Links 8/6/16

Siberia’s wildfires seen from 1 million miles away: even the tundra is burning The Siberian Times. Photos.

Police fire tear gas at angry mobs outside Olympic opening ceremony as anti-Games demos hit cities across Brazil Daily Mail

A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases Indianapolis Star

Bank of Italy head says can’t rule out state aid for lenders Reuters

New York Regulator Presses Goldman Sachs on 1MDB Work Again Fortune

Exclusive: Stiglitz quits Panama Papers probe, cites lack of transparency Reuters. (This is a probe by the Panamanian government.)

Yay, Jobs! So Why Isn’t the Economy Following? Bloomberg.

78 percent of Americans say sacrificing 1,000 foreign jobs for 1 U.S. job is worth it The Week (Re Silc).

Shell shock: why is a startup charging parents $180 for $2 worth of peanut butter? The Verge. Because they can?

The Hottest Start-Up Market? Baby Boomers NYT

Is the “Leaning Tower of San Francisco” the Only One? Wolf Street

Latest to Quit Google’s Self-Driving Car Unit: Top Roboticist NYT


Bombs away: No good will come of U.S. attacks on Libya Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

ISIS fills ‘vacuum of power’ in Libya left by US – VA senator to RT (VIDEO) RT (!). A Republican Senator. Mirabile dictu!

Refugees Crisis

Refugee Deal at Risk: Europe Takes a Soft Approach on Erdogan Der Speigel

Number of Refugees to Europe Surges to Record 1.3 Million in 2015 Pew Research Center

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Slavery Reparations Could Cost Up to $14 Trillion, According to New Calculation Newsweek. So, about the cost of the next bailout of the FIRE sector. Surely doable, therefore, and far more positive in terms of aggregate demand?

Opinion: Following the money – Irish slave owners in the time of abolition The Journal

Is Black Lives Matter turning socialist? The Week

Black Lives Matter activists launch Abolition Square encampment, demanding reparations, end to Broken Windows policing Salon

The UK chapter of Black Lives Matter just staged an incredible nationwide protest Fusion

Korryn Gaines case: Video posting by suspects poses new challenges for police Baltimore Sun

Sheriff Raids House to Find Anonymous Blogger Who Called Him Corrupt The Intercept

Lawsuits and sex slaves — so much for post-primary unity in Missouri St Louis Post-Dispatch. Seems like there’s a lot going on in the “Show Me” state just now.


Clinton’s lead over Trump narrows to less than three points: Reuters/Ipsos Reuters. That was fast. A five point swing from Monday to Friday. (RCP poll of polls.)

Election Update: Trump’s Slump Deepens In The Polls Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

CLINTON: ‘I may have short-circuited’ when I said the FBI director said I was ‘truthful’ Business Insider. A cog slipped? Were there sparks?

The Clinton Story You Didn’t Read Here Public Editor, NYT

Trump’s bad week was thanks largely to Republicans, not Democrats WaPo

Swing states swinging to Clinton – so far McClatchy

Did the New York Daily News Tip Off the Hillary For America campaign about its Interview with Bernie Sanders? Medium. Not completely proven, but gives interesting insight into the operation of David Brock’s “million dollar trolls.” (Another reason — besides bitter experience — not to trust the “liberal” press is that, at this point, it’s not possible to tell who’s on the take payroll, and who isn’t.)

I Ran the C.I.A. Now I Work For a Longtime Clinton Ally’s Consulting Firm and Am Endorsing Hillary Clinton Gawker (Re Silc).

The Last Convention Jacobin

Ousted from DNC, Wasserman Schultz fighting to stay in House McClatchy

Patrick Murphy won’t debate Alan Grayson Miami Herald

Elizabeth Warren on Donald Trump and TPP Bloomberg. Interview.

Lewiston Somalis: Trump’s call to ban Muslims ‘not right at all’ Bangor Daily News. Goddamned out-of-staters taking swipes at our Somalis.

China: The People’s Fury NYRB

Imperial Collapse Watch

Military to Military Seymour Hersh, LRB. From January, but still relevant.

Campus builds escape hatch for Dirks’ office in California Hall Daily Californian

One Nerd’s Take on the Future of Philanthropy CraigConnects. Craig of Craig’s List.

Class Warfare

Testing Piketty’s Hypothesis on the Drivers of Income Inequality : Evidence from Panel VARs with Heterogeneous Dynamics IMF. Readers?

Regional labor market adjustment in the United States: trend and cycle (PDF) Mai Dao, Davide Furceri, Prakash Loungani. “Interstate mobility in response to relative labor demand conditions is not as high as previously established and has been weakening since the early 1990’s.”

In his book Evicted, sociologist Matthew Desmond tells the stories of struggling families in Milwaukee and explores the causes and costs of unstable housing Pittsburgh City Paper

HOAs from hell: Homes associations that once protected residents now torment them McClatchy

Robots Are Taking Divorce Lawyers’ Jobs, Too Bloomberg

A New Medicare Charge Is Coming: Here’s How to Lessen the Blow WSJ

Sorry, Folks. The LHC Didn’t Find a New Particle After All Wired

Incentives And Closed Data Mike the Mad Biologist

The Thai village using poop to power homes

The Historical Context of Mercantilism, Republicanism, Liberalism and Neoliberalism Corrente

The Brain That Couldn’t Remember NYT

A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity ScienceDirect

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: The Thai village using poop to power homes–this should be done worldwide; there is an endless supply. Urine also could be turned into fertilizer, anyway. Organic lawn fertilizer is already produced from sewage.
    But also, one would think solar energy would be viable in countries like Thailand and the Philippines, where sunshine is abundant. I’ve never seen solar in the Philippines, and I can tell you electricity is very expensive there. Probably the same crony capitalism syndrome that screws up the rest of their economy also controls the electricity business.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Like Ben Franklin flying a kite in a thunderstorm, isn’t that for professionals only?

        “Don’t try this at home.”

        1. McKillop

          As well, make sure that you (if you ignore the advice “Don’t try this at home.) wear cotton underwear rather than acrylic or nylon. I once watched my stepson burn his butt with melted fabric!

    1. Procopius

      Yes, there are often segments on the electric teevee machine about villages manufacturing fertilizer from natural resources. Cow, pig, and buffalo poop is preferred though, unlike Japan. I think the thing holding back solar is the initial investment required. Although Prime Minister Thaksin set up sources of capital available to villagers back in 2000, the amounts available under the military government are more meager. Electricity does not seem very expensive here, but I’ve lived here so long I’m probably just used to it.

  2. MikeNY

    On reparations for slavery: surely we owe at least as much to Native Americans, if not more. Women, certainly, have been economic victims for a long time, and still are. Latinos, too. And gays. And transsexuals. And atheists, probably.

    We can tally up all the individual bills and write checks (surely we will forget someone). Or maybe we can try to build a more just society, freer from prejudice, with opportunity for all.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Money should go to actual victims.

        1. Reparations for current, living victims of discrimination suffered in their life time.

        2 Also slavery reparations for dead slaves – but how? Make their graves more decent? A Congressional apology?

        3 Slavery reparations for descendants of slavers? If they are being discriminated today, see (1) above. It’s covered. But money for them because of their DNA from their ancestors? Ideally, we don’t do much of anything based on DNA. For example, many Japanese Americans came here after WWII. And many from Africa and South Africa came after the Civil War…or from Brazil, central and south America, or the Caribbean.

        What do you get if your grandfather’s life was unnecessarily wasted in an Imperial quest?

        1. Bev

          I have been watching the Green Party Convention ongoing now in Houston Texas, August 6, 2016

          Dr. Jill Stein just said that the Green Party Platform includes Reparations, forgiveness of student debt, green energy, etc.

          Green Party Convention Live Stream

          Obama slams Trump’s ‘conspiracy theory’: Saying the election is rigged is ‘ridiculous’

          Election Justice USA

          An Electoral System in Crisis
          lulu Fries’dat & Anselmo Sampietro
          in collaboration with
          Fritz Scheuren
          Election Justice USA

          An Electoral System in Crisis, is a 39-page independent in-depth examination of the accuracy and security of U.S. electronic voting equipment. This research has been invited for publication in the Journal of the International Association of Official Statistics (IAOS). Due to the unusual time constraints of the election cycle, and the right of the public to have access to this information, the authors are taking the unusual step of publishing ahead of time online. The full report is now available online at the website of the lead author; and will be posted in a number of locations including the forum of The American Association for Public Opinion Research, and the forum of Social Research Methods. Below is an exerpt of our findings. We encourage everyone to download and read the full report.


          Latest Updates from The Institute for American Democracy & Election Integrity

      2. jgordon

        I don’t understand what the dodge is. My father is a Blackfoot Indian. Our tribe has historically suffered horrific misery at that hands of white people, and even today the lives of most of the people in the tribe are a living hell. You aren’t suggesting that we don’t deserve some of those reparations too are you–say, for all the broken treaties for example?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Progressive not done right = regressive.

          For non-flat-Earthers, reality is horse-shoe shaped. Under duress, the electrons build up at the 2 ends and arch across to unite together. They are in fact closer to each other than to the middle part.

          So, they will come to rob you in the name of helping.

          And come to divide in the name of uniting.

          As well, come to push back in the name of moving forward.

          On a flat surface, that might seem odd.

        2. Oregoncharles

          The treaties would provide a legal basis for restitution (better word than reparations, in this case). Those are obligations that still stand. Last I heard, there are still billions owed on oil and gas extracted from the reservations, too.

          My understanding is that at least the reservations actually receive large subsidies – reparations, though not called that. They also appear to have been disastrously mismanaged; not a good precedent.

          “reparations” normally mean a single large payment, the worst way to help people, at least unless they could be used to set up a permanent capital fund collectively controlled by the recipients.

          I agree that we literally owe the Native Americans the country, and there’s no excuse for them living in misery.

          Some creativity is called for. For instance, permaculture programs on the reservations could make a big difference, and the permaculturists would probably learn a lot, to.

    1. Roger Smith

      Reparations are something I have never been sold on. One, we are in a period of immense social pressure for all skin tones, although yes some more than others. Bailing out only one or two groups will only, if it even gets enough support, increase the pressure, anger, and overall separation (rather than alleviate it). Native Americans seem particularly isolated and extremely downtrodden, so that one is a little met justified. However over all I think we need to adopt a general plan of socioeconomic equalization. MLK was already pivoting to brining all of the poor together before he was killed. I think that is the right approach.

      1. Alex morfesis

        Does your car or homeowners insurance company know how you feel about “reparations” ??…I am sure they will be happy to hear that if someone rolls thru a stop sign while texting and hits and damages your car…that you are not “$old” on the idea of being compensated for losses due to the action of others….

        1. Roger Smith

          I am not against stimulus or deflecting our horrible history. I just don’t think filling the whole in the cement with asphalt is going to really fix the problem.

          1. Alex morfesis

            Is it the crazy click bait 14 trillion dollar number(should be closer to a trillion) or the idea of actually handing out money to one certain group of americans…??

            Is it the “myth” of ronnie rayguns “white” welfare queen


            You do realize the woman raygun was talking about was a white woman trying to pass herself off as a “light” skinned black woman…

            although handing off 300 billion plus per year in garbage aircraft contracts(et al) for the military and nonsense refusals to call “transfer pricing” tax evasion by major corporations…

            1. Roger Smith

              Ultimately throwing money at the problem will do nothing except for provide excuses for racial rhetoric down the road when the “blacks” or “Indians” fail to magically change their living situations and greater society (“we gave them all that money! They must be lazy.”

              My concern does not come from any sort of pearl clutching reaction. I don’t even care if money was to be spent on mindless consumer goods. Everyone should have the opportunity to buy the same garbage as anyone else. What concerns me is the effectiveness and what would actually help everyone the most.

        2. RepubAnon

          The difference between ordering, say, a sweatshop owner to pay reparations to workers subjected to slavery-like conditions and having a government pay reparations to the descendants of those harmed by actions which occurred over one hundred years ago should be obvious.

          However, the damage from past misdeeds tends to be ongoing through the generations. Perhaps a stronger social safety net, adequate school funding, etc. would be better suited to addressing the problems we face today that are rooted in past wrongdoing than a cash payout?

        3. jgordon

          This is just all around a dumb idea. Industrial civilization is barely keeping itself together by the skin if its teeth as is; there is no way anyone is going to gather up non-existant spare resources and donate them to one particular ethnic group that’s been historically disadvantaged. I’d suggest to these people thinking this way that they grow up and get a life before the SHTF.

          1. Skip Intro

            There is no lack of money to pay reparations, the US can just print it. It would really help too. The demand is probably there to make the demand for an end to broken windows policing look reasonable and doable.

            1. jgordon

              There is no end to money, but there is only a finite amount of natural resources left on the planet, and those resources are dwindling. Printing money does not generate more resources; what it does is spurs the consumption of the few resources left resources at an even more profligate rate than they’re already being consumed, and somewhat alters the distribution of those resources towards whoever has first dibs on the new money.

              Simply giving all the disadvantaged folks heroine would probably be as long lasting and do as much to improve their mental health, while being far better for the environment. Why not do that instead?

            2. optimader

              Some of my ancestors were pretty severely fckd over by the British Crown. I like this reparations idea! I think British assets should be frozen and redistributed.
              I want Mine!

        4. Myron

          You’re welcome to head over to and get the ball rolling early if you’re feeling particularly noble

    2. marym

      The recently released platform of the Movement for Black Lives is a blueprint for a more just society for all, in the reparations section as well as the rest of the platform.

      While there are few proposals specific to the Black experience and history, most of the detailed demands, suggested legislation, and many of the references to on-going initiatives/potential allies in this comprehensive proposal address issues for all.

      1. PhilU

        I just wonder what the impact of this plan coming out in January might have had on the primaries. It has such a similar tone to Sanders platform that I wonder if it might have served as a good introduction to him in the south.

    3. diptherio

      The best thinking on the reparations issue that I have come across comes from Ed Whitfield of the Fund for Democratic Communities. He supports reparations in the form or a job guarantee and investment in community wealth…which would be good for everyone, even white boys like me.

      1. nobody

        Adolph Reed:

        “[R]eparations talk is rooted in a different kind of politics, a politics of elite-brokerage and entreaty to the ruling class and its official conscience, the philanthropic foundations, for racial side-payments… We are in one of those rare moments in American history — like the 1880s and 1890s and the Great Depression — when common circumstances of economic and social insecurity have strengthened the potential for building broad solidarity across race, gender and other identities around shared concerns of daily life, concerns that only the minority of comfortable and well-off can dismiss in favor of monuments and apologies and a politics of psychobabble. Concerns like access to quality health care, the right to a decent and dignified livelihood, affordable housing, quality education for all. These are objectives that can be pursued effectively only by struggling to unite a wide section of the American population who experience those concerns most acutely, the substantial majority of this population who have lost those essential social benefits or live in fear of losing them. And isn’t it interesting that at such a moment the corporate-dominated opinion-shaping media discover and project a demand for racially defined reparations that cuts precisely against building such solidarity?”

        Bruce Dixon:

        “[Ta Nehesi] Coates and others eschew class analysis and hold that that race, that white supremacy and systemic racial injustice explain the past and present, and that ultimately only reparations can cure these. Reed holds that reparations is not an answer to the politics of class, it IS the political preference of a very specific class –- the black misleadership class which has always positioned itself as brokers and spokespeople for the rest of us, and the administrators of any and all race based patronage, spoils, affirmative action, minority set-asides ad the like.

        “For the vast majority of African Americans, free college education, millions of new jobs, a living wage, universal health care (instead of Obamacare’s universal private insurance) and rolling back the prison state [are] great things and absolutely welcome whether or not they are labeled ‘reparations’.”

        1. MikeNY

          Thank you for these quotes and references. They put meat on what, for me, were just the bones of intuition.

    4. myshkin

      “We can tally up all the individual bills and write checks (surely we will forget someone). Or maybe we can try to build a more just society, freer from prejudice, with opportunity for all.”

      Or just sweep it all under the rug and forget about it as always. United States of Amnesia, move on dot org nothing to see here.
      A significant step toward building a just society would start with the primary recognition of the foundational debt owed to African Americans and Native Americans and of course women.

        1. Katharine

          Deeply deplorable, but there is a difference. They came here voluntarily, they could become citizens fairly promptly, and they had the rights of citizens, including at least a theoretical right of moving or changing jobs. Enslavement was another matter altogether, and the long history of murder during and after slavery cannot be discounted.

          A young man from my high school, who graduated in early 1966, took a commuter train out to Cicero to apply for a job at American Can Company. When he was walking back to the train station, he was set on by a couple of young white punks with baseball bats, who broke his knees and skull and beat him so badly he died. Less than six months later, when Dr. King led a march in Cicero, local residents were quoted in the paper asking why “they” couldn’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps the way we did. The answer, which should have been obvious, was that they got murdered for trying. And that’s only half a century ago.

          1. cwaltz

            Actually many of the whites who came here originally were indentured servants and no, they were not allowed to move about freely. An indentured servant wasn’t even allowed to marry without prior permission from the person who owned their contract.


            Actually if you read about indentured servants than you can find it easy to understand how we made the leap to slavery since the difference is that an indentured servant eventually can gain freedom after fulfilling the terms of the contract.

            I deplore the fact that AA were treated deplorably however, they were far from the first and likely are not the last group to be exploited by our country(now we just export our slave labor conditions so we can’t see the cost of treating humans poorly.)

            1. Yves Smith

              *Sigh* The overwhelming majority of indentured servants who came to the US as indentured servants became indentured to pay for the cost of passage. That was the case for the indentured servants on the Mayflower, for instance. The article even states that, prominently! This is not at all like being a slave. Lordie.

              And I don’t buy the argument that they could be easily abused once in the US. Quite honestly, they could more easily just run away and live off the land if they thought the person who had indentured them did a bait and switch than they could in a city like London, where the police would round them up.

              1. cwaltz

                Feel free to read my link. Yes, towards the end of our time as a British colony we started to ignore British contracts but in the beginning an indentured servant was treated most definitely like slaves were(with the exception that they didn’t end up having their children sold.)

                1. nobody

                  Thandeka, from “The Whiting of Euro-Americans: A Divide and Conquer Strategy“:

                  “Until [the Virginia race laws] the European indentured servants had lived and worked under the same conditions as the African slaves, the chief difference in their status being that the Europeans’ servitude was contracted for a specified period whereas the slaves, and their progeny, served for life… As cultural scholar Ann Laura Stoler notes in her book Race and the Education of Desire, the ‘race’ of the rising English industrial class pertained not to their color or physiognomy but to their bourgeois class status, mores, and manners. Accordingly, racial superiority, and thus the right to rule, came to be equated with middle-class respectability. The poor, by definition, could never belong to this new bourgeois race…”

                  “Racial contempt would function as a wall between poor whites and blacks, protecting masters and their slave-produced wealthy from both lower-class whites and slaves. At the same time, the new laws led the poor whites to identify with the ruling elite, an identification with an objective basis in fact – otherwise this divide and conquer class strategy would not have worked. Laws like the ones that gave white freedmen the right to whip a Negro slave but prevented white servants from being whipped while naked engendered a psychological allegiance to the elite through abuse: the right to abuse those below them and a constraint on the abuse meted out by those above them. Of course, this allegiance, and the laws that engendered it, did not protect the white servant from being beaten. The laws simply limited the abuse and thus, in the guise of a humane reform, actually maintained the legal sanction of violence against both the black and white servant and worker…”

                  “Not surprisingly…poor whites never became the economic equals of the elite. Though both groups’ economic status rose, the gap between the wealthy and poor widened as a result of slave productivity. Thus, poor whites’ belief that they now shared status and dignity with their social betters was largely illusory… [W]e must not forget that white racism was from the start a vehicle for classism; its primary goal was not to elevate a race but to denigrate a class. White racism was thus a means to and end, and the end was the defense of Virginia’s class structure and the further subjugation of the poor of all ‘racial’ colors… Clearly, then, the poor white masses, like the black slaves, were also racial victims of the upper class. The two exploited, racialized groups differed, however, in their degree of self-awareness. Virtually all slaves knew they were victims of white racism, while very few whites knew that they were, too.”

            2. Katharine

              If you look at the comment I was responding to, you will note that it talked about Irish immigrants and northern factories. That was nineteenth-century immigration, and no, they did not come as indentured servants in the nineteenth century. Changing the subject to try to “refute” what I said is not very sound argument.

          2. cwaltz

            Oh and by the way, the idea that some children came here “voluntarily” is almost the same thing as suggesting that a girl with a sixth grade education who gets exploited by the sex trade somehow “volunteers” for her exploitation. It’s insane.

            Let’s call exploitation what it is, exploitation, no matter what the skin color of an individual is.

            1. myshkin

              From the second sentence of the North America section of your link.
              “It was often a way for poor people in Europe to emigrate to the American colonies: they signed an indenture in return for a passage. After their indenture expired, the immigrants were free to work for themselves or another employer.”
              And several paragraphs down.
              “But unlike slaves, servants were guaranteed to be eventually released from bondage. At the end of their term they received a payment known as “freedom dues” and became free members of society. One could buy and sell indentured servants’ contracts, and the right to their labor would change hands, but not the person as a piece of property.”

              That sounds quite different then the NA and AA experience. The case for reparations for women, NA and AA is fundamentally different. As far as I can tell, unlike the experience of indentured labor, slavery, Native American cultural and societal collapse and women’s disfranchisement were embedded in perpetuity in the founding document.

              Indentured laborers had a term, 1-7 years and a reward at the end. Benjamin Franklin was a well known indenture, escaping before his term was up. From the same wiki article: “Typically, the father of a teenager would sign the legal papers, and work out an arrangement with a ship captain, who would not charge the father any money. The captain would transport the indentured servants to the American colonies, and sell their legal papers to someone who needed workers. At the end of the indenture, the young person was given a new suit of clothes and was free to leave. Many immediately set out to begin their own farms, while others used their newly acquired skills to pursue a trade”

              Women, NA and AA were visibly distinguishable and thereby more nearly powerless to change their circumstances.

              1. cwaltz

                If you read my response you saw that I said that indentured servitude had a time period. That being said, it also says that it wasn’t uncommon for people to be shanghaied or have the terms of the contract changed since essentially contracts could be sold. It wasn’t necessarily that one person held and kept the contract. The indentured servant could also be beaten or whipped and certainly weren’t given control over their own destinies while indentured where a contract holder had the ability to deny the indentured the ability to do something as simple as marrying.

                The biggest advantage the indentured had HERE was that it was not as easy to enforce a contract made over in Great Britain in America and that definitely could have worked to some folks advantage.

                Obviously, that was not the case with AAs that were brought here and then forced to labor all with our government being complicit.

                But this idea that all white males have a privileged history is based on some imaginary history that never existed, and I say that as someone who isn’t a white male.

                Personally, the peeing contest on who has had it the worst doesn’t strike me as very productive either. You can’t change the past, you can only learn from it and seek to make things fairer now(and no I don’t think it would be fair to ask people like myself who had family that emigrated AFTER slavery was abolished to pay for reparations.)

                1. optimader

                  That being said, it also says that it wasn’t uncommon for people to be shanghaied or have the terms of the contract changed since essentially contracts could be sold.
                  Or just die horrific early deaths while being worked to death. Many that “decided” to emigrate had the alternative of dying in place or leaving.

                  Upon arrival many were essentially unskilled perishable products with a sinking residual value.

                  So yeah, who’s ancestors suffered worse is a counterproductive exercise.

                  Investing in communities? Enlightened stuff. Doing so as a remedy for some racial/ethnic injustice in the past? That a thread that has no end once you start pulling it.

                  1. nobody

                    Adolph Reed:

                    “It’s not for nothing that New Orleans has a monument to the estimated 20,000-30,000 antebellum Irish immigrants who died constructing the New Basin Canal; slave labor was too valuable for such lethal work.”

                2. Alex morfesis

                  Cwaltz…maybe the discussion of reparations is getting a bit confused for many…after slavery was voided, there were agreed to reparations…that whole spike lee 40 acres and a mule (plus cash)…

                  except most were not in fact given that…

                  heck even albert pike when he said “when by long training” & “in gods good time” probably could not imagine the current situation would perpetuate itself 150 years later with continued roadblocks and daily indignities and sufferings…

                  pike would have expected by now the invoice would have been stamped:

                  “paid in full”

                  “accord and satisfaction”…

                  my family has only been here these last 100 years or so…black folk only perhaps in the last 30 years or so, have begun to obtain access to what “white folks” take for granted…

                  I grew up enjoying the sweet water system in nyc that was built by the sweat and tears of those who came before me…

                  Most of us enjoy things we did not originally pay for…

                  why would anyone think paying a trillion dollars in treasuries, which would amount to a carrying cost of about 1 measly dollar per week per person, would be some “major” hardship and would not be reasonable or equitable…

                  we are a massive economic machine…if we counted the external ex usa gdp, our total annual global domestic product would be over 25 trillion per year…

                  we can afford to put a trillion dollars on the table to bring black folks to economic harmony with the average white person

              2. harold

                Apprentices could also be beaten, were unpaid, and had not rights for years. Furthermore, sons were apprenticed to their fathers and could be beaten and had no rights until they reached their majority. Lincoln was apprenticed to his stepfather until the age of 21 and was not given an education.

        2. myshkin

          The founding fathers by way of the Constitution enabled the peculiar institution of slavery through various guarantees including the return of escaped slaves from non slave states, implicating the federal government.
          Also the three fifths compromise which by weighting the south with disproportional representatives in congress shored up the institution of slavery and also led inadvertently to Indian Removal Act of 1830.
          Article One (until the 14th amendment) contained the only mention of Native American population in the Constitution and excludes rather includes them from the social contract.
          “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States … excluding Indians not taxed.
          Congress shall have the power to regulate Commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes”

          In 1868, under the 14th Amendment, all persons “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” were declared citizens. However, the jurisdiction requirement was interpreted to exclude most Native Americans; The Indian Citizenship Act 1924 was meant as remedy.
          “BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and house of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all non citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property.”

          Visible minorities targeted for abuse in the founding document, the original Constitution, including women, comprise a distinct set of lead primary victims. Visible minorities are inherently different, assimilating or blending in was not an option.

        3. hunkerdown

          What about the Irish whose children were killed and maimed in Northern factories.

          Let them attach the descendants or successors of the factory owners and those in business relationships with them. White people invented property, after all. They can play in their own ridiculous little cultural sandbox.

          To the extent the public interest was harmed by such employment — and whether the end of corporal punishment changed the relationship in any other way is far from certain — let the public interest be recompensed rather than a bunch of self-superior snowflakes who should receive nothing in abundance.

          1. optimader

            Let them attach the descendants or successors of the factory owners and those in business relationships with them.
            How about the descendants of the ones dealt equal harm, but at the hands of individuals/ entities with no descendants or assets to redistribute??

      1. F900fixr

        So who gets “reparations”?

        All African Americans? Just those who were slaves prior to 1863-65?
        Free blacks prior to 1865? Immigrants after 1865? Any immigrants who came here voluntarily (they could have stayed home).

        The only way it will work is if you say all whites are guilty of something. Evidently, disageeing with black people will be defacto proof of your “crime”.

        My dad ran a thrift store in the ‘hood back in the 60s. Went to work with him one day when I was 12, got sucker punched and a beat down by total (black) strangers, because I was white. Surely I deserve reparations, especially due to the lifelong psycological damage.

        Seems to me that the estates of the slave owners should pay, if anyone. Yeah, right. We all know who will take it in the shorts, if this whacky plan gets traction.

      2. jgordon

        OK, white people have historically been asshols and have wronged a great many people. But it also seems certain to me that the system they created is about to crash and burn. Spending all of our energy trying to get a bigger share of that system right as it’s going over the cliff doesn’t seem like an especially intelligent way to invest limited and dwindling resources.

        1. cwaltz

          The Appalachian region is historically a poor white region at one time 1 in 3 people were considered impoverished and during the Depression the government created a grant system that has benefited the region and brought the numbers down to 1 in 5.

          I don’t understand why inner cities which often house a disproportionate amount of poor minorities don’t make the same argument that they deserve the same opportunities that my region receives.

 (Sidenote: In 2016 Virginia had 1 county that was designated as distressed for 2017 we’re up to 3. Pennsylvania and SC had none and now each have one. So ,apparently regions can and do go up and down the economic ladder just like people who live on the edge of poverty, so this is not a complete cure for poverty stricken regions.)

          Why aren’t grants being expanded to states and given to inner cities to create an environment that combats the affects of poverty like in Appalachia? Surely, the states that have these pockets of poverty in inner cities could argue that they could use a program that tracks the economic progress of areas where poverty is rampant in their region?

          I think programs like this one would be beneficial and could perhaps be modified to help minorities while not blaming people for the fact that what we’ve learned about poverty is that just like wealth it can be passed down from generation to generation.

    5. rufus magister

      Assuredly all of the industrial working class would get a check, no? And so my Irish ancestors can be compensated for the loss of their sovereignty at the hands of my English ancestors.

      We need a united labor struggle, like the CIO waged in the 1930’s, and not some moralistic hierarchy of victims. Such a ranking is easily compatible with finance capital; workers control over the means of production is not.

      And just as assuredly, regaining civilian control over the police and fostering a genuine culture “to protect and serve,” so that they do not continue to shoot down and harass Black and Hispanic men, women, and children, must be a top priority for any mass movement.

      We can’t re-write the past, we can only use the present to build a more just future. As Huxley repeats throughout his other dystopian novel, Island, “Here and now, boys; here and now….”

    6. Uahsenaa

      Natives have a “better” legal case (though this is not to say that reparations for black folk are no less morally justified), but actually doing anything is complicated by the desire for many tribes to maintain some degree of sovereignty. A federal jobs program would only work if the tribes are on board, and only if federal law is changed so that governmental institutions have some form of authority or at least cooperative structure on reservations. There’s currently a massive criminal justice problem on the rez’s, because tribal police have little or no authority to deal with non-tribal US citizens who commit crimes on native lands.

      The simpler but politically more onerous solution, which various tribal groups themselves have called for, is to honor pre-existing treaty obligations. This is unlikely to happen, due to the need to claw back resources non-natives have already seized and in some circumstances displace people who may have been living where they are for generations.

      The politics of native and black reparations are very different. It’s a mistake to conflate or try to supplant one with the other.

      1. MikeNY

        Thoughtful comment, and I accept your last paragraph. There are some past wrongs that cannot be righted. I think the imperative on us is to make the society we have as just (meaning equal opportunity for all) as we possibly can.

        1. low integer

          I think the ultimate disrespect that one individual (or group) can show towards another individual (or group) who they have acted wrongly towards is to allow the episode to become, and continue to be, a pointless cause of misery and tension.

          On the other hand, a sure sign of respect and sincerity in acknowledgement of, and contrition for, a historically committed wrong, is for the cause of the wrongheaded actions to be sought and assessed, and the appropriate lessons learnt and then deeply internalized into the public conciousness, creating a psychological bulwark to prevent any chance of ugly history repeating. This might be described as the “making lemonade from lemons” approach.

          I personally find it hard to believe the USian Black community would be too worried about reparations right now if they had not continued to be systematically prevented from enjoying their fair share of the economic, social, and political pie, after slavery was abolished.

    7. Oregoncharles

      Native Americans, at least those living on reservations, are receiving reparations now,though they aren’t called that. They receive huge subsidies, but somehow still remain very poor. I believe there’s a great deal of BIA mismanagement, and doubtless graft, as well.

      I agree that we owe them the country; there might be better ways to pay that debt, at least in part.

      Although the Green Party has signed on with reparations, I think the concept is very dubious, unless it’s the justification for programs designed to give people a leg up. For one thing, how do you do it without being openly racist? For another, the people we owe the reparations to are long dead.

      1. Yves Smith

        Have you ever driven through the parts of the county where there are reservations? Native American were put on the very worst land. Some of the reservations are so barren that they almost look like moonscapes. If you keep people isolated and poor, how do they become even somewhat self-supporting? They wind up not needing mere subsidies, but what amounts to welfare from cradle to grave.

  3. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: the Clinton e mail articles— All right already, it’s been abundantly documented that she lies like hell, all the time. But the MSM doesn’t find this disconcerting in the least. They still love her up as though she were a shih-tzu puppy. BTW, some of the e mails WERE marked classified, so she lied about that as well, and the reporter gave her a pass, because, after all, she is the “anointed one.”

    1. edmondo

      But she’s telling the truth about TPP, her economic policies and her promise to protect the safety net – No, honest. She’s telling the truth this time.

      Go Hillary – the “lesser” evil – until November 9th.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s rare that an opportunity for greatness is offered, a chance at making history – No to Hillary is also No to (at least) Obama, Bush, Clinton and Bush,

        Talk about leverage…that is at least 7 to 1 leverage.

        1. John k

          Great point, but you left out Cheney, Koch brothers, and so many more, plus their sycophants, eg krugman.
          No to you and the horse you rode in on.

    2. DanB

      It’s not that the media love Hillary. It’s that she represents a continuation of the power of the status quo. I’ve made the following comment here before, but it bears repeating. When I interviewed East German media, TV, radio and print, in 1990 they all acknowledged that their audience was not the people, but the Party/government. As one told me, training in journalism school in the GDR was designed to create officially sanctioned “socialist journalists.” This meant journalists practiced self-censorship for the good of socialism. They also told me, (paraphrasing) We knew in detail the many problems of East German society, but on pain of losing one’s career a journalist could discuss them in only the most general manner or not at all.

    3. m

      And asked staff to remove classified header. Knew emails were classified and asked them to send them anyway.

      1. pretzelattack

        she lied about the sniper attack, she’s lying about the trade treaties. i’m not sure if she has lied about being a warmonger since she seems to be relying on that to get right wing votes. she has certainly pushed lies justifying war. if you’ll notice, she is now in political alliance with a number of her former critics.

  4. Steve H.

    Hersh paywalled, this paragraph provides critical insight:

    In July 2013, the Joint Chiefs found a more direct way of demonstrating to Assad how serious they were about helping him. By then the CIA-sponsored secret flow of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition, via Turkey, had been underway for more than a year (it started sometime after Gaddafi’s death on 20 October 2011).?* The operation was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence. On 11 September 2012 the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed during an anti-American demonstration that led to the burning down of the US consulate in Benghazi; reporters for the Washington Post found copies of the ambassador’s schedule in the building’s ruins. It showed that on 10 September Stevens had met with the chief of the CIA’s annex operation. The next day, shortly before he died, he met a representative from Al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services, a Tripoli-based company which, the JCS adviser said, was known by the Joint Staff to be handling the weapons shipments.

      1. Gaianne

        The article ends with this: “The military’s indirect pathway to Assad disappeared with Dempsey’s retirement in September. His replacement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in July, two months before assuming office. ‘If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia,’ Dunford said. ‘If you look at their behaviour, it’s nothing short of alarming.’ ”

        Just to be clear, since it is not in this article, the Pentagon has been resisting all the talk about a Syria no-fly zone. The Pentagon knows that the Russians have regional superiority, and they further guess that the Russians might turn some of their air defense over to the Syrian government–which means that NATO planes would be falling out of the sky not because of direct Russian military action, but by Syrian self-defense. This kind of awkwardness the Pentagon–to its credit–does not want. There will be no UN approval for such a war (unlike Libya) and worse, the US would lose.

        But the neo-cons literally believe no country has a right to defend itself (from the US that is) and further believe no country has the ability either.

        So the new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a neo-cold warrior who sounds like he has bought the neo-con agenda. This is a win for the CIA and a defeat for the “grown-ups” at the Pentagon, as ideology will be replacing facts now at the Pentagon as well.

        Not good.


        1. Gaianne

          Tangentially, according to the World Socialist Website, RAND has completed a study of senerios of a war between the US and China.

          Although grossly simplistic, the study games war in 2015 and 2025 and notes that the US does better in 2015 than in 2025.

          “The unstated conclusion, which underpins all of the Pentagon’s planning and preparations, is that a war with China must be fought sooner rather than later”–WSW.

          It has been obvious that this same conclusion is held by both Russia and China, who have been going to great lengths to defuse and delay global conflict.

          But if the US has come to the same conclusion as well, then the reason for the sudden rush to global war by the US is apparent to all on all sides.

          By implying that he would interfere with global war, Donald Trump has trod upon a very raw nerve of the US oligarchs generally, and the neo-cons specifically.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Hersh paywalled? Weird. Not for me.

      On another note, how can a Secretary who can’t run a simple arms-smuggling operation possibly be suitable for higher office?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Yesterday, the Nasdaq Composite index joined the S&P 500 in setting a new record high. We’re partying like 1999!

    As one might expect, the Craazyman Fund is doing okay. Since inception on March 2nd, it’s up 12.02%. Junk bonds (50% of the portfolio) have gained 11.35%. Emerging markets stocks (30% of the portfolio) are the big winners, up 16.02%. The lovely pet rock (20% of the portfolio) brings up the rear, with a 7.69% gain.

    For comparison, the benchmark portfolio is up 7.14%, with a 10.78% gain in SPY (50% of the portfolio) and a 3.51% rise in AGG (the other 50%).

      1. Jim Haygood

        Back in 1634 in Amsterdam, some poor klutz cut up what he thought was an onion.

        Turned out it was a tulip bulb worth $10,000 in the currency of the day.


    1. cnchal

      The sky is the limit when central banks are backing up the truck to buy buy buy. What are they going to do when it’s time to sell sell sell?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are scolded to not be jealous of those with S&P pension plans.

      “You should work to join the party and share that Nasdaq fortune, like everyone else.”

  6. Steve H.

    Craig o’Craiglist: mensch.

    Rushkoff had process details (hat-tip B1whois):

    ‘By taking venture capital, they were selling companies to people who didn’t care.’

    1. low integer

      Hey Steve just gonna leave an apology here for my stupid and meandering responses to your comment re: blogging in yesterday’s links. As I hope is evident, this was a classic case of emotional spillover from one thing finding its way into a completely unrelated area. It was poor mental discipline on my behalf.
      Sorry mate!

  7. Sam Adams

    Re: Homeowners Assoc.
    From another perspective there is the neighbor who insists on storing thier last 4 non-working autos, on blocks under tarps in front of the house, despite a clear prohibition in hoa rules and covenants or the neighbor who insists on running an AirBnB hotel next door. I was sympathetic to the child being caught in the blinds until I was reminded parents can replace them with available blinds without cords and put drapes inside. No development hides the Hoa rules or covenants before closing. The hoa rules are the reason most people buy in these communities.

    1. Alex morfesis

      No hoa hides what ? What magical development do you live in where the hoa follows the rule of law ? Down here in floriduh, the hoa “board of directors”, management and their lawyers foreclose on homeowners using credit card collection rules even though the statute specifically calls for following mortgage foreclosure rules…

      And down here, hoa organizations continue to overcharge monthly assessment by creating new and improved “reserve” funds, even those hoa organizations that provide nothing but grass cutting on the main public roads…they keep developing these new “reserves” since the law requires the hoa to stop collecting once they are overfunded, and are actually required to spend the reserves, and not just use them to get nice dinners from the local banker happy for that pile of stale cash…

      Finally, hoa boards and management regularly block lawful attempts to amend rules, regs and by laws by clinton-wasswerman style “adjustments”…

      So please share where your wonderful hoa is so that humanity may finally find the hoa in america that understands and respects the rule of law….

      And please direct us to this magical database and source where one can find all these hoa rules and regz…

      1. Brian

        If one concedes to an HOA, they will take more, demand more, and become your ruler and charge you for poisoning you, your pets, any other life form, your yard and greenbelts, using reclaimed water and any poison they choose because you told them to.
        I find it mind boggling that people choose this option.

      2. Sam Adams

        Why would someone buy in a community with a HOA if they don’t want to pay or can’t pay the HOA and reserve fees? I can’t understand why after they bought and are unhappy why they wouldnt just sell and move?
        Ive seen too many condo developments that have had major catastrophic events and are then unable to pay for repairs. My experience is large reserves are necessary to make building repairs, particularly when owners can’t or won’t pay a major special assessment. There are too many owners who refuse to pay or free-ride on special assessments.
        I’m not sure what you mean by creditcard rules, but the procedural law is what the judges say it is and the Florida Courts clearly disagree with your position.

        1. pretzelattack

          cause the fees get jacked way, way up like some drug costs? cause once they realize they are in a bad situation the property becomes less marketable? i guess that depends on where you live.

        2. Alex morfesis

          Ok…guessing when $hillary orders us to invade Namibia you will be the first to line up to volunteer…no questions asked…

          have you ever audited an hoa or bothered to see the cost plus plus plus pricing conversions by hoa management ??

          Since you also are doing a “go along” about the floriduh hoa foreclosures, guessing you might live down here and don’t really care about the rule of law…

          Have seen people create non profit floriduh “homeowners” associations plucked out of the sky and strong arm people into “paying up” or their cousin in the city inspectors office will visit…

          Sarasota super scam of “mystery” repairs…

          Someone targeted the building since most units were paid off…the city “inspector” went along and ordered everyone out of the building, claiming some mystery support steel beam had “given” and the building was in “immediate” danger of “failure”… A few years later when enough people had “given away” their units to try to recover from the “total loss”…magically the city of sarasota changed its mind and a few simple support beams could now be used to fix the unfixable problem…

          Veterans of the A-O meet first thursdays at the beerhall…

        3. hunkerdown

          Shorter: as long as the right people are in control of the oppression, everything’s jake with the angels. You must not agree that the bourgeoisie need to get over themselves and stop mismanaging the lives of others for profit. Typical bourgeois liberalism.

          Seriously. A bunch of prissy professionals and Realtors® enforcing their smarmy, entitled, self-supreme values on others are exactly the reason people are getting sick and tired of this s–t. As far as I’m concerned, the only standards HOAs are fit to be involved with are the ones topped by street lamps.

          1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            This period has a Louis the XV th of France feel to it. Voltaire and others were satirizing the Regime, including the Marquise de Pompadour, the favorite mistress of Louis XV .

    2. bob

      Keeping property vales up = Keeping the blacks out

      The story does a very short history, and touches on this, but it’s not very accurate. I’d call it down right fraud and revisionist history.

      “want a local government where property ownership* is required for participation in any decisions? HOA”
      *ownership is debatable, and determined by the HOA

  8. none

    The MSM has been brutal on Trump the past few weeks including running well researched oppo pieces (example). Trump himself is the same old Trump as before, so it’s the coverage itself that has changed. This sounds like the Clinton campaign cranking up its control. So much for independent press.

    1. Stormcrow

      I have come to see the MSM, from the lowest to the highest, as part of a larger network of corruption. I recently jotted down my thoughts as follows.

      My political views have taken, if possible, a darker turn. The Wikileak and Election Justice revelations of our thoroughly rigged electorlal system, actively aided and abetted by the DNC, pushed me over the edge. We do not have a virtuous political system with vicious abberations. The whole system is vicious. The virtuous elements, ever shrinking, are mostly atavisms from the 18th c. and pre-industiral society. When it comes to protecting their interests, as they perceive them, our Uberlords are callous, brutal, unscrupulous, devious, and if necessary violent and murderous, when they bare their otherwise velveted claws. It is one big interlocking network of crime and corruption from Wall Street to the Democrat/Republican duopoly to the New York Times. Wendell Berry makes more and more sense from this perspective. It’s the little humanizing things that count in the midst of the crapificaiton of everything. I agree with Lambert. The most we can hope for out of the next presidential election is governmental gridock.

      What seemed like abberations are features not bugs:

      • The killing of young black men in the streets, with police impunity
      • The militarization of the police
      • The mass incarceration of working class citizens, mainly blacks
      • The immiseration of the working class over the last 20-30 years
      • The vast accumulation of income and wealth in the hands of the very few
      • The assassinations (JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X)
      • The lesser assassinations (Wellstone, Boggs, JFK Jr., many JFK eye-witnesses and conspirators, Fred Hampton)
      • The rigged elections (Bernie, George W., God knows how many)
      • The inflitration of the Bernie campaign and other dirty tricks
      • The smears that pass for political discourse in our presidential elections
      • October Surprises and other dirty tricks
      • The endless succession illegal and immoral wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria among others)
      • Hiroshima and Nagasaki
      • CIA black ops and overthrows
      • NSA surveillance
      • FISA charade
      • Monsanto & GMO, corrupting seeds and the world food supply
      • Fracking
      • TPP at all costs
      • NAFTA
      • Citizens United
      • Steady stream of governmental lies, with impunity
      • The revolving door, corrupting our regulatory agencies
      • Oil spills in the oceans, with impuinty
      • Destruction of the radical trade unions
      • The pervasiveness of bribery and intimidation in high places of government
      • The grotesque influence of Israel and its being outrageously funded despite its systematic and fascistic human rights abuses of Palestinians
      • The secret police (FBI)
      • The 9/11 events and their cover-up
      • The deeply complicit and propagandistic media, everything from FOX news to the NYT, each in its own way
      • Inceasing violations of the posse comitatus act, with impunity
      • The resort to torture, with impunity
      • Wall Street banking crimes, with impunity
      • Electronic voting machines, easily hackable, with impunity
      • The bloated military budget, starving the rest of our society and wreaking destruction on the rest of the world, war without end
      • Drone warfare, incuding quasi-legal justifications for assassinating U.S. citizens, with impunity
      • Serious inaction on climate change, as the world burns
      • New cold war, with readiness to risk nuclear war with Russia and China

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Right you are, Stormcrow. Everything sucks pretty bad, re the guv’mint. To quote one of my fav aphorisms from “back in the day”: “Life sucks—then, you die.”

      2. DarkMatters

        Your list reads exactly like what I’m expecting from an HC presidency. I’m for Trump because he hasn’t yet had the chance to commit more than about half these atrocities, isn’t even interested in some of these, and might screw up trying to execute the rest.

        It is possible to find a bright side, you know.

        1. Stormcrow

          Personally, I could not vote for anyone who supports torture. Couldn’t vote for Hillary either. We are faced with the evil, very evil, of two lessers.

      3. clarky90

        Au Contraire mon frere, The Democratic Party Consults With International Experts!

        From the standpoint of the political line and day-to-day practical work, the period under review was one of complete victory for the general line of our Party. (Loud and prolonged applause.)

        “The principal achievements demonstrating the correctness of the policy of our Party and the correctness of its leadership are the firm establishment of the socialist system in the entire national economy, the completion of the reconstruction of industry and agriculture on the basis of modern technique, the fulfilment of the Second Five-Year Plan in industry ahead of time, the increase of the annual grain harvest to a level of 7,000 million poods, the abolition of poverty and unemployment, and the rising material and cultural standard of the people.

        In the face of these imposing achievements, the opponents of the general line of our Party, all the various “Left” and “Right” trends, all the Trotsky-Pyatakov and Bukharin-Rykov renegades were forced to creep into their shells, to tuck away their hackneyed “platforms” and go under cover. Lacking the manhood to submit to the will of the people, they preferred to merge with the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and fascists, to become the tools of foreign espionage services, to hire themselves out as spies, and to commit themselves to help the enemies of the Soviet Union to dismember our country and to restore capitalist slavery in it.

        Such was the inglorious end of the opponents of the line of our Party, who finished up as enemies of the people.

        Having smashed the enemies of the people and purged the Party and Soviet organizations of renegades, the Party became still more strongly united in its political and organizational work and rallied even more solidly around its Central Committee. (Stormy applause. All the delegates rise and cheer the speaker. Shouts of “Hurrah for Comrade Stalin!” “Long live Comrade Stalin!” “Hurrah for the Central Committee of our Party!”)”

        1. Stormcrow

          I take heart from Tolkien, who said that we do not know enough to despair. In The Lord of the Rings, Denethor believed that he had every reason to despair, and so he took his own life. But he was mistaken.

    2. Baby Gerald

      When Fox News is joining in the chant, you pretty much know something’s up. They got the message from high up to paint the guy as having somehow disrespected our troops and, worse, our so-called ‘gold star’ families (by ironically not wanting to perpetuate the wars that kill and maim them) after he fell for the bait dangled in from of him by Khan family.

      Gingrich going on about Trump’s unacceptable responses and his inability to stick to attacking Clinton in order to jab at his many attackers and how that probably means he’s unfit for office because of all the criticism he will have to fend off if he wins the election appears to me just a roundabout way of undermining his viability among their viewership which they know is his core constituency.

      The argument that Trump would somehow change into a more ‘statesmanlike’ character after winning the nomination (proposed by the same idiot pundits who had wrongly predicted that outcome a few months ago) seems to indicate to them that he’s the same crazy, unpredictable, and thereby unfeasible guy he has always been.

      It’s kind of telling that the author of the WaPo article linked above writes for an outlet called ‘The Fix’. He offers a bunch of charts and graphs but little substance to explain how recent loss of support from his own party translates into more support for his opposition and, in fact, offers the example of how the Carter/Ford election proves his very claims unreliable in predicting the outcome in November. The last graph of supposed ‘partisans’ tells us nothing at all.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        IMHO Gingrich holds no sway over any voters, or very few. HE HIMSELF attempted to run for prez a few times, and was a miserable failure. He’s like Dick Cheney–the MSM just continued to trot out the doddering old fool for years, because they were too stupid to see he was just a doddering old fool.
        At least Cheney could do something well—he was a good football player in high school. Gingrich, OTOH, has been completely useless his whole life.

    3. Benedict@Large

      The polls reflect the coverage. Whoever is getting more coverage is dropping faster. Trump needs to figure out how to get Hillary back into the media. It’s all Trump right now (and his GOP buddies really aren’t helping him.)

      1. m

        I know media & polls hate Trump, but actual human beings appear to hate the media & Hillary more.

    4. DarkMatters

      Exactly; they’re all telling us how and what to think, by every channel possible. I’m surprised that a con this obvious actually seems to be working; I didn’t think the public had been conditioned to this point.

      Then again, it’s not quite clear that it is working. I’m thinking back to the uxi andBrexit votes, where the MSM was declaring slam-dunks for the establishment side, and then feigned surprise that the actual results were so far off. This might be a Tinkerbell operation, run by people who think that if only you believe real hard, you can make anything come true.

  9. Fun with Entryism

    Hmmm. A BLM splinter group pops up, whipping up more exploitable divide-and-rule just in time for this year’s rigged elections. (Accelerate a split and make it public!) Demanding – naturally – reparations, high C on the identity politics wurlitzer. The international solidarity is heartwarming, and invoking Assata Shakur is a great way to upset whiny pussy cops. Abolition: A+ use of parochial American cornpone to deride US atavism.

    But what are they very, very careful not to breathe a word about? The CERD, binding as supreme law of the land, with which domestic law at all levels must conform; or what it requires of the state:

    Not just reparations but restitution through reparations, compensation, or satisfaction (including but not limited to prosecution of police death squads.) Raise public awareness of the Convention (the state does its best to bury its commitments.) Urgent priority review by the treaty body of (1) police impunity for violence, (2) militarized abuse of migrants, and indefinite suspension of non-derogable rights at the Guantanamo death camp. All races. All forms of class-biased state repression.

    If Trump or any populist wants the notoriety of a national conniption, all he has to do is mention CERD. It’s a bigger secret than the TS/SAP that Hillary spilled.

  10. Michael Hudson

    Few comments yet this morning, no doubt because everyone stayed up so late at Yves’ meet last night.
    Re Piety, you KNOW what I’ll say. He didn’t examine how more and more debt service sucked up income from the 99 Percent to become the wealth of the One Percent. I found this to be a No-No at the INET meetings. Debt polarization seems to be to the sphere of economics what sex used to be to the Catholic Church and small-town America. Something not talked about in polite company.
    So most discussions of polarization, Piketty-style, are provincial and small-minded.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I go into reading Times articles expecting to facepalm at least twice. This one did not disappoint.

        That said, I do see this as a positive development:

        The unemployment rate is actually lower than the C.B.O. projected it to be a decade ago (it saw it as stable at 5.2 percent; it was 4.9 percent in July). But the unemployment rate counts only those actively seeking a job. There were five million fewer Americans in the labor force — neither working nor looking — in 2015 than projected.

        Perhaps it signals a trend of regarding unemployment statistics for the complete fiction that they are.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Whenever you see a member of the political class use the word “smart,” think “stupid.”

        Remember Obama was for a “smart war” in Afghanistan? How’d that work out?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The meet last night was well worth staying up for. I learned as much as I could and enjoyed the company and conversation of other naked capitalists.

      However the meet reminded me of an old complaint I have against American bars (I assume/hope this is not a problem at a pub in England or Austrailia?). The noise levels are almost unbearable. The sound level of the tvs and/or “background” music is set at high levels which forces people to speak loudly or shout if they want to be heard — further boosting the noise levels. Hearing the discussions around me was a constant and tiring struggle and my voice is barely strong enough to overcome the noise.

      I can suggest no plausible theory for what motivates this aspect of American bars. And walking to the meet I was amazed to see the strange ubiquity of people staring into their cell phones — something I hadn’t before so plainly noticed. What is going on?

      1. Baby Gerald

        Agreed on all points here. It was great meeting other readers and to finally meet Yves and thank her in person for her excellent work.

        It did get louder and louder as the evening went on- that seems to be an inevitable trend in bars as they get more crowded- the TV and music volume is usually pushed up by the management, and the din gets difficult. That said, I enjoyed some excellent conversations, particularly with Paul & Paul and later with Brian and Eric.

        I definitely look forward to future meet-ups, provided society as we still know it endures that long. ;)

      2. different clue

        I went into a faux-yuppie “upscale” bar/restaurant called Bar Louie where I live, just to see what it was like. The noise was so loud I never went back. I don’t remember what I ate. I remember the noise.

        I later told a friend of mine about it. He told me about how he had gone in there once and complained to the manager-on-duty about the super loud TV and piped music noise. The manager told him the following: the the order to make the TVs and piped music so loud comes from Headquarters. The logic is that people under super-noise conditions get more agitated and don’t know why really. They mistake it for “excitement” and suppose they must be being happy. Also they eat and leave faster so others can come in and eat and leave faster. So the sound would NOT be turned down.

        So maybe that is the Bussiness Management theory under which bars in America are kept so loud.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          A bogus Business Management theory sounds like a reasonable explanation for what’s going on.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I just recalled a useful piece of information I picked up from the meet. Someone asked Yves whether there were any main stream news she felt provided reliable information — most of the time. Yves said McClatchy News was usually pretty good.

        Remember this is hearsay and remember the noise and crowd means I may not have heard or Yves may not have elaborated on further qualifiers — as best I recall. So — for what it’s worth …

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Other than very occasional browsing at their website I have little idea what sort of organization INET is. It’s disheartening to learn that INET treats as gross improprieties discussion of topics as salient as the growing inequality and the ways debt service drives a flow of wealth from the 99 Percent to the 1 Percent. I had harbored a small hope INET weren’t so constrained in their perspectives.

      I recall reading a book or website — don’t remember the exact source — describing a looming confluence of possible catastrophes: global warming, growing prospects for nuclear war, peak energy/oil, the diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics and the possibility for a new plague, the great dangers of some of the GMO technologies and more recently fears of the singularity … Your book “Killing the Host” suggests another horror to add to this list — a looming threat of economic collapse or worse. I feel compelled to understand these possibilities and their mechanisms — partly in the hope I might figure out some strategy for getting through them. But finding some glowing point of hope grows ever more elusive.

      1. paul

        Last time I looked at the inet conference, there was a lot of talk about debt within it, dirk bezemer, hudson, steve keen.

        It can tend to resemble the master criminal’s fish tank though.

  11. gonzomarx

    Being single beats being married, psychologist claims

    CPS upholds decision not to charge over MI6 role in Libyans’ rendition

    Research suggests being lazy is a sign of high intelligence

    I knew there was a reason….

    1. abynormal

      Would you like a Hershey bar?
      Oh yes, please
      So would I kid, have you got one?

      empire of the sun
      ` ))

      1. hunkerdown

        Laziness is a bias to inaction, which, while I’m going to pointedly decline to consider the precious faith-based liberals, their Cult of Doing aspirationalism and their rapacious need to “be better than”, does indicate a propensity to consider other factors and contingencies before expending energy on action. No wonder the looting professional classes hate hearing the laws they live by spoken too near “tender (i.e. profitable) ears”.

      2. cwaltz

        I guess I’m a dolt.

        I’m very type A and inactivity is not something I generally do very well.

    2. jrs

      “Other research shows that single people value meaningful work more than married people do …”

      value it all you want, good luck finding it in this job market, maybe at least married people are not insane and pursue things they can actually get using their limited power in this world (meaningful work is not one of them short of social change)

      “another study of lifelong single people showed that self-sufficiency serves them well: the more self-sufficient they were, the less likely they were to experience negative emotions. For married people, just the opposite was true”

      self-sufficient all you want, there is still no safety net if you wind up long term unemployed. So much for “self-sufficiency” when a bad recession can destroy all such illusions of “self-sufficiency”

    1. TheCatSaid

      There have been unsettling well-researched documentaries related to child sex abuse over the last 2 years. They show troubling connections to the highest echelons of power in the UK and USA, including documented evidence of involvement in the “investigations” by specific people and organizations in powerful places. Unsettling, clear connections arise.

      See Ste Murray’s 2015 documentary about BBC presenter Jill Dando’s murder; Richard D. Hall’s 3-documentary series about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance; and Sibel Edmond’s expose of Denis Hastert’s pedophilia and how governments declined to prosecute the most serious of his crimes.

      NZ High Court judge Dame Goddard, who headed the high-profile UK independent inquiry into child sex abuse, has suddenly resigned. Her only explanation:

      “In a brief resignation statement, released on Thursday, Justice Goddard said the inquiry was beset with a “legacy of failure” and offered her resignation to the new Home Secretary Amber Rudd. She was appointed as chair of the unprecedented inquiry, set up in 2014, by then-Home Secretary Theresa May after two previous chairs walked away from the role.”

      Goddard becomes the 3rd person to walk away from the role of chairing the inquiry.

  12. Cry Shop

    NYRB link: China: The People’s Fury. Kind of laughable for a story about a nation & people that Mao beat into submission, starved, humiliated and murderd in mass 3 separate times. This is more a case of China Painting Itself Into A Corner (hoping no one sees the window & fire escape) .

    Visiting a clients site, a State Owed Corporation (SOC), and expected to be given a verbal blistering over dinner once the drink suppressed inhibitions. Instead all the party members thought Beijing was being completely obnoxious, that a multi-party solution (still excluding the US) was the best way forward. Xi demands loyalty, and it is given — as a charade.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      You mean a multi-party system…like the US? You’re right, it’s much easier to present the illusion of choice that way.
      Our MSM/War Machine demands loyalty, too, in one flavor only: Hilary. Bernie and Donald tried to bust that playbook but were beaten down handily.

      1. Cry Shop

        multi-party as in multi-lateral, multi-national talks involving the UN and NGO as well as national governments. Quite surprised at the level of sophistication considering the power of the Great Fire Wall.

        Sorry, forgot that Americans would see this from a different frame of reference, local politics (national politics is local on a world scale).

  13. HBE

    The rcp v silber polling articles

    It seems to me, Today’s polls can only reach a very small and largely affluent portion of the population. They are the only ones with landlines or provider cellphones. Many do not have a landline and others cannot be dialed randomly on cellphones because they use Prepaid phones with no area code.

    So these polls have to be, by and large targeting homeowners. So renters, the young, and the poor are unlikely to ever be able to be reached in these polls.

    Current polls offer a vary dubious overview of general sentiment, and would just based on the general demographic information above, be largely hitting affluent (likely hillary?) voters.

    That she is doing so poorly among her strongest demographic set is telling.

  14. Ted

    I think NC should have a rule that single poll results shall henceforth be banned from discussion. Rather, what matters are trends across polls, including those with different wording of questions in the same poll. Here’s why:

    1) Sampling matters, both who gets sampled and how large the sample might be. The smaller the sample, the larger the error range (you know that little +- 3 or 4 you see in the notes). The actual headline numbers you read are misleading, as the “true” number probably lies within that range, and any number within that range is equally true, so the headline number is straight up BS. Also, there is a tendency to report “registered” or “likely voters” based on some algorithm someone developed on a tuesday using exit polling for some grab bag collection of elections. Do these algorithms for actual voting behavior still hold? Me thinks not. A rule of thum, then, would be to read trends across multiple polls, to try and devine just what might be happening … and to discuss that pattern.

    2) Question wording really matters, when Johnson and Stein are included (as they will be on most ballots) Clinton’s support across multiple polls this week crumbles to below 40% or so. (see summaries at That’s pretty damning, in spite of the hyperventilation about Trump by the MSM nonstop. Wow…just wow.

    3) Samplings over time matter. Looking at polls over time, I am not seeing any Clinton bounce after the DNC. Trump dipped. That does no bode well for Democrat turnout. And Trump will likely recover.

    1. aab

      They’re using other tricks, too, like oversampling Democrats and undersampling Independents, sometimes by a lot. There has been generational over and undersampling, as well, and IIRC sometimes weird skewing by racial/ethnic groups. I’m not sure all of that can really be compensated for with aggregating, since it seems like most of the polling organizations have been bought off one way or another and are oversampling Democrats and/or undersampling Millennials, at the very least.

      The fact that Reuters’ daily poll showed her “bump” deflate in under a week leads me to take it a bit more seriously, unless they reinflate it (as Nate Silver has done) very quickly with no plausible additional data points.

    2. AnEducatedFool

      Thank you for the summary. I hope to see Stein and Johnson in every poll but I know that many polls only ask about Trump and Clinton then ask about the other candidates.

      I’ve heard that the Greens are suing the Debate Committe and are arguing that the debates are an abuse of campaign finance laws since its a gift. Not sure of the details and no time to look it up.

      1. aab

        It seems to me there’s literally no valid excuse for blocking third parties that are on the ballot in enough states to get to 270 by the time the debates happen. Wouldn’t that standard put both Johnson and Stein on the debate stage?

        1. Pat

          Of course they should, it will be some excuse or other but the real reason is that neither Party, and their candidates, wants any alternative to their piss poor nominees to get any recognition.

          It is symptomatic of the control that the major Parties now have over the debate process. It was better and fairer when run by the League of Women Voters. Now they haggle over the venue, the date, who gets to air what and the moderators, and even who else gets to be on the stage, when the only one of those things that they should even have a remote say in are the dates. Seriously. Just as everything else seems to be stacked so that the voter is denied accurate information, this too has been corrupted to be as useless as possible.

        2. cwaltz

          Nope. Johnson and Stein actually lost their lawsuit. Since the DNC and RNC run the debates you can expect them to be excluded.

          Don’t you love “democracy”? The two parties not only get to choose the candidates because they are “private organizations” but they also get to decide the national priorities based on their own “privately held” Presidential Debate Commission(which also is likely funded with tax dollars.)

          1. aab

            I should have been clearer. I know they lost the lawsuit, and I know this another corrupted aspect of our “elections.”

            What I intended to suggest was that going forward, as we fight this among the many fights necessary to regain some modicum of self-governance, it might be better to get away from using ANY level of polling as the metric, for many different reasons, including that polling can so easily be gamed, so any benchmark could be prevented.

            However, it’s still not possible to completely block ballot access. And any organization that can get on the ballot in that many states is a real, valid party with a possibility of winning. Ergo even if they continue to refuse to do public financing, they should at least offer the “free” exposure of the debates. Being on that many ballots is a very high bar. Arguing that a party organized enough to potentially win 270 electoral votes if only it had the exposure seems like harder argument to game/avoid than the polling argument. Messaging and persuasion is my professional background, so sometimes that’s what I hone in on, as the aspect of this complex problem that I can get my arms around.

            1. cwaltz

              I would agree that your argument is a good one. The problem is that the debate “owners” are likely not going to agree since it definitely does not benefit THEM to allow competitors to share the debate stage with them.

              I definitely miss the Women’s League. They knew the writing was on the wall in terms of game playing and the charade of “debates” by the two parties back in the eighties(which was why they bailed.)

              1. aab

                I view switching the messaging to something more effective the way I do voting at this point: while possibly pointless in the face of such comprehensive corruption, still worth doing. I figure it is in all our interests to do everything we can to break the oligarchy’s grip peacefully, because the alternative is so horrible. So even though I live in California, I thought through all my options of how to maximize the very limited value of my vote, and I will vote in November, knowing the high probability that I will get shredded, flipped, whited-out, etc. (As someone who left the party on 7/12, I am probably already tagged as a vote to invalidate.)

                Of course the duopoly will fight it. But is it possible to construct a message and goal they can’t successfully thwart without paying a high enough price that they won’t? Maybe not — but it’s worth trying, I think.

                I miss thinking that I lived in a democracy. That was nice.

  15. dcblogger

    somebody at reddit has had it with the Green Party
    reddit comment Gary Johnson, Jill Stein Now Winning 40 Percent Of Votes Among Young Americans As Third-Party Candidates Show Record Surge In New Poll thread:

    that’ll go down when

    1) Johnsons views get exposure and people realize how terrible he is

    2) The green do the same thing they always do when they get lots of votes – squander the effort on poor management, poor effort and poor ability to find viable candidates.

    In 2018 and 2020 I expect the greens to still have zero congressional seats, zero state house seats and only a smattering of local offices, mostly in Cali, and to spend the 2020 election whining about how unfair it is they aren’t treated like a serious party, despite the fact they will have spent the interveening 4 years not actually trying to set themselves up, just like they did in 2000-2016.

    Please don’t go green for the revolution folks, the greens will squander and strangle the movement while having trouble dealing with the giant pseudoscience wing of their own party. You’d be better served making your own Progressive Party.

    edit: i look forward to the downvotes and being called CTR shill, troll, statist… man what else, all because I dared insult Jill (and gary), because as we know, Jill Stein and the greens are saints who can do no wrong and only CTR shills would not support them.

    and follow up comment:

    I actually didn’t call them a fringe party. I called them an incompetent party.

    The greens have no excuse for how badly they do on a local level or state house level. They got 2% of the vote in 2000 and then dropped to 0.1 in 2004, while having gained virtually nothing from their election high. It’s 2016, where are any major green office holders? It’s 2016, where is anything i can point to for Green success? Instead they seem determined to build a Top-down successful revolution where they’ll try and get votes in the Presidential election and hope this somehow improves their chances at a local level.

    The greens have a standing history of not knowing how to run elections or build a movement, the fact they aren’t still polling <1% is solely because of Bernies success and Jill latching onto it to bolster her own inability to be a good candidate. 0.1, 0.14 and 0.4%, the green percents between 2000's 2% and 2016's likely 3-4%. I don't see how I can expect them to carry anything forward.

  16. afisher

    Texas hates regulation. Not the first but the second time the GAO thought it would be a great idea to check the ability of all those terrorists ( foreign born only, if you are in Trumps world) could actually gain access to radioactive active building blocks so that they could build “dirty bombs”.
    In TX, it is relatively easy. The report resulted in action in Texas: 2 inspectors were quietly fired. “GAO’s covert testing identified a regulatory gap.” Additionally there were calls to consider creating a system for tracking licenses and sales of low-level radioactive materials — an idea that its members rejected seven years ago under heavy state and industry pressure.

    Yep, we really need fewer regulations via the DT / Libertarian campaigns.

  17. Synoia

    Slavery Reparations Could Cost Up to $14 Trillion, According to New Calculation

    No problem. Please have those directly affected, who are still living, fill in form 1040 for the earned income tax credit, and the US Treasury will refund the money during the 2017 tax season.

  18. tongorad

    Re Reparations:

    Adolph Reed on Sanders, Coates, and Reparations

    So the first question for me has always been how can you imagine putting together a political alliance that would be capable of prevailing on this issue. And what you get in response is a lot of “What black people deserve” because of the harms that have been done to them. I just think it’s fundamentally unserious politically.

      1. hunkerdown

        And for Little Richard getting only half a penny according to his autobiography (later rectified in part by Jacko, who came into possession of the rights to LR’s catalog in the Beatles deal and transferred them back to LR).

  19. fresno dan

    We never really had a referendum on globalization in America. It just sort of happened. People had jobs one day, then the next morning they were fired, replaced by 14-year-olds in Indonesia or sweatshop laborers in Bangladesh, working in unsafe hell-holes without overtime or health care, beaten when they don’t make quotas.

    In the new paradigm, all of those agonizing controversies and wars of political attrition, which collectively produced a vast set of rules and standards for dealing with workers, were simply wiped away.
    Manufacturers just went abroad, to dictatorships and communist oligarchies, to make their products, forcing American workers to compete not just against foreign workers, but against their own history and legal systems.
    People forget that when it comes to labor relations, America had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, in the direction of the civilized world. Attempts to ban child labor in this country failed repeatedly, and we didn’t actually pass a federal child labor law that stuck until 1938. Airlines in America were still firing flight attendants for getting married through the mid-eighties.

    What exactly does “raising your game” mean in the context of that sort of competition?
    Globalization in the snap of a finger essentially erased nearly two centuries of America’s bloody labor history. It’s as if the Thibodeaux Massacre, the hangings of the Molly McGuires, the Pullman Strike, the L.A. Times bombing, the Flint sit-in and thousands of other strikes and confrontations never took place.

    This whole situation has raised profound questions that nobody has ever bothered to try to answer for ordinary voters, as in: What are nation-states for, in a global economy?

    What’s the point of all of our labor laws, or voting-rights laws, the first amendment and a host of other American legal traditions if large pluralities of American manufacturers do their business in countries like China, where human rights abuses are rampant, political freedom is nonexistent and speech is tightly controlled?

    I also had no idea that Friedman was a billionaire (through marriage) – so much for being a pixel stained wretch….

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Or perhaps better stated, *who* is the nation-state for? The answer in the US is clearly that the nation-state exists to advance the interests of the shareholder class. It’s not an altogether horrible answer, if ownership was broad enough and deep enough amongst the citizenry, but it’s not, with 85% of stock market gains going to 5% of people.

      1. cwaltz


        The exploitation is a little less noticeable when you make it part of the market structure and you “reward” the investment class while telling the labor portion of the market they aren’t getting ahead because they aren’t working hard enough(and therefore deserve to have to beg the government for food stamps to feed their young or housing support to pay for shelter.)

        It’s actually kind of obscene that someone like Romney could call the working class takers when most of his income was earned off the backs of other people’s labor, not his own.

        1. Carolinian

          Finally caught up with The Big Short via my public library. It’s a good film, but what astonishes is how all the activity described, including that of the protagonists, is just game playing designed to make money and has no social utility whatsoever. They are the modern version of old style aristocrats who spent their time playing whist and other games of chance when not going off to war or fighting duels–this edition skipping the war and the duels.

          So yes Romney is obscene and all the rest of them. Whatever the shortcomings of the lowers they have the right to live.

  20. ARB

    I looked at “Testing Piketty’s Hypothesis on the Drivers of Income Inequality : Evidence from Panel VARs with Heterogeneous Dynamics” and had a few comments/questions. This is the view of a non-economist:

    1. The below listed assumption seems inaccurate, but I am not an expert on finance. Maybe others have more insight?
    “To derive the second variable of interest —namely, the real return on capital net of real GDP
    growth —I take yearly averages of nominal long-term sovereign bond yields, calculate the post-tax
    nominal rates by deducting corporate income taxes and subtract from them annual percent changes
    in GDP deflators and real GDP growth.”

    2. The author seems to be aware that the assumption is iffy, and so also considers “short-term interest
    rates, and implied returns from the national accounts.” as a proxy for return on capital. Are these valid?

    3. The model looks to be overfit, meaning there are more free parameters than is appropriate given the size of their data set.

    4. The model does not seem to adequately account for hidden variables that could skew results. With data at such a course level, it seems one would need to take into account technological innovation, changes in trade regulations, etc. to construct a model of the form the author does.

    Overall, the claims may or may not be correct. But this paper is hardly convincing.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Robots are taking divorce lawyers’ jobs too.

    Next, they will run off, or just have carnal knowledge, with the ex-wives as well.

  22. ambrit

    File this under OMG economics department.
    I was searching for some new crossword puzzle books for Phyllis and came across a listing for one on E-bay. A ‘used’ crossword puzzle book. Make up your own jokes. I’m gobsmacked.

    1. kareninca

      Um, when I wanted another crossword puzzle book a couple of years ago, the first place that I looked was on Amazon for a used one (I’d rather use ebay but I don’t have a good way to pay there; I don’t like PayPal). It didn’t even occur to me to buy a new one. It was a penny plus shipping. I ordered it from either a nonprofit or some small-time seller; I forget which (I like both). Only one puzzle had been done. Yeah, as a Yankee/Uke I see a “new” crossword book as decadent, haha.

      Where I volunteer people have the instinct to toss the slightly-used puzzle/game books, but I prevent that (and they are very popular at the bargain part of our sales and on our free book nights).

  23. John Merryman

    To be totally politically incorrect about the reparations thing, slavery is a bit like being born of a rape. It might have been the most terrible thing in the world and ruined your childhood, but you wouldn’t be here otherwise. The African American population would be fairly minor without it. (The natives, on the other hand, just got screwed.)
    As for the larger issue of welfare, I am reminded of the old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
    When disasters happen in other parts of the world, no one goes in and says, “We’ll just feed you from now on.” They mostly try to get the local economy up and running and feed them enough to get them through.
    Now if they were to try to rebuild impoverished communities in this country, as viable local economies, it would require some fencing of outside influences, ie. localization over globalization and everyone from Walmart to ConAgra would run to their local senator to stop it. Not to mention all the government debt it generates and turned into those bonds at the foundation of the “capitalist” system.

    “When it’s free, you are the product, not the consumer.”

    1. John Merryman

      “When disasters happen in other parts of the world,’

      Though in reality, they just bomb the living crap out of them and then sell them guns to protect what’s left.

  24. JCC

    I just finished watching the GP Convention live streamed on the ‘net. The VP candidate spoke for only 10 minutes or so and was very good; he did not speak in any sort of manner other than a regular down-to-earth easily understandable way. Apparently he reads this site and toned it down quite a bit :)

    Ms. Stein was very good and straight to her points and policies.

    The nicest thing about it was that the crowd was not inundated with a simplistic over-produced, two-verse, made up entirely of pablum, “song” repeated ad infinitum to finish the show.

    On the other hand, it was not “slick” and reminded me of a sophisticated High School Rally (that has never existed) or a basic College Rally. I doubt it would appeal much to the average voter for this reason. After all, they talked primarily about present failed policies and social revolutions, and not the things most are easily suckered into getting behind – rah-rahs for war and Wall St.

    Overall though they made one excellent point over and over again; Being afraid to vote for anything but the lesser evil within the Two Party System owned and operated by Corporate America and the War Industry is one of the prime reasons this country has gotten into this mess in the first place.

    They won’t win but I’ll probably vote for her anyway. At least I’ll be able to walk away with a clear conscience.

    1. JCC

      P.S. Lambert, it looked to me like your overall assessment of the GP is pretty accurate, i.e., they do come across as a little immature and unorganized from the perspective of what we are familiar with in regards to US National Politics (and showmanship).

      However, with that said, as each delegate came up and declared their votes, many of them made statements about local candidates and local wins in each individual state. So it does look like some State GP groups are paying attention to the long haul and doing their best against all odds.

    2. tgs

      I am glad to hear it went well at the convention. However, the choice of vp convinced me that Stein (whose positions I admire) is not running a serious campaign. Baraka is a divisive figure who has dissed Sanders and at least by extension Sanders supporters. He holds positions, particularly on race, that are likely to be offensive to normal Americans. If Stein were intellectually serious, how could she offer the candidacy to Sanders and then the vice president slot to someone like Baraka who actually has made it clear that Bernie’s campaign was a form of false consciousness?

      I will withdraw any future support for the Stein campaign.

  25. ewmayer

    o “A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases | Indianapolis Star” — Women’s gymnastics – a cesspool of corruption, sexual abuse and hundreds of broken bodies left by the wayside for every “shining success” – was #1 on my list of offensive spectacles when I posted my No-lympics pledge here a ew days ago.

    o “Yay, Jobs! So Why Isn’t the Economy Following? | Bloomberg” — Um, because the premise of a robust jobs-and-wages recovery is patently absurd? Just throwing it out there; see Wolf’s post next door – in particular the reader comments re. jobs crapification and bogus government CPI stats designed to paint a rosy picture – for more detail.
    [BTW, I scrubbed the hundred-plus-character link-tracking spam starting with the ? before loading the page. Wish there were some browser add-on to do this automatically, since ever more sites are doing this kind of tracking, in ever-growing detail.]

  26. ewmayer

    From the peanut-allergy article: “Peanut allergies among children in Westernized countries have risen sharply in recent years, with evidence suggesting that they may now be three times as prevalent among children in the United States as they were 10 to 15 years ago.”

    Sounds like one of the many downsides of the unhealthy modern obsession with keeping kids ‘safe’ – instead of unstructured playing-outside and getting good and dirty, which is known to be key to developing a healthy immune system – after all humanity evolved in dirt, dust and muck – they get ferried everywhere and dosed (along with homes) with antibiotic soaps. We are raising a generation of obese, myopic-and-ill-postured (due to our unhealthy e-gizmo fetish), immunocompromised kids. But I’m sure Big Pharma will have exorbitantly priced drugs to kinda-sorta treat all those problems by the time the problem become truly epidemic!

  27. Kafka2016

    I have vacillated on reparations for years now. Philosophically, it is a rational and morally sound argument, considering most of the wealth of this nation (and countless others) was built on black and indigenous blood, sweat, and tears. As of today I’m convinced it is either counterproductive or, in the broad Capitalist schema, reactionary in nature. Most arguments for reparations seem to miss that the foundation of alienation, exploitation, and oppression in the Americas (and the rest of the world for that matter) was built by the operations of the same market machinery in use today. Slavery was not an aberration of the market, it was part and parcel to it. Yet another example of the left walking their movement right up to the line of system level critique then stopping abruptly. Why not just acknowledge that American slavery and racism were built by market ideology as has been demonstrated by countless academics!

    Demanding a bigger slice of a smaller slice of the underclass pie breeds factionalism and, in addition, aggravated racism among the white working class. Something, I am aware, is completely not the fault of BLM or black Americans, but it is a reality nonetheless that must be addressed with superior strategy and ideology to counter it through building a movement of solidarity. Something I’m afraid BLM, and the entire left, seems to be missing. As a strategy, a demand for reparations is naive and completely destroys the potential for building solidarity to fight a common struggle. BLM must realize that it does not compromise primarily black American issues (police violence, incarceration, workplace racism, racial underemployment, environmental racism, etc. etc.) to universalize issues that are not particular to only black Americans.

    I think it should be said that if a particular platform can be made universal (picking on the BLM demand for free higher/technical education for blacks as one example) then make it so. There is absolutely no strategic benefit to focusing primarily on black Americans in this regard. What is needed is solidarity for the cause of, say, higher education, for all citizens. Something that even a racist Trump supporter would have a difficult time arguing against. The irony is the strict focus on an essential black condition for many of these issues does a disservice to the cause of furthering the position of black Americans. The USA does not have South Africa’s demographics, the numbers alone will not carry the movement. I’m sensing a great deal of political energy in the left today is spent pursuing a purity of cause within an echo chamber. As of today, despite my absolute agreement with their diagnosis, BLM is cathartic and militant but strategically bankrupt.

    I recommend reading Manning Marabel’s How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America. Although written in 1983 and revised in, I think 2000, he does an excellent job critiquing the limitations of black power and black nationalism (which I’m afraid has influenced the ranks of BLM to the point of dogma) while still acknowledging the unique political and economic crises faced by black Americans every day.

  28. rich

    Saturday, August 6, 2016
    PPACA Creators Truly Shameless

    Two founders of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Nancy Ann Deparle and Neera Tanden, served on healthcare panel at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Between them sat a major PPACA influencer ex-Senator Tom Daschle, now a non-lobbying lobbyist with Alston and Bird and private equity underwriter (PEU).

    Nancy Ann reminisced about how everyone came together to “bend the cost curve.” She did not address their abject failure the last few years as health care costs exploded. The panel talked about the current concern of affordability but acted like cost drivers had nothing to do with PPACA. One of the six major areas in the bill included:

    Provisions aimed in part at changing the trend in health spending growth

    Tom Daschle joined Baker Donelson in 2014, forming a public policy consulting arm called The Daschle Group. Public Policy groups are as hard to keep up with as private equity underwriters.

    The Fiscal Times recently featured Tom Daschle in a story on Accumen, a lab consulting firm helping hospitals cut lab costs, Accumen is an affiliate of Accretive LLC, a private equity underwriter.

    The story revealed Daschle to be a public policy advisor and lobbyist for Accumen.

    Lobbyists and PEUs are part of the big money cycle that makes our country not work for the average person.
    PPACA is clearly part of that greed cycle.

    The DNC panel and Daschle story reveal how PPACA’s creators and profiteers are truly shameless. In many cases they are one and the same.

    1. Jess

      Well, you know how Matt Taibbi described Daschle, right?

      “There are lobbyists and there are lobbyists, and then there’s Tom Daschle, who would suck off a corpse for a cheeseburger.”

  29. Cry Shop

    “The birch trees in Alaska are all done too. If we have a fire here they will be dry tinder in just a few years. The entire planetary ecosystem is collapsing”

  30. rich

    If you want more reading for Opinion: Following the money – Irish slave owners in the time of abolition The Journal


    Britain’s colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition

    David Cameron’s ancestors were among the wealthy families who received generous reparation payments that would be worth millions of pounds in today’s money

    The true scale of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country’s wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

    The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain – much to the potential embarrassment of their descendants. Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.

    As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: “There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation.” A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.

    The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their “property” when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain’s colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury’s annual spending budget and, in today’s terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.

    A total of £10m went to slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, while the other half went to absentee owners living in Britain. The biggest single payout went to James Blair (no relation to Orwell), an MP who had homes in Marylebone, central London, and Scotland. He was awarded £83,530, the equivalent of £65m today, for 1,598 slaves he owned on the plantation he had inherited in British Guyana.

    But this amount was dwarfed by the amount paid to John Gladstone, the father of 19th-century prime minister William Gladstone. He received £106,769 (modern equivalent £83m) for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations. His son, who served as prime minister four times during his 60-year career, was heavily involved in his father’s claim.

    look what they left out:

    In the case of Mr Rothschild, the documents reveal for the first time that he made personal gains by using slaves as collateral in banking dealings with a slave owner.

    This will surprise those familiar with his role in organising the loan that funded the UK government’s bail-out of British slave owners when colonial slavery was abolished in the 1830s. It was the biggest bail-out of an industry as a percentage of annual government expenditure – dwarfing last year’s rescue of the banking sector.

    After that buyer went bankrupt, NM Rothschild used the compensation scheme set up by the government after the abolition of slavery to secure the £3,000. The money was eventually awarded to the NM Rothschild estate after his death.

    The episode appears neither in the Rothschild family’s extensive archives nor in Niall Ferguson’s two-volume history of the family. In fact, NM Rothschild’s main known connection with slavery until today was his role in putting an end to it.

    The banking magnate organised a loan to the government of £15m, out of a total of £20m it spent in the 1830s on bailing out the slave owners after abolition. At the time, this huge sum represented almost half the government’s annual expenditure – by which measure it dwarfs today’s efforts to shore up the country’s financial institutions.

    Rothschild said Nathan Mayer Rothschild had been a prominent civil liberties campaigner with many like-minded associates and “against this background, these allegations appear inconsistent and misrepresent the ethos of the man and his business”.

    Rothschild and Freshfields founders linked to slavery

    Paper trail loosens shackles on hidden past

    Stashed in the National Archives in London’s leafy suburb of Kew are hundreds of boxes of documents marked T71. Each of the sepia-coloured sheets inside them holds handwritten details of estates and slaves, including how much each “negro” was worth, creating the most extensive known paper trail of slave owners in the UK’s former colonies.

    For 170 years, the papers remained unexamined, allowing companies, families and institutions that knowingly profited from slavery to conceal their links to the trade and keeping those who were unaware of them in ignorance.

    recurring perps of despair: bankers and lawyers…..

    The Irish Slave Trade – The Forgotten “White” Slaves
    The Slaves That Time Forgot
    But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong.

    so maybe reparations should be worldwide?

    1. paul Tioxon

      France collected restitution for the loss of slaves and land in Haiti. President Hollande made a state visit in 2015 to that nation without much more than a promise of repaying the “moral” debt France owes to Haiti. Morality does not pay the bills. New Orleans was populated with the wealthy French who escaped with their lives from Haiti and received some of the largess of this extorted payment.

      “But for some in impoverished Haiti, Hollande’s presence is a reminder of the debilitating costs of the successful slave revolt that made Haiti the world’s first black republic in 1804.

      Crippled by an international embargo enforced by French warships, Haiti agreed in 1825 to pay France an “independence debt” of 150m gold francs to compensate colonists for lost land and slaves. Although the indemnity was later reduced to 90m gold coins, the debt crippled the Caribbean nation, which did not finish paying it off to French and American banks until 1947.
      “We Haitians know that a big reason why we are suffering today is because we were forced to pay France for our freedom. If we were not punished for our independence long ago, we would have had a better time,” water seller Jean-Marc Bouchet said on a dusty, unpaved street in Port-au-Prince.”

  31. sd

    Leaning tower of San Francisco makes for fantastic dark humor. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time….fwiw, the new SFGiants stadium is built in a liquefaction zone. The old Candlestick Park was built on bedrock and that would be the park they just tore down.

    The comedy of errors just continues to write itself.

  32. Roland

    Workers don’t need to demand “reparations.” As long as we’re not getting exploited, we can produce everything we need to have a decent life.

    As amusing as it is to think of making out an invoice to send to the globalist bourgeoisie, the only thing that matters is whether workers control their own production. We don’t need to get taken care of. We can take care of ourselves.v

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