2:00PM Water Cooler 7/29/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Just to repeat:


Readers, I am going on a media fast regarding electoral politics today, since my post on Sanders, Obama, and Clinton took longer than I hoped (they always do…). So if you want to discuss this topic today, you may do so in the comments section of that post. Those of you who want the Inside Baseball stuff instead of a 30,000 view can skip to the appendices. Please be analytical! No drive-bys, no oft-repeated one-liners, no me-toos, and no campaign issued talking points (you know who you are). Thank you!

Stats Watch

GDP (advanced estimate): “Second-quarter GDP looks very weak at only a plus 1.2 percent annualized rate” [Econoday]. “The details are positive. The biggest positive is consumer spending where growth, showing strength across readings, came in at a stellar 4.2 percent rate, more than double the first-quarter’s 1.6 percent rate. lean inventories point ahead to new accumulation which is a plus for future production and employment.” Hmm. Always? And: “Though some economists said Friday that the United States is due for a pickup in the second half of the year, the recent weakness could dampen sentiment about the country’s course and push Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to take a more critical tone about the economy under President Obama” [WaPo]. However, these estimates are all subject to revision, and often turn out to be “wild guesses.” But: “A particularly telling representation of slowing growth in the US economy is the year-over-year rate of change. The average rate at the start of recessions is 3.35%. All eleven recessions over this timeframe have begun at a higher level of real YoY GDP” [Econintersect]. Moreover: “Worse than expected, Q1 revised lower, and note the year over year deceleration in the chart. The inventory correction previously discussed looks to be well underway and has much further to go to bring inventories into balance with sales” [Mosler Economics]. “Problem is, sales growth is declining, and the downward spiral will continue until ‘borrowing to spend’ steps up to support the negative effects of what I call unspent income, aka savings desires. And the historical drivers of private sector deficit spending- housing, cars, and business investment- are all going the wrong way. And note that the much touted increase in consumer spending was in energy purchases, as prices went up, which tends to reduce other consumer purchases over time.” I’m a Maine Bear: We’ve been receding a long time, and we’re always depressed! So obviously Mosler’s view conforms to my priors…

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, July 2016: In consensus range [Econoday]. “Growth in new orders, however, is down this month as is growth in backlog orders, which are two negatives for future activity. A positive for July is a rise in employment and also a solid build in inventories, both hinting at business confidence in the outlook.” And: “The Chicago Business Barometer which recently has spent more time in contraction than expansion declined but remans in expansion. This survey came in above expectations” [Econintersect].

Employment Cost Index, Q2 2016: “Labor costs are accelerating, which hints at pass-through to workers and welcome upward pressure for overall inflation” [Econoday]. “Higher labor costs may not be a plus for corporate profits but will be seen as a plus by policy makers who are hoping for a little wage inflation to help the economy. ”

Consumer Sentiment, June 2016: Down. “The weakness is centered in expectations” [Econoday]. And: “Worse than expected” [Econintersect].

The Bezzle: “Tesla and Uber have more in common than you might think” [Tech Crunch]. Oh, I don’t know about that…

The Bezzle: “Thousands of members of the [H-P] salesforce have not been properly paid since Hewlett Packard split itself apart the previous November, they tell her. That’s six months of wacky pay. It’s gotten so bad that some salespeople couldn’t make their mortgages and were facing foreclosure. Others were behind in their alimony payments” [Business Insider]. “HPE even wrongly told one salesperson that he owed the company over $130,000 after the first quarter from taking a ‘draw,’ one person told us.” But I’m sure the finance people and lawyers who worked out the deal made out fine, just fine, along with the executives. So that’s alright then.

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Smart feeder outage left pets hungry for 10 hours” [The Telegraph]. I’m starting to think that “smart” is one of those words I should run a mile when I hear… Like Obama’s “smart wars,” for example.

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Malaysia’s 1MDB Decoded” [Wall Street Journal]. Handy chart for the fridge!

UPDATE Political Risk: “Why Clinton could still tap Wall Street talent despite platform pledge” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “‘The point of the platform pledge is not to disqualify everyone who has any industry experience at all,’ says Andy Green, managing director of economic policy for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, ‘but rather to make sure that regulators are independent enough from their work in industry and are focused on the public interest.'”

“IMF’s Lagarde to stand trial in Tapie case” [Reuters].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 79, Extreme Greed (previous close: 82, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 85 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 29 at 1:17pm. I wouldn’t call this a swoon, exactly…

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Before killing Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge police had a history of brutality complaints” [NOLA]. Note however the intrusion of kitchen table issues: Sterling, who sold CDs on the street, was especially vulnerable because he was in the informal economy (“System D”), just like Eric Garner, who sold loosies.

Police State Watc

“While activists are calling for better and more extensive training, the experts said quick changes on the ground are unlikely. For nearly a century — since the Wickersham Commission of 1929 — allegations of abusive police tactics have been quelled by forming task forces or blue-ribbon committees to study the issue” [WaPo].

And then there’s this:

But wait. The cops tell women that nothing can be done about online abuse. So that’s not true?

“Copspeak: 7 Ways Journalists Use Police Jargon to Obscure the Truth” [FAIR]. #1: “”Officer-involved shooting.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

“The Ghost of King Leopold II Still Haunts Us” [Media Diversified]. Must read. So modern!


UPDATE “‘The extraordinary years have become the normal years’: Scientists survey radical Arctic melt” [WaPo]. Figured I was out of the line of fire up here in Maine, but instead I’m in a target area, since that melt affects the Gulf of Maine.


UPDATE “With concerns about climate ‘extremes’ growing1, water is often the focus — either too much or too little. That is no coincidence: climate and the hydrological cycle are tightly coupled, and water is essential to ecosystems and societies. But it is not just the quantity of water that matters. So does its quality” [Nature]. “Last year, Lake Erie, one of the US Great Lakes (which contain one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water), experienced its biggest recorded harmful algal bloom. At its peak, the bloom spread some 200 kilometres across most of the lake2. Meanwhile, off the continent’s west coast, another record harmful bloom stretched from Baja California in Mexico up to Alaska, probably triggered by unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean3. Both blooms were dominated by species of phytoplankton that produce powerful toxins.” Will Michael Burry please pick up the blue-green courtesy phone?

Class Warfare

“Climate Change Activism: A Post-Mortem ” [The Archdruid Report]. In a crisis, things correlate. And so I could have filed this under Gaia, but instead it goes under class warfare:

It might still be possible to avoid the worst of it, if enough people who are concerned about climate change stop pretending that their own lifestyles aren’t part of the problem, stop saying “personal change isn’t enough” and pretending that this means personal change isn’t necessary, stop trying to push all the costs of change onto people who’ve taken it in the teeth for decades already, and show the only kind of leadership that actually counts—yes, that’s leadership by example. It would probably help, too, if they stopped leaning so hard on the broken prestige of science, found a positive vision of the future to talk about now and then, backed away from trying to rewrite the recent past, and dropped the habit of demonizing honest disagreement. Still, to my mind, the crucial thing is that the affluent liberals who dominate the climate change movement are going to have to demonstrate that they’re willing to take one for the team.

UPDATE Word of the day: “Lumpenproletariat” [Bloomberg]. Funny clickbait headline: “A 164-Year-Old Idea Helps Explain the Huge Changes Sweeping the World’s Workforce.”

UPDATE “Lessons for restoring the American dream from Latin America” [Brookings]. Interesting discussion of the problem. Here’s the conclusion:

But what is to be done about the tattered American dream? The underlying structural economic trends are as malleable as tectonic plates. Yet the markers of desperation are frightening enough that they are beginning to shift public attention from debilitating ideological divides to the deep social ills facing the U.S. today. That might provide some attention to the plight of those left behind. One part of the solution, meanwhile, is to reorient our social welfare system away from one that stigmatizes the poor and steers them farther behind psychologically. We should instead move toward more integrating programs, ranging from the provision of better vocational education to making college more accessible to low-income individuals to more broadly available preschool…. The key challenge will be bringing them into the spotlight of public debate.

Reducing inequality is difficult, making it even more unattractive for politicians to take on. Yet it is doable. And it is an area where Latin America can provide some important lessons. The region surely has its own challenges, but in this instance we could learn some lessons from our much more optimistic Southern neighbors.

Give ’em credentials! More liberal goodthinking, and so hopeless. (Oh, and note that the only people guaranteed jobs from training programs are the (credentialled) trainers themselves. Ka-ching.

News of the Wired

“New Caledonian crows have figured out how to move two things in one fell swoop. The adept tool users have been filmed inserting sticks into objects to transport both items at once – a feat that has never been seen in non-humans” [New Scientist].

“People can sense single photons” [Nature]. That is utterly amazing to me. Photons are really small! What a brilliantly evolved system! (And I’m especially conscious of this since my eye exam, which involved testing my peripheral vision with flashes of light. All went well!) Not all agree, and there’s more science to be done: “Vaziri plans to test how the visual system responds to photons in various quantum states — in particular those that are in a ‘superposition’ of two simultaneous states. Some physicists have suggested that such experiments could test whether a superposition of two states could survive in a person’s sensory system, and perhaps be perceived in the brain.”

UPDATE “Revealed: Rail companies’ plans to track your movements and make you pay more to stand on packed trains” [Telegraph]. Sounds legit.

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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 (Doug):


Doug writes: “‘Fire Weed’ flourishing in forest open space after pine beetle infestation. Colorado.”

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!

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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. ekstase

    “But wait. The cops tell women that nothing can be done about online abuse. So that’s not true?”

    With all the tools of surveillance, shouldn’t this problem have completely ended by now? Wonder what’s the hold-up. What could it be?

    1. low integer

      It would be certainly be interesting to see the percentage of male police who abuse women online compared to the general male population. Which is not to say there are no good male police, in Australia at least. I met a couple when I used to skate(board) the business districts of cities, but they were in the minority.

    2. hunkerdown

      Police are the system. Citizens are merely feedstock and components. The system will kill its components in order that its hulk may live on.

    3. Oregoncharles

      To Be Fair, I suspect the people posting about the police made no effort to hide their identity, unlike the worst trolls online. They were counting on Freedom of Speech. Is that now a dead letter, too?

      That said, they do seem to track people down when they really want to, except perhaps for the highest-level hackers, and your average troll isn’t that. I’ve been wondering whether we’d all have to give up our internet anonymity, at least potentially, to solve the problem, but maybe it’s just a matter of the will.

      Police haven’t generally been good on women’s issues.

  2. Synoia

    The Ghost of King Leopold II Still Haunts Us

    European colonization exacted tremendous violence, extracted critical resources, disrupted social structures, and weakened the health of indigenous populations. European nations broke their promise to protect and promote the welfare of the indigenous African people. Instead the Belgians dehumanized and debased African societies producing the social determinants of death that gave rise to deadly infectious diseases.

    Disclaimer: I grew up in a UK colony.

    In the passage above I intensely dislike the transition from the general ‘European colonization” to specific “Belgian.” The Congo was a Belgian disaster from start to finish.

    1. Kokuanani

      I highly recommend Hochschild’s book, King Leopold’s Ghost, mentioned in fn 4 of the article. It’s a detailed description of the horrific circumstances in the Congo under the Belgians. Most of the papers and other sources were burned or kept hidden until Hochschild’s inquiry and book. That’s why you didn’t learn about it in history class. [Well, that and a few other reasons.]

      It will make you cry.

      1. Synoia

        I did learn about the Belgian’s in class. It appears the UK history is not so edited, especially when one is from the colonies.

        The Congo was a known disaster in the’60s (or before, the ’60s were approximately when I became sentient).

        1. Martin Finnucane

          It appears the UK history is not so edited

          As in “the horrors of British [UK-ish?] imperialism have not been ‘edited out'”? Or maybe “there aren’t really much horrors of British imperialism worth talking about?” Is that what you’re saying?

          If so, I beg to differ. I recommend reading Imperial Reckoning by Caroline Elkins (re Kenya) and Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis (re India). Both address different instances of the grotesque butchery that characterized the British imperial project, and both (particularly the first) address how integral to that project was a kind of systematic forgetting regarding the same.

          1. Plenue

            My favorite* part of Imperial Reckoning is that after it came out there were a bunch of other historians who criticized it and claimed Elkins numbers for the amount of people detained and killed were inflated and completely implausible.

            Well, excuse me, but she makes it very clear that the British records regarding the final period of the colonization of Kenya were conspicuously absent, both in Kenya and in the home archives back in Britain. As in there were giant empty sections on the shelves, completely out of character for the normally anally retentive British record keeping. The only possible explanation being that a vast number of documents were destroyed to hide what they contained. Even so, she managed to find enough surviving documentation to piece together a very dismal picture. And she was the only person who ever bothered to go archive mining in regards to Kenya (in addition to a lot of time spent traveling around Kenya interviewing people who witnessed events first hand).

            For the sake of argument, maybe her numbers are inflated. But there is literally no other historian who has done the kind of work on the subject that Elkins did, so how the hell would they have any idea if her numbers were right or wrong?

            *actually second favorite, since my number one favorite is the blurb from self-hating Scotsman and British Empire apologist Niall Ferguson on the back of the book to the effect that it provides a sobering account of the ‘excesses’ of Empire, as if Empire could ever be anything but an inherent excess.

          2. Synoia

            My comment was specific to the Belgian excesses in the Congo. Your comment is a misunderstanding of the subject of my comment.

            As to the horrors of British Imperialism, I am aware they exist (for example: Black Hole response), and did not comment. I would also point out the the British Imperialism would have to be viewed under the contemporaneous activities of the world. I recommend reviewing Madam Tinabu’s efforts in Nigeria, or Shaka’s and Dingan’s efforts in South Africa, and most recently, Mugabe’s efforts in Matabeleland.

            In modern times: Stalin’s efforts in the USSR. Or WW I, or WW II, or the US in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, its Monroe doctrine in South America, or the Saudis’ in Yemen, are much worse than British Imperialism.

            And yes, that is my biased opinion. The British never promise to respect democracy, and then continually undermine the will of the people with military coup after military coup, or sanctions for ever, followed by Dictator after Dictator.

            The US, and many of its people, appear to have a predilection for Sanctimony coupled with Hypocrisy.

            1. Plenue

              You sure love to engage in slavery apologism. You refer to Tinabu constantly. She and Shaka/Dingane had been dead for decades before the British colony in Kenya was even established.

      2. pretzelattack

        i certainly never learned about king leopold’s depradations in class. eye opening book.

        1. Plenue

          Maybe not in in history class, but Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a pretty ubiquitous piece of culture. Apocalypse Now is probably more famous and strips the story of its African setting, but the core attributes still remain. Especially the implicit moral that any ‘civilization’ that engages in mass butchery and exploitation of natives is nowhere near as civilized as it fancies itself. And the natives are never as ‘primitive’ as the colonial overlords think they are.

          1. pretzelattack

            yeah i meant history classes in high school. somebody told me about hochschild’s book in an online discussion of heart of darkness.

      3. Jim Haygood

        Hillary … better than King Leopold! *

        * but she shares His Majesty’s aversion to press conferences. :-(

      4. Gaianne

        It is good that detailed information is coming out about the Belgian Congo.

        But I don’t see how the whole subject can be considered a surprise.

        In his story “The Heart of Darkness”–which is usually taken to have something to do with African savagery–Joseph Conrad plainly describes how the Belgians did not feed their slave labor because it was cheaper to get new slaves than to feed the slaves they had. Typically, when the slaves weakened, they were thrown in pits to die and new slaves were acquired.


    2. windsock

      Hmm… Belgian depredations in the Congo… any coincidence that it is also the seat of the EU Commission?

    3. makerowner

      The “Congo Free State” wasn’t Belgian, it was a private colony of King Leopold II. It was officially established at the Berlin Conference, which involved all the powers of Europe, and part of the deal for the other European countries was that there would be “free trade” without any favour shown to Belgian traders (though this turned out to be a lie). One of the major exploiters of the “products of the forest” was the Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company, which, as the name indicates, had British and Belgian owners. So in many ways the “humanitarian mission” in the Congo was a European, rather than just Belgian, project.

    4. Cry Shop

      Obie-wan, the sophisticated liar, or ignoramus, which is it?

      The following was taken from a favorite blog posting about post-modernism revisionism of Belgium

      We talked about how many of the Americans who fought on Belgian soil during the Great War did so under the command of His Majesty’s great-grandfather, King Albert. And while they didn’t always share a common heritage or even a common language, the soldiers who manned the trenches were united by something larger — a willingness to fight, and die, for the freedom that we enjoy as their heirs.

      Pardon me while I visit the vomitorium(*). — There, that’s better.

      Obie, I feel sure, is not a stupid, or an ignorant man. So it baffles me how he can utter words like these with a straight face. Electoral politics must have a more deeply corrosive effect on the soul than even I would have thought.

      The only freedom for which World War I was fought was the freedom to plunder. ‘Brave little Belgium’, though not the greatest of the colonial powers, was arguably the worst. The King Albert to whom Obie alludes, above, was the nephew and successor of vile King Leopold, the butcher of the Belgian Congo. After the hiatus of hostilities in 1918, brave little Albert continued to preside over the Belgian empire in Africa until he fell off a mountain and broke his unspeakable neck in 1934.

  3. sgt_doom

    When one really examines the overall plan, the overall structure of the design of the banksters, it really shouldn’t be that difficult to reduce inequality:

    The Clintons and the Bankers

    1992: The Blackstone Group, at that time the wealthiest private equity firm (private bank) in the world, would provide presidential candidate, Bill Clinton, with free office space to solicit campaign donations. (Blackstone Group was founded by David Rockefeller protégé, Peter G. Peterson, with Rockefeller family seed money.)

    1993: In response to a request from the JP Morgan Bank, the Group of 30 (lobbyists for the central bankers founded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1978) publishes a paper promoting the widespread adoption of credit derivatives, with the caveat that “legal risk” should be removed. (Members of the G30 includes Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, whose first position after college was with Kissinger Associates, founded by Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller’s right-hand man.)

    1993: Mortgage Bankers Association publishes a paper outlining the structure and concept of MERS, or Mortgage Electronic Registry System, a necessity for rapid mortgage securitizations (credit derivatives) and shuffling home loans between lenders so that homeowners couldn’t find the actual owner.

    1993: The SEC — under Clinton — will drop the requirement for investment firms to report on the identity of the major shareholders. (This is to obscure the ownership — if you don’t know who the owners are, you won’t know who owns everything.)

    Next, President Clinton’s aiding and abetting the bankers:

    Clinton will sign NAFTA (actually version 2.0, after LBJ’s Border Industrialization Program) which includes a clause to allow for the foreign ownership of Mexican banks — previously only allowed to be Mexican-owned.

    Within one year 90% of Mexican banks are foreign owned, principally by US banks.

    Next, Clinton will sign the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act, allowing for full interstate banking — a major step in the cartel formation.

    Next up, Clinton signs the Telecommunications Act of 1996, allowing for the consolidation of corporate media and reconstitution of AT&T into one entity.
    The Investment Company Act of 1996 is signed into law, allowing for unlimited number of investors per hedge fund or similar funds. The combination of the potential for an unlimited number of credit default swaps, and an unlimited number of commodity futures purchases, and an unlimited number of investors per fund, allows for ultra-speculation.

    Next the Big Three: the REIT Modernization Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act — these together will set the stage for the greatest transfer of wealth in human history, the global economic meltdown (and kill the New Deal entirely).

    1997: Years after this date, investigative gumshoe reporter, Greg Palast, would uncover a secret 1997 memorandum between Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, urging for the inclusion of the “credit derivatives-acceptance clause” in the WTO’s Financial Services Agreement (so that the various governmental signatories around the world would accept Wall Street’s fantasy finance Ponzi scheme).
    The legal advisors in the creation of the Mortgage Electronic Registry System — or MERS — were the attorneys at Covington & Burling, the same law firm from which Eric Holder, President Obama’s choice for attorney general to contain the banker meltdown, came from.

    So Covington & Burling, which has long enjoyed a strategic partnership with Kissinger Associates, was the legal advisor of record, and their man, Eric Holder, was appointed by the president to insure no bankers were prosecuted, and this entire criminal conspiracy would not be exposed. President Obama also appointed Judith (“Jami”) Miscik, then president and vice-chair of Kissinger Associates, to his Intelligence Advisory Board.

    And the then CEO of Fannie Mae, the fellow who promoted the large-scale adoption of mortgage securitizations, James Johnson, had a longstanding relationship with David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger; Johnson was the business contact for the American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc. (directors: David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle, et al.).

    It turns out that MERS is completely illegal from the get-go; they were and are often listed as the mortgagee, and sued on various foreclosures (really, they were all fraudclosures) even though they weren’t a party to the original contract — which violates basic contract law, the principle of privity.

    Also, due to the US Supreme Court decision in 1873 (Carpenter v. Longan), the mortgage or deed of title, and the note, cannot be separated, which indeed they were on every occasion.
    Add to those illegalities the fact that the mortgages and notes weren’t physically transferred to the trusts (REMICs) which invalidated both according to the securitization contracts (pooling and servicing agreements) and tax law!
    All the mortgage securitizations — thus everything from that point on — were illegal!
    All those MBSes, CDOs, and endless variants on them, were therefore not legal and those credit events which invoked credit default swaps weren’t legal, as invalid securitizations had zero worth. And certain people became billionaires and multi-billionaires based upon this deceit!
    Beyond the fraudclosures (which involved massive mortgage fraud, massive securities fraud, massive false affidavit fraud, massive false court document filings fraud, massive tax fraud (invalid REMICs), massive contracts fraud, massive notary fraud) which involved the commission of millions upon millions of crimes — everything connected with those mortgage securitizations was illegal — and everything which followed had zero legal basis, and therefore was also illegal!

    2013: Blackstone Group purchases 41,000 fraudclosed homes, making them the number one landlord in America, and they announce they will begin issuing rent-backed securities.
    Presently, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top advisor is Cheryl Mills, on the board of directors of BlackRock, an offshoot of the Blackstone Group (Blackstone . . . . BlackRock . . . . get it?).
    BlackRock is one of the Big Four investment firms which are the majority shareholders in the majority of major corporations in North America and Europe. BlackRock was the firm which oversaw the disbursement of the TARP bailout funds. (Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street and Fidelity or FMR LLC)
    Two highly important items which the Clintons failed at: the privatization of Social Security and the removal of the right of the individual to own a patent. The Clinton Administration had created a plan they were going to submit to congress to privatize Social Security, but the morning of their designated speech was when the Monica Lewinski scandal broke. The attempt to abrogate individual ownership of a patent was stopped by the outpouring of negative communications to congress when this became public. (This was meant to bring America closer to the WTO charter.)
    After Clinton left the presidency and worked as a lobbyist for various “free trade” agreements, he continued destroying American employment. For example, the Jordan-American Free Trade Agreement allowed for multiple factories to be offshored to Jordan – – not to benefit the workers there – – but for optimal profit to the owner, who would then hire the cheapest labor (workers from Bangladesh and the Philippines) to be brought in to work those factories.
    Thanks to that legislation signed into law by Clinton, the following occurred: John Paulson was able to create trash CDOs, together with Goldman Sachs, and make billions on that financial fraud. Paulson would typically purchase a credit default swap for $1.4 million against the CDO (actually buying many swaps), and the payout on that trash CDO would be $100 million. (To clarify: for each $1.4 million Credit Default Swap, the payout was $100 million — and people are still confused as to the cause of the global economic meltdown?)
    Paulson was not the only one to do this by far, and not a single one of those financial fraudsters would be prosecuted.
    Citigroup would sell an almost endless number of “liquidity puts” which basically guaranteed the investors’ money should their CDO go south, or lose value from the original purchase price (i.e., a zero-risk investment). Citigroup, of course, lost billions upon billions of dollars, and should have been allowed to declare bankruptcy, but instead was thoroughly bailed out by the TARP bailout funds and the Federal Reserve. (Both Robert Rubin and present Treasury Secretary Lew were with Citigroup at that time.)
    During 1997 (Clinton Administration) to 2007 (Bush Administration) $23 trillion in securitized debt would be sold. During 2007 to 2009 (the global economic meltdown) US households would lose $17 trillion in assets and value, with another $6 trillion lost in Europe from those credit derivatives. ($23 trillion in securitized debt sold — $23 trillion in losses)

    So, we began with the Blackstone Group in 1992, and ended in 2013 with the Blackstone Group — and along the way note the connections between the various parties and Rockefeller and Kissinger, a most interesting and obvious pattern which forms a closed circle.

    Chain of Title, by David Dayen

  4. Synoia

    Some physicists have suggested that such experiments could test whether a superposition of two states could survive in a person’s sensory system, and perhaps be perceived in the brain.

    Which would be a violation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. However one “tests” or “measures” a system the uncertainty principle is believed to apply. The Human eyeball is no different, it is an external (external to the photon) “test” or “measurement” of the photon.

    NB: “the uncertainty principle is believed to apply.” The scientific process applies.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Not necessarily. The uncertainty principle would make it impossible for our experimental subject to say with arbitrary precision simultaneously the colour of the photon and the time they saw it since energy/time are paired in the same way as the more common position/momentum.

      What we’d have here is another question: How long would quantum coherence last as the photon travelled through the eyeball, triggered the rod, sent the signal up the retinal neurons, … In other words at what point in the sensory chain could the “measurement” (decoherence from the superposed state, collapse of the wavefunction) ) be said to occur ? This has been the open question at the foundations of quantum mechanics since the beginning with the Bohr Interpretation IMHO really just begging the question.

      The “how long can you maintain a coherent – superposed – state” question is at the heart of quantum computing since they have to stay that way long enough to actually solve whatever problem its working on; kind of like your desktop not BSODing before its finished printing that web page,. IIRC DWave are the farthest ahead in this.

      1. Paper Mac

        Retinal neurons are basically optically transparent, photoreceptors deploy big arrays of opsin-containing disks to catch photons. In a mamallian neuron these arrays can be embedded in the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) at the apical retinal surface, which contains pigment granules and can “sheath” photoreceptors in light-adapted conditions. My understanding is that invertebrates have their photoreceptors at the basal surface; I believe the pigment layer remains at the apical surface. In any case, the photon doesn’t have that much to be absorbed by until it gets to the photoreceptor, is absorbed by the RPE, or reflected off something and bounced around until absorbed by a photoreceptor or RPE. The frequency with which your absorptions are photoreceptor opsin vs RPE vs misc is probably related to the specific architecture of the retina, light adaptation state, and other things.

    2. Jake Mudrosti

      You’re right to doubt the quoted text, but the uncertainty principle actually isn’t an issue — rather, it’s the misrepresentation of the word/concept “superposition.” Students have reported insight after reading Reichenbach’s useful definitions “phenomena” and “interphenomena.” A Google search can turn up a useful page on jstor. org for free viewing.

      JustAnObserver, below, makes further misrepresentations. It’s worth noting that the objective word/concept “interaction” is used in modern quantum field theory (QFT) instead of the historically abused word/concept “observation.”

      There is no settled answer regarding interpretations in QM or modern QFT, just as there is no settled theory of gravity or settled definition of time, by the very nature of physical theories as partially interpreted formal systems.

      The quoted text and JustAnObserver, though, misrepresent this as though there were new realms of human-based phenomena somehow yet to be pinned down in ways that can’t be achieved with, say, photomultiplier tubes. Such a claim would amount to a quantum-woo-based rejection of the foundations of modern QFT. Such would not be good science.

  5. IDG

    Still, to my mind, the crucial thing is that the affluent liberals who dominate the climate change movement are going to have to demonstrate that they’re willing to take one for the team.

    Well, modern “liberals” are exactly out of the same camp than their ancestors “liberals” from the Enlightenment up to Victorian England period. Socially liberal, and economically liberal, for those who are confused by the hijack of the ‘liberal’ word in the USA as opposed to the rest of the world, liberals were pretty much the originators of the business and capitalist class, with all that it entails.

    You can see them in those hotel meetings at the DNC with the cool tech corporation CEO’s and hedgies, and being the good professional urban class they are having huge footprints. Best case scenario is that they are true believers in techno-unicorns as deus ex machina solution to everything. And I’m saying best case, because worst case is that they are just hypocrites who expect others to take the hit (at least “conservatives”, or some brands of conservatism, are shameless and their main philosophy is throwing everybody else under the bus, so not hypocritical in that sense).

    1. James Levy

      I don’t believe in techno-unicorns and am sure that we will need World War II level mobilization and regimentation to ameliorate the worst that is coming.

      That said, the “let’s all go back to the land and resume our natural sexual division of labor and start worshipping trees” that the Druid pushes (and if you read him long enough and carefully enough, that’s his point or he wouldn’t be running around calling himself a Druid) has a whiff of Pol Pot about it that scares me off. It’s wildly impractical, to begin, and is predicated on the happy notion that millions of people are going to die in order to make his utopia real. And not only do I think he doesn’t care about those millions of deaths, I think he’s quietly rooting for them. His defenders say that he’s sure they’re going to die so doesn’t waste any time worrying about them, but that strikes me as more cold blooded than I am prepared to countenance.

      1. Synoia

        The change required in inconceivable.

        A 50 ft rise in sea level will require 200 million in the US to relocate, because sewage plants will be flooded.

        Food transportation will cease, because over 50% of refineries, fuel for transport, are near the coasts.

        There is NO plan for such a change.

        Our leaders hope they will survive, and the mass die-off of the peasants leaves them to enjoy the fruits of the earth. Our leaders are wrong, because they have no survival skills.

        1. HotFlash

          Yup. The degree of mobilization required to save all of us, or even a lot of us, would be enormous. Research, planning, development, implementation, rationing — yes, of course — and $$$ allocation. YUUUUGE project.

          In actual fact, though, we can’t even ban plastic grocery bags.

          We’re doomed.

        2. Binky

          I think they assume that they will come out on top (Eloi) and a sufficient number of Morlocks will remain and be encouraged by the state of things to be appropriately servile and grateful for what the Eloi have to offer.


          Although the popular fiction of the Divergent and Hunger Games have become popular themes for the post-collapse funscape. When I was a kid, Filmation had a show called Ark II in which well meaning liberals drove a custom RV around helping people out. Who knows? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_II

          1. Harry

            Not that I studied this kind of thing but I have so kind of recall of an idea of a societal subconscious, which is manifested in the initiation and popularity of certain disaster movies. I think hunger games, divergent, walking dead all chime with people’s sub conscious understanding of what is happening around them. I guess this kind of apocalyptic vision is not unusual for humans. Europeans spent the turn of the first millennium expecting the Apocalypse and burning each other last right and centre.

      2. Starveling

        I don’t think the Druid cheers the death of billions, I think he finds it an inevitable result of carrying capacity. How will we feed the people we have when we no longer have industrial inputs into ag and the climate no longer agrees with us?

        If there are seven billion of us now and capacity is reduced to, say, three- we are in for a rather bad time and the fallout will end up with much less than that three intact before a new normal finds itself.

        This is why I’m not a huge fan of open borders, by the by, I’m young enough that some of these effects may happen in my lifetime and I weep for my descendants- a big, open country with more intact nature will be easier to survive than a massive Favelamerica..

        1. polecat

          Yes……however, ‘Faveamerica’ is what we’ll see come to pass …….if our ‘betters’ continue with the short-term policies they’ve ‘developed’, at least in the near future… Hell, it’s all ready starting to happen in the here n now…….

          With that said, I think the country will start to ‘disassemble’ in a few years from now……….and
          regardless of who gets the brass ring, presidential wise..things will still devolve…

          ..there just isn’t much left to keep our society in a cohesive state……

      3. hunkerdown

        Reproduction is optional, you know. Even in the horrible days when sex instead of class was used to unequally divide labor.

        You are forwarding the same erroneous belief that the Archdruid has pointed out repeatedly and often, and has attempted to counter in narrative form in his Retrotopia serial: technological regression does not imply social regression, as anyone who merely glances at history across a wide enough swath of cultures can see. Only bourgeoisie care about anachronism.

        It’s simple, James: renounce your inner Whig, and the world will make more sense to you.

      4. Romancing the Loan

        The “natural sexual division of labor” crap is nowhere in Greer’s writings, nor is worshipping trees.

        Do you even read Retrotopia, bro?

      5. IDG

        I haven’t read that much from him, only a few though provoking blog posts. But yes, two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s not unusual to see what’s wrong with others beliefs and fall on the same error from an opposite direction. Isn’t that what we humans do all the time? Is very hard to see past the veil of our cognitive dissonances (so we all are hypocrites to a point, just some are more than other, to their own benefit).

        For example, he seems to be fully on board with the mainstream economics narrative, conflating debt and financial shenanigans with real economic output and hence jumping to awfully wrong conclusions from there.

        And for any hope of savaging whatever is possible of our current industrial civilisation without chaos taking over we would need some major policy-driven push relying on current institutional and social structures, there is no question about that, outing many solutions that come from an individualist point of view (so honest climate change movements should be supported!).

        We should not accept defeat, but that doesn’t mean either that he is right on his conclusion that we are screwed and there is not much we can do about it except as individuals (doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying!).

      6. Plenue

        It’s also based on bunk ideas about the human past, just like Marx and Rousseau’s weird caricatures of human prehistory.

        Archdruid wants to ‘return’ to a ‘more natural’ form of society, with people like him, naturally, high up the leadership food-chain.

      7. Oregoncharles

        His Retrotopia series doesn’t exactly show us resuming “our natural sexual division of labor” – though that would happen if we went back far enough. Still, I think he’s really pretty modern on that score. Worshipping trees isn’t such a bad idea, though.

        Personally, I do think we’ve massively overshot the Earth’s carrying capacity, so a lot of people are going to die. I don’t appreciate being reminded about it, though. It’s conceivable to manage a “soft landing,” but not very plausible. Worth a try, though.

        The real pessimists are just below your post.

    2. armchair

      So, I just looked at the wordles that Lambert used in the Kitchen Table post and I didn’t see the word ‘liberal’ anywhere. However, if you made a wordle from Rush Limbaugh’s broadcast career, ‘liberal’ would be one of the bigger words. I guess Thomas Frank is attacking ‘liberals’ from the left? One thing is for sure, the word is dirtier than ever. It just makes me want to use it more and more. It’s so dirty!

      Everyone at Davos calls themselves liberals. The Joint Chiefs of Staff go into the woods and do primal screams, “we’re liberals and we’re going to turn the Middle East into glass!!!! We’re so liberal!!” That’s what they’re doing at the Bohemian Grove. They all gather around Henry Kissinger and sing about being liberals in their hearts.

      1. hunkerdown

        Davos People are the quintessential liberals. USians are as liberal as they are Christian: they only say it in order to be accepted by people who have been told that only self-described liberals are worthy.

        People who think “liberal” is a good thing need to relearn that liberalism is right-wing and their attempted co-optation of the term has instead co-opted them.

        1. armchair

          More word salad! Liberals are fascists, liberals are communists, liberals are Emanuel Goldstein, liberals are hippies, liberals are authoritarians, liberals are boogeymen. Liberals won the Spanish Civil War, liberals ran the blitzkriegs, liberals hired the Pinkertons, liberals killed the czar. I’m learning The Game (Buddy Holly).

      2. Plenue

        I find Frank frustrating. He says a lot that is worth listening to, but so often seems to be on the very cusp of a deeper understanding, but never goes the extra step needed. In that recent Truthdig video with him and Robert Scheer he’s a lot better than Scheer, who I’ve always found seems to wear rosetinted glasses about the history of America and American liberalism and has significant blindspots, but Frank still can’t bring himself to see the full truth: liberals are anti-left scum, they always have been. They’re conservative enablers. There’s a reason Marx was always yammering on about the ‘bourgeois’. You give working people any amount of property and power, however small, and suddenly they have a stake in a hierarchical status quo and will start doing the elites dirty work against the working class.

        “In every American community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects, ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.” Phil Ochs said that in 1966! Part of the supposed Golden Age of the Democratic Party. FDR explicitly talked about how his greatest achievement was saving capitalism. Liberalism is all about cushioning the worst abuses of the capitalist system, it’s never been about actually fundamentally changing anything or making the world a better place.

    3. PIGL

      Re the Archdruid….In the full article, you will find the claim that in the 70s, as everyone knows who’d been there, “Science” was just as emphatic about the impending Ice Age as it now is about global warming, and that evil liberals should just shut up and admit it. He goes on to cite the works of the eminent Canadian ecologist, E C Pilou as evidence. I have read her books, so let me say this about that. His is a grotesque misrepresentation of what Dr Pilou said, so much so that I denounce this man as a fraud, a malicious liar, a tiresome petulant crank. You can find this sort of toxin in its purer form at the embittered dried up corpse of Kunstrel.

      1. pretzelattack

        the initial point is long debunked propaganda. it’s things like this that have kept me from ever becoming interested in the site.

      2. Plenue

        Any search of the numerous archives of published scientific papers would reveal just how nonsense the claim (often trumpeted by the right-wing) that there was ever any kind of consensus on a new Ice Age is. There were some papers positing the possibility, but they were never a majority, and the understanding that increased CO2 levels would warm the planet goes back decades further in the literature. For Greer to trot out garbage like that shows that he literally has no idea what he’s talking about. How many other subjects that he writes about is he equally oblivious about?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          You’re misstating the claims. Here is the relevant passage:

          [T]he climate change movement inflicted a disastrous own goal on itself by insisting that nobody with scientific credentials ever claimed that an ice age was imminent

          As in fact they did.

          Isn’t that just what y’all are doing now?

          1. pretzelattack

            “Third, the climate change movement inflicted a disastrous own goal on itself by insisting that nobody with scientific credentials ever claimed that an ice age was imminent,”

            this claim just isn’t true. i don’t know of anybody that is prominent that made this claim. and he seems to treat it as some kind of general error made scientists. if he’s going to make a strong, general claim like this he needs lots of supporting evidence, that people with relevant expertise claimed that nobody with scientific credentials ever predicted cooling. he also ignores one basic putative cause of that cooling, the use of aerosol, which was curtailed to some extent.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, you made me go find Pielou’s book. This is Greer’s claim:

        All three books discuss the coming of a new ice age as the most likely future state of Earth’s climate.

        From Pielou’s book; seems to be a Kindle version and I can’t find a page number, but here’s an extract:

        That seems to me to match up with Greer’s claim. What am I missing?

        NOTE I just finished processing four days of Democrat convention material, and my stomach is feeling a little fluffy. I’m aware of the tendency of the climate topic to generate flame wars, so don’t do that.

        1. Grebo

          A little late but I’ll post for posterity.
          You quote Greer thus:

          “[T]he climate change movement inflicted a disastrous own goal on itself by insisting that nobody with scientific credentials ever claimed that an ice age was imminent”

          This is a strawman. The climate change movement (at least the scientific part of it) says that it was never the scientific consensus, not that no single scientist ever claimed it.
          This paper did a survey of 70s research:

          “greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists’ thinking”

          Pielou implies that the current interglacial is due to end in about 10,000 years. Is that imminent?

        2. PIGL

          What you are missing, Mr. Strether, is the time scale. Take a good look at the x-axes labels.

          I repeat, Archdruid’s claim is a grotesque misrepresentation. If the planet is lucky, there will indeed be another ice age. Some 10s of thousands of years after our civilization has finished cooking itself.

    4. fosforos

      I fully agree that affluent Liberals (and affluent everybody else–the credentialed 10 percent) should “take the hit.” And the hit they should take is a steep and steadily increasing tax (collected at the point of extraction or direct/indirect importation and rebated to the lower 90 percent) on the carbon-content of everything they consume. You get them to change consumption patterns not by appeals to virtue but by forcibly taxing them into making the changes. You direct resources into climate defense by *forcing* capital to treat pollution as very unprofitable and anti-pollution as the only significantly profitable field of investment. Not by preaching or replanting the “sacred” Sacrificial oak groves that Caesar so wisely cut down!

  6. James Levy

    I’m a little skeptical (as usual) about the self-titled Archdruid’s “why don’t those annoying educated liberals take one for the team” argument. I think if they did, he’d just mock them for “lifestyle liberalism” and pick nits about how they refuse to raise their children by candlelight and foolishly insist on vaccinating them against diphtheria and smallpox. Compared to the oil, petrochemical, or coal industries, the crimes of the educated bourgeoisie really aren’t that awesome, but Mr. Archdruid so loathes them that he can’t help but throw brickbats. There is something of the Trotskyite “permanent revolution” in his thinking: the further you go, the more you must ruthlessly suppress and destroy the old so that the glories of the new can be born. And his “class enemy” never seems to be the plutocrats and the politicians who run the joint. It’s always those latte-sippers who make $90,000 a year who are to blame. In a weird way, it’s the same enemy the Right has railed against for years–those stinkin’ educated liberals are the source of all our trouble, not the actual owners and controllers of society.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think the Archdruid is “self-titled” any more than the Pope, or the Primate of the Anglican church, are. You may disagree with the analysis, and you may think priestly titles are silly (I do) but an Archdruid is what he is.

      1. James Levy

        I’m not sure about that. If I remember correctly he was one of the founders of his particular sect, and pretty much appointed himself, something the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury can’t do.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Here’s the FAQ.

              Personally, I think it’s all ridiculous, though far less nutty than neoliberalism.

              I’ve known plenty of people who were believers and quite sensible on other matters, so I don’t view Greer’s religion as any sort of a priori disqualifier.* YMMV may vary, as Levy’s apparently does.

              * Former Bushies excepted.

              1. Paper Mac

                Renaissance revivalist druidry does nothing for me as a perspective on existence but I don’t think it remotely disqualifies one from making historical or metahistorical claims.

                The simple reality is that the material consumption of a very small percentage of the global population is responsible for the majority of emissions. These people are overwhelmingly well-off, educated elites operating on behalf of Western, Chinese, etc. government and corporate interests, and as expats or satraps overseas. Greer identifies these folks as the salaried class- I’m indifferent to that identification, but he’s quite right that it’s pointless to argue about the factual reality of climate change if no one responsible for emissions is actually willing to make the sacrifices required to bring their way of life into conformity with constraints that make a global industrial civilisation of billions sustainable.

        1. hunkerdown

          That reflects the difference between henotheism and polytheism, I believe. (Conway’s Law)

        2. Optimader

          Well, when i very occasionally go to a trade show, I use some Title variant like Galactic Operations Director
          The show registration badge Websites invariably want a Title and i dont use one.

          It’s’ usually good for a double take when sone booth rep squints at a badge, and i find out immediatly who has a sense of humor.

        3. Stephanie

          Per the home page for the order to which Greer belongs, the Ancient Order of Druids in America was founded in 1912 as the American offshoot of an English order of Druids (see link below). I don’the know if Greer invented the title for himself, but I do believe it has been subsequently passed to another, as he has retired from heading the order.


  7. Synoia

    Dear Sanders Supporters:

    I’ll be blunt. You and you beliefs will be thrown under the bus, and trampled into the dust. Hilary has plans to attract Republican Votes to secure the presidency, as predicted.

    You have succeeded in making Hillary’s coronation unpleasant for her. Embarrassed her with her shady past, and demonstrated on topics on which she has a firm interest in pas$$ing (TPP).


    The DNC has also informed Sanders delegates that they will have their credentials taken away for holding up anti-TPP signage as well

    That is not the action of a person who respects your views in any manner at all.

    For those of you who believe Jill Stein is worthy of a vote, I do not believe so. If she were motivated then she would be copying Bernie’s fundraising activities, and not off in her own world of irrelevance (and possibly privilege). The Iron Law of Institutions hold here, she is happier in her position and has demonstrated no incentive to change things.

    So who will you vote for? That’s a poor question, a better question is who will you vote against?

    Why do I write that? Well, you can vote for (Jill, the Looser, Stein), a person who will damage you (Hillary the Honest), or a person who might help you (Donald the Magnificent). – Just to be clear, sarcasm is intended in all three instances.

    Good luck with that decision, mine is made, and I made it months ago (a list of preferences, 1, 2 3), 3 was ABC – Anyone but Clinton, for I believe firmly that she will do me no good, and probably do myself and my children and my grandchildren much harm.

    What I read here is people somewhere in the stages of grief. Time to move on, at least by November.

    1. James Levy

      Of course Clinton does not respect my views. But the idea that Donald Trump “respects my views” is patently ludicrous. So that complaint is empty rhetoric.

      This is just bullying and bluster (in the best Trump mode).

      “I know the truth! I know the future”! “Do what I say!”

      How about, it seems to me that Clinton is a bad choice for these reasons, Trump is a bad choice for these reasons, and Stein is a bad choice for these reasons: weighing these, it is my conclusion, based on my best guess and values, that I will vote for Trump. I hope that you will, too.

      I’m voting for Stein.

      1. Synoia

        Go ahead. That helps Hillary. Denial is a powerful emotion.

        To understand Donald’s view, please reflect on who are his customers (or marks), and from where he gets his revenue.

        To bully, I would have to offer some threat. The threat is not mine, it is Hillery’s.

        You face an unpleasant decision. My sympathies. I too dislike the choices, one of which is not Jill Stein.

        1. James Levy

          Exactly how many people who would normally vote for Trump or any Republican candidate going to vote for Stein? How many votes is Stein going to take away from Trump? How is my vote for Stein in any way a vote for Clinton? How does my vote for Stein do anything but hurt Clinton?

        2. cwaltz

          If the Republicans couldn’t field a decent candidate that’s their fault. And yes, Trump is an awful candidate, even if he was the least awful of their options.

          It’s not the electorate’s responsibility to vote for the least worst candidate no matter what the corporate duopoly says.

          I’m voting FOR a candidate, not against one. People like you can scream “Nader, Nader Nader” until the cows come home and the only thing I’m going to tell you is to field better candidates if you want me to vote for them.

        3. Plenue

          It doesn’t help Clinton. Every vote for Stein is one less vote for Clinton. The best thing the left can do now is deny her their support, which she thinks she doesn’t need anyway. Reveal to her how very, very wrong she is. The Dems have kicked the dog one too many times, now it’s time for the left to show that they in fact do have other places to go, and will leave the reservation.

          Trump has no views, he has no platform. He’s pure PR. That makes it entirely ambiguous as to whether he will end up destroying the country or not. Whereas Clinton will make Nuland Secretary of State and do everything possible to start a shooting war with Russia. If Clinton wins it’s very possible that the only thing that will save us is continued Russian restraint.

          And none of what I just said is hyperbole. I wish it was.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        The possibility exists that there is no qualified Presidential candidate.

        It’s also a possibility that there are things that are way more important than this election, given the choices now before us.

        “When Quinn the Eskimo gets here the pigeons gonna run to him…”

      3. Optimader

        Of course Clinton does not respect my views. But the idea that Donald Trump “respects my views” is patently ludicrous.

        And is a fallacy of false choice. Im suprised you offer that. Trump doesnt “respect your views” doesnt make HRC a more acceptable choice.

      1. optimader

        Second, the “time to move on” trope. Sez who?
        Bernie as POTUS?
        Time to move on is ambiguous, I suspect Synoia and you have two different interpretations. For anyone wringing their hands about Bernie’s lost opportunity to be the DNC anointed candidate, that moves on to POTUS…time to move on indeed.

    2. jrs

      such assumptions in “who might help you”. Are we assuming everyone reading is white as a sheet (I actually think that is the assumption oftentimes – that the net is nothing but white people talking to other white people) or do we not even get why most minorities are never going to see Donald Trump as someone you “might help you”.

      1. SpringTexan

        Yes, one of the most worrying things about Trump is whatever he could or could not do as prez he could and is very likely to deport even waaaaay more people than Obama, which in itself has caused enormous distress and tragedy, and there’d be MORE of that — he’s not going to help “you.”

        And having a vocal hate proponent in office, a misogynist, and possibly a rapist is not going to help “you” either.

        I totally understand voting for someone that isn’t Clinton, and I’ll vote for Stein. And I hoping more will vote for her and Gary Johnson than ever before to indicate dissatisfaction with the other candidates. But voting for Trump is a bad idea. It DOES matter if the head of the country is explicitly racist, sexist and hateful, besides being a bad guy who stiffs and bilks the people he does business with and someone who was a Roy Cohn admirer. An admirer of torture, press suppression, and so forth and so on. Sheesh.

        I do think a lot of his followers, as Michael Moore notes, vote for him for reasons not dissimilar to those that motivated folks to vote for Jesse Ventura and that often it is NOT Trump’s hate that attracts them but his free-wheeling-ness. And I can sympathize with those reasons. But Ventura, while totally unqualified, was not a BAD PERSON. Which Trump is.

        And even if you are white as a lily, there’s no chance Trump will help “you” either. He’s a con man!!

        1. Carolinian

          and possibly a rapist

          Wow second time today. Let’s get that one out there. Even the MSM–obviously no fans of Trump–unwilling to carry the water on this although they did report about it in a story you apparently haven’t read.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Perhaps Trump’s real problem with hate is that he doesn’t manage it strategically, like Democrats do. That makes Beltway types nervous.

          Perhaps you can explain to me why smearing all Sanders supporters as racist and sexist #BernieBros is not hateful?

    3. Vatch

      I made it months ago (a list of preferences, 1, 2 3), 3 was ABC – Anyone but Clinton

      You do understand that Stein is in the ABC category, don’t you?

      Trump is a thief. The Trump University scandal proves it. If you live in a swing state, I guess I understand why you might support Trump versus Clinton — lesser evil, etc. Although I know other people who are convinced that Clinton is the lesser evil. Anyhow, Lesser Evilism is only relevant in swing states. Everywhere else, people ought to vote strategically. They should look to the future, and choose a candidate who will help create positive outcomes in future elections. We already know that the result of the 2016 election will be a disaster.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If Trump ends up like Carter — attacking official Washington, flags a’flying, and then hubcaps deep in the mud four months in — then Clinton will, indeed, be the more effective evil.

        1. Vatch

          Effective Evilism versus Less Effective Evilism, like Lesser Evilism, is only relevant in the swing states. Everywhere else, voters should shun the Democrats and the Republicans. I understand that the collection of states currently perceived to be swing states may change as the election draws near.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            It may indeed. Do note, however, that it’s bellwether districts in swing states that are key (along with which party owns the voting apparatus). That’s what to track, and more vital than the national polls.

  8. DWD

    Give ’em credentials! More liberal goodthinking, and so hopeless. (Oh, and note that the only people guaranteed jobs from training programs are the (credentialled) trainers themselves. Ka-ching.

    Ah job retraining for nonexistent jobs.

    As a Michigan Resident of the requisite age: Been there and done that.

    It’s a scam.

    1. reslez

      How is college the answer when our existing college grads can’t find jobs?

      No one ever seems to answer this.

      I guess everyone is expected to start new companies. With no startup capital, savings, or health insurance. Or customers. Bonus: this means their lack of a job is their fault.

      1. craazyboy

        Someone started up a self serve dogwash near me. But it doesn’t look like it’s doing that great. I blame the owner. Probably didn’t study marketing in college. Had he/she studied marketing, he/she would have started a plumbing company.

        1. hunkerdown

          The ramshackle used-beater lot down the street seems to have up and vanished last weekend, after just about a year of operation. Saturday, a full inventory. Monday, a hundred antifreeze jugs and a couple of extra tall tumbrel-looking roll-aways packed with auto interior parts, and a “For Lease” sign.

          And my own industry seems to be shrinking a bit. Seems that a lot of contractors and entrepreneurs are trying something else, perhaps settling down with employers.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think education, as it used to be (sigh), is part of the answer. Critical thinking skills, creating narratives, making music, creating art, doing science, all the stuff that can’t be measured.

        1. Uahsenaa

          All of which, coincidentally, gets hammered every year when budget numbers are determined.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Don’t knock the hammering. It takes a very expensive administrator to know how to wield a hammer.

        2. crittermom

          Not having grandchildren myself I had no idea of how school is now being taught.

          While I knew that the arts had been all but eliminated (so wrong!), I had no idea how structured it has become until I spoke with a man who has been a teacher for many years.

          He said it’s now all ‘by the book’ and the kids hate it, telling me it doesn’t encourage independent thinking and as a teacher feels he has no input. It sounded like a robot or large computer screen(!) could do his job and it was killing his inspiration for teaching, since he was no longer really allowed to ‘teach’.
          He said that as a teacher you told them what their assignment was for the day and tests didn’t allow for creativity. You were to do little more. You are literally required to go exactly by the books.

          That was his point of view to me, so I asked a friend who is a substitute teacher at the tiny rural school where I currently live, for hers.

          First, I was surprised to learn she has no degree or special training, and that even I (same lack of qualifications) could sign up to be a substitute by paying the small fee to be certified and a background check. I believe the only training involved was to go over the ‘rules’. (Keeping in mind, this is a rural school with graduating classes of a dozen or less, so better qualifications–such as a teaching degree–are no doubt required in more populated areas?)

          She informed me each day had instructions for every hour and often the kids would just be ‘getting into’ something they were doing when she’d have to say the time was up and on to the next ‘assignment’ for the following hour.
          She commented it was awful for the kids. They didn’t like it, and neither did she.

          In reference to a substitute I can maybe see that way of thinking, but it was basically the same thing that once devoted teacher had told me. They do little more than ‘babysit’ and keep them on a strict schedule. To go beyond that would get you written up.

          I understand how ‘budget cuts’ hit the schools and the damage that’s been inflicted upon education.
          Yet, the more recent cynic in me questions if there isn’t a more deceitful plot behind those budget cuts that in reality take away anything in the education system that encourages individuality such as art, music, creative writing classes, creative thinking?

          Am I being too cynical when I say I’m beginning to have visions of all these children being ‘produced’ in public schools with ‘one order’ of thinking—and that scares me?

          (I confess I held the same fear when I first heard of charter schools, and wondered what they might be teaching).

      3. Uahsenaa

        As someone who peddles a required component of their education, I can say with absolute certainty that no one has any idea what this education is meant to achieve, and that includes the presumably job oriented STEM fields.

          1. Uahsenaa

            In my case, I compartmentalize. I try make my little slice of the pie (rhetoric) useful in itself. When I taught classes on comics/manga, it was much easier, since the students already gave a crap about what I was teaching. It didn’t need to be justified.

        1. flora

          Teachers are being reduced to trainers. Yet I’ll wager good teachers still find a way to let the better aspects of learning and student engagement seep thru. A quick look, an approving and encouraging smile at a good question, a gentle encouragement to ward off discouragement or frustration,… I expect you know what I’m talking about. All of these little queues done on the quiet – mustn’t directly challenge the latest fad embraced (or mandated) by the short-sighted Powers-That-Be.

          1. flora

            adding: I know K-12 public school teachers are in a terrible spot right now – make numbers or be punished. Where “the numbers” have nothing to do with nurturing and expanding young minds. The fear of not making number vs. the profoundly honorable charge of mentoring young minds. The inner conflict must be awful.

            1. flora

              and: rote learning re: STEM fields assumes that all the STEM knowlege is fixed and just waiting to be mined. Nothing could be further from the truth. STEM discoveries require confident and ‘playful’ minds, just the opposite of teach-to-the-test grinding.

      4. hunkerdown

        Well, first, what is the question they’re setting out to answer, and does the answer actually correspond to the question, or to some other question? I suggest the question they tendentiously answer, regardless of the question asked, is how they can keep the upper half of the professional class strong and personal services cheap and reliable.

      5. Plenue

        Somewhere along the line the US completely lost sight of what a university is even supposed to be for. It’s supposed to be a place of learning for learning’s sake. Plato never envisioned his Academy as a place for people to go and learn how to do a specific job. It was a place for thinking and debate. If you just want to learn a work skill, they have places for that: they’re called trade schools. On top of that, Ha-Joon Chang has made it abundantly clear that a huge amount of job training is done on the spot, by the employer. There is in fact not a solid link between increased levels of education in the general population and increased growth.

        Whenever I see people sneering at all the ‘idiots’ who took liberal arts classes instead of STEM courses, I think two things. One: laugh while you can asshole, because chances are you won’t be among the 20% of STEM graduates who actually land a job because companies can always find an Indian guy who will do the job just as well for less. And two: what a bleak world you must live in, where all you care about is a big paycheck and you have nothing but disdain for the people who want more satisfying, cultured careers. I would much rather live in a world filled with art historians and experts in 18th century French literature than one where everyone was ‘sensible’ and got a STEM degree. That’s Andrew Carnegie’s wet-dream, but to me it’s a kind of nightmare.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          As I keep saying, the largest donor to the University of Maine (and the doer of many, many good works round the state) was Stephen King, of the much-maligned English Department. That is, he was the largest donor ’til the then President kicked him in the nuts, whereupon he shut off the tap. The President left after a couple of years, as they do, to move on to the University of Connecticut, where he was fired by the board after a year or so for corruption.

    2. DrBob

      My sister-in-law attended nursing school about ten years ago. She was a stay-at-home mom for six years before that (raising two young boys), while my brother struggled to keep his small business afloat. He subsequently sold the business and moved the entire family to the Southeast in order to take a wage job at a hospital. The lower cost of living in their new area helped, but they still needed a few loans from me while she finished up her schooling. Now she’s gainfully employed in nursing, and they’re doing pretty well. She never finished college, but the nursing school education she received (when in her thirties) has served them well so far.

      Not all “retraining” programs are “scams.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s true and I should make exceptions for nurses, who are both credentialed but not members of the “professional looting classes.” It’s important to recognize splits!

      2. AnEducatedFool

        Your sister in law would not have a job in the Philly Metro area. Nurses need BA/BS degrees to keep jobs or even apply for jobs. I think that is the trend in most metro areas.

        IMHO it is a ploy to put them in debt in order to keep them in line. Nurses unions are one of the few radical unions left in the country. Forcing them into debt will keep them from protesting too much.

        1. DrBob

          Well, maybe that’s one of the reasons that she and her family didn’t move to the Philly Metro area.

          Granted, my brother and his family were in a position to move many hundreds of miles to where the jobs were. Not everyone has the financial means to move to where the jobs are. But it took planning and initiative for his wife to get herself the training and education to acquire employment that she happens to find meaningful.

          I have a hard time understanding the dismissive attitude towards education and training on display here. Seems if Bernie Sanders proposes it as part of his campaign platform, it’s A-OK…but once it’s adopted as the Democratic Party’s platform, it magically turns into a “scam”, or “simply dismissed as “liberal goodthinking.”

          Personally, I don’t think it’s hopeless at all. But programs DO need to be implemented. The Democratic Party’s platform from 2008 expressed similar lofty goals, but it’s not clear to me that much was actually done to achieve them.

          1. DJG

            DrBob: People aren’t criticizing education or training. What is very evident, though, is that credentials are taking the place of education and training. Two of the most egregious examples are the now-ubiquitous M.B.A. and the nearly ubiquitous M.F.A. What purpose do graduate schools of business serve? And even more obvious in my world, why are we now infested with so much assembly-line fiction that is then sent by agents (who tamp down any creativity) to publishers determined to find the next best-selling pseudoprofound novelist?

            Yet these credentials will get you into academe. Recursive mediocrity.

          2. AnEducatedFool

            I am not attacking your sister in law. I am pointing out that people are getting trapped. In the past you could become a nurse with an AS and the hospital would train you. Now nurses need 4 year degrees and most of those classes have nothing to do with nursing. At least 45-60 credits are either GenEd or chemistry that will never be useful in a clinical setting.

            Your family was able to hit the reset button because the barrier to entry was lower. Now a prospective nurse needs to get an AS which is not cheap everywhere then drop 20-30K to get a 4 year degree. Even that does not guarantee a job. Universities in this region are pumping out 1,000s of nurses every year. Eventually this glut will bring wages down and leave a lot of people who bought into this trap out of work.

            Nurses Unions are one of the last radical unions left in this country. Once they are put into debt they will have little recourse and join the rest of the country in economic uncertainty.

            My student loans will come back online shortly and they are essentially a car payment. I am taking courses to enter the medical field myself. It is one of the only areas of the economy that can not be off shored.

            If this fails I am going to get a teaching certificate. Not an ideal situation since I’ll be starting out older than most new teachers but hopefully there will be some debt relief for public service etc.

            A lot of us are barely holding on out here.

  9. Don Midwest USA

    When I was a Berkeley radical in the 1960’s, my dad asked what would radicals be in 10 years?

    My dad was a life long activist, one of the most dedicated and effective grass roots actors I have ever met. Sad to say that I sat on my hands with a career for the next 40 years until the election in 2004.

    This article points out that on the stage at the democratic convention were old people and young leaders to bring about change, like those in the Bernie campaign, were almost absent from the stage.

    Everyone wants to know what the “Bernie-or-bust” types will do in November. I want to know what they’ll do in ten years. Will the Sanders movement have been a lark, a passing fad, or will it spawn a lifetime commitment to social and economic justice? Will the young Sanders folks’ frustration lead to alienation, or will they hear Reverend Barber saying, “We can’t give up on this democracy, not now, not ever”?

    and the final paragraph

    If they join forces to vanquish Donald Trump, and become those fresh shock troops, the Democratic Party’s future is bright. But if they don’t channel their passion into running for local office, and stay outside the party system, agitating to hold Clinton accountable to her words on Thursday night—maybe, ultimately, that’s OK too. They will still be in the arena, fighting for their vision of this democracy. Social movements lead, and politicians get in front and claim that’s where they were headed all along. You can be stronger together, or stronger apart. As long as you keep up the fight.

    The Democratic Convention Was Senior Week
    The party rolled out its old warhorses—while the next generation had to make its own noise.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Team Blue’s future was bright in 2006. A boomlet was turning 18, and the Democrats were winning everywhere. It’s been 10 years. The Clintonites killed the party.

  10. DrBob

    Re: “Lessons for restoring the American dream from Latin America” [Brookings].

    Hard to see how “mov[ing] toward more integrating programs, ranging from the provision of better vocational education to making college more accessible to low-income individuals to more broadly available preschool” can be distilled into
    “Give ’em credentials!” — and described simply as “more liberal goodthinking, and so hopeless” — unless one has become deeply (perhaps “hopelessly”) cynical.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I moved to a country (Australia) with a large and functional vocational training program, and I’d say Yes, the credentials my son received there at very low cost were very important to his successful employment and career track. The program was a mix of classroom and a subsidized position at an employer, so he got both specific training and hands-on job experience he could put on his resume. Four years. So No, not “hopeless” at all.

      1. jrs

        I think it’s the job situation in the U.S. that makes it hopeless. There is no economic policy to create jobs, to attract/keep jobs in the country, to assure the country has high paying jobs etc.. Really there is no economic policy in the interest of the citizens in the U.S.. In many ways there is completely the opposite, H1Bs, Uber running wild with no worker protections etc.. And even those aren’t most jobs – most jobs are low paid service work. I don’t think training changes that reality except to maybe shift it ever so slightly toward higher paying jobs, but only very slightly. As anyone who has lived in any U.S. city for any period of time knows the U.S. is basically a 3rd world country (so at least the comparisons to other 3rd world countries are on the right track! Comparing the U.S. to the 1st world is really not accurate). And yet more and better credentials were not the only thing suggested in the article:

        “In Latin America, in contrast, macro and fiscal reforms have generally benefited the poor and have been complemented by conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs). CCTs provide the poor with non-marginal amounts of cash assistance, conditional on households sending their children to school and taking them to regular health appointments. The basic presumption is that poor individuals are best positioned to choose how to spend their own income—and must be able to do so if they are to exit poverty— combined with a commitment to pulling them into society rather than stigmatizing them.”

        A guaranteed income of sorts (only for those with kids I guess)

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        If only our Michiganders could say the same!

        > Hard to see how

        It’s easy to see; liberals are my people. I know what their euphemisms mean, and we’ve seen their track record after the crash.

        1. Some Guy

          The whole ‘give me credentials’ business rests on the fallacy of composition

          Say there are 15 people who want jobs and 10 jobs, and I am one of the 5 left out.

          So I spend $100k on a degree get a job and now the situation is there are 15 people who want jobs and 10 jobs and all that has changed is this:

          Me: +1 job, +100,000 in debt
          Person in the 10 original job holders with the least education: -1 job

          Net: +100,000 in debt.

          Goodthinking solution: that person who is now out of a job needs to spend $100k on a degree to get one of the 10 jobs.

          After all, the stats show that the people with more education have a lower unemployment rate.


  11. Jim Haygood

    ALL FIVE largest U.S. companies by market cap are now tech stocks: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.


    They are the top five holdings in the Nasdaq 100 index, which hit a record high yesterday.

    Technically, Amazon is classified in the Consumer Discretionary sector (and the internet retailing industry), whereas the other four are in the Technology sector. But Amazon’s value derives from the technology of its internet platform, its cloud services, etc.

    If you think that this picture seems to rhyme with the Internet Bubble of 1999 … you’re right!

    1. IDG

      Algo Google and Facebook income are just big advertising and marketing (data mining) companies disguised as tech companies. Their core business is not producing and selling any tech (specially Facebook).

      1. Jim Haygood

        Concur. MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) and S&P Dow Jones determine the GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard).

        They have changed their categories and company assignments over the years, and will continue doing so.

        It’s unclear where search and social media fit in. Both companies are close to Silicon Valley, so we’ll put them in the tech bin for now.

        Social media is so huge, it could get its own GICS sector eventually, replacing traditional Media (part of Consumer Discretionary sector).

  12. ProNewerDeal

    I recall SCOTUS Justice R Bader Ginsburg mentioned if Trump is elected, she might take her husband’s advice that if Murica gets too crazy, retire to the civilized New Zealand.

    I thought rich/OECD nations’ immigration departments do not want older immigrants, not in the 50s much less the 80ish R Bader Ginsburg.

    I assume R Bader Ginsburg has at least $1M in “disposable wealth” & thus is eligible for the 1%er (or is it 0.1%er) Transnational “Investor” visa? If I understand correctly, if you are rich, you can “invest” & move to many nations, including Murica. I recall a clip (IIRC on PBS Newshour) where Chinese rich were emigrating to the US by investing $800K in expensive condos a few blocks from the Barclay’s Center arena in NYC, on some program that was designed “to improve affordable housing”.

    I would like to better understand this 1%er Transnational “Investor” visa phenomenon, perhaps an article exists that explains it?

    Perhaps its existence is a factor in explaining how US 1% BigBiz & their owned BigPols like HClinton & P Ryan are so callous about 99% economic issues inclding slashing the already crapified US social insurance, whether 0bama Grand Ripoff style raising of Social Security age above 67 & Medicare above 65; or the P Ryan approach of worsening 0bama by ACA Exchange-esque SS & MC & giving an inadequate coupon subsidy, & if you can’t pay the remainder – Go Die (c) Lambert’s Neoliberalism Rule.

    These BigPols with a spare $1M (e.g. most of them) have the option of permanent residency in Toronto/Melbourne/etc, a Get of of Jail, er Get out of Murica card should they need to use it, in actually Civilized nations with actual social insurance systems.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        That’s pretty much every country. The rich, like their money and their businesses, are transnational, nationalities are a fungible commodity. 10MM, you can live in any country you like, 100MM and you are above such petty concerns as borders at all. Those are for the miserable plebes.

    1. craazyboy

      Buy stock in whomever holds the printing rights to Ayn Rand novels. All the world’s self made people are on the way to the US. Many of them made it big in 3rd World governments too. Been going on in CA forever. If Ayn Rand books sales go wild like I predict, you can move to a gated community too!

    2. polecat

      they’ll accept HER or anyone else, for BIG$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      …as you nor i don’t qualify……..due to the pittence we own…..

      1. polecat


        and while we’re at it …strikeout ‘don’t….

        uhg…. I think it’s time to go check out my bee hives, and calm down……. later all !

    3. low integer

      Well here in Australia the LNP will seemingly sell anything, though they’re trying to be more discreet about it since truffles took over from the idiot. Perhaps we could arrange a trade: the US NC crew in exchange for our rightwing politicians. It would certainly make sense economically.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    I’m thinking this is more of a corruption or imperial collapse watch issue than electoral politics so posting it here.

    Evidently the fact that Clinton’s State Dept obstructed attempts to have Boko Haram designated as a terrorist operation has been known for a couple years. Saw the following article today that claims this was because some of her large donors liked to do business with Nigerians affiliated with Boko Haram : https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/2016/07/28/hillary-clinton-obstructed-boko-haram-terror-designation-over-cia-doj-objections-as-clinton-allies-cashed-in/

    Not all that familiar with PJMedia and their reliability. Is this the same outfit as Pajama media? – I may be misremembering but I seem to recall that Pajama was a bit dubious.

    Anyone else heard anything about these claims? Pretty damning if true…

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I wish ANY claims against the CGM (Clinton Grift Machine TM) could be considered “damning”, instead the “Trump works for Putin!” ridiculous bloviating receives the coveted “damning” label.
      (Damnation requires a “damner” and a “damnee”, but when the damner is the entire media and one damnee is innoculated and the other is open season the outcome is as you’d expect).
      But back to the emails: “Putin hacked the DNC!” but….um he didn’t hack the server under the desk at the home of the SoS containing highly classified material?
      (“It’s not cognitive dissonance “dammit” because I say it’s not…the Red Queen doesn’t do cognitive dissonance thank you very much”).

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Thanks – so much like TPM I’m guessing if one were to start doing some research on the claims made, there would be a lot of truthiness to them.

    2. visitor

      Evidently the fact that Clinton’s State Dept obstructed attempts to have Boko Haram designated as a terrorist operation has been known for a couple years.

      Never heard or read about it, I just learned it from your comment…

      It fits with the push to delist the MEK as a terrorist organization.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Yeah I hadn’t seen it before today either – read it earlier and lost the link so did a search for Clinton and Boko Haram and saw a bunch of articles from May 2014 mentioning it. It was a republican talking point at the time and this Clinton apology from Thinkprogress comes across as pretty weak tea: http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/05/08/3435588/hillary-and-boko-haram/

        Once Kerry replaced Clinton at State they were added to the list.

        Like the MEK, just goes to show one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter !

        And that most of the rhetoric around these issues is a bunch of BS.

  14. ProNewerDeal

    BTW, do you think we “dodge 2 bullets” & make it to Jan 2017 without 0bama being able to implement his beloved TPP & Grand Ripoff?

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Willing, I hope so!

    0bama v Bush43, who was the More Effective Evil? At least Bush43 didn’t have the passion for Crapifying social insurance like 0bama did – IIRC Bush43 meekly tried to privatize SS & then let it go. Bush43 didn’t push any Rigged Trade Outsourcing deals the size of TPP, perhaps there was a minor one (DR-CAFTA?).

    0bama’s passion is allowing the 1%ers enrichment by parasitically ripping off 99%ers. In contrast Bush43’s passion was neocon Middle East warmongering regime-change, & Christian Theocratic stances like banning stem cell research & gay marriage, & fellow theocrat SCOTUS nominations.

    I’d guesstimate 0bama is even worse than Bush43. The sad thing is that I fear the Fockin New Guy will be even worse than 0bama. Perhaps there is a small chance for HClinton to be less bad than 0bama if the Sanders-ish social democrats (typically labeled Progressives) can force HClinton to halfway stick to the 2016 platform. Based on HClinton’s behavior during the campaign, I doubt that is possible – she seems to detest the Progressive faction, based off the Kaine nomination & authoritarian banning of Sanders delegates from the convention floor, etc, & so far HClinton seems to get away with this “hippie punching” behavior.

    One positive aspect is that I feel like that HClinton will be unable to use the 0bama excuses to valid Progressives’ policy critiques of
    1 You are a sexist for critizing Dear Leader! (racist in 0bama’s case)
    2 Those Evil Rs won’t let her do that policy

    These bogus replies are “dead horses” after continual use by 0bamabots, that IMHO will not be available for HClinton to use.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, Bush43 has Iraq going for him. And IMNSHO, the only reason Obama didn’t seriously put “boots on the ground” is that Iraq and Afghanistan broke the army. But I bet they’re recovered enough now, and ready for Hillary! Clearly, from Hickenlooper’s speech before Clinton, the brass can’t wait!

  15. Kim Kaufman

    “Doug writes: “‘Fire Weed’ flourishing in forest open space after pine beetle infestation. Colorado.””

    A hopeful sign?

  16. Alejandro

    Compelling and powerful words against tpp, from a california delegate, seems to be what scares the DNC sh_tless.

    ALEX WHITE: In October, when the full text released and it was made known to the public that there was a death sentence clause in it, that would basically mean that pharmaceutical companies would have a 20-year monopoly on medications, that would cause a single medication to cost anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. My wife was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer three years ago, and through our—I have to do it for her and everybody who is diagnosed with cancer. I mean, that’s why—I don’t want to mean any disrespect to President Obama, but I’ve got to—I’ve got to stand up for people who are diagnosed with cancer. When they’re fighting for their lives, they shouldn’t have to fight to afford their medications.”

    From 1:37:50 to 1:38:32…Spontaneously spoken, make them even more compelling AND powerful.


    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I don’t think the DNC “does” fear, they fear nothing because they control everything: from the party to the purse strings to the propaganda organs to the search engines and the social platforms.
      Some things they do do: anger, revenge, and retribution. In spades.
      The cheese is being divvied out as we speak: to Wall St, to the MIC, to Big Pharma, to the Surveillance-Industrial Complex, to Big Fracking, Big Prison, Big Insurance. Beware any and all who would dare get in between the Cheeser and the Cheesees.

      1. Alejandro

        At some point, some get fed up with being scared and are no longer willing to “go die”, “because markets” and decide to fight back…AND—” WHEN THEY’RE FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES, THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO FIGHT TO AFFORD THEIR MEDICATIONS.”

        Wouldn’t you agree that there’s something insidiously pernicious about acquiescence?

        1. ProNewerDeal


          0bama/P Ryan/etc blocking of Canada-style MedicareForAll kills ~45K USians per year per Harvard Public Health Profs. Given the ACA, the annual death toll is estimated to be reduced to ~30K by 2022. In addition 1-2M USians go bankrupt annually due to health care costs, most of whom had health insurance (source: Jacob Haker “The Great Risk Shift”).

          I wonder what the INCREMENTAL death toll would be if this TPP ripoff on life saving pharma is implemented. IIRC the median individual USian net wealth is only ~$37K, so a majority of the population would get bankrupted in months by $50K+ annual pharma bill. Perhaps those with LESS CRAPIFIED insurance that pays a portion of this extortionist pharma bills may be able to go a few years before bankruptcy.

  17. Alex morfesis

    300 years ago florida was a desert…no one tried to take it because nobody wanted it…planet change happens without the help of man…not trying to ignore the horrific realities of burning a billion years of carbon back into the atmosphere in less than 100 years…

    If the florida desert can change to the flora capital without the help of mechanized man, then what might we do with the existing deserts if we tried…

    If we sacrifice 10% of the deserts as a dumping ground for salt would it not be able to convert the sea water into underground aquafiers by just dumping seawater into the desert…could not the california water tablets be replenished if we just began dumping seawater and letting it absorb back down or watching it evaporate up and around the globe

    The “suez canal” was probably just a reopening of a historical canal that failed due to lack of maintenance…

    We have the technology to drill for oil at great depths…if the water did not make its way to where it needed to go once dumped and filtered its way underground, we could just pump it out and build pipelines…

    let gaia be the desalination process…

    Or we could create inland seas and create places to let invasive and fast growing fish become a feed stock…is it carp that burps out 3 million eggs per year…bottom feeder fish might live off food scraps we now dump (thinking out loud) ?? Not talking about tiny man made confines needing antibiotics to survive…talking about giant man made lakes and seas

    Might all this man made adjustment effect a few coyotes and grey wolfs…maybe…maybe not…poor romeo in Juneau got shot by some drunken hunter, so there are bigger dangers than losing ten percent of their environments…

    We certainly have enough information from the massive dams built around the globe to analyze how environments adjust…

    not that the oil lobby has had anything to do with the “environmental” questions preventing america from using the ultimate clean energy..hydro…

    I know…I know…

    Buckminster fuller pixel dust…

    well…I am in Tarpon springs…

    and it is where he failed and almost committed suicide and then decided to just kill his fears instead…

    We have the technology…

    Will we use it..??

  18. kj1313

    Not sure how to embed tweets but this was an interesting tidbit from reporter Michael Tracy @mtracy of Vice. Putting the quote underneath.

    Now if this is to be believed why did Bernie capitulate?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      To embed a tweet:

      1) Click on the three dots at the right under the tweet

      2) A dropdown menu appears

      3) Select the “Embed Tweet” menu item

      4) A dialog will appear. Click in the text box, select the HTML code within it, and copy it.

      5) Paste the HTML code where you want it to appear, as in this comment.

  19. DWD


    How can you carry on a conversation when each post takes fifteen minutes or longer to be vetted?

  20. lyman alpha blob

    Har har har!

    RE: The Bezzle: “Smart feeder outage left pets hungry for 10 hours” – check out this defense of “smart” tech which completely misses the irony:

    “In a separate incident this week a smart security camera stopped a family home in the US from burning to the ground after an electronic teddy bear spontaneously combust [sic].” emphasis added

    Perhaps a dumb bear would preclude the need for the smart security…

    1. polecat

      What?…did It have an Iphone imbedded in it’s stuffing or something??

      …Flambe’ talking Barbies next??

  21. Carolinian

    Just reading this story that NotTimothyGeithner put in Links today


    The Fellowship’s long-term goal is “a leadership led by God—leaders of all levels of society who direct projects as they are led by the spirit.” According to the Fellowship’s archives, the spirit has in the past led its members in Congress to increase U.S. support for the Duvalier regime in Haiti and the Park dictatorship in South Korea. The Fellowship’s God-led men have also included General Suharto of Indonesia; Honduran general and death squad organizer Gustavo Alvarez Martinez; a Deutsche Bank official disgraced by financial ties to Hitler; and dictator Siad Barre of Somalia, plus a list of other generals and dictators. Clinton, says Schenck, has become a regular visitor to Coe’s Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, a former convent where Coe provides members of Congress with sex-segregated housing and spiritual guidance.


  22. allan

    Arrest of man who recorded police sparks Black Lives Matter protest in Syracuse

    Maurice Crawley, 52, was filming officers making an arrest when one of them approached Crawley, arrested him and swore at him. Crawley was charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

    Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside the Onondaga County Justice Center Friday morning. Organizer Herve Comeau says he believes Crawley was within his legal rights to video the officer, and says the officer should be fired. … Comeau says the officer threatened Crawley and threw him to the ground. … The police department is conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

    The outcome of which is a foregone conclusion.

  23. abynormal

    @ low integer…weren’t you asking about the birdwatcher? “… it’s very difficult to see where the next step is except what I’m concerned about mostly, is stag-flation, meaning I think we’re seeing the very early signs of inflation beginning finally to pick up as the issue of deflation fades…. we’re in a situation now where looking at the interest rate levels that we’re looking at and the inflation rates we’re looking at, it’s very clear that we’re going to be moving reasonably shortly into a wholly different phase.”

    he actually sounds more cerebral than eva…or…his ego sounds intact so ‘they’ threatened him to brace us…or…maybe he changed a few words to let ‘them’ know, LEAVE ME THE HELL OUT OF IT and “shortly” call and let the fat lady sing it to’em.

  24. Uahsenaa

    Geez, I didn’t expect to see Jill Stein oppo… nerves must be pretty frayed at the DNC.

    Stein seems to say pretty clearly that vaccination wouldn’t be a problem if people otherwise trusted the FDA. At no point does she say, “people shouldn’t be vaccinated.”

  25. Oregoncharles

    ” The underlying structural economic trends are as malleable as tectonic plates.”

    That’s the Big Lie of globalization, that is isn’t a direct result of government policies – like “free trade” agreements. I realize it’s a horrible example, but that horrible?

  26. Alex morfesis

    And now for something completely different…boris johnson is a turk by blood ? & has cousins in the current erdogan govt ??

    Seems johnson is an adjustment from a maternl name…

    Boris did that interesting poem of erdogan but his great grandfather was…

    Drum roll please…

    Ali kemal…(bey)

    Boris had a cousin who was the turkish ambassador to the uk…

    will ceases never wonder…

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’d heard this from English people but never seen it mentioned in the press although surely it has.

  27. Carolinian

    Somewhat interesting WSWS article that describes the Dem convention as a celebration of identity politics in service of empire.


    The US military had long been a bastion of fanatical homophobia, with over 114,000 service members forced out, with dishonorable discharges, over the issue between World War II and the scrapping of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011. That allowing gays into the military would erode discipline had been an article of faith for the US command.

    Central to support for changing this policy was the recognition, within both the ruling political establishment and decisive layers of the military brass, that it would prove politically useful in winning support for the military among a privileged upper middle class layer that had identified with the politics of American liberalism.

    The message at the convention was explicit: “These are your troops. These are your wars. They are being fought in your interests.”[…]

    In response to the heated rhetoric at the convention, the Washington Post’s security columnist wrote a piece entitled “Clinton has now made the Democrats the anti-Russia party.” He noted: “In their zeal to portray Donald Trump as a dangerous threat to national security, the Clinton campaign has taken a starkly anti-Russian stance, one that completes a total role reversal for the two major American parties on US-Russian relations that Hillary Clinton will now be committed to, if she becomes president.”

    Triumph of the Hill indeed. Still, no torchlight parades.

  28. yan

    This is the ideal situation re: learning from LATAM. A crafty spin doctor could even frame as integration, as this up and coming residential area is adjacent to “Classe A” lodging. We just need to whip them a bit harder and make them sign up to some of the amazing educational financing opportunities to get an incredible grade A, first-class, top-of-the-pops (i will add: white) education!! Just sign away your social security payments…in case something goes wrong. But what could go wrong! Be like the white people!

  29. Roland

    I don’t want to repeat a reply I made to the post a few days ago on this site, about the Macquarie report which mentions the Lumpenproletariat. Unfortunately the Bloomberg article repeats Macquarie’s misuse of the term.

    The Bloomberg and Macquarie pieces are just more examples of people who can never seem to bring themselves to talk about the proletariat. It started with people talking about the “the declining middle class” (who were actually mostly proles), then it continued with the so-called “precariat” (who are proles) and now with the abuse of the term lumpenproletariat (who are NOT proles).

    While I’m glad to see people remembering that Marx did a better job of describing our political economy than most of today’s economists, nevertheless I find it frustrating when Bloomberg and Macquarie manage to screw up some pretty simple definitions.

    Re: Greer. The thing I enjoy about Greer is that he appreciates Toynbee’s A Study of History. My own impression of Greer’s Druidism is that Greer wants it to form the new “universal higher religion” which, in Toynbee’s theory, emerges through the disintegration of a civilization and which forms the basis of the next. Toynbee himself, in Mankind and Mother Earth, predicted that the next “universal religion” would probably be environmentalist.l

    1. John

      I find it interesting that the word “lumpenproletariat” as arisen again. The definition includes most of societies outcasts….and most pertinent, according to wikipedia “those who have been thrown out by industry”. I know little about the works of Marx, but I expect that he did not envision industry that did not need large numbers of workers. I think this is the problem that faces the whole planet. Our economic system is based on keeping everyone busy with work…but what constitutes work in the industrial sense, making things to sell, requires fewer and fewer hands. What to do.

      I find Greer a bit of a sentimentalist and romantic. he likes trees and I think would like to stop the apocalyptic dial back at about 1850. I like trees and Druids…but do they have to be Arch? Makes me suspicious, but not to a Pol Pot extent as in the case of Mr. Levy above. The Druids and their Pagan allies definitely have a lumpenproletariatish vibe….deep in the heart of Appalachia. Those mountains have always loved their outcasts.

      I refer frequently to William Gibson’s work from the ‘Neuromancer’ cybertrilogy to most recently ‘The Peripheral’ as to what things may be like after the neoliberals and the neo cons have had their way.
      He combines a wonderful mixture of normalcy with complete weirdness and desolation. Slightly toxic krill wafers instead of homegrown tomatoes.
      Who knows?

  30. Don

    Under “class warfare,” again climate change is mentioned. The folks at NC should get together with the folks at judithcurry.com, and ask yourselves: if the climate variations we’re seeing are within the norm except for some inputs from carbon dioxide which evidence shows does NOT act like a thermostat (Curry’s basic position based not on propaganda but on science,) then why do we BELIEVE that acting against climate change is so urgent and desperate? Is something else going on? Are we led to believe this to distract us or to set us against each other? Does it have anything to do with GMO crops, which we might need to “save” us? I don’t have any answers, but all this is something to consider: is “man-made climate change” largely orchestrated propaganda?

    1. pretzelattack

      judith curry, from what i’ve read, is not a reliable source. some of the present contentions contradict her earlier work, and she has published nothing to refute it iirc.

      1. Don

        Of course she’s not a “reliable source!” She questions the absolutely-settled-no-questions-asked- anyone-who-doesn’t-go-along-with-us-is-a-fruitcake doctrine… er… I mean, science.

        If she were a “reliable source,” here’s what she’d say: “the science on climate change is settled and we’ve got to do something RIGHT NOW and pay no attention (that is, don’t even begin to look because you might learn something) to those scientists who disagree with me.”

        1. pretzelattack

          yeah yeah the flat earthers, the creationists and the 911 truthers make the same arguments, about being oppressed by the scientific consensus. if she had anything she would publish. the science on emissions heating up the planet, yeah that’s settled.

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