2:00PM Water Cooler 8/19/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The two major party presidential candidates may be singing the same tune against free-trade agreements on the campaign trail, but their voters are at odds over whether the deals are a good or bad thing for the country. A new Pew Research Center study shows that more than two-thirds, or 68 percent, of Donald Trump’s supporters say trade deals have hurt the country, while a majority of Hillary Clinton supporters, or 59 percent, say the opposite” [Politico] (original). In other words, after the pesky election is over, if Obama doens’t get TPP done in the lame duck, Clinton will go all nuanced and get TPP passed, because her base won’t punish her for it. Also too, ka-ching.

“[USTR Michael Froman] talked about the risks of not having the trade pact in place. ‘I think it is serious one’ without the TPP, Froman told reporters, pointing to movies like ‘Sound of Music,’ ‘Dr. Zhivago,’ ‘Ship of Fools” and ‘A Patch of Blue,’ which are bumping up against the 50-year term in some countries” [Variety]. “‘That are all 1966 vintage, which without TPP will be off protection next year,’ he said.” Yeah, sheesh, what if studios actually had to finance and create new content?

“These Are Your 28 TPP House Democrat Targets” [Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future (Re Silc)]. Handy list, with Wasserman Schultz at the top.



“Hillary Clinton’s family foundation will no longer accept foreign and corporate donations if she is elected president, and will bring an end to its annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting regardless of the outcome of the November election” [Yahoo News]. From The Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?


UPDATE “IAVA to Host Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for First-Ever Commander-in-Chief Forum” [IAVA]. Trump has been willing to call out Iraq and Libya for the clusterfucks they are, Clinton having enabled the one and engineered the other. Will he stay on message?

“Leading liberal group comes out against [single payer] ColoradoCare” [9News]. Progress Now (love the name) Executive Director Ian Silverii: “It breaks my heart. I would love to support single payer healthcare. But you get details wrong, [and] people get hurt. And: “Silverii was joined by other progressive groups, including NARAL and UCFW as well as Democratic House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran” [KDVR]. Really? “People getting hurt”? It’s not about Clinton deploying her stooges to appeal to “moderate” Republicans? And it is about breaking rice bowls: Progress Now Executive Director Lonnie Scott, “served as State Director for Enroll America, a national non-profit working to educate people about the new healthcare options made available by the Affordable Care Act,” so Scott’s a shill for ObamaCare, and collecting walking around money for disentangling the needless complexity ObamaCare creates.

“The idea of allowing the government to offer a health plan directly to families was blocked in 2010 because private insurers didn’t want to face the competition” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. Krugman really shouldn’t lie about this. Obama traded away the so-called public option in a deal with Big Pharma. And in any case (from alert reader benefict@large) public option math never worked, so Obama sold Big Pharma a bill of goods anyhow. Beautiful!

Our Famously Free Press

“Clinton campaign goes nuclear on health rumors” [Politico]. Watching David Brock and Brietbart’s Bannon fight it out in the sewers on this one is entertaining. As readers know, I’m deeply skeptical, on any topic, of any digital evidence whose provenance is not ironclad (for example). At the same time, my family’s own medical history makes me wary of the Clinton campaign’s fierce denials: My mother’s first stroke happened when her Coumadin dosage went out of whack, Clinton takes Coumadin, and Coumadin dosage needs to be adjusted for stress (as, for example, the stresses of a Presidential campaign). Clinton’s family also has a history of stroke (her father died of it, at 82). And then of course there’s the “concusssion” (fall with related head trauma) story, correlating to blood clots from airplane travel. I pointed all this out in 2014. Now, to be fair to Clinton: She’s gone out in high-stress situations like Congressional testimony and Presidential debates this year, so although she’s not holding pressers, it’s not because she can’t deal with stress. Therefore, readers, I would be interested not in the latest, breathlessly promoted digital evidence-that-is-not-evidence, but in your own personal experiences, if you have had them, with women of Clinton’s age (68) and her medical history. Symptoms, treatment, prognosis, after-effects: all of that. Let’s try to bring some actual evidence into the discussion, instead of going all meta.


“In the eight states with competitive Senate races and both pre- and post-conventions polling,2 Trump had previously been down an average of about 6 percentage points; he’s now down an average of 9 points.3 And while Republican Senate candidates had been up by an average of a little more than 1 percentage point before the conventions in these eight states, they are now down by a little more than 1 point. That is, Republican Senate candidates in key states are still running ahead of Trump, but that cushion may no longer be enough to win now that Trump’s fortunes have worsened” [FiveThirtyEight].


“And Now for Some Conspiracy Trutherism About Trump’s Sinking Poll Numbers” [Esquire]. Interesting from the realignment perspective, as FOX’s Megyn Kelly comes in for some praise. As far as the polls go, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Our famously free press and the great bulk of the political class are all in for Clinton in the general. (The primaries were a little different, as the media companies cashed in on Trump’s ratings, while with equal cheerfulness suppressing Sanders. But now it’s serious.) Presumably, the campaigns aren’t lying to themselves in their internal polling. Therefore, campaign body language in the form of spending and scheduling is a better guide than the public polls, which one might with justice regard as performative speech. Which isn’t to say that Clinton’s body language and Trump’s body language are equally readable.

“As our regular readers know, we’ve been the Rock of Gibraltar when it comes to a Clinton victory. Our first electoral map, issued at the end of March, showed Clinton at 347 EVs to 191 EVs for Trump, and all subsequent maps have maintained those totals — until now. After looking carefully at Nebraska’s 2nd District — Nebraska being, along with Maine, a state that awards one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district — we’ve decided that NE-2 is leaning toward Clinton. It isn’t much of a lean, and it’s possible that if Trump can tighten up the contest, this one will wobble back to the Republicans. But for the moment, adding NE-2 to the Democrats makes Clinton’s total 348 EVs and Trump’s total 190 EVs” [Larry Sabato]. “Not only is Clinton investing ad money in Omaha, which also bleeds into the western parts of swing state Iowa, she is also spending actual campaign time in the city, a sign that her campaign believes it can win this extra electoral vote. And did we mention Warren Buffett, a huge Hillary fan, dominates the economic landscape there?”

“The reaction to the news of the latest Trump campaign shake-up has ranged from shock and disbelief to laughter… But there is one strategic way it makes sense: Team Trump views the 2016 presidential contest as a race to 40%. Under that scenario, you somehow assume that Libertarian Gary Johnson will get more than 15% of the popular vote, and that the Green Party’s Jill Stein will get more than 5%” [NBC]. “And then you make a play for the base to carry you across the finish line. It’s essentially the game plan that helped elect — and then re-elect — controversial Maine Gov. Paul LePage in 2010 and 2014.” What the national press consistently leaves out of the LePage narrative is that (a) the Democrats were (and are) corrupt, and (b) the 2010 election was a three-way, in which Democrat candidate, who faded down the stretch, did not — as the Iron Law of Institutions predicts she would not have — throw her votes to LePage’s Independent competitor, Eliot Cutler. In other words, the Maine Democrats are deeply complicit in LePage’s victory. Corruption may still favor Trump 2016, since his flaws are individual, instead of a collective rot infecting and symbolic of the entire political class. Whether multiple parties favor Trump in 2016, I don’t know: If the entire Pioneer Valley voted for Stein, I don’t think that would change the outcome in Massachusetts. (It would be entertaining if Mormon Evan McMullin were some kinda electoral college stalking horse for Mormon Mitt Romney in Mormon Utah. #JustSaying.)

“Growing up, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were my icons. My sense of party fealty is such that I worked on the paid GOP convention staff in Philadelphia in 2000, and again, just recently, as a professional volunteer on the speechwriting staff in Cleveland” [Baltimore Sun] (Richard J. Cross, III, who wrote the “Benghazi Mom” GOP convention speech.) “But the only prospect more terrifying than voting for Hillary Clinton is not voting for her. The reality of American politics today is, she is the only choice.” As usual, why vote for a fake Republican when you can vote for a real one?

Clinton Email Hairball

UPDATE “Clinton Told FBI Colin Powell Recommended Private Email: Sources” [NBC]. So Clinton throws a black man under the bus. That’s classy!

UPDATE “Powell has ‘no recollection’ of Clinton email dinner conversation” [Politico].

A spokeswoman for Powell’s office issued a statement following the Times’ story: “General Powell has no recollection of the dinner conversation. He did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department.”

“At the time there was no equivalent system within the Department. He used a secure State computer on his desk to manage classified information,” the statement continued. “The General no longer has the email he sent to former Secretary Clinton. It may exist in State or FBI files.”

Despite constant attempts by Clinton acolytes to conflate the two, an email account is not the same as an email server. It’s the server — and Clinton’s concomitant pattern and practice of concealing or destroying material on it, which she could not do with a mere account, whether on AOL or Gmail — that’s at issue. Heck, the NSA and the Russkis already have it all anyhow, along with whoever hacked the Clinton server when she left it unprotected for three months. The only people who haven’t read Clinton’s email, all of it, are, unsurprisingly, the voters.

Stats Watch

Friday in in the dog days of August: No stats!

Employment Situation: “Men at Work: Are We Seeing a Turnaround in Male Labor Force Participation?” [Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta]. “The incidence of self-reported nonparticipation among prime-age men because of poor health or disability has been declining recently. According to the Current Population Survey data, this reason represented 5.4 percent of the prime-age male population in the second quarter of 2016. Although this is still 0.7 percentage points higher than in 2007, it is 0.3 percentage points lower than in 2014.”

Employment Situation: “Over the first two quarters of 2016, an average of 11.3 percent of job seekers relocated for new positions. The relocation rate reached 12 percent in the second quarter, which was the highest percentage of job seekers relocating since the fourth quarter of 2014, when 15 percent of job seeker found employment in new towns” [Econintersect].

Employment Situation: “The prime-age employment data suggest that it has done about as well since 2007 as the euro area, a region that includes high-unemployment economies such as Spain and Greece. That can’t be described as a desirable outcome” [Narayana Kocherlakota, Bloomberg].

UPDATE Employment Situation: [New research by Harvard economist Dale Jorgenson], which breaks down the forces propelling U.S. growth since 1947—the year the transistor was invented—and projects them forward to 2024, anticipates a boom in low-skilled work that rekindles economic growth to the tune of 2.49% a year from now till then, a little above the 2.34% experienced from 1990 to 2014″ [Wall Street Journal, “How Low-Skilled Workers Could Rescue the U.S. Economy”].

Jobless Claims: “Still looks to me like this is perhaps the most misunderstood statistic, as analysts believe it is signaling strength in the labor markets. Instead I’m suggesting claims are extraordinarily low because the unemployment benefits have become much harder to get” [Mosler Economics]. “Even with a much higher population and labor force, and with a higher unemployment rate,

new claims are at 40 year lows.” Could also be that people are terrified to leave, no?

Shipping: This is cool–

The Bezzle: “Aetna, Obamacare and health insurers’ 10 dirty secrets” [MarketWatch (!)]. “The entire health-insurance industry consists simply of taking our money — and then paying us back around 80 cents on the dollar, or less. That’s all. They add no value, and serve no other purpose. … They shuffle money — at a high cost. You and I are paying about 30% too much for our health insurance each year just to support these middlemen. It’s an undeclared private tax.” And: “Medicare covers 54 million of us over the age of 65, and it is a full-blooded, bona fide, Marxist-Leninist, communist, Soviet, government-run health-insurance plan. Any politician opposed to “socialized medicine” should be required to run for re-election on a platform of abolishing Medicare and replacing it with private health insurance. Good luck with that. Oh, and compared to private health-insurance companies, it is staggeringly efficient. Medicare’s administrative costs last year were $9 billion, compared with benefits of around $640 billion. That’s around 1.4 cents for every dollar paid out. Private insurers: around 20 times as much.” MarketWatch! Gee, it’s hard to see why Clinton and her stooges in Colorado don’t go full Bolshevik on this.

The Bezzle: “The biggest heavyweight in the ‘gig’ economy is putting its considerable capital and research capabilities behind self-driving trucks. Uber Technologies Inc. is buying Silicon Valley trucking startup Ottomotto LLC, the WSJ’s Greg Bensinger and John Stoll report, in a deal worth around $680 million that promises to accelerate the push toward autonomous technology in trucking” [Wall Street Journal]. “The agreement comes as Uber is stepping on the accelerator In its broader push toward self-driving technology, laying out a plan to offer autonomous vehicles for passenger rides in Pittsburgh. The move into trucking may have a more immediate impact, however. Ottomoto believes regulators would look more favorably on vehicles that operate primarily on highways, rather than through dense urban streets.” Note that this means one key argument for self-driving cars — saving lives from crashes — is being erased.

The Bezzle: “A judge has rejected Uber’s $100 million settlement with drivers” [Business Insider]. Robots can’t sue. Yet.

The Bezzle: “How Lending Club’s Biggest Fanboy Uncovered Shady Loans” [Bloomberg]. “Sims decided to take a look at the hundreds of loans he’d invested in, arranging them in a spreadsheet that displayed their amounts, interest rates, and information about borrowers’ salaries, employers, locations, incomes, and credit ratings (FICO scores, specifically). Two loans caught his eye. Both had been issued to individuals with the same employer in the same small town. So far, so coincidental. But looking deeper, Sims found that the salaries were nearly identical. Both borrowers had opened their first line of credit in the same month. This, Sims realized, is the same dude. It wasn’t a borrower who’d paid off one loan and happily returned for a second. It was one person with two active loans, and Lending Club was treating them as completely unrelated.” Sounds like a “Big Short” moment…

The Fed: “The Fed Is Searching for a New Framework. New Minutes Show It Doesn’t Have One Yet” [Neil Irwin, New York Times]. So the guy in the front of the plane doesn’t know how to fly? So all those credentials don’t mean squat? To be fair, it doesn’t take much training to turn a placebo knob. But still!

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 76 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).Last updated Aug 19 at 11:21am. It’s too hot to be greedy…

Our Famously Free Press

“NBC’s Olympics nightmare has all but come true: Prime-time viewership for Rio is down 17% from the London Games in 2012” [Business Insider].

Dear Old Blighty

Two splendid videos from the Corbyn campaign:

And then this, originally via Greenwald, but since the only embed is via the Corybn campaign:

Imperial Collapse Watch

“The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm” [The Intercept].

“Where Are NSA’s Overseers on the Shadow Brokers Release?” [Emptywheel].


“Major rivers of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta become unusually deeper” [Touitre News]. Not good news for Southeast Asia.


“Work stops at Dakota Access Pipeline site” [Bismark Tribune]. It’s not p-r-o-t-e-s-t-i-n-g. It’s p-r-o-t-e-c-t-i-n-g.

Guillotine Watch

Burning Man time again [San Francisco Chronicle]. The deeply spiritual experience of a 747 in the desert.

Class Warfare

“In 2013, families in the top 10 percent of the wealth distribution held 76 percent of all family wealth, families in the 51st to the 90th percentiles held 23 percent, and those in the bottom half of the distribution held 1 percent. Average wealth was about $4 million for families in the top 10 percent of the wealth distribution, $316,000 for families in the 51st to 90th percentiles, and $36,000 for families in the 26th to 50th percentiles. On average, families at or below the 25th percentile were $13,000 in debt” [Congressional Budget Office].

“A new study — presented Friday at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle — found that when young men are the family’s breadwinner, it may not be good for them. ‘We find strong evidence that, for men, breadwinning has adverse effects,’ write the authors of the study. ‘As relative income increases — that is, as men take on more economic responsibility in marriage — psychological well-being and health decline'” [MarketWatch].

Read to the last line: “I feel so important. Everyone treats me like I’m rich” [New Yorker]. Rule #2 of Neoliberalism

News of the Wired

“Make Your Own Hitler Video” [Downfall]. Anyone want to check this out?

“NASA just made all the scientific research it funds available for free” [Science Alert]. Since the public owns it!

* * *

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 (CR):


Palm trunk, San Diego. Palms creak in the night. Eerie.

* * *

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. Vatch

    I was curious about NARAL’s opposition to the ColoradoCare single payer proposal. It appears that they fear that in combination with state restrictions on funding abortion, ColoradoCare would make it harder to obtain an abortion. There’s clearly some disagreement about this, and it doesn’t seem to be about the value of single payer health care payment systems. Here’s an article from a couple of months ago that I found (it’s possible that the information in this article is obsolete):


    1. ekstase

      “It breaks my heart. I would love to support single payer healthcare. But you get details wrong, [and] people get hurt.”

      I’m not clear how this would be a step down from what we have now.

      1. meeps

        “I’m not clear how this would be a step down from what we have now.”

        Colorado Care would be a major improvement over what we have now, ekstase.

        I wrote to Colorado Care asking whether a specific treatment (not pertaining to reproductive services, in this case) would be denied or covered under the plan. From the response [I omitted personal specifics including the name and position of the respondent, since I haven’t asked for permission to identify him/her]:

        “The Cooperative shifts the concept of health coverage from the current idea of avoiding paying to the idea of keeping people healthy. If you and your doc believe that it takes [treatment under discussion] to improve the quality of your life, you are the people to decide. This is not a “give everyone everything they can think of wanting” but a focus on getting value for our money. Value includes quality of life. Health includes quality of life. And, as you know, it would take such a tiny, tiny fraction of the exorbitant salaries of insurance executives to provide you with [treatment under discussion] that it’s easy for me to get upset at the denial.”

        Note* the denial cited was a reference to benefits denied under a grandfathered company insurance plan after the passage of the ACA.

        The sort of people who actually spend their energies fighting women’s reproductive services have had plenty of “success” prior to Colorado Care. They’ve managed to deny birth control and abortion benefits to many women under the ACA. If NARAL’s concern for women’s reproductive rights wasn’t so distorted by political bias toward a particular faction of Democrats, they might have worked to defend Colorado Care. Sad.

  2. DJG

    Aha, false empathy. I see it all over the place:

    The case above:
    “It breaks my heart. I would love to support single payer healthcare. But you get details wrong, [and] people get hurt.”

    In my neighborhood, I’ve seen signs on shops like:
    “No dogs. We’re bummed, too.”
    “New groovy flavors. Yes, we’re super-excited, too.”

    It is all advertising. I’m a bad Catholic and a bad Buddhist, and even I can tell that these statements lack a minimal sense of the existence of another sentient being. It’s selfie rhetoric. But that’s where we are in “public discourse.” Next up: Pres Obama saying again that Congress just won’t let him shut down Guantanamo.

    1. Arizona Slim

      No dogs? That shop would get my business in a heartbeat!

      Reason: I am not a dog lover. And I don’t want to be forced to be around them when I’m out in public and transacting business.

      OTOH, I don’t have a problem with properly trained and certified* service dogs. They have a place in society and are useful.

      *By certified, I don’t mean that the owner went online and bought a vest for the dog. Instead, the dog and the owner undergo training and get certified at the end of that training. This is the process that blind people and their Seeing Eye Dogs undergo.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        That should automatically make you a preternatural political force. Some friends run a dog owners’ advocacy group here in Bellingham and the dog haters are the most effective political action group they’ve ever seen. They can spout complete factual BS, and be outnumbered 10-1, and still somehow power their agenda through the local political process and all opposition. It’s like a mysterious superpower that dog haters possess.

      2. Waldenpond

        Working on getting my dog certified. It’s a long process. The dog must respond 90% to first commands, have absolutely no response to people, be able to be controlled by a complete stranger, minimal response to extreme distractions etc.

        It takes extensive commitment. I, personally, would like to see some level of required obedience for all service dogs.

      3. Buttinsky

        I’m 100% with you, but just so you’re aware:

        A “service dog” by definition is never “certified.” Federal law (28 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 35 [public entities such as local government] and 36 [public accommodations]) precludes any such thing. Yes, the dog must be “individually trained” to perform some task or work directly related to the disabled person’s disability, but that training could be by the disabled person him/herself. By law, the only thing that can be done to identify a service dog is to ask the person if the animal is required because of a disability, and what work or task is the animal trained to perform (the answers can be vague and general and you can’t ask about the person’s disability).

        You are absolutely right that the vast majority of putative “service dogs” aren’t any such thing, and anybody claiming that a pet is a service dog is engaged in a despicable fraud — pretending to be a disabled person and taking advantage of laws put in place for one reason and one reason only, to ensure that disabled people have equal access to facilities. (It’s at least as bad as taking a handicapped parking space.) Lying about such a thing does nothing but display contempt for the disabled people who rely on the law.

        In California such fraud is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine — but of course that law never gets invoked, just like many other laws that attempt to regulate dogs, such as leash laws and laws that prohibit dogs in establishments that handle and sell food (grocery stores, restaurants, etc.). Contrary to Kurt Sperry’s experience, I would submit that dog owners are the most powerful lobby there is. In San Francisco and California, where I have been forced to become an expert in such laws, dogs are now allowed to be in outside areas of restaurants because of that lobby. So you have to decide whether or not you want to have lunch with someone’s dog on the lovely patio of that cafe.

        For the same reason, although some kind of certification or registration would of course help with regard to service dogs, don’t expect anything so sensible to happen in your lifetime.

      4. Waldenpond

        I think my other comment didn’t make it…. Working on training for basic certification (AKC CGC). It takes many hours of of consistent commands and body language. Service dog requirements can also include additionals such as the trainer achieving 90% response to first time commands.

        I think the AKC CGC would be a good base requirement for all service dogs. An individual can train the dog themselves to the program and just pay for the evaluation.

      5. DogsGoHome

        :::unruly, untrained dog jumps on me in public:::
        Rude dog owner: “Oh, Boomer just wants to play. He’s harmless.”
        Me: “No, Boomer is untrained and you’re incredibly rude and selfish.”

        I’m popular in my neighborhood

  3. Tom Stone

    “How stupid do they think we are?”
    They have internalized Einstein’s insight.
    “There are two infinities, the Universe and Human stupidity”.
    Go long popcorn and personal lube.

      1. RWood

        To: The Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?
        Betting TPP will pass, too. By Solvit Odali

        And anyway, Yves, I wish you and your family strength and not-so.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s questionable human stupidity is infinite.

          If humans stupidly exterminate ourselves, human stupidity ends.

          Maybe Herr One Stone is wrong here.

  4. Carolinian

    The Hitler videos have been around for years. At one point the rights holders to Downfall were threatening to have them taken down but the director of the movie said he found the whole thing to be amusing and flattering.

  5. gonzomarx

    A Labour update.

    The sound of Blairite silence
    Owen Smith has become the willing dupe of the Labour right

    Makes some good points about the free pass Smith is getting from Media and some interesting speculation of the Blairites next move.
    and some rumors floating about re David Miliband returning from New York for Jo Cox’s seat

    1. gonzomarx

      the rumors have surfaced in the odd media reports then disappeared, normally some pundits would of run with it. Just tumbleweeds

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Wow, that tweet tells you all you need to know about politicians. One notch below child molester as Woody Allen once observed.

  6. Anon

    RE; Antidote

    Palms only creak in the night when the wind blows (usually offshore Santa Ana’s).

    These palm trees are not indigenous to California beaches. They are human transplants from inland canyons; Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, etc.


  7. Steve C

    I have commented before in favor of the Maine ranked choice voting initiative in Maine. Would it have made a difference in Cutler v. Le Page in 2010?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The results were:

      Republican Paul LePage 218,065 37.6% +7.39%
      Independent Eliot Cutler 208,270 35.9% —
      Democratic Libby Mitchell 109,387 18.8% -19.31%

      Assuming that most of Mitchell’s voters would have preferred Cutler to LePage, I guess it would have.

      1. Steve C

        Might the initiative foster the development of alternatives to the partisan duopoly, at least in Maine? I think it would obviate lesser of two evil voting because you could vote for your first preference without fear it would result in the election of just the person you want to lose.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Unfortunately Alternative Vote (ranking) systems frequently, in fact, do exactly what you don’t want to happen (See Australia for numerous examples) and main parties can get eliminated in favour of single issue ones who got <1% of the primary vote. Although it sounds a very attractive system, it's riddled with opportunities for people to game the system by failing to allow the degree of "outrage" over candidates with strong popular but also unpopular ratings in different groups to be equally balanced. I doubt LePage would have won with a system like best-worst voting, in the same way I don't think either Trump or HRC would be their respective parties' general election candidates.

    2. curlydan

      “What the national press consistently leaves out of the LePage narrative is that…” I think a lot of people forget (c) Jill Stein won’t be even on the ballot in a lot of states!

      For North Carolina and Indiana, she’s a definite write in. For New Hampshire, Virginia, and Minnesota, they’re still petitioning to get on the ballot. And these are just the competitive states. In PA, they’ve filed and are awaiting results.

      I’m kind of shocked the Greens have filed in KS as well. She sure as $#!+ wasn’t on the 2012 KS ballot.


      1. Isotope_C14

        Some of the deadlines won’t be complete until September, depends on the state. Many states have draconian laws to prevent choice, rather than to give you choice. They do things like invalidate signatures based on the voter moved. Good way to keep the youngsters from having a voice…

        I’d also suggest checking out something less-out-of date. And um, Snopes. Not the first place I’d check anything aside from nigerian e-mail scams…


        She’s most certainly on the states that have large pools of delegates. She’s probably not going to make Georgia cause a judge “invalidated” lots of signatures. I wonder which duopolist hired that person…

        She could get 270 on this map. Too bad the electorate worships Trump.

        1. aab

          We’re no longer operating in the world of delegates. It’s electors. And most states are winner take all. So how large the pool of electors is in any given state matters less than how likely Stein is to be able to get the majority of them.

          And the electorate doesn’t worship Trump. Making that claim is inaccurate and unuseful, in that it drives off precisely the voters you presumably want to act with you. That’s a Clintonian tactic, and it doesn’t all that well for her.

          1. Isotope_C14

            Excuse me?


            I’d take a poll of nearly 100,000 respondents a little more seriously than the 600 or so the “professional” pollsters use.

            And feel free to look at the rally draws at a Trump event compared to an H-> event. You can either believe your eyes, or what you are told. H-> supporters are in the minority.

            I’m just sad Jill Stein didn’t poll higher on that, but nearly as popular as H->!!!!

            1. aab

              Your reply is completely non-responsive to what I wrote. Did you mean to respond to someone else?

              To be clear, you seemed to be confusing the primary system (with delegates that can be won without getting the majority of the votes in a given state) with the general election system (in which electors are almost entirely awarded ONLY to the winner of the state). I was also criticizing your use of the word “worship” to refer to voters expressing their candidate preference. I believe it is inaccurate with regard to most Trump voters. There is a LOT of data and anecdotal evidence that huge numbers of his supporters do not have illusions about who he is and why they are voting for him. You can agree or disagree with their values and decisions, but using the word “worship” is insulting, won’t attract them to your candidate, and is inaccurate in this case. (I do think there are some Hillary voters for whom “worship” might be fairly appropriate, but that’s a different discussion.)

              I was not arguing that Hillary Clinton supporters are the majority. In fact, I believe she did not win the primary legitimately and cannot win the general election legitimately.

              That Wikilinks poll is interesting, but obviously no more dispositive than the mainstream polls that are oversampling elderly Democrats and undersampling the young and Independent voters.

      2. Katharine

        It is the Green Party’s indifference to meeting routine filing deadlines that makes it look hopelessly inadequate. If it lacks the organization to look up deadlines and schedule accordingly, how can it be expected to have the organization to run a serious campaign or (I should live so long) a transition team?

        1. Isotope_C14

          They certainly do not have indifference. Many states have ridiculous ballot laws, put into place to prevent choice. These could be fixed, but the people who already have their jobs, don’t want to lose them. Some states require that the person in charge of getting signatures must be a registered voter from the state, rural or low population states are much harder to get ballot access on. Some people believe that they are “Lifelong Republicans” and decline to sign petitions. Some states don’t allow you to run for office in state positions unless there was a presidential candidate for your party. Lots of circular problems to keep non-corrupted people out. Perhaps you could help and sign up for this?


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Exercise is good for everyone.

      I recently started taking 10 to 20 minutes postprandial walk around the neighborhood every evening, even at the risk of running into my neighbor’s unleashed demon dog.

      (That hazy layer of smog – I think that’s what it is – looking pinkish from the setting sun can be so beautiful).

    2. grayslady

      Actually, her body type is not atypical for a woman who has gone through menopause. Having said that, she does look bloated–perhaps an effect of drugs she is taking for hypothyroidism, which do cause weight gain.

      1. dcblogger

        can’t believe the cattiness I am seeing here. Clinton looks fabulous, a real beauty. her policies may stink, but she looks great.

        1. aab

          What is the point of this statement? She doesn’t look fabulous. Public figures get ridiculed on their looks — note the insulting statue of Trump that was put up. She gleefully murders and starves millions. Yes, that’s more relevant than whether or not she looks good doing it, but claiming attacks on her looks by those she exploits and oppresses is “catty” is implying a non-existent level playing field, among other problems. She isn’t and can’t be the victim when she is this powerful.

          She’s more attractive than Kissinger or Cheney were at the same age. But I suspect she’s sicker than they were at that time — and yes, I am keeping Cheney’s severe heart problems in mind. I care that this is hidden. I care that it looks very much like there’s a serious neurological component. I care that it looks very much like Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Bill and/or Chelsea will be doing most of the governing if Hillary is installed as president. I wish she wouldn’t wear kitten heels with those suits — they really don’t go well, and are unflattering.

          Her newer hair style (when it’s blown out correctly) looks great.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Far be it from me to say nice things about GWB, but here goes:

      He was an avid mountain biker. And, from what I’ve read, his technique was pretty good.

      I’ve also heard that when Hillary was FLOTUS, she was an avid cyclist.

      Robert Reich’s book, Locked in the Cabinet, described one of her White House escapes. She disguised herself with sunglasses and a baseball cap and went out for a spin on the Chesapeake and Ohio Trail.

      Then, uh-oh, a bunch of Japanese tourists spotted her! And they were crazy excited! Was Hillary busted?


      The tourists just wanted her to take their picture. They had no idea who she was.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Not to be harsh, but I couldn’t be less interested in Clinton’s appearance, or speculation pertaining thereunto (especially since most commentary like that is based on digital evidence, and a great deal of it is oppo).

      I’m am interested — as I had thought I stated forcefully enough — in reader’s personal experiences with women more or less of Clinton’s age, who have the medical conditions that Clinton is known to have.

      That approach could have merit value in that it might add some comparative data to the discussion.

      1. Carolinian

        Well one of my uncles died in his sixties from a stroke caused by knee surgery related blood thinners. His wife blamed the doctors, big time.

        Personally I don’t think Clinton’s health is an issue unless she’s lying about it. Then it’s a big issue.

      2. Jack White

        I’m afraid that approach will likely lead to anecdotal organ recital. In clinical work providing data to physicians regulating warfarin dosage for anticoagulated patients, I noted that most of the patients were well controlled, that outlier PT/INR values were not common, but that a few patients were quite unpredictable in their response to warfarin and had to have their med changed. The patients steady, ongoing compliance with the regimen was important to good control. Mrs Clinton might be a difficult patient in this regard. Thirdly, we don’t have the history on her injury, and aren’t likely to learn it. Many people fall and hit their head, but few get transverse sinus thrombosis, if that’s even what’s going on. Perhaps a forensic hematologist is who”s needed: someone to work backwards from the campaign’s press releases.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The Hildebeast being treated with rat poison…sometimes the universe just smiles with serendipitous irony.

        2. Yves Smith

          I find the transverse sinus thrombosis to be questionable too. There was a lot of discussion that she’d had a mini-stroke; wonder if this diagnosis is a cover, since the public would react far more to a stroke in her history.

          1. Terry

            I concur. Of course the usual caveats here and a slow reply due to illness but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d had a TIA/mini-stroke: she’s led a relatively high stress lifestyle, flown a lot (which was the final straw for my mum’s TIA) and has family history (as well as explaining the fall). If she is taking other meds then of course a campaign could disrupt timings etc and increase her risk of another. Weight gain, although not uncommon for someone her age, seemed a tad sudden and she often looks bloated. My mother had a TIA three years ago (at age 70) and her mother died after multiple mini-strokes. Physicians usually are very cautious about TIA patients drinking alcohol as it can kick start vascular dementia too, in addition to making correct dosage of any other meds difficult. On the other hand, not having another TIA soon after is a good sign, but if the campaign is giving difficulty in her meds routine (or causing her to have lots of celebratory drinks) then her body going to find cardiovascular events harder to avoid.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > a forensic hematologist is who”s needed: someone to work backwards from the campaign’s press releases.

          So, do we have a forensic hematologist in the house?

    5. Romancing the Loan

      She wears an ill-fitting bulletproof vest in public. Also you’re a sexist who can’t spell.

  8. RabidGandhi

    Rajoy threatens to hold Christmas elections unless PSOE helps to re-elect him.

    Keep in mind, not having a government has been the best thing for Spaniards since sliced ham, with prohibited deficits leading to growth for the first time since the crisis. Bloomberg confirmed this in their usual charming-but-clueless way:

    Rajoy, for his part, says there’s no way he’s stepping aside and if Sanchez maintains his veto then Spaniards will be forced to vote again [on 25 December this year]. The premier says the political stalemate is jeopardizing the country’s economic recovery and stalling efforts to tackle unemployment, while the European Union is demanding further cuts to stabilize the public finances. Spain is due to send its 2017 budget to Brussels by the middle of October.

    So if Spain can’t form a government they won’t be able to run back to Brussles for another helping of austerity. ¡Viva la indecisión!

    1. JustAnObserver

      Maybe they’ll go for the “Don’t have a government” record currently held, I believe, by Belgium @589 days. Could get a whole 1.5+ years growth before the dickheads of the Eurozone can find anyone to threaten with more beatings (till morale improves don’tcha know).

  9. Timmy

    My experience with assisting with the health care for my mother is that dosage seemed very much like a guessing game with weight being an estimator that had a extremely large error term when modified by metabolism. And then there is the patient’s ability and willingness to address all the technical details of administration…with food, without, night, day etc, not to mention the temptation to skip doses when the side effects will interfere with an activity for that day (e.g., drowsiness…going to a movie). Many of the drugs require a steady presence established by a good regular administration routine and without that, cycles result. It seemed much less precise than the medical staff represented to us and the solution was often to iterate over time to find the happy middle ground.

  10. steelhead

    No Hillary voter here. (Red not Purple State). When has the US had a President who did not have a health issue? HRC & WJC are certifiable psychopaths but as long as there are single issue items that divide the non voting population, it is just an exercise in futility…

      1. Arizona Slim

        But for that smoking habit, which he is reported to have kicked, Obama is a pretty healthy guy.

        And Ford? Best athlete we’ve had in a long time. Matter of fact, he was a super-fast skier. The Secret Service detail couldn’t keep up with him.

      2. JustAnObserver

        Not sure about Bush-the-Shrub. Isn’t it true that there’s really not such thing as an ex-alcoholic, making it a long term psychological health issue (*). Substituting born-again fundamentalist God-addiction for the C(2)H(5)OH one isn’t, IMV, much of an improvement.

        (*) Is having someone with that history a few cm. from the Armageddon Button any less dangerous than the Donald ?

      3. aab

        I was going to mention Obama, but I see AZ Slim has done that.

        Bill was pretty healthy as President, wasn’t he? The heart problems were afterwards, weren’t they?

        Wasn’t Nixon physically healthy?

        If I’m right, that means since FDR, the vast majority of Presidents have been physically healthy when entering office. Hillary’s an outlier.

        And yes, her horrendous policies, corruption and criminality matter more. But it feels like it’s all of a piece, doesn’t it? She must have this, even if she’s no longer capable of doing it. The entire media elite will hide it from us, like everything else negative about her. And “her” administration barely needs actual her to function; neoliberalism and neocon warmongering will roll on regardless.

  11. Portia

    as men take on more economic responsibility in marriage — psychological well-being and health decline’”

    What is the purpose of this? I am curious. How did they isolate this phenom, anyway? I am not reading the study, as I suspect it will not tell me, or my head will hit the desk promptly after starting to read. Anybody have any ideas? thx

    1. Portia

      Anybody studying the psychological well-being of single moms after the guy “declines” away?

    2. flora

      Anybody think this isn’t an attempt to manage expectations (and chill out) of young men shut out of a decent career path?

  12. jgordon

    On Clinton’s health or lack thereof:

    Is debate on this topic necessary? Though he hasn’t run ads so far, it’d be foolish of Trump to not run campaign ads featuring Clinton barking like a dog or doing that spastic headbob in front of cameras, or “we came. We saw. He died! Hahaha.”

    Alright so maybe rather than “health” problems we could say that Hillary at the very least has extremely severe psychological problems (would/could any of you argue that point?). Problems so severe that the thought of her getting anywhere near power should be absolutely terrifying. But apparently isn’t for a lot of people.

    What political hack or national security person in his/her right mind looks at Hillary and thinks, “kaching!! I’m gonna get so many bennies under Hillary. That’s who I want to support! My family definitely won’t get irradiated to death in a nuclear Armageddon at all if she’s president!” These people are nuts.

    I can be pretty passive in unemotional about the small stuff, which is mostly everything short of a mass extinction event, but the prospect of an imminent and actual mass extinction event does get me a bit upset. Who can “vote their conscience” or “refuse to support the LOTE” under these circumstances. If Hillary were just the standard corrupt political hack I wouldn’t really care, but this is just too different.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “How are you going to face your children and grand-children when you tell them you voted for Trump?”

      I have heard that somewhere…probably the local public radio’s NPR segment.

      “How are you going to face the Syrians, dead or alive, when you tell them you voted for Hillary?”

      I came, I saw and I voted???

      Note this – the first questioner KNOWS the world actually will have survived Trump for the questioned to have children and grand children.

  13. bob k

    i had a stroke when i was 64. i will be 67 next month. the cause was a rogue case of atrial fib that threw a clot into my left jugular vein. while in the hospital recovering for 8 days i learned that i have a genetic defect that makes me 2 to 3 times more likely to clot than the normal person. since then, no further strokes. i am on coumadin, which is notoriously difficult to maintain. you’d think they could come up with something better than rat poison to thin the blood out, something that medicare would cover.

    1. no one

      I always appreciate personal testimonials like yours. I agree regarding coumadin; maybe Hillary will lend enough prestige to the issue to re-focus Big Pharma in the direction of new, more easily tolerated drugs.

    2. Cynthia

      There are Coumadin alternatives. http://www.rxlist.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=170265
      My father was switched to Pradaxa from Coumadin. Pradaxa is much more expensive but metabolizes better so you don’t need the regular blood testing and dosage adjustments that you do with Coumadin. The big downside with Pradaxa is that it takes much longer to get it out of your system if you need emergency surgery.
      My mother had cardiovascular disease, started in her 50s, she died in 2001 at 72. While her health issues are not the same as Hilary’s, she did take a blood pressure pill (sorry forget the name) that had the side effect of giving her a dry cough. That might explain Hilary’s coughing fits.

  14. fresno dan

    “[USTR Michael Froman] talked about the risks of not having the trade pact in place. ‘I think it is serious one’ without the TPP, Froman told reporters, pointing to movies like ‘Sound of Music,’ ‘Dr. Zhivago,’ ‘Ship of Fools” and ‘A Patch of Blue,’ which are bumping up against the 50-year term in some countries” [Variety]. “‘That are all 1966 vintage, which without TPP will be off protection next year,’ he said.” Yeah, sheesh, what if studios actually had to finance and create new content?

    Not to mention Mickey Mouse…..because Walt may be a zombie and could create a zombie Mickey Mouse…….or, Walt could be cyrogenically frozen and is just waiting the defrost cycle…..or, taking some DNA from his marrow, they could make a clone.
    So many possibilities….all contingent upon Mickey remaining under copyright protection….

    1. curlydan

      Don’t f- with the mouse, Fresno. You probably have the black Suburbans rolling by your place right now for that comment.

      Now, I’m off to the movie theater to watch Disney’s 97th adaptation of the Jungle Book, followed by their 107th adaptation of Tarzan, followed by their 20th adaptation of Sherlock Holmes because those copyrights are DEAD.

    2. Jim Haygood

      “Movies like ‘Sound of Music,’ ‘Dr. Zhivago,’ ‘Ship of Fools” and ‘A Patch of Blue,’ which are bumping up against the 50-year term in some countries”

      So now we get the urgency of TPP — keeping movies dating from our childhood out of the public domain until we are long dead. Cultural theft, in plain words: people die, but corporations live on and reap recurring revenues of many times what it took to bribe a few KongressKlowns.

      Time to retaliate with a Downfall / Sound of Music parody mash-up to taunt our Disney cultural overlords.

  15. Heliopause

    “And Now for Some Conspiracy Trutherism About Trump’s Sinking Poll Numbers”

    I hate to say this because some will interpret it as saying that Clinton’s lead is heading for imminent demise (it’s not), but the race is certainly closer than the general narrative is letting on. Almost all the most recent polls aggregated by RCP and Pollster are Clinton +6 or closer, and it’s slowly edging back toward that Clinton +4 equilibrium that I keep bringing up like a broken record.

    Always important to remember that a F-ton of polls are constantly being released and the media, in concert with their general biases this election, are choosing to emphasize certain ones.

    That said, don’t get the idea that Clinton isn’t in control, because she is. My guess is that the only thing that will stop her is the deus ex machina that may or may not be coming.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yep. “Events, dear boy. Events.”

      Now, I was thinking that Manafort and Stone were hired to produce/facilititate/reveal such an event. Of Manafort, I seem to have been wrong. Then again, Stone is the the one who took down Spitzer, not Manafort.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      She, through the DNC and a few phone calls, according to leaked data, is in control of the Mainstream Media, for one.

  16. Lambert Strether Post author

    Hillary Clinton’s ‘Colin Powell did it’ defense of her email practices is just plain wrong WaPo

    For whatever reason — and despite the fact that Clinton has said on several occasions that she knows she made a mistake — she seems incapable of accepting that responsibility and moving on. No secretary of state — up to and including Colin Powell — handled their email setup like Clinton. That’s a fact.

    To be fair, I don’t think Colin Powell took yoga lessons.

    1. Isotope_C14

      The buck stops down the hall where the unpaid interns speak into a microphone that makes words come out of my mouth.

    2. optimader

      For me anyway, that half assed attempt at a justification of an admitted felony, no less coming from a lawyer(!) is reason enough to disbar her, if she still has a license to practice, and prosecute her.
      But this is retreaded news, what is pathetic is that the story apparently has no traction with our anything goes if you’re politically connected DoJ and captured Media.

  17. MartyH

    The shipping graphic: The Exceptional US … is a darkness. The European coastline is brightly lit. The Asian coastline is brightly lit. NY and LA are little candle-lights flickering by comparison. Looks like the power got shut down in “The Powerhouse Economy.”

    Just sayin’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No one here, in Southern California, is burning the midnight oil.

      We light candles when praying to Mammon.

  18. dk

    Clinton: But you get details wrong, [and] people get hurt.

    Translation: I make lousy deals.

    Thanks, we noticed. You don’t get points for acknowledging it obliquely.

  19. clarky90

    I have had consciousness changing moments in my life; a death (s), a divorce, a house fire, an illness, the discovery of a family secret…..

    IMO, Trump’s experience of running for POTUS has “woken” him. He is experiencing, for the first time, the RAGE (hate) of the Neo Bolshevik Party (the 1%) when thwarted.

    Donald Trump

    “I am glad that I am making The Powerful, uncomfortable.”.

    Donald Trump Holds Rally in Charlotte, NC 8/18/16
    Speech starts at 42 minutes

    This is also the speech in which Donald Trump expresses “regret”.

    Scott Adams describes this speech as the beginning of the 3rd Act of “The Movie”.

    “Those who believe in oppressing women, gays, Hispanics, African Americans and people of different faiths are not welcome to join our Great Society”

    1. fresno dan

      August 19, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks for that – very insightful!

      Scott Adams: I turned on CNN after the regret speech just to see heads exploding. I was not disappointed. Trump was trying to remove from his opponents their main weapon – the idea that Trump is a monster – and it frightened the anti-Trump folks in ways that that their faces and voices couldn’t conceal. I think everyone realizes that one solid month of Trump acting sane and empathetic would drive a stake through Clinton’s heart. We’re one week into it.

      My view was that Trump was doomed if he went back to being a conventional repub – he beat 16 conventional repubs by not being a CONVENTIONAL repub. I think there are all sorts of dem constituencies that could be peeled off, reduced, or induced not to show up to vote for Hillary because neither party can acknowledge that TOGETHER they have really f*cked up the country….
      It really strikes me that Trump is the first repub since Lincoln to actually address blacks, and the first to flat out say that your problems are not caused by yourselves, but by your leaders – a startling admission from a repub that the country is not perfect and all milk and honey if ONLY YOU WORK HARD. Trump admits its hard to work hard if all the jobs are overseas….
      With regard to race, to paraphrase Liz Taylor, can a repub even say “black?” – repubs don’t contest blacks because as far as I can see repubs believe in making the 99% poorer, so talking about black problems and !horrors! actually trying to use government !!!triple horrors!!!! IS totally opposite to conventional republican strategy…
      Social security recipients could be a big constituency for Trump if he gets some voter education out there about what “Goldman” Girl Hillary REALLY, REALLY thinks about entitlements….
      I think most people don’t buy all the foreign wars.
      And doubtless many other things.
      But how I want Trump to act and how he acts are two different things. Time will tell if this is really a new “act” or not.

    2. EGrise

      Fascinating stuff. From the end of Adams’ post:

      Prior to this week, Clinton had the momentum and a clear path to an easy victory if nothing changed. But as I blogged then, something always changes.

      “Events, dear boy. Events.”

  20. dk

    Shipping animation: cooooool!

    The narration brings up carbon emissions and environmental impacts, just from the shipping. This should be part of the discussion about “trade deals“.There are “hidden” (as in, unmentioned) costs to international/global trade. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t ever be any, but local/regional production has some inherent benefits beyond “jobs”.

  21. ewmayer

    o How Low-Skilled Workers Could Rescue the U.S. Economy | WSJ — Author omits the rather crucial fact that, compared with 1947, today ‘low skilled’ invariably means low-paying-and-crap-or-nonexistent-benefits and often odd-hours, to boot. Conflating a post-WW2 unionized manufacturing job with a modern-day WalMart bathroom-cleaner one. Yah, sure, we gonna rescue the US economy, one sanitized turd-salad-bowl at a time.

    o NBC’s Olympics nightmare has all but come true: Prime-time viewership for Rio is down 17% from the London Games in 2012 | Business Insider — Inquiring minds may be wondering whether that drop is mirrored by “actual minutes of sporting events shown, as opposed to hype-laden backstory-and-rah-rah-filler”, or if those two are uncorrelated. A relative of mine describes her frustration at the way NBC structures things:

    OK, a typical hour-long block of primetime programming based on my viewing – and keep in mind this is all non-live, i.e. taped hours beforehand, meaning they could really cram in a lot of actual sporting competition, if they so desired:

    o 2-3 minutes showing one of the big stars in event X getting ready somewhere, with a “in around 20 minutes…” teaser;

    o 5 minutes of commercials;

    o 2 mins for medal count (USA! USA! USA!), medal ceremony and national anthem (USA! USA! USA!) for some US athlete who won gold, often as far back as the previous day;

    o 5 minutes of commercials;

    o 2-3 minutes of inspirational backstory for the aforementioned big star in event X, followed by “coming up next…” teaser;

    o 5 minutes of commercials;

    o 7-8 mins of the actual lead-up to event X – athletes anter to varying levels of cheers, warm-ups, running of event, multiple replays, varying levels of hype depending on who won and how they won;

    o 5 minutes of commercials;

    o 2-minutes snip in which “the winner of event X is with our Lewis Johnson…”

    o 5 minutes of commercials;

    o Some lesser-starred event Y in which an American wins a medal. If it’s something like day 2 of the decathlon, the first 4 of the day’s 5 events get brutally compressed into 2 minutes or less, follwed by the 1500m (final event) and the obligatory “greatest athlete in the world” hype;

    o 5 minutes of commercials;

    o 2-minutes snip in which “the winner of event Y is with our Lewis Johnson…”

    o 5 minutes of commercials;

    The 11-12pm late-hour time slot is better in terms of showing longer block of actual competition, but they also do lengthy and usually completely inane color-segments. For example, there was literally a 20-minute segment in which Bob Costas talked to *winter* olympian “the snowboard king” Sean White about … Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Ya see, there was this time when some common commercial sponsor of both stars engineered a photo-op at a skateboard park … and it was all so very precious (Nike! Nike! Nike!) and lotsa laughs. So special!

    1. Jess

      Brilliant and right on target. Interestingly, NBCSN has more real competition, including some complete VB matches, even those involving non-U.S. teams.

    2. JustAnObserver

      Aha! Now I know why I stopped watching 1/2 through the 1st day. 35min of commercials, 15min+ of inane babble, 10min(max) of actual events.

      `USA,USA’ chauvinism is so strong this year that only a non-USian of the caliber of Usain Bolt will get any airtime otherwise. The London Olympics on NBC was bad enough but this one has reached depths I didn’t think possible even with my cynicism control @ max+.

    3. Goyo Marquez

      If you watch on the NBC Olympic Games app you can stream a lot of the events, live and recorded, in their entirety, no commentary though.

  22. Synoia

    The entire health-insurance industry consists simply of taking our money

    Yes and employ 8% of the US workforce taking our money. If health insurance was as efficeint as Medicare, the result would be an increase in unemployment of about 8 million.

    1. marym

      HR 676 provides for training, hiring preference, 2 years of salary continuation, and unemployment benefits for workers displaced by the transition.


      According to a study released January 14 [2009] by the California Nurses Association, adoptiing a single payer system of universal health care in the US would create 2.6 million new jobs, as many as the Bush economy destroyed in 2006, and boost the revenues of private employers by an annual $317 billion. A single payer health care system would put more than $100 billion in the pockets of employees and add $44 billion to state, local and federal budgets in badly needed tax revenues.

      The CNA study details the economic benefits of healthcare to the overall economy, showing how changes in direct healthcare delivery affect all other significant sectors touched by healthcare, and how sweeping healthcare reform can help drive the nation’s economic recovery.

      “These dramatic new findings document for the first time that a single-payer system could not only solve our healthcare crisis, but also substantially contribute to putting America back to work and assisting the economic recovery,” said Geri Jenkins, RN, co-president of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association, which sponsored the study.

  23. Synoia

    How Lending Club’s Biggest Fanboy Uncovered Shady Loans

    I listed a home once which had a first loan and three HELOC seconds. The seconds were all the same amount, and recorded all on the same day.

    The owner claimed to know noting about the two of the three second loans.

  24. no one

    Jeffrey Sterling is a heroic whistleblower, who acted in the best interests of the American people. He deserves a presidential pardon, and recognition of his great public service. (He was a source for James Risen’s “State of War,” which disclosed some of the horrific Bush administration/CIA activities that were undertaken in our name.)

    Why I Still Have Hope in the American Dream That Failed Me
    By Jeffrey Sterling,


  25. Jim Haygood

    Judge Sullivan lets us down:

    U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan said Judicial Watch had not demonstrated that an in-person deposition of Clinton was necessary to attempt to clarify whether the former secretary of state set up the [email] system in order to avoid complying with the Freedom of Information Act.

    The ruling makes it far less likely that Clinton will face the potentially politically damaging step of having to leave the presidential campaign trail in the coming months to allow some of her harshest critics to question her under oath about her controversial email set-up.

    Sullivan noted that under legal precedents applicable to current and former Cabinet officials, the court should only require Clinton to appear at a deposition if “exceptional circumstances” justified such an approach.


    So being a “former Cabinet official” entitles one to professional courtesy from the courts.

    Is it just coincidence that rulings like this one get posted late on a summer Friday afternoon, when attention to news is at a low ebb?

      1. Jim Haygood

        As are perjury charges, should they lapse into confabulation.

        Whereas the lives of former cabinet members are so event-filled, it’s understandable that their recollection of even recent events is quite hazy … until they pen their autobiographies.

  26. allan

    ND Governor issues emergency declaration in response to pipeline protests

    North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an emergency declaration for southwest and south central North Dakota in response to protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannon Ball. …

    Dalrymple said in the declaration that the state is committed to protecting the right to lawful protests, but recent events have created a “significant public safety concern.”

    The protests have grown substantially over the past week as about 1,500 people have gathered to demonstrate against the pipeline being drilled under the Missouri River. …

    Apparently peaceful assembly now constitutes an emergency.

  27. Phil King

    A fellow Maine bear here and newbie to comments on the NC blog (but not to reading
    it). Always appreciate the links and commentary, one of the best out there in this prog’s opinion. Minor quibble about the 2010 and 2014 Maine elections. In 2010 the Dem candidate (Libby Mitchell) ultimately garnered about 19 %, so imo there’s a solid argument to be made that she should have tossed her vote to Cutler, the Independent. 2014 was a totally different ballgame. Whatever one’s opinion of the Dem candidate (Mike Michaud), it was neck-and-neck for the most part. Cutler was the open and unabashed spoiler in that one; he ended up with about 9 %. I remember watching a televised three-way debate when he and Lepage high-fived each other after the fact – not that Michaud performed spectacularly, just sayin’ in that year it was on Cutler, not the Dems.
    So here’s to the ranked-choice voting ballot intitiative in the fall ! Maybe that’ll put paid to Maine state embarrassments like Lepage. Not sure what, if any, downside there might be for progressives should it pass.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I thought I had made a clear distinction between 2010 and 2014, although that’s a good point on Cutler.

      Ya know, in 2014 I got call after call from Peloquin, and nothing at all from Emily Cain (not even a request for a yard sign, which I had done before). A friend of mine actually tried at least twice to volunteer for the Cain campaign, and the Cain apparatus couldn’t manage to take her up on the offer.

      So Cain loses, and then the following day all the university administrators come into the coffee shop, all downcast and moaning about how stupid the voters are.

      Until the Democrats cure themselves of the notion that they’re the natural ruling party, stop acting like they own our votes, and get out of their 10%-er bubble, they’re gonna keep losing. And plenty of voters will be very happy to help them.

  28. uncle tungsten

    NSA leak. This is just too good. The morons will never have the chance to blame the Russians or the Chinese of the Yemenis ever again. The whole world (or parts thereof) is about to get access to some exquisitely designed spyware. I wonder if the NSA will be bidding at the auction?

    The NSA has absolutely changed the game. Pack of fools! The worm has turned and its inside the machine. I am reminded of the Shockwave Rider on just this topic. We will now be able to watch this worm replicate and evolve in real time.

  29. ewmayer

    U.S. men’s 4×100 relay squad self-inflicts its third consecutive Olympic #fail:


    “We interrupt this flag-draped crotch-grabbing victory lap (apparently a bronze medal qualifies as such when your previous 2 olympics ended so dismally) to tell y’all you’ve been DQed. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.”

    U.S. women did excellently, though – after a strange semifinal heat yesterday where they dropped the baton but it was ruled to have been knocked out by the exchanging Brazilian runners in the neighboring lane, leading to the U.S. re-running the race against the clock in only-team-on-the-track fashion and making the final based on the resulting time – the ladies found themselves with the dismal inside-lane draw for the final, but still won and recorded the 2nd-fastest time in history, second only to the world record set in the 2012 London games by the then-U.S. team.

    BTW, I have it on reliable authority that during the prime 9-10pm time slot, those 2 relays – each taking under 1 minute of actual running time – plus a handful of the jumps from the women’s pole vault final were all the actual sporting competition NBC managed to show. There was even 3-4 mins of time wastage showing the men’s relay teams waiting to be introduced, but being delayed fro some reason. Which would have been OK, if NBC had actually been covering things live. But in fact they only show pre-taped and assembled-together stuff in primetime, so there was absolutely no reason to waste the audience’s time with the waiting-in-the-wings footage, except that they apparently like the soap-operatic “…as we continue to wait, we see Justin Gatlin sneaking a peek at Usain Bolt … is he secretly cursing Bolt’s family tree unto the seventh generation, or merely paying silent homage to that oh-so-famous pair of Jamaican buttocks he’s seen pulling away from him in the final straight, as well as his nightmares, so many times? We may never know…” silliness they were playing up during The Great Wait. “Perhaps skier Linsday Vonn, who is here in Rio to help promote the Mountain Dew Tour™, can help our own Bob Costas shed some light on this…”.

    (OK, I admit I completely made that last bit up. But after the Sean White / Usain Bolt cross-marketing blurbage, it would fit right in, as far as NBC and their commercial sponsors are concerned.)

  30. cm

    Let’s review the United States Constitutiion, specifically Article 1 Section 8:

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    I would appreciate a discussion on DoD black programs wrt the Constitution. Who’s with me???

    Was the latest fighter debacle program (F-35?) funded for two years? If not, who is going to jail?

  31. DarkMatters

    The Constitution? How passe! It’s been abused so much that any court case invoking its terms would be dismissed: a new legal principle has come into being: repeal of law by customary violation. This already includes whistleblower protection, classified document handling, and perjury; why should the Constitution be any different?

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