2:00PM Water Cooler 8/11/2016

Readers, I stayed up too late, and got up too late. I’m going to add more material to the stats section. –lambert


“CREDO, which is actively fighting the TPP, has released a video and begun circulating a petition that urges Clinton to ‘personally and publicly’ stake her opposition to a vote on the agreement after the November election. Clinton has said she is against the deal, and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, said in a post on Twitter last month that the former senator ‘opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election.’ But CREDO says in its petition that it is seeking leadership on the issue, in the form of a public statement, from the nominee herself'” [Politico]. Not an unreasonable demand, surely?

“[Morning Consult] Poll: Support for TPP grows” [The Hill]. So “the summer of TPP” — all those visits by administration flaks with Chamber of Commerce types — is having some effect. From the article: More than half of registered voters surveyed, 62 percent [72% in March], said they have heard little or nothing about the agreement. Meanwhile, 35 percent [26% in March] said they somewhat support or strongly support the TPP, compared with the 22 percent [29% In March] who oppose it. Another 43 percent either didn’t know how they felt about the agreement or had no opinion [72% in March]. … Of Democrats surveyed, 43 percent said they either somewhat support or strongly support the deal. Meanwhile, only 30 percent each of Republicans and independents favor the TPP.” So it’s Democrat voters who are the problem, and probably Clinton voters, given Sanders’ views. Perhaps that explains Clinton’s real views on the matter.

John Conyers: “It’s now up to President Obama and the very small number of pro-TPP Democrats in Congress to follow Hillary’s lead. Allowing the possibility of a lame duck TPP vote to remain on the table wouldn’t just undermine trust in government and validate perceptions of rigged system—it could play into Donald Trump’s small and unsteady hands, with potentially disastrous consequences for the country” [The Hill]. The administration has pro-TPP shills fanning out across the country, as we’ve seen above. It’s highly unlikely Obama will stop that operation in its tracks, and if Clinton’s base is for TPP (see above) it’s highly unlikely that Clinton’s “lead” means what Conyers thinks it does.

“A new study from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business finds that international trade has a direct influence on U.S. presidential elections, and it shows there is an Electoral College incentive for candidates to protect the manufacturing sector and to oppose trade agreements” [Politico]. “[T]he negative effects of low-skilled workers [opposed to trade] were found to be three times as large in the all-important swing states as they were in other states — making them far more influential in the election than high-skilled workers primarily found in non-swing states.” So Clinton will square the circle as she’s been doing; collect the votes by allowing surrogates to voice anti-TPP sentiment, and then throw them under the bus, because her base won’t punish her for it, and hates the working class anyhow. Also too ka-ching.



“E-mails show State, Clinton Foundation links” [Boston Globe]. “A new batch of State Department e-mails released Tuesday showed the close and sometimes overlapping interests between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.” That’s called corruption: Public office used for private gain. However, the whole concept may need a rethink: I think Clinton’s base in the 10% — which includes a lot of non-profits who depend on squillionaires for funding — views “access” as a positive good. For example:

So there you have it. Extrapolating freely: Factions within Clinton’s base of professional women in the 10% have fully accepted the doctrine of Citizens United.

UPDATE tl;dr: Assimilated Republicans politely ask Clinton to do away with the stench. “With the Clinton Foundation once again the recipient of negative headlines, former Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) — another Republican who says he’s backing Hillary Clinton — recommended that the Clinton family should shut down the foundation if she becomes president. ‘I would sure as heck suggest that they don’t have it,’ Shays said on ‘MTP Daily’ yesterday” [NBC]. “Maybe the Clinton Foundation doesn’t have to close its doors if Hillary wins in November, but it will be unsustainable — for the Clintons and for the foundation — if it’s viewed as a conflict of interest. As former GOP Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) noted in 2009 during Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing to become secretary of state, ‘The core of the problem is that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state. Although neither Senator Clinton nor President Clinton has a personal financial stake in the foundation, obviously its work benefits their legacy and their public service priorities.’ And as we found out, any safeguards that the Clintons and Foundation established to eliminate perceptions problems while Hillary was secretary of state didn’t exactly do the trick.” Another public relations problem, then…

UPDATE “While in the White House, Economist Received Personal Loans From Top Washington Lawyer” [Pro Publicla]. Gene Sperling. One big happy!


“An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton about Pragmatism in 2016” [New Economic Perspectives]. A doubter straight from the heart of Clinton’s 10% base, so be kind.

Obama has never effectively made the case to the public that his stimulus program rescued the country from another Great Depression and the recovery did not filter down to the rank and file in large part because the Republicans blocked the measures most likely to help the working class (as opposed to bailouts for the banks) and when they regained the House in 2010 the first thing they did was to end programs that were succeeding. While Hillary gets most of this right, she still pays lip service to the importance of balancing the federal budget. In fact, as Paul Krugman points out at least once a weak [sic] that conviction is in the same league with denying the reality that humans are causing climate change. Democrats once embraced the notion that a principal purpose of monetary and fiscal policy ought to be a full employment economy and that infrastructure spending and, yes, deficits, are necessary to that end.

“Hillary Clinton has touted fiscal rectitude as a virtue in her battle for the presidency” [Bloomberg]. “‘The usual question you get in Washington is, ‘Shouldn’t we be reducing the deficit and the debt?’ said [even Jared] Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington and former chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden. ‘And now people are asking, ‘Shouldn’t we be increasing the deficit and the debt?’; One of the people not shying away from talking about borrowing money to invest in priorities such as infrastructure and the military while rates are low: Trump himself. He recently said he’d more than double Clinton’s $275 billion, five-year proposal to rebuild roads and bridges.'”

In other words: Clinton’s “fiscal rectitude” is the “the progressive give-up formula”: “[A]ccepting the deficit hawk’s framing of the problem is to accept, for the indefinite future, the idea that every progressive Government spending initiative must be evaluated from the viewpoint of whether ‘we can afford it’ or not, or whether it de-stabilizes the debt-to-GDP ratio, regardless of the benefit it will deliver to Americans.” And note, from Bernstein, that’s not even conventional wisdom any more! So, Grand Bargain, here we come!

“If you believe there is a coming realignment, then the future of the Democratic party is big business, and big business, especially the technology sector, will love Basic Income. The tech sector likes minimal government regulation, which has allowed them to gain monopoly power, amass giant profits, and control and manipulate entire areas of the economy. These companies are very opposed to heavy-handed market interventions such as breaking those companies up (Google, Amazon) or heavily regulating what it means to be an employee (Uber).” [New America]. “With Basic Income, these companies don’t have to change their behavior, but everyone would become more economically secure. Uber employees will be financially secure, even if they don’t get paid much, and are automated away later by driverless cars (the same logic explains why Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, supported Obamacare).”

“My socialism” [Stumbling and Mumbling]. “Capitalism did not spring fully-formed from a single great mind, but rather evolved over centuries. The same will be true for socialism.” For example:

Expansionary macro policy and job guarantees are important in two different ways.

First, economic growth makes people more liberal and tolerant and hence supportive of beneficial change; the notion of some ultra-leftists that recessions create demand for socialism has surely been refuted by history.

Secondly, full employment would greatly undermine capitalist power. In my socialism, awful working conditions such as those at Sports Direct wouldn’t exist not because they have been outlawed but because workers have the real freedom – via a basic income and good jobs elsewhere – to reject such conditions. One step to socialism consists in enabling people to follow Johnny Paycheck’s example.

UPDATE “President Obama has nominated Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, a logistician, to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making Selva the first military official with significant logistics expertise to rise so high in the Joint Chiefs’ hierarchy” [DC Velocity]. I remember how during the run-up to the Iraq War, the clearest indication that the decision for war had already been taken — thanks, Hillz, for lending your voice to the efforts to stop it. Oh, wait… — was the months-long, steady buildup of materiel prepositioned in what was to become the theatre of war. So it looks like Obama’s priority is to rationalize that process, and no doubt speed it up. One can only wonder why.

The Voters

“In the past three decades, the share of U.S. citizens who think that it would be a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ thing for the ‘army to rule’—a patently undemocratic stance—has steadily risen. In 1995, just one in sixteen respondents agreed with that position; today, one in six agree. While those who hold this view remain in the minority, they can no longer be dismissed as a small fringe, especially since there have been similar increases in the number of those who favor a ‘strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with parliament and elections’ and those who want experts rather than the government to ‘take decisions’ for the country. Nor is the United States the only country to exhibit this trend. The proportion agreeing that it would be better to have the army rule has risen in most mature democracies, including Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. … Lower support for democracy seems especially high among younger adults.” [Conversable Economist] (original). I’m sure that for many Trump will spring to mind, but it’s also noteworthy that the Democrat nomenklatura just spent a solid year stamping out a movement that was struggling for democratic norms through the electoral process. Not perhaps the best of tactics, if a healthy democracy, as opposed to a well-funded Democrat Party, is your goal.

“Democrats’ Tactic of Accusing Critics of Kremlin Allegiance Has Long, Ugly History in U.S.” [The Intercept]. The party left me…

“The larger conclusion from the data is that the Trump campaign — both through the support Trump generates among working-class whites and the opposition he generates among better educated, more affluent voters — has accelerated the ongoing transformation of the Democratic Party. Once a class-based coalition, the party has become an alliance between upscale well-educated whites and, importantly, ethnic and racial minorities, many of them low income” [Thomas Edsall, New York Times]. Citing this tweet:

So, the Democrat 10% plans to run a tournament for the “ethnic and racial minorities,” where they do what they do so well: Sort the worthy from the unworthy, and promote the “talented tenth” to elite status, while throwing the rest under the bus. I suppose you could call this new approach “suck up economics”? As opposed to “trickle down?”

The Parties

UPDATE “Democratic incompetence has made the previously unthinkable possible: Republicans are reimagining themselves as a labor party” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. What’s “incompetent” about it? Al From must be so happy!

UPDATE “Trump Prediction Update” [Scott Adams]. “As you know, Donald Trump has been sinking in the polls, thanks to the Clinton campaign adopting Trump-like persuasion tactics and framing the GOP nominee as an unstable, racist maniac. That approach is working, and time is running out for Trump to change things…. If nothing changes, Clinton will win in November. But things rarely stay the same. Here are several ways Trump could still win from behind.” It’s a good list, and readers should check it out; that could be one reason Trump’s not spending on TV.

“We said this in May, and in August we’ll say it again: There is no obvious sign of a Donald Trump drag on congressional Republicans in their primaries” [WaPo]. “there is evidence that discontent with Washington is still stirring among the Republican base…. In primaries for three open seats across the country, the GOP primary candidates who have fashioned themselves as the outsiders won, beating others in the race probably preferred by the Republican establishment. In fact, in two of those races, the outgoing Republican lawmaker has indicated or outright said he wouldn’t support the primary winner.”

“That squares with our current projection: a 10-15 seat Democratic gain, which even at the high end would still be just half of the 30 seats the Democrats need to win the House” [Larry Sabato]. “But Hillary Clinton’s big post-convention lead in the presidential race should concern House Republicans, because we’re starting to see Democrats creep up on the House generic ballot, the national polls that ask voters which party they are supporting in their local House race.”

Swing States

“With the presidential election 90 days away, the Donald Trump campaign is scrambling to set up the basics of a campaign in Hamilton County, a key county in a swing state crucial to a Republican victory, a recent internal email obtained by The Enquirer shows” [Cincinatti Enquirer]. “The campaign has yet to find or appoint key local leaders or open a campaign office in the county and isn’t yet sure which Hamilton County Republican party’s central committee members are allied with the Republican presidential nominee.” Combine that with zero (0) television dollars… WTF?

“Two factors make me sus­pect that even if Clin­ton wins by a much lar­ger mar­gin than, say, Obama’s win over Rom­ney four years ago, I don’t think the down-bal­lot im­plic­a­tions would be that huge. In the House, there are few­er com­pet­it­ive dis­tricts than at any point in our life­times; between nat­ur­al pop­u­la­tion sort­ing and ger­ry­man­der­ing, there just isn’t much elasti­city in the House these days. In the Sen­ate, the GOP ma­jor­ity is ab­so­lutely on the line; my guess it will end up 50-50, give or take a seat or two, but giv­en voters’ doubts about Clin­ton, the ‘don’t give Hil­lary Clin­ton a blank check’ ar­gu­ment may well be a polit­ic­ally po­tent one, and a lot of hold-their-noses Hil­lary voters may well look for a check and bal­ance down-bal­lot” [Charles Cook, National Journal]. “This could be the first pres­id­en­tial elec­tion with more people vot­ing against than for someone. That, I think, will prop up voter turnout to a fairly typ­ic­al num­ber.” Funny to think of fear and loathing driving turnout, but why not, given the givens?

UPDATE “From the beginning of the campaign, we’ve been hearing that Pennsylvania is the key state (you might even say the “keystone” state) to Trump’s strategy for victory, because his unorthodox positions on trade and immigration could pull in disaffected blue collar white voters who feel both parties have abandoned them” [The American Conservative]. “So it’s probably worth noting that Trump is consistently underperforming his national numbers in polls of Pennsylvania.” It would be nice to see a breakdown by precinct on that. Are warehouse workers in Harrisburg really voting with suburban Philadelphia? Maybe so, but I’d like to know why.

Squillionaires and Establishment Republicans for Clinton

“Clinton’s Republican outreach a step too far for already suspicious liberals” [WaPo]. “But on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, many Sanders delegates watched in agony as retired generals took the stage and endorsed Clinton. What Clinton’s campaign packaged as a popular front against a dangerous candidate, progressives saw as a needless swing to the right — one that empowered discredited foreign policy thinking.” Hirohito Award candidate for “discredited foreign policy thinking.”

Clinton Email Hairball

“The way to find out is for the FBI to release the contents of its investigation. One might hope that the FBI would have a transcript of its July 2 interview of Mrs. Clinton. But in his testimony to Congress the following week, Mr. Comey admitted that the agency neither put her under oath nor had a stenographer present” [Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, “How Hillary Can Come Clean”]. I love the smell of concern trolling in the morning:

FBI agents involved in such interviews customarily prepare a list of questions. One agent poses them, while the remaining agents take notes that are used to draft a “Report of Interview,” commonly called by its document number, “the 302.”

To prove that she told Americans in public the same things she told the FBI in private, as she claims, Mrs. Clinton should ask Mr. Comey to release the agency’s list of prepared questions and the 302 from her interview. Only then might voters have the information to decide for themselves whether Mrs. Clinton is being truthful or layering one lie on another.

These documents would also help resolve another question: What advice did Mrs. Clinton receive regarding her home-brew email server?

Smart guy, Rove. One can only wonder what he would have achieved with a budget the size of David Brock’s.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, August 6, 2016: “Jobless claims are steady at historically low levels pointing to a low rate of layoffs and strength for the economy” [Bloomberg]. But: “Rolling averages again marginally worsen” [Econintersect].

Import and Export Prices, July 2016: “Cross-border price pressures continue to show some life” [Econoday]. “Global demand is holding steady and is perhaps firming slightly based on today’s price report.” But: “Trade prices continue to deflate year-over-year – although the rate of deflation again declined this month” [Econintersect]. “There is only marginal correlation between economic activity, recessions and export / import prices.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of August 7, 2016: “Fell sharply” [Econoday]. “[T[he decline is a surprise given strength in the labor market and record levels in the stock market.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 06 August 2016: Still In Contraction But Short Term Trends Continue To Improve” [Econintersect]. “The contraction began over one year ago, and now rail movements are being compared against weaker 2015 data – and this is the cause some acceleration in the short term rolling averages. Still, rail is weak to very week compared to previous years.”

Rail: “Class I rail traffic has remained weak through July 2016; July witnessed further declines year-over-year (YOY) at negative 7.4 percent versus June’s negative 6.7 percent, reflecting a 70 basis point, bps decline. The key measure to keep an eye on as always, continues to be the weekly 800,000 rail traffic level, which has been breached for three consecutive weeks for the second time this year” [James Sands, Seeking Alpha].

Rail: “Norfolk Southern pours capital, sweat equity into its new Premier Corridor” [Progressive Railroading]. “In terms of total intermodal traffic, about 1.6 million loads — or 43 percent of NS’ annual volume — were moved on the corridor’s lines in 2015, including domestic, international and premium service loads. To support international traffic, NS has the capacity to grow loads moving either east or west, says [Norfolk Southern VP of Intermodal and Automotive Jeff Heller]. Another big bet on globalization, and by extension TPP, as well as a bet on warehousing in Harrisburg, PA and environs.

UPDATE Shipping: “Prospects for container-shipping lines are going from bad to worse. Hapag-Lloyd AG reported a loss in the first half of 2016 compared with a $297 million profit in the same period last year, the WSJ’s Costas Paris writes. Plunging freight rates were behind the loss, indicating that a wave of mega-mergers between shipping lines has yet to lead to the reduction in capacity many believe is needed to stabilize the market. Hapag-Lloyd isn’t suffering alone” [Wall Street Journal].

UPDATE Shipping: “Cosco takes control at Piraeus Port” [Splash 247]. ““The Piraeus project represents a key milestone in the Belt and Road initiative, and the port’s growth and prosperity will boost economic development both in China and Greece, ushering in a new era of trade cooperation and cultural exchange between east and west,” said Wan Min, president of Cosco Shipping.”

UPDATE Supply Chain: “Investors are pouring money into logistics startups. Private-equity firm Warburg Pincus will invest $255 million in BlueGrace Logistics, a Tampa, Fla.-based company that matches shippers with the lowest-priced option for transporting their goods, the WSJ Logistics Report’s Robbie Whelan writes. The announcement comes after another startup, Transfix, raised $22 million in a funding round in July. Dozens of startups are vying to disrupt various corners of the logistics business, with connecting shippers and carriers a particularly inviting target” [Wall Street Journal]. Because of the words “startups” and “disrupt,” I could have filed this under “The Bezzle.” One can only wonder how their business models break laws and regulations, and how many working people will get screwed over, since, at bottom, that’s what Silicon Valley valuations depend on.

Housing: “Both the number and share of Americans living in multigenerational family households has continued to rise in recent years, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C. In 2014, a record 60.6 million people, or 19% of the U.S. population, lived in a multigenerational household, up from 42.4 million (17%) in 2009 and 27.5 million (12%) in 1980. Multigenerational families — households with two or more adult generations, or one that includes grandparents and grandchildren — is growing among nearly all racial groups and age groups, says D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer and editor at Pew” [Marketwatch]. And the Democrats keep using this shopworn “working families” trope when family structures are changing.

Employment Situation: “What’s Really Wrong With the Unemployment Rate” [Bloomberg].


I wonder how many of them, like Eric Garner (selling loosies) or Alton Sterling (selling CDs), are in System D, the underground economy. That’s a level even below the precariat, and for those in direct contact with the police (as they must be if they sell on the street) actively dangerous; Garner and Sterling were both killed.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 75, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 80 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 11 at 12:07pm. A year ago it was 10…


“The Dirty Little Secret of Finance: Asymmetric Information” [Noah Smith, Bloomberg]. Watch Smith apply the “asymmetric information” airbrush here: “Taking complicated credit [accounting control fraud-driven] products to a ‘mechanic’ didn’t work in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis — the more opaque [fraudulent] the product, the more willing the [corrupt] credit rating agencies were to sign off on it.” Smith needs to get out more. He should read up on Akerloff’s newer work: Phishing equilibria.

UPDATE “When the masks came off: An exposé into financial misdoings in Singapore” [Splash 247]. “My story is not about money lost, it’s about poor corporate governance, lack of transparency, forgeries, threats, false information and much more,” she says, adding: “I never thought in a million years that I would become embroiled in the situation that I have found myself in, a David having to stand up to the financial and legal might of the Singapore Goliaths.” Eesh. I always pictured Singapore as (relatively) clean….

Class Warfare

Victorian Era pearl-clutching about demagogues [Mimi Matthews]. If you read between the lines of the outraged commentators of the day, it’s quite clear they wish the franchise had never been extended past, say, the Reform Act of 1832. (“In county constituencies, in addition to forty-shilling freeholders, franchise rights were extended to owners of land in copyhold worth £10 and holders of long-term leases (more than sixty years) on land worth £10 and holders of medium-term leases (between twenty and sixty years) on land worth £50 and to tenants-at-will paying an annual rent of £50. In borough constituencies all male householders living in properties worth at least £10 a year were given the right to vote.”) Keep out the riff raff!

News of the Wired

“How English gave birth to surprising new languages” [BBC]. Five, including Singlish, la!

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


Bee with hydrangea. Adding: I just now heard the first cricket. Winter is coming…

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


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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. J

    On the point of male 25-54 year old labor drop outs: could online gaming income (e.g. selling in-game items for real-world dollars) be absorbing some of the gap?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It could be. I do remember posting a link (though I’m too lazy to find it, now) that unemployed males of a certain age were spending a lot of time gaming (which isn’t the same as selling in-game items).

      Readers, any anecdotes? Child in the basement doing oddly well?

      1. Isotope_C14

        Lots of people do that, professional streamers can make a living doing it and having fun. The “Press Club” meetup is a place I’ve been before and met a guy who streams “Path of Exile” and makes enough to live in NYC. Nothing to sell in that game, except possibly Exalted Orbs and you ain’t going to get over 30bux for it.

        I don’t know how these guys claim their income on taxes, but I’m sure they aren’t forced to claim all of it.

        A lot of times, these aren’t children either, unless you are going to lump 30-40 year olds as children.

        Others compete professionally in things with real prizes like Starcraft 2 or Hearthstone. Blizzard entertainment does well with their releases on these types of games.

        It’s pretty neat to watch these guys who are really good at SC2, they are incredibly fast, and get carpel tunnel by 25.

        I’m an unemployed 41 year old, have a lead and they are contacting my references, and three other leads as well, but most of the last 4 years has been very quiet. Had some under-employment time (1.5 of it), and said it’s not worth it.

        It’s hard for me to believe that there are “available” jobs when I apply to many of them and hear nothing whatsoever back. Not even an auto-reply to many of them.

        I think a fundamental part of it is that many HR people (not all) are unqualified to hire in the sciences. They don’t understand the jargon and can’t assess people adequately, or they have severe Dunning-Kruger…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Could it be more graduates coming out of college, with more on the way (especially if tuition is free)?

          And the H1B visa.

          And outsourcing to the Republic of Soulless, Not-Able to-Dream Robots…

          1. Isotope_C14

            I’ve been to job fairs in which the people were looking for obnoxiously niche work history. Like 10+ years of cancer research, as if 3 years cancer + 7 combined other research is somehow garbage, which I had. The rest of the people seemed equally interested in significant experience, I feel terrible for fresh biochemistry grads, they have frighteningly few options.

            Agreed on H1B, and robots. There is a laboratory in California that does this, basically eliminates laboratory technicians, to further make biology a strictly PhD requiring field.

            1. jgordon

              I still want to return to school and study mycology. Not because I think I’ll get a job out of it–I just love mushrooms. I wonder if most people go to school with the expectation of getting a job these days? lol

          1. reslez

            People stream video of themselves playing a game, with commentary etc. Some can develop a following that way.

            I’m skeptical of the idea that more than a few people earn money that way. It might add up to a part time job for a tiny percentage. For the rest, it might be as little as selling some in-game currency to a friend in exchange for $20. A lot of that market is owned by Chinese gold farmers. (No idea if they are still actually Chinese.)

              1. ChrisPacific

                That’s about in line with what I thought. At that level it’s most definitely a job. I remember watching one who was in the middle of a losing streak and obviously tired and frustrated. He was speculating about taking a break to play another game for a bit, but realized that he would lose most of his viewers (and revenue stream) if he did so. In the end he buckled down and kept on regardless, just like those of us in 9 to 5s do.

            1. pretzelattack

              ah, i’ve seen people doing that with speed chess. i don’t know if they can make money doing it.

          2. Isotope_C14

            A streamer is a person who live streams him/herself playing a particular game, often with a camera minimized on their face, maximized on the game. They often chit-chat about the “meta” which is using different parts of strategy. Many of these games are in the real time strategy genera (RTS).

            Twitch TV has thousands of streamers on hundreds of games. Here’s a link to League of Legends. The time that I’m posting this he has over 8000 viewers. You donate directly to these guys, or through the donate button. Depends on the individual and how they setup their links. I’d guess Twitch TV takes a cut.


            1. lyman alpha blob

              Thanks – I didn’t know this was a thing. Checked the link and the guy is just sitting there with a cat in his lap, not playing a game, just verbally responding to all the comments flying by faster than I can read them.

              I don’t get it at all – but evidently lots of others do as he has over 6K people currently watching.

              1. Isotope_C14

                They are probably discussing the “meta”.

                That is what they tend to call the strategy that has multiple facets, where you might say have a tank in a game, a healer, and a Damage dealer (DPS’er, Damage per second) and talking about optimization.

                That’s what all these Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games have in common, and the best ones have components that reward innovation and teamwork.

                It’s not unlike discussing the results of the Bears/Packers game afterward, calling which plays were bad, who did great, and why Jay Cutler is still quarterback…

          3. Durans

            They livestream their game playing. The most popular site for this is Twitch.tv (which got bought by Amazon for just shy of 1 billion $ in 2014). Some big name people can get sponsorship deals from various companies, smaller people rely on donations. I think only a small percentage of them make enough money to live off of.

            They usually stream the game across most of the screen with a webcam view of themselves in one of the corners or slightly off to one side where it won’t interfere with any game information. They then talk to their viewers while playing, possibly about the game or something else entirely.

            Their are several things that “make money” in game streaming. Being very skilled at a popular game. One or more people giving “interesting” commentary during the game. And a third, open only open to young attractive women, is to wear a sexy and/or revealing outfit while playing.

            1. different clue

              Well, you could put an ever-running digi-video camera out in your garden . . . like those cameras looking at hawks nests or falcon nests.

            2. Optimader

              …Sources stated that JenniCam received over 100 million visitors weekly. Nate Lanxon of CNET said “remember this is 1996 and the Web as we know it now had barely lost its virginity, let alone given birth to the God-child we know as the modern Internet.”[12]…

              You can livestream anything and ultimately there will be an audience….

      2. Daryl

        I’ve bought games from people who appear to be doing a brisk enough trade in in-game things that they must be making a few bucks (which somehow translates to selling discounted games on the side). I’m guessing there are a few people with enough patience to pull serious money out of it but I don’t know that it’s very many.

        1. Isotope_C14

          There’s a game called Airmech, Idiots were paying real money outside the game for the “Alpha Striker” skin. In excess of $400 for one, if the rumors are to be believed. I believe that they say that you can be banned for selling an account or skin in that way, now…

          Plenty of people were able to sell “gold” in World of Warcraft that they can live on it, especially if they live in a country that has a weak currency and can convert Dollars or Euros over.

            1. Isotope_C14

              Funny you should ask that. I know a guy who actually was hired by Blizzard to teach them how he was able to farm gold and convert it to cash. He consulted with them for about six months and then showed them how to make it so it was no longer as easy to do.

              Looks like there are still sites up that sell gold in world of warcraft. I’d guess that they are no longer making as much as they did 10 years ago when it was the new kid on the block. Looks like 10000 gold is 5.85USD, which is pretty cheap.


              Perhaps getting Thomas Friedman addicted to this could save the economy. Someone quick, get him a copy.

            2. Plenue

              Developers generally don’t like that kind of thing (if nothing else, it tends to screw with the in-game economy). I can’t speak for if anything recently changed in WoW, but item and gold selling for real money are the type of things that usually gets your account completely banned if you’re caught doing it.

              Depending on the game the process may be heavily automated, with bots on newly created accounts spamming chat advertising gold/items for real cash. The bot does it as long as it can before the account is inevitably banned. Then a new account is created and the bot resumes. Somewhere out there is a real person or persons managing the bots, probably by the dozens or scores (or more?) at a time. The whole thing doesn’t even have to be about legitimate sales of gold/items, often they’re just running websites that steal peoples credit card information when it’s inputted.

            3. Ranger's son

              Blizzard took the wind out of the market by allowing people to purchase tokens for game time on their website with real money. Then sell the game tokens in game for virtual currency.

              In effect cutting out the middle man and offering a “legal” way to turn real cash into virtual cash in a Blizzard approved manner.

      3. hreik

        Yep, our son did extremely well playing on-line Poker until the FBIs shut it down. Played 8 – 12 tables at once. Had 2 monitors.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I wonder if anybody has any idea how large the gamer market is overall? I think I mean not the price of the games themselves, but of products or services sold using games as a “platform.”

          1. Plenue

            I wonder if the NSA/FBI/etc are even collecting data from online games. I’m sure they’ve thought about it. American games they might be able to get access to, but what about foreign owned ones? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massively_multiplayer_online_role-playing_games

            A large number of these are South Korean or Chinese. A few people install one of the dozens of free-to-play games and boom, got themselves a chat-room that may not be monitored by Big Brother.

            1. Isotope_C14

              Well, a lot of people go and install third party software outside of the game, particularly things like mumble and teamspeak 3. I use the latter fairly regularly.

              I’d guess they just have to monitor your mic and this is an easy hack. In game chat can be pretty difficult, typing while trying to kill the monster is harder than setting push to talk, or voice activated talking.

              Other nice part is you get access to people all over the world, I’ve met lots of aussies, UK and German folks on some games in the past, admittedly haven’t been playing much myself due to the job hunt.

            2. hunkerdown

              The NSA and CIA were all over Second Life (ProPublica) a few years back.

              Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

              1. Procopius

                Kind of reinforces my suspicion that a (large?) part of the “intelligence” contractor community is fraudulent. I get to thinking about the guy who got jailed for selling himself as a CIA consultant, when, in fact, he had no expertise (except in selling himself) or training or knowledge. IIRC he was even granted several very high level security clearances based on his BS. I was a failure at selling encyclopedias door-to-door, so I do not understand how people like that can succeed so well.

          2. Isotope_C14

            A bit old data at the URL below, and I don’t know if they are adding in things like freemium games. Games that the base is free, but anything “nice” comes with a price. Some of these items are nothing more alternate art for something like a sword, gun, or tank.

            I’ve spoken on teamspeak to MULTIPLE people who’ve paid over $5K on free to play games. The Airmech game actually made special chat badges for people who donated over $500 to the game, they were called “Black Diamond VIP’s”…


            Path of Exile helped break the pay to win model of many games, though some still say that having additional stash tabs means it is pay to win, but you can certainly play for free easily.


        2. pretzelattack

          such idiocy. of course there were some cheating scams, but the alleged reason had something to do with terrorism, the all purpose excuse.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I doubt it. The problem with gaming income is that if it’s the result of an activity that is hard to do, like winning tournaments, typically only a tiny percentage of the very best players make a lot of money out of it. It’s not unlike trying to make a living as a professional athlete. If it’s not hard to do (gold farming) then it ends up dominated by offshore operations exploiting low labor costs (the proverbial Chinese gold farmer) which drives prices down very low.

      I am a gamer and I can only recall one occasion when I had an opportunity to make money from it. That was when I was doing crafting in an MMO and the things I produced happened to sell at high margins. It was something of a perfect storm as it was a combination of an item that was greatly needed in bulk combined with high barriers to entry (you needed a lot of recipes to operate, and they were massively expensive to acquire, meaning that the capital requirements for initial setup were extremely high). It only lasted for a year or so until the gaming company decided they didn’t like oligopolies and changed the game mechanics to lower barriers to entry and make crafting easier and the end products cheaper/more widely available.

      Had I chosen to sell my game currency earnings for real money at market rates (and assuming I’d found a way to do it safely as it was against ToS and a bannable offense at the time) I estimated that I could have earned about 130% to 150% of minimum wage doing it. That’s a living, but not a particularly good one. Granted I was playing a game, but I was doing so in a rather boring repetitive way and mostly for the intellectual challenge of figuring out whether I could exploit the market rules to establish a dominant position. Once I answered that question (yes, I could) the whole thing became much less fun and I tired of it not long afterward.

      Streaming is a really interesting area and some people do make a lot of money from that (I estimated that one of the streamers I follow probably gets upwards of 6 figures annually from ads/endorsements) but it falls squarely into the “hard to do” category. The quality of product from the top streamers is extremely high, and typically being one of the most skilled players in the world is an absolute precondition for success (I can think of a few successful streamers that don’t meet that definition, but I could probably count them on one hand). The vast majority of people who do it are making either pocket change or nothing.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Incidentally, my brief experience as a market maker in an oligopoly was quite eye opening. In particular, it taught me how easy it is to rig markets (especially illiquid ones) to line your own pockets at the expense of small players.

        For goods that are valued by the market and don’t have any external value metrics, there is a very strong anchoring effect at work. People will complain bitterly if you try to sell them a product at 40 currency when the market price is 30 currency, but if the market price is 80 then they will snap it up (the same product, at the same price). And people’s idea of what defines the market price can be quite simplistic. A few times when I was selling and noticed supply thinning out a bit, I experimented with buying up all available supply and resetting the price higher by 20% or 50% or something. Sometimes it failed and I took a bath, but most of the time it worked just fine.

        1. Isotope_C14

          I spent too much time in Airmech doing that, it works great. Just keep increasing the price, and you watch the in-game currency roll in. There’s not as much crafting in that game, but there are old, never to be repeated again cosmetics that can be sold at quite a profit. It had a pretty hard to access market structure and search, so many times the lowest price thing wouldn’t sell, and my higher-price one would. Pretty amusing too, since the in-game currency wasn’t cheap.

          What game were you crafting things in?

          1. ChrisPacific

            World of Warcraft. My brief period as a titan of industry was jewelcrafting when it was first introduced, during the Burning Crusade expansion. They decided to make almost all recipes rare world drops (a mistake they have not since repeated). Recipes came up for sale very rarely and when they did they would typically be bought out by me or one of my fellow oligarchs, and relisted for sale at a ridiculous price. So we had monopolistic/anti-competitive behaviour in the mix as well.

            1. Isotope_C14

              Do you still play anything?

              I do like path of exile from time to time. It’s got an odd learning curve though, to get through the hardest difficulties, and then mapping, you kinda have to go with a build on the forums that has been well tested and suits your play style.

              While fun, Summoner (Zombies and Specters) are cool, they tend to suffer low clear speed times.

              1. ChrisPacific

                Not in the MMO space. I got a bit burned out on it after WoW and also became a parent, which means I don’t have as much time as I once did. I always liked the battlegrounds in WoW and (more generally) short format even strength competitive games, so I still do quite a bit of that. Currently playing League of Legends and Hearthstone.

                I also play single player games quite a bit, typically strategy games or RPGs. For parents of small children the pause button is a wonderful thing.

  2. Anne

    Re: Plantidote – that is what’s known as a “lace-cap” hydrangea; what’s kind of interesting about them is that one thinks that all the little buds will open into flowers, but they don’t. And it varies from flower to flower on the same plant how much of the budding blooms, I can tell you one thing: they can get massive fairly quickly,

    Our “regular” hydrangeas were the victim of a relatively mild winter, an early warming that prompted leafing, then a cold snap. All the buds died, but eventually, they did leaf, and look quite healthy, but they never produced any flowers.

    1. Katharine

      Depends on what you mean by regular. Mine (H. paniculata? white, turn pinkish in later fall) are looking wonderful, and they had much the same winter yours did. I think of them as regular, but perhaps you meant the old litmus-test variety?

      1. Carla

        Love the plantidote. My hydrangeas were gorgeous until early July, then the heat and drought caught up with ’em and now they’re a little sorry. (NE Ohio) Still nice from a distance, though…

      2. Anne

        Yes, those are the kind I mean!

        Interesting about the lace-caps – their blooms also vary according to acidity of the soil, with some more purple, some trending toward blue, some pink and some more white. Actually noticed that blooms on one side were more pink, and blooms on the other more purple. Find that kind of odd, but they’re pretty either way, so not much point in thinking about it too much, I guess!

    2. craazyman

      At least you know which plant is the antidote. Half the time there’s hundreds or thousands of plants in the photo and it’s totally confusing — you can spend half an hour looking at each one to see if it’s the one.. There’s no way to know which one is the antidote

      There was a breaking story on Worldwide News Service (WWN) about private equity malfeasance but it got sort of buried. It’s absolutely appalling. Well, sort of appalling, OK, not all that appalling but certainly surprising. And if not surprising, then certainly rather amusing. OK, it’ hilarious. I’m just being honest.

      I wouldn’t doubt this news story at all. It’s totally true, it’s truer than true. It extracts from mere facts their phenomenological essence. The reporter is very, very reliable with top notch sources . . . :


    3. different clue

      I have seen hydrangeas sort of “like” that where the tiny things WERE flowers. And functional enough that bunches of bees kept coming to them.

  3. Unorthodoxmarxist

    This hits the nail on the head x 1000:

    “The larger conclusion from the data is that the Trump campaign — both through the support Trump generates among working-class whites and the opposition he generates among better educated, more affluent voters — has accelerated the ongoing transformation of the Democratic Party. Once a class-based coalition, the party has become an alliance between upscale well-educated whites and, importantly, ethnic and racial minorities, many of them low income”

    The real takeaway from this election cycle will be that the Democrats have once again become the favored party of the ruling class after decades in the wilderness, and the coalition they’re using to win has shifted from labor to identity-politics voters.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It seems the Dems will become the Republicans of the late 20th Century, with ethnic and racial minorities playing the ‘mug’ role that working class whites did for Republicans. They will even have their equivalent of the ‘moral majority’ wing, liberal feminists will play that role.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Once a class-based coalition, the party has become an alliance between upscale well-educated whites and, importantly, ethnic and racial minorities, many of them low income”

        Is it possible that they show the world how to tackle wealth inequality by doing it within the party?

        So that it become a party of all middle-class whites and non-whites.

        Then, they can scale the model to the whole country.

    2. VietnamVet

      The world did turn upside down when working class whites seized control of the Republican Party. It may be as temporary as the Bernie Sanders burn out but it also could be the start of a real reformation; the rise of a new Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army. These are strange times. The democrats are clueless as they wallow in their greedy globalist ideology. Red baiting has returned. Huffington Post is now owned by Verizon. Aristocrats have one candidate; Hillary Clinton.

      Continuing the Middle East Holy Wars or a World War with Russia will assure the destruction of the American Empire.

      1. Procopius

        Yes, but unfortunately there is a non-zero risk that it will not only destroy the Empire, but all life higher than the cockroach.

  4. ekstase

    Love the five “new” Englishes. Especially the one formed on an island after the mutiny on the bounty.
    Maybe this is something to think about, as the election looms. Relocating and starting your own language. “About yee gwen?” means “Where are you going?”

    And pix of Ice Kachang. Yay diversity!

    1. Vatch

      Very sad. Low voter turnout? Low information voters? Electoral fraud? Or do Ron Kind’s constituents genuinely like him? Perplexing.

      1. 3.14e-9

        I had the same reaction when HRC won the Washington State primary by nearly six points. Washington is a caucus state, but there’s also a primary, which doesn’t count. Bernie won the caucus on March 26 by a landslide, 73 to 27 percent. In the May 24 primary, which was by mail-in ballot only, Hillary won 53 to 47.

        Several theories have been put forth, and of course Hillary’s supporters said it showed that the caucus was biased. An article in The Atlantic suggested that the primary is the more accurate measure, because turnout was nearly three times higher than caucus participation, and caucuses favor “ideologically devoted” voters, i.e., the “Bernie Bros. “That lopsided reality makes it more difficult for Sanders to argue that his candidacy represents the will of the people,” Clare Foran wrote.

        I don’t buy it. I could see the primary being much closer with a larger turnout, but flipping a 73-27 landslide for Bernie to a 53-47 win for Clinton? It smells, but no one that I know of has investigated, because the primary didn’t count.

        1. PhilU

          Clinton supporters had the extra motivation of that stinging lose to motivate them to mail in the card. Plus you had to sign on the dotted line to sell your sole to the DNC
          If we are gonna go with stereotypes though I would expect your typical Bernie Bro to oversleep the 9.am on a Saturday caucus and would be the ideal candiate for checking a box and dropping it in the mail primary. Funny how stereotypes don’t work so well.

          1. 3.14e-9

            Exactly. My precinct went something like 70-30 for Bernie. I forget the exact number, but it was close to the statewide results. There were two younger guys who would fit the profile of a Bernie Bro. One of them was for Hillary. If the “kids” get up at all on Saturday, it’s probably to go to work. It’s their parents who have the day off.

            I don’t doubt that Hillary’s base was more motivated to vote in the primary. That was one of the first explanations offered. But motivated enough to flip the percentage by that much? And when the campaign organization was long gone by then? I suppose there could have been a phone-banking operation. Still hard to fathom, though.

  5. jgordon

    Winter is coming?! Where do you live–Canada?! Last year in Florida winter arrived at the end of December. I remember it well because because I was at the beach near my house swimming while tripping balls on Christmas day.

    Incidentally lately I’ve been working in a government building that hands out foodstamps. Aside from the large number of Mexicans and Cubans (and many homeless/crazy people), I’ve been seeing a lot of people coming in from New York, Maine, Massachusetts and various other states who just moved down here. In several months of working there I’ve seen maybe three people come in from a relatively warm state… Think about it!

    1. Katharine

      I’m not so sure crickets are a sign of coming winter anyway. I’m way south of Lambert and have been listening to crickets for over two weeks.

      1. jgordon

        I’ve been out of Michigan (bleh) for so long that I don’t even know what a sign of winter is supposed to be any more. I suppose when it starts dropping below 80F at night sometime in October?

        Can plant a lot of cold weather crops like tomatoes and garlic in the winter, sweet potatoes and moringa in the summer.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hmm. Perhaps I am ignorant of the cricket life-cycle, or have Cricket on the Hearth in mind… Neverthess, where I am crickets mean fall is on the way, and that means winter is on the way.

        1. Jen

          If real winter is still to be had. I’m in the same general region and yes, when the crickets start to chorus, summer is coming to an end.

    2. Swamp Yankee

      He’s in Maine. Here in southeastern Massachusetts (Pilgrims, Cranberries, dunes and islands), 100 miles across the Gulf of Maine, I heard them last week for the first time. And they definitely are a sign of winter coming, at least around here. A sign that summer has reached its height and the first frost is not so far away, depending where you are; there are places 10 miles from me that get frosts nearly every month of the year (“frost bottoms”). Other places in the same town won’t get a frost until late October or early November. It’s a land of microclimates, as a friend visiting from South America once put it.

      As the heat index was 105F here today, winter sounds pretty good right now (no AC in lots of New England).

      1. sleepy

        Here in northern Iowa I’ve already seen sumac that’s turned bright red, and a maple in my back yard has some orange leaves at the top.

          1. Jay M

            definitely got the vibe along the Columbia River that something changed about 10 days ago
            seeing some trees change
            got a long way to go though

      2. Katharine

        Then the progression seems to be from south to north, so even if they’re a sign of the passing of summer (and I’ve always thought that too) there must be something else involved. Light cycles? Northern nights are shorter. Do crickets only come to life when they have enough darkness? Any entomologists here?

    3. different clue

      Maine is right next to Canada. In fact there are parts of Canada which are further south than Maine is.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Indeed it is and indeed there are. Aroostook County is more tied to Canada than it is to Bangor, practically speaking. And I think of the Niagara Peninsula as being particularly clement.

      2. jgordon

        I already knew that actually…

        It just boggles my mind that people choose to live in such cold places. I can’t understand it at all. I’ll even refuse to do my daily run on the beach when it goes below 70 outside because of the cold, which is thankfully only a couple of days out of the year.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Fair enough. I have a very low threshold for heat (I’d rather 25 and snowing than 95 and humid, any day of the week), so I actually admire your ability to withstand Florida’s sub-tropical sunshine. My good buddy’s from Colombia and I’ve learned a lot from him about what the anthropologists call “habitus”, the way our bodies adapt to climate and culture.

          I don’t know how anyone sleeps when it’s this hot. We’re set for a record high low temperature tonight and tomorrow night. This is not the New England summer of my youth. We’ve also never had a summer this dry since record-keeping started. So the future is here, I guess.

    1. allan

      From the c-span transcript of Clinton’s speech (CAPS IN THE ORIGINAL):


      Inching towards opposing TPP in the lame duck without quite saying it. Distrust but verify.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry Lambert, you’re a bit behind the times. Now the truck drives itself through. -Beep Beep- *Crash!*

        2. ChrisPacific

          Hillary: “I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages!”

          (after the election)

          Hillary: “The TPP will create jobs and raise wages. My conscience requires me to support it.”

          (TPP passes. Massive job losses, wages decline).

          Hillary: “Thank goodness for TPP or even more jobs and wages would have been lost!”

      1. 3.14e-9

        “I will stop any trade deal or kills jobs?” Did she flub it, or was it a transcript error? I listened. It definitely was a transcript error. Here’s what she said:

        I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as president.

        The quote starts at the 27:28 mark in the video.

        I listened, because I wanted to see whether she’s making a definitive statement against the TPP. When she says she will stop “any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” is she saying that the TPP actually DOES kill jobs or hold down wages, or is she saying that IF the TPP kills jobs and holds down wages, she will oppose it? And when she says she opposes it now and will oppose it in the future, does she mean by “it” the TPP? Or does “it” refer to “any trade deal that kills jobs and holds down wages,” which may or may not be the TPP?

        If a friend used this kind of language in a conversation and I questioned it as I’m doing above, I’d be accused of nitpicking, trying to twist her words, accusing her of being sneaky and manipulative, etc. But as Lambert and others have shown, HRC uses words very precisely. So what do you think? Did she or didn’t she leave herself wiggle room?

        While I was scrolling through the transcript, I found another error, although maybe it’s not:


        Must be very reassuring to industry lobbyists.

        [Edit: Right after I clicked “post,” Lambert’s comment showed up. You’re a step ahead of me.]

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Just weasel words from Clinton. Earlier in the campaign she said that based on what she knows about it now she can’t support it in its current form. That should set anyone’s bullshit detector off.

          McAuliffe’s gaffe was more likely the truth. The Dems will get some publicity out about some meaningless cosmetic tweak and voila – now it’s supportable!

      2. different clue

        “Oppose it beFORE the election AND AFter the election.” Ahh.. . but what about “beFORE the Inauguration and AFter the Inauguration?”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Might makes right.

      Trial by economic combat…you make more money, you win.

      Yet, that’s a black and white justice system.

      In a more fuzzy world, a verdict can be 60% not-guilty or 15% guilty.

      It allows for continuum in the system.

      There, you can see it’s a more refined world.

    1. Steve C

      In terms of policy, the Obama philosophy has been, “look busy.” There was a lot of activity in 2009/2010, but precious little progress. Burnishing the Obama brand has always been the highest priority.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Quite possibly Trump will do well in the debates. I predict it will be one of those deals where the pundits all agree Trump lost but the electorate begs to differ.

        1. Carolinian

          BTW you do realize that the media are practicing the “delegitimization” technique that the soft power advocates have been using overseas for those whose regimes we might want to change. This involves suggesting that, say, the leader of Ukraine is so beyond the pale that he must be immediately be removed even though democratically elected and his term isn’t yet up. Just add Nuland and cookies. Doubtless the hope is that Trump will become so shunned and isolated that he will just step aside under the pressure and any worries that he might improbably be elected will be over.

          Of course Trump isn’t helping with this and who knows he may even be part of it. But if he did step down at this point it would be a travesty of democracy–something we should worry about.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I just can’t see Trump going the distance, his serial foot-shooting will not stop, he doesn’t have the boots on the ground or the money for TV, and the long stressful slog to certain defeat will not appeal to him. He could come up with any number of excuses, the election’s rigged, too many death threats, too many billionaires lining up against him, the media too biased.
            So Republicanism will die, but it won’t matter because we get Republican Hilary instead.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think he will.

              No sense dragging the whole family through the ugly process.

              Had he not brought them to the convention, I might have thought otherwise.

            2. Carolinian

              He has 80 million–small contributors allegedly. And since he loves attention he may even enjoy the hate. In my humble o this step down is a media fantasy.

              But that doesn’t mean he isn’t throwing the fight. The excuses could follow.

            3. sleepy

              So far, Trump has been Hillary’s perfect opponent–a complete distraction from her venality and warmongering. I wonder if she’s getting worried that he might not go the distance?

              If so, who would the repubs pick? I’d guess Kasich, though I suspect he would also lose.

          2. tgs

            you do realize that the media are practicing the “delegitimization” technique that the soft power advocates have been using overseas for those whose regimes we might want to change.

            Well said. You are absolutely correct.

            1. Carolinian

              No link. It’s just my word for the propaganda playbook for regime change in places like Ukraine, Honduras, Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Russia (they wish). You use media assets to relentlessly assault the legitimacy of the target and point to the now manufactured consensus as the reason why the government, democratic or not, must go. In places like Honduras and Brazil (maybe that one wasn’t us) the courts are used to help out.

              In America Clinton’s impeachment would be an example of delegiimization and an attempted soft coup imo. Now the Clintons think it’s time to restore their legitimacy at the top of the heap. Lucky us.

                1. Pat

                  Because holding an election in April of this year where his party won 32 more seats than they held previously, despite being in the midst of a foreign country’s supported Civil War sure means he is not “legitimate” and should step down.

                  God, that man is full of b*(( shite.

                2. tgs

                  There is another technique – one they may try to use on Trump – rape. During the Balkan wars we were told that the Serbs were ‘systematically raping muslim women’, Saddam had his ‘rape rooms’ and Gaddafi was arming his soldiers with viagra.

                  I am sure there are other examples. Point is, in the demonization process they will throw anything against the wall just to see if it will stick. And in this country we have the full resources of the MSM to see what works.

            2. tgs

              You know there is a problem about posting links – 2/3 times, in my experience, they go to moderation. I posted a link on the ‘links’ thread in response to something you wrote, and it’s still in moderation – 7 or 8 hours later.

      1. jawbone

        But, just in case, she did pick a nice conservative Dem as her VP.

        Anyone know what the procedure is for filling vacancy caused by a nominee forced to drop out after the convention due to illness?

        Would the VP stay in place, be elevated and new one picked? Would the Dem elites just pick whomever they pleased?

        1. Propertius

          According to the Party bylaws, the DNC has the authority to fill vacancies on the ticket. They can pick anyone they want.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > she could beat Trump if she were dead

      I actually laughed out loud at that one.

      Then, of course, I realized it was a coded call for the assassination of Hillary Clinton…. Kidding!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The proper way to greet an empress in ancient China was to address her as the One who would live 10,000 years.

        (Which provides the conclusive scientific evidence that the Chinese empire ended at least 10,000 years ago, unless we can discover a few living emperors and empresses).

      2. ambrit

        Unless the call goes out under the hashtag #ArmedAngryMob.
        Really though, who would benefit from the ‘delegitimization’ of H Clinton? “Am I my sisters keeper?” comes to mind.

    3. DJPS

      This Snopes article is the top result on the #hillaryshealth tag now. Obviously this a totally organic occurrence and not #rigged at all.


      “UNPROVEN” Sole source for Snopes – “Weigel, David. “Armed with Junk Science and Old Photos, Critics Question #HillarysHealth.” Washington Post. 8 August 2016.

      Silly me for listening to “Conservative corners of the Internet” and “Fringe web sites”.

      If the WaPo columnist says there is nothing to see, it’s good enough for Snopes and so it must be another “nothingburger”!!1?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Absent more than digital evidence (not evidence) from one guy on the twitter? Yeah, that’s the very definition of a nothingburger, especially when others don’t chime in to refine the “evidence.”

        And I looked at the image of that object some say is a pen. The resolution isn’t sufficient to tell. And to place an image of the actual pen next to it, as if one equalled the other… Well, that doesn’t inspire confidence…

        And yeah, I’d go to Snopes. So, yeah, organic.

        1. DJPS

          You’re probably right.

          … but I thought it was interesting that Snopes/WaPo claimed to debunk the identification of the Secret Service guy buy comparing his image to an unrelated picture.

          Snopes – “A photographic comparison of Dr. Okunola and Clinton’s attendant, however, reveals that they bear little resemblance to each other and are in fact two separate people”

          You can find the original picture of Dr Okunola here: http://www.neurosciencecenternj.com/physicians.shtml

          Why did Snopes/WaPo compare the photo of the Secret Service guy to “some random dude” instead of the picture of the Dr Okunola?

          Honest mistake or something else?

          It is intriguing!

      2. Carolinian

        In the Post version I read Weigel debunked the photos but not the pen–just leaving the allegation hanging there. The justly paranoid might conclude that this is the Post’s way of mentioning it without following up and thus cya. And of course once the Post has ‘debunked’ all the other news outlets can claim nothing to see here.

        Which is to say haven’t heard any debunking or reporting on whether there is a guy following her around with an injector pen and whether she might have Parkinson’s.

          1. Carolinian

            Well if the injector photos are really what they are claimed to be then there’s a question hanging there unanswered. Supposedly these are undoctored news photos. My point is just that the Post didn’t address this unless I missed it. And that’s odd.

  6. clincial wasteman

    Nice to see Tok Pisin on that list of language variants. A good example of a ‘creole’ that ran out of the colonizers’ control, helping part of Papua — where there are something like 800 indigenous languages, to get partly out of British/Australian/Indonesian clutches. Sadly I only know a few useful phrases like “number one pickaninny bilonga Mrs Queen” (= Charles, Prince of Wales and Heir to Her Britannic Majesty’s Throne), but it’s not far removed from Bislama, the wonderfully elastic and poetic Melanesian-Anglo-French creole of Vanuatu [http://www.santotoday.com/language.htm], some of which I picked up from friends who spent years there.

    A bit unfortunate though that the BBC, being the BBC, made its list mostly from supposedly obscure speech spoken far away from the target audience instead of paying attention to the linguistic invention on its doorstep, eg Nigerian ‘pidgin’ (for an introduction to the power and subtlety of this one, see Fela Kuti passim), Jamaican ‘patois’ (again, check out the musical-poetic tradition since it burst into commercial recording in the 60s and publishing a bit later), or the London-specific, black/white/Asian metroproletarian flow that academic sociolinguists foolishly deride as ‘Jafaican’, mistaking it for a Jamaican-Cockney hybrid when it bears little resemblance to either. In all these cases, the academic and media commentary will lead you astray; the best way to get to know them is to live where they all intersect, listen respectfully and NEVER try to imitate. But for those who can’t do that, this sort of London speech also bursts out in at least a couple of decades’ worth of poetic invention, mostly set to music (especially but not exclusively Grime: the DJ Slimzee feed on Soundcloud is a good place to start), some billed as poetry [http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/blog/exploring-the-relationship-between-poetry-and-grime], some even in film/TV.

    None of which is even to start on, say, the influence of Scots and Maaori on New Zealand speech (the Maaori part is going from strength to strength thanks to young people like my brilliant nephew Wiremu), Scots (and the Orcadian-Cree intersection! [http://www.scotland.com/forums/scotland-dot-c-m-inn/18299-cree-orkney-connection.html]) in Eastern Canada, or Irish and Irish-English in Australia and parts of the US…

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I spent a year in Vanuatu and can report that Bislama is easy, really fun and highly useful. A few examples:
      Enemy = bad frend
      Pregnant = yu got bel
      Seagull = pigeon blong solwater (all birds are “pigeons” and seagulls are “pigeons who belong in salt water”)
      Lobster = cockroach blong solwater
      Helicopter = Mixmaster blong Jesus Christ
      Cancer = Rubis mit (rubbish meat)
      Nouns for unknown objects are epic descriptions:
      Saw = one fela sumting, hemi kakem wood, hemi go out hemi come back, hemi bruta long tomiauk (one fellow something, he eats wood, he goes out he comes back, he’s the brother of the tomahawk)
      Piano = big fela black box, hemi got black tooth hemi got white tooth, yu killem small hemi singout good (big fellow black box, he has black teeth he has white teeth, when you strike him softly he sings out good)

      1. clinical wasteman

        Thanks, it’s lovely to see these, especially the helicopter.
        If your recall of the vocabulary is this good, you — unlike at least one of my friends there — must have avoided becoming man bilonga kava.

  7. Jim Haygood

    From an article about the “walkability premium” for residential property in cities such as San Francisco and New York:

    Self-driving cars, Redfin agent Tom Hendershot predicted, may kill walkability premiums altogether.

    “Once self-driving cars become more prevalent, anywhere within a 30-mile radius of your work is going to be a fine place to live,” he said.


    Ha ha, yeah, it’s so obvious. Let’s run them self-driving cars on “too cheap to meter” nuclear power.

    Then we’ll have ourselves one dandy utopia, as we live out our days like philosopher-kings.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I can only say that if he thinks that its all about transport convenience, he knows nothing about what urban living is about.

      1. crittermom

        Informative link. Thanks.
        I wish I could say I’m shocked, but after this election year, not much shocks me anymore.
        I remain full of disgust, however, over such “Oops, sorry”, and where our country is headed at lightning speed. Can ya hear me scream?

    2. uncle tungsten

      Self driving cars will be severely disadvantaged in an environment of you drive it and self drive. The self drive automaton will be risk managed to be acutely accident avoiding leaving them mighty submissive to giving way to lane jumpers just ahead.

      The frustration of being driven by a cautious computer will exhaust the occupants. Meanwhile other driver driven autos will realize pretty quick that they can just dive in front and the driverless auto will brake.

      Playing chicken with self drives will be vogue.

      More hot air in this tech boosterism than a nuclear reactor.

    3. HotFlash

      Here in midtown Toronto, “walkable” means your kids’ Philippina/Tibetan nanny can wheel the kids to the nearby Montessori School without being mugged. The kids, I mean, not the nanny.

    4. Ranger's son

      Even with a self driving car there is still a cost to commuting. (Time in the car is still time in the car, even if you are reading or watching your smart phone…)

      I’d much rather work from home, or be close enough to my place of employment to walk or bike.

  8. clarky90

    The battle lines are NOT between the 51% (Various political Parties) on one side and the 49% (Various political Parties) on the other. The 1% (a Global Cabal) and their paid minions are in the process of completely subjugating the 99% (EVERYONE ELSE)- in every aspect of our lives. I won’t make a list of what we (as a Commons) have been progressively losing.

    IMO, it is important to realize that ALL of us 99% are being attacked by a Totalitarian Entity which has unlimited funds and nearly unlimited control of the public discourse.

    When I say “ALL of us 99%”, I include- the pro abortionist, the anti-abortionists; the Evangelicals, the Druids; the gun lovers and the gun haters; the working poor of every ethnicity, the professional classes of every ethnicity; owners of small businesses; owners of big businesses; Jews, Christians, Atheists, Muslims… pro-environment, anti-environment

    IMO, it is important to coalesce behind Trump (I unashamedly like the guy). He is building a yuuuuuge tent for the 99%. It is full of people you would not normally socialize with, agree with or even like.

    The Barbarians (the 1%, led by H Clinton, in full battle regalia) are at our gates. During siege-times, everyday disagreement are put aside to face the common foe. When normality returns, everyday “to and froe discourse” (left/right politics) can return. (IMO)

    1. grizziz

      And in the short term get us a couple of Federalist Society business (money) friendly Supreme Court Justices, more militarized police forces and much higher middle income taxes. I’m not sure if I am in on the long game here. Try turning the pitch into a TED talk. It worked for Theranos.

    2. dcblogger

      Trump got his millions by cheating workers, contractors, suppliers, business partners, and investors. He symbolizes everything that is wrong with the kleptocracy.

      1. clarky90

        During WW!, Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty until his role in the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign caused him to be thrown out of Government. However, during WW2………

        We are not living in a scripted, fantasy movie. All of our lives are on the line, to one degree or another. I thought that Obama was the Great Redeemer, because he looked and talked like one and had a beautiful family. (I grew up on Prince and Princess movies). In fact, he has been a smooth talking anti-christ.

        Trump said that he was an Insider before he declared for the Presidency, and an outsider the day after.

        TPTB were fine with an Obama Presidency. They loved him.

        The Powers That Be are in absolute hysterics (soiling their undies) over the coming Trump Presidency. That is also a “tell” (IMO) that I can trust Trump. If they fear him so much, he must be a potent antidote to the cancer that is spreading through The Shire.

        Trump is also fearless, which I admire greatly

        1. Isotope_C14

          I think they are also triangulating that some of Trump’s support comes from populists, they might be FORCED to let Jill Stein onto the debates. Jill’s going to say all the right Bernie things and even the Clinton News Network (CNN) has agreed to give Stein a town hall on the 17th. Absolutely SHOCKING.


          I’m sure the constant screaming on places like http://www.commondreams.org where the progressives figure Trump is the lesser evil, and say it daily, and signed Stein2016 is getting the H-> camp into super-scary triangulation mode.

          They actually *might* need the progressives after all.. :)

          You keep Jill out? Yeah, I’ll ask the swing-staters to vote for The Donald.


          1. Aumua

            Hey, maybe if Trump drops out, then we’ll all suddenly snap back to sanity and vote for someone who actually represents the interests of humanity. Of course Clinton will be coronated anyway, but at least we will be able to live with ourselves afterwards.

        1. Carolinian

          David Cay Johnston was on Ralph Nader’s podcast talking about Trump’s charitable foundation as a kind of slush fund and it occurred to me that it sounded a lot like Clinton’s foundation. Since the Clintons used to be friendly with Trump perhaps they got the idea from him. The problem with this sort of fulminating over Trump’s business career is that when it comes to money she’s just as sleazy. Those with weak stomachs should probably go third party.

  9. Carolinian

    M of A on the NYT assuming facts not in evidence. The Times leaves off “alleged” in latest report of a Russian cyberattack.

    A “Russian cyberattack”? How can the NYT claim such, in an opening paragraph, when even the Director of U.S. National Intelligence is unable to make such a judgement?

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, speaking about the hack of Democratic Party emails, said on Thursday the U.S. intelligence community was not ready to “make the call on attribution” as to who was responsible.
    All the NYT lays out to backup its claim of a “Russian” hack is an anonymous Intelligence Committee staffer who claims U.S. intelligence agencies “have virtually no doubt” about it. If that were true why would the boss of these intelligence agencies publicly point out such doubts?[..]

    The “Russia is guilty” claim for whatever happened, without any proof, is becoming a daily diet fed to the “western” public. A similar theme is the “barrel bombing” of (the always same) “hospitals” in Syria which is claimed whenever the Syrian government or its allies hit some al-Qaeda headquarter.[…]As Marc[ie] Wheeler, aka emptywheel, reminds us:

    The actions to ensure we will escalate our wars are being taken as we speak. January will be too late to stop it.

    He also talks about the dead DNC staffer who may be connected to the leaks.



    1. timbers

      Moon of Alabama is on a roll, must add it to my reading list …. Or is it just your “pathological” hatred of Hillary showing again? (Kidding)

      1. Carolinian

        I’m a huge fan of ‘b’ who is a onetime commenter for the Billmon blog. Always worth a read.

  10. Ashley W

    WIKI LEAKS is at war with the Clintons – now bloviating has been Beckel demands his assassination. But this is only half the story. Assange’s attorney stepped in front of a train last spring.


    This volley of shots between bows is deadly serious. And I cannot for the life of me figure out why the narrative doesn’t include the mysterious death of John Jones… I remember reading the comments in the British Press back when it happened… and it was white hot conspiracy… the guy had no reason to kill himself.

    But why the blackout on this death as part of an ongoing battle between Assange and Clinton?

    I’ve been on several discussion threads about this and nobody else even knows about it. Seth Rich was one of a half dozen hits by this bunch in the last 6 months. Anyone? Ideas?

    1. Roger Smith

      Interesting that the Guardian article seems to ignore anything surrounding the circumstances of his death in favor of his personal resume.

    2. Vatch

      My understanding is that London is infested with swarms of surveillance cameras. If someone pushed Jones in front of the train, there ought to be evidence of it. If there is such evidence, will it be released or suppressed?

    3. Bubba_Gump

      And possibly Shawn Lucas should be added to that hit list. Thank goodness they got video proof of him serving the DNC with a lawsuit for sabotaging Bernie.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > half dozen hits by this bunch in the last 6 months

      Don’t make shit up. It’s against site policy. You also dumped the same comment in Links. I hope you find the happiness you seek elsewhere.

      1. Aneducatedfool

        John Jones, Shawn Lucas, Seth Rich and 3 illuminati writers were killed. The first three are clear threats to Clinton. If we believe that Rich was the wiki leaks source, who apparently had access to all parts of the DNC empire including personnel emails of Clinton’s aides, then the assassinations are attacked against wiki leaks and any who challenge Clinton’s rise to power.

        I suspect that many of the people on this blog get mews from alt sites. I primarily get my news via antiwar, MoA, here, Facebook via gf, and counterpunch. Bernie groups are all over the wikileaks stories including the assassination of anti Clinton actors.

        1. abynormal

          why is this difficult to understand? your dishing out assignments when you don’t link. two paragraphs and you assembled i believe, suspect, primarily and groups are all over,…pull corn out of the desert on your own viral time.

        2. Alex morfesis

          Sigh…it is illium-inati…as in roman senators from troy, illium, kyffhauser.

          Jones had big fish on his plate, including gadafi junior…he might have lost it since he was dealing with clooney and his wife, who had just that weekend done the $hillary shindig, and he was dealing with assange and gadafi jr…he could argue $hillary had it in for his clients, while his law associate was toasting $hillary…good reason to be overly upset with himself and the jackals surrounding him…me personally think taking your own life is overrated…annoy the arses annoying you by getting on with your life…

          The process server Lucas did not exactly look like the healthiest chap on the planet…and that “service” of document could have and can be easily quashed…

          reality happens…people die…

          Wacky leaks with its silly little 20 grand reward is just trying to divert attention by making it look as though “seth” might have been the “source”…

          look…criminals…drug addicts…they are not “hitmen”…if they panic, they sometimes figure they better not have a witness…so they keep shooting…

          If it was going to be a “hit” (since he was walking around some somewhat sketchy neighborhood) it is much easier to just stage a hit and run with some senior citizen…no one ever questions some 80 year old, especially if they can then guzzle down some vodka after the “event” but before police arrive and then magically fails a sobriety test after the fact…people die…seth was not obviously afraid since he was walking down a one lane one way street instead of taking a cab or walking down a better trafficked route…

          if he had been the wacky leaks source, he would have taken precautions…

          As for the writers who made $hillary so afraid she had to get rid of them…


          the powerful dont need to kill…

          who in the corporate neutertaimment industry is asking any questions from the stuff that is on the table already right now ???

          She is not worried about anything…since el loco Diablo inutil idiota is talking himself past the goal post and is ineligible to catch any passes since he regularly steps on the white chalk…

          At this point I can’t wait for her to make bill pay by role playing him in the oval office where he puts on a wig and kneepads and does his best imitation of monica the harmonica for $hillz emotional pleasure…

          After that, the sooner she has her mayaguez and hostage rescue in iran moments, the better…

          Thankfully there is no military globally that can seriously push back against our overstretched forces…but with 800 + overseas “facilities” with only about 175,000 to man them(germany not included since those 75,000 have to protect the fatherland)…

          a weeeeee bit thin be our military forces…

          Trump would be a disaster since he does not have a huge enough set of “associates” to have enough eyes and ears floating to keep the saboteurs at bay…

          $hillary has never run anything and was entering the practice of law at a time when, quite directly, one too many hardly qualified women were being handed law degrees…

          today the courts are filled with wonderfully brilliant and superior female lawyers…

          but her generation…not so much…

          It is obvious she cant multitask/can’t do two things at the same time, with how often she brushes back her handlers when she is doing something and she puts her hand up with the not yet/not now growl…

          But she will be most likely the next blowviator in the oval office…and the real question should be…

          How does one invest with an
          “it’s my turn”
          sitting @ 1600 ??

    5. Buttinsky

      Well, I’ll take the occasion of this posting to express my own second thoughts about the Seth Rich-Wikileaks link.

      Undeniably, in the interview with Dutch television a couple of days ago Julian Assange implicated Rich as a source, even while refusing to confirm or deny that he was a source. I myself posted the link to that interview here with the reasonable surmise that Rich was a source. And it certainly seems odd that they offered a reward for information leading to Rich’s murderer.

      But it doesn’t look like they offered any such reward in the case of the, er, unexpected death of John Jones. At the risk of appearing to have gone all eleventy-dimensional, I would suggest that Wikileaks and Assange have also offered up the possibility of another interpretation to Assange’s interview remarks. Both Wikileaks and Assange have expressed considerable consternation that their recent publication of the DNC leaks was getting obscured by the Clinton red herring of Russia’s being behind all of this, abetted by the Clinton-deranged press. What to do to get the story back on the contents and not the source of the leaks?

      By suggesting that the source of the leak — far from being foreign agents — was a homegrown insider at the DNC? This was something Assange had already been suggesting even before the Dutch interview, noting a couple of weeks ago that the alleged Russian hack of the DNC that all the “experts” were talking about preceded by months the dates on some of the leaked emails. But what better way to make the point than post a reward for information about the unexplained murder of a DNC employee. Regardless of who the actual source was, the reward couldn’t hurt the Wikileaks effort to refocus the public’s attention away from “spy” back to “whistleblower.”

  11. Jeremy Grimm

    Regarding Obama “nominated Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, a logistician, to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making Selva the first military official with significant logistics expertise to rise so high in the Joint Chiefs’ hierarchy”

    There is another oddity to this appointment of a logistician from the Air Force. The Air Force quite famously messed up in their efforts to update their systems to make the Air Force accountable for its expenditures — the update to the ECSS system.

    I don’t know how the Air Force is doing currently nor do I know whether Gen. Selva was in any way connected with the ECSS debacle — Gen. Selva “currently head of the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois”. I do find it interesting to see a reference to the DoD accounting problems, Pentagon Money Pit, in today’s links and then see a link here regarding the promotion of a logistician, particularly an Air Force logistician to VC of the Joint Chiefs. I thought a failure like ECSS would tar with a broad brush. Besides I wouldn’t think the Air Force Transportation Command would play as great a role in a establishing logistics support in a theater as would the Army Logistics Commands.

    1. Paid Minion

      Maybe they are tired of the fighter jocks screwing the pooch.

      Even as far back as WW II, the guys who can get there “fustest with the mostest” wins.

      And …….thanks to another poster on this site for my new name……..

      1. sd

        Iirc, Air Force logistics personnel are authorized to handle contracts at much higher values vs the other services. I’m sorry, I don’t remember the actual numbers any more. The general principle works something like this. An Army logistics officer will have say a $100,000 cap on contracts they can award while their equal counterpart in the Air Force will be authorized to handle a $3,000,000 contract.

        I knew of one situation where the Army officer outranked an Air Force officer, but the Air Force officer had higher spending authority.

        Reason is, Air Force toys cost more.

  12. Alex morfesis

    Gaia puts on a show…2nite…the showers of st spyridon(or for those of you who dont point your prayer mats to byzantio…the tears of st lawrence) as our little blue marble puts in its daily 2.5 million kilometres thru space and time, we now flow thru the Perseids…the remnants and residues of comet swift-tuttle…hopefully it will be not too cloudy and most should see a flash at least once a minute…

    There will be much tsipouro passed around with the mezedakia on Corfu tonite…

  13. Milton

    A heartfelt start from the AP re: California’s newly enacted assisted suicide law. I decided to share this as the opponents of this law had concerns that those going through this decision may be spurred by costly bills or high medical indebtedness.
    Terminally ill woman holds party before ending her life

    1. reslez

      > opponents of this law had concerns that those going through this decision may be spurred by costly bills or high medical indebtedness

      The “invisible hand” at work.

      I thought we were all rational actors. Are people not supposed to take into account the financial position of their heirs? I suppose we are expected to simply hand over our estates to the medicalized death industry. What a ghoulish society we live in. “Take care of the ill” should not be too much for a supposedly wealthy country to handle.

      1. Paid Minion

        I find it difficult to reconcile the “all life is precious” propaganda with the ground truth. Which seems to be your “value” is determined by how much money the system can suck out of you.

        People are just the grease that the Medical/Pharma/Insurance cartel runs on. God Forbid the peons be permitted to opt out.

        Assuming I go to Heaven, will God allow me to flip the bird at these people from on high? Because thats my plan……early, sudden death, giving the Medcos no opportunity to suck up a lifetime of assets in a 72 hour stay in the ICU.

        Given the way things are, its a perfectly rational decision.

    2. Anonymous

      I’m always posting with here with anecdotes reflecting a particular posting or link. I have little more to offer as I am not an economist or Banker or top-dog specialist in any particular field, just a jack of many trades and barely a master in one. Posts regarding this particular issue always strike very close to home, so… another anecdote.

      My father was a physician and loved his job but came to hate the “business” and how much it was changing over his lifetime. As he got older, he became more cynical about that business, retired early and he and my mother bought a retirement home in Florida.

      Less than a year later, before he moved to FL., he was definitively diagnosed with a debilitating and degenerative brain disease which he knew would kill him within a year or two, slowly, surely, and expensively, from healthy to a wheel chair bound drooler, unable to speak, eat by himself, etc.

      Being a physician and understanding the business of “health care” he had often told me previously that, if the time came, he was not going to play that game… and, as it turned out, being a physician he didn’t need assistance.

      Two days after the diagnosis, which no one in the family knew about until after the fact, my sister and I found him, with his head on a pillow and a light blanket over him, intentionally laying himself down on nearly ice cold concrete in the cellar, overdosed on a barbiturate he apparently had stashed should the occasion arise.

      Laws like this would have precluded such a dismal and secretive, and I think lonely, ending.

      It’s about time CA joined the sane and said to hell with the business.

      (I’ll be posting as Anon this time)

    3. MikeNY

      Thanks for this. I think this is the future (not so much the parties, though that’s fine, as the right to make the decision for yourself). I’ve had this discussion with friends and family; many of us want the ability to choose the circumstances of our exit from this stage. Good for California, and good for Betsy Davis.

    1. Paid Minion

      Thanks. All of the Republicans here in the middle of Koch Country have been running TV ads about how they are going to “save” veterans from the Evil Bureaucrats that run the VA.

      Typical Republican playbook……..inadequately fund the government operation, then blame the “failures” on “bureaucrats”.

      People should go by a VA hospital sometime. Talk about maximizing limited resources. If you really want to be a hero, bring a clothes donation. Especially new (mens) underwear.

    2. Jen

      Good link. A friend of mine is a primary care physician at our local VA. We were talking about the wait time issue and she pointed out there’s no control group for comparison – at which point another friend mentioned that she had to wait 6 months to get an appointment for her son with a pediatric nephrologist.

  14. Tom Allen

    For those who are interested, the Wall Street Journal has a synopsis of some of the more competitive Senate races. And the poll aggregator Election Projection has Republican Senate control dropping to 51-47 (51-49 when you include Dem-caucusing independents Sanders and King). House is 229-206 Rep, also much closer.

  15. Synoia

    There are many English-based creoles in the world,

    In the UK too, regional accents were very hard for to understand.

    And there is one very large Creole in the world, spoken in the United States. (Burglarized indeed).

  16. Paid Minion

    So…….its a big mystery on how a 10 year old could be decapitated on a water slide.

    Ill save everyone a lot of time, and give my own analysis. A half azzed design had a half azzed fixes applied. When the Velcro seat belts failed, the kid flew out of the car, hit and deflected the netting that kept him from flying off into the woods, but knocked his head off when he hit one of the supports/braces that held the netting.

    For an example, go on Youtube, and look up any video of an Indycar hitting the catchfence.

    Of course, instead of facing the fact that a lack of government oversite and regulation is a contributing factor, we will hear all kinds of bleating from the Religious Right about “acts of God”, and “he is in a better place”

    The kids dad is a Kansas State Representative. The guys that let the water park “regulate itself”. By letting their insurance company do the inspections.

    Maybe they all should put their money where their mouth is, and replace all of their excessively regulated and certified seat belts with belts that have Velcro latches.

    The S will really HTF, when the Velcro people get slapped with the lawsuit. Next up……disclaimers on boxes of Velcro stating “not to be used as a safety belt latching device”.

  17. Pat

    A more conspiracy minded human might think Trump was timing his stupider eruptions to distract from bad news regarding Clinton. An even bigger conspiracy theorist human might conclude it wouldn’t matter what Trump did, he would still be being used to distract attention from Clinton’s very considerable issues. And while I think she does have health issues, but the internet diagnosis is not anything to take to the bank. Same with the mysterious deaths, they are mysterious but that is the start and end of what we know. But the email evidence of the State and the Foundation….that should be front and center and causing outrage.

    I admit I gave the second amendment thing less concern than others. I find coded rhetoric to be part and parcel of politics for the last decade or so. I’ve seen pretty much every major candidate use it in the last decade or so. Just call me numb to it anymore. Just as I am numb to the obvious parsing of various subjects by Clinton most notably TPP and trade. It is Thursday isn’t it?! Unfortunately because of our consolidated press, we aren’t going to get serious issues or deep examinations of anything just outrage.

    As Lambert has said this election has ripped the masks and discusses off, people are still ignoring it, but I have great hopes that someday the right ‘child’ will point it out in a manner that the adults cannot reject. (as mixed up as the reference is.) But even if that happens so much else is wrong that isn’t front and center, I despair of recognition and demand for change being enough.

    Will the press finally finish Trump? Is he tired and wants it over? Will the debates turn things? Will this be an election more about hate and disgust than hope and advocacy? Well, I have an answer for the third – yes, no question. Clinton has been very lucky, in that she has probably gotten the only candidate that will drive as many people to crawl over glass to get to the polls to vote against him as will being do so for her. But for everything else, wait for election day.

    We are well and truly screwed.

    1. Isotope_C14

      “We are well and truly screwed.”


      We are only screwed if we the people let it happen. Demand online debates, demand participation. The Young Turks offered to have Stein vs. Johnson debates. Tell them to invite the reality show candidates as well, though they will decline.

      Demand it, it’s your right. The oligarchy wants you to give up, it’s in their best interest. Protest it, don’t take it sitting down.

  18. mle detroit

    Trump won’t release his federal tax returns: can anyone point to an attempt to recreate them via crowdsourcing what’s publicly available/filed/mentioned?

    I could care less about how ungenerous he is, or that he probably pays a low or zero rate. The real question is the names and domiciles of the “roughly five hundred business entities” in which his lawyers say he “has an interest.” How many of those are Russian oil and gas? Mexican maquiladoras? Shell companies that own Manhattan and London apartments for the daughters of oligarchs? And which of his relatives acts as liaison (not the one who’ll be WH Chief of Staff, I hope).


  19. Procopius

    One might hope that the FBI would have a transcript of its July 2 interview of Mrs. Clinton. But in his testimony to Congress the following week, Mr. Comey admitted that the agency neither put her under oath nor had a stenographer present

    This is a feature, not a bug. This is standard FBI policy. I believe the reason for it is so that later the agent can testify in court that the victim suspect said something but now denies it, thereby proving that they lied to a government officer. That’s how they got Martha Stewart. I thought everybody knew that now, but then I looked at who said it and realized this is not honest opinion.

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