State Watch

DOJ resumes suspended asset forfeiture payments under the “Equitable Sharing Program” (!) [WaPo]. “Asset forfeiture is a contentious practice that lets police seize and keep cash and property from people who are never convicted of wrongdoing — and in many cases, never charged.” Ya know, there’s a lot of yammering about Trumpf, fascism, etc., but it looks to me like Democrats and Republicans together have been quietly and persistently putting fascist infrastructure in place for years. This isn’t the United States I learned about in Civics class, that’s for sure.

Guillotine Watch

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together…

… and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

Class Warfare

“Everyone seems to agree that [the angry, disaffected working class] is in trouble, and needs serious help” [Bloomberg]. And now comes the obfuscation:

But which Americans exactly are part of the working class? There is no set definition. You can define class by wealth, but a young worker starting out on Wall Street and earning relatively little is hardly lower-class. You can define it by income, although that will be distorted by local differences in the cost of living, and by age (retirees have little income but usually more wealth). You also can define it by educational status.

But perhaps the most important definition is in people’s minds.

No. There are people who have to sell their labor to make their living. Start there. Nevertheless, the conclusion isn’t so bad:

Whatever the reason, the shift in class identification is real. More and more Americans think of themselves as being on the bottom of the economic totem pole. This may be why politicians are focusing less on economic opportunity and more on fear.

“The new research [on trade] matters because it shows that the U.S. labor market is a lot less flexible than its reputation has suggested. Workers are more likely to get trapped, with or without work, in depressed towns and regions. They find it hard to switch to good alternative occupations” [Bloomberg View]. “Rather than try to block trade, technological progress and competition, it seems more promising to make labor markets more adaptable by helping workers move from job to job and place to place — and to give more support to those who can’t make the transition even with the extra help.” And for what “helping workers” and “give more support” might look like, see the next link–

“Man moves to San Francisco, pays $400 a month to sleep in wooden box in friends’ living room” [WaPo]. And the next–

“In Pod-Based Community Living, Rent Is Cheap, But Sex Is Banned” [Motherboard]. “PodShare makes life more affordable because there is no security deposit or cost of furnishings and we provide flexible living,” said Beck. “Pod life is the future for singles which [sic] are not looking to settle down, but focus on their startups and experience something new.” Bogometer beep: “Startup.” Presumably, in the new pod ecology, there will be sex pods that rent by the hour. And will the suicide nets be the same brand Foxconn uses?

“When Jessica Kriegel set out to write her doctoral dissertation on the unique attributes of the millennial generation, she discovered one major problem: There weren’t any” [Fast Company]. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA! Nor of Boomers, Gen X, all the rest of that steaming load of marketing-driven crapola.

News of the Wired

“Progressive Enhancement Makes Me Sad” [HeydonWorks]. I think this is parody…

“One of the things that folks are most confused about when it comes to anxiety and depression is the relationship between the feelings and the root nature of the problem” [Psychology Today]. “Our society confuses these things and way too often labels the feelings as the problem. Consider it this way. If you break your arm and then go into the emergency room, you don’t say, “I have pain-in-my-arm disorder”. The pain is the signal that there is the problem.” I could have filed this under Class Warfare, given the givens…

“Apple iOS 9.3: activation lock and web link crashes plague users” [Guardian]. But I thought this was the buried lead: “Now another bug has been revealed to be caused by Apple’s Universal Links feature, which allows apps to claim ownership of particular web links, opening in say the Guardian app rather than theguardian.com in mobile Safari.” So, Apple finally takes direct aim at the URL, seeking to break the web. I love the the iPad’s tactile experience, but I’d sure like it if there were a decent Linux tablet…

* * *

Readers, I still need to fix my fershuggeneh contact form! Hopefully noting that fact publicly will serve a lash and a spur to my endeavors. (Meanwhile, thanks to readers, who already have my email address, who sent in images of plants!)

See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Carla R):


Hellebore, Cleveland (common name: Lenten Rose).

* * *

Readers, thanks, and a second gentle reminder: Water Cooler is self-supporting; NC fundraising does not cover it. Your tips ultimately determine my level of effort (which, with the 2016 election, is considerable). So please consider tipping regularly. Thank you!


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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. petal

    I have been told there’s 50,000+ new voters registered in NYS because of the primary, and counties are adding extra staff for it in anticipation.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Well, speaking as an Arizonan whose vote may/may not count, I think that’s a good thing.

      1. nycTerrierist

        After seeing the debacle in Arizona (which they should moot if they won’t/can’t re-do)…NY better not screw up!

  2. rich

    New $25 Million Fraud on Wall Street Is Making Some Rich Guys Nervous

    What Caspersen was engaging in has a familiar ring to what Bernie Madoff was doing with Norman F. Levy during the heyday of his Ponzi scheme: transferring large sums of money from the Madoff corporate account at JPMorgan into Levy’s personal account with JPMorgan failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports with FinCen. (See our in-depth report on that matter below.)

    So the final question is, how long will Americans continue to tolerate the SEC and Justice Department denying the public a full accounting of what’s going on in those well-heeled and well-protected mahogany corridors of Wall Street?


    hmmm….good question.

    1. perpetualWAR

      I have continued to refuse to allow anyone to cover up the fraud. But, one person can only do so much….everyone needs to begin calling for heads to roll.

  3. HabeasCorpusCallosum

    With respect to the NY times link passed along this morning, “Arizona Election Official Apologizes for Long Wait,” my spider senses are tingling.

    I spoke about this issue here last week. And this article has the same problem that the previous articles on this topic have: it only mentions long lines and the closing of polling stations. But something just as malicious occurred there to disenfranchise voters – manipulation of voters’ party affiliation.

    This was brought up by many voters at that Arizona hearing, including a poll worker who was in charge of a voter roll at her precinct. So, to not even mention it in this article is bizarre, to say the least.

    Why didn’t the author, Fernanda Santos, mention it? And why are they now blocking users who are bringing it up to them on twitter?

    I made a post on reddit about this very topic to educate people on the issues that occurred in AZ and also to inform people that we have evidence that it is happening in NY.

    Please consider reading about it here in the Bernie subReddit.

    We are currently involved in forming a group to spread this information and, most importantly, to put together a survey to document voter disenfranchisement in AZ, and NY (with more states added as we are able to). The aim is to share the information with journalists, campaigns and the ACLU.

    Please consider reading that post and drop me a line if you have any interest and time to help.

    We want it up and running by April 7th to be widely distributed. Let me know if you have any questions.

    1. ira

      The sooner done the better, since if Bernie continues to be far behind in the delegate count, it could easily be attacked as sour grapes. The Clinton’s are as sleazy as you get.

  4. Massinissa

    Guys, I am SO confused, why does that mansion have more bathrooms than bedrooms, and by a large margin? Can someone please explain this to me? Are like 20 of them servant bathrooms or something? Or is the mansion so damn big they need a bathroom on every corner?

    1. Elyse Grasso

      I was thinking… family prone to urinary tract problems? :-)

      Or maybe they entertain a lot of aliens with strange and unique plumbing needs? If you allow for private bathrooms for all the bedrooms and maybe a master suite or two with his’n’hers setups, that still leaves 20 bathrooms in the more or less public areas of the house.

      Or the architect was anticipating that stupid NC law and allowing for LOTS of alternatives…

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      The ratio of bedroom to bathroom is almost 1 to 3, so I’m guessing the default set up is 1 bathroom for the man, one for the spouse, one for a servant. Would that work?

      1. nippersdad

        Plus outbuildings! Exercise room, screening room, play room for kids, indoor pool, bar, boathouse, tennis court, etc. A hundred million dollar price tag would have to come with a lot of perks.

        1. Massinissa

          They probably need to hire people *just* for the thirty something bathrooms, and additional servants for the rest of the house, and groundskeepers, and probably chefs and other things…

          The pricetag for the house is high, but then you also need to factor in how expensive it would be to fully staff the thing, and then factor in maintenance for the house, the grounds, the pool… Also I dont think it comes furnished inside does it?

          Truly a throwback to an earlier period.

          1. Clive

            Yes, I like that description. Britain is chock full of “lost mansions” (a particular interest of mine).

            I think that there are a lot in the US too — the Gates Mansion in Minnesota (now demolished) is one I wish I could have seen.

            The wrecking ball can’t swing soon enough for that hubristic architectural monstrosity in Lambert’s link.

            1. ChrisPacific

              There are a number of them on the coast near Newport, Rhode Island (The Breakers is the biggest). They are maintained by a nonprofit now as tourist attractions and museums. There is a cliff walk that offers views of them.

          2. DJG

            I’ve been wondering about this bathroom surplus for several years. Here in Chicago, it is common to see three-bedroom and five-bathroom houses. Sometimes, I see houses listed with 3.1 (0.1?) baths.

            Although this is a family blog, one does wonder how many bodily functions have to be taken care of. I won’t name them, but let’s just say that after two bathrooms, we are in superfluity.

            On the other hand, I’m thinking that multi-bathrooms have become symbols of jealously kept privacy, a kind of squeamishness about the body (which all over the culture these days–even porn is squeamish these days), and a status symbol (a place to line up all of those bottles of Beyonce’s Transgressiva eau de perfum and the Clint Eastwood Sniper aftershave).

            On the third hand, if several of us chip in, we could all be roommates there. Two bathrooms apiece!

            1. Gio Bruno

              Sometimes, I see houses listed with 3.1 (0.1?) baths.

              I think it goes like this: 0.1 is a (powder) room with just wash basin and mirror (and a seat); 0.5 is a bathroom with wash basin, mirror, and commode; and 1.0 is a room with all of the above AND a real bath (tub/shower/spa).

              Out here near Hollywood, His and Her wash basins is de rigueur.

        2. B1whois

          I was curious about the hundred million dollar home with 35 bathrooms and only 11 bedrooms as well. Well, I was able to find the Zillow listing (Z-estimate is 5 million!!), and it sheds some light on the situation.
          “Three palatial residences form a compound complete with Smart Home global technology and encompassing dazzling living spaces with indoor and outdoor pools, health complexes, game rooms including a bowling alley and casino all on stunningly landscaped property with private gardens leading to the private yacht pier.”
          So there you go, those extra bathrooms are for the other amenities.

      2. ira

        Sorry to be pedantic, but to be precise (to 2 decimal places) it’s 2.69 to 1:-) What type of creature needs .69 of a bathroom :-) Very symbolic number, indeed.

  5. diptherio

    Re: Crook’s crapola in Bloomberg

    Rather than try to block trade, technological progress and competition, it seems more promising to make labor markets more adaptable by helping workers move from job to job and place to place

    The answer is always for the workers to be more “flexible” in order to serve the economy. But isn’t the economy supposed to serve us?

    The whole article is a rather disgusting example of insisting that you’ve been right all along in the face of obvious facts. No one ever said that trade would be good for everybody…they just strongly implied it (and, alright, probably actually said it a few times). Even if injured workers don’t get assistance, that’s no reason for them to hold up more “trade” agreements…because workers should go along w/ the capitalists whether they get anything out of it or not. Just disgusting….

    1. B1whois

      Many people can’t move because they have children with people they are no longer married to. So helping people move around to where the jobs are would have to include moving whole families I suppose

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The family with that $110 million mansion, why do they become more adaptable and cope with one that’s only $1 million?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The family with that $110 million mansion, why do they become more adaptable and cope with one that’s only $1 million?

  6. diptherio

    There’s one attribute that all Millennials share. Yes, all of them. They are all between 16 and 36 years old…assuming 1980 is the cut-off….is 1980 still the cut-off?….and are generations still 20 years long?…and whatever happened to Generation Y? I miss those guys. These Millennials don’t seem nearly as cool.

    1. Massinissa

      According to wikipedia its between 1980 and 2000.

      Generation Y and Millenials are apparently the same thing (1980 to 2000), so if we seem less cool, it must be because we have become less cool over time. Sorry? lol

      1. diptherio

        I was just riffing on the absurdity of generational analysis. I know that Gen Y is the same as millennials. Being born in ’79, I suppose I’m officially Gen X, although I always felt to young for that category…and now too old to be a millennial. Darn.

        1. different clue

          Generation “Boom” is assigned such a long membership yearspan that some people have tried breaking up that “cohort” into Older boomers and Younger boomers. Some have said that the designated Younger boomers should be called something else entirely. Some have suggested “Generation Jones”.

          Perhaps one could refer to the “Older” boomers and “Younger” boomers as the Beaver Cleavers and the Brady Bunchers.

        2. TomD

          I think you missed the intentional humor of “Sorry? lol”

          It’s ok though, it’s a millennial thing.

    2. Skippy

      I’ve been having an epic fracas over the term d’art generations wrt ageism and free will as voters being the agency behind all woe….

      Even when pointing out the fallacy of composition dramas… they need the term d’art to channel all the hatred or their reality goes poof….

      Skippy…. lmmao I’m born on the cusp of boomer – y gen in this pigeonhole compartmentalization, yet noone can delineate the exact time and place to ascribe my tribe…. absurd…

      1. ambrit

        Perhaps we can revive an old custom and define the very years as sub units of the ruling Oligarchs reign. “Oh. She’s one of those Clinton 2s. Poor girl. She only wishes she could be a Bush 1 Gen.”

        1. Massinissa

          Are we talking the oligarch during the date of birth, or like the oligarch during childhood or teenagerhood or something?

          Because I was born in the last few months of H W Bush and I don’t even remember Bill Clintons presidency much.

          1. ambrit

            We’re talking year of birth. As in; “Incontimentia was born during the fifth year of the Emperor Commodus’ reign.”
            I was born during the reign of the Albion Autarch Antonius Eden. One empire was dissolving while it’s successor was fiddling. Heaven forfend we have a Year of Four Presidents!

  7. Lee

    “Man moves to San Francisco, pays $400 a month to sleep in wooden box in friends’ living room” [WaPo]

    I moved to Berkeley in 1968 with little money, working various odd jobs and for $40 per month rented a walk-in closet in an old rooming house with about 25 residents . Our household along with many others organized the Berkeley rent strike. We ended up putting a speculator/property manager out of business and bought the property from the actual owner with payments that were greater than she had been receiving from the property manager and yet significantly lower than what we’d been paying to rent.

    More importantly, our efforts contributed to the founding of the Berkeley Tenants Union.

      1. ambrit

        Nor a sleeping bag in a city park?
        Now that I think on it, the Japanese have those ‘Honeycomb’ hotels with stacks of ‘pods’ to house the un-rich.

    1. windsock

      I rented a walk-in closet (big enough for a double mattress on the floor, with my clothes hanging over it) in a studio apartment in San Francisco in the late 80s for about $100 a month. The guy who rented the rest of the studio was a friend. We had great times. The joys of being an illegal immigrant!

  8. SKL

    “In Pod-Based Community Living, Rent Is Cheap, But Sex Is Banned”

    No sex.

    Jean Michel Jarre, “Revolution”

    1. bob mcmanus

      “Presumably, in the new pod ecology, there will be sex pods that rent by the hour.”

      In Tokyo, there are hundreds of “Love Hotels”

        1. John

          Julius Caesar commented that the ancient Picts and Scots used to have sex in public…maybe that was their solution to 1st Century Pod living. Maybe they did live in communal long houses. The did have as much ink on their skin as today.

          As opposed to the overlords with buttphobia…who need virgin toilet seats every time.
          We truly are a deranged species.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Sartre thought people should stop screwing because it distracted them from the hard work of making a revolution.
      I’ve been thinking that’s also why rap/hip-hop is such a scam.
      Yes it gives downtrodden brown people a way to express themselves that they feel they “own”, but by doing so it has two very pernicious effects: it gives them a hope they can get out of economic misery that way (and get the bling and the cars etc). And it channels all of the mightily-deserved anger into a meaningless activity that does absolutely nothing to change the conditions in the society.
      No wonder rich white guys, Hollywood etc are such enablers, talk about an opiate of the masses…

    1. Chris in Paris

      If you want to spend a little time learning some basic server programming, any android tablet can run a flavor of Linux. Check out the xda forums for more information.

    2. NeqNeq

      Just to piggy back the above…..
      If you have a tablet/phone with

      1) x86 proc (as opposed to an ARM)
      2) ability to plug in a flash drive

      You can run a “live” linux version….but I don’t recommend it. At least my experience was terrible. You milage may vary

  9. Alex morfesis

    Podz uber alice…thinking all this share economy noise is mental comfort food for those who long for life back in the college commons when the last vestage of peaceful coexistence was at hand…
    mental candy.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Dilma’s swan song:

    President Dilma Rousseff’s hopes of seeing out her term of office have received a potentially fatal blow after the biggest party in the Brazilian congress voted to abandon her ruling coalition.

    The vote by the Brazilian Democratic Movement party (or PMDB) could trigger a defection from Rousseff’s coalition by other smaller parties, and greatly increase the prospect that she will lose an impeachment vote in the lower house next month and be suspended from office.

    David Fleischer, political science professor at the University of Brasília, said the defection would create a domino effect that is likely to topple Rousseff.

    “This is her D-Day,” he said. “[Now the PMDB has left] the possibility of her impeachment increases to 90%.”

    The president’s opponents will now have an increased majority on the impeachment committee which could give the go-ahead for a full congressional vote, most likely on 17 April, Fleischer said.


    Year-on-year inflation in Brazil is running at over 10%, while its economy shrank 3.8% in 2015.

    Brazil’s deadly combination of rising prices and fewer jobs is a foolproof formula for provoking popular fury.

    Dilma or Hillary: whose political career ends first? Stay tuned for the next riveting episode of Dillary.

  11. Ranger Rick

    That Economist article is bleak.

    In true lower-case economist fashion, however, they do not even consider that this economy may one day be a zero-sum game: that these record profits are being pumped from a reservoir of money that is being emptied faster than it can be refilled. The crash that would result from the consumer “running out of money” would make the Great Depression look like child’s play.

    1. different clue

      What happens when “the economy” becomes a negative sum game? A game where you can only minimize your losses by maximizing someone else’s losses? With no one “gaining” anything and all the sums being less than the “addends” being “summed”?

      1. Gaianne

        We are almost there right now.

        Quantitative easing is keeping it hidden.

        In a collapsing economy every transaction is a net loss, as value is destroyed faster than it can be created.

        To keep your eye on the ball, think in terms of the real economy: Food, water, warmth, shelter. Everything else is a distraction opening you up to predation.


  12. Jim Haygood

    Facebook, comrades: today it not only set a record high, but also overtook Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to become the sixth largest company in the S&P 500 index.

    Speaking of the S&P 500, it is now higher year to date, after a very shaky start.

    For Wall Street, J-Yel’s retreat from rate hikes is better than the president pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey.

  13. NeqNeq

    Re: Big brother watching

    Interesting, but not sure it would be found “in the wild” to any significant degree. The “prime” they use is methodologically shakey. It is similar to studies where subjects took the prime as being a type of “hint”. More specifically the prime is interpreted as being informed that the NSA (government) is actually surveiling your answer right now. That kind of statement is not in the types of priming sources usually found on the net. Second, nobody actually reads user agreements and privacy policies… Especially on Facebook ;)

  14. Skippy

    Ref – Detroit neighborhood falling into ruin as seen via Google street view and Bing 2009-2014 thingy…

    Skippy…. shades of earth after humans…. tho it seems a bit faster than the NG tellie show…

    1. charger01

      Truly dystopian. Reminds me of Tyler Durden’s monolog before he starts blowing up buildings.

  15. B1whois

    Last try, I’m afraid I’m training the spam detector at this point..

    Wow. The current version of Democratic Party cannot endure. It will be retaken by a new generation. As it must be.
    Check out the author, he’s a cancer biologist, film journalist, political enthusiast (link from Why I’m Leaving the Democratic Party @ Medium folllows)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I checked all the queues. There’s one comment from you in them. So, (a) if you want 24/7 real-time moderation and approvals, the tip jar is to your right; you can contribute the large amount necessary to provide that level of coverage; (b) read our moderation policies; and (c) having read them, understand that we appreciate your other comments, but stop whinging. There’s no point to it, and it destroys the public good that is the comments section by discouraging others. Thank you.

  16. rich

    New Press Release from Hope NOW for ALS

    “The NP001 Trial – Wrong on so many levels

    “The attached blog post* from our good friend at http://www.alsadvocacy.com describes a disturbing trial design that must never be repeated. One cannot help but feel the pain and anguish of trial participants whose conditions improved while receiving the trial drug yet were denied access to the treatment at the end of the trial.
    1. We need a better means of analyzing data produced by small trials so the ALS community understands which drugs/treatments have a better shot at approval.
    2. We need the community and the investment banks to back the most promising treatments and place larger bets strategically to fully fund the next trials.
    3. We need adaptive trials – the flexibility to examine the data during the trial to allow identification of positive trends and to allow for changes to benefit current and future enrollees. If trials can be stopped for reasons of danger, they can likewise be modified in cases of favorable trends so that those patients experiencing benefits maintain access and are studied to determine the reason for the positive response. At the minimum we need crossover-style trials where placebo and active drug assignments are switched so all participants have access to the drug.
    4. We need patient participation in clinical trial design to ensure that trials are conducted humanely and that patients aren’t left to endure cruel “dry out” periods watching their disease inexorably strip away their independence and dignity, never to return.

    Hope NOW for ALS is actively engaged with data analytics firms and ALS researchers to develop and promote smarter and more humane trial designs. Modernizing clinical trials along with the other reforms mentioned, will allow smaller, faster (hence cheaper), and more accurate clinical trials that are also more humane. We believe we can turn the odds in favor of the patients and not the entrenched so-called “house”. The life of every person with ALS today depends on it.


      1. rich

        If the patients shelf life does not permit adherence to research standard practice, what’s your suggestion? In Japan, once they prove safety, I believe they are changing access for patients and monitoring efficacy in real time. If efficacy fails, they will pull drug.

        “Policymakers in Japan realized regenerative medicine has tremendous potential to address serious areas of unmet medical need that impact their national healthcare system,” Van Bokkelen says. “By encouraging clinical development, they simultaneously are promoting innovation, the creation of more effective healthcare solutions, and economic development.”


        In California, CIRM has Alpha clinics:
        The Network’s goal is to now dramatically increase the number of high quality stem cell clinical trials it is running, to make it even easier for companies and researchers looking for a site to carry out their trial, and to make it even easier for patients looking to sign up for one.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Speaking of wanking, that story is what, a decade old? Everybody knows e-voting’s a mess. Bradblog’s the standard on this stuff; if there’s current whistleblowing going on, cite to that.

  17. Foy

    [Woops this was a reply to cwaltz’s comment re ad from Sanders campaign supporters.]

    Wow that is a moving video. It really highlights Sander’s oration skills, brings many of the problems the world is facing together into one theme. And it includes that photo of Sanders getting arrested for protesting when he was in his 20’s showing he does stand up for what he believes. I’m surprised it’s only got 65K views. Maybe it needs a shorter version (it’s 4 mins long) to get more airplay. But it needs to be shared widely.

    Also they chose excellent backing music, the theme is from the main soundtrack of the film Inception, which is great track, vibrates right through your bones.

    Using Scott Adams’ Master Persuader filter, that clip would rate very highly I would think, lots of identity plays there.

    1. cwaltz

      For me, he really spoke to the choices we are making and the choices we COULD have.

      Instead of spending all the money we do incarcerating people we could be spending that money on education. We do have the choice to spend money on health care instead of international forays. As Americans we can dictate what we consider to be priorities but we have to FIGHT for those things.

      It is literally a call to each and every American to stand up and make their voice heard on what they think America’s priorities should be.

      1. dots

        I absolutely believe he and his campaign staff put great deal of thought into what people are going through and what kinds of changes could be made to bring ‘the most good to the most people.’ I feel like my modest contributions were well invested.

  18. B1whois

    I first met 99Rise from when they marched from Los Angeles to Sacramento in the summer of 2014, and orchestrated 47 Civil Disobedience arrests over the next 12 days in the state capitol building. (Members of the group stayed at my home, I was one of those arrested at the capitol, I remain good friends with many of the key organisers.) Members of 99Rise are only motivated by one issue: getting money out of politics. (However, they argue that issue affects all the other issues, which it does.) This is also the same group that interrupted the Supreme Court during oral arguments in 2015.

    This is their escalation, a march from Philadelphia to DC that culminates in civil disobedience in the capital in DC, in April. Unfortunately, after the Chicago protest, people on the right mistakenly assumed that this was intended to be an anti-Trump March -not true. This article is from the leader of 99Rise, and contains a link to an article he wrote at Breitbart News last week clarifying the purpose of this money-out-of-politics protest.
    I thought Lambert might be interested in this, but since I don’t have the email and the form is not yet fixed, I hope this posting will suffice to bring it to the attention of our much appreciated and honored blogger. http://www.fastcoexist.com/3058301/these-protestors-are-going-to-try-to-shut-down-congress-to-get-money-out-of-politics?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coexist-daily&position=1&partner=newsletter&campaign_date=03292016

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Thank you for giving a damn, Yes We Can!
      I’m just an aging hippie but I still have a small scar from a pig who didn’t like the fact I was protesting a war. Guess what? We stopped that war.
      We can stop this one too if enough people found their glimmer of innate morality and did what you are doing.

  19. Teddy

    Re: Asset forfeiture. I really cannot imagine how anyone could pass laws allowing it with good intentions. I remember this “razor” according to which you shouldn’t explain with malice what could be explained by incompetence and stupidity, but in this case I feel even a literal chimp could understand that if you give a group of people chance to take possessions of others and leave assessment of propriety to them, they will nearly always decide to do so.

    “Fascism” has become a meaningless buzzword, but I’m really tempted to say that America is basically a proto-fascist state at this point. Scare tactics concerning Trump’s alleged fascism are really hypocritical – because even if he in fact is a stealth fascist, someone else paved the way for him – all USA needs at this point is the actual dictator taking the reins, all the needed infrastructure is already in place.

  20. Steve H.

    – There are people who have to sell their labor to make their living. Start there.

    Verifiable category. Well said.

    Korinthenkacker subgression: gleanings from cases of the simple form of the matching law, r/t, where r is reinforcement level and t is time spent, in this case defined as labor (and avoiding t approaching 0):

    Starvation is where energy expended in labor is not matched by energy gained by labor. It’s useful to abstract beyond the base case. Coal miners in company towns would go deeper into debt when prices forced on them were greater than wages earned. Frackers still pump to meet fixed costs while they can, despite price being less than production costs.

    Rich people will continue to work, despite having a baseline nonlabor income sufficient to meet survival needs. For one, to build a nest egg and become wealthy. Also, the reinforcers go beyond simple cash. Access to institutional resources, for one. The company car, the nice office, the people with insider knowledge, these do not show up on the paycheck. Not many people with six figure investment income are willing to work the floor at AllMart.

    Display behaviors are also expensive. McMansions have higher heating bills than bungalows, but may be locally necessary to maintain access to the mechanisms of higher income. Barbara Ehrenreich noted she was unable to pose as having higher income, because she hadn’t had the plastic surgery that served as a signal.

    Humans can just make up reinforcers. Volunteer organizations run on free labor by supplying intrinsic rewards. Buffett doesn’t need to work, but he loves doing what he does.

    Finally, a folk category: do you shower before or after you work? It may not have the interspecies breadth of the matching law, but it is simple and verifiable enough to have some value.

  21. Political Economist

    “The new research [on trade] matters because it shows that the U.S. labor market is a lot less flexible than its reputation has suggested. Workers are more likely to get trapped, with or without work, in depressed towns and regions. They find it hard to switch to good alternative occupations” Adam Smith said it best: “man is of all sorts if luggage the most difficult to be transported.”

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