2:00PM Water Cooler 9/13/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is a little bit light because I’m recovering from travel on Monday. Tomorrow I should be back in form!

TPP/TTIP/TISA

“The U.S. tech industry is making a push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a letter sent to congressional leaders this morning asking them to “intensify” their focus to work with the Obama administration on a path forward for the deal in 2016″ [Poltico].”The United Fresh Produce Association and the National Pork Producers Council are holding fly-ins this week where TPP will be one of the big talking points with lawmakers.”

Jamie Dimon: “I’m a big believer of getting the trade deal done, but acknowledge that it actually hurts some people, and give income assistance, do development, relocation, retraining, so those hurt by it can be made better” [Politico]. I especially like “relocation.” Throw Momma in a home so Dimon’s pals can avoid “lost profits”?

“Nationwide, the TPP would roughly double U.S. exposure to ISDS attacks and a TTIP would quadruple the exposure, spelling an unprecedented increase in U.S. ISDS liability. Under all existing ISDS-enforced pacts, the total number of firms that can currently launch ISDS cases against the U.S. government is about 4,100 foreign corporations that own about 9,829 U.S. subsidiaries. The TPP would newly empower more than 3,682 additional corporations in TPP countries that own more than 10,085 subsidiaries here, to launch cases against the U.S. government. The TTIP would newly empower more than 12,100 European Union parent corporations that own more than 26,961 U.S. subsidiaries, to go to the panels of corporate lawyers and demand U.S. taxpayer compensation” [Public Citizen]. With interactive map showing state-by-state effects.

2016

Money

“The [Donald J. Trump Foundation[ acts as a conduit, receiving gifts from individuals and other wealthy people’s foundations and then distributing those gifts to charities under the Donald J. Trump Foundation name, typically with no credit given to the donor or donors funding the Trump Foundation gift'” [Nonprofit Quarterly]. “The Trump Foundation’s small size, its lack of employees, and its board composed four-fifths of family members (and one hundred percent Trump Organization employees) may explain—but does not at all excuse—its seat-of-the-pants operating style.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Why Are The Media Objectively Pro-Trump?” [Paul Krugman, The New York Times]. He’s got a point. After all, the press systematically suppressed stories about Sanders, who would have been a stronger opponent for Trump than Clinton.

The Voters

“Polansky is the kind of voter both campaigns covet: working-class, from a swing state, with networks of friends, coworkers and family they can influence. That’s especially true in Polansky’s home state of Ohio, which polls show may be the closest of the battleground states in play” [Bloomberg]. “‘She’s putting us in a category of we don’t know anything, we’re dummies and she knows what’s best for us,’ Polansky said. ‘I know what’s best for my family; Hillary don’t.'”

“Our quest was to find the disaffected, currently Democratic, working-class white males Trump appears to be wooing with his appeals to economic angst—and the ones he’ll need to change the electoral arithmetic in the states in question” [Bloomberg]. “Since the parties’ conventions this summer, the candidates and their running mates have held nearly 40 campaign events in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan alone—averaging at least one every other day when you count surrogate appearances from Vice President Joe Biden, the Obama-Clinton machine’s designated working-man whisperer.”

Hmm:

Realignment

“Candidates do themselves a tremendous disservice when they attack voters [as with “special place in hell” and #Berniebros, let us remember] rather than campaigns. Whatever advantage is procured through the rallying of one’s own base is outweighed by what will be read as divisiveness and disdain” [Charles Blow, New York Times]. But: “I understand that people recoil at the notion that they are part of a pejorative basket. I understand the reflexive resistance to having your negative beliefs disrobed and your sense of self dressed down. I understand your outrage, but I’m unmoved by it. If the basket fits …”

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, August 2016: “[A] barely significant decrease yet softer than expectations of a slight increase that would have continued a weak rebound from” [Econoday].

Personal Income: “Another positive is that this marked the first real annual increase in median household income since 2007” [247 Wall Street]. After eight years. Income, of course, “not wealth.” If you put money into your house and lost it, that’s all gone.

Housing: “[N]early one in five home buyers are making offers on homes without even viewing a property” (via Redfin) [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “Buyers of high-end homes were almost twice as likely to have made offers on homes sight unseen. Thirty-nine percent of people who bought homes for more than $750,000 made offers without seeing homes in person.”

Concentration: ” A proposed merger of two Canadian fertilizer giants would create a single business that would control an enormous part of the North American supply chain for crop nutrients. Agrium Inc.” [Wall Street Journal]. “Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp. of Saska tchewan Inc. confirmed the merger plans…. in a deal that would create a crop-nutrient giant worth about $27 billion.”

Shipping: “According to Kantar Retail, about 73% of rural consumers—defined as those who drive at least 10 miles for everyday shopping—are now buying online versus 68% two years ago. Last year, 30% were members of Amazon Prime, up from 22% in 2014” [Wall Street Journal, “E-Commerce Is a Boon for Rural America, but It Comes With a Price”]. “Residents here are even starting to buy groceries online because frequently it is cheaper than at the town’s United Supermarkets.”

Shipping: “Is Hanjin shipping’s Lehman moment?” [Splash247]. “Speaking on Bloomberg Television, the Vancouver domiciled shipping veteran [Gerry Wang, the head of Seaspan,] said: ‘The fallout of Hanjin Shipping is like Lehman Brothers to the financial markets. It’s a huge, huge nuclear bomb. It shakes up the supply chain, the cornerstone of globalisation.’ But: “Splash’s lead finance columnist, respected ship finance veteran Dagfinn Lunde commented: ‘I do not agree at all. Very little will happen due to Hanjin’s demise; the ships will still be there.'”

Shipping: “[I]t is believed that many shippers, freight forwarders, and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) had sufficiently diversified their bookings so that the Hanjin collapse would not be an undue burden on their supply chains” [DC Velocity].

Supply Chain: “Labor has become an increasingly important make-or-break factor in determining the success of retailers and delivery companies during a period marked by a sudden surge in online orders” [Wall Street Journal, “Hunt for Holiday Workers Heats Up, Giving Wages a Boost”].

Shipping: “Seven clues that “Game of Thrones” is really about hazmat shipping” [DC Velocity]. “3. Flammable liquids play a prominent role.”

Oil: “Global oil demand growth is faltering and oil production is stabilizing, providing a recipe for the global glut of petroleum and its products to continue through much of next year, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.” [Wall Street Journal, “IEA Cuts Global Oil Demand Forecast Amid ‘Wobbling’ Asian Demand”]. The IEA’s closely watched monthly oil-market report marked an abrupt shift for an agency that a month ago said the world’s oil glut had begun disappearing.”

Honey for the Bears: “Thieves are stealing catalytic converters out of cars for their precious metals” [Ars Technica]. I put this in the metal theft box, which is never a good sign for “the economy.”

Honey for the Bears: ” Yuan Liquidity Squeeze a Bad Sign for China’s Equity Market ” [Bloomberg]. “The rise in Hibor [Hong Kong Interbank Offer Rate] is probably due to increased demand for liquidity before the end of the quarter, according to Wing Lung Bank treasurer Terry Siu. China’s markets are closed for holidays on Thursday and Friday, as well as during the first week of October.”

Political Risk: ” A riot broke out in the southern Chinese village of Wukan on Tuesday as dozens of people, many of them waving flags and hurling stones, protested early morning raids that led to the arrests of activists who had criticized the government” [New York Times].

The Fed: “I think the FOMC should stop playing monetary Hamlet, grow a set of testicular appendages, and raise rates” [Across the Curve].

The Fed: “I am skeptical that a large-scale expansion of government spending by itself is the best way forward, since larger fiscal deficits will lead to higher expected future taxes, which could further undermine private sector confidence” [Neel Kashkari, Medium].

The Fed: “The Fed Is Planning for Another Slow Recovery” [Narayana Kocherlakota, Bloomberg]. Planning? Planning?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 35 Fear (previous close: 55, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 13 at 11:56am. Yikes! This is what happens when I take my eye off the ball.

Gaia

“In the minds of many, soil is simply dirt, but without it we would all cease to exist. Unlike the water we drink and the air we breathe, soil is not protected in the EU and its quality is getting worse” [Euractiv].

Police State Watch

“Police forces across the United States are stockpiling massive databases with personal information from millions of Americans who crossed paths with officers but were not charged with a crime” [Post and Courier]. “Of particular concern to many advocates is the lack of standards and transparency associated with the use of field inquiries. They exist outside of stringent incident reporting guidelines set by the FBI and, in some places, aren’t considered public documents at all. In others, police have worked to put up barriers to sidestep scrutiny.” Excellent actual reporting from the Post and Courier.

Class Warfare

“A Wealth Of Problems: How The Housing Bust Widened The Rich-Poor Gap” [Zillow]. “If foreclosed homeowners had been able to hold on, they would have been able to see their home’s equity – and therefore their wealth – increase. In fact, throughout the entire recovery foreclosed homes showed greater annual appreciation than homes in general.” And: “This state of affairs has given rise to much of the social anger and instability we see today. The 99 percent movement, the increasing homelessness issue, the ever-contentious presidential election and a growing housing affordability crisis all have roots in this growing divide between rich and poor. We’ve taken to calling it income inequality, but that only speaks to a small part of the problem. Wealth inequality is incredibly real, is getting worse and is distressingly unheralded. We hope this research helps bring the issue to light.” Zillow joins the Communist Party!

“[M]ost of the tax code benefits families with more wealth than they can consume in one lifetime. In this context, the estate tax is really just an imperfect, partial, insufficient way to slightly mitigate the inter-generational transmission of wealth and the development of an aristocracy of hedge fund managers and their children. The big question isn’t whether we should have an estate tax or not. It’s whether we should take much more aggressive measures to give all children a fair shot at a comfortable and prosperous future. Eliminating the estate tax, without addressing the sources of inter-generational inequality, would only accelerate the transformation of American into a new feudal society” [James Kwak, Baseline Scenario]. Kwak too!

“Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million” [Fortune]. I think it’s very important that a woman –Carrie Tolstedt — shattered the glass ceiling for accounting control fraud.

Interviews on the Long Island University lockout [Democracy Now]. If you read what the adminstrators say, it seems that they believe they represent the university, not the faculty. Which is odd, since I can’t ever remember hearing anybody say they chose their university because it had really good deans.

News of the Wired

“Neglected Food Bubbles: The Espresso Coffee Foam” [National Library of Medicine]. “n spite of the relevant role played by crema as a quality marker, espresso coffee foam has not yet been the subject of detailed investigations.”

* * *

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

flower_and_rock

One more from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

* * *

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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.

181 comments

  1. Plenue

    “Vice President Joe Biden, the Obama-Clinton machine’s designated working-man whisperer.”

    Oh, Jesus. So working people are like dogs or horses now? Clearly they’re just a strange sub-species of human, and the trick is simply to find someone who can speak their particular lingo. It’s not like they face actual problems or anything, they just want reassurances in their own peculiar tongue.

    And even by this disgusting line of ‘reasoning’, does it work? Last I checked, who gives a crap about freaking Joe Biden?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is the end result of being cynical about identify politics for so long. Now Team Blue believes it works outside of limited electorates. It’s really no different than their ambassador to (insert minority community).

      I guess Kaine wasn’t making inroads as their previous ambassador to white males, and of course, he replaced Bill.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        Joe Biden will probably be the next presidential nominee if Hillary’s health turns out to be more serious than presently acknowledged to the public.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          That won’t go keep well. Trump might win 50 states if Team Blue tries to put a 73 year old not named Sanders on the ticket especially a casual racist with an atrocious record.

          Biden talk went no where last year for a reason. He’s just atrocious. He’s not Kaine or Bayh bad, but he’s awful and lacks the celebrity to avoid questions about his record.

          1. JohnnyGL

            I think Biden went nowhere because he would have siphoned off too many votes from Clinton (and he wasn’t going to beat her, either, as you point out). In the fall of 2015, Sanders had narrowed the gap to under 20 points (according to pollster). Once Biden was officially out, Clinton picked up a quick 10 points, Sanders only got around 5 more.

            By then Trump was in pole position, so I wonder if the Dems thought the safe bet was to consolidate around Clinton to make sure they didn’t split the ‘establishment’ votes the way the Republicans did.

            http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-democratic-primary

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              That was Biden’s ceiling. Hillary relied on local partisan Dems who see her as the legitimate leader of the party. Biden is not Hillary and a clown.

              The 2005 bankruptcy act pretty much destroys Democrats youth outreach.

              1. uncle tungsten

                NotTG, you give Biden some credit? a clown? Nah he is a failure, pure and simple. Sanders would run a crushing victory and they would get a better SCOTUS etc and Sanders and the people would get a few wins and the establishment Dems would gamble on ‘waiting out the storm then return to normal’.

                They will get nowhere with Biden or Kain and somewhere with Sanders. There will be ‘understandings’ at first.

          2. Daryl

            Honestly, I think Biden (or just about any other generic party-line Dem) would do better against Trump than Hillary.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              -support for the Patriot Act in the 90’s
              -the Iraq War
              -everything Warren rails against Joe Biden championed
              -the bankruptcy act
              -his racism
              -his support for fracking

              He’s tried three times. He’s Hillary without the token appeal.

              1. Daryl

                Both Trump and Hillary are widely hated for reasons that have nothing to do with their actual stances on issues. First party to slot in a cookie cutter moron can win the election.

    2. jo6pac

      Nope, congresscritters will over ride the term limits law one time so obomber can run for a third term. Repugs and demodogs hate trump and hillabillie so this is their way out.

      I’ll be voting Green again

      1. Daryl

        It’s in the Constitution so…well nevermind I guess the Constitution hasn’t really stopped anyone from doing anything.

    3. Mike G

      the trick is simply to find someone who can speak their particular lingo. It’s not like they face actual problems or anything, they just want reassurances in their own peculiar tongue.

      Hey, it’s worked for the Republicans for decades. They propped up a frat-boy sockpuppet with a Texas twang as a sideshow while ramming through corporatist-crony policies that screwed working people sideways, and they lined up to vote for him.

      Drumpf is the same kind of animal. He talks populist, but the likelihood approaches zero that he would actually implement worker-friendly policies as a disinterested tool of Pence and the Repuke congress as he struts on stages like Mussolini.

      If the white working class are patronized with reassuring language and little more, it’s because they’ve given their votes for lip service in the past.

  2. rich

    Krugman fails…

    The Death of Mainstream Media

    At the end of the day, I have concluded that my focus on Hillary as of late (vs. Trump) has as much to with my disgust for the mainstream media as anything else.
    To see these organs, which have destroyed this country by keeping the people uninformed for decades, now rally around a sickly, corrupt, oligarch coddling politician as the empire enters the collapse stage is simply too much to stomach. Although I’m still voting 3rd party, it’s now become obvious that if my sentiments are widely reflected across the country, Donald Trump will win the election handily. As I tweeted earlier today:

    The only positive thing to happen during this election season is the death of mainstream media. With their insufferable propaganda fully exposed, there is no coming back.

    http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/09/13/the-death-of-mainstream-media/#more-37561

    MSM has really obliterated their credibility this election cycle.

    1. Quentin

      Another positive thing is the demise of the Bush dynasty. And if Donald Trump pulls it off, the Clinton dynasty. I can’t decide with is worse though I tend to detest the Clinton dynasty more especially now the its present star is mucking the place up.

    2. Pavel

      Speaking of losing credibility… here is a real shocker via The Hill:

      CBS News edited a video clip and transcript to remove former President Bill Clinton’s comment during an interview that Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic presidential nominee, “frequently” fainted in the past.

      Bill Clinton sat down with CBS’s Charlie Rose on Monday to try to clear the air around questions regarding his wife’s health after she collapsed while getting into a van at a 9/11 memorial ceremony on Sunday.

      “Well, if it is, then it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors,” Bill Clinton said when Rose asked him if Hillary Clinton was simply dehydrated or if the situation was more serious. “Frequently — well, not frequently, rarely, on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing’s happened to her when she got severely dehydrated, and she’s worked like a demon, as you know, as secretary of State, as a senator and in the year since.”
      But the “CBS Evening News” version cut Clinton’s use of “frequently” out. And a review by The Hill of the official transcript released by the network shows that Clinton saying “Frequently — well, not frequently,” is omitted as well.

      The Hill: CBS News edits transcript, video clip of Bill Clinton discussing Hillary’s health

      Can it get any more blatant?

      BTW Rich I read the LibertyBlitz post earlier and it is spot on.

      1. Optimader

        I woild expect Bill to have had that reply a little bit better scripted?
        Maybe he’s gad a couple ministrokes as well,

        in her bubble there is no concievable reason why she should ever be dehydrated,

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      MSM has really obliterated their credibility this election cycle.

      Is there a reason why that matters? Worse now compared to covering for Reagan’s Alzheimer’s for how many years?

    4. Daryl

      Their credibility has eroded constantly with the rise of alternative methods of communication…it’s just the election cycle that lays it bare, like rain washing away a bunch of soil where roots have already died.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      Worth noting we only know of Clinton’s 9/11 health episode from an amateur video distributed on Twitter — but then immediately amplified (IIRC) by the White House press pool.

      So, (a) in the 90s Clinton’s strategy of keeping the press at arm’s length for months at a time would have worked, but now it doesn’t, and (b) the press and the amateur’s ought do have a symbiotic relationship. I think reporters go into the business wanting to be reporters, so decreasing media concentration might really help us. Instead of one main stream, as it were, many many more rivulets.

  3. Jim Haygood

    From our “21st century Versailles” department:

    Dubai and Macau are currently locked in a war of outrageously opulent hotels, and Macau recently tossed a Faberge grenade in the form of The 13, a luxury hotel featuring 200 rooms each of which over $7 million is being spent on.

    Each room is a ‘villa,’ and the largest – Villa de Stephen (named after the man behind the hotel, Stephen Hung) – is 30,000 square feet.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/the-13-in-macau-the-most-luxurious-hotel-ever-built-looks-absolutely-insane-a7238346.html

    Villa de Stephen‘ — oh, my. One is reminded of mini-mansion subdivisions with streets named after the developer’s kids: Kevin Drive, Cindy Way, and so on. It’s the “heighth of fashion,” as Holden Caulfield used to say. Near me is a street named after the developer’s special needs country cousin, Cletus Ray.

    This was a labour of love,” Mr. Hung commented.

    “Mister Hung,” is it now? I’ll have you know, Stephen — may I call you Stephen? — that some of us qualified for the “Mister Hung” honorific the old-fashioned way.

    1. Clive

      Those suites are like what would have happened if Liberace had been made Pontiff and allowed to give the Sistene Chapel a makeover. But lacking his customary self-restraint.

    2. ambrit

      And what “special needs country” does Cletus come from?
      Fear not, sea level rise will make the ‘war of the suites’ moot. In essence, a Moot Suit.

    3. RabidGandhi

      “Each of which over $7 million is being spent on” is a vile phrase. I expect better from the Independent.

      With all we pay our elites, can’t we at least demand they make better use of prepositions?

      1. hunkerdown

        RabidGandhi, I suspect they still love themselves some Churchill over there. The term “English vice” is instructive.

        1. Jay M

          jeez, couldn’t they spend more than 7 big on 30K sq? somebody needs to rate this elite on it’s opulence index
          maybe they are making it up on volume
          apres moi . . .

    1. Vatch

      Quote from Gov. Bevin:

      ” I have nine children.”

      Why do people vote for a Duggar wannabe such as this? Our planet is finite, our resources are finite, and people still vote for a self absorbed serial breeder such as Bevin.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Looking at the birth rates in Africa and the Middle East is only useful if compared to the death rates therein.

        2. Vatch

          The birth rates in Africa and the Middle East are much too high, even with shorter life expectancies. A major problem in those regions is the unwillingness of political and religious leaders to provide information about and access to effective methods of contraception.

          In the United States, that information and access is easily available, which is a major reason why Bevin’s behavior is so shocking.

          1. Katharine

            Historically–I don’t know how far this is still true–there is also the consideration that governments in many developing countries provide little help for the old. Children are a form of social security in those countries.

        3. Massinissa

          One American consumes as much energy and resources as 307 Tanzanians or 370 Ethiopians.

          You see, America makes up 4.5% of the worlds population yet uses up 20% of the worlds energy.

          It is not apples to apples at all. Bevin’s children probably use more resources than some poor African towns.

          1. Jim

            Great point!!

            And the birth rates of developing nations will come down dramatically if they’re able to expand access to education for women–a pattern that’s been seen from East Asia to Iran to Europe.

      1. Starveling

        The only way to be consistent with a message of reproduction restraint is to also support hard immigration restrictions.

        Else it looks an awful lot like a replacement of the population to many.

        1. jrs

          not on a global scale it doesn’t, which might be the scale that matters most.

          of course having less children is something that needs to be addressed globally as well.

          1. Starveling

            We don’t control all that much on a global scale- if you look at average American birth rates we are already at or below replacement- steady state. The best thing we could do for the rest of the world is to butt out. I don’t think Africa would be nearly as dire a place if we left it to its own devices. MENA wouldn’t be a train wreck if our wonderful political class just stopped getting involved.

            The only thing we should do for the third world is to end the empire. This would, oddly, benefit the average citizen. The only people who might be hurt by this are the cheap labor business community and the red/blue war party apparatchiks who feast upon the bounty of suffering.

            Ending the rule of such is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition to ending our resource issues- and to deal with the prisoner’s dilemma of unchecked growth.

          2. hunkerdown

            Reproduction isn’t decided on a global scale. Most people don’t care what the masters of the universe want; in fact, most of them would prefer said MOTU simply die immediately and get out of our misery. You’re essentially asking people not to leave their stamp on society, which is the liberal version of salvation, so that the Deserving Middle Class can get theirs.

            Now, it might work to build a social attitude that adding to the world’s human stocks at replacement rates or above is nothing less than child abuse. In some places and times and cultures, anyway. But there is no “world culture” and any ideology that depends on everyone believing the same bullshit (liberalism, Austrian economics, etc.) is a) irreparably defective from go b) unlikely to produce the desired uniform results c) offensively imperialist, and you should be ashamed to propose it in even close company.

            1. Vatch

              There’s nothing imperialisic about encouraging low birth rates. On the contrary, it’s compassionate and prudent.

              1. Starveling

                And when the masters of the universe bring in people from alien populations after we have done this ‘compassionate’ thing, and we become aliens in our own lands so the cheap labor can flow?

                Not buying it.

                1. Vatch

                  There’s no inconsistency between having enforceable limits on immigration at home, and strong advocacy on behalf of contraception and small families in countries with high birth rates. While we’re doing that, we can also work to reduce our per capita energy use and to increase the role of renewable energy sources in our society. There are lots of things that we can do, and they aren’t mutually exclusive.

              2. Massinissa

                Americans are 4.5% of the worlds population but consume 20% of the worlds resources.

                Maybe we should consume a smaller percent of the worlds resources before we tell other countries to have dramatically less children.

                1. hunkerdown

                  Using others as an excuse not to act is a form of soft climate-change denial, isn’t it? It’s parasitic and sociopathic in any case.

                  The correct course of action is to a) get over our genetic narcissism and stop breeding AND b) consume a smaller percent of the world’s resources. Life is not a quantity to be maximized, contrary to the delusions of those who believe the earth exists for them to loot, pillage and ruin, and that other people exist for them to make miserable.

                  1. cwaltz

                    Speaking of narcissism, it’s fairly narcissist to think that you personally know everyone who has multiple children is doing so because they are narcissists.

                    I have had 5 children (4 living) and most of my life has been dedicated to addressing self esteem and trust issues that I brought with me into adulthood but hey, I’m sure YOU personally know way more than those pesky professionals that have treated me over the years. *rolls eyes*

                2. Vatch

                  Maybe we should consume a smaller percent of the worlds resources before we tell other countries to have dramatically less children.

                  We should do both simultaneously.

              3. hunkerdown

                Vatch, I don’t disagree with you. What I disagree with is the notion that abstaining from reproduction is a differential responsibility, as if 4.3 Somalians weighed the same as 1 USian, which horse-trading is exactly where global “perspectives” lead: to the abstraction away of people. None of which particularly controls people getting jiggy with it in a bid for retirement insurance through progeny, or just for the fun that’s in it. What looks like adding another consumer/producer to the world “herd” in the macro looks like people living out their loves and traditions and building collective futures in the micro.

                How to discourage reproduction in those cultures where to do so takes away a proven means of security and context, without those forwarding the cultural effort being seen as brigands genociding? The West (and the West-like) have a history of using others’ reproductive abilities in service of their elites, and they can’t even trust a polio vaccination clinic from Western NGOs anymore.

                Human reproduction unquestionably does need to be dialed back somewhat, but the existence of global competition and empire makes that a rather delicate operation. Black anti-abortionists in the US calling abortion genocide are an example of what the US in particular might be up against when calling for such a course of action. Maybe it just needs the right Nigerian neurologist to say it…

            2. different clue

              Well . . . . as long as everybody accepts the fact that people from high population growth countries have ZERO right to move to low population growth countries, this view can work.

              As long as everybody accepts that the perpetrators of high population growth within their countries have ZERO right to expect ANY relief at all whatsoever in the slightest from the achievers of low population growth within THEIR countries, then this attitude can be respected.

  4. temporal

    Kwak and Zillow as fellow travelers.

    Even the IMF, a bastion of all thing austerity, has been making noises about populists not being completely wrong. Of course in all cases this is just posturing. They’ve gotten really rich scamming the rubes but now they realize they may have taken so much that there may be consequences. Not that they’re going to return a single dime.

    Yet we still have nearly all of the Ds explaining that we now live in the best of all possible worlds. Except for those deplorables but they brought that on themselves by not being rich already, so problem solved.

    1. fajensen

      “The Deplorables” has a ring to it. Massive own goal, typical of Hillary.

      If I was Trump, I would *absolutely* use this as the setting for a movie trailer-type ad featuring 10-12 or so normal people of different hues simply doing their daily things, but, dramatized a bit to look like an action movie.

      “The Deplorables” – “Keeping our world working”.

      1. jrs

        So where is that basket bound? Where am I going and why am I in this handbasket?

        Basket of deplorables going to special place in hell in a handbasket.

      2. nowhere

        I’m reminded of an experience I had in high school. My brother, buddy, and myself were hired to move a McMansion developer (inherited wealth, basically a guy that was born on 3rd and thought he hit a triple) into one his hideous homes.

        So, after 10 hours of packing the old house and unloading into the new abomination, he had his young (8-10 year old) daughter with him and told her “those are the plow boys, they’re the ones that sweat.”

          1. sd

            “Just deplorable, that’s what you are
            Just deplorable though near or far
            Like a song of love that clings to me
            How the thought of you does things to me
            Never before has someone been more

            Just deplorable in every way
            And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay
            That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
            That someone so just deplorable
            Thinks that I am just deplorable too

            Just deplorable in every way
            And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay
            That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
            That someone so just deplorable
            Thinks that I am just deplorable too…”

    2. skeeter

      “Basket of deplorables,” how pithy a metaphor for placing your detractors in a container from which their voices and needs can be discounted. Clinton gives us a great turn of phrase with which we can contemplate her inclination to strip the prerogatives of citizenship – such as the inclination not to select her at the ballot – from her detractors.

      Agamben’s thesis is that western constitutional democracies inevitably turn to the state of exception and strip citizenship from their peoples on the way.

      We have been at it a long time in America. The delightful new twist is contemplating the election of a candidate who tells us that not being a card carrying identity politics connected elitist, or sycophant of, will get you relegated to the ranks of homo sacer – the bare human. And oh yes, the Secretary is inclined to be the decider. There is no functional distinction between the nightmares these candidates represent.

  5. RabidGandhi

    Re: Charles Blow, “if the basket fits…”
    _____________

    Blow makes it official: this is the Best Election Ever for Team Blue. First they get to bring their “kick-the-left” game up to the next level with the mugging of the Sanders campaign. Then they (finally!) get to copulate in public with their neo-con friends-with-benefits. And now, as Blow demonstrates, they are at last free to spew their hate against the ignorant chumps in flyover: all the bile they have piled up but just couldn’t articulate because you gotta be PC (“impolitic” dixit Blow).

    Read the comments on the NYT articles or in other liberal goodthink rags: HRC was just articulating what the entire Acela bubble wanted to say but was too tactful. Listen to HRC making the actual comments: there were no boos or gasps, just laughter (sadly showing how part of the LGBT movement has become appallingly intolerant: a vast cry from the movement’s origins).

    Blow is just one voice in a blue chorus singing battlesongs against the poor and the left. A very clarifying election indeed.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      True. I attribute it all to deep-seated self loathing. Somewhere deep down the vestigal organ known as the “conscience” is paying attention.

  6. Anonymous

    > “Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million” [Fortune]. I think it’s very important that a woman –Carrie Tolstedt — shattered the glass ceiling for accounting control fraud.

    When the story first broke a few days ago, I knew right away (as in, before even finishing reading the headline) that this was another accounting control fraud. It’s really sad that NC is the only place where the term “control fraud” is used in connection with this scandal.

  7. Jason Boxman

    Given how shrill the Obama administration is over allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia, its full throated support of TPP is quite duplicitous. The cognitive dissonance a person can live with is astounding.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Washington Post: Dumb Muslims Love Conspiracy Theories

      While Western leaders declare they have incontrovertible, if not yet public, proof that Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks, millions of people in the Islamic world have reached their own conclusion about responsibility. Deeply distrusting anything coming from Washington, many are buying into a theory based not on facts or evidence but the assumption that the West and Israel are capable of anything.

      It’s only a conspiracy theory if you have a deerstalker turban.

      1. JCC

        This story has been circulating in various forms over there for years. When I was in Iraq in 2004 I had a Turkish contractor I worked with there (he owned a generator maintenance/repair shop) tell me it was unfortunate that Bush did not understand that the Israelis paid for and helped to execute the WTC blowup.

        To be perfectly frank, I told him it would not have surprised me in the least if it were true.

    2. HopeLB

      I was entertaining a variation of that very idea. Some honest to God disgruntled and disappointed Justice Fighter from the FBI goes rogue, righting Comey’s wrong, with the Russian Conspiracy twist(polonium) thrown in for ironic flair.

  8. Jake Mudrosti

    The only positive thing to happen during this election season is the death of mainstream media. With their insufferable propaganda fully exposed, there is no coming back.

    I have a bleaker view of human cognition, and so disagree. It must be noted that in the past couple weeks, an NC commenter honestly felt he needed to inform me of my own country of origin, because in his mind this was something that I clearly needed to be schooled about. Yes, the fact that I disagreed with his narrative was taken as evidence in his own mind that he needed to school me — to teach me where I’m from, and teach me how my friends and family died. A clearer example of basic cognitive failure would be hard to come by.

    Yet, as 20th century world history shows very clearly, when a culture shifts in that direction, such self-certain lunacy just becomes the new order of the day. It becomes the style.

    It seems that many of my previous NC comments mention Robert Jay Lifton’s books, and, well, can’t avoid doing it again. Critics of his analyses fault them for being “unfalsifiable,” etc, but I counter by saying that they were offered in a totally different spirit as a summary of his painstaking observations rather than a cognitive theory.

    If there’s any hope of digging out of the cultural hole in the near term, I’d say that’d be the place to start.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Thanks, I will look at Lifton.

      Speaking of books that offer deep insights into human behavior without citing any evidence, I really loved Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti.

  9. Kim Kaufman

    ““Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million” [Fortune]. I think it’s very important that a woman –Carrie Tolstedt — shattered the glass ceiling for accounting control fraud.”

    See? We’re living in a post racist, sexist world. Now it’s not only white men who can eff over everyone else, African-Americans and women can join that elite club of amoral people. And get rich doing it!

  10. DWD

    Liberals believe in addressing every issue within a socio-economic context (Crime, Terrorism, …)
    Except racism. That issue is context free

    Maybe it is just me but I disagree vehemently with this sentiment.

    The reasoning is fairly simple: these issues that are used to divide us (racism, sexism, religion, economics) are made much stronger when the economy is the weakest.

    If you need proof look to the great industrial states of the Midwest with their racist (now, never before) governments: Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and even Rauner in Illinois. These political beliefs would never gain traction when the economies were going great. Working people have taken the brunt of the globalization bullshit and the endless contempt of “Clinton Liberals” everywhere (apparently)

    1. Gareth

      Economic hardship is an amplifier of racism. This is what the limousine liberals never seem to understand. For them is it much more satisfying to demonstrate their moral superiority through contempt for the deplorables.

    2. hunkerdown

      The socio-economic context they’re talking about is whether they can afford the deserving poor and the opera.

      Also, what Gareth says.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      To me, you are agreeing.

      Arnade means (Twitter being 140 characters) that to liberals racism is context-free. He is saying what you say:

      these issues that are used to divide us (racism, sexism, religion, economics) are made much stronger when the economy is the weakest.

      Jay Gould’s old saying: “I can hire one half the working class to kill the other” (quoted from memory). It’s like Clinton and Trump are competing to show who can do that better.

  11. abynormal

    Kids just feel and act, unconditioned.

    They are pure and genuine.
    They are not cheaters.
    Kids are our masters, we must learn from them.
    We should be more like kids.

    Today we can learn from them, just watch these kids in action.
    http://www.lifehack.org/428542/these-kids-really-show-the-bright-side-human-nature

    2 days ago i went to a local park just to swing and to be honest, cry… where no one would be put out. took about a minute for a toddler to bring me a tiny flower…i didn’t even know she was near. at first i was embarrassed but then realized her heart will grow thru endearing gestures. i smiled and asked her if she could show me how to swing as high as she does. hope yall get a rise out of kids. they can be near at the strangest moment…when we let them.

    1. Janie

      Been thinking about you with tears in my eyes but unable to find the right words. You have more friends than you know.

  12. Romancing The Loan

    Given that we’re all becoming resigned to having a horrible president yet again I’m taking a surprising delight in the proliferating Clinton conspiracy theories after her collapse Sunday (the body double, the catheter, etc.). I hadn’t seen this one before and thought I would share with the group – that Chelsea’s 10M condo (where Hillary was taken), at The Whitman at 21 E. 26th St. in the NY – is supposedly (I have no idea) the same building as has listed “Metrocare Home Services

    The conspiracy theory is that Hillary has her own private hospital in the same building, which going to “Chelsea’s apartment” is cover for.

    I’m sure it’s not true but, like all the others, it’d be pretty funny if it was and I’m sure the Clinton team would have zero compunction about the deception involved.

    1. Mark John

      It is amazing what one can come up with when one absolutely does not trust another. Let me say, first of all, that Hillary allowing herself to go out on a hot day in the middle of a large crowd after working like a “demon” (!!!) is not the best political move. It is like sticking one’s head into the jaws of the conspiracy theorists and saying bite down hard.

      But, if, perhaps Clinton is not soooo politically inept, which, Lord knows, she gives every evidence of being, here is an alternative perspective I cooked up with a little appetizer. . .

      First item..The Clintons tell Loretta Lynch they want to keep her on at DOJ. But that will be hard to do if she is the face of not filing charges against Hillary. Let’s do an impromptu meeting (Bill and Loretta Lynch) on airplane, then put it out in marquis letters so the conspiracy theorists run with it. Loretta Lynch honorably steps down, gets to keep her job if Hillary is elected.

      From this line of thinking, conspiratorial as it also well is, Hillary is expected to clobber Donald Trump in the debates. Politically speaking, she has set for herself a very high bar, being so qualified and all. Let’s use this illness thing, cook up a minor illness and Hillary faints at the 9/11 memorial. The conspiracy theorists run away with it, she is on death’s door, yadayada. Some upside is that she will engender some sympathy.

      Two weeks later at Hofstra, bar much lower, she comes back as robust as can be, bar set much , much lower. Headlines read “Clinton Comes Back Swinging” and “Clinton Alive and Well at Hofstra”.

          1. JohnnyGL

            To work in Arnade’s point, CT need context, too. They find more fertile ground in a low-trust society filled with people who feel like they’re surrounded by predators (banks, health care providers, health insurance companies, some of the more rotten charter schools….for those on the right….IRS, DHS, anti-gun types).

            When all these institutions are coming up with schemes to bleed you dry, you’ve got to be on the look out so you can figure out the next scheme before they spring it on you.

    2. Vatch

      In the movie “Being There”, the super rich guy played by Melvyn Douglas has a mini hospital in his home. Maybe that’s standard operating procedure for the oligarchs!

        1. Tom

          And one door away from the emergency chute that empties in the sub basement, where a disused subway tunnel has been refurbished to whisk away any particularly privacy-oriented presidential candidate, safe from prying eyes.

    3. grayslady

      The whole building seems to have been the admin. headquarters for an outfit called Metrocare Home Services before it was refitted as a swanky, 4-unit residential building. Amusing, but no “there” there.

    4. hunkerdown

      Red herring. “This facility is closed or merged with another facility.” (NYSDH)

      Besides, she or anyone else with dough can have an ostentatiously well-appointed sickroom within the apartment, regardless of previous or present tenants of the building. And a home health care business wouldn’t make a particularly useful front to stockpile advanced treatments etc. for what ails her. They tend not to keep much inventory, in my limited experience.

  13. McWatt

    Had my catalytic converter stolen by thieves with battery operated sawsall’s. They are under the car
    and out in two minutes. Locally they get $40.00-50.00 for them. Cost to replace…Dealer $2,200.00,
    local guy you know $1200.00 .

    Police report in my area from two weeks ago said 12 were stolen in one night’s rampage.

    1. Paid Minion

      I got that beat……..

      Car broken into, rummaged thru, change stolen from center console.

      Money stolen = About four bucks

      Damage to car = Shattered window, prybar damage to “A” pillar and window seals, when they tried to pry the window open = $1500.

      Damage/theft ratio = 375 to 1

      But according to this morning’s post, they were probably tearing up my s##t because they were hungry, so I guess I should blame myself for only paying half my income in various taxes.

      1. Robert Hahl

        You don’t pay taxes, your employer does. If taxes dropped your income would adjust down by the same amount.

        1. Sammy Maudlin

          That statement is wrong on numerous levels, number one of which is that while an employer may withhold earnings of a W-2 employee for the purpose of paying income taxes, it is the employee that pays those taxes. Until a return is filed and processed, the withheld amount is a deposit made on the employee’s behalf. The amount of the deposit is based on the gross wages of the employee. If the tax rate drops, also would the deposit, and ultimately the tax. But the amount of gross wages are unaffected.

          Also, last I checked, employers generally don’t pay sales or property taxes for employees on non-employment related purchases.

          1. cwaltz

            Oh good God, over 40% of the population gets their payroll taxes back.

            Yes, it sucks that they are taken out to begin with, particularly when there are definitely pay periods when the 50 bucks could be utilized to pay a co pay or buy things that one needs.

            Additionally, if you are paying property taxes to begin with you’re one up on much of the population, it means you have a house or a car. You’ve made a conscious choice to own things. The streets your car and house are located on aren’t free. The schools in your communities aren’t no cost. I’m so over people whining about paying taxes.

            1. Sammy Maudlin

              My comment strictly relates to the erroneous characterizations of the responsibility for paying taxes and the effect of a tax reduction on gross wages asserted by Robert Hahl.

              I did not intend to address the amount thereof, justification for, nor the proper amount of self-righteousness a taxpayer may exude for paying said taxes.

              1. cwaltz

                I probably should have just called BS on his claim that he pays 50% in taxes or called him on his lack of empathy for those that actually go hungry(many of which are CHILDREN.)

                My first instinct to tell those fortunate enough to have to pay is to tell them to go ahead and “spite” the system by getting that job at BK so they can live the “good life” on minimum wage and then they too can not pay taxes….of course, they’ll also forgo retirement accounts, vacation days, owning a home, struggle with owning a car and the costs associated with it, etc, etc but hey, they won’t be paying 50% in taxes.

                Personally, I am profoundly grateful that our family pays a percentage in taxes(not 50% but above Mitt Romney.) It means we can afford a car, a house and we have a decent income. It means I can afford that DVD that I pay sales tax on. All in all it means our family is accumulating wealth.

                Anyway, I should have directed this at the OP, not you.

                1. Bubba_Gump

                  Pretty sure my federal taxes go to defense contractors to make war. My state and local taxes cover what doesn’t come from the feds anymore cause they’re too busy spending on war. That’s why I complain.

                  1. cwaltz

                    They go organizations that work on roads, they go to organizations that make sure you have clean water, organizations that make sure your kids don’t eat lead, organizations that make sure you aren’t eating food filled with e coli- Don’t go to the states to help pay for schools or other local programs not covered by your local or state taxes.

                    Don’t get me wrong, way too much money goes to war. On that we are in absolute agreement however, be angry instead that our government has so much potential to do so much more than destroy with that money. Our government could be doing more for things like schooling or health care and it would be a way better use of the monies we pay.

                    I think the right and left agree that the government is failing us. Where we disagree is on what to do about it. The right thinks that things will be better if the government gets smaller and gets out of the way. I tend to disagree. It needs good leaders that believe in accountability and have vision. It needs people to right size it, not downsize it and people that negotiate in good faith with the private sector, not roll over for it.

                    A government is only as good as it’s leadership and right now we’ve got some pretty questionable leadership.

                    1. cwaltz

                      I disagree. Are you suggesting that states don’t base their budgets on revenue they receive? Localities? (Hint: While the Federal government does indeed own printing presses, states do not.)

                      Listen I get that the Federal government owns the printing presses and has the means to fund anything they want with or without my meager contributions and I get that they’ve done just that with their wars. However, I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that the money we give the government in the form of taxes funds nothing.

                    2. Lambert Strether Post author

                      > A government is only as good as it’s leadership

                      I don’t think Madison would agree. Federalist 51:

                      But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

                      I don’t think the premise “If only we were governed by good people!” ever leads to a place I want to be (authoritarians love it, for example).

            2. inode_buddha

              I would dearly love to know how to get it all back every year, having spent my entire life under 30k and paying (aggregate) about 20% per anum. What really gets me is listening to co-workers go on about how people go on welfare because the gov’t gives them so much money.

              1. cwaltz

                All my experiences with those on welfare is it’s a pretty miserable experience. After my stepfather died, my mom had to get help financially for her 3 minor children. They means tested everything, she couldn’t even own a car for more than something ridiculous like $3000.

                I also know someone who turned down work because actually working hours she did not know would be guaranteed the next month would have cut her food stamps the following month.

                It seems positively contradictory to me to set up a system that encourages reliance forever because you are continually threatening the safety net of a person the minute they get a tiny bit ahead.

                Personally, I’d love to see the government start doing what it does for the very rich and allowing or helping people to put assets away in an “emergency account(up to $5,000).” Instead it’s only the really rich and middle class who get to put money away tax free for retirement(401ks, hsas, IRAs) schools for their kids, health care, etc, etc. All of this money is meant for long term savings which for someone on the bottom of the income ladder is something they can’t do because they’re too worried about having access to money when that crappy $3000 car breaks down.

                It’s a stupid, crazy system and I know we could be doing better.

          2. Robert Hahl

            Again, if all of your taxes were lowered, your employer would be able to pay you less, and that is what would happen.

            1. Sammy Maudlin

              There’s no evidence that reduction in tax rate results in a reduction in wages mechanically or economically.

              In fact, a Brookings Institution study found:

              An across-the-board cut in income tax rates, for example, incorporates all of these effects. It raises the marginal return to work—increasing labor supply through the substitution effect. It reduces the value of existing tax subsidies and thus would likely alter the composition of economic activity. It also raises a household’s after-tax income at every level of labor supply, which in turn, reduces labor supply through the income effect. The net effect on labor supply is ambiguous. Similar effects also apply to the impact of tax rate cuts on saving and other activities.

              The initial tax rate will affect the impact of a tax cut of a given size. For example, if the initial tax rate—on wages, say—is 90 percent, a 10 percentage point reduction in taxes doubles the after-tax wage from 10 percent to 20 percent of the pre-tax wage.

              Effects of Income Tax Changes on Economic Growth – September 2014

              The Kansas City Fed concluded that lowering state corporate tax would result in an increase in wages.

              Evidence to the contrary is welcome to promote better understanding of the issue but thrown-off statements with no evidence or analysis are useless.

        1. Paid Minion

          Oxycodone, or something like that. The “Drug du Jour” according to my kids.

          It’s hard for us old folk to keep track of all of the different ways people are effing themselves up anymore.

          An interesting study could be made on how many people have made themselves essentially unemployable due to drugs/alcohol/excessive marijuana usage.

          Better yet, align that study with the people essentially unemployable due to giant, unsightly tattoos.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am told that the tattoo approval test is a generational thing…if you’re old, you are not likely to have one or know a friend who has one (most of time…many wonderful older people – in this country or many other countries – have them).

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Property is theft.

        Then you have theft of theft, that is, theft of property.

        Property theft is under reported, it feels to me (based on my personal experience and talking with neighbors around here…do i live in a bad neighborhood?).

      3. cwaltz

        You must have a fairly high income if your tax rate cumulatively is 50%.

        Is that you Phil Mickelson whining that you only get to keep a portion of your 61 million that you got paid to play golf?

    2. Jim Haygood

      Going from memory here, but I seem to recall reading in a car magazine — late 60s, early 70s — that master thieves in NYC could drop a 4-speed transmission from a curb-parked Corvette in 8 minutes flat.

      Dropping a trans is not a trivial task.

      Now butchers with sawzalls can swipe a cat converter in 2 minutes, with two quick, crude cuts through a thinwall exhaust pipe.

      Just goes to show how skills have declined. :-(

      I was a butcher cutting up meat
      My hands were bloody, I’m dying on my feet
      I was a surgeon ’till I start to shake
      I was a-falling ’till you put on the brakes

      — Rolling Stones, You Got Me Rocking

  14. steelhead23

    “I am skeptical that a large-scale expansion of government spending by itself is the best way forward, since larger fiscal deficits will lead to higher expected future taxes, which could further undermine private sector confidence” Neel Kashkari

    I am surprised you didn’t comment on this, Lambert. The federal deficit is just a number. Kashkari’s argument that increasing the deficit implies future higher taxes is bunk – displaying a lack in understanding monetary theory. I admit to only a cursory understanding, but the real purpose of income taxes is to slow the flow of money through the economy to reduce inflationary pressures. Federal infrastructure spending would boost the lagging economy, with virtually no downside. There is absolutely no need to pay-down the debt. I would be more comfortable with Kashkari as the treasurer of my local PTA than a regional Federal Reserve Bank president. Can’t we do better?

    1. hunkerdown

      Kashkari’s argument that increasing the deficit implies future higher taxes is bunk – displaying a lack in understanding monetary theory.

      Kashkari, as a big banker, would presumably be the recipient of those higher taxes, since he would presumably be part of those financing said deficit. He’s talking business, not monetary theory. It’s the flexian way to presume that managers are there to be served.

    2. John k

      Can either cut taxes, boost spending, or raise interest rates to suppress inflation.

      Taxing citizens give value to the currency and thereby makes them willing to sell their goods and services to gov to obtain sufficient taxes to pay tax.
      So gov levies a tax to obtain goods and services, not dollars that have no value to the entity that creates them.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      OTOH, here is Kocherlakota on Janet Yellen:

      She argued in part that, thanks to its new tools of forward guidance and long-term asset purchases, the Fed would be able to offset the next recession, even if interest rates eventually stabilized at historically low levels.

      Yet] two years into this hypothetical recession, the Fed would be refusing to provide more accommodation, even though the unemployment rate would be above 9 percent and it would be expecting the inflation rate to be falling further below its target for another three years.

      But I wonder why the good econo-doctor has only got religion now that he is off the Fed.

  15. allan

    Wake up and smell the methane impunity:

    SoCal Gas to pay $4-million settlement over massive Porter Ranch gas leak
    [LA Times]

    Southern California Gas Co. agreed to a $4-million settlement Tuesday to end a criminal case filed by Los Angeles County prosecutors over the utility’s handling of the massive gas leak near Porter Ranch last year.

    The gas company pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of failing to immediately notify the California Office of Emergency Services and Los Angeles County Fire Department of the leak that began on or around Oct. 23, 2015, in the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. The utility will pay the maximum fine of $75,000 for that three-day delay, according to the L.A. County district attorney’s office.

    The gas company will pay $232,500 in state penalties on top of that fine and $246,672 for the fire department’s response to the leak.

    Three other misdemeanor counts will be dismissed when the utility is sentenced on Nov. 29.

    End of story. Literally.

    This is believed to be one of the largest releases in human history of the most powerful green house gas.

    1. nowhere

      Definitely makes a strong case for companies to continue to defer maintenance. Seems there is no downside.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Who gets the puny $4 million money?

      The state government?

      The people who are victims directly or (in greater S. Cal areas or even neighboring states) indirectly?

      The animals and plants that suffered through the release of more green house gas?

      I really hope it’s not more money to the state so they can hire more traffic cops to get those who do not stop completely at stop signs.

  16. craazyman

    another confusing plantidote. Is the plantidoe the yellow flower or is it the green thingies by the rocks?

    I suppose it’s up to the viewer to decide. Which seems like a lot of work. Some crackpot might choose the rocks themselves and then argue that there’s microscopic plants on the rocks and that’s what they mean. if you can’t see them, that’s your problem. The world is like that, crackpots pointing at things only they can see and blaming you for not seeing them. Then kicking your ass if they can.

    Things should be obvous. And they are obvious, if you know what’s what. Then you don’t need to kick people’s ass unless they really deserve it. mostly you just lay around waiting for people to see the things you see, knowing that they would if they could. That’s a lot different than blaming them and kicking their ass. That’s a lot of work — to kick someone’s ass. What a pain. Work is to be avoided if at all possible. That should be obvious to everybody

  17. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for keeping the spotlight focused on efforts of the TBTF banks and transnational corporations to gain passage of the TPP, TTIP and TiSA, Lambert. Appears their lobbyists and the Obama administration have a full-court press underway on members of Congress now. One can only guess at what is being offered our congressional representatives for their vote during the lame duck session after the November election in exchange for trading away our national sovereignty.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      If the usual suspects think TPP is a dead duck, their body language doesn’t show it. Of course, they’re all billing for their service, but then looking like a loser affects your rate, I would think. And your client base.

  18. clarky90

    A behind-the-scenes look at medical education

    by Dr Jason Fung (one of my heroes!)

    https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/big-pharma-behind-scenes/

    “……..Doctors get continuing medical education (CME) through events like lectures and conferences. CME is necessary because many physicians practise for 30 or 40 years, and medicine is changing continuously, so they cannot rely on their medical school training, which might have happened in the 1960s. Doctors are required to get a certain number of hours of CME every year. You might imagine that doctors learn from unbiased experts dedicated to learning. Actually, nothing is further from the truth. The dirty little secret is that virtually all CME is sponsored heavily by Big Pharma giving them huge influence over what information is presented to doctors.

    Every single level of CME has been corrupted by $$$. Let’s start at the bottom.

    In virtually every hospital in North America, there are lectures called ’rounds’. They happen in every specialty and almost every single day, mostly at lunchtime. What a great idea. Doctors would spend lunchtime teaching each other the intricacies of their specialty. Sorry, no. Most doctors don’t prepare a full hours worth of lecture topic. Most are too busy to spend an hour listening a the lecture anyway. So, the friendly drug rep from Big Pharma helpfully gets lunch for everybody. Free lunch! That helps bring in the audience, but it doesn’t help the fact that they still need a speaker………”

    This probably explains, IMO, the pickle that HRC finds herself in

    1. cwaltz

      I’m pretty sure the fluid and rest that she was prescribed by the MD, but she chose to ignore ,wasn’t brought to you by pharmaceutical America.

      The pickle Hillary finds herself in is a pickle of her own making.

      1. Anne

        It isn’t about her health, it’s about her judgment. It’s about the apparent decision not to disclose the pneumonia diagnosis until they were forced to – and even then, they tried three other “explanations” before – hours later – they announced that fully 48 hours earlier, she had been diagnosed with pneumonia. First, she wasn’t feeling well. Then she became overheated. Then she was dehydrated. It wasn’t until some time after her reappearance on the street looking fine and dandy that they disclosed the pneumonia.

        Do you see the pattern? It’s the same one we saw with the e-mails. We’re seeing it with the Clinton Foundation. This is a woman who doesn’t seem to feel any obligation or accept any responsibility for playing by the rules, for following the protocols.

        And she has the nerve to blame the right-wing conspiracy that’s out to get her when in reality she creates much of the controversy all by herself.

        I don’t frankly care if she has or had pneumonia or her toenail fungus was acting up, but what she has once again managed to do is make it impossible for people to believe whichever story qualifies as the latest, and if anything she said before then has even a shred of truth in it.

        What I fear, and what I do think would be a concern, is if the pneumonia diagnosis is a giant head-fake designed to cover up that she may be experiencing some neurological problems, perhaps related to the 2012 concussion (and Lord only knows if that story was factual) that even her husband says took her every bit of 6 months to recover from.

        I get why she would want to hide anything even remotely like that, but what she doesn’t seem to understand is that she really has no right, as a candidate for the highest office in the land, to hide it. Again, and again, she allows her personal ambition to cloud her judgment; years and years of important and wealthy people telling her she’s one of the smartest people in the room, paying to be in her presence, have convinced her she just knows better than anyone. That she doesn’t have to listen, that she has nothing to learn.

        And sometimes, she probably does, but she doesn’t ever seem to be able to know when she doesn’t. That – the judgment problem – that’s what she has, and that’s what matters here.

        1. cwaltz

          Oh, I absolutely agree with you she has a judgment problem, straight down to ignoring good advice.

          I just think it is interesting that the post I was commenting on seems to be a jab at doctors and continuing education and

          Pharma may be responsible for many things, Hillary Clinton’s decision not to follow her doctor’s instructions on rest and fluid aren’t one of them though. They are in no way responsible for “the pickle that HRC finds herself in.” Hillary owns that.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It isn’t about her health, it’s about her judgment.

          I agree, and since she’s running on her judgment, that’s a problem.

          I think it’s more than her judgment, or about judgment in another way: She’s surrounded herself with an entourage (of sycophants, as we see from the emails) who cannot or will not check her. That’s not good.

      1. uncle tungsten

        The problem with Charles is that he committed to publish on September 7 the first installment of his reveal all expose of the Clinton Foundation. Still waiting, still waiting etc., even the respondents are starting to call him out.

    1. Foy

      I highly recommend Amy Sterling Casil’s posts (mentioned above by SD) at the Medium.com website (Yves has linked to a few previously). Detailed and thorough, she has a background in running charities and foundations so knows what she is talking about. It becomes quite clear it’s fraud and hiding behind other people’s good work and making out it’s their own.

      Also recommend watching the documentary Clinton Cash on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LYRUOd_QoM

      It explains how Bill front runs Hillary’s Secretary of State foreign visits. He goes in 6 weeks beforehand, gets massive speaking fees ($250k-700K) for a dinner speech from some ahhh donors for want of another term. Or he arranges a big donation to the Clinton Foundation from significant local player. Then Hillary arrives and has a meeting to negotiate a deal/arms sale/change in trade rules etc and all it gets done magically.

      It’s really unbelievable they have got away with it for so long…Biggest.Charity.Racket.Ever

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Re: EurActive article on soils.

    The EU did have a Soil Framework Directive in the works for years but it was eventually stymied by the UK, as George Monbiot has pointed out. One of the good things about Brexit is that it will undoubtedly improve the EU’s capacity to bring forward more environmental protect directives – the UK has always been one of the main obstacles in this.

  20. ekstase

    “As part of the lockout, LIU cut off professors’ email accounts and health insurance,”

    If, God forbid, someone gets very ill or worse, because they have had their health insurance cut off, will that be bad for p.r.?

  21. Jay M

    “I am skeptical that a large-scale expansion of government spending by itself is the best way forward, since larger fiscal deficits will lead to higher expected future taxes, which could further undermine private sector confidence” Neel Kashkari

    what a commedian

  22. Jay M

    “In the minds of many, soil is simply dirt, but without it we would all cease to exist. Unlike the water we drink and the air we breathe, soil is not protected in the EU and its quality is getting worse”

    and the air and water, better?

    (not opposed to regulation)

  23. petal

    Primary Day in NH. I went about 6:45p, 15 minutes before the polls closed. On my way out, I asked the nice ladies staffing the place if turnout had been light. They said “Very” and made disappointed faces.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There were Democratic primaries today for various state offices, but the GOP had the Senate primary and statewide races.

      2. petal

        Lebanon. More republicans running for offices than dems on the 2 ballots.
        Keene is the northern capital of the Free State movement.

    1. JCC

      I saw that too, earlier today and at first I thought “another example!”.

      Then I stepped back and realized that other than an inflation gauge, so what? That has been a perq for donors in this country (and many other I assume) for over 200 years… at least as far as the ambassadorships are concerned.

      Some of the other – possible – position purchases were a little disturbing, though, such as Julius Genachowski’s FCC Chairmanship or Tony West’s appointment as Deputy Attorney General. If true that donations were the clincher, then it does smell a little like corruption.

    2. Buttinsky

      I was away from the computer for a few hours and all leak-hell has broken loose. Unfortunately, the actual dumps are not being made as easy to access directly as in prior releases — the Guccifer 2.0 release requires a “torrent” download and DNCLeaks.org seems to have been vaporized. And there’s a lot of it, so we’re having to rely on piecemeal, secondhand reports at the moment.

      In addition to Jim Haygood’s report above I would flag Lee Fang’s Twitter bulletin, which includes emails (you click on the actual emails imaged in the tweet to read the original) that reveal Colin Powell and Jeffrey Leeds discussing how much the Clintons hate Obama (“that man”), and how questionable Hillary’s health is. This appears to be from a separate DNC Leaks hack of Powell’s emails unrelated to the Guccifer 2.0 release.

      https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/775846049009197057

      But the quote of the evening so far is from a Colin Powell email complaining about how Hillary is responsible for the whole email debacle at State and was trying to scapegoat him for her mess despite his protestations. Boy, was Powell pissed off, and to the point: “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.

      https://theintercept.com/2016/09/13/colin-powell-emails/

  24. Daryl

    Was checking the polls in Texas and surprised to see that it has Johnson at 10% and Stein at 6%.

    Also googling for more of them, all the articles talked about Hillary “might win” Texas, no mention of third party candidates. Blech

  25. Optimader

    Jamie Dimon: “I’m a big believer of getting the trade deal done, but acknowledge that it actually hurts some people, and give income assistance, do development, relocation, retraining…”

    Maybe we can set up camps out in the Mohave Desert! That would encourage focus on the Reeducation Programs
    :o)

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