2:00PM Water Cooler 4/13/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“More than 50 public health, religious and labor groups — including Doctors Without Borders, the Catholic lobby group Network and the Communications Workers of America — are urging Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation free trade agreement between the United States and Pacific Rim nations” [WaPo]. “In a letter sent to Congress on Tuesday, the groups argue that the intellectual property and pharmaceutical provisions in the pact would make it more difficult for people in TPP countries to access affordable medicine.”

“The ruling coalition may give up trying to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership ratified during the current Diet session if resistance from opposition parties means it is delayed beyond the end of April, a senior ruling lawmaker said Wednesday” [Japan Times]. “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed the coalition not to “forcibly” proceed with the TPP deliberations, Kyodo News reported. He is thought to fear a voter backlash in the Upper House election this summer.” Hmm. And then there’s this: “The records of TPP negotiations, released by the government in response to opposition demands, were largely blacked out, ostensibly to protect secret parts of the multinational trade negotiations.” I’m not at all familiar with the mores of Japanese domestic politics. But from some of the details in the story, it appears that the TPP debate has been unusually robust.



Sylvia, a wonderful comic strip I remember from when I read newspapers, had a continuing series titled “The Woman Who Lies in Her Personal Journal” (and the author, Nicole Hollander, is still going strong). Anyhow, The Woman Who Lies in Her Personal Journal reminds me of Hillary Clinton. Here she is, lying about Honduras [Think Progress].

Clinton told the NY Daily News on Monday that the Honduran government “followed the law” in ousting its president and said, “I think in retrospect we managed a very difficult situation without bloodshed.”

“I didn’t like the way it looked or the way they did it,” she said, “but they had a very strong argument that they had followed the constitution and the legal precedence.”

But at the time, the U.S. embassy in Honduras wrote that “there is no doubt” that what happened was “an illegal and unconstitutional coup.” The Embassy cable also emphasizes that the Honduran “Congress and the judiciary removed Zelaya on the basis of a hasty, ad-hoc, extralegal, secret, 48-hour process” and called their reasons for doing so “mere supposition or ex-post rationalizations of a patently illegal act.”

Then again, perhaps it’s not lying, but bullshit. As Harry Frankfurt reminds us in On Bullshit (PDF):

———[S]he is not concerned with the truth-value of what she says. That is why she cannot be regarded as lying; for she does not presume that she knows the truth, and therefore she cannot be deliberately promulgating a proposition that she presumes to be false: Her statement is grounded neither in a belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be, in a belief that it is not true. It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth this — indifference to how things really are — that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.

“Barack Obama says Libya was ‘worst mistake’ of his presidency” [Guardian]. Rolling the tape: “Mr. Gates, among others, thought Mrs. Clinton’s backing decisive. Mr. Obama later told him privately in the Oval Office, he said, that the Libya decision was “51-49.” “I’ve always thought that Hillary’s support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach” [New York Times].


“Panama Papers include one of U.S.’s biggest wartime military contractors” [Fusion].

Four months after that hearing, the State Department awarded Triple Canopy a contract worth nearly a billion dollars to protect U.S. diplomats traveling in Iraq. What Balderas didn’t mention in his two and a half hours before the commission — what the Panama Papers now reveal — was that, just weeks prior, Triple Canopy had acquired Edinburgh International, a Dubai-based military contractor, operating out of a suite of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, registered for a time through the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

…That acquisition — run through an offshore shell company, Trifecta International Holdings Inc., that Triple Canopy created specifically for the purchase — gave one of America’s larger and more controversial security contractors a business structure with the potential to sidestep the very same U.S. oversight and accountability that Balderas had made a selling point to the commission.

…serious security and propriety questions arise when a military contractor, performing sensitive security tasks for U.S. government officials in a war zone, has concealable offshore holdings, says Charles Tiefer, a contracting expert at the University of Baltimore law school — and a member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting who sat in on Balderas’ 2010 testimony.

Simply knowing that such offshores exist isn’t enough information for the U.S. to provide oversight of a company’s activities. “There’s no defense-auditing sunshine on a British Virgin Island company,” Tiefer told Fusion. “All that the U.S. knows is that there’s [a company] out there.”

Such offshore activities are not as routine among military contractors as Triple Canopy portrays them, Tiefer said. In his three years on the contracting commission, “The alarm bells went off on the very few occasions when an American or British company had an overseas [holding],” he said.

“There’s no reason for them to do that, except for the same reason that people bank in Turks and Caicos, which is to take them out of the line of visibility of American domestic authorities, who can’t audit the doings of Caribbean island entities.”

I’m filing this here, instead of under #PanamaPapers, because of the Clinton Dynasty connections. First, Bill Clinton (as President), from Jeremy Scahill:

The news that I’m breaking on Triple Canopy, though, is that I obtained federal contracts that were signed in February and March by the Obama administration with Triple Canopy to act as a private paramilitary force operating out of Jerusalem. And this is also part of a very secretive State Department program called the Worldwide Personal Protective Service, which was started under the Clinton administration as a privatized wing of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security division. Triple Canopy was paid $5 million in February, March by the Obama administration to provide, quote, “security services” in Israel.

Second, Hillary Clinton* (as Secretary of State):

As a US Senator, Hillary Clinton sponsored legislation to ban the US State Department from hiring private security contractors in Iraq, but as Secretary of State, she ceded all security in the embassies in Baghdad and Kabul to the same private security contractors, and now one firm has been cited in an Inspector General report. The Office of Inspector General for the US State Department has concluded that improper protocols by the US State Department on Clinton’s watch allowed a private security firm to make the US State Department needlessly spend about $130 million.

The name of the company is Triple Canopy LLC. An Alter Net story from 2009 likened the relationship between President Obama and Triple Canopy to former President George W. Bush’s relationship to Blackwater:

How cozy. A phishing equilibrium, perhaps? Defined by Akerlof as follows: “[I]f we have some weakness or other — some way in which we canbe phished for fools for more than the usual profit — in the phishing equilibrium someone will take advantage of it.” Well, a humongous defense firm organizing its affairs to evade scrutiny certainly looks like “some weakness or other” to me. So who would “take advantage” of such a thing? Maybe somebody should ask either Clinton. Or both!

* Right wing site, I know. But sourced to Alternet, Wired, the Office of the Inspector General, and I was pressed temporally….

The Voters

“Hillary Clinton Responds to Bernie Sanders’ Remark That She’s “Condescending” to Young People” [Cosmopolitan]. “And for those who don’t support me, I’m going to support them.” As long as their names aren’t on The Dreaded Clinton Spreadsheet of Vengeance, of course.

New York

As far as Clinton blaming Vermont for New York’s gun violence: “But 1 percent of crime guns whose sources were identified in 2014 originated from Vermont: 55 of 4,585” [WaPo]. The top state is Virginia, governed by Democratic fixer and Clintonite Terry McAuliffe.

“Bernie Sanders’ decision to leave the campaign trail late Thursday and head to a Vatican City conference later this week still has some allies scratching their heads and wondering whether it’s the best use of the underdog’s limited time” [Politico].

The Trail

“Why I’m Supporting Bernie Sanders” [Senator Jeff Merkely, New York Times]. “It is time to recommit ourselves to that vision of a country that measures our nation’s success not at the boardroom table, but at kitchen tables across America. Bernie Sanders stands for that America, and so I stand with Bernie Sanders for president.” I like this especially because it turns policies like Medicare for All and tuition-free college into “kitchen table issues” — both a cliché, and exactly what they are.

“The mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and a half-dozen other black women who had lost children in clashes with the police or in gun violence, were flown in from around the country and invited to gather around a table. They were joined by Hillary Clinton, who asked them, one by one, to tell her their stories” [New York Times].

“The Daily 202: Donald Trump will almost certainly not be the Republican nominee if he cannot win on the first ballot in Cleveland” [WaPo].

“GOPers Face Wave Of Threats From Trump Fans Incensed By Delegate Counts” [Talking Points Memo].

Clinton Email Hairball

“Judicial Watch, feds negotiate fact-finding in Clinton email case” [Politico]. A shark fin ripples through the water…

Stats Watch

Producer Price Index-FD, week of March 2016: “A rise for energy prices wasn’t enough to lift producer prices, which are continuing to suffer from the global deflationary pull, into the positive column. Producer prices fell 0.1 percent in March for a year-on-year rate that is also at minus 0.1 percent” [Econoday]. “But a very key weakness in the report is a 0.2 percent drop for services which is the first decline for this usually stable reading since October last year. March’s dip for services reflects declines for fuels, chemicals, and machinery. Year-on-year, wholesale service prices are up only 1.2 percent.” And: “The Producer Price Index year-over-year inflation is insignificantly below zero. The intermediate processing continues to show a large deflation in the supply chain” [Econintersect]. And: “The March PPI figures were softer than expected, as both the total index and the core component declined by 0.1%. The food component was much more negative than I had anticipated (down 0.9%), with the surprise mainly driven by large drops in fresh fruit and vegetable prices. These categories often feed through to the CPI in the same month. Energy costs rose by 1.8%, roughly in line with my expectations. The core component was also marginally negative, pushed down by declines in financial services prices and wholesale trade services” [Amhert Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve].

Retail Sales, March 2016: “Retail sales, down a disappointing 0.3 percent in March, were pulled lower by auto sales but unfortunately do show wider weakness” [Econoday]. “A sign of the month’s weakness is contraction at restaurants, which like autos is a discretionary category and which fell a very sharp 0.8 percent in the month. A plus is building materials which rose a very strong 1.4 percent for a second month in gains that point to extending strength for residential investment. Other components include a sharp decline for apparel and for department stores, offset by a second straight strong gain for health & personal care.” But: “Retail sales declined according to US Census headline data. Our view is that this month’s data was mixed, There was an improvement in the rolling averages” [Econintersect]. But: “This print solidifies the well-entrenched narrative of a very weak Q1 for the US economy. Our current tracking for annualized growth remains around 0.6%” [TDSecurities, Across the Curve]. What is arguably a greater source of concern, is that this print makes for a poor handoff to Q2 for consumer spending. For the Federal Reserve, who are balancing concern over the global backdrop with a softer spate of domestic data, momentum in growth heading into the middle of the year is quite important. This print therefore argues for continued caution and will place more emphasis on other parts of the economy to keep the recovery narrative entrenched.” Dear Lord. Is everything about the narrative, these days?

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of April 8, 2016: “Driven by falling interest rates, mortgage application activity was brisk in the April 8 week” [Econoday]. “Purchase applications are up a striking 24 percent from this time last year, attaining the second highest level since May 2010.”

Business Inventories, February 2016: “Sales are falling but fortunately so are inventories which fell 0.1 percent in February vs a 0.4 percent decline for sales. The combination keeps the inventory-to-sales ratio, which has been trending higher, at 1.41” [Econoday].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, April 2016: “Oil prices may be moving higher but they did nothing to lift the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations which slipped 1 tenth in the April report to a year-on-year 1.7 percent. This is the lowest reading since September” [Econoday]. “This report, together with this morning’s producer price report, justify the Federal Reserve wait-and-see rate-hike policy.”

“The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2016 is 0.3 percent on April 13, up from 0.1 percent on April 8” [Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta].

Shipping: “Recession due to overtonnaging is the default condition of the global shipping industry for the long term, nearly 88% of voters in a survey carried on this site believe” [Splash247].

Shipping: “A fleet of trucks just drove themselves across Europe” [Quartz].

Honey for the Bears: “VC Peter Thiel Says Just About Everything Is Overvalued, Not Just Tech” [Bloomberg]. And: “More Startups Are Getting Lower Valuations Than Joining the Billion-Dollar Club” [Bloomberg].

“[Taco Bell is] betting its future on plenty of cheesy elasticity for maximum customer goo” [Bloomberg]. One of the all-time great business reporting sentences! And such a great metaphor!

“BuzzFeed cuts projected revenue by half after missing 2015 financial target” [Guardian].

“In the 20 years since it became an independent nonprofit corporation, NAV CANADA has transformed itself from a public agency struggling with antiquated technology into a global leader in air-traffic systems” [Bloomberg]. And here’s the truly radical move: “NAV CANADA’s senior engineers decided the model of using outside contractors was broken. The corporation decided to take the unprecedented step of upgrading the computer code themselves.” Of course, that could never happen here…

“A majority of credit cards in the U.S. now contain a chip designed to add more security — yet most payment terminals at retailers can’t read the new technology. And the situation isn’t going to improve anytime soon” [Bloomberg]. But electronic cash? No problemo!

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70, Greed (previous close: 68, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 76 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 13 at 2:02pm


“Panama Papers: Abu Dhabi emir’s vast London property empire revealed” [International Business Times]. “Al-Nahyan owns most of prestigious Berkeley Square, according to the Panama Papers and Land Registry records, including the garden in the middle of it all. And he owns huge chunks of the surrounding streets of Mayfair, such as Bruton Street, Bruton Place, Hill Street and Hay’s Mews.” Any Londoners out there? Lively neighborhoods, are they? Bustling streets? Lot of lit windows at night?


“Disaster Capitalism’s Coming Use of The Lead Water Pipe Crisis” [The Real News Network (dcblogger)].

“Northeastern province in Thailand celebrates dry Songkran water festival” [Asian Correspondent]. Culturally, that’s a bit like celebrating the Kentucky Derby without mint juleps. Economically… Well, “disaster” isn’t the word. Yet.

“Manila water plan draws US rep’s criticism for IFC role” [AP]. The lending arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corp, has an equity stake in the company that privatized Manila’s water supply.


“[B]irding is no longer just a retired person’s leisurely hobby. These days, fresh-faced young birders with smartphones in hand are uploading photos and data faster than you can flip through Birds & Blooms” [Seven Days]. So those smartphones are good for something after all. Do we have any birders in the readership?

“Unnatural Selection” [Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker]. “[Ruth] Gates thought about the corals she’d seen perish and the ones she’d seen pull through. What if the qualities that made some corals hardier than others could be identified? Perhaps this information could be used to produce tougher varieties. Humans might, in this way, design reefs capable of withstanding human influence. … “Really, what I am is a futurist,” [Gates said]. “Our project is acknowledging that a future is coming where nature is no longer fully natural.”

Class Warfare

“You’re Making Your Financial Adviser Rich” [Bloomberg]. And if the heatlh stats are right, literally extending his (or her) life at the expense of your own. They don’t call it class warfare without a reason.

“Elizabeth Warren Is Why JPMorgan Has a Living Will Problem” [Wall Street on Parade]. Of course, the living wills are secret: “The public has never been allowed to see those 10,000 pages of what it would take to unwind one of the banking behemoths but is instead provided with a mere glimpse of each bank’s plan.” 10,000 pages! That’s aircraft maintenance-manual scale! Imagine if all the brainpower that went into producing those documents had been put to productive use!

“How a Wharton professor grossly inflates Social Security’s deficit to argue for a ‘fix'” [ Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times]. The professor is Olivia Mitchell, who “comes to the Social Security debate with gilt-edged credentials as a pension and retirement expert.” Mitchell cites a figure of $28 trilllion for Social Security’s “shortfall.” “Most Social Security experts view that $28-trillion figure as a red flag. That’s because many people who cite it are ideologues aiming to scare the public into thinking the program’s finances are far worse than they.” Read the article for her solution; sounds like the sort of “pragmatic” “solution” Clinton would like…

“The Department of Education will send letters to 387,000 people they’ve identified as being eligible for a total and permanent disability discharge, a designation that allows federal student loan borrowers who can’t work because of a disability to have their loans forgiven” [MarketWatch]. But “can’t get a decent job because of a crapified economy”? The more fool you!

News of the Wired

“Is Email Sinking the U.S. Economy?” [Cal Newport]. “With this rise of constant connectivity — as I’ve documented in detail — a drop in cognitive ability is absolutely unavoidable.”

‘ Mossberg: Slack beats email, but still needs to get better ” [The Verge]. “[U]sers, including me, also have some serious gripes about Slack, primarily around a supreme irony: while it has replaced the tyranny of email for many, it has unleashed a chaotic tyranny of its own. Posts and their responses pour in so fast that, even being away from Slack for a couple of hours can leave you feeling hopelessly behind. You’re constantly tempted to converse on Slack instead of thinking or planning or doing other work. And, for new employees, just untangling the cacophony of voices on Slack can be confusing and disheartening.”

” Useless robot waitstaff force the closure of two restaurants in China” [The Verge].

“A growing body of research in cognitive science illuminates the physical and mental toll bland cityscapes exact on residents. Generally, these researchers argue that humans are healthier when they live among variety — a cacophony of bars, bodegas, and independent shops — or work in well-designed, unique spaces, rather than unattractive, generic ones” [New York Magazine].

* * *

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

See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Tia)

Last of the SnowdropS

Tia writes: “Last of the snowdrops!” (in Northern Colorado).

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Tertium Squid

    “Northeastern province in Thailand celebrates dry Songkran water festival”. Culturally, that’s a bit like celebrating the Kentucky Derby without mint juleps.

    Water festival without water is more like Kentucky Derby without horses.

    1. TomD

      I was going to say, it’s like the 4th of July with no fireworks, but your comparison might be more apt.

  2. perpetualWAR

    Black lives matter?
    Apparently Clinton policies of bank deregulation allowing for financial crooks to steal black wealth is okay….as long as Hillary sits down with the Mommas.

    1. Bas

      Of course there are cameras and journalists there, that matters.

      “Since then, these mothers, many of whom did not know one another before the Clinton campaign flew them to Chicago to convene, have blanketed the primary states, appearing with Mrs. Clinton in churches and barbershops from Ohio to South Carolina. They starred in an ad that aired in Cleveland, Chicago and St. Louis. And the campaign has paid their travel expenses so they could attend the Democratic presidential debates.”

      1. Gareth

        Next Hillary can sit down with the mothers of families who are losing their food stamps forever due to the delayed effects of her husband’s “welfare reform” act and after that the mothers of men who have been sentenced to excessive prison terms under the Clinton war on drugs. But I bet she won’t be flying them around to campaign appearances.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We can not expect less from our opponents.

          The counter move is for Sanders to fly mothers you mentioned, because Hillary surely will not fly them.

          This risk there is distraction, as it degenerates into both sides arguing who was really 100% clean on that bill.

    2. jgordon

      I think it’s great that Hillary is so desperately tying her name to gun control efforts. The two need to be closely associated in everyone’s mind.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Once she rids our nation of the firearms plague, we’ll all be carrying “Hillary switchblades” in our pockets.

      1. Carla

        RE: As far as Clinton blaming Vermont for New York’s gun violence: “But 1 percent of crime guns whose sources were identified in 2014 originated from Vermont: 55 of 4,585” [WaPo]. The top state is Virginia, governed by Democratic fixer and Clintonite Terry McAuliffe.

        I wouldn’t go there with the gun numbers, Lambert. If Vermont had 1 percent of the US population in 2014, it would have had about 3.3 million residents. Instead, it had about 700,000. So if you’re counting crime guns “whose sources were identified,” Vermont would be responsible for a higher rate PER PERSON than many other states.

    3. alex morfesis

      new hillary twittags: #banklivesmatter & #blackliveslater (now that i am pivoting to trumpland)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Sanders is, at least, winning the hashtag war; I saw (too lazy to find the link) a story about Clinton supporters who complained that whenever they created a hash tag, it was taken over within hours….

  3. Kokuanani

    Re Hillary “putting Obama over to 51%” on Libya: just another case of poor, poor Obama. Always getting shoved around by the “bad guys” on the playground.

    If it’s not the Mean Guy Republicans, it’s Hillary.

    1. diptherio

      There’s enough blame for both. Let’s not get stuck in an either-or mindset. They are both responsible (or, rather, irresponsible).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A lot of favors to repay.

      “Remember the time I took one for the team…and many, many other times?”

    3. Synoia

      Yes, one has to have sympathy for a person who is continually getting showed into policies they want.

      Obamacare for example.

  4. Kokuanani

    “Maximum customer goo” – perhaps NC could wryly adopt this as a slogan.

    As for “cheesy elasticity:” – I think the Clinton campaign will be claiming it.

    BTW, have you seen the Taco Bell commercials? Plenty of cheesy elasticity and maximum customer goo. I don’t know why they think this is appealing to potential customers.

  5. hreik

    Can anyone tell me if w R. Wray’s book, Modern Monetary Theory is appropriate as an intro to MMT? Ty in advance.
    (posted this in M. Wolf blog earlier w/o a response.)

    1. Adam Eran

      Wray’s book is just OK. Shorter and pithier is Warren Mosler’s Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds book. Also free (Google for it).

      If only MMT had writers of the caliber of Ha Joon Chang (who ignores MMT in his otherwise excellent Economics: A User’s Guide) or even (c’mon, give him his due) Krugman!

      Seriously, read Peddling Prosperity for a little insight into how the Krugman can cleanly fillet Reagan’s and Clinton’s economics.

      Meanwhile, IMHO, the MMT blogs are superior to available books now. These include New Economic Perspectives, Michael Hudson’s blog, and Steve Keen’s Forbes and Debt Deflation blogs. You can subscribe to all of them with an RSS reader (e.g. “The Old Reader,” “Flipbook” etc…. Google “free RSS reader download”).

      Finally, especially re the Social Security and “debt” panic: Where would tax payers get their dollars to pay taxes with if government didn’t spend them into the economy first? Taxes make the money valuable; they do *not* provision government.

      If that’s a little too much inside baseball, ask yourself where all the “Fiscal Responsibility ™” was when multi-trillion-dollar wars or bank bailouts were the topic of discussion. Yet, strangely enough, whenever social safety nets are the topic… “Dang! We’re out of money!” … Amazing, no?

      Also recommended as a little insight into the MBA mentality: Matthew Stewart’s The Management Myth. He discloses that Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of “scientific” management, and the inspiration to found Wharton, was a con man who cooked the books on his little efficiency experiments. Management, it turns out, is a liberal art! And the guy who inspired Harvard’s business school was a con man too…!

      At least the MBAs are consistent.

    2. TK421

      I just read it, and I think it is indeed a good introduction. There are MMT primers on the internet, too, if I remember correctly.

    3. Daniel

      Bill Mitchell has a lot og blog posts which delve very comprehensively into MMT. I’ve learned a lot by reading his blog…

  6. willf

    “Bernie Sanders’ decision to leave the campaign trail late Thursday and head to a Vatican City conference later this week still has some allies scratching their heads and wondering whether it’s the best use of the underdog’s limited time” [Politico].

    I have a faint memory from 2008 that Obama was invited by the same Vatican group to attend a conference at a similar time during the campaign. Of course Google is not what it was, even in 2008, so finding confirmation is hard.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      The Clinton zombies of course will say “Look Bernie gave up. He’s leaving in the middle of the campaign.” IMO, Bernie will get a lot more ink and eyeballs by speaking at the Vatican than yet one more rally at a NY college (which are almost always ignored by the MSM).

      1. curlydan

        Yep, getting a papal audience will garner more MSM coverage than packing 5K to 10K auditoriums daily. If only The Donald could get an invite, what a mediagasm that would generate.

        1. Propertius

          I’m sure that if Trump went to Rome the way Henry II went to Canterbury in 1174 the Pope would be happy to receive him.

        2. jawbone

          I’m hoping it will help in building a movement, one that sticks together. Either during the Sanders administration or…outside the next admin.

      2. LyleJames

        As someone who was born and grew up briefly in Buffalo, I can assure you there are A LOT OF CATHOLICS in New York State. Sanders is doing what he seems to have done most of his political life — found the intersection between his beliefs and his political future.

        1. tegnost

          Also Latin Americans in California as well as liberal catholics in Cali, both categories good to speak to.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When Obama gave the speech in Cairo, many were excited. That was more than presidential…it was messianic.

          I don’t know if he has scheduled a speech at St Peter’s Square, or if it can hold as many people.

          “A new, new beginning. In the beginning, the Creator created equality…until people believed in other gods, other money gods they thought would give them more money.”

    2. MsExPat

      Hillary’s leaving New York this weekend too–her official schedule has her in Los Angeles speaking at a fundraiser on Saturday, April 16–hey isn’t that the George Clooney 300K dinner?

      I guess it’s okay to leave the campaign trail for that since there are no Politico articles tut tutting Clinton’s decision.

      1. tegnost

        it’s starting to look to me like it’s going to come down to california, but the closed structure of the ny primary could be worrisome. I expect him to keep running stronger than the polls predict largely because of Markley’s “kitchen table”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “It’s going to come down to California” is a pretty amazing statement, considering the way the Democratic calendar is “supposed” to work. Somehow, I don’t think DWS is going to get the position she expected in a future Clinton administration.

  7. grayslady

    As a birder, I have no problem with apps that increase enthusiasm for bird watching. On the trail, I’ve only met one person who used her hand held device for bird identification, and it was clear she was a newbie. The problem with the apps, or with online facilities, such as What Bird, is that if you only see a bird in isolation you don’t pick up on family characteristics the same way you would by studying a birding book. Placing a bird in the correct family, such as Finch, or Warbler, is the quickest way to start the i.d. process. For someone who doesn’t understand the subtleties of physical markings on birds, I suspect many new birders are trusting an app that may incorrectly identify a particular bird. Personally, I prefer a powerful pair of binoculars and a book of photos, to compare differences and similarities, to a birding app.

    1. gary headlock

      Also a birder, and I agree that could apply for people who are new to it. However I won’t carry around a field guide ever again when I can have Sibley’s/iBird/Merlin etc on my phone, and having access to all call and song audio aids. Not to mention the ability to get photos of birds easily (it’s much easier to scope a photo with a phone than with a DSLR, notwithstanding having some specialized equipment), or using the microphone to record a call I’m unsure of. If not for my birding habit, I’d have reverted to a flip phone ages ago.

        1. Bas

          collecting bird calls with the phone is easier than trying to mime it phonetically, and you don’t even have to see the bird!

          1. Optimader

            Fun stuff.
            A friend whos parents live in the boston suburbs (in their mid 80s) have a nice backyard with a preserve property behind them.
            They have embraced the bird song apps to their endless delight fking w/ them by playing the bird in distress “Theres a Hawk” or the “hey guys! Food! Over here!” Various recorded vocalizations that elicit behaviour.
            Think payback for free seed

            Being gentle folk at heart, they will catch four legged critters that are causing mayhem in their garden.

            So here’s a question that stumped me… What in the world do you do with a nernous skunk in a live trap cage??

            1. Steve H.

              If it’s in a cage, it can’t lift it’s tail and rear forward, so it can’t spray you.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Broadcast the “Hey guys! Money! Over here!” mp3, and the Clintons show up in your back yard.

    2. Synoia

      Being English, I’ve always liked watching Birds. I believe in the US such birds are know as Chicks.

      1. Optimader

        English slang has always bern the best.

        Crumpet Collector, Strawberry Creams.. Whats better than that?

    3. polecat

      garbage apps in/ garbage apps out……..

      I gotta say….all this reliance apps this and apps that is beyond ridiculous…..

      we’re heading straight into the void of idiocracy…all the while dealing with nature, and each other, …in un-natural ways!!

      because techno progress!!!!!

    4. Richard Creswell

      I use my phone to call birds. Our Virginia Rails would go uncounted year after year if it weren’t for song apps. My Sibley App is easier to carry than my big Sibley handbook.

  8. dcblogger

    Per a conversation I saw yesterday (asking lambert’s and yves’ indulgence) you don’t need Bernie Sanders campaign material to campaign for him. You can do what is known as a precinct letter, widely used in Virginia and very successful.

    Just write, IN LARGE FONT, a few lines about what you are supporting him and sign your name, town, state and zip code. You don’t need to be well known, just a few names (more effective if 3 or 4 people put their names on it), sample precinct letter below:

    We support Bernie Sanders because he will:

    Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour

    Double Social Security Benefits

    Free University Education

    Medicare for All

    Joe Briefcase Washington, DC
    Jane Doe Washington DC
    Richard Roe Washington DC


    This is just a sample and you could apply the concept to any candidate. Print it up in black and white, give them out at a metro stop, in front of the local library, pin a copy up at the community bulletin board at your high rise, or by every door hand like the Pizza places do if you can get away with it, distribute them as seems best to you. This has been tested, it works.

    1. cwaltz

      How was it successful in Virginia?

      Bernie lost the primary here 64% to 35%. That almost a 30% loss.

      Mind you I support Sanders and am all for the energized electorate going out and talking to their neighbors I just think that citing Virginia as success is not necessarily true.

        1. cwaltz

          I just thought it was interesting the poster was citing it as being successfully used here. He didn’t do well here although he did do fairly well in my region.

          The truth is Bernie didn’t get much exposure here because we were fairly early in the cycle and he had just started to get the resources and ground game when our primary was done.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    “Clinton told the NY Daily News on Monday that the Honduran government “followed the law” in ousting its president…..”

    Expect to hear a lot of this “following the law” rhetoric in a clinton 2.0 administration. It is the latest iteration of “what the definition of ‘is’ is.” A “technically” irrefutable justification for all kinds of abominable behavior that satisfies no one except the lawyers who are steeped in such “morally unambiguous reasoning.”

    The current convention flaps involving superdelegates and “the rules are the rules” explanations are its bastard children.

    1. Quentin

      The monsters in the Nazi concentration camps were also just following the law. I hope the Clintons follow the right laws.

    2. Aristotle Anonymous

      Speaking of “following the law,” NarcoNews reported in July that:

      Emails Show Secretary Clinton Disobeyed Obama Policy And Continued Funding For Honduras Coup Regime

      Clinton Asked Lanny Davis, Longtime Clinton Operative and Lobbyist for Pro-Coup Honduran Businesses, to Arrange Phone Meeting with Coup Dictator

      Buried in the latest trove of Hillary Clinton emails made public last week are some missives that shed new light on the former Secretary of State’s role in seemingly undermining President Barack Obama’s policy in dealing with the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras…

      …One email exchange discovered in the recently released batch of State Department communications reveals that Clinton personally signed off on continuing the flow of US funds to the putsch regime in Honduras in the fall of 2009 — even as the White House was telling the world that such aid had been suspended.

      Another email exchange involving Clinton shows that she turned to a lobbyist employed by Honduran business interests suspected of orchestrating the coup to get access to the Roberto Micheletti, the “de facto” president of the putsch regime. Micheletti assumed power after the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was removed from office at gunpoint on June 28, 2009.

      The lobbyist Clinton favored in her dealings with Micheletti was Lanny Davis — a long-time friend whom she had met while at Yale Law School and a former White House Counsel to Bill Clinton [as well as a consummate shill for the Clinton agenda].

      Davis also is a lawyer and lobbyist and in the latter capacity was retained in July 2009 by the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL) to hawk for the Honduran coup regime, including Micheletti’s illegal administration.


      1. cwaltz

        Obama should have gone with his gut and restricted Clinton to holding tea parties. Clearly she did him no favors legacy wise.

  10. different clue

    Any birders? . . . Well, I was a birder once. I’m just a birdwatcher now. I began birdwatching about 50 years ago when I was still a kid. I learned birdwatching and identifying in the field more from Peterson’s Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America than from any other book. The illustrations are the closest approximation of the “mass average” appearance of the birds as seen in nature. Other bird guides were/are more arty, but the classic Eastern Peterson was and still is the most useful to me. I suspect that is true for millions of people. They learned their birds on Classic Peterson and learned them so well that they kind of forgot that is where they learned them. So then they get more recently impressed by newer and more arty bird guides. Peterson himself was bullied into retiring his classic bird guide and doing a whole newer edition which I have. It is more arty and prettier, but not as good for actually learning the birds.

    (A couple of decades ago I was visiting my brother in the Greater Boston area and was spending part of a day in a used bookstore near Harvard. I overheard a couple of bird people talking about the then-newly-released New Peterson Eastern Bird Guide. They seemed to think he had been bullied into doing it. They talked about a couple of errors they found in the book. It was 20 or more years ago so I forgive myself for not remembering all the details. I think I remember one of them saying that the juvenile fall Bay Breasted Warbler was painted with the wrong color legs.)

    Those classic Petersons are still available in used book store. Millions were printed and many still exist. There is a back door way to get the exact same thing under another name. Peterson’s Guide to the Birds of Texas is basically the Classic Eastern guide with a little bit of Texas specific information added. The color plate printing masters (or whatever) are old and worn enough that some of the color plates in the Birds of Texas are a little blurred. Better to get a used copy of Classic Eastern Birds.
    But for those who like trapdoors and wormholes, here is Birds of Texas ( unless he has updated and artistified that one too) http://www.amazon.com/Field-Guide-Birds-Texas-Adjacent/dp/0395921384

    New smart phone apps? I was visiting a cousin in Florida in April one year and we went birdwatching in the upper Mid Florida area. I heard a “suspiciously familiar” call in very strange surroundings. She had bird pictures and songs on her I-phone and through that we confirmed it was the Great Crested Flycatcher. Also, in the woods at night in her neighborhood I kept hearing a strange call with a vaguely whip-poor-will type sound but not a whip-poor-will. Listening to the goatsucker and nightjar sounds on her app revealed it to be a chuck-will’s-widow. So, yes . . . . these apps can be very useful in their place as a very SECondary ADjunct to the basic necessary bird guide.

    1. grayslady

      Didn’t know Peterson had changed. Happy to say I have the old one. It’s my favorite source, too.

      1. EmilianoZ

        How about Audubon’s “Birds of America”? Is that no longer in use among birders/bird watchers?

        1. different clue

          That was always more of a great big beautiful coffee table book for the Library or the Great Room or such. It was never designed as a field guide. So there are birdwatching fans who will have bird guides for help in identifying birds and will also have Audubon’s “Birds of America” for pure enjoyment.

        2. RW Force

          Not “Birds of America”, but the “Audubon Field Guide: North America” is a free download for iOS or Android.

          1. different clue

            I don’t have the tech toys to download such things, but I will almost betcha that the Audubon Download of which you speak is photographs of all the American birds. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong about that.

  11. ProNewerDeal

    Any status update on CO’s State MedicareForAll referendum? Is it polling well? Legally, if the referendum passes, does it have force of law, in that it will actually be enacted? What is to stop a VT Governor-like betrayal in CO. What could be the impact of this initiative on MedicareForAll in other non-CO states?

    This seems like it could be 1 of the major issues effecting “the 99%”, but I haven’t heard much about this topic.

    1. meeps

      Hi, ProNewerDeal

      ColoradoCareYES volunteers gathered enough signatures to place it on the 2016 ballot. If approved in November, it will become legal by way of an Amendment to the Colorado Constitution. An interim board would create needed infrastructure before an elected Board takes over. The start-up process would be immediate in November, taking until January, 2017 to fully implement.

      I don’t know of any polling as of yet. A Koch funded campaign to mislead voters has been launched and ColoradoCareYES supporters are engaged in fundraising for advertising. One would think our CO referendum is beyond the point where a VT style betrayal would happen, time will tell. My own personal hope is that it passes so that CO can lead the way in making delivery and infrastructure improvements while on the road to MedicareForAll (HR 676). What the transition from state to federal might look like from there is a valid question, but we’re still baby – stepping toward human decency and I’ll take it! I hope this helps. Here’s the site link with all the juicy details for you to peruse:


  12. Clive

    Re: TPP’s Less than Rapid Diet Progress in Japan

    Always worth keeping in the forefront of your mind when considering Japanese national (i.e. LDP’s House of Representatives / House of Councillors apparatchiks and the generally similar opposition parties) politics that while there is a passing hat tip to popular opinion, it is more of an accurate description to say it is an invitation-only dogfight between which vested interests (agriculture, public works beneficiaries, the industrial establishment and so on) have paid off whom in the Diet to champion their pet concern — and who currently has the upper hand.

    The reporting we’re getting suggests that agricultural production wants a lot more “transitional relief” and agricultural regions want a nicer dollop of public construction projects (maybe some shiny new but not especially justified Shinkansen lines) than they’ve already been promised. Abe is having to work out is it all really worth the bother. If the US is genuinely serious — and able — to get the TPP ratified he’ll cough up. But no sense in ladling out the goodies if the U.S. congress busts the TPP flush.

  13. Steve in Flyover

    It’s funny how the movers and shakers that are members of the NBAA (National Business Aircraft Association) are all in for privatizing government services.

    Except for our ATC system, in which case the NBAA is putting on a full court press to keep the status quo, because it’s “Too important to privatize, especially if those big/bad/mean airlines get to make most of the decisions on how it’s run.”

    (mainly because they are paying most of the freight).

    You can read this as “User fees are great………until we have to pay them”.

  14. James Levy

    The unnatural selection idea is beyond foolhardy. The point of evolution is that there is no point. It’s a random process that works through variation and unpredictable stressors. You can’t program it (well, perhaps if you are trying to breed Khan Singh you might, but that didn’t work out too well). The idea that we can somehow outdo nature on the survivability front is truly unlikely.

    1. Bas

      it’s the randomness and variation that makes some scientists think they must be able to do it better and “fix” things. [scream!] And make a name for themselves while they are at it. And then there are the corporations looking to copyright Nature.

      1. Bas

        I just had a strange thought–Nature violates Monsanto copyright and Monsanto sends ISDS tribunal to extract millions. oh, wait

      2. polecat

        When I mention to my fellow bee club members that the honeybee is going to have to essentially evolve to deal with the various mites, viruses, etc that afflict it, and that any other mitigation or control is only short term and foolishly hubristic…they reply that WE JUST HAVE TO DO SOMETHING …the bees need help!!! Either it’s using a chemical, or pulling out drone comb to freeze…or something else….

        In this, as in other cases, evolution is going to have to work it’s magic…….or perhaps not….

        but that means NO help from geneticists…Monsanto or otherwise!

        1. polecat

          To me, what that article implies, is that someday, in the not too distant future, we’ll have to deal with the idiocy of, say, a genetically altered roundup ready honeybee………or something worse!

          and don’t think for a moment that monsanto, or syngenta, or some other corp isn’t seriously considering developing/copywriting/trademarking such things……

          ISDS here we come!!!

  15. clinical wasteman

    Re – the Emir of Mayfair: that’s part of England. Londoners come from everywhere but we don’t go there.

    1. Qrys


      ‘Transit Workers Union Local 100 endorsed Bernie Sanders at a press conference in Brooklyn. The meeting was attended by hundreds of New York City transit workers, all dressed in matching T-shirts and baseball hats, carrying signs that read, “TWU says Feel the Bern.”

      ‘The reason this endorsement matters so much is because it’s not just coming from a single powerful individual or publication. The Local 100 is 42,000-members strong. With immediate family included, their reach stretches to roughly 100,000 people.

      Presumably most are already registered Dems?

    1. different clue


      Then whoever controlled the UN would control all those powers. Better to imagine TPP getting rejected and defeated and nobody getting those lovely ISDS tribunal powers.

  16. Synoia

    JPMorgan Has a Living Will Problem…10,000 pages!

    How was it tested? It is basically a procedure (as in computer code). We all know computer code requires testing.

    How was JPMorgan’s living will tested? Was it tested? By whom?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How is it that a corporation can be said to be ‘living?’

      Wait, they have personhood.

      Can a rock have personhood?

      What about Earth, our planet? Is it a living planet?

      1. polecat

        “The corps are fascist insects that feed on the life-blood of the people!” **

        **…conjured up from a memory of an ‘All In the family’ episode….

  17. Jim Haygood

    “Retail sales, down a disappointing 0.3 percent in March”

    Indeed, a serious disappointment. But in a typical illustration that “it don’t have to make sense,” today the S&P 500 stock index rose to its high for the year — a level only 2.3% below its 21 May 2015 record high.

    Assigning post facto rationales lacks validity, but nevertheless is entertaining. My theory is that the April 11th Yellen-Obama accord — best summarized as “one and done” on rate hikes — is fuel for the flames.

    Rate hikes, comrades: Never again!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Poor Marie Antoinette.

      She could have stopped Sanders’ revolution if only she had said, ‘let the peasants have more money in their 401k plans!!!”

      Instead, she offered brioche.

  18. allan

    Bill De Blasio lawyering up faster than you can say “CP time”:
    De Blasio Hires White Collar Crime Lawyer For Federal Probe

    One day after saying he would no longer speak about the federal probe into his fundraising activities, Mayor Bill de Blasio hired a white collar criminal lawyer to reach out to the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. … When the mayor spoke earlier Wednesday, he did not mention that he had hired Berke the day before, saying only that “he represents the 2013 campaign.”


  19. allan

    White House intervenes in Maryland Senate Democratic primary

    (Intervening on whose behalf? … The suspense is killing me.)

    An effort to paint Democratic Senate hopeful Chris Van Hollen as soft on gun control has drawn the attention of the White House, which criticized a super-PAC ad attacking the Maryland lawmaker as misleading.

    The unusual intervention, which caused the PAC to remove President Obama’s image from the ad, illustrates a central tension between Van Hollen and rival Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) in the hotly contested primary for a rare open Senate seat.

    While Van Hollen has touted his experience crafting major legislation, Edwards has poked holes in that record as insufficiently progressive. … [ … long Beltway inside baseball saga …]

    [Van Hollen] said Edwards’s decision to oppose the donor-disclosure legislation was emblematic of an uncompromising attitude that, he said, leads her to be ineffective.

    Because we need a superprepared warrior realist who can get things done™.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Obama is a master at exploiting a record of having done very little, when running against an opponent who has gotten justifiably-criticizable things done.

      Aspiring politicians should take note.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      All that Susan B. Anthony-invokin’, national monument dedicatin’, women-in-government proclaimin’, is so, well, yesterday. “Equal Pay Day.” April 12.

      Who’s everybody’s favorite “special place in hell” gal supportin’?

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Dreaded Clinton Spreadsheet of Vengeance

    Poor Claire McCaskill. Clinton assigned penance is severe. 25 rosaries, 100 Acts of Contrition, and you get to be the one who looks the fool by floating the trial balloon of connecting Bernie’s “democratic socialism” to the hammer and sickle on morning joe.

    Luckily for Claire, it was a flat fail. Close one.

  21. Red Athena

    Just when I thought no major Dem establishment politician would endorse Bernie, I saw your link to the NYT article with Sen Merkley’s endorsement. The best part is of course the comments section, where top NYT picks are mainly anti-Bernie while the top reader picks are pro-Bernie. I wonder what would happen at the Gray Lady if Bernie miraculously won?

  22. Cry Shop

    Say what?

    “Really, what I am is a futurist,” [Gates said]. “Our project is acknowledging that a future is coming where nature is no longer fully natural.”

    So pre-historic man played no role in the extinction of North America’s large mammals? Didn’t bring the wild dog/dingo to Australia? All those history lessons about more recent extinctions forced by importing invasive species, by agriculture, were made up?

    As George Carlin would have put it, there we go, thinking humans are not part of nature. This is all wrong. We are, and we can and eventually will either go extinct just like any other species, or we evolve out of being “human”. We’re at just such a inflections point now, and if our best and brightest think like Gates, then we’re on the former path.

  23. dcblogger

    Per conversation yesterday (asking indulgence from lambert and yves) you don’t need Bernie literature to campaign for Bernie, do a precinct letter instead. Precinct letters are used in Virginia very successfully.

    You just need to write up, IN LARGE FONT, why you are supporting Bernie, sign your name, town, and zip. If possible, get 3-4 other Bernie supporters in the neighborhood to sign it. Example:

    We are supporting Bernie Sanders for President because he will:

    Give us Medicare for All

    Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour

    Give students a free university education

    Double our Social Security Benefits

    Join us in supporting Bernie Sanders for President

    Joe Briefcase, Washington DC

    Jane Waitress, Washington DC

    Charles Civil Servant, Washington DC


    Print up 100 or more copies, distribute them at the metro stop, in front of the public library, Division of Motor Vehicles, or just pin one up on the community bulletin board of your high rise, or put one by the door handle of every door like the pizza people do if your building will let you get away with it.

    Include URLs, it drives traffic to his website and gets people to think about supporting Bernie.

    People are social animals, if they see their neighbors supporting Bernie, they will take a look at him. Don’t worry that no one has ever heard of you, these letters work very well.

    Obviously this is not limited to Bernie, you could do it for any candidate in any election.

  24. Diptherio


    We like to say we do things differently at the Co-op. Well, this morning we proved it.

    On a morning when we reported growing profits and growing investment for our Co-op, Group Chief Executive Richard Pennycook also announced he was taking a voluntary pay cut. Richard’s drop in base pay is around 40% and he’s also changed how he can earn bonus, ensuring it’s clearly linked to business performance and aligned with the arrangements for other Co-op leaders. That takes his total annual remuneration down by a further 20%. That’s not the way CEOs usually behave.

    Normally, more profit leads to higher pay (at least for top execs).

    And remember, this is also the man named last month as Retail Leader of the Year. Richard’s hardly an underperformer.

    The BBC’s Economics Editor, Kamal Ahmed, interviewing Richard on the Today programme was quick to spot the anomaly: “The business is performing well, but you’re announcing that you’re taking a significant pay cut. The club of chief executives aren’t going to thank you for that are they?

    “Well, we are in a different club”, was Richard’s swift response.

  25. Strategist

    Al-Nahyan owns most of prestigious Berkeley Square, according to the Panama Papers and Land Registry records, including the garden in the middle of it all. And he owns huge chunks of the surrounding streets of Mayfair, such as Bruton Street, Bruton Place, Hill Street and Hay’s Mews.” Any Londoners out there? Lively neighborhoods, are they? Bustling streets? Lot of lit windows at night?

    Mayfair has always been an elite neighbourhood – Queen Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton Street – so most Londoners don’t go there and it’s not in any sense a recent loss to gentrification. I think Mayfair still has a certain charm, it’s a place where the world’s super-rich can play in real streets without their security guards, I think they like that.

    Talking about birding, I’ve never heard the nightingale sing in Berkeley Square, the bird that stands in that place is a rather sinister-looking eagle on the front of the US Embassy.

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