Links 4/3/16

World’s richest banker charged with £3m bribery Metro

From $10 Billion to Worthless in 8 Months: Solar Hype Financial Engineering at Its Finest MishTalk

Hey, Economist! What Did You Make of “The Big Short”? Liberty Street

Q: So the shorters were the heroes and almost everyone else was either dumb or outright fraudulent, right?

A: Well, some make the argument that these shorting activities enabled the market for (synthetic) CDOs to become substantially larger than it otherwise would have…

“Well,” that’s The Big Short’s theme, which you’d think a review of it might mention: The crooks got away with fraud. Second, for “some” in “some make the argument,” the Fed links to Joe Nocera in 2010, instead of Yves Smith in 2007, Bill Black in 2009, or, for that matter, Michael Burry in 2010 (“I Saw the Crisis Coming. Why Didn’t the Fed?”). And each of these authors, even Nocera, uses the word “fraud.” Are the sensibilities of the “economists working at the intersection of research and policy” who write Liberty Street so delicate that they can only use the word “fraud” in a question, but never in an answer?

What are the chances of a recession? Not what you’d think. Barry Ritholtz, WaPo

Unconventional Monetary Policy on Stilts Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate

A $700 Juicer for the Kitchen That Caught Silicon Valley’s Eye NYT. Froth.


Big Banks Aided Firm At Center Of International Bribery Scandal HuffPo. Richard Smith: “Watch out for more big Mossack Fonseca stories next week – not from me, from the ICIJ.”

__________ FT

__________ BBC

Iraq to probe claims of Unaoil corruption against top officials Reuters (picked up by others, like WaPo).

MetLife, Hedge Funds and Scandals Matt Levine, Bloomberg (just a mention; search the page on “Unaoil”).


Shaking Hands with the Hilldebeest LRB. Long read with good color on a Clinton fundraiser from an attendee’s perspective.

Feel the Math Paul Krugman, NYT. Fun stuff. “Sanders doesn’t need to drop out, but he needs to start acting responsibly.” Shorter: Sanders has leverage, but he should never use it. And I love the “need to” formulation, don’t you? Establishment fingerwagging at its finest. Could this column be peak Krugman? Sadly, we will only be sure in retrospect. Who will make the call?

Sanders wins most delegates at Clark County convention Las Vegas Sun and Thousands turn out for Clark County Democratic Convention KTNV

Sanders supporters outnumbered Clinton delegates by around 600 on Saturday, which means they’ll make up a larger percentage of Clark County’s delegates attending the state convention in May, despite Clinton’s February victory in the county.

Looks like an enthusiasm gap. And Sanders has a post-caucus ground game. (Note that the final delegate count will only be determined at the state convention, still to come.)

Did Bernie Sanders Win Nevada? 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know Heavy

Cory Booker stumps in Milwaukee for Hillary Clinton Journal-Sentiel. If only private equity-lovin’ Cory were Hispanic, he’d get Clinton’s VP nod for sure!

State trend of voting for party front-runners could end Tuesday Journal-Sentinel

Clinton and Sanders Squabble Over New York Debate Dates WSJ. “The Sanders campaign balked at the offer of debating on April 4th, the night of the NCAA men’s basketball finals.”

33 state Democratic parties launder $26M from millionaires for Hillary Boing Boing. When Krugman, supra, writes that “Clinton has been raising money for other races; Sanders hasn’t, and is still being evasive on whether he will ever do so. Not acceptable,” he’s demanding that Sanders help Clinton launder money, thereby legitimizing Clinton’s approach to campaign finance, and delegitimizing his own.

How Bernie Can Win (But He’s Not Going To Like It) Politico

Trump Does It His Way Maureen Dowd, NYT

In a revealing interview, Trump predicts a ‘massive recession’ but intends to eliminate the national debt in 8 years WaPo

Ted Cruz And The Wall Street Connection Roger Stone, Daily Caller. Stone seems suddenly ubiquitous, doesn’t he?

American Anger: It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Other Party. NYT

Obama’s plans for nuclear arsenal raise fears of new arms race FT

Andrea Mitchell’s April Fools Joke Corrente


The US could be preparing to send more troops into Syria The Journal

Obama Nixed CIA Plan That Could Have Stopped ISIS: Officials NBC. Shows good sense.

U.S. CentCom History: “2014 – Syrian Terrorist Group ISIS Invades Iraq” Moon of Alabama

EU-Turkey refugee plan could be illegal, says UN official Guardian

3 Surprising reasons Saudi Arabia may be getting out of the Oil Business Juan Cole. Yves: “His acting as if forming a Sovereign Wealth Fund has anything to do with the Saudi’s oil policy is embarrassingly off base.”

ASEAN’s destructive elites Myanmar Times (Furzy Mouse).

Bullets for rice: The massacre of protesting farmers in Kidapawan (video) Kilab Multimedia (Bill McKibben). Drought. And see also.

Class Warfare

Elkhart, Indiana finally sees ‘Obama recovery’ – but many say RVs saved city Guardian

L.A. council OKs law limiting homeless people’s belongings to what can fit in a trash bin LA Times

The End of Welfare as We Know It The Atlantic

This model of wealthy suburban living is starting to fray WaPo

Urban Revival? Not For Most Americans Jed Kolko

STUDY: Nation’s Largest Public Schools Have More Police Than Counselors Color Lines

The Schumpeter hotel: income inequality and social mobility globalinequality

Why Your Water Could Be Worse Than Flint’s In These Times

$2.4 Billion Subway Stop Was Leaking Before It Opened NYT

Highlights From The ‘Day of Action’ That Drew Thousands Of Protesters Around Chicago Chicagoist

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. allan

    “The Sanders campaign balked at the offer of debating on April 4th, the night of the NCAA men’s basketball finals.”

    Enough already with The Onion links. Oh, wait …

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Bernie has countered to have a debate on Boss Tweed’s birthday, but Hellery will be involved in naked neoliberal rituals in the basement of the NYSE.

    2. flora

      Yes. And the 14th and the 15th are the night before and the day of US IRS tax filing deadline. Not that anyone will be busy with doing their taxes the night of the 14th or the day of the 15th. Everyone has already filed their 2015 taxes. right? /s

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Nothing is more closely related to taxes than voting.

        “No taxation without representation.”

        That seems like a timely choice.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @Ernie – If so, a Friday morning is just about as ridiculous as a NCAA night.

      2. John Zelnicker

        @flora – Most years you would be right, but this year the IRS has extended the deadline to Monday, April 18th. I think they wanted to give people an extra weekend to finish up and get their returns in.

        Many people don’t realize it yet, but the IRS for the past 10-15 years has really been trying to make it easier for taxpayers as much as they can within the rules and regulations.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Voters have to take time to educate themselves on issues.

      But just not on NCAA finals night.

      “Don’t under-estimate the cunning of the other side.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Shock troops from both sides.

          “If you play that way, we can play dirty too.”

    4. Pat

      I love that the Clinton campaign can make that suggestion and then have the audacity to claim that the Sanders campaign is playing games by refusing to go along with the Clinton bullshit.

      1. thoughtful person

        It’s standard Rovian propoganda techniques…blame your opponent for what you have already done.

  2. voteforno6

    What are the chances that Robert Rubin knew about Unaoil’s activities? It seems like Citibank and HSBC are the banks of choice for criminals to launder their money.

    1. Ivy

      Don’t we just want to imagine that there are Dorian Gray-like portraits of Rubin et al in some locked room at Citi, or maybe more with others at Goldman, to show all the damage wrought to the world? They could be the Street version of sin eaters. Perhaps there is a screenplay underway for that already.

  3. sure is

    Cory Booker stumps in Milwaukee for Hillary Clinton Journal-Sentiel. If only private equity-lovin’ Cory were Hispanic, he’d get Clinton’s VP nod for sure!

    What if he comes out of the closet between now and the convention?

    In identity politics math, is AA + gay > or < Latino (Latina)?

  4. PlutoniumKun

    I’d love to read something more detailed about SA’s proposed Sovereign Wealth Fund. While one certainly makes sense in principle, I don’t see how funding it by selling Aramco at a time of such weakness makes any sense. Aramco isn’t just the funder of the SA regime – control of it means they have a leverage far outstripping their wealth. If Aramco goes public, then it will have to sell oil at an optimum price, it can no longer use its assets for purely political purposes. I can’t see any logical reason for the SA regime to throw away such a vital tool. And if they try to keep control, I can see investors getting very leery of it. There is also the risk that the Chinese may simply buy it all up, which surely can’t be good news for the regime.

    1. susan the other

      I think I read they are selling their share of Aramco but they are retaining all the underlying oil ownership. They are only selling the depreciable nuts and bolts of Saudi oil. And really it makes sense because the oil itself is not necessarily as stranded as we think. All that oil has a future life in chemicals and other synthetic products. Zillions of products which can be environmentally friendly, certainly recyclable. Which will not (?) cause much CO2 damage. So the Saudis can back their Sovereign Fund with their new investment returns, right? Not with fossil fuels. But still based on oil, their only natural resource.

  5. Llewelyn Moss

    Since you bring up the NV caucuses, I stumbled on this video of where caucus attendees say the Hellery Precinct Captain addressed the caucus and said “the reason to vote for Hillary over Bernie is because Bernie is a Socialist Jew“.

    Hmmm. I’ll have to go back to Hellery’s AIPAC speech transcript and see if this is how she characterized Bernie. Hahaha.

    at 2:00 minute mark

    1. nycTerrierist

      Wow. Thanks for sharing the link. I hope it circulates.

      Stay classy Hellary campaign. Ugh!

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Using the words as a double pejorative, I would have loved to hear his “Tone”. I wish someone had videod the caucus. Too bad they voted to kick the videographer out of the room.

        1. nycTerrierist

          whoops, of course, I should add, I see ‘socialist Jew’ as a plus…

          yes, pathetic they kicked out the videographer. altogether a disgraceful scene.

        1. diptherio

          My personal preference is for a Discordian Anarchist, but I’ll take what I can get ;-)

          1. Brian

            Playing the discordian is outlawed by statute in most states. Strict time limits in others.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Here ya go.

        I usually strip off the http from the link so SkyNet doesn’t rendition my comment.

        And fyi, if you open a new browser tab and paste an internet address into the address bar, it will work regardless of whether http is prepended to the address.

    2. Brindle

      Adam H. Johnson (Alternet) @ adamjohnsonNYC has a nice tweet summarizing Clinton media allies:

      “There are 3 types of Clinton media hacks.
      1) those on payroll
      2) those who want a job at WH or MSNBC propaganda machine
      3) true believers”

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s hard to tell the Democratic Party from the Republican Party.

      Oh, wait, they are the same, and we want to redeem it?

      Does anyone think Sanders running as an Independent will be spoiling it for the D party?

      Is that such a bad, terrible, nasty thing, when the Republicans look to be imploding themselves?

      Besides, most (or more) people only pay attention after October.

  6. ambrit

    I was going to make a “humourous” comment at Krugmans’ expense when I realized that all it would have been was an ‘ad hominem’ attack.
    Then the light bulb went on above my head; snark is boojum, after all.
    No beamish boy I.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author


      “Sanders doesn’t need to drop out, but he needs to start acting responsibly.” Shorter: Sanders has leverage, but he should never use it.

      Critique of corrupt language.

      And I love the “need to” formulation, don’t you? Establishment fingerwagging at its finest.

      Critique of corrupt language.

      Could this column be peak Krugman? Sadly, we will only be sure in retrospect. Who will make the call?

      Media critique.

      Where’s the ad hom? Let’s not mistake tone for content!

  7. Dino Reno

    Andrea Mitchell’s April Fools Joke Corrente

    I hereby renamed the MSM the Propaganda Wall because it’s a more apt description of what is really going on with the news decimated by the corporately controlled press. The PW tells us what we need to know to remain good compliant citizens and rejects stories in order to protect the establishment. Andrea Mitchell, the wife of Alan Greenspan, is the perfect PW star reporter. She is our version of a news hostess on North Korean Television.

    The meeting that the article describes was a total PR stunt since it only dealt with commercially owned sources of radiation and did not even included the Russians. All in all, it concerned itself with less that 1% of the world’s radioactive material and none of its weapons’ grade material. Just enough source material for Andrea to warn us about a dirty terrorist bomb while completely ignoring the rapid expansion of tactical nukes.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Spam file ate my longer post. Shorter version: using new estimated Nevada results, in 2012 blue states Clinton has 622 delegates to Sanders 620 — putting a Sanders lead within reach after Wisconsin.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        It’s starting to feel like the Tide Is Turning on Hellery. A Tsunami wave would be nice.

      2. MikeNY

        Wow, Jim.

        Anecdotal finding: I am at present in upstate NY, where I’m seeing Bernie lawn signs popping up here and there, like daffodils, through the morning snow. Very few for HRC.

        1. nycTerrierist

          So glad to hear. I’ve had my Bernie sign up for a few
          months here in Astoria and have been eager to spot more.
          So far only 2 other Berner signs in the ‘hood.
          But zero signs for anyone else, so there’s that.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Fickle upstaters … have they forgotten Hillary’s July 1999 “listening tour” (in pursuit of a Senate seat) so quickly?

          Maybe they just got offended when Hillary — visiting an upstate 4-H club with a whiff of cow manure in the air — demanded of an aide, “What the f*** did we come here for? There’s no money here.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Clinton has got her South fire wall.

            This is her East gold wall.

            Manhattan shall be defended to the last gold coin.

        3. jrs

          I see a few Bernie signs in California too, none for Hillary, none for any Republican, but I repeat myself. I still say Hillary wins California, but I’m beginning to wonder if that assumption could be wrong.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If she gets desperate, she might, inspired by negative interest rates, propose negative tuition.

            “Not only is college tuition free, the government will pay you money to go.”

            “Try to beat that, Bernie!!!”

            The nice thing (for her) is she doesn’t have to keep that promise, once elected.

            “A mind is a terrible thing to waste. While Sanders gives you free tuition, I, Hillary , give you negative tuition.”

          2. participant-observer-observed

            But there are plenty of Berners doing weekend registrations and rallies…pics seen already on fb from LA downtown, Compton, Fresno, and more. It looks like they’re already pretty fired up (pardon the pun)!

        4. thoughtful person

          Here in Charlottesville VA, there are still many many more Sanders signs, only have seen one for Clinton, and that appeared just recently next to the only Trump sign I’ve seen within city limits. Sanders only won Cville 55 to 45% on election day though – votes counted using handy scanners.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      Video of the NV caucus the moment they announced Bernie won.
      Spoiler alert: The crowd loved it. :-)

      skip to 1:40 mark

      Tip: open new browser tab and paste link into address bar. (Skynet avoidance)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Thank you for your continued efforts to game the comments section, to encourage others to follow your example, and to generally crap up the comments section with misinformation.

        You do understand that were you to be correct in your thinking about URLs, that the algos are dynamic, and at some point they’d catch on to to your latest attempt and flag it, especially if more attempt it? (This logic applies to every single strategy to “get my comment through,” and you can bet spammers are trying all of them, because they are in that business.)

        There is no better strategy than to write your comment, save it somewhere, and post it. See the policies for questions on moderation. We promise 24-hour turnaround. If you want turnaround that’s faster, write a fat check for somebody to do the work.

        Shorter: STFU on this topic. Life’s too short for it.

    3. timbers

      Might not have have known Sanders won Nevada had I not read NC comments. Quite a comment on the state of the media. Scanned Dailykos and Huff (which I no longer read except to get election results), didn’t notice it even under Politics in Huff.

      1. zapster

        Another story we aren’t seeing is the fraud stories, esp. about AZ, and the massive voter de-registration hack across all the upcoming states.

    4. Mav

      So Sanders CAN win a state with a diverse population such as Nevada.. :)

      * watches Clintonista heads explode *

  8. sleepy

    So, Politico is now advising Sanders to move to the middle to capture that important centrist, moderate vote. Must be proof positive that the serious people are taking Sanders seriously.

    1. Pat

      Funnily enough almost everyone I know over 30 are supporting Sanders. Mind except for two we are some of the poorest of that category. The one Hillary supporter just wants a woman. Now the young ones I know are more evenly split, as in about 20% support her.

      And funnily enough, some of the reasons include her supposed foreign policy expertise. We are old enough to recognize that she is NOT remotely into lowering our military presence but is into expanding our military engagements. Oh, and being smart enough to notice she has been on the wrong side of pretty much every decision to engage militarily.

      This piece is as much bull shit advice as Krugman’s complaints about Sanders and his demands that he start funding downscale candidates like Clinton who uses a money laundering scheme to do so.

      1. sleepy

        Yes, on my personal only experience I would agree–many old folks like me supported Sanders in Iowa, but I live in a working class small city which is is slowly dying. Then I read articles in media such as the NYTimes how Sanders folks are “latte sippers”.

        Funny thing–I live on a short block, only 4 houses, but when I went to the caucuses, all four neighbors showed up to caucus for Sanders. One neighbor is a 35 yr old female schoolteacher, and the rest of us are males and females in our 60s. Who knew I lived in a socialist block? lol.

          1. DJG

            Illinois and Iowa are too disorganized to have a bloc. The closest thing that you’d get to a bloc would be zucchini bread, which makes an unfortunate appearance at the end of the summer each year.

            1. Strangely Enough

              Fond memories of grandma’s zucchini bread. You could build a house out of it.

          2. H. Alexander Ivey

            … comrade?

            never thought I’d make such a joke about an American politican! Well, I thought it was funny….

      2. B1whois

        This article brought to my mind the sirens of Ulysses, calling Bernie to crash his vessel on the rocks with seductive promises….

    2. johnngly

      I wouldn’t have a problem if sanders highlighted more of the amendments he’s gotten added to legislation. His bit to get money for Community Health Centers in the ACA legislation was a very nice addition.

      Her list of accomplishments is pretty thin once you subtract points for all the death and destruction she’s worked so hard to achieve

      1. Massinissa

        Oh there is a middle and he knows its there.

        But the funny thing is, by most accounts, he does better in the middle than ‘centrist’ Hillary does, and in some polls, even better than the Repubs (not that they were very centrist to begin with anyway).

  9. ~Burge

    A frequently-submerged part of the Day of Action: We Charge Genocide is still there, assembling at youth prisons and protesting diversion of resources to coercive violence. Again civil society is going over the parties’ heads to the world as the Convention Against Torture treaty body meets starting April 18, and the Committee Against Torture will follow up on selected severe issues in US compliance:

    “12(a): Carry out prompt, impartial and effective investigations wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture and ill-treatment has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction, especially in those cases resulting in death in custody;

    “14(c): Investigate allegations of detainee abuse, including torture and ill-treatment, appropriately prosecute those responsible, and ensure effective redress for victims;

    “17: The State party should ensure that interrogation methods contrary to the provisions of the Convention are not used under any circumstances. The Committee urges the State party to review Appendix M of Army Field Manual No. 2-22.3 in the light of its obligations under the Convention. In particular, the State party should abolish the provision regarding the “physical separation technique” which states that “use of separation must not preclude the detainee getting four hours of continued sleep every 24 hours”. Such provision, applicable over an initial period of 30 days, which may be extended upon due approval, amounts to sleep deprivation — a form of ill-treatment —, and is unrelated to the aim of the “physical separation technique”, which is preventing communication among detainees. The State party should ensure the needs of detainees in terms of sleep time and sleeping accommodation provided for prisoners, are in conformity the requirements of rule 10 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

    “Equally, the State party should abolish sensory deprivation under the “field expedient separation technique”, which is aimed at prolonging the shock of capture, by using goggles or blindfolds and earmuffs on detainees in order to generate the perception of separation. Based on recent scientific findings, sensory deprivation for long durations has a high probability of creating a psychotic-like state in the detainee, which raises concerns of torture and ill-treatment.

    “26(c): Provide effective remedies and rehabilitation to the [Chicago torture] victims;

    “26(d): Provide redress for Chicago Police Department torture survivors by supporting the passage of the ordinance entitled Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors.”

  10. Beans

    The $700 juicer story is interesting. My bet – decent to excellent ROI. His product – charging a premium for fresh, organic, single serve cold pressed juice by selling a Kuerig like juicer and the Green Mountain like pods, is likely to find plenty of buyers. Working to reduce the waste on the individual delivery concept would be a good direction to push Kuerig, et al. Love these kinds of Sunday morning reads. Thanks for the link!

    “Industry insiders say that if anyone can pull it off, it is Mr. Evans. “This is not some guy who looked at a Bloomberg terminal and said, ‘Juice is trending,’” said Colleen Wachob, a former Organic Avenue employee who is now chief brand officer at MindBodyGreen, a lifestyle website. “He’s been into this since before it was cool.”

  11. Jim Haygood

    Like Ross Perot’s awkward exit in 1992 with a WTF claim that “they threatened my daughter’s wedding,” Trump’s unhinged WaPo interview seems more like a cry for help than campaign rhetoric.

    Evidently higher authorities have ordered Trump to withdraw, and he’s responding by spewing gibberish to see what it will take. Disastrous remarks a couple of days ago on punishing women for abortions didn’t suffice, so now he’s upped the ante to forecasting “massive recession” and redemption of $19 trillion worth of Treasuries.

    Even red meat advocates of fiscal rectitude (and I’m at least an occasional-fish-and-chicken budget balancer) aren’t going to swallow that whopper — it hasn’t been done since the 19th century, when federal spending was a skinny 3% of GDP.

    Trump has officially flaked out on us. The R party nomination is wide open, as is the D party’s. We live in interesting times. :-)

    1. diptherio

      Like Ross Perot’s awkward exit in 1992 with a WTF claim that “they threatened my daughter’s wedding,” Trump’s unhinged WaPo interview seems more like a cry for help than campaign rhetoric.

      But Perot’s “WTF claim” actually turned out to be true. Perot wasn’t crazy, but the dirty-tricksters did a fine job of making him look that way. I wish we would have gotten a Pres. Perot — couldn’t have been worse than what we got.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Even if the threat to his daughter’s wedding were true, a swashbuckling guy who hired soldiers of fortune to rescue his company’s hostaged employees from Iran surely could have dealt with it.

        Perot’s timid response was totally out of character. That’s why it looked like duress to me.

      2. Isolato

        We DID kinda’ get a President Perot. Like most third party movements in American politics the two main parties reached out to retake the 20% of voters that Ross had seduced away. You may remember his biggest point was a balanced budget. In short order in the 1990s we had one. Just as the Republicans tried to swallow the Tea Party and Hillary is trying to out populist Bernie… Nixon grabbing George Wallace voters…

    2. Carolinian

      Yes these recent tete a tetes are a little too much full frontal naked id. Although one might point out that braggadocio is a well known NY characteristic as evidenced by their favorite New Year’s Eve song. Trump is just letting his inner NY cab driver come out. Tom Friedman would be pleased.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s possible to redeem those $19 trillion worth of Treasuries.

      You just create money and buy them.

      “Either the Japanese, Chinese and Europeans give us that we created previously, or we create more ourselves.”

      1. Andrew Anderson

        You just create money and buy them. MLTPB

        Yes, that’s the way to do it – as they come due.

        Interest paying sovereign debt is “corporate welfare” per Professor Bill Mitchell. Those against welfare should start with welfare for the rich and then far less would be needed for everyone else in time.

        Other welfare for the rich is government subsidized private credit creation since the rich are the most so-called credit worthy.

      2. susan the other

        But we have to pay the Chinese off in yuan, etc, right? Or else it’s same old rolling over. Wish Trump was MMT smart. He’s willing to tell us how crazy debt is but he plans on neoliberal methods to fix it – which is the methodology that got us here. Because competitiveness.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If he means creating money to pay off debt, he’d be the first candidate to bring MMT into this election.

    4. Higgs Boson

      That is one reason why I’m convinced Trump is a Manchurian candidate working in concert with HRC. His mission was to thoroughly polarize the Republican Party so as to drive moderates to HRC. The remaining far-right, evalangelicals and teabaggers alone wouldn’t be able to pull a win in the general election.

      HRC never planned on, and never wanted any of the left-wing democrats. They were always written off. I think the HRC camp underestimated the appeal of a truly left-wing challenger.

      They also underestimated the appeal of a bellicose, authoritarian anti-establishment challenger. A Trump exit-strategy was never baked into the plan, probably because no one (including Trump?) thought he’d get this far. Maybe the ad-hoc strategy is for Trump to keep saying increasingly shocking things until he finally repels enough people and his campaign fizzles out. Or maybe he sees a real opportunity to win the big prize and that’s been his plan all along.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I have had this notion as well that Trump started out doing this for Hillary. But Trump’s actions quickly lost the pattern. As you point out, he has become too engaged in the process (what Yves called, “dog chasing car.”)

        Now he is has clearly gone over the edge and it’s hard to see it as being on purpose; such acting would require far too much inner discipline for such a narcisist. I think Jim Haygood’s idea of Trump being warned off is quite plausible, but I don’t see a whacked out interview or his disastrous abortion gaffe as consistent with Trump’s brand of next-step logic. He would instead try to exit in a huff of self aggrandizing contempt, not ignominy.

      2. Carolinian

        He himself stated what his motives were: to become President or to prevent Jeb Bush from becoming President. There’s bad blood there. Trump has succeeded so far because his competitors were terrible and if Hillary gets the nomination–as is likely–that will still be true. If anyone is conspiring to throw the election to HRC it would be those GOP higher ups who are working for a contested convention. If they can’t have their GOP Jeb Bush they’ll settle for the Dem version.

        Honestly it’s hard to imagine any of the current candidates as President. It’s a bizarre year.

  12. diptherio

    Agree with Barry that the scare-mongering about imminent collapse doesn’t quite seem to be reality-based…much like mainsteam economics…

    This really confused me though:

    Most important of all to the cycle is the start of inflation. Once we see a few consecutive quarters of higher prices, the economy begins to overheat. This forces the Fed to pay attention and eventually to act. Fear of inflation scares the Fed into a tightening cycle; typically, it will tighten at three, four or even five meetings in a row. This reduces available credit, makes the credit that is available more expensive, and — voila! — a recession occurs.

    Is that what happened in 2007/08? Fear of inflation caused the Fed to tighten which caused a recession? Uh, no, Barry. It was accounting control fraud at all of our major financial institutions, remember? How does that fit into your generalized theory of recessions?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Before 2007/08, the tightening cycle had already occurred from mid-2004 to mid-2006, when the Fed hiked its policy rate from 1.00% to 5.25% at an unprecedented 17 meetings in a row.

      By Aug 2006, the Fed had succeeded in inverting the yield curve (3-month T-bills 4.92%; 10-year T-notes 4.74%) — a classic recession precursor, and an indication that the tightening had been overdone.

      Yet commodities (driven by crude oil) boomed on for nearly two more years to a dramatic July 2008 spike high, even as the financial system was visibly unraveling.

      Strange as these events were, they were not inconsistent with the stylized tightening-recession cycle outlined by Barry Ritholtz.

      In his defense, Ritholtz wrote a book titled Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street. Fraud was best incorporated into the stylized economic cycle by Warren Buffett, who observed that when the tide goes out, you see who’s swimming naked.

      1. Ed

        Barry Ritholtz: a nice, tidy little theory for a nice and tidy economy? Are you kidding? Pay no attention to the crumbling of the edifice everywhere around the edges. Those cracks don’t fit the theory! And how is inflation working for you Barry, in an era of deflation? Expand your mind, dude.

      2. diptherio

        As Bill Black has reiterated time and again: easy money is not necessary to run accounting control frauds. The S&L scandal happened during a time of high rates.

        Our last recession was caused by fraud, not interest rates. The rapid increase in unemployment was caused by fraud, not interest rates. The resulting near collapse of the entire financial edifice was caused by fraud, not by interest rates. The Fed is to blame for causing the recession….by letting fraud go unpunished, not for raising interest rates.

        “It’s difficult for a man to understand something…” and all that, though, I suppose…

        1. Jim Haygood

          You could square the circle by theorizing that the rate hikes collapsed the fraud.

          We can’t measure fraud in real time. But an inverted yield curve tells us that some weak link is gonna break in the next year or two.

          1. diptherio

            So the solution is to not collapse/reveal the fraud?

            The fraud would explode on it’s own anyway, regardless of rates. It’s baked into the recipe outlined by Romer and Ackerloff. The collapse of the effected institutions is guaranteed, which Black also points out all the time.

            Again, the issue is fraud, not interest rates. Let’s not loose focus here.

            1. Jim Haygood

              Every fraud collapses, but often there’s a pinprick that pops it.

              Advance warning of the pinprick is handy to have, even when the exact nature and scope of the fraud isn’t clear yet.

    2. Norb

      Barry’s calm voice of reason contributes greatly to the misunderstanding of the current crisis. It disarms angry citizens by claiming that these events are normal business cycles. The giveaway is that fraud inherent in the system is ignored as you so correctly point out. I would also like to hear his answer to your question. However, I don’t think an answer will be forthcoming. If the looting is acknowledged in any way- the game is up. For common folk, the old days of conquest were easier to deal with mentally. The raiding party stormed into your town and took what they wanted. At least your adversary was known.

      When considering collapse, all depends on your point of view or perspective. With financilazatfion of the economy, we are all forced to choose sides. Support financial fraud or not. Barry’s tone deftness to the collapse millions of people have already suffered and experienced is amazing in its antisocial character.

      Inequality combined with the effects of climate change is not scare-mongering. It is a demand for a response. These demands have been meager to say the least. However, when human suffering occurs on a broader scale, the current system mentality is ill equipped to deal with the problem. The social order that results from attempts to cope with the resulting hardships will take forms never seen before.

      Society slowly changes. However, the rule of the few over the many seems like an untenable position. The current leadership rules by misdirection and fraud. If the conflicts in the Middle East illustrate anything, overt force offers little hope of effective rule.

        1. Norb

          Thanks for the link. I just hate this human nature argument though. I hear it all the time used as an excuse for poor behavior. It is a self-reinforcing mechanism for our current corrupt system.

          We need to redefine a just society. Free market capitalism seems to have reached a dead end.

          If generations of human brainpower and effort do not lead to a society based on leisure and pursuit of personal interests- what are we all laboring for? Freedom from want should be our goal, not some piggish pursuit of glutinous consumption.

          1. diptherio

            You’re right about the “human nature” thing. I don’t actually believe that there is such a thing. Probably better to just say, “it’s a common human characteristic.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        “Tone deftness” :-)

        I know it’s just a typo. But it would be a superb title for a self help book:

        How to go from Tone Deafness to Tone Deftness in 7 Days

        By the time it’s published, it’ll be too late to help the Hildebeest.

        1. diptherio

          Tone deftness is the opposite of tone deafness, obviously. Thanks for pointing that out. I noticed the typo, but not the implication

    3. ewmayer

      Anyone who, like Barry, fails to distinguish between asset-price inflation (financial bubbles) and other kinds is not worth wasting time on.

      As in the runup to the GFC, in the last 4-5 years we *have* seen inflationary overheating, not in wages, but in all manner of financial assets, as well as certain government-coddled real-economic sectors such as higher education and Big Med. This kind of bubble-blowing is what most of the world’s CBs consider themselves to be their sole true mandate, in the inane belief (or big lie – take your pick) that the resulting illusory wealth will trickle down to hoi polloi. I own a copy of Barry’s Bailout Nation, but stopped reading him years ago, since he more or less reverted to full-on Wall-Street-insider mode.

  13. diptherio

    Re: State Dem parties laundering money for Hillary

    Kidder of Counterpunch, pulls her punch.

    They all appear to be brilliant business people who have all given millions to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and to her various PACS. And they all gave the Montana State Democratic Party $10,000 each in 2015. It is doubtful that many of them have any interest in Montana politics, or that they have even bothered to visit.

    None of these are awful people; they are simply awfully rich.

    Actually, the official Montana state definition of an “awful person” is an out-of-stater who manipulates our local politics for their personal benefit…or any resident who assists them. Which means, I suppose, that the Montana State Democratic Party is run by awful people. I don’t know what other conclusion we can possibly draw.

    1. Carolinian

      You’re saying the billionaire who gave us Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an awful person? Puhleaze.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think we need more parties.

      The Green party is one, but it’s not quite fashionable this season.

  14. hreik

    skynet eating my posts. my reply to sid_finster was that Llewelyn gave you a working link. Just copy and paste the utube link

  15. diptherio

    Re: LA Council Kicks Homeless People

    “We recognize this is just one step forward to address the homelessness crisis,” said Carol Schatz, president of the Central City Assn. of Los Angeles. “But right now you have the ability to adopt an ordinance that promotes healthy and safe streets.”

    Which do you suppose is worse: having to dodge piles of people’s belongings when you’re walking down a Skid Row sidewalk, or having no place but the sidewalk to store your possessions? When people like Schatz refer to the “homelessness crisis,” be aware that the “crisis” they are talking about is the psychological one being experienced by non-homeless people being confronted with the grim realities of the US economic system. They couldn’t care any less about helping the homeless people, as should be obvious from their actions.

    How can we help the homeless? How about by taking away all their stuff?

    I wonder how many of those council members are practicing Christians? Only one, it would appear from their voting record on this measure.

    1. diptherio

      And note the flimsy defenses of those who voted for the measure: “it’s either this or something worse.” Strange then, that none of the council members who voted for the lesser of two evils thought to propose something that wasn’t evil.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      Time for the Homeless To Go Home.

      I recall reading Orlando FL cops stopped a local soup kitchen from feeding homeless at a local park. Cops knocked over their tables and threw the food in the trash can. They said the soup kitchen didn’t have the permits. Ugly scene, people got clubbed.

      Was it HW Bush that was always harping on a “Kinder Gentler nation”? That was sooo 1980s.

    3. sd

      The unsaid…This is being driven by developers who want the Skid Row real estate which is where the missions, social services, lower income housing, and medical clinics are located. Make it more difficult for the homeless to stay close to these services so that they will push themselves out of the area.

      SROs that they formerly might have found a way to live in on full disability keep disappearing. There used to be a storage place for the homeless. They offered large trash bins that a person could padlock for rent. Cheap service that was very popular. Closed.

      It’s not just Skid Row. The developers want the light industrial area to the east and south. City Council commissioned a study years ago that showed when cities sacrificed light manufacturing for development, the city declined over the long term compared to those that continued to encourage industry. Light industry provides a diverse base for employment.

      Anyway…sh*tty Los Angeles politics.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        LA needs more industry.

        And it needs fewer chain stores. Local shops keep profits locally. National stores siphon them off to pay their New York bankers.

        1. sd

          Yes, and the City Council went on to ignore the finding that LAs tax base was heavily reliant on the mom and pop discount sock and shirt shops along Broadway. Cheap goods sold in extremely high volume now replaced with ubiquitous mall stores. Likely financed with tax abatements. Will not end well.

  16. MtnLife

    “Why Your Water Could Be Worse Than Flint’s” is easily today’s must read. From rivers being 50% sewage, to only 4 of 500+ Disinfection Byproducts being regulated, to Goldman Sachs calling water “the petroleum for the next century” this article brings out one gut wrenching point after another. I’m disgusted/overwhelmed by the, honestly unknown, number of legacy clean ups we will be facing in the future from industry that has long since extracted their profits and left the area or no longer exist. For example, right now southern Vermont is trying to get a handle on how far PFOA contamination has spread. It is currently affecting both private wells and public water systems, providing another example that the water challenge isn’t just with municipal systems.

    1. abynormal

      Moral Lead Hazard…honestly never imagined we’d come to this but makes sense considering ‘break the resources first’ model

  17. Nick

    A fervent primary race is under way in Wisconsin and New York… Meanwhile, in Washington, why not start forming an administration…

    “The Clinton foot soldiers are among the members of Congress who may be in line for a nice return on their hard work if she wins in November — a job in the new administration, perhaps, increased political clout or help from the commander in chief reaching the next rung on the political ladder.”

    “foot soldiers…in line for a nice return on their hard work…” When I read articles like this (I’m obviously a glutton for punishment), I can’t help but think: is this about America or North Korea?

    “After years of feeling largely shunned by Obama, who’s eschewed the glad-handing that was a hallmark of Bill Clinton’s presidency, elected Democrats are eager to see another Clinton in the White House.”

    That paragraph seems like it’s out of a textbook explaining authoritarianism: the loyal servants have gone years without a Master and are longing for someone to exert their power and dominance. The most recent Minions movie comes to mind.

    1. TomD

      Well it’s clear why Obama wants Hillary to be the next president. His legacy would get cemented as amazing by comparison. A paragon of virtue and honesty.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Hundreds inhale at 420 protest in front of the Choom Ganger’s whited sepulchre:

    No arrests.

    Wonder whether Barry had any youthful arrest records “vacuumed” by the same folks who buried his student transcripts?

    1. diptherio

      That’s a strangely written article, only because the author quotes his own tweets about the event, of which he was clearly a participant. Little odd. Funny though, that the only complaint was apparently about the quality of the pot being smoked:

      One teenager on a rented city bike did mock the attendees. “They are smoking straight schwag, I hate these people,” he sneered. “They should have just stayed home.”

      Note to teen on rented bike: you don’t bring your quality dope to the rally, man. You roll a j and you’re lucky to get one toke off that sucker before it’s gone. When smoking up large crowds, of course you bring the schwag. Duh.

  19. EndOfTheWorld

    We need some impartial observers to monitor our ridiculous byzantine party corruption antics at the local levels. American, in this regard as in so many others, is actually much worse than the smaller countries we claim to patroninizingly oversee.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More to add to the List of Grievances, for sure.

        Not sure if ours are ‘more exceptional’ than others…some very ancient…decades and centuries old.

        “Take a number and wait in line.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Write them all down.

      Then, nail the complaint to the front door.

      “Let the Party Reformation begin.”

      Perhaps this time, it disappears from history and other parties emerge.

  20. sd

    Ritholtz article – the underlying assumption is that a ‘recession’ applies to everyone equally.

      1. diptherio

        Putting these two comments together, we can perceive an important economic truth. No one experiences “The Economy,” but only their part of it, i.e. their personal economy. Even during the best of economic boom times, some people are in the grips of a personal recession or even a personal depression. And during general recessions/depressions, there are those who are personally booming. As a resident of Alberton, MT put it in a radio interview some years ago: “People talk about recession — we’ve been in a recession here for the last 30 years.”

        In the same way that “world hunger” is not the personal experience of any individual, but merely an abstract conception, so too is “the economy” merely an abstract conception, with no reality of its own. There is no philosophically defensible way to aggregate individual realities to arrive at some over-arching, ‘real’ reality…although that hasn’t stopped economists from pretending that it’s the common-sensical thing to do.

        In BR’s defense, his audience is finance professionals, for whom “recession” means getting a smaller bonus this year or, worst-case scenario, falling out of the upper-class into the upper-middle class (horror of horrors).

        While still not entirely accurate, it would be much more enlightening if we broke the economy down into sectors and reported on them individually: “The finance economy continues to expand, while the manual labor and non-supervisory office job economies continue in their deep recession. However, the insurance economy continues to boom.” That kind of thing.

        Aggregating everyone’s interests is a great way to cover up the fact that they don’t always (or ever) align.

    1. Carolinian

      You must admit the MSM has decided to deep six his campaign….not exactly “objective.” Of course all of our elections have a large element of the political press shaping perceptions–Broder journeyed early to Texas to inspect Dubya and give his stamp of approval–but now the NYT and Post are quite overt in their stop Trump coverage. You’d almost think his name was Putin.

      Which is not to defend Trump’s loosey goosey style or off the cuff utterances of things he may or may not mean. But surely part of this year’s “insurgency” is against the press telling people what to think.

      1. sd

        The MSM will turn around and resurrect his campaign. THE DONALD IS BACK! They just can’t help themselves. If the news can’t be said in a breathless voice, it’s just not worth their time.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Ha, ha, ha. So true, but they won’t resurrect his campaign, they will simply fan the almost dead flames. Trump has indeed been iced, As Carolinian points out above, probably from GOP higher ups.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      True – everyone wants to be treated fair.

      Some speak up now.

      Some speak up later.

      And some spoke before.

      Still, others suffer silently.

      I guess it’s his turn now.

  21. Pat

    I’m apparently slow this morning. After being pissed at the shenanigans the Nevada thing is tickling me.
    1.) Reid called in favors so that Clinton could win with Casino employee help. They were pretty much told to go and vote for Clinton.
    2.) Clinton delegates to the county convention were sent correct instructions by the Clinton campaign.
    3.) Meanwhile ‘officials’ sent out a FB post that had incorrect instructions. Which is either incompetence or a deliberate attempt to ratfuck.
    4.) Either because they read FB OR because they didn’t care enough to actually attend fewer Clinton delegates show up and as a result the majority of delegates were Sanders delegates who actively ignored the instructions on FB.

    Once again the locals, avoid the pitfalls and obstructions put in their path and now Nevada is a big win for Sanders. Because you have to realize that not only does Bernie get anywhere from 3 to 10 more delegates for his pledged delegate count you have to double the effect of that because Clinton LOSES those same delegates.

    I am beyond chuffed by this. Not only is the enthusiasm not diminishing in the Sanders campaign, despite the Clintonian misrepresentation that this is all over which the media is helping her try to sell, it keeps making the meme look ridiculous by pulling these victories out.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Some poor Hellery staffers are likely getting Hell’s finger jabbed into their chest this morning.
      “I’m So Sick of losing contests I worked so hard to Rig!” :-)

      1. polecat

        ‘finger jabbed into chest this morning’……….

        She’ll just absorb those staffers…..just as “The Thing” absorbed the crew of McMurdo Antarctic Station……..

        Who would know ?

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Hahaha. Even MacReady doesn’t get out alive. It’s an absolute lesson for the staffers.

  22. allan

    Finally, someone is going after the dark money in American politics:

    Former Macau Partner Gets Court Nod to Sue Las Vegas Sands for Billions

    A Macau court has ruled that a former business partner of Las Vegas Sands Corp, the world’s biggest casino company, can proceed with a lawsuit seeking billions in damages for breaking the terms of their former partnership agreement.

    In a filing made on March 16, a court in the Chinese southern territory denied Las Vegas Sands a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges that the company, headed by U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson, misused trade secrets obtained during their venture.

    The former partner, a company called Asian American, which is headed by Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao, is asking for just over 70 percent of Las Vegas Sands’ profits from 2004 to 2022. Even before taking into account future profits, that would exceed $8 billion on reported profits to 2015, according to Reuters calculations.

    A clawback claim against some of the beneficiaries of Adelson’s largesse would be amusing.

    1. Jim Haygood

      It would also be a mortal threat to the Republican party as we know it.

      Pray for Sheldon! /sarc

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does it matter if the billions go the 1% of this country or that country?

      1. different clue

        Well, if it weakens and unbalances the 1% in this country, it may make them vulnerable for a short while to further weakening and unbalancing attacks. So from an Americacentric social class warfighting standpoint, it could matter to America’s 99%.

  23. GlobalMisanthrope

    Lambert:Note that the final delegate count will only be determined at the state convention, still to come.

    It isn’t obvious that journalists covering the delegate math actually understand the process. Or, that is, pocesses. The state party in each state writes the rules. So in every state the caucus system is different and it can change every election.

    For instance, here in Texas, under pressure from Clinton supporters unhappy about the 2008 conventions, the process was changed so that a percentage of the Texas delegation to the National Convention is now tied to the popular vote. Or so has been reported. However, the State Dem Exec Comm draft rules* for delegate selection do not map a clear path to that outcome.

    So that the much ballyhooed Clinton delegate take from Texas was fashioned from whole cloth, pour encourager les autres. There is no way to count at this point, but it does signal the State Party’s intentions. And that is what a journalist worth the name would be reporting.

    *A draft—clearly so-titled—is the only version available online at the time of this writing. Presumably the rules will be finalized to reflect what happened, rather than guide what happens, at the State Convention.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why wait for a journalist?

      Sounds like the job of the campaign manager to make that known to the public.

  24. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Elkhart, Indiana finally sees ‘Obama recovery’ – but many say RVs saved city Guardian

    So, Elkhart, IN was resurrected by…….manufacturing.

    Not “knowledge” or “technology” or “innovation” or “education” or a rejiggering of the “21st century skills set.”

    Plain old grubby manufacturing.

    Prolly best not to let that get around too much.

    1. cwaltz

      In some ways it’s sad because I suspect it’s less “manufacturing” and more a wage that pays the bills.

      It also doesn’t help that it appears the people of Elkheart aren’t very bright they actually believe the old canard that a government should be run like a business. If that were indeed the case parts of the country wouldn’t even have running water. Unlike a business, the government has a responsibility to the people regardless of profit. That’s why rural regions have electricity even though from a financial sense it makes no sense to put something in sparsely populated areas. Governments invest in people. Businesses invest in profit.

    2. clincial wasteman

      Note also the way that, say, video games development is routinely referred to as “technology” (or by that smarmy diminutive, “tech”), whereas manufacturing even in its most capital-intensive, digi-Taylorist forms is not. So that Samsung, for example, is one of the world’s biggest shipbuilders, but when media talk about its “tech business” they mean things like the “app store” and the “smart” refrigerators. As if the giant shipyards worked with the tools and techniques of 18th century Deptford.
      See also the nonsense that the “internet of things” is a new thing that started with consumer gadgets micromanaging household life. Such Innovation-froth ignores the fact that the global logistics/supply chain system has run on machine-to-machine communication, RFID and algorithmic decision-making for so long that it’s hard to imagine how different “globalization” would look without it.
      If anyone’s interested in this second aspect in particular, the decade’s worth of work by Brian Ashton at Metamute [.org], Thepublicschool [.org] and elsewhere can never be recommended highly enough.

  25. Alex morfesis

    UnaOil…the new mr 5 percent…ata…

    hsbc spokesperson…
    our “policy”…
    how perfect…

    the term “policy” is used by mobsters to describe the “numbers” racket.

    Back to hsbc…
    our official policy is…
    well actually, policy is for the little people…our day to day reality is we like cash and will gladly take it from anyone who uses an onasis four in hand knot when putting on a tie…

    You know…free markets and competition…some crumpets perhaps…would you like…they are splendid…yes a little shop around the corner…

  26. DJG

    “need to” as a locution: Don’t even get me going. I am trying to stamp it out. It is infantile, like so much of our infantilizing culture. But using “must” or “ought” or “have to” or “should” would be so patriarchal and judgmental and uncool, wouldn’t it.

    1. Jeff W

      It is infantile, like so much of our infantilizing culture.

      Journalist and professor of English Ben Yagoda calls it the “kindergarten imperative.”

  27. DJG

    Antidote of the day (correct?): “Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri), also known as Leadbeater’s Cockatoo or Pink Cockatoo, is the only species of its own subgenus Lophocroa. It is a medium-sized cockatoo restricted to arid and semi-arid inland areas of Australia.”

    A handsome bird, although cockatoos aren’t exactly the intellectuals of the parrot world, I hear.

      1. B1whois

        Wow, that channeled EXACTLY how I felt when I attended City Council Meetings in Sacramento California!

    1. craazyman

      I think that bird is gay, just by the look on its face and its posture, it looks like a flamboyant openly gay male homosexual bird. I’m not sure if that particular bird is an appropriate pet for a child’s cage, but the funny thing is, even if somebody saw the bird committing degenerate acts in public with another gay bird, I doubt anybody would even realize, because they wouldn’t be able to tell a male bird from a female bird.

      At least most people in New Yawk wouldn’t have a clue. I know I wouldn’t. It’s hilarious to think that not even 1 in 10,000 people in New Yawk could tell a gay male bird committing the most heinous acts in, say, a central park tree in broad daylight, from a female bird engaging in natural acts of nature with a male bird that would be above censure by the park authorities and the police. To be honest, I don’t know anybody who’d be able to tell a female bird from a gay male bird, even in a flock of pigeons. So it may not matter after all.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Oof … and I thought it was a photo of Donald Trump (who is emphatically un-gay) with his hair combed into a Mohawk and then sprayed to make it stay spiked.

        This could be his next “top this” escalation, if “massive recession” and “paying off the debt in eight years” don’t suffice to scare the living piss out of salt o’ the earth working Americans in Cedar Rapids and Salt Lake City.

        After all, this week Hillary showed up at an LGBT fundraiser in the Village in leather (though without coming out). The Don’s looking a bit like his father’s Oldsmobile — stodgy, defunct and outta date.

        Reality is stranger than fiction. Who you gonna call?

    2. hunkerdown

      I wondered for just a moment whether this was The Donald’s answer to Birdie Sanders.

    3. different clue

      Who are the intellectuals of the parrot world? Macaws, African grays and keas? Or should other parrots also be considered?

  28. Pat

    Speaking of tone deafness, Clinton stepped in it AGAIN. Apparently she thinks that young people who have figured out that when she defends her contribution record she is only talking about her campaign fund and not any of her multiple Super Pacs, oh and can actually read the Washington Post which had to twist itself in knots to only give her three pinochhio are gullible and ‘feels sorry’ that they can’t be bothered to do their own research. Even better she mentions the Paris agreement. For Climate Change advocates that thing is considered pretty useless.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hillary deserves to lose.

      She could have proposed Guarantee Income, but she hasn’t.

      It doesn’t matter whether she can or can’t keep that promise.

      Where is the 110% effort?

  29. Kim Kaufman

    Breaking: Harry Shearer interviewing David Cay Johnston right now. Talking about The Donald and his finances. Fun!!! Live on – find the podcast later on

    Harry rocks!

    1. bob

      I’m sure it’s a very good show. I’ll listen later, but…

      Cay and his wife run family fortunes, as a sideline. He also has some pretty epic corruption staring him in the face in upstate NY and can’t manage to lower himself to cover any of that….

      Very mixed feelings on that guy

      1. bob

        The former-

        The later-

        He’s a prof a SU, you understand. He can’t question a half billion dollar, ill defined publicly funded but privately held “sports complex” for the non-profit SU?

        I wish someone would really dig into that. I’d suggest Dave, but, he can’t, apparently. The land for the stadium was also “owned” by SUNY, but optioned for development by local aristocracy.

  30. Carolinian

    Not sure if the second half of the Hedges/Michael Hudson interview got linked here but very much worth a read. Here’s the key bit

    HEDGES: But could it go down and down, and what we end up with is a form of neofeudalism, a rapaciously wealthy, oligarchic elite with a kind of horrifying police state to keep us all in order?

    HUDSON: This is exactly what happened in the Roman Empire.

    HEDGES: Yes, it did.

    HUDSON: You had the great Roman historians, Livy and Plutarch – all blamed the decline of the Roman empire on the creditor class being predatory, and the latifundia. The creditors took all money, and would just buy more and more land, displacing the other people. The result in Rome was a Dark Age, and that can last a very long time. The Dark Age is what happens when the rentiers take over.

    If you look back in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky said that fascism was the inability of the socialist parties to come forth with an alternative. If the socialist parties and media don’t come forth with an alternative to this neofeudalism, you’re going to have a rollback to feudalism. But instead of the military taking over the land, as occurred with the Norman conquest, you take over the land financially. Finance has become the new mode of warfare. Not militarily – except in Europe, of course – but simply financially. You can achieve the takeover of land and the takeover of companies by corporate raids.

    The Wall Street vocabulary is one of conquest and wiping out. You’re having a replay in the financial sphere of what feudalism was in the military sphere.

    More here

  31. bob


    More proof that the GOP pick was always hillz.

    UBS you say? Obummer is a good golfing buddy….

    I also get a kick out of his title- “Men’s fashion editor”

  32. sd

    More Mossack Fonseca…this time, Iceland. Seriously ugly.

    Major expose on today about the off shore companies/accounts and tax evasion of the current Prime Minister of Iceland, specifically through a company owned by he and his wife. The company is called Wintris.

    Apparently, Prime Minister Sigmundur David is on a list of politicians under investigation by over 400 journalists worldwide. Some info in English as the expose is only in Icelandic.

    Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benedikkson is also under investigation for the use off shore accounts for tax evasion as well as the Minister of the Interior, Olof Nordal.

    The next 24 hours will be very interesting. The current government may fall as early as tomorrow. Facebook is exploding with angry Icelandes sharpening their pitchforks.

    1. sd

      More Icelanders using off shore companies for tax evasion, Sveinbjorg Sveinsbjornsdottir, Helga Vigfusdottir, Julius Ingvarsson. Keep in mind Iceland has capital controls that have prevented the ordinary citizen from taking very much money out of the country.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      The selective leaking and thus inevitable protection of favored bad actors does make the motivations of those choosing in secret what to (and what not to) leak awfully suspect. It’s cool some bad actors are getting exposed but I suspect a lot of others are being protected by the same people.

      Ford Foundation
      Carnegie Endowment
      Rockefeller Family Fund
      W K Kellogg Foundation
      Open Society Foundation (Soros)

      The above list pretty much makes the motivations behind the selective leaks clear. It’s likely more ratfucking and hatchet job than honest unbiased journalism.

      Soros must be having a mad at Poroshenko. Iceland leaks could be revenge for prosecuting banksters.

      1. sd

        According to the news in Iceland, the story about the Prime Minister was embargoed until 6:00 pm when it was scheduled to run on Icelandic television

        The Icelandic community on Facebook is in shock and pretty angry about it all. Althingi (Parliament) has an afternoon meeting on Monday. Protesters gather in front of the building in the square, so they will probably start showing up just before so they can be present as the politicians arrive to the building.

        My fascination with Icelandic politics is that it acts as a sort of microcosm of the larger world. Things seem to happen there first, they are the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

      2. different clue

        Perhaps those who were outed and those who should have been outed all travel in the same small social circles. Perhaps those who were outed will help out those who should have been outed out of spite and jealousy.

  33. Alex morfesis

    Putting on the barry ritz…a few comments above seem to attempt to argue regional recessions vs national recessions…but are these actual regionally permanent recessions or capital strikes…??

    I think we are giving certain capital gatekeepers a free pass where they should be called out for withholding funding in a capital strike as fdr used to complain to bernard baruch.

    1. Jim Haygood

      It don’t matter; Dr Hussman is not giving up now:

      Recall that economic deterioration typically follows a well-defined sequence, with weakness in the “order surplus” (new orders + backlogs – inventories) followed by deterioration in industrial production (which retreated again last month) and by real retail sales (which have declined for two consecutive months), then real personal income (which is the next measure to watch here), and typically followed only then by weakness in employment indicators.

      Nothing in recent weeks has changed our assessment of an imminent likelihood of recession.

      His psychiatric internist tried to point out that the ISM manufacturing index rose above 50 this week. But the good Dr H just mule-kicked his cell door and pounded on his food chute.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s too late for me to get out now. The question is whether to stop the automatic investment plan now, or to try to lower my average cost.

        1. Jim Haygood

          The trouble with burning up 6% annually on put premium decay is that your average cost can carry on sinking all the way to the asymptote (zero).

          Even if the crash Dr H has been awaiting for the past six years should occur, it wouldn’t do much for the fund value — he’s hedged (neutral), not short.

          His desperate Hail Mary plan is to somehow dig out of his ten mile deep hole in the next bull market. There’s a huge opportunity cost in waiting till then. And his record of fighting rallies does not inspire confidence that he will ever change his permabear spots.

          According to his annual report, his stock picks alone (without the five-ton boat anchor of the puts dragging them down). have outperformed the S&P 500 by five percent annually over 15 years. If he had offered an unhedged stock fund, Dr H could’ve been a Buffett-like investment folk hero.

      2. PWC, Raleigh

        Personally, I’m sort of fascinated by the notion that anybody thinks they can predict anything at this point. For 5-6 years, I’ve heard Wall Street predict that the 10-year Treasury would rise to 3% or 4% by the end of the year — “This year will be *the* year” — with all the attendant deleterious effects.

        The result? Nada colada. Every year. Over and over. (Not that I personally found value in such obvious jawboning and groupthink. I’m a gentleman, so I still prefer bonds.)

        My bottom line question with regards to investment options is: Why bother going on a merry-go-round ride, no matter how long that merry-go-round ride lasts before the ride returns back to its starting point (or worse)? Didn’t anyone learn anything from the round-trip merry-go-round spin from the dot-com peak through the housing-bubble peak? The emperors have NO CLOTHES, and fiat money is so cheap and easily created that it holds zippo value premium *over the long term* in which we are all dead, but maybe not dead fast enough that we’re already six-feet-under by the time the music stops (again).

        Maybe I’m just cranky, but it seems to me like the notion of anything like predictable value or predictable econometrics is utter malarkey as it relates to fiat-money that is controlled (e.g., created; distributed; accounted for) by a thoroughly corrupted power-elite.

        The only way to win is not to play.

        1. cnchal

          The only way to win is not to play.

          The dollar you don’t have to earn is more valuable that the one you do.

    1. inode_buddha

      Slashdot has it too:

      “An anonymous reader writes:
      The hidden wealth of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents that show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. The Guardian, working with global partners, will set out details from the first tranche of what are being called “the Panama Papers”. Journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing 11.5m files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm.”

      It looks like we’re gonna be busy for a while here….. plenty of material to diagnose and discuss.

    2. tgs

      Haven’t read the Huff Post piece, but did read about it at Zero Hedge. A couple of things I gleaned from ZH:
      1) the organization responsible for the link is supported in part by Soros’ Open Society Foundation; 2) Putin is on the list because a couple of his friends are on the list, so expect to read headlines like ‘Putin linked to dark money’; 3) There is not one single American or even North American on the list as far as I could tell; 4) Interestingly David Cameron’s father IS on the list – think we will be reading ‘Cameron linked to Dark Money’? Maybe. There are a lot of names including the current president of Argentina, Macri, (as well as Messi the soccer star.

      While I have no doubts that many of these people were involved, I suspect the emphasis will be placed on some more than others.

  34. ekstase

    From the Krugman piece on Sanders, “with influence comes responsibility, and it’s time to lay out some guidelines for good and bad behavior.”

    So I went over to “Highlights,” and I found this:
    “Goofus hogs his seat – Gallant makes space for someone else to sit down.”
    You’re welcome.

    “for anyone who has been backing his insurgency”
    And that made me think of armed guerrillas in the hillsides, and how dare they?

    “But we’ve now reached the point where what’s fun for the campaign isn’t at all the same as what’s good for America.”
    So, what’s good for America, (Great Adventures Theme Park? Jiffy Pop? Recession? Oligarchy?) is not what Sanders supporters want? Interesting. I learned something today.

  35. DJG

    London Review of Books, Terry Castle among the elect. She has a cold cold way of summing up Hillary Clinton’s qualifications.

    “Hillary Clinton – two-term First Lady, former New York Senator, US Secretary of State, ”


  36. mark

    “GlaxoSmithKline to ‘drop patents in poor countries for better drug access. In accordance with international guidelines set out by the United Nations and World Bank, the company has drawn up a list of 50 countries with a combined population of about 1 billion people, where it has said it will not file for patents.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What about poor people in rich countries?

      Do patent surcharges apply to them?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Don’t know about trickle down, but it will probably tickle some people to death.

  37. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Obama and the plan for nuclear arsenal.

    Questions for candidates:

    Will you go nuclear to protect American lives?

    If yes, are some nations more exceptional and should be excluded?

    If no, should we dismantle things you don’t plan on using, or ruling out using?

    1. Cry Shop

      Shouldn’t those be questions for the American people? But then we might not want to see the answers, particularly if answered in the anonymity of a polling booth.

  38. Cry Shop

    I thought the following high light from a bog post was particularly good. Had some out-of-town visitors a few weeks earlier who were vegan but otherwise lived extremely consumerist lifestyles, who just shut down when the idea that children, dark skin children mostly, in large numbers died to make their lifestyle cheaper was brought up in juxtaposition to their critique of some locals diets.

    We can name the sites that have been looted and damaged: Palmyra and Apamea and Mari – the Temple of Bel, the Arch of Triumph, the Great Mosque of Aleppo. But the Syrian dead are nameless.

    There is one important exception to this: Khaled al-Asaad, an archaeologist beheaded by ISIS at Palmyra last year. Why is al-Asaad unique? Because (for academics) we can relate to his field and his interest in the ruins of Palmyra? Or perhaps for another reason. It has been reported that ISIS murdered al-Asaad because he refused to reveal to them the location of antiquities that had been hidden for safekeeping. Perhaps we care about al-Asaad because he made the same calculation of the value of monuments versus human (Syrian) life that we do.

    I’d have put Syrian in front of human and human in brackets, because I’ve seen people who ignore the conflicts get very animated when they hear of a marine’s dog being left behind, etc.

  39. different clue

    Juicy . . . Juicero . . . juicering . . .

    This looks like another example of something I once saw pointed out once. Namely, that many “digitally enhanced” technologies are really still perfectly-workable analog lake trouts with digital sea-lampreys attached to their sides to extract revenue and divert it towards the Digeriform Elites.

    And so with all this silicon juicing . . . We have juice bars and spots here in Ann Arbor which use powerful juicing machines which are so conceptually simple as to be medieval in their basic design. Powerful grinders and pressers driven by electricity. If I ever want to do my own juicing, I might buy one of these neo-medieval fruit and vegetable crusher/grinder/pressers for a lifetime of use. No chips needed.

    Like this maybe. . .

    1. Jay M

      I understand that Captain Blicero, plant manager for Juicero is working on the 0000 machine that will be offered to the flower of the investors. Apparently the secret is patchouli oil for eternal life.

  40. dao

    American Anger: It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Other Party

    Reading that article got me angry! More of the “let them eat cake” mentality that is prevalent in the top 15-20% income levels where the economy looks just fine and dandy.

    The economy in 2016 is nothing like 1955 and 1965 when coincidentally there was also 5% unemployment and 2% inflation.

    The problem from the perspective of the bottom 80% isn’t economic inequality but economic quality. Things like job prospects, affordability of housing, food and health care. Compare those metrics in 2016 with 1955 and 1965!

    Since it can’t possibly be the economy, the author thinks the real problem is a “partisan divide” between Democrats and Republicans, completely ignoring the fact that almost 50% of Americans identify themselves as independents. And this is a professor of political science!

  41. John Zelnicker

    2.64 terabytes, 11.5 million documents on 214,000 shell companies leaked from Mossack Fonseca, Panamanian law firm and one of Richard Smith’s favorite targets. Leaked to Suddeutsche Zietung and shared with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

    Richard is going to have a field day with this, I can hardly wait to see his post(s).

    Re: a comment upthread. Yes, Putin is already being mentioned as connected to this.

  42. allan

    There is now an Uber for bloodwork:

    That startup is Iggbo, and in December it raised $3.1 million in seed funding to provide blood draws via a “high-quality, on-demand, nationwide phlebotomy workforce.”

    Here’s how it works: Iggbo collects lab test orders through its website from doctors and other medical providers. It then dispatches those orders to a network of Iggbo phlebotomists (there are currently about 8,000 of them across 100 cities), who meet patients at their homes or perhaps an office to draw their blood.

    Behold our economy at work: take an independent contractor, throw in a arbitration clause for the customer,
    stir and, voila, a unicorn is born.

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