Links 5/1/16

Cracker Jack’s Prize In The Box Will Now Be Digitized NPR

Buffett Says Derivatives ‘Time Bomb’ May Elude Auditors’ Reviews Bloomberg

Listen Carefully for Hints of the Next Global Recession Robert Shiller, NYT

How to Prepare for the Next Recession NYT

The Next Global Boom – and Bust Simon Johnson, Project Syndicate

Where On The Titanic Would You Like Your Deck Chair, Ma’am? The Archdruid Report

Kingpins: OxyContin, Heroin, and the Sackler-Sinaloa Connection Addiction Unscripted (ST).

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s Compensation Soars 69 Percent to $42.1 Million Hollywood Reporter (Harry Shearer). Shearer: “Most effective rebuttal to ‘maximizing shareholder value’ nonsense.”

Royal Bank of Scotland sucked into 1MDB probe FT

NC treasurer’s corporate board service poses ethical questions Charlotte News-Observer. And so it should!

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Rolex Zephyr Teachout, NYT. Apparently, former Governor Bob McDonnell is appealing his conviction for public corruption on the grounds that he has a First Amendment right to accept “expensive vacations, a Rolex, a $20,000 shopping spree, $15,000 in catering expenses for a daughter’s wedding and tens of thousands of dollars in private loans.”

Mossack Fonseca

Offshore onshore and Luxembourg, the black heart of Europe Sigrún Davíðsdóttir’s Icelog (RS).

Political roundup: Insights into Government processes and wealth protection New Zealand Herald (RS).

EU Referendum: Poll shows Britain split 50/50 – but higher turnout among older voters could tip country into Brexit Independent


China clings to positive factory growth for 2nd straight month FT

Love on China’s factory floor Le Monde Diplomatique

Japan’s Growing Poverty Defies Glib Explanations Bloomberg (ReSilc).


The Observer view on Barack Obama’s role in bringing peace to Syria Guardian

Syria Daily: Has US Accepted Russian-Regime Bombing of Aleppo? EA WorldView (Re Silc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Permanent Security State Reason

McRaven does not know his place… Sic Semper Tyrannis. More institutional decay.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Racist Roots of a Way to Sell Homes NYT. Contracts for deed “are increasingly being used by investment firms that have bought thousands of foreclosed homes and want to sell them to lower-income buyers ‘as is.’ … Contracts for deed make gouging possible, because unlike traditional mortgages, there is no appraisal or inspection to ensure that the loan amount is reasonable.”

Larry Wilmore’s harshest burns in his White House correspondents’ dinner speech WaPo. Pretty sour mood, overall. And a lot of stone faces in the audience.

Obama’s legacy: Politics of anger, fights, division McClatchy

The Selling of Obama Politico


Warren Buffett: Trump? Hillary? Doesn’t matter, we’ll be fine CNBC

The Quiet American Slate. Excellent profile of Trump strategist Paul Manafort, and a good antidote to the “Insiders” link Yves posted from Politico yesterday. Manafort comes to play. So does his good buddy Roger Stone. And let’s remember that normal Americans don’t focus on the election ’til after Labor Day. Plenty of time for Manafort to do for The Donald what he did for Ukraine’s Yanukovych.

If Trump is nominated, the GOP must keep him out of the White House George Will, WaPo. “These men will stay here: Kietel, Jodl, Krebs and Burgdorf. ”

Clintonism screwed the Democrats: How Bill, Hillary and the Democratic Leadership Council gutted progressivism Salon

‘Mad as hell’ middle class independents shape presidential race on their terms Guardian

Workers wonder whether Bernie Sanders’ fight for them will really help them compete LA Times. I guarantee that “Honey, can I compete?” is a question that’s not often asked at the typical working class kitchen table.

The most underappreciated fact of the election: Americans feel good about the economy WaPo. If you identify “feeling good” with consumer sentiment, yes.

Black Women Rally Behind Hillary Clinton WSJ

Donna Edwards skips Democratic Party’s unity rally after primary loss WaPo

Stop sneering at Bernie Sanders Greg Sargent, WaPo

The revolution is not over: How Bernie Sanders can still win CNBC

How Bernie Sanders Can Squander—or Expand—His Victory Alternet. Concern trolling.

Big Ammo: Clinton is raising money from gunpowder lobbyists and investors Medium

My Response To Being Attacked By Josh Holland In Raw Story Concerning #ExitPollGate Lee Camp. Discrepancies between exit polling and voting results in Democratic primaries.

May Day, Trump, Sanders: LAPD braces for weekend of political protest LA Times

Just How Offensive Is Will Ferrell’s ‘Reagan’? Hollywood Reporter

Newsonomics: In the platform wars, how well are you armed? Nieman Labs

Class Warfare

Big Money in Politics Doesn’t Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War. Foreign Policy in Focus

How Big Data Harms Poor Communities The Atlantic

Human Extinction Isn’t That Unlikely The Atlantic. Enough with the happy talk!

Leicester City: Buddhist monks and karma powering Foxes to glory CNN

How Claudio Ranieri’s tactics put his rivals to shame at Leicester City Telegraph

Rio Olympics fall short in test events AFP

Trains in Space LRB

Navigating like a Norwegian: How Norway Dispels the Private vs Public Sector Myth Evonomics

Antidote du jour:


Sadly, I missed World Penguin Day!

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. Steve H.

    – Buffett Says Derivatives ‘Time Bomb’ May Elude Auditors’ Reviews Bloomberg

    “Anything where discontinuities can exist can be real poison in markets.”

    This struck me funny. My first interpretation of discontinuity is from geology, a shift in the regular layout of a crystal that makes a plane where fracture is likely to occur. But there aren’t more discontinuitied atoms than there are regular ones. Isn’t the total price/cost of derivatives something like five to ten times global GDP? Along with their version of jus primae noctis, the unordering ‘discontinuities’ have become a conglomerate matrix surrounding the ordered bits.

    1. abynormal

      Buffet is counting on eluding auditors…

      and wait till the Giants stomp around Water rights…no personal ROI will afford the cost.
      “Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed a new position in Nalco Holding, a stock I’ve liked (and recommended) for a long time.

      With a $1.6 billion market cap, Nalco is a small-cap stock… but it’s actually one of the world’s largest water-treatment companies.”

      1. Carla

        Rich people always corner the market on the essentials of life. I mean, what other purpose do they have, other than to make the rest of humanity impoverished and miserable?

  2. Carolinian

    Those Larry Wilmore jokes are pretty funny.

    Meanwhile there’s that other Larry (and future HRC appointee?)

    The problem, in Frank’s view, is not simply that mainstream Democrats have failed to address growing inequality. Instead, he suggests something more sinister: Today’s leading Democrats actually don’t want to reduce inequality because they believe that inequality is the normal and righteous order of things. As proof, he points to the famously impolitic Larry Summers, whose background as a former president of Harvard, former Treasury secretary and former chief economist of the World Bank embodies all that Frank abhors about modern Democrats. “One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated,” Summers commented early in the Obama administration.

    1. Steve H.

      — “You look terrible, Mr. President. No, you do, man. Look at you. Your hair is so white it tried to punch me at a Trump rally.”

      — “I have to say about the first lady, it is so nice to have dinner with you. She is the epitome of grace, class, and poise. Isn’t she? She really is. Not to be confused with future first gentleman Bill Clinton whose three favorite strippers are named Grace, Class, and Poise.”

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “If this material works well, I’m gonna use it at goldman sachs next year. Earn me some serious Tubmans.”

        So sayeth the first black president at his last “correspondents” dinner.

        He’s fired up and ready to go. And it sounds just as sleazy in black-speak.

          1. Steve H.

            Yeah, I had a physical reaction on that quote. After checking for veracity. He really said that.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              He also said “I’m really good at killing people” and “Foreign policy is more than just deciding who to bomb next”.
              Sticking by my contention: Worst_President_Ever.
              (And yes I am counting Andrew Johnson and Millard Fillmore)
              All he did was normalize every single policy we hated under the Bush Crime Family Neo-Cons

          2. petal

            I was thinking along the lines of wage slavery, or “I’m going to get rich and buy people” or work to keep others poor(as he has been all along. That guy sickens me to no end. Both him and HC love GS. What better way to trivialise HC’s speech/money issue than for him to crack jokes about it. Ha. Ha. Ha.

        1. Pat

          Wow. I never thought I would find something done or said by a President at the Village Prom as disgusting as W’s hunt for the missing WMD, but that might just do it. And at the same time I’m gob smacked. Because I’m not so sure it is as clueless as it seems. I mean the sitting President just said that his actions if approved (even if it is a joke) can earn him a significant after Presidency income from a business regulated by his administration. And at the same time made it clear that both Clintons have been a part of that.

          And Cruz just flat out called Clinton corrupt, as he said and I quote: ‘Hillary has made millions of dollars selling power and influence in Washington.” It was in context of calling Trump and Clinton flip sides of the same coin, and saying he and Carly Fiorina, cough really did you miss her entire history Ted, are running on issues. But hey it was said.

          1. Pavel

            I agree that this is shocking in its brazenness — and typically Obama in that way — but I’m not sure this quite matches his first dinner’s “joke” all those years ago about sending drones after any guy who tried to date his daughters. Talk about a preview of his administration. So that was the entrance and now we have his exit, disgusting and disturbing and with yet another “F-U” to the electorate.

          2. Carla

            Hey, it was a JOKE, people! —

            Isn’t that what a**holes always say when they’re called on an utterly disgusting and unforgivable statement?

            Barry wants to know what’s wrong with your sense of humor.

            1. inode_buddha

              The correct response to that would be “What’s wrong with his sense of decency?”

        2. ChiGal

          it was a joke, folks! just one of several digs at the Clintons ($20 bills? c’mon now)

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            You’re right.

            $20 is ONLY almost 3 hours work at minimum wage or what you’d make in 10% of a part-time, 30 hour work week. Nine more whole “Tubmans” comin’ for the rest of the week. That’s before social security and medicare taxes are withheld. Hardly even worth getting worked up about.

            There are jokes and then there are jokes.

            That you, hillary?

          2. Pat

            But here’s the thing, and I admit I have not seen the entire Obama routine, that joke AND the joke about comparing Hillary’s attempt to connect with young voters with your clueless Aunt on Facebook were, well fairly biting to Clinton. OTOH, calling Bernie the fresh face of the Democratic Party AND translating the you look like a million bucks into the number of small donors would it take did not really take anything away from Sanders. There is no controversy or disagreement about his age or that he has been amazing at getting millions in small donations. Pointing out that Hillary is out of touch, clueless, and sells access even in jokes…

            Apparently contrary to the usual supporter meme, Clinton isn’t that likable when you get to know her personally.

            1. ChiGal

              Yup, he did a number on her. And Kat, please don’t lecture me. I’m a hospice social worker on the south side of Chicago confronted every day with the impact of grotesque cuts in services on folks with less $ even than minimum wage. How about in Illinois Medicaid is ALL MCOs now and the burial benefit was eliminated last July 1. Free body and organ donation organizations are full up and Cook County morgue has stopped taking storage cases. Unless we get Bernie (and as we all know it may still be too late, Obama let 8 years go by and mostly made things worse) there will be bodies in the streets…

              1. participant-observer-observed

                At LA County hospital the solution is to not claim so John and Jane Does are cremated at county crematorium and after a period on shelf go in the mass grave at the county cemetery.

                Supposedly there are hardship funds for normal burials for the poor, but several people a day leave the world anonymously.

          3. Cry Shop

            It’s also normalizing corruption (the use of public power for private gain) by making a joke about how Hillary is doing it so publicly, so don’t be shocked when Obama does it just a tad ever so slightly more discretely.

        3. Vatch

          In a strange way, this joke about Goldman Sachs might help some people see the light about Hillary Clinton’s corruption.

            1. nycTerrierist

              The funny thing — at least to me: Obama’s shtick would have been funny if anyone else had delivered it. Imagine a great cartoonist like Ted Rall for example – or Chris Rock channeling the droner-in-chief.
              But Obama himself saying this was not funny bc it was just a brazen, in your face flaunting of corruption, by a gangster who knows he will not be held accountable.
              And that is why I found his comment offensive.
              He was basically taunting us: what are we going to do about it?

              1. Massinissa

                Yeah, it would have been funny from someone we knew who really wasn’t going to get rich after the presidency.

                He really IS going to be rolling in tubmans/benjamins/whatever, so theres no irony involved, so I don’t understand how some are finding it ascerbic to Clinton… Hes going to do the same thing

                1. Cry Shop

                  He has already done the same thing, namely his library fund. He’ll be flying off to play lots of golf at the “west coast” whitehouse on the library’s tab, hence Larry’s joke about golf is a jab that cuts both ways.

        4. cassandra

          Bribing them while they’re in office would be illegal. Their behavior is rewarded in the afterlife.

  3. EndOfTheWorld

    Warren Buffett on derivatives: “Some of these things get so complicated that they’re very hard to evaluate.” Which is why “if you take the 50 largest banks in the world, we wouldn’t even think about (investing in) probably 45 of them.” This is why the banksters desperately need HRC to be the next prez. She’ll be ready and willing with the next trillion dollar bailout when it’s needed. Trump is more likely to let the bankruptcies roll on. The Donald has already predicted a big financial crash—unusual talk for a presidential candidate–but then he’s the unusual candidate.That’s why he’s popular.

  4. Pavel

    Ex-CIA analyst (and now eminent pacifist) Ray McGovern muses about the potential for NSA or FBI blackmailing a future President Clinton based on her email server leaks…

    We know that State Department bureaucrats under Secretary Clinton overruled repeated requests for additional security in Benghazi. We also know that Clinton disregarded NSA’s repeated warnings against the use of unencrypted communications. One of NSA’s core missions, after all, is to create and maintain secure communications for military, diplomatic, and other government users.

    Clinton’s flouting of the rules, in NSA’s face, would have created additional incentive for NSA to keep an especially close watch on her emails and telephone calls. The NSA also might know whether some intelligence service successfully hacked into Clinton’s server, but there’s no reason to think that the NSA would share that sort of information with the FBI, given the NSA’s history of not sharing its data with other federal agencies even when doing so makes sense.

    It is altogether likely that Gen. Keith Alexander, head of NSA from 2005 to 2014, neglected to tell the Secretary of State of NSA’s “collect it all” dragnet collection that included the emails and telephone calls of Americans – including Clinton’s. This need not have been simply the result of Alexander’s pique at her disdain for communications security requirements, but rather mostly a consequence of NSA’s modus operandi.

    With the mindset at NSA, one could readily argue that the Secretary of State – and perhaps the President himself – had no “need-to-know.” And, needless to say, the fewer briefed on the NSA’s flagrant disregard for Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures the better.

    So, if there is something incriminating – or at least politically damaging – in Clinton’s emails, it’s a safe bet that at least the NSA and maybe the FBI, as well, knows. And that could make life difficult for a Clinton-45 presidency. Inside the Beltway, we don’t say the word “blackmail,” but the potential will be there. The whole thing needs to be cleaned up now before the choices for the next President are locked in.

    Hoisted on Her Own Petard—-Hillary’s Gratuitous Attack On Snowden And Lies About Her Own Emails

    The article is highly recommended, as are Ray’s frequent interview appearances on the Scott Horton Show (cf He is a real character, but full of insight.

    1. cassandra

      Re politically damaging: that horse has left the barn: One reason John Kiriakou blew the whistle on illegal surveillance is that he came across a surveillance order on then-Senator Barack Obama. (Unable to find the link to this immediately). You can draw your own conclusions, but recall how J. Edgar Hoover made use of similar illegal surveillance data.

    2. oh

      I wonder why the NSA refused HC’s request for a secure Blackberry? DId BO block that? Been wondering why…..^\/^

      1. JCC

        It could be because Blackberry phones are no longer allowed in general due to security issues. The only reason Obama got one is because he is the President and demanded one. The Govt spent a small fortune ensuring its security. No one else in allowed one in Govt service on the Govt’s dime at this time.

        In other words, don’t read too much into Hillary not getting one fully secured. No other Cabinet Member (to the best of my knowledge) has one as secure as Obama’s either.

        1. bob

          no longer “allowed” by who? where?

          Also, what security issues? Like an apple iphone that can be “hacked” by a private company, if apple won’t cooperate off the bat, as they usually do.

          google is strictly evil these days. So there goes android…

          What then?

        2. Cry Shop

          It’s mostly overseas government banning Blackberry back when Sec. Clinton held office.

          What is the policy now I can’t say, but when Clinton was in office, Blackberry’s were still considered secure enough for all but the most critical emails. Perhaps Clinton wanted the ability to access certain emails that were not normally allowed off of certain secure networks, but how she could have gotten around that with a private server, legally, is beyond me. This sounds more like post excuse making.

          1. Yves Smith

            No, no no. You need to read up on this. It was NOT overseas. Blackberries are less insecure than other devices but they are not up to the standards required for transmission of classified info. Obama is a Blackberry addict, and he got some sort of special magic stuff done so he could keep using his. Clinton wanted the same and was told firmly, repeatedly, “No”.

            And she kept flagrantly using her Blackberry when she had alternatives right there. She insisted on using her Blackberry at State rather than a secure desktop. I’m trying to get to posting, so I’m going to eschew giving links and details, but that blowing off of security rules was also a big deal. But her excuse was pathetic: “I don’t do desktops.” Bullshit. She’s of an age when she had to have typed her own papers in college and law school. This is pure prima donna in action (and that as a cover for being able to handle Clinton Foundation work in parallel with her State stuff, as opposed to have to take care as to what she did on which device).

            1. Cry Shop

              “Perhaps Clinton wanted the ability to access certain emails that were not normally allowed off of certain secure networks,” So we’re not that far apart, to clarify, what is it that I’m saying: she probably could have use a blackberry for messages about the State Dept picnic, and on up to a certain level, I’ve seen them being used inside the US Consulate in Hong Kong by officials dealing with issues I had brought before them, items that at least had privacy requirements, ala SS, IRS, etc.

              Perhaps she got what she wanted in the end, which was the ability to mingle her private interest with the government interests in a server under her control and to make them indistinguishable to both US organs and overseas governments.

      2. aab

        Don’t have a link handy, but my understanding is that the NSA already had evidence that the Chinese government had converted diplomats’ Blackberries into listening bugs remotely, and told Clinton so. So when she used her unsecure Blackberry anyway, she was potentially letting the Chinese (and probably others) listen in on EVERY conversation she had — official or personal.

        Personally, I think the whole “convenience” thing is yet another lie. I think it was all status. She couldn’t bear that Obama got something that she couldn’t have. After all, he was supposed to be “carrying her bags.”

        1. Cry Shop

          she was potentially letting the Chinese (and probably others) listen in on EVERY conversation she had — official or personal.

          That’s a feature, not a defect, if one wants to let the paying clients, the one’s booking her husband to make so many vacuous speeches (in China and SE Asia for example) that she’s working hard to deliver the goods. While the majority of the State Dept lower and middle level employees believe they honestly are working for the best interests of the US Government, there is a certain filtering process** that allows those that bend the rules to rise to upper management positions. The higher they rise, the weaker their moral compass for the most part, this being particularly true since the 1980’s and Reagan’s installing a revolving door at the formerly staid State Dept. At the top, she’s be part of the norm.

          This phenomena isn’t just at the State Dept., its the same in the IRS, where my step-mother was employed for 30 years and was a Union steward, watching the process of corruption of the top management, and so I’d assume it’s present in any government organ with more than a few nickels to rub.

    3. bob

      “Clinton’s flouting of the rules, in NSA’s face, would have created additional incentive for NSA to keep an especially close watch on her emails and telephone calls.”

      Complete gibberish. Consider it both ways- mine, and only mine. It also comes very close to suggesting that the NSA determines computer policy, and that a member of the executive branch, however vile, should kneel before the great and wonderful NSA, and their “warnings”? This is just before, “suggesting” that the NSA would blackmail a US prez?

      Cognitive Dissonance defined.

      That it has happened, and will continue to happen is of no doubt to me. Of course it does happen. But to suggest that the way to avoid the NSA is to listen to the NSA is juvenile, at best.

      “So, if there is something incriminating – or at least politically damaging – in Clinton’s emails, it’s a safe bet that at least the NSA and maybe the FBI, as well, knows”

      If this guy thinks ANYTHING on the internet is “secure” he’s at least 10 years out of date. It’s a “safe bet” never to get anything sensitive near email.

      And then, more recently, some form of confirmation, from snowden, if you choose to believe him. PSST- he worked for both the NSA and CIA.

      1. sd

        I was surprised to learn there are 38 FOIA lawsuits still pending over the Clinton emails.

      2. inode_buddha

        The DoD in fact doe sdetermine infosec standards as far as the US Govt is concerned, and to whatever extent the NSA drafts those standards. see the industry classic “orange book” (now way outdated and declassified)

        I’ve had copies of this and more current tomes (CIS) best practices for years. And yes in fact everyone who handles classified info is supposed to adhere to those rules, including ESPECIALLY the Executive branch.

  5. allan

    McRaven does not know his place…

    Left unsaid by Pat Lang is that McRaven is now Chancellor of the University of Texas System,
    to which you can be sure he brings his fine MIC values.
    Institutional decay, indeed.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    re: ‘Japans Growing Poverty…’

    another of that authors attempts to be yet another supposed liberal who really just concern trolls the left. He notes the ‘progressive’ reasons given for growing inequality in Japan, but then dismisses it without actually addressing it.

    There is no great mystery to the reason why inequality and poverty is growing in Japan. Japan managed to create a relatively equal and harmonious society through a strong consensus based around big companies providing lots of jobs and a sort of welfare in lieu of State action. As Japanese companies have weakened, those protected by the big companies have become fewer and fewer, and more and more are forced to work in the more precarious branches of the economy – these always existed, they are just getting more and more important. As more people search for the jobs at the bottom, relative pay for those jobs drops. In the absence of a proper social welfare system, this is pretty much inevitable. At least in Germany, which share some characteristics of Japans overall system, there is a much firmer government safety net.

    1. cwaltz

      In shorter terms, they are becoming poor because Japan chose a capitalist model. Big, private companies, whose purpose is profitability, no longer feel they can sustain care for the workforce and because government left their care to these companies there is no safety net to keep the workers once employed by them from falling into poverty.

      Sounds like a familiar model.

      1. HotFlash

        I can’t supply a link b/c this is info from my Japanese friends, going back 50 yrs or more, and their “conventional wisdom”. The US govt neutered the Japanese govt after the war, so the main provider(s) of public services to the people was the corporations. These corps were often from samurai families, so embodied the Japanese version of “noblesse oblige”. Everything — education, health care, pensions, job security — was provided by the corporations (previously feudal lords) and the expected return was loyalty. Quid pro quo.

        According to my friends, the breaking point was the late 80’s, when the corps started laying off people, a thing previously unheard of — * and **. An honorable lord looked after his retainers!

        * For a look at this time, see 3×3 Eyes.

        ** Yes, there were ronin (masterless samurai), but they were usually pledged to lords who were dead or otherwise neutralized politically.

      2. Yves Smith

        No, in Japan the purpose of companies is to create employment. Japanese entrepreneurs are revered for creating jobs, not for getting rich like here. And taxes are so high in Japan that even the really rich are rich in terms of stock and real estate holdings (assets) much more than income. Conspicuous consumption is very much frowned on in Japan.

        Japanese companies squeezed the already-not-large wage disparities between new hires and execs to preserve jobs, something you would never see in the West save maybe at a owner-controlled company. And even that wasn’t enough with the prolonged depression. Japanese companies never had large profit margins, and they’ve had to cut deeper to survive.

        1. Praedor

          The ratio of CEO to worker pay in Japan is something like 11:1 I believe. VASTLY better than the nearly 500:1 that exists ONLY in the US. No other nation comes close. The Japanese simply do social good better than the US (but that’s – still – true of all other advanced nations where the CEO:worker pay ratio is less than 20:1).

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This has always been understood in northern Europe, especially with regard to the ‘Rhineland’ model, where Unions frequently sit on the Board of Directors of a company.

      The drawback of course is that as with Germany, the Unions become just as reactionary as the shareholders – it still baffles me how the supposedly strong German Unions have consistently accepted low wages since the 1990’s in Germany – one direct cause of the gross imbalances in the Eurozone.

      1. Cry Shop

        One key issue is both how undemocratic are labour unions in Germany and how well the government/press/media work for their masters to inform the software coding of the masses. To address the former, simply compare the size and degree of centralized power of labour unions in Germany vs. the inherit limit on their size by the small populations of the Nordic Countries.

  7. Romancing the Loan

    Hey so when are we doing another NC meetup? I would love to meet some other readers in Boston (particularly now that the readership of this and the Archdruid Report is starting to overlap – I feel like I’ve come home!)

    1. Yves Smith

      I would love to but after our terrific fundraiser last fall, we’ve had a disaster with our ad service. Payments for October and November (which we got 2 months later, that’s the billing/payout cycle) were 35% of, not 35% less, but 35% of the prior year. And 4Q is the best period of the year. To put it another way, if we hadn’t had the great fundraiser, we’d be in real trouble, as opposed to miserable and overtaxed. We’d thought we”d finally be able to escape the cycle of working so hard merely to tread water.

      We have not gotten satisfactory explanations, needless to say, and the next two months were less terrible but not good. We have also gotten some deeply troubling reports from other former customers of our ad service. We’ve moved on but it was basically a five month kick in the gut. I had other stressors on top of this, but this was horribly upsetting and a monster setback.

      1. Steve H.

        Corporate sponsorship?

        Not kidding. Made a post with details, but way too long. “I can name plenty of MBAs who don’t fit your cartoon image.” The speculative sector has been crushing the productive sectors, and NC is the best at revealing their methods. I could say more, but I’ll say too much.

      2. Romancing the Loan

        Oof, sorry to hear it. When things settle down your first couple rounds are on me.

  8. SufferinSuccotash

    I find Shiller’s NYT piece to be virtually incoherent. Is it just me?

    1. craazyman

      I actually found it surprisingly lucid, for an economist. It’s almost on the verge of an understanding that otherwise would transform the entire school of thought, but it fails to cross that boundary, perhaps because the boundary is unseen and unknown or perhaps because the boundary & it’s implications would so defy quantification, in any conventional econometric sense, as to be an object of an almost conscious repression and certainly an unconscious one. Money is a mythic structure, that’s the reality. The equations and quantities do nothing to describe it, all they do is perpetuate it.

      1. MikeNY

        Yeah, I read it as his admission that economists don’t know how to predict recessions, which is the same as to say that economics really isn’t a science, and economists don’t really know how things work. Surprising candor from an economist!

      2. craazyboy

        Economists have been searching for the mathematical formula for confidence and a feeling of well being. They haven’t found it yet, which in a odd way, seems to increase their confidence and a feeling of well being. This is why they never just say faakit and give up. They keep trying because being unsuccessful is rewarding.

        But this does give us a clue to the solution. Dopamine levels. We can solve the whole problem technically if we implant people with dopamine regulator chips.

        When people’s spending drops too low, the gubmint can send out radio waves increasing everyone’s dopamine levels which will make them feel good and spend money. If people start getting carried away with risky behavior like betting their whole paycheck on a 10 bagger pony at the racetrack, or a Goldman Sachs financial product, the gubmint can send out radio waves decreasing our dopamine levels and this would be negative feedback and reduce our desire for 10 baggers.

        You don’t need fancy math at all for this.

        1. craazyman

          I was disturbed mentally today by a strange thought that hit me as i was walking around in a suburban neighborhood by myself near where I grew up.

          I thought, “What if society unravels completely and people freak out so bad and get so disoriented, even in the USA, that they go back home and collect themselves into tribes based on where they went to high school, and they fight each other with weapons like lawn and garden tools and lawnmowers. You could dig a trench around your high school’s neighborhood zone and defend it with lawnmowers tipped up so the blades face out. (If they’re gas fueled that is, not if they’re electric). That could be a good reason to get a gas powered lawnmower, just in case you need to use it in self defense.”

          A kitchen blender wouldn’t work as well, unless somebody actually got into your home and was attacking you in your kitchen. Then they’d have to attack you close enough to an electric outlet for your blender to be effective for self-defense..

          I guess a critic could say that’s an unrealistic sort of situation. But the weird thing is, it was that way in New Guinea within our lifetimes. if somebody reads up on it, they’ll see I’m not exaggerating. I think it’s like that in a lot of places. they just don’t call it high school. they use some other name.

          So why is it that history always has to go forward? Can’t it go backward? Of course it can. It does in most places. This is why we need Bernie for president, because he is a way truly forward, not fake forward or even slightly backward at a weird angle, a weird angle with lots of flash and bluster and awards and promotions, just so you don’t notice it’s backward.

          I still believe he’ll win. And when he does, Professors Wray and Kelton will emerge from anonymity and become household names. I was just kidding about voting for Trump after 5 beers. I really don’t think I’ll vote, again. But I’ll defininitely drink again. I don’t know man. It would be weird to go home and go back to high school and defend your turf and your colors with lawn and garden tools and lawnmowers in hand to hand combat. That seems like an outrageous amount of work and I only hope people are too lazy for it to ever come to that. But it’s hard to say. For sure.

          1. craazyboy

            I think a cast iron frying pan would be my weapon of choice because it’s kinda “green” and doesn’t need energy when you are defending your turf. Can’t really depend on the electricity being on, or gas at the gas station.

            Been reading fantasy novels lately instead of sci-fi to prepare for the future. Got the idea after reading Gibson’s “Jackpot” and realized the future was kinda a feudal system, and what better way to learn more about feudal life than fantasy novels? Except that they have wizards and warlocks, but that’s what makes them fantasy novels. However, they also had axes, pitchforks and any number of sharp and or pointy dangerous instruments they used to protect their space.

            I think if Hillary gets elected we’ll have 8 years of the final, irreversible, cementing together of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism and we are on our way to the “Jackpot”.

            True, Bernie could still get elected and maybe begin to change course of the juggernaut. Even get Trump to be his VP. In that case, I still think it’s still a good idea if we have televised weekend mud wresting grudge matches between Stephanie and The Donald out back in the Rose Garden. This would help make the White House fun again.

            Not sure what Professor Wray is good for. Maybe he can print up some different currency for the free college tuition program? Call it Federal Price Gouging Notes, then quote the exchange rate colleges get to convert it back to USD? 4 to 1 maybe?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think ‘a free organic apple a day, for all citizens,’ is much broader, and healthier.

              Once healthy again, we can (I was going to say, compete with, by that’s a dirty word, so I decided not to) take on anyone, including China.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Robert Shiller argued in a 1981 paper that “annual changes in real stock prices [are] over five times higher than … the observed variability of real dividends.”

      For instance, if a stock’s current value is derived from 50 years of expected future cash flows, then one recession year with no earnings or dividends should only reduce its value by a small percentage. Yet stocks commonly sell off by 20 to 50 percent in a recession, despite their long-term objective value having hardly changed.

      Evidently, chronic overshooting and undershooting of asset prices derives from crowd psychology, rather than from accounting-based measures of value. This is a problem for economics, because it means ‘equilibrium’ is only a transient state. Most prices, most of the time, diverge from their rational equilibrium values.

      If Shiller’s article sounds incoherent, it’s because economics cannot explain or forecast sudden shifts in crowd psychology. Just as deadly mass stampedes occur from time to time at the Saudi hajj in Mecca, investors also collectively riot at unpredictable intervals, causing bubbles and crashes.

      What’s a layperson to do? Fade the MSM. They are reliably wrong. Doing the opposite of what they say is only prudent.

      1. MikeNY

        Wow, you mean to say mathematics can’t explain or predict human emotions? /sarc

  9. mad as hell.

    I quit watching the correspondents dinner a few years ago because it just irked the hell out of me seeing the clueless Washington insiders parade around like the the aristocracy they think they are. Well last night my youngest boy was over for dinner and when we finally all settled to the couch he put it on. I protested a little but he was the guest and I had plenty to read while it was on.Boy was I happy that he got his way

    Larry Wilmore shoved it in their faces on just how propagandist and ridiculous the Washington press corp is. I think his attack was brilliant. Of course the attending audience was going to be stone faced he was verbally beheading the news people like a survivor in the Walking Dead. My god when he started on CNN our house was booming with laughter so much it sounded like a Chevy Impala on Cinco de Mayo. He got Don Lemon so upset that Lemon gave Wilmore the finger! Which is the exact response I would expect Lemon to give with his intellectual capacity. It was priceless when Wilmore talked about Andrew Jackson referring to black people as j-a-bs. I wonder when the last time that crowd heard that word?
    Larry Wilmore was a very brave man to do want he did last night. I respect him highly for it and to the people that booked him as well as the press corp that did not see it coming. You better start paying attention to what’s going on out there because now it is becoming all about you!

    1. cwaltz

      I thought Obama took it to the press corps worse.

      He pretty much laid the success of the Trump candidacy entirely at their feet.

      I am not a fan but his whole entire spiel about them giving him the “appropriate amount of coverage for the seriousness of his candidacy” was a complete indictment of media.

      I will say this, I dislike Trump but it makes me giggle to know that his candidacy sticks in the craw of DC serious people whose main business seems to be acquiring everything they can put their greedy little hands on. If Bernie loses I’m getting me lots of popcorn.

      1. edmondo

        Yes, Obama complaining about Trump’s “undue amount of press coverage” is kinda like Hillary bitching about Ben Bernacke’s speaking fees. I guess Obama forget from where he came in 2008?

  10. Benedict@Large

    Japan’s Growing Poverty Defies Glib Explanations || Bloomberg

    For 20 years, Japan simply monetized its debt. Not a lot of growth, but no poverty. But all the while, Mr, Market screamed about the inflation monster, who never showed up. At long last, Japan has succumb to Mr, Market’s badgering, and adopted a more Monetarist strategy of managing its debt. Voila, just as MMT would predict: Growing poverty.

    The Monetarists will never get it. Everything they say is wrong.

    1. Massinissa

      Did you read the article or look at the chart inside? Poverty has been increasing in Japan for years now, since 1985. It long predates Abe. And Im not trying to defend his actions

  11. Joek

    The ariticle re McDonnell is really, truly shocking. That the Supreme Court justices have strayed this far leaves me speechless, pun intended.

    The end of the article:

    “If we do not provide against corruption,” argued the Virginia delegate George Mason, “our government will soon be at an end.”

    Today, Virginia’s former governor proposes that there is a “fundamental constitutional right” to buy and sell access. If the court finds in his favor, it will have turned corruption from a wrong into a right.

    what might be a form of hope for some of us, if a perverse and desperate one: that Mason’s words are prophetic.

  12. Massinissa

    On Crackerjacks, its not surprising, its been going downhill for years. It used to be they gave out little trinkets in the boxes. For at least a decade or so they replaced the trinket with a piece of paper with riddles and jokes. In fact they started doing the app thing in 2013, in that some prizes were app related and others were papers with riddles and jokes.

    Theyre just getting rid of the paper now. *shrugs*

    1. fresno dan

      you do know that the “popcorn” is cricket exoskeletons? Of course, that is no worse than popcorn…

      1. Massinissa

        Links please? Cant find that on Google. I think you may be thinking of rice crackers or something. Pretty sure Cracker Jacks are coated with crappy caramel.

  13. abynormal

    Charlie Chaplin, poem written on his 70th birthday (April 16, 1959):
    As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

    As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

    As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

    As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

    As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

    As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

    As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

    As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

    As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

    We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!

    …even after living thru the great depression, interesting.

  14. Archie

    Anyone still confused about what the D party stands for must read the Paul Rosenberg article in Salon. They (and especially the Clintons) are the known evil with 30+ years of examples on how to marginalize the common good. They give roaches a bad name.

  15. Pat

    Shorter Politico: The real failure of the Obama Presidency is being unwilling or unable to “sell” his agenda. He is now popular because he isn’t even trying to work within the established framework.

    Or how to write four pages of drivel about Obama and the press.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      If you were inclined to believe that the “Sunday shows” deal with the important “news” developments of the previous week, you could be forgiven for not knowing that the overrun of our “green zone” in Iraq even happened.

      Barely a whisper of the shattering of the Iraq illusion after 15 long years of death, destruction and, to use a phrase from the all-important “correspondents” dinner, “serious Tubmans.”

      In fact, msnbs just announced, to triumphant musical fanfare, this breaking “news”:

      Malia Obama will attend “college” at Harvard next year.

      As if there was ever a doubt.

      Because “meritocracy.”

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Oops, in the interest of accuracy, Malia Obama will be a member of the harvard class of 2021, meaning she will take a “gap year” prior to matriculation.

          1. Jim Haygood

            More likely George W. Bush, another Harvard alumnus.

            There is only one War Party.

      2. Cry Shop

        The Evening News certainly isn’t telling Joe and Jane that they are responsible for funding with their taxes and supporting with their vote the bombing of hospitals in Afghanistan & Yemen (Saudi air-force is using US DOD controllers), and water treatment plants that make dysentery a greater child killer than Obie-wan’s double tapping drone strikes. it might put them off their Monsanto manufactured soylent red, depressing sales. Actually the media’s masters worry for not, Joe and Jane long ago gave up giving a f*ck about anything but their dog or cat.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Selling of Obama Politico

    “The inside story of how a great communicator lost the narrative.”

    Sometimes the product is just ice, and the Eskimos aren’t buyin’,

    1. Praedor

      It is the US, via Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc, that is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism. Indirectly, MOST of the time, but sponsoring terrorism nonetheless.

      Then there’s the Seymour Hersch reveal that Obama and $Hillary went full terrorists by OKing Libyan sarin transfer into Syria. Expecting, encouraging, PUSHING for a sarin gas attack IS terrorism.

  17. Alex morfesis

    The grey lady and her crack pipe…the racist roots…where does one begin…is the old grey witch suggesting the banks they fawn over are ready to lend to stabilize working poor housing…is wells or b of a making loans of 35 grand for working poor people…nope…working poor are only allowed to buy homes that cost 120 grand…which…gosh darn it.. They wont qualify for…

    back to the fields you rabble rousing serfs…how dare though attempt to change your station…

    And how did these hedge hogs get these “foreclosures” to “rip off” working poor minorities ?

    Buying in bulk from hud fannie freeddie and gold man smelly socks & friends…

    And why didnt hud or fannie or wall street offer the homes to the former owners or local residents instead of letting someone else skim the arbitrage ?

    NCLC is running some project on this…but who is funding it and why…is it the large tax certificate buying groups that want to keep working poor neighborhoods down so they can keep their business model working ?

    The old grey battle axe is well past her sale by date…

  18. Carolinian

    Ian Welsh on the rational irrationality of capitalism.

    This is the basic Capitalist feedback system (in theory). Do more of whatever is profitable and consensual, and that will happen automatically if possible because those who make the most profit are doing the things people value the most compared to the cost of producing those things.

    So why have we produced to so much carbon that we’re going to kill a billion people or more?

    Because Capitalist rationality is systemic rationality. It does not question ends. By definition anything which makes profits and is consensual is good. (I’m leaving out questions of perfect consensuality, like power and so on deliberately.)

    Of course you could apply the same concept to almost anything. Our foreign policy for example is systemically rational but otherwise irrational. Perhaps one problem with Welsh’s idea is the assumption that humans are rational beings when they in fact are not. We are, however, very clever at inventing explanations for our irrational behavior. Over to you Hillary….

  19. fresno dan

    It seems plausible to me, at least, that the tellers of these tales are getting blinkered by their own feelings of superiority — that the mere act of busting myths makes them more susceptible to spreading them. It lowers their defenses, in the same way that the act of remembering sometimes seems to make us more likely to forget. Could it be that the more credulous we become, the more convinced we are of our own debunker bona fides? Does skepticism self-destruct?

    Nothing I love more than a good debunking….but with the advent of the innertubes, I slowly, and then in an onslaught, found ever more debunkings of the debunkings, and then debunkings of the debunkings of the debunkings….etc.

    Now I have reached the point where I am no longer absolutely positive that Donald Trump is actually, in fact, a short fingered black lesbian whose total worth is 109$, whose appearance is solely due to CGI…whose candidacy is funded by Jeb! in cahoots with the trilateral commission as a diversion to permit an open convention and the nomination of the man on the white horse – Nelson Rockefeller (his head remains viable).
    Yes, the Rockefellers run everything – any alternative explanations are all McGuffins…

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the CNBC link on the path to D nomination:

    She now has 1,645 pledged delegates. You need 2,383 delegates to clinch. So, if she doesn’t use super delegates, then she needs 738 of 1,206 remaining delegates up for grabs. She is very unlikely to win that many delegates in the upcoming states, which largely favor Bernie Sanders.

    If superdelegates are not democratic and should not be included, then you take them out.

    From Wikipedia, there are 715 superdelegates for 2016.

    You take 715 of them out of the following

    1) the total of delegates – which I assume, from above, (2383 x 2) -1 = 4765

    2) the total to clinch — 50% (of non super-delegate delegates), if fractional, plus 1 — that is, (4765 – 715)/2 = 2025.

    Hillary has 1645 now and needs 380 (2025 – 1645) out of the remaining 1,2606 to clinch. She doesnt need 738, if super-delegates are not democratic and should not be included.

    That is, 380, not 738.

    Here, the issue to remember is, that if you don’t include super-delegates, the total to win is not 2,383, but 2025.

    380/1206 is apprx. 1/3, around in the 30s percentage wise, of the remaining votes.

    The narrow path is to say to 2383 is needed to win, and the super-delegates will be included and they need to switch to Sanders, because 1. momentum of late victories (hopefully), 2. patriotic duty to the country, 3, electability (assuming the Republicans keep refraining from going after Sanders seriously).

    So, now, the super-delegates have gone from being un-democratic, to, you have a chance to save the country, and we will count you in.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also, if the super delegates simply reflect voters, the total for Hillary to clinch is still around 380.

      If she can get the additional 380, it implies she has over 50% of

      1. total votes in the entire primary process
      2. the total non-superdelegate delegates.

      That would mean she gets over 50% of the 715 super-delegates if they, as mentioned in the opening assumption sentence, simply reflect voters. So, the key number, here, in this case, is still 380.

      So, back to the narrow path, the logic would be to urge the super-delegates to discard the voters should Hillary gets 380 of the remaining 1206, and vote for the country.

      1. John k

        The narrow path is for Bernie to get 70% using your numbers. Somebody else said he needed just 65%.
        Difficult without Fbi.

    2. Pat

      You make the assumption that the Super Delegates are not counted as part of the final total of delegates. The rule is over 50% of the delegates, not the pledged delegates. Both nominees still need to reach 2383. And yes the supers do vote, but since they are not pledged their votes can change right up to moment they vote. The only way their vote doesn’t matter is if one of the candidates reaches the 2383 level of pledged delegates. So while Clinton only needs a limited number of votes to reach that level with the super delegates she currently has pledged, nothing counts until they vote.
      It may be unlikely that Sanders can reach the point where he has the majority of pledged delegates it is still possible, meaning the super delegates will decide the election. The path for his getting the nomination does include his getting about half of Clinton’s current super delegates to switch to him. Unlikely, but not impossible.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Yes, that’s an assumption and under the current rules, they do count.

        I was referring to earlier discussions, days and weeks back, that these super delegates were not elected in this election cycle (though many were elected, previously, into office with more votes, say a governor – there are 21 governors and 47 senators among the 715 – who was chosen on a state level, than the 2016 delegates have received in their districts).

        The earlier argument, complaint, was that they were not voted by the 2016 voters, and it was undemocratic to include them, or that they should be excluded.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If ‘nothing counts until they vote,’ what does it mean math wise?

        And I agree nothing counts until the convention with respect to s. delegates.

        What does it mean mathematically?

        1. to clinch before convention, for anyone, in any election cycle, not just Hillary, he or she will need 2383 pledged delegates from only, yes, a pool of only 4050, and not from a pool of 4765.

        2. the reason is you can’t count the ones from the 715 superdelegates before the convention.

        3. 2383 over 4050 is 58.8%.

        4. 2383 over 4765 is 50% plus 1.

        5. That is to say, the way it’s set up now, any candidate has to capture nearly 59% to win, to clinch, before the convention, by campaigning in all 50 states and other territories.

        Or, you can say, a candidate does not win a state unless he or she has nearly 59%, and we are all reporting or understanding it incorrectly.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just a thread jump to plagiarize something I saw elsewhere in the blogosphere about Hilary: “At least in Greek mythology they have the decency to separate Medusa and the Harpy into two different creatures”

        2. Pat

          Pretty much. While there was some back and forth on the supers in 2008, it was more about the primaries where the states were excluded from the count because of having a primary before they were allowed to by the rules. Another unfair thing. I think the supers became an issue because they were used for the propaganda point because including them in the reported delegate count made Clinton appear more unbeatable than she was. Historically there was just not done since there was nothing binding about their stated intentions.

          That is also part of the reason when Clinton supporters said that Sanders supporters were making too much of it because the Supers ALWAYS follow the will of the voters historically my reaction was there is nothing following historical norms in this campaign season.

          Look, it is going to take an act of God, a revolutionary awakening by the voters, or an indictment of Clinton or at least most of her senior aides for Sanders to win the nomination. But it is not impossible, if he wins over 60% of the remaining delegates AND the supers follow the will of their voters, he’ll be President next January. Otherwise we’ll be presented with the circus that will be the Clinton/Trump campaign of 2016.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Every election cycle, the senate has 1/3 of its members run for their seats.

            That is, 2/3 of the senate retain their legitimacy from their previous elections.

            Among the super-delegates, many are elected officials currently serving.

            The pledged delegates correspond to the newly elected senators (1/3). They follow the will of the voters of 2016.

            The super-delegates are like the rest (2/3). The follow the wills of the voters from earlier elections, and the wills may not be the same.

            The super delegates, again, many, like governors and senators, were elected by far more people (not just from a district and not just in the primaries, but in general elections, where more voted), and they don’t have to follow the will of the 2016 voters, but the wills of those who voted them into office.

  21. Juneau

    From the bottom of my heart thank you for the article on the rise of opioid sales (illicit and licit) in the US, facilitated/mandated by a corporate titan and his minions and blamed solely on we the people and their health care providers.
    It puts the pieces together so well.

    1. inode_buddha

      You know I’ve been wondering whats the connection between an ongoing war in the prime opium-growing part of the world, and an epidemic here. Things that make you go “Hrmm”. Sort of like how US oil companies might have some interest in the MidEast, and lately prices have tanked. Hrmmm.
      I wonder how’s corporate Amerika doing lately?

  22. meeps

    Happy International Workers’ Day, NC! To commemorate this day in 1886, may I suggest a most apropos anthem? Captures the spirit of these filthy worker rebellions. My, how history repeats! Can the Capitalists hear it this time? (;

    MAYDAY, Tomahawk, Mit Gas:

  23. Toolate

    Not one comment about George Will circling the wagons for Shillary?
    Nor of the opinion piece in the wapo that pretends to defend Bern?

    Not one post on the death of a true hero?

    1. Yves Smith

      We are not omniscient, nor do we have unlimited resources. If you’d like a news item to be discussed the protocol here is for you to provide it and make a comment to start discussion, not to criticize a service that it free to you.

    2. Vatch

      Heh! First it was Charles Koch, now George Will. A few more supporters like this, and even the most ardent Hillary supporters might realize just how tainted she is.

      Is Daniel Berrigan the hero to whom you refer?

    3. flora

      George Will parodies himself. Piling on would be unseemly. Oh…, well, ok, just this once…

      “A convention’s sovereign duty is to choose a plausible nominee who has a reasonable chance to win, not to passively affirm the will of a mere plurality of voters recorded episodically in a protracted process. ”

      I do hope he was wearing his American flag pin when he wrote that. /s

      1. flora

        adding: Will should have waited with that column and published it 4 weeks from now, close to Memorial Day.

  24. EGrise

    “These men will stay here: Kietel, Jodl, Krebs and Burgdorf.”

    So does that make John Kasich the equivalent of Army Group Steiner? Or was that Rubio? I figure Jeb was Friedrich Paulus.

  25. Anne

    The real problem is that the media has decided it’s going to be Trump/Clinton, and has more or less just stopped covering Sanders, other than the occasional afterthought-type reference to Sanders having no realistic path to the nomination. From what I have seen, they have turned off the oxygen of the coverage that feeds the campaign, and are treating Sanders’ chances as if they are on life support. From what I have seen, if Clinton wins Indiana on Tuesday, the media will officially pull the plug.

    In effect, the media has come full circle on Sanders; they ignored him until the couldn’t, and now they are ignoring him because they can. The drama is Clinton v. Trump, not Clinton v. Sanders. After Tuesday, it isn’t even going to be Trump v. Cruz – what little bit of life is left in that contest had a heart attack after the Cruz/Kasich alliance, and flat-lined with the Fiorina announcement.

    How does one overcome the media juggernaut that has decided who the nominees will be? How do you keep the message going, the energy, the hope, the drive, without media coverage? Social media is one way, and that seems to be chugging along, but there are vast swaths of the electorate that don’t use social media, at least not in a politically active way.

    If the media doesn’t “see” you, do you exist?

    1. James Levy

      It’s interesting that despite the fact that most media disliked/distrusted Trump, they couldn’t take their eyes off him and effectively made him early on when all the Repubs were desperate for coverage. Sanders bored and annoyed them and they were happy to ignore him then as now.

  26. rich

    Sunday, May 1, 2016
    Carlyle Group’s 2015 Paltry Tax Rate: Half of 1%

    The Carlyle Group reported total revenues over $3 billion and net income of $402.2 million. From that Carlyle’s provision for income taxes for 2015 was $2.1 million. That’s an effective tax rate of half of 1%, 0.52% to be exact.

    A decade of trips to Capital Hill and the White House paid off for Carlyle’s David Rubenstein. In an age of privilege not everyone is the same.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The rich will give money to politicians (but no proven quid pro quo, we are told).

      The rich are reluctant to give money to the government (i.e. pay taxes) on the other hand.

      Nor do they like to give money to the people.

      From these, we deduce that politicians are more important. You are friends with never-quid-pro-quo politicians, you don’t have to worry about the government nor the people.

      That is, my friend, simply a description of reality. And when the government can spend as much as it wants, that means, in reality, we can describe it as the politicians (and the rich) can spend (and receive) as much they want.

  27. Kim Kaufman

    re: Kingpins: OxyContin, Heroin, and the Sackler-Sinaloa Connection Addiction Unscripted (ST).

    It’s nice to see the narcotics selling industry going more or less legit – capturing regulatory agencies and pressuring doctors to be drug pushers.

    I am presently reading “Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance between The Vatican, The CIA and the Mafia” by Paul L. Williams. It came out about a year ago and was, predictably, ignored.

    The gist of it is so far is that towards the end of WWII, the geniuses running the OSS – those elite Ivy Leaguers like Wild Bill Donovan, Jr., Allen Dulles, etc. – decided in about 1943 that Stalin may not be such a great ally after all. In fact, he might want to take over Europe. So Donovan rounded up some sympathetic Nazis and they created “stay behind units” doing intelligence and covert actions to keep Communism out of Europe.

    This wound up being a pretty expensive program and since it was covert, off the books, accountable to basically no one, there was no legitimate U.S. budget for it. What to do? Where to get money to keep it going? They started dealing heroin with the leftover SS heroin used on wounded soldiers. Who was their targeted clientele? Harlem and those crazy jazz folks. But the covert activities got bigger and more expensive and they moved onto heroin from Turkey, engaging the Sicilian and Corsican Mafia to force the Communists out of the Marseilles port. The Mafia took over the processing, shipping and distribution. The Vatican was the liaison with the Mafia and became the the bank (laundromat), accountable to no one but themselves.

    I’m up to the point where they expanded further into Southeast Asia and created that whole heroin route back to the U.S., pre-Vietnam war. One begins to wonder if the Vietnam war was ever to “stop Communism” or just to keep the smack route open and the money flowing.

    Maybe others here are familiar with this story but I haven’t really gone down this rabbit hole before. The level of betrayal and the misery caused by the U.S. government on us and the people around the world is stunning.

    A quote: In 1998, Dennis Dayle, former chief of an elite DEA unit… “In my 30-year career in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies,” Dayle said, “the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Probably has dealt in heroin and marijuana, all part of their bread-and-circuses operations.

      1. rich

        who needs to push heroin when they can tap us all………………. ?

        Canadian pharma group raises price of NHS eye drug 14-fold

        The National Health Service has been stung by a Canadian drugs group that has heavily increased the prices of some generic medicines in a move reminiscent of the price gouging plot employed by the US’s “bad boy of pharma” Martin Shkreli.

        Concordia Healthcare’s dramatic price rises in the UK include a surge of more than 14-fold in the cost of eyedrops for bacterial conjunctivitis, for which it is the sole manufacturer.

        The steep prices the NHS is being forced to pay highlight a potential flaw in the UK healthcare system, which normally secures drugs at much lower prices than those paid in the US. While the price of branded medicines is tightly controlled in Britain, there is less regulation in the market for generic off-patent drugs as competition between drugmakers generally keeps costs down.

        However, AMCo, a British division of Concordia that had UK sales of about £250m last year, specialises in niche generic medicines where it faces little or no competition from rivals, allowing it to push through sharp price rises. For example, after fusidic acid eyedrops were acquired by AMCo, the price rose from £2.09 in May 2013 to £29.06 in April 2016, according to the NHS tariff book.

        When Concordia bought AMCo for £2.3bn last September from private equity group Cinven, John Beighton, AMCo chief executive, boasted to analysts that the UK was “a prime market [for] being able to move prices”.

        Other price rises include the cost to the NHS of an AMCo-manufactured ear drop and a treatment for hyperthyroidism, both of which have risen fivefold in the past three years.

        Concordia has also sharply increased the prices of many of the medicines it sells in the US, according to figures compiled by Rx Savings for the Financial Times.

        It increased the price of two blood pressure drugs, Dibenzyline and Dyrenium, by 174 per cent and 152 per cent, respectively, last year, while doubling the price of several of its other medicines.

        “These types of price increases are eroding the American economy. Consumers, employers and health plans simply cannot keep up with the unsustainable trajectory,” said Michael Rea, chief executive of Rx Savings, which sells software to employers to help them cut the cost of buying medicines for workers.

        The price for Dibenzyline jumped from about $100 a pill at the start of 2015 to $287 a pill, according to one person in the pharmacy industry, who asked not to be named as pricing contracts are confidential.

        At this price of $287 per 10mg tablet, the cost for a year’s supply for patients on the lowest recommended dose would be $200,000, rising to more than $1m for those taking the highest dose.

        The group, which listed via reverse takeover in December 2013, has a market capitalisation of $1.6bn, and net debt of $3.2bn.

  28. ChrisPacific

    McDonnell really claims he has a First Amendment right to accept expensive goodies from lobbyists? What does he think he is being prevented from saying? “Yes, please?”

  29. marym

    Sanders press conference today, about 29 mins including questions.

    Paraphrasing: He’s in till the convention. It will be a contested convention. Most important not to elect Trump or other R, he’s the strongest candidate to do that (cites national and battleground state polls). Super delegates need to consider the will of primary/caucus voters, and also his strength against R candidates.


    1. marym

      Adding , starting at about 6:50 talking about delegate counts, he says it’s “virtually impossible” for Clinton to get a majority of pledged delegates by 6/14.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The question, and one I am sure to be brought up by the other side, is this:

      If a state elected a Democratic senator the last time, but elects a Republican this time for the other spot in the Senate, does the D senator follow the will of the voters of this year, or the will of the people who voted to put in a Democrat the last time?/

      1. marym

        What would the will of voters who voted for Republicans have to do with which Democratic candidate a Democratic super delegate supported for the Democratic nomination?

        Within the universe of Democratic primary voters and super delegates who are or were also elected Democrats, there’s a super delegate Democratic Congressman in IL, for example, who said he would vote for Sanders at the convention because that’s who won the primary in his district. A super delegate who’s an elected governor or Senator, or ex-governor/Senator replaced by a Republican, may also with similar logic decide based on who won the Democratic primary in her/his state.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It was an analogy to illustrate that many super-delegates were elected, just like the 2016 delegates.

          And like all politicians, they don’t always do what they have promised to do, so, yes, they, as super delegates, can vote for whatever they want. Many have indicated that they will support Clinton, but they don’t have to follow through.

          As many are establishment Democrats, the likelihood is they will, at the convention, support her, and the path is indeed narrow for Sanders.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The hope is that super-delegates don’t follow the 2016 popular vote

          As mentioned above, if they do, mathematically, that means Hillary needs only 380 of the remaining 1206.

          And that’s a big change from a few weeks ago, when super-delegates, unlike elected delegates, were criticized as un-elected by the voters (by that, it was assumed by the 2016 voters).

    1. ekstase

      Well, if you read storify carefully, it is like an essay. And some folks, (me) probably discovered Bilmon only after twitter was invented. So we use the medium we are given, and we do the best we can with it.

  30. KFritz

    Re: Leicester

    Neither article mentions the Foxes’ chief structural advantage–all of the other teams at the ‘top end of the table’ were playing in the EUFA Champions League or Europa League, and number 2 Tottenham Hotspur ‘personally’ knocked Leicester out of the FA Cup. American sports fans can hardly comprehend all the simultaneous competitions that European soccer teams play in all season, and only American soccer fans have experience with top players leaving their paying clubs in the middle of the season for mandatory national team appearances, including ‘friendlies.’ Leicester was, by far, the least burdened of all the top teams in England in this system, though Jaimie Vardy is now a regular ‘call-up’ to England’s national squad.

    American sports fans are routinely shocked by “relegation,” in which the bottom 3 teams of of a league are demoted to the ‘minor leagues’–if the NY Yankees were to finish among the 4 or 5 lowest teams in MLB, as in the European scheme, they would be a AAA team the following year. That’s what Leicester avoided in 2015.

  31. ekstase

    “The Global Challenges Foundation estimates a 9.5 percent chance of human extinction within the next hundred years.”

    But to be fair, how much of a chance have they really had to calculate this? This area of odds-making is brand new.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The claim is that the cockroach can survive almost anything.

      That’s a myth waiting to be busted.

      But many will still harbor hopes that crossing its genes with the human’s, we can survive and not go extinct.

  32. ambrit

    Anyone more knowledgeable than myself know what’s happening in the Japanese Market? The Nikkei 225 is down over seven percent in two days. If we go back to the years beginning, the Japanese Market is in a correction, neh? How far down does a market need to go for it to be considered in a Panic?

  33. ChrisPacific

    Nice picture of little blue penguins. We used to see them playing around our boat regularly on sailing holidays.

  34. Cry Shop

    The internet may have driven down the income for the average reporter, but the Walter Cronkite-ization of the audience, where for large sections of the audience the name of the reporter (bludgeoned repeatedly into their brain) has a much, probably more, pull than those niggling, troublesome facts. Particularly when it’s a bias being confirmed.

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