2:00PM Water Cooler 7/1/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I discovered that I need a different brand of waders to deal with Trump, so I had to go get them. So this Water Cooler will be a little smaller than usual, though I’ll try to add some updates.


“CATO GIVES TPP A THUMBS-UP: The Cato Institute is urging approval of the TPP, arguing the benefits of the 12-nation pact outweigh its shortcomings. ‘If the TPP will deliver more trade liberalization than restriction, and realistic alternatives to comprehensive liberalization are unavailable, why not support the TPP?’ the libertarian think tank concluded” [Politico]. So I guess Clinton feels she’s got the go-ahead?

“SILENCE OF THE LEFT regarding Euro-Austerity and T-TIP” [Michael Hudson, Defend Democracy].



“For Clinton, tiny fundraisers equal big campaign money” [AP]. “A single elevator could have accommodated the donors who recently gathered with Hillary Clinton at the Pritzker family home in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Small in number, the group was big in largesse, contributing at least $1 million to help elect her and other Democrats this fall. It would have taken a 37,000-seat stadium of Bernie Sanders fans each chipping in the campaign’s self-described average donation of $27 to raise that much money.” Ka-ching. They’re doubling down, aren’t they? Sucking up to squillionaire donors isn’t something the Democrat Party is forced into doing; they enjoy doing it, and they think it’s the right way to do politics.

The Voters

“Obama’s Rise Isn’t Lifting All Boats” [Cook Political Report]. ” Voters may be feeling better about President Obama, but that doesn’t mean that they want to stay on the “Obama path.” When asked if they wanted a president who “can set the nation in a new direction” or “keep the country moving in the direction Obama has been taking us,” a majority – 56 percent – told Washington Post/ABC pollsters they wanted to move in a new direction. Not surprisingly, those most strongly committed to a “new direction” were older, white and without a college degree. Meanwhile, 52 percent of non-whites and 45 percent of 18-39 year olds said they’d like to keep the status quo.”

“The GOP’s War on Voting Is Working” [The Nation]. What a steaming load. If the Democrat Party were serious about voter registration, it would be running voter registration drives as a normal, year-round, 24/7 part of normal party function, certainly since Florida 2000. They aren’t, so they don’t. They would also be setting up programs to get voters IDs in states were Republicans insist on that. This talking point is classic “mean Republican” whinging, issued by a flaccid party apparatus, flat on its back, making no effort to rise.’

UPDATE “New Poll Finds That Hillary Supporters Are Pretty Racist Too” [Slate]. Shocker, huh?

UPDATE But surprisingly Slate doesn’t tell the whole story:

The Trail

“Chechen leader Kadyrov to choose assistant on reality TV show” [Guardian]. And the difference between that and Warren’s “try-out” on-stage in Ohio would be? I mean, besides the Chechen’s refreshing simplicity? (Assuming it was a try-out, and not just a few Acela-rising pundits framing it that way.)

“Kaine accepted clothes, vacation as gifts” [Politico]. Didn’t run ’em through a Foundation. See, there’s your problem. We need smart Veeps.

“Bernie Sanders’s stubbornness is a big mistake” [William Daley, WaPo]. I forget which bank the very concerned Daley worked for…

Biden tells NPR Sanders will endorse before the convention [NPR]. Later, Sanders tells MSNCB he won’t [Talking Points Memo].

Is this normal? From four months ago:

Clinton Email Hairball

“Loretta Lynch to Accept F.B.I. Recommendations in Clinton Email Inquiry” [New York Times]. The lead:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, conceding that her airport meeting with former President Bill Clinton this week had cast a shadow over a federal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal email account, said Friday that she would accept whatever recommendations that career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make about whether to bring charges in the case.

But surely that “shadow” would have been obvious in advance to lawyer Lynch and (disbarred) lawyer Clinton. So WTF?

State Department moves for extension to twenty-seven (27) months “to complete production of responsive, non-exempt portions of approximately fourteen thousand pages of emails and attachments” [Citizens United v. Department of State]. Again, past the 2018 midterms? Really?

Stats Watch

Construction Spending, May 2016: “[S]urprisingly weak” [Econoday]. “The decline follows an even steeper and downwardly revised 2.0 percent drop in April. Spending on single-family homes, despite the rise underway in housing starts, fell… Housing is on the climb this year but a gradual one, which has its positives given the bubbles of the past.” I like “of the past” a lot. Of course bubbles are in the past! Where else would they be? And: “The headlines say construction spending slowed, and was below expectations. The backward revisions make this series wacky – but the rolling averages declined” [Econintersect].

PMI Manufacturing Index, June 2016 (final): “The final manufacturing PMI for June is little changed from the flash” [Econoday]. “[P]oints to no more than modest growth for the sector. But the news is mostly good in June, at least compared to May when the index was even weaker at 50.7. June saw a pickup in new orders and a 2-year high in export growth. Production was also up as was employment. But inventories were down as the sample, in a defensive move, keeps a lid on restocking.”

ISM Mfg Index, June 2016: “ISM’s sample is reporting significant acceleration to a level that is still, however, no more than moderate.” Talk about mixed messaging…. [Econoday]. “Production is active, inventories may be on the climb, but employment is flat.” And: If an index level below 50 “normally signals a recession,” we dodged a bullet earlier this year (chart) [Econintersect].

GDP: “Q1 GDP was revised upward to 1.1%. Originally GDP was estimated to be 0.5%, then revised up to 0.8% and now reported to be 1.1%. While consumer spending was revised somewhat lower again, exports came to the rescue and bumped up Q1 GDP. Private investment contraction was less than originally estimated as well. Now GDP is still weak but not anything to be concerned about. Seems revisions always change the economic growth story and Q1 is no exception” [Economic Populist].

ETFs: “News that most large U.S. banks passed the Federal Reserve’s stress test, and would now be able to increase buybacks and dividends, triggered hopes that perhaps the U.S. financial sector—this year’s worst-performing S&P 500 sector—might be ready to find a footing” [ETF.com]. Eight years later, with squillions of dollars and endless solicitude. Help me.

Shipping: “Week 25 of 2016 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) contracted according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. The short term rolling average’s contraction continues to moderate” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “Financial peril for dry bulk shipping companies is expected to continue throughout the year, a new study finds, as weak demand from China shows no signs of abating” [Wall Street Journal, “More Rough Waters Ahead for Dry Bulk Carriers”]. “Industry revenue dropped 18% between 2014 and 2015, according to a new analysis of 17 dry bulk companies by consulting firm AlixPartners LLP.”

Shipping: “United Parcel Service Inc. is joining the package industry effort to cut delivery costs by redefining the so-called ‘last mile.’ The parcel giant says it is adding 300 locker pickup locations across the U.S. after testing the system in Chicago…” [Wall Street Journal]. The lockers are part of the broad effort by delivery companies to respond to the explosive growth of online sales—business that has pushed millions of new small shipments through distribution channels but also raised costs and triggered headaches with home deliveries that make parcel networks more complicated.” 300 isn’t a large number, considering the number of post offices there are.

Shipping: “Top North America TEU traffic declines continued during May, top West Coast seaports have outperformed East and Gulf coasts” [James Sands, Seeking Alpha]. “Class I rail container traffic has continued to mirror declining seaport traffic trends for the year.”

Shipping: ” Report: Rail-car demand ‘weakened significantly’ in Q1″ [Progressive Railroading]. “Due to the weak demand for coal cars and lower orders and backlogs for other types of cars, the firm eased its 2016 deliveries estimate to 60,300 cars and the 2017 projection to 47,300 units.”

Shipping: “May was another month of “disappointment” for air cargo as demand growth was “limited to 0.5%”, according to WorldACD” [Air Cargo News]. “The analyst said it was hardly surprised by the low growth figure given that “world trade is in a slump”. During the month, volumes originating from North America declined by 4% year on year, whereas the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) grew by 4%.

China: “In a first look at China’s economic performance in June, two gauges of manufacturing activity weakened as factories continued to battle overcapacity, slower growth and rising debt” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “Move Loot, a YC-backed furniture resale marketplace, shuts down, sells customer list to Handy” [Tech Crunch]. We have that. It’s called “Goodwill and my friend’s truck.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 71, Greed (previous close: 62, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 30 at 11:55am. Accelerating smoothly back into the 70s.


“Any business school professor would say that a cut in the price of membership by an organization is a sign of weakness, or an attempt to build a customer base by using discounts to drive traffic. The NRA recently offered a ‘dues roll-back’ which relies on worry that Hillary Clinton has continued to push for bans of certain weapons which ‘is a war on the Second Amendment'” [247 Wall Street]. The pathetic Democrats can’t even manage a fake sit-in on the actual House floor, carpet and all — who kidnapped John Lewis? — without getting involved in a campaign finance scanda. And these paragons of integritude sold the bill as being about gunz even though it’s really about giving the FBI a brand new useless dragnet Trust me, Clinton is not going to take away your gunz. State made overseas deals for Remington, and Remington’s private equity owners contribute to Clinton. Keep calm.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme; here’s one of the nicer pictures.


Casualities of a million-and-a-half, give or take, over the four months. Rather puts the War on Terror in perspective, eh?

Good luck, everyone!

“How J.R.R. Tolkien Found Mordor on the Western Front” [New York Times]. “Beside the courage of ordinary men, the carnage of war seems also to have opened Tolkien’s eyes to a primal fact about the human condition: the will to power. This is the force animating Sauron, the sorcerer-warlord and great enemy of Middle-earth. ‘But the only measure that he knows is desire,’ explains the wizard Gandalf, ‘desire for power.’ Not even Frodo, the Ring-bearer and chief protagonist, escapes the temptation.”


UPDATE Lucas Museum in Chicago goes **** up [Chicago Tribune]. What a shame.

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Who got rich off the student debt crisis?” [Reveal News]. “If states had continued to support public higher education at the rate they had in 1980, they would have invested at least an additional $500 billion in their university systems, according to an analysis by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. The estimate that states would have invested at least an additional $500 billion in public higher education, had they continued to contribute to higher education at the rate they did in 1980, is based on an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

According to the bureau’s National Income and Products Accounts, total spending on higher education was $39.6 billion in 1980, of which states contributed $21.2 billion, or 54 percent. In 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, total spending on higher education was $353.7 billion, of which states contributed $132.4 billion, or 37 percent.

If states had continued to fund public higher education from 1980 to the present at the 54 percent rate, they would have contributed more than $500 billion to public colleges and universities.

That’s an amount roughly equal to the outstanding student debt now held by those who enrolled in public colleges and universities.

UPDATE “Driver ticketed for giving money to cop disguised as panhandler” [Boing Boing]. Altruism disincentivized.

News of the Wired

“As software pilots more of our vehicles, humans can pay the ultimate price. Robert N. Charette investigates the causes and consequences of the automation paradox” [IEEE (2009)]. Shorter: Automation makes pilots stupid. And so with the drivers of “self”-driving cars?

“New paper: ‘A formal solution to the grain of truth problem'” [Machine Intelligence Research Institute]. This sounds like it ought to be important, but I don’t have time to figure it out!

Game theorists have techniques for specifying agents that eventually do well on iterated games against other agents, so long as their beliefs contain a “grain of truth” — nonzero prior probability assigned to the actual game they’re playing. Getting that grain of truth was previously an unsolved problem in multiplayer games, because agents can run into infinite regresses when they try to model agents that are modeling them in turn. This result shows how to break that loop: by means of reflective oracles

“End is nigh for Rosetta: Spacecraft will meet its end by crashing into a comet” [Ars Technica]. Awww!

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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 (AEW):

old tree


Readers, if you want to send me some videos of plants in whole systems (bees and blossoms, for example, or running streams) — I can use them to practice with FFmpeg and hopefully post them. Because of download times, they’ll have to be measured in seconds, rather than minutes. Thank you! Adding, I got another one today! Please keep sending them; they will ultimately appear!

Adding, thank you again readers for last week’s rapid and successful Water Cooler Mini-Fundraiser. Checks are arriving in the mail. I’m still writing thank you notes! Yours will arrive! Adding, to me, a reader’s reality is their handle, and even more their actual comments. I don’t mentally connect handle to email, let alone to contribution. So if I’ve snarled at you, take comfort that all are snarled at equally!

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Readers, if you enjoyed what you read today, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your regular support.


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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. Bill Smith

    Story (rumor) that Hillary will be interviewed by the FBI Saturday at her home in DC. Anyone know where she is today?

        1. Pat

          See the Enquirer will never report there ‘will be’ a meeting. They will wait for the meeting and then report there was a meeting and publish photos taken through the windows of it. They might speculate on the conversation at said meeting, but if they say there was one, I’d bet what little money I have one happened.

        1. Charger01

          Horse apples. No one but Hillary will make the decision. Her Highness es does not condone such actions. Please see BLM protestor on 2/24/16 for additional information.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Argentina — finally a winner at something. Its Merval stock index beat the world in the first half of 2016 with a 25.77% gain:


    MSCI is even reviewing whether to re-include Argentina in its emerging markets index. LatAm’s third largest economy being absent from emerging market stock and bond indexes is quite anomalous. But Argentina’s bond default, only resolved early this year, left it excluded as an investable market.

  3. ProNewerDeal

    Anyone have a link to an article that summarizes the D platform negotiations, how H Clinton re-flip flopped on TPP & blamed it on “not wanting to contradict 0bama”, how H Clinton refused to ban fracking, was anti-MedicareForAll, etc?

  4. allan

    Who needs ISDS when you’ve got the US courts and federal contracting system?

    Stuck Waiting at Airport Security? Blame This Company and TSA

    The plan to shrink lines relies on growing PreCheck, but the contractor in charge of doing just that is stopping the process. Meanwhile, passengers wait for hours in large groups that are juicy targets for terrorists.

    The Transportation Security Administration would have us believe that those outrageous waits at airport checkpoints that made headlines recently were caused by a screener shortage or a surge in passengers. But there’s another reason for the crushing lines: a private contractor.

    MorphoTrustUSA, in charge of scaling up the agency’s PreCheck fast-track lanes at airports around the country, is suing the federal government, a move that could prevent relief for millions of angry travelers.

    MorphoTrust already has a contract with the TSA to bring millions of new members into PreCheck so they can keep their shoes on and their laptops stored as they whisk through security. But TSA believes that burden is too much for one company to handle and it’s been trying since 2013 to bring in more private sector vendors to join the effort to boost enrollments from 3 million today to 25 million by 2019, when 50 percent of all fliers would get the express treatment.

    According to those familiar with the bidding process thus far, the aim is to make it as easy to sign up for PreCheck as it is to purchase a product online, while maintaining the integrity of the vetting process.

    But since January, MorphoTrust has been fighting back.

    First, the company filed what’s known as a “bid protest” that basically stopped TSA from issuing awards to more companies. When that protest was overruled by the TSA and the Government Accountability Office, MorphoTrust sued the government in federal claims court. While the legal process drags on, TSA is effectively blocked from issuing the new contracts and reaping the benefits this could bring.

    Check out that last paragraph. The last think capitalists want is the government to be run like a business.

    1. hunkerdown

      “The measure mandates that ColoradoCare pay for healthcare services regardless of the cause of the patient’s illness or injury.”

      That’s just plain anarchy. How will people learn to obey their betters if insurers can’t condition coverage on strict avoidance of “risky” behavior like anti-corporate demonstrations, or hobbies that might damage the present value of one’s future work?

    2. John k

      Agree sanders. Does anybody know how it works? If you aren’t insured, or are uninsurable, but are seriously ill, can you just go there and get coverage?

  5. mparry

    But surely that “shadow” would have been obvious in advance to lawyer Lynch and (disbarred) lawyer Clinton. So WTF?

    You’d think, wouldn’t you?

    If I wanted to credit Lynch with attempting to do the right thing while not sticking her neck out too far, I might wonder whether she accepted WJC’s request for the meetup knowing that odds were good that the reaction to the meeting would make it absolutely necessary for her to recuse herself, and avoid being Clinton or Obama’s firewall in the event that the FBI recommends charges. It wouldn’t exactly be profiles in courage, but it might be the most realistic way out of the box for her.

    Of course, that only dumps the political heat, and the political calculations, onto Comey et al. And it still wouldn’t explain what the hell WJC thought he was doing.

    1. Tom

      Interesting theory. Another interesting question about this Clinton tarmac tar baby is who tipped off local ABC reporter Christopher Sign about the meeting? And how did that person have enough advance knowledge about the impending meeting to tip off Sign so that he had time to get to the airport to observe the Bill’s “accidental tourist” moment?

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Maybe someone on the inside grew a conscience and called a local news source?

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The spectacle of citizens needing to know 11-dimension chess in order to imagine their own criminal justice system lurching towards anything like an equitable outcome upholding the rule of law is revolting.

      1. aab

        I stay calm by contemplating how similar this all is to Politiburo watching. I know the conditions and systems of the two countries are not identical, but enough is similar that I feel mildly empowered recognizing the similarities, and, you know, eventually some kind of change happened there. I like to hope that we’ll get better change because of our cultural and institutional past.

        Please don’t explain to me how that’s wrong. At least give me this month.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          She is now willing to accept the FBI’s recommendations. You mean before this she wasn’t

          1. aab

            You mean Lynch? Isn’t it more like she said she’ll listen to career prosecutors and still reserves the right to overrule them? She hasn’t formally stepped aside, AFAIK.

  6. Frank

    I love that last episode of Blackadder, it’s a classic. A very moving finale to a great show.

  7. dingusansich

    But surely that “shadow” would have been obvious in advance to lawyer Lynch and (disbarred) lawyer Clinton. So WTF?

    Getting so you can’t tell who’s grifting whom. Unless both Lynch and Clinton thought it would be a shh, secret, it’s blazingly obvious their private-jet meetup is public relations poison. Must’ve been pur-ty important, then. Makes ya wonder how treacherous Lynch and the shadowy figures pulling her strings could be. Obama pays homage to the most qualified candidate evah, whom he and Michele love like one of their own, only to find he’s powerless, just powerless, because of a subordinate’s foolish PR blunder, to help Hillary with that pesky investigation his AG can’t go heavy on.

    Where are the Kremlinologists when you need them?

    1. Vatch

      Your theory is worthy of The Game of Thrones!

      What would be a good name for the American version of Kremlinologists? Beltwayologists? Wallstreetologists? Plutocratologists?

      1. dingusansich

        Hee-hee! Thankee. How about a less Jacobean version, with Lynch as messenger or even on her own dime: It was a mitzvah!

        Lynch pops in to deliver good news: “Clintons, relax! Comey tells me on the QT that no indictment is coming your way. Let the press and Judicial Watch squawk. I can step aside because there’s nothing for me to do. It’ll blow over.

        “And how’s that grandkid, anyway!?”

      2. Another Anon

        At Colonel Lang’s place (turcopolier.typepad.com), they refer to the beltway crowd and its minions as the “Borg”, and the goings on as “As the Borg turns”.

    2. adreamer

      Maybe it’s Bill’s unconscious attempt to sabotage Hillary? He’s not a stranger to being a stranger to his motives. Between Trump’s self-sabotage and Bill and Hillary’s tandem spiral, I can’t help but feel a spark of hope again for that unflagging long distance runner with the white hair, glasses and principles.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      All Lynch will be required to do is to make sure no formal action against Hillary precedes the November election. Once the Dems have the WH, they keep it regardless for four years with her veep. If due to unfolding circumstances Lynch can’t do that, then she *must* at least delay it until after the convention, having an indictment or charges brought before the convention is held (or completed!) would be the only truly unmanageable scenario.

      1. dingusansich

        having an indictment or charges brought before the convention is held (or completed!) would be the only truly unmanageable scenario.

        True, dat. Can’t let the party fall into the nefarious hands of the Berner cult. Cue Bela Lugosi in lupine drag: What is the law? The iron law of oligarchy.

        Although … it’s not as if Obama is known far and wide as the man who led the Democrat(ic) Party to glory. What with the turned over Congress, governors’ mansions, and state legislatures, he’s more like the Biggest Loser. What’s he care about who’s elected? Put the case he might not be altogether sorry to see the Clintons go down with the party, ‘fore or after the convention. Might make his eight look better in retrospect. Didn’t he tell Bill (as reported in the Daily Mail!) that Hillary isn’t the only spouse who’d make a dang good president? The golden law of dynasty.

      2. Buttinsky

        This takes me back to something I’ve been wondering about for a while. Remember that piece by Democratic operative Dan Metcalfe about how Hillary Clinton was clearly in deep trouble with this criminal investigation and that the Dems had to come up with a Plan B for when she was indicted and would have to be replaced? At the time, observers pointed to the piece as a signal to establishment Dems that they had to seriously start thinking about an establishment backup to Hillary.

        But I’ve been thinking now that maybe it was more than that. Maybe the signal was to the FBI and the Justice Department. The gist of Metcalfe’s plan was that because the nominee couldn’t be Sanders (?!), Democratic Party “leaders” would have to choose a nominee. Was this a way of telling law enforcement and prosecutors, please, just let us get through the convention, after which the Sanders rabble will be safely out of the way and the “responsible” people who pull the strings in the party can decide who the nominee will be? Meaning an indictment very soon after the convention.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The timing of when an indictment might be filed–or even Clinton being called in for an interview where she would be forced to take the Fifth which would trigger the same effects–certainly won’t be accidental, strictly by the book, or done in a political vacuum. There’s far, far, far too much riding on it.

        2. Doug

          It may be a fantasy, but it fits the Loretta/Billy/FBI facts known so far:

          Before the convention, Hill suddenly takes “ill” (she has a spot on her soul, er, lungs), and just can’t continue campaigning.

          Joe Biden steps in, and is crowned as the next Prez at the convention.

          If Obomba has to pardon her, she will become his Marc Rich. Better to get rid of her before that need to happen. It would be the best thing he’s done in eight years.

  8. Nick

    Re UPS lockers

    Two weeks ago I was expecting a package from these guys when to my surprise I recieved an email update saying that delivery could not be made bc no one home … when my wife and in laws were at the apartment. I ended up having to go to local UPS store to pickup. Felt to me like something was amiss, bc these guys aren’t lazy – sometimes they lug big boxes up stairs for us. Now seems like dishonesty in the service of beta stage ripping-off schemes.

  9. Anne

    All I could think while watching Clinton cough is, I wonder how many people’s hands she shook that day…jesus, even my 3 yr old grandson knows that one is supposed to cough into one’s elbow and not into one’s hands.


    1. Pat

      I don’t normally cut Clinton a break for anything, but I have a hard time trying to overcome a lifetime of training and habit to remember to cough into my elbow and not my hand, and I’m a few years younger than she is.

      Trying to find out when the switch happened led me to a NY Times article from 2009 about learning of the ‘cough pocket’ from his son working at a pre school camp and trying to track it down. IOW, it probably hasn’t even been a decade for this to be common wisdom. Meanwhile Clinton and myself have about five plus decades of covering our mouth with our hands, and of that being the standard response prior to that. I’m not saying it was smart, especially since that was a change from coughing or sneezing into a handkerchief or kleenex which made more sense, just that it was the standard.

      1. Anne

        Oh, “elbow coughing” has been around for longer than a decade, I’m pretty sure.

        But regardless, it’s hard to watch her coughing all over her hands and not think about how much hand-shaking she does.

        1. aab

          DOES she do much hand-shaking? She’s rarely in public, and when she is, the groups are small and usually behind ropes.

  10. DJG

    I recognize this:

    “CATO GIVES TPP A THUMBS-UP: The Cato Institute is urging approval of the TPP, arguing the benefits of the 12-nation pact outweigh its shortcomings. ‘If the TPP will deliver more trade liberalization than restriction, and realistic alternatives to comprehensive liberalization are unavailable, why not support the TPP?’

    Don’t let the perfect by the enemy of the good.

    That was the argument of ACA / Obamacare. And now that we have doctors wildly going “boutique” or even cash, I can see why holding out for perfection truly was a bit too much.

  11. ChrisAtRU

    “But surely that “shadow” would have been obvious in advance to lawyer Lynch and (disbarred) lawyer Clinton. So WTF?”


    When you’ve shown a penchant for flaunting laws regarding “electioneering” within polling place minimum-limits, an “uninvited” saunter between two private aircraft casts nary a shadow.

  12. Susan Nelson

    “But surely that “shadow” would have been obvious in advance to lawyer Lynch and (disbarred) lawyer Clinton. So WTF?”

    Now she can blame Comey and still maybe work in a Dem administration again. It is possible that she expects the case to be strong, and the blowback from either trying to kill it, or letting it go forward, to be substantial. Either way, she is in a tough spot.

    Bill, on the other hand, may have been trying to exert a little of the famous charm. It’s been a long time since he had anything to do with lawyering.

  13. Michael Hudson

    Imagine the SNL parody of Bubba meeting Lynch.

    Lynch: How is your granddaughter Chelsea?
    Bubba: She’s fine. How are your grandkids?
    Lynch: They’re doing great too.
    Bubba: Too bad if anything were to happen to them …

  14. Alex morfesis

    Lucas museum chitown…friends of keeping the lakefront white…that set of grifters began life by reducing parking spaces in lincoln park so knee growz could not drive to it…you know…the folks who make up 40% + of the city…and so it is cute they were interested in preserving a parking lot…

    cant find it now, but remember the husband of one of the long time board members was some prominent zoning variance lawyer in chicago…& magically, objections might be reduced by the “chance” hiring of that same lawyer by a “friend” of whomever was previously “objectionable”…

    while being the token white guy in the black metropolis project, had pushed hard on cra with banks and when the “friends of keeping the parks white” $aw money was about to $tart flowing, they “offered” to he£p “manage” the garfield park conservatory revival since they had been so adroit at siphoning money from inner city playgrounds…sorry…managing the agenda around the lincoln park conservatory since of course these poor blackeez needed the helping hand of the magic white water fountain people…


    Even today, the board has limited non white members, with the “black” doctor actually being haitian(because there are no black folk whose ancestors might have been in america for a few hundred years)…& a female attorney who did not move to chicago from milwaukee until she retired in her sixties…

    diversity…what a concept…

  15. George Phillies

    ” “A single elevator could have accommodated the donors who recently gathered with Hillary Clinton at the Pritzker family home in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Small in number, the group was big in largesse, contributing at least $1 million to help elect her and other Democrats this fall. It would have taken a 37,000-seat stadium of Bernie Sanders fans each chipping in the campaign’s self-described average donation of $27 to raise that much money.” ”

    However, the 37,000 people have perhaps 2000 times the number of votes that the Clinton folks do. That’s why Obama’s $3 campaign was so brilliant.

  16. Steve in Flyover

    “Automation makes pilots stupid”. Not exactly.

    It’s a generational thing, the break occurring somewhere with the 18-20 year olds, in about 1990, +/- 3 years. And not unique to pilots……wrench turners of all types have the same issues.

    Basically, the younger guys have a hell of a lot more faith in the technology working 24/7/365, than us old guys.

    (The REAL problem is, as a multitude of our problems demonstrate, underinvestment/robbing the Main Street Peter to pay the Wall Street/1%er Paul; but I digress……..)

    Add to this the fact that, unlike software/apps and consumer electronics, the technology change in aviation is a heck of a lot slower. (Example: some systems on Bizjets still run DOS). The FAA/EASA (unlike Tesla and their self driving cars), is a lot slower to approve the use of electronics in primary flight controls and navigation, until the software is given a thorough shakeout/failure analysis. If the jet OEMs and the certification authorities did their job they way it’s done in the consumer software/tech business, there would be smoking holes in the ground weekly.

    The recent Air France and Air Asia crashes are prime examples. Pilots don’t (and aren’t required/motivated to have) a thorough knowledge of what makes their airplanes “tick” anymore. They used to be trained thoroughly on this, because minor mechanical/electrical issues were a lot more common, but could be dealt with, thanks to system redundancy. All of these systems are more reliable now, some of the backups have been removed, and the crew training skims over them, because a flight crew is unlikely to ever see the problem. So training is concentrated on what the stats tell them the crews will most likely run into.

    Besides, enforcing “old” standards would create an even bigger shortage of flight crews than there is now.

    So some know enough to be dangerous (when the SHTF). With Air France, a fixation on believing the high tech electronics,instead of what the old mechanical backups were telling them. In Air Asia, the guy tried to kill an annoying intermittent warning light/bell, without totally understanding the system design of the primary flight control/”fly by wire” system.

    1. grayslady

      This has happened with automobiles as well. There are still a few, older mechanics who understand how to diagnose auto problems without a computer hook-up, but only a few. My 28-year old “Baby Benz” only has 180,000 miles on it–just a young adult by standards of the older, well made Benz models. Fortunately, I have two mechanics within a half-hour’s drive who still know the ins and outs of the car. Also, Benz forums provide lists of trusted mechanics around the country. As with airline personnel, you get what you pay for.

      1. RMO

        There are plenty of examples of airline accidents happening because the pilots didn’t fully understand the aircraft systems going back through the 40’s. The only thing I see that has changed with the advent of the sophisticated flight management systems now that shows up in accident reports is the problem of shifting gears from working through the FMS to operate the aircraft to flying it hands on stick and rudder when it becomes necessary. I’ve run more than a few airline pilots through the process of getting a glider rating (in the mountainous terrain surrounding my field) and have yet to come across one who had any less of an understanding of basic flight dynamics or lacked stick and rudder skills any more than the pilots who had only flown light aeroplanes with no automation whatsoever did.

  17. Alex morfesis

    £ ®r€tt@ & billary party in phoenix…seems reporter is insisting there were fbi on site preventing people from taking photos & ordering even cellphones to be put away…oh & now the back story of billarys reason for being at the airport is in play…

    Hmmm…maybe creating a little app to figure out how much vig it takes to get the attention of govt officials…could scrape fec database…could get some old copies of cq rollcall…the sunlight foundation has a nice database…maybe could jv with them…and the leadership directories…

    $me££z £ike monee…

  18. grayslady

    Regarding the NY Times story about Loretta Lynch accepting the decision of her career prosecutors, seems it isn’t quite so simple. According to a tweet by Mark Halperin, Lynch is reserving to herself the right to override the decision by the prosecutors (hat tip Kossacks for Sanders Reddit). It’s worth viewing the video included in one of the comments.

    1. AnEducatedFool

      She says that she will accept what her prosecutors recommend AND the FBI. The FBI does not indict people. Lynch still has plenty of wiggle room.

  19. Oregoncharles

    FWIW: Silver is skyrocketing. It rose only a little right after Brexit, when I would have expected a big volatility bump; now it’s going crazy. Gold is also up, not quite sure how dramatically. I follow silver for the obvious reason.

    Yet this spike corresponds with the Fear-Greed index flipping way back over into “greed,” the obvious of what I would have expected.

    It may be that precious metals just aren’t that indicative, but it sure is making Jim Haygood look good right now.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Sheesh, not “obvious,” “opposite.”
      Can’t even blame it on autocorrect.

  20. clarky90

    In 2008, when Barach Obama was elected President, I cried with joy and relief. This beautiful, eloquent, principled, fearless, peace loving, family-man would stop the relentless fascist conquest of Earth (All Government owned by a small number of Super Business’) .

    Eight years later and the Powerful Super Business’, in their fearsome glory, are arrayed against the tiny, weak, relatively poor, comical figure of Donald Trump.

    History pushes forward the most unlikely heroes, in times of great need.

    You all know the story/joke of the man who cried out to God to save him from the rising flood waters.


    “Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. “Heavenly Father,” he said, “I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?” God gave him a puzzled look, and replied “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?””

    Maybe, Donald Trump is the man in the rowboat sent to rescue us from the rising waters?

  21. Anne

    I am beginning to think that Bill Clinton doesn’t really want his wife to be president; maybe part of it is that her presidency would – at a minimum – put the sweet Foundation deals in jeopardy, and at a maximum, completely take the lid off that swamp of incestuous mutual enrichment, leading to who knows what?

    What I am pretty sure of, though, is that something is really rotten here; it’s a smorgasbord of corruption and likely criminal acts and Hillary ascending to the presidency is very, very threatening.

    And Loretta Lynch either isn’t as smart as we thought she was, or she’s willing to take this hit because she knows crimes have been committed and the foot-dragging and slow-walking are leaving her with only rumor and innuendo – and a media and Trump willing to take that bait – to cast enough doubt on Hillary’s fitness for office that she has no choice but to step down.

    Opening the door for someone like Biden.

  22. Kim Kaufman

    ““The GOP’s War on Voting Is Working” [The Nation]. What a steaming load. If the Democrat Party were serious about voter registration, it would be running voter registration drives as a normal, year-round, 24/7 part of normal party function, certainly since Florida 2000. They aren’t, so they don’t. They would also be setting up programs to get voters IDs in states were Republicans insist on that. This talking point is classic “mean Republican” whinging, issued by a flaccid party apparatus, flat on its back, making no effort to rise.’”

    And they wouldn’t have pushed ACORN over a cliff. I particularly remember Barbara Boxer giving a shove.

    1. Pat

      And do not forget one of my favorite legislative options, the continued use of unrelated amendments in important bills. You want to make sure people can get what they need to vote, require by federal law that states that require ID to vote not only pay for said ID but must provide services to help voters acquire the documentation they need for that ID AND pay for that as well. Up to but not limited to, hiring genealogists to search records to find evidence in local and church records when no birth certificate was created.

      Funny how that hasn’t happened either.

  23. Cry Shop


    “Coal ash, which can often contain “arsenic, chromium and lead”, is a byproduct of burning coal for electricity. Over the last four decades, a battle over the management and disposal of coal ash has dragged along in Washington, and it’s not close to being over. This examination of the impact coal ash has had on one Oklahoma town highlights the failure of EPA rules on coal ash dumping.”

    *left out Mercury (a lot of it), Cadmium, Uranium*, Xenon* etc. All invisible by the time it reaches your food and/or water, (*and undetectable against back-ground without advanced, expensive science). No half-life for elements, but the dumping went on nearly unregulated by federal & state governments.

  24. meeps

    re: reflective oracles

    So much of this harkens back to Murray Gell-Mann’s, The Quark and the Jaguar,–complex adaptive systems and their schemata, pruning the tree of branching histories, agent-based mathematics and simulation of collectivities of adaptive agents. The Santa Fe Institute might be a source to curate for advances.


  25. Quentin

    Today Hillary Clinton gets ‘interviewed’ by the FBI. Yesterday her best friend had a chitchat with the AG Loretta Lynch. What a coincidence. I wonder to which circle of Hell Dante would have assigned the Clintons.

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