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Links 8/19/16

Dear patient readers,

Apologies for thin links today. My 88 year old mother went to the emergency room. Not all that serious, since despite falling on concrete (!!!), she at worst might have fractured some small bones in her foot. Given that she didn’t complain of pain at the time of her fall, she may be more likely to have gotten a sprain or if we are really lucky, just a very bad bruise. However, getting through to her at the emergency room took a ton of effort and I still don’t have a report back, since orthopedic injuries with no blood are the dead bottom of the ER priority list. I’ve also had to deal with calling my siblings, her sometimes caregiver, and her best friend in the area re the state of play and what to do next (she was due to travel to Maine next weekend for a family holiday, and that is now in flux). So please add news topics and interesting stories to make up for the shortfall.

India’s famous crocodile-hunting female tiger, Machli, has died Quartz (JLS). We are posting a video of her in action as a bonus antidote in her honor.

Sea snails could save Great Barrier Reef from starfish BBC (furzy)

U.S. Swimmers’ Disputed Robbery Claim Fuels Tension in Brazil New York Times. I have to confess this is the sort of story I normally ignore…but the swimmers were allegedly covering up for vandalism? This is now looking like a microcosm of sorts.


Norway’s PM softens stance on Britain joining EFTA Reuters

Annual inflation up to 0.2% in the euro area and the EU Eurostat

Exclusive: Monte dei Paschi CEO, former chairman under investigation – source Reuters

Refugee Crisis

The phrase that haunts Angela Merkel Politico

Far-Right Party Trades on Merkel’s Refugee Policies in Her Home State New York Times

Mexico Michoacan: Police accused of executing 22 in ranch assault BBC (furzy)


Russia Builds Up Army Near Ukraine Border Wall Street Journal


Turkey: Brussels, you’ve got a problem Politico

14 killed in attacks on police, military in Turkey; 220 hurt Associated Press


U.S. Concedes $400 Million Payment to Iran Was Delayed as Prisoner ‘Leverage’ New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Twitter Suspends 235,000 More Accounts Over Extremism New York Times (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch

America’s Awesome Military Foreign Affairs. JLS: “Res ipsa loqitur. The title alone makes me want to blow chunks.”

American Pravda: Did the US Plan a Nuclear First Strike Against Russia in the Early 1960s? Defend Democracy


Liberal Hate for the Green Party Counterpunch (resilc).

Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important Common Dreams (Mookie)

Hillary and the War Party Counterpunch (resilc)

Trump: I regret causing ‘personal pain’ The Hill (furzy)

Donald Trump Expresses Regret for Past Comments Wall Street Journal. My guess is Trump is experimenting in the wake of his tumbling poll numbers. He’s got until Labor Day to find his footing. Latinos have told me making a more specific apology to them and more clearly limiting his criticism to illegal immigrants would make a difference, particularly with men.

Donald Trump is the least of the GOP’s problems Corey Robin (Mookie)

Donald Trump is a bigger threat to the global economy than Brexit Telegraph. IMHO the Torygraph is greatly underestimating the impact of Brexit if it actually gets past the phony war stage.

Sanders: Aetna’s Obamacare threat shows what Corporate Control Looks Like Juan Cole (resilc)

Nobel prize-winning economist Stiglitz tells us why ‘neoliberalism is dead’ Business Insider. Huh? The Clinton and Trump campaigns sure don’t think so. to End Operations Next Week Gawker :-(

Goldman seeks to force ex-employee in Fed leak case to arbitrate Reuters

CFTC charges Deutsche Bank with swap-reporting abuses Financial Times (JLS)

Wall Street is abandoning Wall Street because it’s too expensive Business Insider

Rogue trader Nick Leeson dons teacher’s cap Financial Times (JLS)

Class Warfare

Uber’s $100m settlement with drivers rejected by judge BBC (furzy). Hooray! Judge Edward Chen echoes Jed Rakoff on the failure of bank miscreants to make admissions regarding misconduct, but this has potentially bigger implications. I haven’t had time to read the ruling (here), so any reader input would be very much appreciated.

Middle-Income Jobs Finally Show Signs of a Rebound New York Times

Antidote du jour:

cas on gangway links

And a bonus video (JLS). Not for the squeamish!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Erdogansisanazi

    “Turkey: Brussels, you’ve got a problem” Politico

    Directly from Adolph Erdogan’s own spokesperson; very informative.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, the headline makes it clear that this is indeed one side of the message. And in case you missed it, Ergodan has a ton of leverage over the EU right now. He can turn the refugee-flowing-into-Europe spigot on at will.

      1. MtnLife

        Hence the Gulen-PKK coordinated efforts to remove/destabilize him by a certain “intelligence” service referred to in the AP article. Standard US strategy: First we support you, then we depose you.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Gulen-PKK co-ordinated?!” Please substantiate this if you can (a source that’s neither AKP-affiliated nor Kemalist would be nice), otherwise it’s slander of a particularly weird sort. (And no, the Gulenists are not the slandered party.) The PKK have plenty of questionable qualities, but crypto-Gulenism is not one of them. At least not here in northeast London, where the large Turkish & Kurdish community encompasses every political faction from Grey Wolves to Maoists. One of the biggest groups is made up of broadly pro-PKK Turkish Kurds (their term since Öcalan disavowed outright separatism), and to say they want nothing to do with the Gulenists would be putting it very politely.
          If part of your point is that Western coverage conveniently forgets the crimes of Erdogan’s secular military/judicial competitors, I agree. And yes, military collaboration with the US — albeit in desperate self-defence — is one of several reasons to be wary of the breathless leftist enthusiasm for the Bookchinite turn of the Syrian-Kurdish YPG and the PKK itself in eastern Turkey. But still … compare and contrast these flawed but mostly non-sectarian, vaguely socialistic communes with the military states and non-state militaries everywhere else in the region, or for that matter the old Stalinist PKK leadership. The ideological criticism can probably wait until ISIS and the Turkish army call off their combined artillery.

          1. MtnLife

            I think the use of the word coordinated was wrong, more like orchestrated, in that they themselves were not sitting down at the table together planning but that an outside interest (most likely CIA) was pulling their strings (and providing intelligence and/or material support) to further their own agenda against Erdogan.

            1. clinical wasteman

              Thanks for taking the question seriously and for the thoughtful response. I’m not convinced yet that that’s what happened, but I’d agree that there’s no reason to discount the possibility.

  2. Anne

    Hope your mom is okay, Yves – I’ve made a few ER runs with my own mom – she’s 86 – and sometimes the trauma of the ER experience is worse than whatever injury sent you there in the first place. And it’s exhausting for you, as well, not just because there’s something inherently draining about just sitting and waiting, but because there’s all the phone calls to make, the questions to ask, the notes to take, the things to coordinate. And that thing where you can’t help projecting into the future, which you try not to do because it never takes you anywhere good.

    If only our politicians would bring the same level of advocacy for those in need to their jobs as we do with our families, it might be a much nicer world to live in.

    1. Nax

      They tend to keep emergency rooms very cold and long waiting times where you sit around not really moving makes it very easy for a patient, especially an elderly patient, to get really chilly. So try to make sure that they have warm clothes/layers if you can.

      Hot soup can help them to warm up when they get home. Hot drinks maybe in the emergency room if they are allowed.

      Best wishes to your mom.

    1. TomT

      Best to your mother, Yves, and to you. I know how scary/exhausting/disruptive this can be for everyone involved. Thanks for everything you continue to do.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Americas Awesome Military.

    Just imagine how it could be described if it actually won any of the wars/conflicts it was involved in. What was its last unambiguous victory? Gulf War I?

    1. MartyH

      The Council on Foreigh Relations (CFR) publishes Foreign Affairs. They are the super-elitists pushing the Globalist view for almost a century now. The Awesome Amercian Military has been their most effective blunt instrument tool. The Mighty Wurlitzer is in crescendo in support of Queen Hillary and her military ambitions.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, true, but it is something that I’m always curious about – the emphasis on the paper strength of the US military while ignoring its actual on the ground field abject failures. There was a good article in the Guardian yesterday about the appalling atrocities carried out by the British in Kenya in the 1950’s – but what occurred to me reading it is that although they left Kenya they did actually defeat the Mau Mau. The withdrawal from Empire was economic and political, but when faced with insurgencies in Kenya and Malaysia, they were extremely ruthless and effective and (as they usually did), they won on the ground. Much the same can be said of the Chinese and Russians in most of their various non-conventional actions (albeit ones on their borders, which are generally easier to win). From Vietnam onwards, the US military hasn’t won a single clear victory against any non-conventional enemy that I can think of despite overwhelming military advantages.

        To be fair, I think this is partly down to the slight squeamishness the US military had about some of the tactics that the British were happy to use. The British sent advisors to the US in Vietnam coaching them on their successful use of secured villages (i.e. concentration camps) in Malaysia. The US military seems not to have had the stomach to follow through the logic, even though the end result (vast numbers of dead civilians) was the same. Well, except of course that the British won in Malaysia, the US military did not win in Vietnam. The British though, have forgotten how to win as they have shown in Basra and Helmand province where they proved utterly useless.

          1. Procopius

            I’ll agree that Korea wasn’t a clear victory, but we did, in fact, achieve our original strategic and tactical goals, i.e. restored the status quo ante except with a more defensible boundary. I would say it was a victory for limited warfare, but the military of the time and the right ever since have mischaracterized “victory” as “annihilating the enemy, or at least forcing them to surrender unconditionally.” Since Vietnam, where we had no defined goal(s), we did “win” in Grenada and Panama. In Gulf War I we had both defined goals and were working with a coalition, which I suspect may have helped us achieve victory. In all the other conflicts since, I think only Kosovo had fuzzily defined goals, but the result wasn’t really a “victory.” One reason the right refuses to see Korea as a victory is because MacArthur failed to provoke a nuclear response to Chinese intervention, which was what the right actually wanted.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Korea is a hard one to call – mostly because its pretty opaque as to what the strategic goals really were (probably because there wasn’t real agreement). But while officially ‘holding the line’ was the strategy, I don’t think there can be any doubt looking at the conduct of the war – in particular the deep bombing into Northern Korea and the 1950 offensive – that the objective became (if it wasn’t in the first place) to push on to the Chinese border and crush the Communist side of the civil war. I’m sure there were some who saw the opportunity to push into China if it proved easy. But calling it a stalemate is I think being generous to the ‘UN’ side. In reality, they were badly beaten up on the battlefield by supposedly inferior forces. I suspect that the failure to learn the lessons of Korea was a major cause of the failures in Vietnam.

        1. Nelson Lowhim

          Probably different times and different kinds of insurgencies. Mainly help across the border can change that. Also didn’t the US use concentration camps in Vietnam?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, the US did try the controlled villages model in Vietnam, but either didn’t have the ruthlessness to carry it to its full logic, or just thought they knew better (I suspect it was more a case that there were too many contradict strategies at work). Anyway, the real history of the Malaysian civil war has never been written to my knowledge, but I strongly suspect that it was just like Kenya.

    2. Jim Haygood

      America’s awesome military is like the guy with the $80,000 Ford Tuscany Black Ops pickup (“a tribute to the brave people who have fought for our freedom”) parked in the dirt driveway of his foreclosed cabin: all hat, no cattle.

      As the former USSR found out, a country with a decayed domestic economy is in no position to rule the freakin’ world.

      1. EGrise

        $80,000 Ford Tuscany Black Ops pickup

        I had to look that up to see if it was a real thing; to my sort-of surprise, it is.
        Learn something new every day here at NC!

        1. JustAnObserver

          +1. That’s what I like about this place, one of the many things anyway. The commentariat will go that extra mile & actually do the look up.

          Is it the only place left where “check your sources” actually means something ?

  4. allan

    ((Yves and mom))

    In this morning’s column, a pragmatic realist who likes to get things done goes all pie in the sky.
    Apparently, one of Krugman’s favorite quotes from Keynes, “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”, doesn’t apply in this case.

    However this plays out, it’s important to realize that as far as anyone can tell, there’s nothing wrong with Obamacare that couldn’t be fairly easily fixed with a bit of bipartisan cooperation.

    In physics, this type of reasoning is mockingly referred to `assume a spherical cow’.
    I’m shocked, shocked that our former progressive hero would stoop to it.

          1. clinical wasteman

            More kudos for your collection, Mr Haygood. Although She does seem to have been busy over there these last few decades. Maybe She has contractors?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Well, this is one of those rare cases when I would say the virtual is better than the actual. I have had it with strangers invading my personal space to give me a “hug” and make me “feel better.”

          It doesn’t.

          1. cwaltz

            I’m pretty sure it isn’t your name in the parentheses.

            Is part of YOUR personal space informing others how they should and shouldn’t engage in online interactions with others(even the obviously well meant ones-and don’t worry these are parentheses, not a virtual cootie hug meant to make you feel “better”, they’re there strictly for punctuation?)

            Just what the internet needs another clueless virtual Miss Manners unconcerned with others intent or feelings, solely focused on how others make them feel-even when an interaction isn’t even meant for them. Nothing awkward about making someone feel like dirt for attempting to express kindness over the internet, totally cool.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              WTF???? Put on your reading glasses.

              Anne said double parentheses was a “virtual hug,” and I replied that “the virtual is better than the actual.”

              What part of that simple English is incomprehensible to you?

              When you figure it out, tell perpetualWAR.

              1. flora

                ah, your remark was restricted to the context of the answer to your question. But the context of the entire thread is about wishing Yves and her mom well. applied in the context of the whole thread your remark sounds out of character. English, context sensitive, very confusing.

    1. DanB

      And it recalls the old joke about the economist stranded on an island only with cans of food who says, “… let’s assume we have a can opener.”

  5. anonymous

    Re: Aetna blackmail
    Actually, Aetna hasn’t waited until year-end to take substantive action on its power play. It decreased benefits paid on some of its prescription drugs IN THE MIDDLE OF ITS POLICY YEAR.

    For example, before July 1, the co-pay on Celebrex (indespensable for some patients with chronic body pain) was $187.50 for a 90 day Rx, for the Illinois Silver Plan. Now reimbursement is eliminated; the only benefit is that Celebrex counts against the patient’s (separate) deductible for Rx drugs.

    So much for being able to compare policies at the time of enrollment in order to “understand” what you’ll be getting over the ensuing year. Because fraud.

    Of course, we don’t know if Aetna will engage in fairer dealing even if the merger goes through. Note well, Celebrex is generic now, there has not been a price increase from the manufacturer.

  6. mle detroit

    Yves, been there, done that –all the family chaos, so little sleep! – this too shall pass.

  7. habenicht

    Regarding the Adolph Reed link at Common Dreams:

    Having an announcement / link to the right of his column stating “Killing the Messenger, how our coverage of the Bernie Sanders campaign has hurt us” is more than a little ironic given Reed’s case to hold your nose and vote for Clinton!

    Just say’in!

    1. hemeantwell

      Reed makes a case, but his treatment of the outrage many of us hold for the Democratic party’s undermining of the Sanders campaign is trivializing and superficial. He essentially argues that there is no such thing as an electoral crime requiring a firm condemnation and repudiation. Instead, mysteriously, after a certain period of time what appears to be legitimate grounds for indictment turns into unexceptional politics. Accordingly, what starts off as an ethical-political judgment deteriorates into a “passion” which, of course, only gets in the way of good politics and needs to subside.

      What’s so odd is that he could still make his argument without trying to drag us to the drunk tank to sober up. We could vote for HRC while being outraged with the actions of her DNC. I have a lot of respect for Reed. He’s one of the best lefties we have, but that’s an unnecessary, patronizing move that uses a supposed principle of political sobriety to hide infantalization. wtf, really.

      1. Jason

        Perfectly said, hemeantwell! I usually love the guy, but here he’s being demeaning – not to mention trotting the old canard about anti-HRC criticism being sexist. I’ve seen so goddamned little of that, in the last year, and it enrages me that that kind of swiftboating has been now swallowed and accepted by the likes of Reed. The way he writes it too – saying that she’s no worse than Kerry, so why don’t we also criticize Kerry in the same breathe – is so demeaning.

        1. pretzelattack

          kerry handled sos better than she did, a low bar, but he isn’t as much of a warmonger, maybe cause he’s actually been in combat, while she has only survived “sniper fire”. shocking how many of the neoncons have no personal experience with war, inn’t.

          1. sd

            My impression is that Kerry is actually working as a diplomat. Clinton was too busy looking for business opportunities to bother with the diplomacy.

        2. Escher

          Agreed that this was a weak piece by the normally incisive Prof. Reed. Weak because it’s essentially the same argument we’re getting from the folks on the payroll: just think of what that horrible Trump would do! Let your imagination run wild. Don’t trouble yourself with Clinton’s consistent neoliberal domestic agenda or warmongering abroad. Trump is worse. Trump is bad. Trump is evil. Trust me.

          I note that he doesn’t even address Hillary’s warmongering (an area in which she most definitely is worse than any previous Dem candidate) despite putting it in the headline. Did you notice that? I did, because warmongering is my bright red line. Four to eight more years of a cruel and stupid neoliberal domestic agenda is one thing, but I’m not voting for another four to eight of genocidal foreign policy adventures. I’m just not willing to check that box. If that makes me sexist, fine.

          I will admit the charge stings, though. But since we’re casting aspersions about motives, I’ll note that Professor Reed is probably pulling in a salary at Penn that puts him squarely in Hillary’s strongest support bloc: people earning six-figure incomes. So he’s exactly the kind of person we’d expect to, if not enthusiastically support, at least find a way to convince himself he’s Ready for Hillary. He didn’t convince me that I should be. Did he convince you?

          1. Lambert Strether

            > he same argument we’re getting from the folks on the payroll: just think of what that horrible Trump would do!

            Please don’t distort Reed’s argument. He writes (quoting again):

            Elections are much more likely to be effective as vehicles for consolidating victories won on the plane of social movement organizing than as shortcuts or catalysts to jumpstart movements. In this respect one of the most interesting features of the Sanders campaign was that its objective was partly to encourage movement-building. The Labor for Bernie initiative, for example, has constructed a loose network of many thousands of union activists around the country and is undertaking discussions of next steps between now and November and beyond. The campaign demonstrated that a potential national constituency exists for a clear-headed working-class program. That constituency is one that must be cultivated, and the campaign’s most important accomplishment may turn out to be its bringing together activists in the trade unions and elsewhere who are committed to cultivating and expanding it. The Sanders campaign was tremendously successful at what it could do. Its real payoff will come as the movement-building initiatives bear fruit over the next several years.

            That’s what Reed wants. You may not agree, but it’s most certainly not the same argument your getting from folks on the payroll.

            > doesn’t even address Clinton’s warmongering

            Dear Lord. It’s in the title!

            Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important

            In other words, it’s so obvious that it hardly needs to be stated. It’s also a wash between the two candidates who will win:

            And does anyone really believe that a President Trump, who routinely spews multiple, contradictory lies in a single compound sentence, would actually block the Trans Pacific Partnership or retract the imperialist war machine?

            As for Reed’s salary: This is a variant of “leftists can’t have nice things.” I suppose it would be better if Reed lived in a shack and wrote his articles by candlelight using ink made from his own blood. Dear Lord. But enough of the virtue signalling.

            I’ll note that Professor Reed is probably pulling in a salary at Penn that puts him squarely in Hillary’s strongest support bloc: people earning six-figure incomes. So he’s exactly the kind of person we’d expect to, if not enthusiastically support, at least find a way to convince himself he’s Ready for Hillary.

            First, this is amazingly simplistic, since it ignores the well-known fact that “class traitors” exist. Second, the over-simplification will lead to stupid strategy: In the French revolution, when the legitimacy of the ancien regime collapses, class loyalties and political loyalities were all over the map because class structures had become more fluid as feudalism collapsed. If you want to navigate those shoals, you’d better have a more concrete understanding and the ability to take advantage of splits in the elite when they occur, as they will.

            Incidentally, Reed didn’t convince me; I haven’t decided (I’m a volatility voter). However, I really don’t like sloppy and false argumentation in the NC comments section.

            1. Escher

              With all due respect, Lambert, if the passage about movement-building that you quoted (with which I do agree) is indeed Reed’s core argument, he certainly effectively buried it in arguments about strategic voting in general, and specifically for voting Clinton so as to keep Trump out of office. If he’d instead made a case for how Trump in the White House would hinder the kind of movement-building effort he’s discussing in that passage, now *that* would have been an interesting and potentially convincing article.

              And yes, class traitors exist, elites are always fractured, and any effective left strategy will leverage these facts. I was just surprised to see Reed (of all people) deploy the lazy, simplistic, insulting charge of sexism against most or all people adamantly opposed to Hillary. The point I was trying to make (but regret, since I made it poorly) is that it’s easy to fire back in kind if we’re going to go down the road of casting those kinds of aspersions on people’s political commitments. For what it’s worth, I don’t actually doubt Reed’s commitment to the left.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Hmm. I read the entire piece looking for a drunk tank metaphor and couldn’t find one, so I’m unclear why you think the piece is “patronizing.” Here’s Reed on what you label “condemnation and repudiation:

        There is a significant difference between, on the one hand, making pragmatic choices in given instances among a range of more or less undesirable options that are available and, on the other, defining, as a matter of course, what we want only in terms of what we think can get. The former is what we have to do in life generally, across the board, as an artifact of living in a society in which we as individuals cannot define the matrix of options solely to suit our preferences or desires. The latter bespeaks a defeatist orientation, a politics with no rudder and one that flies in the face of what it should mean to be a left. Lesser evilism, that is to say, is a structural problem not an individual one. It is a pathology of opinion-shaping institutions—unions and others—that refrain from attempting to intervene in shaping the matrix of options and the terms of political debate. Only if one accepts, as many Greens do, a civics-text version of democracy in which it is the actions of free-agent citizens that determine the political agenda is it possible to assume that individual electoral statements can have any impact on the drift of lesser evil politics.

        How on earth does that translate to “mysteriously, after a certain period of time what appears to be legitimate grounds for indictment turns into unexceptional politics”?

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Equally ironic, tragic really, was the sidebar photo of the Syrian boy pulled from the rubble of yet another bombing in Aleppo.

      I found his superb item in the comments:

      Funny how people gloss over the fact that when voting for the lesser of two evils you are voting for evil.

      I’m with her —-> Jill Stein

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’m sick of that picture. It’s war porn. It’s a “responsibility to protect” trope. We sure haven’t so far, and I doubt we can, ever.

        1. johnnygl

          Can i get some pictures of the 22 people mudered by the mexican police? Seems timely, no? Is HRC looking for a no-fly zone near the rio grande river? Maybe shed a few tears for the ~100k or so dead in the last decade?

          Or are we tight-lipped because the Merida Plan is going just how the USG likes it.

        2. Isolato

          That IS a tough one! As somebody who worked to document the toll of landmines on civilians through photography I tried and be sensitive to the line between useful outrage and “if it bleeds, it leads” sensationalism. Not easy as there is no way of telling really how any image will be received. And we have to beware of the propaganda uses. Posters of “Huns” bayoneting babies were used to incite America’s intervention in WWI and the infamous lie that Iraqi troops were dumping babies out of incubators is more recent. OTOH…what is the proper response to the real humanitarian crisis of Syria? Other than blame Russia, I mean…

          Pardon me if I link to one of my own photographs

        3. RabidGandhi

          Funny how there’s no war porn coming out of the MSF hospital bombed by the US, or the hundreds of Yemeni children killed by the Saudis.

          1. pretzelattack

            thanks for this link. at first i didn’t even consider this being fake, which shows my recurring naivete problem. saddam statue toppled! babies ripped from incubators! i should’ve known.

          2. RabidGandhi

            Just to clarify, the MoA piece does not say the picture is a fake. What it does do is cast serious doubt as to its authenticity. Nitpicking, I know, but don’t let’s cast off one presumption to take on another.

          3. Roger Smith


            I am speechless. I never would have even thought about this. I did not know about the Saddam statue either.

          4. Tim

            Hey, I do take offense to assuming the suffering of others is being faked. The presumption should be it is real until verified as not.

            The kid’s left eye is swelling shut, he was under the rubble for a while and whetever bleeding had happened had begun to dry, and his attitude for a 4 year old in the midst of the surroundings can only be explained as being in shock or a being a better hollywood actor than Leonardo DiCaprio.

            The only thing I can take away from this is to do a better job at being grateful for my life circumstances and instiling the same in my own toddler kids. Nothing else can be done except to cry.

            1. jgordon

              Why would you take offense to it? Whether real or fake it’s propaganda designed to manipulate the emotions and opinions of people who view it.

              If this child really was injured in some sort of attack–which is doubtful for various reasons, then it surely is a sad thing for him that there are vile propagandists out there manufacturing images just exactly like this one, because now he looks like a faker–just like all the others.

              And, very importantly, what was even the point of seeing that image and believing in the story attached to it in first place? To get people to believe and act in some particular way, right? So you are choosing to be offended that people would doubt the authenticity of a story designed to manipulate them. Good job there.

              I have never had much if any of an emotional response to any pictures I see or to anything in the news. It all just looks like a manipulative con job to me. But I do get very offended when I see this stuff and realize that most other people out there are naive enough to have some feeling when they see this crap and respond to it by supporting policies that are inimical and dangerous to my personal interests and to the interests of all life and humanity in general. So in other words I’m offended that you’re offended.

        4. dk

          “Responsibility to protect” trope, yes. It’s a responsibility to assist where one can, and not to impede. But “protection” is the rationalization of imperialism, and fascism, both the liberal and conservative flavors.

  8. xformbykr

    in re Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important Common Dreams (Mookie). By the indispensable Adolph Reed.

    this is the first essay i’ve seen that has cracked me stubbornness not to vote for HRC. it appeals to history (mccarthy, duke, hitler) to make its case. not sayin’ i’ve changed my mind, though.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its a very convincing essay, all the more so because of Reeds history as one of the most astute thinkers on the left.

      However I think the one big flaw in his arguments is his argument/assumption that Clinton is no worse a neo-lib than Obama/B.Clinton, Kerry, etc. In fact, I think there is copious objective evidence from her past, right through her career to the present day, that she is in fact much more aggressively militaristic and neoliberal than any major Dem figure (and probably most of the saner Republicans).

      Bush Snr. referred to the neocons as the ‘crazies in the basement’ (or words to that effect). Those crazies dragged Bill into wars he probably didn’t really want. They took their opportunity to manipulate Bush Jnr into Iraq and Afghanistan. They (with ease) pulled Obama into military actions he was probably very uncomfortable with. But Hilary is one of them. She really is an ideological believer. Think the most stupid armchair warrior writing for the farther op-ed reaches of the WSJ. She is that armchair warrior.

      And as for domestic policy – she is completely compromised in every direction – Wall Street, the oil industry, Big Pharma, Big Ag. She isn’t just in their pay. She is ideologically one of them, she genuinely sees them as forces for good.

      He may be right that there is a slight stench of sexism in the hatred expressed towards her from some quarters. But on a completely objective basis, there is not a single thing in her record to indicate that she is not on the far right of the political spectrum on every single major issue of importance (even her feminism is really only the feminism of the professional classes – the right of professional class women to screw the working classes as much as men).

      I really think that the objective evidence is that she is well to the militaristic neocon/neolib right of Bill, Obama, Kerry and even Bush Jnr (as he was when elected). She was a Goldwater girl in college, and she has not changed, ever.

      People have every right to say ‘Trump could be such a disaster that quite literally anyone would be better’, and that ‘Jill Stein and the Greens are not serious politicians’. I agree to an extent. But nobody should have any illusions about the true nature of HC and what she will do when elected.

      1. hemeantwell

        He may be right that there is a slight stench of sexism

        I don’t think we should pander to that sort of Daily Kos analysis of “the real reason people hate Hillary.” It recalls Mitt Romney’s assertion that opposition to him was based on envy. It is impossible to tidy up our responses to political figures so that they are completely free of dumb prejudice. Everyone does it. But the solution, as you demonstrate, is that we reflect on what we think and see if it’s justified in light of an analysis that isn’t guided by prejudice. If it holds up, let fly. Otherwise we get pulled into a kind of moral agony correlate of identity politics in which our motives are always suspect and our objections to neoliberal warmongering can be dismissed by people who think they really know all they need to know about the critic, that they are just a sexist or racist hater.

        1. Pat

          Do I believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton has faced sexism in her life? Yes. Every woman I know has. Do I think that she is held to a different standard than her male peers? On clothing and appearance alone that is true, although it is not something that competence and an ability to connect might not have overcome. (I’m thinking that in many ways Bella Abzug’s appearance was pretty comparable to Sanders.) Do I think there are people who will not vote for her because she is a woman? Yes. Just as there are people who will not vote for Trump because he comes from New York. And there were people who would not have voted for Obama or Rubio or because of their racial background. And then there is poor Keith Ellison who loses votes because of that AND his religion. Every politician faces some basic form of prejudice along the way.

          But for pretty much the last twenty years Hillary Rodham Clinton’s difficulties have not been primarily about misogyny they have been about character, her stunning lack of it. Every time she is given a chance to be a satisfactory public employee, she spends her time lining her own pocket selling influence, setting up for her next job, AND finds the ability to wage war on lesser countries exhilarating and pushes them. And she will lie, cheat, and break the law to do this with as little inconvenience to herself as possible. None of those actions are dictated by her gender, only her ambition and lack of morality and ethics.

          And anyone who ignores her long record of destruction, sadism, and greed in order to make the argument to give the job to the female and/or the big male bully is worse is not only being intellectually dishonest, they are frankly lying either to the public and themselves or just the public.

          1. jgordon

            Double standard with regards to clothing. You’re GD RIGHT about that. If any of Hillary’s political rivals ever, in his entire life, had dared to give a speech dressed in a yellow bag/banana suit that would have been the immediate end of his political career. Just goes to show that Hillary impugnity goes way beyond mere criminality.

            Glad that other people are seeing this too; this outrageous double standard is one of my pet peeves.

          2. PhilU

            Do I think there are people who will not vote for her because she is a woman? Yes.

            While I agree this is a factor in the general elections to pretend her gender did anything but carry her rotting carcass across the finish line in the primary is naive. Identity politics is the only coalition the Democrats have left. How many times was sexism used as a club to bludgeon Sanders and the Bernie Bros?

        2. Lambert Strether

          Well urged.

          “I think it’s important that a woman be able to blow faraway people to pink mist.”

          If we think of Reed’s piece as an algorithm, then inputs matter because they determine the outputs, regardless of the correctness of the algorithm.

          So, while I buy Reed’s analysis, I’m not convinced, on the input side, that HRC is better on matters of peace and war than Trump. And that issue is so big, on the output side, that it outweighs all the others.

          1. jonboinAR

            I agree. It’s what has me, so far, unable to vote for Clinton. She’s liable to get us all, if not killed outright, despised more that we are now, and righteously so, sadly.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Setting his critique of Green voters aside, I didn’t find this essay convincing at all. In fact, it’s pretty standard “Never Trump” fare.

        He opens with the predictable, gratuitous Hitler reference, which he subsequently self-debunks as more sensational than substantive:

        ” I confess that a Nazi reference appeals partly as an attention-grabber…….Still, a Trump presidency would almost certainly not be a replay of 1930s Germany.”

        Cheap trick. At least he called himself out. Kind of.

        Then he dismisses, parenthetically, the two most important reasons, at least in my mind, to vote for Trump, with the lazy “does anyone really believe” trope:

        (And does anyone really believe that a President Trump, who routinely spews multiple, contradictory lies in a single compound sentence, would actually block the Trans Pacific Partnership or retract the imperialist war machine?)

        He’s advocating voting for a liar, fer chrissakes. What is the thought here? Vote for the liar that tells the bad lies, not the liar that tells the good ones? Mind officially blown.

        I have to question the judgement of a person who is so afraid of the dolt, mitt romney, that he is finally convinced to vote for the consciously destructive obama in 2012.

        “Astute” just doesn’t seem the right word for it.

        Hope your Mom’s OK, Yves.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yeah, thinking over what you say, I think I’ve been too generous to him. I’m always impressed by his writing, so I’m sort of primed to agree with him. But his failure to provide any evidence that Trump is a real danger (I think he’s an idiot and a bigot and completely unsuitable for president, but I don’t think he is a fascist), along with his weak argument that Clinton is just a regular Dem completely undermines his point.

          A point I would make about the Green Party is that judging a fringe political party from one with a real chance of power is a very different thing. Fringe parties have the privilege of purity in their beliefs – parties making electoral progress have to become ‘political’. I’ve seen it in Green Parties in Europe which often started out as amateurish and in some cases, quite ridiculous, but many became quite impressive outfits as opportunities arose. I had some dealings with the UK Green Party in the 1990’s, and they were laughable as a political organisation. But they have gradually become much more electable and pragmatic, and have become a real alternative for progressives in the UK.

          1. Roger Smith

            I second PK here. Katniss puts a better, more thorough perspective on it and raises good points. His lack of sugarcoating in the premise (title) does not reflect the rest of the article.

            1. grizziz

              The Greens’ approach generally … is fundamentally anti-political; it seeks to provide voters an opportunity to be righteous rather than to try to build deep alliances or even short-term coalitions.
              So, I read this to mean that Reed is fundamentally OK with markets being the fundamental mediator in building neoliberal style coalitions. Reed is telling the readers that he laments for to sell their votes to HRC because she is the devil you know.
              LOL, Reed. Can’t wait to see you opining on CNN. Maybe replacing Donna Brazil who has to man the phone banks at the DNC instead of shillin for Hil.

                1. grizziz

                  I took a shot at Reed because he views the, Trump presidency and Republican Congress would almost certainly undercut that objective in multiple ways, including intensified attacks on the rights of workers and the political power of their unions, on public goods and services, civil rights and liberties. While Corey Robin argues the GOP work is finished and it is not about the election, It’s going to take a massive victory for the left—not at the polls but in the streets, as a comprehensive social movement of emancipation—for the right to recover its energy and animating purpose. Until that happens, the right might win an election here or there, but they’re essentially going to be in a free-fall.
                  In a nut shell, I think Reed is in the barracks of his own enemy and fighting the old war. IMO the battle is against neoliberalism and the primacy of property over people. The petite bourgeois which make up Trump’s base are no match for the Democrats use of the law and money to maintain a cross generational meritocracy.
                  The left built their edifice on Marx’s labor theory value which was taken from Locke”s soil and toil axiom on property creation. Within the context of property rights system a sentimental favoritism of labor over capital can seem righteous, but labor is still taken as property and the genesis of the “soil” or “land” or “capital” or the cells in my own body is unquestioned. I cannot proffer an alternative, but the kernel in the Left’s ideology still appears colonial. To me.
                  So, Reed’s prescription is to hold off the Republicans until Labor for Bernie or other left organization has room to grow within the neoliberal property system that has left all others desiccated. I’ll pass and vote for Jill.

              1. cwaltz

                Heaven forbid voters have an option better than the bad ones our glorious leadership has provided us with…’s ever so helpful to tell me I should instead create “useful coalitions.”

                You know kind of like Turkey’s “useful coalition” with ISIS or Saudi’s “useful coalition” with the US…..

                (rolls eyes at Reed and gives him extra credit for his ever so original “pie eyed hippie ” punching narrative.)

                If this is his attempt to convince people to coalesce, I’d suggest a different approach than one that makes assumptions about large swaths of people’s motives for voting Green or chides them because he doesn’t like their approach to problem resolution.

          2. habenicht

            I believe the Pirate party in Germany had a similar set of growing pains where success came faster than the party was probably prepared for.

            Once the outsiders make it into the big game, the s**t gets real.

            Regardless, I still think the problems associated with having unprepared outsiders representing the electorate is preferable relative to having deeply corrupt legacy party insiders running the show.

            Is it really so hard to elect a leader who represents the will of the people instead of special interests?

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Agreed – I didn’t see anything in that article I haven’t seen 100 times before.

          Pretty weak tea if you ask me

            1. pretzelattack

              it does if the author is reed. same reason articles by krugman receive attention vastly beyond what they deserve.

        3. Buttinsky

          I am surprised to see anyone take the Adolph Reed piece as any more cogent than all the other “lesser evilism” pieces that get trotted out at this point in the electoral cycle. And merely acknowledging that Hillary Clinton is indeed evil hasn’t changed the gist of the argument one whit — and Mr. Reed hedges even that acknowledgment in all kinds of unfortunate, disingenuous ways: Clinton is “no worse than Obama” (that is not so on Iraq and Libya and Syria, and unlikely on the TPP, though, as you justly note, Katniss, Reed seems to believe Clinton while disbelieving Trump for no particular reason on the exact same point), and her presidency would not — this pulled right out of Mr. Reed’s hat — result in “intensified attacks on the rights of workers and the political power of their unions, on public goods and services, civil rights and liberties.” But citing “irrational” and “sexist” resistance to Clinton isn’t even disingenuous; it’s just gratuitous insult thrown in for the heck of it and really beneath someone of his obvious intellectual ability.

          All of this is of a piece with a dementia Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch astutely diagnosed as “an intellectually dishonest position and a morally indefensible one.” Mr. Reed and other “progressives” who do vote to make Hillary Clinton the most powerful human being on earth are surely not going to take personal responsibility for her crimes, even while they try to make people who do not vote for Donald Trump personally responsible for all of his crimes. Indeed, as suggested above, Mr. Reed seems to be disavowing any knowledge of any attack on unions, public goods and services, civil rights and liberties by someone with a “D” after their name, least of all Hillary Clinton. The millions of killed, maimed and displaced persons resulting from military actions supported by Clinton don’t seem to make it onto Mr. Reed’s radar screen either.

          What’s most ironic about all of this is the smugly superior tone it reeks of — exactly the stench he ascribes to those of us who think voting our conscience might be the responsible thing to do. And despite his examples of David Duke and Adolph Hitler (?!?! — a comparison which he then shamelessly pretends to drop), the evidence for the failure of Mr. Reed’s brand of “pragmatism” is all around us. Forget the “feckless left electoralism” — not only has the pragmatic “drift of lesser evil politics” been ever rightward, it hasn’t even been able to draw the line in the sand against insanity, as the horrifically ridiculous spectacle of the American public being hectored into voting for one of two monsters amply proves.

          1. Lambert Strether

            You shouldn’t be “surprised”, since your comment shows that you seem not to be aware of Reed’s actual position in the political sphere. (1) Reed’s piece isn’t “trotted out” in the sense that most pieces in the political class are because he’s not a member of that class, being (2) if not a Marxist, Marxist-inflected, and hence (3) not a “progressive,” shudder quotes or no. I mean, is it to hard to understand that Reed might be writing because the topic is of contemporary interest? Even important? I’d also note (4) that Reed has an excellent track record, and called his shot on Obama in 1996:

            In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program — the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.

            Having established the sloppiness of your comment on the man, let’s look at what I see is the key point the argument of his piece:

            By contrast, Jill Stein and Greens typically proceed from a quite different view of electoral politics, one that has much more in common with bearing witness or taking a personal stand on principle than with seeing it as an essentially instrumental activity. The Greens’ approach generally, and Stein has shown that she is no exception, is that all that is necessary to make a substantial electoral impact is to have a strong and coherent progressive program and to lay it out in public. That view is fundamentally anti-political; it seeks to provide voters an opportunity to be righteous rather than to try to build deep alliances or even short-term coalitions.

            I couldn’t agree with Reed more; I think the concept of “bearing witness” is at the heart of the matter, and it’s the reason why writers like Chris Hedges are so unserious, so biblically cadent on problems, and so very poor on what is to be done. I would also note that “bearing witness” is exactly what many of the comments on this thread are doing; the outraged sense of amour propre that “reeks” from this comment is a testimony to Reed’s accuracy in diagnosis, and not an indictment of it.

            (Incidentally, “voting your conscience” conveys “smug superiority” to me, since it implies that people who reason as Reed does are not doing so precisely for reasons of conscience.)

            1. apotropaic

              You seem oddly focused on who wrote the piece as opposed to what it says. Who cares what Reed’s previous authored, he’s trying to carve out a space for folks to engage in LOTR in a way that somehow is more ethical (cuz we’re smarter and thought about it longer and really really understand why it’s gotta be done but..??..?) than those dummies who are happy to engage in LOTR and came around early and easily or the purists who dare to engage in righteousness! That space doesn’t exist. Or maybe it does, it’s called cynicism.

            2. Buttinsky

              Lambert, I very much appreciate your putting Mr. Reed’s comments in a fuller context. Point taken. However, I find the basic argument as flawed as when promulgated by Noam Chomsky, a redoubtable intellectual whom it would also be difficult to pigeonhole as a “progressive” and with whom I am much more familiar, and of whom I am as respectful and admiring as you obviously are of Mr. Reed. That the argument bears so much resemblance to similar arguments that are trotted out every election cycle (“irrational” and “sexist” didn’t help) is either a fact or not. You have pointed out how it is different (a diagnosis of the failings of the Green Party and perhaps of progressive activism generally); I tried to make it clear that the appeal to electoral “pragmatism” is not different — Clinton must be elected because she is less evil to a meaningful degree, the less effective evil if you prefer. If nothing else, that must at least be a debatable conclusion, and I don’t think Mr. Reed makes the case at all on that count.

              Language is always necessarily vague in some sense. Mr. Reed surely intends to vote for Hillary Clinton because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. I would not suggest that he is not sincere. So, as you suggest, in and of itself that “is an opportunity to be righteous” no less than a vote for Jill Stein by voters who “vote their conscience” (in the sense of voting for a platform something like what they want from government). But a vote for Clinton does even less to “build deep alliances or even short-term coalitions,” so why are Green voters more responsible for that failure than reluctant Clinton voters? Indeed, Mr. Reed and the others rely on a contradictory “pragmatic” argument — that the “rational” thing is to preserve something that has nothing to do with doing the right thing, only more but somehow lesser evil, while blaming others.

              In any event, and regardless of what Mr. Reed or you or I would like to see, something most unpragmatic and horrifying seems to be barreling down the turnpike towards us all — from the right or the left, who can be sure — and I suggest it is precisely because of the failure of this sort of “pragmatism” — not because anybody ever voted for the Green Party.

              1. Carolinian

                At least Chomsky–while endorsing lesser evilism this time around in states where it might matter–has taken the position that presidential elections are just a sideshow and that other forms of activism are necessary to produce change. He’s not saying we should “get over” our qualms and vote for the villain because it’s that important.

                Lambert is right that this link almost instantly produced lots of reaction this morning but not much of it seems to be favorable to Reed. You wonder if this is one Reed might like to take back.

                1. RabidGandhi

                  Thank you C for (as you often do) cutting to the chase. As Chomsky repeats constantly, elections are nice but they are not the start nor the end of democracy. These LOTE debates are interesting strategically but it will be great once we’re past them and we can back to real organising work.

            3. Kurt Sperry

              Remember the pro hominem is just as much of a logical fallacy as the ad hominem, it’s just a more polite fail. I find his arguments entirely unconvincing, as the vast majority of the commentators on the piece did as well. It’s a clever reframing for the discredited LOTE cant, but it fails closer examination just as lesser evilism usually does.

              1. Ulysses

                “Remember the pro hominem is just as much of a logical fallacy as the ad hominem, it’s just a more polite fail.”

                Excellent point! This is a very savvy person who has written some good stuff, in the past. This history does not lead me to lessen my critical reaction to his unconvincing justification for LOTE voting.

                I have many friends and family who have made (in most cases more effectively) the same arguments as Reed does here. If they (with whom I have deep personal ties of love and respect) can’t sell me on the rightward facing “I’m With Her” arrow, Reed sure won’t manage that trick!

              2. pretzelattack

                excellent point, gotta remember that term (pro hominem). he’s using his credibility, built up over decades, to bolster a weak argument .

            4. Buttinsky

              If I may add one small note, simply because you, Lambert, seem to me to be more attuned to this point than anybody else I’ve been reading lately: Our government is in the process of losing its legitimacy. Where this leads, no one knows. But I find arguments like Mr. Reed’s to be laboring to deny and forestall that reality. That’s a part of the “preserving something” I was referring to, legitimacy in the face of perfidy at every turn.

              1. habenicht

                I’ve thought the same thing Buttinsky.

                When you find yourself feeling less safe because the government stirs up regional wars which blow back home

                Or when you start to feel less safe when there are more police

                Or when the two tiered justice system is no longer anecdote and conspiracy, but open secret injustice.

                The list of outrages and injustices could go on.

                At what point do people say we’d be better off without this brand of social contract?

            5. lyman alpha blob

              I still disagree with Reed (and you) completely on this one.

              Reed did call it correctly on Obama in 96, refused to vote for him in ’08, and then decided why the heck not in 2012 after Obama had proven him 100% correct with 4 years of his warmongering neoliberal politics already as an example of what could be expected over the next 4.

              And his criticism of Stein and the Greens (and as a former Green myself much of the criticism against them is warranted) in this case makes no sense to me whatsoever. What exactly is she supposed to do? You seem to be comparing her to Hedges as poor on what is to be done. Well isn’t that what putting out a platform that shows a different and IMO better worldview is? – being strong on what is to be done? Giving people something to vote for rather than against? Isn’t being less ‘righteous’ and compromising one’s (supposed*) principles in order to build coalitions precisely what Obama and the Clintons have done repeatedly over the years that has brought us to this point?

              I agree with you that the best we on the left can get is gridlock after this next election as one of the two major party clowns is going to win or steal this one. But we can’t have gridlock forever and expect a better world either. The left has to actually do something and although I’m skeptical that the vehicle for that is the Green party, we have to start somewhere, no?

              * Supposed, because I don’t believe that Barry and the Clintons have much in the way of actual principles.

        4. Lambert Strether

          I disagree that the historical background is “gratuitious.” In fact, it’s highly relevant given the Democrat insistence (now, oddly, dropped) that Trump is a facscist. For example:

          In expressing the conviction that the Social Democrats were the main danger in German politics, Thällman uttered the quip that has long outlived him as a cautionary device: “After Hitler, our turn.” His point was that a Nazi victory would expose them as fraudulent with no program for the working class. What Thällman didn’t count on was their success at criminalizing and liquidating all opposition. He died in a concentration camp.

          For one thing, I find this background helpful because I didn’t know of Thällman’s quip. Second, what’s “gratuitous” about looking at the past and trying to learn from it? Personally, I find it helpful to know that Edwin Edwards was a better politician than Ernst Thällman. That’s especially important in the case of Trump, who has so far appeared as a unique, unprecedented figure (it’s also worth noting that Reed later says that “this is not the 1930s, and Trump therefore is not Hitler”).

      3. JTMcPhee

        Obama “not very comfortable” with wars (extensions of existing “democratization destabilization end-of-supply-chain imperial violence)? Really, really assumes facts not in evidence.

        What’s clear to me is that Obama long since crossed that divide where what happens to ordinary people matters in even the slightest. He and the rest of the imperial factotary skate about in their padded, friction-and-consequence-free “policy” bubble/echo chamber, knowing and not caring that the huge enterprise in all its many parts is a Juggernaut in the ancient sense, a huge sacred machine that crushes humans under its human-constructed and -decorated and -maintained wheels. Without even a nod to “I feel your pain…”

        Obama has learned well the lessons of impunity. He’s been feathering his own personal nest through most of his term in government. There are no consequences for any of the stuff he has pulled — the decimation of even a nod to “rule of law” and the chimerical Ideal of the “constitution,” advancement on all fronts of the neoliberal takeover of all our institutions, demolition of resistance to environmental degradation and the poisoning of the planet, mechanization (in all senses) of state violence, add your own categories, all confirming the notions of so many that “resistance is futile.”

        0bomba gets a pass from all the mopes who took the opportunity to project their fantasies on his screen — a curtain, actually, with a pretty malevolent Wizard working the levers behind it. The many interconnected leveraged feedback-and-blowback-producing levers that trash the quantum of comity that might at least slow the crapification and demise of the Center…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama isn’t very comfortable with wars because it takes away from golf. Occasionally, he has to make a decision and the the general are divided and can’t just tell him what to do. Being President is hard work.

          I’m reminded of Barbara Bush’s “beautiful mind” remarks. Obama’s discomfort extends to whether he has to think about it or not.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t think its unfair to say that Obama’s instinct is not neo-con. His problem is moral and political weakness. He started out trying to be fair to the Palestinians – genuinely I think – then ran like a scared rabbit when the Israeli’s refused to budge. He tried running down the Afghan campaign and again, backed down in the face of weak threats that he would be blamed politically if Afghanistan ‘fell’. He successfully faced down the neo-cons in Syria, but folded weakly over Libya.

          In many ways, I think he is worse than a neo-con. They are deluded ideologues. Obama does know better, he just doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to them.

    2. Merd

      I appreciated his historical framework, and honest assessment, but this guy’s political analysis is weak-sauce.

      I think I’ll not be convinced until someone frames their case in light of the electoral college and our single-member-district-plurality system. Maybe because I studied Political Science in college, I’m surprised I haven’t seen a single article yet framing the decision this way.

      With our polarized, predictable, winner take all states, one can simply look at and if your state is 98% likely to go to Trump, then your vote for a Lying Neoliberal Warmonger is pretty close to meaningless. But votes for the Green party in any district can really change their opportunities to participate in national debates, receive future matching funds, and earn general attention and respect from the MSM and “leftist strongholds” like CD.

      Candidates have strategies based on this system, and that means that even in an effort to beat Trump big, Hillary’s campaign effectively does not care about or need the votes of many millions of democrats and/or radical leftists scattered across the red states of the heartland. They should all feel free to vote Jill Stein, or any other quixotic, fun, principled, witness-bearing, or protest-statement candidate that they’d like, and not feel like they are “voting for Trump.”

      Any article, or person, demanding we vote the lesser evil without acknowledging the way votes are counted in America is either dangerously knee-jerk and “anti-political,” or actively supporting the corrupt two-party system

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Amen. Very people’s votes actually count. You can look at this as disheartening and disempowering, or as a free pass to vote one’s conscious without having to make cynical “lesser evil” calculations.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Here’s a quick test for you. Scan Reed’s article for the words “Libya”, “Syria”, “Ukraine”, “Honduras”, or even “foreign policy”. Not a one of them mentioned. Even the term “warmonger”, so prominent in the title, is used only once within, and even then, only to repeat its usage in the title. So Reed identifies the real problem with Clinton right off, but then refuses to even discuss it.

      He can’t, in fact. That would require his quantifying “warmonger”. So let’s do that for him.

      Clinton’s foreign policy record (the only record she really has, Trump has none) is one of zero successes compared against failures (two, catastrophic) scattered across four continents. She had to be removed to get the Iran deal done (which she promises to undo). She wants to confront Russian air power in Syria. And she’s cozying up with every failed Neocon she can drag out of the closet.

      Reed drops the ball. Is he really telling us that a blowhard who insults minorities is the superior evil to the “lying neoliberal warmonger” who already boasts a staggering body count and promises only more? (Name one treaty Clinton has said she’ll place serious effort into.)

      Reed obviously wants me to place values on people. He wants me to say that civilians in foreign lands (who will die) are somehow worth less than Americans whose egos will be seriously ruffled.

      I can’t do that. I am disappointed in him that he can.

      1. apotropaic

        Bravo. For the life of me I can’t understand real leftists caving this time around. How can it possibly be beneficial. I appreciate the electoral college point in the previous comment as well. There is no single answer to how one should vote in this election but the hardest one to defend is the vote for Clinton so to see it happening so often is anathema.

      2. jrs

        There are several issues raised in the article

        1) Why one should vote for Hillary. This is actually not an argument made at all except in that “Trump would be worse”
        2) Lesser of two evils voting in general

        But as for #2 I am not convinced why if say one’s single greatest and overriding concern was war and peace for example one should vote for a warmonger even if both candidates were campaigning on: “4 more wars!” rather than just abstain from the whole rigged game.

        And maybe I never will.

    4. dk

      Reed makes the point about “Republican control of Congress”, particularly as being the greatest aspect of risk in a Trump presidency. Then he says “… the primary national electoral objective for this November has to be defeating Trump. Period.”

      Why shouldn’t the primary goal be to wrest control of the Senate (and House) from the Republicans? This would mean turning out a lot of Dem voters, and that is pretty clearly something that Reed wants (and what I want). I just don’t see how that requires voting for Clinton. If voters knew they didn’t have to vote Hillary to vote their Dem (or non-Rep) Congressionals, wouldn’t that help Dem turnout? Distaste for Trump can certainly turn out Dem voters; distaste for Clinton can suppress them.

      In fact, one of the bigger dangers of the Clinton campaignis the readiness to court Rep voters. These Reps will not be inclined to vote a straight Dem ticket just because of Hillary v. Trump; they’ll still vote for their Rep representatives. So Dem turnout is super important. So this Clinton lure-the-Reps strategy actually makes her even worse! (And why wouldn’t she want a Rep Congress? It’s the perfect excuse for telling the left “sorree, no can do”)

      So I agree with Reed’s pragmatism, and that “voting is an instrumental act”. I just don’t see how that comes down to “Vote Hillary, too”. Yet another case of over-emphasis of the presidential race, and dismissal of all other seats in contest, which are collectively more important.

      Of course, the idea of fighting hard for Congress isn’t going anywhere if nobody else articulates it.

  9. Roger Smith

    I have to say that I do not agree with Reed. I do (really, really) appreciate that he doesn’t sugarcoat anything (just look at that glorious title–Bernie should have delivered that speech).

    “That view is fundamentally anti-political; it seeks to provide voters an opportunity to be righteous rather than to try to build deep alliances or even short-term coalitions”.

    While I do not question Green party skepticism or the possibility of Trump/Republicans making things harder, I do not believe that voting Democrat represents a necessarily different option or opportunity for coalitions when neoliberals have at most times completely contradictory goals. The more we sit here and fortify the neoliberal castle, the harder it will be to move. At best all of our options have the same “chance” percentage (and its low). Personally I think that validating the status quo is the wrong play right now (especially because of Clinton et al. and her arrogant “next in line” aura—and she cheated…. come on! At what point does “Trump” stop being a catch all justification?).

    Also he stumbles into this Clinton and sexism balogna (while I think that does exists to some meaningless extent) but what he writes is the stronger argument for the negative response she receives: “…she’s no worse than Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore, or Bill Clinton” or Reagan, or Bush, or Bush 2… But 40 years later people are tired of this crap.

    No one in our government pool has any vision except for “markets”. I was driving in Detroit this past weekend and marveling at the federal highway system–what a massive undertaking that must have been. 20-40ft deep trenches scored across the 3000+ mile spread of the country, lined with thick concrete, planned out (and there were problems–see Detroit), etc… I realized that a project of this scale would never be possible today. Hell, we cannot even maintain those structures properly. This idea that we have to compromise might work with someone like FDR, who seems to have done several dumb things while at the same time he is also responsible for most of the longest standing good things we have [left]. But to compromise on the selfish, scheming forces that have fought so hard to diminish societal well being? I realize this is entering the “moral stand” territory but at sometime you have to stop and strike against this absolute garbage.

    Look at Bernie’s shift in stump (paraphrase): “We will fight for and enact change!” > “We will fight for change!” > “The struggle continues!” > (to a very depressing and pointless) “Life is a constant struggle to enact social changes” (a.k.a. nothing changes). If the individual cannot see the impact of change or even any indicators, what impact are their actions actually having? Reed’s second to last paragraph relates here but his point comes muddled and lost (to me) so I do not want to make any specific citations.

    1. Steve C

      As an aside, those highways are a big factor in the wrecking of Detroit. That and neoliberal financialization.

    2. Uahsenaa

      There are times when Reed frustrates me, and this is one of them. The overall tone of the piece is one in which people who refuse to vote for HRC are denigrated as “naive” and “feckless” (words he actually uses), and, as I often tell my students, insulting the very people you’re trying to convince is not an effective rhetorical strategy.

      And it’s especially odd that Reed feels the need, rather histrionically I might add (really, Hitler?), to point toward this “political naivete” when his own argument completely overlooks a very basic principle in politics: power. People who have power and especially those who wield it in ways that undermine the interests of those they purport to serve or represent only respond to threats to their power. Easy example: the Tea Party. The Republican Party took a massive lurch rightward in just a few years due to the outsize influence exerted upon them by a rather small minority. The neoliberal order, which, I hasten to note, as Glen Ford does, is a bipartisan consensus, will never change unless there is a very real threat to its grasp on power. Leftists who refuse to support HRC are not delusional about what a Trump presidency might mean but rather all too aware that nothing will ever change unless those in power feel like people might just try and take it away from them. Trump, rather oddly, might represent that threat for some (though as a billionaire I think he’d much rather play along in the end); for others voting third party or simply withholding one’s vote from the top of the ticket is their threat.

      I have to admit that he is right in noting how important coalition building is, but that cannot be a substitute for threatening to take power away from those who enthusiastically support the neoliberal order. There is a rather odd unwillingness in Reed’s argument to endure any short term pain for long term benefit, an unwillingness to see how people are already at their wit’s end. I strongly suggest reading the last installment of Gawker’s Unemployment Stories: these are people literally on the verge of suicide, they are so desperate. Reed might understand this plight intellectually, but I imagine he doesn’t really feel it, otherwise how could you ask people who are already killing themselves to just go along for now?

      The history of Leftist insurrection is one in which people have been willing to put their bodies in harm’s way in order to advance the cause of social justice: the Pullman Strike, the Civil Rights Movement, and more recently the BLM protests all over the country. Reed won’t even have us give up creature comforts for that end, which, frankly, is just like an academic, never to threaten the power of the institutions that accord him his status, even if that would be best for everyone.

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘A project of this scale would never be possible today. Hell, we cannot even maintain those structures properly.’

      Your observation applies to NYC as well. ALL the Hudson River crossings — the Amtrak tunnel; the PATH tubes; the Lincoln Tunnel; the Holland Tunnel; the George Washington Bridge — are pre-WW II infrastructure.

      By no coincidence, our postwar global empire made new infrastructure unaffordable, since the needs of “America’s awesome military” came first.

      Meanwhile, truck traffic on the vital I-95 corridor gets blocked for hours when there’s a wreck on the wretched Cross Bronx Expressway (which is every day). Are we geniuses, or whut?

      1. JTMcPhee

        …and is it not amazing how us mopes just accommodate, with a little grumbling and road rage, to stuff like wrecks clogging the arteries of commerce, crumbling or bombing of “infrastructure,” see Aleppo and Homs and such, oh well whatthehell…

      2. Dave

        Let’s talk about the new San Francisco to Oakland Bay Bridge built after the earthquake of 1989. Billion dollar overruns, took over twenty years plus to be built and contains catastrophic design flaws that could cause it to fail in a big earthquake. No one went to jail or was prosecuted. Built by a defense contractor, Bechtel.

        1. Ike

          Most Insidious is that many of the engineering fields look to firms “like” Bechtel as the gold standard for process & profit. Of course, a firm like Bechtel does well because George Schultz. Same with Andrew Card and CH2M Hill. (See Panama Canals’ boondoggle.) So what you get is a sort of institutionalized hari kari in pursuit of $$$. These firms are no longer doing what they used to do 30 years ago, which is actual engineering. (Recall Hoover Dam.) Firms today are looking after their shares value and shedding liability by hook or crook. Just another reason why the U.S. can’t do a “Interstate” project or anything like it. Our professional class is too greed bound while the low hanging fruit disappears and the rungs on the ladder widen. The actual scope of the project, like content, is for chumps :_(

        2. Hana M

          This is the kind of thing that Trump might actually be good at forestalling. He does know how to build and bring project in on time and under budget. He could in theory be tougher on the defense budget than old Cap the Knife.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I think Trump would be as effective as Carter. He does not have a large enough network in the Republican establishment to fill enough slots to gain enough clout (and the Republican establishment is trying to McGovern him anyhow).

            1. John k

              So either he’s ineffective and gridlock, which you support.
              Or he’s effective and builds infrastructure, which you support?
              What’s wrong with this picture?

              Now let’s think of Clinton… Warmonger and Corp reps are already on her side. She owns the dem party because they too sell themselves to the highest bidder. She will be as powerful as bush after 9/11. Wars and no gridlock.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        On the topic of our highway systems — I recall the weight maximums for trucks were increased during the Reagan years. Does anyone know whether that has had an impact on the breakdown of our highways?

        What degree of consolidation is there in the State and Federal Highway Construction Industry?

        1. Roger Smith

          Interesting. Something I never thought about. I would be interest in follow up on this if anyone has the knowledge on hand.

  10. crittermom

    Sending positive thoughts for a quick recovery for your Mom, Yves!
    I’ve suffered ankle injuries myself, and the hardest part is staying off your feet long enough to allow your body to heal.

    Re: Wall St Abandoning Wall St…
    Among the reasons, one, especially, triggered my strongest response:
    #2 “Regulation has made it harder for companies to generate returns…”
    To me, that translates into “Regulation has put a (small) crimp in our thieving ways, thereby reducing profits.”

    I must admit this statement surprised me, however: “If you look at the profitability of the financial institutions … their return on equity is lower than it was before the financial crisis.” Hmmm……

    With each new article or report, I have found I now detest the words “financial crisis”, “settlement”, and “the great recession”.
    I wish they’d just call it was it was/is: The greatest financial fraud in the history of mankind.

    I must admit I find it a bit amusing that some on Wall St will now have to move in order to keep a job.
    *chomp* (as in biting ’em in the a**, which is what this article basically relates to).

    1. crittermom

      Hmmmm…rethinking my last statement, those employees may be better off moving since they’ll still have their well-paying jobs, but in a less expensive city.

      Admitting I’d just like to see somebody on Wall St get ‘chomped’!

  11. Marco

    Hoping for the best with your mom Yves. I was in the same boat with my mother not 6 months ago.

    Here is my contribution to links from yesterday’s Guardian. The main takeaway being elite British (and American) historians poo-pooing Caroline Elkins at Harvard (yeah I know another elite historian). Wow do they sound bitter!! I had never heard of the “Hanslope Park Disclosure” and how the trove proved mass British torture of the Mau Mau in Kenya.

      1. Marco

        Apparently Oxbridge historians and the likes of Niall Ferguson draw a line between torture and mass systemic torture.

  12. Zach Jara

    Couldn’t agree more With Roger Smith. I fundamentally don’t understand how anyone (Adolph Reed included) can stand back, scope out the land, and come to the conclusion that HRC is definitely better than the alternative. Maybe she will be better, maybe she will be worse, but she will definitely sell out Leftist interests as at every turn. Reiterating the R.S. point … “she being no worse than those that came before” … how long are we supposed to stomach this? But I don’t even buy that, Plutonium makes the important point that she is worse: more pro-corporate, more pro-military, more aggressive, more fully bought into American Exceptionalism.

    1. human

      PK makes the observation that she is a confirmed neocon and the maintainer of the status quo. What’s called for right now is somethng Competely Different ™.

      Vote Jill Stein for president.

    2. TedWa

      Another neoliberal in place will make a full generation of neoliberals running our country (starting with Reagan) – and that’s ignoring the fact that dynasties are being set up. Could she be the final nail in the coffin of progressiveness in politics and government by and of “we the people”? She should be indicted but government is so corrupt and captured by neoliberals that she won’t be. The choices are too awful to consider and yet we must. I couldn’t read the Reed article, the biases were too thick in defending Hellery from the beginning of the article and bringing Nazi’s into the conversation showed the weakness of the article (the author tried to disavow it after it was too late).

  13. RabidGandhi

    Best wishes for your mum, Yves.

    My contribution to links:

    Court overturns Argentine gas price rises (FT)

    This is a moderate setback for the neoliberal Macri regime, but not an outright defeat. Some background not in the FT article:

    Since 2003 Argentina had been subsidizing its gas and electric consumers with the ostensible goal of encouraging the internal market. The argument being that since they are at the bottom of the economic food chain, consumers tend to spend any extra savings locally. Furthermore, subsidies to industry and SMEs is a way to attack inflation in the supply chain.

    In the presedential election, the Kirchnerist party (FpV) accused Macri of having a plan to hike utility prices. The press roundly denounced this as a “campaing of fear”, and Macri said he would keep the subsidies. After he was elected, however, the Macri administration said that they found that the energy system was a mess, and that they are out of money, so they can’t pay energy subsidies any more. This was in spite of the fact that they did have money to (1) provide a 40% tax cut to grain exporters (= 2x the annual energy subsidies); (2) pay off the Vulture Funds at full price (= 1 year of energy subsidies; [and this was done so we could get more debt in dollars]); (3) devalue the peso by 40% (= 1 year of energy subsidies).

    Without the subsidies, most people saw their gas and electric bills rise by over 600% overnight. Some had increases of over 2000%. The inflation rate doubled and is still increasing as the rate rikes pass through the supply chain. And this in a context where there have been mass layoffs and recession. So the result was mass protests, and the case was sent to the Supreme Court.

    Even so, yesterday’s ruling (on gas; electricity still pending) was problematic. First because the court did not rule that the price increases must be overthrown, but just that the administration needs to hold public hearings first– after completing this formality they can forge ahead. And secondly because it left the price increase in place for non-residential consumers, so the inflation will continue until morale improves.

    Bottom line: the court has granted a stay of execution, but if the government utlimately succeeds, how will people pay their utility bills with no jobs and decreasing real wages? What will happen when 20% of the country is forced to live without power and gas?

        1. Otis B Driftwood

          +1 So, either the Democratic party reforms to make people like Ms. Teachout the new leaders of the party or it loses what’s left of its progressive base.

          Think that reform will happen?

          No, me neither.

          Would that Teachout joins the Green party as it needs to build the party around high caliber candidates like her.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I think the Dems have another generation or so of knee-jerk “I’m a Democrat” identification no matter how far astray they go from anything that could be called policies for actual people (over corporations).
            Obama reversed the polarity of Democrat politics, suddenly everything Bush did became default Democrat policies. But people are too slow/ignorant to notice.
            So now we get a weird inversion, with the Repub candidate taking positions (trade, nation-building) far to the left of the Queen-in-Waiting.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘provide a 40% tax cut to grain exporters’

      In normal countries (including the US) there IS no export tax on farmers. Like ol’ Willie Sutton, the Widow K shook down Argentina’s world-class grain growers because “that’s where the money is.”

      Decrying the farmers’ “tax cut” is a bit like stealing your neighbor’s car, then claiming credit as a philanthropist when you give it back to them. It was theirs to start with.

      1. RabidGandhi

        1. These aren’t “farmers” as you claim. They are giant landowner conglomorates, less than a thousand in number.

        2. If you think taxation is just a form of stealing, then we can’t have any conversation at all. The fact that we all live on a planet with shared resources, infrastructure, trained, healthy labour forces, etc. is just too basic. If you don’t agree, than we really have nothing to talk about.

        3. Said speculative landowners were free to take their (government subisidised) grain and sell it domestically with no taxes. The export tax kept domestic food and energy prices down (since I know how much you hate inflation) and redistributed the incoming dollars to better uses, such as importing things Argentina does not produce enough of, like Bolivian natural gas to power our factories.

        4. “Normal countries including the US”. I’ll have to remember that one.

        1. Jim Haygood

          One of the grievances underlying Argentina’s successful war for independence was the colonial Spanish regime’s dogged insistence that Argentina’s imports and exports had to be routed through Spain’s colonial capital in Lima, Peru. This absurd policy deprived Argentina of one of its greatest natural advantages, its fine Atlantic port at Buenos Aires.

          Just as today’s US govt is far more oppressive than King George (so bitterly complained of in the US declaration of independence), the Kirchner regime’s predation of exporters was actually far more crippling than the tortuous overland transport of goods to the “wrong side” of the continent imposed by the Spanish.

          The Spanish were merely thick-headed, stubborn brutes. Whereas the Kristina Kirchner regime were malicious, corrupt thieves. Their well-deserved political demise was sealed in June in a tragicomic spectacle, when former Kirchner public works minister José López was caught burying $8 million of looted bribes in a convent yard in the dark of night.

          Jail to the chief! :-)

    2. Alejandro

      Also, IIRC, Macri was a second place candidate in your general election, then barely scraped by in a run-off (less voter turnout?). Then came out of the gates sprinting with gunz-a-blazing to re-do, everything that was un-done to the neo-liberal project, while internationally being postured as a “champion” with a popular mandate. Now, less than a year later he’s looking less and less like a “champion” and more and more like just another vassal in the “backyard”.

      1. RabidGandhi

        You do recall correctly about the first round of elections and you are right about Macri not having a mandate for such a sweeping project, but you are wrong about turnout, since voting is mandatory here.

        In the first round, Macri got 22% vs 39% for the Kirchnerist (FpV), Scioli, forcing a run off between the two of them. Scioli is the far right of the FpV, and in the campaign the two candidates looked 100% similar, with Macri pivoting to the left and Scioli to the right. In the end, Macri won by 2%, but all polls show that it was not votes for Macri, but rather votes against Scioli that won the day. Scioli triangulated to the right and alienated the left, so the right wing won (sound familiar?).

        But you’re totally right about the speed with which the Macri Adminisration are implementing drastic changes. The vast majority of those who voted for him did not vote for utility hikes, paying the vultures, mass layoffs… but the fact is the FpV left them with a Sophie’s Choice at the ballot box.

            1. clinical wasteman

              Yes, thanks RG once again for the sort of analysis that’s missing from news stories like this one [], which confirm all that was predicted and feared but don’t dare say why for fear of class incrimination (the Agnelli-Fiat family just sold La Stampa to convicted asbestos killer Carlo ‘Olivetti/Repubblica’ De Benedetti). Even when they report things like 1 million more officially ‘poor’ since Macri’s election (headline: “Blackouts and steaks on the instalment plan…”), the lack of analysis means it can be passed off condescendingly as some sort of ‘Latin-American’ norm, or even — as in the outrageous sub-headline (“Stratospheric food and energy prices after years of Peronism…”) — as an ‘inevitable’ effect of the Kirchners’ refusal — to resort to ‘internal devaluation’.

              1. clinical wasteman

                Apologies to everyone if the previous comment eventually shows up in duplicate or even triplicate. Thought the page had frozen and foolishly tried again.

              2. RabidGandhi

                Another annoying aspect in that article is that it attributes the rate hikes to a failure to invest: straight out of the regime’s talking points. The issue is, one can debate whether there should have been more investment in energy infrastructure (I think there should have been more), but this has nothing to do with removing the subsidies (and especially removing them all at once, ala The Shock Doctrine), rather it has everything to do with a political decision to use state resources for tax breaks for the rich and paying vulture funds instead of for providing people with a public utility.

                If you don’t want the government to pay subsidies, then fine. Take the necessary measures to ensure that the country has a solid nationalised energy system (after the privatisations in the 90s by many of the people now back in office), and make sure that people can take the steps to reduce consumption. For example, how can I make my house more energy efficient if my real disposable income has gone down by over 15% this year?

                La Stampa and much of the press want this to be a debate about the energy system; it’s not. It’s a debate about whether public resources should be for the public or for a small group of rent seekers.

  14. nippersdad

    Re the Adolph Reed column: I don’t really see how someone who openly admits to routinely not having voted gets off moralizing to those who invariably vote. He just doesn’t have the moral high ground when, for example, he disdains to vote for Obama when there is a question as to how bad an evil he will be, but then votes for him when all doubt has been erased. How could Romney have been any worse than the man who normalized, legalized and expanded upon all of Bush’s most heinous actions?

    Bottom line: that we are now expected to vote for someone who explicitly represents everything we had hoped to have been voting against for a generation makes a mockery of the electoral process. She may be little different from her Husband and, potentially, Gore, but that is not a good argument for proactively continuing the process of knowingly voting against ones’ interests. Trump would have his Cheney in Pence, and Pence is in practice no worse than the Washington Consensus that Clinton is presently the personification of. I find his arguments unconvincing. Veal penning the left electorate for yet another cycle will not have the effect of gaining them any respect amongst the Washington elites. It hasn’t yet, and it is unlikely to do so in the future.

    Just my $.02, but I feel like he is all over the map on this one.

    1. tgs

      Well said! Couldn’t agree more. Margaret Kimberley’s article really makes it clear what we are voting for when we vote for liberals.

    2. jrs

      Reed article: “I recognize as well that some of those who were also Bernie or Bust-ers are basically Green types or nonvoters and would not have been likely to vote for a Democrat, if at all, anyway.”

      You got that right

      “Get over it; if you’ve voted for any Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 at least, you’ve done at least as bad, maybe even worse, depending on which ones you’ve voted for.”

      eh maybe Gore but generally no, Green in 2008, Green in 2012, I don’t vote for your neoliberal Dems anyway (unless by chance there is a decent one locally). I’m not a Dem. Go away.

  15. Terry Humphrey

    If Reed or one more of his patronizing ilk tells me to “get over it” after enumerating all their candidate’s flaws I’m going to puke…and that includes Bernie Sanders.

  16. Carolinian

    Adolph Green seems to spend as much time talking about himself as he does the election. But to his main point that Hillary Clinton is no worse than Obama or her husband, is that true? Wasn’t Obama talked into the Libya “shitshow” (as he now calls it) by Hillary (who still defends it)? And there are reports that Bill Clinton was also urged to intervene in the Balkans by his wife. To me this column just reads like the typical Hillary apologist who assumes Trump will be bad (which may or may not be correct at least when it comes to FP) while exhibiting some degree of ignorance about Clinton’s actual record. It’s vacuous, particularly all the hemming and hawing about the right “moral” choice. If morality is your guide then one will likely not vote for either one of these people. If realism is the standard then Hillary may indeed be the “more effective evil.” Should this be true and she, not Trump, prove to be the disaster will Reed spare us the all the verbiage and just say “oops”?

    1. Pat

      Considering the past of so many of our pundits, saying “oops” would be a huge admission as normally it is all ignored as if it didn’t happen. Along with ignoring how many, largely lefty traditional not neoliberal liberal types were right.

      I’m really sick of the fact that so little attention is paid to Clinton’s real record. And that her mistakes, even when grudgingly admitted, were never forced errors, in the manner that Obama is so often falsely acquitted.
      Her record as a war monger and her embrace of the much of the worst of the effective Republicans alone make her the worst choice on the ballot. And yet I’m supposed to be terrified by the reality television carnival barker with a Vice President that is pretty damn equal in bad choices with the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. (Sorry Pence/Kaine cannot see one iota of better for either.)

    2. John Wright

      I remember Bernie Sander’s statement that HRC had “bad judgement” on FP..

      Reed should have closed with “Vote Clinton, continue the bad judgement legacy”

      Bernie should have endorsed Clinton with a principled qualified endorsement “While Hillary has bad judgement, I believe Donald Trump’s judgement is worse, so I am endorsing HIllary”

      Reed, by comparing Trump to Hitler neglects to mention that Hitler had a unified party behind him, while Trump definitely does not and that the US and UK foreign policy establishments liked the anti-Communist policies of the Nazis.

      To some extent, HRC has the establishment FP support of both Neo-lib Democrats and Republicans while Trump does not, and could lead to greater impoverishment of America than Trump via her foreign policy and neo-lib financial industry support.

      Hillary still could be the far more effective evil.

      1. Ulysses

        “Hillary still could be the far more effective evil.”

        This is true, and the (mostly non-political) Trumpster track record shows that he is capable of truly malevolent actions as well. The U.S. national political system is a sewer, and two turds have floated to the top.

        This system is correctly regarded by the vast majority of Americans as illegitimate.

    3. temporal

      Unlike Reed I voted for Obama the first time but not the second because of the way he was steering the Ds. Yet Reed went for Obama the second time presumably because McCain and Palin were OK but Romney was not. Kind of tricky to figure that one out.

      His weakest argument, presented at the end of the column, seems to be that voting for HRC would allow progressive folks to organize in a way that having Trump as President would not. The fact that Obama’s antagonism toward lefty values created, among other things a DNC that is vested in not supporting organizing progressives does not seem be be relevant. But if Obama’s neoliberal values are consistent with Hillary’s and her election helps determine the path of the Democratic Party then how does this lead to a greater freedom to organize against neoliberal values?

      The problem with voting for HRC is that it will be seen as proof that neoliberalism can still win the day and they will work hard to keep current controls within the party in place.

      1. Carolinian

        Coffee deficit must have caused switching to name of writer of Singin’ in the Rain (and many others).

  17. abynormal

    Yves, sorry about your mother…feet take the longest to heal bc injury and swelling is predominately effect the inside of the area withstanding weight. What really concerns me is your stress level…long distance worry is like a double whammy with your mind spreading fast n furious. Be real mindful of your personal care. i know you take good care regarding your physical well-being but remember to include your mental well-being.
    when you hang up from talking with family members, doctors, and your mother, try closing your eyes and counting 20 breaths from your abdomen, this is known as mini-meditations. Awareness of oncoming Stress is the Game…curl/release your toes, press palm to palms a few times, pressure rub your ears (lavender/chamomile) and as you release from one or all these small exercises you will feel stress pardons.

    Stress seeks out physical weaknesses we never knew we had…be full of Care for yourself.

    1. ambrit

      Agreement about the lavender/chamomile (I also use peppermint oil) massage of your ears. Try to massage the cleft in your eyebrow ridge and temples adjacent to your eye orbits. A little ‘essential oil’ rubbed into the temple skin does wonders for my headaches. I’m not sure about the mechanism at work, but it does provide me with relief. If your mom is still living in BofA, watch out for the heat and humidity. They are debilitating in and of themselves.
      Plus, if you have to take a few ‘days off’ to go and help mommy, do so. You only have one mommy.

      1. abynormal

        very good ambrit. before i take on any event, i spritz a mint, lemon grass seed with a rose water base directly onto my face…any get up an go helps. i love aromatherapy…fortunately my senses take to it but for some it doesn’t so the effect isn’t there. i’ve use peppermint oil for quickie foot massages…i can do anything after that ‘)

        i’ve read about ‘3rd eye’ pressure points…will look into brow area.

      2. Katharine

        Number one defense, drink more water–especially in heat and humidity, but at any time it is apt to make you feel better.

      3. Anne

        A drop of frankincense under my tongue, along with lavender and peppermint oils rubbed on my temples and sometimes the base of my head, often does wonders for my headaches.

        My daughter introduced me to essential oils about a year and a half ago, and they have made a significant difference in my life. In addition to using them topically, I also diffuse the oils, in various combinations – at night I do a combo of oils that have really helped me to sleep better. I will diffuse lemon, wild orange and peppermint in my office for an energy boost, with lavender in there to take the edge off the inevitable office craziness.

  18. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: The Donald getting all touchy-feely. He’s good at that. He looks, acts, and talks like an actual human being in contrast to his robotic opponent.

    1. Jim Haygood

      If the election were reduced to ONE issue, this is it.

      Voters make emotional decisions based on whom they like (or dislike less).

      No amount of plodding, lawyerly, logical HRC policy wonkery (“slow the growth of out-of-pocket Obamacare costs”) is ever going to reach people on an emotional level.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If Donald Trump takes the “temperament” argument away from clinton, what’s she got left?

      A TPP flip-flop, 50 spooks and band-aids for obamacare, which was effectively pronounced dead this morning on morning joe.

      Paul Manafort has resigned from the Trump campaign, so the narrative that Trump wants to conquer Ukraine and give it to Putin for his birthday may be less compelling.

      Also on today’s morning joe, Jeffrey Sachs was asked to comment on the photo of the 5-year-old boy who was pulled from bombed Syrian rubble yesterday, and what the us should do to “stop the slaughter.” He said that “we” and saudi arabia should stop funding and arming the forces fighting Assad–policies he attributed to obama and clinton–and work together with Russia to defeat isis. He also refused to be shouted down by scarborough.

      The tide could be turning.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Personally, I feel there is more upside with Trump (not excluding more shocks here and there).

        With Hillary, you are more likely to get many more unpleasant surprises post-election.

        “Oops, I forgot* to tell you we could work to improve the proposed TTP (to make it more profitable – silently to herself and her money men…and money women).”

        *Forgetting is part of incompetence, I guess (sorry about the home server security thing).

        “Aha, you didn’t read the fine print!!! You lazy bum, you. It’s not my fault you can’t read.”

      2. Carolinian

        You mean this boy?

        As for temperament, maybe Trump is finally pivoting after all. For all the Clintonsphere Sturm and Drang, some of us have always suspected that Trump’s bully boy impulses are mainly confined to his mouth. That could be a tragic misperception but La Clinton has already been making tragic contributions to our recent overseas conduct in reality and not just speculation. It’s hard to see how Trump could make things worse.

  19. DWD

    Hope everything works out for your family, Yves.

    I ( a long time ago) used to do this daily blog thing and it gets to be very old after a while.

    Just a note of appreciation for all you do and for best wishes for your family (and get some sleep!)

  20. Nik

    A common theme in my facebook feed for the past 24 hours has been how the Lochte incident is emblematic of white privilege.

    Had anyone else vandalized a convenience store and then covered it up with claims of corruption and crime (they claimed they were robbed by individuals who were or pretended to be cops), they’d be skewered in the press. Hell, just a few days ago they lit up Gabby Douglas because she was so awestruck at winning a gold medal that she forgot to raise her hand over her heart.

    Meanwhile, Ryan ad his pals behave shamefully multiple times in a dramatically public way, and officials are tripping over each other to remind us that they’re “just some kids having a good time and getting carried away.”

    1. Arizona Slim


      They were having a good time, all right. Just like over-privileged people have been for, oh, forever.

      1. Eclair

        White, English-speaking males (and their female hangers-on) just feel they have the God-given right to do what feels good when in areas inhabited by brown, black, non-English-speaking peoples; Brazil, Kenya (see the citation above to the Guardian article on the British atrocities, pre-independence, in that country).

        And, for my submission to links today, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the area now known as North Dakota, are blocking construction of the ginormous ($3.8 billion) Bakken Pipeline across their tribal lands, citing, among other infractions, future pollution of the important Oglala Aquifer.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can a sovereign Native American tribe nation have an embassy and an ambassador, say, in Venezuela?

          Can they issue their own currency?

          1. Eclair

            Hmmm, not yet, MyLess. But there is an increase in activity, talk, sharing of experiences, ‘consciousness raising’, planning, not only among the many Native American nations, but also with Indigenous peoples to the South, the Maori and the various Indigenous groups in Australia.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      ……… “just some kids having a good time and getting carried away.”

      Ryan Lochte is 32.

      I’m always hearing that “60” is the new “40.” I guess “32” is the new “16.”

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        August 19, 2016 at 9:42 am

        I saw some talking about this on FOX – and man, those guys were contorting themselves – the cognitive dissonance was something to see. RAH, RAH, RAH – we got the most medals….we also got the most false reports to the police. When Bill O’Reilly said we shouldn’t jump to conclusions (and not trust our own lying eyes), I fainted…fortunately I was sitting on my fainting futon….

    3. RabidGandhi

      In my experience a lot of Northeners come down here with the idea that South America is the wild wild west, so they can behave in ways they never would around US/European law enforcement, whom for some reason they consider to be less corrupt.

      Truth be told, the swimmers seem to have assumed that they could act illegally and violently and then lie about it, and that they would be absolved because of their wealth and race. This assumption is not too far off the mark, as that does tend to be a pattern here (and elsewhere). Where they ran into problems, though, is that it became an issue of besmirching Brazil’s prestige during her moment in the limelight, a factor that has superseded their priviledge.

      That said, what has been most revolting is the US Olympic Committee’s “boys will be boys” reaction, and the way the English speaking press rallied jingoistically behind them as the story broke. Not much new there though.

      1. cocomaan

        What amuses me about the swimmer’s debacle is that NBC went far out of their way to push a “RUSSIA BAD” narrative, only to have the biggest story be how American athletes have a chip on their shoulder the size of one of their famous national parks.

      2. Goyo Marquez

        My mom an American, a “gringa”, as we say down here on the border, who married a Mexican, and who has a very good take on the relations between the two cultures after living on the border for 70 something years, likes to put it this way:
        Their laws, Mexican laws or Brazilian laws in this case, are not real to them, that is Americans in Mexico or Americans in Brazil.

        It’s not an American issue because the reverse is true as well. When Mexicans are in the U.S, and the same I’m sure apples to Brazilians, our laws aren’t real to them either.

    4. fresno dan

      August 19, 2016 at 9:07 am

      I would add a good portion is probably also due to “acclaimed athlete privilege” – the “herofication” of athletes, done to sell more tenni-shoes, and other sports doodads, beer, and monster trucks, and some of these poor saps come to believe the press hype they get.
      ((as an aside, why exactly is swimming in some contrived different manner a reason to get another medal – do runners get a medal if they suck their thumbs while running or if they run 98 yards as well as 100???))

      A person who can swim fast or throw far has absolutely no correlation to virtue – but the media will try and make it seem that way to sell more crap….
      This whole idea that if you succeed your virtuous and beloved by God is a pernicious idea – but the successful sure have been successful at making people believe it….

  21. mad as hell.

    My mother who is in 97 has been in three hospitals during the past year. All for the same related health problem. I don’t want to get into details but I will say this. I have seen both good and bad things about the American health care pipeline. Arrogance and some behaviour bordering on sainthood. Service issues as far as waiting two and a quarter hours for a lunch tray to having a doctor spend almost an hour listening to my mother. Seen hospitals that are almost empty but getting a nurse’s attention was next to impossible to seeing hospitals so crammed that she had a stay in a ic unit for a couple of days. Insurance issues are continually brought up.

    The longer that she is there the more you are gonna see. Hopefully she’s out by this afternoon. All I know is that if this is one of the best health care systems in the world then somebody is lying to us because there would not be so many negative occurrences that we are experiencing. Best of luck for your mother and remember that you are not the Lone Ranger in this situation!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Reaching 97 is a major accomplishment (genetic luck or otherwise), and more living to look forward.

      My mother is in her 80s and she was hospitalized twice in the last 12 months, experiencing something similar…waiting a long time for food…something simple that would have taken less than 1 minute at home.

      I wonder what we will experience when or if we are lucky enough to reach her age. And if the world is still something we can recognize at that time, both the environmentally and how people will live then (that is, will we have lost our world, just as some people in their 80s and 90s today might wonder where their worlds of their youth, the 40s or 50s have gone, and if they can’t connect to the world of 2016 – nothing to hang on to here, and even friends or familiar celebrity names that dominated their days have disappeared from their lives).

  22. Katharine

    Best wishes, Yves and your mother! I hope it is a minor injury soon healed, but the worst of these things is having to deal with the system, unquestionably better than nothing but not agreeable.

    1. cwaltz

      Even what is considered a really minor injury in someone younger is scary when someone is 88. Our bodies just don’t bounce back like they used to as we age.

      I hope everything goes well for Yves and her mom. It sounds like the ER near her is busy and that is never a fun thing. I don’t know if her region has urgent care centers but I would be tempted to try and find one of them if the ER is full. Their waiting times tend to be a little better and they usually have the means to XRay and treat. We have 2 near us, MedExpress(run by HCA) and Velocity Care(run by Carilion.)

      1. pretzelattack

        yes, people just can’t cope as well, and as you say emergency rooms can be stressful and unpleasant. i’ve never tried an urgent care center for anything more than the flu, to get an antibiotics script. my experience with hospitals is it really helps to have somebody visiting quite often to keep an eye on things.

  23. geoff


    Um, no? We’re all used to the lying, and TINA neoliberalism seems well-entrenched in BOTH political parties, but I voted for Obama in ’08 because I foolishly believed he would rein in the crazy interventionism of the Bush years. And yes, I drank some of that “hope” koolaid too.

    But I honestly don’t see how anyone can consider HRC the lesser evil after Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Honduras.

    1. pretzelattack

      how could you not vote for obama the first time and then vote for him the second time, after you’ve seen him renege on the promises? i just don’t get it. romney was a typical republican , like george bush sr; certainly not as scary as an old and somewhat ill mccain with sarah palin waiting in the wings.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Consider reading Reed’s post, where he explains:

        In 2012 I voted for Obama, not because he had changed and was more open to left agendas than he had been four years earlier. If anything, he was worse. What had changed was the character of the Republican opposition, which had become more dangerous, more aggressive and more powerful, in part because the Obama administration had done little to mobilize against them.

        You may not agree, but his argument is cogent. It’s based not on Romney, but on the “nature of the Republican opposition.”

        1. pretzelattack

          in that case, it seems to me that he would fear that the republican opposition would become even more dangerous, aggressive and powerful during obama’s second term. (not only did the obama administration fail to mobilize against them, by pursuing progressive policies, it joined with them in pursuing policies dear to the neoliberal heart, such as tpp (despite all the hand wringing and brave assertions of opposition).

          moreover, with the implosion of the republican party, they are more likely to become progressively weaker whether trump wins or not. what i’m seeing is a joyful democratic embrace of the very people i consider most dangerous to the country, the crazy neocons. one of which is arguably clinton.

        2. John k

          And he thinks Romney at al are more dangerous (warmonger) than Clinton? Or more corrupt? Or less truthful? Or… Could go on…

        3. aab

          I keep trying and failing to get through that Reed piece, because multiple people I respect (like you, Lambert) who I figure are smarter and more experienced about political science and reality (like you, Lambert) keep telling me to. And I keep hitting ideas that seem so wrong and often insulting that I can’t.

          You’re telling me his logic re: the 2008/no Obama vote/2012 Obama vote is cogent. It seems absurd to me. He’s basically saying that after Obama proved himself such a feckless either politically incompetent or deeply corrupt player that he enabled the Republicans to rise from the dead and retake control of the government in many ways, it was important to keep Obama in power. Come again? As with Baby Bush’s second term, perhaps it would have been better to put Romney in there and let the Republicans own what they were doing with Obama’s “reluctant” complicity, forcing the Democrats to actually oppose it. If nothing else, we might be spared Clinton now.

          I walked into the booth in 2012 intending to vote third party and chickened out and voted for Obama, figuring a stronger mandate might be at least nominally more likely to get him to do some Democratic things than a weak one. I’m not going to argue that I made the correct decision. I honestly don’t know. But I’m not a heralded public intellectual hectoring others to vote for a repulsive, criminal, corrupt warmonger and telling us we’re sexist if we dislike her. Um, no. Unlike Reed, I did all that LOTE voting from Mondale on. And I was a hardcore feminist when I think Hillary was still a young Republican. (I’m younger than she is, but I was quite politically precocious.) Hell, I was investigated by Nixon’s FBI in middle school.

          Seriously, Lambert. I do not get how this argument is cogent. I know I’m not allowed to “assign” you work, but if you have a minute, can you share more of your thoughts on this?

  24. crittermom

    Re: Sanders/Aetna
    His statement sums it up perfectly. “This is what corporate control of our government looks like.”

    1. Arizona Slim

      Which is why we should be flooding Capitol Hill with phone calls. Time to demand something better!

      1. Jim Haygood

        No disrespect intended, but “flooding Capitol Hill with phone calls” reminds me of a Chinese idiom, “ducks listening to thunder.”

        Their wide-eyed, blank-faced incomprehension says it all.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          While they raise ducks in China, people hunt deer here, thus, the counter express, deer in the highlights.

          In ancient times, though, the non-royal Chinese also hunted deer. I have a gilt bronze vase showing hunters in loincloth (and some kind of feather hat) clubbing and spearing a deer – the deer was depicted with circular marks on its body.

          On the same vase, an archer prepared to shoot a goose flying above. The arrow had a string attached to it. For a long time, this way of hunting geese was described in books, but no one had any idea what it looked like or how it was done (bad writing, I guess), until one similar bronze vase was unearthed in Szechuan.

      2. mk

        I remember when the senate was debating the Big Bank Bailout 2008 on the senate floor during the presidential campaign. Senator Diane Feinstein said on the floor that she received over 80,000 calls from constituents telling her to vote against the bailout, she said she wasn’t going to listen to her constituents and encouraged her fellow senators to ignore their constituents too. Flooding the Capitol with calls does nothing, they don’t care.

        If we want change, we have to do better than phone calls. Our Revolution has a kickoff on August 24, bernie will speak for an hour about 5-6pm pacific time. Use your search engine for more info.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can’t have mob (involved in) ruling the economy.

          The smart people must educate the un-educated, or so goes the proclamation.

          “More education.”

  25. Anne

    Apparently, Social Security has gotten an earful about their new security requirement that requires the use of text messaging via cell phone.

    Just arrived by e-mail this morning:

    On July 30, 2016, we began requiring you to sign into your my Social Security account using a one-time code sent via text message. We implemented this new layer of security, known as “multifactor authentication,” in compliance with a Presidential executive order to improve the security of consumer financial transactions. SSA implemented the improvements aggressively because we have a fundamental responsibility to protect the public’s personal information.

    However, multifactor authentication inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders. We’re listening to your concerns and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate.

    As before July 30, you can now access your secure account using only your username and password. We highly recommend the extra security text message option, but it is not required. We’re developing an alternative authentication option, besides text messaging, that we’ll begin implementing within the next six months.

    We strive to balance security and customer service options, and we want to ensure that our online services are both easy to use and secure. The my Social Security service has always featured a robust verification and authentication process, and it remains safe and secure.

    We regret any inconvenience you may have experienced.

    There is no requirement that you access your personal my Social Security account as a result of the steps we are taking. However, when you do access your account, we encourage you to sign up for the extra security text message option. You can access your account by visiting

    This will be welcome news to those without cell phones, or text-messaging capability.

    1. Pat

      Hurrah. I hope they realize that perhaps they need to vent that alternative authentication with their users before implementing it for the future or they will face this again.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Considering the number of people with vision problems on social security or nearing social security, everyone involved should be fired. They simply have no business working for the government or anything important.

      My mother was legally blind. I use to get checks as a minor I was entitled to. Hooray for Social Security! That’s right. Social security has a whole operation for the blind, who are known for using small screens.

      1. Waldenpond

        Poor vision, arthritic hands, hand tremors, (can’t see the screens, hold pens nor write) hearing loss (different machines and instructions for each vendor)…. cash is easier to handle as I can attest to with my parents.

    3. flora


      On security:
      Yes, 2-part authentication is better security-wise than single authentication.
      Yes, there was a new govt mandate sent out to all agencies, not just SS, to implement this form of login security.
      Yes, sign-in and enter one-time code sent to you by phone is stronger than 2-part, multi-use authentication.

      For a security protocol to be effective it must be easy to use for nearly 100% its users.
      In the case of SS, almost 70% of it’s users don’t HAVE cell phones.
      Epic fail.
      Glad SS reconsidered this protocol and returned to the usable security protocol.

      adding: 2-part authentication schemes do not prevent fraudulent new accounts being created.

  26. DJG

    Best wishes to you and to your mother. Let’s hope that she makes a triumphant trip to Maine for the family events.

  27. Pat

    Yves, good thoughts being sent to you and especially to your mother.

    I hope this is minor, the duration of her stay quick, and if possible the family trip still happens mostly as planned.

  28. Hana M

    Wishing your mother a speedy recovery, Yves.

    I’ve been reading up on China and the news is rather on the gloomy side:
    Massive overcapacity in the steel, energy and other heavy industry sectors is forcing layoffs, reduced hours and paycuts.

    China’s excess boxport capacity is greater than the combined throughputs of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Russia.

    And weirdly, Chinese investors are among the biggest buyers of US equities (along with foreign banks). As Lambert would say, ‘What could go wrong?’

    But not all the news in Asia is bad. “China may be slowing, but a commodities rebound is under way and the world’s biggest miner knows where the next growth story is building — emerging economies in Southeast Asia. Combined gross domestic product in the ASEAN-5 nations — Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam will rise about a third to $3 trillion in the five years to 2020, fueling commodities-intensive infrastructure projects.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      China’s situation is interesting – they have massive overcapacity in everything from housing to steel plants, but they seem determined to grow their way into the capacity. They have a lot of scope to cut steel and concrete capacity because so much of their plant is old and outdated, but the big problem is the implicit deal in China of keeping the majority of people in work. They will cut – but it will not be deep enough to cause unrest (they hope). There is a theory (which is almost certainly wrong) that because China is still way behind the US and Europe in terms of infrastructure and industrial investment per capita that there is still plenty of scope to expand. But they are almost certainly hitting a ‘natural’ limit (see Michael Pettis’ excellent blog for a discussion on this).

      I suspect the main reason for China’s appetite for US equities is as a currency hedge. Lots of people suspect that when it comes to the crunch, a devaluation will be the first resort for the government. But also it must be remembered that a lot of Chinese foreign investment is actually money laundering – which implies they expect to take it back at some stage. So it could be a potential cause of instability. A lot of the investment is also leveraged – I know personally several Chinese people who trade US equities as a source of private income, all with borrowings. What, as Lambert would say, could possibly go wrong?

      I suspect that Bloomberg article is a bit optimistic. The ASEAN nations are relatively poor for the obvious reason that they have terrible political structures based on corruption. I think only Vietnam has a genuinely capable government, so I think its the only country which is likely to maintain high growth rates over a significant period. Political instability in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the ‘pines are, I think, likely to ensure that any growth will be of the one step forward, two steps back variety.

      1. Hana M

        Thank you for the insights, PlutoniumKun, and for suggesting Michael Pettis’ blog. Your point about leverage and Chinese investors is quite alarming. (Margin call, anyone?).

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If they want to keep people working, they can try to re-establish the Jixia Academy (

        And guarantee anyone a job there.

        (Why did they hire people to dig and fill trenches during the Great Depression, when they could have hired people to write economic papers?)

        (Why manual labor jobs under the hot sun, and not white collar jobs in nice, cool towers?)

  29. fresno dan

    Portions TRUMP speech 8/18/2016 I found the most …..interesting:

    We are one country, one people, and we will have together one great future.

    Tonight, I’d like to talk about the New American Future we are going to create together.

    Last week, I laid out my plan to bring jobs back to our country
    To be one united nation, we must protect all of our people. But we must also provide opportunities for all of our people.

    We cannot make America Great Again if we leave any community behind.

    Nearly Four in ten African-American children are living in poverty. I will not rest until children of every color in this country are fully included in the American Dream.

    Jobs, safety, opportunity. Fair and equal representation. This is what I promise to African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and all Americans.

    Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues. ((WOW – Trump can kinda sorta say a “sorry” equivalent))

    But one thing I can promise you is this: I will always tell you the truth.

    I speak the truth for all of you, and for everyone in this country who doesn’t have a voice.
    (WOW – has a republican nominee ever said something like that? seems to acknowledge problems in the country goes against standard rah-rah country club republicanism…))

    There’s a reason the hedge fund managers, the financial lobbyists, the Wall Street investors, are throwing their money at Hillary Clinton. Because they know she will make sure the system stays rigged in their favor.

    It’s the powerful protecting the powerful.
    ((if only Trump had acknowledged this applies as much to most repubs as to dems – Trump IMHO gets no benefit from trying to get “establishment” repub approval – the primaries proved the repub VOTERS hate the repub establishment, as most Americans do))

    We are going to work closely with African-American parents and students in the inner cities – and what a big difference that will make. This means a lot to me, and it is going to be a top priority in a Trump Administration.
    ((one can doubt the sincerity, but has a repub ever proposed a plan specifically for African Americans??? Have they ever been even acknowledged as existing in a major repub presidential nominee speech??? – other than Lincoln…))

    If African-American voters give Donald Trump a chance by giving me their vote, the result for them will be amazing. Look at how badly things are going under decades of Democratic leadership – look at the schools, look at the 58% of young African-Americans not working. It is time for change.

    What do you have to lose by trying something new? – I will fix it. This means so much to me, and I will work as hard as I can to bring new opportunity to places in our country which have not known opportunity in a very long time. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have taken African-American votes totally for granted. Because the votes have been automatically there, there has been no reason for Democrats to produce.
    ((Again, a repub specifically asking for Black votes – has that happened before??? Trump himself shouldn’t say it, but somebody should simply ask the question of what percentage of blacks shot by police are in cities totally controlled by dems…))

    Makes me think Trump may actually want to be President….
    If Trump would only stick to the fact that this is a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich – and most of the rich HAVE NOT gotten rich by hard work, but by playing the government…Trump could even own up to the fact that he spends more time thinking about how to play the system than simply build things…

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have taken African-American votes totally for granted. Because the votes have been automatically there, there has been no reason for Democrats to produce.”

      This is a harsh truth that we discuss here nearly every day. Trump shied away from Lambert’s “black misleadership class” formulation, which might have caused fresh “personal pain” to some.

      But he got to the gist of the matter with amazing precision. Hope he really believes it (as opposed to triangulating on a consultant’s advice).

    2. Steve H.

      – What do you have to lose by trying something new?

      There it is.

      That’s his campaign slogan.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I can see why many prominent Republicans have endorsed Hillary, with a remarkably un-Republican speech like this.

      “We don’t like this. We are going over to the Hillary camp.”

  30. Brian

    From me too Yves; Hope she can get out of the unhospital soon, as that is always important. X-rays don’t always find bone trouble in the feet as I know from experience. Take time to rest up, its the best time spent.

  31. voteforno6

    Hillary Clinton Told F.B.I. Colin Powell Advised Her to Use Private Email

    My guess is that Clinton willfully misinterpreted what Powell actually said to her. One thing that the article doesn’t mention is that, when Powell first arrived at State, the system in use at the time did not have the capability to interact with external agencies, so he almost had to use a commercial system.

    On top of that, she comes off as a bit of a weasel, in using Powell’s actions as a justification, rather than owning her decision.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Colin told her that Saddam had WMDs, too. She tried to do the right thing … but he misled her. /sarc

    2. marym

      (tweeter is an NBC Nightly News editor/writer)

      Bradd Jaffy Verified account ‏@BraddJaffy
      Statement from Colin Powell’s office to NBC News—after NYT @amychozick rpt on Clinton emails

      From the NYT link

      Mr. Powell’s office released a statement on Thursday night saying he had no recollection of the dinner conversation. He did write Mrs. Clinton an email memo, which may exist in the F.B.I. files, describing his use of his personal email account for unclassified messages “and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department,” the statement said.

    3. Anne

      [eyes rolling – again]

      Does this woman ever tell the truth about anything? I guess that’s pretty much a rhetorical question, sorry. I’m pretty sure that “truth” is a very fluid concept for Clinton, not least because she and her husband – and many in the Clinton circle – have spent so many years dodging it that the dodge is her reflexive response.

      The Clinton apologists – and they are legion – will tell us that it is because so many people are out to get them that they can never approach any question at face value. But just because you can’t trust other people’s motives doesn’t mean you have license to fabricate and manipulate and lie in order to not have to face the consequences of your actions.

      What’s painfully and glaringly obvious – or at least it should be – is that the Clintons seem to believe they are entitled to do what they want, regardless of rules, laws, regulations, protocols or anything that might be perceived as a restraint. That will continue, and in fact, with the mantle of power a president wears, it is likely to get exponentially worse.

      I shudder to think what that would mean.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Agree. Their view of executive and political elite privilege is a matter of grave concern.

        Pam and Russ Martens have an excellent post up today at Wall Street on Parade about how the lying at the top, including by the Clintons, Obama, and Bush, has affected many Americans who have over time come to view lying as acceptable, and in some instances even expected. They include the American Olympic athletes mentioned above who reportedly lied about an act of vandalism while in Brazil.

        As Yves said, this incident is being viewed as a microcosm of sorts. I hope it becomes a catalyst for a broader national conversation about acceptable behavior; and that formal limitations concerning intentional misrepresentations and omissions are placed on the executive branch of government and candidates for the presidency that can lead to their disqualification from holding the office.

  32. TedWa

    Thinking abut the TPP and how America never wins anything anymore. The TPP is the neoliberals answer to losing everything we try, since we can’t compete fairly in the world we have to force our inferior and poisonous products on the world, ie.. GMO’s. They won’t investigate the harm they cause because trade would be hurt (???). Prescription drugs? Force the world to pay more. Inferior livestock fed on GMO’s? Force the world to lower their standards and buy them. Government too intrusive? We’ve got the ISDS to insure global profits of large corporations (and large ones posing as small ones). America has totally given up competing with the world because the leaders know they can’t win with our current state of politics and money corrupting any attempts at real progress. These trade agreements are more about saving our dying democracy (capitalism too) from ignominious irrelevance in a more progressive world that is passing us by daily. We can’t compete because the government is too hamstrung in anything but empire building. Hillary certainly will not change that. She’s part of the problem, and actually, more like the living personification of the problem.
    Thanks for letting me vent.

    Here’s wishing a speedy recovery for your Mom Yves. Glad it wasn’t serious.

    1. Carolinian

      Interesting tip if true. However as I understand it Putin is objecting to the missiles–any missiles–in Romania and these are bombs. Perhaps getting them out of Turkey is a good thing.

      1. OIFVet

        The thing is, these warheads might be attachable to cruise missiles, and the ABM systems are the same missile caliber as the Tomahawk. That’s what makes the Russians so nervous, the so-called “defensive” system can easily be used as a first strike system. Viewed as such, moving them to Romania brings these warheads even closer to Moscow. Really, this is just a different kind of effed up compared to storing them in Turkey. And I for one would prefer a nuclear-free Balkans. I would sleep better at night knowing that the Balkans are not part of a Russian nuclear strike package…

      2. Synapsid


        As you say, these are bombs not warheads. They’re designed to be carried by planes.

        There isn’t a named source in the quoted article; waiting for some confirmation might be a good idea. That said, I’d like to see the nukes out of Turkey, myself, but NATO didn’t ask me.

    1. hunkerdown


      1. Can you do us a favor and a) make sure your link is well-formed so it can be clicked (i.e. ensure the http:// appears once and only once) b) link the correct, corresponding article rather than the one on which you saw the link?

      2. That — well, I suppose calling him a “rat” would be infringing on the Judaic corporate brand image, but his attachment to the good fortunes of the people of the Americas is parasitic, at best (Politico) — seething little traitor. If liberalism were anything but a self-referential religion, its goodthinkers wouldn’t have to change the subject all the time.

  33. Anne

    Paul Manafort quits:

    Paul Manafort, installed to run Donald J. Trump’s campaign after the firing of his original campaign manager, handed in his resignation on Friday morning.

    Mr. Manafort left nearly a week after a New York Times report about tumult within the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign helped precipitate a leadership shake-up. His departure reflects repeated efforts to steady a campaign that has been frequently roiled by the behavior of its tempestuous first-time candidate.

    Mr. Manafort was also dogged by reports about secretive efforts he made to help the former pro-Russian government in Ukraine, where he has worked on and off over several years. He had also become viewed with trepidation by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and a major force within the campaign, amid a number of false starts since the Republican National Convention, according to three people briefed on the matter.

    Maybe they just needed something to distract people from the naked Donald Trump statues

    Warning: you can’t unsee it, and the photos are NSFW

    Still laughing about this quote:

    “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”

    1. fresno dan

      “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”

      so that applies to any swollen naughty part?

      1. Lambert Strether

        One can only imagine the reaction if a similar statue of Clinton had been installed. I can hear the cries of pain and anguish from Joan Walsh and Amanda Marcotte and the entire soi disant feminist brigade right now. Fat shaming! A woman is more than her body! And on and on and on. The double standards, tribalism, and junior high school-level snickering are nauseating.

        1. Anne

          Oh, there would be pearls popping all over the place from being clutched to the breaking point, for sure.

          While I have an appreciation for the tongue-in-cheek comment by the NYC Parks department, which can’t possibly have been unintentional, I don’t find much humor in the statues themselves. They were meant to emasculate, shame and ridicule someone on the basis of his body-type and alleged genital conformation – but Trump doesn’t strike me as someone who runs from things like this – he’s more likely to drop trou and prove to us all how wrong the statues are.

          And there we will be.

          It could work for him, as it would create an oxygen vacuum in the media the likes of which we’ve never seen; Clinton would be reduced to something like an afterthought.

          I’m pretty much at the point where nothing would surprise me. Nothing.

          1. OIFVet

            which can’t possibly have been unintentional

            Well, I object to it too, funny as it is. Letting a government entity, even the Park District, get away with a personal attack toward a candidate would be a dangerous precedent. Whoever is responsible for it should be fired, and the Park District should issue an apology.

        2. Roger Smith

          “Fat shaming!”

          Exactly the first thing I said when I saw the reports this morning. Something that would have “triggered” unnecessary mass outrage and depression is okay, in this case, because “Trump”.

  34. allan

    Lawmakers Overseeing Wall Street Given Bigger, More Favorable Loans Than Others [IBT]

    It is good to be king, as the old saying goes — and apparently it’s also good to get a seat on a congressional committee that oversees the finance industry. According to a new study, those lawmakers tend to get larger loans and at more favorable interest rates right when they get appointed to those powerful panels. Researchers suggest the evidence is no random coincidence: They say the trend may in fact expose a conduit of influence peddling in which powerful lawmakers are using their position to extract favors — and whereby Wall Street firms may be using stealth perks to increase their legislative power.

    Quid pro quo or it didn’t happen.

  35. ambrit

    The Romanians cannot be happy about this. How much arm twisting was required to get Romanian “approval” for the shift? Poor Romania could end up a “Front Line” nation in fact as well as rhetoric. In general, I have read that China has been Russias’ main worry. Have the two ‘kissed and made up,’ freeing up manpower from the Sino Federation border? If so, the West had better tread softly.

  36. pretzelattack

    i hope your mother fully recovers, and my thoughts are with you. we all greatly appreciate all you do on naked capitalism, sometimes i worry you drive yourself too hard. be well.

  37. Torff

    My contribution to today’s links.

    Can Hillary Manage Her Unruly Coalition?

    And for a bonus, a brief comment on this link from Corey Robin:

    While it might seem that Clinton perfected the coalition (first attempted by McGovern, incidentally) between white professional elites and people of color, Thomas Edsall shows that that coalition rests upon the age-old powder keg of race, class, and real estate that’s just waiting to explode. Everything about the neoliberal Democratic Party depends upon suppressing this conflict, which is why we get the representational politics we get from the Dems, but at some point the material realities and resource questions of housing, education, segregation, and taxes are going to force a reckoning

    1. clinical wasteman

      My guess was Istanbul: I’ve never seen anywhere else with so many semi-stray (i.e. communally cared for but not captive) cats — a lot of them that colour — and also such a busy (and rusty) short-haul ferry system as part of everyday transit that a boarding like this could almost be imagined.
      Meanwhile… Yves, my cats and I wish your mother a precocious recovery and you an astonishing exemption from care-related nightmares.

  38. Wandering Mind

    Ok, I will take a stab at the Uber settlement ruling.

    The judge focuses on one aspect of the settlement, although he doesn’t seem to like any of it.

    One of the claims in the case is a California “Private Attorney General” type claim, where private persons bring a labor law claim which the state agency could bring. The purpose of this is to allow enforcement claims to go forward in light of the fact that the state agency doesn’t have the resources to police all potential labor violations. Private persons, therefore, are taking on a public duty.

    The state labor board, at the Court’s request, valued those PAGA claims at about $1 billion.. The proposed settlement values them at $1 million.

    That’s a 99.9% discount for those claims. In addition Private Attorney General type claims cannot be waived via the mandatory arbitration clause which Uber has inserted into its driver agreements. So, even if most or all of the current class in this matter get kicked out because they failed to “opt out” of the arbitration clause, the PAGA claims can go forward and apply to all Uber drivers in California.

    And, to make things more risky for Uber vis a vis the Private Attorney General claim, an adverse decision on that claim will probably be binding on Uber, even in private arbitration cases.

    So, all in all, the parties in the case are attempting to bargain away the non-waivable rights of all Uber drivers in California for what amounts to a rounding error in the overall settlement package.

    No go, per the Judge.

  39. Elizabeth

    Yves, hope all will be well with your mom. I went through the same thing when my mom was 95. Spending the day in the ER was physically and emotionally draining – especially dealing with arrogant, uncommunicative doctors. Patients these days need to have someone with them at all times to advocate for them.

    Also, thank you for all that you do for having the best site on the blogosphere!

  40. Jim

    Reed states “Often enough, the “never Hillary” stance is blinded by a demonization of Clinton that frankly seems irrational.”

    Jim states “Often enough, the “never Trump” stance (of Adolph Reed) is blinded by a demonization of Trump that frankly seems irrational.”

    Is it conceivable that Trump represents an important, emerging manifestation of growing inter-elite conflict over the nature of, among other things, future economic growth between (real estate, manufacturing/Big Energy) vs High Tech/Silicon Valley, Big Media/academia/Sustainability)?

    And that the pragmatic choice in the short term “given instances among a range of more of less undesirable options” is to infiltrate the Republican party(whether voting for Trump of not) in order to engage directly with its increasingly alienated grass roots supporters in the hopes of eventually fashioning a new politics of democratic insurgency.

  41. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Middle Income Jobs Finally Show Signs of Recovery.


    Except houses are like 50% more expensive. You can get a middle income job and live under a bridge.

    “Mission accomplished!!!”

    And forget about organic vegetables (You can’t find that in Sanders’ or Hillary’s platform).

  42. Jeremy Grimm

    Yves, I too hope all comes out well for your mother. Like other readers of Naked Capitalism I worry for you. You never let up but this seems like a time when you should. You have several people on your team who can fill in for a while.

  43. Skippy

    Ex-SEAL Member Who Wrote Book on Bin Laden Raid Forfeits $6.8 Million

    “Matt Bissonnette, a former member of Navy SEAL Team 6 who wrote an account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, agreed on Friday to forfeit $6.8 million in book royalties and speaking fees and apologized for failing to clear his disclosures with the Pentagon, according to federal court documents.

    Mr. Bissonnette also recently forfeited $180,000 in fees for consulting work that he did for military contractors while he was still on the SEAL team, his lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, said in an interview.

    If approved by a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., the royalty settlement would bring an end to more than two years of civil and criminal investigations into Mr. Bissonnette, who won several awards for valor in Iraq and Afghanistan before writing “No Easy Day,” his best-selling book on the Bin Laden raid, under the pen name Mark Owen.

    The firsthand account of the daring raid was one of several high-profile books and movies involving former Navy SEALS that has led to criticism within a community once known for discretion that Mr. Bissonnette and the others were cashing in on their exploits.

    The Justice Department conducted criminal investigations into whether Mr. Bissonnette had disclosed classified information in his book or speeches and whether he had violated conflict-of-interest laws in consulting for companies that had contracts with SEAL Team 6. In the end, the department did not bring any criminal charges, settling instead for the cash forfeitures.

    Mr. Bissonnette said in a statement Friday that he regretted his failure to submit “No Easy Day” for vetting before it was published in 2012 so Pentagon officials could ensure that it did not include classified information. Mr. Bissonnette acknowledged that he was required under his security clearances to let the Pentagon review the book, and he blamed another lawyer for advising him that he did not need to do so.”

    Disheveled Marsupial…. precedent – ??????

  44. ewmayer

    Best wishes to your mum, Yves. Being my usual late-to-check-in left coast insomniac self I expect at most one other person to read this, but here a trio of Mish links with a bit of added commentary:

    o How the Global Elites Screws Peons (While Media Fools Cheer)

    Of course according to Mish, screwing the peons in other ways like, say, depriving them of decent-paying work and social safety netting is highly desirable as a matter of policy … all hail the secular worship of ‘the meritocratic nollij economy’!

    o Mindless Central Bank Lemmings Head Towards Cliff

    o Uber Offers Driverless Rides This Month! What About Snow, Rain, Pigeons, 80-Year-Olds on Roller Skates?

    One reader astutely points out that the key initialism in all the hype may well not be GPS or LIDAR but rather IPO. I also note that on his pet next-big-tech-thing topics Mish has taken to insulting even well-sourced readers who disagree with him, Kos-style. Classic way for turning a thriving blog into a partisan echo chamber.

  45. Foppe

    Wrt the Reed piece: I don’t understand why, if he is so aware that voting is not the way to change the political landscape, all he goes on about is the importance that people vote (while realizing that by the time you get to vote, all you can do is vote “strategically”)? Why not talk about what people who are pissed off might consider doing that’s more useful than fulminating (insofar as that isn’t useful in creating bonds, and feeling the need for more meaningful change, etc.)? (Note that Hedges, who I mention only because of his stature, is hardly better on this front, by talking about Stein and the green party as uncritically as he does, for reasons having to do with his seriousness.)

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