2:00PM Water Cooler 8/16/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The White House is making an all-out push to win passage of [TPP] in the lame-duck session of Congress, organizing 30 events over the congressional recess to gin up support for the agreement, considered key to Obama’s strategy to counter China in the Asia-Pacific region. The game plan is to offer support and cover to the small flock of Democrats who supported legislation to fast-track the deal and to remind wavering Republicans that they oppose it at their own peril because of its strong business support” [Politico]. “Despite his embrace of Clinton, Obama has been unwilling to abandon a deal that he regards as central to his legacy simply to avoid political fallout for her campaign.” Kayfabe, IMNSHO.

“[Former Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco] highlighted a passage of the Statement of Administrative Action that states the TPP implementing bill, in order to bring U.S. law fully into compliance with TPP, will amend ‘existing federal statutes that would otherwise be inconsistent with the agreement and, in certain instances, by creating entirely new provisions of law.’ He contrasted that with Obama’s comments at Nike headquarters in May 2015: ‘Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.'” [Politico]. Shocked, shocked…

“We know that Clinton opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and that she supported it as secretary of state” [Bloomberg]. “What we don’t know is whether she would accept minor changes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal Barack Obama negotiated and pronounce those concessions adequate, or whether she will ditch the agreement entirely. The difference is huge, yet she has never been asked to explain what would make the existing agreement less of a job-killer or wage-dampener.” At least somebody else is saying this. Odd, though, that she’s “never been asked.” Why, it’s almost like our famously free press is in the tank!

“NAFTA, Corn, and Mexico’s Agricultural Trade Liberalization” (pdf) [Americas Program Special Report (2004)]. Still horrid today!



“Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort named in Ukraine anti-corruption probe” [WaPo]. I love the oxymoronic “Ukrainian corruption probe.” Still, it’s useful to know where the Ukrainians are placing their bets. The ingratitude!

“Pennsylvania attorney general convicted of perjury, other charges” [Reuters]. Democrats being convicted at the state and local levels is pretty routine, by now.


“When it comes to the presidential candidates’ plans for shoring up our nation’s infrastructure, we’re faced with two choices: a recycled, inadequately financed idea and a mystery plan” [DC Velocity]. “The Democratic strategy is much more straightforward. It provides for a five-year program of spending $250 billion on infrastructure and allocating another $25 billion to a national infrastructure bank, paying for it ‘through business tax reform.’ The bank would leverage its funds to support an additional $225 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees, and other credit enhancements for those willing to invest in infrastructure improvements. Theoretically, that could result in total spending of up to $500 billion.” Great. A public-private partnership. Ka-ching.

“An expert says we won’t have to wait until October for an election-changing surprise” [Business Insider]. “‘I don’t think we’re going to have to wait until October,’ Dr. Peter Singer, a strategist at the think tank New America and coauthor of Ghost Fleet, told Business Insider. ‘There’s clearly more to come.'” Ghost Fleet is big in the national security class, so but and Singer is also beating the Putin war drums. Surprise!

“But with only 12 weeks before Election Day, voters still don’t know which of Clinton’s hundreds of proposals are her top priorities, or how she’d get Congress’s support for ideas both parties have rejected before” [Bloomberg]. “Clinton’s strategy is to mock Trump’s proposals with clever ripostes.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Beginning in 1988, major TV networks granted journalistic control over the debates to a private organization with no official status: the Commission on Presidential Debates. The CPD is often called ‘nonpartisan.’ That’s absurdly inaccurate. ‘Bipartisan’ is the right adjective, as it has always carried out the joint will of the Republican and Democratic parties. (See George Farah’s meticulously reported book, ‘No Debate.’)” [HuffPo]. ” The commission grew out of a deal cut in the 1980s by GOP and Democratic leaders. Today, even though the US public largely distrusts the presidential candidates of the two major parties, TV networks seem willing to allow them to again dictate the terms of debate, including who gets to participate.” With a history of the CPD.

The Voters

“Robert Fitrakis: Sanders May Have Lost Due to Election Fraud” [Defend Democracy]. “we allow these private, for-profit partisan companies to count our vote, to set our databases with secret proprietary software that nobody can look at. It violates every principle of transparency. [Two of these companies,] Hart Intercivic and Dominion both made contributions to the Clinton foundation. So you wonder, when a candidate’s running for president, why are voting machine companies making donations to their campaigns?” No links in the article (which, to be fair, is an interview) on Hart Intercivic and Dominon. Readers?

“Trump is supported by 1 in 5 younger voters — an astonishing and consequential collapse for the GOP. Though the young don’t turn out at election time with the same frequency as older voters, they always get (and deserve) particular attention from the parties. In the long run, younger voters are older voters. In the long run, older voters are . . . companions to John Maynard Keynes” [David Frum, WaPo].

“Inside The Head Of Trump Voters” [The American Conservative]. More interesting than the headline.

The Parties

“Trump’s current approach has the benefit of helping his political opponents. So again, it’s worth asking who in the end really gains from Trump’s paranoid, fact-free campaign style. After all, a lot of people are saying it’s Hillary Clinton” [Bloomberg].

Swing States

“Biden’s made his mission for the election delivering the Senate back to Democrats, and he’s already made clear three seats that he’s prioritized, and where the party clearly needs help: for Ted Strickland in Ohio, for Patrick Murphy in Florida and for Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania” [Politico]. That’s “the horrid Patrick Murphy.” Fixed it for ya.

“DCCC Internal Docs on Primaries in Florida” [Guccifer 2.0]. FWIW.


“First on CNN: Top Jeb Bush adviser leaves GOP, will vote for Clinton if Florida close” [CNN]. I’m so old I remember when “progressives” called the Bush administration a fascist regime. Good times…

Clinton Email Hairball

“FBI to Hand Over Hillary Clinton Email Probe Materials to Congress Today” [ABC]. ” The FBI has decided to give certain members of Congress interview notes and other materials produced during its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, and the handover is set to happen by the end of today, sources told ABC News.”

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, July 2016: “Strength in manufacturing leads a strong industrial production report where the July headline jumped 0.7 percent to give a big 1/2 point lift to the capacity utilization rate which is at 75.9 percent” [Econoday]. “Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in the month which follows a downward revised but still very respectable 0.3 percent gain in June. Vehicle production was exceptionally strong in June and was also very solid in July…. Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in the month which follows a downward revised but still very respectable 0.3 percent gain in June. Vehicle production was exceptionally strong in June and was also very solid in July.” Converting the negative of climate change into a positive, I guess. Concluding: “[W]eakness in separate data on factory orders unfortunately is not pointing to further gains ahead for manufacturing production.”

Housing Starts, July 2016: “Housing starts are strong but permits are flat in what are mixed indications for the nation’s housing sector” [Econoday]. And: “The building permits issued are contracting year-over-year, but there are still more building permits being issued than construction completions. Multi-family housing building permit growth rate improved this month” [Econintersect]. “Be careful in analyzing this data set with a microscope as the potential error ranges and backward revisions are significant. Also the nature of this industry variations from month to month so the rolling averages are the best way to view this series – and the data remains in the range we have seen over the last 3 years (although permits is at the low end of the range).”

Consumer Price Index, July 2016: “The headlines for the consumer price report look very soft but there are important offsetting pressures. The CPI came in unchanged in July, pulled back by a 1.6 percent monthly decline in energy prices and other weakness including flat prices for food and contraction in transportation. And it doesn’t look much better when excluding food & energy where the gain for the core is only 0.1 percent” [Econoday]. “But two important categories — medical and housing — both show life. Medical care prices jumped 0.5 percent in the month for a year-on-year rate that leads the major readings, at a downright inflationary 4.0 percent. Housing costs rose 0.3 percent in the month with this year-on-year at 2.4 percent which, next to medical care, is the second highest on the list.” So awesome. “But medical and housing costs are a core of their own and should give policy makers confidence that their efforts to lift inflation are making incremental progress.” The cheap gas is gonna be great when I have to live out of my car because I lost my house after the medical bills. Anyhoo: “As a generalization – inflation accelerates as the economy heats up, while inflation rate falling could be an indicator that the economy is cooling. However, inflation does not correlate well to the economy – and cannot be used as a economic indicator” [Econintersect].

E-Commerce Retail Sales, Q2 2016: “Year-on-year, ecommerce sales were up 15.8 percent in the quarter. As a percentage of total retail sales, ecommerce continues to move higher, up 2 tenths to 8.1 percent” [Econoday].

ETFs: “U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds saw net inflows of $52.5 billion in the latest month, almost as much money as had flowed into ETFs in the first six months of the year, according to FactSet” [ETF.com]. “That put the year-to-date haul for ETFs at $117.2 billion, and the total amount of assets under management in U.S.-listed ETFs at $2.37 trillion.” That’s real money!

Shipping: “July 2016 Import Sea Container Count Trends Are Mixed But Pointing To A Flat Economy” [Econintersect]. “Depending on how you want to spin this data, any opinion could be truthful. But if one concentrates only on year-over-year growth – there is literally no growth in this sector which has a good correlation to the USA economy.”

Shipping: “The Cass Freight Index recorded a 17th consecutive decline in volumes, weighed down by slow manufacturing growth and uneven consumer spending” [Wall Street Journal, “Freight Shipments, Spending Declined in July”].

Supply Chain: “The burgeoning auto supply chains forming in Mexico may be getting more expensive. The rush by car makers to establish plants in the country, and the draw it has created for a growing field of auto-parts suppliers, has led to tougher competition for workers. Although the growing job vacancies and rising labor costs won’t shift the economic basis for the pushing factory work to Mexico, the WSJ’s Christina Rogers and Dudley Althaus report that they’re causing sticker shock among manufacturers. Companies including Toyota Motor Corp., BMW AG, Ford Motor Co. have committed to spending $15.8 billion to build or expand assembly plants. Those sites, along with those of parts makers, are increasingly hard-pressed to hire and retain skilled workers, particularly in the industrial strongholds in the north of Mexico. One expert says the region faces a “huge supply gap” of skilled workers and that rising wages may even push some factory work further south, extending supply chains still further in a bid for lower labor costs” [Wall Street Journal].

Housing: “No one ever regretted buying California real estate aside from all those that regretted buying California real estate” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. A “Real Homes of Genius” award.

China: “China’s appetite for European-made industrial robots is rapidly growing, as rising wages, a shrinking workforce and cultural changes drive more Chinese businesses to automation. The types of robots favored by Chinese manufacturers are also changing, as automation spreads from heavy industries such as auto manufacturing to those that require more precise, flexible robots capable of handling and assembling smaller products, including consumer electronics and apparel” [Wall Street Journal, “China’s Factories Count on Robots as Workforce Shrinks”]. “Shrinks.” Where does it go?

China: “Exploiting Singapore’s regional familiarity could help Chinese companies navigate local politics complicated by tensions over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. It could also help them avoid pitfalls from prior investment in Africa and Latin America, where China has faced criticism at times for a heavy-handed approach, insisting for example its companies and laborers carry out the bulk of a contract” [Bloomberg]. “Xi is offering vasts amounts of money to Southeast Asia for infrastructure projects for the maritime portion of his revitalized Silk Road. Combined with an overland route through Eurasia, the project is known as ‘One Belt, One Road.'”

The Bezzle: “Mutual Funds Boost Returns With Unicorn Markups” [ETF.com]. “Boston/San Francisco (Reuters) – Some U.S. mutual funds are boosting their performance with relatively big bets on private companies such as Uber and Pinterest, which they have been marking up at a rate far greater than the broad stock market… [S]ome have taken a more aggressive approach, boosting the share of these companies to more than 5% of assets and awarding them rich valuations that in some cases have helped them beat their benchmarks and peers by a wider margin.” Cum grano salis since ETFs compete with mutual funds, but they would, wouldn’t they?

Fodder for the Bulls: “[N]o recession in the immediate future (not in 2016 or the first half of 2017). Note that all 2017 forecasts assume Ms. Clinton will be the next President” [Calculated Risk].

“The good news is that we are nowhere close to panic levels on auto loans delinquencies and loan defaults. The bad news is that any uptick in trends will have to be watched closely. If those numbers were to spike higher then there might be more areas for concern” [247 Wall Street].

“In year-over-year comparisons, the [hotel] industry’s occupancy decreased 1.6% to 75.6%. However, average daily rate was up 2.7% to US$127.69, and revenue per available room increased 1.1% to US$96.59” [Hotel News].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 79 Extreme Greed (previous close: 80, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 80 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 16 at 12:21pm. Mr. Market seems to have decided there’s enough greed. But how can that be?


“For the past 60 years, the Ogallala has been pumped out faster than raindrops and snowmelt can seep back into the ground to replenish it, thanks largely to irrigation machinery like the one sleeping nearby. As a result, in parts of western Kansas, the aquifer has declined by more than 60 percent during that period. In some parts, it is already exhausted. The decline is steady now, dry years or wet. In 2015 rain was exceptionally heavy—50 to 100 percent above normal. Even so, water levels in the wells dropped again. [Brownie] Wilson’s field report will put the best face on it, noting it was the slowest decline in five years” [National Geographic]. (WIlson is the water-data manager for the Kansas Geological Survey.)

Health Care

“Aetna will drastically cut back its 2017 participation on the individual markets, the for-profit insurer said Monday evening, just months after expressing optimism in the future of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges” [Modern Health Care]. Damn. What’s that gurgling? It sounds like a drain…

Guillotine Watch

” Watch Your Coastal Property. Here Comes the Sea” [Bloomberg]. ” A new study finds that the rate of the oceans’ rise is itself not only increasing—it’s going to start increasing exponentially.” How much you wanna bet every owner of a second (or third) home on the beach gets bailed out? Metaphorically, it not literally?

Class Warfare

“Book Review [Which Side Are You On: Trying to Be for Labor When It’s Flat on Its Back]” (pdf) [Santa Clara Law Review]. This is from 1993, but even more true today.

“There’s a Minimum Wage Controversy on This Restaurant Receipt” [Attn].

“Combining insights from psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience, University of Oregon researchers have found converging signs of pure altruism and behavior that increase with age in the brain” [Eurekalert]. Study nerds, is this a good one? And since I filed altruism here, let me continue with the companion link: “Altruistic People Have More Sex” [New York Magazine]. So, those altruistic old people finally know what they’re doing?

News of the Wired

“Twitter Can Fix Twitter With Just a Few Lines of Code” [Jester’s Court]. Interesting! So why don’t they?

“It’s been rumored for months now that the next iPhone will be removing the standard analog headphone jack — the same jack that’s existed on portable audio devices for ages. It would immediately make a whole bunch of headphone and microphone products obsolete overnight for those who use iPhones” [TechDirt]. “forcing audio through the iPhone Lightning connection would mean DRM.” Wait ’til Apple keyboards start checking the Intertubes to see if what I type has already been typed somewhere else. Kidding!

10 true facts about Woodstock on the occasion of its 47th anniversary [Across the Curve].

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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 (LR):


Decaying stump from the rainbow gathering in the Stanislaus National Forest California!

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Readers, I know it’s the dead days of August, but if you can, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Tom Stone

    It’s always worthwhile to stop by to see what gems you have turned up during the course of the day.
    And it was a pleasure to spend a few moments with Yves at the SF meetup, next time get a bigger table!

    1. steelhead

      Only a refugee from Calculated Risk (Real Estate Oriented Blog) would bitch about a small table…

  2. Arizona Slim

    So, how will a hearing impaired person be able to use the new iPhone? Or don’t we matter?

    Thanks for nothing, Apple. I’ll keep using my Droid with its standard headphone jack. Because I like to hear my phone calls.

    1. aj

      I’m assuming it’s still bluetooth enabled. So you would have to fork out some dough for a BT headset or fork over dough to Apple for some sort of lightning adaptor thingymabob. Yet another reason why I have stayed away from Apple products throughout the ages.

  3. Carolinian

    Re Iphone jack….didn’t they already do something similar by using a proprietary charging connector? Wall that garden higher.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Sigh. It was another phone scammer. I didn’t even listen to the entire voice mail.

        Has anyone else noticed a flood of scam calls in the past couple of years? I’m getting more of them than legit calls.

        1. Gaylord

          Call them back and tell them to stop because it’s illegal. Then note the number and contact donotcall.gov to report it.

            1. pretzelattack

              damn rachel calls me too, no matter how many times i hang up as soon as i hear “this is rachel…”

              1. ambrit

                I sense a business opportunity here. A simple reverse trojan worm. We get mainly robo calls, daily now. If some sweet soul would come up with a program that could be fed through the telephone speaker that locks up the robo call controlling computer. The NSA is supposed to have such capabilities. A public private anti spam call program!

  4. marym

    State Department to Turn over All FBI Clinton Email Records to Judicial Watch

    Judicial Watch today announced that the State Department has agreed to produce to Judicial Watch all emails sent or received by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that were uncovered by the FBI in its investigation of Clinton and her use of the clintonemail.com system:

    [T]he FBI completed its transmission to the State Department of documents recovered by the FBI in the course of its investigation in connection with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State. State has voluntarily agreed to produce non-exempt agency records responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request contained in the information transmitted.

    1. steelhead23

      I’m more interested in the FBI’s decision to give investigation notes to certain people in Congress. One wonders – “where might that lead.” Dumb question, but could Congress prosecute her in any way – say through impeachment? I am no fan of the GOP’s witch hunts, but I do hope they manage to bag this particular witch.

  5. clinical wasteman

    Re the Oregon ‘living wage surcharge’: would someone more familiar with local billing/wage/tax complications have the patience to answer what is probably a silly question, i.e.: is this strictly a point-scoring exercise (as in “look, eater, at how much these greedy workers are costing us and you”), or does the separate billing have automatic accounting consequences for wages and/or company accounts? Or to put it another way, in the event of a boycott like the one proposed, will the worker still get the extra pittance?

    Meanwhile, apologies if this repeats an earlier link, but in other service sector news (occasional Plague of Locusts sidebar): https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/31/bugging-byron-activists-release-cockroaches-and-locusts-at-burger-chain

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In at least one aspect, basic income is superior to min. wage increase – when everyone gets additional money, no one can conquer and divide and say only some are getting the benefit.

    2. human

      I have to ask if when the CEO’s salary/benefits/compensation package is increased will this also be noted on those receipts?

      1. cwaltz

        Or for that matter does the business owner plan on creating a line item for when electricity, rent or the agricultural prices go up and impact his bottom line?

        If I was a patron I’d ask if he plans on letting me know when any other line items change or if this was just a stunt because he was angry that he has to pay the workers that help him generate a profit, more money.

    3. hunkerdown

      Restaurants Unlimited Inc. doesn’t seem to be a casual family dining sort of outfit. Their locations list links to several of their (cookie-cutter) web sites for their properties, which appear to be the usual upscale Italian steakhouse surf-n-turf joints. Given their chosen clientele and their relative economic weight, lobbying their customers directly seems a likely angle.

    1. Kim Kaufman

      New Clinton Transition Head Has Some TPP ‘Splainin To Do
      August 16, 2016
      Dave Johnson

      Hillary Clinton has appointed Former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, a big supporter of TPP, to lead her transition team, should she be elected President. Politico has more, in Clinton campaign transition chief has pushed for TPP:

      The new chairman of Hillary Clinton’s transition team has been an outspoken supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and works for a firm that lobbied for trade policy issues as recently as this spring, a review of congressional lobbying records and articles shows.

      [. . .] Salazar’s employer since 2013, the law firm WilmerHale, has also been an active participant in the debate on Capitol Hill over TPP and other trade policy issues. In late 2014 the firm spent at least $30,000 lobbying for renewal of “fast-track” Trade Promotion Authority and on issues related to the TPP on behalf of the Business Roundtable, an influential group of top executives from major U.S. corporations, the congressional disclosure database shows. More recently, between April and June of this year, it spent $50,000 lobbying on trade policy and regulatory issues more generally on behalf of the building materials company Owens Corning Corporation, records show.

      Salazar was also a member of the pro-TPP corporate front-group “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs”. Two March, 2015 posts, “A Trade Campaign Built On Four Pinocchios” and “Deval Patrick, Others To Advise AstroTurf Pro-TPP/Fast Track Group” exposed this group as a pro-TPP front.

      Someone needs to ask Salazar and Clinton to explain what this says about Clinton’s support/opposition to a lame-duck vote on TPP – as well as future job-killing trade deals.


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It seems Mr. Salazar likes Obama’s TPP version.

        But he trusts The Foundation can make it even better, or more profitable.

  6. Chauncey Gardiner

    Further to the Politico article on former Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco’s statement that the TPP will amend “existing federal statutes that would otherwise be inconsistent with the agreement and, in certain instances, by creating entirely new provisions of law”; contrasting DiMicco’s insightful observation with Obama’s statement at Nike: …”Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”

    At this point it is self evident which one of these men to believe. The TPP would effectively neuter any new federal legislation to restore the Glass-Steagall Act, and that is a primary reason why passage of the TPP is being assiduously supported by the “TBTF” banks.

    1. Vatch

      “Libertarian” Presidential candidate Gary Johnson supports the TPP because it would advance “free trade”. Under the TPP, we would all have the liberty of being crushed by giant multinational corporations.

  7. Pat

    I don’t suppose anyone is bothering to inform the Vice President that Murphy is not yet the Democratic nominee for Senate from Florida.

    Oh wait. Forgive me. I forgot that the Democratic Party only has primaries for show, and no one is even bothering to hide it anymore. My bad.

    1. HopeLB

      Grayson was ruthless and spot on in the Bankster hearings. No wonder Biden and Obama are endorsing the life long Repub turned Dem. Murphy.

    2. Bubba_Gump

      It’s really unfortunate that Grayson thought he could screw around with running a hedge fund and not have it affect his chances. FFS, what was he thinking? If he loses, it’s nobody’s fault but his.

  8. different clue

    Serious question:

    If Trump were elected President and took up office facing a Passed and Signed TPP, is there legally a single thing that a President Trump could do about it?

    What would a President Trump himself or and/orTrump and a non-Treason Congress have to do to reverse TPP? Anyone have any genuine legal-grade answers?

      1. Vatch

        Not if the TPP has already been passed by the previous Congress and signed into law by lame duck Obama.

        But a future Congress could pass a bill revoking the TPP which the future President could sign.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some have said the deal is treasonous…impairing our sovereignty.

          I am no legal guy (that is, I don’t know if it’s treasonous), and so, this is just hypothetical. He can then go after those traitors and void the deal.

          Either out-right, or by making an offer other nations can’t refuse.

          “It was all a big mis-understanding. Let’s forget the whole thing (but not the whole gang).”

          1. Vatch

            No, the President can’t unilaterally void a law, no matter how treasonous that law appears to be. The federal courts can declare a law to be unconstitutional, but the President can’t.

            1. Higgs Boson

              The TPP is not a treaty in the Constitutional sense (Article II Section 2). Is there a formal mechanism for withdrawing from it? And what if a hypothetical future president decided, “they passed it but let them try and enforce it”?

              The executive has made decisions to *not* uphold certain laws re the GFC, with no consequences.

              1. Vatch

                There is a procedure for withdrawing from the TPP:


                Article 30.6: Withdrawal

                1. Any Party may withdraw from this Agreement by providing written notice of withdrawal to the Depositary. A withdrawing Party shall simultaneously notify the other Parties of its withdrawal through the overall contact points designated under Article 27.5 (Contact Points).

                2. A withdrawal shall take effect six months after a Party provides written notice to the Depositary under paragraph 1, unless the Parties agree on a different period. If a Party withdraws, this Agreement shall remain in force for the remaining Parties.

                As far as I know, if the U.S. were to withdraw, the Congress would have to pass a bill, and the President would have to sign it into law, and then the 6 month notice would be given to the other countries. I could be wrong about the details.

                Yes, the President could refuse to enforce the agreement, but there would be lawsuits against this, both in the regular courts and in the private ISDS kangaroo courts.

                1. hunkerdown

                  But, since the TPP is not self-executing, the laws that were passed toward compliance with the Agreement will remain in force and the law of the land until explicitly repealed. Things might get especially #messy with so many rice bowls being repossessed.

            2. jgordon

              Anyway, Trump has said that he’s going to arbitrarily pull out of any any trade deals he doesn’t like, including old ones and the TPP. Considering the executive branch’s long standing Constitutional authority to handle foreign affairs at its discretion outside of war declarations and treaties, what specific actions can be taken against a president who simply refuses to abide by trade deals–say by failing to allow changes to domestic law that are required by the trade deals?

              1. ambrit

                Yes. Are there any enforcement provisions in the TPP? If so, who does the ‘enforcing,” a TPP para military?

        2. different clue

          Well then, Trump could start running on the promise that if elected, he will immediately seek from Congress a bill repealing and cancelling TPP and returning us in all particulars to the status quo ante the passing/signing of the TPP. He could further promise to work for the defeat of every Senate/House officeseeker-reseeker who failed to vote for and otherwise support Trumps “Bill of Repeal of TPP”.

          The question is . . . does Trump have the depth of intelligence and intellectual background to grasp the vote-getting potential of such a promise very clearly spelled out? And if elected on that promise, would he have the intelligence and patient persistence to actually seek that repeal year after year, session after session, in such a way as to destroy every officeholder career in opposition to Repeal The TPP?

          Because I think we can take it for granted that the Treason Lame Duck Congress and the Treason Lame Duck President WILL pass AND SIGN the TPP right AFter the election.

            1. different clue

              Well then, too bad and so sad.

              Because unless he smartens up and runs on exactly that promise in a convincing and believable way, he won’t get my vote.

      2. temporal

        It’s supposed to be a law with a two year shelf life. The two year thing is probably so that the current crop of politicians can get some extra sugar when the law needs to be renewed.

        If signed by Obama there would have to be a new bill canceling the law, signed by the next President. Which would probably require some of the bought and paid for to become unbought.

        But if winner of this race is just joshing or wants a bit of extra income for their Foundation then it probably won’t matter.

        1. Vatch

          It’s supposed to be a law with a two year shelf life.

          I’m not aware of that limitation. My understanding is that it will be permanent, although any appropriations associated with it might be limited in duration. Can you point us to a resource that describes the two year limitation?

        2. nippersmom

          My understanding is the two-year time frame refers to the window of opportunity for getting the bill passed. Once it’s been signed into law it has no expiration date.

          1. polecat

            “Once it’s been sighed into law it has no expiration date.”

            great! …… Really BAD sausage……..

        3. Pat

          I think you are confusing fast track with TPP.
          My understanding is there is no way out without big losses if at all.

    1. jgordon

      Well I mean everyone is saying that this is a “trade deal” rather than a treaty. It would still be up to the president to sign all the various laws required to bring US law in accordance with the agreement, right?

      There is no provision for “trade deals” under the Constitution. In effect they sort of don’t exist at all. Trump will face no domestic consequences if he doesn’t go along with any of the new ones or old ones.

      By the way, on infrastructure spending–this seems be in line with the rest of the race. While Trump is a mystery, we know what Hillary is offering, and it’s really bad.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Forget about the Constitution. This is a coup that supplants that quaint mythical document and tradition, and renders it “no longer operative.” Just completing a transition that’s been underway for generations.

        Nothing left but lip service to lipstick on a pig…

  9. jgordon

    Trump mentions Hillary’s clever lawerly parsing on TPP in many of his speeches. Even if the media wants to blithely ignore it, the issue isn’t going away. All I can say is that I can’t wait to see the debates! I bet a lot of Hillary supporters are going to be shocked and disillusioned to discover that Huffington Post has been feeding them incomplete and horribly spun misinformation all of this time.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Believers of huffpo, and most MSM propaganda machines have been engineered to have the attention span of a gnat, and are extremely easy to brainwash.

      My mother is one of them, she claims “I can’t go about life thinking everyone has got a knife behind their back”. So sad because most of them do, and the more money someone has, the larger the knife.

      That’s not a knife,

      Now that’s a knife!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s almost as if people are better off not reading (or not being able to read).

        With a waste basket over his disciple’s head: “Luke, don’t trust what you read or see. Trust the Force. Use your intuition. You will know which is the candidate for you.”

        What’s how you defeat the empress.

  10. Pespi

    Re: Ukraine Manafort

    Accompanying this story should be the fact that Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of a fracking company in Ukraine that illegally is pumping gas in lands it doesn’t own, seized after heavy artillery and aerial bombing.


    If the msm wants to pretend naked corruption only exists on one side of this election, they’re going to have to do turn off the lights, cover their ears, etc.

    1. ll121

      The MSM is blatantly ignoring the fact that the coup plotters who deposed Yanukovych allied themselves with Nazis in order to realize their neocon/neolib ambitions. Clinton supporters attacking Manafort and Trump for pro-Russian Ukrainian ties and for erasing lethal support for Ukrainian fighters from the Republican party platform are literally choosing to be on the side of open fascists. The weapons would be placed in the hands of ultra-nationalists who already went on an ethnic-cleansing killing spree after the violence erupted. Any Democrat pushing this line of attack is a useful idiot at best.

      P.S. Robert Kagan gave an interview in which he complained that Obama was unwilling to risk nuclear engagement with Russia over the Crimea. Kagan sounded like a petulant child who couldn’t take no for an answer, pushing a domino theory about Putin’s threat to all of Europe. And now the entire Democratic apparatus chirpily mirrors his nutty, dangerous worldview. One can easily draw the analogy to the 2003 drumbeat for Iraq invasion, except the lemmings are being led over a much steeper cliff now.

      1. andyb

        Mushroom clouds for all; the epitome of real income redistribution. Neither race nor gender nor political ideology can prevent the inevitable; talking points be damned.

  11. none

    Venture Capital Is Worst-Performing Asset for Calpers (bloomberg.com)


    HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12299999

    Interesting cite from HN:
    “WE HAVE MET THE ENE MY… AND HE IS US” Lessons from Twenty Years of the Kauffman Foundation’s Investments in Venture Capital Funds and The Triumph of Hope over Experience http://www.kauffman.org/~/media/kauffman_org/research%20reports%20and%20covers/2012/05/we_have_met_the_enemy_and_he_is_us.pdf

  12. Paid Minion

    Ogallala Aquifer – ran the to/from/back Denver-KC trip on I-70 about a month ago. Most of the center pivot irrigation seems to be watering corn. (At least the ones that weren’t just dumping water into the ditch, because nobody could be bothered to turn it off.

    Why would any idiot try to grow corn on the High Plains? Feedlots. Lots of feedlots.

    The Western Kansas agricultural interests/locusts will eventually deplete the Aquifer, basically making the entire state of Kansas uninhabitable from the 95th Meridian west.

    Then those same fine government hating, bootstrap pulling uppers will come crying to Topeka or Washington, wanting a government funded bailout or water pipeline (or both).

    1. different clue

      You know . . . I wonder how much sea level rise is due to pumping up so very much fossil ground water from all over the earth and returning it into the current water cycle where some of it comes to rest in the ocean.

      And of course more draining of wetlands and more degradation of soil’s ability to hold and retain the skywater that fall on it means more cycle water remains in the oceans, swelling them up a little bit more.

  13. Vatch

    Why would any idiot try to grow corn on the High Plains? Feedlots. Lots of feedlots.

    Also ethanol. Probably even more idiotic.

      1. hunkerdown

        Tip: Look for the dotted line between “Reply” and “Leave a Reply”. If it’s there, you’re commenting at the top level. If it’s not there, you’re replying to another comment.

  14. Paid Minion

    “Supply Chain”

    As in China, the benefits of outsourcing/offshoring are front page news, to scare the wretched refuse in the USA into submission. And besides, admitting you effed up is not management’s way of getting the big bucks.

    The costs/problems generated by same will be swept under the rug. Like the news that a skilled worker offshore gets paid nearly the same as an equivalent US worker (especially in Mexico). Why work for $2/hour in Mexico when you can make $20/hour doing the same job once you cross the border? One of those foreign workers with skills in a specialty that they “can’t find experienced help” to do.

    Retention is a problem. About the time a skilled worker gets really productive (4-5 years), many of them have saved enough to retire. Pay is low, but house prices out in the Mexican boonies are even lower.

    QC is a big problem. Let’s just say the FAA is aware of the QC problems of aircraft sub-assemblies coming out of Mexico.

  15. Jess

    FWIW: Just saw a story on my FB page, linked from a friend, that John McLaughlin has died at the age of 89.

  16. fresno dan

    “Beginning in 1988, major TV networks granted journalistic control over the debates to a private organization with no official status: the Commission on Presidential Debates. The CPD is often called ‘nonpartisan.’ That’s absurdly inaccurate. ‘Bipartisan’ is the right adjective, as it has always carried out the joint will of the Republican and Democratic parties. (See George Farah’s meticulously reported book, ‘No Debate.’)” [HuffPo]. ” The commission grew out of a deal cut in the 1980s by GOP and Democratic leaders. Today, even though the US public largely distrusts the presidential candidates of the two major parties, TV networks seem willing to allow them to again dictate the terms of debate, including who gets to participate.” With a history of the CPD.

    There is nothing that annoys me more than the idea that there is a presidential “debate” – there is something, but it certainly is not a debate. The questions are bad, the follow up is generally non-existent, and the whole production has the air of a giant non-sequitur and seems purposefully designed to be non elucidating. How are these “moderators” suppose to know what Trump wants to ask Clinton? How do they know what points Clinton wants to make??? And of course, the non-stated but obvious policy of usually not having 3rd parties lest the choice between the duopoly is scarcely a choice at all.

  17. jgordon

    Ok, I followed a chain of links starting with “Inside the Head of Trump Supporters” article and eventually came to this:


    There is a new term now that aptly describes what is going on here–“cry bullies”. I wonder how long it’ll be before those celebrating their victimhood start being victimized again in actuality. This is definetly a contributory factor to Trump’s popularity. Just thinking about how distraught and offended the cry bullies will be with a Trump win makes me eager to send Trump money all of a sudden.

  18. Steve H.

    Eurekalert: Signs of pure altruism converge in the brain and increase with age

    – Replicating an earlier study by Mayr, Harbaugh and UO doctoral student Daniel Burghart and published in the journal Science in 2007

    ‘Science’ and ‘Nature’ are high veracity sources. The original study was titled:

    ‘Neural Responses to Taxation and Voluntary Giving Reveal Motives for Charitable Donations’

    They were particularly aiming at finding ‘general benevolence,’ which ‘reflects altruistic tendencies.’ The authors appear to be honing in on that particular aspect of benevolence.

    Prior research on wisdom had shown an increase in conscientiousness with aging on the Five-Factor model of personality. Those studies did not use MRI, and in this study ‘participants also took detailed psychological assessments of their personality traits’.

    Both this primary article, and the original study in Science, are paywalled and I can’t see them. However, Science is a good indication that the methodology was sound. The question is, why the redo? “The new study used the costly MRI technology on 80 subjects versus the pool of 19 in the earlier study. While the higher number of subjects helps make the case that the findings are robust, Mayr said, larger studies still are needed to gather more confirmation on the group’s conclusions.”

    So they increased their n to help ‘make the case’ that they had significant results, but still need to ‘gather more confirmation’. Not overwhelming. More concerning: the study is supposed to address ‘what are the consequences of developing in different ways?’

    That makes this line irritating: ‘In an experiment with 80 men and women, ages 18-67, all with similar work and life experiences’. First, an informed guess, ‘similar work and life experiences’ probably means an academic test population. A consistent valid criticism is that personality develops within the context of the environment. For example, growing up in a ghetto with a low life expectancy can mean trying for academia is a low-payout strategy.

    Also, tautologically, it is impossible for an 18-year old to have a similar set of life experiences with a 67-year old. Even if they grew up in the same isolated village, experiences like child-rearing and menopause mean that statement is bent.

    So they seem to be aiming at something which is probably a factor, they are trying to get better results by refining definitions and increasing n, but there are enough confounding factors that they are struggling to answer the question ‘So What?’, given the expense of the study.

    While this seems the science of good, ‘man muss immer umkehren,’ if results were robust it could be used to label people as anti-social (or worse) based on MRI results. Caution advised.

  19. dcblogger

    The Donald and the White Working Class

    One easy, elite answer is to blame the supposedly stupid and racist white working class. It is common to hear mainstream (corporate) media talking heads proclaim that Trump is the candidate of the white working class and “low-income whites”—those that The Wall Street Journal and Trump himself like to call “the forgotten Americans.” These are who Barack Obama described in 2008 as people who “get bitter” and “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”

    How accurate is this narrative? According to exit polls, the median household income of Trump’s primary voters was $72,000, $11,000 higher than the corresponding figure for Bernie Sanders’ and Clinton’s primary voters.

    In his analysis of survey data gathered from more than 70,000 interviews in June and July, Gallup economist Jonathan Rothwell found that Americans who favor Trump have incomes that are 6 percent higher than that of nonsupporters.

    1. Steve H.

      Correlated: “A Democrat running for President has never carried college educated voters in the history of modern polling.” [Robb]

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One explanation may be that their hold on that extra 6% is tenuous.

      To overcome fear, it is explained that the fear of pending doom is often worse than the doom or reality itself.

    3. VietnamVet

      Gallup’s poll that Trump voters aren’t motivated by economic disenfranchisement brought to mind the clip from “The Big Short” that explained that the rating companies had to give mortgage back securities triple A ratings because “They’ll just go to Moody’s.” I am positive the same thing is happening with polling. Who pays for the polls; media and political campaigns. Are pollsters going to tell their paymasters that there is a revolt simmering and that they are a bunch of selfish asses or what they want to hear? Along with believing their own propaganda and cognitive dissonance, these are reasons why the top 10% are so clueless.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Hart Intercivic and Dominion donations to the Clinton Foundation

    Evidently this info comes from the Guccifer 2.0 hack of the DNC. Found this article discussing it which links to this article from something called the Bern Report (not affiliated with the Sanders campaign according to the link). Good info in both articles but if you click on the hyperlink in the 2nd article which reads ‘a list of big-money donors’, that should take you to the actual list. You need Office to open it which I don’t have on my laptop but I’m guessing you’ll get an Excel spreadsheet with the whole list.

    Hopefully that helps.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      And interestingly enough, it was the Dems who were concerned about Hart Intercivic back in 2012:

      “Hart InterCivic is an Austin-based voting machine company that serves local governments nationwide. Its clients include Hamilton County, Ohio, which administers elections in Cincinnati. Hart InterCivic also has in its DNA just enough traces of Bain & Co. and Mitt Romney campaign donors to trigger serious angst in the liberal blogosphere about the fate of Ohio’s must-have 18 electoral votes.”

    2. TheCatSaid

      Here’s another link, with links to a recent Stanford Study. Further down it mentions the Guccifer 2.0 leaks.

      Clinton is not the first to have financial links to voting machine companies. Since electronic voting machines were first developed in the 1960s there have been key politicians who have invested in or owned voting machine/election companies, leading to–guess what–surprising victories on election day that defied the polls! This has been richly documented over the years by folks like Victoria Collier (VoteScam), Bev Harris (Black Box Voting) and others.

  21. ProNewerDeal

    IIRC another NC commenter speculated that huge (10%+ ?) ACA private health insurance rate increases that would be released days before the Nov election would hurt HClinton & Congressperson Ds.

    Perhaps it will hurt these Ds, but “Teflon” 0bama is seemingly immune. 0bama somehow has a high overall approval rating, & a higher rating among D voters & even “Progressive” D voters; despite the negative aspects of the ACA, his endless advocacy of the Grand Ripoff of Social Insurance & the TPP.

    D hacks talk about the current low unemployment rate of ~5%. OTOH, the more meaningful employment rate (aka employment-to-population ratio) overall (16-64? of both genders) or Men “prime age” 25-54 (I feel as though this rate is useful when comparing the historical record back to the 1970s: this cohort has been expected to work & been socially allowed to work as a constant from 1970s-now) is worse than the Bush43 Admin.

    Perhaps some of the “approve 0bama” polled individuals perceive in a simplistic binary way that you must approve 1 party & disapprove the other; as if you can’t disapprove both.

    However the median of the D voters that actually genuinely approve 0bama, is perhaps dumber than the median “dead ender” Bush43 approver in ~2006.

    What is worse, 0bama’s worst policies (TPP, Grand Ripoff, failing to meaningfully reform financial services, blocking MedicareForAll killing “only” “eventually by 2022” 30K USians per year, incremental TPP deaths per pharma patent life increase + fracking) or Bush43’s worst policies (more deregulation financial svcs causing the 2008 GFC, Iraq & Afghanistan Wars, blocking MedicareForAll killing 45K USians/yr).

    Perhaps 0bama is even worse than Bush43. The sad thing is that HClinton or Trump is likely to be yet even worse than 0bama.


    1. dreama

      People do not like Obama. His ratings were tanking prior to the election, and the recent increase probably reflects two trends:

      1. He has been on a publicity tour the past few months hanging out with celebrities, going on tv shows, and out on vacation. The man is charismatic and people respond to that.

      2. Compared to Hillary and Trump, Obama comes across as much more serious. People are comparing him to those to, and he comes across positively in comparison.

  22. spk

    Re: Bloomberg on Clinton TPP

    We don’t expect the likes of those clowns on Sunday morning or WaPo reporters to put any substantive questions to Clinton; about the TPP or anything else. Yet, if the Clinton were subjected to some unscripted local media interrogation, there’s a fair chance the TPP concessions question would get posed, eventually. That’s just to say that the campaign has engineered those silences, which Trump’s antics/spasms have allowed the machine to expand. TPP is important, but there a raft of painfully acute issues going unconsidered in this real-life “American Horror Story” (chapter X, Election 2016: WTF?”)

  23. DJG

    A couple of weeks back, the Social Security Administration sent an e-blast announcing two-factor verification that would have involved providing a phone number so as to receive a code to access on’es account.


    What prompted me to post is that I received a call (a telephone call !) from Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s office, after they received a letter from me to tell me that the plan had been rescinded. Yes, it is an election year. At the same time, I want to point out that I sent a letter, something that politicians don’t like, because it “wastes” staff time. E-mail messages are much easier to ignore than a letter, a physical object that arrives at their offices.

    So I suggest writing to your congressional people about TPP and TISA. Besides my letters to Shakowsky, Durbin, and Kirk about the SSA two-factor fandango, I sent letters to the three of them about how the passage of TPP enabling legislation during the lame-duck session would be the height of unaccountability and cowardice.

    So: Letters. Terribly twentieth century. And you can use some twentieth-century words like thrift, probity, accountability, and incompetence.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanx for that info.

      Meanwhile some good Bill Maher bashing always welcome around my place.


      When Welch and Wagner expressed surprise at the Democrats embracing such a chauvinistic display, [Barney] Frank explained emphatically though somewhat oddly that the speech by Allen and the rhythmic chanting of U-S-A U-S-A by the audience that accompanied it were all due to Donald Trump, who has embraced that vicious thug and “one of the worst men in the world” Vladimir Putin. The highly charged nationalistic Democratic crowd reaction was per Franks both a warning about Trump and a direct challenge to Putin to keep his hands off those wonderful little democracies springing up everywhere in Eastern Europe. Trump’s “encouragement” of Putin, per Franks, has made the United States complicit in Putin’s “brutality” and the Democrats were responding to that challenge.

      It’s only a matter of time before they decide that Putin cooked up 9/11 and therefore is subject to the AUMF. We may all want to start digging bomb shelters.

        1. ambrit

          Next we’ll read about the special sub sub basement in Lubyanka Square where Cthulhu dwells.
          I’m also waiting for the Empress to bring up the subject of a ‘no fly zone’ covering the Crimea. Can an aircraft carrier transit the Bosporus?

  24. rich

    Bribery Arrest May Expose African Mining Rights Scandal Tied to Och-Ziff

    Any settlement between the government and Och-Ziff would be a step toward putting the long-running investigation — which has rattled investors — behind the hedge fund. Founded in 1994 by Mr. Och, a former Goldman Sachs executive, the firm was one of the first hedge funds to publicly list itself in 2007. It manages money for large pension funds and other institutional investors.

    African officials say the arrest of a Gabonese man on bribery charges may help pull back the curtain on a long-running foreign corruption scandal that has ensnared the giant hedge fund founded by Daniel Och.

    United States authorities on Tuesday arrested Samuel Mebiame, a consultant who worked for a joint venture involving Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, on charges that he paid bribes to foreign officials to secure mineral concessions in at least three African countries.

    Prosecutors described Mr. Mebiame, the son of a former prime minister of Gabon, as a “fixer” who routinely paid bribes to officials in Niger, Guinea and Chad, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

    Mr. Mebiame, 43, was arrested by F.B.I. agents in Brooklyn.

    Och-Ziff, which manages more than $39 billion in assets, was not identified by name in the complaint, which instead refers to a “U.S.-based hedge fund.”

    But two people briefed on the matter, who were not authorized to discuss it publicly, confirmed that the hedge fund was Och-Ziff.

    The hedge fund has previously disclosed that it is the focus of a foreign bribery investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission over whether it paid bribes in Zimbabwe, Congo and Libya. Earlier this month, Och-Ziff said it “believes that the government will pursue civil and criminal sanctions.”

    Mr. Mebiame worked as a consultant for a joint venture between Och-Ziff and an incorporated company in the Turks and Caicos Islands, often using the offshore company as the conduit for paying officials.

    At times, Mr. Mebiame was brazen in making sure he got his cut of the deals he undertook on behalf of Och-Ziff and the Turks and Caicos company, once threatening to go to the news media over “illegal procedures to secure assets in Africa.”

    He added that he would “let the world know what kind of international crooks you are.”


    Nice eh?..would love to know how the institutions are allowed to keep client funds there…

  25. relstprof

    “In the long run, younger voters are older voters. In the long run, older voters are . . . companions to John Maynard Keynes”

    Can’t let this observation go without seconding it. The vast majority of college students I interact with at a private university in the Midwest are very much disgusted with the Trump/Clinton/establishment/corporateworld conglomerate that awaits them.

    Even the business school students are awake to the fact that they start with unpaid internships to their disadvantage. And they’re angry. Even conservative women in my ethics classes are pissed at pay inequality and the lack of maternity leave. Most recognize that certain so-called “meritocratic” networks aren’t available to them, therefore diminishing their chances at a stable middle existence.

    Few scoff at the idea of democratic control of corporate interests. Few blink at the word ‘socialism’.

    It’s real. The empirical data keeps rolling in on the past 40 years of neoliberalism for the American worker, white collar or blue.They’re going into debt. Peeps ain’t stupid.

    1. aab

      But how do we fix this? We’re not a democracy. Our votes aren’t counted. The odds are extremely high that the TPP is about to be voted in, and then we start the march towards the Russian War and reinstituting the draft. I don’t see young people who rejected Clinton compliantly marching off to her war. But does that mean riots with the largest generation in history facing down a militarized police armed to the hilt and trained to treat them like animals and terrorists?

      I would feel so much better if I could imagine a positive outcome that isn’t the result of massive loss of citizen life.

      1. relstprof

        We build off coalitions willing to commit to shared (but not necessarily uniform) platforms. We are a democracy. We can’t give into despair or cynicism. Coalitions start from trust.

        Look, economic and military violence and loss of life is already happening. It’s already here. That’s the starting point, not a fear-based possible outcome of possible futures. We marshal empirical data and distribute it (as Naked Capitalism does). We find candidates for offices, local, state, and national, that support something like Sanders’s platform. Greens, Democrats, Independents, Republicans (Trump has made this possible, weirdly!), whomever. The politics is the thing, and Sanders has made it visible (even with his flaws). We won’t agree on everything. But it’s not about party.

        Consider “Moral Mondays” in North Carolina. This is open coalition building. I know registered Republicans who show up.

        TPP hasn’t happened yet. It may happen, but that isn’t the end. Our future isn’t fate.

  26. Jim Young

    “…Why, it’s almost like our famously free press is in the tank!…”

    Perhaps we should ask, “Why, it’s almost like our famously free press is in the pocket?”

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