2:00PM Water Cooler 5/5/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Many German dairy farmers are braced for the worst as a trade agreement between the United States and the European Union is being negotiated, fearing they would be destroyed by bigger U.S. producers in a free market” [Süddeutsche Zeitung]. “Previously confidential documents from the negotiation of the deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, shows those fears to be justified. The U.S. is found to be unrelenting with regard to the discussion of agriculture, saying it is only willing to make concessions to the European car industries if Europeans agree to further open up their agricultural markets.”

“Today’s alarming fourth-year trade data on President Obama’s U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) arrived just as the Obama administration has started its hard sell to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And that is a real problem for the White House” [Lori Wallach, HuffPo]. “The Korea deal served as the U.S. template for the TPP, with significant TPP text literally cut and pasted from the Korea agreement. And the Obama administration sold the Korea deal with the same “more exports, more jobs” promises now being employed to sell TPP. And since then, our trade deficit with Korea more than doubled as imports surged and exports declined. The increase in the U.S. trade deficit with Korea equates to the loss of more than 106,000 American jobs in the first four years of the Korea FTA, counting both exports and imports, according to the trade-jobs ratio that the Obama administration used to promise at least 70,000 job gains from the deal.” Oopsie.

“[P]eople power pays off. European politicians and bureaucrats, quite rightly, would never have imagined that a trade agreement would inspire any interest, let alone mass protests. … But rather than give up, activists across the continent organised. They toxified TTIP, forcing its designers on the defensive. Germany – the very heart of the European project – witnessed mass demonstrations with up to 250,000 people participating” [Guardian]. “[W]e have seen what happens when ordinary Europeans put aside cultural and language barriers and unite. Their collective strength can achieve results. This should surely be a launchpad for a movement to build a democratic, accountable, transparent Europe governed in the interests of its citizens, not corporations. It will mean reaching across the Atlantic too.”



“Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday positioned himself on the far left of the political spectrum on fiscal issues, coming out for low interest rates, against a strong dollar and a more aggressive managing of U.S. debt” [MarketWatch].

” Sorry Paul, but the Bailout WAS about the Banks” [Credit Slips]. “Paul Krugman claims that “Many analysts concluded years ago” that the big banks were not at the heart of the financial crisis and that breaking them up would not protect us from future crises. Incredibly, his claim is linked to an article by … Paul Krugman.  Maybe a Nobel Prize comes with a license to cite oneself as Gospel authority, but I don’t believe that Krugman’s Nobel Prize was for his expertise on bank regulation. So what’s wrong with Krugman’s claim?  Let’s go piece by piece.” Krugman’s lost his mind. Sad.


“In yet another sign Hillary Clinton is looking past rival Bernie Sanders and on to a general election against Donald Trump, the former secretary of state is adding and promoting staff at her national headquarters in New York” [NBC]. ” A Clinton campaign official said the Democratic frontrunner is not giving up in the remaining primary states [no no!], but is increasingly shifting her focus toward beating Trump in November. That should go over big in California. For a minute, there, they must have thought their votes counted.

The Voters

“Survey shows Clinton supporters are more aggressive online than Sanders supporters” [Daily Dot].

“The Woody Allen Interview (Which He Won’t Read)” [Hollywood Reporter].

How about politics? Who are you supporting?

I’m a Hillary fan. I like Bernie very much. I think what he espouses is wonderful. But I think Hillary will get more done of what Bernie would like than Bernie could get done.

Our Famously Free Press

“The Best of New York Times Columnist Ross Douthat’s Incorrect Predictions That Trump Would Lose the GOP Nomination” [Gawker].

“Beyond Schadenfreude, the Spectacular Pundit Failure on Trump Is Worth Remembering” [The Intercept].

The Trail

“Face it: There is no good way of reassuring both Sanders supporters and Republican moderates.” [Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect]. “But does that matter really? Don’t the polls make clear that Hillary wins in a landslide against Trump? What could go wrong? Let us count the things that could go wrong.”

“But here’s the thing about Trump: He’s run the flat-out most offensive, least substantive and crassest campaign in memory, and national polls show him trailing Clinton by 10 points, with six months yet to go. Think about that. In presidential politics, 10 points can fall away faster than Carly Fiorina on a riser” [Matt Bai, Yahoo News]. Interesting from Bai. And this: “the next-in-line — Gore, McCain, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon in 1960 — is almost never as politically gifted as the president he (or she) has served. If he were, he wouldn’t have ended up next-in-line to begin with.” Yep.

“Trump on Clinton nomination: ‘She can’t put it away'” [The Hill]. “‘I thought that I’d be going longer and she’d be going shorter,’ the presumptive GOP presidential nominee added. ‘We had 17 people, people who were very smart. Week after week, one by one, boom, boom, boom, gone.'”

“‘I think the debates are going to be positive for me,’ [Trump] said in an interview on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box.’ ‘I sort of wish we had more than three. We have three. There are three scheduled. And I think we should perhaps have more than three, if you want to know the truth, because there is a lot going on.” [Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump Open to More Than Three Debates With Hillary Clinton”]. Clinton will agree only if Debbie Wasserman-Schultz controls the schedule.

“Mark Salter, a former top aide for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called Trump ‘wholly unfit for office’ Tuesday night and said he’d vote for Clinton. ”I’m with her,’ he said in a tweet Tuesday night” [McClatchy].

“[Mainstream Republicans] sat on their hands and viewed Cruz as just as bad as Trump. The same factors that got him to the brink of the Republican nomination, his disdain for the ‘Washington cartel’ and impatience with politics as usual, kept him from grasping the ring” [Guardian].

“He faces what could charitably be described as an uphill battle. A national CNN/ORC poll, taken April 28-May 1, showed Clinton with a daunting lead over Trump of 54%-41%. To win the White House, he needs to hold all of the states Mitt Romney won in 2012, with a total of 206 electoral votes, then add at least 64 more to get to the 270 mark to claim the presidency” [USA Today]. Hold AZ (11); hold NC (15); flip FL (29); flip OH (18); flip PA (20). A heavy lift.

“The same Republican leaders who mined birtherism, xenophobia, and racist dog whistles for political gold, and who failed to stop the Trump clown car when they had the chance, are now gearing up to pantomime a unified party” [LA Progressive]. “Add this level of voter estrangement to the rancor the Republican Establishment has already shown toward Trump, ranging from grudging acceptance to outright opposition,and there emerges an anti-Trump pincer movement with crucial blocs of voters rejecting him from below, while big Republican donors and party insiders rebuff him from above.”

“[T]o truly unify the party, Mrs. Clinton and party leaders must work to incorporate Mr. Sanders and what he stands for in the party’s approach to the general election. It would also help to acknowledge that the party has strayed at times from its more aspirational path” [New York Times].

Stats Watch

Challenger Job-Cut Report, April 2016: “Large-scale cuts in the energy sector continue to swell Challenger’s layoff count” [Econoday]. “[T[hese results, though they do point to rising corporate cut-backs, are not likely to lower expectations for tomorrow’s employment report where in-trend strength is expected. ” And: “The pace of downsizing increased in April” [Econintersect]. “Employers have announced a total of 250,061 planned job cuts through the first four months of 2016. That is up 24 percent from the 201,796 job cuts tracked during the same period a year ago. It is the highest January-April total since 2009.”

Jobless Claims, week of April 30, 2016: “Initial claims did jump 17,000 higher in the April 30 week to 274,000 but the 4-week average is up only 2,000” [Econoday]. “This report, despite the weekly jump in initial claims, is unlikely to affect expectations for what is expected to be a strong employment report tomorrow.” But: The four-week moving average worsened [Econintersect].

Gallup Good Jobs Rate, April 2016: “April Gallup Good Jobs was up nominally from the March rate” [Econoday]. “The current rate is a full percentage point higher than in April 2015, suggesting an underlying increase in full-time work beyond seasonal changes in employment.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of May 1, 2016: “Consumer confidence readings have been edging lower but have held at still solid levels so far this year. That is until today’s consumer comfort index for the May 1 week which broke lower” [Econoday]. “Weakness in consumer confidence readings typically reflects expectations for weakness in income and job prospects.”

Shipping: ” Rail Week Ending 30 April 2016: Rail Contracted 11.8 Percent From Same Month One Year Ago” [Econintersect].

The banks: “Listen to the mumbo-jumbo in this video from the Federal Reserve, our central bank that is also attempting to wing it as a regulator (while failing to ever hire a Vice Chair for Supervision as mandated under the Dodd-Frank legislation) and ask yourself if it isn’t finally time to restore the plain-speaking Glass-Steagall Act and separate the casinos from the insured banks” [Wall Street on Parade].

“The labor force participation rate had been generally declining since around 2007. However, that trend has partially reversed in recent months” [Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta]. “During the last year, the negative effect on participation attributable to an aging population (0.22 percentage points) has been offset by a 0.23 percentage point decline in the share of people who want a job but are not counted as unemployed (including people who are marginally attached). This decline is an encouraging sign, and consistent with a tightening labor market.”

“Harvard-Linked VC Fund Goes Up in Smoke and Acrimony” [Dan Primack, Fortune]. Primack is always worth a read.

“Microsoft and Google’s new pact could signal the beginning of the end for personal privacy” [Quartz]. Windows 7 adopts Google’s business model.

“Tim Cook’s Failed Apple Pitch” [Bloomberg]. Ouch!

“Apple, Set to Move to Its Spaceship, Should Try More Moonshots” [New York Times].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61, Greed (previous close: 57, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 5 at 11:55am.

Guillotine Watch

“Millionaire who beat up taxi driver after downing £14k worth of champagne is SPARED jail” [Express].

Class Warfare

“How These Wooden Fences Became A Symbol Of Gentrification Across Los Angeles” [LAist]. “There’s a whole flipper design element starter set: a fresh gray paint job, san serif minimalist address numbers, or a Nightmare on Elm Street blood-red door. You can pick and choose or get the combo. Either way, if you see any of these telltale symbols, odds are the house has recently changed hands or will be soon.” I assume that Vancouver or Brooklyn would have different semiotics?

“Class warfare, slumlord edition” [Corrente]. In DC!

“Megachurches: photographing America’s drab new cathedrals” [Guardian]. Interesting project, but the article has tone issues.

“NPQ has long followed a suit, first filed in 2011 by a handful of residents of Princeton, New Jersey, that challenges the university’s nonprofit, tax-exempt status. Princeton University has filed a total of seven motions to dismiss the case, citing a lack of proof behind the residents’ action; all seven motions have been denied” [Non-Profit Quarterly]. “‘They almost operate like a hedge fund that conducts classes,’ says plaintiff Leighton Newlin, a local native who has seen his tax bill more than double since 2010, of Princeton. ‘They have some of the best real estate in all of Princeton. The fact is, those buildings do not pay their fair share of taxes.'”

News of the Wired

“How IBM’s new five-qubit universal quantum computer works” [Ars Technica]. “IBM has a very aggressive timetable for scaling: it expects to hit between 50 and 100 qubits within the next decade. At 50 qubits, IBM will be able to do useful stuff. That means useful qubit numbers should be coming within five years and toys that do neat tricks a couple of years later.”

“No one should have to use proprietary software to communicate with their government” [Free Software Foundation].

“The Startup Zeitgeist” [The Macro]. Keyword lists.

“Peter Dutton photo goes global after he demands it be deleted from internet” [Guardian]. That escalated fast.

“Mathematicians mapped out every “Game of Thrones” relationship to find the main character” [Quartz]. And seem to have added very little value.

“I fly 747s for a living. Here are the amazing things I see every day” [Vox]. Like the world is round!

” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told NBC: ‘Yes, I know McDonald’s and its food but we will never eat it. We don’t even consider it as a food” [Boing Boing]. How right they are!

* * *

I think I fixed my fershuggeneh contact form below. Just to keep the NC comment section clean, will only those who already have my email address tell me if they have issues, using email? Thank you!

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Claudia):


Claudia writes: “A lovely peony from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.”

* * *

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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. Jim Haygood

    Judge Emmet Sullivan makes my day:

    A federal judge said Wednesday that it “may be necessary” to depose Hillary Clinton about the nature of her personal e-mail server, in a freedom-of-information lawsuit over the employment of top aide Huma Abedin.

    Federal District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan made the observation in an order granting a plan for discovery by Judicial Watch, a Washington-based legal group seeking information about the arrangement that allowed Abedin to do outside work while she was working for Clinton at the State Department.

    “Based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary,” Sullivan said.


    Sharp-eyed observers will recall that it was a deposition in a civil suit (Jones v. Clinton) that got Hillary’s consort “Bill” into a spot of bother. As the WaPo observed dryly in a contemporary account:

    ‘The extraordinary case came to an extraordinary finale, with the defendant agreeing to pay $850,000 even though the plaintiff originally only asked for $700,000 when she filed suit — and even though the case was dismissed without a trial.’

    Now it’s time for “Her Turn” Hillary to dispute what the meaning of “is” is.

    Were I her attorney, I would advise her to add that “I did not have sex with that woman [Huma].”

    1. clinical wasteman

      Pardon my slow wits, but it was disappointing to realize halfway through that he meant “depose” as in “deposition/testimony”, not as in “Charles I/Louis XVI”.

      1. Jim Haygood

        FBI interview on deck for Hillary, says CNN. This is entirely separate from any deposition that may take place in connection with the Judicial Watch suit:

        Some of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, including her longtime adviser Huma Abedin, have provided interviews to federal investigators, as the FBI probe into the security of her private email server nears completion.

        In recent weeks, multiple aides have been interviewed — some more than once, the officials said. A date for an FBI interview of Clinton has not been set, these officials said, but is expected in the coming weeks.

        Clinton’s security is provided by the Secret Service and she’s typically followed by a corps of campaign reporters. The FBI plans to coordinate her interview with her attorneys and security to try to ensure it can be done privately.


        No need to speculate what Hillary’s attorney David Kendall will advise:

        “Take the Fifth.”

        It’s a private interview. But Hillary’s non-cooperation likely will be promptly leaked.

        1. Optimader

          As i pointed out before they have her coming or going.

          Tell the truth admitting felony(ies) or lie under oath
          This could as easily as not end up being a case where hrc hands of tbe crown at the dnc convention in exchange for an exec pardon when bho punches out

        2. Qrys

          The “intentionally and willfully” is being trotted out again as well, even though that’s not a burden for prosecution of violators of the laws in question.

    1. Jim Haygood

      This is equally stunning:

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday positioned himself on the far left of the political spectrum on fiscal issues, coming out for low interest rates, against a strong dollar and a more aggressive managing of U.S. debt.

      In a wide-ranging phone conversation with CNBC, Trump said he would replace Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen when her term expires in 2018, though he didn’t really offer up any criticism of her.

      “I have nothing against Janet Yellen whatsoever, she’s very capable person. But she’s not a Republican,” Trump said. “When her time is up I would most likely replace because of the fact it would be appropriate.

      “She is a low interest rate person, she’s always been a low-interest-rate person, and let’s be honest, I’m a low-interest-rate person,” Trump added.


      Trump’s a real estate guy.

      As a “nothing downer,” one wants inflation out the wazoo. Pimp my building!

      Needless to say, if Trump looks viable to win, the dollar’s gonna get it. Craazyman Fund can help hedge the risk.

      1. craazyboy

        I guess The Donald will appoint a R Fed Chair whom plans to buyout the remaining Chinese treasury bond holdings?

      2. jrsq

        I don’t think the benefits of those low interest rates are every going to trickle down …

      3. JohnnyGL

        Perhaps we can start a new growth industry of exporting deflation?

        It’s hard to devalue when all your neighbors want to devalue, too. Ask the 1930s how that worked out.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Let someone issue the global reserve currency, and the mighty dollar will fall.

          All transactions will be cleared not from New York anymore.

          And the hedge funds will have to move elsewhere (and plague someone else), so they can borrow as much as they want, from the new hegemon, to short, for example, the British pound or the Russian Ruble (I don’t think you can do that from Somalia, thus the reason New York is the financial center of the world.)

      4. ProNewerDeal

        from the article ““I think there are times for us to refinance debt with longer term, we owe so much money,” Trump said.”

        This guy doesn’t know how to talk clearly, on a topic he claims to be an expert in, bonds.

        1 Does Trump mean that the UST should shift the “allocation” when funding is needed, for instance decrease a portion of new issuance of 1-yr Treasuries, increase the portion of 30-yr T-Bonds?
        2 Does Trump also mean that existing, non-mature bonds should be “called”, in a manner that a consumer homeowner can “refinance” the 30-yr home mortgage loan at 6% down to the current say 4%? If so, Trump is again showing he is an ignoramus on a topic he brags about being expert. Part of the appeal of USTs is that they are non-callable. As such, the 30-yr UST-Bond is a good investment for covering a deflation-ish scenario, such as 2008 & 2011, where 30-yr USTs increased over 25%. IIRC, if USTs were callable, they would be called, & those high returns in 2008 & 2011 would not be possible. Given Trump’s “refinance” wording, I suspect he may incorrectly think USTs can be “refinanced” home-mortgage style. Perhaps a BigMedia journalist should buy a clue & ask him this “gotcha” question.

        PS – I know that USTs are non-callable, just from intellectual curiosity of reading some nonfiction on Asset Allocation/Personal Finance, & understanding USTs for purpose of asset allocation for my Insecurity Fund (usually narrowly & incorrectly labeled “Retirement Fund”). I am not claiming to be a “bond expert” like Chumpy

        1. jrs

          Most people will retire, the average age of retirement is 62. Most people will not be able to work longer (due to age discrimination if nothing else). It wont’ be a matter of choice to retire or not. But it’s an insecurity fund if you foresee the possibility of tapping it before retirement, which many will be forced to do.

          1. ProNewerDeal

            Yes, I title it Insecurity Fund, because of catastrophic health cost risk (depite having health insurance) + unemployment risk may require it before 67. I recommend reading the nonfiction book “The Great Risk Shift”, plenty of stats & anecdotes on such costs/risks foisted on Individuals here in “Exceptional” Murica.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Probably he means your Item 1, tilting the mix of Treasury issues toward longer terms.

          This is already happening, with the average maturity of federal debt climbing toward six years:


          Shorter maturities can’t be abandoned entirely. T-bills are indispensable as collateral.

        3. cwaltz

          Heh, I’m pretty sure Trump will be fine because I doubt his base understands how the US Treasury and bonds operate either. It’s one of the reasons that the canard that the Social Security Trust fund is broke and all it has are IOUs has been somewhat effective.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Seventeen (17) percent funded ain’t broke.

            “Social Security is never broke as long as it can hold onto one blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth.”

            1. cwaltz

              The Social Security Trust Fund has as much chance of “going broke” as any other bond holder does.

              Maybe you should tell the Fed, banks and China that all THEY have is a bunch of IOUs

            2. cwaltz

              OMG! I just realized the DoD is way closer to going broke then the Social Security Trust fund because it’s only funded until NEXT YEAR. You should alert people!

              (tongue firmly in cheek)

      5. curlydan

        And how does the following come to be considered “far left” on the economics spectrum? “coming out for low interest rates, against a strong dollar and a more aggressive managing of U.S. debt”

        I guess Bloomberg writers think that anything unorthodox is far left.

        1. craazyboy

          There seem to be a lot of people with the worldview that there is a big left box and a big right box, and our purpose in life is to determine which box to put our things in. And then they get it mixed up.

          Also, I’m certain Trump knows how Treasuries work. “We” would want to sell all the new 10 year Tbonds we can at 1.8%. I saw some news item a few weeks ago where he apparently had a proposal to also allow easier/cheaper refinancing of home mortgages to current low rates. I didn’t read the article tho, so don’t know the details.

          But frankly, I have no idea what Trump will really try and do in the WH. Coming into the home stretch here, and having a new strategy of polishing up his Prez image, he may now be directing his pandering towards Wall Street.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Think big, craazyboy: “we” would want to sell hundred year debt.

            If a pissant country like Ireland can sell 100-year bonds at 2.35%, I don’t know why the US fsckin’ A couldn’t float it at two-even. (The yield curve actually slopes down, if you go out far enough.)

            Being a real estate guy, Trump’s gonna ask his Goldman Sachs buddy Steve Mnuchin whether we could issue it non-recourse.

            “Donnie, you’re out of your element!” an alarmed Steve will reply. “Then they could foreclose on the Capitol.”

            “Exactly,” replies Trump, with a wink.

          2. cwaltz

            I saw some news item a few weeks ago where he apparently had a proposal to also allow easier/cheaper refinancing of home mortgages to current low rates. I didn’t read the article tho, so don’t know the details.


            His big plan is to allow people to refinance. Oh- kay.

            It sounds familiar.

            Oh that’s right because THIS President already suggested it(you have to love how he uses Mitt Romney as a selling point)


      6. NYPaul

        Each of the presumptive Presidential Candidates have an (or several) Achilles heel[s.] Hillary’s are, of course, her emails, and, the Pay-To-Play Foundation/State Dept, connection. For Trump it’s his actual net worth, ten billion (+) or, one billion (-) ? And, a criminally absent, here-to-fore missing, in depth, actual, journalistic history of his financial/business “success.”

        While the public knows the coming campaign will pit two of the slimiest characters ever to run for high office, yet, exactly how slimy, I don’t think they have a clue.

        First, Hillary Clinton: I think it’s a foregone conclusion that she committed crimes in setting up a private server and exposing secret information while SOS. The question will be, do President Obama and the DOJ possess the honesty and the fortitude to pursue it (criminally ?) Equally damning will be the answer to the question, can the FBI & DOJ prove a link between payments (donations?) to The Foundation and subsequent, positive decisions by Hillary’s State Dept? Public reports indicate that this is the area the FBI is currently (seriously) focusing on.

        Then, the case of Donald Trump: I believe a truly professional, in depth analysis of his financial history will prove that everything he’s promulgated regarding his fantastic business acumen is/was simply a lifelong scam, a giant lie. Anyone who’s gotten into trouble succumbing to the deluge of easy money, credit card offers knows how long you can go on in manufacturing a false persona of perceived success & wealth. And, while one billion dollars is a lot of money, relative to a non-existent, ten billion, it’s peanuts. As far as his, self proclaimed “big brain” and, unusual skill in business goes, a good start for an exhaustive biography could be just how quickly he “blew” the first installment of his inheritance, and, his sibling’s subsequent refusal to lend him anything from their share of the inheritance. (They, eventually, relented, but, only after unusual & lengthy lobbying (begging) by Donald, and an assortment of quislings he recruited to help with that effort. And, (for self protection) only after hiring the priciest attorneys available who then went on to write up a contract so air tight, and debilitating, Houdini himself wouldn’t be able to wiggle out of it.

        The point I’m trying to make is simple. Back in the days of Bill Clinton’s Presidency, and his notorious philandering, everyone knew he was a serial sex fiend. But, it was only when we all got to see the “blue dress,” with the stained blotch prominently displayed, did the Public, finally, get to know the true character of the oval office inhabitant.

        Tragically, these examples are less than the proverbial, “tip of the iceberg,” but they’d, at least, be a start.

      7. Christopher Fay

        Trump is a real estate billionaire (?) in a generation of asset price inflation created by Greenspam and Bernanke

      8. Cugel

        Janet Yellen’s term of office at the Fed isn’t up till January 2024, so, Trump’s not getting the chance to “replace” her on the board. As for replacing her as chairman, the blowhard probably doesn’t even know that he has to appoint someone from among the sitting governors – he can’t appoint an outsider to the FED chairwomanship unless there’s a vacancy on the board. Her chairwomanship is up in 2018, so a new chair could be appointed, but it would have to be from the sitting governors.

        1. Yves Smith

          Don’t make stuff up. Fed chairmen have four year terms. This is from the Fed’s website:

          Janet L. Yellen took office as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on February 3, 2014, for a four-year term ending February 3, 2018.


          There are currently two seats open. There are supposed to be seven board members and there are only five incumbents now. So Trump could appoint a new member and then nominate that member to be the new Chairman when Yellen’s term expires.



          The report from CNBC said Trump would “replace Fed Chairwoman”. It was not a direct quote. However, in context, it seems clear he was talking about her as chairman, and chairmen do wield far more power than the other governors. I see nothing in his remarks than indicate that he was saying he though he could get her off the FRB and given how much the business press is concerned about him and the Hillary campaign is eager to jump on his every mistake, you can be sure that would have been shouted from the rooftops had he said that (“Trump the fascist wants to remove Fed governors”).

          Now I agree that Trump actually being able to get an appointment through is a big assumption. But he is not out of line in saying that he could appoint a chairman and it could be a Republican. Moreover, he did not say he would necessarily replace Yellen if he had the chance. He expressed a preference.

          The reason I am fussy about this is readers correctly got upset about the straw manning and misrepresentation of Sanders’ policies. If you do that, you can’t apply double standards. If you want the press to treat outsider candidates fairly, you need to do it for people who are not on your “side” as well. There is plenty that Trump has said that you can legitimately attack: his racism, his crazy plan for dealing with illegal immigrants, his tax cuts for the rich. But I see a ton of halo effect cognitive bias operating here (not you just you this is a pretty broad phenomenon). You need to rein that in.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He’s making deals left and right.

      First, it was with neo-cons, or so it seems.

      And now this.

      I wonder if he got a call to remind him if he wanted to keep his seat on the Senate committee, sorry, to keep his debt-powered empire, Mr. I-am-the-king-of-debt.

    3. EmilianoZ

      Maybe Tim Geithner could be convinced to come back for the Trump. Take one for the Trump, is there a greater honor?

  2. Synapsid

    A good part of the decrease in rail traffic is likely due to much less oil, coal, and sand for fracking being shipped. Demand is down for coal and frack sand, and there’s little call for oil from the Bakken in North Dakota to be shipped to refineries in the East what with oil prices low enough to incline refineries there to return to importing oil.

  3. allan

    Next time you hear someone, say a Democrat presidential candidate,
    refer to Iran as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, just consider this:

    After presiding over bin Laden raid, CIA chief in Pakistan came home convinced he was poisoned by ISI

    Two months after Osama bin Laden was killed, the CIA’s top operative in Pakistan was pulled out of the country in an abrupt move vaguely attributed to health concerns and his strained relationship with Islamabad.

    In reality, the CIA station chief was so violently ill that he was often doubled over in pain, current and former U.S. officials said. Trips out of the country for treatment proved futile. And the cause of his ailment was so mysterious, the officials said, that both he and the agency began to suspect that he had been poisoned.

    1. fresno dan

      US foreign policy is run with the same level of sophistication as high school – how else to explain that Saudi Arabia is our “ally”?

      1. JTMcPhee

        …or, of course, the Israelites? The US imperial establishment is all het up about Russian jets buzzing their so very vulnerable “assets” in the Baltic (another “American Sea?”) Yet nary a word of substance about the attempted sinking of the USS Liberty, http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ussliberty.html. Or the opinions of several Top Secret Squirrels in the US imperial intelligence services that the Israelites pose the largest threat of espionage to the US? http://mondoweiss.net/2009/10/israel-poses-profound-espionage-threat-to-u-s/ And how about those German U-boats gifted to the Israeliltes, now armed with the nuclear-war headed cruise missiles that “our” past foreign-policy “wisdoms of the moment” made possible, that the US imperial navy must account for in their infinitely growing universe of “threats” and excuses to waste even more of our wealth building infinitely nested walls of “defense” and “offense” to address, in the idiot game of whatever it might be called, species suicide by stupidity and nuke?

        Who is “our,” again? When talking about “OUR allies?” And how does one define “ally,” again?

      2. cwaltz

        Or Turkey and Qatar for that matter.

        The idea that these nations don’t have their own agenda, that may not be in our interests, never seems to be a consideration when it comes to our “allies.” Nevermind, that if you follow the money these are the people who have helped ISIS and are costing us considerable amounts of money fighting them.

  4. dcblogger

    In June of 1993 Mary Sue Terry had a 30 point lead over republican gubernatorial nominee George Allen and a huge campaign war chest. Allen had come out of a bitterly contested nominating process and was considered the nutcase candidate. He ran a racially charged campaign about ending parole and won by a landslide. Don’t under estimate Trump.

    1. SufferinSuccotash

      He also ran on ending the car tax, very popular move in VA at the time. And Mary Sue couldn’t campaign her way out of a wet paper bag.

  5. optimader

    “How IBM’s … it expects to hit between 50 and 100 qubits within the next decade. At 50 qubits, IBM will be able to do useful stuff. That means useful qubit numbers should be coming within five years and toys that do neat tricks a couple of years later.”

    At 100 qubits, IBM will start collecting two of all of the animals in the world
    BTW, how long is a qubit?

      1. optimader

        Heisenberg and Schrödinger get pulled over for speeding.

        The cop asks Heisenberg “Do you know how fast you were going?”

        Heisenberg replies, “No, but we know exactly where we are!”

        The officer looks at him confused and says “you were going 108 miles per hour!”

        Heisenberg throws his arms up and cries, “Great! Now we’re lost!”

        The officer looks over the car and asks Schrödinger if the two men have anything in the trunk.

        “A cat,” Schrödinger replies.

        The cop opens the trunk and yells “Hey! This cat is dead.”

        Schrödinger angrily replies, “Well he is now.”

        1. fresno dan

          Actually, the cop shoots them both dead because he thought his life was in danger, because he was uncertain whether their cell phone was a gun….

          1. craazyboy

            Another way the wave function may collapse:

            H&S get a lawyer and sue the city because the cop was endangering their lives by shooting radar particles at them.

  6. tegnost

    re:creditslips, was that article a link to an nc post or to creditslips?…seems broken

  7. Sceptical Cat

    Interesting that the plane in the pictures in the Vox article is clearly from the A320 family..

  8. Pat

    Hmmm. Unless I’m remembering my numbers wrong, that report would mean the increasing trade deficit with Korea has actually slowed down its upwards trajectory. Not that that really means much, the deal was still an utter disaster for most of America. The depressing thing is that for some people this will be news. Anyone paying attention should have noticed before this that KORUS has proved all of its detractors right and Obama and his administration to be wrong in a spectacular fashion. Mind you this is all of a piece with every trade deal of the last quarter century, not one of these large trade deals has benefited America, the American worker and in most cases also been destructive as a whole to the trading partners.

    1. Carla

      The only winners are the multinational corporations in their quest for total global control. Most of these corporations originated in the U.S., so we bear great responsibility for the terrible harm that is being inflicted on the entire world. It’s well past time for a U.S. Constitutional amendment stating that Corporations are not people, and Money does not equal speech. http://www.movetoamend.org

  9. nowhere

    Guillotine Watch
    Burning Man for the 1%

    During a wellness panel on “Adventure Travel: Journey As Wellness”, someone asks the instructor Fabian Piorkowski about privilege.

    “We’re so privileged to come to these spiritual places – Further Future, Tulum – but not everyone can,” the audience member says, asking Piorkowski how he should reconcile that.

    “It’s all about balance. We are the ones meant to be the air, not the earth,” Piorkowski said. “So you have this group who can travel. The purpose can never be to enable everyone to travel because that would create imbalance.”

    Is it time to sharpen the blades yet?

    1. pretzelattack

      indeed it is. think of it as maintaining the cosmic balance. the air gets to be the earth for awhile.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Every one has greatness inside.

      Don’t let them brainwash you to believe otherwise.

      You are as capable of wise spending as the top government officials or as the efficient market.

      And if the renties extract all you money, you know you can always get more, and will never go hungry again with Empower-Yourself fiat money.

      All of you can travel to those spiritual places.

      1. polecat

        I maintain my very own spiritual place…..at home!

        no need to fly anywhere………

    3. Massinissa

      -Asked about Privilege
      -Responds, “Yup, we privileged. And we mean to KEEP it that way!”

      We need some robotic Guillotines.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        In 1792 a motivated and well-rehearsed crew could serve a new customer every 30 seconds in the Place De La Concorde…that’s pretty fast

    4. jrs

      Well maybe no one should travel if it means planes spewing carbon into the atmosphere.

      1. nowhere

        I thought about that in the 747 pilot link. Doing the math, there are 140 tons of pollution emitted on that one flight alone.

        That that jet leaving Singapore might start the night and its flight at 390 metric tons, and reach morning in London at 250 tons — the difference being the fuel burned along the way.

          1. ewmayer

            You are wildly off, too high by a factor of more than 1000 – here some simple math, following the old school dictum of “show your work!”

            Gallon of water = 8 lbs, assume Jet-A similar density, leads to ~300 gallons per metric ton, times 140 metric tons ==> roughly 40000 gallons on the Singapore-London trip. That is ~10000 miles, thus 4 gallons per mile, or in automotive terms 0.25 miles per gallon, equivalent to ~100 cars. I double-checked my estimate against Answers.com, that site says 5 gallons per mile (0.2 mpg), which is pretty close to my quickie estimate.

            Of course since a 747 cruises as around 10x the speed of a highway vehicle, on a gallons-per-unit-time basis a 747 burns the euivalent of 10x as many cars, i.e. ~1000 cars’ worth. A comparison based on that is bogus because what matters is the cost of getting from point A to point B, but even on the per-time basis your “250,000 cars” number ain’t even close. Where did you get it, praytell? ZeroHedge?

            1. Cry Shop

              Synoia: Supporting ewmayer I’d like to add this. Depending on the 747 frame type, load factors and seating designs, there are 340 to 410 passengers per plane as well, which works out to about 60 to 80 passenger-miles per gallon. Not as good as a bus, or mass rail for the daily commute, but only matched by a Prius if there are 3 people in the car-pool. If you were to travel from London to Singapore by ship, bus or train, your total carbon foot print for the 2 weeks or so it would take would be significantly higher than if you flew.

              I don’t own a car. I commute to different jobs twice a day by bus or train 3-5 times a week, do a bit of shopping several times a week, etc; while I fly at most once a year. I know which one contributes more to global warming – and it isn’t my flying. Anyone solo in a car is doing significantly more damage.

                1. cnchal

                  (PhysOrg.com) — In a recent study published in Nature Climate Change, Dr. Ulrike Burkhardt and Dr. Bernd Karcher from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics at the German Aerospace Centre show that the contrails created by airplanes are contributing more to global warming that all the CO2 that has been caused by the entire 108 years of airplane flight.

                  In their study, Burkhardt and Karchar utilized satellite imagery of these spreading contrails to create a computer model which estimates how the contrails affect the Earth’s temperature.

                  . . .The only difference is that CO2 has a longer life than that of the contrails, and can still continue to cause warming even hundreds of years down the road.

                  The researchers believe that while continuing to reduce CO2 emissions in aviation, more work needs to be done to reduce contrails as well. This reduction of contrails could present an immediate effect on global warming. Solutions for this could include such things as creating flight plans at lower altitudes and the development of new airplane engines which would either reduce the water vapor released or immediately condense the water into ice that would drop to the ground below.

                  I wonder where the funding came from for that “study”. My BS detector is pegged at ten, and won’t come off the pin.

                2. Cry Shop

                  It’s better not to travel at all, but if it’s long distance, then I’d still say aircraft are much the preferred method, though you may differ.


                  By sea one gets bunker crude — extremely high particulates, sulfates, and other contaminate super efficient and persistent GHG as well as carbon dioxide and monoxide as well as carcinogens, teratogens and biocides (the later an efficient GHG, toxic and persistent). Even Hong Kong require ships to tow in on tugs running low sulpher diesel upon entering local closed waters and when berthed to connect to the grid, no motoring. Bunker crude has been banned in the English Channel, so the boats go around England to reach Rotterdam, which results in even more GHG, The killer is at any reasonable speed passenger ships burn a hell of lot more fuel for the distance, and it’s still worse for cargo ships vs. cargo airfreight, what makes them economic for freight is the dirty cheap, extremely dirty fuel they burn and the much lower crew costs per unit weight. Cruise ships are just about the most environmentally damaging way for the masses to vacation travel, so of course they have become ultra popular. So much for travel by sea.

                  As for travel by rail, the same factor for aircraft of fuel consumption increasing by the square of the velocity, and there is the extremely energy intensive costs of maintaining high speed rail, considerably larger than the energy to run the trains. That rail maintenance energy might be solved when Mag-Lev or a similar technology matures, but they have their own problems. If the the majority of the electricity is coming from coal, natural gas (unscrubbed natural gas used by power plants, is sour with sulphur, contains mercury mercapains, it’s by dent of better efficiency and lower dosing that gas is cleaner than coal, but certainly not clean), then just the cost of running the trains without considering the rail is already a loser. It’s the high maintenance and energy costs of rail that makes it a saver compared to air only on short inter-city routes. Japan, and to a lesser extent, French ultra-high speed rail success is much more about solving other constraints. China’s experiment may well sink the ship of state.

                  Bus from Singapore to London. Diesel and lots of it, for the whole extremely indirect logistics trail.

        1. Cry Shop

          That first shot of the shadow, shows it flying over what appears to be an (illegal?) dump of rusting drums. Very symbolic of man, reaching for the sky while dumping on the earth.

          The 747 is not long for the skies. It was designed with an extreme amount of redundancy and safety, For example, it uses a crew of 3 to fly. the two pilots can concentrate on flying the plane in an emergency, while the engineer can take up the work-load of troubleshooting. Even the massive A380 has a 2 person flight crew. Cathay Pacific and a whole slew of airlines got rid of all their 747. A nice symbol of crapification.

        2. cnchal

          I think you are off a bit.

          From https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/co2_vol_mass.cfm burning one gallon of jet fuel generates 21.1 pounds of CO2, and from here one US gallon of jet fuel weighs 6.662 pounds which is a ratio of 3.167 to 1

          One metric ton is 2204.6 pounds, and 140 metric tons of burned jet fuel converts to 443.4 metric tons of CO2 spewed into the atmosphere by that flight from Singapore to London, which when converted to pounds is 977,509.

          From Wikipedia the new Boeing 747 weighs 651,000 pounds empty and 987,000 pounds full of fuel which correlates to a fuel capacity of 152.4 metric tons.

          In other words, that one flight puts almost as many pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere as the plane weighed on takeoff.

          Counting the CO2 emitted to get the fuel to the filling nozzle is another story.

          Verify it for yourself and If my math is wrong, enlighten me.

      2. Cry Shop

        Giving up the car, train, bus, and hey, even walking? It’s all relative, ie: a comparison.

        To be honest, even sleeping emits <strong)almost as much C02 (and thus consume energy) as mild exercise (which is why one should exercise for health, not for weight loss). Everything you do creates Greenhouse Gases(GHG). Tim Minchen stated that keeping a dog causes more GHG emissions the average use of a car in the UK, though I’ve not found such a study myself, and he hasn’t replied to my (and probably other’s) letter.

        Don’t give up, but do think (and as much as possible think with facts).

    5. katiebird

      “The purpose can never be to enable everyone to travel because that would create imbalance.”

      Hey! This is how our heath care (laughs) system (chokes) works too!!! …

    1. fresno dan

      Sorry Paul, but the Bailout WAS about the Banks” [Credit Slips]. “Paul Krugman claims that “Many analysts concluded years ago” that the big banks were not at the heart of the financial crisis and that breaking them up would not protect us from future crises. Incredibly, his claim is linked to an article by … Paul Krugman.  Maybe a Nobel Prize comes with a license to cite oneself as Gospel authority, but I don’t believe that Krugman’s Nobel Prize was for his expertise on bank regulation. So what’s wrong with Krugman’s claim?  Let’s go piece by piece.” Krugman’s lost his mind. Sad.

      Like all economists, either too stupid and/or corrupt to acknowledge how much the economy is steered by corruption and evil….
      I have to say, I see the man on the TV with that earnst look, which HAS to be contrived, and I just want to kick him in the face….

    1. James Levy

      It’s spooky (creepy?) how people who favor Clinton repeat the same nonsense, and how this is mirrored in Trump supporters. It has to be some form of safety-in-numbers or band-wagoning effect, a means of signaling your allegiance to the tribe. My friend wrote a book on the social evolution of religion in which he argued that religious practice/observance is a way of signaling others about your “credit worthiness” and commitment to the group so that the group will then embrace and protect you. Trustworthiness becomes associated with orthodox observance. When times get tough or societies or communities feel imperiled, they boost the level of orthodox observance in order to “circle the wagons” against a perception of threat. Thus nonsense like “hope and change” or “make America great again” gain incantatory power.

    2. fresno dan

      May 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      good article Carolinian!

      “Trump’s long history of outrageous statements combined with America’s current demographics convince many people he is dead on arrival. Should we assume that Trump will fare historically poorly among minorities, given his reputation for what many have labeled bigotry? Maybe. But then again maybe the notion that “everyone’s a little bit racist” is more widespread than politicians (and respectable commentators) often admit.

      People care about bigotry most if it translates into harmful acts. There are some allegations of that: Trump’s real estate company allegedly committed some serious acts of discrimination back in the 1970s, and voters will hear a lot more about that before November. But the evidence of Trump’s racism is mostly a record of careless remarks. Trump will surely make plenty of heartfelt declarations that there is no hatred in his heart, and then wave off his past insensitivities by saying, “Well, I’ve said a lot of things.” And so he has. That will be enough for many people — probably more than you think.

      Trump also has an extremely low bar to clear to beat recent Republican performance with minority voters. In 2012, Barack Obama won a staggering 93 percent of African American votes, 71 percent of Hispanic votes and 73 percent of Asian American votes. Whatever one can say about Trump, he presents a radically different kind of choice from Mitt Romney. Can he really do much worse?”

      Hilary Clinton: “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow….would that end racism? Would that end sexism?” “No!” crowd yells out.

      HMMMMMMMMM………..Maybe, just maybe, some voters might….just maybe…..ask, “Did the Clintons end racism and sexism when they were in office – did they REALLY try????”

      But Trump will be selling voters something more than his outsize personality; he will be asking for a choice between “Trump, the middle finger to the way things have been,” and “Clinton, the choice of more of the same.”

      1. James Levy

        The problem I have is that this all sounds too Obama 2008 to me for my liking. Is Trump really going to “give the finger” to business as usual, any more than Obama was going to deliver “change”? What has he done in his 6+ decades on Earth to persuade me that he will do any such thing, that this is not just rhetoric and branding? Nothing.

  10. Qrys

    Latino Groups Celebrate Cinco De Mayo By Protesting Hillary (LAist)


    “Democratic presidential front runner and America’s tough-but-fair mother Hillary Clinton is in Los Angeles today, in advance of the June 7 California primary. It’s no coincidence Clinton is courting the Latino vote on Cinco de Mayo, but many Latino-American political groups are not ready to bust out the margaritas just quite yet. Several groups—including MEXA de ELAC, Union del Barrio-LA, and the Los Angeles Brown Berets—are decidedly #notwithher and are calling for a rally at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park at 3pm today, according to LA Weekly.”

    The article was short on details, so I went to the Union del Barrio-LA FB page:

    “This event is meant to denounce Hillary for being a war criminal and the enemy of working class people here and abroad. We want to let her know that she is not welcomed in Los Angeles; especially on 5 de mayo!! It is important that we raise consciousness about what Hillary Clinton really stands for and that as a community we have a deeper political analysis than just “well, at least Trump won’t win.” We cannot allow our people to continue supporting the Democrats or Republicans because neither party represents our interests.

    Hillary has called for the continued deportation of Central American children. She has supported the criminalization of the African and Indigenous people’s. She was responsible for the coup of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras and she actively tried to overthrow Hugo Chavez and other revolutionary leaders in Latin America. She will continue to serve the interests of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street capitalists. She continues to opposed the $15 national minimum wage and universal healthcare. She supported the terrorist genocide against the civilian populations of Iraq and Libya. Donald Trump is a fascist that talks a lot of shit but Hillary has actually done and will continue to do the things that he speaks about.

    So what is our position on these elections? The same that it has always been for all Presidential elections: “Ni Republicanos, Ni Demócratas! Solo el pueblo organizado vencerá!”

    We welcome EVERYONE who believes that Hillary Clinton will continue to go against the interests of the working class in general and people of color in particular. This march doesn’t belong to our organization; it belongs to the community and to the struggle. Venceremos!..”

    1. fresno dan

      What you say in America matters so much more than what you do.
      Maybe, hopefully, with the innertubes, some day in the future the propaganda and public relations will start to take a back seat to reality….

  11. NomNomNom

    Oh god how I love McDonald’s. My favorite sandwich is the Double Quarter Pounder. It’s just basically half a pound of meat between a bun with onions, mustard, and ketchup, but it tastes so freaking good to me. I also love their fries. It’s ridiculous how McDonald’s is the only place that cuts them thin and use baker’s salt. I hate how these froo froo gourmet burger joints have to have big fries with the skin attached. The skin tastes like crap. How do people like that? I only eat there twice a year, but if there were no adverse health effects from eating junk, I’d eat there every other day.

    I love McDonald’s and I bet that pisses a lot of people off.

      1. cwaltz

        My kid works at a McDonalds. Maybe I should thank them for keeping him employed. ;)

  12. Joe Formerly of BKLYN

    RE: Her lead in polls over Him

    From the NY Times, May 17, 1988

    Michael S. Dukakis is capitalizing on deep public doubts about Vice President Bush and the Reagan Administration’s handling of key issues and has emerged as the early favorite for the Presidential election in November, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.
    Mr. Dukakis, the probable Democratic nominee, ran ahead of Mr. Bush, the almost certain Republican candidate, by 49 percent to 39 percent among 1,056 registered voters.

    The survey, conducted May 9-12, represented a significant advance for Mr. Dukakis since a Times/CBS News Poll in March when Mr. Bush had 46 percent and Mr. Dukakis had 45 percent.


    I haven’t seen this reported much in the media this week. Aren’t these reporter types spozed to provide perspective at the same time as they provide information? Or is this . . . anti-Hillary?

  13. RMO

    “I assume that Vancouver or Brooklyn would have different semiotics?”

    In metro Vancouver you can just assume almost any house you see has just been flipped or is about to be flipped. If it’s vacant for any measurable amount of time it’s probably being tossed from speculator to out-of-town owner repeatedly. Out here in the Surrey/Langley fringes it seems that most homes for sale aren’t being tarted up at all because the market is so frenzied that it’s not really necessary. I’m looking to move in the next few months and it seems not uncommon for the sellers to not even bother cleaning badly stained carpets before putting the house up for sale.

    As for Krugman losing his mind… as someone who once respected him I’m starting to wonder if maybe he found Ed Muskie’s long lost, mythical Ibogaine stash.

    Times like this make me almost sorry to be an agnostic as it leaves me with nothing specific to pray to. I would sacrifice myself to Azathoth if I believed it would avert the full-speed-ahead course for the rocks the world is on right now with the U.S. in the vanguard.

  14. clinical wasteman

    Thanks Lambert for the ‘slumlords’ Corrente piece.
    Yes indeed, a rent freeze for subhuman habitations would be a welcome (though small) start.
    Recent UK governments have another way again of not doing even that. With a 30-year ‘housing crisis’ now belatedly an ‘issue’, they make a lot of noise about ‘cracking down on rogue landlords’, which in practice always means dawn police raids and zero-notice evictions of the tenants — or those of them who don’t go straight to police cells or indefinite immigration detention. Because if you sleep eight to a room — or in a shift system where one worker takes over the mattress vacated by another leaving for work at 4am (as described by Emile Zola 150 years ago and practised by my next-door neighbours right now) — it’s clearly because of ‘bad life choices’, right?
    Blairite Labour Party municipal managers are extra-zealous in such enforcement, but even the Corbyn-endorsed policy of ‘landlord registration and regulation’ is likely to be bad news for the poor and/or ill-documented, because renting a fully ‘registered/regulated’ room — at least where the jobs are in London — requires a slew of credit and reference checks (paid for by the tenant) plus at least couple of months’ rent as down-payment, often through a ‘sealed bidding’ system that used to be for speculative buyers. (One consequence of all this is free reign for racial/social profiling of prospective tenants by the rentiers and their agents.)
    Almost everyone I’ve known in London since 1994 — apart from the few who got ‘council flats’ before those were abolished outright — has always lived on or beyond the outer margins of that system. Policing those margins or ‘grey markets’ out of existence would redouble homelessness and rents at once. Again.
    If you sleep on the street, the world’s your live-work unit.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “…inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me…”

  15. fresno dan

    “Mark Salter, a former top aide for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called Trump ‘wholly unfit for office’ Tuesday night and said he’d vote for Clinton. ”I’m with her,’ he said in a tweet Tuesday night” [McClatchy].
    “The same Republican leaders who mined birtherism, xenophobia, and racist dog whistles for political gold, and who failed to stop the Trump clown car when they had the chance, are now gearing up to pantomime a unified party” [LA Progressive]. “Add this level of voter estrangement to the rancor the Republican Establishment has already shown toward Trump, ranging from grudging acceptance to outright opposition,and there emerges an anti-Trump pincer movement with crucial blocs of voters rejecting him from below, while big Republican donors and party insiders rebuff him from above.”
    Make no mistake – Trumps racism, misogyny, crassness, ad infinitum from a party whose leaders could never clearly denounce birtherism and say straightforwardly that Obama was a US citizen are in no position to oppose Trump for those reasons. As I always say, the cleaver, Washington speak racism (pretty much followed by both parties) is EFFECTIVELY the more evil…..
    The real reasons – Trump may not be as warmongering as a “true” repub or as Hillary, Trump may not believe in cutting social security as much as the deep state, Trump may not be interested in maximizing the grift collected from the “free trade” deals, etcetera are the real reasons.
    The fact that these repubs will throw their support to Hillary just shows the REAL difference in the parties is who has the White House is the one who collects the preponderance of the bribes….but the most important thing is not to upset the scam.

    The American people for decades have never had a choice with regard to:
    1. All war, all the time
    2. “free trade”
    3. rising inequality AS A DESIGNED POLICY

    We were suppose to be arguing about transsexual bathrooms…..

    Hilary: “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow—and I will IF they deserve it, IF they pose a systemic risk, I will—would that end racism or sexism?”

    Hmmmmm…….And HAS electing a Clinton ended racism or sexism???

  16. John k

    Latest news is that abedin was interviewed last month. Two days ago hill said neither she or any of her reps had been contacted… Aides are not reps? Really?

    Anyway, nice to see some progress. Hill should be interviewed by mid-may?
    Hopefully this has expanded to selling state favors for foundation bucks…

    Comey said no real deadline, including convention. Does this imply there is so much to investigate?
    Best for Bernie if indictment before convention, best for trump if after.

    1. NYPaul


      If Hillary is indicted, or if the FBI refers it to Justice recommending indictment, does Bernie get the nomination automatically? (Assuming, of course, she drops out.) Also, if Bernie drops out before then, leaving Hillary as the sole nominee, and, she’s indicted, what happens then?

      You could have a convention with no nominee. Does the Constitution offer any help?

      1. rich

        Wall Street Whistleblower Turns His Scrutiny on the Clinton Foundation Charles Ortel: ‘This is a charity fraud’

        The Wall Street analyst who uncovered financial discrepancies at General Electric before its stock crashed in 2008 claims the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has a number of irregularities in its tax records and could be violating state laws.

        Charles Ortel, a longtime financial adviser, said he has spent the past 15 months digging into the Clinton Foundation’s public records, federal and state-level tax filings, and donor disclosures. That includes records from the foundation’s many offshoots—including the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Clinton Global Initiative—as well as its foreign subsidiaries.

        This week, Ortel is starting to release his findings in the first of a series of up to 40 planned reports on his website. His allegation: “this is a charity fraud.”

        Ortel said his reports in the coming months would also provide evidence that the foundation is not complying with state laws on fundraising, financial disclosure, and audits.

        “I’m against charity fraud. I think people in both parties are against charity fraud, and this is a charity fraud,” he said.

        Ortel said he hoped the reports would encourage investigative journalists to follow up on his findings.

        A spokesperson for the Clinton Foundation did not comment on the claims.


        does msm actually staff investigative journalists??

      2. Code Name D

        Hah! Roomer has it that the beltway dems will appoint Biden if that happens.

      3. Qrys

        Does the Constitution offer any help?

        The Constitution does not recognize nor require Political Parties nor regulate how they decide their nominees, it only requires 50% of the Electoral College for any candidate to win election. In theory, each party could field multiple nominees, but they don’t because it further divides their own vote and makes it more likely that the House of Representative chooses the next POTUS. This is one of the reasons we keep falling back into the two-party system, because of that absolute majority requirement.

        As for the Democratic Party: In the event of a vacancy of a nominee the DNC has the responsibility under their Bylaws / Article 2. / Section 1.c.: for “Filling vacancies in the nominations for the office of the President and Vice President;”

        It’s unclear to me, but it seems to have a wide leeway in how they arrive at an alternate nominee between National Conventions, presumably the Chairperson guides that process to a large degree.

        However, note that each State has a different deadline to get a candidate’s name on the official ballot, and that process is hard to muddle through… so timing is really really important.

      4. Jim Haygood

        “If Hillary is indicted, or if the FBI refers it to Justice recommending indictment, does Bernie get the nomination automatically?”

        With respect, you don’t know the Clintons.

        Nothing, including indictment, will induce them to withdraw.

        They will call it a “coup” and a “lynching” and urge people to vote for them to “save America.”

        I’m absolutely not joking.

  17. Benedict@Large

    Re: tax-exempt status of Princeton University

    Princeton as well as most of the other Ivies were chartered as tax-exempt by the British crown before the Revolutionary War. When later the Constitution was written, it included a provision that stated that all charters existing at that time would be honored in the new country. This is where the tax-exempt status of the Ivies comes from.

    Given that this tax-exempt status was thus in effect written into the Constitution, it would take a Constitutional amendment to revoke it. Sorry, but if you are looking for additional tax revenues, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

    1. Vatch

      Interesting; I guess you must be referring to the first sentence of Article 6:

      All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

      Presumably, the tax exempt status was accepted under the Articles of Confederation.

    2. Cry Shop

      That’s interesting, because none of the treaties between the British and the native peoples were kept/honoured by either the Federal Government or the State Governments. If the Ives could win that in court, then a lot of white people in the East are going to be displaced from their property post-haste.

    1. Skippy

      Ref – “re-alignment” Post neoliberal consolidation phase thingy…

      Disheveled Marsupial… Steven Mnuchin…. upwardly mobile Flexian poster boy…. win or lose its a notch in the old network bedpost…

  18. Lambert Strether Post author

    Contrast this:

    2,000 doctors say Bernie Sanders has the right approach to health care

    to this:

    Prominent Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado The Intercept

    * * *

    Here is the proposal at PNHP: Beyond the Affordable Care Act: A Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform

    Obviously, if the Democrat establishment really wants to build on ObamaCare, this is the way forward. (I would anticipate a massive Brock-inspired tweetstorm on how this proposal differs from what Sanders has proposed, and how Sanders is weak on detail, etc. That might convince some leaners, but my take is that in general Sanders voters, and especially organizers, are policy-oriented, not detail-oriented. Get the single payer policy in place, and then fight the legislative battle on detail…)

  19. jjmacjohnson

    All over the Hudson Valley in New York, the new rich folk buying weekend houses are building fences around their newly acquired property too. Horrible.

  20. RW Tucker

    If Bernie does not run third party, he loses my respect. It’s the only way he can impact the race in any positive way from this point on.

    1. lambert strether

      I hate that “loses my respect” trope and never use it. It presumes the speaker’s respect is worth having, right? And anybody who trumpets how much they deserve to be respected…. Well, it’s self-cancelling, right?

      1. RW Tucker

        I think you’re being pedantic for the sake of avoiding the actual issue I’m bringing up. I’ve donated to his campaign.

        1. flora

          so suppose Bernie runs as 3rd party after the nominating process. See John Anderson, see Ross Perot. See Ralph Nader. See Teddy Rooseveld 2nd run. What always happens is that the 3rd party run draws off just enough support that the establishment DNC/RNC candidate get the nom anyway AND (and this is important) if they win the presidency they say ‘see we don’t need to listen to those guys who left the party’; if they lose they say ‘see it wasn’t OUR party’s voters who rejected us, so no need to listen to those other guys, our party’s voters like us just fine.’ It’s a way for both RNC/DNC to purge their parties of the disaffected without changing the status quo. It reinforces the status quo. I want to change the status quo. If Hillary wins the nom and she loses the general I want the DNC to know it was Dem voters who rejected the DNC’s status quo. In the general I want to vote for Bernie as the Dem candidate.

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