Links 8/1/16

New Fossil Evidence Supports Theory First Mass Extinction Engineered By Early Animals – Eurasia Review (furzy)

Expert to Rio athletes: ‘Don’t put your head under water’ Washington Post (Dan K)

Trade groups, AT&T urge U.S. court to reverse ‘net neutrality’ rules Reuters

GSK and Google parent forge $715 million bioelectronic medicines firm Reuters (furzy)


Britain’s scientists are freaking out over Brexit Washington Post

EU: Relaunch or die Enrico Letta, Politico

European Prisons Fueling Spread of Islamic Radicalism Wall Street Journal


‘Give them a bloody nose’: Xi pressed for stronger South China Sea response Reuters (furzy)

China’s Uber rival Didi Chuxing now owns a stake in every major ride-hailing company on Earth Quartz (resilc)

What Startup India? Modi government let nationalist trolls sabotage one of the country’s biggest startups Quartz (Dan K)

India Provides Emergency Food To 10,000 Workers Laid Off And Starving In Saudi Arabia Eurasia Review (furzy)

Ford Australia commences shutdown MacroBusiness


Kabul’s ‘foreign base’ hit by Taliban BBC

Islamic State calls on members to carry out jihad in Russia Reuters (furzy)

CIA chief not optimistic about future for unified Syria Middle East Online (resilc)

U.S. Officials Are No Longer Talking About ‘Defeating’ ISIS Daily Beast (resilc)

As ‘caliphate’ shrinks, Islamic State looks to global attacks Reuters (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch

False Flags Fluttering in the Empire’s Hot Air Unz Review (LI). IMHO Saker overstates his case. First, I’ve long predicted that we would not see any organized revolt as conditions got worse for ordinary people, but more individuals lashing out in lone acts of violence. Second, there’s also a strong literature of copy cat crimes after one gets publicity. This is particularly true of suicides: there’s a spike of deaths, actual suicides and accidents that are possible/probable suicides in the 10 days after a publicized suicide…in the demographic similar to the person who died, meaning people who identify with him. Third, in an urban setting (buildings with sound-reflective surfaces), its typically hard to identify where gunshots are coming from, making it common to think there are more shooters than there really are. Not sayin’ this isn’t a hypothesis worth considering, but I’m loath to treat it as more than than.


Bernie Supporter at DNC: ‘I Thought This Only Happened At Trump Rallies Real News Network

Clinton Writes Off the Left American Conservative (furzy)

Can Sanders and Warren work together? Politico. Dan K :”Only about Warren in passing, could be titled ‘Can Sanders Work With Anybody?'”

Clinton? Trump? Either Way, Count on Deficit Spending to Rise New York Times. A rare bit of good election news.

Clinton says Russian intelligence services hacked DNC Reuters (Li). Note the continued hammering on the message v. the lack of real evidence.

Clinton yet to tackle voter distrust issue Financial Times

Clinton Worked for Company that Did Business With Islamic State teleSUR (Phil U)

Making Clinton Real by Elizabeth Drew New York Review of Books (resilc)

Hillary Clinton is the status quo candidate, and Trump is capitalizing on it Guardian (resilc)

A Dissenting Opinion on the Importance of the Supreme Court in This Election Alternet

Graham: Trump ‘going to a place where we’ve never gone before’ The Hill

Mother of US Muslim soldier hits back at Trump over speech silence BBC

NY Post Cover, July 31 . Note The Donald first met her years after these nudie pix.

The man with America’s future in his hands: Trump makes a baby cry during Colorado photo op as snarky commentators ask if it’s The Donald’s new foreign policy team! Daily Mail (Li). The baby was actually fine with the photo op initially (see video) but quickly decided he didn’t like photo ops. More important, the article notes the debates are scheduled opposite NFL games. Well done, Team Dem!

Koch network seeks to defuse donor frustration over Trump rebuff Washington Post (Dan K). Notice focus on Senate races…

I turned down a meeting with Charles and David Koch. Much better for them to meet with the puppets of politics, they will do much better! @realDonaldTrump (Phil U). I’m sure there will be denials on the Koch side whether feelers were made or not…and even if there was a feeler, it could have been made by a member of the “Koch network” acting on his own, as in not authorized (as in both sides could be telling the truth even in the event of a denial). I hate this informational hall of mirrors.

Donald Trump says Vladimir Putin is ‘not going to go into Ukraine,’ despite Crimea CNN (furzy). We said so two years ago. Eastern Ukraine is an economic albatross and it suits Putin just fine as a buffer zone.

America’s mirror: How Hillary Clinton helped create Donald Trump – and how he could destroy her Telegraph

How Trump Turned the US Foreign-Policy Consensus Upside-Down Defense One (resllc)

Russia Expert Stephen Cohen: Trump Wants To Stop The New Cold War, But The American Media Just Doesn’t Understand Real Clear Politics (Phil U)

1,000 mass shootings in 1,260 days: this is what America’s gun crisis looks like Guardian (furzy)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black, White, and Blue: Working Class Counterpunch

Policing as a Tool of Systemic Racism Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

Growing Oil Glut Shows Investors There’s Nowhere to Go But Down Bloomberg (resilc)

Multi-manager hedge funds suffer losses in first-half 2016 Reuters (furzy)

CalPERS is well prepared for market’s ups and downs Robert Feckner, Sacramento Bee. Feckner is the President of the Board of Administration, and this op ed was almost certainly drafted by CalPERS staff. Those of you who take issue with Feckner’s cheery reading,(calling Jim Haygood!) might e-mail Feckner and try educating him. Central bankers have put long term investors, not just CalPERS, in a lose-lose situation: continued super low rates will kill them, and raising rates will kill them even faster. Please ping Feckner at

Open government lawsuits against city, pension fund cost taxpayers more than $2 million Remember Robert Klausner, CalPERS fiduciary counsel hired with a very unsavory past, including running a pay to play seminar business that is more lucrative than his official client business, and being the guy responsible for all those $200,000 a year police pension funds you read about? Those are to endear him forevah to the one or two police and fire pension fund administrators that hire him. Klausner was responsible for running up this $2 million tab by telling his client to fight a FOIA. And they were already the most underfunded public pension fund in the state, yet among other things, he as general counsel approved of superfunding the “special” pension fund for execs and trustees, as well as hiding the very existence of the special fund from the city for decades.

Man Group AUM Dips to $76.4B as First Half Volatility Hits Home FINalternatives (furzy)

Carlyle’s Rubenstein to Help Harvard Invest After Years of Underperformance PEU Report. This after years of Carlyle having AUM shrinkage? Beware of Greeks bearing gifts…

This Boring Service Is Suddenly a Big Concern for Treasurys Wall Street Journal. Notice the lack of explanation as to why JP Morgan withdrew. You’d think they would have beefed about regulations, as Dimon is wont to do if that were the driver. So it must have been deemed to be too low margin, but weirdly no one is willing to say that. Or maybe those pesky IT systems were getting a bit too creaky, and JPM didn’t want to be caught out or have to invest more?

Why Growth Will Fall New York Review of Books (resilc)

The Fragile U.S. Economy Now Facing a Slowdown in Building Boom – Bloomberg (resilc)

Class Warfare

Payday Lending Regulation: The Substitution Effect? Adam Levitin. In accessible terms, shellacks the main argument made to justify payday lending.

Judge Rakoff Rules That Uber’s Customer Arbitration Clause Is Not Conspicuous Enough to Be Enforceable SDNY Blog (Adrien). Go Judge Rakoff!

Antidote du jour (martha r):

waving squirrels links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. DJG

      If those are Chicago squirrels, what they are debating is where to find the dumpsters with the best pieces of leftover pizza.

      I once saw a squirrel trotting down the sidewalk here carrying a wrapped Reese’s peanut butter cup. I still can’t figure out where the squirrel got the money to buy it.

      1. JamesG

        My Monday morning nitpick.

        You’re correct to write “Reese” since it’s a trademark.

        You were wrong not to capitalize “Dumpster” for the same reason.

        (There will be a test at the end of the term.)

        1. Katharine

          Dumpster, like Sheetrock, Kleenex, and, most completely, Aspirin, which formally gave up, has lost that fight. Technical accuracy may be required in formal writing, but what amounts to conversational writing will never respect the demand.

          I often wonder why the companies mind so much. As long as they get occasional credit for their trade names, with whatever financial benefit that confers, I should think they would be proud to have had those names become synonymous with the generic product.

          1. Roger Smith

            Don’t forget “Q-tip”. I still cannot figure that one out. My current hypothesis is that your ear is an “O” and by adding the tip you make it a “Q”.

            1. Joe

              From Wikipedia:
              The cotton swab is a tool invented in the 1920s by Leo Gerstenzang after he attached wads of cotton to toothpicks. His product, which he named “Baby Gays”, went on to become the most widely sold brand name, “Q-tips”, with the Q standing for “quality”.

    2. samhill

      I lived in NYC for 30 years, lived across a small park, never ever saw a squirrel in a dumpster or garbage can or eating trash of any sort. Rats galore and bold and blatant so it wasn’t lack of access to the garbage and squirrels are smarter, more agile and jacked up than rats. Squirrels eat nuts and acorns, doubt pizza, they don’t even eat the bread peeps leave for birds. I would not preclude a nutty Snickers. Maybe a sciuriologist can chime in.

      Ever see a squirrel taunt a dumb house cat? Fantastic entertainment.

      1. DJG

        samhill: Here in Chicago, they eat a certain amount of human food. I have seen squirrels with pieces of pizza more than once. I have also seen squirrels with pieces of bagel–only the Jewish squirrels, of course.

        1. optimader

          Squirrels eat nuts and acorns, doubt pizza,

          I really have no reason to mislead you. I have fed a certain old arthritic squirrel in millennium park hunks of brie cheese. He chows on it, then finally sets down the bit he cant eat waddles away on his arthritic little peg legs.
          Not exactly garbage, but certainly not nuts and acorns either.

        2. Skip Intro

          Have you seen the squirrels actually eating the pizza? Squirrels are highly intelligent, motivated, and, dare I say, competitive creatures. They will often barter pizza, bagels, or pizza-bagels with local rats for nuts and acorns. Lately though, they have been deceived and disappointed by the now ubiquitous label on packaging which says ‘may contain traces of peanuts’.

      2. Larry

        They were always popping out of the garbage cans around Northeastern in Boston, MA. In the urban environment, squirrels will eat and horde many surprising things.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Looks like Sanders. That leftie squirrel is jabbing the air while saying “Enough is enough!”

  1. Patty Hearst

    This commenter interprets Saker differently. The state doesn’t need a lot of instability to justify intensified repression. So far you had a couple of people get fed up and shoot cops – a remarkably muted response to systematic and widespread extrajudicial killing by state death squads – and of course now the big whiny pussies are panicking and screeching civil war. In the Seventies the existential threat was hot mess Bernardine Dohrn. CIA knocked over a couple of buildings and that was sufficient to justify national-survival plans based on strategic nuclear war. Traditional US state repression always features continually escalating state provocation and gross overreaction to any little response.

  2. James Levy

    The false flag article makes no sense.

    Such actions (atrocities, in my opinion) feed support for Trump, LePen, and the ultranationalists in Germany, not the neocons, who are distrusted by nationalists for the rational reason that the neocon project is international in scope and intent. “Islamic” terrorist acts (or false flag ops purporting to be Islamic terrorist acts) certainly don’t help Clinton and the neocons around her. Trump has the anti-Moslem stage all to himself. And Trump certainly isn’t organizing crazy men in Nice to drive trucks into crowds on Bastile Day. So perhaps, sadly, the world really is out of control, no evil masterminds are organizing everything in their secret Batcave in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and nuts really do go off half-cocked and kill a load of people.

  3. Roger Smith

    Re: A Dissenting Opinion on the Importance of the Supreme Court in This Election Alternet

    Here is how I want to expand on this article. Create a baseline with which to analyze all SCOTUS decisions against–based on equality, democracy, “progressive” measures, etc… Create a list that summarizes (and maybe establishes brief historical context) all cases and has a simply yes or no dichotomy for its rating against he measure. It should provide a good counterargument for at least a century (I doubt the court or country is fundamentally changing anytime soon).

    1. James Levy

      On the issues of civil rights for black and gay people, and access to abortion, Clinton will almost certainly name, from my perspective, superior candidates to the bench than Trump will. On all other issues her choices are likely to be similar or identical in their neoliberal and pro-authority views to any appointed by Trump. This leads to the divisive split we see today. If those rights are of great importance to you (and it’s hard to argue that for most black, gay, and childbearing-age women they are, just as gun rights are of vast interest and importance to others) then you have one very strong reason to vote for Clinton over Trump. It may not be a decisive reason, but it is a real one. If I’m an industrial worker I certainly have a huge incentive to vote for Trump. But if I’m a black parent in Michigan or Mississippi or North Carolina where the current government would love to restrict my access to the ballot box and cut funding for my kid’s school and limit his or her access to a state college by repealing affirmative action, I have a significant reason to fear a Trump presidency. Again, it may not be decisive, but the notion that it is foolish is not warranted and perhaps presumptuous, just as it was presumptuous to tell workers they shouldn’t vote for Trump because “he’s a nasty guy.”

      1. Uahsenaa

        I’ll give you civil rights (in a limited sense, see below) and abortion (which as far as the Supreme Court is concerned is a settled matter), but the DNC engaged in active and willful voter suppression to benefit Clinton, one presumes, with her tacit approval, and so-called “education reform” and the funding madness it perpetrates is a bipartisan boondoggle. Race to the Top was worse in many ways than No Child Left Behind, and ESSA (just passed) makes matters even more unnecessarily complicated.

        I suppose if you take the view that the D and R candidates are, more or less, equally terrible but in different ways, this could be the very thinnest pretext with which to choose one over the other.

      2. hemeantwell

        And let’s extend your reasoning to international relations. Two of the core stupidities of nationalism, the relative devaluation of foreign lives and the refusal to accept responsibility for international conflict, are axial to HRC’s foreign policy. I’m faced with the sickening “choice” of voting for someone who is ok on civil rights — with emphasis on the limitations of those rights absent economic justice — but who threatens full scale international conflict, or voting for someone who is truly regressive on civil rights but who at least appears, or wants to appear, to be willing to compete internationally in terms of trade instead of armaments.

    2. DJG

      Roger Smith and James Levy: The article is sloppy. The comparison of the three divisions of the U.S. government to the Christian trinity is ludicrous. Didn’t this guy ever read about the influence of the structure of the Roman Republic (elected executive, a senate, a popular chamber (not much used), separate judiciary)? Also, if we accept the idea that the Iroquois Confederacy had an influence on the U.S. Articles of Confederation, we are long way from sloppy trinitarianism.

      Yet the article brings up a central point: The U.S. Supreme Court mainly protects property and mainly protects the status quo. Dred Scott reinforced slavery, and Plessy stripped the rights of black people as the Southern states undermined Reconstruction.

      With regard to LBGT rights, agitation has proven more effective. The ACLU has been the vanguard here.

      With regard to women’s reproductive rights and access to contraception, the current Democratic ticket of Clinton (lukewarm) and Kaine (Mr. Hyde Amendment) shows you how little concern the Democrats have in getting ahead of the curve on women’s issues.

      And if Clinton succeeds in getting Merrick Garland or Srinivasan on the Court, won’t they amount to two more Anthony Kennedys?

      If my Facebook feed is any indication, SCOTUS! is on the level with the Russians Are Coming! We live by slogans.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Don’t forget “BULLY!” in the slogan department. Or “Disses parents of heroic dead GI killed in idiotic imperial war…”

        Maybe the Khan family should spend some time talking to the family of Pat Tillman, a foohbowh gridiron hero who was unfortunate enough to buy the “patriotism” guff and got martyred by the idiocy of our can’t-seem-to-crush-tribespeople Brass… who then created another huge fiction and coverup to try to profit from their failures and frauds…

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          People like Trump because he talks like a human being. The press will catch him making semi-gaffes because they are watching every word he says vigilantly, hoping to find one. Unlike his opponent, he doesn’t let himself be totally scripted one hundred percent of the time. The MSM will fall all over themselves patting themselves on the back thinking they caught him in a gaffe, but actually it’s the press making fools of themselves, because there’s nothing there. And by now even the Average Joe is distrustful of the MSM. They can see the bias of the MSM against The Donald, and that makes them like The Donald.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Don’t be so forgiving just because you don’t like Clinton. His remarks on Khan were just awful, way worse than a gaffe. And he has a line of attack that would have gotten the MSM on tilt but would have made a serious point: “I’m terribly saddened by the loss of his son. It’s always a tragedy when someone dies young. But I don’t understand how he let himself be used by the Clinton campaign when it was her policies that got him killed.” Heads would have exploded. Instead he makes a pissy sounding remark and attacks the Muslim religion again.

            1. Roger Smith

              Exactly Yves. That was the obvious response hanging right in his face. It is this type of failure that reminds me of Bernie Sanders, and how he similarly missed chances to read the cards right in front of him during debates, and makes me question whether or not Trump can actually pull a win off.

            2. afisher

              HUH? Clinton voted for the Iraq War and now someone is describing a singular vote that reflected the overwhelming vote by Congress as “her policy”.

              Disagree with the Iraq War, fine, I get that, but tagging HRC with a “her policy tag” is pretty over the top, IMO

              Captain Kahn died in 2004.

              1. craazyboy

                If we stuck with sensible dialog, it would be neocon policies. Next, why have neocon policies flourished thru the Obama era – and coming Hillary era.

                Agreed Trump has an alarming propensity to grasp foot and stick in one’s own mouth.

                1. EndOfTheWorld

                  Remember Trump made clumsy pronouncements from Day I of the primaries. That’s what he does. He still beat all the other Republicans, easily. People still vote for him. The average member of the electorate does not like or trust somebody who only says politically correct stuff all the time. Trump himself made the statement: “I am not politically correct.” It’s part of his appeal. As far as shedding all these crocodile tears for the dead Muslim CPT, that guy is dead and nothing will bring him back. I did more than 20 yrs in the US military, and I’m no hero, but I can tell you that the soldiers themselves don’t get all misty-eyed about soldiers dying. Trump is right to question why that guy was in the stupid war in the first place.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    If this persists, Trump perhaps has more chances to respond better (if he learns and adapts, and I sense he is capable of doing that).

                    It this doesn’t persist, that is, if this goes away quietly, then, that means not too many will remember it by November.

              2. EndOfTheWorld

                HRC is a warmonger. She goes along with the neocon, neolib line and then some. Trump is awkward, clumsy, rambunctious, whatever you want to call it but he’s bringing out this point. The people are against endless war.

                1. James Levy

                  Would you invent such an excuse if a sheet metal worker gave a speech at one of Trump’s rallies with wife beside him and Clinton asked, “I wonder if she’s allowed to talk?” or would you be incensed?

                  “Clinton is a warmonger” is not a magic incantation. It’s can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

            3. James Levy

              Yves, the “I’ve sacrificed because I worked hard” line Trump gave as rebuttal to Mr. Khan was such self-serving, ridiculous twaddle I’m stupped how his acolytes around here are going to diffuse that bit of idiocy. I worked hard only applies if you worked hard and took nothing for it: that’s a sacrifice. Working hard with daddy’s money and making a mint for yourself is not sacrifice. That Trump isn’t lying, that he believes such nonsense, is truly staggering. It’s like Bush imagining himself a self-made man.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                It shows how unbelievably bad Clinton is as a candidate and a person that someone as gaff-mouthed as Trump is even close. I mean could her policy positions and prior actions be any more at odds with the gobble-speak emanating from her mouth? And people know it.
                And yet the Repubs have found a man who routinely shoots himself in both feet, his calves, his kneecaps…and he’s still competitive.
                After 4 years of Hilary they’ll be able to run Zippy The Pinhead and he’ll win.

                1. Jeremy Grimm

                  Zippy is funny though. He would make the Whitehouse a regular feature on the Comedy Network — even without a stand-up to toss out the jokes.

            4. EndOfTheWorld

              “attacking the Muslim religion”—-Trump is saying, yes, there is a problem with Muslim terrorists. He doesn’t want to take in all the so-called refugees. I think most Americans agree with him. He is different from HRC on this issue—this may come out more in the debates.

            5. Whine Country

              Sorry Yves, what was awful was the Kahns being used as fools and tools to further the Clinton’s agenda, and that includes the wife standing there and not saying a word. I am a Vietnam combat veteran whose company of slightly more than 90 men lost 11 KIAs on Good Friday 1968 and the next day. I know what the proper emotions are to honor and grieve for those who we lost. I also know that trying to use those deaths for any political purpose other than to raise the legitimate question of why they died and how we can keep from incurring more deaths is wrong. I agree that, in a perfect world, Trump should have been quick enough to focus the issue where it should have been, but in real time, like EndOfTheWorld says sometimes we’re just caught off guard and we make a gaffe. But like EOTW also said, we are all human beings. I don’t know what you call people like the DNC and Hillary who seek to trade on the loss of one of our soldiers in order to lure Muslim voters who are apparently principally concerned about our immigration policy. Sick and depraved comes to mind though.

          2. bob

            What planet do you live on?

            “They can see the bias of the MSM against The Donald, and that makes them like The Donald”

            The MSM made trump. It’s been going on for over 2 decades now. He knows it. They know it. It seems that you, and the majority of turmp’s supporters are the only ones that believe this line of BS.

            1. Carolinian

              So your claim is that the MSM are not favoring Clinton? Really? Or perhaps you are saying the media made Trump and therefore they have a right to unmake him. Whether you are saying that or not I believe that is clearly what they think.

              It’s true that Trump’s qualifications for the job are dubious but then you could say the say about his opponent whose main claim to fame is being married to one of our presidents. Can anyone seriously argue that if Hillary’s last name wasn’t Clinton she would be standing where she is? To be sure she was Secretary of State but for many of us that’s the primary reason not to vote for her.

              So yes we are facing a choice between two candidates with dubious qualifications and yet the news media bend over backwards to favor one of them. Why is that?…..

              1. bob

                Please read again. Never did I mention the C word.

                Where did you see it? Why are you making stuff up?

                1. Carolinian

                  Well my read is that you are disputing the quote stating that the media are against Trump and saying instead that they “made” him over two decades. But you’ll notice at the beginning of my reply I ask for clarification re what you are in fact saying.

                  So just to repeat: are you claiming that MSM coverage in the here and now does not favor Clinton? Really?…

                  1. bob

                    You are still using the C word that is nowhere in what I wrote. I know it’s long, but I’ll cut and paste it just so you can reread it.

                    What planet do you live on?

                    “They can see the bias of the MSM against The Donald, and that makes them like The Donald”

                    The MSM made trump. It’s been going on for over 2 decades now. He knows it. They know it. It seems that you, and the majority of turmp’s supporters are the only ones that believe this line of BS.”

                    Is there something in there that you would like to argue about? Or, are you, as your hero does, just using any opportunity to enlighten us on YOUR flawed thinking and self asserted vicitmhood?

                    1. Carolinian

                      Since you ask for my opinion I will do you the courtesy you so rantingly refuse to do for me and simply answer.

                      Did the media make Trump? Of course! The man had a tv show for many years. This could easily account for his winning the Republican nomination all by itself.

                      On the other hand is the statement

                      “They can see the bias of the MSM against The Donald, and that makes them like The Donald”

                      true? Also of course! The public in fact hate the news media which have an approval rating that may be approaching the single digits.

                      As to the rest of my reply I’m trying to steer you to the only topic, IMVHO, worth talking about–whether it is appropriate for the news media to openly favor one candidate over another in a presidential election. Regardless of how Trump or Hillary Clinton came to be I say of course not.

                    2. Whine Country

                      bob seems to be of the opinion that the media is not against Trump, but is in fact the reason for his success, so the issue you raise is basically moot. Possibly, were you to press him further, he would clarify that what you now perceive to be media bias for Hillary, is merely, evening things out for having previously made Trump the man he is. Personally, I think the media is on Hillary’s payroll, but that’s just me.

                    3. low integer

                      I just saw a clip of a new Simpson’s episode that depicts and compares how they think a President Clinton (ugh) and President Trump (a smaller ugh but still an ugh) would act if receiving an important 2:00am phone call and if anyone has any doubts about how far the media is in the tank for Clinton this should relieve you of it. The Trump one is pretty funny when viewed in isolation, but Clinton is shown sleeping next to Bill, like they have some kind of relationship based on love(!), and she is depicted as being much more responsible. Admittedly I haven’t seen the whole episode but even if it is neutral, which I doubt, the fact that the edit I saw on TV favored Clinton so much still speaks volumes.

                    4. low integer

                      Actually thinking a little more on this, Hillary and Bill were only marginably recognizable, while nobody could ever mistake that the Trump character was Trump. Perhaps the writers of the Simpsons were forced to do this episode in a particular way and this was an under the radar way of saying that the Clintons are very different people to how they have depicted them.

                    5. bob

                      Now you’re accusing me of asking for your opinion? I think the problem with trump is people like trump, and you.

                      You state, then argue against things that were never said. You then use that false accusation to paint yourself as persecuted, and then cite that persecution as proof of??? What exactly?

                      As to the claim of victimhood made by, yet another, person putting words in my mouth.

                      “Personally, I think the media is on Hillary’s payroll, but that’s just me.”

                      OK, what is Hillary paying the top TV news network?

                      And yes, it is you. Its all about YOU.

                      “why won’t you acknowledge my victimhood and put me on the cover of the daily news! It’s not fair!”

                      You now have The Best® whiner, ever, to form up with and whine your way to the top. Add a little more spite to completely drown out the pangs of whining…A new way forward is born!

                      Pigs, argue, mud. out.

                    6. low integer

                      I think the problem with trump is people like trump, and you.

                      Carolinian has always seemed rational and insightful to me. The media may have made Trump but the ruling class and their media is decidedly agitated and unnerved that he no longer knows his place in the hierarchy. It is like you just want to make your point about Trump in a vacuum and are incensed that people are looking at this from a perspective of relativity.

          3. clarky90

            I have noticed that Trump spends some time, at every rally, in every speech, awakening The People to the Web of Lies (“Conventional Wisdom”) that is being relentlessly woven, 24/7, in order to ensnare Us all, with gambling, food, sex, status and drug addictions,

            One solitary man (Trump) has engaged the Forces of Evil (IMO), and has reduced them to underwear-soiling. Who, of The Powers That Be, are not arrayed against him? Ginormous media, money, pharmaceuticals, Industrial Military Complex………The Kock Brothers, Establishment Democrats AND Republicans.

            It is like Lord of the Rings, with Gandalf (Trump) and his Hobbits, Elves and Dwarfs arrayed against the invincible forces of Sauron. We know who wins, in spite of the odds.

            For those who accuse him of being “self serving”, he is not IMO. He is literally putting his life onto the barricades. (He is in constant danger). Trump could have lived out his life in Peace and Prosperity. He was universally well liked (a TV personality). He has money and a nice family. Now he is universally despised by the media. Even the Simpsons. ( are piling into him.

            The word has gone out. Vilify Trump or else!

            1. bob

              Demanding underdog status from the MSM, when the MSM has been his entire campaign is reality defying. Lord of the rings, huh?

            2. Harry

              I’m not sure I would have seen Trump as the Frodo Baggins of our time. Perhaps we should call him Dodo Baggins Trump?

              And yes I’m sure the media is out to vilify him, but that don’t make him no Mother Teresa. I think Trump defines crass and crass defines Trump. But I still want hrc to lose.

              1. pretzelattack

                yeah, she’s a warmonger. trump gets pissed, he sends ill advised tweets. she pursues war in a cold but badly calculated fashion, day in and day out. which is more dangerous?

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          I’m glad you brought up Pat Tillman, whose death in Afghanistan was shamelessly lied about and exploited in service of american “exceptionalism,” until the military was forced to admit that his life was taken by “friendly” fire early in the conflict that continues today.

          In spite of the fact that mentioning the Khan family with anything less than pure adulation is a minefield, I wonder if Mr. Khan has ever considered that his family’s tragedy is being exploited by a woman who, if elected, will escalate and continue without end the violence he claims to abhor. That his support for her unabashed warmongering by this “wonderful” country will guarantee that millions more families will suffer as his family is suffering.

          And what about Patricia Smith, whose son was killed in Benghazi, and said at the republican convention that she holds hillary clinton personally responsible for his death? Is her tragedy any less compelling because it does not advance the preferred narrative? Apparently the media thinks so.

          This country has a long and slimy history of creating heroes as propaganda, and then abandoning them when they are no longer useful. As undeniably tragic as the Khan story is, Mr Khan should consider carefully the policies for which he is advocating.

          1. bwilli123

            Is there an obverse of Karl Rove’s dicta that one should always attack where one’s opponent is strongest? That is, that if your weakest point (to an otherwise objective observer) is that you are a warmongering harpy, that you should double down on exactly that?
            The idea in this instance then would be to show that some profound principle (brandishes copy of the Constitution) not only justifies swimming in the blood of failed nations, but actually welcomes a lazy backstroke.

          2. Whine Country

            Calling Hillary to task for the death of Ms. Smith’s husband is fair game. Using Mr. Kahn’s son’s unfortunate death as a political ploy to attract votes from Muslims who seem to place a higher priority on future immigration of their fellow countrymen than the here and now for all Americans is sick.

      2. Roger Smith

        “Didn’t this guy ever read about the influence of the structure of the Roman Republic (elected executive, a senate, a popular chamber (not much used), separate judiciary)?”

        Good point there. Your argument was the same as mine as soon as I saw the unanimous McDonell decision. “If people both Democrats and Republicans nominated did that, what is all the worry about?” Not one of them was willing to challenge the status quo of political bribery.

    3. Torsten

      Re: The Supreme Court Threat

      I have been having similar misgivings about the significance of Hillary Clinton’s likely Supreme Court nominees. For example, how likely is it that the current court would abdicate its responsibility by upholding the ISDS provisions of TPP/TTIP, and how would 3 new Ivy League justices rule on the matter?

      Conceding that Plan B has not obviated the importance of Roe v Wade, how likely is a court of Ivy League justices to issue rulings that make Plan B affordable for poor women, as opposed as profitable for the pharmaceutical companies?

      Levy’s comment on Voting Rights is important, but as we have just seen (yet again) it is the *primaries* that control the electorate’s options for the general. How likely is it that Clinton’s appointees will rule that the taxpayers make the rules for taxpayer-supported primaries–as opposed to the private clubs that are the major parties? How likely is it that an all-ivy court will rule that gerrymandering to pit white against black/brown violates the Equal Protection clause?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Or girls, not just women. Remember Hillary’s running mate is an advocate of parental consent laws for abortions which can make it awkward for 14 year old girls depending on who the rapist is.

        When Team Blue discusses abortion rights, they mean privilege for their class.

    4. TheCatSaid

      Frank Joyce’s piece makes a compelling case that the Constitution was written in a way to protect the privileged, and to make it difficult or impossible for others to effectively change the system. His point about important SCOTUS decisions reflecting and following from societal activism–not leading it based on principles of fairness or justice–does indeed seem accurate.

      In the past I have sometimes been persuaded by the argument about potential SCOTUS appointments being a reason to vote in a certain way. After reading this article I have changed my mind.

      This reinforces the importance of ongoing activism on many fronts. (Catarina Principe makes the same basic argument on a recent excellent 2-part interview on The Real News Network, talking about the left in Europe. In this case she’s talking about political change, and how it will only be effective when it’s based on widespread activism across many groups and sectors. She’s not talking about SCOTUS, but about what is effective in creating meaningful, systemic change.)

          1. Roger Smith

            As in, a quick way to identify those the party deemed as “ignoramuses”. “Look at those clowns in the shirt! They don’t realize we are making fun of them! snicker…”

            I’d like to know how many of these shirts sold. I’d bet <10

            1. hreik

              hopefully zero. If you know Art Spielman’s works they made Bernie look like the rats/nazi charicatures of Der Juden. Hard to believe they did this… or maybe not… maybe they thought………. whatever it takes.

        1. hreik

          apologies… think i misunderstood your comment w my “srsly?” comment. I see that you ‘get it”..

        2. jrs

          Ok Hillary is Mao maybe (and if you’ll buy that …), but it’s also the Japanese flag, especially Imperial Japan.

  4. James Levy

    Holy Crow the economic growth article was obtuse.

    It’s all about productivity growth.


    So how, Herr Docktor Economist, do the gains of that growth get divvied up? Why, if productivity growth is the Ur stat you make it out to be, is wealth expanding so rapidly at the top while it is withering away at the bottom?

    I’ll bet my last dollar that in 762 pages of text, the author never manages to address those questions in any substantive or convincing way.

    1. craazyboy

      Economists know their shit. 5000 years of human history wrapped up in one, easy to understand economic goal. The 4 steps of Productivity Growth.

      1) Opposable thumbs
      2) Toolmakers!
      3) ?????
      4) Profit!!!!!!

      1. Steve H.

        -1) Robots cut out opposable thumbs, shortening the production cycle. (20th Century)

        -2) Zirp on Fiat Island cuts out toolmakers, shortening the production cycle. (21st Century)

        3) Under these conditions, ????? is not conserved, thus:

        4) Infinite Profit!!!!!!

  5. Carolinian

    The Defense One article is a hoot. The cited “existing consensus” on practically every topic seems quite mad. Apparently the US has been invading, bombing and regime changing in the name of world order and crazy Trump threatens to change this. And we are seeing similar claims in the self described newspaper of record as they produce articles about how Trump doesn’t understand the fictional version of the Ukraine conflict that their stenographer/propagandists have churned out.

    The one non mad exception in the Defense One rundown would be torture where Obama has allegedly decided to skip the torture and go straight to blowing up “bad guys” with Hellfire missiles. But torture was official US policy during the Dubya years and I don’t recall the Times or the Post putting up too much objection until some embarrassing pictures showed just how vile we were being.

    Americans, it seems, are a saintly bunch according to that “existing consensus.” But at least in this PC age the FP consenters don’t get to describe our actions around the world as being the “white man’s burden.”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s amazing to see “the invasion of Crimea” trotted out by everyone from Obomba to the NATO war makers…oops except that they held a vote in the Crimea where 82% voted to rejoin Russia, and the transition happened without a single shot fired.
        Sounds suspiciously like “democracy”, can’t have any of that horrible thing popping up now can we.

    1. bob

      “Target, and Home Depot. Magnetic stripe cards were causing them massive fraud”

      Nope, the cards were not causing fraud. Cards are inanimate objects. The fraud was perpetrated by people, in the case of Target, who had access deep inside the organization. The POS terminals (love that name) were tampered with before they were installed in the stores.

      So, what does replacing all of the POS’s really accomplish? It gives fraud a new opportunity, with lots of untested systems backlogged, and sitting around inside a warehouse.

      The framing of this story really sucks. When you base your analysis off the PR, you’ll be sure to not make any sense. Sure, there’s plenty of “secure” sounding platitudes, and lots of money for people selling untested machines. Isn’t that the point?

      1. craazyboy

        Putin privatized the KGB (actually, he made Yeltsin do it so this can’t be traced back to Putin – cagy guy that Putin) and now we have the Russian mafia to deal with in this country. (understandably, we thought they were on our side when we gave them American visas and citizenships.)

        They are some pretty sophisticated folks and have targeted our credit card way of life. They hate us for our credit cards. Naturally, subverting our POS terminals is just one way they are attacking capitalism each and every day. One could easily envision the Russian mafia transferring all our bank accounts to Russia. Then we’d all be broke!

      2. cm

        So, what does replacing all of the POS’s really accomplish?

        What it accomplished is encrypting the traffic between the POS and the credit card processor, leaving the merchant out of the equation.

        As you observed, Target breach was caused by Target’s compromised network. With a chip scenario, while Target was breached the credit card data would be secure.

        Agreed w/ the article’s main point, though. Chip & Pin would have been better.

        1. bob

          “With a chip scenario, while Target was breached the credit card data would be secure.”

          Facts not in evidence. Are you seriously asserting the “unhackablity” of this brand new, untested system?

          Sounds like a techno utopian PR titanic.

          1. Hacker

            Nothing is unhackable, nor does it need to be and the system is hardly untested since it has been in other countries for years.

            Chip cards are at least two orders of magnitude harder to clone. Probably even more. So if you can close a mag stripe credit card for $3, it would be $300 for a chip card. If anyone can do it, it hasn’t leaked out yet.

            The upgrade of the card readers for chip cards usually comes with end to end encryption and tokenization within the merchant’s systems. This means the data that the merchant has access to is of no value to a thief. Of course some merchants may not have gone that far, but when they are ready the new readers they had to buy will get them there.

            So to steal card data, one has to now hack the banks and card processors which is harder. Then the data can’t be used to make fake cards to sell on the street, so the opportunities to get value from the card data is much smaller and the chance of getting caught higher.

            1. bob

              “So to steal card data, one has to now hack the banks and card processors which is harder.”

              Or, hack the POS.

              Same story. What has changed, other than the POS, which as your comment points out…”Of course some merchants may not have gone that far”… is not standardized.

              Sell cards on the street? Sure, that’s where stolen credit cards numbers are sold these days.

              It’s security® as long as you assume that the crooks will play by the rules. They never do that.

              It also adds a whole NEW set of systems and attack vectors.

              But, you’re paying for it, via higher prices at all retailers and fraudulent charges, so why not sell a whole bunch of useless equipment? No skin off their backs, it’s all off yours.

      3. Dave

        And company policy. We kept getting credit card rejections, along with a medium sized bill, from Home Depot at our house, for an unknown person.
        Called the cops. The policeman explained the scam:

        Hustlers apply for a Home Depot credit card at the counter and they give them immediate temporary credit when they hand in the application.

        Our street address and street name look close enough to another one that the credit report at Home Depot was partially OK and thus they weren’t turned down but they got the immediate in store credit, enough to walk out with power tools as their first “charge”.

        p.s. NC readers know that the majority of power tools on Home Depot shelves are still owned by the manufacturer. They just pay rent for the shelf space and HD collects a service charge to sell them. Plus, the merchandise is often lower quality and thus cheaper versions of what is sold where real contractors buy tools, i.e. Square D electrical breakers.

        1. bob

          That’s fraud WAY before the card even comes into the question.

          Magstripe, chip, chip and pin….none will do anything about that scenario.

          “But it’s encrypted, fraud is unpossible!”

  6. Arizona Slim

    Thanks for including Bill Black’s article on the history of police oppression. A must-read.

    1. Steve H.

      Origins of the police, by David Whitehouse

      “The nature of the police comes from the nature of the “problem”: an urban working population that has developed some economic autonomy as wage workers and artisans and has thus been able to create a self-assertive, collective life of its own. The Southern experience also reinforces the point that was already clear in the North: Anti-Black racism was built into American police work from the very first day.”

      1. TheCatSaid

        I heard an amazing talk by Angela Davis on a TRNN program, saying we need to rethink the need for police in the first instance, and turn this responsibility back to communities. She put her finger right on it. But we’ve mostly forgotten that functioning communities are possible, let alone create policies that redistribute power and resources to communities in a meaningful way.

        As per my comment elsewhere on this thread (regarding SCOTUS justice appointments), Frank Joyce argues persuasively that the US Constitution was written to keep power and resources firmly in the hands of the elite.

        We have drunk the Kool Aid on so many levels. . .

  7. low integer

    Hi all. Just thought I’d pop in quickly and share something I’ve been thinking about today: the disproportionate sensitivity of the elite and their enablers to impoliteness or rudeness.

    The idea that impoliteness is a really big deal shows just how weak most of the elites are. There is a lot more than impoliteness waiting for them once the dam bursts, and more cracks and leaks are appearing by the day. It must be terrifying having screwed so many people over while simultaneously having to hide your weakness, and knowing that any day people are just going to say: “Fuck this. Enough is enough.”

    People are really only as strong as they are when they are by themselves in a place where no one gives a damn about who you think you are or how much money you have. Sincere kindness and compassion, even when it has no material payoff, is where real strength is found.

    Btw, today when I started watching the news, out of nowhere there was a story about South African whites who live in the slums, which I assume was to harden everyone’s resolve to not end up like them and do whatever it takes, which is pretty much always punching down, to hold on to what is theirs. Divide and rule.

    Time to sleep.

    1. low integer

      Btw the word “everyone’s” in the last paragraph would be more accurate (and proper English even) if it were replaced with “white skinned Australians'”. Should have caught that before I posted.

      1. Christopher Fay

        I think in the states we avoid broadcasting stories about the whites living in slums as we don’t want to motivate the downwardly mobile to do something about their plight. We focus on offing black motorists and street entrepreneurs as that’s great for scaring the wrong iceberg group.

    2. Ranger Rick

      How did that famous Conan the Barbarian quote go again?

      “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”

    3. DJG

      low integer: When people start squawking about civility, what they truly mean is hierarchy. As in, enforcement thereof.

      1. TheCatSaid

        Yes, when civility is thinly-veiled pretense (though the participants understand the code–think British understatement, or how some cultures don’t say “no” but they have other ways to talk around it that to them it’s perfectly clear).

        That has a completely different feeling than civility that comes from a place of genuine respect for others.

        Which is which depends on the human in question. Some people are good actors, but fortunately the world has many people with good hearts.

    4. tony

      How did it go? “Power is a shadow, it is where men think it is.” Rudeness shows lack of deference and one can be rude, the others follow. Then power evaporates.

    5. brook trout

      I have had several experiences where disagreeing is considered in and by itself to be rude. Disagree with my (ex)physician of 25 years that a twelve minute visit to discuss a prescription should not be classified level 5 (with a higher compensation, of course). I’m being rude. Point out that a candidate whom I know personally may be a good person but he’s caught up in a bad system that leaves no future for the person I’m speaking with. I’m being rude. I’ve found it to be a class marker. My working poor family wouldn’t tell me I’m being rude, they’d just tell me I’m being an a**hole, if indeed it were the case.

  8. Charger01

    The article about Judge Rakoff’s ruling is superb. That guy is a diamond in the rough.

  9. afisher

    I have to laugh as Trump says it was the Kochs that wanted to meet with Trump. After this past week-end meeting of ALEC in Indianapolis, where Pence was a headliner, it appears that once again Trump is lying. Not surprised.
    Same with his whine about NFL – they punched back at Trump as well.

    On the good news for Trump, he has a new follower – ISIS sent out a notice that they are not fans of the Khans.

    1. Steve H.

      ALEC: my dear Janet pointed out this morning that if the ISDS provisions in TPP go through, corporations will no longer need to bribe politicians to sweeten up the laws. ALEC becomes superfluous.

      While this might seem that current politicians are screwing future politicians in an IBGYBG fashion, this is not true. There will still be opportunities for skimming by awarding government contracts in the ‘5% off the top’ fashion that Duke Cunningham documented.

    2. craazyboy

      I get suspicious when anybody says “The Kochs” are doing or saying something. What are they, joined at the hip or something? hahahahaha. That was a mispronunciation joke.

      ISIS has been less than tepid on Khans since 1200 AD.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Reading Jane Mayer’s book, Dark Money. Highly recommend it. Great expose of the Koch brothers

  10. Jim Haygood

    Rob Feckner’s SacBee is remarkably dumbed down. How hard would it have been to explain that the lower bound on Calpers’ discount rate will be a still-high 6.5 percent? Or to provide a link to the actual policy?

    Never mind that with bonds yielding 2 percent and stocks at a lofty valuation that implies low to mid single-digit returns from here, Calpers likely will average about 3 to 4 percent return over the next decade. If it does, then Calpers’ 76% funded ratio will sink … and you know who’s on the hook for that!

    Meanwhile, Calpers has advised that they need more time to respond to my FOIA request because of its “complexity.” Still trying to get my pointy head around the concept of an institution with $50 billion in fixed income assets that finds it “complex” to ascertain the name of its fixed income benchmark (which I now suspect, based on empirical evidence, to be the Barclays Russell LDI 8 year index).

  11. DorothyT

    Expert to Rio athletes: ‘Don’t put your head under water’

    Yves, thanks for your attention to this ominous health problem. The Washington Post article does stress major health concerns regarding water and beaches in Rio. However, the world will soon be facing the severe consequences of antibiotic resistance to bacteria, which should also be pertinent to this article. Rio is just one flash point. That this issue is being swept under the rug in Rio and here in the US as well by governments and public health organizations is criminal. Here’s a Reuters article from earlier this summer that does discuss antibiotic resistance as it pertains to the Rio situation.

    1. DorothyT

      Here’s the Reuters article regarding Rio and antibiotic resistance bacteria. I don’t believe it was included in the previous comment.

        1. DorothyT

          More about “Superbugs”: this article on the important recent US finding most likely came from NC, so thanks Yves. Antibiotic resistant bacteria has been close to home for us via a beautiful but contaminated recreational U.S. river (agricultural runoff). The first thing to know is that a healthy immune system is the most effective deterrent. Read up about E.coli and other bacteria that may be contagious or in meat and produce.

          What we’ve learned before taking an antibiotic for any infection or illness is this:

          1. Test first whether the infection is bacterial or viral: if viral, no antibiotic;
          2. If bacterial, take a sputum test to identify the bacteria;
          3. Test the bacteria against an antibiotic that might be effective.

          If you do take antibiotics, know that it takes months to restore your body’s natural and hopefully healthy immunity. If you throw antibiotics at any infection, you may find you are in real trouble as they can change the microbe and make it more deadly.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            So far nobody mentioning the FIFA-like behaviors at the IOC…where permanent paper-pushers earn bigtime, with first-class travel, and get free rent…and almost nothing trickles down to the lowly athletes. I read about one of them who was living in her car while training despite winning two bronzes at the previous Games, par for the course I guess in Elite Land (TM).

            1. pretzelattack

              i can’t imagine the level of dedication it takes to train to be world class while being homeless.

          2. TheCatSaid

            And develop a different relationship with microbes! “Battle” is not the only option. I’ve used Perelandra’s Microbial Balancing Program and Microbial Balancing Program Solutions for years. Most people don’t realize other kinds of relationships with the natural world are possible.

    2. Roger Smith

      When I first starting reading about (and seeing) the pollution and waste in Rio last year I thought for sure this was going to be another “boycott the Olympics” year.

      Silly me. Everything is fine, hey you, stop tweeting!

      1. Carolinian

        Yes, silly you. It’s the Russians who are going to be boycotted using the excuse of the Olympics.

        Yet despite unanimous media endorsement, McLaren’s case would not stand up in a court of law. It relies solely on the evidence of Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of Moscow’s drug-testing laboratory and now a resident of Los Angeles, together with what the report vaguely calls “other witnesses who came forward on a confidential basis.” It did not interview anyone in Russia because, as McLaren argued, “it was simply not practical and I deemed such interviewing would not be helpful.”[…]

        The use of drugs in sport became a major issue during the Cold War. Following the Soviet bloc’s stunning success at the 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games, Western fears about a growing “muscle gap” between East and West began to focus on the use of drugs by Soviet athletes.

        US Cold War propaganda insisted that the Soviet Union was a totalitarian society that vigorously suppressed individual talent and initiative, so sporting Cold Warriors claimed that Soviet athletes must be using “performance-enhancing” drugs. But, of course, both Soviet and American athletes were experimenting with drugs throughout this period when drugs were still legal and viewed as legitimate sports science.

        The article says the Olympics themselves were always a kind of propaganda and

        Sport as we know it today emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century, based on the “Muscular Christian” morality of “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” It was an ideology aimed exclusively at young males, designed to purge them of the moral impurities of sex, effeminacy, and homosexuality, and teach them how to be the rulers of the emerging imperialist nations. Sport created a binary world of the pure and the dirty.

        Clearly the drug cheaters are violating this “purity of essence” which I believe is a phrase from Kubrick’s Strangelove. Meanwhile back in the real world people understand that sports are entertainment, nothing more.

        1. fresno dan

          August 1, 2016 at 12:35 pm

          If you’ve lost your precious bodily fluids, you’ve lost everything…

        2. low integer

          This “evil Russia is trying to rig the Olympics, a crucial step in their maniacal and endless quest to rule the world in a way so evil you cannot even imagine it” angle has been in full tilt in the Australian media. One of the points they seem to consider important is that Australia’s number one competitive speed walker, Jared Talent (or something), would have gotten himself a gold medal in the last Olympics if it weren’t for a Russian walker. Whether or not the Russian walker was doping, this is just the most ridiculous effort to rally public opinion against Russia. I try not to be too judgemental about trivial things, but who the hell cares about competitive speed walking? It has to be one of, if not the, stupidest competitive sports ever invented imo.

          1. Harry

            Back in the 80s I remember the British tabloid press was very anti Argentinean. All you had to do to make something bad was attach the phrase “argy” to something.

          2. low integer

            Adding: Some of the more sensible press here have posed the question of whether the Olympics are even worth it anymore. To my surprise, this was not presented from the loaded angle of trying to portray Russia as having spoilt things for everyone, but rather in terms of whether the money could be better used for different purposes. My first thoughts are that I would be strongly in favor of this if the money was directed to social justice causes, and my preferred cause would be the empowerment of our indigenous population.
            Unfortunately the Abbott years basically consisted of him dishonestly undermining any person or institution with any shred of decency that wandered into his crosshairs, and the Aboriginal population were particularly screwed over. FWIW Turnbull is pehaps a small improvement, but the changes are superficial and his tiny victory margin in the recent Australian election is the most probable cause of this small change for the positive.

  12. afisher

    The other side of the Trump is trying to avoid the “new cold war”. But, for Putin and those around him, the best thing about Trump is simply that he is not Clinton.

    In Clinton, Russian leaders see a potential President who would keep in place, or even strengthen, policies that have proved extraordinarily unwelcome in Moscow.

    Cohen may be using the flawed analysis that President Obama has done nothing to Putin – please ignore the sanctions, etc. Walk and chew gum comes to mind.

    1. pretzelattack

      russia doesn’t want the us to try to remake it.
      As Putin and his allies understand it, Clinton is the standard-bearer of American liberal internationalism, a world view the Russians see as hubristic folly—the same school of thought that sought to remake Russia in its image in the nineteen-nineties
      seems reasonable.

  13. afisher

    Uber: Quartz makes it sound like “no big deal”, when in fact it is, if anyone has been following the information via Pando. Today’s Bloomberg article paints a more accurate picture (IMO) on the cash burning that Travis has spent per year ( est. $1-2B/ year).

    Thus far, they have not made huge in-roads in India either.

    The distrupter just got disrupted.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      There are 3 homegrown taxi hailing services in India that I know of and people are very loyal to their local autorickshaw drivers (once they find a good one). India is a giant network of villages, even in the biggest cities. Not sure if the Uber model can adjust to the real social reality.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Take away the venture capital welfare, and Uber is a goner. Just like a lot of the other unicorns.

  14. bob

    The Fragile U.S. Economy Now Facing a Slowdown in Building Boom – Bloomberg

    “rail cars and trucks with up to 25 tons of washed stone each.”

    No. So early in the story they make a glaring mistake. TRUCKS can handle over 25 tons, depending on the truck. Railcars can handle 4 times 25 tons, up to near 100 tons.

    1. Dave

      An entire hundred car freight train has a total contact area with the rails about as big as a dime. Contrast that with one 18 wheeler truck and you see why rail is superior over long distances.

      1. ewmayer

        An entire hundred car freight train has a total contact area with the rails about as big as a dime.

        Not remotely possible from a material-strength standpoint, as some elementary math shows:

        100 cars at 100 metric tons each, approximating earth’s surface gravity as 10 m/s^2 ==> total weight 10^8 N

        US dime has diameter ~18mm, thus area ~250 mm^2 = 0.25 x 10^-3 m^2

        Dividing total weight by contact area gives an average contact pressure of 4 x 10^11 Pa = 400 GPa (1 Pascal = 1 N/m^2). The Young’s modulus of the kind of steel used in rails is ~200 GPa, and you are going to get significant deformation long before that point. Thus your claimed contact area is probably at least an order of magnitude too low. OK, enough paper-napkin-style math – now let’s see what the expert sites on the web say … and in fact your claimed contact area is a full three orders of magntiude too low – according to this page, a dime is roughly the contact area of *each steel train wheel*. Maybe you heard that stat somehwere and mis-remembered it as being for the whole train?

        Your overall point is still valid, though – smaller contact area and no need to use grippy materials for traction means much lower rolling friction per unit of weight transported – above site says a “steel wheel in contact with a steel rail reduces by 85-99% the amount of rolling friction than a rolling rubber truck tire has in contact with an asphalt or concrete pavement”. And long trains have a naturally aerodynamic shape, in which the leading few cars break the wind and the rest drive through the resulting low-drag “wind tunnel”. Same drafting principle used by bicyclists doing team time trials.

        1. Skip Intro

          Large contact patches have their uses, consider The Deliverator, from Neal Stephenson’s visionary novel Snow Crash:

          The Deliverator’s car has enough potential energy packed into its batteries to fire a pound of bacon into the Asteroid Belt. Unlike a bimbo box or a Burb beater, the Deliverator’s car unloads that power through gaping, gleaming, polished sphincters… You want to talk contact patches? Your car’s tires have tiny contact patches, talk to the asphalt in four places the size of your tongue. The Deliverator’s car has big sticky tires with contact patches the size of a fat lady’s thighs. The Deliverator is in touch with the road, starts like a bad day, stops on a peseta.

  15. Jim Haygood

    ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index is reported this morning at 52.6%, down 0.6% from last month.

    “The past relationship between the PMI and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI for January through July (51.1 percent) corresponds to a 2.5 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis.

    “In addition, if the PMI for July (52.6 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 3 percent increase in real GDP annually.”

    A nice thing about the PMI is that it’s not subject to shocking revisions like GDP, where data going back into last year was jerked out from under our feet last Friday.

    PMI reports are “once and done.” They continue to show a muddling-through economy.

  16. Bill Smith

    ‘Give them a bloody nose’: Xi pressed for stronger South China Sea response

    “We should go in and give them a bloody nose like Deng Xiaoping did to Vietnam in 1979,” the source said, referring to China’s brief invasion of Vietnam to punish Hanoi for forcing Beijing’s ally the Khmer Rouge from power in Cambodia.”

    The Chinese also got a bloody nose in that fight. Most observers said the PLA performed poorly. The North Vietnamese held back their regular army and pretty much fought the Chinese to a standstill with local militias. It might not have been this bad but one observer:

    Gerald Segal, in his 1985 book Defending China, concluded that China’s 1979 war against Vietnam was a complete failure: “China failed to force a Vietnamese withdrawal from [Cambodia], failed to end border clashes, failed to cast doubt on the strength of the Soviet power, failed to dispel the image of China as a paper tiger, and failed to draw the United States into an anti-Soviet coalition.”

    That was from here:

    Hopefully Xi remembers what really happened. Which was not exactly what they wanted.

  17. JohnnyGL

    CNN gets adventurous and interviews Stephen Cohen and is mostly respectful. The thing is, the interviewer gives him a lot of leeway to question the dominant media narrative, but only does it because of Cohen’s iron-clad credentials. If a lesser figure were to step onto the set at CNN and make similar remarks, they’d have their sanity questioned or be branded as a Russian agent.

    Anyone else think the media’s decline into farcical propaganda has kicked up a notch for this year’s election? It wasn’t always THIS bad, was it?

        1. craazyboy

          That’s what made him so dangerous. People actually liked the commie.

          Hitler even copied the moustache thing. Didn’t work tho. Hitler just wasn’t funny.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do we have to worry about people in the media working as Russian double agents?

      The double agent may say, ‘Look he’s a Russian agent,’ about someone who is in fact not.

      It’s so like an 11 dimensional matryoshka doll.

    2. Whine Country

      I saw exactly what you did J. I thought the interviewer was very close to saying “you’re confusing me with too many facts”. Cohen made a fact based presentation and the CNN IDIOT responded with DNC spin. I don’t remember the interviewer’s name because he’s part of the problem and I’m only interested in solutions. Seriously the interviewer was way out of his depth in that segment. Maddening or sad? I’m not sure.

  18. Brian

    Sorry, but not being able to read the NYT, and not being sure why sentient beings still do, I must ask about the headline;
    “Clinton? Trump? Either Way, Count on Deficit Spending to Rise New York Times. A rare bit of good election news.”
    This sounds like a celebration of hyperinflation and rush to collapse the systems 99% of us rely upon to eat drink or be merry. (choose 1) Did we forget that we will be billed for the largesse of these printing magnates? Many people choose between eating or making payments now.
    Of course, a headline often doesn’t tell the tale.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Besides incorporating the mindless “more spending = more better” idée fixe of the gov-worshipper, the headline also embeds the “false alternatives close” beloved by salesmen: Clinton or Trump? Coke or Pepsi?

      Pretty neat trick in just ten words.

      Daily reading of the MSM is worse for critical thinking skills than sprinkling lead paint chips on your cereal.

    2. vidimi

      hyperinflation is a complete loss of faith in the currency. at best, deficit spending by the US, which is the sovereign spender with by far the most leeway in the world on account of being the holder of the global reserve currency, would result in some very mild inflation, which would be quite welcome.

      1. John Candlish

        Hyperinflation is when excess reserves in the banking system become subject to velocity, as Richard Koo explains succinctly at the ACATIS Konferenz 2016.

        The reservoir of risk was created by QE, not fiscal policy, without a regard to flood control.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Good thing we don’t have any inflation…oops. And this is with $4T in sterilized funds sitting fallow on the Fed’s balance sheet, I can’t wait until the helicopters get going.
          (But hey how much damage can 10% per year do, that’d be good, right? Every central banker’s dream scenario?)

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Not to be a drive by commenter but either you’re new here or just not familiar with macroeconomic function of a sovereign currency in a period of extremely low growth and capital investment. Inflation is one of the goals of deficit spending, it helps increase earnings for small investors (like a retirement fund, for people who can afford to have one).

      1. Brian

        Sorry, but I have seen how deficit spending works and I described it in its simplicity. It bankrupts everyone except the ones receiving the money. I have been commenting here for many years and when the status quo defends itself through proxies, one must sort that which is food and that which is fertilizer.
        Since Jim H has done more than I to right the wrongs of perilous thinking, go back and take a look at what he has debunked for you to eliminate your need for critical thought. Perhaps the sheer amount of spending in the last 16 years, the inflation, war, destablilization and the amount of people it has bankrupted or killed should be brought into the equation. Damn, the government doesn’t keep track of the digital 1/0’s it prints daily to prop up your belief in the system any more, so the figures we play with are nebulous at best. When the budget expands by the amount that took us through decades is spent in a year, you might even question your belief system, comparing religion and science tends to correct some of the beliefs.
        If you believe you benefit from inflation, you may also believe the NYT or WaPo to be news sources. The connection with the owners and their politics would never influence the reporting.
        We can pretend only so long that our vision of reality exists. You can choose the one you like best, but it doesn’t make it real, nor does it become permanent because you would like it to be so.
        read some history. There are plenty of examples of post delusion reality to choose from.

        1. bob

          “I described it in its simplicity. It bankrupts everyone except the ones receiving the money.”

          You’re going to need some evidence to back up that claim. The simple fact that I am not bankrupt seems to nullify your hypothesis.

  19. L

    Apropos of Hillary Clinton’s hippie punching Salon has a piece up dissing her efforts to support an increase in the Minimum Wage because tax changes should be used first:

    Hillary Clinton’s bogus war on poverty: Her proposed minimum wage hike would only hurt low-income families

    If you have a mood to read to the end you will get to this cute closing:

    The truth is that I agree with Clinton that her rival Donald Trump has “taken the Republican Party a long way, from ‘Morning in America’ to ‘Midnight in America.’” Data show that putting women at the helm yields investing and business results that are steadier and more sustainable. I’m all for Hillary Clinton using her perspective as a woman to bring this value to the table. Yet if Clinton continues her path leftward, she’ll simply become a Sanders clone.

    As if there was any danger of us mistaking a person who has passively, tepidly, one might say unwillingly supported an increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour with someone who explicitly endorsed the fight for $15. This despite the fact that she received the endorsement of the SEIU, and he did not.

    Indeed her tepid endorsement comes only after Donald Trump the Republican Party’s standard bearer explicitly backed a $10 minimum wage. Thus her definition of “strong progressive politics”(TM) is not to stand with the unions who stood with her, but to gamely offer to outbid the Republicans by a dime.

    It is true, however, she is being brave in the face of opposition, after all commentators on Salon are against her!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      After reading the extract you pulled from the link — “perspective as a woman”. I wonder what the author would make of Carly Fiorina and her transformation of HP.

  20. TheCatSaid

    The Jacksonville article (about Florida’s sunshine laws and the amount non-compliance has cost taxpayers – thanks to lawyer Klausner now with CalPERS) is really something! Amazing to read the specifics of those 2 cases.

    How is Klausner getting on in CalPERS these days? Does he just keep a low profile? Why can’t they dump him with a track record such as his? Would Jacksonville have any way of going after him to get back their costs, because of incompetence or fraud?

  21. cnchal

    Trump uses a potential weapon laid at his feet by the Democratic party to bloody his own mouth.

    The Kahn speech, which was a brilliant piece of propaganda tying together the heartache of losing a son in a war on Muslim soil, and that he was a Muslim fighting in the US military, ended by claiming Trump knows nothing about sacrifice.

    So when George Steph . . . ous asked Trump about ‘sacrifice’ and put out the hook with Kahn’s bait on it, Trump bites hard and chews, going on about how he sacrificed lots while becoming filthy rich, and then doubles down on his idiocy by claiming Mrs. Khan wasn’t allowed to speak. He certainly wasn’t using his imagination there, and to paraphrase Lambert, I hate it when Clinton is right. He can be baited with a Tweet.

    It was a grand display of narcissism by Trump, talking only about his accomplishments and not connecting any dots with reality. No condolences or empathy for the Khan family at losing a son in a stupid war brought on by the Saddam has weapons of mass destruction lies by Cheney and Bush, and which Hillary was for.

    1. Vatch

      I hate it when Clinton is right.

      Me too. Trump is easily provoked. Many have commented correctly on the dangers of Clinton’s hawkish history and her support for wars. But a thin skinned Trump, who is so easily offended, could also get us into dangerous military adventures.

      I have yet to see a good reason to vote for either Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum.

      1. cnchal

        . . . Trump, who is so easily offended . . .

        Here though, no one offended him. He can go off his rocker just by being asked a candy coated question.

    2. James Levy

      This is why although he talks a pretty good game about negotiation and international understanding I believe the first time the Chinese or the Russians make him look dumb or beat him at his own “deal-making’ game Trump is going to go nasty, petty, and dangerous in a big hurry. He is still, in his current incarnation, way better than Clinton on most foreign policy issues, but I think it is only because he assumes that the foreigners he will be dealing with are rubes and he will be taking them all to the cleaners and will be able to gloat about it openly to an adoring American audience.

    3. Carolinian

      Yes Trump’s stupidity is on the surface, the stupidity of the Khans supporting a woman who voted to get their son killed unmentioned. However even the Washington Post says it’s unclear if this interchange will hurt Trump very much.

      Not that that will derail the media high dudgeon. After all, the Post supported the Iraq war as well so of course they are happy to blame the resulting pain on Trump, a NY businessman at the time.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Right, I was against the Iraq invasion. HRC was for it. That alone makes me want to vote for The Donald, or maybe Jill, but I don’t think my state will have Jill on the ballot. Or Gary Johnson, but he seems somewhat creepy.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Gary Johnson isn’t just creepy, he pushed prison privatization while cashing checks from their lobbyists. For all his drug decriminalization talk, he didn’t move the ball forward one bit while he was Gov. of NM.

      2. cnchal

        Yes Trump’s stupidity is on the surface . . .

        When I was watching Kahn’s speech, at the end, I thought, wow, Trump can use this to beat the Democrats senseless with the military disaster of endless wars. If Trump, the guy that claims to be the only one able to ride in and be a hero can’t figure that out, and goes on about his besides the point buildings and the sacrifices made on the road to richdom, means his stupidity can run below the surface.

        This what narcissism in action looks like. Trump can’t envision a scenario with him not at the center, so when asked about the Khan’s sacrifice, he started talking about himself.

    4. cwaltz

      Uh her husband was ALSO in on the idea that Saddam had WMDs meme.

      As a matter of fact, that was one of her excuses for voting for the war. As far back as the 90s the intelligence community, being fed by people like Chalabi, believed he had wmds. The intelligent option would have been to continue to allow the weapons inspectors to inspect the final 25% of the areas they were sent to expect(but that would have made the poor defense contractors cry……so shock and awe baby!)

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Just noticing the first letter of your spelling of our Dear Leader’s name.
      A zero.
      Nice touch, I had preferred “Obomba” but perhaps will henceforth include your refinement: 0bomba.

      1. low integer

        That seems to imply he drops zero bombs on people. I think you’ll have to choose one or the other in order to make a clear point.

    2. Cry Shop

      As usual would mean Obama is flying on Airforce 1, with another 747 carrying support staff, to Sunnyland,a private golf course which became the west coast Whitehouse under Reagan. For the last 3 or so years he flies there to play golf (while doing business?) several times a month, and never with family.

      This is a marriage that is likely to blow up after Obama leaves office unless he can find valid excused to keep staying away from his wife.

      1. low integer

        This is a marriage that is likely to blow up after Obama leaves office unless he can find valid excused to keep staying away from his wife.

        That seems like a reasonable prediction. Was it just me though, or was Mrs. Obama’s speech about living in a (white) house the slaves built, perhaps unbeknownst to her (I have no idea what sort of person she is and frankly am not that interested, being that if you lay down with dogs you get fleas and all), a signal that token oppressed minority offerings to the public in the form of bought and paid for political shills are here to stay? The (cough) Democratic (cough) convention was one of the most fucked up things I have ever seen in my lifetime, and I haven’t been sitting around on the couch either[1].

        [1]Well I must admit I do a fair bit of sitting around when I get a chance, and know how to procrastinate with the best of them.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Here’s another theory — a little paranoid perhaps: the NSA is the leak source but it wasn’t a “disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker concerned about Clinton’s compromise of national security secrets via her personal email use.” What if it was a warning from the NSA that they have her “lost” emails and could bring them out for further use at a later time. The NSA’s data collection gives them a considerably improved version of J. Edgar Hoover’s files.

  22. samhill

    Clinton says Russian intelligence services hacked DNC Reuters (Li). Note the continued hammering on the message v. the lack of real evidence.

    The ministry also said that Washington had not made the accusations through official channels, according to Interfax.

  23. samhill

    New Fossil Evidence Supports Theory First Mass Extinction Engineered By Early Animals – Eurasia Review (furzy)

    Although Darroch is studying events that took place 540 million years ago, he believes there is a message relevant for today. “There is a powerful analogy between the Earth’s first mass extinction and what is happening today,” he said. “The end-Ediacaran extinction shows that the evolution of new behaviors can fundamentally change the entire planet, and today we humans are the most powerful ‘ecosystems engineers’ ever known.”

    Brings a whimsical dimension to Santayana’s famous phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are some who do remember and still repeat.

      “Hey, it’s, um, scalable. This time, it will be REALLY BIG.”

  24. Ruben

    Darroch: “… and today we humans are the most powerful ‘ecosystems engineers’ ever known.”
    At the risk of being pedantic, the above is simply not correct. The largest global effect is and has been for very long and by far by photosynthetic plants currently and by cyanobacteria originally. Oxygen is highly reactive and without its constant production by photosynthetic plants its concentration in the atmosphere would be such that all existing animals species would go to extinction. On that account the humble phytoplankton in the world’s oceans, just the cells from the single most abundant species, are the most powerful ‘ecosystems engineers’ that have ever existed.
    Being human is cool but we are not as great, powerful, important as we think we are, in the larger scheme of things.

  25. Oregoncharles

    From “Clinton Writes off the Left”: “perhaps there was no one proximate to Hillary who could have conveyed to her the extent to which the activist core of the Democratic party holds her in contempt. The ramifications may become clearer to her in November.”

    Perhaps there was no one who DARED. After all, she’s the Queen at her coronation.

  26. low integer

    Before his time: Skinnyman
    (Task force are just as good, they’re all part of the MUD family)

    This will be the last hip-hop track I post, but if anyone wants to, or can bear to, listen to it and assess the lyrics I think you’ll be surprised how much truth is there, this took me by surprise when I took a stroll down memory lane today. This was before the new millenium btw.

    1. low integer

      Thanks for pulling this out of moderation. I know this is far from the usual musical fare of many of the readers here, and it makes me respect NC all the more that you pushed it through. It does talk about economics and politics though!

  27. ewmayer

    Clinton? Trump? Either Way, Count on Deficit Spending to Rise New York Times. A rare bit of good election news. — I’d say that depends on entirely on to what uses said sending would be put. More warmongering and financial-crook-bailouts versus an FDR-style jobs program and long-term investments in the domestic manufacturing economy, for example.

  28. robnume

    “Alphabet Life Sciences!?” What could possibly go wrong here? I tell ya, I don’t see ‘imbedding bioelectrical devices’ in my own future healthcare choices. I’m going long on human guinea pigs. The public will line up for this, have no doubt.

  29. DarkMatters

    From Katniss Everdeen:

    As undeniably tragic as the Khan story is, Mr Khan should consider carefully the policies for which he is advocating.

    I’m pretty sure Mr. Kahn already has given careful consideration to his policies. He’s actually written about his position on Islamic Jurisprudence and Sharia at some length.

    My ears perked up when I read that Khan was a Harvard lawyer, so I tried to find out about his bio. (I do that with international figures ever since Sakashvili). General bios indicate that he migrated from Pakistan to Dubai, and then came to America by getting himself into Harvard law school. This site, however, provides additonal detail (despite the breathless tenor):

    At the very least, Mr. Khan seems to be quite well-connected with Islamic elites; Said Ramadan (Tariq Ramadan’s father) is indeed a pioneer of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, and Mr. Khan seems to be involved in the movement himself. For some time, I would have thought that interest like Mr. Khan’s in Sharia law should be regarded as benign. That was before I became aware of a confidential document of the Brotherhood, the Explanatory Memorandum uncovered by the FBI. There’s an infamous section:

    “The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Proecess” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.”

    Don’t know about anyone else, but no one with close connections to the Ikhwan (i.e., Brotherhood) gives me warm & fuzzies anymore. At the very least, there’s more to Mr. Kahn’s background than just a simple immigrant trying to make a go of it in America. Whatever his background, he’s quite a larger fish than he appeared to be at first sight.

    My sympathies are with Mr. Khan and his family for his son’s death. I’ll reserve my judgment on other matters.

  30. KFritz

    Mark Bittman was an excellent writer on all manner of food stories, always from a, quote/unquote “Progressive” POV for the NYT. His recipes were just as good, if not better. Now he’s writing straightforward, well-written political pieces, though misguided on Hilly’s character, methinks.

  31. Chris Williams

    Re closure of Aussie car industry:

    Between 40,000 and possible 200,000 jobs lost. From Holden (GMH), Ford and Toyota – According to article.

    Just hard to fathom.

    I take it that the companies cannot continue to throw money at loss making subsidiaries.

    But what sticks bad with me, is the thought that these companies can continue to sell us cars, which aren’t made here.

    There should be consequences, like, sorry guys, don’t want to make cars here? Right, you can no longer sell your cars here.

    Not gonna happen tho – sad day for Ford Ute owner as the last one rolls off production line

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