Links 3/3/16

Smiling Nation Takes Moment To Enjoy Thought Of What RNC Headquarters Like Right Now Onion (David L)

Toxic Moss Sets Off a Panic in Laid-Back Portland New York Times

There’s a flaw in Australia’s economic growth report Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “Not just Oz .. feature, not bug, from the perspective of the global neoliberal-economic ‘deciderschaft’.”

Central banks: from omnipotence to impotence? Bruegel. OMG, this is written in economese, but what they are basically describing, and not even recognizing it, is tantamount to hitting buttons randomly on a machine and believing that some of them will surely work.

Australia Finds Something Else to Export to China Wall Street Journal

Refugee Crisis

Greece Scrambles to Shelter Migrants as Neighbors Shut Their Gates New York Times (furzy)

EU talks focus on Greece migrant crisis BBC

Can Cryan halt Deutsche Bank’s decline? Euromoney. From a reader:


Corbyn is Cameron’s real Brexit headache Politico

Brexit Would Make U.K. Trade Less Free Wall Street Journal

French economy minister sends double Brexit warning to UK Financial Times

Brexit Would Make U.K. Trade Less Free< WSJ/blockquote>

The short answer is “doubt it”. With DB, I’d coin a “Too Big To Regulate” term. IMO, there are no realistic (and commensurate) actions that a regulator can take on some of the problems facing DB w/o bringing it down.

Consider a simple scenario – say DB’s VaR system is not-fit-for purpose (for whatever reasons), and regulator fines DB a few bils and forces it from the internal model on standard model.

Bang, DB’s gone.

You just (estimate) doubled the capital requirement (including the fine), so you probably brought CET to about half/two thirds of what it’s now (say 12, so it’s now 6), which likely triggers a slew of CoCos (I think the regulatory trigger is around 7% usually), making it exceedingly hard for DB to raise any more equity, which in turn will make anyone wary of trading with DB, which is a death sentence.

Which regulator knows pretty well, so apart from making some noises will not do anything.

Spanish Socialists fail in bid for power Politico


Mosul dam engineers warn it could fail at any time, killing 1 million people ZME Science (resilc). We’ve linked to earlier stories on this before….and the risks only seem to be increasing.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The irony in the FBI’s request to unlock the iPhone Computerworld

Tech Rallies to Apple’s Defense, but Not Without Some Hand-Wringing New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

US tech firms bypassing Pentagon to protect deals with China, strategist says Guardian

Supreme Court Trench Warfare

White House Said to Be Vetting Appeals Court Judge for Supreme Court Seat New York Times. Belies the Obama powerlessness in the fact of nasty Rs meme. If nothing else, Grassley will suffer if he doesn’t move this to hearing. The implicit message is: “I gave you guys a perfectly acceptable conservative and you rejected that out of sheer cussedness. Now I’m going to start serving up less conservative picks, and extracting a cost if you nix them.”

Clinton E-Mail Hairball

Justice Dept. grants immunity to staffer who set up Clinton email server Washington Post

Clinton chief attacks State Dept. watchdog The Hill (resilc)


Why Donald Trump’s Tax Returns May Prove He’s Not That Rich Fortune

The Trouble with Trump for Bankers American Banker (MS)

US Republicans express Trump fears BBC

US foreign policy experts round on Trump Financial Times

Revenge of the Simple: How George W. Bush Gave Rise to Trump Matt Taibbi (resilc)

Romney to Lay Out Case Against Trump in Speech Thursday Bloomberg. This is comical. The Republican party or Mittens himself seem to labor under the delusion that he will reach people outside the choir.

Trump Now Leading Among Crucial ‘Republicans Who Hate Trump’ Demographic New York Magazine

The rise of American authoritarianism Vox (kj1313). The tone of surprise and horror is hardly warranted. This is the result of at least 15 years of conditioning, such as constant pounding of the “terrorists are under every bed” meme, authoritarian schooling, schools requiring constant oversight of children (kids not allowed to walk home), and suppression of dissent and vigorous discourse outside venues that are treated as fringe. Oh, and separately, this means you Sanders supporters who will vote for Trump if the Democrat alternative is Clinton are authoritarians.

What the press won’t tell you about Trump and populism Fabius Maximus (resilc)

‘How Can I Move to Canada’ Was Top Google Search Following Donald Trump’s Super Tuesday Wins Alternet

The Importance of Donald Trump Frank Rich, New York Magazine (Marshall)

Strangest contest set to become reality as battle of sexes looms Financial Times

McCain: Clinton’s admission of speaking fees a ‘seminal’ moment in politics The Hill (resilc)

Trouble Lurks Beneath Clinton’s Victories New York Times

Clinton’s southern ‘firewall’ of support no sure thing come general election Guardian

More than 45K sign petition to arrest Bill Clinton CNBC. Palindrome: “The mass visceral negative response to Bill Clinton’s campaigning at polling stations highlights how a large part of the American population, across ideological boundaries, feels about the Clintons. There were over 76,000 signatures the last time I checked.” Link to petition here.

Gabbard: People warned me against endorsing Sanders Politico (resilc)

Harry and Louise Now Support Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Plan. With Good Reason. Angry Bear

The Revolution Has Begun’: After Super Tuesday Wins, Sanders Looks Ahead Common Dreams

DNC Chair Joins GOP Attack On Elizabeth Warren’s Agency Huffington Post

Texas Abortion Case Comes Down to ‘Undue Burdens’ Bloomberg (margarita)

The Poison in Tennessee Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

Ex-Chesapeake Energy Corp CEO Aubrey McClendon dies in a car crash Daily Mail. Chuck L: “Facing the music sucks.” IMHO, McClendon deserves the Daily Mail treatment.

VW pleads ignorance in new line of defence Financial Times

How the U.S. Government and HSBC Have Teamed Up to Hide the Truth From a Pennsylvania Couple Mike Krieger

The real enemy of the small-medium businesses failed evolution

Another Private-Equity LBO Queen Bites the Dust Wolf Richter

Life insurers shaken by rock-bottom rates Financial Times

“Is Currency Devaluation Overrated” Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Antidote du jour. @planetpics via Richard Smith, who notes: “Spot of cooperative foraging.” Message @planetpics: “Deer feeder high off the ground so raccoons can’t reach”:

clever raccoons links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Mary Wehrheim

    Question: It seems neoliberalism has generated a large batch of billionaires and SCOTUS has opened the spigots to almost unlimited private campaign donations. Have political parities on a national level been rendered superfluous? Sounds like anyone with deep pockets can run by themselves a candidate as a Republican or Democrat and the party machine can do nothing to stop it? The GOP has no way to stop Trump from running as a Republican? They can’t lock out his delegates at the National GOP convention?

    1. Working Class Nero

      Trump may be a billionaire, but he’s hardly spending anything on his campaign. On the other hand the only thing that can stop him now is the Citizen’s United (CU) decision. For you see, Wall Street, Multinationals, NeoCon SuperPacs, all these are now free to spend as much as they possibly can to stop this candidate people are voting for. None of those annoying campaign finance regulations are there to get in the way of their heroic attempts to correct the voters and to save them from themselves.

      For Super Tuesday I read somewhere the anti-Trump forces and candidates spent nearly $100 million dollars while Trump spent less than $2 million. Say what you will but Trump brought those victories in on time and on budget!

      So basically the only thing standing between you and Trump winning the nomination is Citizen’s United. I mean just last year I used to hear people complaining about CU. But as Big Money swaggers in, its pockets flush with corporate cash, it will try once and for all derail the Trump Train. This just shows the incredible foresight our conservative Supreme Court justices had in approving CU. If history tells us anything — it’s that party bosses and Big Money interests are FAR better at picking the candidates who will best look after the people’s interests than measly voters ever would be! And thanks to Citizen’s United, Big Money and party bosses may still get to pick the Republican candidate.

      See what I did there?

      1. EmilianoZ

        Welcome back, long time no see. I thought you’d be a Trump supporter.

        It looks like the mainstream media are less and less able to manipulate the populace, especially the young.

        I don’t think the Reps hierarchy has anything to fear from Trump. There are signs he’s moving towards them. He released his healthcare plan yesterday:

        It looks like reps orthodoxy to me: repeal ACA and replace it with nothing.

        Earlier there was some noise that he was supporting single payer. Ian Welsh even reported it. If true, Trump has made a complete U-turn. It seems that, now that he’s well on his way to get the nomination, Trump has started the big switch. By November, he’ll just be a run-of-the-mill republican. He might just be the republican Obama, except Obama might have started his big switch later, I cant remember.

        1. Carolinian

          Or he might move to the left. Don’t forget he is still running in a Republican primary and doesn’t yet have it in the bag.

          Honestly a repeal of the ACA might be better than continuance of a system where the govt forces you to give all your money to insurance companies in exchange for lousy coverage. The ACA is not reform but extend and pretend applied to health care. It therefore defeats reform which was the whole purpose in the first place.

        2. Working Class Nero

          Thanks Emiliano.

          Trump’s economic nationalism matches almost exactly the case I have been making for years. On the other hand I’m not so sure I would have gone quite that far on Muslims….

          I agree his health care “plan” is garbage (as was most of his tax plan). But you need to see this as a political document and not a policy statement. Trump would be a fool to describe exactly which power interests — along with details about exactly how deep — he is going to screw on Health Care.

          He has a political problem, he has to have more than the one or two lame ideas he had in the last debate and these ideas have to not raise too much of a ruckus among powerful health care interests. Trump is already under attack from so many big money players.

          He needs strategic ambiguity. He needs to be promising us voters universal health care while giving bland and safe policy papers. Look what happened when Bernie Sanders gave a very detailed program for Single Payer? He got hammered by the establishment Liberals like Paul Krugman.

          But of course strategic ambiguity works both ways, is Trump just sending dog whistles to the voters that he is going to do something about Health Care but in the end will do nothing? This is of course always possible. But on the other hand, candidates promise the world and almost always deliver nothing.

          We the voters are being asked to place a Trump’s Wager which is a version of Pascal’s Wager. It posits that voters will bet with their votes that either Trump will deliver on his stated policies or that he will not. Based on the assumption that America would be greater if Trump delivers and that there is at least a small probability that Trump in fact will deliver, a rational person should vote as though Trump will deliver and seek to believe in Trump. If Trump does not deliver, such a person will have no loss to speak of since no other candidate (assuming its not Sanders) will ever deliver any of the things Trump is promising anyway.

          One way to judge the potential of Trump to actually carry out some of his promises is to see how the wealthy elite react. Are they sitting back calm, cool, collected? If so the odds are they have Trump under control and have nothing to fear. On the other hand if the ruling class are running around hysterically screaming “Nazi” at every chance and acting like three year-old children who just had their iPads taken away, then the odds on your Trump Wager may just work out.

          1. Carolinian

            The latter I think.

            Thnx for your reasoned comment. I will say though that ever since the American empire–in their wisdom–decided to create the atomic bomb we do have to worry about Presidential sanity. On that front the big question is who is crazier, Trump or Clinton? My money is on HRC who is eager to take on Russia. Still Trump is such an unknown. But outside that not trivial concern you’d have to say, yes, how could Trump make things any worse?

            I did vote for Bernie on the sanity question alone but don’t seem to have enough company. When the general rolls around may have to sit that one out.

          2. Lambert Strether

            The wager is also more complicated because the Senate is in play.

            Trump + D Senate > Clinton + R Senate


            Trump + D Senate < Clinton + R Senate In some ways, I can see preferring a hamstrung Hillary to a hamstrung Trump.

        3. Lambert Strether

          Trump makes deals. Right now there are no counter-parties for him to make a deal with.*

          So we don’t have policy proposals from Trump. We have verbal formulations that resemble policies, but are discarded instantly at need.

          * Voters don’t count.

      2. Optimader

        On the other hand the only thing that can stop him now is the Citizen’s United (CU) decision.

        Or a brokered convention where say Mittens rev2 is slated.
        I can see the RNC and the entire for-profit media foodchain juggernaught who’s meal ticket he endangers feeling the need to destroy Trump at all cast

        1. Praedor

          A brokered convention that ends up choosing not Trump will wreck the GOP to the ground. What do they think happens to the MANY very angry Trump supporters if a vote-leading Trump is dumped for distant 2nd or 3rd? They think they will all fall in line and accept that outcome? Not a chance. Just like the Dems CANNOT count on Bernie supporters to fall in line for Hillary if she wins the nom.

      3. neo-realist

        Mittens had two tries and struck out. He comes off to middle americans as the CEO who closes your plant or office to ship your jobs off to a lower labor cost center (“I like firing people”). It would be very surprising if the GOP stole the nomination from Trump to give to him. At least Trump knows how to fake giving a damn about the common man, an ability that Romney lacks.

        1. optimader

          Mittens had two tries and struck out
          That’s the normal level reality not GOP hierarchy fantastic level of reality

          T. Lawrence Shannon: The Fantastic Level and the Realistic Level are the two levels upon which we live.
          ~ Richard Burton, Night of The Iguana

      4. fresno dan

        Working Class Nero
        March 3, 2016 at 9:16 am

        that was novel!

    2. GlobalMisanthrope

      Shorter: If candidates won’t toe the party line, the parties should be able to lock them and their supporters out of the process.

    3. HotFlash

      Political parties make their money as a concierge service to billionaires. Billionaires, for the most part, really don’t have the time, interest or temperament to do all that detail work required to actually deliver votes, let alone govern. The billionaires outsource to whichever party promises them the best deal. Historically that had been the Reps, but the Dems have been turning that around since Clinton I at least. Well, and in lots of places locally long before that (NYC, Chi, etc.)

      The voters this round are being most uncooperative by voting with their hearts, heads, wallets and/or spleens. Big money just isn’t working this time. Trump and Sanders are panicking their respective nominal parties by not committing to ‘deliver the goods’ to their party’s corporate employers. And this at a time when Citizens United has unlocked virtually unlimited campaign ‘donations’! So neither the D’s or the R’s have a salable product this round, and hopefully, for a long time to come.

      Fun to watch. Hope there’s no shooting.

  2. Joe

    Absolutely terrifying New Yorker article on Alt Schools. Silicon valley entrepreneurs want to expand this model, which collects huge amounts of data on children, to American public schools within 3 to 5 years. This needs to be read with two articles recently linked here: this on apps designed for addiction, and this on algorithms affecting beliefs. Fittingly, the Alt School CTO used to work on Google search.

  3. wbgonne

    Corbyn is Cameron’s real Brexit headache Politico

    This is interesting. If you read this and the linked companion pieces you see that Corbyn adamantly wants “globalization” but he rejects the prevailing view (Cameron’s view, also) that globalization means transnational neoliberalism. You might say that Corbyn favors a form of globalization that currently does not exist. What is the proper position, then, as to exiting the EU? Does Corbyn advocate withdrawal unless and until his vision of liberal globalization replaces the present model of neoliberal globalization? Or does he favor remaining in the EU with the hope of transforming it?

    1. Synoia

      Or does he favor remaining in the EU with the hope of transforming it?

      Hmm, I understood a little bit of Greece causes the “reforming the EU” slip up.

    2. fosforos

      A little perspective is needed. Corbyn is looking to a pan-european peoples’ movement to transform the EU. That ain’t gonna happen tomorrow, folks. For it to happen at all the British working class has to play a leading role, and that can’t be done from outside. The newly “old” BLP has to win the 2020 election first. That’s the perspective–first Britain, then the EU.

  4. Steve H.

    We often see hat tips in the links to people who don’t post comments.

    I particularly thank resilc as someone who consistently helps make NC the place it is.

    To one and all of the hat-tipped: Thank you.

    1. fresno dan

      Steve H.
      March 3, 2016 at 7:44 am

      Thank you for bringing that up…uh, that we don’t thank enough (irony, however, let’s not go full Elvis Presley). Anyway, I too have noticed the good links from”resilc” Hip, hip hooray for resilc!

  5. russell1200

    Taibbi implies that Bush never cracked open a book. But it is fairly well known that Bush was fairly widely read. In fact I recall wondering at the time how he had so much time to do all this reading.

    Bush seems like more the case of someone who reads a lot, but only to confirm what they already believe.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Bush’s introduction of the late William F. Buckley, 19 Oct 2000:

      Bill wrote a book at Yale. I read one.

      Har har har …

    2. Uahsenaa

      There’s also the implication that if you’re well-read, somehow it’s impossible to be myopic. Having worked in academia for many many years, I can say with no uncertainty that these are not mutually exclusive categories.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are probably more neoconservative books than one can read in one lifetime.

        And neoliberal books.

        Plus books on fracking, making GM foods, etc.

        More reading is not always the answer.

    3. crow magnon

      It’s true, he did read. He was reading “The Pet Goat” to children while airplanes were crashing into buildings on 9/11, but unfortunately he (probably) neglected crack open the President’s Daily Briefing Memo entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U. S.” given to him by Condi Rice on August 6, 2001.

    4. ScottW

      Maybe Bush was just “misremembering” when he could not name any books he read as a youth.

    5. David

      Widely known to whom? I remember when his flacks circulated a “reading list”
      when Rove realized that maybe they had oversold the brushcutting, bratzwurst grillin’, peckerwood from Texas image they had so carefully cultivated. While he probably was not the dumbass he appeared to be, is there anyone who seriously thinks he has any intellectual heft? And how is it that he had somuch screwing off time as president? I thought presidenting was “hard work.”

      1. nobody

        Karl Rove:

        By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals.” The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book’s pages — its “Total Lateral Area.”

        We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction’s unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.

        At year’s end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he’d lost because he’d been busy as Leader of the Free World.

        Mr. Bush’s 2006 reading list shows his literary tastes. The nonfiction ran from biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, King Leopold, William Jennings Bryan, Huey Long, LBJ and Genghis Khan to Andrew Roberts’s “A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900,” James L. Swanson’s “Manhunt,” and Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Mayflower.” Besides eight Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald, Mr. Bush tackled Michael Crichton’s “Next,” Vince Flynn’s “Executive Power,” Stephen Hunter’s “Point of Impact,” and Albert Camus’s “The Stranger,” among others.

        Fifty-eight of the books he read that year were nonfiction. Nearly half of his 2006 reading was history and biography, with another eight volumes on current events (mostly the Mideast) and six on sports.

        To my surprise, the president demanded a rematch in 2007. Though the overall pace slowed, he once more came in second in our two-man race, reading 51 books to my 76. His list was particularly wide-ranging that year, from history (“The Great Upheaval” and “Khrushchev’s Cold War”), biographical (Dean Acheson and Andrew Mellon), and current affairs (including “Rogue Regime” and “The Shia Revival”). He read one book meant for young adults, his daughter Jenna’s excellent “Ana’s Story.”

        A glutton for punishment, Mr. Bush insisted on another rematch in 2008. But it will be a three-peat for me: as of today, his total is 40 volumes to my 64. His reading this year included a heavy dose of history — including David Halberstam’s “The Coldest Winter,” Rick Atkinson’s “Day of Battle,” Hugh Thomas’s “Spanish Civil War,” Stephen W. Sears’s “Gettysburg” and David King’s “Vienna 1814.” There’s also plenty of biography — including U.S. Grant’s “Personal Memoirs”; Jon Meacham’s “American Lion”; James M. McPherson’s “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief” and Jacobo Timerman’s “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number.”

        Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional.

          LOL. This was a pretty good effort by Rove, but I think he overdid it here. Either that or he just couldn’t resist a sly nudge and wink.

  6. rjs

    a lot of the coverage on McClendon missed the backstory; Raymond cut him off:

    Exclusive: Texas fund EMG halts new deals with indicted McClendon | Reuters: Private equity fund Energy & Minerals Group told investors on Wednesday it will stop entering new deals with Aubrey McClendon, the former chief executive officer of Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N), a day after the U.S. government charged him with breaking antitrust laws. In a letter to investors seen by Reuters, EMG’s Managing Partner John Raymond said his fund would “cease any and all new business activities” with McClendon, a legend in the U.S. energy industry. The comments mark another reversal of fortune for McClendon, removing EMG as one of his main sources of capital to find and develop land in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other shale-rich states, as well as overseas.

    it didn’t make sense that he’d kill himself over an indictment, since he’d spent his whole life fight the law…

    1. griffen

      This is an interesting story that just got more, interesting. OKC has boomed in recent years.

      Wondering if he read up on his policies and decided that one option left was better than facing prison.

        1. Elasmo Branch

          Yes, one or more of his collaborators unbuckled his seat belt. Let’s be real here, nobody was going to prison for breach of antitrust statutes. Personal shame is civilization’s last line of defense; the courts won’t defend it.

  7. fresno dan

    As the Donald Trump campaign rolls on, the secret to his success is becoming clear: his promise to make America more like Denmark.

    Say what? The Donald rarely if ever mentions the land of Lego, though Ted Cruz did once accuse him of being crazy enough to bomb it. Denmark is Bernie Sanders’s utopia — a Scandinavian social democracy with free health care and college, whose enlightened rulers have “gone a long way to ending the enormous anxieties that come with economic insecurity,” as Sanders once put it.
    Well, actually, the package Trump offers — “save Social Security without cuts,” a vaguely pro-single-payer position on health care, plus temporarily banning Muslims and walling off Mexico — bears an eerie resemblance to the Danish government’s current policy mix.

    His astonishing success selling it to the Republican base may portend ideological convergence between the U.S. right and Europe’s.

    Like many American admirers of Scandinavian welfare states, Sanders lacks detailed knowledge of how those systems work, or an appreciation for certain cultural peculiarities that make cradle-to-grave welfarism politically sustainable there but not, so far, here.

    Ah, good ole Washington Post – why bash one hippie (Trump is a left winger – horrors) when you can prove how ridiculous his ideas are by tying him to…..Bernie Sanders!!!!

    Mr. Lane, maybe I don’t know exactly how Denmark works – but I know every day, in Washington DC on “K” street, a main street close to the White House, lobbyists who get paid hundreds and sometimes millions of dollars influence government laws and regulations. And despite repub yammering about small government, they meet with repubs as much as with dems, not to make laws that are good for the nation, but laws that advantage themselves.

    Far too slowly people are figuring out that the point of government isn’t to felicitate the strip mining of the nation’s prosperity for Davos man and his friends…

  8. fresno dan

    Antidote du jour. @planetpics via Richard Smith, who notes: “Spot of cooperative foraging.” Message @planetpics: “Deer feeder high off the ground so raccoons can’t reach”:

    Initially thought it was the “Flying Racllendas”


    1. Jagger

      I wonder if that photo is photoshopped in some manner. Maybe it is reality but I have a hard time imagining racoons capable of that sort of advanced cooperation.

      1. Rory

        I hate it when someone pops my bubble, but you’re right. That photo seems to good to be true.

      2. MT_Bill

        Google “raccoons game cameras”. Bubba and the raccoons have been engaged in a pretty evenly matched arms race over who gets the corn.

      3. HotFlash

        I live in Raccoon City (srsly!). We got lotsa raccoons, this looks like a mom and younguns, and yes, they will work together. I’ve also seen groups of what I assume to be siblings foraging together after mom turfs them. They will team up to knock over ‘raccoon-proof’ compost bins in ways that seem to require solving a problem in a non-obvious way.

        The books I’ve read say that raccoons are solitary, but perhaps they haven’t read the same books?

        1. fresno dan

          I’ve read raccoon writings (i.e., writings that are BY raccoon who have been turned) who have been trapped and debriefed, that the solitary raccoon trope is a pure disinformation campaign, as to disguise the vast raccoon conspiracy to overturn every garbage can in America…

          1. HotFlash

            As I tell my neighbours, the raccoons were here first. They just had a bad immigration policy.

          1. polecat

            maybe those are *Rockets’ cousins once removed………..and put back together…..

            *see Guardians of the Galaxy

      4. JEHR

        If an animal is hungry enough, it can learn new things. Never underestimate the intelligence of an animal working in its own domain for its own survival!

      1. Chris A

        To be fair, the raccoons don’t make the trash. The “trash” label better suits the owner of the trash cans.

        1. docg

          That raccoon pic is far more interesting than the election campaign, Trump or no Trump. If it’s for real it means the end of civilization as we know it. Forget about climate change, it’s critter change we need to worry about!

  9. fresno dan

    “Is Currency Devaluation Overrated” Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

    Sure, you don’t make any money on each sale, but you make it up in volume….

  10. gsinbe

    Taibbi is in rare form this morning.

    A snippet, “But Washington is freaking out about Trump in a way they never did about Bush. Why? Because Bush was their moron, while Trump is his own moron. That’s really what it comes down to.”

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      The Shunning.
      Insert photo of Jack Torrance (played by Trump) sticking face thru hole in door. Here’s Johnny!!

    2. fresno dan

      March 3, 2016 at 8:11 am

      Very entertaining read and very cathartic. Nothing I like better than Bush bashing. But my contrary nature compels me to point out, if not Bush himself, his handlers were geniuses at propaganda.

      Rove sold Bush as that hero. He didn’t know anything, but dammit, he was sure about what he didn’t know. He was John McClane, and Al Gore was Hans Gruber. GOP flacks like Rove rallied the whole press corps around that narrative, to the point where anytime Gore tried to nail Bush down on a point of policy, pundits blasted him for being a smug know-it-all using wonk-ese to talk over our heads — as Cokie Roberts put it once, “this guy from Washington doing Washington-speak.”


      And as I’ve said before, I look upon Trump destroying the repub party as a feature, not a bug…

      1. participant-observer-observed

        That reminds me, what has Liz Cheney been up to these days???

        Clinton and Trump are “hey, look over here” decoys to her lot.

        Speaking of which, where’s Condi? (when not busy on DropBox board?)

        1. nippersdad

          Liz Cheney is running for Congress right now. I heard that those in Wyoming are a little concerned that she hasn’t been seen there for years, though.

          1. Optimader

            The plastic surgury is almost complete after the successful soul transplant. She is praticing the sneer at this moment.

            1. nippersdad

              The Official-Dick-Cheney-Undisclosed-Location has proven quite useful over the years. I hope it is not the same one in which the Democratic Party stores their dry powder (or near it). All of Washington could be consumed were they in close proximity.

              Feature or bug?

              1. optimader

                Cheney’s Argon purged Sarcophagus is in Jackson Hole for anyone thats interested

                Got held up there once when he and the Pretorian Guard was flying in .. Two C-130s

                Dick and his peeps liv’in large..

        2. cwaltz

          Ol’ Scooter Libby landed a gig at a conservative think tank for six figures.

          I wonder if that would happen to me after I committed treason.

    3. Carolinian

      I thought this was weak compared to Taibbi’s previous Trump piece. While Trump does say lots of ridiculous things–no impulse control–his basic pitch that common sense should take priority over specialist expertise is not necessarily wrong. The truth is that Bush was not so much Washington’s moron as that our elite press and opinion shapers are themselves morons of a type–exhibiting simple minded credulity on things like Syrian “moderates,” Ukrainian “democrats,” or the glories of free trade. The diff between Trump and Dubya is that Trump actually has a bullshit detector. Of course whether that works on his own bs is open to question.

      To think outside the box you have to be outside the box. We definitely have to worry whether Trump’s sales pitch is just telling the customer what they want to hear. But clearly the public is clamoring for someone outside that box and Sanders prob may be that he’s not enough of an outsider. There’s more going on here with Trump than comic fictional stereotypes (per the–old–Frank Rich article).

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        The Workingclass Joes/Joannes are being played by Trump. From a 2005 Trump blog post…

        “I understand that outsourcing means that employees lose jobs,” he noted. “Because work is often outsourced to other countries, it means Americans lose jobs. In other cases, nonunion employees get the work. Losing jobs is never a good thing, but we have to look at the bigger picture.”

        Yeah, that should tell us what Trump will do with TPP. Oh well, it’s the ‘Big Picture’. It couldn’t be helped.

        1. Carolinian

          Not what he says now…a lot of water under the bridge since 2005.

          I’m not making a case for Trump. Rather just saying don’t pretend his supporters are all screaming dummies. The masses of the public understand what the elites don’t or refuse to: the system is broken. They are going for Trump rather than picking up pitchforks. Maybe this will lead to disaster but they may believe the disaster has already happened.

          1. Llewelyn Moss

            I don’t believe Hillary’s sudden populism. She’s telling voters what she thinks they want to hear. Just like Obama did. And I don’t believe Trump. But we’ll see I guess.

            1. lylo

              Americans are truly between a rock and a hard place:
              on one side a rather dense and unattractive old man who equates money with power and seeks both unscrupulously and to the detriment of any position he holds,
              and on the other side the exact same thing with different bits in the trousers.
              Worse, this is a matter of record and hardly my opinion. Even their supporters basically agree, but use sunnier language or choose to ignore it.

              For once there really isn’t any cogent argument that somehow this election matters.

              1. Llewelyn Moss

                You nailed it. If Bernie won’t be the spoiler, hopefully Jesse Ventura will run and I can vote with a clear conscience.

  11. allan

    Bank of America revs up auto loans business despite warning signs

    Bank of America (BAC.N) is making a big push into auto lending just as regulators are sending warning signals, losses from auto loans are rising, and rivals are growing more cautious after years of strong returns. …

    In interviews, the executives and their boss, D. Steve Boland, who oversees a broad swath of consumer lending, said they still see room for growth from borrowers who have good credit. They have hired extensively in recent months, adding dozens of loan officers and salespeople.

    Fortunately, they’re TBTF.

    1. DolleyMadison

      Buried in criminal enterprise Ocwen’s (tardy) 10k, along with news of all of the SEC probes, was the news that they are getting into “used car financing”. I kid you not. I guess the homeowners whose homes they stole gotta live somewhere, eh?

  12. fresno dan

    What the press won’t tell you about Trump and populism Fabius Maximus (resilc)

    Since the foolish rebuttals have failed to derail Trump’s campaign (e.g., running silly pictures of Trump, mocking his soundbites while ignoring his policies, and authoritarian condemnations), let’s try understanding what’s happening before our now-standard recourse to hysteria (so aptly mocked on South Park). Populism is crude, nativist, — and racist (our original sin that has tainted almost everything from the Founding to the New Deal). But it addresses ills in America that our leaders enjoy, so our political gurus work to keep you from learning about populism and its latest expression via Donald Trump.

    I get the impression that the elites view populism’s racism not as a bug, but as a feature. That is, one can totally ignore foreign adventurism, saving social security, and doing anything to diminish “free trade” by using racism as a cudgel. Never mind the fact that the elites have failed for decades….and decades to improve the lives of blacks ….but as they say, “there is work to be done…”

    I doubt I am the only one who sees the incredible, vomit inducing hypocrisy of repubs, the originators of the southern strategy (i.e., racism with plausible deniability – well, implausible deniability) going on and on and on about racism and Trump. If small hands doesn’t work, any port in a storm…

    1. Darthbobber

      I find Trump as claimant to the mantle of Old Hickory a considerable reach, but far less of a reach than Trump as Mussolini.

      Clinton as 21st century equivalent of bank defender Daniel Webster (the actual Whig politician, not the mythical Whig folk hero of the same name) is no reach at all.

      As secretary of state, while negotiating with the British over the boundary of Maine, he accepted a personal loan at no interest from the British Ambassador before essentially accepting the British position on the boundary question.

      As Senator, when Nicholas Biddle, director of the 2nd Bank of the US, requested his support in the charter renewal fight, he opened his response by a reminder that his “retainer had not yet been refreshed in the usual manner.” This was not unique to him, it was common Whig practice, inherited from the Hamiltonian Federalists. It was a positive good that the “best men” should have a vested interest in the government, and Senators (usually lawyers) fairly frequently contracted their services as Senators as an auxilliary to their law business. When Jackson instituted the much-maligned “spoils system” he simply opened the game up to a different class of player.

  13. Steve H.

    Three stories about dams breaking:

    Mosul dam engineers warn it could fail at any time, killing 1 million people

    “the earthen embankment dam is located on top of gypsum, a soft mineral which dissolves in contact with water”

    Wha..? Gypsum is what you use for a soil amendment to add sulfur. Because it dissolves so easily. Also, the rising water causes increased water infiltration underneath the dam by being pushed from greater pressure. Which can result in liquification, i.e. try building on mud and see how that works.

    The two other stories:
    The Poison in Tennessee
    Justice Dept. grants immunity to staffer who set up Clinton email

    That last one, yes a metaphor but go with me. 2008 Ob developed expanding favorables which eroded Clinton’s base. That’s the water pressure. But at the time, her own criminal activity had not occurred within the government. Now she’s got documented history of abusing public office. Those are the caverns underneath the dame, which could catastrophically collapse at any moment without the pressure from a supercharismatic candidate. Just the weight of truth.

    There is a catfish technique to nominations, just hang around the bottom and be there at the end. Jeb tried it and got stomped into the mud. Clinton is even more covered in filth than Jeb. Sanders reputation is clean, he doesn’t need to be a shark on the attack. Just a salmon, leaping upstream through the rapids.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Bryan Pagliano is Hillary’s Rose Mary Woods.

      Hillary’s karmic fate is to go down the same way her nemesis Nixon did, when Hil worked on the impeachment committee in the fraught summer of ’74: “twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.

  14. DakotabornKansan

    Idiots fiddling while Rome burns…

    Fiddling while the Mosul dam fails; while thousands desperately appeal for help to escape hellish European refugee camps; while thousands of unknown potential little environmental Hiroshimas percolate across the nation; while the number of households with children in extreme poverty has more than doubled in past 15 years; while “You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that,” George W. Bush (giving rise to Donald Trump) to a divorced mother of three in 2005; while greedy for-profit health insurers continue to fleece the public and drug companies charge some of the highest prices in the world; while Hillary Clinton schedules post-Super Tuesday fundraiser with Wall Street and pharmaceutical lobbyists; while Rubio tells dick jokes about Trump thinking it will fool voters into seeing him as an alternative to Trump; while the Republican Party declares war on the Frankenstein they created; while Kansas sinks further into its fiscal abyss; etc., etc., etc.

    What better way to describe what has been, and is, occurring in the world today.

  15. Benedict@Large

    Regarding the SCOTUS appointments problem, it seems to me that the Constitution offers Congress the opportunity to advise and consent, but that should Congress fail to do so, it cannot thus take away the President’s power to appoint. Obama should go ahead and appoint, and then let a 4-4 court decide whether Congress’ action (or lack thereof) preempts the President’s authority.

    1. fosforos

      Obama can force them to let him make a recess appointment. Congresscritters have to go home for long, long weekends. It’s their nature. But if the Senate doesn’t adjourn yet goes three days without any legislative business being done that, according to the SCOTUS recess-appointment decision, constitutes a recess,. The Repubnicons get around it by doing trivial things. Which they can’t do if the Demoncruds call for a quorum unless there are enough GOPsters around to make up that quorum AND outvote Dems when they vote to recess. That would be a reverse-filibuster which the Reps could break only by staying in Washington from now until the end of the year. Not f.cking likely.

  16. vidimi

    some more interesting news:


    Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon died in a car accident in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, one day after he was indicted on charges of conspiring to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases.

    Police said 56-year-old McClendon was the only occupant in the SUV, which hit a concrete bridge pillar shortly after 9am, and that it is too early to tell if the collision was intentional.

    Fossil fuel millionaires collectively pumped more than $100m into Republican presidential contenders’ efforts last year – in an unprecedented investment by the oil and gas industry in the party’s future.

    About one in three dollars donated to Republican hopefuls from mega-rich individuals came from people who owe their fortunes to fossil fuels – and who stand to lose the most in the fight against climate change.

    The scale of investment by fossil fuel interests in presidential Super Pacs reached about $107m last year – before any votes were cast in the Republican primary season.

  17. fresno dan

    The rise of American authoritarianism Vox (kj1313). The tone of surprise and horror is hardly warranted. This is the result of at least 15 years of conditioning, such as constant pounding of the “terrorists are under every bed” meme, authoritarian schooling, schools requiring constant oversight of children (kids not allowed to walk home), and suppression of dissent and vigorous discourse outside venues that are treated as fringe. Oh, and separately, this means you Sanders supporters who will vote for Trump if the Democrat alternative is Clinton are authoritarians.

    Its as if they are proud of being ignorant, and/or stupid.
    I searched the article for the “Patriot Act” – for that not to be mentioned reduces the article to PURE agitprop

  18. jgordon

    “US tech firms bypassing Pentagon to protect deals with China, strategist says”

    The article mentions that Chinese spies are stealing plans so they can make F35 clone planes.

    Alright, so now we know just how truly devious the Pentagon has been with its F35 project: give away the plans via “spies” and America’s adversaries will be bankrupted when they foolishly try to build this boondoggle themselves! It’s almost ingenious. Although since we are spending all our effort creating plans that will destroy the enemy when they actually try implement them, I guess we’ll have to have our own spies out stealing plans from the Chinese and Russians for military hardware that will actually be useful on a battlefield.

    1. Lord Koos

      I wouldn’t put it past the Chinese to have the ability to make an improved version of the plane.

      1. Lambert Strether

        It wouldn’t be such a bad aircraft if you take out the Marine Corps’ stupid fan (for vertical take off and landing). And I believe that’s what the Chinese did.

  19. burd

    what are the odds that aubrey mcclendon is sitting on a beach in anguilla with a coconut full of rum and a brand new face just laughing his ass off at all this?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t think he could have organized it that quickly. And how much does it cost to get someone to kill themselves in your car?

      Plus they actually do require IDs of dead bodies. When my father shot himself, under the law, the corpse had to be identified even though he’d shot himself in his office with his pistol (as if someone else would sneak in and find his gun and intentionally or accidentally off himself?). Dental records are the fallback when there is not much of a corpse left.

  20. cwaltz

    As part of the inquiry, law enforcement officials will look at the potential damage had the classified information in the emails been exposed. The Clinton campaign has described the probe as a security review. But current and former officials in the FBI and at the Justice Department have said investigators are trying to determine if a crime was committed.
    “There was wrongdoing,” an official said. “But was it criminal wrongdoing?”

    But hey everybody, don’t worry because the GOP Congress is going to totally greet her Presidency with candies and flowers. It’ll take her 6 months tops to have them eating out of her non idealistic hand.

    1. Steve H.

      cwaltz, I am going to beg your pardon, as I’m using your comment to express a building frustration of mine. However, you have posted etymology notes before, so I know you know the power of words and are tuff enough to be a fulcrum.

      Every time there is someone wondering whether to vote Trump, Green, write-in or Nope, it degrades what Sanders is trying to do. Hillary is a proven Loser. Sanders is proofed on economic issues. Hillary can collapse at anytime. Her record is horrendous in multiple dimensions. Think old-school makeup containing lead, the face looks pristine but the skin has corroded underneath, which requires putting more makeup on.

      Anger is a motivator. Every twitch of the spleen can be turned into a reaching out. To be clear, there is a split between the military and the establishment/CIA. There is a split in the military, also, of those who want to be, to get the medals money & kisses (Petraeus), and those who want to do it right, to not pick fights that cannot be won. There are career soldiers, old ones, who have never won a war. Grenada and Panama don’t count.

      There was a (kinda shaky) poll that said 29% percent of Americans would support a military coup, 43% of Republicans. Assad the elder said you only need 10% of the population to run a police state. If I’m a power-hungry psychopath in uniform, those are reasonable odds if the payout is being king of the world. It is the moral failings of the U.S. government which leads to this internal strife and loss of morale. It also provides the moral high ground which fundamentalist Sunnis leverage.

      So there are cracks throughout the entire establishment structure. And it is in this critical state that change is possible. Don’t give up.

      1. cwaltz

        I definitely understand(and share) your frustration.

        Sanders has some incredibly PRAGMATIC ideas and yet we’re being told he’s too idealistic and he could never get them passed. I call bull. Red State run Tennessee has a FREE COLLEGE program. Why? They need to have skilled workers to attract and keep business(who coincidentally pay taxes). Additionally, jobs that are skilled usually pay more and mean taxpayers have to spend less on social programs. It’s really not that difficult to “sell” something like that.

        Meanwhile in Clinton lala land she’s going to be the person who gets things done. It defies logic to think that a Congress that voted to repeal Obamacare something like 60 times and spent time making political hay out of Benghazi is going to go “you know what, who cares about wrongdoing” when it comes to her time at State. They’re going to impeach her, however, it isn’t going to be until after they waste hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating her and her aides to get just the right charges.

        It’s crazy to think the DNC thinks their best shot at the WH is someone who at best, inadvertently broke the law and at worst, decided she was above it.

        1. Steve H.

          I didn’t know that about Tennessee. Indiana is conservative, but it has the 21st Century Scholars Program, free four years of college for low income & clean record. (Program being picked at, lots of ways to fall out, but still…)

          These are responses to conditions below the global and federal level. Those conditions are fertile ground for politicians like Sanders and Gabbard and Warren. They mean that a cult of personality is not required, is a distraction. The track record of votes and flexian connections is an excellent filter for the exclusion of opportunists.

          The toughest job is going to be transitioning the MIC to being productive. Set loose the dogs of engineering. I don’t think you can overturn the financial coup without having the gunmakers at least stay neutral. But if the revenue stream can be redirected, it can still get the support of those in the military who understand that our logistic overextension will fail.

          1. cwaltz

            The program name is Tennessee Promise. It was implemented by Republican governor Bill Haslam. It’s always fun when I see someone from the right call Sanders a commie for promising free college education because then I can point out that makes red state Tennessee a commie pinko state run by the communist GOP.

            It usually quiets them right down.

            1. RP

              Probably similar types (maybe a notch above) those who hold signs saying to keep your government hands off their medicare?

          2. Uahsenaa

            The modern military is very different, though, since so little of what it does is actually done by people in the armed services. So much of what the military used to do itself is now done by civilian contractors, that untangling the money and military seems an almost insurmountable task without it simply imploding on itself.

            1. cwaltz

              We can’t even audit it yet. 2017 is supposed to be D-day for the MIC and they are supposed to have untangled finances enough to be able to have a third party audit.

      2. River

        “There is a split in the military, also, of those who want to be, to get the medals money & kisses (Petraeus), and those who want to do it right, to not pick fights that cannot be won.”

        The late Col. Boyd noted the same in the 60’s and 70’s. As a soldier, he wrote, you have two choices: you can do something or be someone, but you can’t have both. Unfortunately, for the US Military almost all want to be someone.

  21. ProNewerDeal

    I read that H Clinton is now suddenly supporting a Public Option Health Insurance, as a reform to improve the ACA.

    Have any health policy experts opined on this? I feel that this is a promise she will break if she takes office in Jan 2017, or perhaps even in the general election era starting in Aug 2016.

    BTW, apparently Trump’s “vaporware” health plan is a copy of Paul Ryan, it doesn’t have an Individual Mandate. Perhaps H Clinton would be vulnerable to Trump attacking her on the ACA Individual Mandate.

    1. jnleareth

      I have seen that a few places and similarly interpret it as an obvious head fake to the left. It’d be the first negotiating chip to remove from the table, assuming she bothers to ante it up in the first place.

      1. meeps.

        Correctamundo, jnleareth, on both counts (head faking and a sacrificial public option). There is an established precident for it.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Connected to the “Life Insurers Shaken by Rock Bottom Rates”, I think the best explanation for the entire ACA is that it was a stealth bailout for insurers.
      Long-term commitments to pay out 5 or 6% and income from government bonds on the order of .05%, don’t need to be a genius to do that math.
      And as rates slip below zero, and governments are now paid to borrow money, surely they will recognize this shiny new revenue stream and go full bore (as if they haven’t already, debt 2X under Obomba). So here’s my question: can I count the money I paid to the government against my taxes owed? Maybe this could be a really efficient new channel for taxation: require every 401k and pension plan simply to invest in government bonds that pay no coupon and mature below par.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Health insurers are almost without exception not life insurers, so your theory does not hold.

        Basically health insurers are making a boatload on Medicaid Expansion and not doing so well on the exchange policies, so they are accelerating the death spiral and acting like innocent victims.

    3. Lambert Strether

      Best history of the public option here and here. Essential reading.

      The extraordinarily effective and destructive role played by career “progressives” in sucking all the oxygen away from single payer (and censoring its advocates) is a little known fact in the twists and turns of health care policy.

      Sanders would be having a much easier time today if Democrats and “progressives” running interference for Obama had opened the Overton Window to allow it to be discussed. They didn’t.

      So here we are, and Clinton’s resurrecting the same damn zombie idea — as a head-fake “left.” Disgusting.

  22. mk

    “Oh, and separately, this means you Sanders supporters who will vote for Trump if the Democrat alternative is Clinton are authoritarians.”
    We’re not authoritarians yet, we have until June 7 before we know for sure. All you folks voting for a vagina have plenty of time to change your minds and vote for Bernie and the policies he stands for.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m just trying to provoke a rise….that’s why studies like this are silly. The “No way Hillary” voters who wind up thinking Trump is where their vote goes seem on the whole to have “tear the rotten parties down” impulses, which seem more anarchic than strong-manish. They aren’t looking to Trump as a solution but as a way to apply more pressure to existing fissures.

      1. mk

        I heard about Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance, I spent some time yesterday afternoon listening to his music and reading his lyrics. I think when the time comes to vote for the president, I won’t actually be able to vote for Trump because of his racists displays, he’s too dangerous.

        On the other hand, I voted for Obama in 2008 because I really believed him when he said he was for hope and change. I thought when he was hanging with Volcker he would actually do something about the banks, about student loans, about the aging infrastructure and jobs. I thought that with the help of OFA, we would all work together to pressure the other politicians and get this job finally done. But instead, Obama got what he wanted, he became president, and left his campaign promises and his base behind. Obama got his.

        Now in 2016, Bernie Sanders has similar campaign promises. The difference is he won’t leave his base behind if elected, he’ll use the base to bring pressure to bear. I really want to see and experience this, I hope we can make it happen.

        Even if I don’t vote for Trump, I will still not vote for Hilary. We’ve already had Hillary in Obama. When Obama ran for president, he at least knew what his supporters wanted to hear. Hilary didn’t even know that much. She knew she could be running for president in 2016, yet she and her husband didn’t even consider That taking money from wall st bankers might look bad. EFF THEM!!

  23. vidimi

    re: rise of american authoritarianism

    to me, this article may as well have been written by captain obvious himself. yes, the conclusion is correct; trump is supported by authoritarians but, golly gee, hasn’t this been evident since the beginning of his campaign?

    1. cwaltz

      I’ve always considered it funny that the GOP accuses the left of trying to create a nanny state, when it’s been clear for quite awhile that the base of the GOP has daddy issues.

      They want a stern fatherly figure to lecture us all on right and wrong.

      1. vidimi

        it’s perverse. the more fundamentally ‘christian’ the person tends to be, the less they believe in ‘free will’ and the more they desire an authoritarian fatherly figure, as you call it, to impose his will in restricting that of others. these people always side with the powerful against the powerless and do basically everything else exactly opposite of what christ taught. to them, christianity is the most important identity but it ends at believing that christ existed and taking every story in the bible literally while taking the actual message figuritively, or as an unattainable ideal at best. if one actually studied christian theology, then their actions and beliefs would be more aligned with satanism, in that they are anti-human, than christian.

        1. lylo

          Just as a friendly heads up, the Christians actually gave birth to the political left as you know it. All that nonsense about ‘meek shall inherit the earth’ and ‘your brother’s keeper’ actually developed pretty logically into Christian Socialism, which is the foundation of modern socialist and communist ideologies. The guy who overturned the money-changers’ tables inspired generations of people who fought for economic equality.
          By the way, I’m an atheistic communist. But I have to give some credit where it’s due. (I’m also a registered Republican, but that’s kind of an American idiosyncrasy that I’m forced to capitulate to, ie other votes don’t really matter, and if I want a vote that counts it needs to be in the primary. So lets not bash Republicans so much, maybe?)
          An awful lot of a certain brand of American Christian isn’t very Christ-like; that’s agreed. I live in the Bible belt, and you don’t have to tell me. I spent a good deal of my life mad too.
          However, consider what you just said, but insert any other religion. Consider the broad brush you just painted huge swaths of the country you live in with. Consider how few of those people you’ve actually met.

          Do you want to be that guy? Or do you want to be the guy that builds a bridge, maybe even helps bring them over to the left?

          1. RP

            I have met tens of thousands of American Christians. I used to live in Missouri, Georgia, and have lived in rural areas of CA most of the rest of the time.

            The broad brush painting them as malicious actors is not accurate.

            A broad brush painting hem as easily-led-around-by-their-fears non-intellectuals who need a sense of community and a common enemy (aka tribalist mindset) is ENTIRELY accurate.

            1. cwaltz


              I consider myself a Christian and I have explicitly rejected giving into fear. I’m probably not a traditional intellectual but I do consider myself someone with a sufficient enough amount of curiosity to not just kneejerk reject societal change or scientific evidence.

              Am I the majority in Christianity? Probably not. However, I do think I and people like me probably don’t deserve to be painted with a broad brush either.

              Fortunately, I’m not too thin skinned so I tend to not take too much offense when people generalize(and I do recognize that the Bible literalists do trend authoritarian.)

            2. Darthbobber

              Apparently not all Christians are equal. I was approached some years back by a Republican canvasser whose candidate was a big charter schools/”values” poser.
              They wanted to know if I went to church, I was all “sure.” We passed the time pleasantly enough until they got to what church I attended, which I guess was supposed to be the next step towards establishing cameraderie, but when I mentioned Friends Meeting at 4th and Arch they rapidly crossed me off the “likely prospects” list and moved things along perfunctorily and crisply going forward.

          2. vidimi

            let me put it this way: i’m one of the people whose alarm bells go off when people blame islam, so i agree with what you say. i also think we’re talking past each other, as i never said that being a christian is in itself a problem.

            to take the comparison further, islam has a toxic sect (the wahhabists) that has become politically dominant thanks mostly to the proselytising of the oil-rich, fundamentalist despots (principally the saudis) and sponsored by american money. similarly christianity, most of the global sects are harmless, but the politically dominant sects in the US have become equally toxic. they claim to be pro-life but are pro-gun and pro-war authoritarians.

            now, i agree that neither example means that islam as a concept or christianity as a concept are bad; nor that muslims in general nor christians in general are bad. but both religions clearly have a massive, analogous problem and we shouldn’t have to write a massive disclaimer every time we bring that fact up.

        2. RP

          I used to be a Christian (in recovery for almost 20 years now). It is exceedingly clear that American Christians, while clutching their favorite book, have never read the red type.

          1. cwaltz

            Not all.

            I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to blame God because mankind gets things wrong.

            One of my biggest complaints about many American Christians is that they spend an awful lot of time focusing on what God told OTHER PEOPLE a long time ago and not nearly enough time asking themselves what God wants from THEM now.

            I’m not entirely convinced that everything God said to Paul 2000+ years ago is relevant today, particularly to me. If you look at the Old and New Testament it’s pretty clear that God can and does change how he has dealt with His children over the years. Literalists act as if we should ignore the Bible’s inconsistencies rather than spend time questioning inconsistencies(and wondering if maybe humanity got something wrong and as a result God has changed tactics in much the same way he went from allowing divorce in the Old Testament to condemning it in the New.)

            1. Lambert Strether

              I chose atheism after God didn’t smite Bush for the use made of His name in the Bush administration, when we gave the Christianist right the keys to the car and they drove the county into the ditch.

              1. cwaltz

                If it makes you feel any better God doesn’t always do what I want Him to do either.


                My kids laugh because I constantly tell them that if and when I make it home that God and I are going to have a talk and I’m seriously going to be lobbying that with this gift of “life” that we get some sort of individualized instruction manual or some sort of “what to expect” book. It’ fairly clear that one book isn’t working for all of us.

    2. jrs

      The threats studied in the article were odd though. NO economic threats: like do you fear a recession, job loss, high unemployment rates, throw in a stock market crash though that itself affects very few but a few 401ks will be hurting, inflation in costs of necessary goods like housing and healthcare, poverty in your old age, not being able to pay off debt, bankruptcy, homelessness etc.. The greatest threats facing humanity are environmental, but that’s very abstract and these basic economic fears are something nearly everyone deals with to a greater or lesser degree. So one expects the huge issue of economic threats to also increase authoritarianism among authoritarians, but it isn’t really studied there.

      1. Darthbobber

        SUFFICIENT economic threats will prepare almost anybody to accept authoritarian solutions of one variety or another if non-authoritarian ones are not forthcoming, or non-authoritarian methods won’t suffice to remove legally entrenched obstacles.

  24. Jim Haygood

    In honor of our valued colleague craazyman, today I set up a ‘paper trading’ portfolio:

    SPHIX (Fidelity High Income Fund) ………. 6,377.551 sh @ $7.84 …….$50,000
    EEM (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF) … 942.803 sh @$31.82 … 30,000
    IAU (iShares Gold Trust) …………………1,670.844 sh @ $11.97 ………. 20,000
    TOTAL …………………………………………………………………………. $100,000

    Not an investment reco, the craazyman portfolio is rather a real-time experiment to test the thesis that if the five-year slide in commodity prices has bottomed out, then these three beaten-up, unloved, junkyard dog asset classes should be able to climb out of their leper pits and return to health and respectability. OR NOT …

    We’ll see! It ain’t for widows ‘n orphans, folks.

    1. griffen

      Past performance is no guarantee against future / further failure. You may well lose your shirt / other sundry clothing options.

      (Your disclaimer seemed a little lacking).

      1. Jim Haygood

        Past performance was lousy … four of five down years, during an epic commodity depression:

        2011 ….. -1.81%
        2012 …. 14.66%
        2013 ….. -3.29%
        2014 ….. -0.71%
        2015 ….. -9.42%
        2016 …… 1.98% [through Mar 2nd close]

        We’re going to test whether the old yellow dog (gold) can still catch a squirrel.

        Don’t try this at home.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      In totally unrelated news, the house flipping rate has exceeded its all-time high last set before 2008. Push a button, get a mortgage. Happy days are here again.

      1. ambrit

        Leading indicator?
        I’m curious about this figure. I see no sign of such a ‘flipping’ recovery around here, the Deep South.

  25. ProNewerDeal

    Glen Ford opined 0bama was a More Effective Evil than Bush43.

    Who is the More Effective Evil, if the general election sadly is between H Clinton & Trump?

    My guesstimate is that Trump’s dictatorish Unconstitutional tendencies like deporting US born-citizen children of undocumented parents, singling out religious or racial minorities for 2nd-class citizen Unconstitutional treatment, & his extreme flip-flopping even within his campaign – it is unclear what Trump would actually do in office, lead me to believe that Trump would be a More Effective Evil than H Clinton.

    However, I am unsure about this question, what is your opinion on it?

    Sam Seder opined in a H Clinton/Trump election, H Clinton would be a LO2E on the issue of maintaining ACA Medicaid in the states that have it, abortion rights, & SCOTUS/possible reversing of Citizens United.

    I voted for Dr. Jill Stein in 2012. If Sanders doesn’t get the D nom, I much prefer Stein in policies & earnestness/honesty to either H Clinton or Trump. However, sadly I may feel compelled to consider a LO2E option this time.

    1. jrs

      If I had to pick a lesser evil yes I might vote Hillary too. But I’ve voted 3rd party the last two Presidential elections. But the evils keep getting worse and worse with Trump (it could be all Hillary’s plan to run him for all I know, but he certainly does fit the appalling bill and in this racist country – especially the R primary of course – apparently they lap it up). See I’m not particular scared a Republican will win, they are horrible, but so Hillary. But Trump is not your run of the mill horrible Republican though.

    2. Dr. Roberts

      Trump has actually done a brilliant job of maintaining ambiguity. If you’re a single-payer supporter you might think he supports you, if you’re sympathetic to the Klan his delay in denouncing Duke could be read as support, but all of this is easily disavowed. Is there anything in the Art of the Deal about this kind of ambiguous positioning? I for one expect trump to move left big time on some issues if he secures the nomination. It may put Clinton in an awkward position of running to the right of Trump on some issues.

    3. TomD

      Do you live a swing state? If not, go ahead and vote 3rd party or anything else. It won’t matter.

    4. meeps

      I, too, voted for Dr. Stein in 2012. As she eloquently pointed out, the politics of fear and the LO2E “logic” is not helping the US arrive at a better place socially, economically or environmentally.

      The logic is not difficult to parse. If X is BAD and Y is possibly but not assuredly less BAD on something or other but definitively BAD on a,b and c, then consent for both X and Y will yield a BAD result. Of course, black and white notions of BAD become a slippery slope, but I digress.

      Dr. Stein also quoted Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” When it comes to voting, perhaps it’s worth viewing the act as one of proffering a demand. From that perspective, why make demands for what one doesn’t want? A little introspection goes a long way toward clarity, if nothing else.

      Deeply entrenched power clings tenaciously to it. Right now, those interests are toying with voters as if they’re pets. Ever played fetch with a dog and pretended to toss the ball, retaining it in your hand to see if the dog would pursue it or keep its eye on the ball? From what I’ve gathered in conversation with friends and family and from what I witnessed at the the caucus, voter attention is not remotely on that ball. One moment Ashley Williams exposes Hillarys’ racism, the next, as if by the striking of a match, the Drumpf/KKK fire was lit. Like chickens with heads cut off, people are running, panicked, any which way. Meanwhile, the ball (sane policy solutions to deep and widening structural defects) remains motionless, sans dirt and slobber, in the clammy hand of a slimy kleptocrat.

      The Green Party of Colorado issued a statement of congratulations to Bernie Sanders after his success here Tuesday night. In a moment of civility they encouraged Sanders efforts while reminding, “We look forward to working closely with Sanders’ supporters in the event his candidacy comes to an end before November.” This is how progressive alliances might be forged. The rest is pure distraction.

      I, for one, resist the notion of consenting to anyone against my will. It seems that my compatriots have been so disabused of their power they are now making excuses for perpetrators. The violence of patriarchy has made us all bottom bitches. It’s time to get out of this relationship while we still have our lives.

      Same goes for the idea that if I vote for a Green, Socialist, Working Families Party, Justice Party…that I am responsible for the result when we get Hellary/Drumpf. This, too, is the “logic” of the oppressor. If you are falling victim to this line of ‘reasoning’ you might be an enabler. An easy way to avoid this trap is to ask, “If my countrymen/women crap in the woods, and I’m not there to sniff it, did I do the dookey?”

      There’s 8 months left to figure this out.

  26. ScottW

    Thanks for linking to the article about arresting Bill for soliciting votes. I added my name to the petition which currently has more than 81,000 signatures.

    Living in Somerville, I am proud we were one of the few Boston suburbs supporting Bernie. As for the polling places Bill went to, those areas supported Hillary 2 to 1. The 18,000 margin of victory was supplied by Boston and surrounding areas. Places in which Big Pharama, Defense Contractors, Tech, rule the economy. Boston also has the State’s largest Black population.

    Hillary received 100,000 fewer votes than in ’08 when she beat Obama 56% to 41%.

    Bill targeted Newton & West Roxbury polling stations because Mass. was a squeaker and it was Hillary friendly. The only People who don’t believe he violated Mass. anti-solicitation laws are the same folks who believed he didn’t have “sexual relations” with “that woman.”

    1. Vatch

      Yes! I signed it; everyone, please sign the petition. Now there are more than 83,000 signatures.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      It’s crazy, I don’t run around saluting flags or following parades, or imagining that sports teams give a rats ass about what city or state they are in, but nevertheless I feel ashamed that Massachusetts would choose HIllary.

      Go Somerville!!!

  27. Brooklin Bridge

    I assume, the key to determining if a crime was committed or not is meeting with Hillary to discuss what goodies the FBI can extract from her.

    1. ambrit

      Let the boys down at Guantanamo have a go at her. They will ‘extract’ a confession from her. They do from everyone else. Even the innocent ones!

  28. GlobalMisanthrope

    …this means you Sanders supporters who will vote for Trump if the Democrat alternative is Clinton are authoritarians.

    They’re the products of the authoritarian schools you mention. Like Taibbi, they pick up history when their parents were their age, leading to fundamental errors in causality, leading to irrelevant/fatal remedies. They think history is about style (Mad Men, old cars, butchery, etc). They’re politically callow and absolutely docile. They aren’t supporters, they’re sporters of a brand and the Clinton brand says grandma.

    As a Chef I’m surrounded by these guys—and they’re all guys—and I really think it’s that simple and scary.

    1. cwaltz

      It’s ironic that he’s suggesting that people who vote for Trump over Clinton are authoritarian while trying to bully people into voting for her.

      Someone should explain to him how authoritarianism works.

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        No, the comment is from Yves. And she’s right in so far as they’re playing into its hands.

        If only someone could explain it to them. Unfortunately, my experience tells me that they’re not interested in hearing anything that doesn’t flatter them.

        1. cwaltz

          I think she’s making a faulty assumption.

          Don’t get me wrong I agree with her in principle. I would never vote for Donald Trump. I think he’s an egomaniac and I think that’s dangerous.

          However, I do think there is an argument that people that are spitefully voting for him second choice might be motivated by something other than those who have voting for him as their primary choice and are motivated by authoritarianism and a desire to have “daddy” lay down the law.

          Most of the comments I’ve read from the spite folks seem to be more anarchist in nature. If the system isn’t working they want to burn the whole thing down(even if there are casualties as a result.) I think they strategically may believe that Trump pulls the system apart faster. Personally, I believe the system will absorb Trump. The guy is obsessed with money and believes he’s brighter than he actually is. He’ll be easily co opted. The Kochs are banking on it(which is why they’ve chosen NOT to fight him.)

          1. GlobalMisanthrope

            Anarchists? What you’re describing isn’t anarchism, it’s nihilism. Nihilism plays into the hands of authoritarians every time.

            That’s what the Kochs and the supposed “libertarians” are up to with their attacks on government. They’re sewing nihilism in order to reap control. Trump’s narcissism keeps him from seeing that he’s a Koch tool.

            Anyone who jumps from Sanders to Trump doesn’t understand anything about anything. They support reforming the Dem party unless Clinton wins the nomination, in which case they’d rather have Republican demagoguery on steroids? Or they really think that Sanders is a revolutionary rather than a reformer? It makes no sense. They’re dangerous brats and if they prevail, we’ll all get what they deserve.

            1. jnleareth

              It seems to me that someone who would prefer Sanders but would vote for Trump over Hilary is someone who thinks tearing down the current system is more important than anything else. And given what the current system has done to screw over many people in the last decade or four, I would buy the argument that they aren’t actually voting against their self-interest. It isn’t about Left vs. Right, but more Neolib vs. Anti-Neolib.

              1. GlobalMisanthrope

                Sanders is not a radical. He wants to save the current structure by reforming it into something more responsive to the wishes of the majority. Trump is slightly more radical in seeking an even less responsive structure.

                Sanders is not about tearing down the system, he’s for dialing back the worst of neoliberal policy. Trump is not for tearing down the system, he’s for charging full-speed ahead with the neoliberal project. Or I guess I should say balls to the wall…

                How the hell is Trump, the very embodiment of the bankster ethos, a departure from the status quo?

                A President Trump leads to the same incremental descent into nihilism-cum-authoritarianism that a President Clinton does. So those who purport to support Sanders, but would switch to Trump have fundamentally misread both Sanders and Trump. And Clinton.

                Or, more likely, they aren’t interested in thinking about any of it and just want to look radical.

                1. jrs

                  Well I think a lot of those with radical sympathies can easily be Sander’s supporters if they think it’s the best we can get (and probably better than what’s usually on offer), it’s what makes many people liberal in reality if radical in sympathy. Trump supporters on the other hand, I don’t even know.

                  1. GlobalMisanthrope

                    Is he? I’d argue that you’ve got to flip it to maintain historical continuity.

            2. jrs

              Right of course. Nothing is more anti-authoritarian than true political anarchism. It is always on the front line against right wing populists historically (it’s not actual anarchist who will be making Trump apologies, you can bet on that), it’s always been against those who would discriminate on racial or other basis and often taken to the streets with such issues – a strong anti-discrimination current, and it takes as it’s basis opposition to all hierarchy, thus nothing is more polar opposite to authoritarianism than anarchism. And one doesn’t need to BE an anarchist to see that, just to actually be familiar with the anarchist movement.

              1. GlobalMisanthrop

                Exactly so. Lots of confusion of terms, ahistoricism and begging the question in this thread. It’s frustrating when you’re really interested in a conversation and you just get talked past. So, thank you for you calm, germane contribution.

            3. cwaltz

              Are you seriously suggesting that everyone choosing to vote for Trump lacks morality? *shakes head*

              For the record, a vote for Sanders doesn’t necessarily mean that you are for reforming the Democratic Party either. I, for one, think the Democratic Party isn’t that much different from the Republican one and that BOTH parties demagoguery have harmed the country. I’m not convinced they can be reformed. This cycle has done nothing to convince me otherwise(see- superdelegate debacle) I wouldn’t be voting for the Democrats if Bernie weren’t on their ticket(nor do I intend to if he is not in the general. I will vote Green.)

              When I voted for Sanders I was voting for Sanders and his ideas, not the Democrats.

              Again, I agree that TRUMP is dangerous. However, this idea that people won’t suffer under Clinton as she cuts social security, continues to fund the MIC and fund coups in countries where we might be able to steal resources, etc, etc is kinda ridiculous. The people choosing Trump are choosing a quick death by GOP over a slow painful death of a million paper cuts with the DNC. I personally don’t blame them for choosing what they choose. Instead I choose to blame a system that says that “pragmatically” their choices have to be crazy or corrupt. I blame a system that essentially sets hurdles and blocks many from having a 3rd option because that would cut into the duopoly’s little political gamesmanship and might cost the owner class, who employs them, more payola.

              1. cwaltz

                Oh and for the record, a S. Dakota Republican just vetoed a bill that would have discriminated against transgenders. A Republican led Senate in West Virginia killed a religious objection bill.

                From where I am sitting not every Republican is the enemy and not every Democrat is my friend.

                1. GlobalMisanthrope

                  Ok. Sorry. You’re obviously not talking to me. As I said, please disregard my comment below.

              2. GlobalMisanthrope

                According to the position of your comment in the thread, you appear to be responding to my comment. It’s confusing because most of what you say has nothing to do with the points I’m making. But, here goes:

                Morality? UUUUUUge straw man.

                I’m not recommending that Sanders reform the Dem party. That’s what he’s proposing.

                I didn’t say Trump is dangerous, I said that nihilism plays into the hands of authoritarians.

                That’s all I’ve got. Hope it helps.

                If your comments were meant for someone else, please disregard.

                1. cwaltz

                  Here’s the definition of nihilism

                  the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

                  Here’s the definition of anarchy

                  a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority:

                  I believe the folks who are choosing to vote Trump as the LOTE fall in the second category, not the first which is why I specifically called what they were calling for as anarchy. You called it nihilism.

                  I don’t recall Sanders ever calling for the reform of the Democratic Party. He’s using it as a vehicle. The system we have places restrictions on third party candidates. He didn’t want to waste his time trying to get on the ballot when he could be spending his time on sharing his platform. I don’t blame him.

                  If you can find exactly where he said he’s out to reform the party(who, by the way, have done pretty much everything they can to stymie his efforts to the point that he had to SUE them) feel free to share that link with me though.

                  1. GlobalMisanthrope

                    This is simple litigiousness, clearly meant to stymie rather than further debate, ala the Dem Party. Ciao.

                    1. cwaltz

                      I guess I can take that to mean you don’t have a link showing that Bernie Sanders said he is attempting to reform the Democratic Party.

                      Have yourself a nice afternoon.

                  2. HopeLB

                    He has talked about the “establishment” and he is calling for a political revolution. Surely, he refers to a revolution within the Dem Party and moving the Party toward Democratic Socialism. No?

                  3. myshkin

                    A point of reference regarding, “definition of anarchy…a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority”

                    That is one definition ( hierarchical authority’s definiton) but not the only definition of anarchy. Here are some definitions offered by anarchists and other philosophers.

                    “There is no fixed and constant authority, but a continual exchange of mutual, temporary, and, above all, voluntary authority” – Bakunin

                    “Law and Freedom without Force” – Kant

                    “voluntary communism” – William Godwin

                    The definition of anarchism you raise is related to the construction employed by both royalist and revolutionary factions during the French Revolution to undermine and discredit opponents.

                    I think those who choose to vote Trump out of spite are motivated more by the spirit of nihilism than anarchism.

                  4. meeps

                    cwaltz at 1:41 pm

                    Minor quibble:

                    anarchy is often misconstrued as disorder. ‘Without head’ is trust in the ability of people to self-organize. I can’t say much about nihilism–I reject religion on its own ‘merit’! :)

                    1. cwaltz

                      Here’s how I see it.

                      The people voting for Trump as a second choice have decided the “authority” shouldn’t be recognized, it’s corrupt. They seek to tear it apart in hopes that from the ashes will emerge a fairer system.

                      Could some of them be embracing hopelessness(nihilism)? Sure. However, overall I think it’s more about REJECTING what they see as a corrupt authority.

                      Again, Trump is their SECOND choice. Their first choice is a change from within the system(which to me means they are not embracing the idea that the system is meaningless as much as giving the finger to the “authority” they see as trying to manipulate them.)

                      I imagine we could probably go back and forth over and over though and we might fight find subsets of both philosophies and even some intersection among Trump as a second choice.

            4. RP

              “Dangerous brats”. Yup, that’s about the tone of what I’d expect of a Clinton supporter.

              Sounds a lot like “why don’t you go run for something then?” or “back to the issues”.

              Your candidate is a top-down class warrior who never met a war she didn’t support or a check she wouldn’t accept, and is an enemy of human dignity itself.

              But yeah, blame those supporting an actual Progressive instead of your Third Way road to hell.

              1. GlobalMisanthrope

                Point of fact, I voted for Sanders and donated to and worked for his campaign. And if Sanders loses the nomination, I’ll work hard in support of a write-in campaign. Also, I have been against the Clintons and their ilk my entire political/adult life, as other readers I’ve commiserated and sparred with in comments can attest.

                Dangerous because the illogic of their choice exposes a poor ability to reason. Brats because they just want their way.

                If you’re one of these people, I apologize for the offense, but I’m not just name-calling or being glib. I consider it irresponsible to be so cavalier as to say, “I get the changes I want now or f*ck it. Burn it down.”

                Civilization is a long game and in a democracy often times the other side wins. Plus I’ve got a kid, so if it’s all coming down —and I’m not arguing that it’s not—I hope it takes its sweet time.

                1. cwaltz

                  I think they may be looking at the short game while you are looking at the long one.

                  From a strategic viewpoint, I agree with you. Instead of working on burning something down I prefer to build something up even if I know it will take time(and no, for me that doesn’t mean reform of the Democratic Party, it means creation of a third option, a fulcrum if you will. So see even within the “build things up” subset there is disagreement on how to go forward.)

                  However, I do understand the reflex to give the finger to a corrupt “authority” that’s been manipulating the system to give voters two bad choices. Ultimately we(those that seek to build something rather than burn it) probably will be faced with the short game for a much longer time than just this cycle. Some of us, even among the “build it” contingent, really may see some problems with building upon a faulty foundation(the Democratic Party) and worry that if we don’t start from scratch we’ll be back to the drawing board in a decade.

                  1. Darthbobber

                    For how many years (or in my case multiples of decades) does one need to have been playing this “long game” of attempting to achieve change within the Democratic Party before they are allowed to call this a failed experiment without being accused of short-termism. I’m 60 now. Do I need to be 80 before I could do this without being consigned to brat status, or could I slide by at maybe age 70?

                    1. cwaltz

                      That something everyone needs to answer for themselves. I’m petty sure we all have different lines in the sand since we’re all different.

                      If I had a perfect strategy I’d share it. I promise.

                      I don’t though, which is why I’m definitely not in the category of people calling others “brats” for doing something different from me.

                      As I said above, I blame an imperfect system that is giving us imperfect choices.

          2. Pookah Harvey

            From the above link “The Trouble with Trump for Bankers”, American Banker

            2. When in doubt, Trump goes populist — and that would inevitably be bad for bankers.

            …..While Trump has steered clear of anti-Wall Street rhetoric so far, in a race against Clinton, he’s likely to drift in that direction. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., has shown how vulnerable Clinton is on Wall Street issues, and in a general election Trump is almost certain to use that to his advantage.

            While breaking up the big banks may be a bridge too far, Wall Street remains deeply unpopular with the public. Many remain angry about the bailouts — and Trump has proven a master at tapping into public anger. Whatever his personal views might be about banks, it’s an easy card to play against Clinton.

            “The rhetoric against Clinton will be very heated — it will be very anti-Wall Street,” said Brian Gardner, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. “He’s never going to get to the level of Sanders, but he runs an anti-establishment campaign. He will paint her as the ultimate insider with the titans of Wall Street and the people who brought you the financial crisis.”

            If this occurs voting for Trump would be dangerous but some what attractive to many liberal voters. The Democrats are crazy to think a status quo candidate is their best bet.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Adjust snark-O-meter.

          Pretty sure Yves is saying that in the negative – meaning those among the NC commentariat who would vote for Trump are obviously not authoritarians – that gets hard if you hang around NC. And that even in general, such an assertion is overblown.

          There are a hell of a lot of Trump supporters in PROTEST (as in I’ll take battery acid over HIllary), not because they love the guy. Hardly axiomatic they are therefore closet authoritarians.

          1. jrs

            They are not necessarily authoritarians. They are ENABLERS of authoritarians though, no way around that one.

            No, I don’t believe anything ridiculous like a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Donald Trump, I just can’t deny the obvious: a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Donald Trump. Hard to polish that one.

          2. TedWa

            That choice of the lesser evil is a powerful one when you weigh that HRC will turn around and support the TPP and Wall St at every turn and get us more involved in wars. Trump is against the TPP and unnecessary wars and his support of womens rights kind of lays waste to the meme that we need a Democrat picking the next SCOTUS appointment. She’s a republican in disguise and would pick a conservative justice (read DINO) along the lines of Obama, while Trump might not. People are sick of neoliberalism that the Clintons and everyone else espouse. Don’t get me wrong, it’s 100% Bernie all the way, but I’m not sure she’s the lesser evil here.

    2. different clue

      “Authoritarian” here is being used as an epithet of dismissal rather than a term of analysis. Those disappointed Sandernistas ( if Clinton wins) who end up voting for Trump would be revenge-seekers, not authoritarians. So, in their own way, would be the Burn This Mother Down voters for Trump. They would not be seeking the More Effective Evil. They would be seeking the More Effective Arsonist.

      1. chargens

        I’ve yet to see a projection of what a Trump presidency would be like. More specifically, what kinds of checks and balances, congressional and otherwise, would keep Trump from acting on some of his more outrageous declarations? Trump in the raw, as it were, is obviously unacceptable, and Clinton would be preferable; but what about Trump operating within the constraints of Washington power? Would he reject TPP, go after hedge funds and Wall Street, and perhaps move us closer to single-payer? If we drop all the Trump poison, is there anything salvageable that would lead us to choose him over Clinton?

      2. Darthbobber

        Our entire existing power structure is, at present, rigid, stratified and authoritarian.
        This is not really a point of choice between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. The difference between them is between institutional authoritarianism stemming from positions in the structure a la Clinton and a personal or, to borrow that horrid Weberian term, charismatic authoritarianism a la Trump.

        In most states, there will be ballot options other than those, so there is no need to choose a preferred authoritarianism.

  29. Titus Pullo

    Can anyone in the commentariat here chime in on the Pagliano immunity deal and what that might mean about the nature of the FBI/DOJ investigation?

    My take is that the Feds don’t hand out immunity unless they think that person knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. But is that a too generous assumption?

    Also, I’m fascinated how the news channels are still burying this story. It’s still Trump all the time on MSNBC. It was mentioned on various shows, but the talking heads dismissed it as no big deal. I am assuming CNN is not much different. Are they really right, or are they just talking their book of the teflon nature of the Clintons (whistling past the graveyard)?

    Thanks to anyone who replies, especially if you have any experience with a FBI/Federal investigation.

    1. vidimi

      i’m totally unqualified to answer this, but that won’t stop me from putting my two cents in:

      immunities are usually offered in exchange for testimony. i won’t prosecute you if you incriminate this bigger fish. So yeah, if Pagliano knows where the bodies are buried, then this deal is for him to lead to them and point out the person who put them there.

      1. nippersdad

        But everyone already knows who put him there. He built a server farm in Hillary’s basement at her request, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he monitored the communications that were routed by it. What more they expect to get out of him than where he got the parts to build it is beyond me.

        1. vidimi

          he likely knows more than that. like if there were any orders of email destruction, by whom and when and why.

          1. nippersdad


            “I deleted (say) fifty thousand personal e-mails for the SoS when she left the State Department because she didn’t want her social life to be put under scrutiny whenever someone felt the urge to file a FOI request.”….”Well, how the hell do I know whether or not they were personal? They were all put in a file and highlighted for deletion. I wasn’t asked to read the damn things, just to delete them.”

            We have already heard this sort of thing. We will, no doubt, hear it again in well practiced fashion. I would be pleased to be wrong……

          2. sd

            And the reverse. how and when servers were backed up. There should have been at least two servers for that very reason.

    2. nippersdad

      No experience with FBI/Federal investigations, but my take is that the establishment NEEDS Hillary as President to cover their ass for past indiscretions. This has been going on since Ford and has only gotten more necessary since. That said, they will need to give her cover; to make it look like every effort was made to look into the issue. What better way than to make a big stink now about things like immunity? Does anyone really believe that the Obama Justice Department would even consider holding anyone in their club accountable at this point?

      If it is looked at from the perspective of political theater, all of the ingredients are there for a whitewash.

      1. cwaltz

        I hope the FBI has everyone take a nice loyalty oath and keeps their story straight. I suspect they are going to be spending a lot of time with the next GOP Congress should she actually manage to win.

        The chances of them letting this go are slim and none.

        1. nippersdad

          Useful distraction. As with Betrayus, nothing of any real import will happen. Had they opened up the Benghazi hearings to the State Department gun running to Syria they might have had something; hence their never going there.

          They are quite skilled at asking all of the wrong questions.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Are you sure that was the point? Hillary has high negatives. Generic Democratic candidate would win the White House and pick up the Senate without trying. Hillary can use her celebrity to run a heinous, primary campaign full of the usual villains, but she puts the White House and Senate at risk. Would you want to get rid of her if you were a Republican?

            Hillary, a disaster down ticket for Team Blue, who won’t put the GOP on the defensive on policy is seen as having been able to stand up to the GOP despite her actual record largely being ignored.

            Remember. The GOP knows they lost in 2000 with a candidate who united the GOP against an abysmal DLC founder candidate. The GOP needs the worst possible candidate to oppose them.

            1. nippersdad

              Does it really matter who runs the Washington Consensus grift? Remember, at the time of the Hearings they had a minimum of two establishment candidates and thought that Trump and Cruz were sideshows. Now we are seeing Republican Congressmen saying they will vote for HRC should Trump get the nom.

              As long as there is someone in place to overlook, slap wrists or pardon the most egregious PR debacles they are all good. Right now the best placed candidate to do that is HRC. With TPP in the offing, the game is almost played out anyway.

              Watch them all fall in line.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Yes. There are still two sides. They might work together to put down a revolt, but the GOP doesn’t want to share with the Dems and would gladly get rid of them altogether if they could.

                1. nippersdad

                  I don’t know how that would work. You need a good cop and a bad cop for the grift to work. Eliminate either and the whole political rationale falls apart.

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    This is why they didn’t arrest Dems in 2002. They can’t get away with it, but they don’t need Hillary as President. Pelosi, Daschle, Gephardt, and Reid applauded as minority party leaders.

            2. fosforos

              Are you suggesting that Obama and the Demoncrudic establishment are smart enough to dump the disaster that is the Clinton and go for the Gore-Warren ticket that would win in a landslide? If so, you may not be overestimating their intelligence. But you certainly are underestimating their depravity.

          2. cwaltz

            Part of my point is that the Clinton supporters have been making the argument that she will be able to get things done because she is more pragmatic. She’s not like that Bernie guy who the GOP will obstruct.

            How exactly is she going to be getting anything done if they are holding hearings and spending their time questioning her aides, the FBI and everyone else about her private server while she was at State? Even if this comes back as she didn’t purposefully commit any wrongdoing, the GOP is going to sell it as the Obama administration protected her for political reasons and start a witch hunt. They are going to rightfully point out we have people in jail for their treatment of classified information(and not all of them were acting out of malice.)

            The GOP has a majority in the House. It’s likely they would impeach her. They don’t have the votes in the Senate but I could see them taking it up there where they have a majority and tying the Democrats to defending (and I am quoting the FBI) WRONGDOING. It’s not a question of whether she did something wrong, it’s a question of whether or not that wrong should be considered criminal.

            1. nippersdad

              Until such a time as they can get their own house in order, I don’t see any serious attempt at impeachment. Sure they will do everything in their power to obstruct and impede, but behind the scenes the real work of selling off the commons will continue unabated just as it has the last seven years.

              You can’t use Republican obstreperousness as an excuse if they are not being obstreperous, after all. That is just how the game is played these days, and actual wrongdoing is almost beside the point.

              1. cwaltz

                They don’t know how to fix things. Hearings make that less apparent.

                Presently, while their house isn’t in order, they are holding a hearing on fetal tissue procurement(because they seriously want to defund PP.)

                Here’s an excerpt on how it’s going:

                Blackburn replied that the panel is “entitled to the information,” and a Democratic motion to quash the three subpoenas issued thus far was defeated on a party-line vote.

                I find it hard to believe you think they’re going to be easier on Hillary Clinton then they are on PP, who it already has been found, has done nothing wrong in regards to fetal tissue.

                1. nippersdad

                  I don’t think they would be any easier on Clinton than PP; it would be a total mess (by design)! I just do not think that they would willingly out the Washington Consensus by taking it so far as actual impeachment. There is little point in the Democratic Party being the more effectual Republicans if you are going to actually block them from instituting your intitiatives.

                  See ACA; it’s all an act. Republicans got what they wanted (a privatized health insurance system), and they didn’t even have to get their fingerprints on it! Now they are paring it down to their ideal. Defunding PP is just another front in the ongoing battle for achievement of the Republican beau ideal of perfection.

                  And it is difficult to deny that Democrats are not helping them when you have BO gleefully signing such own goals as a Heritage Foundation written bill (replete with the Stupak Amendment) and extending the Hyde Amendment to foreign aid. Hillary will continue this process, and will be well paid for her efforts.

                  They don’t care as long as they are all paid.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              I don’t buy this Bernie obstructionist meme.

              If the Dems would get out of their way and have let him be the nominee, rather than going full bore into trying to crush him, he’d beat Trump a big margin, at least 10 points. That is called a mandate. It also would have an impact on Congressional races. The dynamic in Congress would be utterly different than now.

              1. nippersdad

                But can they get out of the way at this point? They have been acting without any kind of restraint for a very long time now. Would you want a relative political “outsider” in charge of the Justice Department if you have been intimately involved in, say, hiring Nazis to benefit Monsanto and oil interests by fomenting a coup in Ukraine? As Lambert might say, an awful lot of rice bowls might get broken in the process.

                I don’t think he would, but there is always the possibility that he might if put in a corner over something he does feel strongly about. They probably view him as an existential threat.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Andrew Napolitano — politically hostile to Clinton, but a lawyer — makes this assertion:

      Clinton’s job as secretary of state was to keep secrets. Instead, she exposed them to friend and foe. The exposure of state secrets, either intentionally or negligently, constitutes the crime of espionage. For the secretary of state to have committed espionage is, quite simply, scandalous.

      Tagging Hillary with espionage is an uphill slog, to say the least.

      However, when it comes to Hillary’s fixer and hitman Sid Blumenthal — who allegedly sent Special Access Program wiretap transcripts to Hillary without having the requisite security clearance to receive them — he ought to be a slam-dunk conviction.

      If Blumenthal avoids prosecution, then he’s got higher-level sponsors than any of us suspected.

      1. Jim Haygood

        More from Napolitano via The Blaze:

        Pagliano will likely be asked how he was able to “migrate a State Department secure system onto her private server.” [Napolitano] then presented this theoretical question: “Mr. Pagliano, did Mrs. Clinton give you her personal Secretary of State password to enable you to do that?”

        “If he answers, ‘yes,’ we have an indictment for misconduct in office as well as espionage. She should be terrified of the fact that he’s been granted immunity,” Napolitano added.

        [Napolitano] explained that only a federal judge can grant immunity and will only do so if a sitting jury is ready to hear testimony from the “immunized person,” suggesting the investigation is well on its way to a possible indictment.

        “We also know they are going to seek someone’s indictment, because they would not be immunizing him and thereby inducing him to spill his guts unless they wanted to indict someone.”

        Sh*t’s gettin’ real for the Grifter Granny. Fifteen of the Clintons’ associates were convicted in the Whitewater investigation, which took on a life of its own.

        Servergate is not going away. Not with an immunized witness singing like a canary to a grand jury.

  30. Brian

    “this means you Sanders supporters who will vote for Trump if the Democrat alternative is Clinton are authoritarians.”, This is a serious statement that may not take into account that Sanders supporters are asked to support someone that acts like Cheney or Wolfowitz if they vote for Clinton. Perhaps they think Trump is the best alternative to this organized crime against the people of this nation and the rest of the world? He isn’t openly treasonous, hasn’t destroyed any nations. He is clearly a mental midget with the IQ of a fencepost (thanks Tom Waits) but voting for him guarantees change.

      1. cwaltz

        I must need sleep(could be since I have a kid with a stomach bug.) I had a hard time detecting it and I usually pick sarcasm up pretty easily.

      2. GlobalMisanthrope

        I didn’t see it at first, but in a way it makes no difference. Yves may be making fun of the charge implied by the logic of the article, but I would say that what those voters who would jump from Sanders to Trump are up to is definitely worth discussing.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They are obviously angry at the establishment. The rest is just noise. No, white supremacist has started out for the Jewish, Democrat. We can ignore that as a possibility especially with Kasich in the race. He’s Episcopalian.

          The issue worth discussing is why anyone else thinks attacking voters will bring them around instead of introspection. Despite flaws with Dean and Obama, the 50 state strategy and Obama’s campaign rhetoric didn’t revolve around exclusion and telling voters what to do. Dean even held canvass drives just to ask voters what the thought. He might have dumped everything in the trash, but he listened.

          Hillary and the GOP are demanding unity without address get why outsider candidates have suddenly done so well.

  31. Starveling

    Is a Spite vote or credible threat thereof against Clinton qualitatively the same as the cheerful fascists in an authoritarian analysis? I’m betting that a realignment would be neutral at worst and an overall net positive for all involved at best. The establishment are larger enemies of freedom than some would-be Mussolini real estate developer anyhow.

    1. vidimi

      a spite vote would be childish. is that the same as narcissistic? i could see it happening, though:
      lots of white, northern liberal angry at the southern blacks who voted hillary and didn’t allow bernie to make things better for everyone will, in revenge, make things worse for them without impacting their own fate significantly by voting trump.

      1. Strangely Enough

        There were ways the DNC could have avoided this, i.e. avoiding the coronation. And, claiming liberals are angry at Southern blacks is akin to the charges of sexism for not wanting to vote for a candidate whose political positions seem horrible.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If Hillary had come out with a few positive changes across the various issues and more or less ran a traditional campaign, the only story would be why did Jim Webb bother to show up at those Hillary town halls which replaced the debates due to lack of opposition besides Webb.

  32. weevish

    Re: FBI and Apple

    Never thought the day would come when I’d have anything but contempt for Darrell Issa but he was in pretty good form on NPR this morning. In response to David Green’s protestation that NPR was just doing journalism, Issa replied that “… you are pushing an agenda”. He stated in no uncertain terms that the government was lying about the iPhone case being a one-off deal and called attention to the dozens of other phones law enforcement was anxious to get into.

    1. HopeLB

      Yes, Issa and Little Ole’ Lindsey Graham are spectacular when they aim their Inquisition interrogation skill at the bad guys. Too bad they are usually gunning for the wrong side, but you never know, maybe they will end up joining Bernie’s political revolution and saying to hell with neoliberalism.

      1. bob

        Giving those two criminals any sort of praise is beyond the pale, and them supporting apple is somehow good? The apple fascists, line up with the rest?

        You can never get the smell of those two off you. I suppose apple is going to be running ads with both of them in it? Lindsey and Darrell. There’s a real life grand theft auto game there. Lindsey trying to hold off Darrell with his ar-15.

        We’re also responding to someone who chose the name weev. Google that one. Then reconsider.

  33. Synoia

    Oh, and separately, this means you Sanders supporters who will vote for Trump if the Democrat alternative is Clinton are authoritarians.

    Clinton is not a “Goldwater Girl” and not a authoritarian?

  34. FluffytheObeseCat

    Regardless of what people claim they will do in November, the big likelihood with Clinton as The Dem nominee is not swarms of disaffected Dem voters running off to vote for Drumpf. It’s swarms of might-have-been Dem voters staying home with a six-pack and watching it all on streaming video.

    1. different clue

      One hopes the woulda-wannabeen D voters at least come out and vote on referrenda and/or initiatives and/or regionalocal people of genuine interest to themselves. Even if they leave the up-ticket lines blank.

  35. cripes

    Just an side to remind everyone that Hellery’s claim to have won the nomination is premature at best. It’s driven by a media blackout of the Sanders campaign, a concerted effort to discourage voters from voting and a desperate campaign by the DNC/media/loobyist cartel to pre-empt the vestiges of democracy in the democratic party. Older southern black voters in the Clinton corral. And scary Trump.

    It may work.

    She’s only got about 700 delegates to Sanders 400. Since when did we start declaring the winner when with 20% of the total in? The superdelegates are rigged, but not guaranteed. Large primaries in northern//western states from March-June will favor Sanders if voters vote instead of watching TeeVee.

    BTW, Cruz and Rubio reminds me why Castro was determined to expropriate their ancestors

    1. nycTerrierist

      Corey Robin at Salon:

      “Clinton’s strongest weapon is the aura of inevitability that she and her supporters and the media have concocted around her. Part of that is based on reality, part of it is based on super delegates (which I refuse to concede), and part of it is based on spin. Don’t accommodate the superdelegates, don’t accommodate the spin.”

    2. ekstase

      I agree. This concoction of “Trump-or-Clinton-grow-up-it’s-over” is infuriating. It’s the antithesis of democracy. As Noam Chomsky put it, “our leaders have a profound hatred of democracy.”
      (Not Sanders.)

      I often wonder how people who are second or third generation American-born could really be expert on the current politics of the country their grandparents left, whether it’s Cuba or anywhere else. Why don’t they cite their own life experiences?

    3. HopeLB

      Today both CNN and “liberal” MSNBC simultaneously ran a split screen of Sander’s live speech on the left while on the right side of the screen a talking head talked over the speech as Bernie delivered it. Are they colluding/feigning coverage when you couldn’t hear Bernie. I might join facebook just to protest.

  36. HotFlash

    Just read Taibbi and his final para is this:

    Madison and Jefferson never foresaw this situation. They knew there was danger of demagoguery, but they never imagined presidential candidates exchanging “mine’s bigger than yours” jokes or doing “let’s laugh at the disabled” routines. There’s no map in the Constitution to tell us how to get out of where we’re going. All we can do now is hold on.

    Beg to differ, the Founders figured that allowing plebes a voice in their own govt would just Ruin Everything and so restricted the franchise to white male property owners. But it doesn’t look like that would have worked any better.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Owning property wasn’t particularly difficult except for slaves in the period. Basically, you owned property when you turned 16 if you weren’t fresh off the boat or in need of care. Their views represented an expanded suffrage from the voting rights of Europe which didn’t exist. What they didn’t think would play was mass meetings on every issue.

      40% suffrage isn’t perfect, but where was it better?

      1. fosforos

        The property at issue was LAND stolen from its Native American owners. You didn’t get it at 16 or fresh off the boat. You had to steal it yourself West of the Alleghenies (that’s what the “American Revolution” was all about, of course, plus the little matter of protecting slavery from the Wilberforce’s et. al. agitating in Parliament) or else buy stolen land in the East from the original thief or his heirs.

    2. Carolinian

      The founding fathers were quite capable of going the low road, talking about Hamilton’s mistress, Jefferson’s slave concubine etc. Why pretend that our politics have ever been anything but raw?

      1. sleepy

        I always like this one, Jefferson on Adams during the 1800 presidential campaign:

        In the race between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson for president in 1800, Jefferson called Adams “a blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

        1. RP

          “Little marco” is pretty tame by comparison. Nobody’s called anyone a hermaphrodite yet.

          A lot of time till November, though.

        2. Darthbobber

          While the Adams backers attempted to make it an act of criminal sedition to give reasons why John Adams should not be reelected as President. It was a veritable kumbaya singalong.

  37. barrisj

    Dear Jesus, here is the Mittster, rocking out on all cablenews channels, scolding He, Trump – and by inference Trump supporters – as being absolutely unworthy as a credible presidential candidate…Romney, probably the most reviled “establishment” Republican amongst the now-aroused Repub “base”, now that my man Jeb! bailed…this “intervention” by Mittster is akin to bear-baiting, and can ONLY intensify Trump’s support within Repub registered voters. An absolute act of desperation, with some self-interest mixed in for added flavour…MR as the nominee emerging from a “brokered” convention??? Guaranteed to provoke a breakaway by Herr Trump…bust out the popcorn, tonight’s Repub WWE headliner should be hilarious!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yes, the choice of Mittens was particularly bizarre given the racism endemic to the GOP. They voted for Mittens against a black Democrat, but Mormon has a higher place in the GOP racial hierarchies than Mormon, black, or Democrat. If Herman Cain wasn’t such a weirdo, they might have picked him over Mittens. They even rallied around a Catholic. It was too late.

      They even voted for John McCain over Elder Mittens, and they really hate McCain.

    2. barrisj

      Apparently, He, Trump is doing “live-tweeting” of Mittster’s speech…Trump noted on MSNBC’s truly cringeworthy “Morning Joe” program that “Mitt begged for my endorsement in 2012”, and indeed He, Trump did endorse Mittster for Prez….you know, this almost feels like a set-up, where Mittster is showing voters what can happen to Trump if they don’t hold firm and reject anyone the Party will try to shoehorn in as a way to get round the Trump primary wins…I mean, the language MR is using in describing Trump and his “messaging” is way over the top, really provocative and – well, slanderous as these things normally go.
      I simply find it incredulous that the Repub “elite” expected this sort of flaming attack by Mittster, given the expected consequences amongst “the base”.

    3. Steve H.

      When Trump refused to buy ads for Super Tuesday (btw, that’s verified?), he monkeywrenched the money-go-round. The real story is the best they can come up with is Mittens? Mittens is basically Trump without the intelligence and warmth.

      1. barrisj

        Yet again the teevee “news” media are alloting He, Trump a boatload of free exposure during the next 24hr news-cycle, with “reporters” shoving mics into his gob asking him his opinions of the Mittster attack. As an additional bonus, we have another “debate” tonight, and if the FoxNews referees “moderators” allow the other three contestants candidates to mercilessly slag Trump off, well then, more stoking of the passions of Trump voters. Guy Debord’s “Spectacle” once more fully authenticated.

        1. jrs

          Ah yes I just saw CNN saying “5 minutes to Trump speech” Funny they don’t have this kind of hype for Bernie Sander’s speeches – ok really they don’t even broadcast them. Maybe if they did he wouldn’t even need his supposedly small donors.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Commodus took part in gladiator contests…

          I hope those Roman citizens had fun watching them.

          Does it always happen like that in the late stages of an empire?

          Entertainer/celebrity/TV personality emperors.

  38. perpetualWAR

    This site has been bantering around for quite some time about the banks trying to end the use of cash. Got a story I’d like to tell you about.

    I decided because of this banter, that I was going to open a new bank account at a local bank (not one of the criminal entities) and I was going to refuse the debit card and refuse checks. I was only going to deposit checks and withdraw cash. After about 4 months of this activity…….depositing checks and only withdrawing cash……NO. OTHER. ACTIVITY. First, the bank branch manager takes me out of the bank line and asks me why I am withdrawing cash over and over. I told him, “Because it’s mine.” And then he said, “We like to get to know our customers, that’s why I’m asking.” I said, “Do you know her?” *pointing to the gal in line before me. He didn’t answer. I knew that he was harassing me about the way in which I was using the bank. They don’t like people withdrawing cash.

    Then, just yesterday I got a call from this same branch manager (this is Banner Bank in WA) and he says, “Apparently, you did not receive our letter we sent 2 weeks ago?” And I said, “No.” He said the bank has made the decision to close your account. I said, “Please give me a reason.” He refused. So, I said, “The only activity I conducted at your bank was to deposit checks and withdraw cash. It’s not the depositing of checks that is a problem. It is the withdrawing cash and refusing to be tracked by your debit and credit cards, isn’t it?” He agreed that this was the reason they were closing my account.

    So, anyone here that believes cash isn’t at risk is absolutely in denial. The banks are trying to rid our system of cash. Believe me. I have just seen first hand evidence. Just yesterday.

    1. fresno dan

      March 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      What is amazing with all the laws with regard to transfer of property, that no bigshot got stuck with all the robosigning. Funny how all this trailing and tracking, the amount of money you spend endangers society, but the ?near? collapse (I would say it did collapse, and hasn’t uncollapsed yet…) caused by big finance – not one person in the US government can figure that out! NOT ONE.
      They find what they want to find, and they don’t find what they don’t want to find. Between loansharks and the big five banks, the ethics of the loansharks far exceeds that of our regulated and monitored financial industry….

      1. perpetualWAR

        There was one woman who got popped for “mail fraud & wire fraud” from Docx. Lorraine Brown got the pokey for allowing forgery to occur on over a MILLION documents filed in the land records coast-to-coast. Keep in mind, all of those million documents have not been expunged from the auditors’ offices nationwide. In addition, there is sufficient evidence they are continuing to forge documents.

        I just bought a car. And was asked to sign a document supposed to be witnessed by a notary. I said, “Where is the notary? This document is supposed to be witnessed and signed before a notary public.” They said, “We notarize these documents in a different building after you sign them.” I said, “Uh, the banks just got popped for this kind of unlawful behavior. I won’t sign this document unless and until I am in front of a notary public.”
        Jesus. Apparently, fraud and lawlessness is in epidemic proportions in many businesses.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Your experience likely is the result of a KYC (Know Your Customer) compliance program, profiling you as a money launderer for making ‘too many’ cash withdrawals.

      ‘Guilty till proven innocent’ … that’s in the U.S. constitution, isn’t it? ;-)

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        But it’s silly because he was depositing checks.

        A money launderer wants to get his cash INTO the banking system in a legit looking way. One of the staples is stores that might arguably take cash. If you see a restaurant, food purveyor, or a low end jewelry or accessories stores that never have any customers in them, you’ve got two options as to how they are funded: rich husband keeping bored wife busy with a store as her toy, or money laundering.

        1. Pavel

          I used to live in a fairly chic Parisian quartier with very expensive boutiques (100 euro T-shirts and 300 euro jeans, anyone?) on virtually every corner. I rarely saw a single customer in any of them, hardly enough to pay the staff and (expensive) rent. I was told by a friend just what you said, Yves — either hobbies for wives or mistresses, or money laundering.

          I heard once that many pizza places in NY were used by the Mafia for laundering of $100 bills. At least they have customers!

  39. Amir Fasad

    I’ve been a reader for a while now but have never posted comments. But today I thought I should point out that the article at Fabius Maximus was not worth it and is really pretty crappy. It is basically an old and tired rehashing by a hack historian written 17 years ago. (something on what the “main stream media” won’t tell you about Trump). Well, even if they did tell you this, it wouldn’t matter, because it’s garbage. ‘

    It’s about Andrew Jackson and US populism. And it completely misses the point and is highly inaccurate. First of all, Jackson was hardly a “populist,” as the author would have us believe. He was popular, but he was most certainly not a populist leader by any stretch of the imagination. He was the hand-picked candidate for the rising slave power in the US, something the article fails to mention. It’s just more US conservative white-washing of US history. Jackson was the darling of slave planter elites and worked very hard to expand their interests over all else. He cared very little for regular citizens and did even less for them. The article doesn’t even imply that this was the case, nor does it suggest that there would be any parallels between Jackson’s racist planter elitism and violent policies and Trump’s own policies or beliefs.

    Walter Russell Mead is a hack, plain and simple, a purveyor of convenient conservative half-truths. And I’m basically done with Fabius Maximus as a website. All their “populism” is focused on trump and the trumpeteers. Sanders is dismissed out of hand and ignored. It is a closeted pro-clinton site at this point, flirting with the idea that trump may somehow be redeemable and that’s their best hope. This article in question is not worth reading. It’s bad history, trotted out by disenchanted US imperialists who are confused and whose lights are dimming, and are now flailing around to make sense of the world they helped to bring about. Ignore it.

    1. Vatch

      Jackson was also responsible for a major act of ethnic cleansing carried out against several American Indian tribes: The Trail of Tears.

      President (and later, Congressman) John Quincy Adams was an opponent of both slavery and Andrew Jackson.

    2. fosforos

      Yes indeed. Moreover that article lies when it claims that American populism is always infected with the “original sin” of racism. In the 1930’s there were two big populist movements in America–the murdered Huey Long’s Every Man a King–Every Gal a Queen campaign, and Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty In California campaign. Neither was remotely racist (Huey Long was the only Southern governor to refuse FDR’s exclusion of blacks from “New Deal” programs).

    3. TomD

      You make some good points, but I think the idea is that a populist candidate doesn’t actually have to follow any populist ideas. Which is basically what most people expect from Trump. He’ll rouse the rabble and then ignore them.

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      Actually the site name is a tell. The first Fabian Society, named after FM, were a bunch of ‘middle-ground’ Edwardian douchebags. The FM site sees that as a positive association. “If only the miners were willing to meet the mine owners halfway.” That kind of thing.

      NC links are regularly salted with candidates for dissection. Thanks for reading it so I don’t have to!

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        It’s my understanding that Fabius Maximus is a group blog but the authors of the posts are not individually identified. Most of them are affiliated with the military reform movement that coalesced under the leadership of the late USAF Col. John Boyd in the 1970s. After briefly flowering in the early 1980s the MICC has been largely successful in marginalizing them ever since.

    5. Darthbobber

      I wouldn’t call Jackson the “hand-picked candidate of the rising slave power.” Certainly if the Southerners thought so, they were disabused of the notion during the nullification showdown, with Charleston under the guns of the fleet. He WAS clearly the candidate of the west, carrying all areas newer than the original 13 colonies, as well as New York and Pennsylvania. Adams (the second 1-term Adams, whose admirable career as abolitionist began when he returned to the house of representatives later) carried New England + Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

      The removal of the Cherokees was by contemporary standards deplorable but far from the worst thing done to native Americans. It was also highly popular with all classes in the nation. Disney’s version of Davey Crockett aside, it was only long after the native american population had been reduced to its current status that there was a retroactive siding with the victims, when it was safely too late to realistically do them any good. A similar process occurred in Britain when, after successfully destroying the traditional Gaelic way of life,Victorians turned into retroactive pseudoJacobites and idealized what the previous generation had done away with (none of which implied any actual redress, god forbid.)

      In any case, what eventually became the treaty in which the Cherokee “agreed” to be removed (though with sufficient respect for property that they got to take their own African slaves with them on the trail of tears), was the Georgia gold rush, the pressure of the horde of hopeful prospectors and grabbers and their backers in the Georgia state government. Jackson’s choice was to side with his more rapacious countrymen or their victims ( foreign nation) and the leaders of this country have only ever made one decision in such situations.

  40. rich

    “Bernie or Bust” – Over 50,000 Sanders Supporters Pledge to Never Vote for Hillary

    Hillary is the candidate of the corrupt establishment. The status quo wants Hillary in the White House so the parasitic gravy train can roll on. DNC head and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is one of these people. She isn’t interested in reform, because reform wouldn’t advance her personal interests. She wants things to stay the way they are, because it’s working great for her.

    Genuine liberals are finally starting to see these people for the frauds they are, which is why the Democratic Party is currently splitting in two. On one side there are those who understand United States policy doesn’t need a tweak here or there — it needs to be hauled off to the emergency room immediately. The so-called “elites” in the Democratic Party are just as disconnected and clueless as their Republican counterparts. Instead of accepting that paradigm level reform is required, they merely double down on their support of cronyism and rent-seeking.

    – From the post: The Democratic Party’s Civil War Escalates – DNC Chair Attacks Elizabeth Warren’s Reform Efforts

    I think Donald Trump is one of the most underrated presidential candidates in U.S. history, while Hillary Clinton is likely the most overrated. Democrats across America will very shortly experience extreme buyers remorse as Hillary melts into a puddle of Goldman Sachs checks in the face of the political hurricane that is Donald Trump.

    Over the past severals weeks, I’ve been hammering home the obvious fact that Hillary Clinton is a far weaker candidate than Sanders against Donald Trump in the general election. I’ve been taken aback by the massive traffic generated by the recent post, Why Hillary Clinton Cannot Beat Donald Trump, and I think it speaks volumes about how passionately people feel about the topic. It’s by far the most popular piece I’ve published this year, with over 23,000 reads on Liberty Blitzkrieg alone.

    Sometimes to clear the land, you have to let the F.I.R.E Bern?

  41. Daryl

    > US Republicans express Trump fears BBC

    I, on the other hand, am worried about the moment when the Republican donors realize they’re not going to get to install their pet congressmen and close ranks around Trump instead.

  42. kevinearick

    Human Development: Chain Branching & Diversion

    Empire developers don’t develop anything. They take something that exists from beyond the perception of the majority and makes a more efficient derivative. The Internet has simply become more efficient, at stacking consumers into attribute silos.

    When you Google, you aren’t learning something about how a culture is developing on the other side of the planet. You are finding the most efficient path to a restaurant, where other theorists want you to be, if you share attributes. Nearly all websites are dating sites, and Apple panders to the least common denominator.

    The RE Neanderthals, subjecting themselves to chain branching again, harvest the middle class by increasing rent faster than income, and the monkeys compete on income. The only question for the monkeys is which event horizon in the chain of masters and slaves they are going to occupy, trading individual liberty for compliance credits. The credit lottery gets bigger and more regressive until it implodes, for lack of fools.

    The difference in timing between what you see and what you hear, the speed of light, sound and computation, creates an expectation of what you are going to see and hear next, arbitrary replication following an expected pattern, the stuff of marketing. You see something because you are looking for it, limited by sensory perception externally controlled for myopathy. If you think other species don’t have language and math in their own frequencies, you are only fooling yourself.

    The structures you choose to see are a function of biology, which is a function of chemistry, which is a function of physics, which all runs on electricity, separation of charge into event horizons. That drug is delivering a specific charge to a specific circuit, albeit in a Fred Flintstone, ham-fisted manner, because each individual is unique, not that most behave that way. The empire fails every time because it gets more efficient at seeing less and less.

    The universe does not run on linear time as you perceive it. You are living in a relatively stable vortex, spinning in one direction. But even on this planet, most matter does not live in the same event horizon as humanity, counting the hours, days and years.

    As a developer, you know that the majority is going to seek efficiency, like burning wood in an open fire instead of building a home, but that’s OK. There’s no real need for another world war because natural resources per capita are growing, but the probability of linear time, the momentum of human conditioning for myopic expectation, suggests it is unavoidable. History repeats in a self-obsessed prophesy because a body subject to mutation meltdown tells the brain to simulate intelligence, until it can’t.

    Speed, distance, is only limited by the world within which you choose to occupy. You don’t go to work for government, the majority employed by Neanderthals, and start talking about speeds beyond the speed of light. You talk about whatever speed, frequency, that particular branch operates at.

    For most, change is a crisis, like forcing a rocker to listen to country music. However, printing money and paying yourself to commandeer other people’s kids isn’t economics, and that’s all the empire has – demographic, financial and infrastructure collapse. And the bottom of the upper middle class is already being consumed out, leaving the inbreeds exposed, which is like an exposed nucleus.

    Empire crapification breeds self-biased false assumptions, from theorists to engineers to programmers, all backed by the Fed’s digital printing press, which the same crew is now in charge of developing and programming. The product never works, so a management expert at corporate hires and fires monkeys to make it work the best they can, with a call center between the monkeys and developers to drive updates. A quantum kid sees that and moves forward, while an incremental kid solves a problem, informs the call center, and gets fired by the manager, who takes credit.

    That should work, and if not we have Guantanamo. Arpanet, the Empire Internet integral, was just a convenient way to bypass the political mumbo-jumbo. That much the political leaders know, and now that the emperor is naked, so do you.

    What the second law tells you is that the speed of light is a function of focused energy in a container of matter, the vortex in which you perceive it.

  43. barrisj

    It is my considered opinion that ALL news related to the 2016 election cycle be filed under “Imperial Collapse Watch”…these events that Murkans and ROW are witnessing are clearly the early death throes of a once powerful imperium, where the sans culotte have become untethered from their “democratic” harnesses, the ruling classes are blindly lashing out against “outsider” demagogues, and some of the country’s own military leaders are hinting that they wouldn’t obey orders from a Trump “commander-in-chief”…it couldn’t come fast enough this long-awaited meltdown of an international bully whose reign over the rest of humanity is past its shelf-life. Internal contradictions eventually cannot be contained nor meliorated, and the pathological greed of the plutocrats and their enablers has let loose forces that are superceding normative palliatives. What goes around comes around.

  44. cripes

    Let 1,000 contradictions intensify.

    Let’s see: we could have Trump elected and watch the federal government collapse. Although my bet is a convention fight where the RNC tries to install their pick.

    Or, we could have Hellery and watch the federal government collapse, perhaps in slo-mo, with investigations. gridlock and obstruction (except on her endless wars, which will be bi-partisan).

    I’ll vote for one-note Bernie for economic issues if he’s still standing March 15th, but,,,

    Maybe collapse is what we need.

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