2:00PM Water Cooler 8/1/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will visit the White House this week, giving President Barack Obama an opportunity to restate his case that the TPP is too important to the country’s leadership role in the Asia-Pacific region to delay, an administrative official said” [Politico].

“When Obama rolls out the red carpet for Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, one of the main goals will be “lifting up the benefits” of the TPP, said Daniel Kritenbrink, top Asia policy adviser at the White House National Security Council” [TPP]. “Lifting up”? And: “‘TPP is going to be great for the American economy, for American workers and American companies,’ Kritenbrink said.”

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several companies have been stepping up their arguments for the trade deal, but even getting a vote would require pro-trade lawmakers to override the incoming president and populist sentiments coursing through the grass roots of both parties” [Wall Street Journal]. Unfortunately, the political establishments of both legacy parties hate the populist sentiments, and wish to exclude them from power, the Republicans by doing a McGovern on Trump, the Democrats by hippie-punching.

The body language of the dominant Democrat faction says that TPP is very much on the agenda:

And NC readers know that the wiggle room in all the putatively anti-TPP statements by Democrat leaders is ginormous. Google, Facebook, Amazon, and eBay all endorse TPP; if an incoming Democrat administration doesn’t somehow manage to drag TPP over the finish line, it would be a major counterpoint to Gilens and Page on oligarchic policy dominance.

“The trouble with the TPP’s copyright rules” (PDF) [Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives]. “As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations neared a conclusion in 2015, the intellectual property chapter generated enormous concern from copyright experts who feared it would dramatically alter the balance between the interests of creators and users. Those concerns were borne out by the final text, which significantly exceeds international norms, pays short shrift to user interests, and requires legislative changes in many countries including Canada.”


Readers, I’m eliminating “The Trail” coverage from Water Cooler’s 2016 election coverage, for a few reasons. First, the political class, across the board, is working actively for one candidate, as if they were extensions of that candidate’s campaign. Hence, at least insofar as material generated in the Acela corridor goes, there’s no news to aggregate. Second, and as a result of the first, the volume and toxicity of the talking points in this election is so great that it’s starting to affect my health; when I find myself drinking most of a bottle of wine, instead of the glass I had planned, it’s time to re-assess. The surreality is worse than I’ve ever seen in my thirteen years of daily blogging on politics, and that includes the run-up to the Iraq War, when the political class also lost its mind; the opportunity cost of investing in such surreality is simply too great, particularly when I could be improving other coverage. So, for the remainder of the campaign, I’m going to focus on topics that are not bright shiny objects or clickbait: on policy, money, understanding the voters (in ways that go beyond the material that appears under Class Warfare), and institutional issues within the parties. Where I focus on the “horse race,” it will only be in swing states. Finally, I don’t expect volatility to cease on November 8; I believe the political class suffers from a legitimacy crisis, which the election will not solve. Readers may wonder if I have a dog in this fight, and the answer is yes: I want divided government and gridlock. It’s always possible to make thing worse!

Adding, this doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about the campaign trail; this is, after all, the Water Cooler. But we will look with extreme prejudice at no-value-add talking point retailers, me-too’s, drive-by’s, and anything that looks inorganic (that is, a party operative pushing a party line).


“The Future of H-1B under the Next President” [Upon Closer Inspection]. “Trump and Clinton actually agree on one crucial aspect of foreign tech worker policy — Staple a Green Card, a proposal to give automatic green cards to foreign STEM students earning grad degrees in the U.S. As I have explained before, if Staple in enacted, it really won’t matter what happens with H-1B; even if Congress were to seriously clip the wings of the Infosyses (won’t happen anyway), Disney, SCE, Abbott etc. will just hire the Staple workers. In other words, no matter which candidate wins the presidency, he/she will support Staple. This should be a very sobering thought to everyone who is concerned about the foreign tech worker issue. If U.S. techies really did organize, I believe their first priority should be to try to derail Staple.”

“Time to ditch Rawls?” [Global Inequality]. “The changes over the past two decades have been, I believe, so remarkable that the typology offered by Rawls has lost its relevance. Migrations, driven by economic reasons and thus by global inequality, does not have a place in Rawls. But they do exist in real life where economic migrants from Africa and Asia into Europe or Mexico and Central America into the United States number millions. But the theory that says that this should not happen is of no use when these things do happen. Finally, Rawls grossly underrated the importance that people attach to income and wealth for their happiness. Importance of pecuniary incentives has only increased with globalization since income differences have become more visible.” Do we have any political scientists in the house?

“Trump to consider recognizing Russian control of Crimea” [USA Today]. Lots of frothing and stamping on this one!

The Money

“[Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi’s] interviewees are mostly rich white men who donate enormous amounts to political, specifically presidential, campaigns. You may think that “Does Money Talk?” is missing a “Duh!” at the end, and watching the film won’t change your mind, as Ms. Pelosi asks one financier after another why he gives away so much money and hears a series of variations on “because it’s the right thing to do.” [New York Times]. “[S]he uses her sense of the absurd and her access — gained in part through her status as a daughter of the California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi — to present the American political system as a mostly lighthearted farce.” Oh. “Lighthearted farce.”

“By 2012 the vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation, Conor Lenihan—who had previously partnered with the Clinton Foundation—recorded that Skolkovo had assembled 28 Russian, American and European ‘Key Partners.’ Of the 28 ‘partners,’ 17, or 60%, have made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation, totaling tens of millions of dollars, or sponsored speeches by Bill Clinton. Russians tied to Skolkovo also flowed funds to the Clinton Foundation.” [Peter Schweizer, Wall Street Journal, “The Clinton Foundation, State and Kremlin Connections”]. “What is known is that the State Department [under Clinton] recruited and facilitated the commitment of billions of American dollars in the creation of a Russian “Silicon Valley” whose technological innovations include Russian hypersonic cruise-missile engines, radar surveillance equipment, and vehicles capable of delivering airborne Russian troops.” (Schweizer is the “Clinton Cash” producer.)

UPDATE “Charles Koch, the industrialist billionaire, told allies Sunday that rumors that he would support Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton were “a blood libel.” The patron of a network of political and philanthropic groups, however, added that he could not support Republican nominee Donald Trump” [Time].

The Voters

UPDATE “What Donald Trump intuitively understands, and what all too many Republicans do not, is that for much of the GOP rank-and-file, 2016 is not 1984. Instead, the 21st century has felt like a disaster. From this vantage point, celebrating the status quo just seems perverse” [Salon].

UPDATE “The Democratic Party’s nominee can’t escape the past, and her embodiment of an exclusive, second wave feminism reminds Black women of the interlocking oppressions they’ve faced, said Evelyn M. Simien, Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut and author of Historic Firsts: How Symbolic Empowerment Changes U.S. Politics” [For Harriett]. Simien: “African American women have always viewed white women in this kind of class-based relationship whereby she is more privileged [and] has greater resources economically to pursue her own life goals and careers. Surely, Hillary Clinton is just that.”

The Parties

When I watch, with horrified fascination, the merger of the Democrat and Republican establishments — Iraq-war instigator Robert Kagan raising money for Clinton, for example — into a single, amorphous entity, it reminds me of this passage from William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch (which is most definitely not NSFW). My objective correlative for the state of the 2016 race:

Later the boy is sitting in a Waldorf with two colleagues dunking pound cake. “Most distasteful sthing I ever stand still for,” he says. “Some way [The Buyer] make himself all soft like a blob of jelly and surround me so nasty. Then he gets wet all over like with green slime. So I guess he come to some kinda awful climax…. I come near wigging with that green stuff all over me, and he stink like a old rotten cantaloupe.”

“Well it’s still an easy score.”

The boy sighed resignedly; “Yes, I guess you can get used to anything. I’ve got a meet with him again tomorrow.”

It’s hard to look away, isn’t it? (Oh, and for “the boy” think, say, Ezra Klein.)

“Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers” [Defend Democracy Press]. “A Sanders/Stein campaign would be more popular than Hillary Clinton and more successful against Trump. If polling shows you in the lead before the election, we trust that Secretary Clinton would do the right thing and not be a spoiler.” (Regarding “trust”: That’s exactly what Democrat Mitchell did not do in the three-way between her, Eliot Cutler (Independent), and Paul LePage (Republican). As she faded to third, Mitchell could have thrown her votes to Cutler, defeating LePage. She did not.) This letter is interesting because many of the signatories are Sanders field organizers and directors. Will they organize for the Greens if Sanders does not run on the Green ticket? Do the Greens, as a party, have the organizational capacity to incorporate them, if they do? (Readers know my views on this.)

“The pull to vote third-party may be particularly strong during this presidential election. The 2016 race is poised to ask Americans to choose between a pair of historically unpopular candidates. Voting for the lesser of two evils is hardly an attractive prospect. It only makes sense that people would be look for alternatives. Walking around the grounds of the Wells Fargo Center, Stein was quickly surrounded by more fans. From there, she headed into the heart of the political establishment for even more interviews—undoubtedly hoping to find a few more converts” [The Atlantic].

UPDATE What you didn’t see at the Democrat National Convention [Vox]. Buried under the moralizing is important and (mostly?) unreported data from the convention floor:

But in the arena, Clinton couldn’t hold the audience; it wasn’t hers to hold. There were just too many pockets of dissent and rejection.

Chants of “No more war!” and “No TPP!” felt liable to erupt at any moment. The back of the California delegation booed for 20 or 30 seconds at a time.

What sounded on TV like oddly-timed “Hillary” and “USA!” chants were usually attempts by Clinton supporters to drown out attempted disruptions. In the arena, you’d hear a buzzing undercurrent for a few seconds, then an over-strident “Hillary!” chant surge dutifully to meet it.

Pockets of Bernie Sanders supporters in Day-Glo T-shirts refused to participate in the “card stunt” at the end of the speech. Cards distributed to audience members was supposed to turn the audience into a living bunting of red and white; it ended up looking like an awning someone had tried to deface with a highlighter.

The interruptions weren’t constant, but they were frequent enough. Even after one round of boos subsided, it was hard to return attention to the speech instead of bracing for the next one. The arena never felt uncontrolled, in the literal sense. But despite the amount of energy the Democratic Party poured into the spectacle, the dissenters managed to signal-jam the vibe.

So that explains why I didn’t see the card stunt on TV. And I heard a little chanting on NPR, which I was watching, but the camera never panned to the floor. Odd, that.

Swing States

“How Ohio Will Be Won” [Politico].

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index, July 2016: “The manufacturing PMI posted a sizable improvement” [Econoday]. “The rise in export orders is a major positive in this report, underscoring the benefits of this year’s depreciation in the dollar and also perhaps hinting at a general rebound in global demand.”

Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index, July 2016: “[T]he new orders index which remains extremely solid, at 56.9 and pointing to future strength for employment as well perhaps as slowing for future deliveries (slowing in deliveries is an indication of strength in demand, of congestion in the supply chain)” [Econoday]. “If the ISM orders pan out, the economy looks to get a second-half lift from its lagging sector, the factory sector.” Then again: “The ISM Manufacturing survey remained in expansion for the fifth month after 5 months in contraction – but slightly declined. The key internals likewise declined” [Econintersect]. And: “New orders have direct economic consequences. Expanding new orders is a relatively reliable sign a recession is NOT imminent. However, New Orders contraction have given false recession warnings twice since 2000. This month new orders declined but remains in expansion.”

Construction Spending, June 2016: “Overall construction spending is up only 0.3 percent year-on-year to deepen what is a declining trend. These results will weigh on the expectations for the first revision to second-quarter GDP which came in at a very soft plus 1.2 percent in last week’s initial estimate” [Econoday]. “But there’s definitely upward pressure building in other housing data, pressure that points to eventual strength in construction spending.” And: “The headlines say construction spending slowed, and was significantly below expectations. The backward revisions make this series wacky – but the rolling averages significantly declined. Private construction now has little growth while public construction is in contraction” [Econintersect]. “Simply bad.”

Housing: “Most housing reports leave out examples of what you are actually getting for with your money. That is understandable but the press does a poor job of looking beyond the overall trend. Maybe if they showed a picture of the property, they would actually knock some common sense into people. They can still ask questions like “how much did you pay for that crap shack?” That might be a starting point” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “nstead, what you get is a play-by-play commentary of where we are at. The market today is inflated and we are living through a rental revolution. The stock market has been on a non-stop move upwards since 2009. We have yet to face any small correction and as many people are seeing this year, expect the unexpected. One easy way to see the mania in the market is to look at small homes for sale and how they are being pitched. Today we take a look at a small home in Orange County.”

ETFs: “Swedroe: Arbitrage Capital Increases Market Efficiency” (new academic study) [ETF.com].

Bank Lending: “The deceleration that began with the peak in oil capex continues” (chart) [Mosler Economics].

Shipping: “Economic expansion for the rest of the year will have to go through distribution centers” [Wall Street Journal]. “Inventory retrenchment proved a major drag on the U.S. economy in the second quarter, with the ‘destocking’ by businesses shaving gross domestic product growth nearly in half. The WSJ’s Eric Morath and Jeffrey Sparshott report the fifth straight quarterly decline in private inventories subtracted 1.16 percentage points from overall growth, the largest drag from inventories in two years. The question hanging over the business world, and shipping and logistics businesses, is whether the long-running effort to pare back stock levels will leave companies needing to start replenishing their stocks soon. The WSJ’s Jon Sindreu writes that would boost to the U.S. economy in the near term, but an inventory rebound will depend on whether consumers keep buying at a strong pace, triggering a push for goods on shelves.”

Shipping: “[UPS] reported lower than expected earnings in its Supply Chain and Freight segment Friday. Revenue increased by more than 13% to $2.5 billion in part from the acquisition of Coyote Logistics, but profit dropped more than 7% from $207 million to $192 million in what executives said is a soft freight shipping market. [Wall Street Journal, “UPS Profit Slips at Supply Chain and Freight Segment”]. “Much of UPS’s freight business comes from less-than-truckload, or LTL, shipping, a market that has been weak for over a year.”

Supply Chain: ‘Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday reported in its third consecutive record profit, nearly doubling its prior high-water mark, and its fifth straight quarter in the black” [Wall Street Journal, “Amazon Posts Another Blockbuster Profit”]. “Amazon’s revenue jumped 31% including a 58% gain at its Amazon Web Services cloud computing unit. The company also more than doubled its operating margin, which historically has been razor thin, and issued a cheery outlook for the coming quarter…. The results show Amazon moving toward investors’ long-held hope of consistent profitability after a lengthy period of heavy investments and quarterly losses.”

Political Risk: “Two key gauges of Chinese factory output in July showed conflicting results, with one that focuses on larger state-owned companies flagging and the other, on smaller private companies, soaring” [Wall Street Journal, “Muddled Glimpse of Chinese Economy Emerges From New Data”]. “The mixed numbers present a muddled view of the economy…. Large state-owned companies, well represented in official PMI data, would be expected to do better in the current environment of generous state spending and easy money polices given their preferential access to state funding and projects. And private companies, better reflected in the Caixin index, would tend to face greater difficulty in periods of state-directed growth given the danger of getting crowded out. Weakness in recent private investment reflects this.”

The Bezzle: “With fully autonomous vehicles expected to hit the road by 2020, automobile manufacturers and ride-hailing rivals have become unlikely allies” [MarketWatch]. “The common bond is a vision of a driverless ride-hailing future, in which margins rise for ride-hailing companies and automotive companies avoid destruction as consumer sales drop.” I sure hope we can get all those lane markings painted in time.

Honey for the Bears: “Deutsche Bank Says U.S. GDP Flop Is a Sign of Secular Stagnation” [Bloomberg]. But: “Signs of healthy consumer spending continue to feed confidence among Fed officials about the underlying strength of the U.S. economy.” Eat, drink, and be merry

Honey for the Bears: “Having just one firm [Bank of New York Mellon, since JP Morgan just pulled out] in the business of making sure traders deliver cash and securities as expected will pose a fresh test for a sprawling market whose functioning has come under scrutiny since the financial crisis. Many analysts already worry that liquidity, the capacity to trade quickly without moving prices, has been falling when markets come under stress.” [Wall Street Journal, “This Boring Service Is Suddenly a Big Concern for Treasurys”]. “The change, deep in Wall Street’s financial plumbing, reflects pressure from new regulations as well as banks’ efforts to cut back less-lucrative activities.” I know that Wall Street is not like a household, but if I have to go “deep within the plumbing” in my house — or even think about it — that’s not a good sign. Ever.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78, Extreme Greed (previous close: 79, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 85 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 1 at 12:05pm. B-o-o-o-o-r-r-r-i-n-g….

Health Care

“Some big names in the insurance industry are waving the white flag on Obamacare.” [Motley Fool].

Class Warfare

“Algorithmic Labor and Information Asymmetries: A Case Study of Uber’s Drivers” (PDF) [International Journal of Communication 10(2016), 3758–3784]. From the abstract:

Through a nine-month empirical study of Uber driver experiences, we found that Uber does leverage significant indirect control over how drivers do their jobs. Our conclusions are twofold: First, the information and power asymmetries produced by the Uber application are fundamental to its ability to structure control over its workers; second, the rhetorical invocations of digital technology and algorithms are used to structure asymmetric corporate relationships to labor, which favor the former. Our study of the Uber driver experience points to the need for greater attention to the role of platform disintermediation in shaping power relations and communications between employers and workers.

“Which Households Have Negative Wealth?” [Liberty Street]. “We estimate that 15.1 percent of the households in the U.S. population have net wealth less than or equal to zero, while 14.0 percent have strictly negative wealth. ” And:

What are the characteristics of households with negative wealth? We find that the heads of such households are younger than their counterparts in households with non-negative wealth—an average age of 43 compared to 51. They are also slightly less likely to have a college or postgraduate degree—43 percent and 12 percent, compared with 45 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Moreover, we find the association between having negative wealth and the head of household’s age to be stronger for those with a college degree and especially so for those with postgraduate degrees. These results are consistent with standard life-cycle models of consumption and savings, which predict that agents smooth the marginal utility of consumption by incurring debt—for instance, student loan or credit card—when young and then steadily increasing savings until retirement. In particular, those models predict that young and educated households might have negative wealth as their incomes will likely grow with age so that they will be repaying what they have borrowed when young.

But good news! There’s a way out–

UPDATE “Why Peter Thiel Believes Young People’s Blood Is the Ultimate Medicine” [Inc.]. The practice of younger people’s blood transfused into his own veins is known as “parabiosis,” which does seem to qualify for the word of the day:

There are widespread rumors in Silicon Valley, where life-extension science is a popular obsession, that various wealthy individuals from the tech world have already begun practicing parabiosis, spending tens of thousands of dollars for the procedures and young-person-blood, and repeating the exercise several times a year. In our April 2015 interview, Thiel was seemingly explicit that parabiosis was something he hadn’t “quite, quite, quite started yet.” A Thiel Capital spokesman said nothing had changed since then.

Thiel seems to be carrying the notion of “human resources” very far; perhaps, even, too far.

“We tell students they need a bachelor’s degree to get ahead. But for too many, the numbers no longer add up” [Boston Globe]. “But just how true is this truism about college lifting low-income students out of their circumstances, Horatio Alger style? In fact, like the actual story of author Horatio Alger, who was born into a well-established family and graduated from Harvard, there’s more myth than truth. ” Rather a stretch story for the Boston Globe.

“At the very bottom of “the [Olympic] Movement” — beneath the IOC members who travel first-class and get paid thousands of dollars just to attend the Olympics, beneath the executives who make hundreds of thousands to organize the Games, beneath the international sports federations, the national sport federations and the national Olympic committees and all of their employees — are the actual athletes whose moments of triumph and pain will flicker on television screens around the globe starting Friday” [WaPo]. “But by the time that flood of cash flows through the Movement and reaches the athletes, barely a trickle remains, often a few thousand dollars at most. For members of Team USA — many of whom live meagerly off the largesse of friends and family, charity, and public assistance — the biggest tangible reward they’ll receive for making it to Rio will be two suitcases full of free Nike and Ralph Lauren clothing they are required to wear at all team events.”

News of the Wired

“How to Eat Like a French Woman” [Vogue].

“The Blog That Disappeared” [New York Times]. Google’s terms of service not meaningful; film at 11.

“Meet Moxie Marlinspike, the Anarchist Bringing Encryption to All of Us” [Wired]. Reads like a hagiographical beat sweetener, to me.

UPDATE “However, earlier this month, Anders Eklund, of Sweden’s Linköping University, published the latest in a series of papers showing a deep flaw in how researchers have been using fMRI. This flaw, Eklund and his colleagues believe, could ruin the results of as many as 16,500 neuroscience studies over the last 20 years.

” [Quartz]. I’m not so sure this is a bad thing; the last thing we want the squillionaries getting their hands on is reproducible brain science.

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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 (AM):


AM writes: “From my mother in law’s garden in Rehoboth, MA.” Pollinators. In Maine, I think this is the loveliest part of the summer. All the plants are established and furiously growing and seeking to flower; and the blights haven’t hit yet.

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

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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 random acts of kindness.


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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. craazyboy

    “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several companies…”

    The wording sounds mighty redundant. Coming from the smart folks at our WSJ, too.

  2. allan

    David Cay Johnston has a book out tomorrow, and here’s a bit about it:

    David Cay Johnston’s book takes on Donald Trump

    That people are now looking to Trump to fix the nation’s problems is strange and frustrating to Johnston, who has spent years documenting how government tax policies hurt regular people. He sees Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, while very different from Trump, as cut from similar cloth in one important way: “People are turning to two demagogues who don’t know how to fix things,” he said.

    `Demagogues‘.That was easy. Pragmatic, incremental journalism that gets things done.

      1. clarky90

        “Just 48 hours after the senator from Vermont endorsed Hillary Clinton for president during a rally in New Hampshire, the publishing company Thomas Dunne Books announced it will publish “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” a week after the election in November.”


        There are plenty of other links, but this one has comments.

        The advance money paid to Bernie is secret, but I have read speculation of 20 million dollars. If so, Bernie could build a tiny house next to famous Democratic environmentalist, Al Gore’s house

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, last I checked, Sanders gave his $500 for speaking fees — I think at a cow festival? — to charity. So we’ll see what he does with the money.

          I think Al Gore could take the Archdruid’s advice, and live with a little less. That said, there seems to be a general attitude that the left shouldn’t have nice things; that they should not, for example, be able to raise enough money to buy TV advertising. Or even make money after writing a best seller. I’m not sure why that is.

          1. Paul Tioxon

            Liberals like their leftest saintlike, poor and with as few resources as possible in order to never, ever take or even share in a meager scrap of power. Sort of like some men like their women, barefoot and pregnant. Since money is a part of our modern civilization, any worthwhile experience with it can lead to all kinds of ideas. Better to guilt trip them and shame them away from money. I mean, even if Bernie got $20mil, he wouldn’t even know what to do with it. Like youth wasted on the young if ya catch my drift.

            Try to make it real. But compared to what?


            1. windsock

              I think you mean Conservatives, not Liberals, who believe lefties should be saintlike (or rather, puritan). Here in Blighty, the slur of “Bollinger Bolshevik” and “Champage Socialist” are often hurled at the Labour party. Poor people should not be allowed to enjoy the nicer (in some people’s opinions) things in life. Personally, I’ll stick with a £6 bottle of Prosecco and take it with me if I ever have to be on the barricades.

              1. Paul Tioxon

                Conservatives think lefties should be beaten up and killed. Liberals just want them with the least power but unmolested by the institutional power of the state, unless of course they get too out of line and resort to violence. Then, beatings and killings are A-OK with them under those parameters of holding tightly onto power.

        2. Liberal Mole

          If they did, I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes into his new think tank. Those two new organizations he’s started will need it. Remember, this is one of the “poorest” members of the Senate. You don’t get to be that for lack of options to remedy it.

    1. craazyboy

      Well, The Donald has assembled a group of renowned flat tax looneybiners to work on his tax plan.

      I guess it depends on if you think that’s good. I’m desperately hoping it’s just campaign “optics”.

      1. Pirmann

        Flat Tax at least seems fair, and it’d hopefully eliminate the waste succubus known as the IRS.

        1. TheCatSaid

          Yes, it “seems fair”. Seems. Flat-rate income taxes are regressive in their actual impact (They hurt poorer people the most). The same goes for sales taxes / VAT, which are also flat taxes.

          Here’s a web page that discusses some of problems with so-called flat taxes. Slemrod’s 2003 paper about flat tax misconceptions might also be of interest.

          1. craazyboy

            Neocons keep neolibs safe in hostile foreign lands. Neolibs provide us with yobs, products we need, and the credit to buy them with. We’ve gotta pay our fair share.

            Besides, if we try and tax the rich or corporations, they’ll just hide the money, or move somewhere nice.

          2. jrs

            But would they be any flatter than the existing system? The income tax is moderately progressive now but with capital gains and dividends, property appreciation taxed at a lower rate it isn’t really. So if all income was taxed the same and the rate was flat, I definitely don’t advocate that, but I’m not sure how much worse it is than now. Anyone know?

            1. TheCatSaid

              I read a long article several years ago that covered the impact of a multitude of tax strategies, loopholes etc. It was interesting to see how they differed.

              In relation to flat tax, proposals so far still treat income differently from capital gains tax breaks and lack of inheritance taxes. The wealthy benefit disproportionately from the low/absent capital gains and inheritance taxes. The economic damage that would be done to the poorest by a flat tax is disproportionate.

          3. Pirmann

            It’s better than the current system. All the current system does is squeeze the middle class. Poor folks get a “refund” that they didn’t actually pay into the system (ergo, helicopter money), while rich folks can tax dodge and accountantize their earnings to minimize tax liability. That leaves the middle class on the hook for most of the country’s tax liability. And have you dealt with the tax code to any extent?

            Since taxation does not fund government spending anyway, put in a flat tax that’s set low (like an HOA fee of sorts to live in this country), do away with the clunky tax code, and let us all keep most of our wages. The middle class can spend our own way out of this flatlined non-recovery. We all pay a little bit to live here, and the rest is ours. How does that not make sense?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Because the flat tax would

              1) Still allows the rich to buy up the government with their loose cash

              2) Permit the further development

              3) Leave the children of the rich as vulnerable to the social ills caused by excessive wealth as before

              1. Praedor

                I’m in favor of a flat tax IF it applies:
                1) to capital gains and inheritance;
                2) applies ONLY to incomes >$100k/yr (indexed to inflation and negotiable upwards a bit on income);
                3) applies to corporations;
                4) NO deductions or credits.

                Beyond that? No.

            2. Procopius

              …let us all keep most of our wages.

              The trouble is, they won’t do that. Since “they” don’t believe that taxation doesn’t fund government spending, “they” demand a flat rate that is unsustainable. Do you know that Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party are demanding a “national consumption tax” of 23% in place of the Income Tax? That’s on top of existing state and local sales taxes. Existing property taxes aren’t going away, either. It would be better to go back to Eisenhower tax rates. They gave a lot more incentive to the rich than the later cut rates did.

        1. craazyboy

          Actually, I put the chances pretty high that Hillary “reaches across the aisle” and grabs Steve Forbes’ One Postcard Tax Plan.

          Then on to all that “entitlement spending” we can’t afford.

          But of course they will all make America strong, either again, or ongoing.

      2. Carolinian

        The Dems would have to learn how to be an opposition again under the slogan: “whatever Trump’s for I’m against it.” This might be character building for them.

        Re new policy….we were just playing along with our wisecracks about Hillary….promise to be good.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Perhaps if Trump was all for foreign wars and lousy trade deals that impoverish Americans we could oppose that stuff…the problem is that those are Hilary’s positions.

      3. cwaltz

        Personally, the fact that Mitt Romney paid 13% in taxes pretty much tells me that the flat tax might not be worse than the system we have. If I remember correctly it exempted the first $25,000 in income.

        Now mind you last I heard Trump was still treating the investment people like special snowflakes and would allow them to exempt DOUBLE what is allowed for labor, $50,000 in “investments.”

        Personally, I’d prefer a system that treats labor and investment as equal. As it is capital investors have reaped most of the benefits of profitability while workers have actually been taking steps backwards. We’re teaching a whole entire generation that labor is for suckers and it’s better to make a quick buck off the work of others.

        1. Yves Smith

          *Sigh* This issue is not the rich, it’s the poor. Please stop promoting Steve Forbes propaganda.

          The rich have all sorts of ways of having things not be declared to be income, or greatly defer the recognition of cash they receive as income. And I can guarantee that there will nevah be an end of the preferential tax treatment of capital gains. So the middle class would be even more screwed, the poor too, and the rich still would get their biggest tax break.

    2. Bullwinkle

      So, in other words, anyone who speaks out against the status quo is now a demagogue. Interesting.

          1. Ulysses

            The hopeful thing is that the dogs have stopped eating the dogfood. Lambert really hit the nail on the head with this comment:

            “I believe the political class suffers from a legitimacy crisis, which the election will not solve.”

            Indeed, this election will only heighten the contradictions! Better to read some good books, learn how to survive a “limited” nuclear war, and other more productive uses of time than wading through rivers of bulls@#t from the punditocracy.

            1. Procopius

              I’m old. I remember how nuclear strategy evolved after 1947. I think there’s a segment now in the State Department (Clinton’s people) who believe it is possible to “fight and win” a nuclear war. Save your money on books on how to survive. You won’t. Buy P.G. Wodehouse novels instead and enjoy yourself while you can.

      1. TheCatSaid

        This podcast was really good. It changed my mind about considering Trump. I appreciate your posting the link.

      1. TheCatSaid

        And Trump hired Paul Manafort who is supposed to be one of the best at rigging voting machines.

        Barring major changes to our multiple election systems, 2016 = Contest of the Election Riggers

        1. pretzelattack

          yeah. i still remember rove’s meltdown, i think the repubs lost that 2012 battle. 2016, this time it’s serious.

          1. TheCatSaid

            Cliff Arnebeck says the only reason Obama won in 2012 is because Arnebeck & others had filed motions ahead of time with a judge who was familiar with the election rigging issues. There were FBI agents, wiretaps etc. in place–so the planned rigging in Ohio couldn’t go ahead that year. But no one had told Rove that the fix was not happening, so he made a fool of himself. Washington Spectator article about these events is here. A short video about it: “Swing State: How the Fix Was Nixed in Ohio“.

  3. Steve H.

    – Readers, I’m eliminating “The Trail” coverage

    THANK YOU THAnk You thank you…. *sobs*

    O, and u so need to stay off F*book.

    1. Antau

      Consumption of “political news” (read: garbage) is an addiction in some circles I find myself a part of and that expenditure mental energy was already doing some damage to my health/sanity, but I’d noticed myself hitting the bottle harder and harder lately, too, and hadn’t made a connection until reading Lambert’s decision to remove “The Trail”. Guess the next step is to go download StayFocusd again and block Reddit, Facebook, and every major/minor news website, unsubscribe from certain YouTube feeds, oh boy.

      It’s gonna be a looong 100+ days.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        You will have the opportunity learn other things.

        My personal precedent is the 2008 election, where I checked out when Obama voted for “FISA reform” in July — thereby giving the telcos retroactive immunity for hundreds of felonies committed under Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance* — after promising to filibuster it in January (“professor of constitutional Law,”** donchya know). And when I did, I discovered this on-going story of the collapse of the financial system, and Naked Capitalism. Meanwhile, the rest of the “progressive” blogosphere was eagerly retailing Democrat talking points, and after the inaugural, entered into a long discussion of whether Obama was really a “progressive” “in his heart.” This after FISA reform, and the bailouts, and Tim Geithner’s appointment, etc.

        That’s not to say that history will repeat, but to say that focus on the trail has opportunity costs. There are plenty of others who are very well-paid to do just that, and I see no reason to join that particular chorus. If we’re lucky, we’ll be moving — symptomatically shifting into a Canadian metaphor here — to where the hockey puck is going to be, and not where it is.

        * Which Obama proceeded to rationalize and normalize.

        ** “Progressives,” including in a small way myself, built a strong critique of Bush as a fascist, based on his theory of the unitary executive and his destruction of the Fourth Amendment. This critique was, of course, instantly dropped when Obama took office, and then proceeded to grab as much executive power as Bush, if not more. Which explains my hermeneutic of suspicion on the (now dropped) Democrat talking point that Trump is a fascist; these same people ran that same play before, and there was no good faith then, so it’s hard to see why there would be good faith now.

        1. jgordon

          I don’t know why people get worked up about stuff in the news. Just cultivate an attitude of cynical detachment and there’s no problem.

          That said I have noticed that there is a desperate push by both the political class AND the media to get Hillary elected. The more I see this the more I’m having this bizarre reflexive feeling to not just vote for Trump, but, like, send him money.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I’ve often considered cynical detachment, and when the time comes, just duck, and cover. Avoid looking directly at the flash.

            (Yesterday I met a woman from the UK, at school they were told Russian missiles could arrive in Britain in 4 minutes, in those four minutes they had a list of things to do: paint the school windows white, don their masks, then assume the position under their desks. Her parents were instructed to run directly to the bank and withdraw their cash). I was kinda hoping to avoid all that bother, besides my radiation suit is pretty hot and stuffy… so I’ll be voting for the candidate who represents even the tiniest infinitesimal marginal reduced probability of that outcome.

            1. jgordon

              That’s the main reason I’m supporting Trump as well. Seeing all these stories about how friendly he is with Putin are making me so much more motivated for him.

              Cynical detachment is good and all, but we still need to do everything we can to avoid a nuclear winter.

          1. timbers

            Today’s Democrats are yesterday’s Republucans. Yesterday as in 8 short years ago. That truly amazes and depresses me.

        2. notabanker

          “I believe the political class suffers from a legitimacy crisis, which the election will not solve.”

          Completely antedotal, but…..

          My twitter feed is about as apolitcal as I can make it. I follow stuff for mainly hobbyish reasons. Most of the folks I follow tend to lean pretty hard left and are mostly democrats. So about the only political stuff I see is usually snarky Trump bashing, mainly because he is an easy target. Again, their politics are more a result of demographics than the reason I follow them on twitter.

          Today I came across two tweets that broke that norm. One linking to this:

          The other linking to this:

          I was really pretty shocked to see a Varoufakis link. This narrative is reaching Joe Average mainstream, and coming from left leaning, anti-Republican Democrats.

          Personally, I would watch for demonization of the “progressive left” from TPTB. Have to quickly find a way to brand them terrorists and nip this in the bud.

        3. Jagger

          For me, it was worse during 2002-2003. The bipartisan unity of the political class and the media for a clearly illegal, unnecessary and blatant war of aggression was incredibly frustrating. Then the ineffectiveness of mass protests. My eyes have been wide open since. Our governing system is clearly broken and the only questions left are whether it can be fixed and will the pressing issues give us the time to resolve the dysfunction? This election cycle has actually been encouraging. Both Trump and Sanders demonstrate that the people are waking up and aware. The problem is time is short.

          1. Jagger

            Both Trump and Sanders demonstrate that the people are waking up and aware.

            Better said: The success of both the Trump and Sanders campaigns, despite the united opposition of the media and political classes, demonstrate that the people are waking up and aware. The power of the ruling classes is noticeably weakening.

      2. Katharine

        Try a total change of pace. After our primary, when the two candidates I’d worked for lost, I backed off and read four novels by William De Morgan.

    2. dk


      I was just wondering earlier this morning, how Lambert and Yves do it… one has to pick one’s battles. It’s the right thing to do.

      1. low integer


        Seems like a very wise decision to me, both in terms of focusing your attention on worthwhile coverage and your general wellbeing.

        1. polecat

          I think we’re ALL somewhat frazzled Lambert………I sure as hell am……

          I feel like the last 8 years total crapafication have robbed me of a decade or more of better health !

          ….this rat is getting less positive stimulation from hitting the internet ……or ANY net for that matter !!

          1. pretzelattack

            i just made the mistake of visiting the guardian. article after article on the awfulness that is donald, nothing critical of clinton.

            1. Aumua

              Believe me when I say I am as horrified and disgusted as anyone here by the intense mind control signals coming through the MSM right now. In spite of that disgust and horror, I still can’t see voting for Mr T. as a good idea.

              I also wonder how effective it is. It doesn’t seem to be working all that well. You know what they say about bad publicity. It’s obvious who TPTB were really concerned about, and that was Bernie Sanders. In the primaries they had no problem making it about All Trump, All The Time to drown out Sanders, and they’re still making it all about Trump. So I guess they don’t like him as much as they love Clinton, but don’t forget that Trump is a long time member of the Billionaire class, and if he ain’t exactly part of the innermost circle, you can bet he’s rubbed elbows with them on multiple occasions. I just don’t think they hate him as much as it seems right now. There’s some speculation there, I admit.

    3. craazyboy

      I appreciate the sentiment. Just don’t know if it will be possible.

      I think I may still keep an eye on what Putin is up to. Somebody in this country has to.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBee

          I am for personal home Olympic events.

          One does one’s swimming, weight lifting and Marathon at home…no more vicariously living out one’s physical fitness reality.

          “Who cares if some famous person can run 26 miles in 2 hours? It’s your personally doing it that is meaning to you and your health.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


              As we the 99% are forced worse and worse diets and get more and more out of shape, the 1% athlete-gods/goddesses ascend to higher and higher Olympian heights.

              Talk about worsening physical fitness inequality.

              We all need to have access to the same amount of exercise/workout time, the same healthy diet and knowledgeable trainers.

              1. clarky90

                Just do the exact opposite of what :they” tell you to do and you will be healthier, like your great grandparents were (sans infectious disease).

                Turn the food pyramid upside down! Eat brisket and pork belly.


                The media is NOT just lying about Trump. They are lying (for money) about the only thing on Earth that you have, that is worth anything- Your Health. Ask Steve Jobs. oh you can’t, he’s dead.

              2. Winston Smith

                Just stop eating foods heavy in sugar and foods made from white flour to start and start eating better. It is easier than you think.

                I started a work out program from bodybuilding.com (free) and you don’t have to buy all the supplments. Though I do buy Fudge Brownie protein powder and a BCAA drink during my work outs.

                Rest is healthy and clean foods, lots of oatmeal, salmon, chicken, beans, legumes and lots and lots of greens!

                I do cardio once and sometimes twice a day and often times the cardio is just a good brisk 25-30 min walk with the dog. I lift weights at least 3 -4 times a week for about 45 minutes to an hour. Beats loafing on the couch!

                I went from 190 lbs with 24% body fat down to 168lbs (today’s weight) with 17% body fat and I’m still working on it. Resting heart rate is in the mid 50s. I’m 48 years old and I look and feel better than I can remember.

                Funny one, of many, reasons I started eating healthy and starting my work out program was because of all the things I’ve read here.

                Control through a shatty diet!

                1. JacobiteInTraining

                  Ain’t that the truth!

                  I’ve coasted through my 30’s and early 40’s on (I guess) good genes/luck, but the last few years I have economized greatly to save $$ and found that (gollygeewhillikers) the nice inexpensive food spread such as what you reference – legumes, home ground whole grains, lean meats from friends/relatives that raise their own beef & chickens, taters, lots of home grown greens…is…._healthy_ too! :)

                  That and lots of nice fresh ice water from the rain catchment tank instead of high fructose corn syrup laden crapified ‘soft drinks’.

                  Now I just need to ditch smoking and drinking too, but hey…one thing at a time sweet jesus…at least weed is legal now in my state so I can transition slowly but surely… ;)

      1. DJG

        I feel much better knowing that craazyboy is out there, protecting the U S of A from Vladimir Putin and Cyrillic keyboards.

      1. Skippy

        I got kicked off…. ev’bal snicker…

        Disheveled Marsupial…. right about the time I was pointing out that Hillary was a neoliberal w/ a plantation in Haiti

        1. abynormal

          knee slapp’n funnee Skips

          In all ages the people have honored those who dishonored them. They have worshiped their destroyers; they have canonized the most gigantic liars, and buried the great thieves in marble and gold. Under the loftiest monuments sleeps the dust of murder.
          Ingersoll, Humboldt From ‘The Gods and Other Lectures’

          1. Skippy

            Amazing experience never the less aby….

            Years on econ and political philosophy sites where the breadth and width of the conversation can be observed and watched, the evolution of groups and individuals in real time.

            Goofing around with Philip P and some others that’s names might familiar with the NC crowd. Sadly tho, near the end, I found it disconcerting how some which were vehemently contra neoliberalism/neocon/MPS libertarian, when confronted with the difficulties in disseminating information, contra to the aforementioned, whilst incorporating new information, suffering epic bouts of cog dis or worse…. refusal to acknowledge the new information because it threatened long held beliefs or mental anchors.

            Per say Krugman’s neoclassical leanings or when confronted with the republican stable of preznit candidates ran like scared children to Hillary’s skirt. Nuland no problem, nefarious activity wrt slush funds cough trusts cough charity foundations, pro TTP, pro corporatism, grand bargain, the whole kitchen sink, all because Sanders did not have the animal like kill reflex to take on the republicans…. at their own game…

            Disheveled Marsupial…. whats the word again for putting people up on pedestals and not subject to the same standards that should apply to all…. oh yeah….

            1. hunkerdown

              whats the word again for putting people up on pedestals and not subject to the same standards that should apply to all…

              Order (as in law and) is a valid term.

              1. Skippy

                Sure as religious law I agree, albeit in many instances the use of cognitive force by deity was like the invisible hand, but, it did not arbitrarily mean the law was fundamentally wrong by association. Otherwise we would be faced with the notion of throwing out thousands of years of trial and error only to start all over again.

                Hunkerdown its worth noting the shift in post WWII collective societal introspection in the west and how that threatened a very small percentage of the over all population… and the methods they applied to remedy that issue. Something that NC has gone to pains to granularity unpack from an evidenced based approach imo. Yet what does that get you…beardos popping up like ghosts from antiquity wanting to pull everyone back into the primordial soup, because of their needs….

                Disheveled Marsupial…. my inference was more to classical heroine demigod sorta worship… like if you worship at the house of the DNC all the ev’bal will be thwarted….

      2. Cry Shop

        I picked up calling it Fecebook from my Latin friends, but Faceborg is an interesting alternative I’m starting to like. At least manure has some positives.

        I avoid G-, etc; this board is about as close as I care to get to social media. The downside is it makes it harder to reach out as blogs, etc; get sucked into the fermenting cesspool of Fecebook. Depressing that many independent news outlets in Asia have sold their soul to the borgs.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I must also express my thanks for the elimination of “The Trail” coverage. And I take some comfort in learning from Lambert I’m not the only one inclined to heavier drinking as I read the election news. It probably affects my blood pressure too.

      1. dbk

        I’ve been having the same issues the past couple months, also wondered how Lambert and Yves could do it. I read four blogs including this one rather obsessively each day, plus three-four progressive agglomeration sites, plus the NYT plus the Guardian plus HuffPost plus assorted other stuff I link to or people send me. I follow about fifteen twitter feeds (not a tweeter myself) + FB. It’s exhausting and demoralizing, and really, what more have I to learn about either candidate that would help me take the decision in November?

        I sort of abandoned the conventions to concentrate on trying to understand what’s going on in Turkey (that meet-up between Erdogan and Putin on the 9th may reveal something). This is a developing story with an almost unbelievable number of moving parts, and it’s only now really getting started. Talk about 11-dimensional chess – when it’s played in the NE, it’s the real deal.

      2. djrichard

        Ditto. I post a lot on businessinsider.com and if anything it’s had an anti-healing effect on me the last few weeks. I think it’s telling me that that’s not my ministry.

    5. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Not gonna lie, “The Trail,” is/was my favorite part of the Water Cooler.

      Then again, I don’t drink so my tolerance easily exceeds the majority here :)

      1. Starveling

        Eh, I was in the same boat but I think at this point it might as well fold into the other categories. The lockstep nature of media coverage has been disturbing. I can understand the entire media establishment belonging to the same class and all but… using the same exact adjectives in nearly every story? Didn’t they slam Trump’s wife for plagiarism? That’s lazy ‘writing’.

    6. Cracy

      Not a bad idea. I learnt something new today. Ironically related to the trail.

      It seems as if it is time to dust of the notion of pornocracy. At first sight it sounds nicer than it is. Means the rule by harlots. During the period of the horny popes, the concubines not only turned the heads around of the powerful through dirty deeds, but also amassed power and fortune and used these goods for their own purposes.

      Think a person sleeping (at least figuratively speaking) with Wall Street and any dictator paying money to a dedicated foundation. This person has also amassed such power that the person have a get-of-jail card for any kind of misdeeds.

  4. grayslady

    Regarding the Motley Fool article, one area of the Obamacare debacle (I almost wrote Obamacrap–a term that is probably more reflective of its actual value) that no writers are focusing on is the impact that this money-losing program is having on Medicare. Unfortunately, Medicare Part D (drug coverage), and other ancillary alphabet programs intended to cover Medicare shortfalls, are now being used to make up for profits lost on Obamacare.

    Premiums and co-pays for Medicare programs have skyrocketed in the past two years, ever since Obamacare came online. When I first signed up for a Medicare Part D program three years ago, I was able to pay $11 per month, and numerous generics were covered for free. Now I pay $19 per month plus $70 per year (euphemistically called a “co-pay”, but, in actuality, an up-front addition to the total premium). Needless to say, no generics are covered for free anymore. Additionally, only three Medicare Part D providers in my area of Illinois cover one of the medications I absolutely must have, and there is no generic equivalent. Insurance companies–making their money on the backs of the poor and the elderly.

    1. Pirmann

      The fact that insurance companies are “for profit” entities is one of the biggest crocks, especially since we’re required to have it (and I include home, auto, medical, etc in that mix).

      It is no wonder we see the behavior we see from insurance companies. Profit motive.

      1. bdy

        Insurance facilitates price gouging at the provider end.

        “How much will that be, Doc?”

        “Uh, how much have you got?”

        . . . should be a face to face talk where the patient can provide narrative context, and the doctor has to own his a$$h***ness. Rent somehow lets patients & docs go on pretending American medicine is benevolent and trusworthy.

        It’s amazing physicians as an occupation still have net favorables. Every time I see my guy I feel like I’m talking to a mechanic.

    2. DJG

      grayslady: Yes. In my case, I was bumped from a California Blue plan that I had been in for years, because the ACA doesn’t allow sale of insurance across state lines. I was an Illinois resident mercifully being covered by the Japanese American Citizens League. (No, I am not hapa, but they are great.)

      Then I went to Illinois Blue, which proceded to jack up prices greatly and blow up the deductible.

      So I have a job now, after twenty-five years of being a free lance.

      And it is a good thing that the network of doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals is good in northern Illinois. I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I lived in Mount Vernon.

      1. a different chris

        You may already know, but just to p&ss you off I will mention that my BCBS plan as an employee of a world-straddling (and non-American) multinational is administered by BCBS of Massachusetts, and I don’t live anywhere near Mass and in fact have only been there twice in my life, the last time was when Reagan was president.

        That’s the secret of Obamacare – it basically forces us into working for big corporations. Just the opposite of what a Public healthcare system does.

        1. Mark P.

          “It basically forces us into working for big corporations.”

          Thereby preserving a long-standing feature — not a bug — of U.S. ‘healthcare.’

    1. polecat

      ‘free college’ to what end ????

      …..if you still can’t obtain adequate employment………

      It seems like missing the forest, for some really big trees !

      1. hunkerdown

        The value of the tools of statecraft lies in their stratification. The knowledge of rhetoric and other ruses, tricks and implements of the ruling classes should be universal.

      1. Starveling

        No lie, I’d vote for Hitler himself if he promised to eliminate my student loans. Albatross over the neck of my entire generation. All you boomers who hope for youngin’s to buy those houses of yours? Dream on. We’re all so deep in hock to the student loan folks our DTIs are already all full up from these alone. Also awful credit scores, courtesy never actually paying the damn things.

          1. ambrit

            Credit Score : n. Something that is too low when one needs credit, and just right when one does not need credit.

        1. timbers

          IMO Trump should come out in favor of free college. It might scramble the race and he needs to do some scrambling if he’s to win.

          1. Aumua

            Hell, that might even sway me, but considering that any kind of debt relief/welfare for the masses is basically the opposite of Trump’s whole shtick.. I’m not holding out for that.

        2. Escher

          How much more support do you suppose Bernie could have picked up if he’d come out in favor of ending student loan nondischargeability in bankruptcy? My judgment may be biased here but I suspect that would have sold even better than “free college.”

          Hell, it’s not even a left position, it’s just un-rigged capitalism.

          1. aab

            He basically owned the under 35 demographic, unless you were extremely rich or extremely conservative or extremely low information. I’m in favor of a broad debt jubilee, but I don’t think that would have impacted his numbers much.

            He didn’t need more support. He won the primary. She was willing to go quite far to rig it. I don’t think there’s anything else he could have done to get past that.

            1. Escher

              He owned the *primary-voting* under 35 demographic. I’m willing to bet there are plenty of people who sat out the primaries who would run through a wall for the first candidate to offer a serious prospect of debt relief.

              But fair enough, the party bosses were willing to disenfranchise as many voters as it took to nominate the weaker candidate.

    2. notabanker

      The problem I have with the Overton Window is that it provides a wonderful view of the finely manicured garden in all it’s glory, but the reality of the voting booth is that it is in the outhouse out back where you can choose seat no 1 or seat no 2, no pun intended.

  5. John Merryman

    Keep your mind clear.
    21 trillion of debt to keep it going, it’s terminal and they are in denial.
    Clinton is the equivalent of brain cancer. Trump is comparable to sepsis.
    Eventually the reset button will get pushed.

  6. Rick

    Just found out about O-1A visa. Apparently this is commonly used by tech firms that can afford a significant legal department. No cap on number like H-1B.

    1. craazyboy

      Yikes. That explains a lot.

      Google it for immigration dept webpage. They say you have to be an Extraordinary Alien. Not just any mediocre alien can apply. Special powers needed. Able to work long hours without food and shelter…….willing to participate in the Bay Area Broccoli Harvest on Sundays….

    2. Anonymous

      Within STEM, the O1A is can be used for PhD holders but is difficult to get for BS/MS holders.

      A related point about the linked article on “stapling” H1B visas to STEM degrees, something that has not been picked up is an increase in MS degree programs. Public universities have increased MS offerings to compensate for decreased state funding, since MS tuition is usually at a much higher rate. One of the ironies — because it was historically the top-ranked private universities like Stanford that were considered to have MS degree mills, laundering the cachet of the university name for increased revenue. The increased enrollment in MS programs is largely foreign students, and there is a perception among the more wealthy families overseas that these MS programs are basically a way to get a US visa.

  7. Unorthodoxmarxist

    I’m a Political Scientist – specifically focusing in political theory. Re: Rawls – his theories were always a philosophical and ideological justification for the established liberal welfare state. His Law of Peoples reads like a time-capsule of post-Soviet liberalism. There is a certain amount of engagement with JS Mill’s “On Non-Intervention” but on the whole it is Mill’s gloss on the world order circa 1999, like A Theory of Justice was for the ’60s liberal state. C.B. MacPherson, the Canadian political theorist, has a great discussion of those flaws in his work Democratic Theory.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I recently was thinking about both Rawls and Habermas and how History seems to have both passed them by and will not be kind. How can you have liberal democracy with unimaginable diversity? My professor who translated Habermas mentioned more than once that political Islam posed a significant problem to the theory, especially if its presence in Western liberal democracies was going to be permanent. The law against the veil in France is a prime example of this irreconcilability. Now we’re under for all intents martial law and summarily closing mosques. Not very liberal.

      As a snarky aside, I always thought that Rawls was to Political Philosophy what Updike was to American Literature.

      1. Starveling

        Guys like Rawls only make sense in mostly homogeneous, high trust societies. Or maybe I just misread the fellow.

        Didn’t Putnam do some research that shows proximate diversity greatly lowers trust and atomizes societies?

        1. leftofmarx

          Don’t know about Putnam, but Diana Mutz has done some great work on cross-cutting political associations and participation.

          As for Rawls, Habermas, and their ilk: Counter-factual ideals are, by definition, fantasies. Rational and sometimes useful fantasies, but dreams none-the-less.

          No thinking wo/man could honestly think that the “veil of ignorance” or the “ideal speech situation” were useful avails for forging practical governance. Yet, with few exceptions, herds of socio-political academics, followed such misguided hopes in desperate efforts to salvage belief in the value of normative foundations that never were.

          Over the last forty-year-or-so, reflexive reverence for Rawls and other positivists strangled soico-political theory in the U.S. If Rawls goes–as he should–those tied to his coattails deserve the same fate.

        2. clincial wasteman

          Yes Leftofmarx, that point about Positivist stranglers should be broadcast over a giant, world-encompassing sound system until it’s finally understood. (Preferably mixed by Adrian Sherwood and Slimzee.)
          And Starveling, if distrust and atomization are the price of ‘proximate diversity’, that’s unfortunate but frankly worth it. If those things are incompatible with social justice we really are all doomed, because capitalism is not going to be undone one village at a time. Competitive, punitive distrust, i.e. 21st century life as we know it, is another matter, but I’m not convinced that ‘diversity’ causes all that throat-cutting, given what a big thing Competitive Conformism still seems to be.

  8. Roger Smith

    Re: What you didn’t see at the Democrat National Convention…”

    As I watched for the 3 days I could stand it I was constantly wondering how much sound board manipulating was going on through the stream (I watched the DNC youtube livestream–I would imagine networks would have had even better control via whatever live on air delay they may have had, a sort of “post” editing). It would be hard to block dissent entirely with the large space and mic bleed, but they certain could have swapped the levels to favor a “more supportive” section of the crowd.

    Re: I’m eliminating “The Trail” coverage…”

    As I watched The Big Short last night I couldn’t help but notice that, if you took out every banking reference and replaced it with a government and politics one, you’d be watching the same movie (except when society fails the 99% do not bail it out). The same mentally unstable, surreal behavior is currently being exhibited by this country’s administrative groups. The Big Double Down. For a while in the last year or so part of me questioned whether or not I was schizophrenic (insert joke about “telling myself…”). The reality that seemed baseline to me is not the one I see and everyone else seems to be going along just fine whereas I am constantly face-palming in frustration, ergo… Of course I don’t really think I am, but this amount of the leadership trying to get everyone into the same fake reality as they believe they are in could drive anyone mad. The tenacity for these fools to keep pressing is astounding and this election has shown the infection runs deeper than most would have thought.

    1. Geoph

      “That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”
      Erich Fromm, The Sane Society

    2. reslez

      TBH I think the truth is that all humans are deluded and reality-denying dreamworld inhabitants. We stroll blindly along the edge of the cliff until the day we fall off.

      Our brains are subject to universal cognitive errors and bias. We deceive ourselves to serve our own best stories of ourselves — and perceive this easily in others, almost never in ourselves.

      Many of our most deeply held “moral” and “ethical” beliefs are actually, when examined across population subgroups, motivated by pretty shallow self interest. One of the most obvious examples is that the poor are in favor of programs that benefit themselves, while the rich do likewise. Of course, there are far more poor/workers than there are rich people, and fundamental fairness (I do believe there’s such a thing) says the poor ought to win vastly more often than they do. At any rate, membership in the group has a huge influence on where one stands.

  9. Arizona Slim

    About that Uber app: I’ve been around Uber drivers who have tried to get help with the app.

    The drivers, many of whom appear to be down and out and desperate middle-agers, struggle to use it. From where I sit, it seems as if the app is deliberately designed to confuse (and screw) them.

    The Uber staffers who are supposed to be there to support the drivers, treat the drivers in a very condescending fashion. It’s as if the drivers are lesser-thans who are not worthy of their time.

    1. Pirmann

      Ever tried explaining something technical to a middle aged non-technical person? It might be the single most frustrating experience I’ve ever had. Talk about “head-desk”…

      1. flora

        Is it the “middle aged” or the “non-technical” that is the most significant modifier?

        1. Pirmann

          Seems to be both. Baby boomers do not like having to use something that they are not completely familiar with, and they especially do not like having someone younger teach them how to use something.

          In my experience, they’ll either (a) become very easily frustrated and just give up, or (b) begrudgingly accept the assistance but be stubborn about the whole experience thoughout.

          And “non-technical” with Boomers is an understatement. With GenX or certainly GenY, you’ll see at least a modicum of recognition of most things technical, but Boomers can often be absolutely lost. And they’ll go kicking and screaming if you try to help them learn.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Another way of saying this is that when you start valuing your time, you avoid using devices that are so poorly designed that they are time sinks. Really, what kind of UX/UI designer blames the users?

            1. hunkerdown

              Funny how we never fretted so much over UI/UX when filling out forms in triplicate in the good old days. “They’re forms, they’re part of the process, and you need to fill them out correctly” never got answered with backtalk when they were on paper.

          2. aab

            Just for the record, kid, I’m a tail end boomer who can’t code in any meaningful way who LOVES learning from the young ‘uns.

            It’s not really an age thing. It’s probably more about power differentials and people uncomfortable with learning as a general psychological trait. They probably didn’t react well when they were young when confronted to something they couldn’t grasp immediately either.

            And to be fair, living in a constant state of fear as the world you thought you understood slides out from under you probably doesn’t facilitate the learning process. And that’s going to be true of even people who are in the top 10% economically.

      2. aletheia33

        ah! the impatience of the young,
        with so much still to learn.
        one thing i’ve learned is how fun it can be
        just to watch the adult children as they bump over and over into unexpected obstacles in what they imagine the world to be.

        if you have older people in your life, like parents who love you,
        you might be surprised to know how often when talking about you
        they say things like “well, he/she doesn’t know yet…”
        looking knowingly at each other
        and smiling indulgently.

        1. low integer

          The whole idea that interaction between generations (as well as between other categories used to classify people) does not result in a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts is one of the main reasons the human race is in so much trouble imo.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Key conclusion from article re Uber:

      In this article, we have outlined how Uber’s claims regarding its labor model, which center on freedom, flexibility, and entrepreneurship, are complicated and contradicted by the experience of its drivers. Throughout our analysis, we have demonstrated how power and information asymmetries emerge via Uber’s software-based platform through algorithmic labor logistics shaping driver behavior, electronic surveillance, and policies for performance targets. Through the Uber app’s design and deployment, the company produces the equivalent effects of what most reasonable observers would define as a managed labor force. …Policymakers should take note of the power of automated systems to incentivize, homogenize, and generally control how workers behave within the system despite claims to systematic freedom or flexibility.

      I don’t know why they insisted on writing in academic-ese (“complicated and contradicted” = “is a lie”) but the conclusion is pretty straightforward: Independent contractors? Entrepreneurs? No.

  10. grayslady

    Today, Brian Krebs, at Krebs on Security, has an article on Social Security’s decision to implement two-factor authentication for online SS accounts. I brought up this issue in Links over the weekend, outraged that I had only received notification of the change two days prior to its inauguration, not to mention that, not having a cell phone, I was effectively being cut off from my online account. Somewhat amusingly, in the comments section of Krebs’s article, even people who do have cell phones said they are not able to access the system.

    This morning, I called both my senators about the problem, my congressman (who happens to sit on the House Subcommittee that oversees SS), and Senator Sherrod Brown’s office in Washington (he sits on the Senate Subcommittee that oversees SS). My congressman’s office was worthless; both my senator’s aides were unaware of the problem but agreed it was the wrong way to tackle a security issue and said they would pass on the message. Sherrod Brown’s aide told me I was one of dozens of people who had called Brown’s office this morning, all of us outraged, that Brown was aware of the issue, and that he was going to attempt to get SS to change the announced policy. We’ll see.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s just awful, and a real sign of crapification. From the article:

      I’m one of the 73% of those age 65+ who do not own a smart phone. (Pew Research Center Factank April 29, 2015). As a result of the new Social Security login requirements it’s likely that the great majority of seniors currently using the “My Social Security website” will no longer be able to do so.

      So, in other words, they’re deliberately targeting — screwing over — their users with a terrible user experience. That’s our Democrats.

        1. craazyboy

          Dunno why they bother with security. We’ve been told there is no money to steal there.

          haha. Just kidding.

          Actually, I read a while back there was no inflation increase this year. But I still see our terribly too low inflation data bounce around from 1.5% to 1.9% over at least the past year.

          So it seems they decided (arbitrarily) that 1.5% = 0 ? More concerned about that.

      1. windsock

        Apparently, there is a trial in the UK to pay unemployment and sickness benefits to people by smartphone app, which can only be used in one bank (Barclays) and various limited retail outlets.

        On £74 a week JobSeekers Allowance (JSA), who can afford a smartphone (and a common criticism of the “undeserving poor” on benefits over here has been that they have smartphones and big tvs so should not be in need of said benefits)?


    2. DJG

      Yes, I got that e-mail, too. As a free lance, I had an on-line version of my account for some time, so that I could track the benefits. Do you recall when they eliminated sending out printed statements? They didn’t bother to tell anyone.

      Double-authentication for grandma who is 83 years old, still has a landline, and lives alone? Double-authentication for grandpa, the immigrant from Hungary, who never learned to read and write English properly, is now 87, and not completely lucid? What could possibly go wrong?

      It strikes me that the potential for fraud now is greater, as people ask their louche neighbors to navigate the system for them.

      1. grayslady

        According to an article in Reuters, SS stopped mailing the annual statements in 2011 due to budgetary pressures. However, after considerable citizen howling, in 2014, SS agreed to send out benefit statements again–only now, you will only receive a printed statement every five years rather than every year.

        1. DJG

          So I get my next statement in 2019 from Social Security?

          One of the problems with reports is that they are badly designed and waste paper. My IRAs are with a company that doesn’t want to send paper reports, either. How convenient. Then I get the paper reports, which are a design disaster and signal of incompetence. (And I tend to doubt that the on-line version would be better.)

          I’m sure that Social Security will also think of a way of doing a twelve-page report with meaningless pie charts and sending it in an envelope that incurs a surcharge. They have a whole department planning this mass mailing. Further, with only electronic records, what will we do if SS makes a miscalculation? There is no paper proof.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          I recently went through my elderly father’s financial records and he had all his SS statements in a file folder. One page statements, very clear. What was the problem?

          He’s receiving SS, not paying in. But I still get those “Here is where you are” statements for people paying in. They are not quite as clear but still way better than anything I get from my bank or IRA.

          1. DJG

            Are you still getting them on paper? Because Social Security has resisted sending them on paper to me. Hence my use of their homepage on-line.

    3. flora

      “both my senator’s aides were unaware of the problem but agreed it was the wrong way to tackle a security issue and said they would pass on the message. ”
      SS is essentially foisting IT security responsibility onto SS recipients instead of doing a better job inhouse. (mutters something to self…) Thanks for calling your senators’ and congressman’s offices.

    4. Jim Haygood

      ‘both my senator’s aides were unaware of the problem’

      There’s a reason for that, according to MarketWatch:

      “The change was prompted by a new executive order requiring all federal agencies that provide online access to consumers’ personal information to use multi-factor authentication.”

      Thanks, President 0bama! You’re a real “small d” democrat (that’s a double entendre, by the way).

      Maybe somebody will start a petition on the White House website.

      1. low integer

        that’s a double entendre, by the way

        That is hilarious! I know I’ve poked at you a few times in the past but I’m past that. It is just not the time for petty grievances imo. Not sure if you even noticed, but I just thought I’d put it out there.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you very much for the link and the information. I used the link in Krebs article and blocked access to my SS account and information.

      My ID was stolen from a U.S. DoD facility holding my clearance. If your “ID” isn’t safe there it certainly isn’t safe with the SS administration or the IRS or the many companies demanding the information before providing basic services like electric and phones.

      A recent burn — my state, New Jersey required me to get my W-2 for unemployment benefits by going on-line and entering all sorts of PID details to setup the access.

      An interesting new twist came last week when I setup my home Internet account with Comcast. Comcast uses a service of LexisNexis to access credit agencies to determine whether I need to give Comcast a deposit or pre-pay for services. As recommended in the Krebs article I froze my credit reporting at all three agencies so of course LexisNexis couldn’t find me. It pissed me off to pay a deposit for service — especially since I had been a trouble-free customer of Comcast at previous address only a few years earlier.

    6. flora

      adding: yes, 2-part authentication is now considered security best practice.
      Only 2 day’s notice? Notice sent by email not letter – when SS has long instructed recipients to regard emails as phishing attempts? Requiring a particular hardware to use instead of general computing hardware?
      (mutters even louder to self and walks away….)

      1. Jim Haygood

        Likely, phishers will use this windfall opportunity to spam millions of victims.

        For instance, you’ll get an email on fake SSA letterhead announcing that two-factor authentication has been repealed by public demand … and now it’s necessary to send your login and password to “reactivate your account.”

        It’s stupid easy, when the authorities themselves have vaporized their own credibility.

  11. Ranger Rick

    I think people underestimate what those copyright rules in the TPP are going to do. The elimination of fair use alone is going to cripple Youtube, so why is Google so happy about it?

    Also re: Rawls, that article is a neoliberal screed (“Rawls is against migration”). As I remember it being taught, the original position ascribes an almost religious importance to impartial empirical observation of the current state of affairs and makes all of its value judgments from the perspective of the “stochastic man.” It cares little for feel-good politics or big picture social goals that knowingly cause short term disruptions.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Regarding the TPP and elimination of fair use — it just occurred to me what a wonderful tool it provides for squelching free-speech, Youtube has a lot of political and social parody based on fair use.

      I haven’t read the copyright rules in the TPP — how do they affect things like copying an assignment page from a textbook on hold for student use at the library?

      Would you please suggest other ways TPP’s copyright rules might impact us?

      1. Mark P.

        ‘Would you please suggest other ways TPP’s copyright rules might impact us?’

        Yeah. The most critical area is pharmaceuticals and biogenetic technologies, in my view. Big Pharma is trying to do a global end-run around an oncoming revolution and preserve — indeed, enhance — its current dominance. What’s at stake? Maybe a couple of decades of added healthy life for thousands of millions of people on the planet. And I’m serious.

        Here in 2016, there are fast-advancing techniques of synthetic biology that in no way resemble your father’s genetic engineering and they can make a biotech startup very cheap. Essentially, one designs in silico the genetic sequences coding for the traits one wants, sends out to a DNA synthesis house for those oligos, and when they arrive one inserts them into the target microbial organism, which then becomes a molecular factory producing in vitro a desired end product — usually a chemical compound or therapeutic drug, though there are also companies working on producing clothing fabrics and foods in this way

        I’m simplifying a little. Nevertheless, when you see the term biologic, that’s what that means. It’s a therapeutic substance produced by a biological source.

        Currently, in the U.S. it takes between six to fifteen years to clear a new therapeutic drug through full FDA trials, and the cost can easily run to millions of dollars. Only Big Pharma has the deep pockets to deal with this regulatory regime and, of course, the same revolving doors between the drug companies and regulatory agencies exist as in finance. At present, if a new biotech company produces a drug that’s worth anything, it’s going to get bought up by a Big Pharma corporation (who may then choose to bury the product, rather than take it market).

        The revolution in synthetic bio has the potential to produce many, many biologics much more cheaply than Big Pharma would in many cases desire and also to create biologics that via different pathways achieve the same end effect(s) as existing high-profit drugs marketed by big pharmaceutical corporations.

        Big Pharma would very definitely like to clamp down on that sort of thing and extend the American IP regime and regulatory mechanisms globally.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thank you for this deeper insight into an important driver for the TPP. I will learn more about biologic drugs.

          One off-the-wall after thought — I’m not sure what scale of organization and capital a small biologic startup would require — it seems like a promising opportunity for organized crime to create street drugs and provide product for a medical drugs black market.

          1. ambrit

            The real irony here is that there is already a built in consumer base for a Black Market for standard medical drugs. With generic prices for commonly used drugs rising faster than ever, for no good reason I’d add, ‘Underground’ chemists can fill a lucrative niche without gouging the public. This reminds me of Kornbluth’s “The Syndic” where organized crime runs a parallel government that compliments a corrupt political establishment.

    2. dirigae

      Google is happy because they have enough political influence and money that copyright rules do not apply to them. They went through a number of lawsuits regarding their Google Books offering because its legality of displaying large portions of copyrighted books was dubious, but Google was ultimately victorious. The issue was that if your copyright violation is at a large enough scale, there is really no one with legal standing or the funds to sue. (Essentially the AirBnB and Uber playbooks.) Only large media corporations have enough power, but Google does not care about them because it enters into licensing agreements to sell media with the large media corporations.

  12. dcblogger

    watching the Democratic convention was a big mistake. I am in the worst mood I have been in in years. really foul. So, for everyone’s sake, listen to Mozart, and season your food with saffron and lavender.

    1. sunny129

      I had long time ago decided and watched neither RNC or the DNC – circus of the freaks!

      In fact I ceased watching any of the broadcast or the cable news on TV. Just read headlines online on their web sites and then rarely go further.

      Choose the freedom to UNPLUG from the grid/matrix, periodically. Wonderful to one’s mental health1

      I use ALL electronic LEASHES of any kind ( smart phones/tablet ++) when and where I decide to use them. Got a unlisted phone# to be published on the directory goes direct my voice mail at the local phone co.
      I have felt good about those decisions!

      1. notabanker

        It has been many, many years since I have watched any American MSM TV. However, I felt it was my duty to educate myself and watch some of the DNC Coverage.

        I found it completely repulsive and insulting. I forced myself to watch 10 minutes of the CNN talking heads, then switched to PBS, which was a far more polite, yet still repulsive perspective. I watched Chelsea take runner up to Ivanka’s intro and fell asleep before the balloons fell on HRC.

        Lambert is being kind to describe it as surreal. The fascist Orwellian themes are on plain display for everyone to see. It’s quite concerning.

    2. polecat

      Ah….that reminds me…i need to divide my saffron bulbs soon…

      they produce more flowers, hence more safrfon threads if divided and replanted every couple of years.


    3. Anne

      I did not watch the Democratic convention; I had no interest in being witness to this so-called historic event, mainly because it was reminding me of those “educators” in places like Texas who just eliminated entire chunks of actual events and were happy to call that “history.”

      There was a part of me that felt a little like an ostrich, sticking my head in the sand and pretending that if I couldn’t see it, it wasn’t happening, but I just could not bring myself to watch whatever product was going to result from a corrupt media’s marriage to a corrupt political party’s show.

      I did, actually, watch Sanders speak, and I was taken aback a little at how much emotion I felt as he stood there for minutes as the crowd roared and clapped and showered him with acclaim. I knew anything I watched after that would be through a lens of “what might have been.”

      Which is not to say I didn’t read any of the coverage, or see any of the clips – I did – and even in those little doses, it was too much.

      My nephew posted to Facebook that while he hadn’t been a Hillary supporter, he was going to be gracious and acknowledge this historic accomplishment and congratulate those who are “with her.” My response was that I very much doubted if he’d be so gracious, or feel the need to acknowledge history if, say, Carly Fiorina had been the nominee of the GOP – or someone like Palin.

      I am a big proponent of and user of essential oils, and trust me when I tell you that I have been making more use of those that are good for anxiety and depression, lol. Which is not to say, I haven’t been hitting the vodka a little more than usual some nights, but, hey, you do what you have to do, right? Work’s been a bitch-and-a-half, too, so I’ve been spending more time with my grandsons – 3 1/2, 22 months and 7 months – who never fail to get me out of my head and lift my spirits.

      That’s what one has to find – something from which to replenish the joy that this entire political season has sucked out of us.

    4. JeffC

      Watching the Dem convention was a mistake for us as well. We had to take my wife to the ER for a hypertensive crisis after Hillary was nominated. Blood pressure of 230/120. Seriously dangerous. She didn’t know she had hypertension before that. The good news is that the three meds they put her on dropped the numbers nicely. Whew!

    5. inode_buddha

      This site needs a “like” button (sorry Lambert)…. I really like the way you think!

    1. MtnLife

      “This management team needs some new blood. Jimmy! Run down to the mailroom, strap some of those lads to the gurneys, and bring me back a few pints. Be quick about it – I don’t have all day to start feeling young.”

    2. Mark P.

      “My blood happens to be stuck inside your veins. However, I intend to fix this problem.”

  13. dcblogger

    Anyone else notice that the minute Bernie Sanders left the race all conversation about how to solve our problems and it instantly disintegrated into charges and counter charges?

    1. Ranger Rick

      Whatever happened to “no dynasty presidents” anyway? It was a popular refrain before the first RNC debate.

      1. Roger Smith


        After the DNC everyone’s brains were melted. Trump should bring it back.

  14. jo6pac

    One of berns people is thinking of joining the Greens and a commenter points her career is over with demodogs. This is the only so-called progressive site that has this, all the rest have drank their cool-aid and are trying to lead the sheeple down the trail. In comments it’s not as easy as they thought.


    Lambert thanks for decision to drop NC/Watercooler out of the madness.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The small group of Bernie backers I joined locally is definitely NOT drinking the Kool-Aid. A faction from the group split off to join a Jill Stein/Green Party group and other factions have shifted focus toward affecting local politics — though without much meaningful direction.

      After the primaries I’m convinced making change through the ballot box — especially the electronic ballot box — is something of a lost cause. Marching in the streets has proven ineffective and dangerous to one’s health. [Yes — Vietnam protests did have an effect on Nixon according to Howard Zinn — but Nixon was a relatively nice guy and honorable compared with our present rulers.] What’s left?

      1. dk

        other factions have shifted focus toward affecting local politics

        This is really good news. They don’t need a lot of direction to get started. The issues are known and well articulated now, self/mutual-identification will work. It takes 2-6 years to field winning Congressional candidates, this is how that starts.

        It’s okay to get depressed (you’d be crazy not to), but don’t throw away your gear just yet.

      2. bobh

        What’s left….? Hillary’s nomination is, and her election will be, a downer. Trump’s election might be even worse, or it might be less awful. He is more of a wild card. It is hard to say whether a neoliberal true believer will do more harm than an empowered shallow narcissist. Unpredictable short and long-term events and trends–Supreme Court vacancies, the rise of more electable GOP neofascists, the hatching of neoliberal grand bargains and trade deals, wars, wars, wars, economic collapses, who gets blamed for the next four years, who benefits from this blame, etc.– will give hints about which of these two possible outcomes will have turned out to be the worst disaster. We can’t know this now, and trying to predict it is too hard. It troubles me that so many here at NC want to pretend that Trump won’t be worse than Hillary. That seems not necessarily wrong but still mostly wishful thinking. I’m afraid all that those who would have preferred a President Sanders can do is watch things unfold and, if working in electoral politics still suits us, doing what we can to frighten politicians into not doing things like lame duck TPP passage.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think either candidate crippled (delegitimized) and faced with gridlock is a good thing. So I want Clinton and a Republican Senate, or Trump and a Democrat Senate. (That’s the outcome I want; that doesn’t say how I will vote.)

          Other than that, I think (and I certainly hope I don’t pretend) that Democrat control of the President and the Senate means TPP, a grand bargain, and a war (and I’m not even going to qualify that. The national security class wants a war so bad they can taste it and kudos to Obama for holding them off). It’s hard to see how that would be worse than Trump, especially given that (a) so many Republicans are turning Democrat and (b) are visibly trying to McGovern Trump. Plus, Trump could ride into town and get stuck in the mud after four months, just like Carter. Which evil is the more effective?

          I don’t agree that all Sanders supporters can do is “watch things unfold.” At all. First, the left needs an independent voice that is not liberal and not conservative (i.e., not any flavor of neoliberal). The way to get a voice is to be a voice. Second, Sanders voters can work to cripple both candidates. Third, on issues like election fraud — heck, issues in general — Sanders voters can say things that the legacy parties can’t say. I think there’s plenty of scope for the Sanders voter.

          (Note that no TPP is a requirement for anything else, since the ISDS lost profits cause will gut anything not market-centric.)

          1. pretzelattack

            imagine exxon suing the us for lost profits if we ever did start to address climate change seriously.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                I believe that in both Haiti and Ireland (not in the US, but in the UK) that slaveowners were compensated for the slaves when slavery was abolished. So…

          2. bobh

            Sorry. I would change “watch things unfold” to “bide our time” and “pretend” to “think.”

            Yes, gridlock would be a good thing, just as it was when Obama failed to trash the New Deal. The problem is we will probably have to decide whose election to hope for the day before we know who will control the Senate. Given gridlock, and the rancor of the electorate, I think either President Trump or President Clinton is sure to be crippled on day one and, given the way the world is trending, a one term president. But what rough beast would we get in 2020 to succeed Clinton? And could we get a Bernie to succeed Trump? In my heart, I fear that 2009 was our last shot at a soft landing.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I think 2020 would be too late for Sanders. Another reason that working (to split) from with the Democrat Party is a reasonable strategy, given the likelihood of the Greens developing a candidate of presidential stature in four years. And the Republican Party when it was founded had abolition and the abolitionists as a tailwind, and the possibility of capturing an entire region. Is there anything like that today?

          3. 3.14e-9

            Funny, just last night I was thinking that the solution might be to vote across party lines, one party for president and the other for down-ticket. I’d say “great minds think alike,” except that I don’t consider my mind all that great — especially since, as Lambert and others have pointed out, this election cycle has made me completely out of my mind. I’m not a big drinker. After the ballot counting ended and Bernie made his motion to suspend the rules, I dove into a half gallon of ice cream, and it was only my spoon hitting the bottom that snapped me out of it. I’m better now. Needless to say, I skipped the rest of the convention.

            So yes, the answer might be to vote for Trump and Democrats for all the down-ticket races, or Clinton and Republicans. The question is, which combination is likeliest to come to pass if everyone votes straight party line? I’m betting that Clinton is going to win. The election fraud bag of tricks used to beat Bernie was too extensive to be a mere coincidence, and then if you add in voter machine hacking and the defection of big money GOP donors to Clinton, the odds are in favor of the Clinton Global Empire. How big will her coat-tails be? I also would add the caveat that if we decide to vote for down-ticket Republicans, the exception should be the progressive candidates that have been endorsed by Bernie.

            Thanks to Lambert, Yves, and NCers for all the mental health support.

        2. John k

          ‘An empowered shallow narcissist.’
          Are you implying this does not describe Hillary?
          If so, with which word do you quibble?
          If, on the other hand, you think this phrase describes them both, can we agree that neither neocon warmonger nor neolib bank toady clearly describes trump?
          There are those that try to throw sand in our face, sirens will be employed to distract us, But we must remain in focus, and with our senses ever alert, on our quest for the elusive lesser.

          1. 3.14e-9

            Focus and clarity, 100 percent. Which means focusing not only on the candidates, but who they are likely to bring in with them. When a founding member of PNAC endorses the Democrat, traditional narratives go out the window.

            Another one I’ve started seriously questioning is blaming Nader for Bush and the Iraq War — not just the spoiler myth, which has been discussed ad nauseam, but the notion that Bush (or Bush/Cheney) came up with the plan to invade Iraq. The plans were already under way in the Clinton administration. Granted, the Iraq Liberation Act didn’t recommend taking out Saddam by force, as Hillary did with Gadhafi, and he bombed them for “only” four days. But it’s clear that the interventionists wanted to take out Saddam and were looking for any excuse. What are the odds, do you think, that if Bill Clinton had still been in office on 9/11, the U.S. would have gone to war with Iraq? How do we know Gore wouldn’t have? Americans were out for revenge, virtually giving the interventionists a free pass.

            1. skip Intro

              We just assume that the events of 9/11 were independent of the 2000 ‘election’ results. To do otherwise would open doors better left closed.

  15. fresno dan

    “There are widespread rumors in Silicon Valley, where life-extension science is a popular obsession, that various wealthy individuals from the tech world have already begun practicing parabiosis, spending tens of thousands of dollars for the procedures and young-person-blood, and repeating the exercise several times a year. In our April 2015 interview, Thiel was seemingly explicit that parabiosis was something he hadn’t “quite, quite, quite started yet.” A Thiel Capital spokesman said nothing had changed since then.”

    “Quite, quite, quite started yet” certainly sounds Clintonesque to me. A normal person would say “has not started yet” and when you start putting “quite” in front, and than 3 “quites” as a qualifier, it begs the question of what an official, legal start of Parabiosis is….using a virgin???

    Andy Warhol’s Dracula explicitly shows the danger of non-wirgin blood…

    1. TheCatSaid

      I’m not familiar with Parabiosis. But I know a businessman with MS who went to China for stem cell treatment and at least initially got remarkable results. (Normal vision, hair color changed, lots of strength returned) I don’t know to what extent he kept up with his follow-up routine (specific exercises and chinese herbs). Also they diagnosed the location of the cause and specific exacerbations.

      It was interesting stuff. That said, even exceptional therapies like this don’t address the mental / emotional / soul aspects of health and disease. In many cases, those aspects are crucial for healing.

    2. giantsquid

      Parabiosis is probably a dangerous life-extension procedure for humans to undergo at present because: 1) over a long period of time, treatments that rejuvenate stem cells in old animals will likely stimulate increases in precancerous and cancerous cells; and 2) in experiments where the recipient and donor animals are not inbred (genetically essentially identical), a significant portion of the recipients die of something akin to tissue rejection.

  16. DJG

    All right, Lambert, I will bite: The viability of the Green Party. As always, Illinois is somewhat exceptional. The Green Party has run viable candidates in more than one congressional district, but especially the fifth. Commenter grizziz mentioned being one of the candidates. Is that you, LW? RS? The Green race received major-media coverage. Also, the Greens regularly run candidates for the Metropolitican Water Reclamation District. This is the board that is supposed to oversee the cleaning up of water and its reuse. Chicago being very much about water–look at all of that lakefront (which we can, because of Friends of the Park !)–the Water board is fairly high profile. And I regularly vote for the Green candidates. So many of us here are in the habit already of voting for Greens.

    That said, I do recall how the Greens squandered their glorious non-victory against Rod Blagojevich. Rich Whitney just couldn’t leverage it. I met him once or twice, too, and he was cowardly about gun control. Hardly a visionary. Then the Greens engaged in some petition challenges–that was lovely, now wasn’t it? Set the party back considerably, engaging in sleazy tactics like the Dems and Reps.

    All in all, do the Greens have the potential to be a viable political party? Yes. On the other hand, they haven’t made their way into the Chicago City Council, and there is enough of a Green electorate in the city to get at least one Green alderman into that potpourri. Hmmm.

    In other states, the Greens may engage in kumbaya and talking-stick meetings till any potential activists are enervated. It may be that Illinois is overdue for change. Some urgency here means viability for other ideas–and with so much money mysteriously slushing into the TIF funds, we sometimes do want to know where all of the taxes have gone. We can’t go on believing that L’il Lisa Madigan is a breath of fresh air and feminist achievement for much longer.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, good luck to them. IIRC, the number of GP office-holders was in the 70s, so they have a ways to go.

      In Maine, they went from a respectable governors challenge to dysfunction in the space of a decade. Hope springs eternal, and it’s possible I missed something because I’m not on FaceBorg, and that’s their medium of choice.

    2. Stu from New Jersey

      It’s an interesting question. I used to be active in the GP, but dropped out 10 years ago. However, I found myself downloading a petition form the other day, getting a few signatures and handing them in.

      Back in the day, I was a candidate twice and worked on 3 other campaigns. Also chaired a state’s communications committee. Although I’m not gung-ho on electoral politics any more, I find this one (Stein) attractive and will probably volunteer to distribute a few thousand leaflets door-to-door (I’ve done this in my town a few times and know the routine.)

      There are thousands like me (ex-GP’ers with experience). The question is how many will come out of the woodwork and how fast?

      I doubt that it will be fast enough to get 15% in the polls by mid September, but it could be enough to get FEC funding for the next cycle (5%). Ironically, I think the number of people who do NOT chicken out on Election Day (or, get out of bed and go to the polls) may co-depend on how the Libertarians do, since 2 3rd-party challenges changes the landscape more than one. (Theoretically, an election can be won with only 26% of the vote, thanks to the GOP and Dems.)

      1. jo6pac

        I do hope some do and yes 15% might not be possible this round but there are other rounds coming up I hope.

  17. dcblogger

    Thiel seems to be carrying the notion of “human resources” very far; perhaps, even, too far.

    lends a whole new meaning to the term human capital.

  18. HBE

    Amazon becoming profitable article.

    What happens when crude prices go up, or merchants band together after amazon screws enough of them by copying their products (http://fortune.com/2016/04/20/amazon-copies-merchants/), or warehouse workers say enough to the logistics hell, a job at one of Amazons shipping facilities amounts to.

    I believe personal to the door overnight shipping, like Amazon can only exist sustainably under only very specific conditions (low energy, near slave Labor work conditions, costs etc.) when oil jumps back to 150+ a barrel or enough merchants get facked through what amounts to patent infringement, amazon will be back in the red.

    I mean it took them nearly a decade to become profitable, and it only happened after a tank in crude prices and patent infringement.

  19. Anon

    I’ll kinda miss The Trail, but at the same time, it allows focus into other things of note. Also, despite joining it less than a month ago, I have found the appeal of Twitter: It’s the fast track to growing ones views in the sense that you can either fine-tune it to be an echo chamber or get a variety of differing views to approach some modicum of truth (at some point).

    I have a friend on Facebook who has started to write reasons that #ImWithHer, which I may crop out and forward to you at some point, Lambert with identifying details censored. If nothing else, it keeps the refutation knives sharp, which I think will be important as we move on.

  20. Synoia

    Housing: Today we take a look at a small home in Orange.

    Please give me the address. I’m 200 yards from Orange.

  21. Jeremy Grimm

    I watched a video of a speech Chris Hedges gave a few weeks ago at a Greens panel discussion held in Philadelphia. I listened to a little bit of the other Green panelists and immediately went to the ff and rw buttons to search for the beginning of Chris Hedges speech.

    The Green panelists brought back horrible memories of the open student council at my College where a group of largely Marxist grad students in philosophy (Marcuse was a professor teaching at my school at the time) debated endlessly on the revolutionary propriety of various actions and issues.

    I hope I don’t need to say further about how little was ever decided. I also hope I got the wrong impression of Greens — they definitely need to worry about the first impression they project.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      This should be in the thread started above — DJG 3:49 PM. I must start reading more carefully.

  22. Stephanie

    Putting the whole link here because I am not sure what to make of it:


    Is this environmentalism? Is it gentrification? Can you not do one without the other? The houses will be between 300 and 1,200 square feet and will cost between $100k – $150k. The neighborhood is planned for one parking stall for every two houses, and is designed for heavy use of and in close proximity to the bus line, which is great – but: Much of the existing housing stock in the neighborhood is post-war era or older and consequently already smaller and cheaper; a quick Zillow search on the Payne-Phalen neighborhood shows a lot of stuff between 800 and 2,000 sq ft coming in between $85k – $135k. Plus it exists already, no new construction needed, and usually comes with multiple bedrooms for the multi-generation families that live around here; the tiny houses will not have that.

    Of course, I would imagine the target market is new grads with jobs downtown (on the busline!), no kids, and parents to help with down payments (stereotyping, I know). I would guess that as soon as they do want to have children or change jobs they will want to sell. What do you think the resale for these kinda gimmicky condos will be in 5 – 7 years? Maybe the parents will keep the property and rent it out when that happens; the Zillow search listed about 6 foreclosures in the first 30 or so properties I glanced at.

      1. Teejay

        Well, they put a gazebo in the back and it’s made entirely out of scrotum. It’s the most comfortable chair anywhere. Louis Black

      2. bdy

        The smaller the envelope the higher cost/foot. As sf shrinks, lineal feet of wall decreases at lower rate. Smaller discreet construction tasks increase the rate of labor/ft. Also fixtures, appliances and mechanical costs are fixed irrespective of sf. Tricky to get a new home any size together for <100k nowadays.

      3. JCC

        Get yourself a decent, used (good “bones”), 30 ft Airstream Trailer for around $10K to $20K, modernize it, and you are good to go for probably well less than $40K, including a couple of solar panels mounted on the roof.

        And then, when you get sick of the local HOA telling you what you can and can’t do with it, move it all, lock, stock, and rain barrel.

        (Note: That happens to be my retirement plan being put into effect now)

    1. Steve H.

      ‘Round here they useta call that a trailer park…

      These have none of the advantages of tiny homes as I know them. Permanent placement? Which means you can’t pick up your property and move it. The model is made from a shipping container, which (leaving aside the toxic residues in some) are not built to be a house and are hard to insulate, where are they o yeh Minnesota. And they won’t be so tiny neither.

      “Local government exists for one reason and one reason only: to decide how land gets used. Everything, and I mean everything, that local government does deconstructs to a decision about which landowners will win, and which will lose.

      Who gets rich, and who doesn’t.”
      – Gregory Travis

      Just someone trying to get rich.

      1. Steve H.

        A quick ‘hmm.’ A well-designed tiny house has the design qualities of a live-in boat. The bathroom is something to hone in on to check the quality of the design. Some have you sit on the toilet to take a shower, for example.

        Utility hookups are not necessary in most of the ones I’ve seen. They are costly, and around here are a windfall for plumbers. Those hookups add to the listed value of the property, and if I understand this plan, there will be more hookups per acre than a normal subdivision.

        That might be a clue about who benefits. It won’t be the residents, who will have the negatives of high-density living without many positives. At least they won’t be paying condominium fees, I guess.

    2. aletheia33

      i’ve been reading a lot about the tiny house movement because i may be moving into one, which is a longish story but mostly about getting caught by the 2008 crash and now having declining income due to aging. compared to some projects i’ve seen that seem better put together, the one in this article strikes me as somewhat amateurish.

      the tiny house movement is really big and growing fast. it seems to be capturing a constellation of ideas floating around in the zeitgeist. it has many sides to it and has captivated all kinds of people. do-it-yourselfers building tiny cabins so they can live cheaply off the grid, young design school graduates trying to jumpstart their careers, aging visionaries seeing their ideas of the 60s coming back around, young couples underemployed and in debt looking for an alternative to living in the parents’ basements, etc.

      all of them seem to agree that maximally energy efficient homes of minimal size are environmentally desirable. there is a strong vision of moving away from the suburbia model of big fuel-guzzling houses and car dependence. and aside from all the other purposes for tiny homes, there is interest coming from federal and state agencies, nonprofits, and the like (yes, the credentialed class)–in the possibilities tiny homes might represent for affordable housing. needless to say the recession has created an affordable housing crisis, with large numbers of people simply unable to rent or buy homes at all. trailer parks originally arose out of the great depression, when people took to buying what had been a luxury travel item for the wealthy because they were cheaper than any kind of house, parking them together on what land they could find, and living in them as permanent homes.

      the history of trailers and mobile home parks is fascinating when you dig into it. whether a new paradigm for affordable housing can supplant the mobile home park model it is too soon to tell, but it is certainly true that the planned tiny home community for low-income people is the same basic type of arrangement: a high density of multiple tiny homes. however, trailer parks as they’ve existed until now are a pretty bad scenario for low-income people (quelle surprise). most are privately owned, so lot rents can increase and ownership can change overnight, displacing residents. mobile home construction has improved greatly in recent times, including better insulation and energy costs, but you are still getting a high-maintenance home that will only depreciate in value.

      one of the biggest problems in affordable housing is NIMBYism, usually codified in zoning. the stigma of the trailer park is very strong. whether cuter buildings and adding a central community hall will be enough to shift that phenomenon i certainly doubt.

      1. polecat

        Perhaps, AFTER the ‘1st Demoblican Nuclear War’, zoning won’t be much of an issue….

      2. Carolinian

        There is a factory near where I live that makes log cabin mobile homes. Needless to say they are “log looking” homes, not made out of actual logs. This predated the Tiny House movement and they were so successful they now make full size prefab log cabin kits.

        I applaud your thinking. We may all have to start studying back issues of Whole Earth Catalog.

      3. JacobiteInTraining

        I am interested in tiny homes for all of the reasons detailed above – but also from a political/community perspective.

        Sure, its probably a bit too late to go back to a Jeffersonian ideal of communities made up of ‘citizen farmers’, but at least in some of the tiny home communities I have seen in my area – and certainly in the area I am actually in – the fact that each of us is not afloat all by ourselves, isolated, in our self contained uber-digitized resource intensive ‘unsinkable’ McMansion Titanics – and is instead in the equivalent of a small group of interrelated modest sailing ships – means we have to work together, and think together.

        We share produce we grow, we pool $$ to buy things like a locally butchered grass-fed drug-free side of beef, we exchange knowledge, we have the modern equivalent of community barnraisings, we know everyone and pitch in for rides to the clinic/hospital, or for social events. The 80-year-old guy who is a retired stonemason and rockhound teaches us 49-year-old youngins how to build a stable wall….and we show him how to use Social Security two-factor authentication (lol)….well, you get the idea.

        Best of all, we have all come to know everyone. Bad apples don’t stay long, they are shunned and move on. We hardly have any need for cops – some of us are ex-military or LEOs – others are just tough, but fair, and/or have legal experience.

        Someday someone tries to mess with us unfairly, well…we are a community. We Stand Alone Together. It ain’t utopia….but its a start, with a frontier/pioneer ‘we are all in this together, and external forces f*ck with us at their peril’ ethos.

    3. Mark Alexander

      I had an interest in tiny houses when I was living in a 350 square foot mobile home in Silicon Valley. The mobile home was OK, and I was able to get my grand piano in there by getting rid of most of my furniture, but the space rent was very high, and the surroundings were quite noisy.

      My way out was to move to rural northern New England and build a house. There are some decent house “kits” out there, the two that I had considered both being produced in New Hampshire. (Ours was more like a stack of lumber, a set of instructions, and a phone number, not a pre-cut kit). You can cut your cost per square foot in half by doing the building yourself (we did everything but the foundation). But this does require that you (1) find a piece of land where (2) the permits aren’t going to deplete your saving, and (3) take six months off from the rest of your life to get the shell weather-tight.

      My take on tiny houses, after looking closely at one that an acquaintance is building here, is that the concept is great for a single person without a lot of stuff. This acquaintance has been able to keep his total cost down to around $20K by doing all the work himself. But there are some downsides to building one on a trailer. You do get the mobility, but it can be difficult to find a place to keep it if you don’t own land, and getting through a New England winter is a real challenge when it comes to things like your water supply.

  23. ira

    Don´t know what to make of this, but fwiw:

    House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-MN) does not believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership will come up for a vote in the lame-duck session of Congress, calling the agreement “dead in the water” and contending that opposition from both presidential candidates demands a renegotiation of the deal. “I don’t think there’s a chance [for TPP to come up for a vote] and if it did come up, it would fail, in my opinion,” Rep. Peterson told news service AgriTalk…

    From the publication, ´World Trade Online´.

  24. allan

    Bill de Blasio learns that the middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos:

    Cuomo more popular than mayor in NYC [Gannett Albany]

    In the feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, it’s the mayor who might be losing with the public, according to a poll Monday.

    New York City voters approved 42 percent to 51 percent of the job the first-term Democratic mayor is doing, on par with the worst rating since taking office in 2014, the Quinnipiac University poll said.

    Cuomo, Queens native, had a 60 percent to 34 percent approval rating in the city, the poll said.

    The Democratic mayor is up for re-election next year. Cuomo is up for re-election in 2018.

    This is testimony both to de Blasio’s ersatz progressivism, which has promised but not delivered, and the brutal
    Corbyn/Sanderesque treatment that the NYC MSM has given him, starting on Inauguration Day.

  25. Bob

    Regarding the healthcare article, if you have a child with a serious chronic disease such as cancer or cystic fibrosis good luck trying to find a qualified children’s hospital in network for a marketplace plan.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “Do the Greens, as a party, have the organizational capacity to incorporate them, if they do? (Readers know my views on this.)”

    I’ve addressed this before, but the question is still before us (not that I can actually settle it, but I can give some insight.) Caveat: like Lambert, my experience is largely restricted to one state, but it’s one of the stronger state parties. I’m NOT privy to the internal workings of the Stein campaign, but I’m deeply impressed with what they’ve accomplished so far.

    I plan to say some things I probably shouldn’t, starting with:

    The short answer is no. The Green Party does not have the infrastructure of a major party. It’s essentially a skeleton, a potential organization, and in some states it isn’t even that. Too briefly: this is because we’re playing in a rigged game, and hanging on by your toenails does not make for high “organizational capacity.” If Bernie supporters come in expecting a cozy niche, they’re going to be badly disappointed.

    On the other hand, the skeleton is there. Campaign orgs, unlike parties, are inherently transient. A few million people and dollars are precisely the difference between a “major” and a “minor” party – if they’re prepared to be self-actualizing, which I’d guess the people writing that letter are. If they’re used to organizing an insurrectionary campaign, they may feel right at home. Chaos come again? Maybe – but that’s what politics is like.

    The highest priority right now is ballot access; some states pose very short deadlines. That means they don’t come to Oregon, much as I might wish, unless they live here. This is the campaign’s main task right now, so they’ll direct people where they’re needed. Ballot access consists largely of gathering huge numbers of signatures (and 3 states that will require lawsuits). More people, more signatures quicker.

    It would be nice if we got whole organizations, but that seems unlikely. What I’m seeing is a one-by-one trickle. That’s harder to organize and put to work.

    And the big question: can she win? Honestly, I don’t think so, either. And it would be terrifying if she did – for one thing, she’d probably be shot, or there’d be a coup (sorry to go all apocalyptic on you, but…). And putting together an administration would be a huge challenge. However, that could only happen in a near-revolutionary situation, with a lot of people switching sides, so there’d be more personnel resources than seems now. Do I see that near-revolutionary situation? No, though it’s awfully exciting.

    But could we stick a spanner in the cogs of the 2-Party machine? Yeah, that we might be able to do, if the revolution Bernie started refuses to fade away. It’s a volatility bet.

    Realistically, Bernie’s people have at least 4 ways to go, and I think they’ll divide that many ways. The next few months will tell us what the proportions are. There may not be much anyone can do to influence that. So far, Clinton and Trump are doing their best to help us out. We sure could use all those experienced organizers, though.

    1. Jess

      Whatever case Howie was trying to make, he pretty much didn’t make it. His foreign policy disagreements with Gabbard put him in line with many NC readers.

      Her anti-immigration views may coincide with Trump’s, but they also coincide with a huge number of blue-collar and lower white-collar voters whose jobs have been taken over, or their wages driven down, by immigrants. (Speaking of which, I saw a Numbers USA gif the other day predicting 100 million more Americans by 2050, driven by immigration and immigrant child-bearing. Nice to see how we handle that influx of mouths to feed, food to grow, and most importantly, clean water to supply.)

      Her father’s anti-gay policies are exactly that, her father’s, not hers.

        1. aab

          I’ve stopped reading Howie, and this piece is an example of why. Even if his assertions about her are correct, why punch her NOW? He says himself that her more progressive challenger in the primary in two weeks has a dollar fifty. Tulsi will win that primary.

          What is the purpose of this piece? The link to the Daily Beast is suggestive. She was the Bernie supporter ALLOWED to nominate him. Nina Turner was not. So Tulsi is presumably seen as less of a threat to Clinton, for all sorts of reasons that I don’t feel like nattering on about here — most should be fairly obvious. So now let’s contaminate the one woman of color Bernie surrogate who the DNC allowed on the national stage at the convention?

          I don’t see the point of this. My impression of Gabbard is that she has begun an authentic journey left. If she’s a fauxgressive like Obama, that will come out soon enough. She risked a lot to back Bernie. If she’s fundamentally a conservative who believes in honor and the rule of law, that still makes her preferable to a Clintonian Democratic in my book — they’re basically conservatives and ALSO crooks.

    2. Escher

      Thanks for the link. I want to like Tulsi Gabbard, but something about her has never sat quite right with me. She denies pushing Islamophobia, and yet…

  27. subgenius

    Moxie – hacker, squatter, sailor, adventurer and all round badass; we go back a bit (blue anarchy!). Wish there were more like him. But he should have been filed under class warfare…

  28. marym

    Movement for Black Lives issues platform and policy briefs

    In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda.
    Our hope is that this is both an articulation of our collective aspirations as well as a document that provides tangible resources for groups and individuals doing the work. We recognize that some of the demands in this document will not happen today. But we also recognize that they are necessary for our liberation.

    For each of the 30+ policies in the document, we have policy briefs that describe the steps that must be taken to get us closer to our liberation. These briefs include information about whether legislation can happen at the local, state or federal level, information about groups already working on related projects, and resources including model legislation and talking points.

  29. JerseyJeffersonian

    I look upon the advent of fully autonomous vehicles as the start of a slowly strengthening wave of car/truck bombs and the like, or merely road rampages as seen in France on Bastille day.

    As society becomes still more oppressive, hackers disposed toward violent disruption will have a field day. I can envision several avenues of attack that will open up, but will refrain from further description. Those so inclined could surely ring the changes on this.

    Some may be driven by anarchist thinking, others by radical religious views. Suicide bombing without the suicides, just a hacked, stolen vehicle.

    Hackers will get inside of the Security State’s OODA Loop regularly. John Robb has pointed out the potential of swarming attacks, but in this instance instead of swarms of smaller aerial drones, the attacker employs large vehicles capable of spreading destruction via sheer kinetic impact or through the targeted delivery of explosives/chemical weapons /biological agents/radiological materials.

    A jiu-jitsu Butlerian Jihad, using the human-mimicking components in the increasingly dehumanized society to launch attacks, pointing the lesson about the evil effects inherent in a society structured in this fashion.

    The cleverest hackers would wait until the dystopian society has already invested huge sunk costs into autonomous vehicles before launching attacks in order to maximize the disruptive effects on personal transportation as well as commercial transport that would result.

    A grim vision, but Nemesis is a bitch, indeed.

  30. Carolinian

    Phil Weiss goes to Philadelphia

    The tragedy of Philadelphia, for me, is that these issues were utterly suppressed by the organizers of the convention with the complete confidence that it would not hurt the Democratic Party in the fall. Former under-secretary-of-state Wendy Sherman’s confession at a Jewish event that Hillary Clinton herself had directed her to stuff the “settlements” and “occupation” language in the platform was exactly analogous to former L.A. Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa’s confession in 2012 that President Obama was “absolutely livid” at the fact that the Jerusalem is Israel’s capital language had not been put in the platform, and the necessity of getting it in. The one achievement of our side from one cycle to the next is that the corruption that is at the root of that demand – Obama and Clinton’s need for Haim Saban’s millions – is now transparent to everyone.

    And mainstream people do feel defensive about Palestine. Chris Matthews approached the Code Pink Palestine demonstration on Wednesday in Center City and got in an argument. “You think I’m pro-Israeli, you don’t watch me,” he said (according to songwriter Dave Lippman and another demonstrator who witnessed it). Geraldo Rivera passed a group of Jewish Voice for Peace demonstrators outside City Hall wearing Palestinians Should be Free t-shirts and said unprompted, “I agree with you” (according to Matt Berkman), right after someone had dunked him with a water bottle.

    Meanwhile Obama is poised to approve a big boost in the annual arms and aid giveaway to Israel. Haim Saban will be pleased (again).


  31. abynormal

    Soylent CEO Charged Over ‘Experimental Living Facility’

    It’s like a “middle finger”

    (Newser) – Rob Rhinehart may never face charges for engineering a product that one person over at Gawker said “tasted like someone wrung out a dishtowel into a glass.” But the man behind a liquid food substitute called Soylent has gotten in trouble with the law over a “now-derelict and graffiti-strewn” shipping container he had plopped on a hilltop overlooking LA, the Guardian reports. On Thursday, prosecutors in Montecito Heights charged Rhinehart, 27, with unpermitted construction and other violations in connection with the red shipping container, which was supposed to become an “experimental living facility,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Instead, the large rectangular metal box had become a mess, per the Guardian, which describes it “as windows smashed, walls covered in graffiti, solar panels gone, a charred mattress on the floor.”

    On the same day Rhinehart was charged, according to the Times, authorities hauled away the offending box, which has been a source of contention for the city and neighbors for months. According to reports Rhinehart bought the hilltop lot in January and ignored the permitting process when placing the container. Per the Times, Rhinehart met with the city in June, but would neither remove the box nor work out a plan to get into compliance. One neighbor likened the container’s red color to a “middle finger,” telling the Guardian, “It feels like an intruder.” Rhinehart has disavowed responsibility, in the past saying it was others who vandalized the site. He tells the Guardian, “I have spent thousands improving the surroundings. A Stanford University management professor offers the Times an explanation for Rhinehart’s behavior in this case: “Silicon Valley, in my experience, has a disproportionate number of narcissists that are leaders.” Soylent, Rhinehart’s company, is valued at more than $100 million.
    p’d meself!!

  32. two beers

    Do the Greens, as a party, have the organizational capacity to incorporate them, if they do?

    Per the GP website,, the greens have a national staff consisting of three people, and a steering committee of nine people.

    It’s an embryo, Lambert. If Sanders’ people get involved, there seems to be no existing “organizational capacity incorporate them.”

    Considering how sparsely staffed the GP is, Sanders people would become the organizational capacity.

    I think it would be a lot easier for committed and experienced left activists to move into the GP, where they would be enthusiastically welcomed and incorporated, and where their policy objectives would have 100% compatibility, as opposed to staying where they are and trying to take over an existing institution that despises them, by usurping an entrenched elite with and overwhelming organizational and financial advantage, whose policy objectives align with theirs maybe 20% at most.

    The Sanders’ group can continue trying a low probability-of-success hostile take-over of a large, existing, powerful organization that hates them and opposes their objectives, or they can join a low-budget, barely-organized operation that is desperate for their help, and has the exact same policy objectives (or they can start a completely new party, from scratch, and be even further behind on a developmental timeline).

    I’ve been mostly registered Green since the Democrat Party refused to fight for the highest office that it won and had stolen from them. I’ve never received a single piece of mail, phone call, or any other communication from the GP, and I live in a fairly left city. So clearly, currently, there is no organizational capacity.. Is that a reason not to join them?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Sanders people would become the organizational capacity

      I understand the argument, but I’m dubious about it. It assumes a sort of “plug and play” approach to party function. It also assumes that the existing Greens will be happy to be “taken over” (as opposed to “vote for us, then go away”). Based on my own experience with them, I think that’s unlikely. In Maine, we couldn’t get the volunteer in charge of the (woefully amateurish) graphics to adopt the professionally done and quite effective trade dress provided for free by the national party even when a Green candidate was a professional graphic artist and offered to do it for him. That’s what I mean by a dysfunctional non-profit.

      The Sanders people took 45% of the Democrat vote and all the youth. That means that in very short order the Clintonites are dead, dead, dead. I understand the institutional imperatives that would cause GP to want to siphon off that energy, but I’m still unpersuaded that it makes sense. Right now, we’re just speculating. We should start seeing some sort of real world, on-the-ground indications soon.

      1. 3.14e-9

        Not sure about the Clintonites being “dead, dead, dead” (I’d settle for a third of that), but agree 100 percent with the animosity that would occur if Sanders supporters tried to insinuate themselves into the GP organization. In my experience with local activist groups, the egos are enormous, and there is no shortage of control freaks. They want strength in numbers, but only if you agree to be an obedient foot soldier. Happened with the local Bernie group, to the point that I left in disgust. Not that it mattered. My community went for Bernie by a yuge margin, as we knew it would.

        1. two beers

          That kind of jealousy exists in many small social groups. “I liked this band before you did – you’re just a poser.”

          That condition persists until a critical mass is reached. Once the social unit grows beyond fringe cult status, the jealous cranks are outnumbered and marginalized.

          Maybe the GP isn’t there yet. That’s why it need more people.

          There’ll always be jealous cranks who resent newcomers. I really doubt that accounts for most of the GP.

          And even if it did, so what?

          If you think resentment by a marginalized political hobbyist is more insurmountable than what Bernie and his supporters faced from the Clinton Mob and the DNC, then why even bother?

          1. 3.14e-9

            Taking over someone else’s group and causing resentment isn’t an efficient use of energy, and what would be the point? It’s not as though they’ve got an advanced organizational structure worth fighting over. If Bernie supporters truly believe in the GP platform and want to help build it up as the Green Party and not the Bernie Party, then I don’t see that there would be anything other than the usual interpersonal squabbles. But if we want a Bernie Party — whatever we want to call it — then it probably would be better to start from scratch. But what do I know?

            1. two beers

              The GP isn’t someone else’s group. It’s a political party, and like all political parties, it’s open to anyone. If some operative’s ego is bruised, or some volunteer is uncooperative, or they didn’t welcome you with a warm hug and cookies, who gives a rat’s @ss? Those are good enough reasons to wipe your hands of an entire party? Better to stay with the brutally abusive husband who plainly will never stop beating you?

              On the issues, are there even any major disagreements between Berniecrats and the GP? But the GP aren’t pros, they have big egos, they’re not well-organized, they’re dysfunctional, it might take a long time until they’re competitive, the party needs a lot of work, etc. If you agree with the GP on issues, and you have a bent toward activism, those aren’t good reasons to avoid the GP — those are all good reasons to join it, to join a group of people who already agree with you on the issues, and but desperately need to figure out how to get more voters.

      2. aab

        There’s another aspect to this issue. While Bernie’s campaign was less centralized and top-down than, say, Obama’s, it still relied on both existing, organized, national allies and paid professional political support organizations. It wasn’t Bernie, Jeff, the sub-Reddit and the Scooby van.

        Even if lots of enthusiastic supporters including extremely active volunteers from the campaign flood into the Green Party, and even if the existing Green party organization welcomes them all with open arms, there are still going to be enormous communications, organization, and GOTV challenges that this does not solve.

        I think it’s great that people aren’t crawling back to Clinton. I think it would be fantastic if all this excitement got Stein’s polling high enough to get her in the debates, where she would be the ONLY left voice. If she can get 5% in the election, that would be terrific. If she can flip a single Democratic state, I will be amazed.

        My Bernie-oriented Twitter has a hefty portion of Berners now going to Stein. Generally speaking, these are not people who would ever vote from Trump, even if they could accept the argument that he’s less dangerous than Clinton. They can’t do it. They want to feel good about their vote. They see it as an act of self-expression. I think if Stein wasn’t there, trolling Twitter with substantial ballot access (less than many of them realize, but still — more than, say, Peace & Freedom), they would reluctantly vote for Clinton or just stay home. Since I consider Clinton the greater evil, and breaking the Clintonian, corporate hold on the Democratic Party an absolute necessity for progressive change to occur, it seems to me people aligning with the Greens is inherently positive, even if the Greens can’t handle the situation effectively. If Jill Stein vanished in a puff of smoke and Clinton won in November, the red scare would still go forward; it has already started. If people try out the Greens and realize by October that it doesn’t work the way they want it to, hopefully they turn their attention to Brand New Congress and local organizing, etc. I guess the danger is that the Greens alienate them so much they retreat to the Democratic Party in November. But again, without Stein being out there now, that would just be even more likely to happen.

        Many of the people I read seem to have a realistic understanding of what it means to vote Stein this election. But there’s definitely a large contingent that does not, so I wonder what will happen if it sinks in that she cannot win. Since Clinton’s minions are now attacking Stein aggressively, she may help ensure that whatever they do, they don’t “come home.” I find Clinton’s behavior here amusing. Did it not occur to them for one moment that it would be better to leave Stein alone for now, in the hopes of getting those voters back later? Honey is never to be used for the left, I guess.

        1. two beers

          there are still going to be enormous communications, organization, and GOTV challenges that this does not solve.

          You mean an influx of new members won’t make the GP operationally competitive immediately ?

          So, again, we can’t have a perfect party right now, so why bother?

          1. aab

            That wasn’t my point. I was addressing the idea that the only problem with Bernie volunteers flooding the Greens was that the Greens wouldn’t be able to scale up quickly or would resist the flood.

            The Sanders campaign was also Revolution media, and Tad Devine’s media shop, and the National Nurses political arm, etc. That was my point. Those allied and hired organizations were vital. That element often gets left out of the discussion — especially with the enthusiastic and idealistic Berners I interact with online.

            I’m all for the Greens doing everything they can in this election. I’m all for any left wing party making inroads. It sounds like the unions have killed off Working Families’ expansion. I don’t know enough about that stuff to understand why, although I have my suspicions.

            Are you member of the Greens? Do you guys have a stated objective for this year short of winning? Do you dispute the idea that Stein really can’t feasibly win, in an election where the major parties will be battling over who can rig the machines in which swing states? Has there been any internal strategizing done around the issue of holding on to all these new members in late October when the electoral map polling looks impossible, and after the election? This is an amazing opportunity for the party, but it’s going to need to prepare for those moments to really take advantage of this year.

            I would be perfectly happy to see Jill Stein in the White House. She may not be my ideal candidate, but obviously, her refusing to launch wars, internal crackdowns or mass deportations with otherwise general gridlock seems vastly preferable either Trump or Clinton being in. I’d enjoy watching the Democrats struggle to pretend to be liberal while being outflanked on the left by the President.

            I’m just trying to stay grounded in factual reality, as the propaganda machine blares around me. It’s sort of a defense mechanism.

      3. Cry Shop

        The (Jill) Greens remind me of Occupy Wall Street, the idea that there should be 100% consensus on every item of business eventually broke it’s back and made it into a swarm held together more by inertia, by anger. Every attempt to move forward was a threat to the unity because it necessitated address some issues above others. The party only function because it’s various members more or less ignore each other.

        1. two beers

          Although there is definitely overlap in constituency, I don’t think the comparison between GP and Occupy is at all apt. I don’t think the GP has much internal debate over its policy agenda, because it doesn’t need it. You’re not going to find greens who are for the US War on Brown People, fellating Wall St, expanding the security state, or limiting reproductive rights. Can you say the same for Democrats? Let me introduce you to the prospective DP VP, who enthusiastically checks off all four of those boxes.

          (And I’m sure Occupy disintegrated because of your claim that “it” demanded 100% unity on every issue, and not because there was a coordinated security state and media drive to squelch it.)

          The issues are clear with the GP. Personalities aren’t important. Stein doesn’t exude warmth and charm, and there’s no cult of Stein like there is of HRC, QED. She’s just a literal amateur (in its positive sense), there to promote the agenda, nothing more.

          I’m puzzled by the gyrations undergone not to find common ground with a party that is solid left on every issue. You guys had a bad experience or two with the GP, and so feel that it isn’t sufficiently professional, organized, or receptive to its constituency I can only ponder the ambivalence you would have towards the Democrat Party in the unlikely event you ever have a bad experience with it. Good thing the Democrat Party has treated the left so well..

    1. rich

      Warren Buffett rips into Donald Trump: ‘Have you no sense of decency?

      I’ve been asking myself the same about Warren since 2008…you know who owns fruit of the loom?

      Fruit of the Loom is an American company that manufactures clothing, particularly underwear. The company’s world headquarters is in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is currently a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Wikipedia

      WikiLeaks Haiti: Let Them Live on $3 a Day

      The US Embassy aided Levi’s, Hanes contractors in their fight against an increase in Haiti’s minimum wage.

      Contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked in close concert with the US Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere, according to secret State Department cables.

      According to a 2008 Worker Rights Consortium study, a family of one working member and two dependents needed at least 550 Haitian gourdes, or $12.50, per day to meet normal living expenses.

      The revelation of US support for low wages in Haiti’s assembly zones was in a trove of 1,918 cables made available to the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté by the transparency group WikiLeaks. As part of a collaboration with Haïti Liberté, The Nation is publishing English-language articles based on those cables.


      1. Bubba_Gump

        I am Jack’s total lack of surprise. A third world/IMF/globalization documentary I often recommend to people who seem interested is called

        “Life and Debt”

        which is about similar pillage using a “free trade assembly zone” in Jamaica. That movie is what started to open my own eyes to this inhumane activity, and so much more.

  33. allan

    Singapore PM: US credibility on the line over TPP trade deal [AP]

    American credibility is on the line over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Singapore’s prime minister said Monday, urging its ratification despite growing political opposition in the U.S. to the 12-nation free trade pact. …

    He also dampened expectation of reopening the negotiations, saying every TPP member had to make sacrifices to accept the agreement.

    “There’s no prospect of doing better, and every chance of having it fall apart. …”

    Sacrifices, people, sacrifices. We need to make them to maintain our credibility to autocrats.
    (Lame) duck and cover.

  34. Hacker

    Lane Markings

    The first rule of secure programming is to sanitize your inputs. It is very hard to sanitize lane markings which could be subject to random acts of mischievousness. Imagine a couple of bored youth with a McJob future (if they’re lucky) and a can of black tar. “Hey lets move this exit 100 feet earlier and watch the cars drive into the ditch.” I bet the Youtube videos will be quite popular.

    1. wendyM

      Forget lane markers — what happens if it snows? Autonomous vehicles are not happening for a very long time. If Google is the current state of the art (I believe there was an article saying they currently mark locations of stop signs, traffic lights, and use centimeter accurate maps of the roads), then there is a long way to go before the technology is ready.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Heehee…I was raised on a farm, and currently live up in the hills…and I defy any self-driving car to be able to navigate the twisty windy one-lane dirt & gravel roads without running itself right off the edge and down into the creek or the muddy holler. ;)

        Also, whats a self-driving car gonna do when Pig1, Pig2, and Piglets, set themselves in its way? Is it going to know that you just have to keep moving and gently bump the fattest piggy to convince the rest of the bunch to get out of your way and go root around for vittles someplace else then the road?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      No doubt immense amounts of money will be spent “sanitizing” a few very rich cities for a very few driverless cars, taking money away from public transportation projects elsewhere that would benefit millions. And in a few years, it will all turn out to be wasted, for reasons given here.

      1. Ulysses

        This is indeed the most likely scenario. There is another PsyOps aspect to this incessant talk of driverless cars. Driving a truck, while working under a decent Teamsters contract, or at least reasonably paid by a company hoping to avoid unionization, is one of the few remaining blue-collar jobs to allow a decent standard of living.

        Nothing infuriates our elites more than to see people, who aren’t from their exalted socioeconomic strata, enjoy a decent standard of living. Driverless cars, fast-food robots in cities with a living wage, even Robocops are all part of the TINA narrative: accept your lowly status, or be replaced by a machine!

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I like how you think! Driverless cars offer so many new ways for the mischievous to have fun.

      The truly mischievous may not care but it might be a good idea to figure out a way determine whether a particular driverless car has a passenger or passengers.

  35. Wade Riddick

    I believe the plant featured is Crocosmia, aka Gayfeather. I have similar varieties in my yard.

  36. Cry Shop

    Political Risk: “Two key gauges of Chinese factory output in July showed conflicting results, with one that focuses on larger state-owned companies flagging and the other, on smaller private companies, soaring” [Wall Street Journal, “Muddled Glimpse of Chinese Economy Emerges From New Data”].

    I can state one good reason for why many private companies are reporting soaring output. The private firms mostly focus on exports markets, which outside of a few commodity products are not markets for State players, who need government monopoly protection to compete. There is a great deal of over-invoicing imports and under-invoicing exports in order to get capital out of China, a lot of this is done through Hong Kong and Singapore. Factories in Dongguan are ghost towns, but the invoicing/payment processing in that area’s banks proceeds apace.

  37. just me

    Aha! I found it!

    Lunch at the Waldorf and think Ezra Klein… I thought it was Craazyman who wrote a comment like that once, and I thought it was about Ezra Klein or Joe Klein, but after much search ado I see the comment was written by Lloyd C. Bankster and the journalist Mr. Bankster was taking to lunch was Adam Davidson of NPR (though Ezra does get a mention):


    h/t Mr. Bankster.

  38. just me

    Re the blog that Google disappeared:

    On June 27, Mr. Cooper’s Google account was deactivated, he has said. He lost 14 years of his blog archives, creative work, email and contacts. He has hired a lawyer and made complaints, and many of his readers and fans have tried to support his efforts. There is a petition circulating, urging Google to restore his work. Pen America, an organization that promotes free expression, has weighed in, saying that Mr. Cooper deserves a substantive response from Google.

    Thus far, these efforts have been in vain. Google has not responded beyond saying there was a violation of the Terms of Service agreement. It has neither identified the specific violation nor indicated why it also deleted Mr. Cooper’s email account. It has not provided Mr. Cooper with the ability to download his personal information so he might rebuild his blog and email account elsewhere.

    Re the e-mail, this is why the USPS should provide e-mail service: Presumably you’d get access to the Constitution and due process, not to mention a right to privacy. Come on already!

    Re the blog that he can’t recover… does he know about the Wayback Machine?


  39. Portia

    “Negative wealth”. “Negative growth”. Are these ridiculous terms the result of graphing everything or just an attempt to sanitize the monetization of people? Classifying people as being worth less than nothing is a tough concept, I agree. And saying outright that an entity is losing money is not polite either.

  40. thump

    AM (or anyone else), do you know what the flower is in today’s plantidote? To me at least, the plant looks more like an iris but the flower looks more like a day lily. Thanks.

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