2:00PM Water Cooler 4/15/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Tax Day. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes. So how’s that working out for us?


CETA: “Romania will veto the EU-Canada trade deal” [Euractive] and “Belgium’s Wallonia Vetoes EU-Canada Free Trade Deal” [Sputnik]. So, you see these bills can be defeated. Let’s hope this is a harbinger.

CETA: “CETA, TTIP and ISDS: Lessons from Canada” [Euractiv]. Video (please share):



“It’s not just that the business model of Wall Street is fraud, as Senator Sanders is prone to say, it’s that fraud is now incentivized openly on Wall Street by the Board of Directors of the country’s largest banks” [Wall Street on Parade]. “No caring American or engaged citizen should view this election casually.”

“According to former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers — who is emerging as a key economic advisor to Hillary Clinton — the big political challenge in addressing economic inequality is not to embrace “a politics of envy'” [Richard Kirsch, HuffPo]. Larry Summers. Help me. (For the record, I’m not envious of Summers: I’d hate to be a sexist blowhard who lost two billion for Harvard’s endowment. How would I sleep at night, let alone face my peers? And I’m not envious of squillionaires, either. I just want some basic level of dignity. Why is that so hard for to understand?)

“‘It’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity,” [Clinton said in a 2011 speech” [David Sirota, International Business Times].

“Clinton, they say, does not see the Libya intervention as a failure, but as a work in progress” [Foreign Policy]. Does that mean Libya is a business oppportunity now?

The Voters

Washington Square rally: “[T]he core of Sanders’s message is exactly the same as it was last April, when he announced that he was running: that the American political and economic systems are hopelessly broken, that it will take a ‘political revolution’ to make things right, and that this redemptive outcome is achievable. ‘Despite what others may tell you, yes, we can change the status quo,’ Sanders declared” [The New Yorker].

“Sanders’s big and rambunctious rally in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park on Wednesday night underscored how disenchanted many of his supporters and surrogates are with Clinton and what her campaign represents to them. Before Sanders took the stage, speaker after speaker described it as the epitome of establishment politics, small-bore ambitions and ties to the moneyed forces of the Democratic Party” [WaPo]. The article is about the debate, but I think this is the key point: A split between liberals (Clinton) and the left (Sanders) — with all the demographic changes Democrats have been counting on to revivify their party with the left. I’m not unaware of the “sheepdog” critique of the Sanders candidacy, but in the same way that the dogs won’t eat the dogfood, the sheep might not follow the sheepdog. The future lies ahead!

Sanders stump speech: “And as he does in every stump speech now, he followed that with an invocation of the civil-rights movement, ‘when brave people stood up together and decided to fight back against hundreds of years of racism.’ Then he moved on to ‘the feminist movement, when millions of women stood up together,’ adding, as he always does, ‘and I know every man in this room is going to stand with the women in their fight for pay equity.’ Then, when the cheers died down, he reminded the crowd of the victories achieved by ‘the gay rights movement, who stood up, with their straight allies, to demand the right for people to love one another regardless of gender.’ [The Nation]. “On paper this may sound like mere genuflection, or virtue-signaling. But in the room it felt more like a revival—of a peculiarly, determinedly secular kind perhaps, but with the same mobilizing effect on its audience as any tent meeting. It made visible their own power—in this case the power to change, not themselves but society.” And speaking of revival: The Great Awakening began in upstate New York.

“A growing plurality of democratic voters wants a true progressive agenda. If Clinton and party insiders ignore this reality, such voters will begin to look elsewhere. They will not view themselves as having left the Party. The Party will have left them” [Salon].

“We Asked 4 Prominent Bernie Supporters if They’d Vote for Hillary in November. Here’s What They Told Us” [The Nation]. Doug Henwood, Rania Khalek, Kathleen Geier and Joshua Holland.

Democratic Debate

Readers, I really couldn’t find coverage of the Democratic debates I was happy with; in fact, the open thread right here was perhaps the best thing out there (though Kos wasn’t that bad). What matters, of course, is what voters think of the debates; and we have no data on that point, and probably will not, given that election day is just five days off. Politically wired people may say that “Sanders can’t land a punch,” or “Hillary cleaned his clock” (I’ve seen both) but humans are mysterious. I’d love to know what the internal polling shows; neither campaign is crowing about victory. One thing is clear: Sanders will take big risks for policies he believes in, as he showed in his discussion of Israel. Clinton takes a different sort of risk: By adopting Sanders’ position on the $15 minimum wage — I mean, ZOMG; the parsing! — she’s risking that people won’t check the record. Checking the record was hard in 1992. Today, there’s Google. And Internet memes.

“The Democratic Debate: A Surprising Exchange on Israel” [The New Yorker].

On Wall Street and corruption [The Hill].

Sanders pointed to six-figure speeches Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs in 2013 and political donations from Wall Street to argue she can’t be trusted to crack down on banks. Clinton claimed she’s been calling out “the bad behaviors of Wall Street” since the time she represented much of the sector as a senator from New York.

“Secretary Clinton called them out,” countered Sanders. “Oh my gosh, they must have been really crushed by this. Was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements?”

I’ve gotta say, that looks like a hard punch to me…

Some numbers:

“Vote Now: Who Won the Ninth Democratic Debate?” [Times]. Of course, Internet polls…

McClatchy, Salon, Politico, Guardian, CBS, CNN, Gawker. See if you can find any gems in here…


“The new Gilded Age: Close to half of all super PAC money comes from 50 donors” [WaPo]. Judging by both action and ideology, this is a condition that the Democratic Establishment would prefer to continue.

“Democratic donors see Republican donors giving huge, seven-figure checks to causes and efforts on the Republican side of the aisle, and our donors don’t want to be silenced,” said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of the House Majority PAC, a Democratic group that has raised $10 million.

“Silenced.” Notice that Democrats accept that money is speech, and people with more money should have more speech? Idea: Democratic donors give their candidate of choice $27, and STFU.

“Verizon paid Hillary $225,000 for speech and poured money into Clinton Foundation. Executives give to her campaign” [Salon]. “Moreover, the Clinton Foundation has partnered directly with Verizon, which is notorious for its vehement opposition to unions. The corporation is a partner in the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, and said it is ‘proud to partner with the Clinton Foundation.'”

The Trail

Jeff Weaver: “‘I think that their campaign never believed that they would be in the position they’re in right now, having to contest New York. I mean, they clearly thought that they would have everything wrapped up by now. They clearly said it: ‘We’re going to have it wrapped up by February, we’re going to have it wrapped up by March,'” Weaver said. “And it’s not wrapped up, and I think they’re very, very frustrated about it'” [Yahoo News]. And they keep trying to release the kraken. But the kraken won’t release.

“Bernie Sanders Brings His Family on Trip to Vatican” [ABC].

“How has the ‘system’ been working out for you and your family?” [Donald Trump, Wall Street Journal, “Let Me Ask America a Question”]. That’s a good question.

“Trump’s Odds of Winning Way Better than Nate Silver Believes” [MishTalk]. Battle of the polling titans!

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, March 2016: “Regional reports have been signaling emerging strength for the factory sector which helps ease the sting from a second straight 0.6 percent contraction for industrial production, the latest report for March” [Econoday]. “The manufacturing component, pulled down by a 1.6 percent decline in vehicle production, fell 0.3 percent following, after a downward revision, a 0.1 percent decline in February. Weakness in vehicle production is no surprise given declines underway in vehicle sales.” And: “The headlines say seasonally adjusted Industrial Production (IP) declined. The year-over-year data remains in contraction. It is hard to see a bright spot in this data” [Econintersect]. And: “Serious setback, worse than expected and last month revised down as well. Look for more Q1 GDP reductions [Mosler Economics].

Empire State Mfg Survey, April 2016: “After a deeply negative run from August to February, the Empire State report is showing real life. Today’s index, which is the first factory indication on April, rose sharply to a higher-than-expected 9.56 level that is in solid expansion ground” [Econoday]. And: “As this index is very noisy, it is hard to understand what these massive moves up or down mean – however this regional manufacturing survey is normally one of the more pessimistic” [Econintersect].

Consumer Sentiment, April(p) 2016: ” A week of mostly weak economic data ends on a drop for consumer sentiment, to a much lower-than-expected 89.7 for the flash April reading vs 91.0 for final March” [Econoday]. “Weakness is centered in the expectations component.” And: “The general trend in the Michigan Sentiment Index since the Financial Crisis lows has been one of slow improvement.The survey findings since December 2015 have seen a gradual decline with January 2015 remaining the interim peak” [Econintersect].

Jobless Claims (from yesterday): “Lowest leve of new jobless claims ever on a per capita basis. Yet U6 unemployment remains near the highs of the prior recession. Leads me to suspect the reason for the low claims is they’ve become a lot harder to get, shutting off an automatic fiscal stabilizer” [Mosler Economics].

“OPEC Report Suggests Massive Oil Price Rebound” [OilPrice.com].

China: “The National Bureau of Statistics said in a press conference in Beijing on Friday that while main economic indicators showed positive changes, ‘downward pressure cannot be underestimated'” [Futures]. “It did not distribute quarterly GDP figures as it has in the past, saying it needed more time to calculate the figure.”

“Here is the thing about Uber and Lyft (and much of the ‘sharing economy’)'” [Ian Welsh (Furzy Mouse)]. “They don’t pay the cost of their capital.” The bezzle works, until it doesn’t. It works a lot better with J-Yel’s free money sloshing about.

“Moreover, among those who do plan to bid [on Yahoo], there has been widespread dissatisfaction with the auction process. ‘It’s been a f–king joke,’ says one senior private equity executive whose firm expects to make an offer” [Fortune]. “For starters, most financial bidders were required to listen to a lengthy prerecorded management presentation before Yahoo management would answer questions over the phone.” I confess to some schadenfreude when I think of the PE guys having to go through this…

“A series of broken transactions and stock-market volatility have shaken the confidence of some in the boardroom to tackle their next big acquisition” [Dealb%k, New York Times]. “The value of abandoned deals has been higher than that of newly signed deals in the United States so far this year.” Shrinking the tapeworm…

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72, Greed (previous close: 71, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 68 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 15 at 11:32am. Boring week!

Our Famously Free Press

“Five Things I Won’t Miss at The Times — and Seven I Will” [Margaret Sullivan, New York Times]. Sullivan’s going to be WaPo’s media columnist. Well, I suppose Howard Kurtz’s thimble-sized shoes will be hard to fill, if you’ve got human feet.


“[R]esearchers at the [UVa] School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist” [UVAToday]. “‘I really did not believe there were structures in the body that we were not aware of. I thought the body was mapped,’ said Jonathan Kipnis, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and director of the University’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia. How these vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own.”

The Jackpot

“The insurance industry is a key actor in forging new instruments to anticipate and manage climate risks, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging the industry to continue to work with the United Nations to manage and reduce such risks and ultimately ensure a more sustainable world for all” [UN News Centre].

Guillotine Watch

Now you can get an affordable version of Jeff Koons’ iconic balloon dog for a mere $8K [Bloomberg].

Class Warfare

“[M]erely being black in America triggers exposure to stressors linked to premature biological aging. Research indicates that blacks get sick at younger ages, have more severe illnesses and are aging, biologically, more rapidly than whites. Scientists call this the ‘weathering effect,’ or the result of cumulative stress” [US News]. Filing this under class because the “weathering effect” sounds like it has broad application.

Same games being played on both sides of the Atlantic:

The Post Office, the public schools…

“County officials across Mississippi are warning of job losses and deep deficits as local jails are being deprived of the state inmates needed to keep them afloat. The culprit, say local officials, is state government and private prisons, which are looking to boost their own revenue as sentencing and drug-policy reforms are sending fewer bodies into the correctional system” [HuffPo]. Law enforcement for profit works just as well in Mississippi as it does in Ferguson, Missouri, and everywhere else.

“Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one” [Guardian].

News of the Wired

“Short URLs produced by bit.ly, goo.gl, and similar services are so short that they can be scanned by brute force. Our scan discovered a large number of Microsoft OneDrive accounts with private documents. Many of these accounts are unlocked and allow anyone to inject malware that will be automatically downloaded to users’ devices. We also discovered many driving directions that reveal sensitive information for identifiable individuals, including their visits to specialized medical facilities, prisons, and adult establishments” [Freedom to Tinker].

“Let’s All Talk About The Stuff That UC Davis Spent $175k Trying To Keep Off These Internets” [Techdirt]. Remember the pepper spray cop?

“The caffeine curse: why coffee shops have always signalled urban change” [Guardian].

* * *

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 (Mrs. Mop):


Mrs. Mop writes: “It’s springtime in Cuba, too. Here’s a pic from the feral gardens of the village Regla, across the harbour of La Habana, taken on a hot April day at 32 degree Celsius which is something like spring temperatures in Cuba. Greedy banana plants all over the place. So lovely.”

* * *

Readers, Water Cooler will not exist without your regular support. Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. If you enjoy what you’re reading, please click the hat!


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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. Mav

    “a politics of envy”, “Free stuff”,

    The right wing called Hillary. They want their talking points back.

    1. LifelongLib

      Envy is when you have a yacht and I’m upset because I don’t. When you have 3 yachts and I can’t afford to go to the doctor, that’s something else.

      1. Chromex

        Agreed.. and even more to the point, when it can be demonstrated that you set the rules of the game so you can have three yachts and I can’t see a doctor and then call me envious when I object, the emotion that stirs in me is mislabled if it is called “envious”. And the subtext of Summers label? If you rock the boat for any reason , you are “envious”.
        If Larry Summers,who has been wrong and a catastrophic failure nearly everywhere he went is now being floated by the Clinton campaign we know what we can look forward to. Tom Hayden, call your office. Third party or abstention is better.

      2. hemeantwell

        Whatever did happen to the notion of exploitation? To not have it in our critical repertoire is a huge concession to the neoclassical ideological supports of neoliberalism. Arguing in favor of a good life for all has some swat, I grant you, but it does start to sound like all we have to argue from is the principle of charity/”humanity” and then use it to accuse the vampires and parasites of not being humane. I’m not saying we need to resurrect the labor theory of value, but do we have to concede the process of resource distribution as determined by the market to the bastards? Are we all Fabians now? If a skilled worker is paid 2 dollars an hour for assembling valuable motors for a highly profitable company, is the resulting inequality the only admissible grievance?

        1. clinical wasteman

          Nail hit on head and driven straight through wall. That charity/humanity/inequality horizon is what makes the European left a laughingstock.

          Only thing to be added: no need to ‘revive’ the labour theory of value because it’s still practised everywhere under the name ‘competitiveness’.
          What we need to do is abolish the practice.

    2. RP

      Open question to Yves, Lambert, commentariat: Why does NC link to ZeroHedge when they post things like this?

      Exposing The False Promises Of The Socialist “Poison That Bernie Is Peddling”

      Many of the commenters have taken it to task in their own special ZH way, but the only thing I get out of that site is a sense of surprise that there evidently is such a thing as a high-information Trump voter.

      1. Yves Smith

        What nonsense are you talking about? There’s no link to ZH Lambert’s post, and I challenge you to find any links from NC to ZH from posts after the very earliest months of that site. We don’t link to ZH because even though it has some very good finance stories, it is also so wrong so much of the time that I don’t want to give the impression that it is reliable.

    3. perpetualWAR

      Clinton’s financial advisor is Larry Summers.
      Bernie’s financial advisor is Bill Black.
      Therein lies the entire story.

  2. HotFlash

    CETA: “Romania will veto the EU-Canada trade deal” [Euractive] and “Belgium’s Wallonia Vetoes EU-Canada Free Trade Deal” [Sputnik]. So, you see these bills can be defeated. Let’s hope this is a harbinger.

    Romania, Belgium, I am so grateful. Where do I send my thank offerings?

  3. UnorthodoxMarxist

    I’m a NYer (though a Green and not a Dem) but watched the debate last night with some interest. My interest was in how hard Sanders would hit Clinton, and on his debating style in general. Overall. I thought he refused at many points to go for the jugular. This is probably due to the inherent structural limitations of being a Democratic candidate, but imagine if Bernie had:

    – openly repudiated the history of US militarism and called Hillary complicit in the murder of Berta Carceras and the overthrow of Honduras’ democratically elected president
    – Said far more forcefully she was a liar on the minimum wage and that her membership on the board of Wal-Mart should disqualify her from speaking about the American working class

    And so on in that vein. I realize that doing so would require him to break with the sacred cows of ruling class politics in the United States, but there are killer blows that could be landed on Clinton. Bernie just didn’t convince me he was able to do it with that performance

    1. Bas

      That regime-change strategy the U.S. has employed for so long is a huge can of worms to open that can’t really be covered in a short answer forum. And I don’t think a lot of people would understand that whole Walmart thing yet, that it’s so dirty for her to be on the board. He does say things in speeches and on his site so people can look into them more fully. There’s really SO much that’s wrong on every subject with Hillary that my mind is boggled. I think Bernie does well, considering.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I can’t imagine New York’s Haitians are very happy about the Clinton Foundation’s role there, either. “All politics is local,” except that some localities are unexpectedly adjacent.

      1. hreik

        What’s easy to understand is trade (Arms) deals w countries that give your “foundation” $10,000,000.00.

        1. Bas

          like it or not, this is Bernie’s campaign decision


          What we have chosen to do is run an issue-oriented campaign as to why for 30 years the middle class of this country has been disappearing, why we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, why we are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee paid family and medical leave, why health care to all our people. Those are the issues that we have been focusing on.

          1. dots

            It’s one of the things I appreciate the most about Mr. Sanders’ campaign. He isn’t a “win-at-any-cost” politician. Because of that and his ferocity staying on-message, he’s managed to raise awareness of wealth inequality (read as Class Consciousness) in the US to a degree I hadn’t thought possible eight years ago. By now, you’d basically have to be as obstinate as a climate-change denier not to know where he stands on most issues.

            Bernie’s a refreshing change. Kinda like eating a mango!

    2. TK421

      Let’s face it: Hillary is so full of it, and spews so much untruth and BS, there’s no way to counter all of it.

    3. different clue

      That’s what surrogates are for. And after the surrogates have said their worst on all these points,
      Sanders can express regret for Clinton being offended.

  4. allan

    March temperature smashes 100-year global record

    The global temperature in March has shattered a century-long record and by the greatest margin yet seen for any month.

    February was far above the long-term average globally, driven largely by climate change, and was described by scientists as a “shocker” and signalling “a kind of climate emergency”. But data released by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) shows that March was even hotter.

    Compared to the 20th-century average, March was 1.07C hotter across the globe, according to the JMA figures, while February was 1.04C higher. The JMA measurements go back to 1891 and show that every one of the last 11 months has been the hottest ever recorded for that month.

    It’s almost as if there’s a pattern or something.

    1. Robert Dudek

      Massive heatwave in India over the last few weeks – expected to last until the monsoon rains come in June.

      1. Pavel

        Here in SG on biz and Wednesday was hottest day in Singapore in ages at 36C+ Scary times indeed.

    2. dots

      A benefit from implementing some form of Carbon Tax or Carbon Trading scheme is that it would shift attention back to thinking about the Energy Costs of enterprise, development, production and trade.

      How much does our current global trade paradigm magnify our CO2 emissions?

      What is the true (energy consumption) cost of manufacturing a pair of Nikes in Indonesia and transporting/distributing them across the globe to consumers for corporate profits?

      Do we have an accurate index of the cost of “global free trade” paradigms compared with domestic production of items?

      Thinking of Bangladesh as a prime example. It’s the second largest exporter of clothing with some of the most unsafe working conditions in the world. Bangladesh is ranked extremely-vulnerable to Climate Change, being both inadequately prepared and at increased-risk for extreme weather events. This isn’t just a case of appealing to consumer/business altruism, but of getting us all divested from CO2 intensive paradigms.

  5. ScottW

    There is a lot of criticism of Sanders failing to state exactly how Clinton’s special interest funding influenced specific policy decisions she made. The prime example cited is what Sen. Warren told Bill Moyers concerning Hillary’s flip-flop on the bankruptcy bill.

    But since when has anyone had to give specific examples of undue influence when criticizing lobbyist and special interest money buying off politicians? The phrases, “bought and paid for,” “pay to play,” etc., have been around for decades. No one, other than the Supreme Court in Citizens United, seriously believes that money paid to politicians does not influence policy in favor of those donors. I bet if you asked people whether special interest money buys undue influence in D.C., 95% or more would agree–on both sides of the aisle–including the lobbyists.

    I don’t think Sanders linking specific policy decisions to Hillary taking huge speaking fees, foundation and campaign donations from special interests is going to convince any of her supporters to vote for Bernie. Hillary supporters have a gut feeling she is not corrupted by money, or is no worse than any of the really evil politicians, so they overlook the issue. And we know what happens to people who hold a particular viewpoint when they are presented with facts contradicting that viewpoint–they become even firmer in their position.

    I think the tactic Sanders employed–sarcasm–is best. If anyone told you a politician could personally receive hundreds of millions from special interests and not be influenced by that money, you would just laugh. Then you would make sure you never voted for that candidate.

    In the end, if you don’t get it, it means you don’t want to get it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There’s also the problem that “give me an example” demands one prove a negative.

      A and B go into a black box.

      A is holding a large bag of money.

      A and B come out the black box.

      B is holding a large bag of money.

      Time passes.

      B does nothing (including not “changing my vote” and so forth).

      That’s why two parties going into the black box with a bag of money has to be a baseline for what you don’t do, because there’s no way to prove what hasn’t been done.

      And if you start making a list of “what hasn’t been done,” it’s a very long list.

      It’s amazing, jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring really, to watch Clinton supporters affirm the very principle of the majority opinion in Citizens United — that only a proven quid pro quo is corruption — in order to save the Clinton candidacy. When you come down to it, liberals (as opposed to the left) now favor oligarchy. There’s simply no other way to categorize the [d]evolution in their thinking. The implication would be that Sanders and Clinton really are not on the same side, as the Clinton campaign avers. They do not have the same goals.

  6. Kokuanani

    local [MS] jails are being deprived of the state inmates needed to keep them afloat.

    Could some “inmates” be produced in Manhattan and shipped to Mississippi to save their prisons?

    1. ambrit

      Hmmm… A Neo Fugitive Worker (Slave) Act? It’s been done before.
      Now someone better get cracking on a challenge to the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

  7. Johnk

    I wish Bernie had asked, ‘how would your policies differ from those of bush2?’

    The truthful answer would be, she loved his policies and wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe more.

    Let’s give Obama some credit here… Granted he continued all of bush policies, but did agree Libya was a mistake.

    1. optimader

      Another For the Record correction from my perspective, correct me if I have it wrong.

      Obama apologized for was “the lack of planning for the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster “

      He did not say Libya was a mistake perse, just that a lack of planning for the “aftermath” was untidy –to use a term coined by Von Rumsfeld.

      As well he refers to the arms length assassination of a Head of State as an “ouster“.

      So no, negative credit fro BHO.
      The guy remains a overly nuanced douchebag. And I’m not talking about the French luggage brand.

      And MSM doesn’t call him on it, just like they let GWB slide off into the sunset with his errata page -next to obituaries and things for sale- fake apology for the Iraq debacle being “too costly to the American people”

      1. Jim Haygood

        He refers to the arms length assassination of a Head of State as an “ouster“.


        Mayor Robert Maestri of New Orleans hosted President Frank Roosevelt at dinner once, and didn’t say a word till the end of the evening when he asked FDR, “How’d you like them ersters?”

        Today 0bama could be asked, “How’d you like them ousters?”

    2. Jason

      Obama didn’t just continue Bush policies. Bush at least had the common decency to treat domestic spying, drone strikes, and torture as things to be ashamed of and kept hidden, even while he did them. It took Obama to openly embrace them and make them respectable.

      1. RUKidding

        No kidding. And now I witness/hear D-voters going along with Saint Obama and making excuses for these practices, when they used to get angry at W for similar stuff.

        Beyond annoying. Tribalism at its worst.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It seems he is an unanimous saint.

          No one on the D side is willing to call him even just ‘weak.’

          1. nippersdad

            Deja vous all over again: We spent years deploring what Clinton was doing even as we defended him from all comers; blatantly tribalist responses. Then we had the 2000 election, with Ralph Nader saying all of the things that we had been wanting to for years. O hasn’t even gotten the kind of support that Clinton did.

            If history is any guide, O’s reputation will not outlast him. This may be wishful thinking, but it may not even outlast his Presidency this time at the rate we are going. He is moving fast to blunt his record, but no one can move fast enough to erase a lot of the things he has done.

        2. tongorad

          Recently, the orgasmic devotion coming from Obots on my facebook feed is astonishing. Apparently Obama is source of pride and admiration. And they have the gall to regard the right wing as stupid.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If good people say nothing, ask nothing, evil triumphs.

      By that logic, if he didn’t ask the question, he was as good as participating in it.

      So, maybe that logic is wrong, or the quote is not quite correct.

        1. sd

          The sole purpose of Cheney’s energy meetings. Which is why he fought so hard to keep them secret.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Today, while entering the latest dismal capacity utilization of 74.8% into a spreadsheet, I noticed that previous months were revised downward quite drastically — a fact not mentioned by FRED or Econoday.

    What’s up with that? The Fed explains:

    Release date: April 1, 2016

    The Federal Reserve has revised its index of industrial production (IP) and the related measures of capacity and capacity utilization. The revision affected rates of change for IP from 1972 forward.

    Total IP is now reported to have increased about 2 1/2 percent per year, on average, from 2011 through 2014 before falling 1 1/2 percent in 2015. Relative to earlier reports, the current rates of change are lower, especially for 2014 and 2015.

    In the fourth quarter of 2015, capacity utilization for total industry was 75.8 percent, a rate 4.2 percentage points below its long-run average of 80.0 percent and equal to its value in the second quarter of 2011 (table 6 and table 8). Compared with earlier estimates, capacity utilization for total industry is now reported to have been higher in 2012 and 2013 but lower in 2014 and especially in 2015.


    Messing with statistics back to 1972 does not give me a warm, cozy feeling. Neither do the recent large downward revisions in capacity utilization, whose 74.8% reading matches that of Sep. 2001, when the attack-traumatized economy was in deep recession.

    Even with the new lower cap ute series, my model does not indicate recession. But it would be a dereliction of duty for the Fed to hike rates on an economy with weak and falling capacity utilization, slowing retail sales (a bad data point from earlier this week), and CPI running at a meager 0.9%.

    Bond king Jeffrey Gundlach’s thesis of “one and done” on the Yellenites’ rate hikes is looking better and better. This economy is treading water.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The economy has seemed weak for months, based on my personal experience.

      That doesn’t stop companies from trying to raise prices.

      I hope my monthly health insurance premium goes up less than double digit percentage points in 12 months.

    2. John k

      500 earnings down 11%.
      R2k earnings negative.
      My model says recession probably began in March.

  9. subgenius

    UVAToday brain/immune system connection:

    “Now we can approach this mechanistically”

    After all this time, the false meme of the mechanistic nature of biosystems is STILL making the rounds….

      1. Lambert Strether Post author


        Mechanization -> Monetization.

        One thinks at once of more sophisticated Emoticons, and what a lot of data about them might be used for. Eddie Bernays, eat your heart out.

    1. Synoia

      the false meme of the mechanistic nature of biosystems

      Not sure what you mean by this. The physics (engineering) of things is well known. Are you referring to something else? Cause & Effect?

      Put too much pressure inside a blood vessel, and it bursts. That’s mechanistic and not controversial.

      1. subgenius

        The point is that biosystems are radically interconnected in complex ways and often there are multiple systems interacting to produce a recognised result, and often a single ‘process’ actually has multiple effects locally and systemically…it is not a simplistic arrangement (eg an engine, a computer), but one that evolved, with many interrelating aspects – many of which are subtle. There are layers of interacting phenomena that all influence each other in complex (often surprising) ways, and defaulting to the mechanistic paradigm tends to mean a lot is overlooked.

      2. Gaianne

        Complicated systems with many, interacting, forms of feedback.

        Not simple systems that are linear or only a single mode of feed back.

        THAT’S what it means.

        Biologists think that biology is a science. Part of it is. But part of it never will be.


  10. Jim Haygood

    “You are posting too quickly. Slow down.”

    New message from the spam filter, after a disappeared post is attempted again.

    Had I been a real bot, I wouldn’t have read it anyway. ;-)

    The post was about a shocking revision in industrial production and capacity utilization figures, going all the way back to 1972. Guess which direction?

  11. Savonarola

    Larry Summers? Is there any better spokesperson for all that is broken in this evil and dehumanizing society than that oleaginous, stupid windbag? I am not even sure that HRC is the lesser evil at this point if she comes trailing the usual smiling horrors in her wake like a parade of vampires.

    1. Jason

      I loathe Trump and his campaign with passion, but every time I watch Hillary speak, hear the ideas she supports, and glance at who actively wants her to be president, the idea of voting for her becomes even more nausea-inducing.

      I have zero belief that Trump will actually fix anything, but perhaps it is better to watch the country die from some snake-oil salesman’s toxic nostrum than it is to endure the long and drawn-out death of body and soul that Clinton so eagerly heralds.

      I’d been personally resolved to vote for anyone over Trump, but watching the debate made me question that commitment.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I’ve voted LOTE plenty of times, but no HRC or Trump for me this time. Or Cruz, god forbid.

      2. jgordon

        It’s funny how I still run into (usually rich upper middle class) Democrats using the lesser of two evils argument when Hillary is now demonstrably the greater evil.

        These people are so clueless that I don’t think it even matters what policies a candidate supports. They’ll vote for Hillary because there’s a D next to her name and D is better than R. It just is! Sign me up for Trump too if Hillary is the nominee. Actually after finding out that Summers is now advising Hillary I might even start sending money to Trump and showing up at his rallies.

      3. TK421

        Hillary has helped destroy how many countries? Iraq, Libya, Honduras off the top of my head. Trump has zero in his column. As President he could shatter three countries and that would merely pull him even with Hillary.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You think Chelsea is more talented than Hillary?

          It’s not related, but that question just came to me.

      4. Christopher Fay

        Hillary has the chops to accelerate the nation collapse she’s profiting from. Putin has already asked how crazy Hillary, Victoria Nutland, and the rest of the neocons are, and he has said the damage from the next war will not stay in Russia. The rational one has a nuke missile that can hit the States in 17 minutes. I figure a couple of stupid moves from Hillary and Boston is toast.

    2. RUKidding

      Larry Summers, you say? Yeah: ick.

      But what sealed the deal for me was her positively crowing about her endorsement from known War Criminal Henry Kissinger.

      I mean, seriously! No way in hell will I vote for this person. No way.

      I will vote for Sanders in the primary. If Sanders doesn’t make it, I’ll vote for Jill Stein. I can only pinch my nose closed to a certain level, and Clinton’s stench simply invades my pinched closed nose. Nu-uh.

        1. RP

          Kissinger walking free is one of our society’s great shames.

          In a just world we’d learn about him as a cautionary tale in history class, accompanied by a photo of him hanging from a lamppost.

  12. Nick

    Is it just me or is there essentially zero media coverage of Bernie’s vatican speech?

    I suppose that was to be expected to a certain degree, I just didn’t think it would be this dead…

    Without a catchy photo-op with the holy pops that gets some coverage, it would actually seem as though this trip were a bit of a waste of time when he could have been campaigning in NY.

    He could have used the “Look everybody, I’m here in Workersville in upstate NY campaigning, while HRC is in Hollywoodland schmoozing with Clooney Tunes” argument to win over a few more voters.

    1. Yves Smith

      Huh? I don’t even have a Bernie campaign e-mail on the speech. This isn’t big headline or market-moving news, so it won’t get fast tracked through the edit process. The story would be on “evening for next AM” production cycle. You need to wait until tomorrow AM to reach any conclusions.

    2. nippersdad

      His trip is huge on the FB Bernie pages; he is being received like a rock star there. I never thought I would see the day that there would be an American political rally (signs and all) on the steps of the Vatican!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Seems like Facebook (FB) is unavoidable.

        I hope he is not riding share-economy taxi.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With Pope’s endorsement, the New York vote will be declared void.

          I hope he remains silent.

          “American’s state, my church. I don’t want to lose our tax exempt status.”

  13. Bas

    “‘I really did not believe there were structures in the body that we were not aware of. I thought the body was mapped,’ said Jonathan Kipnis, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and director of the University’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia. How these vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own.”

    Someday they will find out how centuries-old healing therapies work. I am not waiting, the fact that they work for me is enough.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hopefully he stays humble like that forever.

      Life is full of mysteries.

      Here, life is as in ‘there is life on planet Earth,’ and not life as in ‘he lives a dull life.’

    2. Lee

      Just so long as it does not involve the use of rhino horn, tiger penis, bear gall bladder or body parts of other endangered species, by all means, go for it.

      1. Bas

        Yes, I use Homeopathy [ducks] herbs and acupuncture, none of which are hunting down and killing endangered species. thanks for mentioning that problem

  14. Synoia

    The insurance industry is a key actor in forging new instruments to anticipate and manage climate risks…

    The Insurance Industry is already denying claim if the determine the case is Climate Change, because climate change is a man made, and not an insurable “pure risk”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s good they are not denying climate change is man-made.

      But they do have an ulterior motive.

      1. LifelongLib

        Tracking what the insurance industry does is a good way of finding out what TPTB really think, as opposed to what they say they think.

  15. EmilianoZ

    “Bernie Sanders Brings His Family on Trip to Vatican”

    From the article:
    The trip was organized and paid for by Sanders’ campaign.

    So, his family is having a nice free vacation at the expense of small donors many of whom can barely afford to donate. Nice! Now you know your money was not wasted. You’ve made one family happy.

    1. hunkerdown

      At least he doesn’t mind the rest of us having one, like Hillary and her neoliberal brigade.

      Why do you hate pleasure so much? Are you American?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Americans (99%) have no pleasure, don’t know what it is.

        We like our politicians to be more like us.

        1. Optimader

          I am am always a little shocked , then pleasurably relieved when I wake up. Double down on that with my first cup of coffee. Then….oh we wont go there…

    2. Gareth

      Since his campaign staff as well as the press corp were on the chartered flight it would seem rather petty to complain about his family going along. Fly over, give a speech, fly back — not much of a “vacation”. It isn’t like they are spending time on the riviera and hitting the casinos.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He paid for the press corp and they are not covering the event?

        Or is it their evil editors who are doing the censoring?

    3. Beniamino

      Jane Sanders should have stayed behind to finally retrieve / publish their tax returns. Maybe then we could “dispense with this fiction” (RIP Rubio) peddled by the MSM that there is some kind of moral equivalence between the Clintons’ and the Sanders’ respective financial dealings.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Take the house along for the vacation.

        Ms. Sanders can have the customs officers at the Italian airport look/search through that house and retrieve the tax returns.

        “Your tax returns could have greatly damaged our country. We must search for them.”

      2. DrBob

        Washington (CNN) — Bernie and Jane Sanders earned nearly $206,000 in 2014 and paid about $28,000 in federal taxes, according to a tax return released by his campaign Friday night.

        The return also shows that the couple earned nearly $46,000 in Social Security benefits. Together, their total unadjusted gross earnings was $205,617.

        The couple also reported $8,350 in gifts, though the seven-page return did not provide further detail.

        The release upholds a pledge Sanders made at the CNN Democratic debate to release his 2014 taxes.


        He makes less than what Hillary does in giving one ‘closed door’ Wall Street speech (transcripts of which she still refuses to release).

    4. Bas

      If you read the comments in the articles, you will see that his small donors are ecstatic that he went and that his whole family went and that they had a part in giving him the opportunity. sourpuss

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are they staying at the Borgia Apartments?

        Lots of nice paintings.

        I could use a nice vacation myself. It has been years.

    5. cwaltz

      How long is his “vacation” again?

      I’m pretty sure the poor guy is going to be there for maybe two to three days. I also expect that during this time what occurs there will be incorporated into his campaign. I’m good with him and Jane taking the cash to go from the campaign.

    6. nippersmom

      As one of those small donors, I assure you I still consider my donations to the Sanders campaign to be money well spent.

    1. B1whois

      Specially when someone pointed out that predictive feature is based on USER’s past history. ..

  16. Carl

    “…in the room it felt more like a revival…”

    I agree with The Nation. I was at the Rochester rally and that’s just how it felt. Yes, we need to be reminded and the many young people there needed to hear it. Not that they or we need much convincing by now.

    From the Burnt-over district,


    1. B1whois

      As a voter in Sacramento California I checked my registration again, and it confirms I am registered. BUT it gives me no information as to party affiliation…

      1. crittermom

        Oh, oh. That makes me nervous……

        Have you called to determine what party the computer says you’re affiliated with, or why that info isn’t given when you checked?

        I wonder if other CA voters have noticed this & followed up?

        Time to nip something in the bud before we have another AZ debacle on our hands?

        With all that has gone wrong regarding voting so far, it seems we citizens must be responsible as those overseeing to make sure things are done right. It’s certainly been proven we can’t rely on those in charge to do so.

  17. ewmayer

    104th anniversary of the Titanic‘s sinking today – I cannot recommend highly enough that readers interested in the history and the fascinating engineering involved in the ship’s construction download the Wikipedia entry RMS_Titanic (wrap that in the usual URL stuff) and spend some time savoring the various sections.

    There was also a PBS (IIRC) documentary on the 100th anniversary which followed the parallel histories of the ship and the iceberg it hit – one of the interesting points made in said doco was that if the captain and crew had been properly briefed on a key aspect of the watertight-compartment design — namely that if collision was unavoidable it was better to do it head-on, which would have caused a much sharper momentary shock but only breached the forward 2 watertight compartments — the ship would in all likelihood have survived. Tough call, though — one’s natural instinct is to try to ‘sidestep’ the danger, and in fact only a few meters more leeway would have meant a grazing collision with little impact shock and survivable damage. Instead what happened was the worst possible thing: the ship had its side slit open along half its length, breaching 5 of the 16 watertight compartments, one more than the maximum possible to still be survivable.

    But, had that particular ship not encountered disaster, such a fate would have inevitably befallen some other ‘unsinkable’ colossus, due to the combination of inadequate maritime regulations (and international harmonization thereof) and human hubris which prevailed. Humanity simply needs to have its collective nose bloodied now and again in order to remedy whatever its prevailing modus of arrogant behavior happens to be. (I’m looking at you, global warming and techno-triumphalism).

    1. Synoia

      if the captain and crew had been properly briefed on a key aspect of the watertight-compartment design — namely that if collision was unavoidable it was better to do it head-on, which would have caused a much sharper momentary shock but only breached the forward 2 watertight compartments

      They would have also need to be briefed on the form of the iceberg.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Not when both he and Hillary – an indeed the whole collection of Clintonite DINOs – all prostrate themselves in worship of the Rubin god.

  18. Plenue

    Sanders was never a sheepdog, and entities like CounterPunch that did nothing but poo-poo him were being completely wrongheaded. Now, he’s fundamentally no radical, and he’s not much of a socialist, no matter how much he claims he is. But it’s a testament to how dire things have gotten in US politics that a guy who is basically an FDR New Dealer (or even an Eisenhower Republican, depending on who you ask), something that half a century ago was a mundane, bog standard mainstream position, is now viewed by the establishment as some crazy fringe type. But the point is that he IS viewed as a threat by that establishment. Clinton and Sanders isn’t a choice between two evils; it’s a choice between evil and ‘eh, could be better’. Sure, there are a lot more progressive people out there you could vote for. But none of them have the remotest chance of winning. And Sanders does (to the surprise of many people, and if nothing else he’s shattered Clinton’s royal inauguration). This isn’t a normal election where the choice genuinely is between two or more neoliberals. Voters can either support the guy who simply by his nature as an old-school throwback represents a sea change, or they can be smug and lament that he isn’t far enough to the left for their liking and vote solely on ideological purity. Would you rather have center-left retro, or well-to-the-right? Because that’s the choice.

    And the idea that huge numbers of Sanders voters will sigh and begrudgingly vote for Clinton if he fails to get the nomination…well, that’s certainly what Clinton hopes for. But I can tell you that I and many other Sanders supporters won’t be giving her our vote. I vote for him or I fail to play the game, it’s that simple. I won’t be any scumbags crutch.

    1. different clue

      Identity-Leftists accusing Sanders of “sheepdog” and “not really truly Left” and etc. were merely showing their spiteful jealous envy at the thought of all those millions of people supporting Sanders instead of supporting the Identity-Leftists like themselves.

    2. Massinissa

      Those folks saying Sanders is being not-far-left-enough reminds me of that Life of Brian skit where the Judaean Peoples Front and the Peoples Front of Judaea hated each other more than the Romans.

      Divide et Impera!

  19. allan

    Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

    Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    Any empty threat wrapped in a PR FAIL inside of an admission of guilt.
    It would be nice if somebody ask HRC about her stand on the bill before the NY primary.

    1. nippersmom

      Yes, it would be interesting to see which of her many evasive maneuvers she would employ to avoid answering the question.

      1. crittermom

        I suspect she was really good at playing the game Twister in younger years. She wraps herself around like a pretzel to avoid subjects she’d prefer to avoid.

    2. Yves Smith

      OMG, the Saudis are about to rescue the PE industry?

      This plan will work out for them all well as their “we’re going to use our oil weapon” did. They think they are the Saudis of the 1970s when that time is long gone.

  20. Darthbobber

    TPM has this up today, to my surprise, given what an echo chamber it has become:

    “I initially assumed that she either didn’t have transcripts or that what she said was the usual milquetoast stuff politicians offer up. But her continued refusal to provide transcripts (which I now assume must exist) suggests that there must be something damning in them.”
    “I also think her refusal to answer straightforwardly questions about social security caps, carbon taxes, Libya and a $15 minimum wage makes her appear scripted at best. Like the Goldman non-answer, these kind of responses sow doubts about trust and credibility.”
    Gettin’ nervy even in the tank.

    1. Yves Smith

      I can’t stand this playing dumb.

      Her standard form contract has been published and it requires her speeches to be transcribed. And she would be the first to say, “There was no record” if there was none.

  21. tony

    Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department

    The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.

    The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

    1. sd

      In all seriousness. Does the Clinton Foundation actually serve a purpose or is it really at its core just a lobbying firm? Most Presidents and their families take on some sort of mission. Ford, and I think of the family’s open support of overcoming addiction. Reagan – stem cell research. Carter – world peace. The Clintons have amassed a fortune and nothing to show for it.

      1. rufus magister

        Cf. the Clintons to Tricky DIck’s post-presidential mission — proving he was not a crook.

  22. rufus magister

    Lambert Strether — could you clarify something? Do you mean to agree with the notion of Sanders as a “sheepdog”? Were this the DNC’s scheme, I can think of any number of hounds in the Wasserman-Schultz kennel more likely to come to heel after gathering the flock.

    1. Yves Smith

      I can speak for Lambert on this. No way is Sanders a sheepdog. Why would so many Hillary surrogates (starting with Paul Krugman) be telling him he should do the right thing and stop campaigning? That’s been the message for the last six weeks.

      1. rufus magister

        Thanks. I’ve been reading y’all for long enough that I didn’t think so.

        Your former poster “jackrabbit” is alleging Lambert agrees with him over at Moon of Alabama. I figured I’d have to have chapter and verse to prove otherwise.

        Keep on keepin’ on!

        1. Yves Smith

          Yes, if you would correct him I would appreciate it. We have regularly, from the outset, argued against the “sheepdog” meme.

          Jackrabbit was banned from NC for being Manichean (which is reductionist but not in and of itself ban-worthy) and over time aggressive and abusive. We also found out he was attacking us on other sites. His misrepresenting Lambert looks to be his way of trying to get revenge, since both Lambert and I have been clear and consistent about our vies on this issue.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      No, I don’t. Sheepdog imputes motive, and the thin evidence for such a motive was equivocal at the start of the campaign (and even less so now). The term “sheepdog” was coined at BAR, and though I’m too lazy to find the links, my impression is that BAR is a lot less grumpy about Sanders now than they were then.

  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re CETA, TTIP and the ISDS (Mandatory Investor-State Dispute Settlement by 3-member corporate-appointed arbitration panels): 100,000 Dutch voters have already signed a petition demanding a referendum on the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment agreement (TTIP). 300,000 names are needed to begin the process for a national vote on the issue. That vote w/b nonbinding, but still…

    Bravo for the Dutch people!!


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