2:00PM Water Cooler 8/29/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, my logistical difficulties have now rippled through to Water Cooler; I’ll do as much as I can, with some updates.

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When non-profit professionals look at the Clinton Foundation, they just shake their heads. Those who aren’t worried about keeping their heads on their shoulders, that is:

UPDATE “Greenwald: ‘Why Did Saudi Regime & Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to Clinton Foundation?'” [Democracy Now!].Stating the obvious:

[W]hat Donna Brazile said in that video that you played is nothing short of laughable. It’s not questioned when Republicans do favors for their donors? Of course it is. In fact, it’s been a core, central critique of the Democratic Party, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for years, that Republicans are corrupt because they serve the interest of their big donors. One of the primary positions of the Democratic Party is that the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court has corrupted politics because it allows huge money to flow into the political process in a way that ensures, or at least creates the appearance, that people are doing favors for donors.

And so, here you have Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton having this Clinton Foundation, with billions of dollars pouring into it from some of the world’s worst tyrannies, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and other Gulf states, other people who have all kinds of vested interests in the policies of the United States government. And at the same time, in many cases, both Bill and Hillary Clinton are being personally enriched by those same people, doing speeches, for many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in front of them, at the same time that she’s running the State Department, getting ready to run for president, and soon will be running the executive branch. …

And so, the problem here is that the Clintons have essentially become the pioneers of eliminating all of these lines, of amassing massive wealth from around the world, and using that to boost their own political power, and then using that political power to boost the interests of the people who are enriching them in all kinds of ways. And of course questions need to be asked, and suspicions are necessarily raised, because this kind of behavior is inherently suspicious. And it needs a lot of media scrutiny and a lot of attention, and I’m glad it’s getting that.

Maybe Greenwald being too nice? It isn’t just “suspicious.” It’s influence peddling, which is corrupt by definition. And there’s a whole infrastructure, institutional and technical, to support it.

“When politics and justice collide: Clinton case echoes Gore probe” [USA Today]. Remember “no controlling legal authority”? Good times. And one way to look at Clinton’s privatized server is to see it as a deliberate attempt to create a “safe space,” where the law does not apply (let alone what used to be ethical norms, like not putting access to the powers of your office up for sake in real time).


“Hillary Clinton had the chance to make gay rights history. She refused.” [WaPo]. And yet now she’s a feminist icon (supposing feminism to mean something other than career advancement for 10% women.). Life is very odd.

And then there’s this, from swing state Pennsylvania:


The Voters

“Huma Abedin separates from Anthony Weiner after latest sexting scandal” [The Hill]. Musical interlude!

“The strangely amazing Twitter poetry of Sen. Charles Grassley” [The Week]. And then there’s this:

It is what it is. And at least it’s not pretending to be anything else.


UPDATE “A Field Guide to Red and Blue America” (charts) [Wall Street Journal]. Not really a “Field Guide,” since that would imply actual contact with members of the respective species. But interesting nonetheless!

UPDATE “Democratic Dream of Two Blue Coasts? Clinton Is in Striking Distance” [New York Times]. Another way to slice the country in two.

“Republicans Against Trump: Bush Advisor Wolfowitz Says He’ll Likely Vote for Clinton” [Der Speigel]. Another member of the Iraq Debacle team, so I’m sure Clinton is quite comfortable with him. For those who came in late: The video of Wolfowitz licking his comb before combing his hair is priceless!

Clinton Email Hairball

“Hillary Clinton Used BleachBit To Wipe Emails” [SlashDot]. They cleaned those disks down to the bare metal. I wonder why?

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, July 2016: ” Income picked up slightly in July and consumption slowed slightly in what was another constructive month for the consumer.” [Econoday]. “The respectable showings for income and spending are no surprise given the strong employment report for July, strength that is the underpinning of the consumer. The outlook for August will unfold this week, with vehicle sales on Thursday and the employment report on Friday.” But: “The headline data this month continues to show consumer expenditure growth. This is postive for 3Q2016 GDP if one considers GDP as a good measure of the economy. The negative of the headlines is that year-over-year income is still growing slower than expenditures” [Econintersect].

Dallas Fed Mfg Survey, August 2016: “There’s as many positives as negatives in the August manufacturing report from the Dallas Fed, which is a plus since negatives usually dominate this report” [Econoday]. “This along with the Kansas City Fed report have been depressed the past 2 years due to the drop in energy prices. But today’s report, though no better than mixed, does show signs of improvement, in a reminder of last week’s solid strength in the durable goods report.” But: “Of the four Federal Reserve districts which have released their August manufacturing surveys – two are in contraction and two are in expansion” [Econintersect].

Retail: “Sears workers reveal why the company is bleeding cash” [Business Insider]. I went to the Mall over the weekend, and there were a lot of empty spaces and shelves in the Sears; looks like were going to lose an anchor tenant. Macy’s was still doing OK, but for how long?

Retail: “Amazon.com will soon launch a program to experiment with a 30-hour workweek for select employees” [Jeff Bezos Shopper WaPo].

The Bezzle: “Direct Match, a Wall Street trading startup focused on the US Treasurys market, is exploring strategic options that could include a sale” [Business Insider]. Ah. “Strategic options.”

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Legalist is a Silicon Valley startup that was developed in the Y Combinator incubator offering ‘data-backed litigation financing’ using algorithms to ‘analyze millions of court cases to source, vet, and finance commercial litigation.’ It’s the latest in a series of companies that allow third parties to ‘invest’ in the success of a lawsuit, by funding said lawsuit” [Motherboard].

Co-ops: “NCBA CLUSA kicked off its 100th Anniversary at the National Press Club yesterday with the formal launch of the newly-formed bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and testimonies from a broad spectrum of co-op advocates” [NCBA].

UPDATE Political Risk: Happy dance for Warren Mosler on the Euro:

UPDATE Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 63, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 29 at 2:08pm. Still mere Greed. Did J-Yel make Mr. Market have a sad?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

UPDATE “Socialism and the American Negro” (transcript) [W.E.B. DuBois, Smithsonian].


“Coming soon to a school near you Idaho: Charter school cronyism” [Idaho’s Promise]. I wonder what all the preppers in “The Redoubt” think about this.

Health Care

UPDATE Here’s a handy chart [Wall Street Journal, “Burden of Health-Care Costs Moves to the Middle Class”].


There’s your service economy….

UPDATE “Enrollment in the insurance exchanges for President Obama’s signature health-care law is at less than half the initial forecast, pushing several major insurance companies to stop offering health plans in certain markets because of significant financial losses” [WaPo]. As a result, the administration’s promise of a menu of health-plan choices has been replaced by a grim, though preliminary, forecast: Next year, more than 1 in 4 counties are at risk of having a single insurer on its exchange, said Cynthia Cox, who studies health reform for the Kaiser Family Foundation.” And enrollment is going to open up right before election day, too.


UPDATE “The Iowa Utilities Board approved the nation’s largest wind energy project, which will power 800,000 homes once completed” [EcoWatch]. I wonder if the money stays in the state. It doesn’t in Maine.

Class Warfare

It’s almost as if the public noticed when the Fed — and, to be fair, the entire political class — bailed out the banks and nobody else:

News of the Wired

This seems to capture the current zeitgeist quite well:

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Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (KS):

August Lawn

Prompted by our xeriscaping discussion, KS sent “some photos showing some unirrigated plantings in the yard. Summer’s been nice but/and dry.”

No kidding!

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


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Tertium Squid

    So, does this mean Huma’s out of Hillary’s inner circle, for doing what Hillary never could?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Hillary sending texts of, ummm, hubby’s personal body parts? Please. It’s better that she and Bill left that one at the “never could” stage.

        1. Arizona Slim

          But-but-but if she left him, then where would she be? I’ll betcha money that she wouldn’t be running for POTUS.

    2. Pat

      With Huma becoming a lightening rod of the whole access issue, the cynical part of me figures this is not an ill timed, but well timed family tragedy with a sympathetic hard working mistreated wife…

      I mean if the mayoral campaign blowup of his career comeback for the same issues… (done on camera no less).

      1. fresno dan

        August 29, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Yeah, it seems beyond credulity for Weiner to pull a boner like this again….uh…er, let me rephrase that…

        1. Pat

          No, it isn’t beyond credulity. I never said he didn’t do it. But apparently this has been going on since last year with a woman he has never met. And unless I missed something, she leaked this. Why out this now? Other times he goofed and it was public, OR was done to upset his comeback weak though it might have been. But why now? At some point in the next few days some advantage for the woman may change my mind, but otherwise it is very convenient.

          It isn’t that it happened. It is the timing.

          1. fresno dan

            I was trying to agree with you.
            It does seem hard…uh, difficult to believe Weiner is so out of control. But if he is, I agree it sure is convenient that it happens at a most propitious moment for the Clintoon campaign…

    3. JTMcPhee

      Read the comments on the little Abedin story, and one has to conclude that our species is mostly Fokked. I particularly like this one:

      Oh for heaven’s sake! Clearly the man is compulsive, he will never stop. And he is willing to risk job, career and family for his addiction. Kudos to Huma for putting the well-being of her child first and leaving him sort out his addiction by himself.!

      Which follows this text from the article:

      “I think it’s a little – it’s often a little more challenging when you’re in politics because your private life, and I think everybody craves their own privacy, and so I think your private life is displayed to the world in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t have to deal with if one spouse is a private person and the other person’s in politics as was the case certainly in my marriage,” Abedin said.

      “But I think it works if you fully support each other.”

      During the podcast, she mentioned she is on out on the campaign trail a lot of the time and her husband helps to care for her son.

      I have a four-year-old son and I don’t think I could do this if I didn’t have the support of a spouse who is willing to basically be a stay-at- home dad as much as he possibly can so I’m able to be on the road,” Abedin said.

      “I miss my son but I don’t worry about him because I know between this little village we’ve created between Anthony and my in-laws and my mom and our families and this wonderful woman who we have helping us I can go out and be the best professional woman that I can be because I have that support.”

      Big Jim Thompson, former US Attorney in Chicago and former Governor of Illinois, got married to a former assistant US attorney and a child was somehow produced. Little Samantha was, like the marriage from the gossip I heard and pontificating in the papers, just popped out to scotch rumors about Thompson’s polarity. The salient part of the tale is that while Thompson was out campaigning with his spouse, with Baby Samantha in tow, neither parent noticed that the kid was, like, seriously sick, fever as I recall of over 104 degrees, and some brave campaign worker had to do the parenting thing and see the kid got medical attention. Reported that Thompson et ux were irked that this threw the campaign schedule off. Did not keep him from getting elected… This guy was also on the “9/11 Commission,” and has lots of other notable corruption connection credentials: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_R._Thompson

      One claim to fame was obtaining conviction of former Governor Otto Kerner for public corruption, taking race track stock for helping the track owners get more racing dates. Chief witness was Marge Everett, attorney for the racetrack corporation. She got disbarred in IL, so Thompson flew her personally to CA and testified on her behalf before the “fitness committee” of the CA bar, that she was an upright moral person fit to be admitted to the CA bar. Shortly after, as I recall, ol’ Marge got in trouble for peddling stock and other valuables to the CA officials who oversaw the doling out of racing dates (ka-ching!) to her new client, a CA racetrack corporation…

      It never ends. Impossible to even try to keep up…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “I have a four-year-old son and I don’t think I could do this if I didn’t have the support of a spouse who is willing to basically be a stay-at- home dad as much as he possibly can so I’m able to be on the road,” Abedin said.

        With Basic Income, maybe she can stay home as well…

      2. alex morfesis

        dont think there was ever any question about big jims polarity…but just like his little girl found her way into this world, Chelsea Clinton was blessed to…

        hold that thought…

        one of my little larks is to bounce around that big monstrosity commonly known as the vuld vide vebb…and try to find an actual photo of $hillary preggie with chelsea…

        just sayin…

        yup, yes not every woman shows…

        (Palin the russia watcher)

        if anyone has seen one or can direct me to one, much obliged as it will allow me to get back to contemplating one day finally learning to play the guitar…

  2. Daryl

    > “Hillary Clinton Used BleachBit To Wipe Emails”

    I don’t know if I would say if BleachBit got a decent ad pitch, considering they were able to trace the use of the specific application, and the creator is in the news talking about how the emails might be recovered.

    Kids at home, make sure you have dd if=/dev/zero and adult supervision before engaging in political malfeasance.

    1. curlydan

      So in response to HRC’s quip from earlier this year about cleaning the server (“you mean with a cloth or something?”). The response is, No, with Bleach!

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      If I were Hillary I would have put the hard drives into a blast furnace overnight — or maybe for a couple days and nights — and cast the slag in the shape $$$$$$$$.

    3. hunkerdown

      I prefer /dev/random and three passes, if I have any intention of using the drive later. If I were involved in anything seriously malfeasant where using the drive later were not a consideration, I’d be following the established procedures of the masters of the art. (NSA)

  3. inode_buddha

    Some article on Slashdot is going on about how the fbi has proof of foreign election tampering… why is this NOW all of a sudden a problem???

    1. temporal

      The agency that takes over and improves child porn honeypot sites. That entices mentally disabled young men to speak out from their basement in support of IS, so they can be jailed, appears to be branching out.

      Since being able to anonymously change electronic votes appears to be a feature can we assume that foreign interests picked our current crop of winners or was that a bit closer to home?

      Rule of Programming Fight Club: Last set of changes checked in wins.

    2. Skip Intro

      Do we want foreign hackers tampering with US elections and putting US hackers out of work? Are you saying that Karl Rove or the Clinton Gang can’t afford to pay hackers a living wage? Be serious, they have a ton of money, and it is only a few days work.

  4. Pat

    Looking at that rather stunning graph above, I wonder if all the pundits and so-called experts who keep wondering why the consumer economy is stalled could finally get that it was hijacked by government for the private insurance companies, with a little bit for drug companies and health care providers.

    No wait, that would be too sensible, realistic and yes not what they are paid to notice.

      1. Pat

        That would be the logical conclusion of anyone looking at health care as provided, and the costs of providing that health care to the public in other first world countries. The very clear rent extraction that provides little value overall would be rapidly clear.

        But unfortunately the people who profit from that…

        1. allan

          I just received an Explanation of Benefits [sic] from my insurance, explaining [sic] why they don’t want to pay over $1500 in charges from months ago. How much time am I going to spend talking with my provider’s front office and the insurance company to try to get this reversed, and who’s going to pay me for my time [sic]?

          1. hunkerdown

            Worse, who’s going to pay your provider for the time? Who’s going to pay your insurer to push back at you? You, of course. It’s sicker than anything the industry purports to cure.

            1. JTMcPhee

              As a nurse, spending hundreds of hours trying to gain authorization for medications and procedures for patients who demonstrably needed and were entitled to them, from the various intermediary and “utilization managment” bits of the private UNsurance thingie, it finally occurred to me that I was being connected to the “Department of Denial,” where the cheery or sullen human I finally was able to reach, after persisting and hacking my way through the thorns of the phone tree thicket, would in effect say, “Department of Denial! How may I not help you?”

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Ah yes, but think patriotically, your higher costs of health care are added to America’s anemic GDP figures, everybody needs to do their bit. Forward Soviet!

          3. fresno dan

            August 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm

            You have the common, but naive idea that health insurance pays for health related services and/or materials. Yes, that is how it used to be, but actually the medical insurance complex follows the Mickey Mouse (i.e., Disneyland model). This is much more efficient and synergistic at leveraging resources to separate you from all your money.

            What is the Disneyland model? Health insurance lets you SEE (and I mean this literally) your doctor, just like a ticket lets you into Disneyland, and you can see all you want.
            Now if you want to ride or enter an attraction, or eat something, that is separate.
            Now you can see a doctor. Asking him/her a question is a separate charge. The answer is a separate charge. A correct answer requires a specialist…..

          4. cwaltz

            Isn’t it fun?

            You get told by the insurance company that it’s the hospital/providers fault because of how they coded something and then you get told by the hospital that it’s the insurance company’s fault.

            Meanwhile all you care about is why you are being charged the amount you are being charged and it appears to get more and more complicated as you find yourself charged more than once for a lab or procedure. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve been billed by a doctor for READING a test that they ordered(uh I’m pretty sure there is no point in ordering a test if it isn’t going to be read.) That’s in addition to now being billed for the lab tech drawing the blood and the lab that has the technicians that read and record the values. And even more maddening, it isn’t consistent. Some places bill me for the doctor’s time for reading my labs, others do not and good luck figuring out which places are which short of trial and error.

        2. Tom

          How does it feel to be an unpaid worker in the health insurance industry? I kid, because my wife and I spend a lot of time ourselves straightening out screwed-up bills almost every time one of us sees a doctor. And I mean that. Almost every single time there’s an error — either on the doctor’s part, the doctor’s office staff, the doctor’s billing company or the insurer. And god help us if there is a hospital or clinic involved! We are at the point now where we go in knowing the various procedure codes for what we want done and going over them with everybody involved, repeatedly. It helps, although things still get screwed up. Ya gotta love our ‘system!’

    1. fresno dan

      August 29, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Health Care
      UPDATE Here’s a handy chart [Wall Street Journal, “Burden of Health-Care Costs Moves to the Middle Class”].

      I was looking at that, and it seemed it so contradicted all sorts of sources I had read about inflation in items like education as well as health care, energy, food, etcetera. As I have frequently noted, flat screen TV are super cheap, but non edible….unless your very, very hungry.
      And than I realized I was reading something into the chart that the chart wasn’t addressing at all – it wasn’t talking about inflation – it is talking about expenditures.
      If medical care is going way up, well than of course other expenditures, especially if salaries are stagnant, HAVE TO GO DOWN.

      1. cwaltz

        You silly! That’s what Care Credit and the rest of the credit vultures are for. They will be more than happy to finance that necessary crown or essential surgery you need.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        Yes, that chart is way more shocking than simple inflation. Health care costs are eating the economy. Although I’m sure Krugman will tell us it’s because consumer preferences have changed – the middle class apparently just isn’t as interested in food or housing as it used to be.

  5. RabidGandhi

    Bolivia update for those following the story of the miners strike:

    There are five acknowledged deaths so far, all confirmed by both sides: three miners have been shot by the police, one miner died after mishandling explosives (traditionally used by miners in protests), and the body of Vice Minister Rodolfo Illanes has been found with signs of torture. Twelve miners have been indicted and nine imprisoned in Illanes’ murder, and the Morales government is investigating the shooting deaths. The miners have suspended their blockades of the highways but they remain on strike.

    A friend forwarded me the miners’ demands, which I’ve summarised below:

    1. Unions must not be allowed in the miners cooperatives.

    2. Miner co-operatives must be allowed two years to adapt their by-laws to government laws on unionisation (which nevertheless have a loophole for mining cooperatives).

    3. Rejection of Law 535 which prohibits private companies from investing in miner co-operatives.

    4. A government trust fund to help the state owned mineral processing company (Metalúrgica de Vinto) pay the cooperative miners in advance for raw materials.

    5. Flexibilisation of new environmental regulations on mining.

    6. Re-allocation of funds to the state minining financing fund (Fofim).

    7. Formalisation of concessions that had been promised in 2012.

    8. Creation of a ministry department for the cooperative sector.

    9. Electrical connections for all cooperatives with special rates.

    10. Reinvestment of cooperative royalties to projects that favour the industry.

    Clearly, these are demands that work counterstream to the Government’s attempts to fully nationalise the mining sector. It should be borne in mind, though, that miners can make or break a Bolivian government. They were key to the rise and fall of mildly-populist president Paz Estenssoro in the 50s, and they were key allies in the rise of Evo Morales.

    Given the fall of other left-leaning governments around him (Brazil officially becomes undemocratic this week), Morales would do well to tread carefully. Imprisoning the leaders of the cooperatives is akin to a declaration of war, and Morales has set the tone for the debate by calling Illanes a “Martyr of Democracy” and saying that his government has “defeated another coup d’état”. Of course, Morales and the Cooperatives conflicted previously in 2007, with the government backing down on proposed taxes. That said, his popularity remains very high, and none of the Bolivians I know has shown any sympathy for the miners’ claims (anecdotes ≠ data).

    1. clinical wasteman

      Not surprisingly at all, the best update and analysis I’ve seen anywhere (not that there have been many others).
      ‘Tread carefully’ sounds wise for sure, but the list of demands is fairly breathtaking: 1. ban unions; 3. reinstate the private sector; 5. repeal — sorry, flexibilization — of environmental law; 10. legally require that “co-op” profit goes back to deserving capital…
      So is it reasonable to assume that this story is quite separate from the various MAS/indigenous movements and MAS/’left’ bust-ups of the last few years? Maybe even — given the local history of ‘right-wing’ political factions co-opting labor and miners in particular — one in which the spaceship NED hovers overhead?
      (If anyone is curious about that history, see for example: http://breaktheirhaughtypower.org/anti-capitalism-or-anti-imperialism-interwar-authoritarian-and-fascist-sources-of-a-reactionary-ideology-the-case-of-the-bolivian-mnr/ [long article by an ultraleftist scholar-purist who is sometimes tends to dismiss entire movements over matters of ideological packaging, but nothing if not exhaustive].)

      [PS. Sorry, should have specified above for those not obsessed with this sort of thing: MAS = Movement for Socialism, the Morales political party; NED = National Endowment for Doomocracy.]

      1. RabidGandhi

        Yes, I see no connection between the indigenous groups that protested against Morales from the left, and these cooperatists whose claims are clearly from the far right. Even so, remember how regime change occurred in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela (partial): leftist groups splintered off from the centre-left coalition and paved the way for the extreme right to take over. Same clear pattern in all 3 countries. So while the indigenous and miners groups may not be united now, just remember that the far right and far left both marched together last year against Rousseff (with plenty of own-goals from the PO), and look how that panned out.

        PS I just answered your question in Friday’s WC; I didn’t see it till today.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Thanks once more (I’ll look up that answer in ‘Older Posts’ now), and yes, that’s how it looked from this huge & underinformed distance: those left-right pincer movements — and the ‘centre-left’ inertia or worse that offers pretexts all to often — couldn’t be coincidental when they recur like that. I even vaguely recall a theoretically ‘immaculate’ left-vanguard group in Haiti endorsing the overthrow of what it called the ‘Lavalas gangs’, likewise with the discreet support of uncle Ned. (Bati Ouvrière or something like that? The name was in Kréol but the website was in French, which may say something about the target audience.)

    1. trent

      if you’re too lazy to click on the links

      a cheeseburger from 2005-2007 era was $9.50

      now a cheeseburger is $16

      nooooooooooooooooooo inflation

    2. nippersmom

      Actually, they didn’t say eating out was cheaper, just that people are spending less of their income on it. I read that as eating out less often or at different types of establishments.

      1. trent

        haha yes you got me, but i’m still angry about the price of burgers. I’ll gladly pay you tuesday for a burger today

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How are you going to compete with energy-efficient, eco-friendly (to ensure a beautiful green world in the future) solar-powered robots when you need to eat cheeseburgers often (or less often)?

      2. Enquiring Mind

        Income optimization techniques for the modern serf.

        New ways to prepare your ramen.
        Rice in 50 pound sacks.
        Beans galore.

        Don’t forget your vitamins.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks for reminding me! I need to start up another batch of beans.

          But I still buy my rice in 25 pound sacks. I splurge on perfume rice and sometimes I’ll have an occasional meal with Korean brown rice although I buy it in 5 pound bags — its a little pricey. Next trip to the store I’ll buy a big sack of parboiled rice to make my other rice last longer. I’m still learning how to grow potatoes and I need to build up the soil in my postage stamp garden space.

          1. AnEducatedFool

            I am a vegetarian on SNAP. I do not know how meat eaters are able to eat a healthy diet on anything less that 750-1000 a month for a family of 3. Even at 1000 a month you are forced to eat a lot of food that is essentially poison.

            I recently ran out of my 25 lb Lunderberg brown rice but no one sells that around here. I moved onto quinoa for now. I found a great deal on two 4 lb bags. Once that is gone I’ll move onto whatever organic grain is cheapest per serving. I have not seen a lot of organic brown rice recently.

            I buy organic beans to avoid Round Up which is used on beans and grains once they are finished growing. Apparently round up decreases the drying time so you get to eat a higher quantity of round up thanks to this process. I avoid it in my house so I only buy organic grains and flours.

            If you make your own bread a good food processor makes it an easier and faster process. A few good recipes are found in How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian. My old Kitchen Aid stand mixer is great for ciabatta (Paul Hollywood recipe) but I do not use it all that often now.

            If you can afford it buy cedar wood to frame a raised bed that is 3 x 10. 10 ft is ideal since that is the length of electrical conduit to make a quick and easy trellis. 3 feet is ideal because you do not want to step into your bed ever. One of my favorite books on back yard gardening is called Mini Farming: Self Sufficiency on 1/4 acre.

            1. inode_buddha

              I imagine it depends on where you live: in my part of N.Y. you can eat like a king on 200 a month in food stamps. I know, because I did just that in 2011 or thereabouts. About 25% meat by volume in my diet.

              1. AnEducatedFool

                200 for a single person is not bad. I spent about that while I was in college while a meat eater and that would work around here for a single person.

                3 people make things harder. Due to allergens we need to skip eggs and avoid most conventional food due to stomach issues which I personally lean towards glyphosate causing stomach problems. Avoiding round up is only possible by purchasing organic produce which is primarily frozen for us or out of my garden. We use the dirty dozen and the clean list to purchase produce that is not organic.

                A lot of our food needs to be produced by me due to necessity and loaf of organic bread costs between 3.40 and 5.50+ but the price per oz is similar. I make french baguettes and ciabatta bread at least once a week each which brings down food costs as well.

                One of the worst moments of the past 6 months was when I had to explain to my son that he could not have cherry tomatoes from the store. I usually tell him know but its rarely over money but we were too low on money at the time and we couldn’t justify the expense. He eats about a pint of cherry tomatoes out of my garden per day now.

                But the term “eat like a king” needs updating. If you are the king then you can buy local organic produce, grass fed beef, free range chicken/fowl and afford to head out to high end restaurants. That far surpasses 200 a month and is closer to 2000 a month if you actually eat 3 meals a day plus 2 or 3 snacks.

                I am outside of Philadelphia.

                1. inode_buddha

                  Phillys a beautiful town if I remember right. Yeah about the “eat like a king”, I was getting everything at save-a-lot or aldis. Definitely not as healthy (or selective) as what you are doing. OTOH I really had my eyes opened by the experience: it took 18 mos of begging because my 401k made me ineligible for any kind of aid. During that time I was basically spat upon by the right wing whom I had dutifully voted for. I made it a hobby to feed the homeless, just to spite the greedy assholes of the world.

            2. nippersdad

              That would depend upon what kind of meat eater you are talking about. Steaks every day or bits of one steak for eight meals over a few months? We buy large chunks of whatever on sale, have it ground up and/or sliced, freeze it and then live on it for years. Literally. We still have most of last year’s Thanksgiving turkey ($7.00) frozen in its’ own stock, for example. One freezer bag of that should make all the soup we could possibly want to eat, two or three meals worth, and then we freeze what’s left for later. You can make a gallon or two of potato soup using little bits of ham and stock for a couple of bucks.

              Soups, stews, stir fries, chili; you would be surprised at how far you can make, say, thirty dollars go. If you do the same thing with veggies, buy corn on sale (10 ears for two dollars, say) and cream sacks of it, for example, you can bring down the veggie bill as well. We have gotten to the point where planting a garden is more expensive than just buying the stuff.

              And carbs are cheap; rice, potatoes, pasta…as are teabags.

              It seems to me that it is largely a matter of time or money. The more time you put into your cooking (making stocks, for example) the less you will ultimately have to spend…..to eat at home, anyway. My habit is to never to make anything that one cannot freeze more than half of, and it seems to work out pretty well.

            3. Carla

              Educated? For sure. A Fool? Not so much.

              One of my favorite ways to turn cold, leftover vegetables into an elegant meal? A generous dollop of curried mayonnaise.

              1. polecat

                Curry……..hummm ….
                Time to make up some more thai yellow & red curries, as we’re currently out !!
                we make enough so that we can freeze into 2 Tablespoon dollops for whatever a given recipe calls for……yummm

  6. Peter

    “Gaia: Iowa Wind Project”: The Wind XI project is owned by Mid-American Energy, which is a Warren B. corp. Mid-Am has some of the lowest electric rates in the country (~7-8 cents/kw, less for business) partly because of the volume of electricity generated by wind- +30% of Mid-Am total ,

    The easement leases are generally a good deal for property owners, and are often 5x-10x more profitable per square foot than farming corn or beans.

    Between the easement cash and low electric rates, the wind projects are a net benefit for the locals.

    (Full disclosure- I’m a Mid-Am customer. I don’t own Berkshire stock)

  7. Vatch

    Retail: “Sears workers reveal why the company is bleeding cash” [Business Insider]

    It’s sad. Shop Your Way is confusing and annoying. Billionaires and corporate executives are never job creators — it’s always the customers who are the real job creators. But Edward Lampert is a special case who qualifies as a job destroyer.

      1. Vatch

        Good question. Wikipedia provides a clue:

        In July 2016 he held 28% of shares in Sears Holdings Corp worth of approximately $408 million.

        It’s tough to get rid of a guy who owns such a large portion of a company.

        Here’s a tragicomic quote from the same Wikipedia article:

        Lampert is an avid follower of Ayn Rand and has used elements of Rand’s philosophy to guide his business decisions.

    1. Jen

      Oddly, my local Sears, which only sells appliances, tools and the like appears to be reasonably well staffed, with experienced sales people. They also appear to be employing better delivery teams. The crazy Russians are now servicing Home Depot. Shop you way is a nightmare as is the checkout system that looks like it still runs on DOS.

      1. cwaltz

        The local Sears here closed down 2 years ago. Kmart just closed in August. They did reopen a Sears Hometown which carries appliances. I’ll be surprised if it lasts 2 years. Once upon a time Sears appliances and tools meant quality and incredible customer service(if it breaks bring it back and we’ll replace it) which was why you would be willing to pay more for them. These days though they are just more expensive without the customer service or quality that other places have.

        It’s sad because I remember getting the Sears Wish book as a girl right before Christmas and pouring through the pages.

        1. Jen

          Me too!
          Interesting about the customer service. I just bought a kenmore stove and the middle grate broke. Took it to my local Sears, they said just say it was damaged during shipping and they’ll replace it at no charge. Haven’t had a chance to call yet.

      2. Carolinian

        Last time I was in our only Sears there was a noticeable “going out of business” feel to it with lots of closeouts and dwindling stock–particularly in the clothing departments. Kmart left town years ago. Without a doubt Walmart has done great harm to both Sears and Kmart but IMO these were always poorly run stores anyway. One thing people don’t get about Walmart is that for all the complaints Walmarts are vastly better run than the discount stores that preceded them. And Sears seems to be too downmarket for many mall shoppers and too upmarket for the Walmart crowd. You wonder if anybody will care if they do finally give up the ghost.

        1. crittermom

          I’m hoping they remain in business and continue with their Kenmore line of appliances (provided they haven’t been crapified).
          I had the low-end washer/dryer purchased new that lasted me forever and never a service call needed. (Three houses, over decades).
          I sold ’em, still working perfectly, with the last house I had before moving to my cabin, and was hoping to purchase their line when I can once again have my own home.

  8. steelhead

    As a individual who graduated from Nampa(Idaho) High School before 1980, I find the “Charter School” as a classic neoliberal and libertarian wet dream. No collective contract interference, the support of Bill Gates(educated exclusively in private schools) and another crony capitalism scheme. The public education system has been fu**ked.

    1. Adam Eran

      Worth noting: The “reformers” (like Michelle Rhee) promote merit pay (because teachers are so financially motivated), (union-busting) charter schools and testing, testing, testing as the means to improve educational outcomes. No science validates this.

      Yet with billionaire funding, “reformers” have even made a propaganda film: “Waiting for Superman” touting Michelle Rhee’s “tough love” approach to school management (she fired lots of D.C. teachers), and holding up Finnish schools as the ones to emulate.

      Don’t get me wrong, the Finns have great schools. But Waiting for Superman neglects to mention that the Finnish teachers are well-paid, tenured and unionized. Curious omissions, no?

      So while the “reformers'” tactics fail scientific validation when compared to educational outcomes, one thing does not fail: Educational outcomes correlate strongly with levels of childhood poverty.

      Finland’s childhood poverty rate: 2%. Meanwhile, in the U.S., it’s 23% (and headed north).

      Could this entire focus on schools out of their social context, without any reference to what science says, be a gigantic campaign of misdirection, distracting Joe Public from the plutocracy we live in?

      …and is that pope fellow still catholic? (for more, see http://www.notwaitingforsuperman.org/)

      1. jo6pac

        The other cool thing about schools in Finland is the teachers stay with their students as they move up in grades.

        Years ago the gentleman who created the Finnish system was asked why he didn’t come to Amerika and help our system. The answer was Amerika is head down and no one in power cares. Doomed

      2. Benedict@Large

        Chaster schools are about one thing, and one thing only. Wall street gets access to (and takes a cut of) the cash flow stream of our tax money before it gets to where we wanted it spent. All privatization efforts are about this same thing.

        Secure steady cash flows (and tax levies are one of the largest) have a valur, and that value can be sold to private investors. That’s what Wall Street does with privatization; sell off the value of our taxes as cash flow.

        All of this means less of your tax money gets to where you want it to go.

      3. Carla

        It’s my understanding that private schools are outlawed in Finland. Do Michele Rhee and the “not waiting for superman” people know this? Somehow I suspect not.

        What a novel concept. The richest people in the society are actually part and parcel of “the public,” and will therefore be concerned about the public good.

  9. gonzomarx

    It’s a bank holiday in the UK and I have had a beautiful day walking around the river Swale. Sometime unplugged and away from it all.
    By serendipity I’m able to share my neck(ish) of the woods with you which I’ve had many a walk and cycle ride and full of good pubs

    All Aboard! The Country Bus

    “Following the success of previous BBC Four ‘slow TV’ programmes, including All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride & Canal Trip, and Slow Week, BBC4 is inviting viewers aboard for a very special journey through one of the most spectacular and beautiful bus routes in Britain.

    The ‘Northern Dalesman’, as the bus on the route is called, has been rigged with specialist cameras as it travels on its journey, snaking across the iconic landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. Filmed in real time, the cameras capture the road unfurling, the passing scenery and the occasional chatter of local passengers.”

    A competitive, gentle mosey of a show.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        When I comment to Brits on how allowing the world to view BBC content freely would be a beautiful opportunity to broadcast British culture and the national brand to the far corners of the world and how it is pound foolish to save some small server costs by using area restrictions to prevent people seeing BBC content, all I am met with is angry reactions like, “Why should those freeloaders get to see programs I paid for with my TV tax?” As if the world seeing that programming was somehow subtractive of what the British get. It’s the world as seen through the eyes of a four year old child. “Gimmie! Mine!” Small England, indeed.

      2. gonzomarx

        yeah, wish it was freely available to the rest of the world.
        Should be about online somewhere and maybe use some county of origin masking software. I’m not sure about those though.

  10. anon12

    Huffington Post reporter David Seaman terminated for questioning Hillary’s health

    David Seaman says he was terminated by Huffington Post late Sunday night for submitting an article that questioned Hillary’s health and for linking to a Paul Joseph Watson video that’s been watched by over 3.5 million people.

    In the following video, it’s obvious the reporter fears for his life, as he mentions several times that he’s not suicidal or depressed or clumsy in any way.

    It looks like he made this video in case he disappears or has “an accident” some time in the near future:


    1. clarky90

      Josef Stalin speech, March 3, 1937; In its confidential letter of July 29, 1936, on the espionage-terrorist activities of the Trotskyist-Zinovievist bloc, the Central Committee of the RKP once again called upon Party organizations to display the utmost vigilance, the ability to discern enemies of the people, no matter how well masked they may be. The confidential letter stated:

      “Now that it has been proved that the Trotskyist-Zinovievist fiends are uniting in the struggle against Soviet power, all the most infuriated and vicious enemies of the toilers of our country-the spies, provocateurs, diversionists, whiteguards, kulaks, and so on; when all boundaries have been obliterated between these elements on the one hand and the Trotskyists and Zinovievists on the other; all of our Party organizations and all members of the Party must understand that vigilance on the part of Communists is imperative on every sector and under all circumstances. The inalienable quality of every Bolshevik under present conditions must be the ability to discern an enemy of the Party, no matter how well masked he may be.”

  11. allan

    When public private partnerships happen to good people:

    Audits Of Some Medicare Advantage Plans Reveal Pervasive Overcharging [NPR]

    …The Center for Public Integrity recently obtained, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the federal audits of 37 Medicare Advantage programs. These audits have never before been made public, and though they reveal overpayments from 2007 — money that has since been paid back — many plans are still appealing the findings.

    Medicare Advantage is a privately run alternative to standard Medicare; it has been growing in popularity and now enrolls more than 17 million seniors. In 2014, Medicare paid the health plans more than $160 billion.

    But there’s growing controversy over the accuracy of billings, which are based on a formula called a risk score; it is designed to pay Medicare Advantage plans higher rates for sicker patients and less for people in good health. In a series of articles published in 2014, the Center for Public Integrity reported that overspending tied to inflated risk scores has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars in recent years. …

    Just think about this the next time a pragmatic progressive who gets things done wants to get the private sector involved in what should be a government function.

  12. fresno dan

    Retail: “Sears workers reveal why the company is bleeding cash” [Business Insider]. I went to the Mall over the weekend, and there were a lot of empty spaces and shelves in the Sears; looks like were going to lose an anchor tenant. Macy’s was still doing OK, but for how long?

    A year ago I moved to Redding, Ca and I needed a refrigerator. I walked into a Sears cause I knew where that was and a refrigerator is a refrigerator to me, and I bought a refrigerator…in a mere two hours (I do not over exaggerate…or even exaggerate). Turns out the kid from electronics was selling refrigerators cause the “domestic appliances” guy was off for some reason. And he had no idea of how to enter all the codes for a refrigerator that is part of buying a refrigerator at Sears, apparently.

    Instead of the supervisor just completing the sale, the supervisor would fix one coding problem, wander off, and than another would of course arise, and than 15 minutes to find the supervisor, again and again and again…
    I felt sorry for the kid, so I kept with the process, and by the time one hour had passed, I had what economists call the “sunk cost” fallacy. After all that time, the purchase must be close to completion! And of course, after ANOTHER hour – the sale was complete. Well, to be accurate, another 15 minutes after the sale is complete to get the codes for delivery outside of the city but within the county…. I learn the refrigerator can’t be delivered for 2 weeks…

    Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me – I had gone through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally a zen like acceptance – I really think my pastafarian (reformed – low carb) faith, that hey, I can have lasagna every once in a while, helped me to accept the crappy, crappy, CRAPPY service that is America today. However, I WILL NEVER EVER BUY ANOTHER APPLIANCE FROM SEARS.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What if Sears adds a Zen meditation room in the appliances section?

      “You don’t need to waste those 2 hours buying a refrigerator. Join us in the Zazen room, for $9.99 an hour while you complete your materialistic consumption.”

    1. Emma

      Chuck Grassley is quite clearly a fine foods connoisseur isn’t he?!
      Next he’ll be telling us his local spud farm is like the US Treasury because it makes potato chips…..

  13. reslez

    Bernie Sanders just sent out an email flogging contributions for Democrat Senate candidates:

    * Katie McGinty (PA)
    * Maggie Hassan (NH)
    * Ted Strickland (OH)
    * Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada)

    I’m hoping none of these are corporate/blue dogs/etc. The email included minimal blurbling about their progressive bona fides, but at this point I don’t trust Sanders enough to know whether they deserve my support. Anyone have any knowledge about these candidates?

      1. AnEducatedFool

        Katie McGinty is a pro-fracking environmentalist…


        She beat Joe Sestak (anti-fracking) in Pa because the entire democratic establishment in the state and DC pushed her past Sestak and a John Fetterman a BernieCrat from a small town, Braddock, pulled in a lot of support. Bernie’s lack of support for the actual progressive running in Pa was telling.

        McGinty is another neo-liberal wh*re that knows how to play identity politics. I am voting for Toomey. If I have a choice between two neo-liberal wh*res for the Senate then I’ll vote for the Republican.

        I hate my state. And Sanders….I really hope he has nothing to do with this mailing. I am thankfully not receiving anything from any of his organizations.

        And Jeff Weaver….was terrible during the election and is terrible now. I wish he had just retired.

        1. MojaveWolf

          Reading this sent me to check my emails to see if this was real (sorry, but I was staggered).

          I. AM. HORRIFIED.

        2. reslez

          Thank you for the info. The mail definitely had Sanders’ name on it and was phrased as sent by/from him, but it may have been part of that “Our Revolution” business. I’m going to just wait and see when it comes to OR.

          I was happy to read the anti-TPP email they sent out the other day. It was the standard petition stuff but at least it’s movement and they specifically called out the lame duck session.

        3. cwaltz

          I was just reading Ted Strickland’s wiki and he sounds like a typical Democrat.

          So no, unless Bernie can tell me more than vote for them because …..Democrats he won’t be getting any of my money to put them in office.

          1. Carla

            Strickland is a very centrist Democrat and has no chance to win against Portman in Ohio. They are both actually piss-poor candidates. Strickland is only very marginally better than the incumbent Portman.

            We do have a Green running for the U.S. Senate for Ohio: Joe DeMare. I’m going to vote for Joe.

            BTW, for those (mostly Democrats) who complain that Greens never run in down-ticket races, here’s a list of over 200 who have run or are running in 2016, across the country:


            Surprises: look how many in Texas, and zero in Oregon or Washington!

            1. savedbyirony

              The abysmal ad campaigns in the Portman/Strickland race, and there are so bleeding many of them! I watch little TV, but they seem to be constantly on, running back-to-back.
              And yes, i’m with you; go Green.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Washington has a top-two runoff, so probably no 3rd party candidates in November – yet.

              Oregon has a number of Green down-ballot candidates: Senate, House districts 4 and 5, several State House candidates, Benton county commissioner – and a number of non-partisan posts, including a judge (not up for re-election this year.) they’re all in the Voters’ Pamphlet, an undertaking in itself. The Senate race was a major priority because of Wyden’s Trade Traitor status, as some of you will remember. Schrader, Dist. 5, is another TT.

    1. petal

      Maggie Hassan is the current NH governor. She immediately jumped on the HRC train and came out against neighbouring Vermonter Sanders. We get to pick between her and Ayotte. What a choice.

      1. Jen

        Who ever wants my vote needs to declare themselves anti TPP. Ayotte has priors having voted for fast track. I view Hassan as less of a weenie than Shaheen, which sets a low bar.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I think Sanders got the horse head in the bed treatment (or in his case the F-35 jobs threat). Sad because I think the man has had such a long and consistent career of caring about actual people. Maybe, in the end, that’s all he could negotiate, i.e. job security for Vermont F-35 workers.

        1. cwaltz

          Now that they veal penned him, why would they primary him?

          They’ll try to ride him all the way to the bank like a pony now that they know his name can bring in the ka ching.

          Unfortunately for the DNC most of his supporters do their homework and aren’t going to just vote for someone because an email has Bernie’s name on it.

      1. Emma

        Mmmmmm….It’s worthwhile noting that when significant wealth inequality exists in a nation, lower-levels of socio-economic development and more traditional cultural forms, such a nation experiences higher levels of electoral corruption (see Stokes, Ziblatt, or Lehoucq on this) which includes vote-buying and fraud. Just like ancient Greece over two thousand years ago….and certain nations today…

    3. PhilU

      They are largely shit, this is Sanders trying to be a Committee Chair rather than a ranking member.

      1. aab

        I hope that’s not it. Because he might as well caucus with the Republicans to stop TPP and get a chair that way. It would do more good than helping McGinty and Strickland into the Senate. The Democrats are not going to work with him no matter how well behaved he is on his leash this fall. Because they don’t want anything he wants, nor do their owners. Look at how Clinton is gleefully throwing over actual allies at the drop of a pin.

        I’m sorry, this is almost as bad as anything he can do at this point.

    4. aab

      These are terrible candidates — corporate sellouts. Unless Jane or one of the grandkids is being held hostage somewhere, this is inexcusable. No better than Warren.

      I think Bernie’s usefulness for positive change may have come to an end.

      1. cwaltz

        Bernie’s usefulness as an agent of change ended when the primary ended.

        It’s up to his supporters now.

        1. aab

          I had been hoping that he would be able (or willing?) to resist doing this sort of thing, which is actively destructive to long-term, positive change. He’s destroying his “brand.” I’m assuming Clinton has forced him into it; sullying others seems to be one of the few things she’s really good at.

          But it doesn’t matter at this point whether it’s threats or bribes. Even if we keep her out of office, he’s probably ruined as a organizer or trustworthy figurehead. It’s a real loss.

        2. different clue

          Well, if Sanders was the nucleating agent around which several million people crystallized, those people can still remain crystallized if they want to. Even if the nucleating agent removes himself from the field. The Sanders people are free to carry on regardless, and they very well might, now that they have found eachother and are working out ways to stay in touch.

  14. Kilburn Bell

    Retail: Recent Sears experiences. Just replaced a laundry washer and dryer and Sears was the first stop after similar situations over the years. The shelves are somewhat barren and the operation emits a faltering vibe, but we encountered a professional salesperson who knew the products. He may have reentered the workforce after retirement from selling some other products but had acquired appropriate sales skills and we felt comfortable making a major purchase. The other sales people seemed to be rookies and several watched to glean some knowledge as he completed the process, to even include some extended warranties.
    The next day the appliances were delivered on schedule by a polite and careful crew. A week or so later the confusing Shop Your Way program awarded enough points for a new backyard grill that was even loaded into the car. After plenty of grumbling during the grill assembly process all three products seem good quality and I am a happy customer. I get the feeling others may have different experiences.

  15. allan

    Even Ireland’s low corporate tax rate is too high for Apple:

    Apple Is Said to Owe Back Taxes to Irish Government

    The European Union’s competition authorities are poised to announce a major tax ruling against Apple’s tax dealings with the Irish government on Tuesday, a decision that will likely increase trans-Atlantic tension over how some of the world’s largest companies pay taxes on their global operations.

    The ruling, expected to be announced early Tuesday in Brussels, will result in Apple having to pay back taxes to the Irish government, according to three people briefed on the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The amount is anticipated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, one of these people said. …

    The Obama administration and Congress have strenuously fought to defend Apple, the company that made the iPod music player and iPhone global bywords for American prowess in technology. They have accused the European Commission of leading a campaign against American corporate success and suggested that it would be overstepping its authority by issuing a formal tax order. American officials have said reforms to corporate taxation first need to be agreed to internationally. …

    The Irish government has said that it will appeal any tax decision announced by European officials, putting the country in the somewhat odd position of turning down potentially billions of dollars of extra revenue from Apple. …


    1. makedoanmend

      “The Irish government has said that it will appeal any tax decision announced by European officials, putting the country in the somewhat odd position of turning down potentially billions of dollars of extra revenue from Apple. …”

      Our wee neo-liberal “leader” (aka Kenny, who doesn’t need to lead the nation because free markets always take care of their own) will don knee pads next March 17th and submit a bouquet of fecking clover to the reigning Leader of the empire in Washington DC. Of course the shame-rocks are merely symbolic of the submissiveness of Ireland to the empire. We salute yeese. Many really do? Many worship yeese in fact.

      And why wouldn’t Kenny and Finn Gael with Fianna Fail (dominant Irish poilitical parties that largely mimic Dem/Rep; Tory/Blairites) acquiesence and let Apple and any other major corporation not pay their relative dimunitive taxes in their so-called country tax base?

      Because free markets and meritocracy: Ireland would be stealing the rewards of the entrepeneur and the innovators if they accepted the taxes, so say the very vocal special interests that benefit from the crumbs that fall from the high table. And the media, owned by the few for the few, make sure this message is delivered every minute of every day of every year.

      The comfortable must be comforted. The afflicted must be afflicted. No taxes mean the poor die quicker. LOSERS.

      And so Ireland bailed out a bunch of failed free market banksters and even, bless them, set up NAMA to allow the bailed out bastards to buy foreclosed property on the cheap and evict current tennants. (Goldman take a bow.)

      And on Breakingnews.ie last week the lead headline: Rents are the highest ever! Rah, rah, rah.

      You see, we don’t have to be coerced, we believe.

      And when you believe, really believe…

      …you export people rather than products….

      1. allan

        Apple Must Pay Billions for Tax Breaks in Ireland, E.U. Orders

        BRUSSELS — Europe’s antitrust enforcer ordered Ireland on Tuesday to claw back up to 13 billion euros, or about $14.5 billion, from Apple for granting the American technology giant illegal tax breaks, a move that will ramp up trans-Atlantic tensions over how much global companies should pay in countries where they do business.

        The decision by Margrethe Vestager, the European Union commissioner for competition, is the culmination of a two-year investigation into whether Ireland gave preferential treatment to Apple, part of a broader crackdown on corporate tax avoidance. The clawback from Apple, which covers 10 years of back taxes, is one of the largest of its kind since the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-member union, started going after member states that favored selected companies….

        Sort of like a reverse ISDS. Groups of nation-states can go after corporations, and the individual states that enable them, to recover not potential, but actual lost revenue. How refreshing. Moar pleez.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I am not involved with Our Revolution. But I am on the Brand New Congress list. Am taking a wait and see approach.

  16. Elizabeth Burton

    Submitted for your consideration…

    The media’s obsession with reporting every drop of saliva to emerge from Donald Trump’s mouth for the last year and a half, accompanied by requisite pearl clutching and gasps of offense, wasn’t done by accident. Instead, it was a carefully planned campaign to set the bulk of the American populace up to automatically embrace any criticism of the Clinton Cult without question, because the Cultists use the language and connections that have been inserted into the national psyche as being Trump-related.

    So, having made a great fuss over how Trump admires Putin, and spreading the theme that Putin would love to have Trump in the Oval Office, they then embrace with enthusiasm the contention of the DNC that their databases were “hacked by Russians, probably at the behest of government agencies,” even though there was no possible way that could have been determined if, as they contend, they weren’t aware of the hack until just a few months ago. Oh, and it helps if you believe Russian intelligence agencies are going to hire hackers stupid enough to all but leave their names and addresses around to be “discovered.”

    What all that does accomplish, however, is generate the mindset that is now terrifying in its willingness to completely ignore any and all facts that the Clinton Foundation is a huge money-laundering organization. I have seen people who take great pride in their skepticism dismiss the multiple articles exposing the corruption as “unfounded rubbish.” I’ve been told the AP article is “a farce.” Point them to articles by qualified professionals showing the utter absence of any proof the Clinton Foundation is a philanthropic organization for anyone but the people it’s named for, and the dismissal is abrupt and total.

    I don’t know if it’s cultism or just that people know she’s going to be elected and don’t want to think about the consequences, but the vast number of those who won’t even consider shenanigans is appalling. It’s all part of that Republican conspiracy, and that’s all they care to know.

    1. different clue


      When you wrote “embrace any criticism OF the Clinton Cult without question” . . . did you mean to have written “embrace any criticism FROM the Clinton Cult without question” ?

      By the way, speaking of Clinton Cult, I wonder if a little acronym engineering could get David Brock’s correctors of the record upset enough to reveal themselves in force. Here is the little bit of acronym engineering I mischeviously suggest:

      KKK for Klinton Koolaid Kult. ( Klinton Koolaid Kult equals KKK. get it? “KKK” repurposed. Ah ha ha ha.)

      Just a suggestion.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “White people drinking water.” [in Africa]

      This was precisely the campaign tactic of our 7th grade student council president, whose poster over each water fountain proclaimed “Free water courtesy of G**** B******.”

      As kids, we all understood it was an arch joke. Whereas the Clintons, who took it all to heart in their adolescent quest to rule their schools, are deadly serious.

  17. marym

    60 Lawmakers Seek Delay of Billion Dollar Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

    In a sign that frustration is growing in Congress over Saudi Arabia, a bipartisan group of 60 lawmakers have signed a letter seeking to delay the Obama administration’s planned sale of $1.15 billion in arms and military equipment to Riyadh.

    The letter, addressed to President Barack Obama, cites the growing number of civilian casualties in Yemen caused by the Saudi-led military coalition, and the Obama administration’s failure to reign in its Arab ally.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Looks like the “28 pages” is taking its toll.

      Wouldn’t it be amazing if the bogus heroes of the SEAL team that rubbed out a defenseless Osama in his pajamas, while Hillary and 0zero gleefully watched, came to be viewed as obstructors of justice for murdering the most important witness to the greatest criminal conspiracy in US history?

      As Uncle Joe Stalin said, “No man, no problem” — for the conspirators who still shamelessly strut our streets, and even seek the validation and criminal immunity of executive office.

    1. NYPaul

      The TPP, specifically, the ISDS provision, will be incredibly difficult to overcome. In my opinion, it is Obama’s “raison d’être,” his crowning glory, the Crown Jewell of his Legacy. It was his goal since he first started running in 2007. In order to enjoy the greatest Post-Presidency any President (Despot) ever had, The TPP, together with its hammer, the ISDS, will be his gift to the World’s Oligarchs, and will be the guarantee that triggers a grateful world’s deluge of “appreciation” that he has been anticipating all these years. The Clintons’ payoffs have made them multi-millionaires. Pikers! Billionaire, many times over is in Obama’s sights.

      As I wrote almost ten years ago, “Barack Obama, the Greatest con Job the world has ever seen,” the lack of any semblance of conscience this sociopath has displayed will be seen as child’s play compared to what’s to come. The Pathological betrayal of A.A’s, Hispanics, the Poor, and, of course, the Middle Class, will pale as the only group standing will be the 0.01%.

      “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.” Were I a religious person, the prophesy “The Anti-Christ has Come,” sounds quite appropriate.

    1. savedbyirony

      I expect she will probably be arrested again this fall for protesting being locked-out of the Presidential “debates”. She spent a night in jail for it back in 2012. That ranks as bad a s s in my book, too.

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