2:00PM Water Cooler 8/26/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, the political information flow was really an embarrassment of riches today, so I’ll be adding more (2:42PM: done).

TPP/TTIP/TISA

“‘The current agreement, the Trans-Pacific [Partnership], which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year,’ [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell said at the Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast Thursday” [The Hill]. McConnell, on passing Fast Track: “‘ was aligned with Barack Obama against [Sen.] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] and [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.],” he said. ‘Almost an out-of-body experience, now that I think about it.'” All the more reason for interested parties to donate to the Clinton Foundation, I suppose. McConnell’s doing Clinton a real favor!

“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be challenged to find some other way to make much-needed economic reforms to stimulate growth if Congress fails to approve the TPP pact and the initiative dies on the vine, a former U.S. trade official said Thursday” [Politico]. Abe has already collected his quid pro quo from Obama: Permission to remilitarized.

2016

Corruption

“Watchdogs warn of ‘serious’ conflicts of interest for Clinton Foundation” [The Hill]. “Chelsea Clinton’s role on the board will only perpetuate the ‘pay to play’ perceptions and accusations, the watchdogs said. ‘As long as the Clinton Foundation is tied to the family,’ [Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen] said, ‘very wealthy’ people and special interests ‘will try to find a way to throw money at the feet’ of the Clinton family. And if Chelsea Clinton remains on the board — especially if she retains a fundraising roll — ‘she would be the avenue.'” This is so wrong. How else is Chelsea supposed to raise money for her Senate run? Answer me that!

UPDATE “Chelsea Clinton would remain on the board of her family’s foundation even if her mother is elected president, a spokeswoman said Thursday” [AP].

“Hillary Clinton said Friday the charitable programs of her family foundation would continue, perhaps through partnerships with other organizations, if she’s elected president, even as critics argue that would present a conflict of interest” [AP]. Because everybody knows Middle East Wahhabists are totes on board with funding programs for women and girls.

“Editorial: Clintons should end ties to charity ” [Charlotte Observer]. “[Clinton] seems not to recognize that while a good lawyer focuses on what the law allows, a good politician focuses on what the people want. Her dismal trustworthiness ratings strongly suggest the people want to see stricter ethical standards from her. She ignores that at her own peril.”

UPDATE “The key to understanding why good government advocates are upset about the new revelations is to first get past the argument that Clinton Foundation donors were transactionally rewarded for their gifts” [Vox]. “This is not what my sources argued. Instead, the heart of their complaint was that the foundation’s contributors appear to have gained a greater ability to make their voices heard by Clinton’s State Department by virtue of donating to her husband’s private foundation.”

In other words, the Clinton Foundation (private) was selling access to the Secretary of State (public). That’s called influence peddling, and if you follow Zephyr Teachout on corruption (and not the majority in Citizens United) that’s a textbook case of corruption. The Clinton Foundation enables as capital in the form of wealth to be converted into social capital in the form of access (and reputation laundering). Which is how the Beltway works, and how an oligarchy works. As we have seen, liberals accept this completely, as do conservatives, although the left does not.

“Democrats embrace the logic of ‘Citizens United'” [Lawrence Lessig, WaPo]. 2015, even more true today. See also Sirota from 2015.

UPDATE What liberals and Democrats used to believe, before the giant sucking pit of need that is the Clinton campaign made them lose their minds [image of tiny little hands waving, faint screams, as they circle downward in the vortex]. The dissenting opinion from Citizens United:

UPDATE From The Blogger Formerly KnownAs Who Is IOZ?

On the AP story about the Clinton Foundation, the State Department refused AP access to all visitor logs. Then Clinton campaign surrogates complained that AP based its story on incomplete visitor logs. And so it goes in HillaryLand [The Intercept]. Lots more detail in this story, well worth a read.

UPDATE “Clinton Foundation Investigation Update: Key Details About Financial And Political Dealings” [David Sirota, International Business Times]. Good wrap-up from Sirota, who’s been all over this.

UPDATE “On the campaign trial, Clinton is using a private airplane owned by a Wall Street banker and donor to get to fund-raisers this week on the West Coast” [New York Post]. How cozy.

Policy

“[W]e should expect Clinton to shape her foreign policy to neutralise the threat to her nomination in 2020 from the left of her party. So forget Hillary the hawk. To consolidate her Democrat base she will be even more cautious abroad than Barack Obama has been” [Lowy Interpreter]. “Ambitious Republicans looking to 2020 must already be sketching for themselves a foreign policy stance that captures [the appeal of Trump’s ‘America First’ brand of muscular isolationism] while avoiding Trump’s many negatives. So Clinton will face much less pressure from the traditional right on foreign policy than she ever has before.” No. We should expect Clinton to kick the left and ally herself with establishment Republicans. Which she is already doing.

Money

“When the Democratic National Committee announced its $32 million fundraising haul last month, it touted the result as evidence of ‘energy and excitement’ for Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the White House and other races down the ballot. The influx of money, however, also owes in part to an unprecedented workaround of political spending limits that lets the party tap into millions of dollars more from Clinton’s wealthiest donors” [Bloomberg]. “At least $7.3 million of the DNC’s July total originated with payments from hundreds of major donors who had already contributed the maximum $33,400 to the national committee, a review of Federal Election Commission filings shows. The contributions, many of which were made months earlier, were first bundled by the Hillary Victory Fund and then transferred to the state Democratic parties, which effectively stripped the donors’ names and sent the money to the DNC as a lump sum. Of the transfers that state parties made to the DNC for which donor information was available, an overwhelming proportion came from contributions from maxed-out donors.”

Lovely. Doubling down on the Victory Fund scam. Word of the day: Effrontery.

The Voters

UPDATE “Absentee ballot returns show spike in unlikely voters weighing in on Florida’s primary” [Tampa Bay Observer]. “Almost half of the mail ballots returned so far for Tuesday’s primary election have come from Floridians who voted in either one or zero of the past four primary elections. That means a big, decisive chunk of the vote will come from people who have not been polled, and potentially not courted, targeted or accounted for by countless campaigns across the state.” And: “Pinpointing the reason for the trend is impossible, but local elections supervisors increasingly are promoting and encouraging people to vote by mail. It’s more convenient for voters, less expensive to manage than in-person early voting, and the more people who vote before election day, the less likely polling places are to be overwhelmed.” Which is insane, since there’s now no such thing as an election day, and well-known incumbents are favored.

“A bleak choice between a ‘liar’ and your ‘drunk uncle’ for one Wisconsin focus group” [WaPo].

“Presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump delivered searing indictments of one another Thursday, trading charges of racism and corruption, and setting the tone for a bitter fight until the November election” [Wall Street Journal, “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Ramp Up Intensity of Attacks”]. Clinton: “There has been a steady stream of bigotry coming from him.” Trump: “Clinton’s actions constitute all of the elements of a major criminal enterprise.” Maybe when they’re both in the same room together for the debates….

“Clinton rips Trump in speech linking him to ‘alt-right'” [Yahoo News].

UPDATE On alt-right:

I think this tweet is basically correct, but Clinton’s base of symbol manipulators may ascribe more power to trolls than they actually have. And, of course, many Clinton supporters online work for an organization that pays trolls (Brock’s “Correct the Record”) so perhaps there are competitive instincts at play.

“The Democratic nominee on Thursday suggested that Trump and his followers were an aberration from the GOP as a whole, but they had not taken it captive. ‘A fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party,’ she claimed” [The Hill]. So, Nixon adopting the Southern Strategy, Reagan launching a campaign at Philadelphia, Mississippi, Bush handing the keys for the car to the Christian right… The Republican establishment was, in essence, reasonable until Trump came along, apparently. People you can do business with. This is certainly erasure on a massive scale, and how on earth does such historical revisionism help Democrats, even assuming the Democrat Establishment deserves to be helped?

Realignment

“Donald Trump now needs a swing of only 3 to 4 percentage points in key battleground states to win this election” [MarketWatch]. “according to a new poll in Michigan, one of the key states in play, as well as the latest polls in other key states… Meanwhile, Trump faces even smaller deficits in other key battleground states. According to the polling averages calculated by Real Clear Politics, Trump trails by just 5 points in Ohio, 4 points in Florida and 2 points in North Carolina. Recent polls have also put him level with Clinton in Nevada and Iowa.” Lambert here: My view is that triumphalism from the Clinton campaign — which now includes most of the political class, including the press and both party establishments, and ignores event risk — is engineered to get early voters to “go with the winner.”

Our Revolution: “The senator hailed as a major accomplishment his delegates’ work crafting what he called the “strongest and most progressive” platform in the Democratic Party’s history. And he vowed to implement many of its planks” [Seven Days]. Sanders: “‘If anybody thinks that that document and what is in that platform is simply going to be resting on a shelf somewhere accumulating dust, they are very mistaken,’ he said. ‘We are going to bring the platform alive and make it the blueprint for moving the Democrats forward in Congress and all across this country.” So, more than “values.” However, where there’s less to hate in the Dem platform than usual, it’s hardly adequate for the challenges facing the country. Now, if the operational definition of “bring the platform alive” means “incorporate all the Sanders planks the Dem establishment voted down,” I’d be a lot happier. I haven’t heard that yet.

UPDATE From the Benjamin Dixon show:

Previous Dixon interview with Reed here (just for anybody who thinks Reed is a Clinton Democrat).

Clinton Email Hairball

“Clinton is attempting to inoculate the public against the ‘October Surprise’ they fear is coming from Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. With Donald Trump’s electoral prospects diminishing by the day, the only thing the Clinton camp has to fear is the facts. Therefore, the campaign’s mission is to poison the well of public discussion in order to immunize Clinton from future factual disclosures” [Black Agenda Report].

“Judge orders search of new Clinton emails for release by September 13” [Reuters]. “A U.S. judge ordered the State Department on Thursday to release by Sept. 13 any emails it finds between Hillary Clinton and the White House from the week of the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, among the thousands of additional emails uncovered by federal investigators.”

Stats Watch

GDP, Q2 2016: “Very soft” [Econoday]. ” [A]t only a plus 1.1 percent annualized rate for the second estimate following even softer rates in the prior two quarters of 0.8 and 0.9 percent. But masked in the latest quarter is a very strong 4.4 percent annualized growth rate for consumer spending which is 2 tenths higher than the first estimate. Inventory draw is the quarter’s culprit, pulling down GDP by a very steep 1.3 percentage points. But, in a counter-intuitive twist, lighter inventory in times of slow economic growth is a major positive for future production and employment and is a major plus for the ongoing quarter.” I dunno. “There’s no pony in here now, but at some future point, there will be a pony, because ponies have always appeared in the past.” Caveat: Bearish priors! And: “There was no major reason for the decline in GDP – just minor downward adjustments to inventories and government spending” [Econintersect]. But more: “A particularly telling representation of slowing growth in the US economy is the year-over-year rate of change. The average rate at the start of recessions is 3.35%. All eleven recessions over this timeframe have begun at a higher level of real YoY GDP.”

Wholesale Trade, July 2016: “[U]nchanged” [Econoday]. “These results point to the need for inventory rebuilding and are a positive for the economic outlook” (remarks and caveat as above).

International Trade in Goods, July 2016: “A surge in food exports helped cut the nation’s goods gap” [Econoday]. ” Exports of foods, feeds & beverages rose 31 percent in the month though export prices of agricultural goods actually dipped slightly in the month. Other export readings are less favorable including a decline for capital goods, reflecting weak global investment in new equipment, and a small dip for consumer goods. A dip in imports also helped narrow the headline gap in July as capital goods imports and especially consumer goods imports fell sharply. The improvement in today’s headline is a big plus for early third-quarter GDP estimates but it doesn’t point to strength in underlying cross-border demand.”

Corporate Profits, Q2 2016: “Corporate profits fell 2.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter following a 2.3 percent decline in the first quarter” [Econoday].

Consumer Sentiment, August 2016: “[S]teady and respectable” [Econoday]. “The expectations component edged higher in the month to 78.7 which hints at confidence in the jobs outlook. Hinting at marginal softening in the current jobs market is the current conditions index which is down 2.0 points to a still solid 107.0. Inflation readings are especially weak in this report, reflecting in part this month’s downturn in gasoline prices.” And: “So the latest sentiment number puts us 20.5 points above the average recession mindset and 2.2 points above the non-recession average” [Econintersect].

Housing: “Two of the key reasons inventory is low: 1) A large number of single family home and condos were converted to rental units. Last year, housing economist Tom Lawler estimated there were 17.5 million renter occupied single family homes in the U.S., up from 10.7 million in 2000. Many of these houses were purchased by investors, and rents have increased substantially, and the investors are not selling (even though prices have increased too). Most of these rental conversions were at the lower end, and that is limiting the supply for first time buyers. 2) Baby boomers are aging in place (people tend to downsize when they are 75 or 80, in another 10 to 20 years for the boomers). Instead we are seeing a surge in home improvement spending, and this is also limiting supply” [Calculated Risk].

Shipping: “Rail Week Ending 20 August 2016: Remains In Contraction And Rate Of Improvement Slows” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “Rail is a huge expenditure for railroads, so extending rail life is crucial. Minimizing the potential for derailments is also critical. Many railroads grind rail to restore the profile and, as a result, extend rail life and improve ride quality” [Progressive Railroading].

Shipping: “Airfreight rates continued to climb in July, reaching a new high for the year and closing in on last year’s level” [Air Cargo News]. Drewry: “The latest reading still signified the lowest July level since the index first launched in 2012, providing a reminder of the general weakness of the market. Higher fuel costs have played a part in driving this recovery, though signs are emerging of a mild strengthening in demand conditions, albeit from a low base.”

Shipping: “Truck shipments were rmixed in July (depending on whose data one uses) – even the BLS employment data remained weak but did improve relative to the previous month. There is no question that the data here is soft, but the trend lines are mixed” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “The Baltic Exchange has secured sufficient shareholders’ approval for its sale to the Singapore Exchange, despite a handful of panellists not yet approving the deal.According to a statement published on the exchange’s website, 75.2% of shareholders have given their consent to the deal [Lloyd’s List].

Supply Chain: “U.S. agriculture shippers say they are starting to see added costs since China added the U.S. to a list of Zika-infected countries early this month, and the WSJ’s Costas Paris reports they’re worried about bigger problems in supply chains as enforcement policies are rolled out” [Wall Street Journal].

Retail: “As consumers increasingly shop online for the best deals, retailers are pushing lower prices, putting pressure on factories and intermediaries alike. The big brands also are ordering less as shoppers move to online marketplaces, leaving sourcing agents with slimmer pipelines” [Wall Street Journal]. So that inventory bounceback may not be as big as conventional wisdom says. With much more efficient shipping, warehousing delivery systems plus online sales, can we leave more inventory “in the ground,” as it were?

Political Risk: “Bernstein: Passive Investing Is Worse for Society Than Marxism” [Bloomberg]. “The social function of active management, in a capitalist society, is that it seeks to direct capital to its most productive end [snort], facilitating sustainable job creation [oh?] and a rise in the aggregate standard of living [no matter how distributed]. And rather than be guided by the Invisible Hand and profit motive, capital allocation under Marxism is conducted by an oh-so-visible hand aimed at producing use-values that satisfy each member of the society’s needs. Seen through this lens, passive management is somewhat tantamount to a nihilistic approach to capital allocation. To adapt a line from a Coen brothers classic: Say what you will about the tenets of Marxism, Dude, at least it’s a formal attempt to direct capital to achieve a desired end.”

Political Risk: “nobody is suggesting that productivity isn’t rising because individuals aren’t working hard enough. On the contrary, most economists believe that American blue and white collar workers alike are firing on all cylinders. What we need are new tools and training to make the work that we do count more. That will ultimately require technologies that take us far beyond online taxi ordering, food delivery and the latest gaming app” [Time]. In other words, the capitalists are doing a terrible job of capital allocation?

Political Risk: “America’s investment in its own future is in a depression” [MarketWatch]. “[T]here’s still very little investment in the buildings, equipment and intellectual property that we ought to be putting into place today as the foundation of our prosperity tomorrow. Who’s preparing the United States for the 21st century? Nobody, really. Not the 22 million private businesses, not the 118 million households, and not the 90,000 state, local or federal government agencies.” It’s rare to see a ruling class write off an entire continent. I can’t think of a parallel. Will the elites all head for Mars? Do they share an unspoken depopulation scenario? More pragmatically, and for what this is worth: If what I see in my Maine town is a good proxy, I think a lot of very small business did invest in capital this quarter, but this is hidden in home improvement and truck sales numbers. Many freshly painted branded vans and pickups, lots of small physical plant stuff, like floors and doors. The Maine bear in me says they’re protecting themselves from the incoming storm. Readers, do you see similar things?

The Fed: “How the Federal Reserve can gird for the next crash” [Mark Thoma, CBS]. “The Fed did not have enough room to cut interest rates before hitting the zero lower bound when the recession hit. Raising the target inflation rate, which would increase average interest rates and give the Fed more space for rate cuts, is something the Fed ought to seriously consider.”

The Fed: “Here’s what the Fed’s rate should be, using rule footnoted in Yellen speech” (with image of the footnote) [MarketWatch]. “the formula: it involves four variables: so-called R-star, which is the longer-run normal value of the federal funds rate adjusted for inflation; the four-quarter moving average of core PCE inflation; the FOMC’s target for inflation; the unemployment rate and the longer-run normal rate of unemployment. … [U]sing current data, the formula yields a federal funds rate of 0.54%, which is above the current target between 0.25% and 0.5%. (The effective federal funds rate was 0.4% this week.)”

The Fed: “‘One of the key goals should be that we don’t have another recession,’ said Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren” at a meeting with activists opposing a rate hike [Futures].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 65, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 76 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 26 at 12:04pm. Musical interlude!

Corruption

“Should Iowa professor promoting MS diet lead study to see if it works?” [Des Moines Register]. No.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“U.S. Military Now Says ISIS Leader Was Held in Notorious Abu Ghraib Prison” [The Intercept]. “In the occupation’s first few years, U.S. facilities like Abu Ghraib and Camp developed a reputation as “jihadi universities” where hard-line extremists indoctrinated and recruited less radical inmates. Analysts have long suspected that Baghdadi took full advantage of his time at Bucca to link up with the jihadis and former Iraqi military officials who would later fill out the Islamic State’s leadership.” Well played, all.

Dear Old Blighty

“Right-Of-Center Labour Party Careerists In The U.K. Are Every Bit As Sleazy As Wasserman Schultz And Steve Israel Here” [Down with Tyranny].

” Jeremy Corbyn fends off Branson attack over ‘ram-packed’ Virgin train” [Guardian]. I’m sure that Corbyn’s position on renationalizing rail has no bearing whatever on Virgin’s decision to release CCTV footage from carriages that it owns and operates.

“Jeremy Corbyn claim Virgin train was ‘ram-packed’ backed by passengers” [Independent].

Class Warfare

“Milanovic and Roemer (2016) show that what seems a very positive development (that is, lower global inequality) when individuals are assumed to be concerned solely with their absolute incomes becomes much less positive when we also include in their welfare functions a concern with relative positions in national income distributions. Then the dominant feeling across the world, reflecting increasing national income inequalities, becomes one of a relative loss” [Branko Milanovic, Defend Democracy]. Charts, with an analysis of the “elephant graph.”

“Who Works for the Workers?” [n+1]. “Union opponents think this quiescence means workers don’t want to fight. Romantic union supporters, perhaps including the people at the conference, tend to think that workers are ready for a struggle but held back by conservative middle-class leadership. Neither account fully contemplates the idea that the struggle between labor and capital might more simply reflect the balance of power. The union movement’s problem, in other words, isn’t that workers don’t want to fight; it’s that they don’t want to lose.” Very interesting article, that overlaps with the movement vs. party discussion.

News of the Wired

“When the Police Target Black Twitter” [Brennan Center].

“Hillary Clinton’s well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet’s worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton’s campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner [Los Angeles Times]. “In effect, the effort aims to spend a large sum of money to increase the amount of trolling that already exists online. The plan comes as Clinton operatives grapple with the reality that her supporters just aren’t as engaged and aggressive online as are her detractors inside and outside the Democratic Party.” If anybody thinks this will stop on November 9, think again. Clinton knows the 2020 primaries begin on that date just as much as everyone else does.

“Beyond Terminator: Squishy “Octobot” Heralds New Era of Soft Robotics” [Scientific American].

* * *

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):

drought-stricken_flower_garden

PH writes:

Just got back from visiting my daughter & family who live in California along
the central coast near Morro Bay … well within the exceptional drought part
of the state, & in an area with mandatory watering restrictions.

The attached picture shows part of her water-deprived flower garden. There is
more to the garden, but this is the part that has the actual flower.

“Flower,” singular. Makes the case for xeriscaping? If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change….

* * *

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

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About Lambert Strether

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

185 comments

  1. diptherio

    What we need are new tools and training to make the work that we do count more.

    No. What we need is a bigger share of the revenue…a much bigger share. And that’s just for starters.

      1. hunkerdown

        …you’re only a W aaaawaaaay.

        Like they say, you can take the boy out of California, but you can’t take the copy editor out of the boy. That rock would have made for a fun hike. Too bad I never got a chance while I lived out that way and was more in condition for such an endeeavor.

    1. subgenius

      Morro bay is by far my favorite harbor on the Cali coast – just be very careful not to bottom out on the bar if entering by sea….

      1. polecat

        Morro spit is a cool hike ….as well as the Nipomo Dunes area south of Arroyo Grande! er..well it used to be 30 odd years ago when the future Mrs. polecat and I lived on the Central Coast…….

  2. Lee

    “the State Department refused AP access to all visitor logs. Then Clinton campaign surrogates complained that AP based didn’t base its story on all the visitor logs.”

    Reminds me of the Raymond Chandler thug who is describe as one who would “beat my teeth out then kick me in the stomach for mumbling.”

  3. grayslady

    And if Chelsea Clinton remains on the board — especially if she retains a fundraising roll — ‘she would be the avenue.

    Is that “roll” as in “on a roll”? Freudian slip, mediocre elementary school education, or just poor editing?

      1. Savonarola

        Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Old Southern saying of surprise and disbelief. I’m tempted to use it each time I open the paper lately.

        1. ambrit

          More like “go get the butter” as said by Marlon Brandos character, Paul, to Maria Schneiders character Jeanne in “Last Tango in Paris.”

  4. Larry

    In my area in metro Boston, things look rosy. Then again, we are in the rent extraction industries which prospered even in the throws of the financial crisis. For those that have, the times have been good. And much of the recent building is aimed at housing for 55 plus crowd that wants to downsize but remain close to family and lifelong friends.

    1. Ché Pasa

      “throes” not “throws” — unless of course you meant the little people thrown to the dogs…

      Today is AutoCorrect hell day, so it seems.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I make sloughs of homophonic spelling errors, so I generally give people typing on the internet a pass.

    2. KurtisMayfield

      And much of the recent building is aimed at housing for 55 plus crowd that wants to downsize but remain close to family and lifelong friends.

      That is because most of the Boston suburbs won’t let anything else get built. They don’t want their school budgets ballooning, so they let 55+ communities in. If they would allow 3bd/1.5 bath developments to come in their schools couldn’t handle it without overrides. I lived in a town just outside of 495 that was basically watching their school district die because they wouldn’t let any family homes get built. They are going to have to merge their school district with their neighbors because of demographics soon.

      Boston suburbs are stuck where they are because they want zero growth.

      1. Carla

        Zero growth is a good thing. More people should practice it, although maybe not exactly the way Boston suburbs do. http://www.steadystate.org

        Many thanks to Savonarola above for “Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit.” Definitely one for the ages.

    3. bronco

      South of Boston here and involved in building . Houses being built today bear very little resemblance to what we made when I first got started in the trades in the 80’s. Back then it was about getting houses built so people could live in them. I remember we used to put up a lot of basic 32 x24 capes with unfinished upstairs . Bulkhead or doghouse walkout in the back fire place on one end . Nice open cellars for future bonus rooms, unfinished upstairs with a full shed dormer in the back ready to add 2 bedrooms and a bath when the family grew to need them. Why finance what you might not need was the thought process then. Now its all about turning the buyer upside-down and shaking every last cent out of their wallets.

      1. andyb

        My father built our house in Hingham in 1956, on 3/4 acre in an upper middle class area, for $32k. Only 1 upstairs bath, but a full basement. At the same time, an inexpensive new Ford sedan was $2600. The cheapest Ford sedan is now $18k, roughly 7 times that of 1956. The same house sold last year for $1.2 million, almost 40 times the original price. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

        BTW: Isn’t inflation wonderful?

  5. RabidGandhi

    Bolivian minister Rodolfo Illanes ‘killed by miners’ [Al Jazeera]

    This is a highly developing story, so I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but there’s a lot of different interests at play. The basic facts are that a group of Bolivia’s miners has been protesting for three days because they want to be able to form as independant contractors while the Morales government refuses this on the argument that Bolivia’s mines are now nationalised.

    The miners blockaded the major highway between Oruro and Cochabamba, police intervened and three miners were allegedly killed. The government sent the vice minister of the interior, Rodolfo Illanes, to negotiate, and yesterday the government claimed he disappeared. Then yesterday evening, leaders of the miners were on Telesur claiming the Illanes was fine and they were negotiating. Now the government says the miners tortured and killed Illanes. Just about every English speaking media is repeating that the miners killed Illanes, although nothing has been independently confirmed about the deaths on either side.

    Just a few points: (1) Evo Morales has had some friction with the left, especially from indigenous groups who oppose state development of their lands– so this could be a reaction from the left. (2) According to my source in Cochabamba (just one source, anecdotal only) a lot of the striking miners perform a type of subcontracting where they control non-union groups who work for them in slave conditions, so by privatising their own portions of the mining they would be undermining (pun!) Morales’ programme of nationalisation and unionisation. Thus this whole event could alternatively be an attack from the right, and Bolivia’s mining industry has a long history of being controlled by reactionary forces. (3) While Morales will certainly paint this as an attack from the right wing and the international press will certainly paint this as Morales being a Stalinist dictator, the one thing that should be borne in mind is that Evo-ism has been a quantum leap forward for most Bolivians, but at the same time the country is still woefully under-unionised and still has a long long way to go in poverty reduction, labour regulation and decreasing horrid inequality.

    But like I said, this is a highly developing story and I’ll try to post updates if anyone’s interested.

    1. JohnnyGL

      That is pretty interesting. Morales kicked out the DEA years ago, US intervention/encouragement can never be ruled out!

      Of the wave of countries in S. America that swung left to some degree or another starting in 1998 with Chavez in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador seem like they have been fundamentally transformed and most likely to resist any attempts at “roll back”. They seem like genuinely changed countries. Venezuela probably is changed, but seems more volatile.

      I wonder if it could result in political fractures like in S. Africa after the Marakana massacre?

    2. ambrit

      Yes we’re interested! Bolivia can show the Nortenos the way forward. We are already full speed in reverse.

    3. uncle tungsten

      Bolivia has an abundant supply of lithium and it will happily allow business to mine, refine and manufacture batteries IN Bolivia. Bolivian leaders want to maximise their wealth and social development not export rocks. Watch for a peace keeping intervention soon.

    4. Skippy

      Whats the deal with being a co-opt vs the dealing with private entities and voiding being a so-opt thingy….

    5. clinical wasteman

      Yes, most definitely interested! Thanks RG.
      Reading this kind of story in the European press — i.e. not being able to believe a word of it as written, but knowing something must be going on — is frustrating to say the least, especially in this case given what you mention abut previous tension between Evo and the left, plus the whole complicated relation of labour to Bolivia’s history of right-wing/military politics.

      PS. Any recommendations of non-paywalled Latin American newspaper sites free from Clarin/Globo-type concentrations of private money/power? Página 12 and La Jornada seem better than most in Argentina/Mexico respectively (and better than most in Europe) but further any suggestions would be appreciated.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Thanks cw.

        IMNSHO, La Jornada is the best newspaper in the Spanish speaking world, and one of the best on the planet. Página 12 is OK but they fall into the trap of being the anti-Clarín: often trying to fight the media monopoly by using their same tabloid tactics. Telesur falls into this trap too. Unfortunately, you’re not going to find anything in Latin America like NC or even Democracy Now or Counterpunch, etc. Personally I stick to the non-Clarín sources like Ámbito Financiero and C5N, but they are not great journalism. There’s also usually good LatAm international news from RT and Al Jazeera, in that they have serious reporters down here. Even Xinhua surprises me with the occasional investigative piece. Lastly we had a few Brazilian commenters here for some time, maybe they’ll chime in.

  6. ScientistYouLike

    Re MS diet study. It’s not fair to single her out when almost all clinical research in the US is run by the people (and associated institutions) who made the discovery or bought the IP.

    It’s a problem, but it is also the only way she can get the work done.

    Disclosure: part of my salary is funded by the NMSS (the funder mentioned in the article)

    1. Banana Breakfast

      I will note that apart from those issues, and in fact apart from any potential benefits to MS sufferers, that the diet is based on false premises. The concept of “paleo” diets is absurdly out of step with research on prehistoric subsistence, foodways, and gut evolution both conceptually (there was no single “hunter gatherer” diet nor any discernable broad trend in such diets) and factually (many such groups ate lots of legumes and wild cereals including ancestors of domesticated wheat and the associated gluten).

  7. JohnnyGL

    Couple things I listened to recently and found interesting….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0ByVXsOlCE – Tariq Ali interview’s Sy Hersh. I’m linking to part 2 (Syrian false flag gas attack) because I found this topic more interesting, but part 1 (Osama Bin Laden killing) is good too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK_H9e87Yp8 – Thom Hartmann interview Stephen Cohen and dishes out a relatively short history lesson on Bolsheviks and Russian Revolution context.

  8. L

    Regarding the push to pass the TPP and TISA I’ve been needing to get this off my chest and this seems to be as good a time as any:

    In the face of public opposition to the TPP and TISA proponents have trotted out a new argument: “we have come too far”, “our national credibility would be damaged if we stop now.” The premise of which is that negotiations have been going on so long, and have involved such effort that if the U.S. were to back away now we would look bad and would lose significant political capital.

    On one level this argument is true. The negotiations have been long, and many promises were made by the negotiators to secure to to this point. Stepping back now would expose those promises as false and would make that decade of effort a loss. It would also expose the politicians who pushed for it in the face of public oppoosition to further loss of status and to further opposition.

    However, all of that is voided by one simple fact. The negotiations were secret. All of that effort, all of the horse trading and the promise making was done by a self-selected body of elites, for that same body, and was hidden behind a wall of secrecy stronger than that afforded to new weapons. The deals were hidden not just from the general public, not from trade unions or environmental groups, but from the U.S. Congress itself.

    Therefore it has no public legitimacy. The promises made are not “our” promises but Michael Froman’s promises. They are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government but only by the words of a small body of appointees and the multinational corporations that they serve. The corporations were invited to the table, Congress was not.

    What “elites” really mean when they say “America’s credibility is on the line” is that their credibility is on the line. If these deals fail what will be lost is not America’s stature but the premise that a handful of appointees can cut deals in private and that the rest of us will make good.

    When that minor loss is laid against the far greater fact that the terms of these deals are bad, that prior deals of this type have harmed our real economies, and that the rules will further erode our national sovreignity, there is no contest.

    Michael Froman’s reputation has no value. Our sovreignity, our economy, our nation, does.

      1. ambrit

        The imperial “We.”
        I just had a soul corroding vision of H Clinton done up as Victoria Regina. Ouch!!! Go get the butter!

    1. JohnnyGL

      Good comment….

      “What “elites” really mean when they say “America’s credibility is on the line” is that their credibility is on the line. If these deals fail what will be lost is not America’s stature but the premise that a handful of appointees can cut deals in private and that the rest of us will make good.”

      Yes! And the victory will taste so sweet when we bury this filthy, rotten, piece of garbage. Obama’s years of effort down the drain, his legacy tarnished and unfinished.

      I want TPP’s defeat to send a clear message that the elites can’t count on their politicians to deliver for them. Let’s make this thing their Stalingrad! Leave deep scars so that they give up on TISA and stop trying to concoct these absurd schemes like ISDS.

      1. abynormal

        sorry but i don’t see it that way at all. ‘they’ got a propaganda machine to beat all…’they’ make n break reps all the time. i do see a desperation on a monetary/profit scale. widening the ‘playing field’ offers more profits with less risk. for instance, our Pharams won’t have to slash their prices at the risk of sunshine laws, wish-washy politicians, competition, nor a pissed off public. jmo tho’)

        1. L

          While I agree with you about the monetary/profit scale I am not sure it is about widening the playing field per se but about keeping a good thing going.

          Consider that for the past 20 years or so U.S. businesses, or rather U.S. executives have advanced primarily by finding ways to slash costs through offshoring. This in turn fueled stock bubbles that benefitted the 1%. In many ways the obsession with creating ever newer bigger trade deals is about keeping a “good” thing going.

          To that end they have turned the economics profession into one massive advertising mill that turns out endless policy excuses and they have sought to create ever deeper layers of a deep state to keep the whole thing going.

          1. abynormal

            L, that’s where we’ll split the sheets…i don’t buy into deep state(s). the ten & one percentiles put their paints on the same way.

            they’ve cornered the judicial and executive shields they will come to rely on for protection from each other. they are slaves to their own greed, and grossly mistake their arrogance for ability…they’ll die by their own swords. it is written…time & again.

            1. ambrit

              I don’t know about your second point. The descriptor “deep” being prepended to the noun “state,” implies multifarious types of “state.” “Class” as you suggest it implies a certain unity of interests. Indeed, the word is reflexive as used. The class of things that rule? A wide net is cast there. The most usable argument against the term “deep state” is its ambiguity. I believe that most people will agree that the ‘State’ exists as the servant of the ‘Ruling Class.’ Something more along the lines of “Secret Masters” would be appropriate for the conspirationally inclined.

            2. aab

              This debate between you and Ambrit (below) about the validity of the term “deep state” is, to me, just as valuable as the more in-depth research based pieces. Our political language is being debased into uselessness at warp speed. Reviving useful meaning requires exactly this kind of consideration.

              I have nothing to add right now to this particular discussion except that while you have persuaded me that “deep state” is used too thoughtlessly, and is a sloppy term, I don’t think the thing it is attempting to name is identical to the ruling class, which is both more public and nominally more accountable. Isn’t part of the point of the term “deep state” is that you can’t get rid of what you can’t see? But I don’t have a better suggestion for a good differentiating term. “Secret Masters” seems wrong, too. I think of the deep state as being more akin to the bureaucrats who control the Japanese royal family: supposedly subordinate, and yet somehow controlling the official rulers while remaining in the dark, so entrenched as a culture and a system as to be hard to remove, partly because there are neither clearly defined roles nor boundaries, nor mechanisms for accountability.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL “America’s credibility” LOL, these people need to get out more. In the 60’s you could hike high up into the Andes and the sheep herder had two pics on the wall of his hut: Jesus and JFK. America retains its cachet as a place to make money and be entertained, but as some kind of beacon of morality and fair play in the world? Dead, buried, and long gone, the hype-fest of slogans and taglines can only cover up so many massive, atrocious and hypocritical actions and serial offenses.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Clinton Inc was mostly Bill helping Epstein get laid until after Kerry lost. If this was the reelection of John Edwards, Kerry’s running mate, and a referendum on 12 years of Kerronomics, Bill and Hill would be opening night speakers at the DNC and answers to trivia questions.

          My guess is Obama is dropped swiftly and unceremoniously especially since he doesn’t have much of a presence in Washington.

      3. John Wright

        The must preserve American credibility argument on the line again.

        Here is a quote from NYT’s Nicholas Kristoff from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/opinion/kristof-reinforce-a-norm-in-syria.html

        “It looks as if we’ll be firing Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria in the coming days, and critics are raising legitimate concerns:”

        ……

        “Yet there is value in bolstering international norms against egregious behavior like genocide or the use of chemical weapons. Since President Obama established a “red line” about chemical weapons use, his credibility has been at stake: he can’t just whimper and back down.”

        Obama did back down.

        NIcholas Kristof, vigilant protector of American credibility through bombing Syria.

        1. polecat

          he’s just another syncophantic punk ….in a long line…of syncophantic punks……

          ..oh..that includes Kristof too…

    2. RabidGandhi

      Ah yes the credibility of our élites. With their sterling record on Nafta’s benefits, Iraq’s liberation, Greece’s rebound, the IMF’s rehabilitation of countries…

      We must pass TPP or Tom Friedman will lose credibility, what?

  9. Kurt Sperry

    Xeriscaping to anything close to a conventional aesthetic sensibility in a desert or near desert is tough. Really tough. Up here in western WA state it’s easier, although we have a dry season that can be pretty brutal too with dormant, brown grasses and plants losing turgidity and getting droopy looking (most species recover fine) that’s what I see out the window right now. Pretty much anywhere east of the Great Plains in the US is easier still I’d say because of significantly more summer rain than western WA.

    1. jgordon

      Just for the heck of it I studied in a commercial landscaping program at a local technical college recently.

      Anyway, xeriscaping is a couple of generations behind what is currently hot in the landscaping industry for conservation. You might want to check out something called “right plant right place”.

      Though honestly compared to permacultre it’s still at the level of tic tac toe vs chess. Commercial landscaping schemes always look flat and one dimensional to me.

    2. polecat

      All my vine maples are looking pretty fried right about now …typical for this time of the year!

      some of my huckleberries are loaded with huuuuuge berries…need to pick before they start to drop…

  10. nippersmom

    “[W]e should expect Clinton to shape her foreign policy to neutralise the threat to her nomination in 2020 from the left of her party. So forget Hillary the hawk. To consolidate her Democrat base she will be even more cautious abroad than Barack Obama has been” [Lowy Interpreter]

    They start with a false premise (that Obama has been “cautious” abroad) and become even less credible from there.

    1. RabidGandhi

      It’s a phenomenal example of Acela Bubble logic though: completely prioritise theories about the way things “should” be versus the actual facts on the ground of the way things are. Other common examples: “monetary issuance should lead to inflation” “carpet bombing should demoralise them” “we should be greeted as liberators”… etc etc. The great thing about our beloved pundit class is that they get paid to sit around in thinktanks coming up with grand theories about the way things should be, and no matter how often their “shoulds” gets blatantly disproven, they can still keep on shoulding all over us.

    2. Unorthodoxmarxist

      When dealing with foreign policy it’s important to think on at least 3 levels:

      Grand Structure
      State
      Domestic

      Will a Clinton presidency be hawkish?

      A. Grand Structure: No clear successor to the United States as hegemon has emerged to stymie hawkish ambitions. China and Russia exist, of course, but can do little to stop US ambitions. Verdict, yes, hawkish.

      B. State: though US hegemony is in a period of decline, clearly the United States’ ruling class is still very much interested and capable of using the Middle East as a demented sandbox to cause other nations to continue to need its security services. China looms as a potential rising hegemon. Verdict: yes, still hawkish.

      C. Domestic: the ruling class investor coalitions backing Clinton are very, very interested in a robust foreign economic policy that favor an interventionist foreign policy. The segments of US society that are opposed to this will not be represented or listened to in Clinton’s domestic coalition, either: declining industries, the working class/labor. The professional 10% that Thomas Frank identifies as the broader Dem base tends to acquiesce to Democratic-led wars. Without a reborn, and far more militant, anti-war movement, the verdict has to be: yes, Hawkish.

      1. neo-realist

        The professional 10% and much of middle class america, by and large, doesn’t serve in the military and doesn’t encourage or let their kids serve either, so they’re ok with war. It also seems that the PTB through a combination of corporate media marginalization, robust police state repression, and the lack of conscription has minimized the impact of any anti-war movement.

        longer term movement politics to take power, at least before the PTB blow us all up?

  11. hemeantwell

    “[W]e should expect Clinton to shape her foreign policy to neutralise the threat to her nomination in 2020 from the left of her party. So forget Hillary the hawk. To consolidate her Democrat base she will be even more cautious abroad than Barack Obama has been”

    For the moment ignoring Obama’s nuclear weapons policy and NATO belligerence, don’t I wish!
    But this sounds very voluntaristic to me, as though the US doesn’t face a problem with its empire that might appear to oblige belligerence. For example, if the case is valid that the US has much reason to fear economic consolidation between Europe and Asia, then Clinton/Kagan/Nuland et al are servants of empire, not mad dogs. If, as some say, such a consolidation would undermine dollar hegemony, maybe they feel the script is written. That doesn’t mean I don’t oppose them, it just means opposing them involves a lot more than being for peace, nonviolent resolution of disputes and such.

    1. nippersmom

      When has Clinton ever listened to anyone who wasn’t promoting war, war, and more war? Expecting Clinton to respond like Carter in respect to foreign policy is as fruitless as expecting her foundation’s “charitable works” to be comparable to Carter’s work with Habitat for Humanity.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Carter: 4 years in office without a single shot fired in anger, imagine the moral and political fortitude required to keep the Military-Monster-That-Must-Be-Fed at bay like that for so long. Yes Carter played lots of footsie with special ops but perhaps we awarded the recent Peace Prize to the wrong guy.

          1. pretzelattack

            so it was the least bloody of any president? and carter did pressure latin american dictators on human rights, unlike presidents before and after him. east timor was the worst, no defense of him there. we sent money to support the indonesian regime. but carter was no clinton.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Clinton and Reagan didn’t just appear fully formed. Carter started trashing unions before they abandoned the Democrats in 1980. Carter created the Carter doctrine.

              Bill is just a personally immoral version of Carter who is capable of self reflection, but Jimmy was building those houses to atone.

              Carter still came in a strong post Vietnam Era. Sending soldiers abroad wouldn’t be too popular.

              1. RabidGandhi

                So many Carter favs (Timor, the Shah is an island of stability, defending Samoza…) but this has to be one of the best:

                Q.—beyond that, do you still feel that if that information on those American servicemen who are missing in action is forthcoming from the Vietnamese, that then this country has a moral obligation to help rebuild that country, if that information is forthcoming?

                THE PRESIDENT [Carter]. Well, the destruction was mutual. You know, we went to Vietnam without any desire to capture territory or to impose American will on other people. We went there to defend the freedom of the South Vietnamese. And I don’t feel that we ought to apologize or to castigate ourselves or to assume the status of culpability.

                (Bold mine)

                1. Kim Kaufman

                  My opinion: we went to Vietnam to keep the Golden Triangle open for heroin trafficking to fund all the covert CIA ops in the rest of the world. It shut down when we lost. US then opened up Afghanistan route, thanks to Jimmy Carter and Brezinski. Which is why we are where we are today in Afghanistan. Just can’t shake the poppy monkey.

                  1. RabidGandhi

                    The problem with your theory is that the shift in heroin production to the Golden Triangle didn’t occur until after the US involvement. Same as in Afghanistan. And in Nicaragua. I.e., the pattern is the US invades for other reasons, then the CIA starts running dope to funnel guns to “freedom fighters”, then drug use spikes in the US.

                    Read Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia.

                2. pretzelattack

                  wiki on somoza

                  In 1975 Somoza Debayle launched a campaign to crush the Sandinistas; individuals suspected of supporting the Front were targeted. The Front, named after Augusto César Sandino (a Nicaraguan rebel leader in the 1920s), began its guerrilla war against the Somozas in 1963 and was funded by the Soviet Union and Cuba under Fidel Castro. Support for the Sandinistas ballooned after the earthquake, especially when U.S President Jimmy Carter withdrew American support for the regime for human rights reasons.
                  At this point, the opposition to the Somozas included not only Sandinistas, but other prominent figures such as Pedro Chamorro (assassinated on January 10, 1978). Israel was the last supplier of weapons to the Somoza regime, because during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, Somoza’s father provided substantial financial support for Israel. Carter forced the Israeli government to call back a ship carrying weapons vital to the survival of the Somoza regime.
                  Because of his status, most of his family members were forced to flee into Honduras, Guatemala, and the United States. It is uncertain where the remaining Somozas live given the fact that they changed their names to protect their own lives.[citation needed]
                  On July 17, 1979, Somoza resigned the presidency and fled to Miami in a converted Curtiss C-46. He took with him the caskets of his father and brother and much of Nicaragua’s national treasure[8] leaving the country with a $1.6 billion foreign debt, the highest in Central America.[9] After Somoza had fled, the Sandinistas found less than $2 million in the national treasury.[10]
                  Somoza was denied entry to the U.S. by President Carter. He later took refuge in Paraguay, then under the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. He bought a ranch and a gated house at Avenida de España no. 433 in Asunción. Somoza’s regime lasted only another day, when the Sandinistas captured Managua.

                  that’s more what i thought of regarding carter’s attitude toward the somoza regime. reagan didn’t arise in a vacuum, he arose partly because of a counterreaction on the right to carter’s policies in central and latin america.

                  1. RabidGandhi

                    In short, Carter’s policy on Nicaragua was that the US should install a business-friendly regime regime that would be less scandalous than Somoza (what we would now call ‘moderate rebels’)– definitely not the massively popular Sandinistas. The Reagan policy was let’s kill the commies. Either way, the result was the same. Carter funded the elements in the army that would later become the Contras while Reagan brought the Contras’ funding and training to ridiculous levels. What remains the same regardless of who is president is that we have to punish the Nicaraguans for wanting to choose their own slightly socialist government.

                    Meanwhile, there is a pattern with US-supported dictators: first support them tooth and nail, then when their position becomes untenable, support their economic bases whilst issuing condemnations. Examples include Suharto, Marcos, Mubarak, Mobutu, Pinochet…

    2. Steve H.

      I was trying to figure out if

      – The Obama administration’s reckless foreign policy, particularly the toppling of governments in Libya and Ukraine, has greatly accelerated the rate at which these anti-American coalitions have formed. In other words, Washington’s enemies have emerged in response to Washington’s behavior. Obama can only blame himself.

      was editorial or a quote from Brz himself, and the top headline was from 2012:

      Zbigniew Brzezinski: The man behind Obama’s foreign policy

    3. optimader

      Carter did when Brzezinski said the Shah of Iran was a friend of ours.
      He was a friend, unfortunately it was in the vein of a Eddie Haskell

        1. pretzelattack

          yeah gave a toast to a dictator, no question carter was in the mainstream democratic tradition there, but also took some actions against some of the central and south american dictators.

    4. polecat

      Bo f*cking hooo ……. !!

      I wish mr. B would retire and crawl under a rock somewhere…never to see the sun.

      1. RMO

        I still remember an interview in which B repeated the claim that they started supporting the Taliban with the intention of provoking the U.S.S.R. into intervening and getting them into a quagmire and also claiming that this resulted in the disintegration of the U.S.S.R. – for which he took credit. He also said pretty much the same as he did in later writings, the bit about “what’s more important, some angry Muslims or the defeat of a nuclear armed adversary?” Then later in the interview, which took place in the 90’s he also claimed the U.S. needed to spend more on the military because “The world has become a more dangerous place since the breakup of the U.S.S.R.”

        Forget the rock, he deserves a deep, dark, dank pit to be dropped in. And a very long life to be spent in that pit.

        The tragic thing s that all the links to terrible things that Carter did are true and yet he still manages to be head and shoulders above so many other presidents in the 20th century.

  12. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added a ton of material on Corruption. I don’t think the wheels have come off the wagon, but yikes. And it sure is entertaining to watch liberals adopt the central doctrine of Citizens United — no quid pro quo, no corruption.[1]

    [1] Although now that I think of it, the whole “Credentialism and Corruption” series gives ample reason to think that Clinton’s base in the 10% would have ample, and very self-serving, reasons to take this view. For example, I would bet many in the “non-profit community” would see influence-peddling through the frame of “servicing an important donor.”

    1. voteforno6

      They don’t seem to be all that different from the Global Warming Deniers. They’ve defined corruption out of existence, as if just the act of their denial will assuage whatever qualms that others may have.

    2. Starveling

      I find it doubly interesting that the ‘winners’ on the elephant graph story which you linked would map nearly perfectly to Hillary’s 10%- 12% of Americans are ‘winners’ along with the nations to whom they shipped my neighbor’s jobs. I wonder if this feeds into the feeling of virtue they get from globalization- for them, it is a win/win proposition- all it requires is throwing their co-nationals under the bus, and the elite don’t seem to care much about their fellow Americans anymore.

      Our elites make me sick enough I kind’ve hope Trump is vindictive enough to bring the entire edifice down should he win. I’d actually think him a great leader for prosecuting these swine, even if he did nothing else.

      1. different clue

        The 90% versus the 10% is a useful meme just as the 99% versus the 1% is a useful meme. But it is not as poetically gripping as part of a rhythmic chant.

        ” We! Are! The Ninety (umm) Per Cent!” It does not scan well.

        Now . . . if it could be tweaked to sound like ” We! Are! The Ninety-Oh Per Cent!” . that would scan well enough to chant with.

        Or maybe make it the 91 % versus the 9% so that the chant could scan well without having to be explained. ” We! Are! the Ninety One Per Cent!”

    3. Unorthodoxmarxist

      Like the bulk of anti-war protesters in the aughts turned out to be anti-Republican War protesters, it seems the majority of Citizens United protesters are really anti-Republican use of Citizens United protesters.

    4. grizziz

      The credentialed classes have never heard of a gift economy. Imagine that.
      To all those flexians continuing on their career paths and paraphrasing Sinclair Lewis, “It is difficult to get a man to say something, when his salary depends on his not saying it.”

      1. different clue

        I know that “flexian” is beloved of the intellectuals who thought it up. But does it make intuitive sense to regular people without a complicated explanation? Why not use a word like ” revolving doormen” or some such?

          1. different clue

            Well, lets find another better word than “flexian” then, if we can. The effort deserves to be made.

            1. Katharine

              Thank you! “Flexian” sounds like a brand name, or possibly just a misspelling of flexion. Neologisms ought to contain more clues to their meaning.

    5. Uahsenaa

      I wouldn’t bank too much on Stevens as the bulwark of recognizing corruption. Far more telling, in my mind, is the unanimous McDonnell decision, the oral arguments of which I was listening to the other day on C-SPAN. Stevens especially wanted counsel to draw a hard line between influence peddling (he didn’t call it that, but it’s what his meandering discussion amounted to) and merely providing access to constituents, and he insisted again and again that the government’s case risked characterizing ordinary political activity as corruption. I, of course, would agree that most of what passes as ordinary political activity these days is corrupt, but the court was not willing to go there.

      And what’s really interesting is how, if you read the decision, you would think that the whole matter turned on what constitutes an “official act,” yet from listening to the oral arguments, I never would have guessed that would be the primary concern. Again, they kept coming back to this problem of drawing a line between corrupt behavior and ordinary political behavior, at times even confusing themselves, because, I would assert, the distinction wasn’t really a tenable one. Even the supposedly liberal judges signed onto this reading, I suspect, so as to avoid rocking the boat of establishment politics.

    6. fresno dan

      Lambert Strether
      August 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      And it sure is entertaining to watch liberals adopt the central doctrine of Citizens United — no quid pro quo, no corruption.[1]

      For example, I would bet many in the “non-profit community” would see influence-peddling through the frame of “servicing an important donor.”
      ………………………..
      https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/15-474_ljgm.pdf

      Petitioner, former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, and his wife,
      Maureen McDonnell, were indicted by the Federal Government on
      honest services fraud and Hobbs Act extortion charges related to
      their acceptance of $175,000 in loans, gifts, and other benefits from
      Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams, while Governor McDonnell
      was in office. Williams was the chief executive officer of Star Scientific,
      a Virginia-based company that had developed Anatabloc, a nutritional
      supplement made from anatabine, a compound found in tobacco.
      Star Scientific hoped that Virginia’s public universities would
      perform research studies on anatabine, and Williams wanted Governor
      McDonnell’s assistance in obtaining those studies.
      To convict the McDonnells, the Government was required to show
      that Governor McDonnell committed (or agreed to commit) an “official
      act” in exchange for the loans and gifts. An “official act” is defined
      as “any decision or action on any question, matter, cause, suit,
      proceeding or controversy, which may at any time be pending, or
      which may by law be brought before any public official, in such official’s
      official capacity, or in such official’s place of trust or profit.” 18
      U. S. C. §201(a)(3). According to the Government, Governor McDonnell
      committed at least five “official acts,” including “arranging meetings”
      for Williams with other Virginia officials to discuss Star Scientific’s
      product, “hosting” events for Star Scientific at the Governor’s
      Mansion, and “contacting other government officials” concerning the
      research studies…
      ………..
      (3) The question remains whether merely setting up a meeting,
      hosting an event, or calling another official qualifies as a decision or
      action on any of those three questions or matters. It is apparent from
      United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers of Cal., 526 U. S. 398, that
      the answer is no. Something more is required: §201(a)(3) specifies
      that the public official must make a decision or take an action on the
      question or matter, or agree to do so.
      For example, a decision or action to initiate a research study would
      qualify as an “official act.” A public official may also make a decision
      or take an action by using his official position to exert pressure on
      another official to perform an “official act,” or by using his official po-sition to provide advice to another official, knowing or intending that
      such advice will form the basis for an “official act” by another official.
      A public official is not required to actually make a decision or take an
      action on a “question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy”;
      it is enough that he agree to do so. Setting up a meeting, hosting an
      event, or calling an official (or agreeing to do so) merely to talk about
      a research study or to gather additional information, however, does
      not qualify as a decision or action on the pending question of whether
      to initiate the study. Pp. 18–22

      ==========================================================
      Read the entire decision, and it becomes obvious that any conceivable “action” by Clinton could be argued as not actually being “an official act” and/or “action” that she could be held to account for except under the most unlikely of circumstances.
      A meeting with Clinton would probably be along the lines of speeding something up, or making sure some approval is granted, BY MAKING SURE IT IS BROUGHT UP to the appropriate governmental unit. In the overwhelming number of things the State Dept. does with regard to individuals or groups, the Secretary of State does not sign off on them – ipso facto, Hillary did not take a specific, or any, “action”

      And the court’s view, that the governor (or a secretary of state) calls an underling, and asks them to “consider” approving “my good friend’s” grant request and that that is not an “action”….that is just purposeful naivete.

      The more you know about the law, the more you see it’s designed for those with resources (lawyers) to weasel out of any accountability….

      1. Jim Haygood

        What’s the going price for buying off a SCOTUS hack in black?

        Or do they auction their votes on Ebay now, case by case?

        I’d be tempted to appoint my horse to the court.

    7. steelhead23

      Three cheers for Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. The man gets it. Live long a prosper JPS!

  13. allan

    Turning fracking fluid into liquid gold:

    Wine collection of indicted oil exec who died is being auctioned in Chicago [Chicago Tribune]

    Aubrey … McClendon’s collection of more than 4,600 bottles will be auctioned Sept. 17 …

    McClendon, 56-year-old CEO of American Energy Partners and part owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team, died in a car wreck March 2, a day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury over alleged bid-rigging. His wine is expected to garner as much as $7.6 million. …The most expensive lot, a case of 2000 Chateau Petrus, is expected to range up to $55,000.

    On March 1, the Department of Justice said in a statement that McClendon was suspected of orchestrating a scheme between two large energy companies, which were not named in the indictment, from December 2007 to March 2012. …

    File this under Too Late for the Guillotine Watch.

  14. Paper Mac

    “Exports of foods, feeds & beverages rose 31 percent in the month” (!!!!) -> econoday link for this piece is missing. This deserves more attention, I can’t find a breakdown of this figure in terms of what types of products made up the increase and where they’re going. 31% in a month is an absolutely insane rate of increase of food exports, to the point where I’m wondering whether the PRC’s food security plan (that is, printing money and buying other people’s farmland and food) has just started to ramp up.

    1. abynormal

      http://global.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp
      Recent History Of This Indicator
      Imports of goods have been on the rise including for consumer goods which, though a subtraction in the national accounts, points squarely at business confidence in the consumer outlook. Imports of capital goods, however, have been weak in further evidence that confidence in the business outlook is lacking. Pointing unmistakably at trouble in global demand is weakness in exports including, like on the import side, for capital goods. Forecasters see the headline for international trade in goods showing little change, at a deficit of $63.2 billion in July vs $63.3 billion in June.

      Highlights
      A surge in food exports helped cut the nation’s goods gap in July to $59.3 billion from June’s revised $64.5 billion. Exports of foods, feeds & beverages rose 31 percent in the month though export prices of agricultural goods actually dipped slightly in the month. Other export readings are less favorable including a decline for capital goods, reflecting weak global investment in new equipment, and a small dip for consumer goods. A dip in imports also helped narrow the headline gap in July as capital goods imports and especially consumer goods imports fell sharply. The improvement in today’s headline is a big plus for early third-quarter GDP estimates but it doesn’t point to strength in underlying cross-border demand.

      1. Paper Mac

        Thanks aby. Doesn’t look like any additional detail there, I’ll have to go dig up the report at some point.

  15. voteforno6

    Re: Passive Investing Is Worse for Society Than Marxism

    It sounds like the rentiers are beginning to get a little nervous. Good. Whatever we can do to drain some money out of the FIRE sector is a good thing. I wonder what those fund managers think about the folks over at Vanguard.

    1. fresno dan

      voteforno6
      August 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Vanguard is an existential threat to them – it exposes that they charge more for worse results. Their only means of survival if people is to scream commie! commie! commie!!!

      If only there was a Vanguard in the medical care sector….

  16. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Clintons campaign possible strategy of making a vote for Clinton ‘a vote for a winner’.

    I know its conventional opinion that when in doubt, people prefer to vote for who they perceive to be a ‘winner’, but I wonder if this really applies with two such disliked candidates. I’ve a theory that one reason Brexit won is that the polls beforehand saying it would be a narrow ‘no’, gave ‘permission’ for people to vote with their conscience rather than their pragmatism. In other words, presented with a ‘pragmatic, but dirty’ vote for X, but a ‘fun, but risky’ vote for Y’, people will vote X if its very close or it looks like Y will win, but may be tempted to vote Y if they are pretty sure X will win.

    Part of me thinks the Clinton campaign would have tested the theory to the limit before going for a strategy like this, but the evidence from the nomination campaign is that they are all tactics, no strategy. It seems to me to be a very risky game to play, not least because promoting Clinton as a sure winner may make wavering progressives simply opt to stay at home.

    1. Pat

      I don’t even think you have to be a progressive for that to be a concern if you are the Clinton campaign.
      They know the public is not enthusiastic about voting for her for the most part, and yet they are setting up a meme where she is unbeatable. It isn’t necessarily going to just keep Trump voters home. But how many people who don’t want Clinton but really don’t want Trump will be able to convince themselves that there is no need to go hold their nose and vote for her. Republicans who think she is too far left, but he is crazy for instance will be just as likely to stay home as the lefties who know she is lying Neoliberal War Criminal, but not fascist like Trump. (And I know the real fascism signs are all with Clinton, but some may have missed it).

      1. jsn

        On fascism I had the exact same thought after reading Adolph Reeds “Vote For the Lying, NeoLiberal War-Monger, It’s Important” link last week.

        Reed’s critique was that communist leader Thallman failed to anticipate Hitler’s liquidation of all opposition, but frankly with Hillary’s and Donald’s respective histories its hard for me to see how Trump is more dangerous on this: Hillary has a deep and proven lethal track record and wherever she could justify violent action in the past she has, she keeps an enemies list, holds grudges and acts on them, all thoroughly documented.

        I certainly won’t speculate that Trump couldn’t do the same or worse, given the state of our propaganda and lawlessness amongst the elite, but like all the other negatives in this campaign its hard to ascertain who really will be worse. Lambert’s bet on gridlock in a Trump administration has the further advantage of re-activating the simulation of “anti-war, anti-violence” amongst Dem nomenklatura.

        1. pretzelattack

          exactly, i’m not saying reed is a typical democrat apologist, but i’m not buying that trump is more dangerous than clinton.

          1. clarky90

            We have collectively known Donald Trump and much of his family for the last 30 or 40 years. Over the years, he has evoked different emotions in me. (Usually being appalled by his big-city, realestate tycoon posturing etc). However, I have never been frightened by him. To me, he is more like a bombastic, well loved, show-off uncle.

            Today I see Trump as a modern day prophet (spiritual teacher). A bringer of light (clarity) to the masses. We live in a rigged system that gives Nobel Peace Prizes to mass murderers; that charges a poor child $600 for a $1 lifesaving Epipen. Trump is waking up The People. Finalllyyyyyy!!

            1. clarky90

              In my experience, people usually do not change for the better as they age. However, it does happen!; peasant girl (Joan of Arc), patent inspector (Einstein)

              1. Katharine

                I don’t understand what kind of change for the better you are considering, but your examples suggest something rather superficial, which to me would be boring. Please clarify!

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          It’s not about what Trump will or won’t do. It’s about not handing all three branches of government over to the GOP, which has the Libertarian agenda of eliminating said government altogether. I find it interesting that so many people scornful of identity politics nevertheless seem to be as addicted as anyone to making this a horse race between two candidates that has no real far-reaching consequences beyond with each will or won’t do in the Oval Office.

          1. aab

            The Republican elite is clearly and strongly aligned with Clinton, which reflects the status quo consensus.

            It is certainly possible that the elected Republicans in the House and the Senate will follow Trump or Trump will follow them. But right now, that seems no more possible than that elected Republican leadership (the ones most indebted to and aligned with the donors/rest of the elite) will rebel at Trump and his takeover of the party. Moreover, IF Trump’s in, the Democrats will be forced to enact the roll of “Democrat,” thus guaranteeing some obstacle somewhere.

            Clinton is a Republican. Claiming she won’t govern like a Republican basically means relying on the Freedom Caucus to stop her. I would just as soon not have to count on those guys to keep throwing poop at the neoliberal walls — especially since they’re all being directly targeted in this election.

    2. Brindle

      So true: “My view is that triumphalism from the Clinton campaign — which now includes most of the political class, including the press and both party establishments, and ignores event risk — is engineered to get early voters to “go with the winner.”–Lambert
      I have noticed on Google News several “Clinton weighing cabinet choices” articles, to me there is whistling past the graveyard quality to all this. They want the election over now—the votes are just a formality.

      1. Pat

        They really really do not have any short term memory do they? I mean it took sticking both thumbs on the scale and some handy dandy shenanigans with voters to get her past the Primary finish line. And her opponent there was much nicer about pointing out her flaws than her current opponent. It is true they won’t have any obvious elections that disprove their position out there, but when you are spending millions and your opponent nothing and he is still within the margin of error with you in the states that people are watching the closest…

        Although that isn’t considering the fears of what other shoes have to drop both in the world and in the news that could derail her victory parade, they may have more to fear from that.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s possible they know.

          One of the problems Democrats have and the 50 state strategy addressed is voting in very Democratic precincts. Without constant pressure, many proud Democrats won’t vote because they don’t know any Republicans. It’s in the bag. College kids are the worst voters alive. They will forget come election day or not be registered because they moved. Dean squeezed these districts. These districts are where Democrats , out in 2010 and 2014 and even a little in 2012. Mittens is a robber baron.

          If Democratic turnout is low and Hillary wins with crossover votes, what happens? It’s very likely those Republicans vote for down ticket Republicans. Even for the people who have to vote against Trump, if they believe he is a special kind of super fascist will they bother to vote for the allies of a crook such as Hillary? It’s possible Hillary wins and drops a seat in the Senate depending on turnout.

          I think it’s clear Hillary isn’t going to bring out any kind of voter activism. Judging from photos in Virginia where one would hope a commanding Hillary victory could jump start the Democrats for next year’s governors and legislative races, the Democratic Party is dead or very close to it.

          What if Hillary wins but does the unthinkable and delivers a Republican pickup in the Senate? She needs to keep Republicans from coming out because she isn’t going to drive Democratic turnout to a spot where that can win on its own.

          Hillary needs to win to keep the never Trump crowd in the GOP from voting because she knows the Democratic side which relies on very Democratic districts and transient voters will not impress. An emboldened GOP congress will be a tough environment for Hillary, and GOP voters won’t tolerate bipartisanship especially for anyone suspected of not helping the party 100%. Those House Republicans have to face 2018 and the smaller but arguably more motivated electorate. They will come down hard on Hillary if she can’t win the Senate which a literal donkey could do.

          1. Pat

            Hell I don’t want Clinton to win by any margin. But if anyone thinks that the bipartisan nature of her possible victory will mean anything but Republicans hunting her scalp, and dare I say getting it, they are not paying attention. As much as both the Benghazi and the email thing has them all flummoxed because the real crimes involved with both are crimes they either agree with or want to use. The Foundation on the other hand, not so much, they will make the case that this is a global slush fund because it is. And the McDonnell decision is not going to save her Presidency, much as it would if she were indicted in a Court.

            I should add, that is with or without winning the Senate. Much of the loyalty any Dems there have towards her will disappear when it is obvious that she keeps most of the money AND has no coattails. Oh, they might not vote to impeach her, but that is about it.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Hillary’s only defense is to win the Senate and to be able to stifle investigations through the appearance of a mandate. 2018 is the 2012 cycle, and that is 2006 which should be a good year for the Republicans (a credit to Howard Dean). It’s a tough map for Team Blue. If they don’t win the Senate in November, they won’t win it in 2018.

              With 2018 on its way, a weak Democratic situation will make the Democrats very jumpy as Hillary is clearly not delivering the coattails they imagined.

              1. Pat

                She isn’t going to have a mandate. Oh, the electoral college count might look good. But regardless of who wins this sucker, I’m betting this is going to be one of the lowest, if not the lowest, voter turnout for any Presidential election in the last century. I would not be surpised if more people stay home than vote. And that is not a mandate.

                The Senate isn’t going to stifle investigations. She doesn’t even have to help the Dems get a majority for that problem of conviction if impeached to rear its ugly head. No way is there going to be 2/3 of the Senate in one party or the other. That still won’t stop the House. Just as it didn’t for her husband.

  17. Pat

    I know it is a bit picky of me, but I am getting really tired of Democrats trying to take the high road on immigration. It ignores that our current Democratic President has deported more ‘illegal’ immigrants than any previous President before him. In 2014 he deported nine times more people than had been deported twenty years earlier. Some years it was nearly double the numbers under George W. Bush. And yes, I know it was not strict fillibuster proof majority in the Senate for his first two years, but damn close and the only thing we got was a half assed stimulus made up largely of tax stimulus AND that gift to for profit medicine and insurance, the ACA. With all their concern, couldn’t the Democrats have made some token stab at immigration reform? Instead there has been a huge gift to the for profit prison operators who now count their immigration detention centers as their biggest profit centers.

    Trump says mean things, but the Democrats, well once again actions should speak louder than words but it isn’t happening.

    1. Starveling

      The Dems want to have their cake and eat it too. They want cheap labor and they want virtue. They sell out my friends and neighbors and think themselves noble for empowering foreign nationals.

      I guess this is one way for a supposedly pro-labor party to liquidate its working class elements.

  18. Uahsenaa

    We should expect Clinton to kick the left and ally herself with establishment Republicans. Which she [has already done].

    Fixed that fer ya.

    Not trying to be snarky, but Bill in his convention speech made a big deal out of the fact that when she was in the Senate, she started regularly attending prayer breakfasts in order to get Republican senators on her side. She puts far more effort into courting the right, as evidenced by Bill himself, than she ever puts into working with the left. This has already happened.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I tend to believe that Hillary hate among Republican representatives is mostly for show, if you exclude the Tea Party types. In the Senate they are so wrapped up in the ceremony of collegiality (“my friend on the other side” is the most common locution), I don’t think they’d even know what real hate looks like. Add to that the sheer number of issues they substantively agree on, and it’s hard to think that Hillary hysteria is anything but red meat for the base.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Those House Republicans came from a recruiting profile created by Newt in the 1980’s. They will crucify the Clinton’s and any Democrat if they could. There are some true believers in their. The Tea Party was a branding attempt to control what was already in the GOP.

          1. John k

            Yeah, but…
            Rep and dem elites have the same Corp paymasters. So long as the owners are happy with the new wars and wage repression they will direct their vassals to not rock the boat.

  19. Pat

    For those who missed it, John Legend’s ode to the Obamas opens today to almost universal critical acclaim as per Rotten Tomatoes.

    https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/southside_with_you/

    Part of me wonders if that ‘charming’ anecdote of their first date from Bill Clinton at the Convention wasn’t inspired by this then upcoming release.

    The whitewashing of the record of Barack Obama may even surpass the massive effort put forth by the Reaganites over the years.

    (And to think all that is out there now for Clinton is “Hillary’s America” from D’Souza with a 4% critics rating, the audience likes it. Or “Clinton Cash” with no critic’s score but also well liked by the audience.)

    1. Propertius

      A truly iconic ’80s moment, or, in the immortal words of St. Zappa:

      It’s like GRODY…
      GRODY TO THE MAX
      I’m sure
      It’s like really nauseating
      Like BARF OUT
      GAG ME WITH A SPOON
      GROSS
      I am SURE
      TOTALLY.

      I’m sure it will be a big hit in what’s left of Libya.

  20. Matthew

    Hrmmm.

    Maybe you should read Terry Wahl’s early work sometime.

    She looked the corrupt pharmo-medical industrial complex in the eye and called bullshit. Not often you see a western MD advocate diet over toxic sludge in the treatment of a debilitating disease. I guess dealing with the reality that you now have said disease can be a humbling come to Jesus experience.

    I would trust her to run a less corrupt study than any other piece of garbage being produced by the US “education” system.

  21. Tertium Squid

    Active investing is really just as passive as passive investing – you’re just sending a few more tiny price signals. You have no control over the company, its decisions, products and fortunes.

  22. Paid Minion

    “……..workers don’t want to lose.”

    Rephrase that to “…….workers can’t AFFORD to lose.”

    Workers can do the math. No sense in going on a six month long strike, if it takes you 5 years or more to recover the lost wages.

    It’s even worse in “Right to Work” states, when (maybe) half of the bargaining unit are union members, and half (or more) of that half will find themselves homeless if they have to go without a paycheck for 3-4 weeks.

    So 25% of the bargaining unit suffers 100% of the pain. Much of it indirectly inflicted by their union “brothers” who can’t/won’t strike for any length of time.

    And in the end, everyone (scabs included) gets paid the same under the new contract.

    One of the arguments you here is that “I don’t need a union to represent me.” Yet, they don’t mind taking any benefits generated by the strike. It seems to me that any improvements in the contract generated by a strike should only go to the strikers.

    Of course, management doesn’t mind giving the scabs the same benefits that the strikers get. Keep them on the payroll, and let them undermine the NEXT strike.

    Another nice little trick is to determine which departments are essential for operations during a strike, then throw in a few “earmarks” in the contract to buy those people off.

    Or (in the case of big ticket items) where a delivery date is involved, have the sales contract void any penalties for delivery delays created by labor actions. As most purchasers of these items are management themselves, there is usually no problem getting the purchasers on board.

    1. Uahsenaa

      Classic trade unions used to account for this by setting up food banks and rent/utility funds to keep people whole during the strike. Solidarity means more than just collective bargaining. It means recognizing all the dirty tricks management will deploy in order to break you and plan accordingly by setting up systems where people actually support one another both materially and psychologically.

      The natives in ND protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline seem to understand how this works, that a protest has a significant logistical component (water, toilets, food, etc.) that needs to be taken care of in addition to standing on a picket line and shouting at the !@#holes. And when they put a call out for help, people come. The community can be as much a part of a strike/protest action as the immediate participants.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Awesome point as usual, Uahsenaa.

        One of the many defects caused to US society by the decline in unions is that movements no longer calculate into their strategies planning for the inevitable pushback from the bosses. Thus as soon as the capitalists answer back in force, they scatter (eg Occupy, Battle for Seattle, Sanders [tbd…]).

        Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.

  23. DJG

    I’ll try this out on my FB page. If you hear shrieks from Chicago, one more liberal will be invoking “Patriarchy!”

    Translating the Clinton Foundation into Chicagoese, which isn’t all the hard to do. So you have this building you want to construct, Lakefront Luxury Spire, but you have a zoning problem, either with that ward’s particular alderman or something that may require action by city council. But a wise Chicagoan tips you off to go to Ed Burke’s helpful law firm. It handles zoning matters. And he’s an alderman. But don’t tell anyone. The zoning change, which everyone in city government resisted, comes through. Oh, and his wife is on the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. So if you think that corruption is litle envelopes or shoeboxes stuffed with cash, join the 21st century.

  24. fresno dan

    UPDATE “The key to understanding why good government advocates are upset about the new revelations is to first get past the argument that Clinton Foundation donors were transactionally rewarded for their gifts” [Vox]. “This is not what my sources argued. Instead, the heart of their complaint was that the foundation’s contributors appear to have gained a greater ability to make their voices heard by Clinton’s State Department by virtue of donating to her husband’s private foundation.”

    good Vox,
    bad Vox

    http://www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2016/8/24/12622802/clinton-foundation-money-access

    Washington, DC, is suffering a severe shortage of smelling salts this morning as news broke suggesting a correlation between financial contributions and gaining access to a political figure. In this case, the contributions were to the Clinton Foundation and the politician is Hillary Clinton, so this is being cast as a violation of the norms of our nation’s capital.

    If only there were prior political science research testing whether contributors were more likely to gain access to political figures…

    Actually, there has been a mountain of evidence that this is common practice, as you can see in my all-too-brief list of citations. The most recent of these works is a field experiment in which an interest group solicited meetings with congressional offices and revealed to some of these offices that potential donors would be at the meeting.

    The “potential donors” were more likely to be scheduled for meetings and were more likely to meet with members of Congress or top staffers than average citizens making the same request (summaries here, here, and here).

    Of course, the link between money and access is no surprise to the seasoned Washingtonian. It plays out over breakfast, lunch, cocktails, and dinner at restaurants and venues across town, and at sad call centers where telemarketers wonder why they ever ran for Congress. And the other major presidential candidate is an avowed participant in the pay-to-say-hi game. What’s really shocking is the feigned shock.

    ================================================
    Well, by bad Vox logic, the outrage over the Chicago policeman who shot a black man in the back is much ado over nothing, as it is a common occurrence…..nothing to see here, move along.

    And by the way,”access” is a transaction – they are not meeting to look at pictures of Hillary’s grandkid…..

  25. Paid Minion

    “There is no evidence she’s a crook”. “There’s no evidence that she gave favors for money…..” “A vote against Hillary is a vote for Trump”.

    There were similar people in Germany 70 years ago who were saying “Hitler did some really good things, before he started killing Jews and invading other countries…….”

    This stuff makes me want to pull my hair out.

    That’s not the way it works, dammit. There isn’t going to be a “smoking gun” most of the time. Unless they do something by being arrogant or stupid, and even then there will be apologists/head in the sand types.

    A million dollar gift to the Clinton Foundation, gives you things that won’t be in any written contract. It goes without saying, like Kabuki theater.

    Like her book advances and speaking fees. Absolutely nothing Hillary Clinton has to say is worth $250,000. It’s a cover to pay for future services rendered.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “There is no evidence she’s a crook”. “There’s no evidence that she gave favors for money…..”

      As the motto reads on the Clinton coat of arms: Quod non potest probari. [It cannot be proved.]

    2. armchair

      Attorney Client Privilege. You can bet that the Clinton’s have spent plenty of time and money being advised on what is legal

        1. JTMcPhee

          And making sure the enforcement agency staff and executives will not be, er, “enforcing. ” see no evil hear no evil prosecute no evil… Got to see it happen way back when the Reagan people took over the Enviromental Protection Agency and told us regional enforcement people to stop bothering EPA headquarters and the Justice (sic) Dept with referrals for litigation and prosecution.

  26. Oregoncharles

    I keep expecting an NC discussion of the rollout of “Our Revolution” the other night.

    I saw it, because the local Greens were invited to table there, along with a few other lefts groups. But not, oddly,t he Democratic Party, although a couple of audience members spoke for them.

    My reaction? Well, first, I can see why so many people were taken with Bernie. Not the usual kind of charisma, but very effective. I noted that he was careful not to mention the mass resignations, but praised Weaver at some length. And on the substance:

    Very specific on what it was supposed to do: support about 100 progressive candidates, with 5 specifics mentioned, culminating in Feingold; and some ballot initiatives. Not forthcoming on just HOW it was to support them, beyond the endorsement. Nor was there any mention of just where the funds are to come from, the subject of those mass resignations.

    The chief concern, I think, is whether Bernie’s fundraising model would work for anyone else, or was specific to the circumstances. Jill
    Stein is using it, on a much smaller scale, but in rather similar circumstances. Would it work for 100 mostly-unknown candidates, whether endorsed by”Our revolution” or not? Apparently we’re going to find out.

    And personal observation at just one event: although reforming the Dems dominated the discussion inside, it was awfully easy to get people to take Green Party T-shirts on the way out, and some expressed passionate rejection of the Democratic orientation inside. One of the people talking about reforming the Dems had invited us to table. Lots of mixed feelings, in a very blue town in a very blue state.

  27. Jim Hannan

    It appears that the big hope of the Republicans now rests on the shoulders of Julian Assange. The fate of an entire political party lies in a small bedroom in the embassy of Ecuador in London.
    Is it possible that Paul Manafort and his Putin connections have already promised Assange amnesty if he takes down Clinton?

  28. TarheelDem

    The appropriate counterpart of the Clinton Foundation is the Carter Center, not Habitat for Humanity, started by Carter’s good friend Millard Fuller, who had his own issues.

    The Carter Center board. Of course, neither Carter has been involved in government since.

    Founders, Trustees

    Jimmy Carter
    39th President of the United States

    Rosalynn Carter
    Former First Lady of the United States

    Chair
    Jason Carter
    Partner
    Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP

    Vice Chair
    Kathryn E. Cade
    Co-chair
    Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving
    Board Members

    Terrence B. Adamson
    Retired Executive Vice President
    National Geographic Society

    Arthur M. Blank
    Owner & Chairman, Atlanta Falcons
    Chairman, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

    Richard C. Blum
    Chairman
    Blum Capital Partners

    Reuben E. Brigety II
    Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs
    The George Washington University

    Bradley N. Currey Jr.
    Retired Chairman and CEO
    Rock-Tenn Company

    The Hon. Gordon D. Giffin
    Partner
    Dentons US LLP

    Charlayne Hunter-Gault
    Journalist

    Ben F. Johnson III
    Retired Partner
    Alston & Bird

    Sherry Lansing
    CEO
    The Sherry Lansing Foundation

    Douglas W. Nelson
    Retired President and CEO
    Annie E. Casey Foundation

    Wendell S. Reilly
    Managing Partner
    Grapevine Partners

    Marjorie M. Scardino
    Chairman
    The MacArthur Foundation

    Justice Leah Ward Sears
    Partner
    Schiff Hardin LLP

    D. Douglas Shipman
    CEO
    BrightHouse, LLC

    Hugo X. Shong
    Founding General Partner
    IDG Capital Partners

    Chilton D. Varner
    Partner
    King & Spalding, LLP

    James W. Wagner, Ph.D.
    President
    Emory University

    Ellen H. Yankellow, PharmD
    President and CEO
    Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, Inc.
    Trustee Emeritus

    David A. Hamburg, M.D.
    President Emeritus
    Carnegie Corporation of New York

    The Hon. James T. Laney
    Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

    John J. Moores
    Investor, San Diego Padres

    Kent C. “Oz” Nelson
    Retired Chairman and CEO
    United Parcel Service

      1. Kim Kaufman

        Well, if this is any consolation…

        Carter Center Launches Webpage on Election Observation in the United States
        August 10, 2016

        https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/us-elections-081016.html#.V8AA1p_fKkA.facebook

        Although it’s not doing much…


        “The Carter Center has observed 102 elections in 39 countries, but has no plans to observe U.S. elections.

        “The Carter Center focuses its election observation work internationally, with the goal of ensuring transparency and building confidence in credible elections. As in elections around the world, transparency is also necessary in U.S. elections,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “Credible election observation is a key way to ensure that citizens can understand and be included in supporting good electoral processes in the United States.”

        The 2005 Carter-Baker Commission, which President Carter co-chaired, noted that the highly decentralized nature of American election administration complicates possibilities for credible and comprehensive observation.

        The new webpage makes information about election observation in the U.S. more accessible and asks what impact credible election observation could have on U.S. elections and, more broadly, on American democracy.”

        1. Pat

          My comment wasn’t really about the Carter Center, I don’t know enough to have an opinion about it, except to say I don’t see how it could be ‘marketed’ in the same manner the Clinton’s could be.

          No it was about how many of those listed were heads of their individual or family foundations.

          I have always thought that America and its representatives should be ashamed that Carter has said there was no way to credibly observe the elections here, and do something about it. But that is because I think they should reflect the will of the voters, and anymore I’m not so sure about the ‘elected’ officials.

          1. Kim Kaufman

            I do agree with you. Remember when Robin Williams said “Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money?” Change cocaine out for people with foundations.

  29. Kim Kaufman

    “UPDATE “Absentee ballot returns show spike in unlikely voters weighing in on Florida’s primary” [Tampa Bay Observer].”

    I, and others, believe that increased vote by mail (VBM) are huge problems. No chain of custody, post office is, unfortunately, often unreliable, opportunity to sell votes, many other fraudulent possibilities and s**t happens… all the way up to election day and could influence voters to want to change their votes. Dem party in CA is aggressively pushing VBM. Just another (from me): f*** them if they want to keep losing.

    1. Jess

      Kim — Were you by any chance at the house meeting last Sunday in Santa Monica where Mimi Kennedy outlined various voting reform issues? If so, I was there, too.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I can vouch for it; it works extremely well in Oregon.

      HOWEVER: Oregon is a clean state, having learned its lesson in the early 20th Century. How this would work in, say, Chicago (You’ll have to speak for Cali), I couldn’t say. However, nothing works well in a dirty state (I grew up in one, Indiana).

      VBM has the advantage that it creates a paper ballot marked by the voter.

  30. Kim Kaufman

    ““A bleak choice between a ‘liar’ and your ‘drunk uncle’ for one Wisconsin focus group” [WaPo]. ”

    Or as someone else put it:

    Clinton v. Trump – siphilis v. gonorrhea.

    1. ilporcupine

      When we were kids, these no-win scenarios were popular pastime. One that I remember vividly was
      “Would you rather eat a pile of sh**, or slide on your ass down a 50 foot razor blade?
      Seems appropriate.

  31. Kim Kaufman

    re “Our Revolution:” I watched the speech with a group of young activists who are still gung ho to do… something. I consider all of Bernie’s messaging from now until the election as being under the gun of Schumer who (I assume) has told him if you don’t play ball, you’re going to be on the sh*ttiest committees we have and your office will be in the basement. No proof, just what I think is going on. And that it’s Bernie’s calculation to do what he has to until the election because he can do more good on powerful senate committee/s.

  32. Hermann

    Re Alt Right :

    “I think this tweet is basically correct”

    Then you haven’t been paying attention.

  33. lyman alpha blob

    Clinton takes a scalp:

    ‘Dr. Drew’ canceled after Clinton episode

    CNN says the move is part off a shakeup, but it also follows him questioning the presidential candidate’s health.

    1. Propertius

      The cancellation was a step too far, but I find Dr. Drew’s remote diagnosis of Clinton every bit as appalling as I found Bill Frist’s remote diagnosis of Terry Schiavo.

  34. abynormal

    The Man Who Fabricates China’s Econ Data Was Arrested For “Selling Power For Sex” And “Lacking Political Faith”
    i can’t even make sense of this headline :/ is he hunting a new position in our power selling, number fudging, faithful political arena ://

    1. JCC

      The Oil & Gas subsidies are way off and the ROI is much higher… they left out the cost of the ME Wars.

  35. Sound of the Suburbs

    Inequality.

    Turning economics up the right way again should help.

    Let’s look at the world today.

    1) An excessive concentration of capital at the top

    2016– “Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population”

    Many investments now have negative yield due to the deluge of investment capital at the top. There is no return on these investments; you have to pay people to take investment capital off your hands.

    2) A lack of capital at the bottom

    Policy makers are talking of subdued global aggregate demand and putting forward solutions like helicopter money, redistribution through taxation and fiscal stimulus. Fiscal stimulus creates jobs and wages through Government spending which can be spent into the economy

    Let’s ask the fundamental question.
    Why was economics turned upside down?

    When you turn economics upside down you suddenly get all the wrong answers.
    How strange!

    40 years ago, most economists and almost everyone else believed the economy was demand driven and the system naturally trickled up.

    Now most economists and almost everyone else believes the economy is supply driven and the system naturally trickles down.

    Economics has been turned upside down in the last 40 years.

    If it was still the right way up we would have been doing fiscal stimulus (Keynesian stimulus) eight years ago.

    Having an economy that is demand driven and trickles up (which is the way it actually works) wasn’t good for those at the top who had to pay higher wages (to keep demand going) and higher taxes (to stop the system polarising from trickle up).

    They thought they would just turn economics upside down and the real economy would follow (King Canute Syndrome).

    They paid workers less and have stifled demand in the global economy.
    They paid lower taxes leading to the polarisation of personal wealth.

    King Canute got his feet wet, turning economics upside down has laid waste to the global economy.

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