Links 8/13/16

Milky Way has a huge void in the middle with no stars in it, scientists find Independent

User Illusion: Everyday ‘Placebo Buttons’ Create Semblance of Control 99% Invisible

Interest rates are a spent economic force FT

Global monetary taps still open wide, Fed minutes in focus Reuters

Fed Officials Challenge Decades of Accepted Wisdom on Inflation Bloomberg.

Investors stockpile cash to offset economic despair Gillian Tett, FT

How British firms built a pyramid scheme in China that lost millions and Dissolved and dormant firms in EuroFX mystery Reuters. It seems our own Richard Smith can do a happy dance for this post in August 2015 (!). You read it here first.

Obama’s staff is taking over Silicon Valley CNN (Kokuanani). Ka-ching.

Rio 2016: How Simone Biles Crushed the Olympic Competition WSJ

Swimming upstream The Undefeated

A Court Ruling That Could Save the Planet Cass Sunstein, Bloomberg. Setting a price on carbon.


Brexit harm denial and the exchange rate Mainly Macro


Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart NYT. I shouldn’t be churlish about this long-form piece, but the headline: “Came apart,” as opposed to, oh, “Was Blown to Smithereens”?

Pentagon acknowledges US ground forces supporting ISIS fight in Libya The Hill

Desperate Times for Cambodia’s Farmers The Diplomat


Would You Vote for a Psychopath? Scientific American

Polls: Clinton Running the Table in Key Battlegrounds NBC (RCP latest state polls). So everybody’s free to vote their conscience!

Forget the old battleground map — 2016’s is brand new. And Republicans aren’t going to like it. WaPo

Hillary Clinton Vows To Do What Obama Hasn’t — Reschedule Marijuana Think Progress. Remember Obama’s “visionary minimalism”? Good times.

Rather than engage with the press, Clinton emits news-like content in the form of her own podcast:

Is Trump deliberately throwing the election to Clinton? The Hill

Donald Trump’s Missteps Risk Putting a Ceiling Over His Support in Swing States NYT. Interesting on PA and the Philly burbs.

Trump backs off ISIS comments; party head appears at rallies in show of unity Reuters

Trump says he will only lose Pennsylvania if there’s widespread voter fraud. That’s very wrong. WaPo

Exit Interview: I Was Bernie Sanders’ Chief Advance Man Atlas Obscura. For those of you who like the mechanics of the campaign trail, this will be fascinating. For normal people, read and consider: If this is the way campaigns run, was there a mismatch between the composition of the Sanders base, and the functioning of the Sanders campaign? Basicallly, the campaign comes to town, and then it goes away. But that’s not what either the $27 donors, or the self-organizing Sanders activists, want or need. And rightly!

Hillary’s Mean Media is Alive and Well Paste. Sore winnerhood is powerful.

Portrait of a “Marriage”: Radicals & the Democratic Party LAWCHA

The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked. NYT

John Oliver isn’t Mad Max, he’s part of the problem John Oliver

The American Soul Is a Murderous Soul Foreign Policy

War Drums

Josh Marshall, of Russia. Try transposing “cultural DNA” from Russia to Blacks or Jews and see how it reads:

How to Stop Russia’s Hacking US News. Has any official gone on the record about “Russian hacking”?

Exclusive: Congressional leaders were briefed a year ago on hacking of Democrats – sources Reuters

Trump allies, WikiLeaks and Russia are pushing a nonsensical conspiracy theory about the DNC hacks WaPo

Russia Hints It Might Hide Nukes in Syria Observer. Trump’s son-in-law.

Guccifer 2.0 hacked DCCC Guccifer 2.0. Despite the pearl-clutching, it’s hard to feel sympathy for the DCCC. If Putin’s really behind this, he’s doing us all favor.

Atlanta Hack Opens 1.2 Billion Vehicles Another Word For It

Health Care

Overcoming Lower-Income Patients’ Concerns About Trust And Respect From Providers Health Affairs

Cost, Not Choice, Is Top Concern of Health Insurance Customers NYT. Of course, “choice” is cost: A tax on time.

Guillotine Watch

Charlton will only sell you a season ticket if you don’t criticise them on social media Short List

Class Warfare

Walmart is making money off Banksy’s ‘Destroy Capitalism’ art Daily Dot

New Study Reveals That the Washington Post Is Eager to Dismiss Economic Explanations for Trump’s Rise New York Magazine

Lopsided Housing Rebound Leaves Millions of People Out in the Cold WSJ. “An analysis of census data by the Urban Institute showed that all of the net new households formed between 2006 and 2014 were renters rather than owners.”

Too Old for Hard Labor, but Still on the Job NYT

Homage to E.P. Thompson New Politics

Do Digitally Altered Photos Represent Fact or Fiction? WSJ

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: WaPo’s opinion about who hacked Hill—-WaPo’s opinion is worth what I paid for it—nothing. Actually by now I pretty much believe the opposite of what the WaPo says on any given topic.

    1. Pat

      Every once in a while they are like that stopped clock.

      But pretty much everyone passing this Russian Hacker thing, gets my hackles up.
      This time it is even worse than the stupid blaming of the Sony Hack on North Korea (not) and is even darker as the people passing this deep propaganda are actively working to promote a military confrontation that will rapidly develop into the third World War. And they are arrogant enough to think they will only get the level of War they want. So Bezos and everyone at the top of the Washington Post along with every other major news organization in the US are criminally liable for the disaster that could come from these lies.

        1. nippersdad

          Anyone left would probably be down in the Strangelovian mineshafts, too busy pumping out Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid clones to care. It’s not like the last few AG’s have spent much time prosecuting people (anyone) for the last few disasters that the NYT and WaPo catapulted the propaganda on………..Always excepting, of course, for the leakers and hackers.

          Those not in The Club must be punished.

      1. Ralph Reed

        Yellow press didn’t just herald the dawn of the modern US empire, they midwived it with “Remember the Maine” and mentored it with the Palmer Raids. Now it’s MH-17 and Ghouta and what horrors could come with Clinton’s Scythian Stampeders in place of the Roosevelt’s Rough Riders(left out misogynist alliteration with the former due to expediency not bile) to say nothing of a technologically augmented FBI.

    2. clarky90

      This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “Why do we need two central newspapers, Pravda (Truth) and Izvestiya (News) if both are organs of the same Party?”
      We’re answering: “Because in Pravda there is no news, and in Izvestiya there is no truth.”

      1. Lord Koos

        Much like asking, “Why do we need two political parties if they are both organs of the same oligarchy?” The illusion of choice is a powerful tool.

    3. jgordon

      I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing. All these media people have an overt antipathy, even hatred, for Trump. They only had to lie about him a few times before everything they wrote became unbelievable.

      1. clarky90

        The POTUS campaign has been a “wake-up Clarky, stop dreaming!” moment for me. We are living in “a tangled web of lies” World. I take almost nothing (politics, news, health, science, religion….) as “the truth” anymore.It is exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. Tidal waves of “money” have corrupted everything. Wow, wow, wow. What an “interesting” time to be alive?!

  2. pretzelattack

    democratic party officials have a cultural gene that predisposes them to blame russia for their own blunders.

    1. allan

      How far the mighty have fallen. Josh Marshall must have a cultural gene that predisposes him to flush his George Polk Award down the toilet. And Marshall has a Ph.D. in history from Brown. If his Ph.D. committee members are still around, you have to wonder what they would think of his reductionist trash talk.

      1. OIFVet

        What, just because they have credentials they must be fine folks? How silly. I can name many historians who have fanned the flames of hatred, and from their “exalted” academic perches too. Timothy Snyder and Justin McCarthy (denier of Armenian genocide and apologist for any and all Ottoman crimes) come to mind right away…

        1. Baby Gerald

          I read Snyder’s Black Earth a few months back. As a student of history specializing in modern Europe, I found his arguments compelling and relevant and the core premise seemed pretty spot-on to me. Impressed by this work, I looked him up on Google, only to find him vilified by other historians for whom I’ve also held a considerable amount of respect (Walter Laqueur, for one). His knowledge of the Ukraine seems pretty formidable, so I’m wondering what motivates the general antagonism against him. Most of Laqueur’s criticism seems to be of a ‘who does this rookie think he is??’ variety, without substantially disproving any of Snyder’s main premise.

          Could you please explain to me what places him in the same category as Josh Marshall, aside from his Ivy League credentials?

      2. Benedict@Large

        Josh Marshall’s PhD puts him right into Thomas Frank’s credentialism theory of what went wrong with the Democratic Party. All he needs now is a Rhode’s, and he’ll be right up there with Rachel.

      3. Plenue

        How is Marshall’s talk any different from the claims of inherent American attributes I often see thrown about here? Or claims that Western civilization as a whole is infused with Protestant/Calvinist ideas that have caused much harm? Hell, literally right above the Marshall tweet in the above links section is an article proclaiming an inherent American blood lust (“The American Soul Is a Murderous Soul”).

        I’m not even saying and of the above claims are wrong. But why is it considered masked racism to do it to Russia, but not to the West?

        1. Kurt Sperry

          I would agree, the examples given are near enough to be analogous. Nationalities do have personalities though that invite generalization, even if the individuals within them don’t always reliably share them.

      4. Plenue

        How is Marshall’s talk any different from the claims of inherent American attributes I often see thrown about here? Or claims that Western civilization as a whole is infused with Protestant/Calvinist ideas that have caused much harm? Hell, literally right above the Marshall tweet in the above links section is an article proclaiming an inherent American bloodlust (“The American Soul Is a Murderous Soul”).

        I’m not even saying any of the above claims are wrong. But why is it considered masked racism to do it to Russia, but not to the West?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Er, “cultural DNA”?

          As for “The American Soul Is a Murderous Soul”… What did you think, having (presumably) read it? I thought it was fascinating that it appeared in Foriegn Policy

  3. FrankZappasGuitar

    Josh Marshall, you’ve come along way baby. You knew TPM was gonna supercharge its integrity back in ’09, when shortly after the arrival of President Obama, Josh and a number of other liberal-class bloggers entered the WH for a luncheon/meeting. “It was terrific!” came back the scoop. Since that hoo-rah moment, Josh let a little truth slip out in a recent attack on Trump re: Trump’s wealth when he began a sentence with “All the billionaires I know…” and went on to describe their business/accounting practices. Palling around with presidents, knowing billionaires…the wonderful rewards of a dutiful hack. The war mongering and paranoia of the US liberal press is reminding me of 2002. Kudos, team blue.

    1. Carolinian

      Stubble Boy–no longer a boy after all these years–was dropped by many when he thoughtfully decided that Iraq sadly did need to be invaded. He’s also a dull writer who rarely departs from a certain branch of conventional wisdom. TPM seems to be internet for people who rarely read the internet. The lefty sites I read never refer to it these days.

      1. Kokuanani

        I read TPM long ago, and I recall when he eliminated comments. A sure sign that he didn’t want criticism or dissent. [I think that was during the push for the ACA.]

      2. different clue

        TPM’s Marshall was actively pro Social Security when it was Bush conspiring against it. TPM’s Marshall became actively silent about Social Security when it was Obama conspiring against it.

    1. Butch In Waukegan

      Of course Hillary’s health, at this point, is an open question. Here are 3 things to consider when evaluating this article.
      • the Associated Press
      • the prevalence of “access journalism”
      • the proven record of the DNC “reaching out” to journalists to shape stories.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Who you gonna believe … some journo named “Lisa Lerer” … or your lyin’ eyes?

      Dozens of photos and video clips show a bug-eyed (Grave’s disease?) Hillary with bizarre facial expressions.

      She is either ill, or her human suit has malfunctioned.

      1. Gareth

        The supposed seizure video looked to me more like she was experiencing vertigo, something I experienced as a side effect of Lipitor when I turned my head too quickly. And yes I had trouble climbing stairs too. Since then I’ve learned to love cholesterol.

      2. Ulysses

        “She is either ill, or her human suit has malfunctioned.”

        This made me snort my coffee all over my shirt! I may disagree with you on a lot of issues, JH, but your bon mots are always a great part of my day. The image of HRC as a character in A Scanner Darkly is priceless!!

      3. JBaker

        I saw an interview with Kate McKinnon, the actress who plays Hillary on SNL. McKinnon said she was puzzled by Hillary’s laugh, which sounds forced and is often inappropriately timed. McKinnon concluded that Hillary laughs to stall for time when she is caught off-guard by a question.

        To me, the “seizure tape” falls in that category.

        1. fresno dan

          August 13, 2016 at 11:01 am
          “She is either ill, or her human suit has malfunctioned.”

          I agree – JH bon mots are the best.
          Hacked? By Russians? Or worse?

        2. sd

          Like laughing while talking about getting a violent offender a reduced sentence for raping a 12-year old girl while doing so much physical damage to the young girl that immediately after the rape she was told it was unlikely she’d ever have children. Like that kind of laugh?

        3. Benedict@Large

          Her laugh may be an indication of sociopathy. The sociopath feels no empathy, and has difficulty knowing how to respond to situations in a human fashion. They tend to copy what they see others do in same or similar situations. When they don’t have enough information or time to determine which (fake) response is appropriate, a laugh serves as a sort of pause button. Of course in situations where a laugh is inappropriate, the sociopath ends up showing their real colors.

    3. ahimsa

      My tuppence on the <em>seizure incident.

      You can clearly see the one female reporter is startled and says “Are you ok?” as it is happening. One reason the reporter is startled is because Clinton initially makes no eye contact . She then starts to laugh as Clinton makes eye contact and her exaggerated bobble-head movement suggests she’s just joking.

      Note: Immediately prior to the seizure it seems she may be a bit dazed and faltering as words fail her in an answer to a reporter’s question about Obama’s endorsement of her (a presumably very predictable Q).

      From my armchair the initial “jerking” movement could be genuine before she seems to recover and then exageratedly play it off as a joke.

      1. crittermom

        Hmmm. To me, it just appeared she was startled, as well, by the sudden rush of questions the moment she’d stopped talking, and was trying to be ‘cute’ by reacting in such a way. A way of saying, “Whoa, wait a minute, guys. You’re blindsiding me”.

        What I found most interesting was the way she avoided answering the question about Elizabeth Warren, recommending a drink, instead, before moving on.

        Had she forgotten the question and was trying to cover up?
        Or was that her usual way of ignoring answering a question by diversion?

        After getting Warren’s endorsement thinking that would get her all the Bernie votes, only to be disappointed and now ‘stuck’ with another woman at her side when she’d much prefer to be the only woman to get anywhere near the crown, the coronation, and the spotlight, was she avoiding the question as she now sees Warren as useless to her and therefore, she would prefer she just ‘go away’ and not allow talk about Warren that would take press time and focus away from the ‘soon-to-be queen’?

        Jus’ my ponderings.

    4. Otis B Driftwood

      Ok, so I guess she is a healthy, corrupt and thoroughly untrustworthy politician, not a corrupt and thoroughly untrustworthy politician with health issues.

      +1 for Team HRC.

  4. Pat

    In my happy place imaginary farm and retirement home, can I have a couple of those lovely creatures (Valais Blacknose Sheep) from today’s antidote along with some highland cattle from a little while ago, a pygmy goat or two, multiple cats and dogs, and despite my avoidance of ‘smart’ products a realized version of Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons to help me clean up.

    Thank you very much.

    1. grayslady

      Thanks for identifying the antidote animals. I had never heard of them before. Now I see they even have a Facebook fan club.

    2. abynormal

      beautiful Happy place. hope i can visit…i’ll bring along a couple of fainting goats. we can sit on the porch and marvel on graces ‘)

      1. Pat

        Lovely addition. May we both (and many others here) get to sit on the porch and enjoy them all one day.

    3. Pavel

      hi Pat, I’m glad you share my pleasure at the AdJ… it reminded me of sheep I encountered on the NW coast of Scotland about 10 years ago… They are really very therapeutic, aren’t they? Unlike, say, Josh Marshall who raises my blood pressure 20 or 30 mmHg…

  5. Carolinian

    That Hill column on Trump is lame stuff–suggesting that he might be trying to throw the election not only with his failure to cut down on the twitter and the insults but also by his olive branch comments about “the strongman dictator of Russia” and his obviously in jest suggestion that Russia release the emails. It’s one thing–one not particularly brilliant or insightful thing–to wonder whether Trump might be ambivalent about winning and another to conflate this with the wackadoo press coverage which almost certainly is trying to throw the election to Clinton. The doof writing the column even cites the nutty Morell to make his case.

    Trump may lose–and those RCP polls don’t look good–but the shrill attacks of which this is one makes you wonder whether the press knows some damaging info about Clinton that we don’t and want to close this thing down. How’s that for speculation?

    1. Steve H.

      Lots of people with different motivations for disliking the corruption of the establishment coming together. Trump fits an open source movement perfectly. He doesn’t have an agenda. His goal is merely to reflect what his supporters want.

      – Robb

      Do you remember all of Trump’s vulgar insults from last year? It turns out that those linguistic kill shots were engineered for persuasion, and A-B tested at live rallies for effectiveness. Today, no one doubts how well those Trump nicknames worked.

      – Scott Adams

      o dedi
      o dada orzoura
      o dou zoura
      o dada skizi

      – Artaud

      I’m starting to think of T as an A-B bot, responding to the reactions of the particular cohort with which he can win a plurality, and which need not be comprehensible at all.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m not sure what Trump is doing but the widespread assumption that he is some sort of bad guy is probably overblown. Clearly a lot of what he says is just a crude form of humor that the press turns into scandals du jour because they see what they are looking for and, more prosaically, they can make it a hook for a story that gets them on the front page. Our Deep State is a bunch of people furthering their careers.

        For some of us the bedrock of this election is Anyone But Hillary. Perhaps that even includes the Donald. At any rate the groupthink and outright lying that is being deployed by the press to stop him strikes me as a lot more ominous. People are looking for fascism in the wrong place.

        1. andyb

          The polls seem to be driven by wishful thinking among East and West Coast elites and as subtle propaganda for the masses. But there is a rumbling among the 99% and it does not bode well for Hillary. Flyover America is solidly for Trump and there are many more on the coasts who are likewise; they’re just not as loud and strident as the MSM and its delusional, lemming-like sycophants.

          1. clarky90

            I support Trump (However, I am not voting because I live in NZ). I have learned to keep my “real life mouth” shut about my views. NZ media is scathing about Trump, while Clinton is rarely mentioned. Many of my lefty friends are ardently anti-Trump, but cannot vote.

            Thousands of young NZers died during WW2 defending our sovereignty/freedom from Japanese and German aggression. The TPP would desecrate their precious, lost lives, IMO. Trump will stop the TPP.

            Many Trump supporters say little in public. “Silence” preserves relationships, jobs,prospects, peace/quiet. (Pro Clinton people can be self righteous, accusatory and strident (no fun)).

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            I often offer my opinions when polled. I am contemplating aping an Obot/Hillary borg the next time I am polled. I don’t want to make it look like a Hill route but I would like to throw off and give overconfidence to any and all Hillary supporters.

  6. Arizona Slim

    When I was a Sanders campaign volunteer, I was on the team that helped with Bernie’s October 9 event in Tucson.

    My job? Media escort. All l had to do was open a gate to people with credentials and direct them to the next volunteer, who was about 50 feet away.

    It was a fun evening.

    1. Jim Haygood

      A cattle prod can be helpful to chivvy them along, and stop them from munching the potted plants.

  7. Pat

    I like to think that even if I had not figured out that Russians are behind the hack at the DNC is far too convenient finger pointing, I would still look at that article about a Congressional Briefing from Reuters and wonder about what is obviously missing from this. And not just the named sources. There is lot wrong with it. Not just the least the amount of detail about the hack of the operations of one of the two major parties when it hadn’t noticed and hadn’t asked for an investigation. (Call me wild and crazy, but were they monitoring the hackers OR the organization?)

    1. pretzelattack

      the less psychopathic? sobs uncontrollably. when they say democracy is better than all the other systems, i don’t think that means 2 party democracy.

    2. ewmayer

      Putting on my imaginary “think like an Acela-corridor insider” cap:

      Would I vote for a psychopath?

      Hmm … does the psychopath represent my interests?

  8. Steve H.

    – Swimming upstream The Undefeated

    “It was a reminder that the lack of diversity in the sport has little to do with skill, passion or commitment, but access to both personal and institutional resources.”

    This is a very nice piece, not about right or wrong, more the textures of discovery.

  9. abynormal

    Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled a great and glorious nation. Favourite amongst his subjects was the court painter of whom he was very proud. Everybody agreed this wizened old man painted the greatest pictures in the whole kingdom and the king would spend hours each day gazing at them in wonder. However, one day a dirty and disheveled stranger presented himself at the court claiming that in fact he was the greatest painter in the land. The indignant king decreed a competition would be held between the two artists, confident it would teach the vagabond an embarrassing lesson. Within a month they were both to produce a masterpiece that would out do the other. After thirty days of working feverishly day and night, both artists were ready. They placed their paintings, each hidden by a cloth, on easels in the great hall of the castle. As a large crowd gathered, the king ordered the cloth be pulled first from the court artist’s easel. Everyone gasped as before them was revealed a wonderful oil painting of a table set with a feast. At its centre was an ornate bowl full of exotic fruits glistening moistly in the dawn light. As the crowd gazed admiringly, a sparrow perched high up on the rafters of the hall swooped down and hungrily tried to snatch one of the grapes from the painted bowl only to hit the canvas and fall down dead with shock at the feet of the king. ’Aha!’ exclaimed the king. ’My artist has produced a painting so wonderful it has fooled nature herself, surely you must agree that he is the greatest painter who ever lived!’ But the vagabond said nothing and stared solemnly at his feet. ’Now, pull the blanket from your painting and let us see what you have for us,’ cried the king. But the tramp remained motionless and said nothing. Growing impatient, the king stepped forward and reached out to grab the blanket only to freeze in horror at the last moment. ’You see,’ said the tramp quietly, ’there is no blanket covering the painting. This is actually just a painting of a cloth covering a painting. And whereas your famous artist is content to fool nature, I’ve made the king of the whole country look like a clueless little twat.~Banksy, Wall and Piece

    1. redleg

      Two days later the scruffy painter was found dead, victim of a suicide-robbery-gym accident.
      Oh wait- that’s a Clinton thing.

  10. diptherio

    Anyone who’s in the Boston area, there’s a start-up worker cooperative Brew-Pub/event space/organizing space that’s running a crowdfunding campaign until next weekend. They’re cool people and could use some support. My alter-ego interviewed one of the founders the other day. Check it out

    Come for the Beer, Stay for the Revolution!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      What about wine? I love wine! I am fond of beer too but I am more fond of the grape and a follower of Dionysus. Does beer even have a god I might worship?

  11. timbers

    Regarding the the 4 financial articles (except FT which is paywalled), they play into my confirmation bias which is:

    Why is the Fed placing so little importance to asset bubbles? Is this not the “inflation” they claim to seek from their policy? Isn’t it clear at this point asset inflation doe NOT trickle down into retail inflation in any meaningful way, and they should abandon their ZIRP if it is retail inflation they seek? Stock are already at very high PE’s and hit record highs almost daily. Why isn’t this not alarming to the Fed? It appears the Fed and other nations’s banks plan to continue shoveling money into the “markets” through the end of the year (Nov) for more asset inflation. What comes next after they get Clinton in? More austerity for the rest of us?

    Why isn’t the Fed paying attention to growing examples of easy money policy getting the opposite of intended results…like hoarding cash by corporations and workers or exchanger rate boomerangs like in New Zealand and Japan?

    Is so much money floating around with no where to go (thanks to years of Fed & other’s ZIRP) that when NZ cut it interest rates, the floating blob of money thinks now is the time to buy up New Zealand because it’s rate cut means its on board with the general ZIRP plan of giving more easy money to the investor classes to gobble up NZ assets which then bubble up even more?

    Wish I knew the answers. But delaying moving back to positive interest rates seems a very bad idea not to mention it is creating it’s own growing time bombs in addition to asset bubbles, like pensions savers insurance etc.

    If the Fed wants to see signs of inflation for us Little People, it should put out a simple message: More fiscal stimulus, more government spending.

    Interest rates are a spent economic force FT

    Global monetary taps still open wide, Fed minutes in focus Reuters

    Fed Officials Challenge Decades of Accepted Wisdom on Inflation Bloomberg.

    Investors stockpile cash to offset economic despair Gillian Tett, FT

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Bernanke plan was to blow asset bubbles which would lead to confidence and entrepreneurs who would save the economy as people were confident. What if the ivory tower super geniuses (Bernanke was good enough to be a player in the Shrub Administration, so he must be simply vile and stupid) were wrong for eight years? Do companies need bailouts in the future? Who owns stock in Macy’s or the properties leases? This is a threat to the wealthy, so they have to worry about it. Obama is out pitching the stock market and that there is no better time to invest in the USA. It’s sick. He is the leader of a country with record poverty, and he’s put pitching stocks.

      Politically, there won’t be a bailout. The conditions in 2008 were radically different. The Teabaggers beat every Republican they challenged who voted for TARP. They will need GOP votes to pass a bailout. Hillary is too stupid to have campaigned on a direct infrastructure and hiring program and made it part of the Democratic platform, the real one on mailers and discussed no stop not the phony one at the DNC. She went on a stupid listening tour because she doesn’t know anything from running for President for 18 years.

      Even if the modern priests or economists recognize the trap as you pointed out, are the going to go to legislators and say, “hey, you know all that stuff we said. It was wrong. Those dirty hippies were right, a day amazingly enough, those angry voters are angry because you didn’t do your jobs when you listened to us.”

      As far as the Fed goes, Obama and Shrub do the have a great track record of nominations and appointments why would their fed nominees be any different. Bernanke is an architect of the Shrub economy. Bill kept nominating Greenspan.

      If a Fed representative goes to the Congress and says what you are noting, the Democrats will be apoplectic. They folllwed the Fed’s wizards and became laughing stocks. The GOP won’t give an inch. They take a mile. They will bur down anyone for the sake of embarrassing Democrats. The Democrats keep hoping everything will turn around too. They talk to local Democrats and have told them this when those local Dems raise concerns. Those local Dems will have an even worse time if they try to sell people on the policies which were obvious eight years ago because it will only be a reminder of why the Democratic Party is shrinking. The Fed doesn’t have an option beyond prayer because the political situation is bad.

      1. timbers

        Thanks for the reply. Bernanke & Co/wealth affect strategy – Doesn’t it say inflated assets will lead to more spending by the little people and thus a growing economy? So then when the opposite happens as it is now – and it’s happening A LOT – why is no one checking their premises and considering different policy or opposite policy? Part of it is the wealthy friends benefit greatly but they ought to be able to see they’re strategy is empirically wrong.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Timbers, when the elites use the word ‘inflation,’ they mean ‘wage inflation.’

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “Interest rates are a spent economic force”.
            So we’re supposed to believe the price of money somehow no longer exists, or is not important?
            Time preference = no longer a valid concept
            Investment hurdle rates = no longer applicable
            I don’t think people have really thought through the economic chaos that results when 12 geniuses at the Fed magically impose what the price of money is. For starters, they’re wrong, not just sometimes, but always. And when they’re wrong, and they fail, they double down, so we get the lovely Deus ex Machina of *negative* interest rates. WTAF is that supposed to be anyway? The moron-savants at the BoE couldn’t anticipate their last auction would fail; I guess they thought investors holding bonds that paid *any* interest at all would gladly sell them in return for BoE certificates of guaranteed confiscation?

    2. ewmayer

      Isn’t it clear at this point asset inflation doe NOT trickle down into retail inflation in any meaningful way, and they should abandon their ZIRP if it is retail inflation they seek?

      Beg to differ – asset inflation sure seems to have trickled down into my monthly rent. But of course the wonks don’t use actual prices people pay for housing and rent in their CPI measures of housing prices, they use some kinda quantum-mechanical mathemagical ‘OER’ thingie, where a ‘representative’ set of pollees can pretty much just make up a fantasy number. Makes perfect sense, don’t it?

  12. Carolinian

    Thnx for John Oliver piece.

    As in the case of Correa, Oliver reserves his biggest guns for those perceived to be America’s enemies. His vaunted interview with Edward Snowden, for instance, was extremely reactionary even by his standards. Tom Allen points out that in contrast to Snowden, Oliver’s interview with NSA chief Keith Alexander provides the spymaster a series of opportunities to regurgitate Deep State propaganda. Understandably so, since Oliver is by his own accounts an American patriot. Oliver’s wife, whom he met at the 2008 Republican national convention, was in the US Army, and he says that this makes him “a little more defensive of how America is perceived overseas.” In a Boston Globe interview, he explains that he views the US military as a force for good, and that despite the often-justified criticisms of America, it is the world’s stabilizing force.

    Oliver isn’t going to be Mad Max, nor will he be Howard Beale, Eugene Debs, or Spartacus. He’s going to be John Oliver—an employee of the Time Warner media empire who’s valued highly enough as a corporate asset to make millions of dollars a year. If he or any other celebrity threatened the corporate bottom line rather than serving it, he wouldn’t have his own show, he’d be stuck writing media criticism for free on a WordPress site. If that isn’t obvious, then someone needs to read more Chomsky and watch less John Oliver.

    Nailed it. One should also point out that the American flag waving Oliver is a Brit (not any more I think). He was brilliant on the Daily Show but wildly overpraised these days.

    1. Plenue

      There’s a pretty long history of Brits adopting the United States and then engaging in apologetics for it. Christopher Hitchens was a major one, but I’m also thinking of mean-spirited, self-hating Scotsman Niall Ferguson. Though with Ferguson I wonder how much of it is any true love of the US and how much is just that the British won’t tolerate his crap anymore and he has to hawk his bile elsewhere.

      We’ve come a long way down since Thomas Paine…

      1. Carolinian

        Hey we love our “cousins” but some of us wish they wouldn’t feel the need to become more Catholic than the Pope. USians, even the liberals, can take being made fun of. And yes a lot of this praise for American empire seems to come from those most familiar with empire–the former Brits.

      2. aab

        Oxbridge conservatives are Oxbridge conservatives. I didn’t think Oliver fell into that camp, but I guess I was wrong. I think a lot of perfectly nice British media & arts figures who live in America are quite clueless about American politics. They tend to be wealthy and live in wealthy enclaves, with no connections to the rest of America. So it’s not that surprising they would fall for the New Dem self-description of being decent and diverse. But with the deep dives Oliver’s show does involving hard data and solid research, I’m disappointed he has chosen not to see what is right in front of him. If his wife supports the Democratic Party, that would make her uncommon among military personnel. They apparently generally recognize who’s more likely to get them killed.

        Samantha Bee’s open Hillary shilling is more offensive to me. Again, rich Canadian, just swallowed whole the idea that only privileged white men backed Bernie. That’s so obviously ridiculous if you have any capacity to think or learn at all, you’ll course correct. She didn’t, presumably because she perceives her audience as Hillary supports, and made that reality. I had really been rooting for her. There’s another glass ceiling “broken” in the service of protecting empire and inequality, which as a reminder, IS NOT FEMINIST.

    2. Carolinian

      Here’s another piece from this very interesting blogger on Chomsky’s support for the “more effective evil” in the current election. Chomsky has said he would vote for Clinton if he was in a state where that might make a difference.

      Hillary may end up with support from both Henry Kissinger and Noam Chomsky. That is a big tent.

      1. oh

        This is the usual nonsense – ‘vote for Hill if you’re in a swing state and independent in others’. Why? It should be ‘vote your conscience and look long term to make the third parties more of a challenge to the duopoly’. Another wannabee leftist who is captured by the Dims.

        1. Carolinian

          Don’t think he’s going so far as to call Noam Chomsky a “wannabe leftist.” There was a piece in Counterpunch suggesting that Chomsky’s odd statement on Clinton was perhaps due to the influence of a current Chomsky co-writer.

          He is saying in this and some other articles that Chomsky is too quick to accept the MSM account of how things are going down in Libya and elsewhere. Like many establishment figures Chomsky may get all his news from the dubious NYT.

          1. aab

            I honestly don’t understand Chomsky’s position. I realize he’s old now, but can he really be reading the New York Times and taking it seriously? He knew better than to do that decades ago.

            I thought I read a pretty sharp piece by him a while back pointing out that Obama was maneuvered into lifting the Cuba embargo by the countries to the south. If he hadn’t lifted the embargo, the US would have lost economically and politically. If that was him, how can he be falling for this Hillary crap? The most important states in which to vote against her are the swing states.

        2. jrs

          i think having more than 2 parties in the U.S. system borders on mathematically impossible. I think that is being realistic about it. However what might be possible is for one of the two parties (or both, we should be so lucky) to die and be replaced by a new one. So we’d still have two parties but maybe we’d get a slightly better one or two.

    3. clarky90

      Lord Haw-Haw was a nickname applied to World War II-era broadcaster William Joyce, remembered for his pro-German propaganda broadcasts that opened with “Germany calling, Germany calling”, spoken in an affected upper-class English accent.

      “So you English believe that you can defeat the superior German forces! Haw, Haw,”

  13. Eclair

    Apologies if I have missed a post on this in the past few days, but … has anyone else been getting “server not found” messages when trying to access RT?

    I check in there regularly as a counterbalance to … well, whatever. I can access the homepage by typing in a slightly different URL, but then get the missing server message when I try to access a specific article.

    Are us USAians being censored? (Clutches pearls.)

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      You seem to be describing an problem accessing articles. Could you be more specific? I have an older browser and also run into problems occasionally. Perhaps your problems are technical rather than bias against USAsians.

      I discovered one interesting problem today. The new Acrobat adds web links to hide the location of Acrobat documents. I found I could access documents I wanted by copying the main link and testing various combinations of the main link and the //home … link the new Acrobat added to hide document sources.

      I think you and I may be victims of a push to make us adopt newer webpage technologies. — Many of which seem to require updating the operating systems and too ofter — also require updating the hardware systems to accommodate the new requirements.

      1. Eclair

        Thanks for checking the RT site, everyone. Jeremy, your explanation of my ‘problem’ is probably correct, although, alas, much above my level of expertise.

        This morning, Sunday, after 48 hours of ‘server not found’ messages, all is well again. Sorry to have become so paranoid. Checking under my bed every night to lower my anxiety level is simply not working any longer.

  14. Tommy Seiler

    The Thompson article is very good. I’ve read the opus….it’s tough, but worth it for deep historical types. And this article told me many things I didn’t know about him..

    1. curlydan

      I loved “Making of the English Working Class”. It just might be the best thing I read in college.

  15. temporal

    How to stop Russia’s hacking.

    So apparently the NSA, the CIA and other government agencies can’t protect some non-governmental servers from being run insecurely so we need to merge government efforts with cyber bounty hunters with a license to attack even when no clear attacker exists. Talk about false flag opportunities. And connecting all that to physical agencies like NATO to control strike forces is bound to be a good idea.

    But why stop there?
    How to stop China’s hacking.
    How to stop Britain’s hacking.
    How to stop Europe’s hacking.
    How to stop the US’s hacking.
    How to stop anonymous’s hacking.
    Leading to, how to stop professional cyber security hitmen from around the globe from creating false flag opportunities because it pays so well.

    All this because some the Ds apparently don’t take their own server security seriously.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “1,2,3,4,5. That’s the kind of combination an idiot would have on his luggage.” (Please, come out of retirement Rick Moranis and do Spaceballs II).

      “1,2,3,4,5? That’s amazing! I’ve got the same combination on my luggage.”

      Does anyone remember when Palin’s email was hacked because her security question was easy such as where she met her spouse and then part of her little story? It’s very obvious Palin was mocked because of her rural ways and not her intelligence which is why the national media missed it for so long when given the size of the corruption scandal in Alaska in the preceding years, the only people left out would have been utter morons.

  16. crittermom

    Regarding the lopsided housing rebound: After being a victim of the banks I’m almost 65 & renting for the first time ever. The young aren’t the only ones struggling/suffering in this market.
    It sucks. I can’t afford anything more than this dump I’m living in.
    My credit is trashed since I have a ‘foreclosure’ on my record (when it should read I was a victim of theft); the job market is nonexistent for someone my age with no special skills; I lost my future income when I lost my home (I had approval for a B&B I’d gotten years before and put much of my money into remodeling in prep for it, as part of my retirement plan), as well as the decent paying job I had at the time (which still didn’t afford me enough for rent there, which was more than I was paying in my own home). I cry damn near every day I awaken and realize it was not all just a bad dream. (Over 4 yrs and counting now)
    I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to afford a home again. Especially in my beloved state of Colorado.
    A girl I know of just graduated with a degree and was offered a job in Durango, CO for $36,000 year.
    Sounds great for a new graduate, right?
    The last I heard she had not yet accepted the job because in researching housing in that area the cheapest she found was a STUDIO for $1,800 mth.
    Colorado is now leading the nation regarding the cost of homes and rent, from what I’ve read, with no slowing down yet.

    The new homes being built in the neighborhood I currently reside in (in another state) are all vacation homes. None will be primary homes.
    Each day I drive past dozens and dozens of them. Most sit vacant the majority of the year, with owners coming to visit for a couple months or less, and others having never visited in the 4 years I’ve been stuck here. Very beautiful homes. One is worth well over a million, I’ve no doubt.
    I guess those particular owners don’t have much time to spend at this one, however, with having to split the time between their 3 other homes (both here & abroad).

    I’ve wanted to remain in the Rockies, where I’d resided since early 1978 by choice, but anything comparable to what I had would now cost close to a half million (yet Freddic Mac ‘gave’ mine away for $65,000). Raw land, with no home, well, or ANYTHING is averaging $10,000 per acre in other states in the Rockies and much higher in CO. Want trees on it?
    Double that price.

    In looking at owner-carry properties, the going interest rate is 10% or higher, once again making the pymts beyond my reach (if I even had the down pymt).
    I’d live in a tipi if I could afford the land.

    In recent months I saw a segment on German prisons and their justice system. That’s when I realized I could go there and commit first-degree murder, be thrown in prison–and elevate my living conditions by at least 50%.
    That’s pathetic.

    When I read articles talking of young people not being able to afford housing I want to scream that’s there are 6-8 MILLION of us (or more, depending on figures you read) who once HAD homes that were stolen and now can’t afford one, either.
    It’s not just the young who are suffering.

    “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” can’t even come close to “Hell hath no fury like an ol’ lady who lost EVERYTHING illegally while ‘my’ govt stood by and allowed (encouraged?) it to happen”.
    I don’t see any hope of my life improving with our next regime, either, unless I disregard any laws and do whatever it takes to make money.
    The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if you have money you don’t have to abide by the laws since you can buy your way out of any mess.
    If you don’t have money, you can’t even afford the legal help to enforce the laws to retain what you legally own, from the crooks.
    I’ve now discovered what creates crotchety, hateful, spiteful ol’ ladies out of once nice people.
    All thanks to the US govt.
    Time for me to grab my camera and take a hike…

    1. Ulysses

      “In recent months I saw a segment on German prisons and their justice system. That’s when I realized I could go there and commit first-degree murder, be thrown in prison–and elevate my living conditions by at least 50%.”

      This shocking, yet all-too-accurate cri de coeur does more to explain the coming insurrection, here in the U.S., than mountains of academic studies. Wow.

      1. Eclair

        Ah, Colorado. Ground zero in the now almost-forgotten foreclosure scam wars.

        58 year old Martin Wirth was shoot to death by Park County Sheriff deputies in February, when they came to evict him from his home. Crittermom chose to live; Martin chose to die rather than become homeless.

    2. abynormal

      i’m sorry crittermom. you got me crying, again.
      your writing is fearless…shaves bone marrow.
      make those tears work…maybe pen into your pics.
      continue to create yourself, please
      you imprint.

      1. crittermom

        Wow. Thank you.
        I didn’t mean to make you cry, however. I cry enough for both of us, believe me.
        I try to get it outta me in the morning so I can put on my ‘happy face’ to deal with others and not bring them down, too. I’m sorry I made you cry.

        After some research I’m hoping I’ve found my ‘niche’, using my photographs to illustrate children’s books I’ve begun to write. Two written so far, tho’ I may add chapters of the bird growing up in one of them.

        The other teaches a lesson about ‘trying’, which I continue to read again myself just to remind myself to keep trying (as I continue to look at editing to get it ‘perfect’).

        The hardest part will be finding a backer so I may get them published, and hopefully find them successful enough to once again own a home?

        I’ve considered writing an adult version of “The 3 Little Pigs” involving the banksters, but I lack photos of pigs and a wolf! ;)

        1. crittermom

          I should have added (now that my brain is functioning better following a hike, food, chores), that I want to do the children’s books for more than money.
          I want to teach children about the animals we share this world with, who all too soon due to the ever-increasing populations, will be found only in zoos.
          Kids ‘n critters have always been my two favorites in life.

          I’m hoping they fall in love with some of my critters (characters) and they want to protect them and our national parks (Trump scares me on that one, as he appears to regard the public lands as real estate, perhaps?)

          I love this quote by Chief Dan George (actor, writer) and have a print of it hanging I brought with me when I moved:

          “If you talk to the animals they will talk with you
          and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them
          you will not know them, and what you do not know
          you will fear. What one fears one destroys.”

          I want to help teach children to appreciate the animals, while also teaching lessons through the animals about trying your best, bullying, and more.

          If successful, I see it as a win/win. My favorite ending.

          In positive moments I try to convince myself that the reason this happened to me was so that I would discover what I really should be doing in my life.
          Hoping I’m right.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Since we have not yet achieved full communism, remember the wise words of Dr. Johnson: Nobody but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.

            It sounds like you’ve been through a lot. The money will help you. Take it, you’ll have earned it, and you’ll deserve it.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the country should take ‘in’ domestic migrants and economic refugees…as well (if not first)

      “The government just announced we would take in 5,000,000 domestic economic refugees. All races of the American society, but it could be xenophobic, because no foreigners were mentioned at the press conference.” – imagine something like that.

      This morning, I heard someone on the local public radio someone say Trump, being a socialist (I think that was what he said), nationalist and populist, was bad for us (not his other faults, i believe…caveat – I didn’t hear the whole interview).

    4. knowbuddhau

      Crittermom, your story breaks my heart. And your perseverance inspires me.

      The FBI warned of an epidemic of mortgage fraud, and nothing was done to stop it. What was done? Geithner’s infamous foaming of the runways to protect the perps, to name but one dead giveaway.

      So yeah, I’m in the “encouraged” camp.

      I hope you found a measure of solace on your hike.

      1. crittermom

        Thank you. I didn’t write it to break your heart, however.
        I just don’t want folks to forget that for many of us we haven’t been able to bounce back, as a home of our own again seems further away each day as prices continue to rise.
        And many, many families are still being forced from their homes on the exact same illegal grounds each and every day, but that’s ‘old news’ so most have forgotten–or never understood in the first place, blaming it all on us homeowners because the banks said we “quit paying” our mtg. Ha!

        While I didn’t have an opportunity to take any pictures on my 2 hr hike, it did afford me the opportunity to realize how out of shape I am! Aarghhhhh. Legs still burning.

    5. AnnieB

      Crittermom, I appreciate you sharing your story. Did you know that there is
      “affordable” rental housing in Boulder County, CO? You have to live here in order to get on the list, of course. But more affordable housing is being built right now.

      1. crittermom

        This was meant for Eclair:
        That happened in the same county where they stole my ranch. I know the area well.

        Wirth shot 3 deputies before they killed him. One died, another suffered bad injuries but survived, and another was just grazed.

        While I in no way condone Wirth’s actions, I can more than understand his frustration in dealing with the bank while trying to get someone in govt to intervene, and what brought him to that conclusion.

        I would have never shot a deputy (who should not be sent to do the banks evil deeds in the first place), yet must confess my first thought when I lost my home of 20 yrs was to burn it down with me in it. I couldn’t do that to my best friend & companion, my dog, however.

        Now I just struggle with the fact that they foreclosed on me, returning future pymts, while I was current on mine on a $140,000 mtg. (40+ acre ranch), sold it to Freddie Mac for $50,000 more than they said I owed, only to watch Freddie sell it on the open market immediately for a mere $65,000 total.

        THAT’S the part I can’t come to terms with, more than anything. I fought as best I could without help from a lawyer, but never even got a day in court. (CO is unique. Ruling 120 state)
        I lost everything, Freddie Mac lost, and the bank (Chase) made money despite the fact they never invested a dime and were only the servicer.

        Tho’ I couldn’t afford to keep up my online subscription with the local paper back there, I was able to read the latest letter from the editor in which he says he can’t get answers to the questions he presented to the Sheriff’s ofc regarding Wirth’s death and is basically being stonewalled.

        Imagine that. Not being able to get straight answers from a govt sector.

        They still have the same saying in that county they’ve had for over thirty years now.
        “Come on vacation, leave on probation”.
        Ya don’t wanna mess with that Sheriff’s department. Several years prior they killed a resident when he became enraged over the penalty he had to pay ($10) for not renewing his license plates in time.
        The story was that the county ofc called the Sheriff, the guy had headed home, they followed him, he’d pulled a rifle from his truck before entering his home, so they called in SWAT.

        They ended up killing him when they said he threatened them.
        I’ve always tried to figure out how he was such a threat, considering the story said they shot him in the butt (so from the back?), hitting a main artery and he bled out. “End of story.” (Huh?)

      2. crittermom

        AnnieB I appreciate the input, but with the average price of a home in Boulder now at a million, I have to wonder what they consider ‘affordable housing’?
        It would still probably take all of my meager SS (I had to take it early to keep a roof over my head, after the place I was working here closed down) for just the rent alone.
        As women we still make less than men, so that equates to getting less in SS, as well.

        Honestly, I’ve never lived in an apartment, which I’m assuming these are (with the exception of living in and managing my parents small complex in Pacific Beach, CA 40 yrs ago).

        There’s also the matter of my best friend whom I’ll never part with (large dog), as well as 2 cats now (mouse control).

        Having spent the first 24 yrs of my life in rural southern Michigan and recent decades in rural CO, I would honestly live much happier in a tipi if I could find some land (with trees and a well) that I could afford.

        I went from country girl to mountain woman in my lifetime, with a stint as a ‘middle class housewife’ when married (tho’ I still picked out the largest lot in the subdivision for our tract home to be built on).
        I fear I’ve become too angry and cynical to be around a lot of people now.

        That’s probably why I’ve always loved animals so. If a mtn lion jumps out of a tree and eats you it’s because it’s hungry.
        If a bear charges you it’s probably because it’s a sow with cubs nearby and she’s defending her family.
        There’s nothing ‘evil’ in their actions.

        But too many people, which sadly includes those running for president (yeah, I wish they’d ‘run’ to another country!), are dishonest in their words and actions.

        I’ll research the housing you’ve suggested, however. “Leave no stone unturned.”

          1. crittermom

            Thanks. I already do collect against his. I had to direct it all to get it done, however.

            I’d researched before applying but when I first mentioned that, the man at SS (who had worked there for 8 yrs) told me I couldn’t.
            I insisted he research a bit, so after he dragged out the huge book of rules, he admitted I was right. He was surprised to learn that. (are you kidding me?)

            I’ve often wondered how many divorced women over the 8 yrs of his employment with the govt took his word and walked out without their benefits.

    6. Harry

      I suspected this had happened to many people but thank you for this exposition. I’m very sorry this happened to you and I am outraged as well.

      1. crittermom

        It happened to literally many millions of us.
        And it’s still going on daily.

        I had refinanced to pay off debts (should’ve declared BK, but I was raised that if you owe a debt, you pay it, so I did by refinancing my home. BIG mistake).

        When my wholesale business went under (after cheap knock-offs from China put me outta biz in 6 mths) I found myself struggling financially. My new ‘lender’–Chase Bank–suggested HAMP.

        If you read the SIGTARP report from a couple years ago regarding the TARP funds that were supposed to help keep us in our homes and the HAMP program, you’ll find that up to 84% of us (depending on the bank involved) lost our homes under that program, after making those modified pymts for a year or more. It was all a farce. The banks ended up with the money, saying we reneged on our pymts.

        The SIGTARP report for the latest quarter states the banks are still not abiding by the ‘rules’ that were set in place following the ‘great recession’. (I wish they’d call it was it was: The largest financial scam, performed by the banks against the citizens, in the history of our country).

        Too bad we won’t have someone like Bernie as pres to enforce the laws.
        As others have remarked. We are so screwed…

    7. Jess

      So sorry for your situation. Being 70, I can imagine the terror and uncertainty you experience on a daily basis. Wish there was some way I could help you. Unfortunately the only thing I can think of is if you snap a picture of any great wildlife or flowers, send them to Yves and Lambert for the antidotes.

      1. crittermom

        Funny you should say that.
        I usually photograph wildlife or ranching life, but was thinking of Lambert when I took a photo of some plants yesterday! (Interesting mix of flora)

        Unfortunately, I need to make money with my ‘work’, so can’t be a regular contributor regarding that as I need to concentrate on other subjects, but am happy to send some along to him.

        I derive immense pleasure when photographing, so that’s always a rewarding ‘deposit’ for my ‘psychological well-being account’. It’s the only thing that truly puts me ‘in the moment’ and frees my mind of negativity.
        Frankly, it’s what’s kept me sane through these past several years. (Depending on someone’s definition of sanity, of course!)

    8. pretzelattack

      you can’t live in durango, or most other places in colorado, making over twice the minimum wage. this can’t last. maybe they can start treating your car as a legal domicile. if you’re making 3k a month, you can only afford 1200 month rent.

      this site claims you can get a tiny house for a little over 35k, but then there’s the land, and the property taxes.

      no wonder walmart workers get food stamps. but hey, inflation is “low”. i hope you can continue to live in the rockies, i always wanted to retire there, it’s such a beautiful area. i used to live in silverton.

      1. crittermom

        The price of land alone is out of my reach.
        Wyoming would probably be a good place for me, as well, yet despite the lower population, land is still unaffordable.

        I’ve heard rumor of some counties now looking to ban those ‘tiny houses’, as well. Taxes are based on the value of the home, so those considerably cut down revenue for the county.
        It still all gets down to money, doesn’t it?

        I held onto that old expression “When you find yourself at the end of your rope, grab the knot at the end and hold on”, foolishly thinking the govt would step in and enforce the laws in regards to the banks, in effect, being the ‘knot’.

        Unfortunately for us victims, we found that knot at the bottom to be a slip-knot, and we all fell.

        1. perpetualWAR

          I, too, have been battling with the banksters for 7 years. I can’t give away much of my details, because I’ve just entered appellate court. But, hoping to outlast the bastards through statute of limitations.

          Like you, I hate my government. Like you, I thought the government would take care of the taxpayers who did nothing more than get caught. I lost my job and couldn’t find another one for quite some time.

          I wish that I could provide you my contact info so we could commiserate, but I cannot risk having my online identity identified.

          Just know, that there still are many of us who continue to battle these felons.

          Take care and dream of guillotines.

          1. crittermom

            I wish you all the best! I fully understand, all too well, what you’re going through.
            I’m pulling for you!!!

            Unlike you, however, I quit calling it ‘my’ govt several years ago. Now I just refer to it as ‘the’ govt. *low growl*

    9. inode_buddha

      “I don’t see any hope of my life improving with our next regime, either, unless I disregard any laws and do whatever it takes to make money.”

      That is exactly what the elites do, its how they got that way. I’ve had similar thoughts but decided to remain as-is simply because I have to live with myself at the end ofthe day.

      BTW real estate is far more reasonable out my way, though the job market is kinda dicey here (Buffalo NY area, you can find acreage with outbuildings under 100k)

  17. Zephyrum

    Conclusion from the placebo button article: “At the end of the day, placebo buttons do little harm and may well do a bit of good.”

    No. At the end of the day placebo buttons are deceptive, a lie. They show a lack of respect, but are consistent with the usual attitude of a faceless bureaucracy of modern times.

    1. hunkerdown

      Exactly. A “noble lie”, as the ruling class who benefits from them likes to call them.

      I suppose it would be churlish to point out that official elections are just this.

    2. ekstase

      They’ve got the right idea in Germany: “When the walk light is red, people waiting across the street from one another can share a short game of Pong, playing on screens attached to corner traffic light posts.”

      I wonder what else people could do to kill that interminable waiting at streetlights and elevators. And what about that part where you’ve already pushed that button, and are obviously standing there waiting, and someone else comes and pushes it, as though you are an idiot who stands by these buttons waiting for someone who knows how they operate. “Hey, little lady. Let me work the technical equipment, while you go home and bake a cake. There you go. I pushed it for you! You’re welcome.” But now that I know they’re placebos, maybe I won’t push them anymore at all, and this type of interaction will become a lot funnier! As George Carlin said about society, “Now it’s time to have some fun.”

  18. DJG

    “So everybody’s free to vote their conscience!”

    Yes: It may be that living in Chicago, lo, these many years, has made me know first-hand that you have to vote your conscience. And you can expect to lose. But I also don’t feel as if I have been mud-splashed by association with Rahm.

    At this point, the question is whether or not in this neo-baroque time people still have a conscience, or if our overheated and overembroidered time means not having one is seen as survival. (See article about the “scandal-free” Obama staff in Silicon Valley: Eric Holder and Airbnb–ultra-scrumplicious ethically, eh.)

    The way that I will summarize strategic voting is this: So you are voting for the president thinking that Little Sammy Alito is going choke on that fishbone in 2026? That’s a strategy?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What to say to kids 30 years from now – ‘Sorry, we failed to stop the Foundation’?

  19. Bubba_Gump

    I’m about halfway through Scott Anderson’s Lawrence in Arabia, a biography of T.E. Lawrence but also a comprehensive yet engaging history of the region around the time of WWI. It’s a story in which no nation comes off well, and in it we see the origins of the insurgent Muslim uprising — these uprisings were fomented by European powers as a mechanism to evict colonial competitors! We see the origins of the modern Middle East in how the Ottoman Empire was carved up by the colonial powers during and after WWI, and how the current monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Jordan (and Iraq until the 1958 revolution) were established as a payoff to Arab tribal leaders for their activities during the war. It’s fascinating.

    It also shows all the reasons to be hopeless about any clean resolution to what’s going on over there — actually any resolution whatsoever.

    1. Carolinian

      Blame the mideast mess on the Brits for sure. They thought the world was their chess board. Now it’s our turn.

      1. ambrit

        Au contraire mon amis. The French were in there pitching for all they were worth. Think the Lebanon and Syria for starters. Then there was Reilly and the founding of BP for international corporate values influences. The Americans seem to have held back until the Suez Crisis. Then the Cousins went full out for Internationalism, as in the Canal being treated like a Global Resource. Then there were all the Americans providing aid and comfort to the Israeli Insurgency. (The Hollywood scriptwriter Ben Hecht was deep into supplying American ‘surplus’ aircraft to the proto Israelis for an airforce to counteract the Arab League. It worked too.) I don’t read anywhere about Americans prosecuted for ‘Trading With Foreign Beligerants’ back then, do you?
        There is more than enough guilt to go around the world several times regarding the Middle East.
        As you remarked, the Game of Empire is played by many, with various levels of success.

        1. Carolinian

          Fair enough but the Brit Balfour declaration got the whole ball rolling on Israel and Churchill’s poison gas attacks against the Iraqis surely worse than anything the French did. Then there’s India/Pakistan, Africa etc. Face it–the rest of us are just amateurs compared to the Brits when it comes to leaving chaos in their wake.

          1. Bubba_Gump

            Before Balfour was Sykes-Picot between the Brits and French, which was an agreement on who would get what of the Ottoman.

      2. Jess

        Interesting that you use the term chess board. Recently was gifted with a copy of a great book about the evil Dulles brothers titled “The Devil’s Chessboard”. I’m sure they are holding a special place in hell for their philosophical spawn, Madeline Albright. (And, of course, Hillary.)

    2. Watt4Bob

      I’m reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom right now, Lawrence’s first-hand account of the Brit’s manipulation of the Arab revolt.

      I’m also reading There Goes the Middle East by Alfred Lilienthal, a very prophetic examination*, and indictment of America’s Middle-East policies circa 1957.

      It’s final chapter contains the following passage;

      Because the media of information refuse to relate cause to effect, no one knows why American chickens in the Middle East have been coming home to roost and are laying red eggs. And each day it becomes more probable that, unless the grave injustice to the Palestinian Arabs is immediately mitigated, the entire Middle East will be lost to the free world. Such a catastrophe would result in a shift in the world balance, and would inevitably bring World War III.

      Add to these two remarkable books, todays equally remarkable NYT magazine peace, and you all the necessary information to assemble an honest assessment of the last hundred years of Western involvement in the Middle East.

      Unfortunately, we are a people long taught to prefer an unbelievable fairy-tale, to a simple, straight-forward telling of facts.

      *Lilienthal being fervently anti-communist, saw the problem through the prism of his time, and so sees the main danger as the possible alignment of Arab states with communist Russia, the exact nature of the danger may have changed, but his analysis is still accurate.

      1. Joe

        I would like to remind you about the founding of the CIA and the Dulles brothers, John Foster and Allen Dulles.. They imposed their personal beliefs and paternalism on USA foreign policy and encouraged the Cold War and the destruction of other countries’. governments that they felt were not in the US interest. These same policies and actions are taking place today and are more severe. I lived in those times and thought that “American Exceptionalism” was the “real” thing – not any more.

        1. Watt4Bob

          No reminder necessary, I trace my own political awakening to the assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in 1976.

          We’re all in the same pathetic boat, captained by psychopaths.

          The Dulles Bros. are representatives of a very large fraternity of like minded people.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        One amazing factoid about The Seven Pillars is that Lawrence wrote it…then left the only draft on a train. So he sat down and rewrote it, from memory.

    3. dk

      Meant to reply to Watt4Bob, above ^^^

      Clean resolution, after decades and generations of social sabotage and economic plunder, would probably involve some substantial reparations. The regions have been gutted, resources and supplies depleted, infrastructure destroyed, institutions in disarray, populations displaced many times over.

      I think reparations (and dare I say, humble assistance) would be vastly less expensive, in net, than continued war, but money-holders don’t want to shell out for anything that doesn’t have a direct return for them, to the exclusion of anyone else.

      1. Watt4Bob

        I can’t help but think that it would have been cheaper in the long run, to drop plane-loads of cash on the Arab people in order to gain control of their petroleum resources, rather than install vicious despots and eventually wage endless war.

        1. dk

          So how do we promote this hindsight for the young and for future generations? To make the case that domination is fragile and treacherous for the dominators, unsustainable? The question has plagued our species from the beginning.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s money for the government to spend, in order to trickle down to the people.

          Here and abroad.

          So, no cash to the people there. Only installing despots and money for them.

        3. oh

          It’s been tried before and is still being tried…..with no success. If we keep our nose out of it, it might work!

  20. tongorad

    The Day After The Election Counterpunch

    Those frightened at the prospect of Donald Trump being elected need to explain precisely where they were when Democrats launched their three-decade-long class war against the great majority of the American people. The Clintons passed NAFTA in 1994 after Republicans had been unable to get it passed because of (righteous) opposition from organized labor. They ‘freed’ Wall Street from social accountability while making it more dependent than ever on government bailouts. They cut social spending while increasing the economic vulnerability of the poor. Both the dotcom stock bubble and the housing bubble began under the Clintons and were caused by their finance-friendly policies. The Clintons are singularly responsible for the Democrats’ turn toward finance capitalism that has dispossessed the middle class, immiserated the working class and left the poor to fight over the crumbs that fall to them.

  21. Greycat

    Yesterday, I was in a meeting and I recalled a story about a man who got people to buy more books by getting contractors and architects to build in bookshelves in new homes. I knew when I told the story that my memory of the facts and context was not even half-right, so spent some time looking for my ill-remembered source. Turns out that the story was published in 1998 in the New Yorker and was written by Malcolm Gladwell. It is called “The Spin Myth” and it is about the rise of modern marketing and public relations and was written during the first Clinton administration. The article is available on Gladwell’s website. Here is a link:

    A few days ago, one of our “community” very publicly lost his stuff. I’ve been thinking about that a lot… Why now? What was the proverbial straw? After I (re)read the Gladwell article this morning, it occurred to me that maybe there are some ideas about dog whistles and ways of talking about the manipulation of and by the media that might be helpful.

    1. Waldenpond

      That was an interesting read……It’s all deception. Made me cringe at being bombarded with particular messaging and unable to separate oneself.

      Is the proverbial straw how all encompassing the deception is or just the effectiveness of another act of electoral theater?

  22. Carolinian

    Re Walmart/Banksy. Presumably you could also look at it as Walmart flipping off Banksy. After all they are making money from his message attacking them. Cheeky.

    Personally I would be more annoyed at those people dismantling his public art–the stencil on Israel’s apartheid wall for example–and selling it to NY sqillionaires. This is documented in one of the Banksy documentaries.

      1. Carolinian

        Banksy on principle doesnt’ support copyright. I believe the documentary I was thinking about was Banksy in New York where he sets up a scavenger hunt in NYC for one of his graffito each day for two weeks. When they were in poor neighborhoods gangs would erect tarps around the wall painting and charge people to see and one of his improvised sculptures was physically chiseled from the pavement and sold–get this–to a dealer in the Hamptons who was the one selling the somewhat famous Banksy work chiseled off the separation wall in Israel. Banksy has sold his own work at a show in LA and celebs like Angelina Jolie own these pieces which are worth thousands if not millions. The one percent have embraced the anti-capitalist.

  23. ambrit

    Aaaargh mateys!
    That H Clinton photo of the podcast crew raises some questions.
    First, just who is she raising her clenched fist to?
    Second, who are these sycophants, and how dare they laugh while ‘Fearless Leader’ speaks?
    Third, are those downy microphones dual purpose? One, to capture ‘Fearless Leaders’ immortal prose. Two, to tickle ‘Fearless Leaders’ bum?
    Four, where is the shiny yellow Power Pantsuit? Beige linen is too, well, reasonable and accommodating for a ‘Fearless Leader.’
    Five, where is this Love Fest taking place? The Tea Room at the Ritz?
    Six, is that a pillow behind ‘Fearless Leaders’ back? Could this meeting be in her seraglio?
    Too many questions. Rest assured however. ‘Fearless Leader’ has the Answers. Sleep well tonight knowing that ‘Fearless Leader’ is tirelessly protecting us.
    Hail Hydra!

  24. diptherio

    Thanks for the article on low-income experiences with the health care system. The recommendations for doctors are…revealing:

    Simple gestures like introducing oneself, making eye contact, and showing genuine interest in patient well-being go a long way toward making patients feel respected. A lack of these simple interactions was often cited by participants as a big concern.

    In order to show genuine interest in someone’s well-being, it helps to legitimately care about them, which I think is the root of the problem here. Translation: treat low-income patients like human beings.

    Taking the time to listen to patients not only builds the patient-provider relationship, but also uncovers medically useful information such as symptoms or adverse reactions to treatments, or patient misinformation.

    Not something that doctors need to be told with middle-income patients. Pretty sure “listen to the patient” is day one in diagnosis class at med school…so the translation here is the same as above.

    For many lower-income participants, trust and respect were their primary concern with the health care system, even more than the quality of the health care they received. Participants felt they were treated with less respect because of their income, insurance status, and race.

    This is just one aspect of a much larger issue. As a low-income person, you can expect to regularly be treated as “less than” by those who see themselves as middle-class or higher. Not everyone is a douche, of course, but you would be surprised at the utter disdain that otherwise nice people show to working-class/low-income people. Get a job at a gas station for a couple of months, or as a waiter(ess) if you don’t believe me.

    In contrast, middle-income study participants did not report many negative experiences with providers, and those with negative interactions did not feel they were being targeted or discriminated against. It was as if lower- and middle-income patients had experienced two different health care systems.

    It’s more than that…we live in two different worlds. I imagine it’s the same thing for women and people of color. The only solution is for people (i.e. you and me) to actually view each other as equals, not just say they do, and that requires a lot of personal work that each of us has a responsibility to do…imho.

    1. abynormal

      the world is beginning to shake…hopefully after convulsions the simplicity of it all will give way for responding-to-our-abilities

      Death is not the enemy sir, Indifference is!
      You treat a disease, you win, you lose.
      You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.
      Patch Adams

    2. flora

      From the Plato’s Dialogs, in the Laws, Book 4, a discussion between the Athenian and Cleinias regarding slave patients and freemen patients:

      The Athenian asks: “You are aware that there are these two classes of doctors?”

      Cle. To be sure.

      Ath. And did you ever observe that there are two classes of patients in states, slaves and freemen; and the slave doctors run about and cure the slaves, or wait for them in the clinic. They never talk to their patients individually, nor do they allow them to talk about their own individual complaints. The slave doctor diagnoses and prescribes a remedy on an empirical basis, [but does so] as if he had exact knowledge; He gives his orders [to the patient], like a tyrant, and then rushes off, to see some other slave who is ill, all the while projecting an air of confidence and assurance;…

      But the other doctor attends and practises upon freemen; and he carries his enquiries [with his patient] far back, and goes into the nature of the disorder in a scientific way; he enters into discourse with the patient and with his family, and is at once getting useful information from the sick person, and also instructing him as far as he is able. [The physician] will not prescribe for the patient until he has first convinced him; at last, when he has brought the patient more and more under his persuasive influences and set him on the road to health, he attempts to effect a cure.

      Now which is the better way of proceeding in a physician and in a trainer? Is he the better who accomplishes his ends in a double way, or he who works in one way, and that the ruder and inferior?

      Cle. I should say, Stranger, that the double way is far better.

      1. diptherio

        You see, this is what makes NC great! Thanks for that historical context, flora. I’ll be printing this out to take with me next time I have to go deal with the medical-industrial complex.

    3. Waldenpon

      I get my medical provider to make eye contact by asking ‘how much?’ Not kidding. The two people I’ve interacted with sit at a desk with their laptop asking questions and typing. To the always recommended pharmaceuticals or tests I always ask ‘how much’ and I get the eye contact with the raised eyebrows.

      I’m such a cynic, I imagine the recommendation to make eye contact is a marketing gimmick. gah.

  25. Paper Mac

    Re: is Trump throwing the election?

    “If a candidate truly wants to become president, would he and his foreign policy advisors plan a strategy that repeatedly praises Vladimir Putin, the strongman dictator of Russia, and say he is not sure he would defend Europe nations from a Russian invasion? Does Trump believe there is a pro-Putin vote in America?”

    Does this guy really think there isn’t? Praise for Putin and longing for a Strong Daddy is as prevalent on the American right as reflexive “anti-imperialist” peddling of Russian agitprop on the left. Of course there is a pro-Putin vote in America.

  26. Heliopause

    “Polls: Clinton Running the Table in Key Battlegrounds NBC”

    It should be pointed out that NBC’s polling this cycle has shown a pretty big lean toward Clinton. The four most recent national polls in RCP’s database are Clinton +6, +6, +4, +7 (2-way), Clinton +3, +5, +6, +4 (3-way w/Johnson), Clinton +3, +5, +4, +5 (4-way w/Johnson & Stein). This suggests to me that the race is edging back toward its equilibrium point of roughly Clinton +4 as I suspected it would, but we’ll see where this goes. I guess that’s my way of saying that the race is not the huge blowout that the media is portraying it as.

    But having said that I still think it highly likely Clinton will win by somewhere close to that +4, barring the intervention of outside factors.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      RE: the polls—let’s not forget it’s very early. Hillary has been campaigning for decades. The Donald is still not well known to people, like me, who don’t live in one of “his” cities. I just this morning watched one of his speeches for the first time. He’s a good speaker compared to Hill, who can’t draw flies at her rallies. The polls right now are meaningless.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Polls are rigged. You can look at where they get the phone-numbers and they no doubt are manufacturing these results. They use algorithms to “weight” results and in the end they basically show what the oligarchy wants. Jill Stein is the current rage with the ex-berners and the H-> camp wants that to be silent.

        The above video is from the AAPI with a Q and A of Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), and a stump speech by Slick Willy himself, the quality is very bad at parts due to “stream” errors but the Stein segments aren’t too bad. Interesting that H-> didn’t attend, I suppose she probably had a squillionaire CFR meeting to attend, or they had to repair her human suit.

        Either way, worth a watch to hear the Johnson and Stein parts.

        She’s not really polling at 5%, it’s probably more like 20%…

    2. nippersdad

      Re: “…The race is not the huge blowout that the media is portraying it as.”

      I really don’t see how it could be; O’s first election was won with a 7% margin, and he had the relative advantage of no real record, a silver tongue and a huge youth following. Clinton, on the other hand, has an appalling record and is despised by both young and old alike. In a low turnout election it will just be a contest between the base voters, and half of the Democratic Party contingent will only be there to vote against Trump (hence her efforts to coopt Republicans, and good luck to her with that! They have been trained to loathe her for decades)…then you hear about polls which only canvass people over thirty on land lines……

      If she wins by a couple of points I think she should consider herself lucky. Were I her, I would be really embarrassed at the amount of effort required to haul my carcass over the line.

        1. nippersdad

          This will be true, even as half the Democratic Party decamps and they lose yet another mid-term. It is always fun to watch the party hacks blame the voters, they never seem to have heard of the adage that the customer is always right.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I will probably wait until after the first debate to see where this one is headed eventually.

        By the way, when is it?

  27. KurtisMayfield

    “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”

    George H.W. Bush June 2001

    How quickly the press forgets that a sitting President openly praised Putin. Or has the entire G.H.W. Bush presidency been put into cold storage in the presses minds?

    1. OIFVet

      …a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”

      That’s a crime as far as the hegemon is concerned. The only good national leader is one who has the best interests of the US in mind and in heart. Democracy and freedumb are optional, of course. Hence we have a bunch of color revolutions to install pliant puppets, all financed by a network of NGOs and US governmental “democracy promoting” entities. Say what you will about Dubya, but he was the only US leader to actually state the truth about Putin.

      1. HBE

        Certainly not, I think it is clear putin used his powers as a known God (at least to the msm) to possess Bush. Or in NYT parlance.

        Unnamed possession experts confirmed today, mere minutes after it occurred (thats how expert unnamed NYT experts are) that putin was behind the hack of George bush’s consciousness.

        According to unnamed officials (um they are official so you are not permitted to doubt them), this was an attempt to influence elections in favor of Donald Trump in an unknown manner, to occur 15 years from now (“what!?”- if you thought that, your atheism is showing, all god fearing people know a God can see the future, Duh).

  28. ekstase

    I want to understand more about that desert at the center of the Milky Way, but then I got to this part, (I cut and pasted it,) and I got stuck:

    “It has been a desert for hundreds of millions of years, scientists say – and so we use now change how we understand how the Milky Way for”

    So I’m just going to go with it looks like a giant Third Eye, and maybe that means something.

  29. Gaylord

    A Court Ruling That Could Save the Planet by Cass Sunstein — very important and welcome news. The social cost of carbon will be rising exponentially as abrupt climate change brings ever more disaster and displacement of populations. As these events become indisputably linked to the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, we in the US will be called upon to bear a commensurately exponentially increasing burden for the rescue, recovery, mitigation and adaptation costs. Therefore, for the long term, all talk of “economic growth” is utter nonsense.

    1. Mike Mc

      ^This. Something I am more frequently reminding myself and others whenever we get wound too tight about this idiot election (or election of one idiot).

      All of humanity’s flaws and foibles – capitalism, socialism, ISISism, the whole shebang – pale in comparison to the threat of climate change. I live in the heart of farm country USA and our entire production model of corn and soybean monocropping is just slightly less insane than fracking and tar sands oil production. The algae blooms threatening potable water supplies will create water wars far worse than the Flint lead crisis.

      Not great news but a good perspective on Trump Clinton Putin et al.

  30. nothing but the truth

    their is big problem with the media assertion of Russian hacking story.

    there is no evidence. metadata at the file level is more likely to be planted. a russian state hacking unit is very unlikely to commit this level of error.

    what we are seeing is the media lying Pravda style, and uniting behind a candidate. the candidate is also quite dangerous to world peace.

    this fusion of the untruthful media, the military industrial complex, the siliCON valley and financial complex, the warmonger candidate and the non-partisan congressional / senatorial support behind her, is basically guaranteeing us a fascist state. Or you could say that the fascist deep state is fighting very dirty to survive.

    the reality of the western elite is not pretty.

  31. John k

    If one person is clearly a warmonger and the other is not, the other is de facto the peace candidate.
    If one person is clearly a lackay of demonstrably corrupt banks and the other is not, the other is against bank corruption.
    If one person sets up a server to avoid FOIA scrutiny while serving in an important federal post that has influence WRT wealthy foreign governments that contribute to her slush fund, one is entitled to assume she is personally criminally corrupt.
    Given the above, all efforts should be made to assure she never wins the presidency.

    1. sd

      Therein lies the conundrum. The “other” candidate with the best shot to beat her (at this time) is Donald ‘You’re Fired’ Trump. It just sucks that I have to seriously consider voting for Trump just to throw a massive wrench in the works of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    2. nothing but the truth

      the foreboding i have is that the war with russia is now baked in the cake by the powers that be (the neocons, soros etc, that seem to manage the “big picture”).

      putin’s exasperated interviews on youtube seem to suggest as much. he seems to know that there is now no way out of a war with the west, and his warnings are now dire, and the pronouncements of kerry, clintons, O, the MSM are bizarre and sinister.

      it almost seems to me that the rapture crowd has made up its mind to cause armageddon because jesus doesnt seem to be keen on coming here.

      1. 3.14e-9

        Nothing But, I share your foreboding. Developments are disturbingly like the run-up to the Iraq War in Clinton’s second term – all the more so, because they are being driven by many of the same people.

        The first reference I saw to Russian vote hacking was the July 27 WaPo article by Bruce Schneier, “security technologist” and author of a book on hidden data collection. I don’t recall it getting much attention at the time. Schneier confirmed that voting machines were easily hackable and even admitted that the United States had tampered in foreign elections. Yet there was nothing about a potential inside job, which Obama derided as impossible. I’m not a techie and wonder whether I’m missing something in how voting machines can be hacked by foreign governments but not entities in our own country.

        Right about that time, I read the story about all the Russian IT workers clamoring for visas to work in Silicon Valley. My immediate thought was, “Cyrillic keyboards.” But what do I know?

        It seems to me that there are multiple false flag events being set up, of which Russians hacking the election is just one. Meanwhile, we’re bombing Libya again, and the Pentagon is refusing to give numbers on troops in Libya and Syria. On any given day, we’ve either made tremendous progress in defeating ISIS, or they’re multiplying faster than bunnies, virtually guaranteeing there will be more and bigger terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe and no end to the War on Terrorism™. Meanwhile, Putin’s hiding nukes in Syria, but our nukes at Incirlik airbase in Turkey aren’t a risk, because they’re heavily guarded, and anyway we can’t use them, because they can’t be delivered with the bombers we have assigned there.

        I laugh at the deliberate fear-mongering about Russia and its wannabe world dictator. But I have a hard time fighting the foreboding and fear of the fearmongers.

          1. 3.14e-9

            Thanks, Lambert! I don’t know how I missed this bombshell.

            Did you overlook the last paragraph (especially the last sentence), or did you mean that it was odd he had no American jobs on his resume?

            Last year, based on anonymous sources, the Colombian media reported that Rendón was working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Rendón calls the reports untrue. The campaign did approach him, he says, but he turned them down because he dislikes Trump. “To my knowledge we are not familiar with this individual,” says Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks. “I have never heard of him, and the same goes for other senior staff members.” But Rendón says he’s in talks with another leading U.S. presidential campaign—he wouldn’t say which—to begin working for it once the primaries wrap up and the general election begins.

            1. 3.14e-9

              NM. It was talking about Rendón.

              I wonder how much it would cost to get him out of jail. Maybe a “private prison?”

  32. allan

    2.8 Million Enrolled via NY Health Exchange

    About 15 percent of the state’s population has enrolled in health care through the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, according to the state Department of Health.

    New York State of Health, the state-run health care exchange, released its annual report Friday detailing its level of use in 2016, and showing 2.8 million people in New York enrolled in coverage by the end of the open-enrollment period in late January.

    Enrollment was up by about 700,000 people from last year, when about 2.1 million were enrolled, according to the report.

    Feel the ACA-mentum. Or not:

    The vast majority of those enrolled through the marketplace received Medicaid plans. Of the 2.8 million total enrollees, nearly 2 million enrolled in Medicaid, with about 271,964 enrolled in qualified plans with private insurers. …

    By comparison, 210,000 lost their ACA coverage last year when the Health Republic co-op blew up.

    The Medicaid expansion is of course important and valuable for the people who qualify, but beyond that the enrollment figures are not too impressive in a state with almost 20 million people.
    The good news is that the neoliberal shopping adventure for 2017 starts a week before the election.

  33. Carolinian

    Fidel Castro is 90 years old today. Congrats pouring in from the lefties at b’s place and Counterpunch.

    Some discussion the other day about parking a medical tourism ocean liner off the California coast but Cuba has some of the best doctors in the world 90 miles from Florida. Wonder if they take checks.

    via M of A they have even pioneered a lung cancer vaccine

  34. Joe Hunter

    Just read the Sunday Review in the NYT. Maureen Dowd’s OP-Ed is one big put down of Hillary Clinton. I enjoyed every little bit of it and hope that she doesn’t find herself fired. Commentary was as expected, HC can do no wrong….. Mind is going. Think the title was; “The Perfect Republican Candidate”.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Modo rises to the occasion:

      Hillary, on the other hand, understands her way around political language and Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors. And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don’t shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone.

      You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving “aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda,” repeating the Bush administration’s phony case for war.
      If you want to carry the G.O.P. banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky.

      “Goldman Sachs busker” is pretty good, too.

  35. Jay M

    let’s not cut Cuba any slack
    after all, they are not the world’s policeman
    they have the resources to solve local problems
    heavy lies the crown

      1. ewmayer

        Oh, I know he was an actor who actually, you know, acted – lines of dialogue and facial expressions and such – in other movies; my problem is with the above ‘R2D2 actor’ article title. The folks from Jim Henson Productions who brought the complex animatronic puppets to life on one of my all-time favorite SciFi series, Farscape, similarly did incredible work under arduous conditions and in confined spaces, but they weren’t credited as actors on the show.

        1. Steve H.

          I’d say, then, that you still give him the credit. (If Henson’s people self-identified as Puppeteers, they may have preferred that identity to Actors.) Theater started with Greeks on very high platform shoes, with masks over their face, very little of their bodies exposed. Tyrone Guthrie’s Oedipus shows almost no exposed skin, but still conveys through sound and gesture. Theatre started as presentational; naturalistic acting is a modern invention.

          One of the most extraordinary live experiences I had was a Polish puppet theater that came to Chicago. A scene began and suddenly the entire set came to life, blurring the distinction between environment and actor.

  36. I Have Strange Dreams

    “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

    ― D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature

  37. nobody

    In the article in the Independent about how the “Milky Way has a huge void in the middle with no stars in it,” it is claimed that “[o]ur galaxy has a huge, gaping void inside of it that nobody had spotted before.”

    This is incorrect; in fact I had not spotted this huge gaping void before and for that matter I still haven’t spotted it.

    I’ll accept the claim, provisionally, on the basis of the expert testimony of the somebodies who have spotted this void along with the inherent aesthetic appeal of the notion, and in fact I’d quite like to see it for myself, being as I am one of those gaze-into-an-abyss types. But for now it remains a consummation devoutly to be wished.

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