Links 7/10/16

Catching ‘Em All at NYPL with Pokémon GO New York Public Library. Cool!

He Tried to Be a Badger NYRB

US stocks and bond yields in record territory due to uncertainty FT

Meanwhile, in Japan, Household Consumption Continues to Fall CFR

Barroso chez Goldman Sachs, un bras d’honneur à l’Europe Liberation (translation). Former President of the European Commission joins Goldman. How cozy.

Dark days flag up challenges for Deutsche Bank FT

Piles of Dirty Secrets Behind a Model ‘Clean Coal’ Project NYT

Standards Body Whines That People Who Want Free Access To The Law Probably Also Want ‘Free Sex’ Tech Dirt

In clinical trials, for-profit review boards are taking over for hospitals. Should they? STAT. What could go wrong?

Theranos CEO’s 2-Year Ban Leaves Few Options to Save Startup Bloomberg. What a shame. And so innovative.

Unexpected Deaths Put Promising Immunotherapy on Hold MIT Technology Review


Interview with Juncker and Schulz: ‘Deadly for Europe’ Der Spiegel

The biggest blunder of them all The New Statesman

Where are we now? Responses to the Referendum LRB

Britain is changed utterly. Unless this summer is just a bad dream Guardian

The post-Brexit ugliness of the left Spiked

The Tory Leadership Mystery: Why Did Michael Gove Betray Boris Johnson? Sputnik (RS).

Priti Patel: Andrea Leadsom could become a Tory Corbyn Daily Telegraph. Ouch!

The Media Against Jeremy Corbyn Jacobin. “BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg coordinated the resignation of a member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet so that it would occur live on television.”

‘No pressure on me’ Jeremy Corbyn tells miners’ gala, as Labour MPs ‘de-invited’ Guardian

“[CORBYN:] But one I got today really did puzzle me. They said: are you coping with the pressure that’s on you? I said: ‘There’s no pressure on me. None whatsoever.’ The real pressure, the real pressure – real pressure – is when you don’t have enough money to feed your kids, when you don’t have a roof over your head, when you are wondering if you are going to be cared for.”

[drops mic].

Imperial Collapse Watch

The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia The Nation

Despite fatigue, NATO commits to fund Afghan forces to 2020 Reuters

Delta flight from MSP to Rapid City lands at Air Force base by mistake Minneapolis Tribune


How the Media Overthrew Party Politics Bill Moyers. Based on this study.

Sanders backers frustrated by defeats at Orlando platform meeting Orlando Sentinel

Anti-TPP Amendment Fails at Heated Dem Platform Meeting Common Dreams

Democrats call for ‘pathway’ to marijuana legalization WaPo. 81-80. “[O]ne Clinton delegate complained audibly that the Sanders delegates ‘wanted 100 percent of everything.'” Yes, and your point?

Why Did Bernie Sanders Put an Obama-Hater on the Democratic Platform Committee? Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine.

With Sanders Endorsement Looming, Hillary Clinton Reaffirms Support for Public Health Care Option New York Magazine. The so-called “public option” emerges yet again, playing its usual role as a line of defense against single payer.

Donald Trump Campaign to Target 17 States in November Election WSJ. AZ, CO, FL, GA, IN, IA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, VA, WI.

Trump looks at retired general Flynn as possible running mate Reuters

Pennsylvania County Trump Dominated in Primary Poses General-Election Challenge Bloomberg

Unconventional #33: How Paul Ryan could decide whether Trump is dumped in Cleveland (and more!) Yahoo News

Why Trump Was Inevitable NYRB

Faced with Trump and Clinton, Americans yearn for third choice: Reuters/Ipsos poll Reuters

What I Saw at the Summit In These Times

Clinton Email Tar Baby

Judge sets hearing on demand for Hillary Clinton deposition Politico

Clinton refuses to say whether she’ll comply with latest investigation into emails McClatchy

Charge Hillary Rodham Clinton pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 641, 793, 794, 798, 952, and 1924 White House Petition (needs 0 votes).

Dallas Shooting

Obama denies the US is divided after Dallas deaths FT

Dallas shootings might give a new reason for police to look like soldiers McClatchy

Dallas – Civil Law Enforcement Use Of Vehicle Based IED Raises Questions Moon of Alabama

Abundant Guns Contribute to Conflicts With Police, Obama Says Bloomberg

Clinton Says Her Budget Will Include $1 Billion to Fund Police Training Programs Gawker. Moar credentials!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black Gun Owners in Texas Decry Racial Bias The Texas Tribune

Police group: Minn. governor ‘exploited what was already a horrible and tragic situation’ WaPo. Diamond Reynolds’ actions were noble, and in a just world she’d get a medal for them.

The Bahamas’ new U.S. travel advisory: Use ‘extreme caution’ around police WaPo

Class Warfare

For Too Many, the Job Market Isn’t Working Bloomberg

A Start-Up Shies Away From the Gig Economy NYT

Book Review: Albion’s Seed Slate Star Codex

Forget Montauk: Why Maine Should Be Your Modern Summer Retreat Bloomberg. No! Stay away! This article is a tissue of lies!

Do You Own Your Own Fingerprints? Bloomberg

Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling MIT Technology Review

When Narratives Go Bad Epsilon Theory (CL). Must read, and keep going. Maybe we need to replace “animal spirits” with “the power of narrative”?

Antidote du jour (via). Ducks are big in Japan:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. c

    Antwerpen wordt grootste digitale proeftuin van Europa
    google translate

    ANTWERP – Antwerp is Europe’s largest testing ground for new digital technologies. They will be tested easily and on a large scale, says Mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA). For it will be put on city buildings network antennas.
    The network is built up in this way can collect data for the IoT and are used for experiments. The Internet of Things, in short IoT is a development of the Internet in which everyday objects can exchange connected to the network and data among themselves. Thus, inter alia, through sensors, smart cameras and Wi-Fi signals large amounts of data are collected.

  2. MikeNY

    From the FT article:

    People are looking at US Treasuries and saying it is one of the most politically and economically stable places in the world

    Driving with your eyes on the rear-view mirror?

    1. griffen

      Least bad apple compared to other relative value apples. All that bond duration might leave a future mark though.

  3. jgordon

    Obama is right that abundant guns do indeed contribute to conflicts with police. The question become though, how do we get the guns out of the hands of the police without a revolt? There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.

    1. MikeNY

      I think I get your irony, but BO is right that 300+ million guns in circulation are a big (and intractable) problem. I don’t excuse police brutality and hair-trigger (literally) behavior, but I don’t envy the police their jobs. Every person you stop could be the nut packing the heat. How do you take 300+ million guns out of circulation without provoking a revolution? Or do you go after the ammunition?

      This is a toothpaste / tube problem.

      1. abynormal

        “Every person you stop could be the nut”…begin with the ‘nut’. Mental Health has been ignored too long in this ‘make it look good’ society. or let it grow with stronger fertilizer, produced by POVERTY INC.

          1. Take the Fork

            Hateful Facts, New York City, 2014:

            “Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter victims are most frequently Black (62.4%) or Hispanic (25.2%). White victims account for (7.5%) of all Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter victims while Asian /Pacific Islanders account for (5.0%) of all Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter victims.

            “The race/ethnicity of known Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter suspects mirrors the victim population with Black (59.8%) and Hispanic (30.3%) suspects accounting for the majority of suspects. White suspects account for (6.0%) of all Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter suspects while Asian/Pacific Islanders accounted for (4.0%) of the known Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter suspects.

            “The Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter arrest population is similarly distributed. Black arrestees (61.8%) and Hispanic arrestees (31.8%) account for the majority of Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter arrestees while White arrestees (2.9%) and Asian/Pacific Islander (2.7%) arrestees account for the remaining portions of the Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter arrest population.


              1. Anon

                This seems like a rhetorical question, right?

                Violence is linked to poverty, discrimination in housing, jobs and other issues (guns). BLM has identified the propensity for black on black crime (by citizens). What BLM and the rest of us are concerned about is the propensity of violence by the POLICE on black lives.

                As a white guy who recently had an unnerving encounter with local police for listening to a radio broadcast of a baseball game while sitting in my car, I can’t imagine the fear a black person would feel in a similar situation.

      2. Carla

        At one point, we had a chance. We could have just stopped making the G.D. things. But Oh, Nooooo….
        Now, with 3-D printing technology, people can just make their own. But can they 3-D print ammunition? Probably there’s some equivalent technology to make bath-tub bullets.

        1. jrs

          I don’t think the quality of 3D printing of the type most would have access to actually produces very good guns, not that I’m an expert. So yea I know a lot of gun people say “so then I’ll just go and print a gun”. But it’s maybe like some regard self-driving cars, maybe someday but the tech may need some work first (I suspect the self-driving car tech is further along). Of course the technology will probably keep advancing … it won’t always be at year 2016 era tech.

          1. JTMcPhee

            “technology will keep on advancing”

            Why do people, in light of events, almost always speak of “technology” as “advancing”?

            I gloat at the nice line of advance that brings the consumer into the security state, where it is now so easy for those who are supposed to serve and protect (who and what, again?) to put their knowledge of explosives and demolition so quickly to work making a nice IED to “reduce a threat.” Technology…

            Were any robots harmed in this leap forward in the relations that mark the political economy? Technophiles want to know…

            How categories change– “Mene, mene, tekel upharsim…”

          2. Synoia

            I don’t think the quality of 3D printing of the type most would have access to actually produces very good guns


          3. scott2

            I visited the company in Austin that made the 3d printed 1911. Got to hold it. It took so much work to get a good finish on the parts (man weeks) that a skilled machinist could have made the whole gun from blocks of steel and aluminum in less time.

          4. kareninca

            You don’t need to print a gun. You can just machine tool one. My father (who worked in industry before college, and has an obsession with the machine tool industry, and how it was off shored)(and who is also pro 2nd Amendment rights) says you could easily do it in little space. It’s not rocket science. So, a gang in Chicago could have its own local source; no need to steal them or smuggle them (not that smuggling them will ever be hard to do). Only middle class people who obey the law will be kept from owning by bans.

      3. jgordon

        Toothpaste/tube problem? Not really. The main problem here is that the government gives psychopaths (admittedly a minority of police) authority and then allows them to act with impunity. An armed citizenry might just be the ultimate/last defense against this kind of corruption.

        I view these recent attacks on police as a natural and expected result of widespread egregious injustices in the system; the government has become incapable of policing itself, so random people are coming up with their own ad hoc solutions.

        1. MikeNY

          An armed citizenry might just be the ultimate/last defense against this kind of corruption.

          If this is true, then IMHO we are lost. It’s all over but the dying.

          1. jgordon

            This is only the result of a misconception of the situation on your part. In truth states are always makeshift and unstable creations that are prone to collapse. Some relatively long periods of stability and prosperity do occasionally fool people from time to time, but reality always comes back to remedy that at some point.

            1. MikeNY

              Put me down with MLK: evolution is better than revolution. If that is a foolish hope, than put me down as a fool who hopes not to witness the rivers of blood that I believe your scenario entails.

            2. abynormal

              jogrdon, cute! years ago you admitted socialization is NOT your forte. ‘prone to collapse’…what isn’t? we’re still here.
              now how do you expect to continue spreadin your love & talent in permaculturin if WE KILL’EM ALL AN PILE’M TO THE SKY?

              btw, how is your permaculture business coming along?? notice any changes in florida climate you might share?? Hope All is Going Good, Luv Aby ‘)

              1. jgordon

                Socialization is not my forte? Well that’s true enough. I’m pretty cold and analytical about things. But that gives me clearer view of things than people who run around with their hair on fire being emotionally invested in everything. If I see a pattern in history where societies are constantly destroying themselves at regular intervals, I can view that as an interesting intellectual exercise rather than as something to get upset about and deny, even when it’s my own society.

                Good things can happen and sometimes there is abundant light and love in the world, but when people do stupid things–out of negligence, carelessness, or for some bizarre ideological reasons–then there will be consequences.

                Yes permaculture. I’ll tell you something about that. Nature does not only about birth and growth. There is also just as much destruction, death, and decay in nature. Like yin and yang, a good permaculturist understands and works with the complete cycle to bring about the greatest positive impact. The cute baby ducks following their mother in the photo are just as important and vital in the natural system as the crow snatching and eating a baby duck.

                Incidentally in real life I saw a mother duck with babies following her the other day. She wondered into traffic and was flattened by a car. Then her ducklings were eaten by crows. True story. I was looking for an excuse to relate that with regards to the evil of automobiles, and here I’ve found it. Thanks.

                  1. Anon

                    …probably true. Urban crows are very smart; and a population with few controls. Time for crow pie?

          2. kj1313

            Isn’t the NRA rhetoric that an armed citizenry is a defense against tyranny? You can argue that was exactly what Micah Johnson was practicing. So it confused me to see how many molan labe 3%ers on social media were angry & pledging to support the police.

            If anything this week exposed the utter hypocrisy of what the NRA says.

            1. jgordon

              Well I don’t belong to the NRA or know much about what they do, but my first emotional response when I found out about the incident was: “oh that makes sense. We’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the future!”

              It’s the consequence of running a society badly. Not really anything to be upset or surprised about. We’ll also be seeing a lot more unpleasant consequences from running an unsustainable society cropping up, so get used to it.

              To expand a bit: some things we do are completely awful and horrible, yet our culture has convinced itself that they are A-OK and that suffering consequences for them would be unjust. For example, air conditioning and automobiles. Two of the greatest evils that humanity has ever inflicted on the earth, yet American culture views these things as good and necessary. Well we’re all going to pay for it soon enough. I don’t see this type of evil as all that disconnected from the evil that produced the Dallas incident.

              1. LifelongLib

                We pay for having cars and a/c, and we pay in different ways for not having cars and a/c. Either way it’s always humans that pay — nature doesn’t know or care the difference. Nature is not a moral actor to which terms like good and evil can even be applied. We have inflicted nothing on it, only (maybe) on ourselves.

        2. jrs

          Well some suggest it’s self-reinforcing, basically an arms race. A populace with massive guns and some propensity to use them (on each other not just the cops) encourages a heavily armed police force (so do other things but the point is this plays a part as shown in the lesser militarization of police in countries with less guns), rinse and repeat forever, more people with guns, more heavily armed police etc.. Now what is the solution to an arms race? Well it’s generally not one sided disarmament, but it is often mutual disarmament.

          1. fresno dan

            A great link from dcblogger. When the heartland writes a law codifying self defense with regard to police, we are ….not in Kansas anymore.

            July 8, 2016 at 10:48 am
            Reminder that Gov. Pence signed this into law:
            NRA-Backed Law Spells Out When Indianans May Open Fire on Police
            Not to reiterate my entire previous comment (July 8), these points:
            Not every right winger is gung ho police – a rather substantial number of right wingers have seething contempt for the police.

            There are bad legislators,” Young said. “There are bad clergy, bad doctors, bad teachers, and it’s these officers that we’re concerned about that when they act outside their scope and duty that the individual ought to have a right to protect themselves.”

            The entire NRA philosophy is self protection from bad people – and it is undeniable the number of bad cops out there. I don’t particularly agree with it – but when you have concentrated interest groups – police unions versus NRA – well…. If the government is unable or unwilling to discipline outrageous police misconduct, this is what follows.

            It may surprise some that this comes from the right, but in my view (if you read the right wing regularly) it was entirely predictable. Many lower class whites are feeling as oppressed as blacks, and in no way view police as “benefactors.”

            Fissures are forming – we live in interesting times…

        3. Marley's dad

          An absolutely surefire, but presently unlikely, solution would be a policy of decertifying and disarming permanently any police officer who shoots an unarmed person regardless of the circumstances and any officer who shoots a second person in different encounters whether or not those shot were armed.

      4. bdy

        Too many guns.
        Half-cocked cops.

        Two different problems. It’s easy to conflate them by saying cops wouldn’t be so half-cocked if there were fewer guns. But cops, safer on the job than landscapers and garbage men, are shooting unarmed black men. If you must mis-apply the “if there were fewer” fallacy, go full triple-lindy say: “If there were fewer unarmed black men, then there would be fewer half-cocked cops.”

        Back to sanity:
        If there were fewer guns, there would be fewer mass shootings (see Australia for a start re: how do you get toothpaste off the vanity and back in the tube). Fewer mass shootings is a good thing, but we would still have half-cocked cops shooting unarmed black men. Fixing that requires new laws that restrict police power.

        1. Carla

          If there were fewer guns, there would be fewer Mommies and little brothers and sisters getting accidentally shot by toddlers in Walmart (and elsewhere).

        2. NeqNeq

          Re the full triple-lindy

          I was mildly surprised to see Obama get as close to triple-lindy as is politically acceptable.

          “Part of what’s creating tensions between communities and the police is the fact that our police have a really difficult time in communities where they know guns are everywhere,”

          So part of the reason why so many black men and women get gunned down is because 1)most/many have guns and 2) are more dangerous than whites with guns.

          Even when they are not armed or have all the requisite credentials for carrying a firearm. Why?

          In Minnesota, we don’t know what happened but we do know that there was a gun in the car that apparently was licensed. But it caused, in some fashion, those tragic events.”

          So we don’t know how the legal possession of a gun caused ‘tragic events’, but it did….trust us (or maybe Amen is more appropriate?)

        3. neo-realist

          I wish the President would stop being a weasel and say straight up that racism factors into more conflicts with the police in minority communities. Sure there are more guns, but what the hell else would account for so many unarmed black americans getting shot by the police!!!???

          While I don’t condone the actions of Johnson in Dallas or the shooting of cops in general, I’m surprised that similar behavior has not started to happen earlier in response to people getting so tired of not only getting harassed and shot by the cops, but those same cops, in many instances, not getting convicted much less doing prison time.

          1. Aumua

            But cops are Heroes, and racism is bad. Heroes can’t be bad, so therefore cops can’t be racist. And certainly not entire police departments.. to go there would be head aspolding territory.

          2. fajensen

            Well, since we now have a per-definition “classless society”, *every political discussion* in the US today is really about Race, Gender or Tribe – “who” gets “what” privilege!

            Of course the police are racist, it’s a given. ALL gangs are racist against outsiders, especially the competing gangs. Why the FBI doesn’t talk to the CIA, the NSA doesn’t talk to anybody, and all TLA’s agree that the regular police are over-powered, under-worked mall guards.

            The “president tribe” can’t afford to get all mixed up with the politics of the “police tribe”, because then the other gangs might see this as a potential future threat against them and act to preempt the power grab on their interests.

            Until “we” start treating people as individuals, then tribalism continues to grow, yielding the familiar outcomes we perhaps know from places like Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo or the middle east. Perhaps – because no news channel ever reports anything of general interest any more, it’s all targeted.

      5. HotFlash

        How many citizens do we have, shooting how many citizens (cops included)? How many cops do we have shooting how many citizens (cops included)?

        Here are state-by-state stats for the US. Dunno how to make sense, let alone fix the situation, from this data.

        BTW, the ‘Albions’ Seed’ review linked above (thanks, Lambert) is useful in understanding the geo-patterns, and the how the local music developed, as well. Looks like this is a book I need to read.

      6. low integer

        My advice is to ignore jgordon when it comes to the topic of guns. Over time his posts on this topic have demonstrated, to me at least, that he is intellectually dishonest and often wrong. Persistently proclaiming the vast organisation that must have been behind the Orlando massacre (before the facts were known) is a recent example that springs to mind. I also note that this was essentially an echo of what was presented in Sic Semper Tyrannis at that time.

      7. Praedor

        US cops are all steroid raging psychopaths. The best way to fix the US cop problem is to outsource their jobs. Better yet, OFFSHORE their jobs. Bring in the Brit police. THOSE guys know how to police without killing anyone who flicks a finger..or simply breathes.

    2. dale

      Well, if the guns can’t be removed from society, how about removing the desire or reason for using them? That seems like the logical alternative to me. Try to prevent shootings by giving the shooters a reason not to shoot.

      1. redleg

        You beat me to it. Address inequality- economic, legal, social- and the incentive for violence will diminish.
        Gresham’s law isn’t just economic- it has permeated through all of society.

      2. MikeNY

        ITA on economic inequality. As I agree with Aby above on mental health treatment.

        We need to address both of these regardless of the guns issue. And you are very likely right, that if we could make progress on these two issues, gun violence would decline dramatically.

  4. EndOfTheWorld

    Judge Emmet Sullivan set a hearing on July 18 to see whether the Hildabeast will be questioned in the Judicial Watch civil suit. Well, why the hell not? She has no special privileges relating to her job, since she is unemployed presently. Will Emmet have enough balls to haul in the Hildabeast for questioning?

    1. Roger Smith

      Alas my friend, she has special privileges related to her name and status. Why work when you can spend your life living on the edge skirting the law?

      1. scott 2s

        I wish the media would ask Hillary if she will sign the TPP in the limo after her inauguration, or wait until she gets back to the White House.

      2. EndOfTheWorld

        I don’t get that. In the eyes of Judge Emmet she should have the same privileges as me, you, and the wino sleeping in the street. What does he gain from kissing her ass?

        1. DanB

          It’s what he might AVIOD by not kissing her derriere. Paradoxically, Hillary is deeply and widely unpopular, and therefore not immune in all legal venues of power.

        2. NeqNeq

          It is precisely because she enjoys the same privileges as everyone else that an order from a judge must be in place before she can be compelled to testify.

            1. NeqNeq

              I’m confused.

              Have you been compelled to testify in a US civil case without an order from the court?

              Or are you referring to privileges that are not directly relevant to the testimony issue?

    2. Jim Haygood

      After Bryan Pagliano took the Fifth (as was his right), Sullivan has a factual basis for demanding Hillary’s testimony since no information was obtained from Pagliano.

      Judge Sullivan is aware of Hillary’s Nov 2010 email stating “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible,” showing specific intent to evade FOIA.

      Unlike treas-weasel Comey, this federal judge may not be so easy for Clintons to get to and buy off.

      1. Christopher Fay

        Does the judge have children, does he have grand children? Yes, I think it’s that bad. The grans won’t be kidnapped or assaulted, well, maybe they will, but doors will close.

  5. Roger Smith

    Re: Forget Montauk…Maine!

    Hah! They are coming for you Lambert! Maybe you could open up a gift shop?

    1. allan

      Years ago, during a previous boom, a Seattle journalist jokingly started an organization called Lesser Seattle.
      This was before the Web, but the idea was to dissuade outsiders (mainly Californians) from moving to Seattle by getting the word out about what an awful place it was. Rainfall figures. Pictures of slugs on sidewalks after the rain. Geoducks on restaurant plates. Things like that.

      This being the age of social media, maybe Lambert could start a Twitter or Instagram feed,
      say MaineIs4Mainiacs.
      Pictures of rotting potatoes in the fields or maggot infested fish on the dock.
      Videos of speed traps for out-of-staters on I-95.
      Lots of snapshots of the Bush clan. Weekly black fly forecasts.
      An interview with Governor LePage. That should do the trick.

      1. diptherio

        As we say in Montana: “Montana sucks. Now go home and tell all your friends.” Easily adaptable to Maine, I would imagine…or Seattle.

      2. voteforno6

        Do the black flies bite like the horse flies in Minnesota? If so, that might be reason enough to avoid the state, for the faint of heart.

        1. HotFlash

          Ah, yes, well, um, they do. Pretty hard. Draw blood. Which is why they do it: “… adult males feed on nectar, while females exhibit anautogeny and feed on blood before laying eggs” (from Wiki). IIRC, they have the same problem as mosquitoes, and they need to get some hormone we have (in our blood!!) to do the eggy thing. So, sucks for you if you are a flower, I guess. Or have blood. Ahahaha. Sorry, it’s really hot here.

          For your further information, here there is a charming little film that is educational as well as cute (and toe-tapping).

          For me, a reason not to ever, ever visit Maine again is the nasty beaches (cold, undertow, plus stones) and the, um, astonishing pay toilets of Old Orchard Beach. Even the carousel smelled of urine. Perhaps they have been sufficiently aired, it’s been a few decades.

          Lambert, can you do anything with this stuff? I assume your purpose is to ward off Tourists. If not, the Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce has lots of *nice* things to say. If so, perhaps I can find more reasons for non-Mainers to not to annoy Mainers.

          BTW. anyone, why are tourists considered something to be desired? And by whom?

          1. Yves Smith

            Maine would be dead without tourists. The only relatively prosperous areas of the state are the coastal areas that tourists visit. Tourists earn income elsewhere and spend it in Maine, adding to demand. Why is this not obvious? Similarly, 18% of Greece’s GDP come from tourism. Same general issue. Would you rather have people starve or have Maine depopulate itself because the locals can no longer support themselves?

            Having said that, I have seen an increase in more affluent tourists in parts of Maine north of Portland, and too many of them have the ‘tude of privilege. I doubt many will stay more than one season. Unless you are outdoors-y or just want to chill, there’s not enough action or upscale restaurants in Maine to amuse the finance crowd. And you have to drive on US 1, which is a long old road with not very high average driving speeds, or on an interstate, and then off it some distance to get from tourist spot to tourist spot. So the geography is not tourist friendly either.

      3. afisher

        Lived in Southern Oregon in the 70’s. The bumper sticker was “don’t californicate oregon” – aka: keep out the “others”.

      4. Antifa

        We vacationed in Maine several summers ago; we lasted three days. After a single mosquito seized and carried off our youngest child, we knew we were licked. Thank Heaven we were able to save the other eleven.

      5. Marley's dad

        My step-son jokes about the Maine state bird being the mosquito. If governor LePage could be convinced that should do it.

        1. diptherio

          Maine’s new board of tourism slogan: “Maine — it’s like Arkansas, only colder.” You’ll have to beat off the tourists with a stick…

      1. sd

        Black flies, some photos of mud season, and the Maine chapter of Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods about hiking the Appalachian Trail should do the trick.

        1. petal

          Or more of that “you can’t get theya from heeya” and give them directions to New West Maine (meaning NH)? Perhaps maybe not-yesterday I almost got run over the median and into the oncoming lane by some tourist guy in a huge silver BMW with MA tags.

          1. bob

            I think there should be a wall keeping massholes INSIDE MA.

            For the good of everyone else- Do not let them out!

            All ME would have to do is pull over every masshole in the left hand lane not passing, that would send shivers down the spine of the entire state of MA.

            “It’s my right to be a masshole!”

            Not in ME, $500 and a month in traffic school to de-program them.

    2. Take the Fork

      This is a great opportunity to do good by doing well.

      Maine is old, white and multiculturally clueless. Providing relocation vouchers to inner-city youth of promise will add vibrancy and economic energy, especially when paired with monied liberals from the Acela corridor.

      Strength through Diversity!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        We are, but the Somalis in Lewiston are great. They came here for the cheap land!

        I think we’d probably have a harder time with the monied liberals….

    3. Massinissa

      “Thank you for shopping at Lamberts. Now go home and never come back to Maine.”

  6. hemeantwell

    Re the Klare article at the Nation, here’s what I commented there.

    This is an astonishingly poor article by Klare. For him not to even mention the failure of the US and NATO to recognize the early 90s agreement with the Soviets not to expand NATO and instead move to expand when Russia was prostrate following the breakup of the SU, is simply derelict. Only by understanding that expansion can you begin to appreciate why Russia has moved, *defensively*, to support the rebels in the eastern Ukraine and to annex Crimea after Nuland and the neocons – — remember “F— the EU”? — engineered a coup. Klare, lazily decontextualizing, instead treats these Russian actions as provocations that seem to require some reaction by NATO, which he feels is now going too far. In my view, instead of helping to bring attention to this emerging disaster — if we don’t have war, we’ll certainly have more resources wasted on war spending — Klare essentially accepts the ideological premises that will be used to justify it. Shameful stuff, and Klare, who is capable of much better, should be embarrassed over his failure to address plausible Russian strategic concerns.

    Readers who are interested in a less amnesia-inducing analysis can turn to Stephen Cohen’s writings in the Nation.

    1. DanB

      It’s noteworthy that PBS’s NewsHour this past week did features on NATO’s actions to contain “Russian Aggression.” It struck me as preparatory propaganda for “defensive” military confrontation with Russian “aggression.”

      1. tgs

        The role of the media in preparing us for war is a sight to behold. In just the last few weeks we have heard:

        Putin sent trained thugs to disrupt the Euro soccer tournament.
        Putin ordered Russian hackers to attack the DNC server (Rachel Maddow).
        Putin ordered the Russian athletes to use dope.
        Putin supports Donald Trump.
        Putin connived to engineer Brexit.

        There’s plenty more mentioned here:

        The media’s incessant barrage of evidence-devoid accusations against Russia

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Hollywood is doing their part too, Russians are the new go-to villain archetype. We still need to introduce some new ones for the kiddies in cartoons a la Boris and Natasha.
          Maybe a new kind of Pokemon Gym, populated by mustachioed thugs with Slavic accents, who steal your Pokemon from you instead of training them. They can put them in rural areas too so everyone gets in the swing, maybe hide a few inside pumpkins in a pumpkin patch so our politicians can call the press and get some mileage revealing this insidious new Red threat to our way of life.

      2. Carolinian

        The Newshour is neocon right down to the ground. Their FP guru Margaret Warner–rarely seen these days thank goodness–is a member of the CFR and they frequently get their foreign reports from British media which is, if anything, much more Putin bashing than the American. Nor are normally level headed PBS shows like Frontline any less propagandistic as seen in their show Putin’s Way.

        It’s almost impossible to know why so much of our establishment is obsessed with what goes in in middle Europe or thinks that it is somehow any of our business but perhaps it’s that they simply have nothing better to do with their time. Our so called think tanks always seem to have the “now hiring” shingle out for those willing to spout the party line.

    2. BIllC

      Thanks. I started reading but left in disgust after a very few ‘graphs when Clare described Russia’s “agressive” moves in Crimea, apparently forgetting about Victoria Nuland’s previous friendly, helpful fostering of “democracy” in Kiev, not to mention the more remote — and even more provocative — US misbehavior you recall. Having spent the first 2/3 of my life experiencing the cold war first as a military brat and then as a US Army IT contractor, I don’t suffer from a nostalgic longing to bring back those good ole’ days.

      I’m amazed anyone else is in favor of escalating these confrontations, MIC $$$ profits notwithstanding. Do they think that because we “won” the Cuba missile crisis, we’ll win ’em all? Kinda like playing Russian roulette over and over again because, up to now, you’ve won.

      1. Anon

        The US military routinely underestimates the current capability of the Russian army.

        Remember the US threat to Assad over the false flag sarin gas incident? Well, any attempt at attacking Syria (Assad) with 500mph cruise missiles would easily be thwarted with Mach 3 missiles from Russian destroyers or land based systems.

        (We won’t discuss their cruise missiles launched from the Caspian Sea that obliterated “moderate rebels” fighting against Assad.)

        1. LifelongLib

          Somewhere (here?) I saw an article saying that every war game scenario between Russia and NATO ends with NATO losing, unless NATO escalates to nuclear weapons, which to me sounds just like losing…

    3. no one

      For those interested in another review of “Albion’s Seed,” novelist Jane Smiley offered her analysis some time ago:

      Smiley suggests that the author’s thesis “helps to explain why American
      economic populists are often split and therefore unable to assert
      themselves against the depredations of the wealthy. Populism based on
      an idea of “liberty from want” (a New England idea, and a Roosevelt
      idea), according to which the community has an obligation to help its
      unfortunate members, is quite different from populism based on
      self-assertion by self-consciously resentful non-“elite” parts of
      . One is a populism based on a sense of social obligation, the
      other a populism based on injured pride.” (emphasis added).

      1. voteforno6

        Albion’s Seed is a fantastic work of history, of great depth and range. I understand where the reviewer is coming from, but it barely scratches the surface of the subject. I fear that some may take too superficial a reading of it in order to apply it to current events.

      2. ChiGal

        I agree with this, although it may be more than “injured pride” for those who are not motivated by the traditional J-C social justice values. They may also be genuinely suffering from stigmatization and disenfranchisement.

        On some level, this is a distinction between what motivates those comfortable (or like the Roosevelts, fabulously wealthy) enough to feel they can afford some diversion of resources to those less fortunate, and those who are not so comfortable. And then resonate more to appeals to their grievances than their “better natures”.

        Just an immediate response to the use of the words “injured pride” – haven’t yet read the reviews.

        1. ChiGal

          And now I have. Fascinating, and I stand by my comment. Group 4’s traits are rooted in their own history of struggle and violence.

          Though their inclination to dismiss BLM is lamentable, the cause is their own experience of centuries of deprivation. It is similarly dismissive for Smiley to call this “injured pride” (or even jokingly refer to them as “mean as snakes”).

      3. jrs

        the Puritans may be strategic allies but ideologically if those are the choices I’ll take the Puritans but I would rather the Quakers: egalitarianism, non-hierarchy, self-determination and what logically follows: democratic socialism.

        But where is any sort of fighting leftism in that definition of populism above? The first definition sounds more like liberalism and of course it is liberalism with FDR and so on (real liberalism not the “I’m with her” plutocracy we have today), it’s full of noblese obligee to the unfortunate which is all well and good but does it have a place for when the unfortunate THEMSELVES demand justice (ie leftism). Where would the union movement fit? The union movement was often the unfortunate demanding justice, better working conditions, better pay, an 8 hour day etc.. Nor was it always peaceful. Of course a lot of those real leftist movements didn’t grow out of a narrow group of Englanders but were heavily populated with Italian, Jewish, Russian, Spanish and Mexican immigrants.

        I’m not one of those who believes leftism has natural allies with the populist right, although some working class people who might otherwise join the right could certainly be swayed to leftism (if we had a movement worthy of the name), but ideologically they are very different belief systems.

      4. Jagger

        Interesting conclusion by the author.

        It is a culture that is passionately intense
        about weapons, social hierarchy, and religion, three things that are in
        and of themselves threatening to the broader social compact. Perhaps
        culture #4 cannot be, or won’t be assimilated, but can only be reduced,
        subdued, or dominated.

        Culture #4 are the Scots-Irish and I suspect she is referring particularly to the lower, working classes. Interesting are the three passions cited as identifying characteristics: weapons, hierarchy and religion. Name one culture without hierarchy and religion? Name one society without weapons at least at the state level. All three passions are identified as threatening to her concept of the broader social compact and the people with those passions need to be “reduced, subdued, or dominated.” And all her identified with the lower classes. All I can say is wow. This is the sort of thinking that leads to the final solution or at least significant social engineering typical of extreme authoritarian governments.

        So I wonder what is her utopian vision of society. Clearly it isn’t any society in existence today or in the last few thousand years. I wonder if it might be that advertising portrayal of upper middle class happiness as a material consumerist which has been used for the last 50-60 years to brainwash people like her. You know where everyone lives in a big beautiful residence, smugly drives the latest cars while wearing designer clothing and not a bum or homeless person in sight. Whatever her vision, it apparently can’t exist as long as culture #4 isn’t “reduced, subdued, or dominated.”

        I suspect the author, Jane Smiley, is not nearly as open minded and tolerant as she pictures herself. Albion’s Seed got her going but I wonder if she has realized yet that she simply hates lower class people and has no clue, nor will make the effort to understand, why they are the way they are. She simply would rather they not be anywhere near her without some major duty and successful social engineering experiments performed first.

        1. Jagger

          I think what strikes me about her thinking is her acceptance of the portrayal of the Scots-Irish as a problem because historically, they come from troubled lands which resisted domination by the English. Of course, troubled lands fought over for centuries do have cultures which value traits that maintain their independence. And those traits can have negative societal consequences. But does that explain everything?

          So she accepts this argument uncritically without considering there may be other factors which may play as much a role and very possibly more of a role, in the values of all poor and working class peoples, not just the Scots-Irish. She didn’t wonder what other factors might make values such as “weapons, hierarchy and religion” important within the lower class cultures. It appears she accepted an argument which reinforced her prejudices and immediately jumped to “reduced, subdued, or dominated.” A thinking person should explore all possibilities to understand why these values exist before moving to “reduced, subdued, or dominated.”

          Not impressed with her easy acceptance of authoritarian solutions

        2. Yves Smith

          You are engaging in quite a lot of stereotyping yourself. You are the one making the projection onto lower classes and then you proceed to indict her based on your straw man.

          I suggest you go to Texas. There, I have trouble finding upper middle class people (outside Austin) who are not 1. somewhat to very much involved in their church and 2. carry guns. As in on their person. I have a friend from an old Texas oil money family who remarked casually that all of her girfriends carry guns in their purses. I was at a conference and the person driving the Mercedes SUV that took a the small group I wound up in to lunch ran back to lock it….because there were 2000 rounds of ammo in it.

          Moreover Vox EU has had several reports showing that actions that occurred 500+ years ago (pogroms, other policies implemented in some parts of Germany and Eastern Europe but not others) correlate strongly today with related issues in those same geographic areas. So while she may be overstating her Scot-Irish thesis, there is a lot of evidence supporting the importance of what happens in particular places having very long tails in terms of cultural attitudes.

          Smiley is opposed to a cluster of conservative values, but to then say that is class based is a favorite trope of the blue states.

          1. Jagger

            You are engaging in quite a lot of stereotyping yourself.

            I base my conclusions from spending the last 11 years in the country where it appears almost everyone is poor. I have observed some commonalities, got to know a lot of people, had a lot of conversations, observations and have reached some conclusions which may be incorrect but I think are based on some logical reasoning based on experience, not pure stereotyping.

            I suggest you go to Texas. There, I have trouble finding upper middle class people (outside Austin) who are not 1. somewhat to very much involved in their church and 2. carry guns. As in on their person. I have a friend from an old Texas oil money family who remarked casually that all of her girfriends carry guns in their purses. I was at a conference and the person driving the Mercedes SUV that took a the small group I wound up in to lunch ran back to lock it….because there were 2000 rounds of ammo in it.

            I have lived in Dallas so I am familiar with the upper middle class there which is what I was for the latter half of my life. I suspect the upper middle class have different, less needs based, more analytical, although not necessarily purely rational reasons for their actions than the poor and working class. To continue generalizing, their actions are possibly more fear oriented rather than based on practical needs. When you have much to lose, you are afraid of being a target for predators. And image is so important for so many of the upper middle class, so maybe a factor as well. The country poor use guns for food primarily but protection is also a factor. Also I am wondering, are you suggesting that Smiley is focused primarily on the upper classes rather than the lower classes? My comments are primarily with the view of the poor than the upper classes.

            Religion serves a role for anyone. It can comfort those who lose loved ones, ease the fear of their own mortality, provides meaning, purpose, shared values and probably most important, provides a substantial social network. Personally I don’t belong to a religion even though I would not be surprised at all if there is more to existence than this world and there is some purpose and meaning to life. So who am I to take away a religion from those that need it or to mock them for their needs? And if somehow society is able to eliminate religion, what are they going to replace it with? Apparently, materialism and consumerism. How is that working out? Many people will always need a framework that provides a bigger purpose and meaning. Whether true or not-which none of us know-for the last few thousand years, it has helped people get through a hard life. Getting rid of it without anything to replace is pretty reckless in my opinion and will hurt some far more than others.

            Moreover Vox EU has had several reports showing that actions that occurred 500+ years ago (pogroms, other policies implemented in some parts of Germany and Eastern Europe but not others) correlate strongly today with related issues in those same geographic areas. So while she may be overstating her Scot-Irish thesis, there is a lot of evidence supporting the importance of what happens in particular places having very long tails in terms of cultural attitudes.

            I agreed with that. Societies in constant turmoil due to conflict are extraordinarily harmful to society, families and children. But there are other factors which can influence a society to value “guns, hierarchy and religion”. What are the weights to apply to the various factors? Is descent a few hundred years ago from a region of constant conflict enough to conclude “reduced, subdued, or dominated” or should we weigh other factors as well in the values of a culture? Do we throw out the baby with the bathwater?

            Smiley is opposed to a cluster of conservative values, but to then say that is class based is a favorite trope of the blue states.

            Perhaps class based in that she appears to have extremely superficial understanding of the people she is condemning to ““reduced, subdued, or dominated”. “Reduced, subdued, or dominated” is what got my hackles up and shaped my opinion. But I will reread the article and see what I can find which might soften my conclusion.

    4. Old Hickory

      I saw hemeantwell’s comment. Thanks for reposting. I am very worried that someone like Nuland will become Secretary of State with another neocon as SecDef and blunder us into WWIII. Getting the context right, as your comment succinctly does, is essential to understand the narrative.

      1. sd

        Has there been any indication from Clinton of her possible pick for Secretary of Defense?
        My guess is that it will be someone tied to the PNAC.

        1. marym

          Michele Flournoy, the former Defense Department official whom Defense One calls “the woman expected to run the Pentagon under Hillary Clinton,” this week advocated for “sending more American troops into combat against ISIS and the Assad regime than the Obama administration has been willing to commit.” In an interview with that outlet, Flournoy “said she would direct U.S. troops to push President Bashar al-Assad’s forces out of southern Syria and would send more American boots to fight the Islamic State in the region.” She had previously “condemned the Obama administration’s ISIS policy as ineffectual,” denouncing it as “under-resourced.”

          Glass ceiling breaker

          Michèle Angelique Flournoy (born December 14, 1960) is the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the seventh-ranking[note] official in the U.S. Department of Defense, and in that role served as a principal advisor to U.S. Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Leon Panetta from February 2009 to February 2012.[1] When the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination on February 9, 2009, she was at the time highest-ranking woman at the Pentagon in the department’s history.[2]

          She currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Boston Consulting Group[3] and as a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.[4] She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which she co-founded in 2007.

          1. Jim Haygood

            “Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs”

            It’s not the same as Commander in Chief 0bama’s Harvard Law School, or Def Sec Asshat Carter’s Kennedy School o’ Government at Harvard, or George Bush’s Harvard Business School.

            But at least she’s affiliated with the venerable institution that teaches America’s bloodthirsty elite to send its underclass to die in foreign wars.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Yah, let’s break that glass ceiling that’s been inhibiting some socio-psychopathic women from taking their rightful place in the Pantheon of Destroyers.

            It’s not like women haven’t proved as adept at looting and mayhem and enabling enabling imperial “trade”, so irrespective of our alliance with one set of chromosomes or another, credit where credit is due, and hurrah for equal opportunity!!

        2. neo-realist

          This potentially explains policies allowing transgenders to serve in the military as well as allowing women to be subject to a military draft and to be allowed to fight in combat. If we start pouring fuel on the fire with increased military intervention, we have to get the cannon fodder wherever we can get it.

    5. gordon

      It looks like a strategy of provocation to me. I doubt that the US or any other NATO member seriously thinks Russia is about to invade the Baltic countries or Poland, but the military games plus the sanctions might provoke a reaction from Putin which could be interpreted as aggressive. A foreign enemy is very useful and perhaps now even necessary for the US ruling class, as the US political scene fragments and racism again gets on the front pages and divides opinion. You could say that the more unstable US society and politics become, the more aggressive and warlike the US ruling class becomes.

  7. nothing but the truth

    Russia is being “prepared” for war in the media because it has mentioned replacing the dollar as the international currency.

    once dollar goes, the US standards of living and power will decline sharply. The US continues to be a dangerous parasite on the world – by pumping unnecessary dollars into the world – and then bringing them back via laundering.

    1. JCC

      Good point considering this was a major, and non-publicized, factor in taking down two other oil rich states, Iraq and Libya.

      1. jgordon

        Absolutely. It’s always conveniently ignored just how dirty and nasty the US has had to maintain the dollar’s reserve currency status. Rather than being this great magnanimous favor we’re doing for the world by being willing to print money in exchange for good, we’re actively going around and killing people who even hint that that might not be the most satisfactory arrangement.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Does it really “matter” what the reasons–real or propagandized–actually ARE at this point?

      Should cinton be installed as “president,” another world war WILL happen. To my mind, it is the overriding reason her coronation simply must be prevented. And Donald Trump is the only one who can do it. Just like it was only Putin who could (sort of) keep us out of Syria.

      While americans have been conditioned to accept war as a “constant,” this will be different. I seriously doubt that the only “blowback” will be the jolly, can-do acceptance of deprivation and death for the “cause,” of the Rosie the Riveter myth.

      Apparently undeterred by their failures, not to mention the consequences, of their Middle East “counterinsurgency” efforts, the world architects are switching back to what they know best–“conventional” warfare. Maybe this way they will have more “success.”

      But more likely they, or whoever is left, will say what has lately become very familiar–“I wouldn’t do it again.”

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        In terms of ” I wouldn’t do it again ” it seems as though from what I have read, that the Germans are not all that keen on pushing the bear too far. Probably with good reason due to memories of around 4 million Wehrmacht losses in WW2 in a Russia, which was then, unlike now, unprepared & had suffered from a major cull of it’s army high command by Stalin.
        It all kind of reminds me of the Brits after slaughtering Fuzzie Wuzzies etc in African colonial wars, who then came up against another industrial killing machine & then the corpses started to pile up. There is a lot of retrospection in Europe at the moment due to that ” War to end all Wars ” & maybe the thought of another largely US pushed for war in someone else’s back garden, might not be greeted with much enthusiasm.
        Of course with the nuclear factor & the history of around 19 near fatal accidents, it might also be hard to keep things conventional. I cannot for the life of me see any sanity in any of this, or the following, which is being marked by the people of Wales, as a centenary of when their sons were told to walk into a maxim machine gun crossfire, while under artillery bombardment to clear a mile long piece of woodland on the Somme, called Mametz wood, which resulted in around 4,000 casualties. To add insult to injury, these badly trained troops ( what was left of them ) were told that they had seriously under performed & had to wait I think, around 70 years for a memorial.
        I was once under the delusion that the above was something that we as a civilisation had left behind us, but it now strikes me as obvious that we still have the same type of experts, striking up the band while keeping a very safe distance.

        1. Jagger

          The big difference between now and WW2 is the method of war fighting. Wars are now carried out primarily by subversion rather than military conquest. Use the divisions within a society to promote upheaval and coups to put our “man” in charge such as in the Ukraine and other color revolutions. The question is at what point are the loss or upheaval in critical states unacceptable and one side decides that the military is the only option to counter subversion-such as in the Ukraine. Then we move from cold to hot wars and if no one is willing to back down, we could easily see another world war develop from a little, tiny inconsequential conflict burning out of control as during world war I.

          Of course, if the target is weak and friendless, such as Iraq or Libya, we can go straight to the military option.

      2. bdy

        And Donald Trump is the only one who can do it.

        Last time anyone bothered to check, Bernie was beating the feild.

        Who between Trump and Hillary would be more or less disastrous . . . who the f*** knows? The Don has after all promised escalation in Syria as part of his multi-pronged, ill-conceived, difficult to communicate and even more difficult to understand, globalized-isolationist, simple yet remarkably complex “America First” campaign against the world at large for full-employment-with-reduced-wages security at home.

        OTOH (setting aside prospects for global catastrophe in the next 4 years) Trump winning the election would be a good thing. After all, another nail in the coffin of the Third Way Democrats is always a good thing. And the more obnoxious the nail, the better the entertainment value. (Damnit, though, that coffin wants a lot of m***********g nails!)

        But how about not setting aside eminent global catastrophe just yet? Kinda like the Archdruid’s “collapse now and avoid the rush”, it’s still not too late to blow up the Democrat Party before the big party.

        1. redleg

          Nobody’s sure what Trump will do as president, although it’s more than likely that most of congress will oppose him.
          Everyone’s sure what Clinton will do as president, and it’s more than likely that most of congress will not oppose her.

      3. heresy101

        Unfortunately I agree with you about the Warmongress starting WW3. All the signs are in place, beginning with her support for a no fly zone in Syria and supporting Victoria Nuland for Secretary of State.

        After never voting for an establishment candidate since Wayne Morse in Oregon, this year I will have to vote for the lesser evil. Trump is evil and has no solutions other than opposition to TPP but we will be alive for the Sanders supporters and labor to replace him. Hopefully, he stays on message of jobs, the economy, and getting the US out of places it doesn’t belong and he will be a shoo-in.

        If Sanders doesn’t run will Stein, the lesser evil is Trump in November!

      4. Antifa

        It’s especially laughable that people in the MIC and media think a hot war with Russia would be conventional, or could be localized:

        * NATO has about 30,000 troops on the Russian border. Maybe they could get 100,00 or 200,000 in there if things heat up. Maybe ten times that number. Germany can tell you from experience that 4 million troops isn’t half enough.

        * The more military manpower and armor placed on the Russian border, the juicier a target for nukes it becomes. Imagine Patton’s might Third Army advancing through Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945 and you get the picture: in a split second there’s no army, no advance.

        * Russian supply lines will be extremely short. NATO (America) will be moving supplies and troops halfway across the world, mostly by ship.

        * Those ABM missiles we’ve put on the Russian border are combat ineffective to begin with, and are already so well targeted by Russian cruise missiles that they will cease to exist within a few minutes if the shooting starts.

        Russia has made it as clear as is possible that any attack on their soil will cost us multiple American cities. It will be all over in half an hour, and most of America will be as hospitable as Chernobyl or Fukushima is now. Russia’s Doomsday message to America and Europe is crystal clear: you can nuke us; we know that. But you cannot stop us from nuking you. There will be no winners.

        That’s an existential problem for us, and for them, solvable by never pushing the button. But America has a whole ‘nuther existential problem coming along at a pretty good clip — Russia, China, India, Brazil and other nations are actively, patiently chipping away at the almighty dollar as the world reserve currency. As and when that loss of world hegemony occurs, America will no longer be an Empire. Just one more nation.

        The 1% and the neocon who serve the Empire will push beyond all limits to keep that from happening.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Too many Fokkers brought up on Monopoly ™, RISK! ™ and The Game of Life ™. Blame all on Milton Bradley?

        2. Mudduck

          Russia doesn’t seem to have a blood lust. Come combat, I can see them targeting missile sites, but cities? What have they against the impotent and misinformed US population? If they could fry our electric grid with an EMP blast, it would paralyze the country without directly targeting people. Of course, life would become difficult, perhaps impossible in cities, but the damage would be indirect. Google search calls the EMP scenario “Implausible,” but it sounds nuanced enough to be Russian.

          1. Christopher Fay

            We’re the aggressors and the ones with the impulse control problems. A scenario that I have read a few times, and the U. S. expects to use first strike nukes is after the initial failure, F-16s shot down, navy vessels sunk, Clinton goes limited nuke. Putin said that damage will not be limited to Russia, so goodbye Boston.

      5. Jason Ipswitch

        I agree that Clinton is awful, but I do not understand this belief that Trump will be somehow better than Clinton when it comes to avoiding WWIII. Trump has demonstrated neither knowledge nor curiosity about international relations and diplomacy, he lies like a cheap rug, cultivates yes-men, and readily, even eagerly, advocates resorting to violence, including threatening Russia like a bad Rodney Dangerfield impersonator.

        To me, pretending Trump is any sort of solution to the problems posed by Clinton reeks of magical thinking, or not thinking at all. I think people who support Trump “because foreign policy” are getting conned by a master conman because they’re somewhere between denial and bargaining over what seems the inevitable fate of our country, our civilization, our species and our planet.

        And that’s before looking at his utterly reprehensible positions on race and gender, which no human being should ever support, no matter what. You want to stop aggressive militarism? Get Johnson elected. With Clinton and Trump as my other options, I’ll damned well vote for him.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Consider a stable market. Those who are doing well will prefer stability. Those who are not will prefer volatility, if they reason that change can’t possibly make their situation worse and might make it better. It isn’t necessary that Trump provide “solutions” (assuming for the sake of the argument that Clinton does). All that’s needed is that he create volatility.

          As far as racism: I’m getting a little tired of hearing Democrat loyalists yammer about this. Last I checked, the charred bodies in Libya were people of color, and Muslim. And if Trump were racist in his business dealings, we’d have lawsuits to point to. Again, I think we’re seeing symbol manipulators in the Democrat-leaning creative class confusing words and tokens with reality on the ground in the form of charred bodies. Most of what the Democrats have to say on racism is virtue signaling, so far as I’m concerned.

                1. Yves Smith

                  It appears Trump won that suit if all you can point to is a filing and I can find no report whatsoever of him losing or settling the case..

                  And there are dueling facts in the article: charges are not that the casino did not hire blacks, but that it did not hire enough to meet promises that were made. “…he reneged on promises to hire 70% of his work force from the minority community for his riverboat casino on Lake Michigan.” That depends on how they were described the deal made to operate the casino. If they weren’t well described in the contract, the plaintiffs got ‘nuthn.

                  The Trump side also points to senior level black hires, such as “chief financial officer and its head of human resources as well as dealers and casino cage managers.”

                  You could have found this 1997 report by the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment as easily as I did. The hiring targets were goals, not requirements, and they appear to have been ambitious. The casino outperformed in other areas.

                  Summary of Findings

                  Trump has met the requirements of their certificate of suitability in the following areas:

                  • Trump spent a total of $106 million on development, $13 million more than estimated for year 1 in their agreement with the City of Gary.

                  • Trump is on schedule with most of its incentive payments (see below).

                  • Trump has sponsored several community events; its senior management is represented on many boards; and the company has made numerous donations to community groups.

                  • Employment totaled 1,461 employees, significantly more than projected, and wages, benefits, and tips were $32.7 million, also greater than projected.

                  • Both state and local gaming taxes were significantly higher ($12.8 million) than projected.

                  • Trump paid $140,467 in sales and use taxes.

                  • Trump has been proactive in developing programs for compulsive gambling.

                  Trump has not met its projections in the following areas:

                  • Trump is still discussing the renovation of the Sheraton Hotel and the police substations with the city; no action has been taken to date.

                  • Trump has not met its employment goals for minorities, Gary residents, and Lake County residents.

                  We are not able to determine compliance in the following area:

                  • OMBD currently is reviewing the information provided by Trump to determine compliance with MBE/WBE requirements.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Agree, especially wrt “racism”

            If one actually looked for “racism,” it wouldn’t be very hard to find. Take for example the periodic congressional gerrrymandering that packs districts with minorities and “bleaches” the other districts to minimize the number of minority members of congress.

            Or the attacks on voting rights aimed at minority voters and sanitized with non-existent claims of pervasive voter “fraud.”

            The hysteria surrounding Trump’s supposed “racism” is so absurd that it pretty much trivializes a very real problem out of existence.

            Every time I hear people shriek about Trump’s rabid racism, I’m more convinced that they haven’t got the slightest idea what the word even means.

            Ditto for Trump’s supposed “sexism.”

            1. Jason Ipswitch

              Ah, the smell of whataboutism in the evening.

              The Trump cult seems to be getting desperate. I guess a voice from a burning dumpster wasn’t the sign they were expecting.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If no longer the reserve currency, lots of dollars created will stay home, where we have lost much of our manufacturing base.

      Will that lead to inflation?

      And will we have to peg our currency to some new hegemon’s, limiting how much we can create?

      Not monetary sovereign no more.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe it is time to make a Fokking deal?

        Not possible, of course, with the parasites in charge, behind their cloaks of impunity, and their deep bunkers and far island getaways…

  8. gonzomarx

    Chilcot report: John Prescott (Blair’s deputy at the time) says Iraq War was illegal

    Tony Blair could face contempt of parliament motion over Iraq war

    Pro-EU Labour and Tory MPs look at forming a new centrist party
    (this worked so well 30 years ago…maybe we’ll get PR because of this if it gets off the ground)

    And it looks like Labour leadership battle is heading to the courts…
    and the Guardian is being its sly self with the framing and coverage

    Jeremy Corbyn may challenge Labour’s executive over leadership ballot

    Angela Eagle ‘not contemplating losing contest’ against Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leadership

    The Tory leadership election is a sort of X Factor for choosing the antichrist

    Brixton protest: Black Lives Matter rally brings London streets to standstill

  9. Mark

    Wish I could find one of those bumper stickers that were seen all over Maine thirty years ago or so that read “Welcome to Maine! Now go home.”

    1. crittermom

      I think I can understand the lament regarding the article promoting the state of Maine. (Gorgeous photo of the coast to start it off!)
      Colorado has seen a huge population increase since legalizing marijuana, causing real estate & rental prices to escalate beyond the scope of many residents (& former, like me) in just a few years, with more traffic congestion & the other downsides that come with an explosion of growth, regardless of the reason for it.
      According to a friend (CO native) still there a new bumper sticker is, “You came, you got high, you can leave now.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Florida sentiment?

        “What’s a native Floridian’s favorite sight?”

        “A New Yorker headed north, with s Canadian under each arm!”

        It’s everywhere.

      2. pretzelattack

        i was recently there, denver traffic was bad and even the national parks/monuments were very crowded. ah, nature, surrounded by my fellow citizens.

  10. Cry Shop

    Barry was blinded by (King) coal dust mote in his eye. From the article:

    “unknown unknowns”, as Tom Fanning, the chief executive of Southern Company, has often called them – like bad weather, labor shortages and design uncertainties.

    Weather, labor, etc, are known unknowns, which is why insurance, futures, and extra padding in the budget is purchasable for them, Only the last of these, design uncertainties, is possibly an unknown unknown. Even here it’s mostly known unknowns: management misconduct in pressuring engineering staff is a known unknown often disguised as a unknown unknown. Southern Co and Exelon were both big donors to Obama’s election and are still both coughing up money for his library, isn’t political corruption a known unknown?

    Did the NYT ask why do public utility supervisors let them use money from their monopoly this way? No they did not, in part because these supervisors and NYT staff are also corrupted (and looking forward to funding their own private libraries). Also these utilities are owned by large scale holding corporations that serve as a domestic version of the Dutch/Irish sandwich, moving money through dark channels to avoid taxes and the public eye. Now, that’s a story worth investigating.

  11. allan

    Reporting while black:
    A group of local TV reporters was covering a BLM march in Rochester, NY, on Friday which resulted in 74 arrests. Oddly, or not, two African-American WHAM reporters were arrested without warning, while their Caucasian colleagues, standing next to them, were not.
    But the police chief says that their race was not a factor in the arrests, so all is good.

    1. petal

      My white lower/working class brother lived in the city and was routinely harassed by the RPD just for being outside or taking a walk. If you fit their “criteria”, you’re game. It would rattle him greatly each time to the point he was actually afraid, and this is not someone who was easily rattled by any means. We also had an RPD officer live around the corner from us(over the county line). It’s an old boys club-heaven help you if you cross them for any reason. It was treated like a personal fiefdom. I’ll leave it at that. It’s a very toxic mix. Some days I think about moving back to be closer to my aunt, uncle, and cousin’s family, but then I remind myself and feel glad again I left.

  12. Carolinian

    Spiked article pretty much nails it

    Ever since the libertine cultural revolution of the 1960s, Labour and the orthodox left in the Western world have been in a long process of abandoning the working class, withdrawing into identity politics, rights for the self, for affirmation of the self. Hence, so-called progressives now care above all for their image as ‘good people’. Virtue signalling is the epitome of the new faux-compassionate, egocentric left.

    Of course those working class people also have their selfish concerns and perhaps the world’s problems will only finally be solved when we humans get together in a huddle and admit we are all a lot more alike than we are different.

    But a case could be made that people who have to struggle to make a living have a clearer view of the “people are selfish” realities and better functioning b.s. detectors than unicorn loving lefties. So as the sixties folk might have said: liberals, get real.

    1. jrs

      I suspect most liberals work for a living (actually if you are just talking Dem voters I believe the median income is lower than R voters) and most probably aren’t a few plush tenure jobs or something either. Sure criticize liberalism, but “they don’t hold jobs” is just silly unless you mean a class of liberal pundits for which it’s pretty much true.

      1. Carolinian

        I didn’t say “don’t hold jobs” but rather “struggle for a living.” There’s a difference. Many in the merit class, even if they don’t have a job, have family support to hold them up.

        And of course these are broad generalizations but there’s a lot of truth to what the Spiked article is saying and in fact it gets talked about here every day.

    2. armchair

      Liberals were not the ones exploiting racist attitudes to get George H.W. Bush elected in 1988. Liberals were not the ones who invented the Southern Strategy. Liberals are not the ones whining about the ‘death tax’ or crying about stifling innovation with high taxes. Liberals did not elect Ronald Reagan. Liberals did not stomp on the unions or advocate for the abolishment of the NLRB. This latest round of liberal bashing has a particularly Orwellian construct to it. Suddenly, liberals are the all-powerful force taking smelly dumps on the working people. Poor Ronald Reagan was a good man, but liberals made him fire all of the striking air traffic controllers. Liberals made poor H.W. Bush use Willie Horton to stoke racist fears. Liberals stamped their feet to get NAFTA passed. Give me a break. Liberals have been on the outside of policy making for decades now.

      Besides, anyone who thinks liberal humanities professors are driving the national agenda needs to check their math.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “liberals are the all-powerful force taking smelly dumps on the working people. ”

        1) I don’t know what else you’d call it when Obama said he was “standing between you and the pitchforks,” Geither “foamed the runway” with HAMP money, and on and on and on. That’s before we get to NAFTA….

        2) If you truly want to understand this, see Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal, or see Frank in Salon.

        1. armchair

          Okay, I’m just going back to calling myself a LOSER!! I’m the kind of loser that pines for social justice, sustainable energy use and other LOSER ideas. I’ll be careful not to identify as a liberal or a lefty or a commie or worse yet, a progressive. I’m a loser baby!! I’m the kind of loser that volunteers at free legal clinics. I’m the kind of loser who has worked jobs flipping burgers, hauling in fish and moving furniture. Loser, loser, loser. I thought I could call myself a liberal, but if that means be associated with Tim Geithner, Clinton, Robert Rubin than fine, I won’t let that happen. I’m the kind of loser that roots for losers like Hans Blix. I’m the kind of loser that goes to BLM protests. Now, I’ve lost a formerly nice word to describe my politics, ‘liberal’. I was always a loser and always will be.

          1. Cry Shop

            Nah, you’re just someone who doesn’t understand the power of labels, and thus misapplies them. Real liberals are happy to have you misappropriate their label, join the club, inflate their numbers so say. That is until you want more than to pay the club fee, and ask, nay, demand for a slice of the pie. Then you’ll be a hippy to be bashed.

    3. ChiGal

      Also there are other sources of identity politics. Check out Albion for example. It strikes me as important.

    4. ekstase

      You might be right about struggle developing “better b.s. detectors”. But I find that you have to spend time, on each person, (including when they’re running for President), before you can tell whether, or how much, selfishness is their primary motive. There are silly people and mean/dishonest ones in any given group. Some of this apparent liberal disregard may be out of a lack of life experience. I mean they might be amenable to fixing that; and it exists on both sides.

  13. Steve H.

    – When Narratives Go Bad Epsilon Theory

    Heavy on narratives about narratives in the links today, but that’s ok, I never meta narrative that didn’t reveal something.

    The Epsilon site – very interesting. But I can’t tell if he’s Fredo or Frodo. It’s been a couple of years since I tested the sites I was reading, for both quality of predictions and self-awareness when those predictions didn’t hold. Kept NC and the UMKC affiliates, with some confirmation-bias mirror rooms like Counterpunch that occasionally present individual analyses that are worthwhile (Hudson, Spinney, Escobar). As it stands, the site seems self-aware of its own narrative construction, per Archdruid. Specific tactically, thus falsifiable, a good sign. Worth checking back on, thank you.

      1. Steve H.


        “The source of gold’s meaning, whether you are a market participant in 1895 or 2013, comes from the Common Knowledge regarding gold. J.P. Morgan said that gold is money, and he was right, but only because at the time he said it everyone believed that everyone believed that gold is money. Today that same statement is wrong, but only because no one believes that everyone believes that gold is money.”

        “The stronger the Narrative of Central Banker Omnipotence, the more likely it is that the price of gold goes down. The weaker the Narrative – the less established the Common Knowledge that central bank policy determines market outcomes – the more likely it is that the price of gold will go up. In other words, it’s not central bank policy per se that makes the price of gold go up or down, it’s Common Knowledge regarding the ability of central banks to control economic outcomes that makes the price of gold go up or down.”

        Coupled with:

        “…St. Louis Fed Governor Jim Bullard’s latest paper, where he says that the entire exercise of Fed guidance and dot plots and planning for interest rate increases and interest rate normalization is a complete and utter waste of time. In fact, he goes farther than that. Bullard writes that forward guidance is actually highly counter-productive and credibility destroying, because it teases us with the notion that normalization is possible, when, in fact, absent some deus ex machina miracle, it’s not. My god, you think I’m a downer? This is the President of the St. Louis Fed, saying that everything the FOMC has been doing for the past four years is just a bad joke!”

        So it could be linked that with Bullard admitting non-omniscience, credibility of central bankers will drop, and therefore the price of gold will go up. But to my eye, the author is more focused on bonds.

        1. tegnost

          “”This is the President of the St. Louis Fed, saying that everything the FOMC has been doing for the past four years is just a bad joke!””
          maybe he took off the occulus rift and noticed that we’re not laughing?

          1. katiebird

            One of my knitting group got her PHD from UMKC’s Econ Dept. …. She talks Modern Money, but never mentioned the “Free Money, free beer, free love!” … I’ll have to remember to ask her about it ( or maybe not…. )

          2. craazyman

            I think most people would take 2 out of 3.

            The hard part would be when everybody wants to buy beer with free money.

            It’s been another cool summer so far. I’m beginning to think global warming is a mathematical hoax. nobody measures the temperatures themselves or understands the math used in the models. But that doesn’t keep them from hysteria.

            Hysteria is the way of the world. Every day brings forth some form of hysteria. You can’t keep up, and it gets exhausting, trying to diagnose the daily hysteria. I think the internet is a hysteria amplifier.

            Eventually you (or me anyway) says Fuk It! YouTube has music video from the past 50 years. Why not just surf YouTube and chill out? Whoa. It’s a relief! Football season starts in a month or so! That plus YouTube makes it possible to ignore hysteria almost entirely. Evidently there’s a presidential election this year. Well, eventually I’ll find out who won but probably not until after a few days. It’s very relaxing that way. Youtube and the Andromeda galaxy are the basis vectors of R(L). They are linearly independent and can reach every point you’d want. L = lazy. by the way

            1. craazyman

              it’s only been 30 minutes and it’s already incredible!

              I had no idea Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash did recording sessions and it’s on YouTube! It is. BD’s’ voice is a bit weird but Johnny ‘man in black’ Cash is his usual baritone. This is “news that stays news”. If anybody identifies the source of that quote I will be incredibly impressed. OK, not to keep youze all guesing. Does the name Ezra Pound ring a bell? it was none other than him.

              Free money, free beer and free sex. Well at the level of society it’s all free. It’s only money between people, when they have to agree who gonna do the drinking and who gonna do the screwing. And then only if they don’t know each other very well. That should tell somebody who says they’re an economist what money is but it probably won’t. They should hang it up and just drink beer. if they don’t get it by now they never will.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am hoping for some form of guarantee income or basic income that we can agree is free money.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      To my mind, this was the key paragraph:

      we have once again set up the global financial system as an inverted pyramid, with a $10 trillion asset class poised on a single, solitary piece of Common Knowledge —– what everyone knows that everyone knows. In 2008, the $10 trillion asset class of residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) was entirely based on the Common Knowledge that it was impossible to have a nationwide decline in U.S. home prices. When that Narrative failed, the entire inverted pyramid came crashing down. In 2016, the $10 trillion asset class of negative rate sovereign bonds is entirely based on the Common Knowledge that there is no limit to the greater foolishness of Central Banks. If this Narrative fails, the entire inverted pyramid will come crashing down again. Hence my punchline: monitoring this and related status quo protecting Narratives (like the concerted effort to paint Brexit as a one-off blunder, just like Bear Stearns was painted in 2008) is the only thing that really matters for our investment reality.


      1. bdy

        For about a month the spouse has peppered me with “Negative interest rates? WTF does that even mean? Why would anyone do that? You’re the one who supposedly reads all these economics blogs . . .”

        My response has always been ” . . . uh . . .”

        Until now. That paragraph, coupled with:

        It was a dark litttle tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls . . . . The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife’s slain body in his arms.

        and viola, we both get it.

        That the most poetic thing I’ve read in weeks comes from such an unlikely source, and clarifies something so critically obfuscated, is a testemant to why I keep coming back to this site.


        1. optimader

          My response has always been ” . . . uh . . .”

          A strategy of “safe harbor” is the only explanation I’ve ever come up with on this.

          Say , for sake of a simple example, you are the son of a Chinese party member and you want to get $100,000,000. the fck out of China on Tuesday. You buy T-bills, and in the case of a negative rate, it is accepted similar to the premium on an insurance policy that guarantees preservation and return of the principle, –less the premium.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The buyer’s premium on a Yuan dynasty blue and white porcelain jar is between 20% to 30%.

            A good one that was sold on Christie’s cost the buyer some $20 million.

            Five of these, and you don’t need to buy $100,000,000 T-bills, though, as mentioned above, the premium can be stiff.

            But you can be sure they don’t make (genuine) Yuan dynasty blue and white (with cobalt from Persia) any more, making the buyer optimistic of future asset appreciation.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Let’s not forget what NIRP is: a stealth revenue-generating tax they can charge without bothering with pesky things like legislatures and politicians. You give them 100 and in two years they give you back 98.
          Once the CBs of the world finally internalize this wonderful fact they will all join in the fun.

        3. Goyo Marquez

          If over time money becomes more valuable, then negative interest rates apply.

          I deposit $100 in your bank, a year later I wish to withdraw it, but dollars are worth 10% more than they were the year before, for us to be even you return $90 to me, that’s a negative interest rate.

          Money becomes more valuable over time during periods of monetary deflation. There was a long period at the end of the 1800s when this was the case. We will not be crucified on your cross of gold and all that.

      2. cnchal

        I found myself muttering yep, yep, yep and had to do a double take. Am I suffering from cognitive dissonance? Is it really to the point where the narrative is the Fed is a blundering stupid institution, clueless as to what to do next?

        What else does the Fed do? It plays poker, with an infinite amount of poker chips.

        From Cat’s Cradle

        Specifically, extraordinary monetary policy has obliterated the focal points of price discovery. When you no longer have Common Knowledge regarding the price of money, you don’t have Common Knowledge regarding the price of anything. For more than seven years now, investors have been sitting down at the poker table ready to play the cards they’re dealt, only to find that central bankers with infinitely high stacks of chips have sat down at the table, too. And as any experienced poker player knows, the cards are meaningless if you tangle with an opponent like this. Maybe you think that was a bad flop. Maybe you think Nestle investment grade debt is worth 99 cents. But what you think about valuation and intrinsic worth Does. Not. Matter. when the infinite stack player says with his inexhaustible string of bets of massive size that this was actually a wonderful flop and that Nestle investment grade debt is actually worth $1.10 and the Emperor is actually wearing a beautiful suit of clothes. The very act of stock-picking or bond-picking or security selection in general has become nothing more than a bad joke in vast swaths of global markets. It’s a crooked game — a moke’s game — but it’s the only game in town.

        If the Fed left the poker table we would have to earn from each other, right?

      3. Steve H.

        Deep end of the pool, but I has thoughts…

        Two parts, one the narrative and one the money. On the money, Bullard seems to say ‘the old model is laughable in terms of credibility, here’s a try but I think it’s crap, and that’s only for 2.5 years.’ So if we’re just making it up, then creativity can make more new instruments. Specifically, neg rate bonds still push fiat cash into the system, it just continues to push it to the very top, which has been the status quo for half a generation now. If central bank foolishness means print more cash for non-productive activity, then there is no conservation law for foolishness.

        The narrative part: people will clutch onto narratives unto death. From some perspectives, beyond death. If the alternative is accepting utter ruin and a realization that ones own self has been a fool, then the narrative will be zombified until the power goes out. The question is what counter-narratives are entering the selection space. But since, if they accept dollars, they are competing with those who can create dollars from nothing, only counter-narratives which do not accept dollars can survive a transition.

        The Logistic Equation of Verhulst is a model I use, usually presented as the S-curve of population growth, and the transition to chaos. TLDR point: the S-curve, at r=2, maxes out at only half the potential carrying capacity. Max is never reached without crashing. The extreme one-cycle extinction event at r=4 has a stability point at 3/4 carrying capacity, which won’t happen in dynamic conditions. More to the point, thinking that productivity can be maximized will crash the system only 3/4 into the journey.

        So while I don’t think the dollar system is near a Fall of the Wall moment, crashes happen fast by definition, and have to recognize that I am biased toward optimism.

        1. craazyman

          Only 40 or 50 years into the 100 Years War there were probably people who said:

          “This can’t go on much longer. Another year at most. Two years would be inconceivable.”

          Very few people would have though they’d be making Star Trek movies in 2016. 2016! WTF! Back when Star Trek first came out you’d have though there’d be real Star Trek space ships by now. I would have thought that. But here we are, still making shlt up and not flying anywhere. Not even the moon. WTF?

          Fuk, Dudes, this is lame. We need to shoot some rockets off and at least go to Mars. It’s 2016 and we’re not even going to Mars? WTF is up with that. This is really lame. WTF is up with NASA. That’s Not A Space Agency evidently. God knows what they do.

          We need faster space ships. 25,000 miles per hour isn’t fast enough. It has to be so you can get to Mars in a week or two. Jupiter in a month. Jupiter should be the real goal. Mars should only be a fueling depot.

      4. Grizziz

        Keep believing or some folks will get haircuts and the collective will get deflation. “EU forevah.”

      5. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think the Epsilon Narrative piece is absolutely seminal, we have lots of phrases on Wall Street that capture the effect, “animal spirits” “momentum” “consensus” “sentiment”. Even Kuroda quoted Peter Pan: the moment you doubt whether you can fly is the moment you come crashing to the ground.
        I think the entire industry knows an unholy reckoning is coming when the butterfly flaps but are channeling St. Augustine, “Oh, God make me continent…but not yet”

  14. ahimsa

    ‘No pressure on me’ Jeremy Corbyn tells miners’ gala, as Labour MPs ‘de-invited’ Guardian

    “[CORBYN:] But one I got today really did puzzle me. They said: are you coping with the pressure that’s on you? I said: ‘There’s no pressure on me. None whatsoever.’ The real pressure, the real pressure – real pressure – is when you don’t have enough money to feed your kids, when you don’t have a roof over your head, when you are wondering if you are going to be cared for.”

    [drops mic].

    1. Steve C

      Re the jacobin article: I think another reason for media hostility to Corbyn is the elitist professional class that dominates politics and media in Britain and the US reacting in horror to a successful expression of working class rebellion.

  15. ek hornbeck

    Yeah, stay away from Maine. I only lived there for 4 years or so and I call dibs. Make it through a couple of Black Fly seasons and and Good Sledding (every season is a good season for Coffee Brandy) before you start eating my Mussels and Blueberries.

  16. Anne

    Bernie Sanders on his Facebook page, perhaps weighing in somewhat more critically of Hillary’s new plan for college (bold is mine):

    How insane is it for us to literally discourage bright young people from attending college because of how much money their parents make? Kids in this country are saddled with $50,000, $100,000, $200,000 in student debt. That is absurd. If we are going to solve the college debt crisis in this country we must make public colleges and universities tuition free

    Any parent who has navigated the financial aid process knows how ridiculous it is. I remember filling out forms for my older child, and laughing in disbelief when the result was that we were deemed to be able to “afford” to contribute $16,000 a year to the cost of college. “$16,000 a year? If I had an extra $16,000 a year around to pay for college I wouldn’t be filling out this %^*)(*& form!!!”

    And that was almost 20 years ago; it has to be worse now.

    There was a part of me that had a suspicion that we were unwitting participants in a scheme designed not to facilitate the education of our children, but one designed to make sure as much money as possible was funneled to large institutions – educational and financial – with little regard for our children having to pay the price.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If their parents are billionaires, they can just buy a college and print their own sheepskin diplomas.

      Maybe means testing is not so bad, for some exceptionally rich people.

      Free college tuition = free income?

      1. marym

        Billionaires probably don’t send their kids to public colleges, but that’s not the issue. We can choose to see public colleges, like public K-12, either as a common good or as reserved for the financially privileged. Since Clinton’ s proposal is means tested, it isn’t founded in a concept of the common good. Like the ACA it may or may not provide a few crumbs from the neoliberal table to people who really need this, at least till it gets defunded during some fake budget crisis, but it’s not a “pragmatic” move forward, and if Sanders thinks it is, he’s wrong.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can we think of excluding those parents making $400K and over as a tax on the 1% (who have college kids)?

          Can we think of free college tuition for families making less than that as free basic learning income (for those with college kids)?

          1. Romancing the Loan

            People that rich don’t send their kids to public colleges, and the cost does not make a meaningful difference in their decision.

            All adding means-testing does is add unnecessary costs (requiring hiring someone to do the testing) that costs more than you’d save not paying for those few wealthy excluded.

            It’s actually cheaper to be inclusive on top of being the right thing to do.

          2. JTMcPhee

            All this presumes that college-educated kids are any kind of future citizens interested in comity, as opposed to go-along strivers, manque aesthetes, you all can think of other categories. A lot of CE kids join up with the CIA, NSA, the rest of the state security thing, become the middle managers enforcing the Business Model (“more and more work from fewer and fewer people for less and less money under tighter and more abusive and incompetent micromanagement, etc.”), hoping to Rise in the System. My window on the graduating classes is narrow, but I’d say don’t be looking for new generations of graduates to produce Elysian meta-stability, where the social spaces run to “less inequality” and everyone has enough to eat and a safe place to sleep. I hear the applications for police jobs outstrip the positions on offer by 100-1. There are reasons why that is… Lots of complex interconnected interactive reasons… The Reality and the Narrative ( and the shibboleths that support the latter) diverge ever faster, as the agile predators create their new realities ahead of anything the Mopes can do to restrain them…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Some might want a degree in GM food science or Fracking.

              Maybe medical school business school and law school should have free tuition as well. And if you can’t have that, either you don’t want it or you’re not smart enough to get into one.

              But while some community colleges have beauty school programs, I think most beauticians go to private beauty schools. For many, that’s what they want; for others, it’s because they are not smart enough for free-tuition public colleges/universities.

              But more (soon to be with free tuition) business school and economics graduates have done more damage than self-financed beauty school graduates.

          3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            People get divided and conquered by the issues narrowcasting of need: education, health care, retirement. At the end of the day though it’s nothing but the old “guns or butter” equation: which does the society want? We have every possible piece of military hardware and nuclear bomb we could ever want, we have 40,000 million $ sequestered at our lovely central bank and 370,000 million $ sequestered in offshore tax havens by our best and brightest corporate titans. So in the end its:
            “What if the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to pay for an F-35?”

          4. jrs

            I don’t know, I can’t say I travel in those circles, that’s a boatload of money, but maybe there is some kid whose parents earn $400k but refuse to help their own kids. As a general principle I certainty wouldn’t assume parents actually care about their future DNA, they often don’t, and are as likely to kick their kid to the curb as offer any help. Kid of 400k parents who have disowned them deserves free college.

            The problem is after 18 parents have NO legal responsibility to their kids no matter how rich or poor they are.

            1. jrs

              yea the case would be more sympathetic with parents earning 150k, the thing is though if parents income is taken into account in a means testing program and yet at the same time parents have no legal responsibility to their kids, it’s a potential problem. I wouldn’t count on parental love to solve it, that’s not a legal responsibility. Of course for some programs adult kids can file as self-supporting and so it is their own income that is counted. As it should be as legal and thus enforceable responsibility for a child ends at age 18. And many a parent cuts the cord on that 18th birthday.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                We need to look at the estate tax issue.

                The issue is there because the rich somehow act differently.

                They pass money/wealth to their kids, and most likely also pay for their college education.

          5. marym

            If publicly funded tuition at public colleges is funded by a progressive tax structure because as a society we believe that serves the common good, and that society reaps the benefits, then all this parsing isn’t necessary.

            For example, people who don’t have kids pay taxes for schools and playgrounds and crossing guards. They don’t expect families that benefit from this to declare it on their tax returns, because this is how our society has traditionally defined a common good and most people still subscribe to that definition. We used to consider tuition-free public colleges a common good, and we may some day consider publicly funded universal healthcare as such.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Perhaps free college tuition PLUS compulsory 4 years of college, like free and compulsory K-12 education.

              What about law school?

            2. Ulysses

              “If publicly funded tuition at public colleges is funded by a progressive tax structure because as a society we believe that serves the common good, and that society reaps the benefits, then all this parsing isn’t necessary.”

              Well-said! One thing that I find most grievous in today’s world is the almost complete evaporation of the concept of the common good. The other day I overheard someone mocking a family friend who is leaving nearly all of her fortune to the Finger Lakes Land Trust. As if she was stupid for not investing it in payday lending operations, or some other completely parasitical operation.

              What is wrong with wanting future generations to enjoy something beautiful? I know that much philanthropy is hypocritical, yet we shouldn’t discourage people from wanting to do something that benefits everyone.

              Those who live in ease and comfort have a special obligation to share their good fortune — through paying much higher taxes, and expanding, not limiting, the common weal.

    2. Sally

      Higher education has become a total racket on both sides of the Atlantic. The Chancellors and Vice Chancellors have got it into their minds that they are educational Bill Gates’s and therefore need to be paid astronomically huge finacial packages. Also the trend of employing controversial so called super star teachers and professors. Who either teach or speak at equally ludicrous salaries. All of this has to be paid for, and guess who the poor suckers are that are lined up?

      Also this is another disater that unlimited printed money can cause. More student loans, equal more debt and more newly created money plucked from the money trees. Student loans now have reached $1 trillion. And the interest mounts up, and up, and up. Unlike the banks that can borrow at a quarter of a % and who can default on their debts students are not allowed such luxury.

  17. Buck Eschaton

    There was a BLM march in St. Paul, MN last night that shut down I-94 between the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul for 5 hours or more. What was ironic, and I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, is that the confrontation with the 100’s of police officers occurred on the exact area of the old African-American Rondo neighborhood which was obliterated by the building of I-94 50 years ago. I was watching the live stream of the confrontation last night and it was beautiful seeing people, African-Americans specifically, reclaim the space, at least for a little while, that was taken 50 years ago. That stretch of I-94 is truly ugly and completely carved up St. Paul neighborhoods and downtown St. Paul.

    1. Arizona Slim

      The construction of I-95 did the same thing to the Philadelphia area. Ditto for I-76, which went through thriving white working class neighborhoods.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Here in Tucson, I-10 is regarded as a divider between the largely Latino West Side and the rest of the city.

          However, things are starting to change. The Downtown area is gentrifying, and property that’s just west of Downtown and the Interstate has become quite valuable. Guess who loses again.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Thanks for links. My guess is this was standard practice everywhere – I know it happened in Detroit, too.

      1. Buck Eschaton

        Just further evidence of the systematic decimation of African-American communities and families.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I read about that too, and I think it’s in one of the links I posted; the “elders” recalling their own protests to the younger protesters, and pointing out where their houses were, before the highway paved them over.

      Every so often a vivid image from the ground surfaces (and disappears…) showing us the organic character of the movement, far more important than celebrities and spokesholes. (Images like this are also why I hate phrases like “the masses” and “sheeple” so much, because they erase the exact human connections that are needed for success.)

      Also, if you watch the tactics, they’re getting creative again. That’s always a sign of organic ferment, if you will. A rising tide…

    4. polecat

      Ah…….the ‘progress’ of the Interstate Highway System….

      …..”Breaking-Up Communities Everywhere!”

      1. polecat

        In Sacramento, when the I-80 & I-50 interchanges barreled thru….they bisected Oak Park….which (historically) had become the city’s first ‘suburb’ in the late 1800’s………..

        What was once a thriving area near downtown, with is own little ‘business district’…..eventually became a slum….as the community withered….as happened wherever the Interstates were built, siphoning off traffic and commerce from formerly viable places…….but…. Progress! (cold war)

    5. Archie

      You can thank Robert Moses. He started it all in the NYC metropolitan area about 80 years ago.

    6. JerryDenim

      Irony? I saw the following headline on the webpage of a Minneapolis local newspaper; “St Paul Police Chief disgusted by the violence of BLM protesters”

      Why not ‘BLM protesters digested by violence of police’ ?

  18. Jim Haygood

    Hollande sticks his foot in it:

    French President Francois Hollande, who last month endorsed Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential race, said the November ballot threatens to play out along similar lines to the U.K.’s European Union referendum.

    Just as U.K. voters rejected calls from political leaders and institutions to stay in the EU, a similarly anti-establishment sentiment may be brewing in the U.S., potentially damaging relations with Europe, Hollande said.

    “The arguments in the Brexit vote and in the American presidential campaign are about the same,” Hollande told reporters Saturday at a NATO summit in Warsaw.

    Hollande backed Clinton in a June 30 interview with Les Echos newspaper, saying that the rhetoric of her main opponent, Donald Trump, puts him on the same level as Europe’s extreme right. Trump has said the U.S. is paying too much to sustain NATO.

    Unlike the UK, Germany, Italy, Poland and others, France (thanks to a stand taken by DeGaulle in the 1960s) isn’t occupied by U.S. soldiers and bases. So it can reap the (questionable) benefit of a U.S. defense umbrella without paying the domestic price of visible foreign occupation.

    Hollande’s endorsement of a U.S. political candidate is obnoxious and will backfire. Frapper le frog!

    1. Ed

      I really wonder how Hollande became President of France in the first place. Everytime I read about this guy he is doing something politically inept.

      The best explanation that has been offered, in a European Tribune comment, was one of those weird chains of events where everything just breaks the right way for someone (eg luck). He was a Socialist Party backroom dealer who somehow got nominated in the right year, and lucked into a narrow win against Sarkozy, who is a much better politician but who has his flaws.

      Anyway, it should be a pretty established rule that a head of state or head of government never makes endorsements in elections in other countries.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Hollande is the best and most valuable type of politician. Finding a neoliberal/neocon tool to front a right wing party is child’s play, finding one to head a putatively left party is no mean feat, but installing one in a party that bills itself as Socialist is truly a coup, an accomplishment worthy of the highest praise.

    2. Quentin

      What a foolish man. What business does he have endorsing an aspirant presidential candidate even if she is likely to become president. Flattery will get you….oh wait…it will get you very, very far with the Clintons.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Well, he’d better pony up to the Foundation, tout de suite, or his kind words will get him nowhere.

  19. Katharine

    Jonathan Chait is so dishonest! His piece actually calls Cornel West an “avowed” Obama-hater. As a practicing Christian, West would never avow anything of the sort, and none of his statements quoted by Chait even comes close to an expression of hate. It is so off-putting when a pundit thinks he can say anything at all without regard to truth, like watching someone willfully dabbling in slime.

    1. Uahsenaa

      Chait behaving mendaciously… color me surprised…

      This is just another in a line of hit pieces on West that began with Michael Eric Dyson’s in TNR last year. West believed in Obama’s hokum and got badly burned. If there is any anger there–and you’re right to note there surely isn’t–it’s righteous indignation or, at best, profound disappointment. What’s more, plenty of people have criticized Obama along similar lines–Eddie Glaude, Michelle Alexander, for instance–and yet they have yet to be labeled haters. West is under attack because he’s politically relevant; no surprise, then, that Dyson’s piece appeared shortly after West started advocating for Sanders’ campaign.

      Many of my friends have studied under West, and one thing they say over and over again is how generous he is with his time and how he goes out of his way to remember people and catch up with them, all the while being the closest academics come to being rockstars. The problem with people like Chait and Dyson is that their interest in politics is an end in itself. West’s interest in politics is simply a means to make people’s lives less terrible.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yes. It was a short, slimey little hatchet job, in which Chait buried his nastiest lie deep in the 2nd to last graph: “The Sanders revolution means that, rather than a full-throated celebration of Obama’s record akin to the treatment Ronald Reagan received at the 1988 Republican convention, the party’s message will include the perspective of one of the president’s avowed haters.

      Chait went swiftly from delineating West’s (legitimate) complaints against Obama, to theorizing that West considered Obama to be an Oreo cookie, to proclaiming West a “hater”. In a piece that was conveniently too short to include supporting data, or quotes from other opinionators, or……. anything other than Chait’s own glib/snotty puffery.

      Chait has options; he commonly writes for better magazines, newsweeklies, etc. I have to assume this piece was published in New York Magazine because it is an inferior venue. One which allowed him to misuse his relative fame for the purpose of propaganda.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Free access to law = free sex?

    Free love = free sex? Dividing both sides by free, you get love = sex. But we don’t love is not sex and sex is not love.

    So, no to free love = free sex.

    I think free access to law = free love, but not free sex.

    1. habenicht

      Laws with ‘secret’ provisions (or provisions you have to pay to read, but not print out or save)…. what could go wrong?

      It kinda reminds me of the stories I read about families who are too close to fracking sites and if they get sick and need to go to the hospital, there was a big hulla-baloo about identifying what chemicals / substances in the fracking fluids they may have been exposed to.

      The issue if I recall correctly is that the fracking companies won’t voluntarily divulge those ingredients to the doctors and victims since it is a “trade secret”.

      Yet another example of Lambert’s two governing principles of neoliberalism: 1) because markets and 2) go die

  21. JEHR

    Re: Barroso at Goldman Sachs, an arm of honor to Europe ; Ticket Barroso at Goldman Sachs, an arm of honor to Europe (love that google translation as it takes the GS point of view)

    I can visualize a European Union run by Goldman Sachs and all the lovely little scams, privatizations, austerity and misuse of the public commons that that would entail. Goldman Sachs alumnus as leaders and decision makers in Europe–that is the way the world ends!

  22. JEHR

    My estimation of our new Canadian PM is reaching new lows: first, he is not repealing Bill C-51 which became law and gave all kinds of powers to CSIS; second, he is going to war in Latvia of all places; and third, he is contemplating passing TPP. What a misguided soul he turns out to be. Is it possible that the world is f**ked no matter what happens?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Equally bad, from the same meeting:

      NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO will start a training and capacity-building mission for Iraqi armed forces in Iraq, a country he called central in the fight against Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL. NATO is also working to establish an intelligence centre in Tunisia, a major recruiting ground for Daesh, and will shortly start providing support to Tunisian special operation forces.

      Stoltenberg said Obama and leaders of the other 27 NATO countries also agreed in principle for alliance surveillance aircraft to provide direct support to the U.S.-led coalition fighting Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

      The alliance will also increase co-operation with Jordan, and is preparing to help the new government in Libya design policies and institutions to help it better defend itself against extremist organizations, Stoltenberg said.

      These “out of area” operations have no basis in the NATO treaty, which is solely about mutual defense among members.

      Now obsolete, provocative NATO (after 15 years of abject failure in Afghanistan) is expanding its role in the permanent Middle East quagmire, to ensure that: (1) it can never win; and (2) it can never be closed down.

      Canada sending 1,000 troops to serve as a tripwire in Latvia provides a sad example of a country in a safe neighbourhood, with no enemies, gratuitously keeping the potential alive for involving itself in a bloody foreign war.


    2. neo-realist

      Justin Trudeau=Canadian Obama? and I suspect this may not be all that original a perspective of Trudeau.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I’m pretty sure I made the comparison here some months ago. Pretty face, pretty words, pretty evil.

  23. Bugs Bunny

    Interview with Junker and Schulz… such wilful blindness. Stomach turning. Despair.

    I can’t even find humor in it!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know. Generally (at least I like to think) a sense of humor and especially irony keep me on an even feel, but the past week has knocked me about a bit. And I’m way the heck up here on the margins, so I can only imagine what people closer to events must feel.

      Maybe it will be better this coming week!

      1. EGrise

        I hope so. Out and about here in Austin (a couple hours south of Dallas) my wife and I both noticed that blacks and whites seemed to be studiously avoiding eye contact with each other. We may be (probably are) overly sensitive, but it felt like embarrassed discomfort and uncertainty. I think we’re all feeling a bit knocked around by the past week.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Really disheartening to see BHO declare this was simply a gun control problem, equally dispiriting to see the initial reaction by the Dallas police, who stated “they could not understand any possible motive”.
        Step 1: admit you have a problem.

  24. tegnost

    Here’s a gallon of kool aid for anyone who wants to drink it…argues that there’s no point in public transport investment…” You may even own a Tesla with autopilot or a Mercedes with drive pilot”
    Unsurprisingly the author stands to make a tidy portion of those redirected transit dollars going into his private sector bank account. I love the big sounding numbers of public investment juxtaposed against the injustice that current investment in this scheme that that will create private profits (mostly for tesla drivers) is mainly coming from the people who will benefit the most (actually most of us won’t benefit at all, but MARKETS!!!,yes he does also make that pathetic point)
    “Tens of billions of dollars are being invested across the industry to bring autonomous vehicles into the mainstream over the next decade” Yes, they’re investing because their lesser toys are running out of steam and the gravy train needs to keep chugging along because there will be winners and losers and this guy may be a lot of things but a loser isn’t one of them, he probably drives a tesla
    “These vehicles are capable of receiving real-time traffic updates, helping direct drivers around congested roads and find open parking lots much more efficiently. Real-time data collected from these vehicles is being used by cities across the world today to dynamically change traffic signals, improve infrastructure design and more efficiently manage traffic flows. Connected vehicles are already reducing traffic jams, and as the technology grows, so will the impact.”
    Isn’t that a little creepy, how connected do you want to be? Probably depends on how much money you’re going to make by forcing everyone to pay for your stupid “smart” toys (who isn’t sick of “smart” yet?)
    There’s more but why should I have all the fun?
    Question: In a world where there’s nothing for anyone to do (remember, robots do everything better…)why shuld anyone care about whether they can “efficiently find a parking spot”, is my state mandated occulus rift going to include traffic jams?

  25. diptherio

    For your Sunday edification:

    I said at the beginning of this essay that there was a time when an uderstanding of the money system was more widespread than it is today. The particular time-period I have in mind is the late 1800s, around the time William Jennings Bryan made his justly-famous “Cross of Gold” speech [3]. In fact, it was on this very day in 1896, 120 years ago, that Bryan delivered his rousing manifesto on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. While “bimetalism” was the particular cause he was arguing for (using silver as well as gold to back the US dollar), it was the lack of available currency in large parts of the country that was, so to speak, the cause of that cause. As the George Mason University History Matters website summarizes it:

    “The issue was whether to endorse the free coinage of silver at a ratio of silver to gold of 16 to 1. (This inflationary measure would have increased the amount of money in circulation and aided cash-poor and debt-burdened farmers.)”

    At that time, the amount of US currency the government could mint was limited by the amount of gold the US gov’t had in its possession — what’s known as “the gold standard.” The gold standard had the effect of greatly improving US dollars as a store of value — which was good for those people who had a lot of dollars stored away — but it also severely limited the usefulness of dollars as a medium of exchange, since their number was arbitrarily limited by the amount of shiny yellow rocks that could be dug out of the ground [4].

    Which is to say, the nineteenth century debate over the structure of the currency (a debate which continues still to this day) was the result of the inherent conflict of using money both as a medium of exchange and as a store of value. Then, as now, those with a lot of money tend to focus on “maintaining the value of the currency,” which is desirable if one uses money cheifly as a store of value, while those without much money tend to focus on the need to have greater amounts of currency circulating, which is especially important if you depend for your livlihood on the wages of your labor. Once again, the ideal would be a system which allowed people to create “stores of value” without short-circuting the medium of exchange function.

    As we saw with time banks, the solution to this paradox requires the disintermediation of these two functions. The way to use money to create a store of wealth is not to hoard as much of it as you can, but rather to use it (spend it) to create real wealth — actual material things that will provide long-term value. A simple example will make clear the type of things I have in mind.

    Many people in this country end up spending their last years on this earth living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Having worked at one of these facilities, there are two major characteristics about them that stand out: they are incredibly expensive and they are often unpleasant places to be, both for the residents and for the employees. Despite this latter characteristic, and because of the former, people approaching their elderhood are often very concerned with saving up enough money to be able to afford an extended stay at one of these unfortunate places. However, rather than socking money away against the eventualitly of being forced into an institutional care facility, wouldn’t people be better off investing that money now in the creation of places that they would actually like to inhabit in their old age? Rather than saving money today in order to be able to afford the $5,000+/month that most of these places charge, why not use that money now to help create (for example) an ecovillage that provides eldercare? Even if you wouldn’t be interested in living in such a place right now, you’ll be happy to have it available to you later.

    Another example: instead of attempting to save enough money to be able to buy groceries from the day you stop working until the day your heart and lungs do, why not use that money now to fund community gardens and greenhouses in your area that will provide food to you and your neighbors indefinitely, without the necessity of turning over any medium of exchange in order for you to access it?

    Bernie should make his own version of the Cross of Gold speech at this year’s DNC. Kelton could help him draft it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Claiming that the gold standard “limited the usefulness of dollars as a medium of exchange” is hard to credit.

      Leveraged farmers had a much more explicit claim: during 1871-1896, a quarter century of deflation averaging 1 percent annually meant that their land collateral (and often their crop price as well) was steadily sinking in value against their loan balance.

      Monetizing western silver had the specific objectives of stimulating western mining, and more importantly, stopping the deflation by increasing the money supply.

      Today inflation is 1 percent. Central bankers want to raise it to 2 percent, but have failed. QE doesn’t work when there isn’t sufficient private loan demand to expand credit. Paul Kasriel, retired Northern Trust economist, watches credit growth closely:

      Let’s look at the recent behavior of a variant of thin-air credit, i.e., the sum of the monetary base and commercial bank credit.

      By the three months ended January 2016, annualized growth in thin-air credit had slowed to just 1.1%. In the three months ended April 2016, annualized growth in thin-air credit had recovered to 3.8%. But that was still well below its long-run median annualized growth of 7%.

      Bottom line: QE isn’t working; NIRP isn’t working. Global central bankers, lacking any fiscal authority, have no idea what to do next.

      1. diptherio

        “Monetizing western silver had the specific objectives of…increasing the money supply.”

        And why did the money supply need to be increased? Because out West, there wasn’t enough available for actual needs. Not enough medium of exchange available because the amount was being limited in order to “protect the value of the currency.”

        1. Jim Haygood

          In Chapter 3 (“Silver Politics and Secular Price Decline”) of Friedman and Schwartz’s Monetary History of the U.S., Chart 8 shows that the money stock more than doubled from 1879 to 1896.

          So why did prices fall? Velocity collapsed by 40% over the same period.

          Today is practically a caricature of that period, with QE having quintupled the Fed’s assets, while velocity carries on sinking and prices stay flat.

          In the 19th century, inflation likely was the real objective of free silver advocates. The meme of “currency shortage” was a coded appeal to eastern interests, for whom the explicit advocacy of inflation was a non-starter.

          Today the culture has changed, with the central bankers themselves setting explicit inflation targets — but failing to meet them. Coining silver isn’t even on the radar, since cash is turning into contraband under the surveillance state.

      2. optimader

        QE doesn’t work when there isn’t sufficient private loan demand to expand credit

        insufficient demand or insufficient price discovery to satisfy the lenders?
        If the asset value collateralizing the loan isn’t legitimately understood, you can have loads of demand and plenty of available capital sloshing around to loan but nary the two shall meet.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Wow. I wish it were possible to make a YouTube into a tattoo, so I had it with me at all times. That’s our elites, right there. Of course, there’s the woodchipper scene, too….

  26. Take the Fork

    Trump-Flynn 2016?

    The most interesting thing about Flynn might not be that he ran DIA, but that he appears to be a registered Democrat.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ross Perot’s VP running mate was an admiral.

      Why are retired military officers so popular?

      1. Romancing the Loan

        People still have trust in the military somehow, or at least more than for career politicians.

        Ann Dunwoody would be a great VP for Trump if he’s going to go that route.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I believe I am wrong or too pessimistic to think that, to challenge the establishment political parties, like Perot did or Trump is doing, you need to have someone in the military to provide support.

    2. Rhondda

      Flynn as Trump’s Veep? Ha ha ha! Boy, wouldn’t that be just great. Comes with a side of yummy USraeli Michael Ledeen. They’ve got a new book out, in fact — pimping that other flavor of Neocon boogie man: Iran. That fits nicely with Trump’s make-a-deal position re Russia.

      But f***, if you’re going all brassy — why not Petraeus? Oh wait, that’s Hillary’s gen-gen.

  27. Raven on a Coyote

    Why am I watching Rudy Guliani on Face the Nation right now talk about race? He is blaming the blacks for their own deaths while completely ignoring their poverty and legacy. He is sweeping the police killings under the table by saying, “they kill each other much more”! He just said “Saying Black Lives Matter is racist”!

  28. Carla

    Bill Black: White-Collar Crime Kills and Maims More Than the Crimes of the Poor

    What amazes is me is that Black focuses on faulty products (Takata airbags, VW diesel pollution, contaminated infant formula in China, ETC.) and doesn’t even mention the killing and maiming effects of the Great Financial Crisis: suicide, depression, substance abuse ending in death — several generations in despair, but mostly of course poor people and people of color (last hired, first fired, and first foreclosed upon).

  29. Adrian H

    Vis Theranos, despite some degree of capture, CMS on the whole is still able to take its regulatory roles seriously (unlike its utterly decrepit cousins in the worlds of finance, occupational safety, labor standards, agriculture, etc.). After easily swatting away the latter agencies whenever needed, the uber-libertarian/VC crowd is somewhat dumbfounded when they can’t just bullshit their way through vs. CMS…

  30. David Wayne

    On the Article of the US and NATO preparing for major war with Russia:

    I’ve been censoring myself to avoid any comments or posts about politics, but when I saw this article, I felt obligated to share this article and make a few comments about it. What impressed me is that this article is published in The Nation magazine. Number 1. Number 2, I’ve been seeing commentary about actual war with Russia as opposed to political posturing, such as reviving the Cold War. If you don’t get a chance to read this article, take note of one sentence that caught my eye: “Spending on the Pentagon’s ‘European Reassurance Initiative’ will quadruple, climbing from $789 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017.” The Pentagon? $789 million to $3.4 billion? The point being made by author Michael Klare is that the US foreign policy is moving from one of fighting terrorists hiding in caves in Afghanistan to staging a full-out military deployment of American military forces UP TO AND INCLUDING nuclear munitions. Nuclear weapons! While we’ve been riveted with alarming stories about Hillary’s emails and where Trump’s campaign hats are being manufactured, our government is taking steps to engineer a full war involving land and sea forces and nukes are definitely on the table. The author makes reference to “self fulfilling prophecy” on the one hand and escalation either intentional or accidental based on Russia being forced to prepare and match US/NATO actions in an atmosphere of hair trigger brinkmanship that could easily plunge us into a global conflict in the blink of an eye. LOOK – we have apparently unlimited funds (coming out of taxpayer pockets) to fund any and every military project that makes the world more dangerous BUT suggest anything other than a hysterical fearmongering approach to world relations…. Well, we just can’t go there for reasons that anyone who has been paying attention and actually able to think for themselves is well aware of. MY POINT IS THIS:::: I don’t handle this type of ambiguity well. If the world is full of dangerous people that we can’t turn our backs on for fear of (whatever), then let’s just take them out, take them down, whatever it takes to remove some three quarters of the population from the planet. OR maybe, just maybe, if United States of America has been taken over by people using the machinery of government to make a tidy profit off of war, death, and destruction (and when I say death, I mean the death of anyone and everyone else other than themselves), then maybe we should reconsider all this democracy, freedom, and rule of law stuff they keep telling us and start making demands before the earth becomes a place where no living thing can ever exist again.

  31. Jerry Denim

    Post Brexit Ugliness of the Left-

    Great Link. So many parallels between the USA and the UK these days. The Democratic party of the Clintons and Obama is exactly like the Labour Party of Blair and Brown. Corbyn and Sanders are the old school, lunchbox liberals pushing back against the corportist neo-libs, fighting for the working class. Brexit scorn for the leavers is almost perfectly analogous to the hypocritical and tone-deaf Clinton supporter/media scorn for Trump voters.

  32. Kim Kaufman

    File under Guillotine Watch:

    The New Yorker

    A selection of stories from The New Yorker’s archive


    A few years ago, Ivana Trump went to lunch at Altesi Ristorante, on the Upper East Side. She brought Tiger, her Yorkshire terrier, with her. An online reviewer memorialized the occasion: “Lunch was ruined because Ivana Trump sat next to us with her dog which she even let climb to the table.” When Patricia Marx, a New Yorker staff writer, spoke to the restaurant’s owner, she learned that Trump had presented a card identifying Tiger as an emotional-support animal. Such a card, he said, allows pet owners to take their animals everywhere.

    In some people, this story might inspire despair; Marx was simply inspired. She acquired emotional-support cards for a whole range of animals—a turkey, a turtle, and an alpaca, among others—and took them to exclusive spaces all over New York, from the Four Seasons to the Frick. “Pets Allowed,” the story that resulted, is just one of many pieces we bring you this week about animals and our unreasonable or elevating attachments to them. …”

    —David Remnick

  33. Jerry Denim

    “Forget Montauk”

    Sorry Lambert! Some very good friends of mine who are veterans of the Brooklyn hipster food scene just recently opened a tiny restaurant in Portland which has already garnered rave reviews from national media publications. Don’t despair though, they’re your kind of people. Real honest, working-class, civic-minded liberals with an interest in permaculture, sustainability and community building. They’re more refugee than colonizer; they have zero intention of bringing Brooklyn to Maine, although I am aware intentions matter little unless you happen to be Hillary Clinton. (!) Gentrification does carry some benefits, at least the quality of food on offer will improve for Mainers.

    Good luck keeping the D-bags out and the cost of living reasonable in Maine! I wouldn’t worry too much, I think Maine winter will keep the place from getting overrun.

  34. ewmayer

    [BigPharma-related] Gleanings from a few hours of TV watching last night – I always have a secondary show lined up which I switch to when the primary goes to commercial, but even so, about 1/4 of the time the 2ndary will also be in commercials at the same time. Despite that reduction in viewed-ad count, I noted down the drug ads that I ran across during several hours of said ad-reduced TV:

    Tresiba (insulin)
    Advil (ibuprofen)
    Dulcolax (stool softener)
    DuoFusion (antacid)
    Lyrica (diabetic nerve pain)
    Rexulti (antidepressant booster)
    Enbrel (arthritis)
    Entresto (congestive heart failure)
    Nexium (antacid)
    Lyrica (fibromyalgia)
    Humira (Crohn’s disease)
    AlevePM (ibuprofen + sleep aid)
    Toujeo (insulin)
    Invokana/Jardiance/Farxiga (victim-trolling ad for a class-action lawsuit)

    My favorite scenario – though not one which occurred last night – is the one where an ad for Drug X is followed hard upon by an ad for a class-action-lawsuit related to Drug X. Also, I’d like to know what automated software Big Pharma uses to generate their lists of inane tech-startup-like drug names…

    Another fun game one can play is what I call “infinite lifestyle drug recursion” – e.g., Entresto has a common side effect of raising user’s blood sugar level. So you start taking Tresiba to treat that, but it’s not 100% effective, so you start suffering from diabetic nerve pain. Good thing we got Lyrica for that! Of course all those different pills you’re taking upset your stomach, and the combination of debilitating side effects and a vanishing bank balance is making you depressed…

  35. ChiGal

    Thanks all the reviews of Albion’s Seed. This is exactly the kind of history that any hope of transcending differences must be rooted in.

    So those 17th & 18th century “English” came from different tribes themselves? Have centuries of experience behind them in England and America that have resulted in quite different values and beliefs? As a result of not understanding this are talking past each other instead of working together?

    I have a proposal to kill two birds with one stone: replace the nonsense census category of race with ethnicity, or at least somehow find a way to include basic context.

    Thus we can more accurately refer to “black” people as African American (already standard in medical documentation), African, Carribean, etc and should do the same with “white” people (not standard yet but I do it: why would I document that someone is AA and not identify European Americans analogously, it makes no sense in a world without the one-drop rule).

    So you can have a not unmanageable number of fairly global ethnic designations that add value: Native, Anglo, African, Euro (East and West), Latin, Arab, Asian (East and South) American, etc.

    What Albion suggests is that as we progress toward more accuracy in describing “whites”, we should further, given the overwhelmingly dominant role of the English in shaping our nation, also differentiate within them 1) the Puritans (middle class, educated, committed to helping those in need but intolerant of human weakness), 2) the Quakers (working class, non hierarchical, tolerant), 3) the Landed Gentry (the elites, with (surprise!) a plantation culture), and 4) those who emigrated from the Borderlands often called Scots-Irish (tenant farmers living in a Hobbesian state of constant war, intensely clannish and focused on their own survival by necessity).

    It is an accurate way of incorporating class into the all-purpose Anglo-Americans (which the Scots-Irish aren’t anyway). And would seem to be good to keep in mind as we seek common ground.

  36. ekstase

    I think Vonnegut really nailed it with his story arcs idea. And I believe it’s the same thing operating in anything we perceive as a melody. You start out at sort of a home base; you go up and down in various emotionally charged wanderings; then you return to a home.
    Just like life.
    It doesn’t seem surprising that his notion was not well-received in academia. He was a little too vibrant and real.

  37. hunkerdown

    Blockchain graveyard (magoo) — a list of 38 cryptocurrency intrusion incidents with diagnoses. Cryptsy’s entry was particularly chilling to any software developer:

    Maliciously placed Application vulnerability after a dependency (Lucky7Coin) was backdoored by a malicious developer, and abused for months to pull off an attack.

    Also, Allcrypt’s wriggly hack started through WordPress. Moral: out-of-date WP installations are worse than none at all.

  38. Dark Matters

    Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup. There’s been a background drumbeat about Comey being a “straight shooter” with “impeccable integrity”. So I find myself disposed to think that there must be a good reason for his odd recommendations. I’m thinking that the political outrage would be an order of magnitude stronger if Comey were regarded as just another political hack, instead of the knight in shining armor he’s been made out to be. Shaking my head to clear the fog, I ask: does his “reputation” have a basis or is it just subtle assistance from the MSM to help us be right-thinking about the email issue?

      1. Dark Matters

        Thanks for the catch. I had seen a few other critiques but this one you cited is one of the best. It’s instructive observe how the constant drumbeat has a) created an impression of Comey that’s both universal and groundless, and b) favorably softened the political reaction to what’s obviously a snow job. I’ve become a bit of an afficianado of propaganda, and this one is turning out to be one of the more deliciously collectible specimens.

        1. Christopher Fay

          That’s the total corruption of the Clintons. If there is one asset with manufactured integrity, Comey this time, they monetize that one time to save themselves. Hillary’s campaign has just been a Sherman’s march through trampling through the integrity of government. Bill on the Bullhorn blocking voting at several poll stations in the must-win Massachusetts democrat primary is an example of the everything must go attitude.

  39. ewmayer

    Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling MIT Technology Review — Ooh, look, next thing you know the BigData Weenies will announce their revolutionary discovery of “literary genres”! How disruptive would that be!?

  40. HotFlash

    Baby ducks, yes. When I was a child (milennia ago), there was this book, it was read to me before I could read, and then I read it to myself when I learned how, and my SO read it to his son and then what? Anyone these days read it to their kids or grandkids, or anyone’s kids?

    Is this likely to happen in Boston these days?

    1. ChiGal

      Absolutely, I have fond memories of reading my childhood copy of Make Way for Ducklings to my son.

      Some of my best memories are the books we shared.

    2. Christopher Fay

      We did stop driving in front of the Falmouth, Massachusetts Post Office in May to let a brood of ducklings cross the street. But no police woman or man was directing traffic.

  41. Take the Fork

    So has it been established: is Dallas the first time a robot (brought to you by Northrop Grumman) has been used to explode a domestic terrorist?

    Also, is this is the first time since the Philly MOVE terrorists were bombed in 1985 that a municipal police department has used explosives in this way?

  42. kimsarah

    Here’s a gun control law the NRA and 2nd Amendment nuts could support:
    Ban guns for black people.

  43. Expat

    “When Narratives Go Bad”. How about “When clear, intelligent writing goes bad and becomes a blinding collection of fonts, colors, and bizarre quotes”?

    I think I get the point, but based on the point itself, perhaps I was merely duped. Tell the author to use MORE neon fonts! That should help!

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