2:00PM Water Cooler 8/2/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“‘For America’s friends and partners, ratifying the TPP is a litmus test of credibility and seriousness of purpose,’ [Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong] told the business audience, ahead of his meeting with President Barack Obama today. ‘We need to know that agreements will be upheld and that Asia can depend on America. Your ratification of TPP will therefore be a clear statement of your commitment and confidence in our region'” [Politico]. Recalling Democrat opposition to TPP in its “current form,” cue meaningless sop to labor and whatever horse-trading is needed to get all those new-found Republican friends on board.

“Is the TPP really a “good deal” for the United States?” [WaPo] (orginal study). “We tackle this question head-on in a recently published paper, finding that the TPP trade rules are skewed heavily in favor of the United States. Our primary discovery is that much of the language in the actual TPP agreement is copy-pasted verbatim from earlier U.S. trade agreements. This is particularly true for controversial issues like investment, where up to 90 percent of the text from past U.S. investment chapters is inserted word-for-word into the TPP text. These findings call into question critics’ claims that U.S. negotiators failed to adequately represent U.S. interests in the TPP.” “Calls into question” why? Because all the previous trade deals were so good?

UPDATE “China’s strict regulation of entertainment imports, including foreign films, violates the country’s World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, as determined in a 2007 WTO decision calling for China to open its film market to foreign films” [U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission]. “China’s strict regulation of entertainment imports, including foreign films, violates the country’s World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, as determined in a 2007 WTO decision calling for China to open its film market to foreign films. … China’s regulations and processes for approving foreign films reflect the Chinese Communist Party’s position that art, including film, is a method of social control. As a result of these regulations, Hollywood filmmakers are required to cut out any scenes, dialogue, and themes that may be perceived as a slight to the Chinese government. With an eye toward distribution in China, American filmmakers increasingly edit films in anticipation of Chinese censors’ many potential sensitivities.” Makes you wonder what Clinton’s views on Chinese WTO violations might be. And that globalization is making Americans less cosmopolitan, not more, given that our entertainment is now being silently shaped by the priorities of a single foreign power.



“So, according to this article, which I think accurately reflects the current understanding of what it now means to be a liberal in America, we have arrived at a state of affairs in which supporting free trade is sufficient justification for casting Tim Kaine out of the liberal fold. Or to make the point in a slightly different way, on international trade at least, Donald Trump’s views are more liberal than those of either Tim Kaine or Hillary Clinton. In this crazy year of 2016, we have witnessed all kinds of farcical events that no one ever dreamed would actually happen. But for protectionism to now be identified as a defining tenet of liberalism surely belongs on any list of the improbable plot twists in the tragicomedy of an election campaign that we have been watching in disbelief in America’s political theater of the absurd” [Uneasy Money]. Tut tut!

The Voters

“Full transcript: POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush interviews Jeff Weaver” [Politico]. Very interesting article (and it’s interesting to see that successful comic-book store owner Weaver is also a stone professional. This passage caught my eye:

THRUSH: So I asked you kind of a question half in jest, at this panel, which was–and it had been suggested to me by a bunch of people–doesn’t it make a lot of sense for your organization, insofar as it still exists, to plug and play in the DNC? You are the energy of this party right now, right? You are–and even the Clinton people. The other thing that I don’t think people fully realize, Jeff, is how you guys revolutionized the game in terms of online fundraising–

WEAVER: Right.

THRUSH: –and also the creation of this content that Tad and other folks had a hand in. Why not have the Sanders folks kind of just take over the Democrat–you know, you guys are bitching about how the game was rigged against you on this stuff. Why not just, you know, take the–storm the castle and just take it?

WEAVER: Well, I mean, we’re happy to play whatever role we can that’s constructive. I mean, obviously there are people in the DNC now–I don’t know what you mean by “storming the castle.” It’s not like we’re going to race the Ivy Street gates at the DNC headquarters.

THRUSH: Why not? No, I’m kidding.

WEAVER: That was Glenn.

THRUSH: That was me, not him.

WEAVER: But, you know, I know Donna Brazile. I’ve had conversations with her in the last couple of days and I’ll have conversations with her in the next few days, so I think this she’s very interesting, in reorienting the party.

THRUSH: Do you think she gets it?

WEAVER: I do think she get is. Yes, absolutely.

THRUSH: And you do think a lot of the Sanders folks, and the modalities that you guys invented, are going to be transferrable to the DNC.

WEAVER: I do if it is willing to transform itself. I mean, if you just try to overlay these over the current DNC I think they’ll fall flat.

THRUSH: Well, I guess the open-and-close primary thing is the really seminal argument here, right?

“[I]f voters find it empowering to upend the table, break the crockery and send every member of ‘the Establishment’ running for cover—then all the turnout models of all the experts might be thrown into a cocked hat. It means we could continue to watch as the statements and actions that would destroy any other candidacy have little or no effect on Trump” [Politico]. That is, if a vote for Trump is a vote against the political class, Trump might get more votes than 40 years of models predict.

“[T]he motivations and circumstances of mobilization into [far] right-wing organizations are substantially more heterogeneous than a simple story leading from racist attitudes to racist mobilization would suggest. They argue that antecedent racist ideology is indeed a factor, but that music, culture, social media, and continent social networks also play significant causal roles” [Understanding Society].

“Did an Election Day Lawsuit Stop Karl Rove’s Vote-Rigging Scheme in Ohio?” [Washington Spectator (2013)]. By Betteridge’s Law, No. And I can’t find a causal chain in the post that says Yes, although there’s a lot of good background material.

“In ways small and large, the lifeblood of the Democratic National Convention was the black church. You saw this, in a literal way, with the stream of black politicians and black religious leaders who took the stage” [Slate]. And, like Obama, naturally progressive, given their skin color. Oh, wait

The Parties

“President Barack Obama called on senior congressional Republicans to withdraw their support for Donald Trump, saying that he is ‘unfit’ and ‘woefully unprepared’ for the Oval Office” [MarketWatch]. Let’s leave aside that “woefully unprepared” is the same charge leveled by Clinton against Obama in 2008 by Clinton. And not without reason.

Speculating freely from the 30,000-foot view, the particular controversies (the Khans, or whatever) aren’t relevant, since there was always going to be something, given (a) the enormous resources available to the Democrat oppo effort organized by David Brock, (b) the Democrat desire to attract Republican establishment figures like Iraq War advocate and PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan (PNAC report), who fund-raised for Clinton, (c) the desire of Republican establishment figures to McGovern Trump, and (d) the unprecedented integration of the political class, including our famously free press, with the Democrat campaign apparatus.

It is true that, tactically, the Democrats have gotten inside Trump’s head and are driving his OODA loop at the point of decision — bad! — with personal attacks, but to me, the real issue is the ongoing merger of the two party establishments, parallel to the emergence of a left not part of either establishment. After all, the Republicans tend to be given the portfolios for the Ministry of War Defense Department and the Secret Police FBI already, so why not consummate matters in a more visible fashion? And when liberals and conservatives are both neoliberals (as they are), we’re not talking issues of principle: We’re talking the narcissism of small differences. And to both party establishments — or a horridly merged blob comprising both establishments — the real enemy is the left.

UPDATE “Green Party presumptive Presidential nominee Jill Stein has offered her vice-presidential bid to international human rights scholar and activist Ajamu Barak” [Counterpunch]. Therefore not Nina Turner.

UPDATE “From Reagan to Trump” [Corey Robin, Jacobin]. It’s really amusing to watch Democrats, who’ve been demonizing Republicans for at least a decade, turning around and saying “No, no, these are the good Republicans. The responsible ones!” The cognitive dissonance must be amazing, and on both sides.

Swing States

“Swing-state Democrats ask Bernie for help” [Politico]. “As Bernie Sanders gears up for next phase of his political revolution, Senate Democratic candidates are clamoring for his support in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania — where his anti-trade, populist message could give Democrats a key political edge come November. … nd while the two camps are regularly in touch, Sanders and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are nowhere near far enough in their discussions to map out where Sanders could stump for candidates or what kind of fundraising appeals he’ll send out.”

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, June 2016: “The consumer continues to spend though income isn’t that strong” [Econoday]. What could go wrong? And: “Looking at the inflation adjusted 3 month trend rate of growth, disposable income growth rate trend decelerated while consumption’s growth rate is accelerating.” [Econintersect]. However: “Per capita inflation adjusted expenditure has exceeded the pre-recession peak.” And: “Per capita inflation adjusted income is above pre-recession levels – and improved this month.” And: “On the whole, the overall tone of this report was encouraging as the continued buoyancy in personal consumption expenditures points to a favorable handoff to Q3. However, with disposable income becoming somewhat stretched the sustainability of this upbeat performance in consumer spending has come into question. Furthermore, the soft inflationary performance adds to the narrative of the weakening inflationary backdrop, which will argue for caution at the Fed” [TD Securities, Across the Curve].

Gallup Economic Confidence Index, July 2016: “For the month of July, the average score was minus 15, the lowest for any month in the past year” [Econoday]. “However, though the ECI had a mostly lackluster July, the measure saw dramatic improvement last week, fueled by Democrats’ increasing optimism about the economy.”

Retail: “”According to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, which analyzed data from 25 million debit and credit card users, while the average U.S. household saved $700 [from cheaper gas] last year, only 5% went back toward discount stores,’ wrote [Paul Trussell at Deutsche Bank]” [Business Insider]. “In fact, the largest sub-category for gas savings spending has been restaurants, which have captured 18% of the gas savings (or $126 of the $700 of savings). Additionally, entertainment spending grabbed another 7%. ”

Shipping: “UPS Inc. is in the process of fully automating its 30 busiest U.S. package and delivery hubs, a four-year program that will yield 20 to 25 percent in productivity improvements per facility by the time the work is done in 2020, according to UPS’ head of U.S. operations.” [DC Velocity].

Supply Chain: “Associated Wholesale Grocers, one of the largest grocery cooperatives in the United States and one of the area’s largest companies, has reached an agreement to combine distribution businesses with Affiliated Foods Midwest cooperative: [Kansas City Star]. “”Combining our distribution center networks and support infrastructure will allow us to more effectively serve our growing numbers of independent member-retailers,” said David Smith, president and chief executive of AWG in Kansas City, Kan., in a written statement.”

Honey for the Bears: “While Q2 GDP Is Bad News, the Revisions are Worse” (charts) [Economic Populist]. Good breakdown, but this jumped out at me. On the Investment component of GRP (I): “Investment, I is made up of fixed investment and changes to private inventories and this is where disaster struck for Q2 GDP. Overall gross investment was a -1.68 percentage point drag on GDP. The change in private inventories alone was a -1.16 percentage point contribution. The changes in private inventories have subtracted from economic growth for five quarters in a row. This is a bad sign for the economy as businesses reduce their inventory stockpiles due to too much on hand for the businesses to use.” I’ve seen spin that reduced inventories are a good sign, because “wait ’til things pick up!” but I dunno. And reduced inventories also mean tighter coupling. Anyhow, in a capitalist economy, “disaster” in “fixed investment” can hardly be a good sign.

Honey for the Bears: ” Figures from a monthly survey of supply managers in nine Midwest and Plains states suggest slow or little economic growth ahead, according to a report released Monday” [Des Moines Register]. ” The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.” Iowa being the only swing state…

The Bezzle: “Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes presented a new blood test system as a means to diversify beyond its earlier, failed products. Based on most accounts, many scientists who saw the presentation thought it was a weak comeback attempt by a company that continues to die swiftly” [24/7 Wall Street].

The Bezzle: “Photographer Carol M. Highsmith didn’t know Getty Images had been making money selling the 18,755 photos she donated to the US Library of Congress until December 2015, when she received an email from a company called License Compliances Services (LCS). The letter accused her of copyright infringement for using one of her photos on her own website, and came with a takedown request plus a $120 fine to compensate stock photo distributor Alamy” [Quartz]. “Now, Highsmith is suing both Alamy and Getty, which has also been selling the images, for copyright infringement. She’s demanding $1 billion in damages.”

Political Risk: “What [1979’s “hugely popular” Drewry Report] had failed to predict was the event that briefly made money for that ship and permanently destroyed the market for her kind – the Iran/Iraq War. That killed plans by the oil producers of the Middle East to build refineries in their own nations – it was simpler and almost as effective to buy refineries in the much safer oil consuming nations and ship the crude oil to them in the VLCCs that the tanker owners had made so cheap to charter by building far too many of them” [Splash 24/7]. “The extraordinary overordering of product tankers, on the back of a single well researched, well written, and well argued, but, as it proved, much mistaken report, by the industry’s leading research house, an organisation that was expected to put a stop to the shipping cycle by proving owners with hard data on which to base their business decisions, leads me to suspect that perhaps improvements in our ability to process data may not be the whole answer.”

Political Risk: “The dream among West Coast port operators for a boom in coal exports is fading. Big plans for building coal terminals from Cherry Point, Wash., to Oakland have dissipated in the face of broad global trends and fierce local opposition, the WSJ’s Timothy Puko and Erica E. Phillips report, highlighting the way changes in energy markets are roiling shipping operations” [Wall Street Journal]. How, exactly, does “fierce local opposition” fall under the rubric of “changes in energy markets”?

Coops: “But the extent to which foreign-born Americans have used cooperative economics to support each other remains a mostly untold dimension of the immigrant economic experience. From the very first credit union in the U.S., St. Mary’s Bank, which Catholic immigrants used to save and borrow money, immigrants have found ways to cooperate economically. Nuñez and Mota continue that history, as two of 18 founding members of Green Magic Cleaning Cooperative, a 100 percent worker owned and operated business. It incorporated just last month” [Next City (DB)].

Firms: “Most galling of all, Mr Yang, the chief executive at the time, had the chance to sell Yahoo to Microsoft for around $45 billion in early 2008. His pride and his desire to head his company led him to reject the offer. This is the third lesson from Yahoo’s demise: founders can often be too attached to their progeny to make the right strategic decisions. Silicon Valley still believes in the idea of founders as visionary turnaround artists. Last year Jack Dorsey was brought back to run Twitter, a social-media firm (while continuing to run Square, a payments company that he also founded). Shareholders of both firms should consider Yahoo’s example carefully. For every Steve Jobs, who successfully resurrected Apple, there is a Mr Yang” [The Economist].

Firms: “American Apparel: The Making of an All-American Business Nightmare” [The Fashion Law]. Note the role played by “fast fashion,” i.e. the exploitation of third-world seamstresses to create small lots.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75, Extreme Greed (previous close: 77, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 85 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 2 at 11:29am. Drifting down…


“In a potential conflict of interest, [Natural Resource Group (NRG),] a contractor hired by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review a proposed Spectra Energy natural gas pipeline project had already been working for the company it was reviewing on a different but interconnected pipeline. Spectra then directly hired the contractor, Natural Resource Group (NRG), for no fewer than five other projects during the review period” [DeSmog Blog].


“Forty-three percent of a 124-mile stretch between Alaska and Whitehorse, the Yukon capital, is “highly vulnerable to permafrost thaw,” according to a report co-authored by Fabrice Calmels, a researcher at Yukon College” [Bloomberg]. Yikes!

“Why does a snake have 25 or more rows of ribs, whereas a mouse has only 13? The answer, according to a new study, may lie in “junk DNA,” large chunks of an animal’s genome that were once thought to be useless. The findings could help explain how dramatic changes in body shape have occurred over evolutionary history” [Science].

“High-performance computing and algorithm development will continue to be critical to HAR [Human Accelerated Rtegions; “junk DNA] research. My analysis that discovered the original 202 HARs would still be running today if I had implemented it on a single desktop computer rather than a 1,000-node computer cluster” [The Scientist].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“3rd Chicago cop relieved of powers over man shot in back ” [AP].

Class Warfare

“Plantations Practiced Modern Management” [Harvard Business Review]. 2013, but a must-read today. Interview with Caitlin Rosenthal, who “pored over hundreds of account books from U.S. and West Indian plantations that operated from 1750 to 1860. She found that their owners employed advanced accounting and management tools, including depreciation and standardized efficiency metrics, to manage their land and their slaves.”

[ROSENTHAL:] The mythology is that on plantations, management was crude and just amounted to driving enslaved people harder and harder. These documents show that plantations used highly sophisticated accounting practices more consistently than many contemporary northern factories, which are often considered the birthplace of modern management. In some ways the conditions of slavery permitted a more scientific approach than the factories did.

In the factory books, you see lots of turnover. But slaves couldn’t quit. While factories were worrying about filling positions and just keeping things going, plantation owners were focused on optimization. They could reallocate labor as they saw fit. I found real quantitative analysis in their records. They were literally looking at humans as capital.

People tend to think about the positive with regard to management and capitalism. With our modern lens, efficiency is good. Here it was equal to the brutal extraction of labor from oppressed people.

Does anybody imagine that Uber isn’t tuning its algorithms to extract labor (power) from its precariat in exactly the same way? And speaking of algorithms–

“More recently, the White House has suggested that algorithm makers police themselves. In a recent report, the administration called for automated decision-making tools to be tested for fairness, and for the development of ‘algorithmic auditing'” [New York Times]. “But algorithmic auditing is not yet common. In 2014, Eric H. Holder Jr., then the attorney general, called for the United States Sentencing Commission to study whether risk assessments used in sentencing were reinforcing unjust disparities in the criminal justice system. No study was done.” Somehow, I think Silicon Valley would be very unhappy with any regulation at all over their algorithms. I only hope whoever wrote Google’s post-human customer service software doesn’t write the algorithms for self-driving cars (unless the requirement for for the customer service was not to deliver any, in which case, well done!)

“Warren Buffett says Jamie Dimon best person to lead U.S. Treasury Department” [Financial Post]. “Hillary, I did you a solid on Trump’s tax returns, so give Jamie some serious thought, would you?”

“A study published Tuesday in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, finds that younger millennials – born in the 1990s – are more than twice as likely to be sexually inactive in their early 20s than the previous generation was, and more likely even than older millennials were at the same age” [WaPo]. ” some experts are concerned that the dropoff reflects the difficulty some young people are having in forming deep romantic connections. They cite possible negative reasons for putting off sex, including pressure to succeed, social lives increasingly conducted onscreen, unrealistic expectations of physical perfection encouraged by dating apps, and wariness over date rape.” Not to mention being loaded with debt and/or trapped in a crappy job with nowhere to go, and (if you’re lucky enough to live in the Bay Area) sleeping on a bench in a plywood box in a cube farm. Perhaps it’s just harder to be care-free?

News of the Wired

“A little-known web standard that lets site owners tell how much battery life a mobile device has left has been found to enable tracking online, a year after privacy researchers warned that it had the potential to do just that” [Guardian]. “‘Some companies may be analysing the possibility of monetising the access to battery levels,” [researcher Lukasz Olejnik] writes. ‘When battery is running low, people might be prone to some – otherwise different – decisions. In such circumstances, users will agree to pay more for a service.'” The same business model would work for, oh, air. Water. Food. So awesome.

“An unexpected journey, a DBA’s tale” [Semantics3], with part two here. Readers may find this story interesting as a reminder that there is actually careful, intelligent work going on in IT — Hi, Clive! [waves]. Readers who aren’t technically savvy might consider reading it as if it were a combination of SF and detective story (and there’s a powerful “race against the doom clock” narrative).

“The ‘Apple of China’ just released this MacBook Air clone” [Business Insider]. Hot diggity. Presumably one can rip out Windows 10 and install a *nix variant.

“Researchers found that while selling, experienced traders had reduced activity in an area of the brain often associated with pain and negative emotions. A separate experiment showed a similar reduction in brain activity after people previously inexperienced in trading were given incentives to trade objects on eBay for two months. The results suggest such experience reduces the emotional pain tied to selling objects, mitigating the role the endowment effect plays in economic decision-making” [University of Chicago].

“The Little Free Library phenomenon, at 40,000 tiny structures, has grown into something of a movement. The idea is, of course, that you create a structure to hold books and then invite neighbors to bring and take from the organic collection. Establishing a Little Library is an act of community, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also bring more personal benefit” [Nonprofit Quarterly].

“Medical benefits of dental floss unproven” [AP]. “The AP looked at the most rigorous research conducted over the past decade, focusing on 25 studies that generally compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of toothbrushes and floss. The findings? The evidence for flossing is ‘weak, very unreliable,’ of ‘very low’ quality, and carries ‘a moderate to large potential for bias.'” Welp. So much for Zappa’s business model:

* * *

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 (PH):


The beetle makes a nice contrast to the flowers, doesn’t it?

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

* * *

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


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. Steve H.

      craazyman’s Pleidian things popped a wormhole, two minutes late in a damped oscillation from last nights 8 hours or so early, it should resolve soon….

  1. Tertium Squid

    Mentioned earlier, I went by Theranos’ corporate headquarters a few weeks ago just after business hours and the parking lot was mostly empty. Just up the road at about the same time, Tesla’s headquarters was still full of malnourished young techies busily disrupting, and its lot was jam packed with classic cars, hot motorcycles and Teslas of course (but no bicycles!).

    1. Tertium Squid

      And I love this quote from a link this morning:

      Edison is the name of the early testing system,” the firm replied in a statement while adding that it would continue to invest in and promote that technology. “As Elizabeth said on stage, there will be an appropriate time and place to talk about the past…

      Presumably a criminal proceedings in court?

    2. fajensen

      Heh. Not much beats physical observation. One of the best stock tips I got was in “Memory Card Technology” back in the day (naugties, 2000). One of those Danish stock operations, where they IPO *after* the business have taken a solid head-shot and is bleeding everywhere.

      The stock had taken a beating on rumors of fraud, but was doing a rebound. Then someone posts at the forum where we were arguing over it, that: “Hey Guys, Right across the street someone is collecting John Trolle’s (the CEO) Ferrari. Everyone drop everything”. The stock was suspended at 89 – I was short that, so I could have got stuck with the open position.


  2. Unorthodoxmarxist

    The article on slavery is interesting and shows just why we should not call it neo-feudalism. This is why Wallerstein calls it coerced cash-crop labor, because it is clearly capitalist/market-oriented production and the law of value is in play; it also tended to occur in the periphery/semi-periphery of the world-economy as those areas were brought into the world-economy as major agricultural, cash-crop (and raw materials) producers.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes. What interests me is that because slaves were property, it was much easier to conceptualize them directly as capital (IIRC, Thomas Jefferson did just the same thing in his own account books) because the power imbalance was so much on the side of the owner. Wage labor shifted the balance, somewhat, and so you get pesky market friction-type thingies like the 40-hour week, and paid vacations, and benefits. Uber and the like shift the power imbalance back to slave-like conditions, i.e. toward “efficiency” (I wonder if anybody’s conceptualized the algorithmic exploitation of the precariat as a form of “cash crop” production. I’m not saying that’s true, I’m just throwing the idea out there.)

      1. Carolinian

        Have just been re-reading Burr where Vidal talks about how freaked out Jefferson was by the Caribbean slave revolt. The southern slave owners may have been into modern management but also spent a lot of time worrying about throat slitting. One of their arguments against emancipation was that they would all subsequently be killed.

        So capitalism by violence was a two edged sword.

        1. just me

          April 28, 1789: Mutiny on the Bounty.

          The ship had been purchased by the Royal Navy for a single mission in support of an experiment: the acquisition of breadfruit plants from Tahiti, and the transportation of those plants to the West Indies in the hope that they would grow well there and become a cheap source of food for slaves. (wikipedia)


          It’s funny I never thought of this in connection with Jefferson and America, how they would have taken it. Actually France too–what was world opinion? Wikipedia doesn’t say, though, meanwhile things weren’t going well on Pitcairn Island:

          Gradually, tensions and rivalries arose over the increasing extent to which the Europeans regarded the Tahitians as their property, in particular the women who, according to Alexander, were “passed around from one ‘husband’ to the other”.[185] In September 1793 matters degenerated into extreme violence, when five of the mutineers—Christian, Williams, Martin, Mills, and Brown—were killed by Tahitians in a carefully executed series of murders. Christian was set upon while working in his fields, first shot and then butchered with an axe; his last words, supposedly, were “Oh, dear!”[188][n 12] In-fighting continued thereafter, and by 1794 the six Tahitian men were all dead, killed by the widows of the murdered mutineers or by each other.[190]

          Trying to imagine Clark Gable: “Oh, dear!” Not working.

      2. jsn

        There is a great chapter near the end of “The Half Has Never Been Told” about the “efficiencies” the Southern forced labor camps achieved with the lash: even mechanized cotton processing never achieved the throughput slaves achieved in the years just before the Civil War IIRC.

        Not only were “scientific” management principals incorporated, but so were “modern” financial ones. Having grown up on the rancid “Texas History” served up in that States execrable school text books, I was astonished to find that Texas was invented to serve Capital Flight when the slave mortgage bubble burst in the 1830s. Suddenly the whole Texas Revolution, Independence and eventual state hood all made sense, along with a number of pernicious cultural affects still very alive in the 1960s.

          1. Jessica

            Yes, do. It is excellent.
            A correction: Under the lash in Deep South frontier plantations that were like concentration camps, enslaved African-Americans achieved levels of production in cotton harvesting that were higher than ever achieved before or after by humans anywhere, including whites or freed African-Americans. Mechanization did achieve higher levels.
            One under-appreciated fact is that southern agriculture was mechanized starting in the 1930s and particularly after the end of WW2 and this made African-American labor superfluous. Much like the white working class in recent decades, much of the African-American working class was not so much exploited as excluded altogether. It is probably not a coincidence that both populations saw epidemics of opioid use.
            Any social system that throws aside entire populations needs to be replaced.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The history also makes clear that the separation of “economics” from “racism” is completely artificial.* The two have gone hand in hand since forever.

          IIRC, the enslavement for pure profit came before the racial justification in the US, but (a) ideologies are invented independently under different circumstances, and (b) at this point they are so deeply intertwined and mutually interactive that “___ first!” really seems irrelevant.

          * That’s also a criticism of Sanders, by the way.

      3. different clue

        One wonders if the precariat, particulary the Uberoid gig-surfers, could be viewed as a self-enslaving cash crop. . . . a run of salmon who seek nets to swim into.

    2. JohnnyGL

      If HBR wanted to be a bit more accurate in the headline, it should have written:

      “Modern Management Techniques Based on Slaveholding Plantation Practices”.

      After all, which one came first? Credit where credit is due!

      1. Cat's paw

        [ROSENTHAL:] “The mythology is that on plantations, management was crude and just amounted to driving enslaved people harder and harder. These documents show that plantations used highly sophisticated accounting practices more consistently than many contemporary northern factories, which are often considered the birthplace of modern management. In some ways the conditions of slavery permitted a more scientific approach than the factories did.”

        Haven’t read the article yet, but based on the quotation it does what good scholarship should do: generate analysis that blows “counter-intuitive” holes in unquestioned preconceptions, received wisdom, and status-quo arrangements based on solid evidence.

        Yet, it still surprises me, and is worth noting, how often such seemingly counter-intuitive insights go totally unheeded. Really, I guess what is surprising is modern society’s capacity to compartmentalize, dis-aggregate, and wall off the very intimate connections of our modern practices, concepts, and organizations. What do I mean? Well, like the intimate connections between plantation mgmt practices and modern business concepts. Or the “information exchange” between experiements in the efficent allocation of slave labor on a plantation and the necessity of “controls” for the validity of scientific practices.

        So, 19th century plantations (participating in hemispheric, if not global, trade networks) developed sophisticated accounting techniques and stringent efficiencies in allocating labor? They weren’t just cruel bumpkins, but modern, turbo business men? How shocking! Uh, no, not really. For example, it’s a significant error to assert slave plantations in the Americas were somehow feudal or neo-feudal in the structure of their social relations. Actually existing lords of feudal estates in the middle ages would have gazed in wonder and disbelief (and probably some disgust as well) at the intensity and scope of the labor and value extracted from plantation slaves. Feudalism is not capitalism.

        And Plantation owners were “scientific” in their management practices, really? Of course. Being modern, turbo business men seeking to manage a very complex and unpredictable set of phenomena for a severely delimited purpose, and having “control” of the most unpredictable variable–excepting bio-physical/metereological conditions, perhaps– labor, they would naturally, as it were, experiment and test to produce better or more “accurate” results. Translating living phenomena into objects, subjects, and “quantaties” for a purpose that does not inhere in the phenomena is first-order science and modern through and through.

        We are too ignorant of the relations which compose our world.We are trained to see and make the world absolutely discrete and inculcated from the earliest age to presume relations/connections between phenomena require proof rather than the reverse.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Yet, it still surprises me, and is worth noting, how often such seemingly counter-intuitive insights go totally unheeded. Really, I guess what is surprising is modern society’s capacity to compartmentalize, dis-aggregate, and wall off the very intimate connections of our modern practices, concepts, and organizations.

          Societies are real things (open systems) but they don’t “think” or “decide” (or “compartmentalize, dis-aggregate, and wall off”). Once one starts to identify who precisely is doing the compartmentalizing, dis-aggregating, and walling off, things get less mysterious. Not necessarily better, though.

          1. Cat's paw

            Eh, you’re literally right, but “society” is heuristic– a useful communicative tool. So long as it’s not reified all out of proportion using such language is fine. I mean, the “I” the one we use a million times a day as in, “I think, I do, I know” doesn’t really think or decide anything either– despite Descartes and Kant’s best efforts to the contrary.

            Your “who” who is doing all this stuff is no less an open system…no less and certainly no more a real thing than social orders.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I find it immensely encouraging that there is so much brilliant “relational scholarship” going on these days, especially in history and economics (assuming for the sake of the argument that the two are separate).

  3. Vatch

    “Swing-state Democrats ask Bernie for help” [Politico].

    Why do they need Bernie’s help? Can’t Hillary Clinton help them? She “won” the nomination, after all. Doesn’t that mean that more people like her? Maybe when she releases the transcripts of her speeches to the giant Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs, people will understand just how much she cares about them!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Exactly. I mean, anybody who reads the Twitter knows that Clinton can win without Sanders’ help; in fact, countless Clinton supporters said just that.

      These swing state Democrats need to get with the program and go after those moderate Republicans!

      1. Kim Kaufman

        What I’ve been telling my friends who insist I must vote for Hillary because Trump is that I’m not going to do it. I have the luxury in CA of not having to – but since they’re so concerned about a possible Trump win, I’m sure they’re going to immediately sign up for phonebanking for Hillary. It looks like Colorado may be the first one that might need some help since Trump just went there and told them that he’s against fracking. Coloradans hate fracking. Hillary, er, the DNC wouldn’t put anti-fracking it in the platform. Good luck and have a nice day!

        1. jrs

          Of course Trump is NOT consistently against fracking, even today. This is simple misinformation.

          “The GOP nominee told Denver’s NBC station that “I’m in favor of fracking, but I think that voters should have a big say in it. I mean, there’s some areas, maybe, that don’t want to have fracking, and I think if the voters are voting for it that’s up to them.”

          He says on whether fracking should be banned:
          ” fracking is something that we need, fracking is something that’s here whether we like it or not. But if a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking, I can understand that.”

          He speaks of forked tounge!

          It’s one of those leave it up to the locals position, I don’t think that’s likely to actually work out well for anyone who is against fracking. And of course it’s also the EXACT SAME position Hillary Clinton has taken on the issue, leave it up to the locals. Now one could argue one could trust one or the other lesser evils on the issue more but that’s not obvious to me. I don’t exactly get the sense environmental issues is something Trump is at all serious about. And of course in the past Trump has come out IN FAVOR of fracking.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              But how many layups can Donald miss, first Khan, and now Buffet. The right response to that carpetbagger is too simple to be believed: “Of course Buffet is for the Dems, they make billionaires like him richer with their sweetheart bank deals and bailouts and their crooked trade deals. I’m more worried about the rest of Americans”

          1. Indrid Cold

            Saying he at least favors voter control over it is a big step up from what we have now which is business just doing what it wants and people have to live with weird earthquakes, water that catches on fire and the rest of it.

        2. Arizona Slim

          Here in Tucson, the star attraction of the day is Mike Pence. Not much of a line outside the Fox Theatre this morning, but it has been raining.

          If I didn’t have work to do, I go down to the Fox for some high-quality heckling.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If he doesn’t help, then, he’s hurting.

        He hurts by the very act of not helping….I think that’s the logic here.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Awww are the Dimwitocrats finding out the wife of the guy who oversaw the end of six decades of Congressional rule might not be the best person to have at the top of the ticket.

        My prediction is Hillary throws money at Evan Bayh while vulnerable Democrats are told the campaign needs to focus on winnable seats. The remaining state Democrats will be the biggest losers as they made a deal with Hillary for money that isn’t coming a day find out “crossover” Republicans knot exist at the local level.

    2. steelhead23

      On a serious note – if Sanders truly wishes to revolutionize the Democratic Party he should bust his hump trying to elect more Dem Congresscritters. It is clear, one cannot become the DP’s presidential nominee absent a gaggle of loyal superdelegates, or modify the rules to do away with superdelegates without a chorus in Congress. Frankly, I believe that Trump has suffered a self-inflicted mortal wound by his knee jerk responses to the Khans and that Hillary has effectively already won. Hence, she should do the same thing – work to create a Democratic Congress to end Mitch McConnell’s strategic gridlock. I believe that we are on the cusp of a Reagan-Mondale type landslide. The downside is that Clinton will believe we all love her and will feel emboldened to swing for the fences.

      1. jrs

        I don’t think it’s so easily done. When Congress changes it is often in reaction against Presidential policies (unless you have a very popular president and Hillary isn’t likely to be).

        But also the current congressional composition is probably pretty sticky indeed. The Rs have gerrymandered their victories in at this point in the House. They controlled redistricting. Redistricting was done to benefit Rs. It’s hard to fix. Now there is a census every 10 years but I believe the states control redistricting. The states are mostly Republican. So the way to work to create a Democratic congress is to get Dem control of the state governments. The lie is to convince people if you just get them to vote for more and better Dems things will change, that the system is somehow directly responsive to their direct votes for a D or an R. But IT IS NOT. If one actually wants to back a party (as if there was anything left to back) it has to be done indirectly via the states. There aren’t many BETTER Dems to be had, but even more Dems is an uphill battle when all the house districts are gerrymandered against you.

        To replace all Dems (so Dem districts etc.) with Sanders style people is an interesting strategy. I think it could work.

        1. Yves Smith

          Political scientist Tom Ferguson, who is a long-standing progressive, says the impact of gerrymandering on House elections is exaggerated by the Dems. Yes, it has an effect, but not all that much of one. It’s an excuse for the Dems losing because they run so many Republican-lite candidates rather than offer policies that appeal to the middle class and poor, as opposed to wealthy donors.

          1. AnEducatedFool

            Gerrymandering works because the R’s and D’s have the same economic plan. The difference is in identity politics. He seems to have missed the point. I’ll see if I can find that article or can you link something of his that discusses this topic. I am jumping the gun that he is another poli sci wonk that refuses to admit that the R’s an D’s are part of the same party and have been since Clinton 1 took office.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      If Bernie goes to bat for these guys, keeping it solely to an anti-TPP issue , they will owe him. I would think he could pressure them in any show down on a lame-duck session TPP vote if they start to vacillate.. Any Senators that backed Obama would be in a world of hurt (at least for a while) if Sanders went back to their constituents and apologizes for backing a liar and traitor to working people( a little more diplomatically of course). Bernie has stayed true to his word on backing Clinton and I would hope he would expect the same from any candidate he supports.

        1. simone

          That’s the beauty of the TPP fasttrack! No filibuster allowed, only an up-or-down vote. TPP has better priority than healthcare legislation did (though that was passed through budget reconciliation and so was also immune to filibuster).

        2. AnEducatedFool

          They can not filibuster TPP.

          The time to filibuster was during fast track authorization.

          It is an up and down vote. The only way I see it not working is if Trump scares the Republicans enough to pull their support. If Trump goes down in flames then I can see it working. We’ll see how he handles the entire Corporate State going to work against him.

    4. different clue

      Vatch, I hope you are being sarcastic or sardonic or satirical or something. If the Sanders movement could indeed ride to the rescue of those swing-zone Democrats who ask for rescue, the Sanders movement would gather in a harvest of gratitude and build a respect-worthy power base and presence for itself. One hopes they can ramp up fast enough to meet the challenge and seize the day. One wonders if they are like the man caught outdoors with a thimble when its raining diamonds from heaven. One hopes not.

      1. cwaltz

        Hades would freeze over before I’d rescue a single one of the superdelegates that gave Clinton the nomination.

        I’m not interested in their gratitude or their respect, I’ll settle for seeing the whole lot of them out on their keisters come election time.

      2. different clue

        This is assuming we are talking about Bernista-type Democrats. I suddenly wonder if the swing state “Democrats” we are discussing are the Blue Doggy-Doo Clintonite Obamacrats. If THAT’S what we are talking about . . . . don’t help them at all. Let them lie in the bed they have made. Let them twist slowly . . . slowwwwly in the winnnnnd. Perhaps they will be self-attriting without any kamikaze primary challenges at all.

  4. dcblogger

    “Warren Buffett says Jamie Dimon best person to lead U.S. Treasury Department” [Financial Post]. “Hillary, I did you a solid on Trump’s tax returns, so give Jamie some serious thought, would you?”

    perhaps part of our work for the rest of this election is documenting all the ways Jamie Dimon, Cory Booker, et al are horrible such to make them unconfirmable. Mebbe begin with the Kagans.

        1. JohnnyGL

          T Rowe Price mutual funds? How very 90s! :)

          Vanguard ETFs are the way to go! EDV gives you the long bonds you seek!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Like Warren before, we have another ‘hero’ of our country sacrificing himself, his reputation, for Hillary’s cause.

      Then comes the neoliberal quid pro quo.

    2. edmondo

      I saw a photo of billionaire Warren Buffet standing in front of a podium with a sign that said “(Hillary) Working For Us”.

      Apparently the Clintonistas have no sense of irony.

  5. Fred

    Thank you for the reference to Boyd’s OODA loop and to Zappa’s Montana. The texture you provide to your posts is putstanding.

    1. pdehaan

      Loved the reference to Zappa’s business model as well!
      Still miss him (and his many insights)

      1. optimader

        I met Zappa in Champaign, IL in 1981 at a small impromptu club date, A buddy was dating a girl-cousin of his at the time . Died way to young. He was smarter than the average bear and a good man, as well was Vaclav Havel.

        The Illinois Enema Bandit
        I heard it on the news
        I heard it on the news
        Bloomington Illinois…he has caused some alarm
        Just sneakin’ around there
        From farm to farm
        Got a rubberized bag
        And a hose on his arm
        Lookin’ for some rustic co-ed rump
        That he just might wanna pump
        Lookin’ for some rustic co-ed rump
        That he just might wanna pump
        Lookin’ for some rustic co-ed rump
        That he just might wanna pump

        The Illinois Enema Bandit
        One day he’ll have to pay
        One day he’ll have to pay
        The police will say, “You’re under arrest!”
        And the judge would have him for a special guest
        The D.A. will order a secret test
        And stuff his pudgy little thumbs in the side of his vest
        Then they’ll put out a call for the jury folks
        And the judge would say, “No poo-poo jokes!”
        Then they’ll drag in the bandit for all to see,
        Sayin’ “Don’t nobody have no sympathy…
        And then the bandit might say, “Why is everybody looking’ at me?”

        Now, one girl shout: “Let the Bandit be !”

        YOUR PLEA ?

        Another girl shout: “Let the fiend go free !”
        The Bandit say, “It must be just what they all needs…”
        “It must be just what they all needs…”
        “It must be just what they all needs…”
        “It must be just what they all needs…”
        “It must be just what they all needs…”
        “It must be just what they all needs…”
        etc. repeat

        Wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna enema
        repeat ~

        HAHAHA, who could be offended??

  6. Carolinian

    a left not part of either establishment

    And yet 90 percent of Sanders supporters are supposedly planning to vote for Clinton. Maybe when Hillary brings back the draft we’ll finally have a Left. Worked in the sixties.

    As for Warren Buffet who says Trump is bad, Jamie Dimon good….he and Hillary were made for each other. The Bill Gates endorsement is doubtless coming up shortly.

    1. Katharine

      Maybe when Hillary brings back the draft we’ll finally have a Left. Worked in the sixties.

      But all those newly minted radicals in ’68 were just waiting to turn into the yuppie neoliberals their childhood had prepared them to be. You need a stronger motive than short-term self-interest to effect lasting change.

      1. Carolinian

        We got a lot out of the sixties including civil rights, women’s lib, the EPA. Young people drove much of that.

        But no it didn’t last.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          According to National Lampoon’s Animal House, for the 60s, we got

          1. Modern art
          2. Civil rights
          3. Folk music

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              Don’t forget, many of the 60’s counterculture that ‘retired’ to ‘putter around in their indoor gardens’ on the West Coast (and in particular – Northern Cali, Western Oregon, B.C., and Alaska) are greatly responsible for the huge diversity of high-potency strains of cannabis available today on the open market!

              Not that it comes close to balancing out neoliberalism, but on really bad days it kinda helps… :p

      2. optimader

        Jerry Rubin
        Sometime in the mid-70s Rubin reinvented himself as a businessman. …. In 1980 he began a new career on Wall Street as stockbroker with the brokerage firm John Muir & Co. “I know that I can be more effective today wearing a suit and tie and working on Wall Street than I can be dancing outside the walls of power,”[1] he said. In the 1980s, he became known for his promotion of business networking, having created Business Networking Salons, Inc., a company that organized parties at the Studio 54 and Palladium nightclubs in Manhattan, where thousands of young professionals and entrepreneurs met and shared ideas. Near the end of his life, Rubin became interested in the science of life extension and was heavily involved in multi-level marketing of health foods and nutritional supplements.[42] His business activities included marketing of a nutritional drink named Wow! that contained bee pollen, ginseng and kelp.[1]

    2. Uahsenaa

      Not to mention the elephant in the room that no one acknowledges: that 50-ish percent of the voting population doesn’t participate at all, even in presidential election years. That means every four years, at best 30% of those eligible to vote determine who is president. That would explain why both D and R parties work together to subvert voter registration and participation. Imagine if we had an opt out instead of opt in voting system–it would be a lot harder to elect plutocrats every year.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        24/7/365 voter registration as basic party function; budget for IDs in states that require them.

        Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

        None of this stuff is hard. Yet oddly, or not, it’s not on the agenda anywhere.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Oregon has hand-marked paper ballots, counted in public – they use electronic readers, at least in my country, but they keep the ballots for years in case they need to check up.
          And it now has motor-voter registration: driver’s license automatically gets you registered. That isn’t everybody, but it’s getting close.
          Chief problem is that they register people with no party designation, and Oregon has closed primaries. Plus, minor-party ballot access depends on percentage of registrations.

      1. Waldenpond

        Hate that poll. Pointed out that they limited what a ‘consistent Sanders’ supporter was and then trot out 90% of a reduced population.

    3. HotFlash

      And yet 90 percent of Sanders supporters are supposedly planning to vote for Clinton.

      Supposedly. We shall see. I seem to remember this thing from 2008, PUMA?

      Now it’s PUMA’s turn to cry — I sure hope.

    4. tgs

      And yet 90 percent of Sanders supporters are supposedly planning to vote for Clinton

      I understood that it was 90% of Sanders supporters who are registered Democrats planning on voting for Hillary.

    5. Skip Intro

      what is the source for the 90% figure that has been floating around? The most recent I saw was more like 70%.

  7. Unorthodoxmarxist

    It seems even clearer after reading the Slate article that the Democratic Party has become a jobs/status machine for identity politics players in the modern age much like the military was in the 19th and early 20th century for middle-class Americans and the church was for younger sons in the medieval period.

    1. Arizona Slim


      Here in Southern Arizona, the talk has already begun re: who is going to get on the Hill-train and leave for DC. I can think of quite a few machine Democrats who’d fit in perfectly. DC is their kind of town.

  8. Jess

    Not having the Trail section any longer will be a boost to my peace of mind and productivity. Another thing is not having to check HuffPo, which I used to do for sort of a general news overview. (No credence in op-eds and such, but just to get a sense of the world.) Well, that’s all gone out the window. The all anti-Trump/all pro-Clinton meme is just overwhelming. Can’t imagine what the next three months are going to be like in virtually all media except NC.

    1. mad as hell.

      Agreed. Huff post especially got worse when they changed their graphics. Glad they did because now i just breeze right though it. Soon I won’t even go there

      “The all anti-Trump/all pro-Clinton meme is just overwhelming.”

      It does not look like they will be running out of kitchen sinks any time soon!

  9. ekstase

    “Most mice have 13 pairs of ribs, but a few strains of mutant mice bred by Mallo and colleagues have 24 pairs. Their rib cages extend all the way along their backbone, down to the hind legs, similar to those of snakes.”

    First they figure out how to change mouse fur color, and now this. What fun we’re having with this new DNA technology!

    “Unfortunately, genetically engineering snakes is almost impossible because there’s no way to get access to very early embryos. “When the snake lays an egg, it’s already got a little head and about 26 vertebrate, so it’s already well on the way [to becoming a fully formed snake]. That way we miss out on the early genes,”

    This is so sad, because they clearly had plans for those snakes that they can’t implement. Yet!

  10. fresno dan

    The Bezzle: “Photographer Carol M. Highsmith didn’t know Getty Images had been making money selling the 18,755 photos she donated to the US Library of Congress until December 2015, when she received an email from a company called License Compliances Services (LCS). The letter accused her of copyright infringement for using one of her photos on her own website, and came with a takedown request plus a $120 fine to compensate stock photo distributor Alamy” [Quartz]. “Now, Highsmith is suing both Alamy and Getty, which has also been selling the images, for copyright infringement. She’s demanding $1 billion in damages.”

    If the US department of Justice was not a defacto corporate legal affairs group, a thorough investigation might disclose that they do this kind of thing constantly, and probably have vacuumed up millions if not billions of images off the internet posted by individuals without copyright, and just go around asserting that they are copyrighted, and that they posses said copyright.
    But that would insinuate some desire on the part of the US government for justice, or to in any way oppose corporate interests…

    I imagine copyright does not actually work for individuals like Highsmith, and the suite will be dismissed, or the damages will be a paltry amount, even though it is obvious that the skimming and illegal use probably generates astronomical sums of money.

    1. Arizona Slim

      If you’re a photographer, copyright does NOT work. On the Internet, your work can be stolen in a nanosecond. Oh, yes, you can send bills and takedown notices. Or hire one of those shakedown outfits like Pixsy. And you can sue, but good luck with affording the cost of the lawsuit.

      Musicians are screwed in similar ways.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Someone I know received a similar demand from Getty Images / LCS.

      Turned out it was for one (1) cartoon, buried in a PowerPoint file for a long-forgotten, 10-year-old presentation. Somehow Getty vacuumed it out of her commercial website, and launched their shakedown routine.

      Hope Highsmith wins enough damages to shut down Getty Images for good — one of the most noxious copyright extortionists on the planet.

  11. allan

    Mass layoffs at Chicago State University bring millions in extra costs [Chicago Tribune]

    Facing an unprecedented budget crisis, Chicago State University has laid off nearly 400 employees since the beginning of the year — an astounding 40 percent of staff at a school that serves mostly minority and low-income students from the city. …

    Chicago State spent nearly $1.6 million on severance for about 50 administrators who were provided lump-sum payments in June equal to the salaries they would have received if they had not been terminated. The university spent another $650,000 to pay out unused vacation time for about 130 administrators and civil service employees. It was a significant sum considering the university had only $7.3 million in cash at the end of April, according to records obtained by the Tribune.

    The university, however, provided no severance to the 10 faculty members laid off last month, saying a provision in the faculty contract that would have required a year’s notice did not apply because the school has declared financial exigency.

    Offered without comment because family-friendly blog.

    1. tgs

      Similar to my college in NJ. In August of last year they cancelled over sixty lecturer positions (full time with benefits, no tenure). This Spring they cancelled the remaining 30 or so lecturer positions. (I am told by my department chair that there are studies showing that students have better outcomes when working with full time professors. Note: this is not a knock on adjuncts – just an argument for more full time positions)

      They also fired half of the part time support staff. (A few had to be rehired since without them departments could not even run.)

      The money they saved in firing the lecturers, including me I might add, was less then 1 million. The administrative salaries far exceed that number – in fact they exceed the combined salaries of the lecturers and staff.

      Indeed new admins are going to be added to administer Obama’s ‘Achieve the Dream’ initiative. I am trying and failing to think of an area of American life – education, the economy, foreign policy, health care – that he didn’t make worse. Yet one pervasive mainstream argument is that she will continue the ‘Obama Legacy.’

  12. ekstase

    Re the photographer who donated her work to the Library of Congress and was threatened by people who were selling it:
    In a statement, Getty Images said the incident was a “misconception” and noted that “distributing and providing access to public domain content is different to asserting copyright ownership of it.” It also says LCS “acted swiftly to cease its pursuit” after Highsmith contacted them.

    Those darn misconceptions. And I’ll bet they “acted swiftly to cease their pursuit.” What more could we ask?

    1. Uahsenaa

      But just because she donated them to the LoC doesn’t automatically put them in the public domain. Talk about trying to cover your butt by completely changing the subject. Jeez.

      EDIT: okay, I checked, she did stipulate that they would be copyright-free. Then what’s the legal basis for the suit?

      1. Katharine

        I think it’s royalty-free, not copyright-free, per this source:


        “The content in question has been part of the public domain for many years”? Actually, it has not. As Highsmith noted, she retained the copyright to her images, but rather did a deal with the Library of Congress to make the works available royalty free. It was basically a Creative Commons attribution license before Creative Commons existed. She still retains the copyright. So the images are not public domain.

        The original complaint is available here:


        or here:


        and says JURY TRIAL DEMANDED, which gives me inordinate pleasure.

      2. hunkerdown

        Moral rights (Havahd Lah), in which the misrepresentation of a public-domain work as licensed can be held to damage the value of the artist and their corpus of work.

        Or, the simple fraud angle, in which rentiers B assert exclusive rights in a work by artist A, which B can’t and doesn’t have because they have been exhausted by A. If they’re royalty-free by order of the artist A, exactly what right is rentier B purporting to assert, then? Surely not A’s copyright.

        A private right of action under RICO would fix so much.

  13. DWD

    But for protectionism to now be identified as a defining tenet of liberalism surely belongs on any list of the improbable plot twists in the tragicomedy of an election campaign that we have been watching in disbelief in America’s political theater of the absurd”


    Not sure I see the point here.

    “Free Trade” has never been “Free” nor facilitated much trade.

    What free trade has become in the chief instrument the corporations use to suppress wages and benefits and to reap the advantages of cheap labor.

    I don’t think it has ever been a bifurcated choice between free trade and protectionism.

    I, as a good liberal, am in favor of beneficial trade. That is trade that offers something to each trading partner.

    I am pretty sure that is not what we consider free trade to be. . . .

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      If you are opposed to complete corporate ownership/domination of the entire globe, you are by definition a protectionist. I’ve always worn the term proudly.

  14. Roger Smith

    Shake up at the DNC: CEO and top staffers resign [CNBC]

    Standing ovation folks…. job well done! Clinton will call you within the week for a new appointment.

    Meanwhile, will someone get the “jew” on the phone? We need him in the swing states.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bernie is no longer a Democrat?

        No more taking over or reforming the party (from inside)?

  15. rich

    Author Michael Lewis: Rigged Markets Show Signs of a Desperate Slumlord

    Doing nothing while going through the motions of doing something perfectly defines the Securities and Exchange Commission. Today the Securities and Exchange Commission is continuing its illusion of dealing with the rigged structure of the U.S. stock market by holding a meeting of its Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee, some of whose members have themselves been charged with rigging the market. The deeply conflicted SEC Chair, Mary Jo White, will deliver opening remarks.

    As part of the day’s agenda, Venu Palaparthi, a Senior Vice President at Virtu Financial is scheduled to appear on a panel addressing “market quality.”
    No one knowledgeable about the Praetorian Guard that Wall Street has in place around the corridors of power believed that a rigged stock market would be rectified by regulators appointed by a President elected with Wall Street money. But there was some hope for the rash of class action lawsuits that followed the revelations in “Flash Boys.”

    One such lawsuit was brought by law firm Robbins Geller which provided the court with the specific details of the manipulative techniques being deployed daily in what had once been the most respected stock market in the world.
    This case was dismissed by the Federal District Court, as were other lawsuits of a similar nature. It wasn’t that the Courts didn’t believe the charges. The Judges simply twisted their legal logic into a pretzel to get rid of complex cases in which the Wall Street defendants had lined up almost every bulge bracket law firm in New York to bury the Court under mountains of paper and appeals.

    algorithms and no rule of law……..perfect together.

  16. TheCatSaid

    “Did an Election Day Lawsuit Stop Karl Rove’s Vote-Rigging Scheme in Ohio?”
    Berridge’s Law doesn’t always apply. Better answer in this case: Maybe. It wasn’t “just” a lawsuit. They’d been working with this particular judge for some time, so they understood the issues of the likely execution. NSA and FBI were involved. Cliff Arnebeck describes FBI as being in the SoS office (so the code couldn’t be applied to the servers in question).

    Rove was 100% certain of what the results would be–he even quoted specific numbers (how would he possibly have expected specific numbers in advance?!)–then was dumbfounded that his numbers didn’t come up. Cliff Arnebeck tells the story in the first 3 minutes of this short video.

    1. Pat

      Funny, I also note that Anonymous claimed to hack the Ohio system to take out the ‘improvements in 2012. I’ve said for years that Rove’s reaction to Ohio’s vote count was what made me believe them. Arnebeck brings another, possibly more plausible, explanation to that. Either way, I’m pretty sure in 2012 the vote count was more accurate than in 2004.
      Unless the fix is put in for Clinton, I’m betting that 2016 will be fairly accurate. And that will all depend on how Trump is doing there and how out on a limb for the status quo and/or how much hate is there for Trump by Kasich and his people.

      1. TheCatSaid

        “Unless the fix is put in for Clinton, I’m betting that 2016 will be fairly accurate.”

        We should not rely on “trust” in any candidate–not ever. Elections should be carried out with public oversight (no electronics), counted in public view, with rock-solid chain of custody of ballots. This is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s famous article documenting the multiple methodologies used to steal the 2004 election. These practices are still evident, and even more serious vulnerabilities have been discovered since the article was published.

        We are still using the same voting machines, the same non-existent chain of custody for the paper ballots that do exist, the same–and additional–methods prevent legally-required public observation, prevention of access to paper ballots (e.g. shredding ballots and ballot envelopes though they are legally required to be retained for 22 months in many states). The media persists in not covering these serious problems–despite the mountains of hard evidence and proven vulnerabilities of the equipment and systems used in our elections.

        Problems occur where democrats are in control and where republicans are in control. Election results should never be based on trust.

        1. Pat

          I totally agree. Unfortunately, we do not have that system and in fact have legally designated the exact opposite with Help America Vote. That that was the answer to the recount debacle of 2000 makes it very clear our political class do not want transparent elections.
          Call it human perversity but I have found that blandly reciting information about various means of stacking the system and noting that X official will be in position to determine who is allowed to vote, how you can vote, and how that vote is counted if at all seems to get more questions and response than my earlier more passionate declarations on the subject. Or perhaps people have begun to believe their lying eyes.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      I first heard of Arnebeck some weeks ago in the context of a video he spoke in describing a ‘RICO lawsuit’ against various parties – including ‘the media’ – on the election process.

      Now, he seemed quite interesting and astute in the video, and I am down with at least glancing at conspiracy theories for fun, entertainment, and a possible provable fact or two, but I dunno…the most recent flurry I see from him w/an ‘Open Letter’ to Obama et al appears to be getting a bit too down deep into the conspiracy weeds for me to not think he is…possibly over the deep end.

      Archived: https://archive.is/a9ILQ#selection-913.106-913.107

      Still up on (what appears to be) his valid FB: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1023670861080874&id=100003139106683

      Some choice quotes:

      “…Dear Messrs. President Obama & Vice President Biden:
      I believe former star Philadelphia prosecutor Beverly Campbell was assassinated because Karl Rove operatives believed she was about to reveal to you, before it unfolded, the wholesale corruption of the electronic voting process in the 2016 Democratic Party Presidential Primary…”

      “…The first secret revelation from Mark that Bev shared with me—in strictest confidence, with the caveat that she would deny telling me if I ever attributed it to her—was that: “911 was an inside job…”

      “…The second was Mark’s boast that: “All it took to get Obama to stay in line was to show him the Zapruder film…”

      “…I believe Bev Campbell was assassinated on February 11, 2016, by the minders of her relationship with R. Nomura which had just terminated. I am transmitting Bev’s files related to this to Acting US Attorney Ben Glassman and Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker for review by appropriate investigative agencies for use in bringing to justice those responsible for Bev’s death…”

      Take it for what it is worth…entertainment value, or Twilight Zone…or both. Meanwhile, I have some corn that needs watering! Priorities!! :)

      1. TheCatSaid

        More than one person involved in election IT / finances has died in highly suspicious circumstances.

        Mike Connell (close Rove associate and key witness relating to the rigging of Ohio elections) died in a small plane crash in 2008. He’d been threatened by Rove and warned by others, and had cancelled several prior flights because of concerns about the equipment. The crash was considered highly suspicious due to its timing and circumstances–he was due to testify the next day about the Ohio vote rigging. His death was covered prominently, including by Brad Friedman. Connell had given a deposition to Bob Fitrakis. In 2013, new documentation revealed the key role Connell had played in setting up a man in the middle data flow that routed the Ohio elections data first to a server in Tennessee to a computer controlled by republican contractors before then going to the Ohio SOS website. The investigation of the plane crash was itself highly irregular (done quickly at nighttime, pieces of flesh left behind). In a curious twist, the person in charge of the plane’s storage at the time was none other than James Comey, who recently declined to recommend prosecution of HRC regarding her emails.

        Last month, Seth Rich was murdered. He was the “Voter Expansion Data Director” at the DNC. He was shot twice in the back after a scuffle, near his home in DC at 4:30am. His cash, cell phone, watch and credit cards were not taken. There is no known motive or suspect.

        John Ashe died last month before he was to testify regarding international financial crimes. Initially his death was said to be from a heart attack, but autopsy showed his death was due to a crushed windpipe. He was accused of taking bribes and funneling donations to the DNC while HRC was SOS.

        1. Bev

          Add Shawn Lucas: http://wallstreetonparade.com/2016/08/sanders-supporters-stunned-by-sudden-death-of-38-year-shawn-lucas-who-served-the-lawsuit-on-the-dnc-and-wasserman-shultz/

          Sanders Supporters Stunned by Sudden Death of 38-Year Shawn Lucas Who Served the Lawsuit on the DNC and Wasserman Shultz
          By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 8, 2016


          Breaking: Did Julian Assange Just Say What I Think He Did?

          The following, two minute segment of the Dutch television news program “Nieuwsuur” is embedded here with no rights or authority whatsoever – I’ve saved a copy in case it mysteriously vanishes down the YouTube hole but I’d much rather give Nieuwsuur the views because oh wow, is this the story of a century my friends:

          Julian Assange on Seth Rich

          Okay, there are a few absolutely goddamn mind-blowing things to unpack in this video so let’s dive right in:

          Yes, Julian Assange just brought up the still unsolved murder of former DNC Staffer Seth Rich; completely unsolicited and while trying to illustrate the potential risks Wikileaks sources face… on a public news program he undoubtedly knew the world would eventually see!

          Wikileaks is just announced a $20,000 reward “for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich” over it’s Twitter account on Tuesday, August 9th.

  17. dk

    Regarding ‘algorithmic auditing’ and Holder:

    In 2014, then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned that the risk scores might be injecting bias into the courts. He called for the U.S. Sentencing Commission to study their use. “Although these measures were crafted with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal justice,” he said, adding, “they may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society.”

    The sentencing commission did not, however, launch a study of risk scores. So ProPublica did, as part of a larger examination of the powerful, largely hidden effect of algorithms in American life.


  18. rich

    New York Giants Owner Jonathan Tisch will host a Clinton fundraiser at his Hampton’s home later this month….

    Leonardo DiCaprio to host $33,400-a-plate fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in Los Angeles


    Are Sanders’ supporters allowed to apply for server positions?Thank god HRC is looking out for the working class.

    1. Roger Smith

      You just need to be “with Her”. She’ll take it from here. At this point, if you are not a big spender, you are the cute 3 year old with the macaroni picture campaign sign.

    2. polecat


      ‘Cuz you’ll lick the hypocrisy right off their shoes …. and like it !!

      1. Roger Smith

        Hey! Clinton is going to overturn Citizen’s United!

        One $33,400 plate at a time dammit!

    1. DJG

      Wow. I’m not saying that Ted Rall is a Democrat, but when you’ve lost Ted Rall that badly…

      Meanwhile, the “no boots on the ground” bombing of Libya continues.

  19. Alex V

    Regarding this:

    “And that globalization is making Americans less cosmopolitan, not more, given that our entertainment is now being silently shaped by the priorities of a single foreign power.”

    I’m wondering what proportion of films are created with two cuts, one for China, and one for the rest of the world. I believe there are often versions for each market, so would this really shape what Americans get to see?

    Their restriction on the number of films to 34 per year is of course in itself a form of censorship, but if one looks at the top American movies that made it into China last year, I wouldn’t exactly call it a “cosmopolitan” list. Mainly Hollywood blockbusters unlikely to take any type of politically controversial positions in the first place.

    And what proportion of Chinese films make it to the US in wide distribution? I’ve watched quite a few recent Chinese films (primarily kung fu and war epics) and one can certainly detect government influence on themes and how history is portrayed, but they’re also quite well made from an artistic standpoint, and can have quite wry senses of humor. It would be great if globalisation also applied to the export of interesting culture to the US, not just low cost consumer products.

    1. jgordon

      All I can say is that it doesn’t matter. All of the effluent that comes out of Hollywood these days is crap with or without the censorship. I can literally feel myself getting dumber whenever I try to watch a movie or TV.

    2. Steve in Flyover

      American to Russian…… “In the US, we are free to criticize the government”

      Russian…….”In Russia, we are also free to criticize the US government.”

      Sad how our business leaders will throw freedom under the bus, and support various flavors of dictatorships, as long as they can make a buck by doing it.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have seen plenty of Chinese war movies against the Imperial Japanese Army.

      Not too many, though, probably none, of Chinese films about 19th century European colonial conflicts on Chinese soil, like, for example, the Opium Wars.

      Self-censoring by China?

      No patriotic distributors will bring those films (assuming they exist) over here?

      I have not searched hard and wide enough?

      Let’s look forward, not back. Forget history. We repeat everything anyway???

      1. xyz

        It is interesting that there aren’t many films about the Opium War… there was one made in 1997 (and free on Youtube), but that was mainly done to commemorate the handover of Hong Kong. ‘Ip Man 2’ did have Ip Man beat out a racist British boxer, but that was set in the 1950s.

        I suppose the reasons for this are several-fold:

        1) It doesn’t help create a more ‘positive’ image of China in Western minds. Japan doesn’t matter, because the PRC has territorial disputes with the latter.

        2) It doesn’t help reinforce the idea of the CCP ‘saving’ China. The story of ‘recovery’ from 19th Century weakness necessarily has to go through the 1911 Revolution, Sun Yat-Sen, and the KMT. The story of ‘defeating’ Japan can be one where the CCP is the only protagonist.

        To illustrate this issue, the CCP Communist film, ‘Beginning of the Great Revival’, made to commemorate both the CCP’s 90th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution, basically has to spend 2/3rds of its length talking about non-Communist events and personages (the Wuchang Revolt, Yuan Shikai, Cai E and so on) before it actually goes to Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu and Mao. Not good for sucking up to CCP censors, and in fact is a political minefield where you could accidentally be glorifying/denigrating the wrong people/party.

        3) There is plenty of historical TV drama in China that revolves around the imperial period, and especially the Qing/Manchu period – most of those focus on the glory days of Kangxi/Yongzheng/Qianlong (though there are a few TV serials/movies on the Taiping Rebellion/late Qing period)… the point is filmmakers probably assume that the domestic audience is tapped out on Qing-era drama and don’t want to see it on the silver screen.

    4. xyz

      I would argue that main objective for Chinese external-facing propaganda is to present a more favorable view of the country (both as an equivalent to the US as well as a net positive to global society), rather than direct justification of CCP policies/rule.

      So the cost for Hollywood here is low – just have Chinese doing constructive things for the world (i.e. China’s construction of the Ark in Tibet in ‘2012’, China’s offer to help NASA in ‘The Martian’, or China’s participation in Earth defence in ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’) – and said film will reap the rewards of China’s box office market.

      The inclusion of China, and the specific role it plays in the film script, is the political position nowadays. It might not seem like much (or even be perfectly acceptable), but such portrayals of China do shape public opinion and it is therefore propaganda of a sort – do Hollywood depictions of Russia get the same treatment?

      As for differing film cuts, they indeed exist, but these are generally tailored specifically for the domestic Chinese audience – for example, in ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ there is a specific scene where Hong Kong officials specifically ask for the Chinese Central Government to help them vs. the Decepticons – and there are also cuts involving famous Chinese stars (i.e. Fan Bingbing in Iron Man 3).

      I’m not sure Chinese films have really ‘tried’ to break into the US market so far. They have a big enough (and captive) domestic audience – trying to appeal internationally would probably result in thinner margins and less-predictable reception.

  20. allan

    Aetna’s Obamacare Reversal Is Latest Blow to U.S. Health Law [Bloomberg]

    Aetna Inc., facing more than $300 million in losses from Affordable Care Act health plans this year, may exit Obamacare markets in some states as challenges to the health-care overhaul pile up.

    While the health insurer has yet to leave any states in which it now sells Obamacare programs, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said Aetna is evaluating its participation by market and will start making decisions in coming weeks. The company, which covers 838,000 people through Obamacare, is halting a planned expansion of those offerings in new states for next year. …

    Still, Marjorie Connolly, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health & Human Services, said consumers will have “a robust set of choices,” including Medicare for All [just messing with ya] when they pick ACA plans for next year. The sign-up period for 2017 coverage begins on November 1.

    November 1, which should be named National Neoliberal Health Insurance Shopping Empowerment Day
    and made a federal holiday. And which is exactly one week before … what is it … it’s on the tip of my tongue …

    1. Pat

      And little stories like this one are part of the reason I believe that any prediction that Clinton will win (and win big) are a tad premature. People are going to get notices that tell them their insurance no longer exists just before the election. The exchanges with the premium increases are going to open just before the election. Hell, we may officially be in a recession just before the election. And those are all going to blowback on Democrats in general and on Clinton specifically.

      None of us know how the media onslaught against Trump will play out. Nor do we know what gaffes both Trump and Clinton will make. But with very few exceptions, pretty much all of the stuff that can go wrong for America of any official nature in the next months work against Clinton, not Trump. The only certainty is that this will be a nasty, dirty, soul crushing campaign

      1. mad as hell.

        I hope that Assange shows his Hillary cards a couple weeks before the election. He will if he is playing with a full deck!

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s Hill in a walk.
        I’m trying to prepare myself for four years of that screeching harridan’s voice, forcefully emitting her whole cloth lies about her actions and intentions, the bland platitudes designed to anesthetize the citizenry into continued acquiescence to the billionaire war and institutionalized theft program. I’m reminded of the guy who wanted to go on a homicidal killing spree every time he heard Miley Cyrus’ voice…I’m going to need a heavy-duty mental gyroscope to make it through the next four years without tipping over completely.

      3. VietnamVet

        The basic problem is that the pro-war agitprop is divorced from reality. Tonight’s NewsHour fact checked Donald Trump’s Crimea statements using the “Russian Aggression” talking points in order to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The news report completely ignores that Crimea has been part of Russia since 1783. Russia fought great defensive battles with Great Britain in 1853 and Germany in 1942 on the Crimea Peninsula. If the West invades once again, Russia will start World War III to keep it.

      1. Roger Smith

        Exactly! I have been saying it for months. I see something the Clintons or DNC does and muse aloud, “And Trump is the fascist?”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The portrait artist: “Look a little to your right and you will find the left guy.”

          And if you look to your left, you will find the guy on the right.

          That’s how our vision works.

  21. Don Midwest USA

    Trouble for TPP? Business Groups advertising

    Trouble for the TPP: Business groups’ desperate PR campaign signals possible failure for trade deal
    The fact that business groups are spending millions to influence pols to pass TPP shows the pact is in jeopardy

    David Dayen has another excellent article

    Here’s one of the best indicators that Congress won’t approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership: business groups are running a public campaign in support of it. I know that sounds like a paradox, but if the image of the TPP weren’t so tattered, there would be no need for such an overt PR campaign.

    Been fairly easy in the past to get these deals, and if you have the influence, just meet with your bought out legislator…

    The answer is that the trade consensus is deader than it has been in the past twenty years. All the energy on this issue is with those who blame bad trade deals for the demise of U.S. manufacturing, the rise of multinational corporate influence, and the loss of good-paying American jobs. That’s from the right, where Donald Trump has made trade a cornerstone of his campaign, and from the left, where Bernie Sanders and his supporters forced trade to the top of the issue agenda.

    No issue galvanized dissent at the Democratic National Convention like TPP. And supporters of the trade deal had to watch in vain as it racked up loss after loss throughout the week.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’ll believe that TPP is dead when I see it in its coffin with a stake through its heart, and even then, I’d nail the lid shut, soak the coffin in gasoline, and toss a match. Let’s remember TPP seemed defeated in Maui. Then Obama cut some deals for Atlanta, and all the ministers signed. And TPP suffered no significant losses at the DNC: (1) It remains in the platform, and (2) Democrat enforcers suppressed anti-TPP signage. I’d like to agree with Dayen on this one, but premature triumphalism is the root of all evil.

    1. hunkerdown

      “I’m going to keep fighting in the party, even though I’m disappointed,” Turner said in a telephone interview. “I’m a Democrat, and that’s worth fighting for.”
      “this progressive agenda more actionable”

      Sounds like a company woman. Let the Democratic Party keep her.

      1. PhilU

        Or, (fingers crossed) gearing up for a 2020 run. I put her name in to the GP’s survey of supporters for who they wanted as a VP months ago To sink Hillary, too bad.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Sounds like a company woman. Let the Democratic Party keep her.

        So you’re saying the GP badly misjudged her, and then ran a publicity campaign to get her to take the spot?

  22. grizziz

    Re: Green Party VP, Ajamu Baraka (internationally recognized with 2700 Facebook followers); this guarantees that the concern trolling will not be televised.

    BTW, I am mostly in agreement with his positions against US hegemony.

  23. Carolinian

    You know things are bad when you have to turn to Breitbart to find out what’s going on.


    A snapshot of his now deleted website, as captured by the Wayback Machine which takes snapshots archiving various websites on the Internet, shows that as a lawyer he engages in procurement of EB5 immigration visas and other “Related Immigration Services.”

    The website is completely removed from the Internet, and instead directs visitors to the URL at which it once was to a page parking the URL run by GoDaddy.

    The EB5 program, which helps wealthy foreigners usually from the Middle East essentially buy their way into America, is fraught with corruption. U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has detailed such corruption over the past several months, and in February issued a blistering statement about it.

    “Maybe it is only here on Capitol Hill—on this island surrounded by reality—that we can choose to plug our ears and refuse to listen to commonly accepted facts,” Grassley said in a statement earlier this year. “The Government Accountability Office, the media, industry experts, members of congress, and federal agency officials, have concurred that the program is a serious problem with serious vulnerabilities. Allow me to mention a few of the flaws.”

    Grassley’s statement even noted that the program Khan celebrated on his website has posed national security risks.

    Khan has now deleted his website. Of course consider the source and all that but where’s the Bezos Daily on this angle? Woodward should dispatch one of his investigators.

      1. Carolinian

        But EB-5 has been the subject of increasing scrutiny since investigators uncovered numerous cases of fraud, discovered individuals with possible ties to Chinese and Iranian intelligence using fake documents and learned that international fugitives who have laundered money had infiltrated the program.

        “It’s no secret that the program has long been riddled with corruption and national security vulnerabilities,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and a frequent critic of the program.


        If Kahn’s website has been taken down–I have limited internet here for sleuthing–then it would appear that the claims made in the story I quoted are correct. Whether that has some sinister connotation perhaps a stretch, but on the other hand an immigration lawyer attacking a candidate over immigration would seem to require that piece of information in the overall mix.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Kahn’s website certainly didnt load when I used the Brietbart URL. That’s why I went to the wayback machine.

          I thought the real estate angle was interesting too.

      1. local to oakland

        There is at least a tie in to Trump’s anti immigration platform. Trump needs either better researchers or to actually accept advice or both.

  24. allan

    TBTF banks decide that the best defense is an offensive PR campaign [check out the unironic Dealbook URL]:

    Citigroup, which was rescued by taxpayers after nearly collapsing during the financial crisis, is using its role as the sole banking sponsor of the Summer Olympics and Paralympics to make the case for the virtues of being a big global bank.

    JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, recently wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times to announce how the nation’s largest bank was raising the wages of thousands of its lowest-paid workers.

    And Bank of America has hired Bob Dylan’s son Jesse to produce a series of videos explaining to bank employees that their primary purpose is not to reap quick profits, but to help expand the economy.

    “We can’t advertise our way into people’s hearts,” said Ed Skyler, Citigroup’s executive vice president for public affairs, who is overseeing the bank’s advertising. “But we have to keep talking about the value we bring to society.”

    Offered without comment because family-friendly blog.

  25. Escher

    Re: “Is the TPP really a “good deal” for the United States?”

    Note that the authors claim to answer the question of who wrote the TPP, but actually answer the question of which country wrote the TPP. But of course countries aren’t sentient monoliths and don’t write trade agreements; specific people from those countries do, representing and promoting the particular interests of some people in those countries over others. The study doesn’t address the question of who those people are and whose interests they represent, and so it fails to answer the question.

  26. abynormal

    Trust But Verify: The Hancock County Board of Elections (Sparta, GA) has been sending sheriff’s deputies to the homes of black voters with summonses “commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights.” No similar visits to any white voters have been reported.
    County seat: Sparta
    Date of county incorporation: December 17, 1793.
    Population (2012 estimates of US Census Bureau): 8,996
    Land area (2010, US Census Bureau): 471.84 square miles
    Persons per square mile (2010, US Census Bureau): 20.0

    Since that ruling, numerous states have implemented voter ID laws and other measures under the guise of combating corruption. However, many believe that such laws disproportionately affect minority voters and give the edge to Republican candidates. Voters’ rights organizations argue that the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder has made it more difficult to challenge such laws.

    On the other hand, conservatives argue that such challenges should be difficult because they believe that elections should be handled by local officials and that the federal government shouldn’t get involved. The major problem with this argument is that it is very similar to arguments used to defend segregation and other racist policies of the last century.

    We’ll have more on this story as it develops. http://www.bipartisanreport.com/2016/08/01/georgia-police-officers-exposed-for-blatantly-intimidating-black-voters-at-their-homes/ Nice.

  27. Daryl

    So, anyone else following the Olympics? As a basketball fan I’m catching a lot of minor complaints early on, but I’m really more nervous about widespread riots and that sort of thing.

    1. low integer

      Brazil has a huge crack epidemic that the authorities are trying to sweep aside while the international spotlight is on the Olympics. Brazillian authorities were worried about it at least two years ago, but I’m not sure exactly what they have done. There are literally whole towns and villages full of crack addicts. The Brazillian gangs had a pact to never sell crack and then once one gang broke it the floodgates opened. Apparently the big players go right to the top of Brazillian business and politics.

      1. Daryl

        I haven’t heard anything about that (aside from a picture of a bag of cocaine thoughtfully sealed and labelled with “please do not use near children”). I don’t doubt it, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Olympics causes a massive influx of drugs to the hosting area.

  28. Kurt Sperry

    “Glenn Thrush interviews Jeff Weaver” Excellent, helps me understand the nuts and bolts better and nuts and bolts are damn important. I’d love to hang out and drink beer with those guys. Plus Zappa, who always fits and always matters. Thanks.

  29. Cry Shop

    Gaia / Health

    Thyroid disrupting chemicals found in household dust

    Thyroid hormone signaling helps regulate many processes, including metabolism, cardiovascular function, and brain development. But manmade chemicals like herbicides and plasticizers that can disrupt this signaling have found their way into the environment. And part of that environment is pretty close to home: household dust.
    Researchers at Umeå University have developed a model to help identify which of the chemicals found in household dust might be binding to the thyroid receptor and thus disrupting the signaling process.

    Dental Floss:
    Hong Kong Public Health carried out a study, found that dental floss was effective if a trained hygienist applied it, but even after much training a majority of the public went back to using it improperly, where it caused more harm than good. Wish I had a link but that study was 20+ years ago.

  30. Skippy

    Found this in my wanderings…

    “The financialization part is harder, but here’s a quickie version. The whole point of production under capitalism is not the satisfaction of needs, but the accumulation of money. In other words, it’s impossible to separate the economic world into a good productive side and a bad financial side; the two are inseparable. The monetary surpluses generated in production—the profits of capitalist businesses—accumulate over time and demand some sort of outlet: bank deposits, bonds, stocks, whatever. It’s going to be that way until we replace capitalism with something radically different.

    And we have a consumer debt problem not because of some sinister conspiracy of bankers, but because our managerial class has kept wages down for the last 35 years. In order to maintain some semblance of a middle-class lifestyle, people have borrowed from the rich who’ve claimed most of the gains of an expanding economy. In other words, you can’t easily separate finance from the so-called real economy.”

    Disheveled Marsupial…. I’m still mowing my lawn in winter…

  31. Skippy

    More fun stuff….

    Are Progressive Taxes Socialistic?

    “Many of those who write to me accuse me of being a “socialist” or “communist” or worse, in the misguided belief that a robust progressive tax structure – one which every person pays the same rate on the portion of their income in the same income level (bracket) – is somehow socialistic.

    Yet some of the most successful CAPITALISTS today, including Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, have openly supported progressive taxes. They both deal in businesses dependent on a broad base of middle class consumers. They understand that they have more to gain by broad-based middle class prosperity that enables the capacity for consumer demand that fuels their industries.

    Or perhaps those who cry “socialist” have never heard of ADAM SMITH. For those familiar with basic economics, Adam Smith is known as the “Father of Capitalism” – the first person who articulated the concept of market-driven economics, coining the phrase about the “invisible hand” and “enlightened self interest,” guiding entrepreneurs to get ahead by meeting the needs of their customers.

    Here is what Adam Smith wrote in his seminal work, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, from Book V, Chapter 2, Article I:

    “The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. … It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    So was Adam Smith – the “Father of Capitalism” – a communist? a socialist?

    For the record, Adam Smith DIED 28 years before Karl Marx was even born.” – snip

    Disheveled Marsupial….. sigh…

  32. Hana M

    Superb Water Cooler, Lambert! And speaking of cooling…Splash 24/7 is one of my new favorite sources. Thank you for the great work you do.

  33. Procopius

    I don’t know how much of a “Republican Establishment” figure Robert Kagan is, but his support for Hillary is one of the biggest reasons I’m frightened of her. I’m half-way convinced she’s going to appoint him or his wife (Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Middle Eastern Affairs, and who promoted Victoria Nuland?) as Secretary of State.

Comments are closed.